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Westlake Legal Group > Obamacare

Representative Neal’s Proposal to End Surprise Medical Bills is a Trojan Horse for Government-Run Healthcare

Last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal proposed a new way for dealing with the problem of hospitals overcharging out-of-network patients. As part of his proposal, the Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury departments would form a committee to set prices on out-of-network care. In other words, his plan is a Trojan horse to sneak government-run healthcare past voters through the maze of bureaucracy.

It’s no secret that hospitals have been sending patients “surprise medical bills” for out-of-network care. And the name for this process comes from those surprising moments when you receive a $18,000 bill for a basic urine test that you thought insurance covered. In far too many cases, Americans have been receiving these exorbitant medical bills because the hospital they were treated at ended up being outside of their insurance network.

However, the solution to this problem is not for the federal government to implement government price-setting, and the American people seem to agree. A poll published earlier this year found that only 13 percent of voters support government-run healthcare.

Rep. Neal’s proposal bucks the voices of the American people and serves as a vehicle for resurrecting the Obamacare “death panels,” sanctioning government bureaucrats to decide who gets covered for life-saving treatments.

Given the unfavorable poll numbers surrounding this issue, Congressional Democrats are hesitant to be the face of a government price-fixing plan. So, now they have outsourced the work to unaccountable bureaucrats and insurance lobbyists who have no public constituency and face no consequences for their actions. Simply put, they are working in the shadows.

Sadly, we’ve seen this before.

During the Obama administration, lobbyists for the nation’s largest insurance companies dictated healthcare policy. Insurers got a great return on their $243 million investment in lobbying for Obamacare: what’s better for business than the government forcing people to purchase your product?

Those who championed the legislation said it was an existential threat to big insurance companies—but that demonstrably wasn’t the case. In fact, insurance companies supported it; and they repaid the favor to Elizabeth Fowler, Obamacare’s architect, and 30 other former Obama administration officials, with cushy lobbying gigs.

Obamacare triggered the ongoing problem of fewer options and rising healthcare costs. And this particularly hits home for many rural areas, where, in many cases, Americans only have  one choice for their healthcare provider. And like Obamacare, Rep. Neal’s proposal would be another bailout for insurance companies at the expense of these rural patients and millions of other Americans.

Neal’s proposal, however, could take several years to implement and there’s no guarantee Republicans will be in power to prevent its application. If Republicans don’t stop this proposal now, there is a possibility that they could be handing over price-fixing authority to a Democratic president, who will most certainly use it as a vehicle to push forward their plan for socialized healthcare.

Rather than supporting a price-setting proposal, congressional Republicans, such as Senators Ben Sasse, Deb Fischer, and Thom Tillis, who represent many rural communities, should instead support Senator Bill Cassidy’s bill. The STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, which would prevent excessive out-of-network costs (and those surprise medical bills).

>In the end, Congressman Neal’s proposal is another Washington concoction that takes power away from patients and concentrates it in the hands of bureaucrats and lobbyists. Congressional Republicans must stand against this proposal and stand on the side of the American people.

>State Representative Wayne Sasser is a pharmacist and serves as a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly.

The post Representative Neal’s Proposal to End Surprise Medical Bills is a Trojan Horse for Government-Run Healthcare appeared first on RedState.

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Worse Than Bad Legislation? Lobbyists Writing Multiple Bad Executive Power Grabs

Westlake Legal Group obama-keep-your-doctor-SCREENSHOT-620x332 Worse Than Bad Legislation? Lobbyists Writing Multiple Bad Executive Power Grabs senator lamar alexander republicans Politics Policy Obamacare News medicare for all lower health care costs act of 2019 law kevin brady healthcare Government Front Page Stories Front Page Economy democrats Business & Economy Bipartisanship bipartisan

Barack Obama spent his first two years as President – enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress that was as awful for America as he was.

The Democrat Congress passed a lot of really awful legislation – which Obama very happily signed.

We the People loathed said legislation.  So We incepted the Tea Party Movement – and elected a Republican House majority the very next chance we had.

We did this – to impede the previously unimpeded flow of really awful Democrat legislation to which we had been subjected.

Obama’s response to our electoral blockade?  Let’s just say it wasn’t self-reflective – or respectful of our wishes:

“We are not just going to be waiting for legislation….I’ve got a pen – and I’ve got a phone.  And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions….”

