We Hear You: Trump Prescribes Pain of Obamacare for Congress

Editor’s note: Fred Lucas’ reporting on a possible move by President Trump to compel Congress to live with Obamacare, and on a surprising U.S. vote at a U.N. human rights gathering, stirred response from The Daily Signal’s audience. We’ve got some of that and more in today’s roundup. Write us at letters@dailysignal.com—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: I have for 30 years of my adult life resented that Congress does not have to live under the laws that they pass upon we the people (“How Trump Could Force Congress and Its Staff to Live Under Obamacare“).  I am just one grateful 74-year-old widow with no clout except God and the brain and heart that he gave me.

I am praying that whatever needs to happen to level the playing field in our governance will come to pass in my lifetime.  Much of my grief is in the apparent fact that most people come to Congress as ordinary citizens of ordinary finances with a heart for this marvelous country, but are quickly corrupted by the money to be made by “getting along and going along.”

Most retire as fabulously wealthy people.  I don’t resent wealth, just what some are willing to do to achieve their wealth.  Many “statesmen” have been turned into “politicians” by money or blackmail from corrupt manipulators inside and outside our government.

I am so very thankful for Fred Lucas and for The Daily Signal, which keeps me informed without having to suffer through the garbage of the manipulative “news” of the day. May God protect all of you who are trying to inform us of the dangers lurking in our government.Iris Chandler 

***

Thank you for Fred Lucas’ interesting and timely reporting on this issue of the Obamacare exemption Congress voted for itself. It is important that people know about the many things that our government legislates or regulates that the public  live with while our own representatives and senators create a loophole for themselves. These exemptions often are extended to include crony corporations or political groups and figures. I will be sharing your article with my friends and family.Cynthia Ziegler

***

Do members of the Senate hate President Trump so bad that they would take it out on the American taxpayers, the people who put him in the White House?

If that is the case, then they should pay out the nose like the rest of us for Obamacare, something that we can’t even use. The only thing we are doing is paying the health insurance companies for people who get health care for free.Debbie Biersdorfer

Making Congress and its staff live with Obamacare would be a great move to speed them up to repeal and replace it. It’s about time for our exempted elected members to wake up and smell the coffee. President Trump needs to fulfill the primary reason he was elected, and he needs to do it now.Mike Briel

***

A move like that could get support across all demographics, and it would be hard for the media to say anything wrong about such an action. And it’s a move the president’s new chief of staff won’t be afraid to support. So hopefully it will get done actually, and not just tweeted about.Angela Mae

***

Members of Congress put their pants on just like the rest of us, and are in some cases not as honest as other Americans. You don’t see any member of Congress in worn-out clothes, driving a beat-up old car, going without food, not having a haircut. Let them get like us and reach in their pockets, not ours, for food, clothes, and car expenses.James Dally

***

Just do it! President Trump is backed by our Constitution on this one. Prove to us, who voted for you, that you are serious about draining the swamp.James A. Bussell

***

Maybe I will eat my words, but given the current attitude of Congress toward Trump, I doubt he will do it. Sorry, but I will believe it when I see it.

We are seven months into the Trump administration and the congressional Republicans haven’t delivered and the Democrats are obstructionists. I hope I have to eat my words. Only time will tell.Steven Grigsby

Sifting the Evidence of Voter Fraud

Dear Daily Signal: Reading Hans von Spakovsky’s commentary, I seriously don’t know how this is even a conversation. Only people who are eligible to vote should be allowed to vote (“New Report Exposes Thousands of Illegal Votes in 2016“).

We don’t hold surprise elections with the exception of special occasions, so if people want to vote they have time to take the steps to be able to. And instead of crying that it discriminates against anyone, how about helping those people get ready to vote? You know, help each other. Seems like a better solution than lip service.

A very small number of illegal votes might not mean much to a national election, but certainly can change local and state elections. And wouldn’t it make sense for the states to want to police their own business, so the federal government doesn’t feel inclined?Rex Ely

***

Gerrymandering is the biggest threat to and corruption of a process of free voting. Stop looking for “fake” threats that are only good for 30-second talking points to your own choirs.Terry Harper

***

This incompetent system is indicative of Big Government and Big Business getting together to rip off the people.

In 2002, Big Government passed the Help America Vote Act, which resulted in its giving Big Business hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to create a software monopoly of state-run voter registration systems that are worthless today. “Motor voter” registration is also a scam where people obtaining a driver’s license are automatically registered to vote.

Return the government to the people by building up local government.Les Gubernatio

***

I would hope we all agree that the integrity of the vote count is an important element in any fair election. But as long as our news media no longer adheres to truthful news reporting, voters aren’t as informed as they need to be to make the best choice among candidates.

Political bias and propaganda flood the airways and serve to confuse voters and suppress the truth. Our nation is divided over many issues, and unless we return to the value system that made this country great in the first place America’s best days are behind us.Wes Potts

***

Anything that invalidates a legitimate vote is serious, be it gerrymandering, duplicate votes, illegal votes, fraudulent votes. Our vote is the citizens’ voice. It is not for illegals, legals (until they become citizens), those with visas, etc. Anyone who obstructs this should be charged, jailed, and tried for treason against America and the American citizen.Frances Arnone

Should Transgender Americans Serve in the Military?

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Jamie Shupe’s commentary, I personally think it’s inexcusable to have gender reassignment surgery offered in the military (“I Was a Transgender Soldier. Gender Dysphoria Poses Real Problems for the Military“). You’re there to do a job. Do the job, and if you want the surgery after discharge, have at it. Otherwise, transgender individuals are as fit to serve as anyone else.Edward Buatois

***

A brilliant commentary on a very complex issue. A real service to our country. Thank you.Leanna M. Cumberland

***

I don’t know anyone who hates the transgendered community. What I hate, and probably the vast majority of Americans hate, is being forced to accept something that we disagree with. When you use the term “hate,” ‘hater,” and so on, you are effectively shutting off any further discussion.Peter Kurilecz

***

I am also a transgender military veteran. Jamie Shupe, you should speak for youself, considering your military experience was unique to you. Serving my country was the greatest honor of my life, as it is for most veterans, including other transgender veterans.Cash Court

***

Allowing transgenders to serve in the military adds another large layer of evaluations to military readiness. The training structure would now have to be capable of evaluating gender dysphoria symptoms in service members. Do we want or need that? Perhaps transgenders could serve in other capacities.James Brokaw

***

It’s not transgenderism, but gender dysphoria. What was once gay pride has morphed into this abnormal LGTBQI bombardment by the left. Now they force it on kindergarten kids, molding a new kind of being, a common talking point in our schools of higher learning.

