Kimberley Strassel: A 2014 GOP Election Model – WSJ.com

March 14, 2014

Yet Mr. Jolly didn’t win with conservatives alone. Nearly 30% of voters in the 13th district are unaffiliated with a party, and some polls have shown independents are disinclined to “repeal” the health law. This is the basis of the Democrats’ “fix-it” argument, which Ms. Sink flogged.

But the Republican never ran on repeal alone. Many of the conservative ads against Ms. Sink in fact never mentioned “repeal.” As Mr. Jolly’s website noted, he was in favor of replacing ObamaCare with “private sector solutions that address very specific problems in the health insurance industry.” He spoke about some of these reforms, including allowing Americans to decouple their health care from their employer. He noted that the GOP “simply cannot be the party of ‘no.’” This helped blunt the Sink argument that Republicans are only interested in rolling back the country to the pre-ObamaCare days.

Equally important, the Republican side went on offense against the growing roster of Democratic campaign themes. The party has used them to great effect in any number of recent elections, including most recently in the Virginia governor’s race. The difference this time is that the GOP had answers.

via Kimberley Strassel: A 2014 GOP Election Model – WSJ.com.


The Flawed SGR Replacement Bill: A Missed Opportunity

March 12, 2014

HR 4012 is expected to add $138 billion in additional Medicare spending over the next 10 years, although its sponsors are proposing to offset those costs by delaying Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate. The elimination of the mandate is sound policy and continues past congressional practice of paying for previous Medicare “doc fixes” with health spending cuts. However, by  only “delaying” the mandate—rather than repealing it—the bill could potentially add to the deficit beyond the standard 10-year budget window. SGR, after all, pertains to Medicare. But using savings from the mandate, in sharp contrast  to previous “fixes” financed by Medicare spending reductions, does nothing to alter the internal dynamics of the Medicare program that is saddling future taxpayers with crushing financial burdens.

via The Flawed SGR Replacement Bill: A Missed Opportunity.


Exclusive — Rubio Warns Democrats Angling For Single Payer Healthcare: ‘Obamacare on Steroids’

March 12, 2014

“Secretly and not so secretly, it’s a desire many on the left have had for a very long time,” Rubio said, noting that liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of a key Senate subcommittee, just held a hearing laying out the case for single payer Tuesday.

“I believe single payer is always the goal that they wanted. In fact, I think Obamacare was designed to eventually lead us to that point. What I think you’re going to see now is as Obamacare begins to fail, instead of recognizing it as a failure, we need to back and embrace free market principles. I think you’re going to find the left increasingly saying that Obamacare’s failure proves we need a single payer system, so I’m not surprised by it at all,” he added.

Recent history is replete with signs that top Democrats dearly desire a single payer system. President Obama vigorously backed it until around 2003 – and said that’s how he’d design the system “from scratch” in the 2008 campaign. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in October, said she “would’ve preferred single payer or public option” to the “compromise” that was Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last summer infamously said Obamacare was “absolutely” a step toward single payer.

via Exclusive — Rubio Warns Democrats Angling For Single Payer Healthcare: ‘Obamacare on Steroids’.


ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption – WSJ.com

March 11, 2014

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

via ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption – WSJ.com.


Why the Patient CARE Act proposal is ‘going to need a bigger boat’ – Health – AEI

March 10, 2014

Key points in this Outlook:

Republicans on Capitol Hill are beginning to shift their focus from simply repealing Obamacare to proposing credible alternatives for health reform.

The Patient CARE Act proposal from Senators Burr, Coburn, and Hatch has some promising but underdeveloped elements that ultimately fall short of what is needed to effectively accomplish meaningful reform.

A more comprehensive vision for replacing Obamacare will need to build a better pathway toward improved health outcomes and sustainable prosperity for more Americans.

via Why the Patient CARE Act proposal is ‘going to need a bigger boat’ – Health – AEI.


Healthcare Reform Update: Bill to fix SGR could repeal or delay ACA’s individual mandate | Modern Healthcare

March 7, 2014

House Republicans have found another back-door way to attempt a dismantling of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Next week, the lower chamber is expected to vote on legislation that would permanently repeal Medicare’s physician payment formula and which might include a provision to either repeal or delay the ACA’s individual insurance mandate as a way to pay for the sustainable growth-rate fix. But as before, their efforts are certain to die in the Senate, making another temporary SGR patch more likely as a March 31 deadline rapidly approaches.

via Healthcare Reform Update: Bill to fix SGR could repeal or delay ACA’s individual mandate | Modern Healthcare.


Conservatives Unite Around Health Reform Ideas

March 7, 2014

Conservative political leaders and free-market policy analysts painted a picture of what true market-based health reform would look like if consumers had more control over choices in a truly competitive market, during a conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on February 27.

The conference on “Fresh ideas and a new vision for health reform” was co-sponsored by 11 market-oriented think tanks to describe the vision, policy, and politics of free-market health reform.

via Conservatives Unite Around Health Reform Ideas.


Cruz: ‘Yes We Can’ Repeal Obamacare | National Review Online

March 6, 2014

The senator’s largest applause line when he returned to a familiar trope, calling for the repeal of “every single word of Obamacare.”

When Cruz led the push to defund Obamacare last fall, he argued that repeal of the law would be impossible once it was enacted; Americans would become “addicted” to government subsidies, said.

He has since changed his tune. “When millions of Americans stood up last fall and said stop this train wreck, this disaster that is hurting millions of people…the mainstream media said you can’t do anything to stop this.”

“Yes we can,” he said, to whoops and cheers from the audience.

via Cruz: ‘Yes We Can’ Repeal Obamacare | National Review Online.


An analysis of the Republican alternative to Obamacare

March 3, 2014

No one has been more critical than me, for example, toward Democrats who refused to phase-in age rating compression rather than shock the market all in one year. But, it’s done. Rolling key provisions of the Affordable Care Act back would only create a new set of offended parties who would want to keep the insurance they have.

This sets up an incredible political irony.

By not being willing to fix Obamacare, the Republicans have put themselves in the position of having to take things away from people — many of them from solid middle class people.

That opens up a huge political opportunity for the Democrats.

via An analysis of the Republican alternative to Obamacare.


Obama’s Trauma Team: Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov — Printout — TIME

February 28, 2014

Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough’s assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was “Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.”

Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over.

via Obama’s Trauma Team: Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov — Printout — TIME.


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