But wait a second….  Here’s Obama in 2008 – running for the gig:

“We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.”

I much prefer Obama – Edition 2008.

Why any Republican would seek to emulate Obama 2.0’s executive fiat policy – is light years beyond me.

But that’s exactly what some Republicans may be trying to do.

Some Republicans have thankfully gained no traction with their Elephant colleagues on a really awful bill….

Why Are Some Republicans Looking To Add More Government To Health Care?

Why Do Republicans #Persist In Adding Government To Health Care?:

“Behold – Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.  Who very recently penned an editorial defending his government-expanding decision.  His very own title – admits the inherent error.

“‘Lower Health Care Costs Act’ Aims to End Surprise Billing

“Your legislation ‘aims to end surprise billing’ – ?!?

“Government is the worst shot in the history of aiming.

“Obamacare aimed to ‘reduce premiums by $2,500 per year.’  They DOUBLED.

“I guarantee you no one around at Medicare’s inception said they were aiming to put US taxpayers $38 trillion underwater.  Yet that’s what it’s done.

“Yet Senator Alexander #Persists.”

While Alexander #Persists in the Senate – Texas Republican Congressman Kevin Brady may be in the throes of #Persist in the House.  And may be – looking to go one awful step farther.

Massachusetts Democrat Congressman Richard Neal realizes this legislative duck his dead.  So Neal is looking to end run the Congress to which he was elected – and obviously shouldn’t have been:

“House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is proposing a new way to move forward on crafting rules to protect patients from surprise medical bills….

“In a letter to Democratic lawmakers…Neal is proposing a new solution that would essentially punt the details of the fix to a committee consisting of stakeholder groups and the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury.

“The committee would come up with recommendations that would then be issued in a regulation from the administration.”

This is a Congressman – and the Chairman of an allegedly important Committee.  His constituents elected him to the Legislative Branch – thinking they were electing someone to draft and vote upon legislation.

And this person is looking to “punt the details of the fix to a committee consisting of stakeholder groups and the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury.”

Which is an entire gaggle of people – whom NO ONE ELECTED.

This is an unelected gaggle – made up of industry lobbyists…and career Swamp bureaucrats.

Now, we know lobbyists write most of the bills Congress extrudes. Here, gone is even the pretense of legislators legislating.

This unelected gaggle would draft a…not a bill, because that’s what Neal and his colleagues are supposed to draft.  This unelected gaggle would draft a…something.

And then the three departments’ worth of unelected bureaucrats – would unilaterally impose what they’ve unilaterally concocted.

NONE of this has ANYTHING to do with the Constitution – or the representative republic the Constitution created.

If We the People don’t like what these clowns have done to us – we can’t do a thing about it.

Where are the Republicans on this unilateral assault on our Constitution, government and freedom?

The answer isn’t heartening:

“Neal wrote in the letter that he is ‘optimistic’ that Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Republican on the committee, will agree to his proposal.

“‘Committee Republicans support banning surprise medical billing to protect patients and look forward to reviewing the details of this and other possible solutions to solve this problem in a balanced way for the American people,’ a Brady spokesperson said.”

HARD NO, Congressman Brady.

The ONLY government attempt – MUST come directly from the Legislative Branch.

Your inability to pass this awful piece of legislation – is what the FBI used to call a clue.

You can’t pass this awful piece of legislation – because members of the Legislative Branch have rightly deemed it awful.

This is supposed to mean – the bill dies.

It is NOT an invitation to outsource your gigs.

It is NOT an invitation to hand off crafting law – to unelected lobbyists and bureaucrats.

It is NOT an invitation to the impose this unconstitutional creation – via Obama-esque unilateral fiats.

Congress:

Do your jobs.

Which very often means – doing nothing at all.

The post Worse Than Bad Legislation? Lobbyists Writing Multiple Bad Executive Power Grabs appeared first on RedState.

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Obamacare-Backing Big Insurance – Looking to Again Expand Government Medicine

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One heinous aspect of the heinous history of the woefully misnamed Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – was…and is…the vociferous backing of the inanity by huge insurance companies.

Notice I didn’t say small insurance companies.  Few such animals still exist – most having already been murdered by government medicine programs.