Replacing traditional values with multiple or same-sex parents, where NAMBLA lobbies to decriminalize child molestation by rebranding it as “soft pedephilia.” If a child is game, then it’s not a crime.

This is the mindset of some really sick people. Our culture now forces us to remove the American flag from our front lawns, and no flag mailboxes are allowed. We’re removing historic Civil War statues from public squares or erasing the names from buildings and roads because a few a**holes find it offensive.

Less than 2 percent of the population claim ownership of this LGTBQI confusion, but they manage to have the mysterious power of affecting our laws.Art Anton

Trump State Department Boosts ‘Nontraditional’ Families

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Fred Lucas’ story on the U.S. vote at the U.N. Human Rights Council, the nuclear family is still the basic social unit of Western civilization (“US Backing for ‘Nontraditional’ Families at UN Conference Raises Eyebrows“).

It is also the basic social unit of all societies that thrive, and it has been that way since the beginning of recorded history. No society has survived more than one generation with the individual as its basic social unit.

It is the family that converts savages (children) into productive citizens, and when the family fails at its task, society is weakened. Historically, Christian law recognized family law as the first order of a healthy society. Spouses were not even allowed, by law, to bear witness against each other in court until the 20th century. Spouses could not be compelled by law to testify against each other until after the middle of the century.

This recognition of the centrality of the family to our culture is something that we should be very reluctant to set aside without much consideration and study. Stating that “it’s not fair” is a playground argument; we need to do better than that.

I cannot understand the argument that recognizing the importance of the nuclear family is somehow an attack on individuals or on single parents. When the family breaks down or cannot hold together, there are often tragic consequences. But that does not mean anything beyond the fact that a good family requires hard work and sacrifice; things that are in short supply in our society today.

There is no reliable evidence and there have been no studies that I have been able to find that support the idea that homosexual couples are effective parents; they may be, but the jury is still out on that one. I do not say that to denigrate loving, homosexual relationships, but just to say the obvious: We are still waiting to see how this works out for the children.

To repeat: Honoring, supporting, and helping to recognize the importance of the nuclear family is most assuredly not an attack on single parents or on nontraditional approaches to child rearing.Bill Tanksley

***

The individual is and always has been the prime bedrock building block of freedom here in the U.S., and this vote at the U.N. conference is consistent with that. But the “traditional family” is and always must remain the prime bedrock organizational unit of the U.S. and every other nation that wants to prosper.

The radical gays have pushed through their radical agenda, the purpose of which is the destruction of the family, not the support of those in their organization who are in need of treatment for their gender dysphoria, and other nontraditional sexual proclivities.

Still, on a world stage in which 1.6 billion uncivilized and ideologically irrational people think it’s perfectly OK to throw gays and other LGBT types off buildings, much less conquer, enslave, and kill every unbeliever for the glory of Allah, I can see this U.N. vote to affirm the primacy of the individual, including LGBT, even if they are somewhat confused, or even mentally ill, as the only real choice our representative had.

But the world stage is not the U.S., and so here at home we must do everything in our power to see that the traditional family is supported at all levels of society and every avenue of public policy.Mike Briggs

***

It’s up to parents to educate their kids on social issues. We can’t expect politicians, even those purporting to be conservative, to back the wishes of the conservative wing of the electorate.

It’s been made clear for the past 30 years that politicians swing whichever way the re-election winds blow. I can tell you this knowing full well it will ruffle some feathers: Ted Cruz would have directed the State Department quite differently.Marcus Junius Brutus

***

The U.N is not a form of government, it is nothing more than a bunch of elites who think their opinions count. If you do a deep research of the U.N. you will find that what they claim as human rights has nothing to do with human rights, and climate change has nothing to do with the environment.Lynne Morris

***

This is not a significant issue. U.N. resolutions carry little teeth in reality, and are symbolic. I suspect the State Department’s stance is based on opposing other governments who would wantonly torture or kill sexual deviants.

I was taught to hate the sin and not the sinner. I have not read the text, but I can understand a vote against a resolution if it were written in a way that tolerates or condones the unjustifiable torture and killing of individuals.James Monaco

When Radicals Use the Census to Achieve Political Ends

Dear Daily Signal: “In traditional Marxism, the division was between the oppressed working class and the oppressing bourgeoisie (middle class),” John Fonte and Mike Gonzalez write in their commentary headlined “Should Left-Wing Activists Like Linda Sarsour Be Allowed to Divide America Through the Census?

Boy, has that changed! But I can’t imagine it ever actually being true. Today, the working class is the middle class. The poor, at least in America, have far too much welfare and far too many government programs available to them, so they often don’t work at all.

Man is designed to work. He’s not fulfilled or even happy when he can’t work.Jeffrey Moore

***

Freedom of speech in North America is thwarted and manipulated. If I were to say, “Go eliminate Linda Sarsour, as she is a threat to this nation,” I probably would be chastised.

Yet Linda Sarsour can boldly command others to go kill President Trump, and she’s able to roam free. I can tell you that should Hillary Clinton and her cronies have been in the White House, such would not be uttered by Ms. Sarsour. A sour case indeed.

If the populace does not wake up to the stealth infiltration of Islamist-dedicated militants, it will not be a pleasant outcome in a not too distant future. This nauseating mouthpiece needs to be sent back to where she belongs, and it’s not anywhere in North America.Peter Riden

***

If we do not get back to being “Americans” soon, persons like this soon will have our nation divided into warring factions. And that will be the real end to the America that the entire world needs to exist, with freedom and the chance to live a good life.

