President Trump Pulls the Plug on the “Terminal Patient” Obamacare: Why That Was the Right Move.

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Like a lot of working Americans, I find myself coping with a Health Insurance Policy through my employer, which has a $2,500 deductible before it will pay decently on necessary services, such as doctor visits, hospitals stays, and prescriptions.

Yesterday, President Trump made a correct decision that, hopefully, will eventually lead to a return to sanity in the Health Insurance Industry and the Medical Industry as a whole.

Foxnews.com reported yesterday that

President Trump said Friday the White House “learned a lot about loyalty and the vote-getting process” following the dramatic failure of a Republican-backed bill that would have made good on a campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Trump said House Republicans were 10 to 15 votes shy of getting the bill passed and blamed the defeat on Democrats. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill minutes before a vote was to take place as it became apparent there was not enough support for passage. Democrats were united against it, and a conservative bloc of Republicans were unmoved by 11th-hour negotiations.

“We had no Democratic support,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “They weren’t going to give us a single vote.”

The president added that the “best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode. It’s exploding right now… Almost all states have big problems.”

Trump claimed he never said he would “repeal and replace [ObamaCare] within 64 days,” though he repeatedly promised during the campaign he’d do it on Day One.

Ryan, R-Wis., withdrew the legislation after Trump called and asked him to halt debate without a vote.

“We came really close today but we came up short,” Ryan said. He added that Friday’s developments were “not the end of the story” though he immediately pivoted to other items on the GOP agenda, including tax reform.

“We have big, ambitious plans to improve people’s lives,” he said.

Ryan made the walk to the White House shortly after noon to tell the president he lacked the votes to push the bill through. Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act by former President Barack Obama.

The GOP bill would have replaced ObamaCare, which mandated that almost every American have health insurance.  

“This was a rejection of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said in a written statement. “In the words of my friend Joe Biden: This is a BFD.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the failed GOP health care bill a “victory for the American people.”

Republicans have spent seven years campaigning against Obama’s signature health care law, and cast dozens of votes to repeal it in full or in part. But when they finally got the chance to pass a repeal bill that actually had a chance to get signed, they couldn’t pull it off.

What happens next is unclear, but the path ahead on other priorities, such as overhauling the tax code, could grow more daunting.

The development came on the afternoon of a day when the bill, which had been delayed a day earlier, was supposed to come to a vote, come what may. President Trump’s top aides had told Ryan to call a vote – and possibly call the bluff of balky Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus.

But instead of picking up support as Friday wore on, the bill went the other direction, with some key lawmakers coming out in opposition.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, said the bill would raise costs unacceptably on his constituents. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, a key moderate Republican, and GOP Rep. David Joyce of Ohio also announced “no” votes.

The defections raised the possibility that the bill would not only lose on the floor, but lose big.

In the face of that evidence, and despite insistences from White House officials and Ryan that Friday was the day to vote, leadership pulled back from the brink.

The GOP bill would have eliminated the Obama statute’s unpopular fines on people who do not obtain coverage and would also have removed the often-generous subsidies for those who purchase insurance.

Republican tax credits would have been based on age, not income like Obama’s, and the tax boosts Obama imposed on higher-earning people and health care companies would have been repealed. The bill would have ended Obama’s Medicaid expansion and trimmed future federal financing for the federal-state program, letting states impose work requirements on some of the 70 million beneficiaries.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Republican bill would have resulted in 24 million additional uninsured people in a decade and lead to higher out-of-pocket medical costs for many lower-income and people just shy of age 65 when they would become eligible for Medicare. The bill would have blocked federal payments for a year to Planned Parenthood.

Democrats were uniformly opposed. “This bill is pure greed, and real people will suffer and die from it,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.

For the sake of argument., here is a brief overview of the timeline for the implementation of Obamacare, from a pdf prepared by the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees on April 2, 2010.