Small insurance companies can’t afford all the crushing costs of huge government medicine – so they die.

Which is good for huge insurance companies.  You know – less competition.

Also good for Big Insurance?  A law mandating everyone in the nation purchase their products – which Obamacare did.

Did Big Insurance know the law was awful – and it would make their products MUCH more expensive?  Of course they did.  Bad news for We the People – great news for them.

On average, Obamacare doubled premiums and tripled deductibles for those of us subjected to its heinousness.  Great news for Big Insurance.

Even better news…for Big Insurance?  Government would hand them ongoing, rolling, huge rafts of cash – i.e. around $1 trillion in premium subsidies.

But Obamacare was so awful – those ongoing, rolling, huge rafts of cash…weren’t nearly enough.  So President Barack Obama started unilaterally, illegally handing Big Insurance even more of our money.

So when the Donald Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans, God bless them all, started rolling back all the omni-directional Obamacare heinousness – we were delivered some of the most unsurprising headlines in the history of human communication.

Insurers Come Out Swinging Against New Republican Health Care Bill

Insurers Oppose Latest Republican Obamacare Repeal Effort

Insurers Oppose Repeal of Obamacare Individual Mandate

Not Even Insurance Companies Want Obamacare Repealed

“Not even” – should actually read “most especially.”

Because of the $1+ trillion in government money.  Because of the government mandate We the People buy their stuff.

Who cares if government medicine always and everywhere makes things demonstrably, exponentially worse for 300+ million Americans?

There are Big Insurance executives’ estates to be maintained.  And trillions of dollars of government money – covers a lot of lawn and house work.

So when any opportunity arises to increase government’s screwing up of medicine – Big Insurance is all the way down with the struggle.

Senators Release Plan to Lower Health Costs, End Surprise Bills

Because as has – yet again, very recently – been thoroughly demonstrated…government is excellent at lowering health costs.

A huge fan of this government medicine expansion – is a man by the name of Loren Adler:

“‘From a policy perspective, there’s a rationale that this is the ideal approach,’ said Loren Adler, the associate director of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy….

“It’s possible that this option will upset provider groups, who risk receiving lower payments and having less leverage with insurance companies. Adler said these fears are mostly unfounded….”

Adler seems to be the media’s go-to fan of this latest attempt at government medicine expansion:

“Loren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, estimated that the proposed benchmark payment rate provision could help lower health insurance premiums by about 0.5% across the country.”

Wow.  A whole one-half of one percent.  Maybe.

Government yet again assaulting the medical industry – to get a MAYBE 0.5% rate reduction.

Thank you, no.  We the People pass.  Congress – should not.

And this minuscule prospective reduction – is according to this guy Adler.

The media loves mentioning Adler’s college gig.  But did you catch that “Brookings” reference?:

“Loren Adler is associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy,  a partnership between the Center for Health Policy at Brookings and the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.”

“Brookings” – is the Brookings Institute.  A Leftist “think” tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Did you catch the “Schaeffer” reference?  “Schaeffer” – is Leonard D. Schaeffer.

Let’s flash back to February 2016, shall we?

Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative for Innovation in Health Policy Established:

“Leonard D. Schaeffer, a trustee of both Brookings and the University of Southern California, has provided a gift of $4 million to establish the Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative for Innovation in Health Policy….

“The Initiative aims to inform the national health care debate with rigorous, evidence-based analysis leading to practical recommendations using the collaborative strengths of USC and Brookings.”

That’s an extraordinary amount of coin.  But that really ain’t nothing.

New Gift Strengthens USC Schaeffer Center’s Influence in Health Policy:

“Ten years after they created a research center at USC dedicated to advancing health policy, Leonard and Pamela Schaeffer have renewed their investment with a donation of $17 million….

“They established the center in 2009 and endowed it three years later with a $25 million gift.”

Tens of millions of dollars.  Dedicated by Schaeffer – to affecting government medicine policy.

Which seemingly means – expanding government medicine…yet again to the benefit of Big Insurance.

And how, pray tell, did Schaeffer acquire so much money – that he can afford to donate this manner of big coin to affect government policy?

Let us flashback to October 2003, shall we?

