Health Coverage News /healthcoveragenews Health Coverage News - Health Coverage Information Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:14:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This potentially unconstitutional provision of Obamacare is being ignored by everyone /healthcoveragenews/2017-04-06-this-potentially-unconstitutional-provision-of-obamacare-is-being-ignored-by-everyone.htmlv Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:14:02 +0000 After Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald J. Trump failed to convince enough fellow Republicans to advance what many conservatives saw as an Obamacare ‘repeal’ measure that was long on style and far too short on substance, both vowed to let the law “implode,” though Trump has repeatedly said he didn’t want to harm Americans in that way.

However, doing so also allows a potentially unconstitutional program to live on, The Daily Caller reported.

Before he left Congress, then-House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in the House filed a lawsuit against the Obama regime in 2014, alleging that the government was illegally reimbursing health insurers still in the marketplace for a little-known provision of the Affordable Care Act: Cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs. (RELATED: Trump Said To Be Open To Negotiating “Obamacare 2.0” Bill Critics Say Will Ruin GOP If It Passes)

The Daily Caller noted further:

Insurers are required under the current system to provide CSRs to low and moderate income individuals who participate in the exchanges. To make consumers put more “skin in the game,” Obamacare effectively raised deductibles to levels that are tough for many Americans to meet without some financial support. CSRs were instituted to help insurers with the costs of the deductibles patients can’t otherwise meet.

The program works very simply: Health insurance firms pick up the expense of the patient’s deductible and then the federal government repays the insurer for what it paid out.

Boehner and leaders in the House believed that CSRs must be funded through an additional appropriation measure that Congress must annually approve. In the suit, the House, which has the power of the purse, argued that since Congress had never specifically funded the pay-outs the administration was unconstitutionally spending money that had not been approved for that purpose.

After deliberating the case for a couple of years, Rosemary M. Collyer, senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia – the circuit that hears all cases involving federal regulations, rules and actions – came to the conclusion that the House suit had standing, and agreed to allow it to move forward in a May 12, 2016 ruling.

That led to an appeal of the ruling by the Obama administration, and now the case remains open, with no definitive decision as of yet. Two times prior Republicans have delayed the court date; in February of this year, Trump and Ryan delayed it further, until May 22.

“A troubling result of the appeal and numerous Republican-led delays is that CSRs are still funded as they were when the Obama administration first appealed,” The Daily Caller reported. So taxpayers may still be getting unconstitutionally fleeced from a law that has cost far more than it was supposed to.

So, Trump and Ryan – amid reports that a new Obamacare repeal-and-replace measure is being negotiated – have a decision to make, and soon: Pursue or withdraw the Obama administration’s appeal. If they decide to move ahead with the appeal and the 2016 ruling is summarily upheld, then they will have accomplished a major step forward in their stated goal of wanting to dismantle Obamacare.

But withdrawing from the appeal brings great economic and political problems and risks for the administration. Trump could follow through on his thoughts to let the law ‘implode’ by withdrawing the government’s appeal, but that will leave insurers with a $7 billion bad debt, leading to even higher premiums that millions of Americans already cannot afford.

Right now, estimates are that the $7 billion allocated to fund CSRs this fiscal year climb to $10 billion in FY 2018.

If Trump and Ryan decide to back out of the case, insurers will be left holding the bag and for sure, premiums will skyrocket next year. That is part of allowing the law to implode, but how will Americans facing sky-high premium hikes react? Who will get the blame? (RELATED: Obamacare REPEAL? It’s more like health care system COLLAPSE!)

“Insurers will not simply eat the difference between what the enrollee pays and what they are left to cover,” The Daily Caller noted, adding that excess costs will be shifted to “the larger consumer base through higher premiums…”

Ryan said earlier this week that repeal-and-replace measures are merely in the “conceptual stage right now,” and did not give a timeline for when a new repeal measure would be brought to the House for a vote.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Three-quarters of world’s population now overweight or obese… the scourge of processed foods will bankrupt the world /healthcoveragenews/2017-04-04-three-quarters-of-worlds-population-now-overweight-or-obese-the-scourge-of-processed-foods-will-bankrupt-world.htmlv Wed, 05 Apr 2017 02:51:12 +0000 Researchers have identified yet another fat-related pandemic that has affected the vast majority of the world’s population. New Zealand-based researchers have coined the term “overfat” to describe a condition where the amount of excess body fat is enough to increase the risk of adverse health conditions. Data from a recent study reveal that up to 76% of the world’s population is overfat, which equates to about 5.5 billion people. Of this, 49% are either overweight or obese. In contrast, only 18% of the total global population has normal fat levels.