I remember the years when history told of immigrants falling to their knees and kissing the ground when they arrived in New York. What happened to those kind of immigrants?James Barrett Jr.

***

What really needs to be done is remove questions about race and religion in the U.S. census. Imagine how much this would affect lawmakers and policies for the good.Matthew Rensen

The post We Hear You: Trump Prescribes Pain of Obamacare for Congress appeared first on The Daily Signal.

We Hear You: Trump Prescribes Pain of Obamacare for Congress

Editor’s note: Fred Lucas’ reporting on a possible move by President Trump to compel Congress to live with Obamacare, and on a surprising U.S. vote at a U.N. human rights gathering, stirred response from The Daily Signal’s audience. We’ve got some of that and more in today’s roundup. Write us at letters@dailysignal.com—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: I have for 30 years of my adult life resented that Congress does not have to live under the laws that they pass upon we the people (“How Trump Could Force Congress and Its Staff to Live Under Obamacare“).  I am just one grateful 74-year-old widow with no clout except God and the brain and heart that he gave me.

I am praying that whatever needs to happen to level the playing field in our governance will come to pass in my lifetime.  Much of my grief is in the apparent fact that most people come to Congress as ordinary citizens of ordinary finances with a heart for this marvelous country, but are quickly corrupted by the money to be made by “getting along and going along.”

Most retire as fabulously wealthy people.  I don’t resent wealth, just what some are willing to do to achieve their wealth.  Many “statesmen” have been turned into “politicians” by money or blackmail from corrupt manipulators inside and outside our government.

I am so very thankful for Fred Lucas and for The Daily Signal, which keeps me informed without having to suffer through the garbage of the manipulative “news” of the day. May God protect all of you who are trying to inform us of the dangers lurking in our government.Iris Chandler 

***

Thank you for Fred Lucas’ interesting and timely reporting on this issue of the Obamacare exemption Congress voted for itself. It is important that people know about the many things that our government legislates or regulates that the public  live with while our own representatives and senators create a loophole for themselves. These exemptions often are extended to include crony corporations or political groups and figures. I will be sharing your article with my friends and family.Cynthia Ziegler

***

Do members of the Senate hate President Trump so bad that they would take it out on the American taxpayers, the people who put him in the White House?

If that is the case, then they should pay out the nose like the rest of us for Obamacare, something that we can’t even use. The only thing we are doing is paying the health insurance companies for people who get health care for free.Debbie Biersdorfer

Making Congress and its staff live with Obamacare would be a great move to speed them up to repeal and replace it. It’s about time for our exempted elected members to wake up and smell the coffee. President Trump needs to fulfill the primary reason he was elected, and he needs to do it now.Mike Briel

***

A move like that could get support across all demographics, and it would be hard for the media to say anything wrong about such an action. And it’s a move the president’s new chief of staff won’t be afraid to support. So hopefully it will get done actually, and not just tweeted about.Angela Mae

***

Members of Congress put their pants on just like the rest of us, and are in some cases not as honest as other Americans. You don’t see any member of Congress in worn-out clothes, driving a beat-up old car, going without food, not having a haircut. Let them get like us and reach in their pockets, not ours, for food, clothes, and car expenses.James Dally

***

Just do it! President Trump is backed by our Constitution on this one. Prove to us, who voted for you, that you are serious about draining the swamp.James A. Bussell

***

Maybe I will eat my words, but given the current attitude of Congress toward Trump, I doubt he will do it. Sorry, but I will believe it when I see it.

We are seven months into the Trump administration and the congressional Republicans haven’t delivered and the Democrats are obstructionists. I hope I have to eat my words. Only time will tell.Steven Grigsby

Sifting the Evidence of Voter Fraud

Dear Daily Signal: Reading Hans von Spakovsky’s commentary, I seriously don’t know how this is even a conversation. Only people who are eligible to vote should be allowed to vote (“New Report Exposes Thousands of Illegal Votes in 2016“).

We don’t hold surprise elections with the exception of special occasions, so if people want to vote they have time to take the steps to be able to. And instead of crying that it discriminates against anyone, how about helping those people get ready to vote? You know, help each other. Seems like a better solution than lip service.

A very small number of illegal votes might not mean much to a national election, but certainly can change local and state elections. And wouldn’t it make sense for the states to want to police their own business, so the federal government doesn’t feel inclined?Rex Ely

***

Gerrymandering is the biggest threat to and corruption of a process of free voting. Stop looking for “fake” threats that are only good for 30-second talking points to your own choirs.Terry Harper

***

This incompetent system is indicative of Big Government and Big Business getting together to rip off the people.

In 2002, Big Government passed the Help America Vote Act, which resulted in its giving Big Business hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to create a software monopoly of state-run voter registration systems that are worthless today. “Motor voter” registration is also a scam where people obtaining a driver’s license are automatically registered to vote.

Return the government to the people by building up local government.Les Gubernatio

***

I would hope we all agree that the integrity of the vote count is an important element in any fair election. But as long as our news media no longer adheres to truthful news reporting, voters aren’t as informed as they need to be to make the best choice among candidates.

Political bias and propaganda flood the airways and serve to confuse voters and suppress the truth. Our nation is divided over many issues, and unless we return to the value system that made this country great in the first place America’s best days are behind us.Wes Potts

***

Anything that invalidates a legitimate vote is serious, be it gerrymandering, duplicate votes, illegal votes, fraudulent votes. Our vote is the citizens’ voice. It is not for illegals, legals (until they become citizens), those with visas, etc. Anyone who obstructs this should be charged, jailed, and tried for treason against America and the American citizen.Frances Arnone

Should Transgender Americans Serve in the Military?