2010

  • Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Individuals with a Pre-Existing Condition.
  • Eliminating Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children.
  • Prohibiting Rescissions. Prohibits abusive practices whereby health plans rescind existing health insurance policies when a person gets sick as a way of avoiding covering the costs of enrollees’ health care needs.
  • Covering Preventive Health Services. All new group health plans and plans in the individual market must provide first dollar coverage for preventive services.
  • Extending Dependent Coverage. Requires all plans in the individual market and new employer plans that provide dependent coverage for children to continue to make that coverage available up to age 26
  • Reducing the Cost of Covering Early Retirees. Creates a new temporary reinsurance program for health benefits for retirees age 55-64.
  • New, Independent Appeals Process.
  • Improving Consumer Assistance.
  • Improving Consumer Information through the Web. Requires the Secretary of HHS to establish an Internet website through which residents of any State may identify affordable health insurance coverage options in that State.
  • Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud. Requires enhanced screening procedures for health care providers to eliminate fraud and waste in the health care system.
  • Rebates for the Part D “Donut Hole”. Provides a $250 rebate for all Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole.
  • Improving Public Health Prevention Efforts. Creates an interagency council to promote healthy policies at the federal level.
  • Strengthening the Quality Infrastructure.
  • Extending Payment Protections for Rural Providers.
  • Establishing a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Establishes a private, non-profit institute.
  • Ensuring Medicaid Flexibility for States.
  • Non-Profit Hospitals. Establishes new requirements applicable to nonprofit hospitals beginning in 2010, including periodic community needs assessments.
  • Encouraging Investment in New Therapies.
  • Tax Relief for Health Professionals with State Loan Repayment.
  • Excluding from Income Health Benefits Provided by Indian Tribal Governments.
  • Establishing a National Health Care Workforce Commission. Establishes an independent National Commission to provide comprehensive, nonbiased information and recommendations to Congress and the Administration for aligning federal health care workforce resources with national needs.
  • Strengthening the Health Care Workforce. Expands and improves low-interest student loan programs, scholarships, and loan repayments for health students and professionals to increase and enhance the capacity of the workforce to meet patients’ health care needs.
  • Special Deduction for Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).
  • Indoor Tanning Services Tax.  There are a lot of torqued-off women out there.
  • Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for Unreasonable Rate Hikes.

2011

  • Bringing Down the Cost of Health Care Coverage.
  • Strengthening Community Health Centers and the Primary Care Workforce.
  • Increasing Reimbursement for Primary Care.
  • Increasing Training Support for Primary Care.
  • Improving Health Care Quality and Efficiency. Establishes a new Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce health care costs and enhance the quality of care provided to individuals.
  • Improving Preventive Health Coverage.
  • Improving Transitional Care for Medicare Beneficiaries.
  • Expanding Primary Care, Nursing, and Public Health Workforce.
  • Increasing Access to Home and Community Based Services.
  • Reporting Health Coverage Costs on Form W-2: Requires employers to disclose the value of the benefit provided by the employer for each employee’s health insurance coverage on the employee’s annual Form W-2.
  • Standardizing the Definition of Qualified Medical Expenses. Conforms the definition of qualified medical expenses for HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs to the definition used for the itemized deduction. An exception to this rule is included so that amounts paid for over-the-counter medicine with a prescription still qualify as medical expenses.
  • Increased Additional Tax for Withdrawals from Health Savings Accounts and Archer Medical Savings Account Funds for Non-Qualified Medical Expenses.
  • Cafeteria Plan Changes.

2012

  • Encouraging Integrated Health Systems.
  • Linking Payment to Quality Outcomes.
  • Reducing Avoidable Hospital Readmissions. Directs CMS to track hospital readmission rates for certain high-volume or high-cost conditions and uses new financial incentives to encourage hospitals to undertake reforms needed to reduce preventable readmissions, which will improve care for beneficiaries and rein in unnecessary health care spending.  Can you say “here come the Death Panels”?

2013

  • Payments to Primary Care Physicians. Requires that Medicaid payment rates to primary care physicians for furnishing primary care services be no less than 100% of Medicare payment rates in 2013 and 2014.
  • Administrative Simplification. Health plans must adopt and implement uniform standards and business rules for the electronic exchange of health information to reduce paperwork and administrative burdens and costs.
  • Encouraging Provider Collaboration. Establishes a national pilot program on payment bundling
  • Limiting Health Flexible Savings Account Contributions.
  • Increased Threshold for Claiming Itemized Deduction for Medical Expenses.
  • Medical device excise tax. Establishes a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of a medical device by a manufacturer or importer.
  • Limiting Executive Compensation.
  • Fee for patient-centered outcomes research.