“The overfat pandemic has not spared those who exercise or even compete in sports. The overfat category includes normal-weight people with increased risk factors for chronic disease, such as high abdominal fat, and those with characteristics of a condition called normal-weight metabolic obesity,” said lead author Dr. Philip Maffetone.

Researchers say the findings demonstrate that traditional body mass index only measures weight and height, but fails to assess the total body fat composition. Waist circumference may serve as a better indicator of metabolic health issues compared with a weighing scale. Improved terminology may increase awareness about the risks of being overfat, which in turn may help medical professionals, health care officials, and the general public to address this concern.

“We want to bring awareness of the rise in these risk factors, where the terms ‘overfat’ and ‘underfat’ describe new body composition states. We hope the terms will enter into common usage, to help create substantive improvements in world health,” Maffetone adds.

The results are published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Cheaper processed foods contribute to the world’s bulging waistline

Decades of choosing cheaper processed foods over nutritious but otherwise costly foods have greatly contributed to the worsening global obesity epidemic, a London-based thinktank states.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, prices of fruits and vegetables in certain countries — including China, Mexico, Brazil, and Korea — surged by up to 91% between 1990 and 2012, while prices of some processed foods such as prepackaged meals declined by up to 20% during the same period. In the U.K., prices of fruits and vegetables tripled between 1980 and 2012, while the price of an ice cream showed a 50% decrease over the same period.

A report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the Pan American Health Organization also reveals that increased consumption of processed meals contributes to the rising obesity epidemic in Latin America. According to the report, almost 58% of the region’s population are either overweight or obese, which equates to about 360 million people. The Bahamas showed the highest obesity rate at 69%, followed by Mexico and Chile at 64% and 63%, respectively.

In the U.S., about 90% of an average person’s food budget was allocated to processed foods. This increases the risk of certain health conditions and medical expenditures in the process. In fact, the U.S. spends as much as US $147 to US  $210 billion annually on preventable chronic diseases and their related costs. Data shows that obese adults spend 42% more on direct medical costs compared with their healthier counterparts. Data also reveals that per capita health care costs for morbidly obese adults were 81% higher than adults with healthier weight.

Moderately obese people are also twice as likely as their healthier counterparts to be prescribed with drugs to manage adverse health conditions. The cost for chest pain-related emergency room visits is 41% higher in morbidly obese patients, 28% higher for obese patients and 22% higher for overweight patients compared with their healthier counterparts.


Pinkerton: what Trump’s “great healthcare plan for the people” might look like /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-31-pinkerton-what-trumps-great-healthcare-plan-for-the-people-might-look-like.htmlv Fri, 31 Mar 2017 18:21:18 +0000 On March 25, in the wake of the failure of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), President Trump tweeted a warning and a prediction: “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE.  Do not worry!”

(Article by James P. Pinkerton from

In the first part of this series, we considered Trump’s warning: The question of whether or not Obamacare will “explode.”  And our tentative answer was that the national political system, almost certainly, will seek to prevent, or at least contain, any such explosion.

Okay, so now let’s turn to Trump’s prediction that “we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for the people.”

Trump has, indeed, made some bold promises about his healthcare plan.  He has said, for example, that it will be “much less expensive and much better.” And if the failed AHCA fell far short of those aspirations, well, Trump can point out that it really wasn’t his bill; it was the House Republicans’: As he said in the Oval Office on March 24, after AHCA went down, “There were things in this bill I didn’t particularly like.”  And as for his own future signature effort on healthcare, if and when that comes, he said, “I’ll tell you what’s going to come out of it is a better bill.”

Indeed, at a March 28 reception for a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, the President, eyeing Sen. Charles Schumer leader of the Senate Democrats, then said, “I know that we are all going to make a deal on healthcare. . . . I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly.” He added, “Hopefully it will start being bipartisan because everybody really wants the same thing.”

Well, not quite everybody, as we saw in the AHCA debate.  But here’s what Schumer wants: On the issue of Obamacare “exploding,” he has said, “For the President to say that he’ll destroy it or undermine it, that’s not presidential. That’s petulance.  And it’s not going to work.”

