Elizabeth Warren On GOP Healthcare Bill: ‘These Cuts Are Blood Money’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not at all pleased with the Senate’s version of the GOP healthcare bill. She argued on Thursday that the budget cuts entailed in the legislation helps the rich and powerful in America at the expense of the poor and downtrodden. These are her same old, repetitive talking points when attacking Republicans.

Amid the criticism, Warren gave a rather extreme description of the bill. “These cuts are blood money. People will die,” the senior senator from Massachusetts exclaimed. She used the “blood money” phrase more than once in her tirade:

This is not the first time Warren has used severe rhetoric when talking about the GOP. It wont be her last. However, given the events of the past couple of weeks, you’d think Warren would be more careful with her words – even if it was simply out of respect for those injured by liberal violence.

Just a few days ago, a deranged shooter targeted Republican lawmakers at their baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The attacker, James Hodgkinson, volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and “liked” many liberal and anti-GOP Facebook pages. Of course, neither Bernie nor any lawmaker is at fault for a crazy man’s actions. Nevertheless, we should be more careful of the language we use when speaking of our political opposition. There are sick people out there in the world and they are, in fact, listening to what we say.

I do not relish in saying this, but the left does appear to have a problem with violent rhetoric. Following the incident, a Nebraska Democrat Party official was recorded on tape saying he was glad Rep. Scalise was shot – he even said he wished the Republican majority whip had died. Let me emphasize that this was not some random individual. He was the technology chairman for the Nebraska Democrat Party.

President Trump has been on the receiving end of violent commentary for a long time now. Kathy Griffin ruined her career after posing for a photo holding a severed and bloodied “Trump” head. Actor Johnny Depp had to apologize Friday after publicly asking when the last time an actor had assassinated a president. These are all shocking statements. The civility of liberal discourse is fast deteriorating.

Be careful with your words, Sen. Warren. Your followers are listening.

 

 

 

Anthem Pulling Out Of Obamacare Market In Wisconsin And Indiana

Obamacare continues its slow and steady collapse across the country.

Health insurance giant Anthem announced its plan to almost completely pull out of Affordable Care Act markets in Indiana and Wisconsin in 2018. The announcement comes after Anthem already announced it will be leaving Ohio’s Obamacare market the same year.

In a statement, Anthem blamed a volatile market as reason for its departure:

A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed. Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules and guidance, including cost sharing reduction subsidies and the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage.

A five-year ban on returning to the individual Obamacare exchange is imposed on any insurer that completely pulls out of a state’s Obamacare market. Because of this, Anthem will continue to provide just one single plan outside of the federally-run marketplace in a single county in Wisconsin. They will also sell one plan outside of the Obamacare exchange in just five Indiana counties.

Athem currently provides plans through Obamacare in 14 states. The insurance company will be departing from three (Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin) of those states next year and could announce more withdrawals before the year ends.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has pushed hard for a GOP alternative to Obamacare. He led efforts to pass the American Health Care Act through the House – that legislation now sits in the Senate chamber. Ryan, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st District, made an official statement on Anthem’s retreat from the Badger State:

Because of Obamacare, many Wisconsinites will now have to scramble to find new plans and new doctors. This law has failed our state, where average individual market premiums have skyrocketed by 93 percent since 2013. Obamacare is clearly collapsing, and we have to step in before more families get hurt. We are on a rescue mission to replace this collapsing law with a better system so that people have lower costs, more choices, and real peace of mind. We need to get this done.

Senate leaders plan to vote on the American Health Care Act before the end of June. Safely assuming no Democrats vote for the bill, GOP senators can only afford to lose two votes from their side to have any hope of it passing the upper chamber. The vote will come down to the wire.

With or without a Republican alternative – it’s clear Obamacare is collapsing all on its own.

Obamacare Reform Is Looking Doubtful This Year

If you’re wondering whatever happened to the Republican health care reform bill, you are not alone. When we last heard from the American Health Care Act, House Republican leaders were waiting on the Congressional Budget Office to score the bill before submitting the legislation passed in the House to the Senate. The CBO scored the bill in late May, but the silence from the Republican ranks has been deafening. The congressional website does not show any action on the bill since it passed the House on May 4.

Readers of The Resurgent are aware that the Republican health care bill falls short of full repeal. Senate rules require 60 votes for cloture on a repeal bill and Republicans would not be able to find eight Democrats to join them in ending a Democrat filibuster. Even if Republicans eliminated the filibuster entirely, they would not have enough votes for full repeal because at least four Republicans have pledged to oppose a repeal bill that does not provide for a phase out of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Now some Republicans are saying that it is doubtful that they will be able to pass even an incomplete health care reform bill. “I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year,” Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in Politico. “It’s unlikely that we will get a health care deal, which means that most of my time has been spent trying to figure out solutions to Iowa losing all of its insurers.” Burr serves on the Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

In the Wisconsin State Journal, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) agreed that the first priority to would probably be to act to preserve the health insurance markets in their current form. Johnson said that a short-term “market stabilization” bill could be passed that would fund the Obamacare exchanges with billions of dollars to help prevent insurers from exiting the marketplaces. Such an approach would reduce volatility in the Obamacare markets and buy time for Republicans to agree on a reform bill.

