STUPID! JUST PLAIN STUBBORNLY STUPID!

Live blog: GOP health care bill pulled as Republican leaders fail to get votes

Are you a Conservative? Then do the math! How many Republicans do we have in the Senate? The number is 52. How many votes are required to end a filibuster?  The number is 60. No matter how badly Republicans want to repeal Obamacare we are short 8 votes (and it ain’t all that badly).

So what did Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump put together? Check out INFORMATION WE NEED FOR THE DEBATE ON REPEALING AND REPLACING OBAMACARE. Listen to Ryan.  https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?425131-1/speaker-ryan-explains-gop-health-care-plan-amid-growing-opposition&popoutPlayer.

The bill the House should have passed, the American Health Care Act, was just phase 1 of a 3-phase plan.  Most of the actual work was in phases 2 and 3.  Do you know what those phases are? If you don’t, then you don’t understand why phase 1, the American Health Care Act, looks like Obamacare lite.  Since we don’t have the votes to repeal Obamacare, all the Senate can do is use the Budget Reconciliation process to pull its teeth. In phase 2, the executive branch — Trump’s people for now — uses executive orders to dismantle the Obamacare regulatory structure. Could a Democrat administration put it back in place? Yes, but we do what is possible in the here and now. The future we cannot control. In phase 3, Congress will try to pass legislation to wholly repeal and replace Obamacare. Phase 3 requires sixty votes in the Senate. We have to fight for those votes. Maybe we will have them AFTER the 2016 elections, but not likely.  It is going to take time to wean Americans off of the teats of big government.

We need to FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR, not falling collectively on our swords, pridefully self-destructing just to make some silly point. If Conservatives want to take back the country, then we need to get the government out of the education business. If we don’t want so many voters indoctrinated in the supposed virtues of Socialism, then we need to stop corrupt politicians from indoctrinating them.

Meanwhile, the best thing we can do about Obamacare is to allow the Trump administration to start phase 2, using the regulatory powers that Obamacare gives the executive branch to undo what the Obama administration did. That requires the passage of the American Health Care Act.

So what should the House do now? It is a waste of time, but the House could pass a bill that repeals Obamacare.  Then House members can watch the Democrats filibuster the stupid thing in the Senate. Then the holier than thou can blame those Democrats when Obamacare self-destructs. Or those politicians who actually want our government to work can try to head off the failure of Obamacare. They can try to prevent the harm the failure of Obamacare will entail and pass the American Health Care Act.

FOCUS ON WINNING THE WAR

Obamacare is one of those disasters half of us would just like to go away. The other half either has selfish financial interests or Utopian pipe dreams tied up in such Socialist legislation. Think I am being unfair to the other half? From the beginning we knew Obamacare would not work. Obamacare is economically unsound. So from the beginning we knew what the Democrats wanted was a single payer, government-run healthcare monopoly. Don’t we know how, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, Obamacare would have been fixed? Don’t we already know Obamacare needs to be fixed?

So now we have this stinking albatross around our neck. What is the best way to get rid of it? There is no quick and simple answer.  Budget reconciliation does not clearly provide it.

The reconciliation process, created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93–344, 88 Stat. 297, 2 U.S.C. §§ 601–688), establishes the mechanism by which Congress can move controversial legislation without it being subject to a filibuster in the Senate. But to use the authority, Congress must take certain prescribed steps and avoid potential pitfalls. (continued here)

Pitfalls! So it is that Congress cannot include matters extraneous to budget reconciliation in a budget reconciliation bill.

Specifically, section 313(b)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act defines “extraneous” matters as those that:

  • do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;

  • produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;

  • are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;

  • increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision’s title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee’s reconciliation instructions;

  • increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision’s title, as a whole, remains budget neutral; or

  • contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds.

(from here)

Thus, when Congress tried to repeal Obamacare in 2015 they ran into problems in the Senate.

In October 2015, the House passed H.R. 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom, which repealed significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

  • the Automatic Enrollment Requirement,
  • the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF, also referred to as the “Obamacare slush fund”),
  • both the Individual and Employer Mandates,
  • the Medical Device Tax, and
  • the health insurance “Cadillac Tax,”.

The bill also prohibited federal funds for Planned Parenthood, its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics for one year. Instead, the bill designated an additional $235 million for the Community Health Center Fund.