Acquisition Would Create Nation’s Largest Health Insurer:

“In a marriage of Blue Cross giants, Anthem Inc. agreed yesterday to buy WellPoint Health Networks for $16.4 billion in stock and cash, creating a company that would be the nation’s largest health insurer….

“WellPoint’s chief executive, Leonard D. Schaeffer, who created the company on the foundation of a successful turnaround of Blue Cross of California, will hand the reins to Larry Glasscock, Anthem’s chief executive….Mr. Schaeffer, 58, a former government health care official, will be chairman.

“Mr. Schaeffer’s WellPoint holdings — 3.3 million shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last month — jumped in value by more than $70 million yesterday, to over $300 million.

“He would also receive $27.5 million under a change-of-control clause in his contract and about $10 million more in executive retirement benefits, according to the WellPoint proxy and other filings.”

Well isn’t all of that utterly unsurprising.

Schaeffer – was a government health care official.

Who then became the key player in turning already-big insurance – into the biggest of Big Insurance.

And received more than $300 million by so doing.

And now he and his minions are trying to expand government medicine – to the benefit of Big Insurance.

How very DC of…everyone involved in this very terrible idea.

The post Obamacare-Backing Big Insurance – Looking to Again Expand Government Medicine appeared first on RedState.

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Alexander, House Dem Surprise Billing Plot Foiled

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Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will not privately negotiate with House Democrats to ram through his version of legislation to solve the “surprise medical billing” issue plaguing patients across the country. As we previously reported, Capitol Hill sources said Alexander had grown frustrated with his bill’s lack of momentum and was looking to hatch a plan with House Democrats to insert his controversial version of surprise medical billing legislation into the Medicare extenders package that must pass by the end of September.

But, we have learned that Senate Republican leadership has called on Alexander to stand down.

Conservatives aren’t signing on to Alexander’s Lower Health Care Cost Act because his bill would permit the federal government to set reimbursement rates for out-of-network care providers. This so-called “benchmarking” approach would necessarily reduce the amount providers can get paid. It would literally cap their compensation to the benefit of insurance companies.

As former Congressman Dick Armey writes in the Houston Chronicle:

Allowing government bureaucrats to set prices for out-of-network health care providers across the country is a total abandonment of the free-market values that have helped create such a robust health care system in which roughly 90 percent of Americans enjoy comprehensive health care coverage and benefits. This move toward increasing regulations and growing the size of the federal government is no solution — in fact, it would only create more problems than it solves.

Government rate-setting under this benchmarking approach would ignore the fact that the cost and level of difficulty for performing health care services and treatments varies greatly by region and facility. By setting artificially lower-than-market rates for these services, doctors would essentially be short-changed for the invaluable services they provide. These losses would simply be passed on to our nation’s hospitals and emergency rooms — threatening the financial stability of rural health care facilities in particular.

With Alexander’s legislation stalled, a new lobbying effort appears to be underway making the claim that physicians are attempting to protect the surprise medical billing practice. This is fake news as most physician groups are pushing to end surprise billing through an alternative approach – one they see as fairer to doctors, patients, and hospitals.

That approach would allow third-party arbitrators to settle billing disputes between providers and insurance companies without dragging patients into the middle of it. As Armey further explains:

Fortunately, there are other solutions in Congress that take a more pragmatic approach. Instead of benchmarking, legislation like S. 1531, the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, would seek to implement an Independent Dispute Resolution process in order to eliminate surprise medical billing. That’s the same process used in Major League Baseball to settle salary disputes between players and teams.

This approach incentivizes both parties to submit a fair offer for the price of medical services, which incentives them to keep prices down so their offer is chosen. This process takes about 30 days through an online portal, and the patient is left out of the process completely. Until such a time that a final payment is determined, insurers pay providers a temporary interim payment based on the fair market value of the services provided. That provides a layer of financial security that can make all the difference to rural hospitals that operate on razor-thin profit margins.

As insurance company lobbyists and politicians in both the House and Senate get increasingly desperate, expect the attack to continue. Physician groups are not responsible for surprise medical bills. No, surprise billing was created by a flawed health insurance system that offers limited options, narrow coverage networks, and high deductibles. In other words, it is another unpleasant byproduct of ObamaCare. If Congress doesn’t have the stomach to repeal ObamaCare — and it’s obvious it does not — then it should fix surprise medical billing the right way.