And as for working with Republicans to improve Obamacare, Schumer has been blunt as to his basic precondition: “If they would denounce ‘repeal’ . . . then we’ll work with them on improving it and making it better. They can’t continue to want to repeal.”  So it’s obvious: If Trumpcare is defined only as health insurance, it will end up looking a lot like Obamacare.

It’s possible, of course, that Trump will choose, in the end, not to work with the Democrats on Obamacare changes.  And what will happen then?  The Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, gave the most useful perspective: “I think where we are on Obamacare, regretfully at the moment, is where the Democrats wanted us to be, which is the status quo

Read more at:

]]> What’s at stake in Obamacare repeal? Massive reductions in premiums, for starters /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-29-whats-at-stake-in-obamacare-repeal-massive-reductions-in-premiums.htmlv Thu, 30 Mar 2017 04:28:35 +0000 As President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and other members of the House reset on the failed attempt to pass an Obamacare repeal-and-replace measure last week, a new cost analysis of premiums under the Affordable Care Act shows why it needs to go.

As reported by The Daily Signal, Americans are paying up to 68 percent more for their health insurance premiums than before Obamacare became the law of the land, and frankly, that is unaffordable for a growing number of families.

There are a number of reasons why health insurance premiums rose so dramatically under Obamacare, and none of them had anything at all to do with “greed.” The analysis shows that the primary reason for the dramatic increases was the massive number of new regulations Obamacare imposed on insurance markets, warping and distorting the free market.

“While the American Health Care Act does repeal some Obamacare regulations, it does not go far enough,” writes Drew Gonshorowski, a policy analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation, publisher of The Daily Signal. (RELATED: CBO was wrong over Obamacare sign-ups – or half-right, depending on how you look at it.)

He developed a chart that gives estimates of the negative impact the not-so-Affordable Care Act’s myriad of regulations have had on monthly health insurance premiums.

A summary of ACA mandates listed on the chart includes:

— Health insurer tax at 2 percent

— Health Exchange fee, which rises from 1.4-2.3 percent now to 2.8 percent-3.7 percent by 2023

— Guaranteed coverage added 15-30 percent onto premiums

— Sickness coverage added 4 percent

— Essential health benefits put on another 8 percent in costs

Gonshorowski notes that increases are not universal around the country. In Oregon, for instance, though reinsurance rates have climbed across the country, they initially fell there by 8 percent, and eventually rates fell 2 percent.

However, in Ohio, changes in the overall sickness covered nationally by newly uninsured (no, Obamacare never did cover everyone, as it was supposed to do), were much higher at 35-40 percent than the national average of 4 percent (as seen above).

The age of insured has also driven up premium expenses, he noted, adding that Obamacare “disrupted the natural order” through the mandating rules for age banding, “which disproportionately harmed young people.” Gonshorowski explained that “age banding” is in reference to how much the most expensive plans can cost versus the least expensive, with costs rising the older the insured becomes.

Under Obamacare mandates, the ratio was set at 1-to-3, so that the highest-costing plans could only be three times more than the cheapest plans. And though older Americans saw less dramatic premium increases – due in part to age banding and the fact that Obamacare is nearing a death spiral – young people have come out on the worse end of the spectrum. (RELATED: The one element that should be in ANY Obamacare repeal is freedom.)

“Overall,” he writes, “young people can expect to have rate increases between 58.9 percent and 91.8 percent using national averages.” That’s absurd, considering that before Obamacare, young people had much lower rates because they were generally much healthier than older Americans.

In addition to the ridiculous pricing mandates, the Obamacare law’s “essential health benefits” – that is, the coverage package that every plan must include, even if the consumer doesn’t want certain things covered or doesn’t need certain coverage (like men having to pay for maternity coverage) – are also driving up costs dramatically.

In summary, when accounting for all the rules and regulations and mandates imposed on the health insurance industry alone by Obamacare, costs for premiums, on average, have climbed 44.5-68 percent.

“That number is even higher when factoring all the other adverse effects of Obamacare,” Gonshorowski wrote.