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Jamie Shupe’s commentary, I personally think it’s inexcusable to have gender reassignment surgery offered in the military (“I Was a Transgender Soldier. Gender Dysphoria Poses Real Problems for the Military“). You’re there to do a job. Do the job, and if you want the surgery after discharge, have at it. Otherwise, transgender individuals are as fit to serve as anyone else.Edward Buatois

***

A brilliant commentary on a very complex issue. A real service to our country. Thank you.Leanna M. Cumberland

***

I don’t know anyone who hates the transgendered community. What I hate, and probably the vast majority of Americans hate, is being forced to accept something that we disagree with. When you use the term “hate,” ‘hater,” and so on, you are effectively shutting off any further discussion.Peter Kurilecz

***

I am also a transgender military veteran. Jamie Shupe, you should speak for youself, considering your military experience was unique to you. Serving my country was the greatest honor of my life, as it is for most veterans, including other transgender veterans.Cash Court

***

Allowing transgenders to serve in the military adds another large layer of evaluations to military readiness. The training structure would now have to be capable of evaluating gender dysphoria symptoms in service members. Do we want or need that? Perhaps transgenders could serve in other capacities.James Brokaw

***

It’s not transgenderism, but gender dysphoria. What was once gay pride has morphed into this abnormal LGTBQI bombardment by the left. Now they force it on kindergarten kids, molding a new kind of being, a common talking point in our schools of higher learning.

Replacing traditional values with multiple or same-sex parents, where NAMBLA lobbies to decriminalize child molestation by rebranding it as “soft pedephilia.” If a child is game, then it’s not a crime.

This is the mindset of some really sick people. Our culture now forces us to remove the American flag from our front lawns, and no flag mailboxes are allowed. We’re removing historic Civil War statues from public squares or erasing the names from buildings and roads because a few a**holes find it offensive.

Less than 2 percent of the population claim ownership of this LGTBQI confusion, but they manage to have the mysterious power of affecting our laws.Art Anton

Trump State Department Boosts ‘Nontraditional’ Families

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Fred Lucas’ story on the U.S. vote at the U.N. Human Rights Council, the nuclear family is still the basic social unit of Western civilization (“US Backing for ‘Nontraditional’ Families at UN Conference Raises Eyebrows“).

It is also the basic social unit of all societies that thrive, and it has been that way since the beginning of recorded history. No society has survived more than one generation with the individual as its basic social unit.

It is the family that converts savages (children) into productive citizens, and when the family fails at its task, society is weakened. Historically, Christian law recognized family law as the first order of a healthy society. Spouses were not even allowed, by law, to bear witness against each other in court until the 20th century. Spouses could not be compelled by law to testify against each other until after the middle of the century.

This recognition of the centrality of the family to our culture is something that we should be very reluctant to set aside without much consideration and study. Stating that “it’s not fair” is a playground argument; we need to do better than that.

I cannot understand the argument that recognizing the importance of the nuclear family is somehow an attack on individuals or on single parents. When the family breaks down or cannot hold together, there are often tragic consequences. But that does not mean anything beyond the fact that a good family requires hard work and sacrifice; things that are in short supply in our society today.

There is no reliable evidence and there have been no studies that I have been able to find that support the idea that homosexual couples are effective parents; they may be, but the jury is still out on that one. I do not say that to denigrate loving, homosexual relationships, but just to say the obvious: We are still waiting to see how this works out for the children.

To repeat: Honoring, supporting, and helping to recognize the importance of the nuclear family is most assuredly not an attack on single parents or on nontraditional approaches to child rearing.Bill Tanksley

***

The individual is and always has been the prime bedrock building block of freedom here in the U.S., and this vote at the U.N. conference is consistent with that. But the “traditional family” is and always must remain the prime bedrock organizational unit of the U.S. and every other nation that wants to prosper.

The radical gays have pushed through their radical agenda, the purpose of which is the destruction of the family, not the support of those in their organization who are in need of treatment for their gender dysphoria, and other nontraditional sexual proclivities.

Still, on a world stage in which 1.6 billion uncivilized and ideologically irrational people think it’s perfectly OK to throw gays and other LGBT types off buildings, much less conquer, enslave, and kill every unbeliever for the glory of Allah, I can see this U.N. vote to affirm the primacy of the individual, including LGBT, even if they are somewhat confused, or even mentally ill, as the only real choice our representative had.

But the world stage is not the U.S., and so here at home we must do everything in our power to see that the traditional family is supported at all levels of society and every avenue of public policy.Mike Briggs

***

It’s up to parents to educate their kids on social issues. We can’t expect politicians, even those purporting to be conservative, to back the wishes of the conservative wing of the electorate.

It’s been made clear for the past 30 years that politicians swing whichever way the re-election winds blow. I can tell you this knowing full well it will ruffle some feathers: Ted Cruz would have directed the State Department quite differently.Marcus Junius Brutus

***

The U.N is not a form of government, it is nothing more than a bunch of elites who think their opinions count. If you do a deep research of the U.N. you will find that what they claim as human rights has nothing to do with human rights, and climate change has nothing to do with the environment.Lynne Morris

***

This is not a significant issue. U.N. resolutions carry little teeth in reality, and are symbolic. I suspect the State Department’s stance is based on opposing other governments who would wantonly torture or kill sexual deviants.

I was taught to hate the sin and not the sinner. I have not read the text, but I can understand a vote against a resolution if it were written in a way that tolerates or condones the unjustifiable torture and killing of individuals.James Monaco

When Radicals Use the Census to Achieve Political Ends

Dear Daily Signal: “In traditional Marxism, the division was between the oppressed working class and the oppressing bourgeoisie (middle class),” John Fonte and Mike Gonzalez write in their commentary headlined “Should Left-Wing Activists Like Linda Sarsour Be Allowed to Divide America Through the Census?

Boy, has that changed! But I can’t imagine it ever actually being true. Today, the working class is the middle class. The poor, at least in America, have far too much welfare and far too many government programs available to them, so they often don’t work at all.

Man is designed to work. He’s not fulfilled or even happy when he can’t work.Jeffrey Moore

***

Freedom of speech in North America is thwarted and manipulated. If I were to say, “Go eliminate Linda Sarsour, as she is a threat to this nation,” I probably would be chastised.

