Thursday, May 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
As a sitting Senator, every member of the upper chamber has numerous opportunities on a daily basis to influence the debate and enhance a conservative agenda. This goes far beyond a mere voting record; it’s about being a loud and effective voice for the cause.
We see this every day from people like Ted Cruz who shamed Democrats into supporting his bill denying a visa to an Iranian terrorist.
We see this every day from people like Mike Lee who rail against the Chamber of crony capitalism.
We see this every day from people like Jeff Sessions who single-handedly exposes the open-borders agenda and gives voice to the American side of the amnesty debate.
And unfortunately, we see this every day from people like John McCain, who not only vote with Democrats, but give voice to their most destructive causes.
Just today, John McCain decided to storm into a committee hearing and heap garrulous praise upon Obama’s nominee for Secretary of HHS, Sylvia Burwell.
We are living through a time when Obamacare is destroying the healthcare sector and forcing millions of Americans to become dependent on a subpar delivery system. We are witnessing the end of the middle class living with self-respect and independence. We are witnessing the creation of a part-time workforce as a result of the mandates. Yet, John McCain, who is not a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), showed up to the confirmation hearing uninvited just to drool over Burwell:
McCain told the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when he first heard Burwell was being nominated to replace HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, he advised his “friend” against taking the job.
He said the move would mean she would be leaving the toughest job in Washington as director of the Office of Management and Budget for the most thankless job as secretary of HHS.
“Who would recommend his friend take over as captain of the HHS titanic after it hit the iceberg?” McCain asked.
McCain touted Burwell’s resume as OMB director, chief operating officer of the Gates Foundation, and president of Walmart, and recommended his colleagues visit Bentonville, Ark., where Walmart was founded, to see what an American success story looks like.
There is one thing to say she is smart and “qualified,” but to storm into the hearing to slobber over someone who is all-in on Obamacare is destructive to any effort to fight the unconstitutional administrative power grabs. Most appallingly, McCain predicted that Burwell will be much more responsive than Sebelius. Really? What message does that send to the Obama administration, which has been stonewalling on providing information with regards to the implementation? McCain is unilaterally surrendering to the administration, even as they continue to violate Obama’s own law with administrative legislating. Can he promise us that Burwell will be open with Congress and will not overwrite portions of the law?
I guess it sends the same message to Obama on transparency in healthcare as McCain’s fight for amnesty does in the realm of transparency on immigration. It gives voice to the opposition. And that is exactly what McCain relishes.
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration, Obamacare
We told you so.
During the battle to defund Obamacare last fall, we all warned that the schism within the party was about more than strategy; it was about the future of Obamacare itself.
At the time, our opponents within the party mocked our effort to defund Obamacare as a folly and even asserted that our strategy was distracting from the problems with Obamacare itself and would weaken our ability to repeal it. They promised that as long as we hold tight and wait until Republicans win back control of the Senate, we could repeal Obamacare.
We responded by noting that once the dependency of Obamacare would take effect, the law would be immutable. Even though the coverage offered by Obamacare would be subpar and eventually collapse the healthcare system, for the time being that is the only coverage many people would have, especially those who were thrown off their insurance plans. We also pointed out that the first time Republicans would have full control of government would not be until 2017, at which point the law would never be repealed.
Nonetheless, they fought us every step of the way and publicly lambasted conservatives in the halls of Congress. Obviously, Democrats had nothing to fear, as they knew the majority of Republicans had no intention of holding their ground and would even tear down their own base in order to do Harry Reid’s bidding.
Fast-forward just a half a year and Republicans are now admitting they lied to us. They never had any intention to fight for full repeal of Obamacare. Now that the defund fight is behind us, they are admitting that they cannot repeal it. Over the past week, no less than John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers – prominent GOP leaders who opposed the defund effort – have come out of the closet to imply, in varying degrees, that full repeal is a thing of the past.
What we are starting to see from GOP leadership is a pattern of only attacking those portions of Obamacare that the lobbyists for big business or the healthcare industry oppose, even though these same people have lobbied for the broader law. The House plans to re-introduce the bill that would bailout Cigna – a supporter of Obamacare – from one aspect of the law that adversely affects them.