When the bill reached the Senate in January 2016, the Senate parliamentarian reviewed the House-passed bill to see if provisions of the bill met the extraneous matter requirements of the Byrd Rule.  She determined that repeal of the individual mandate and employer mandate, were extraneous policies, and not primarily budgetary in nature.  As a result, they were dropped from the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered an amended version of the reconciliation bill that retained the policy of the individual and employer mandates, but eliminated the penalty for non-compliance.

Final passage from the conference committee occurred January 6, 2016 and was vetoed by President Obama two days later. (from here)

So even if the House passes the bill before it, the Senate may weaken it.  Unfortunately, we have little reason to believe the Senate dislikes big government.

So let consider a solution for this problem. Let’s begin by properly defining the problem. How did Obamacare happen? Democrats, politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions, got control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Therefore, to repeal Obamcare, we need control of the presidency, the House, a 60-vote majority in the Senate, and a practical majority on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, we are not quite there. So, the solution is getting there, getting enough Conservative politicians to pass Conservative legislation.

Why do the American people elect politicians who do not respect the Constitution or our nation’s traditions? That is both a problem of the heart and the heart of the problem. To the extent we can do something about it, it is an education problem. Before the Democrats created budget-busting boondoggles like Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare, they took over the education of our nation’s children. So it is we have public funding of schools starting in kindergarten and ending with the completion of doctoral programs. Inevitably, people educated in socialist institutions by people who make their living off socialist institutions have difficulty seeing what is wrong with Socialism.  Inevitably, when the absence of instruction suggests such things don’t matter, children raised in secularized institutions have a difficult time relating to God and God-given rights. Therefore, if we don’t want everything run by our government, we must privatize our education system.

Are you familiar with school choice? Even if you are, you may find it useful to visit What is School Choice?  This is an article provided by Focus on the Family, which some would call a right-wing Christian organization. Here is how that article begins.

School choice is a nationwide movement that empowers parents by enabling them to make the best possible choice for their children’s education. In short, it puts power in the hands of parents to decide which type of education best fits the needs of their particular child – whether that is a public, private or religious institution, or educating their child at home.

School choice also protects parents’ constitutional rights to direct their children’s upbringing in accordance with the values, principles and religious convictions they hold dear. (continued here)

Think about it. Has the notion of the People running the own lives — educating their own children as they see fit — become as scary to our government as it was to the British Crown in 1776?

So what do we do with President Donald Trump’s and Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill, the American Health Care Act? I suggest we help Trump and Ryan pass the bill.  It is not perfect, but we need to keep our allies strong.  Trump and Ryan need the win, and half a loaf is better than none. At this point, half a loaf is all we can expect.

Why must we keep Trump and Ryan strong? Although we must fight our school choice battles predominantly at the state level, we must keep strong advocates for school choice in charge of the Federal Government. Otherwise, Democrats will win the fight to federalize the education of our nation’s children with programs like Common Core. See the following.

Is Common Core is a commie plot? Who knows?  The point is that the Constitution does not authorize a Federally run educational bureaucracy. Even if the Constitution did authorize Federal spending on education, do we actually need massive numbers of bureaucrats to educate our children? What possible good could they do?

INFORMATION WE NEED FOR THE DEBATE ON REPEALING AND REPLACING OBAMACARE

Click on the link below, and you will get a pop out showing a video of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) presentation on the Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?425131-1/speaker-ryan-explains-gop-health-care-plan-amid-growing-opposition&popoutPlayer

Here is link to the location where CSPAN posted the video.

My congressman, Representative Rob Wittman (VA-01), is looking for inputs from his constituents.

Friends –

This week House Republican leaders unveiled the American Health Care Act, legislation that repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.

In my view, the ACA has fallen well short of its own stated goals to expand choices, increase access to care, and reduce costs. That is why I voted to repeal all or parts of it numerous times. All across the country insurance providers are leaving the ACA-created exchanges, resulting in less choice and higher costs. In Virginia, premium rates may increase as much as 16 percent, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

It is clear that we can do better. And we can do better by putting the patient and health care provider – not the government – at the center of our health care system.

You can read the full text of the American Health Care Act here.

So where do we go from here?

Next, the committees with jurisdiction over health care issues – mainly Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce – will begin “marking up” or amending the legislation. This process is already underway.

