December 18, 2014
Republicans clinched their 247th U.S. House seat on Wednesday when GOP challenger Martha McSally officially unseated Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), bringing to an end the final unresolved congressional election of the midterms and handing the GOP its largest majority in the chamber since the Great Depression.
McSally’s narrow win, which came after a recount, means that House Republicans will begin the 114th Congress with a 247-188 advantage over Democrats. It is the largest GOP majority since Republicans claimed 270 seats in the 1928 election.
via McSally win gives GOP historic majority in House – The Washington Post.
December 18, 2014
One of the most perverse consequences of the feverish backroom deals used to get Obamacare past the finish line was the funding formula for the law’s Medicaid expansion, which started with the infamous Cornhusker Kickback, a sweetheart deal for Nebraska alone to get 100 percent federal funding for Medicaid expansion that was used to get then-Senator Ben Nelson’s vote.
When the whistle was blown on that dirty deal, Nelson implausibly explained that the Nebraska-only provision was intended to be a “placeholder” for higher Medicaid funding for all 50 states. And that’s what ended up ultimately passing: if a state expands Medicaid to able-bodied adults, the new population is eligible for 100 percent federal funding through 2016, phasing down starting in 2017 until it reaches 90 percent in 2020 and permanently thereafter.
Yet states continue to receive an average of 57 percent federal funding for the pre-expansion Medicaid population of needy families and people with disabilities. In short, under current law, states are given a huge financial incentive to favor able-bodied adults over the truly needy. It’s shameful and it should be fixed.
via Fix Medicaid’s Perverse Funding Formula | American Commitment.
December 17, 2014
Washington, DC – December 11, 2014 – NIHCM Foundation is introducing a new Health Care Digital Media Award, which will recognize excellence in digital media that improves understanding of health care through analysis grounded in empirical evidence.The winner, selected by an independent panel of experts, will receive a $10,000 cash prize.“We have been so impressed by the influence of digital media on health care issues,” said Nancy Chockley, President and CEO of NIHCM Foundation. “We want to recognize those bloggers who are a cut above, who are changing the way we look at health care.”
via New $10,000 Award for Best Health Care Blogging.
December 14, 2014
Over the past year, the ranks of people working part-time jobs by choice — as opposed to business-driven factors — has grown by more than one million, the fastest pace in at least two decades.The timing with ObamaCare’s first year of subsidies to buy health insurance is likely more than coincidental.
via ObamaCare Fuels Historic Part-Time Work Surge – Investors.com.
December 12, 2014
More Senate staff members stand to be forced out of the health plan for federal workers under a policy adopted Wednesday by Senate Republicans.
The Senate Republican Conference accepted a resolution from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to add to the number of Capitol Hill staff already made ineligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program because of the Affordable Care Act.
The resolution makes it the policy of Senate Republicans to make staff members they employ ineligible for the FEHBP “regardless of whether they work in a member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or any other office.”
The resolution, which applies only to the Senate GOP, also challenged Democrats to adopt a similar policy.
via More Senate GOP staffers face losing federal worker health care coverage – The Washington Post.
December 11, 2014
For example, the passage of Medicare in 1965 was one of the first major steps taken towards socialized medicine in America. Medicare socializes health care in old age, forcing everyone in society to foot the medical bills of seniors and forcing seniors to get most of their medical care through the government. Medicare’s proponents knew that most Americans — young or old — would not support the program if they knew what it was: a massive entitlement program at odds with the American spirit of individualism and self-reliance. So to pass it, Medicare’s proponents, borrowing a page out of the Social Security playbook, told a different story. They dressed up Medicare as insurance and argued that Medicare benefits, far from being handouts, are actually earned. In The Politics of Medicare, Medicare historian Theodore R. Marmor explains some of the tactics used to sell the program:
“The contributory requirement of social security [Medicare] — the limitations of benefits to those having paid social security taxes — gives the system a resemblance to private insurance. Thus social security members would appear to have paid for hospital insurance. In fact, social security beneficiaries are entitled to pensions exceeding those which, in a strict actuarial sense, they have “earned” through contributions. But this is a point generally lost in the avalanche of words about how contributions, as a commissioner of Social Security, Robert Ball, once remarked, “give American workers the feeling they have earned their benefits.” The notion that contributions confer rights analogous to those which premiums entail within private insurance was one that deeply permeated the advocacy of Medicare.”
Since the passage of Medicare (and Medicaid, which was passed at the same time), American health care has incrementally been further socialized, through new and expanded entitlement programs and increasing regulatory control. Each time, proponents called greater government control of health care anything but socialized medicine. Obamacare is just their latest play.
via Voices for Reason – Jonathan Gruber Is Not the Only One Guilty of Deception | The Ayn Rand Institute.
December 11, 2014
Now that Republicans will control both houses of Congress, they will have an opportunity to deal with Obamacare. What should be done?
They can begin by repealing the worst features of Obamacare. They can do that by keeping three promises many of them made to voters during the last election: Keep your job; keep your health insurance; and keep your doctor.
The most direct way to get rid of all the anti-job provisions of Obamacare is to repeal the employer mandate. The most direct way to insure that people can keep insurance they like is to repeal the individual mandate. And the most direct way of insuring people can keep their doctor is to deregulate and denationalize the health insurance exchanges.Then Republicans can move on to real reform of the health care system. There are seven principles that should be adhered to.
via A Republican Alternative To Obamacare.