The irony is that while GOP leaders like Boehner and McMorris Rodgers are surrendering on Obamacare, they are vehemently pushing for amnesty and open borders. Even Rand Paul, while backpedalling on repealing Obamacare, is talking up passage of amnesty and downplaying the problems with illegal immigration.
Folks, the fix is in. If we continue down the same path and fail to install new leadership, don’t act surprised when Republicans abandon the effort to repeal Obamacare and go all in for Obama’s amnesty bill. And frankly, if we reelect these same leaders, that is exactly what we deserve.
Friday, April 25th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, Obamacare
Imagine the leaders of the Democrat Party mocking the party faithful. Try to conjure up the image of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid running false ads against liberal candidates. Save that thought in your mind because you will never see it in real life. Democrats harness the power of their base to advance the cause of their ideology and party platform. Republican leaders, on the other hand, are at war with their party’s platform.
While speaking to a rotary club in his Ohio district, Speaker John Boehner had this to say about conservatives who are concerned about open borders:
“Here’s the attitude. Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,” Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown’s Run County Club in Madison Township.
“We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. … They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
Boehner said he’s been working for 16 or 17 months trying to push Congress to deal with immigration reform.
“I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy,” he said.
Yes, Mr. Boehner. We actually want to solve the immigration problem.
We want to deal with the problem of criminals being let out of jail.
We want to deal with the problem of Obama suspending deportations.
We want to deal with birthright citizenship and other magnets that allow foreigners to violate our sovereignty and take advantage of the welfare state.
We want to make immigration work for the American people, not for your donors.
Sadly, you have no interest in joining us in combating the President’s malfeasance. You are the one who is too scared to make hard decisions. It’s a lot easier to go along with the political class and cowardly hide behind the misleading canard of “reform” just for the purpose of pushing the same failed amnesty that has engendered endless cycles of illegal immigration and that is already spawning a new wave. It’s akin to saying conservatives are cowards for not dealing with “healthcare reform” because they don’t support Obamacare.
Oh, woops, Boehner is ostensibly saying that as well.
While mocking conservatives for fighting Obama on amnesty, Boehner made it clear that he has given up the fight over full repeal of Obamacare.
(To) repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market overnight.
Which means that he has no intention to repeal it.
It’s funny how we warned those who opposed the effort to defund Obamacare that they would never repeal it at a later date. They denied the charge at the time; now they are embracing it.
What about the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor?
He is being challenged by Dave Brat, a little-known economics professor with almost no money. Yet, amazingly, Cantor is up with a negative ad that is appallingly dishonest. Cantor is not man enough to run ads touting his enthusiastic support for amnesty.
Folks, this is GOP leadership for you. And this is the leadership we will continue to have if we fail to take back the party.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
When observing the actions of political class Republicans it’s important to remember what makes them tick. It’s not that they are liberal or moderate; it’s that their ideology is power. When conservative policies will benefit them politically and assuage their donors and lobbyists, they will jump on board the constitutional bandwagon. But as soon as there is a schism between their puppet-masters on K Street on conservative policy, they are completely off the reservation. Nowhere is this more evident than with Obamacare.
While other issues such as corporate welfare, amnesty, and Common Core are blatantly embraced by the corporate interests, Obamacare is more complicated. On paper, big business opposes many parts of Obamacare. But that is the point. They oppose the parts of the bill that directly affect their bottom line (at least with the shortsighted focus on the near term), but have no problem with the rest of the bill that distorts the market and raises costs on individuals. Indeed, much of the insurance industry was in on Obamacare from day one.
Hence, that is why none of us are surprised that GOP leadership has quietly given up on Obamacare. This is not just about strategy, it’s about core beliefs. Look no further than the Chamber of Commerce’s official position that they desire to fix Obamacare.
Accordingly, this is why Republicans and even some Democrats have enthusiastically embraced repeal of the medical device tax. Undoubtedly, it is a pernicious job-killing tax, but it is unanimously opposed by the business community. Juxtapose that to repeal of the risk corridors (the insurance company bailout for those who participate in Obamacare but inevitably incur losses from the mandates), championed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and you won’t find too many followers.