Clearly, there is much at stake in repealing this monstrosity of a law, which will continue to harm Americans until it goes away for good.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Trump: Nothing to do now but “let Obamacare explode” after House fails to garner enough votes for “Obamacare Lite” /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-27-trump-nothing-to-do-now-but-let-obamacare-explode-after-house-fails-to-garner-enough-votes-for-obamacare-lite.htmlv Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:23:39 +0000 A clearly disappointed President Donald J. Trump said on Friday after it became apparent that Republicans in the House would not have enough votes to pass what many saw as a watered-down version of the Affordable Care Act, dubbed “Obamacare Lite.”

As reported by Grabien News, the president, who sat in the Oval Office flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, made it a point to mention that the GOP bill had absolutely zero support from Democrats, the party responsible for passing Obamacare in the first place.

So now, the president noted, there really isn’t anything left to do but let the law collapse on its own, which he predicted throughout his campaign that it would do.

“We were very close and it was a very, very tight margin. We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote so it’s a very difficult thing to do. I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let ObamaCare explode. It is exploding right now,” Trump said. (RELATED: Trump Meets With Obamacare Victims At White House During “Listening Session” Obama Never Held)

“Many states have big problems, almost all states have big problems. I was in Tennessee the other day and they’ve lost half of their state in terms of an insurer. They have no insurer,” he continued. “And that’s happening to many other places. I was in Kentucky the other day and similar things are happening. So, ObamaCare is exploding with no Democrat support.

“We couldn’t quite get there with just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed,” Trump said of lacking Republican support. “A lot of people don’t realize how good our bill was because they were viewing Phase One. But when you add Phase Two, which was mostly the signs of secretary Price who is behind it, and you add Phase Three which I think we would have gotten, it became a great bill. Premiums would have gone down and it would have been very stable, would have been very strong. But that’s okay. But we’re very, very close and, again, I think what will happen is ObamaCare, unfortunately, will explode.”

Whether by design or not – well, it was by design, let’s just put that out there – the discredited Washington establishment media, which is all about protecting and defending their demi-god former president, Barack Obama, steadfastly refused to accurately report what the now-stalled American Health Care Act would do, only what it wouldn’t.

For one, the legislation did jump-start the beginnings of a free-market reform system through the expansion of tax-deductible health savings accounts. For another, the legislation would have finally ended the insult of having taxpayers support Planned Parenthood to the tune of $500 million a year. Many Americans have expressed their disapproval after revelations surfaced in recent years that several Planned Parenthood clinics were selling aborted fetal tissue and body parts.

Also, the legislation would have repealed all of the law’s taxes, which would have made it nearly impossible for Price’s HHS to enforce or enact much of it. And it would have begun the transition away from Medicaid expansion, and while not repealing the subsidies yet, would have provided Americans with tax credits to help pay for their own coverage. Oh, and the individual and employer mandate penalties would have gone away.

Again, not perfect but clearly a start.

Phase Two of the legislation would have occurred at HHS, where Price was planning to deregulate the health insurance and health care markets, getting rid of many of Obamacare’s rules so that companies could operate more cheaply while competing for health insurance customers.

The bill also left in place rules prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and placing lifetime caps on payouts. And it also preserved the rule allowing children to be covered on their parents’ plan until age 26 – all of which were popular among Americans.

But for now anyway, none of that is going to happen. It looks as though the president has resigned himself to the fact that no repeal-and-replace legislation will be passed anytime soon, leaving Obamacare intact, along with its collapse trajectory. (RELATED: Obamacare collapsing as rates double, exchanges implode: nowhere for Americans to turn)

How many Americans will be bankrupted or be forced to live dangerously without coverage because they can’t afford it in the meantime is anyone’s guess. But you can bet they’re out there.

The worthless pretend media in Washington, along with Democrats and some Republicans, will try to make this look like a Trump failure, but I think that strategy backfires. I think Americans will rightly see this as a congressional failure, not a Trump failure.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Trump supporters lay blame for Obamacare repeal failure at feet of Paul Ryan, GOP lawmakers /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-26-trump-supporters-lay-blame-for-obamacare-repeal-failure-at-feet-of-paul-ryan-gop-lawmakers.htmlv Mon, 27 Mar 2017 03:54:57 +0000 If the Republican #nevertrump establishment’s goal was to damage President Donald J. Trump’s presidency by denying him an early victory in repealing and replacing Obamacare – a core campaign pledge – they failed:  Most Trump supporters are defending the president and blaming the RINO faction of the GOP instead.