The post Alexander, House Dem Surprise Billing Plot Foiled appeared first on RedState.

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Harry Reid: Of course Medicare for All and open borders are ballot-box poison

Westlake Legal Group reid Harry Reid: Of course Medicare for All and open borders are ballot-box poison The Blog open borders Obamacare medicare for all immigration Harry Reid 2020 Democratic primaries

Harry Reid … secret Republican? No, just sane Democrat, or at least what passes for that these days. Vice News got the former Senate Majority Leader on the phone and heard some blunt assessments of the progressive agenda on display in the 2020 presidential nomination fight. If Democrats want to lose in 2020, Reid suggests, they’re well on their way.

First up, Reid tells Vice that Medicare for All is obviously problematic, to use their term:

In a half-hour phone conversation with VICE News, Reid was blunt when asked if he thought supporting Medicare for All would be problematic in the 2020 general election.

“Of course it would be,” he said. “How are you going to get it passed?”

“I think that we should focus on improving Obamacare. We can do that — without bringing something that would be much harder to sell,” he said when asked his thoughts on the debate over whether Democrats should pursue Medicare for All or a more modest Obamacare expansion. “Improving Obamacare: People understand that. They would appreciate that. It locks in many important things.”

Reid could be singing to the choir by now. The presidential field — except for Bernie Sanders — has begun backing away from Medicare for All. It turned out that constituents in places like Iowa and New Hampshire were a lot more sophisticated than the candidates imagined and began asking questions about costs and providers that Democrats couldn’t answer. They also discovered that people like their employer-based health insurance, for the most part, and certainly don’t want the government turning their lives upside down to fix something that ain’t broke.

Reid also took on the other major issue on which Democrats are running — immigration reform. When asked if open borders will be a problem, Reid said decriminalization is nonsense:

“There are so many more important things to do. Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list. It should be way, way down at the bottom of the list,” Reid said, responding with a curt “of course it is” when asked if supporting that position would be politically problematic in the general election.

“People want a fair immigration system. They don’t want an open-door invitation for everybody to come at once,” argued Reid.

In case you think Reid’s gone soft — or Republican — Vice notes that Reid’s sounding very sympathetic to Elizabeth Warren. He’s not going to make an endorsement, but Reid recruited Warren and is very keen on watching her perform in the primaries. “Everyone has to be impressed with what she’s doing,” Reid says, presumably post-DNA test.

That aside, there seems to be a centrist resurgence of late in the Democratic primary, just as the candidates join Congress in getting outside of the Beltway for a bit. That may not be a coincidence. The more they get away from the noisy progressive activists inside DC, the better they may grasp the issues that are really driving the vote in the next election. Reid’s sudden reminder of the need to check one’s reality seems timed to emphasize and amplify that effect, which might help to marginalize the extremists pushing Democratic Socialism as the animating principle for Democrats in 2020.

For now, anyway. Don’t bet on the centrist impulse lasting too long.

The post Harry Reid: Of course Medicare for All and open borders are ballot-box poison appeared first on Hot Air.

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WaPo: It’s not just Harris who’s hitting reverse on Medicare for All

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You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse, but now Democrats appear to have developed a case of Bernie remorse. After rushing to out-socialist Bernie Sanders by unquestioningly embracing Medicare for All, the Washington Post reports that presidential candidates have begun singing a different tune. Kamala Harris might be carrying the melody, but she’s getting a lot of harmony from the rest of the choir:

The Democratic senator from California is hardly alone. The idea of Medicare-for-all — a unified government health program that would take over the basic function of private insurance — became a liberal litmus test at the outset of the presidential campaign, distinguishing Democratic contenders who cast themselves as bold visionaries from more moderate pragmatists.

But in recent months, amid polling that shows concern among voters about ending private insurance, several of the Democratic hopefuls have shifted their positions or their tone, moderating full-throated endorsement of Medicare-for-all and adopting ideas for allowing private insurance in some form. …

This unmistakable, if sometimes subtle, shift in tone stems in part from Democrats’ fear of giving away a newfound advantage over Republicans on health care.

After the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Republicans scored major political victories by vowing to repeal the initially unpopular law. But when the GOP seized control of Washington under President Trump and tried to follow through on those promises, they faced a powerful backlash from voters who’d come to rely on the ACA.