Today, we will witness the latest example of leadership’s tendentious treatment of big business in the Obamacare debate. The House will quietly vote on a bill sponsored by Democrat Rep. John Carney (D-DE) and Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (H.R. 4414), which would exempt all expatriate health insurance plans from Obamacare. Expatriate plans are robust high-end forms of insurance for executives, primarily in big corporations, working overseas and in need of global access to healthcare. The bill is co-sponsored by a random mix of moderate Republicans and Democrats.
Carney and Nunes sent a letter to their colleagues noting that these plans are offered by Cigna, Metlife, Aetna, and United Health. This is not surprising because Cigna provides health insurance to large companies with many top executives working overseas. Perforce, all of the special interests groups who oppose full repeal or defunding of Obamacare have swooped in on this bill. The American Benefits Council and the Chamber of Commerce quickly circled the wagons around this bill, which had not undergone any committee hearings or markups and was randomly passed under suspension.
While there is some debate among conservatives about partial repeal bills, even those conservatives who support a partial repeal strategy should only support game-changing bills that both bring relief to the consumer and help disrupt the viability of the entire law. For example, in the case of the 1099 tax-reporting provision, it benefited all businesses and alleviated them from an onerous burden. The 1099 provision required companies to report all vendors from which they purchased $600 worth of goods or services within a year on their annual tax report. Moreover, instead of bailing out Democrats from the political wrath of a deleterious provision, we extracted concessions from them by limiting the individual subsidies for purchasing insurance.
The expatriate reform, on the other hand, is a parsimonious tweak (yet full repeal for one special interest) that serves no purpose but ameliorating the law, making some Democrats look good, and playing into the insidious and selfish strategy of big business and the insurance companies. Moreover, Republicans have not attached any other concession to this bill like they did with the 1099 repeal.
In the case of Cigna, they spent million promoting Obamacare; now they are looking for a bailout specifically for their corporate clients. There’s no reason we should help them out. It’s no surprise that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), a conservative House member and lifelong physician, allegedly accused leadership of being in the pockets of big insurance companies.
The Wall Street Journal continues to lambast conservatives for opposing partial-repeal measures, but they are too shortsighted to see how these bills are geared towards bringing relief to Obamacare lobbyists, not consumers and taxpayers at large.
Those who think that the intra-party battle of 2014 is merely about strategy are not paying attention. Establishment Republicans have never stood for limited constitutional government and free markets except for when it overlaps with corporate interests. Don’t be fooled by the ubiquitous public opposition to Obamacare within the party. If conservatives fail to win this year’s primaries, a GOP majority will not be committed to repealing Obamacare.
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration, Obamacare
When listening to open borders agitators like former Florida governor Jeb Bush, one would come away with the impression that we owe it to the world to accept anyone who comes here illegally and pay for their living expenses. They speak of lofty ideals loosely connected to love and compassion, but they never consider the lack of love and compassion that our open borders policy imposes on the American consumer and taxpayer. There is no better example than the bankrupting of our hospitals at the hands of Jeb’s “lovely” invaders.
My wife and I were entreated to the chaos of emergency room care last night after our two-year-old son slipped while climbing onto a high kitchen counter and banged his head on the floor. He had a massive lump on his forehead and we were concerned about internal bleeding. When we drove to the closest hospital, the waiting room was full of illegals. Most of them were adults who, let’s just say, did not look like they were about to keel over. Opting not to wait all night simply for a decision whether to put our son through a CT scan, we drove for a half hour in the rain to a hospital that was less likely to be full of those who use ERs for regular care.
Thank God our son recovered and there was no internal bleeding, but in a different situation that extra time could have been critical. Also, if you ever wonder why you get hosed with outrageous bills simply for stepping foot in a hospital, look no farther than the “undocumented” costs of illegal aliens.
This is what the defenders of illegal immigration never comprehend or care to ponder. We can open our borders to any number of impoverished individuals from the world’s population of 7 billion. But that comes at a cost to American citizens and legal residents who are within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the country.