“To me, this may be a two-part process. I would admit that’s probably a minority view in the Republican Senate right now,” Johnson said.

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also tried to tamp down expectations. “There are some still saying that we’ll vote before the August break,” he told the Washington Post. “I have a hard time believing that.”

The fundamental problem is that conservative and moderate Republicans do not agree how to handle various aspects of the health care issue. Although Republicans have been united in their desire to repeal and replace Obamacare since the day it was passed, they disagree on the details of what should come next.

In the eight years since Obamacare became law, Republicans such as Tom Price, formerly a Georgia congressman and now Secretary of Health and Human Services, have written legislation to repeal Obamacare and reform the health insurance industry, but the party has not coalesced around any single bill. When Donald Trump eked out a squeaker of a victory in the Electoral College, Republicans were caught flat-footed and did not have a plan for how to exploit his victory. Indications were that, as late as early February, Republicans had not even started writing an Obamacare reform bill. The Senate considers the House bill dead on arrival and is writing its own version of health care reform, which may be available as early as this week.

President Trump’s antics are also hurting the possibility of passing a health care bill. The investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia and the firing of FBI Director James Comey are distractions that make it even more difficult to find a compromise that is acceptable to all GOP factions. The president showed leadership in the fight to pass the AHCA in the House, but has largely been missing-in-action on the issue in the month since the House vote.

Not all Republicans are pessimistic on health care. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) was quoted in The Hill as saying, “We do need to take care of our business, and I think you mentioned healthcare, and that’s certainly front and center in the United States Senate — something we’re going to have to get resolved here in the next few weeks.” Cornyn said that he thought a Senate bill would be “done by the end of July at the latest.”

Repeal of Obamacare has been the centerpiece of the Republican platform since 2010. The fact that repeal is not possible, even with Republican majorities in Congress and a Republican president, is not going to please most Republican voters. If the new Republican administration leaves Obamacare completely intact, it may well face a mutiny from the grass roots.

House May Have to Vote on Health Care Bill Again

If you are wondering why the Senate hasn’t started working on the American Health Care Act two weeks after the House passed the bill, you aren’t alone. Bloomberg reports that the measure is stalled with the House leadership after being approved by a four-vote margin earlier this month.

According to Bloomberg, the holdup is a series of last minute amendments that were made before the vote in order to garner more support. The late changes have not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office and Republican leaders are waiting for the CBO numbers before sending the bill to the Senate.

If the CBO numbers don’t show at least $2 billion reduction in the deficit, it would doom the bill in the Senate because it would not qualify for the budget reconciliation process that avoids a Democrat filibuster. The GOP would be forced to start the process again with a new budget resolution in the House. Before the changes, the bill was projected to save about $150 billion over 10 years.

“We’ve got to wait for the CBO score to prove that you meet the reconciliation test,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oreg.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A Republican aide told Business Insider that Republicans expected positive results from the CBO, but were waiting for the report to be sure. “Based on the previous two scores, we believe we’ll hit our target deficit reduction number but we’re holding out of an abundance of caution,” the aide said.

If the House has to vote on the bill again, passage would not be a slam dunk. In the first vote, 20 Republicans joined every House Democrat in voting against the bill. The current version of the bill was specifically crafted to gain enough support from disparate Republican factions to pass. If the bill has to be changed to satisfy budget reconciliation requirements, the fragile balancing act may be upset and changes may cost too many Republican votes to pass the bill a second time.

The CBO report is expected next week.

New Cruz? Texas Senator Works For Health Care Compromise

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has developed a reputation as a firebrand. Cruz has made refusal to compromise a trademark of his career in Congress and has often had strong words for fellow Republicans who disagreed with him on strategy. Now a new behind-the-scenes report by the Wall Street Journal reports that Cruz may be turning over a new leaf.

The Journal reports that Cruz began working quietly with moderate Republicans to find a consensus on health care reform that has a realistic chance of becoming law. Cruz was instrumental in forming a working group of 13 Senators that had its origin in a February steak dinner with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). The group includes Republicans concerned about the effect of an outright repeal of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and pre-existing conditions rules such as Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cory Gardner (R-Col.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). Cruz has reportedly been working with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mike Meadows (R-N.C.) for the past month.

Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed surprise at Cruz’s new strategy. “It’s a ‘you live long enough, anything can happen’ moment,” said Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“It would be a first for Sen. Cruz,” noted Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

The GOP’s 52-vote majority in the Senate means that Republicans can lose no more than two votes and still be able to pass an Obamacare replacement. A defection of two Republicans would require Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote. At least five Republican moderates are considered to be doubtful in their support for the American Health Care Act.

The working group is expected to be vital in bringing various Republican factions in the Senate together to forge a compromise that can replace as much of Obamacare as possible. Cruz’s participation and support may help bring other conservatives such as Mike Lee and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on board with the Republican reform effort.

In the past, Cruz has had difficulty with consensus building and passing legislation. He is perhaps most well-known for his role in the 2013 government shutdown and attempt to defund Obamacare. With Republicans outnumbered by Democrats, the shutdown failed to halt the implementation of President Obama’s namesake health bill. Cruz was also known for failed attempts to prevent an increase in the debt ceiling and compromise spending bills under the Obama Administration.

Cruz may be realizing that the role of majority party senator is very different from that of one who serves in the opposition. When a party is in power, it is expected to deliver results in the form of advancing its legislative agenda. It is not enough to just say “no” when your party controls both houses of Congress and the White House.

“They’re giving him a leadership role and he’s going to have to make the most of if it,” said Rick Tyler, who served with Cruz’s presidential campaign. “If he can pull it off it’s a huge victory. But it’s fraught with danger.”

The upside for Cruz would be an enormous amount of prestige and notoriety if he shows an ability to build a coalition to pass a landmark reform bill. The boost for Cruz could potentially reach beyond his normal conservative base and lay the groundwork for a second presidential campaign in 2020.

Without the support of Cruz and other Senate conservatives, a reform effort would necessarily have to reach across the aisle to Senate Democrats. That would mean fewer conservative reforms in a watered-down bill. The alternative would be to delay reform until after the 2018 elections or until health insurance markets become so dysfunctional that the public demands action.

A potential pitfall would be alienating the conservative base whose expectations are for a full repeal of Obamacare. Even though Republicans do not have the votes for a full repeal, Mr. Cruz has helped stoke those expectations over the past few years. Many conservatives view anything short of full repeal to be a betrayal. Cruz must help the party overcome that view and sell the reform bill to the conservative base.

Health care reform gives Ted Cruz an opportunity to break out of his stereotypical role as a roadblock in the Senate. If Cruz can prove that he has the ability reach out and build a working majority with senators who don’t share his views, it would represent a major milestone in his career make him an even greater force in the Senate.

 

Congressman Heckled As He Talked About His Deceased Daughter

Ask any parent who has lost a child, and he or she will tell you that it colors the way you see everything else in your life, and if the parent lost a child due to health issues, that parent will have a perspective on the health care industry that few others will have.

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) spoke at a town hall earlier this week where he poured his heart out about losing his daughter Grace, who died of health issues when she was 11. In the typical fashion of today’s protestors, hecklers came out in full force.

“Shame on you!” one person yelled.

Angry attendees seemed to suggest he was using her story to distract from his key role in the American Health Care Act, which passed last week in the House as a means of repealing Obamacare. The Senate is currently drafting its own health care legislation.

“I will say shame on you right now, actually,” MacArthur said. “Don’t tell me what I’m using. I’m going to tell you because this affects my perspective. It affects my perspective on this issue of health care.”

Another heckler shouted “We’ve heard this story before,” while another snarkily suggested that MacArthur write a book. Protestors continued to boo the congressman and shout him down as he told his daughter’s story and related it to his thoughts on the country’s health care system.

MacArthur took a beating from constituents for five brutal hours on health care and other issues, but the crowd’s treatment of Grace’s story is beyond the pale. It’s one thing for people to hold their representatives’ feet to the fire, but to heckle and boo a man as he tells the story of the daughter he loved dearly and misses deeply is a whole different matter.

Then again, I guess we shouldn’t expect any less from today’s Left. The direct descendants of the 60s Leftists who preached that “the personal is political” have shoved the personal away and turned the mantra into “everything is political.”

MacArthur had an experience with his daughter that no right-thinking human being would wish upon his or her worst enemy, yet the the folks in the crowd treated his story as less than valid simply because his opinions on health care differ from theirs.

There is no more civil discourse in this country – at least not as far as the Left is concerned. The Left will continue to shout down anyone whose ideas differ from lockstep time and time again, and the end game is that everyone will agree or keep their mouths shut. It’s an absolute shame that a person can’t share his or her story (complete with an opinion or lesson) without being heckled.

One thing we can say for sure is that there are plenty of jerks in this world, and it’s astounding how many of them are on the left side of the political aisle.