As reported by Reuters, Trump supporters are livid over the failure to pass an Obamacare repeal measure, but they are loathe to blame the president himself:

The day after the flaming out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative, his supporters across America were lashing out – at conservatives, at Democrats, at leaders of his Republican Party in Congress.

Only Trump himself was spared their wrath.

Many voters who elected him appeared largely willing to give him a pass on the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, stressing his short time in office.

That said, other supporters were confident that eventually, Trump will deliver on his promise. (RELATED: Read The top 5 biggest Obamacare fails and why Republicans and Trump should try again to repeal and replace.)

“Being a businessman, he’ll not take ‘no’ for an answer,” Tony Nappi, a 71-year-old from Trinity, Florida, told Reuters. “He’ll get the job done.”

Others understood plainly that as president, Trump can only sign legislation that is sent to him by Congress; he can’t, as one person upset with how things turned out put it to Reuters, “wave a magic wand” and get done what he wants to get done.

And while the president has not directly laid blame at the feet at House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, he may have done so in a subtle way. As noted by The National Sentinel, on Saturday morning – the day after the American Health Care Act was pulled by Ryan after GOP leaders realized they would not have enough votes for passage – Trump tweeted out a teaser to followers of his personal account, asking them to watch Fox News’ Judge Janine Pirro’s program Saturday night:

Perhaps not so ironically, Pirro led her show with this declarative statement:

Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill, the one trumpeted to repeal and replace Obamacare, the one that he had seven years to work on, the one he had under lock and key in the basement of Congress, the one that had to be pulled to prevent the embarrassment of not having enough votes to pass.

Later in her opening monologue, Pirro said: “I want to be clear, this is not on President Trump. No one expected a business man to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins and outs of Washington and its legislative process. How would he know which individuals upon which he would be able to rely?”

So it would seem that while Trump was making public statements that he didn’t hold Ryan accountable for the failure, he was subtly sending just the opposite message. There is no other way to read this. (RELATED: Read White House prepared to cast blame on Ryan for failed Obamacare repeal.)

While Trump signaled on Friday that he was ready to move on to tax cuts, Republican rank-and-file members – perhaps already feeling the sting of failure from angry constituents – were quick to note that Obamacare repeal is not a dead letter. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., despite being called out in a separate tweet by the president for his caucus’ failure to support the bill, praised Trump and said that members were already discussing a replacement for the Ryan bill, the Washington Examiner reported.

“To put a stake in it today would not be accurate,” the North Carolina Republican said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

He went on to assure viewers that in the end, “The most valuable player will be Donald Trump on this. He will deliver.”

If not, it’s apparent his supporters won’t be blaming him. They will instead blame those who thwarted him. Learn more at

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Trump assures Americans: “Do not worry” about health care repeal, it will get done /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-26-trump-assures-americans-do-not-worry-about-health-care-repeal-it-will-get-done.htmlv Sun, 26 Mar 2017 16:03:50 +0000 In an attempt to downplay the GOP’s failure to advance an Obamacare repeal and replace measure on Friday, President Donald J. Trump used Twitter to instill in Americans that it will eventually get done.

“Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” he tweeted.

It was a reassuring note after House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled the scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act. It had become apparent that there would not be enough votes in the House to pass it.

“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” Ryan said after pulling the legislation, indicating that for the time being, neither he nor the president would be reintroducing a new bill.

Earlier, reports noted that the president may now shift to tax reform – another major campaign pledge – while allowing Obamacare to implode, which he has long stated is an eventuality.

While Trump’s tweet suggested a bipartisan approach to getting Obamacare repealed at some future point, he and others in his administration laid blame for the law’s failure and the inability to get a reform measure through on Democrats. (RELATED: Read The One Element That Should Be In ANY Obamacare Repeal Is Freedom.)

“I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode.  It is exploding right now.  Many states have big problems — almost all states have big problems,” Trump said Friday after Ryan pulled the bill.

“So Obamacare is exploding. With no Democrat support we couldn’t quite get there,” he said. “So what would be really good, with no Democrat support, is if the Democrats, when it explodes — which it will soon — if they got together with us and got a real healthcare bill. I would be totally up to do it. And I think that’s going to happen. I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare. They own it — 100 percent own it.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer echoed the president’s view that Democrats, once again, must shoulder the responsibility for Obamacare’s broken promises, including higher monthly premiums, higher deductibles, fewer insurer choices and collapsing Obamacare exchanges.