The problems with illegal immigrants and emergency hospital care also provide us with an opportunity to examine true free market healthcare reform. Any GOP healthcare proposal must be predicated not on “replacing” Obamacare, but on fixing even some of the anti-market federal policies that existed before passage of the monstrosity.
One of those policies is the mandate on hospitals to treat everyone who comes to an ER – including illegal immigrants – irrespective of whether they are suffering from a real emergency. In 1986, Congress passed The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which was ostensibly the first act in universal healthcare mandates.
If we ever plan to curb skyrocketing hospital costs and improve access to emergency care, we must address this massive unfunded federal mandate of EMTALA. Among the provisions of Rep. Paul Broun’s Patient Option Act, which is one of the best healthcare reform proposals, are some good reforms of emergency and indigent care. Under Broun’s proposal, hospitals would be allowed to turn away people from ERs if they do not have an immediate need for emergency care. This would solve the problem of illegal immigrants using ERs for primary care.
Juxtaposed to this provision is a tax credit for physicians who provide indigent care as a form of charity. While conservatives usually advocate deductions over credits for the cost of healthcare, that is for individuals who purchase health insurance. But for healthcare providers, especially for most doctors who already pay a tremendous amount in taxes, they should be incentivized to treat those without the means to pay for the care with a credit.
Taken as a whole, these two provisions would transfer the cost of indigent care from a federally-mandated tax on physicians and consumers to a voluntary tax incentive for physicians and those who donate to free-service clinics.
If the politicians are concerned about being compassionate to Americans and clamping down on illegal immigration, they should start with free market healthcare reform.
Friday, April 4th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Obamacare
On the surface, it’s quite puzzling that Democrats would celebrate the fact they signed up 7.1 million people for Obamacare. They essentially took a number of people who were happy with their insurance and raised the cost to the point where they could no longer afford it themselves, engendering a need for a government subsidy. Like many Americans, my family will lose our insurance later this year and will have to pay more for subpar coverage.
As for those who had no previous insurance, most of them are being dumped into Medicaid and will be cemented in a permanent status of dependency with limited access to quality care.
Hence, celebrating 7 million people reliant on Obamacare is like rejoicing over an arsonist who burned down millions of homes but created a bungalow of dingy shelters for people to seek refuge. Would we measure the success of such an endeavor by the number of homes burned down and, in turn, by the number of people registered at the shelters?
Sadly, in the perverse world of liberalism, this is something to celebrate as a mission accomplished. The end-game for liberals with all government interventions in private enterprise is to make the private sector unaffordable and unsustainable, thereby forcing as many people as possible into government dependency and barring the path towards upward mobility. Given that healthcare is one of the most vital services and the largest sector of our economy, Obamacare is indeed the crowning achievement of this long-term goal and worthy of celebration among liberals.
This observation was lost on those who opposed the effort to defund Obamacare last year, arguing that the law would implode on its own. At the time, many of us argued that although from a policy standpoint the law would be a disaster, that is exactly the point of Obamacare. The law was designed to destroy the private insurance industry, and by extension the entire healthcare sector, and force people into a government-run program. The website and the incompetence was something they could overcome on some level. Consequently, Obamacare will not implode on its own – at least not before it implodes the private sector first.
Additionally, there were those who argued that we must wait until 2017 to fight Obamacare. But as we are seeing now, millions of people will be forced or enticed into joining Obamacare. Even though the level of access to care and the quality of delivery will gradually deteriorate, it won’t be so apparent during the first year or two, especially if that is the only insurance individuals have.
There is no doubt that the administration will successfully throw millions of more Americans onto Obamacare by 2017. Again, that is not a sign that Obamacare is working– as it surely is not – rather it is a measure of how successful the law’s deleterious effects on private insurance have impelled people to sign up as their only recourse of seeking coverage. Once there are tens of millions reliant on Obamacare there is no way we could repeal the law.
This is why conservatives must keep up the pressure. The media is trying to conflate Obamacare’s success at creating proverbial homeless shelters with real policy success so that Republicans stay away from the issue. But if we give up on any effort to disrupt implementation now, much of the law will be immutable.