Yet Linda Sarsour can boldly command others to go kill President Trump, and she’s able to roam free. I can tell you that should Hillary Clinton and her cronies have been in the White House, such would not be uttered by Ms. Sarsour. A sour case indeed.

If the populace does not wake up to the stealth infiltration of Islamist-dedicated militants, it will not be a pleasant outcome in a not too distant future. This nauseating mouthpiece needs to be sent back to where she belongs, and it’s not anywhere in North America.Peter Riden

***

If we do not get back to being “Americans” soon, persons like this soon will have our nation divided into warring factions. And that will be the real end to the America that the entire world needs to exist, with freedom and the chance to live a good life.

I remember the years when history told of immigrants falling to their knees and kissing the ground when they arrived in New York. What happened to those kind of immigrants?James Barrett Jr.

***

What really needs to be done is remove questions about race and religion in the U.S. census. Imagine how much this would affect lawmakers and policies for the good.Matthew Rensen

The post We Hear You: Trump Prescribes Pain of Obamacare for Congress appeared first on The Daily Signal.

How House Conservatives Plan to Revive Obamacare Repeal, and Why It Could Work

It’s time to “put the screws” to Republican lawmakers who promised to repeal Obamacare, one House member says, and that’s why he supports reviving a successful 2015 attempt to get rid of the health care law.

“We certainly can’t give up,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

Gaetz was explaining why he decided to back a small caucus of House conservatives in their strategy to force a floor vote on a bill mirroring the Obamacare repeal passed in December 2015.

The House Freedom Caucus announced Friday its plan to collect the 218 signatures required on a “discharge petition” to pull that legislation out of committee.

The Daily Signal heard from eight House members on how they stand on the strategy.

“I signed the discharge petition because the things we have done so far to appease moderates in our party haven’t worked,” Gaetz, who is not a member of the Freedom Caucus, said in the interview. “So, maybe we should take a conservative approach going forward. We certainly can’t give up.”

The 2015 bill, passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by President Barack Obama, contained repeal of key Obamacare provisions, including the expansion of Medicaid benefits and almost all of the health care law’s tax increases.

The bill also repealed the law’s  insurance mandates for individuals and employers as well and defunded defunded Planned Parenthood.

When Republican majorities in the House and the Senate voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015, Obama was sure to veto the bill, and did, Gaetz noted.

The Florida Republican said there is no reason House and Senate Republicans shouldn’t be able to do the same in 2017, when President Donald Trump is committed to sign the legislation:

There is this theory both in the House and in the Senate that the legislation that everyone has previously voted for to repeal Obamacare would not get the votes on the floor of either body. It’s my view that the  ‘I was for it before I was against it’ political narrative has proven to be unsuccessful. And so I want to put the screws to the members of my party who seem to only want to support repealing Obamacare  when they don’t think it will actually happen.

Not a single Republican voted for final passage of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

Whether the revived 2015 repeal bill passes in the Senate is not the point, Gaetz said.

“These days it’s reasonable to be skeptical that a Mother’s Day resolution could pass the Senate,” he said, adding:

But that shouldn’t stop our work in the House. I mean we have a Senate that is not functional today. So, we only have two options: Raise the white flag and give up, or keep fighting. This is a cogent strategy to keep fighting, and I’m for it.

Trump has shared his frustration, including over Twitter, about Republicans’ inability to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of GOP lawmakers in the House, told The Daily Signal in an interview that he is optimistic the petition to discharge the 2015 repeal bill will succeed.

I have no problem leading … as we continue to put pressure on the Senate from every angle possible,” Walker said. “And hopefully at some point, this could free things up enough; there’s enough pressure coming from both Republicans in Congress and people back home to get this thing done.”

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal that he will sign the discharge petition upon his return from the August recess.

“We cannot afford to lose momentum, and I refuse to give up on our commitments,” Hice said.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., a Freedom Caucus member, said in an interview that support for the discharge petition reaches outside the caucus of more than 30 House conservatives.

“It’s not only the Freedom Caucus that supports it, but the chairman of the Republican Study Committee also announced that he’s supporting the discharge petition,” Harris told The Daily Signal, referring to Walker. “I think we should keep the position publicly that we support that repeal, just like we did in 2015.”

Harris said he is not as confident the bill would clear the Senate, but it is important that the House stay on track to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“I don’t think the Senate will take it up, to be honest with you, but I think the American people deserve to know what the House position is,” Harris said. “I think we should keep taking some action on health care repeal and reform until we get it.”

Robert Moffit, a senior health policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that lawmakers should in essence pass the 2015 repeal bill again.

“For seven years, congressional Republicans promised that they would repeal and replace Obamacare,” Moffit said:

In 2016, Heritage proposed that Congress replicate the previous repeal bill that President Obama vetoed, and then begin to enact, through regular order, in a step-by-step process, policies that would reduce health insurance costs for millions of Americans, expand their choice of coverage options, and allow the people of the states, through their elected representatives, to make the rules for their own insurance markets. A promise is a promise.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, another member of the Freedom Caucus, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal that this is the “minimum” the House can do.

“Every Republican in the House promised to vote to repeal Obamacare,” Gohmert said, adding:

We did it when Barack Obama was president. We should, at a minimum, do the same thing with a president who will actually sign it. Since the Senate passed the exact same bill that was vetoed, we need to keep pushing the same bill back to the Senate until they’re either compelled to vote for it because of their conscience, or until their constituents compel them to come home and let someone else keep that promise.

Gohmert said he will sign the petition when he returns to Washington.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said he would do the same.

“Being back in my district for the August recess, I’m reminded as much as ever that my constituents are disappointed that we haven’t fulfilled the key Republican promise that has been made for several election cycles in a row to repeal Obamacare,” Banks, who represents northeastern Indiana,  said in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding:

So that’s what motivates me to be supportive of this effort. … My constituents from my district have been waiting for this for too long  for a vote on repealing Obamacare and that’s why I intend to sign the discharge petition when we get back to Washington.