“The message today that is sent is: Democrats own ObamaCare,” Spicer said. “It’s a failing system — skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, and fewer choices. But it’s now squarely in the hands of Democrats. They own this,” he told Fox News’ Martha McCallum.

“Ultimately, I think his view on health care is that this is going to collapse on its own,” Spicer said, noting that the president was “a bit disappointed” not to have gotten anything through. “Democrats and some of these other members are going to come crawling back at some point.”

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but what’s clear is that Obamacare, in general, remains very unpopular as is.

But it’s Washington, and Trump is dealing with politicians, not businessmen and women. The deal he seeks is with people who are not thinking about profits and who are not worried about their own fates. He is dealing with folks who are far more concerned with polling data, media reports and special interest groups.

Still, given the fact that Trump and Republican leaders ran on (and in large part won on) a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, it’s a near certainty that it gets done at some point, with or without Democratic help, though the latter is the most likely of scenarios. (RELATED: Read Now is not the time for conservatives and Trump supporters to panic over Obamacare repeal and replace.)

So, Americans have every right to expect the GOP and the president to go back to the drawing board, come up with something that most factions of Republican lawmakers and the White House can agree on, and start providing relief to the vast majority of Americans negatively affected by Obamacare.

Trump and his team are right though, in reminding the country that the imposition of Obamacare came compliments of the Democratic Party in the first place. They do indeed “own” the law, which means they also own the damage it has caused and will continue to cause to the health care industry.

One of the bitter ironies of all this is that Democrats claim to want to provide health care for all Americans, but a significant number of insured people still skip care because they can’t afford their high deductibles. Keep up with the latest developments in the healthcare standoff at

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.



The one element that should be in ANY Obamacare repeal is freedom /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-24-the-one-element-that-should-be-in-any-obamacare-repeal-is-freedom.htmlv Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:21:07 +0000 As of this writing, it isn’t known whether the American Health Care Act has passed or not, but regardless of what you personally think about the legislation – and President Donald J. Trump’s and Vice President Mike Pence’s support for it – the one element it seems to lack is freedom.

Freedom of choice, mostly. That is, the freedom to have health insurance (or not). The freedom to choose which plan best suits you. The freedom to shop for a plan anywhere in the country. The freedom to choose plans from several private sector insurance companies. And so on.

There is little choice in the AHCA – and that’s mostly what’s wrong with it.

There are some improvements to the bill, but overall, it just doesn’t advance freedom nearly enough. It doesn’t free us from the confines of top-down, big government, one-size-fits-all, overly regulated Obamacare. And any repeal measure should do that. (RELATED: In The Case Of Trump Vs. Congress On Health Care Reform, Bet On The President Every Time)

Because that’s what President Obama and socialist Democrats took away from us when they passed the “Affordable” Care Act (that has become anything but affordable). No matter what problems existed in the health care industry before Obamacare, the primary “reform” contained in the ACA was the federal government’s removal of choice.

Well, the final removal of choice. The government has been interfering in the private health care sector for decades, adding rules and regulations governing everything from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates to insurance company practices. Each new intervention into that market caused health care providers and health insurers to adjust their business practices in favor of Uncle Sam and to the disadvantage of consumers and patients. Each new meddling into the private health care sector resulted in a loss of freedom of choice for nearly all Americans.

Obamacare removed virtually all freedom of choice that did remain. No longer could even young, healthy Americans forego health insurance coverage. Gone were the days when consumers could pick the coverage they wanted, and ignore coverage they didn’t want or didn’t need (like we can still do with automobile insurance). Insurers were forced to provide expensive health coverage to people with preexisting conditions, but were not permitted to bill for that more expensive coverage (so they passed it on to consumers because they had no other choice).

Unless and until consumer choice is placed back into the health care and health insurance markets, no amount of tinkering around the edges of Obamacare, which is what many believe the AHCA actually does, will return to consumers the freedom of choice that is vitally necessary to bolster competition once again, which in turn drives down the price of the product and service.