Cross-posted from RedState
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy, Obamacare
Here is exhibit A of why we don’t trust current Senate leadership to do the right thing if they were to win back the majority; they refuse to block new spending when in the minority.
Last week, House leadership decided to pass the “doc fix” bill (H.R. 4302) by voice vote. This bill reimburses healthcare providers for the scheduled 24 percent cut in payments for services rendered to Medicare patients. The bill extends the payments through next March. It also continues some new programs created under Obamacare.
They used a hodgepodge of tenuous offsets spread out mainly over the next 5-10 years to compensate for an immediate expense that will undoubtedly reoccur every year under the 10-year budget frame. Hence, once again, Republicans have agreed to increase spending without any structural reforms or concessions from Democrats on other policies (the original House bill paid for the extension by repealing the individual mandate).
Yesterday, Senator Harry Reid brought the bill to the Senate floor, but Senator Jeff Sessions raised a budget point of order. As Ranking Member of the Budget Committee, Sessions has been a stalwart at challenging new spending bills for violating Senate PAYGO rules. This is one of the few tools at the disposal of the minority party used to block bad legislation since the majority party needs 60 votes to overrule the point of order.
In this case, the $15.8 billion cost would be incurred immediately and the offsets include some budget gimmicks to ensure that CBO would score it as deficit neutral by the year 2024. One would expect the party leadership to rally behind their point man on budget issues in order to stop the majority from increasing spending. Yet, Senators McConnell and Cornyn led 14 other Republicans in opposing Sessions, thereby giving Reid the 60 votes needed to send the bill to the President’s desk.
Senator Tom Coburn was right to call this a “cowardly” vote, suggesting that this is the reason he is leaving the Senate:
“If you vote for this bill that’s on the floor today, you’re part of the problem. You’re not part of the solution,” Coburn said. “It’s a sham, it’s a lie. The pay-fors aren’t true. It’s nothing but gimmicks. It’s corruptible. There’s no integrity in what we’re getting ready to vote on.”
Coburn said the “doc fix” is just the latest in a series of decisions Congress has made to avoid short-term pain. He and other fiscal conservatives railed against a fix this year to rising flood insurance rates — a law that’s celebrated by senators from coastal states.
“Just like we did on the flood insurance bill. It got a little hot in the kitchen, instead of actually cooking the omelet, we threw the eggs in the trash can and ran out of the room. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen here,” he said.
Once again, we must ask the salient question: will our predicament improve if we allow the same cowards to lead the GOP majority?
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, Issues, Obamacare
The defeat of former Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) in their respective primaries in 2010 has engendered a new paradigm in GOP politics. No longer do liberal Republicans run honestly on their records in the primaries. That would create a recipe for instant defeat. Instead, they lie their way through the primaries, painting themselves as conservative heroes, and often tainting their conservative challengers as unreliable conservatives. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the first to pioneer this strategy in 2012. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has followed this strategy to a tee. The two most recent examples are Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
Simpson is close to being unseated by Bryan Smith in Idaho’s Second District. In an act of desperation, he went up on broadcast television with an ad that touts his support for a balanced budget amendment, spending cuts, repealing TARP, and defunding Obamacare. Meanwhile, he tosses the meaningless, yet derogatory, label of “personal injury lawyer” at his opponent.
To anyone who knows Simpson’s record, this is possibly the most dishonest ad ever run during a campaign cycle. He obfuscates all of the consequential votes he’s taken that have actually been signed into law, such as massive spending increases, debt ceiling increases, and funding for Obamacare, and replaces them with vacuous show votes that he knew at-the-time would never pass. Most egregiously, he has the impertinence to say that he voted to repeal the Wall Street bailout while failing to mention that he voted for the original bailout that was signed into law!
Nobody who has followed Simpson’s career – supporter or opponent – believes he is a conservative. Even the American “Conservative” Union gave Simpson a failing grade of 46% last year. Yet, he has the superior firepower to completely lie to his constituents about his voting record while co-opting the conservative message – a message he has been repudiating for years.