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said he “wholeheartedly” supports the strategy. In a statement given to The Daily Signal, Yoho said:

This will force House leadership to advance the repeal of the ACA [Affordable Care Act] so that we can get rid of the failed Obamacare law once and for all. Then Republicans and Democrats can finally come together to fix health care for the American people.

Count him in, said Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., because lawmakers should be consistent.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to keep our promises,” Biggs told The Daily Signal, adding:

This is one where you can’t just vote for something when it doesn’t count and you know it’s not going to count. This is being genuine and being real, and so that’s why I think it’s appropriate and I think it’s a good idea.

The post How House Conservatives Plan to Revive Obamacare Repeal, and Why It Could Work appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Obamacare Insurer Lost $57.6 Million in First Half of 2017

Oscar Insurance Corp. is hemorrhaging money on the Obamacare state exchanges, posting a $57.6 million loss in the first half of 2017.

Oscar is a health insurance startup that primarily sells Obamacare insurance plans, but the company has consistently had trouble making its business profitable. The company lost $57.6 million thus far in 2017 in Texas, New York, and California, down from an $83 million loss in the first half of 2016.

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To mitigate some of its 2016 losses, Oscar, like many other health insurance providers, reduced its exposure to the Obamacare state exchanges in 2017. The company raised premiums and lowered the number of doctors and hospitals within its network. Oscar does plan to expand offerings in more states in 2018, citing plans to enter the Ohio, New Jersey, and Tennessee marketplaces.

Major health insurance providers, like Aetna, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield, have totally exited, or greatly reduced their participation in, the Obamacare exchanges. In the states where insurance companies remain, they are planning to raise premiums as high as double-digit percentages.

Insurance providers are raising premiums for two reasons: companies are continuously finding it difficult to enroll enough healthy individuals in the marketplace to offset the costs, and they face a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not the Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress will continue paying out Obamacare subsidies, like cost-sharing reductions.

Another interesting phenomenon is that, as insurers exit the Obamacare marketplace, they almost immediately profit.

For example, UnitedHealth Group’s quarterly profit skyrocketed after the insurance provider drastically downsized its participation in the Obamacare exchanges.

The company’s profit rose by 35 percent in the first quarter of 2017, and expanded nearly every aspect of its operation, including its participation in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans.

Following what amounted to a $475 million loss from participating in the exchanges in 2015, UnitedHealth announced in April 2016 that it would back out of all but a “handful” in 2017. The group expected to lose as much as $800 million in 2016.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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House Conservatives Move to Revive Obamacare Repeal

The House’s most conservative caucus hopes to force a vote on a clean Obamacare repeal bill in coming weeks through a rare congressional procedure.

The House Freedom Caucus, chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., will encourage members to sign a “discharge petition” allowing a bill similar to the December 2015 repeal of Obamacare—which passed both the House and Senate but was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama—to proceed to a floor vote.

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If the petition receives 218 signatures, it will pull a March bill identical to the 2015 repeal of the Affordable Care Act out of committee and straight to a floor vote, a spokeswoman for Meadows said.

The parliamentary rule bypasses obstacles awaiting other Obamacare repeal efforts, in effect resurrecting the 2015 repeal legislation.

The petition, filed July 19 by Rep. Thomas Garrett, R-Va., and 24 other Freedom Caucus members, “discharges” the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health of its duty to consider the bill in full.

Garrett’s petition to revive the clean repeal bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, had to spend a certain number of days in the House Committee on Rules before it could collect signatures. That mandatory waiting period has expired, so the Freedom Caucus planned to begin collecting signatures after the House convened Friday in procedural session.

Several caucus members returned to Washington to sign the petition, and “over the recess we’ll be encouraging Republican colleagues to come sign on,” the Meadows spokeswoman said.

Assuming the petition can garner 218 signatures, it still would need to survive a House floor vote and the sharply divided Senate, which failed to pass a so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare in July, before it could become law.

While many in Congress have said it’s time to move on to other Republican priorities such as tax reform, immigration, and infrastructure, President Donald Trump is still pressing for a win on health care reform.

Trump tweeted Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should get “back to work” on repealing and replacing Obamacare, passing tax reform, and approving infrastructure spending.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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How the Latest GOP Health Care Bill Stacks Up

After last month’s disappointing failure to roll back Obamacare’s damage, senators are now reflecting on how best to proceed.

One approach reportedly under consideration is a bill put together by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; and Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Relief from Obamacare includes three major elements: regulatory relief, financing reform through tax cuts, and Medicaid reform. It is critical that Congress act on these issues—every day that goes by that Congress does not repeal Obamacare hurts Americans and further damages our health system.

However, many needed reforms are outside the scope of the current legislative effort, which is limited by the constraints of the congressional budget reconciliation process.

Consequently, just like the bills that were passed by the House but failed in the Senate, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill falls short of fully repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a new system that supports patients and doctors.

We’ve been keeping track of how the various bills under consideration measure against the three major elements of regulatory relief, tax cuts, and Medicaid reform. Our updated chart shows how the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill compares to the other bills.

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill incorporates a number of provisions contained in the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act—specifically, those that provide regulatory relief, eliminate the individual and employer mandate penalties, and make it easier for states to waive federal insurance mandates, thus restoring their authority over their insurance markets.

Those provisions would help reduce insurance premiums and promote access to insurance in the short run.

Like the Better Care Reconciliation Act and the House-passed bill, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill would reform the federal financing of state Medicaid programs to help refocus Medicaid on those most in need.

Also like those bills, it would expand health savings accounts to make it easier for middle-income and upper-income families to save for routine health costs and pay premiums.

However, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill has major defects in a couple of key areas.

First, it doesn’t repeal all of Obamacare’s taxes, including two that directly drive up health care costs—the health insurance premium tax and pharmaceutical tax.

Second, it takes policy in the wrong direction by spending the money from the Obamacare taxes on a new welfare block grant program to states. This means it just changes which bureaucrats are micromanaging people’s health care (state instead of federal).

The better approach would be to enact policies that directly empower patients by giving them the opportunity and means to buy the health plan that best meets their needs—instead of letting bureaucracies and special interests decide how those tax dollars are spent.