Consider: One reason why health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket deductibles have risen so dramatically is that in most Obamacare state exchanges, there are very few health insurance company choices. Big insurers like Aetna and Blue Cross are pulling out of the exchanges because they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They are not getting the numbers of consumers Obama and Democrats promised them, and the ones they are getting tend to be sicker. While Democrats continue to lie about how many “choices” there are in the exchanges, Americans who are actually attempting to utilize them know better; they have seen choices disappear, at the same time their monthly premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. (RELATED: Why the big secret behind the GOP’s new Obamacare ‘repeal and replace’ legislation?)

Fortunately, more than a few Republicans – who are in the congressional majority – understand this completely. They have been opposed to “RyanCare” from the get go because they correctly see it as virtually empty legislation that maintains the key elements of choice-killing, health care market-altering Obamacare. And they have rightly concluded that they don’t want their name, or the president’s name, attached to it.

One of them is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has said he opposes the original AHCA legislation because it does nothing to return freedom of choice to consumers. And a House colleague, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., says he is “afraid” Trump could be “a one-term president” if the legislation on the floor passes.

He may be right. Americans who supported Trump and gave Republicans solid majorities in both chambers of Congress sent them there, in part, not to leave the major essence of Obamacare in place, but repeal it and replace it with something that gives them – and the health care market in general – back their freedom of choice.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Rand Paul predicts Ryan-backed Obamacare replacement legislation will be pulled before Thursday vote /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-22-rand-paul-predicts-ryan-backed-obamacare-replacement-legislation-will-be-pulled-before-thursday-vote.htmlv Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:00:35 +0000 Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of a number of GOP lawmakers opposed to the American Health Care Act, has predicted there won’t be enough votes to pass it, causing it to be withdrawn and forcing Republican leaders to start over. The AHCA is the bill touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and backed by President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, that has been proposed as the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Paul – who has dubbed the AHCA “Obamacare Lite,” while other conservatives have dubbed it “RyanCare,” “RINO-Care,” and “Obamacare 2.0” – has been vocally critical of the legislation. The senator notes it does not fully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which is what Republicans and the president promised voters.

He has said that the AHCA, which Ryan has said is merely the first in a three-phase repeal-and-replace effort, leaves in place many of the worst elements of Obamacare. The Ryan-led effort has come under severe criticism from the most conservative lawmakers, many of whom have vowed to oppose it unless major changes are made first. (RELATED: Are #NeverTrump Lawmakers Working To Sabotage Obamacare Repeal So Trump Can’t Take Credit?)

“I think there’s easily 35 ‘no’ votes right now so unless something happens in the next 24 hours, I would predict they pull the bill and start over,” Paul told Breitbart, regarding Republican votes in the House. Currently, there are 237 Republicans in the House compared with 193 Democrats and five vacancies (four of the GOP seats of lawmakers who left to join the Trump administration). In a full House (435 members), a 218-vote majority is needed to advance legislation to the Senate.

Breitbart noted that in order to kill the legislation, just 21 Republican “no” votes are needed.

“I think if conservatives stick together, they will have earned a seat at the table where real negotiation to make this bill an acceptable bill will happen. But it’s interesting what conservatives are doing to change the debate,” said Paul. “We went from keeping the Obamacare taxes for a year—hundreds of billions of dollars—but they’re coming towards us because we’re standing firm. So we have to stick together, and if we do stick together there will be a real negotiation on this.

“The main goal I have is not to pass something that does not fix the situation. If a year from now, insurance rates and premiums are still going through the roof and it’s now a Republican plan it will be a disservice to the president and all of us if we pass something that doesn’t work,” he said.

Earlier, Paul openly questioned whether House Republican leaders were intentionally trying to fool President Trump.

Some changes have been made to the bill, though House conservatives are still not pleased. One such change angered conservatives anew on Tuesday when a provision meant to crack down on illegal aliens receiving federal health benefits was taken out, Reuters reported, adding:

The provision would have allowed the Treasury Department to access data at the Department of Homeland Security to verify that healthcare tax credits went only to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, not to illegal immigrants.

“I am concerned that the bill lacks sufficient safeguards for verifying whether or not an individual applying for health care tax credits is lawfully in this country and eligible to receive them,” said Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., in a statement in which he said he could no longer support the bill.