Next up is Renee Ellmers running for reelection in North Carolina’s Second Congressional district. As we noted a few weeks ago, Ellmers is one of the most ardent supporters of leadership and a passionate supporter of amnesty and open borders. After a major dustup with Laura Ingraham over immigration, her liberal allies sense that she might be vulnerable to Frank Roche in the May 6 primary. Breitbart is reporting that FWD, which is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and run by McConnell acolytes, is up with ads promoting Ellmers as……tough on the border and against amnesty!
“Renee Ellmers is a conservative fighter for North Carolina,” a narrator reads in the television version of the ad, while pictures of Ellmers move across the screen. It continues:
“Ellmers voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment to cut the debt and stop the wasteful spending in Washington. She’s protecting Fort Bragg and Pope Airfield from massive defense cuts and working hard to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system once and for all. No amnesty, period.”
The ad then lists the D.C. phone number for Ellmers’ congressional office and advises viewers to “call Congresswoman Ellmers and tell her to keep fighting for conservative solutions.”
Folks, you can’t make this up!
One would think that with Ellmers proudly supporting “a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented” and with the polling for such a proposition supposedly skyrocketing to majority support, they would eagerly and honestly promote her real beliefs. Yet, they know that their views don’t sell at the ballot box, so they have to co-opt our views – even as they fight to the death against our solutions. That is why they are touting Ellmers as against amnesty and that is why Mike Simpson is running against TARP.
Undoubtedly, many establishment Republicans will win reelection. We cannot change the entire political class in one election cycle. However, not a single one will win reelection running on their true beliefs. They will overwhelm us with their liberal campaign cash, ironically, promoting positions that are antithetical to their actions in Washington.
This just goes to show that, despite their unlimited resources, the members of the political class are a bunch of cowards. They lack the courage to come out of the closet and propagate their big government views during the primaries.
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, Obamacare
Republicans have held the Pinellas County-based 13th congressional district since 1971 when the late Rep. Bill Young was first elected to the House. However, with the death of Young creating an open seat, Democrats sensed an opportunity. Due to the changing demographics, President Obama carried this district by four points in 2012. Alex Sink had a good deal of name recognition left over from her 2010 bid for governor and was flush with campaign cash. Meanwhile, Republicans had to start from scratch with a competitive primary.
Despite being outspent 4 to 1 on a campaign level and being embroiled in intra-party friction with the national committees, Republican David Jolly held the seat last night. There is no lack of commentary and analysis attempting to read the electoral tea leaves and what this portends for November. But one factor that has clearly been overlooked is the issue of immigration.
There are obviously many variables that contribute to a victory or loss in a congressional election. In this case, Obamacare was probably the most prominent factor because it consumed the lion’s share of the dialogue on the campaign trail. However, we were told by the supercilious party elders that if we don’t embrace amnesty we will not win in competitive parts of the country. FL-13 has become the quintessential swing district, yet the Republican won, even though he drew a sharp contrast with the Democrat on the issue of immigration.
While Democrat Alex Sink candidly ran on the open borders agenda by disclosing that the motivation behind amnesty is so that we can all keep our housekeepers, Jolly categorically rejected amnesty. He ran an ad proclaiming that he is “in favor stronger borders. Not amnesty.” In a tight race, you don’t waste time or money on ads that don’t have a central issue at stake.
Again, Obamacare was clearly the biggest issue in the campaign. Furthermore, there is no telling how reliable Jolly will be after he is in Congress for a few months. But the notion that we must support amnesty to remain viable is clearly laid to waste by this victory in a Florida swing district.
Politico aptly notes that Jolly did not choose the squishy route in order to win a swing district:
Jolly, meanwhile, spent much of the race casting himself as a solid conservative, hammering home his opposition to Obamacare and tough-on-immigration views. Jolly allies believed that if they could limit Republican defections and take a chunk of independents, they could win.
Remember, Jolly contended with a moderate in the primary and attacked her from the right for being weak on Obamacare. She also supported amnesty and an array of liberal issues.