The post How the Latest GOP Health Care Bill Stacks Up appeared first on The Daily Signal.

How States Can Get Exemptions From Obamacare’s Rules

The Senate’s failure to pass even a watered-down version of health care reform was compounded by its decision to leave Washington rather than finish the job.

At this juncture, the nation’s governors and state legislators should use every legal means available to them to reform their health insurance markets to the best of their ability and to reduce their citizens’ health insurance costs.

The Cost Crisis

Federal regulation of state health insurance markets, which contributes directly to higher premium costs, has been a disaster. Enrollees are hammered by double-digit premium increases and deductibles annually climbing into many thousands of dollars.

While lower income persons are largely insulated from these rate shocks because they are heavily subsidized, approximately 10 million middle-class persons in the individual markets must face these costs directly—without even the benefit of tax relief they’d get if they got insurance through an employer.

In some states, insurance costs are so high that enrolling in coverage is akin to financing a second mortgage.

Inevitably, these explosive cost increases will encourage more persons to drop their coverage. Indeed, a recent Heritage Foundation analysis shows a decline of 583,000 persons enrolled in the individual market in 2016, indicating that Obamacare may be shifting from “insuring the uninsured to un-insuring the previously insured.”

The Waiver Option

Arguably, Obamacare’s biggest single insurance policy change has been the massive transfer of regulatory authority over health insurance markets from the states to the federal government.

Beginning this year, however, state officials can take advantage of Obamacare’s Section 1332, and apply to the secretary of health and human services for a five-year waiver from 11 statutory requirements of the national health law.

Innovative state officials can pursue new policy options and begin the process of restructuring their health insurance markets. In submitting their applications to the Department of Health and Human Services, state officials should go as far as they can to undo Obamacare’s damage

Areas of Exemption

States can get Health and Human Services waivers from the highly unpopular individual and employer mandates and their tax penalties.

It is the federal health insurance rules, however, where states can seek the biggest structural changes. For example, they can get waivers that would allow them to redefine a “qualified health plan” in the individual and small group markets.

States could also get waivers from a mandate that’s one of the biggest drivers behind premium increases—the 10 categories of federally mandated health benefits (known as “essential health benefits”)—and the actuarial value mandate that specifies the levels of coverage health plans must offer.

The states can also get waivers from the rules governing health insurance exchanges, requirements governing the risk pooling, and the administration and functions of the exchanges.

State officials can also use waivers to make crucial changes in the financing of health insurance within their health insurance exchanges, such as the eligibility and rules for cost-sharing subsidies and the so-called “premium tax credits.”

For example, they can alter the payment amounts, the benchmarks for setting the payments, and change the rules concerning family size and income eligibility.

Coping With Limitations

When the Senate recently abandoned health reform legislation, it also jettisoned an amendment easing the process for state officials to secure a Section 1332 waiver.

Notwithstanding the greater difficulty under current law, state officials, seeking a waiver, can still make progress in reducing Obamacare’s regulatory costs on the individual and small group markets. They can also improve, to some extent, the functioning of the Obamacare exchanges within their state borders.

Under current law, state officials offering alternatives must meet certain statutory conditions.

First, under current law, the state health insurance alternatives must enroll as many persons in coverage as Obamacare. The good news for state officials is that this condition is getting easier and easier to meet, since Obamacare coverage projections have routinely fallen far below expectations.

The Congressional Budget Office projections, for example, have been laughably inaccurate. State officials, therefore, should have little trouble meeting Obamacare’s enrollment levels.

Second, state alternatives must meet Obamacare’s standards for “comprehensive” coverage and cost-sharing requirements. While these standards pose more of a challenge, the Department of Health and Human Services also has the administrative authority to interpret and apply these standards.

State officials should be mindful of the fact that administrative agencies, assuming that their rules are reasonable, legally enjoy a privileged position in their interpretation of the rules that they promulgate and apply.

In Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), the Supreme Court ruled that courts should defer to an agency’s interpretation of the law in issuing regulations unless that interpretation is unreasonable.

Third, the state alternatives must not contribute to an increase in the deficit. For conservative governors and legislators, this should be no obstacle.

In 2010, Congress enacted Obamacare on a narrow partisan basis and in the teeth of popular opposition. The national health law epitomizes Washington liberals’ agenda of central planning and bureaucratic control. Its negative consequences were predictable from the very beginning.

The millions of Americans who voted for change, and expected change in federal health policy, are justly angry and frustrated at the poor performance of the Senate.

The good news is that we have a federal system of government, where the people can act through their governors and state legislators. Time for state officials to step up.

The post How States Can Get Exemptions From Obamacare’s Rules appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Here Are 7 Implications of Ending Obamacare’s Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments

In the wake of Congress’ failure to pass Obamacare repeal and replace legislation, the Trump administration is reportedly debating whether to stop paying Obamacare’s “cost-sharing reduction” subsidies to health insurers.

Those payments are the subject of a lawsuit brought two years ago by the House of Representatives arguing that the Obama administration lacked authority to pay the subsidies because Congress had not appropriated funds for that purpose.

Last year, a federal judged ruled in favor of the House and enjoined the executive branch to cease making further payments until Congress enacted an appropriation.

However, the judge then stayed her injunction while the case was being appealed by the Obama administration.

So, rather than pursuing the Obama administration’s appeal of the case, the Trump administration could instead accept the court’s ruling and simply stop paying the subsidies.

For qualifying enrollees, these subsidies serve to lower what they spend out of pocket (through deductibles and copayments) for their medical care and increase the share paid by their insurance plans. To cover those additional costs, insurers need to charge higher premiums.

However, Obamacare instructs insurers to keep the face premium amount the same, while promising to pay the insurer a back door subsidy equal to the extra cost.

Generally, to qualify for cost-sharing reductions, an enrollee must have an income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level and purchase a silver-level plan through an Obamacare exchange.

The one exception is for members of federally recognized Indian tribes with household incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level, who qualify to have cost-sharing reduction subsidies applied to any plan they purchase through an exchange.