2014

  • Reforming Health Insurance Regulations.
  • Eliminating Annual Limits.
  • Ensuring Coverage for Individuals Participating in Clinical Trials.
  • Establishing Health Insurance Exchanges. Opens health insurance Exchanges in each State to individuals and small employers. This new venue will enable people to comparison shop for standardized health packages.   Local hack politicians are lining up for jobs right now.
  • Providing Health Care Tax Credits. E
  • Ensuring Choice through Free Choice Vouchers.
  • Promoting Individual Responsibility.
  • Small Business Tax Credit.
  • Quality Reporting for Certain Providers.
  • Health Insurance Provider Fee. Imposes an annual, non-deductible fee on the health insurance sector allocated across the industry according to market share.

2015

  • Continuing Innovation and Lower Health Costs. Establishes an Independent Payment Advisory Board to develop and submit proposals to Congress and the private sector aimed at extending the solvency of Medicare, lowering health care costs, improving health outcomes for patients, promoting quality and efficiency, and expanding access to evidence-based care.
  • Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume. Creates a physician value-based payment program to promote increased quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.

2018

  • Excise tax on high cost employer-provided health plans becomes effective. Tax is on the cost of coverage in excess of $27,500 (family coverage) and $10,200 (single coverage), increased to $30,950 (family) and $11,850 (single) for retirees and employees in high risk professions.

Lofty goals, huh?

The Reality of the terminal failure that is Obamacare?

Per Josh Blackman in an article posted at nationalreview.com on September 26, 2016,

Despite the best-laid plans of our central planners, Obamacare is unraveling. In 2009, the Obama administration proposed an ambitious bill that aimed to seamlessly expand health insurance for millions of Americans. The uninsurable would be guaranteed access to insurance. The insured would keep the plans they liked. The uninsured would be penalized. Profitable insurers would transfer their gains to unprofitable competitors. Online exchanges — the mechanism to hold these mandates together — would allow customers to choose from a wide range of subsidized insurance policies. Or at least that was the plan.

We are only three years into this bold, persistent experiment, and virtually all of the experts’ forecasts have already been proven wrong. The carefully crafted measures designed to stabilize the markets have faltered. The uninsurable are using coverage that is far more expensive than anticipated. The insured lost the plans they liked and are now confronting skyrocketing premiums and dwindling choices. The uninsured are not signing up, leaving risk pools skewed toward older and sicker customers. Insurers are suffering far greater losses than expected and are rapidly fleeing the exchanges.

I was literally raised by 3 doctors. No, I’m not some genetic experiment, like Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the movie “Twins” with Danny DeVito. I was born a severe asthmatic, caused by being born a month premature to a Mother 3 days before her 40th birthday.

These three men worked in the same clinic in Mid-town Memphis, TN. They later went on to become the chairmen of the Medical and Surgery Departments at a local hospital.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve laying in one of their examination rooms, with oxygen strapped to my face, as my beloved Daddy waited nervously, by my side.

Asthma treatment back then, consisted of a swig of nasty-tasting yellow Triaminic Syrup, a shot of Epinephrine, an antibiotic shot (usually a Mycin drug), a prescription for Prednisone to alleviate the inflammation, and a prescription for an anti-biotic (again, usually a mycin drug). Thank goodness, back then, (1960s through early 1970s) Sears, where both of my parents worked, had a really good insurance plan.

That being said, I owe my life to those three devoted physicians and the Greatest Healthcare System in the World.

And, to the solid Health Insurance which my parents had through their jobs at Sears Roebuck and Company, jobs which they held until they were forced to retire in the early 1980s by the people who have run that once proud company straight into a rapidly-approaching oblivion.

Unfortunately, America’s Healthcare System, thanks to the Marxist Megalomaniac who formerly resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, is in the process of going that same way, unless Obamacare is allowed to implode upon itself, like anyone with any common sense predicted that it eventually would.

When President Donald J. Trump made the wise move yesterday of “walking away from the deal”, thus shutting off the political machine which would have sustained the terminal patient known as Obamacare, he made a move to ease the pain and suffering of average Americans and the Greatest Healthcare System in the world.

And, when ObamaCare terminates itself, there will be no one to blame but the Democratic Party, who never even read the bill before they made it a law.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

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