Obamacare Architect Tries – And Fails – To Pin The Blame For Obamacare’s Failures On Trump

The nerve that movers and shakers on the Left have in trying to blame everything under the sun on Trump never ceases to amaze me. Even as someone who has never been totally in the tank for Trump, I can’t help but marvel at the logical twists and turns defenders of the Obama legacy make to deflect the previous administrations failures.

Case in point: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber took to Fox News Sunday this weekend to talk about health care. When host Chris Wallace brought up the example that, in Iowa, all but five counties had only one choice in the Obamacare marketplace – and that insurer is looking at leaving – Gruber managed to twist the logic into an unrecognizable shape.

“Look, and whose fault is this?” Gruber asked. “Before President Trump was elected, there were no counties in America that did not have an insurer.”

Gruber tried to bury his outrageous claim by moving on, but Wallace wasn’t having it.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” Wallace interrupted. “Wait, you’re going to blame the problems with Obamacare on President Trump?”

Indeed, Gruber was. He said that Obamacare was working fine before Trump “undercut” the Obamacare enrollment and renegaded on the “obligations [Obamacare] makes to the insurers.”

“And as a result, premiums are going up and insurers are exiting,” Gruber said.

Wallace kept the segment moving, but that didn’t prevent Gruber from circling back to his assertion that the election of Trump is at fault for the failure of Obamacare. Gruber even went so far as to claim that insurers were happy with Obamacare and profitable in the exchange until the 2016 election.

Of course, Gruber’s claims are patently false. Year after year since Obamacare went into law, we’ve heard stories of insurers abandoning the marketplace and premiums skyrocketing. Last year’s spike in premiums took the trend to new highs; these increases largely come because the insurance companies are trying to make up for the profits they’re losing by attaching themselves to government healthcare.

It’s always both frustrating and entertaining to watch the Left try to deny their failure and pin the blame on anybody else. I guess we can count on some things never changing.

Watch the entire clip here:

Raúl Labrador Is Right About ‘Nobody Dies’…But The Left Will Crucify Him (Video)

House Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Raúl Labrador must have heard a “click” when he said “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care” at a town hall on Friday. That “click” sound he heard was like in the movies when a soldier steps on a land mine.

In the real world, the mine just explodes. And in the real world, the left and the media is about to crucify Labrador. The crowd’s reaction betrays the correctness of his response–the questioner said that the GOP was asking Medicaid participants to “accept dying.” That’s ridiculous.

As Kevin Williamson so excellently explained, there’s no possibility of a free lunch when there’s only a certain number of lunches, less than the number of hungry people (it’s called “scarcity”). At some point, someone is going to put out their hand and say “pay me.”

In the U.S., it’s illegal for a public hospital emergency room to conduct what’s called in the industry a “wallet biopsy.” They can’t create a new triage category called “uninsured” and move them to the hallway to die. First of all, no health care provider would do that, and second of all, it’s illegal. (Except in the abortion industry, but that’s a different fish to fry, so to speak.)

Therefore, nobody in America, when wheeled in, or stumbling in, to an emergency room, is going to be denied life-saving care if it’s available. The bill for that care is secondary.

However, if you walk into the Kroger “Little Clinic” without cash, debit or credit card, or valid insurance, you don’t get seen or treated. If you do that and you’re dying, they’ll gladly call 911 for you, and you end up in the emergency room.

The emergency room, in America, is the great equalizer for access to health care. If you don’t have one very close, then yes, it’s possible you could die because you don’t have access to health care. But that has nothing to do with Medicaid or town halls. Labrador was right. We don’t have people dying in the streets in America because nobody will help them.

But Labrador is also wrong in this sense–which also has nothing to do with the GOP attempt to repeal Obamacare, because Obamacare created the problem. When insurance premiums increase 20 percent a year, and people don’t buy insurance (even if it’s mandated) because they have to choose between their mortgage, food, or insurance, then they lose access to routine health care.

Without routine access to blood tests and preventative medicine, people let problems get out of hand to the point where they end up sick in the emergency room. Or they go to the emergency room for a headache. Either way, that increases the cost of health care for everyone because the E.R. is the worst place to clog up with people who don’t have an actual health emergency or are there for something that was preventable.

Possibly, someone who is genuinely ill might end up waiting and dying because there are no doctors or rooms available. That’s “scarcity” and resource management, not insurance. So Labrador is only a little bit wrong.

When people can’t afford the drugs that can save their lives from Hepatitis or other manageable but expensive health issues, that’s also letting them die because they don’t have access to health care. But in that case, the government can indeed do something. Obamacare did nothing to help them, except make health insurance less accessible because it’s too expensive, unless everyone went on Medicaid.

In case you don’t get that last part, it’s called “single-payer” and it will bankrupt America in short order.

But none of that matters, because the left and the leftist media got its sound bite. Labrador’s not going to get out of this one without suffering the explosion from the land mine he stepped on. But he’s way more right than wrong.