A decision by the Trump administration to stop paying these subsidies would have a number of implications.

Implication 1: The decision would affect only subsidized plans sold in the exchange market, as those are the only plans that qualify for cost-sharing reductions. It would have no effect on an insurer that only sells plans off the exchange, nor would it affect customers buying unsubsidized coverage either on or off the exchanges.

Implication 2: As only silver-level plans qualify for cost-sharing reductions, it would also not affect customers buying plans at other levels of coverage (bronze, gold, or platinum) either on or off the exchange.

Implication 3: Based on the most recent data, the number of affected individuals (those currently receiving cost-sharing reductions for their coverage) would be about 5.8 million.

By comparison, there are another 11.2 million people with individual market coverage who do not qualify for cost-sharing reductions, and would be unaffected by the change. Indeed, at least 9 million of them also don’t qualify for the Obamacare premium tax credits, and thus get no subsidies at all for their coverage.

Implication 4: Even if the subsidies were not being paid, insurers offering coverage in the Obamacare exchanges would still be required by law to reduce cost-sharing amounts for qualified enrollees. However, insurers could adjust for the loss of the subsidies by charging higher premiums.

Indeed, the government’s current monthly advance payments of the subsidies to an insurer are calculated as set percentages of the premium charged by the insurer for the standard version of the plan. In other words, the government already functionally treats these payments as extra premiums—and they could just as easily be charged up front by increasing the base premium by the same amount.

Implication 5: Because premiums are set in contracts for the length of the plan year, insurers couldn’t increase enrollees’ premiums immediately—that would have to wait until the next plan year.

Thus, whether insurers would incur losses due to discontinuation of the subsidies would depend on when the subsidies ended. Insurers would avoid any losses if the administration ended the subsidies effective with the start of a new plan year and announced the policy change while insurers still had time to adjust their future premium rates.

Implication 6: Taxpayers would pick up almost all of the additional premium cost. That is because the affected enrollees also qualify for premium tax credit subsidies that limit how much of their income they pay in premiums.

For instance, this year a single individual with income at 250 percent of the federal poverty level (the maximum income to qualify for cost-sharing reductions) must pay $202 a month for coverage, with the Obamacare tax credit paying the portion of the premium (if any) above that amount.

Yet, among the 40 states using the federal exchange, there are only 138 counties (in 10 states) where a silver plan premium for even a 21-year-old is less than $202 a month. In other words, for the vast majority of affected enrollees, the premium for their coverage is already greater than their required contribution.

Consequently, any increase in premiums (for whatever reason) simply results in a dollar-for-dollar increase in the tax credit subsidies paying for the share of the premium above the enrollee’s required contribution.

Implication 7: Continuing these subsidies will not help stabilize the broader individual market because the cost-sharing reductions apply only to plans purchased through the Obamacare exchanges.

While eliminating cost-sharing reduction subsidies might induce some insurers to abandon the exchanges, they simply aren’t a factor in insurer decisions about offering individual market coverage outside of the exchanges, where they don’t apply.

For the Trump administration, the biggest consideration is one of timing. Specifically, the administration could end the subsidies with minimal disruption, but only if: 1) it made the change effective with the start of a new plan year, and 2) it announced the change before insurers finalized their premiums for the new plan year.

Given that insurer exchange participation contracts and premiums for plan year 2018 need to be finalized by the end of September, the administration effectively has a decision window of about one month.

For Congress, the most important thing is to recognize that funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies—as many are now calling for—would prop up the subsidized Obamacare exchange market, but would do absolutely nothing to stabilize the broader, unsubsidized individual market.

What is instead needed to stabilize the unsubsidized market is the removal of Obamacare’s cost-increasing insurance mandates and misguided regulations. To fix that Obamacare-caused damage and lower the cost of insurance, Congress will need to make other policy reforms.

The post Here Are 7 Implications of Ending Obamacare’s Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Ben Shapiro, Cenk Uygur Lock Horns on Health Care Bills

Ben Shapiro and Cenk Uygur got to the heart of the health care disagreements between conservatives and liberals in front of 3,000 people in Pasadena, Calif.

The two pundits debated Congress’ recent attempts at health care legislation at Politicon 2017, an annual nonpartisan gathering aimed to bring together rising political figures.

Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, a conservative news outlet, and Uygur is host of “The Young Turks,” an online talk show focused on progressive politics.

The moderator began the July 30 exchange by asking Shapiro his opinions on the Senate’s failed “skinny repeal,” Republicans’ most recent attempt to get rid of Obamacare, formally called the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m wildly disappointed with the entire [Republican] party. The fact is that we were promised a full repeal of Obamacare; they did not even attempt to pursue a full repeal of Obamacare,” Shapiro said.

This sentiment echoed others in the conservative movement, including Heritage Action for America CEO Mike Needham, who evaluated the skinny repeal July 27 for The Daily Signal.

“While details remain sparse, no one should mistake this last-minute effort for being the culmination of Republicans’ seven-year promise to repeal and ultimately replace Obamacare,” Needham wrote, adding that “conservatives must continue to fight for more freedom, lower premiums, and less government.”

Uygur argued that Obamacare doesn’t do enough to control increases for health insurance premiums. More regulation is needed to control such negative effects, he said.

“Obamacare is not nearly enough,” Ugur said. “There are a number of issues that we had as progressives with it, including lack of price controls. You left it in the hands of private insurance and … they’re going to want to make money.”

Uygur advocated that Congress expand Medicare to include everyone, rather than pursue other universal health care plans, because of the program’s popularity.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research group, published a survey in 2015 that found 83 percent of respondents said Medicare was “very important.”

“I view it as not something that capitalism should deal with,” Uygur said.

Shapiro countered that this would not be affordable, nor bring better quality of care to patients.

“All of this sounds great, except for the fact that Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security eat up 66 percent of the federal budget every single year,” Shapiro said, adding: “The idea that all of these socialized medicine countries have it so much better than we do, particularly in terms of cancer care, is a joke.”

Steven Olikara, founder and president of Millennial Action Project, a nonpartisan political group, moderated the encounter.

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