Now some Democrats warn of the perils for their party in taking a position that, to important groups of voters, could seem just as disruptive as the GOP’s push to kill the ACA.

No kidding. However, this isn’t about the ACA at all. ObamaCare customers are a relative drop in the bucket in the US population. The problems with Medicare for All are related to the 150 million or so people who get their insurance through their employers, and who have a relatively high level of satisfaction with their coverage. The disruption of that system would be massive, and Democrats are starting to belatedly recognize that it would be massively unpopular too.

Medicare for All wouldn’t be “just as disruptive as the GOP’s push to kill the ACA.” It would be orders of magnitude more disruptive. The fact that none of these candidates bothered to run the numbers before jumping on the Bernie bandwagon for this ridiculous proposal speaks volumes about their suitability for the nomination.

So who’s hitting reverse along with Harris? Cory Booker now wants to cast himself as a “pragmatist.” Kirsten Gillibrand, who co-sponsored Bernie’s bill, is now proposing a “public option” in ObamaCare instead. Even proud progressive Elizabeth Warren is “given herself wiggle room,” the Post reports, by talking about “a lot of different pathways” to get to Sanders’ overall goal — which is still, by the way, socialized medicine through Medicare for All.

In fact, Team Sanders is doubling down on wiping out all private insurance:

“The moment a person has to open their wallet to get health care in America is the moment that some people will be denied that right,” said Ari Rabin-Havt, chief of staff for Sanders’s campaign. “Anyone supporting plans that would leave millions without even basic coverage cannot claim to be standing for health care as a right.”

In the midterms, Democrats successfully ran on health care by portraying Republicans as the party that would strip health coverage away in its ObamaCare repeal. If Democrats stick with Medicare for All, imagine how powerful that message will be when Republicans apply it to Democrats, when it relates not to the 13 million or so direct ObamaCare customers but to 150 million working Americans. Their Bernie remorse is just getting started.

The post WaPo: It’s not just Harris who’s hitting reverse on Medicare for All appeared first on Hot Air.

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Obamacare Keeps Losing

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At the rate things are going, Obamacare may be nearly dismantled by the time it reaches the Supreme Court for the second time.

Last week, the Obamacare abortion mandate — part of the Affordable Care Act that essentially forced Christian businesses that weren’t churches to pay for abortions — was defeated in a United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.

The suit was brought by The Christian Employers Alliance (CEA) alleging that the abortifacent mandate was a violation of religious liberty. North Dakota District Chief Judge Hovland agreed saying the CEA and its “members will suffer irreparable harm to their ability to practice their religious beliefs” if the mandate were to remain in place.

The Trump administration paved the way for the ruling back in 2017 via a rule change that said businesses were exempt from the mandate if it ran counter to their religious beliefs.

The Trump administration announced today that employers will now be exempt from the federal requirement to provide insurance coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans if it conflicts with their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. This now limits a rule created under the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act that required that employers, including non-church religious organizations, must cover all forms of contraception, from birth control pills to abortion drugs and devices at no cost to the employees.

The CEA formed back in 2016 to tackle exactly these issues after the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religiously-affiliated groups were forced to defend themselves against the Obama-era Health and Human Services agency.

“This is a major victory for Christian employers who believe in high-quality healthcare that promotes the protection of human life. The ruling allows us to faithfully follow our mission to unite and equip Christian employers with advocacy, practical resources, and collective impact opportunities for the well-being of employees, organizations, and communities for God’s glory,” said Jim Mischel, CEA president following the ruling in North Dakota.

The post Obamacare Keeps Losing appeared first on RedState.

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Democrats at a crossroads over push for Medicare for all

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I came across two different pieces this morning which both suggest that Democrats are nervous that some of their leading candidates are miscalculating the public’s appetite for another big, disruptive change to health care. First up is a piece at the Hill titled “‘Medicare for All’ complicates Democrats’ pitch to retake Senate.” Specifically, the piece makes the case that Democrats who are attempting to use frame Republican attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare as unconscionable are being run over by the reality that leading Democrats want to replace Obamacare with Medicare for all.