Consider this: if running as a conservative on the issues, including the issue of immigration, is a pathway to victory in an Obama +4 district, imagine the results in a district Romney carried by 10, 20, or 30 points.
But don’t expect the wizards of smart within the Republican Party establishment to ever consider that the reality of the immigration issue might be in conflict with their conventional wisdom. There is too much money invested in that fallacious premise.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Unlike many modern-day functions of the federal government, caring for our wounded warriors is a core responsibility. But as is the case with other government programs, liberals think that doubling down on a woefully inadequate VA system and throwing more money at the problem will improve care for veterans. And similar to most other big government initiatives, Democrats are now using a highly-respected group of Americans as political human shields to obfuscate the harmful effects of their policies.
After 50 years so-called war on poverty, and after flushing roughly $20 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending on mean-tested programs, the poverty rate has increased from 14.7 percent to 16 percent. Yet, liberals want to invest even more in the same failed programs in order to create dependency and perpetuation of their own power. So they dub any opponent of their failed policies as working against “the poor.”
The same applies to their use of children to justify the failure of our endless federal education spending. As the Cato Institute notes, inflation-adjusted spending for a complete K-12 education has tripled since 1970 while educational scores have remained stagnant. Yet, Republicans have always been reluctant to push for real reform by devolving authority of education to the states because they don’t want to be “anti-children.”
This week, Democrats plan to take their exploitation show down the road and blow up the VA system – all to help veterans. They know that as long as they shout “veteran” in a crowded theater, their opponents will run for the hills. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act S. 1982, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), will expand and overburden the already-fledgling VA system and jeopardize the quality and access of healthcare for wounded veterans.
Under current law, all wounded veterans are fully covered under the VA healthcare system. All those who leave active duty remain in the system for a few years until they transition into new coverage in civilian life. But every veteran is potentially eligible for VA services – even those without disabilities – as long as they agree to co-pays. The VA has a tier system to prioritize service to those who suffered a disability or are most in need of the care.
The Sanders bill would make two major changes: 1) it would expand full VA coverage even to those who have no disability if they get their insurance through an Obamacare exchange. Thus, the potential addition of millions more in the system would prevent the VA from prioritizing those who are wounded in combat or suffered a disability through their tour of duty. 2) the bill will expand the scope of coverage for veterans to include gym membership, weight loss programs.
Let’s step back for a moment and analyze the repercussions of the bill. Despite an increased budget from $85 billion to over $138 billion since 2008, the VA is as dysfunctional and woefully inadequate as ever. According to the Washington Examiner, VA hospitals have, once again, been caught falsifying records in order to cover up the scandalous backlogs in care. Now, Democrats are proposing to clog the system of poorly treated wounded veterans with millions more of lesser priority. There is no way they could ever build enough facilities quickly enough to properly care for the exponential increase in responsibility – effective immediately.
CBO estimates that this bill will cost over $23 billion, but it is hard to imagine that placing millions more into single-payer healthcare would not cost hundreds of billions more.
Instead of exacerbating a failing system, we need to streamline the bureaucracy of the VA and structurally reform the programs before we waste more money. In the long-term, we need to look at opening up the VA system to competition from the private sector. The federal government must definitely take care of our veterans, but locking them into a government-run bureaucracy is not doing them any favors. The VA is a superlative example of the failures of government-run healthcare, and our wounded warriors deserve better.
We need a system that fully pays for disabled veterans to purchase private health insurance and other healthcare services while subsidizing other veterans in varying degrees based on time and scope of service. Liberal demagogues taint a voucher system as throwing veterans out in the cold, but it is actually their failed policies that are underserving them. Besides, why should our veterans be confined to a limited array of healthcare providers and have to drive hours to a VA facility when they need care? We would always have military hospitals for those who are severely wounded in action or have sustained wounds unique to a war theater, but the general population of veterans would be better served in a private healthcare system.
A private option for veterans would not only save money and reduce the size of the government, but more importantly, it would deliver better quality and faster care to our wounded warriors. Together with general free market healthcare reforms, it would reduce the need for veterans to be dependent on government – the antithesis of the Democrat approach.