In the Senate, moderate Republicans like Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have said they are concerned about provisions in the AHCA that would rescind Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, though pulling it would save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis. (RELATED: CBO was wrong over Obamacare sign-ups – or half-right, depending on how you look at it)

Among other issues that have been raised: Under the AHCA, millions of veterans would become ineligible to receive tax credits, the Washington Examiner reported, something that will also likely cause many Republicans who otherwise support the military to vote “no.”

Under the original bill, veterans could get tax credits to help pay for insurance coverage so long as they weren’t already enrolled in a Veterans Affairs health program. But either by design or by accident, staffers struck that language in making changes that say service members could now only qualify for tax credits if they’re not eligible for other government healthcare programs. Chris Jacobs, a healthcare analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told the Washington Examiner that change means “individuals eligible for, but not enrolled in, VA coverage” would not qualify for new insurance subsidies.

“With just the stroke of a pen, some legislative staffer would force millions of veterans to rely on the VA for their healthcare whether they want it or not,” the Washington Examiner reported.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


Trump, GOP leaders looking for way to salvage healthcare reform amid revolt from conservatives /healthcoveragenews/2017-03-22-trump-gop-leaders-looking-for-way-to-salvage-healthcare-reform-amid-revolt-from-conservatives.htmlv Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:59:22 +0000 Almost immediately after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduced the American Health Care Act as the repeal-and-replace legislation for failing Obamacare, he realized he had a problem that would not easily be overcome.

Even before he formally offered up the AHCA, he knew he’d get little-to-no support from congressional Democrats. What he likely did not count on or expect was the amount of vehement opposition he is getting from members of his own party, especially the more conservative faction.

Some complained that it was Ryan’s take it or leave it approach to “selling” the bill. When introducing it to Congress and the media, Ryan said either Republicans were going to repeal and replace Obamacare (with his legislation) or it wouldn’t happen because now is “the closest we’ve ever come” to fulfilling a key campaign promise for virtually every Republican member of Congress (and President Donald J. Trump).

But even Ryan admitted that the AHCA is not the repeal-and-replace measure that all had hoped for. No, he said, repeal-and-replace would have to be done in stages because of the manner in which even a watered-down measure would have to be passed in the Senate. Budget reconciliation, which was used to pass the framework of Obamacare in the first place, only requires a Senate majority, not the 60 votes normally required to end filibusters of legislation. And since Republicans control 52 seats, there would be little Democrats could do to stop it. (RELATED: CBO was wrong over Obamacare sign-ups – or half-right, depending on how you look at it)

Then some Senate Republicans started to bail on the legislation, but not for the same reasons House Republicans are bailing: Some are defending Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, which is only hastening the day when that entitlement becomes unsustainable, and to many a House conservative, that’s the one provision that has to go (because it’s fiscally unsustainable).

What to do?

As reported by The National Sentinel, the president is prepared to do his part to make a deal and get a key campaign promise on the way towards fulfillment:

… President Donald J. Trump seems convinced that he can get a deal done and get something passed that, if not loved universally among Republicans, at least liked well enough among a majority of them.

The Washington Examiner noted further:

Speaking at a rally in Kentucky, Trump said he was ready to work with Republican leaders who support the bill, but also lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Paul opposes the bill, but Trump said he likes Paul “a lot.”

“And I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed, in some form, so that we can pass massive tax reform, which we can’t do until this happens,” Trump said.

“So we gotta get this done before we can do the other,” he explained. “In other words, we have to know what this is before we can do the big tax cuts. We gotta get it done for a lot of reasons, but that’s one of them.” (RELATED: Trump introduces a “repeal and replace” angle for Obamacare)

Last week, Trump said he had been successful in flipping some conservative votes during a White House meeting to discuss the legislation. He said the legislation will boost “bidding by insurance companies like you’ve never seen before” to get rates down for consumers, as well as new designs for health plans that “nobody’s even thought of … to take care of people.”

On Tuesday, Trump traveled to Capitol Hill to make a personal appeal to Republican holdouts, warning them that either they supported the legislation – which is being tweaked to satisfy both conservative and moderate Republicans – or “lose your seat” at the next election, since the promise to repeal Obamacare was part of what helped the GOP build on their congressional majorities and get Trump elected.

During a closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference, Trump reportedly said, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018.”

“This Thursday we have a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare, and this time you’ve actually got someone who will sign the bill,” Trump told them. “I’m asking for your vote.”

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.