In Colorado, a crowded field of Democrats is battling it out to determine who will challenge Sen. Cory Gardner (R), one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection next year in a state that has increasingly favored Democrats in statewide contests.

His potential challengers are hitting him on his record of voting to repeal ObamaCare and for not speaking out against an administration-backed lawsuit aimed at overturning the health care law.

But Gardner has deflected those efforts by highlighting the Medicare for All debate, mirroring language used by former Vice President Joe Biden, the front runner in the Democratic presidential primary who has compared Medicare for All to repealing ObamaCare.

“The Democrats want to repeal and replace ObamaCare with socialized medicine,” Gardner told The Hill. “This is a leap to the left as the Democrats in the state of Colorado and nationally try to out-socialism each other. I think voters are going to reject that.”

There’s an odd framing in this story. A Democratic strategist named Brad Bannon is quoted as saying the language used by moderates like Joe Biden is “very, very harmful.” In other words, when Biden says Medicare for all is equivalent to repealing Obamacare, he’s handing Republicans like Sen. Gardner a lifeline. That may be true but it also seems to be missing the point.

Yes, it helps Republicans for Biden to say this, but it helps them because what he’s saying is true. Leading Democratic candidates really do want to replace Obamacare with socialized medicine. That’s the real source of the problem, not that Joe Biden is describing accurately what is happening or that Cory Gardner is echoing him.

And that brings me to the 2nd article touching on this today, this one by Rahm Emmanuel. Writing at Politico Magazine, Emmanuel says Democrats threatening Obama’s legacy by vowing to toss out Obamacare are making a big political mistake:

The first issue is whether Democrats should aim to tear the Affordable Care Act apart in order to replace it with “Medicare for All” or, alternatively, should strengthen and expand a law that’s working remarkably well, given the headwinds. It’s certainly true, because the Senate elected in 2008 wouldn’t support the public option, that the Affordable Care Act left a role for the private sector. But that’s no reason to abandon a law that expanded health coverage to 20-plus million more Americans. And the politics don’t work either. The ACA passed without a Senate vote to spare nearly a decade ago. Is there any reason to believe that the Senate elected in 2020 will be capable of repealing the existing law or replacing it with Medicare for All? In an age of debilitating public cynicism, Democrats should be very careful not to promise something they can’t deliver…

To strike the next blow, we shouldn’t scare voters by offering a proposal that takes their health care plans away, which Medicare for All does. When it comes to scaring voters, leave that to Trump because he seems to have that market cornered. As Democrats, our best strategy, both in terms of policy and politics, is to explain how we’re going to build on progressive achievements that voters already know, understand and have come to appreciate.

Medicare for all is hugely popular so long as you don’t tell people that they’ll lose their insurance. Once you do that…well, here’s Vox’s Ezra Klein:

Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, as currently written, would cancel every private insurance plan in the country. Polling suggeststhat’s lethal: When told that Medicare-for-all would abolish private insurance, respondents flip from favoring the plan by a 56 percent to 38 percent margin to opposing it by a 58 percent to 37 percent margin. These numbers, when combined with the Obamacare backlash and the Clintoncare experience, have underscored reformers’ view that a plan that takes away the private insurance people have and like is doomed.

And that’s not the only poison pill in M4A. The other big one is the fact that middle-class taxes would have to go way, way up to pay for it. When the public becomes acutely aware of these two things in combination, there’s precisely zero chance of getting M4A through congress. The would-be revolutionaries in the party don’t much care about such practical matters, but Rahm Emmanuel is right that Democrats would be foolish to ignore them.

Bottom line: If the party goes out on a limb for single-payer it will be harder to retake the Senate and will simultaneously be an abandonment of Obamacare. That’s the best thing that could happen to Republicans, but the Democratic Party is moving to the left so quickly that they are turning on Joe Biden for daring to state the obvious.

The post Democrats at a crossroads over push for Medicare for all appeared first on Hot Air.

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LISTEN: Texas AG Ken Paxton Discusses Obamacare Constitutional Challenge And What Happens If It Goes Back Before SCOTUS

Westlake Legal Group ap-tx-ag-ken-paxton-620x423 LISTEN: Texas AG Ken Paxton Discusses Obamacare Constitutional Challenge And What Happens If It Goes Back Before SCOTUS SCOTUS Obamacare Ken Paxton healthcare Front Page Stories

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, center, makes comments during a news conference as Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, left, listens, Wednesday, June 22, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

In December 2018, a Texas judge did what the Supreme Court was unable to do: it declared Obamacare unconstitutional. Granted, the Texas ruling benefitted from the tax reform legislation Republicans managed to pass the year prior that rolled back the Obamacare individual mandate to $0. That’s when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led 20 other states in a lawsuit seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional based on the idea that, without the mandate, the entire law ceases to do what it was intended to do.

General Paxton joins the Health Care News podcast to discuss the case, currently before an appeals court, and what he thinks its chances are if it ends up back before SCOTUS (which he believes it likely will sometime in the Spring). He also discusses how the ruling paves the way for federalism in the health care marketplace, how and to what extent the federal government can help free-market health care initiatives (such as allowing the sale of insurance across state lines), and why he thinks Congress has no reason to complain things are moving too quickly for them to have replacement legislation ready to go. Join us for this insightful interview with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The post LISTEN: Texas AG Ken Paxton Discusses Obamacare Constitutional Challenge And What Happens If It Goes Back Before SCOTUS appeared first on RedState.

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Taking a cue from Obama, Elizabeth Warren’s single-payer strategy involves not telling voters the truth

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren Taking a cue from Obama, Elizabeth Warren’s single-payer strategy involves not telling voters the truth The Blog Taxes Obamacare medicare for all Elizabeth Warren

Allahpundit touched on this earlier as part of a more general discussion of the distance between what the new Democratic Party wants to achieve in 2020 and what American voters actually support. One place where this divergence was particularly sharp last night was on the topic of Medicare for All (M4A). Bernie Sanders supports M4A but, to his credit, he admits that getting there will require raising taxes on the middle class. Elizabeth Warren is taking a different approach, one that has worked for Democrats in the recent past: Refuse to tell the truth and discourage others from doing so as well.

Warren’s strategy became evident during the debate when Jake Tapper asked her specifically about raising taxes on the middle class. Her reply was a carefully scripted dodge: “Giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out-of-pocket for their health care.” Asked a second time to respond “yes or no” whether she would raise taxes, Warren replied, “Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs—total costs—will go down.” You can see the full video below.

There’s really zero doubt that any form of single-payer would be massively expensive adding trillions per year to the federal budget. That would require raising taxes not just on billionaires but on the middle class as well. This is, as I’ve pointed out before, how the social democracies of Scandinavia do it. Even Vox has admitted as much. If you want America to look more like Sweden, you can’t do that without raising taxes substantially on everyone.

The gimmick here is that, while refusing to admit middle-class taxes will go up, Warren is promising overall costs will go down. The idea is that, yes, taxes will go up but once the cost of insurance premiums is eliminated, overall expenses will go down. I assume she believes that sincerely but if so it wouldn’t be that difficult to explain the trade-off to Americans honesty, as I just did in a single sentence. Instead, Warren just kept dodging the question and talking about billionaires.

Obama took a similar tack in his approach to Obamacare. Rather than admit that Obamacare would potentially disrupt existing health care plans for a lot of people, Obama decided early on to just lie: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” That was true for some people, but he must have known it wouldn’t be true for all people and that it wouldn’t be true for long. Obama wanted to own the outcome but he didn’t want to own the disruption because polls showed that about 85% of the people who had insurance at the time were happy with it.

And that’s why part of Warren’s plan is to try to work the refs, both the other candidates and the media, and try to warn them off giving people the messy details. She did that in the first part of the clip below. “We should stop using Republican talking points, in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care,” she said. In other words, don’t mention taxes going up or you’ll mess up the game. Just keep saying costs will go down.

So here we are again with another Democrat trying out a new line about billionaires and corporations paying more, but don’t worry middle-class taxpayer. Your costs will only go down. At best, she’s glossing over the significant disruption her plan would cause. At worst, it’s a lie which she can’t actually guarantee anyone. But I think Warren learned from Obama that the media will let you get away with a lot for a long time if they’re convinced you’re doing something they agree with. Here’s Warren working the refs and dodging the question (clip via the Free Beacon):

The post Taking a cue from Obama, Elizabeth Warren’s single-payer strategy involves not telling voters the truth appeared first on Hot Air.

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