Eventually a bill or bills will come to the House floor for a vote. But before we get to that point, I will be evaluating this legislation in the days ahead to determine if it will be good for Virginians. I will apply to the bill my five principles for replacing the Affordable Care Act to determine if it will win my support. I’ve listed them below.

1) All Virginians should be able to purchase health insurance coverage.

2) Choice and access must be prioritized and maintained.

3) We need to get serious about reducing health care costs.

4) Medicare and Medicaid must be protected and preserved.

5) We need to create a system that empowers individuals and the private sector, not one that grows government.

My initial thoughts are that while this bill contains some provisions I support, I do have deep concerns about the lack of details on how many people will be covered under this legislation and what the overall costs will be.

One thing that is very important to me is that I continue to hear from you about the ACA repeal and replace plan. You can send your thoughts to me by emailing ACAIdeas.VA01@mail.house.gov

This is a topic I expect to address in upcoming telephone town hall meetings, and so if you would like to receive a call to join the next one, click here. I also hope you’ll take a moment to sign up for my weekly email updates, which will contain news on this and other topics highlighting my work on your behalf.

I look forward to hearing from you, and it’s an honor to serve you and Virginia’s First District in the People’s House.

Sincerely,

Rob

Meanwhile, Reclaim Our Republic observes that members of the House Freedom Caucus are rallying around Senator Paul Ryan’s plan.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus stood with Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) Tuesday to denounce the Obamacare replacement bill supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) and to announce the filing of Paul’s own bill, which is sponsored in the House by Rep. Jim Jordan (R.-Ohio). (continued here)

Where do I stand on the matter? The problem is that Obamacare has damaged the insurance markets.  So I am not exactly certain what would happen with a straight up repeal. My guess is that where there is only one insurer prices would climb (as they already have), but eliminating Obamacare would encourage competition. So things would soon get back to where they were before the Obamacare mess. So I would like to see Obamacare repealed.

Frankly, however, I don’t understand the reconciliation process.  Speaker Ryan makes the point that he cannot put everything wants in the bill because of the reconciliation process (which allows the bill to pass with a simple majority in the Senate). Nevertheless, Ryan never says what could be done with reconciliation. So I wonder if a clean repeal is possible. It is something I will have to look into.

What about the folks with preexisting conditions and over aged children who want to stay on their parents healthcare and other such things that Obamacare was supposed to fix? I am sort of puzzled as to why people think government is suppose to fix problems like that. If you don’t understand why, then I would like you to explain why the national debt is growing like mad. In addition, I would to hear you explain why it is moral for some people to vote to make other people pay their personal bills.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLLECTIVE AND A COMMUNITY?

Charity without love is not charitable.

More than we know we do combat with words.  Consider the etymology of these ideological words. Consider what happens when the words “collective” and “community” become wrapped into isms.

Collectivism has strong associations with communism.

collectivism (n.)Look up collectivism at Dictionary.com
1880, in socialist theory, from collective + -ism. Related: Collectivist (1882 as both noun and adjective); collectivization (1890).

It seems that some would have us believe that the mere act of organizing people into a group with a common interest is communistic.

The word “community” has multiple associations with isms.

Like communism, communitarianism also emphasizes the community over the individual.

communitarian (n.) Look up communitarian at Dictionary.com
1841, “member of a commune,” from community + ending from utilitarian, etc. The adjective is attested from 1909.

Communitarianism is not the same as communism, but it does emphasize the interests of the community over the individual.

Like Communitarianism, communism is related to community via the word “commune“.

communism (n.) Look up communism at Dictionary.com
“social system based on collective ownership,” 1843, from French communisme (c. 1840) from commun (Old French comun; see common (adj.)) + -isme (see -ism). Originally a theory of society; as name of a political system, 1850, a translation of German Kommunismus (itself from French), in Marx and Engels’ “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” Compare communist. In some cases in early and mid-20c., a term of abuse implying anti-social criminality without regard to political theory.

Each [i.e. socialism, communism, anarchism] stands for a state of things, or a striving after it, that differs much from that which we know; & for many of us, especially those who are comfortably at home in the world as it is, they have consequently come to be the positive, comparative, & superlative, distinguished not in kind but in degree only, of the terms of abuse applicable to those who would disturb our peace. [Fowler]

We even have something called communalism which is similar to communitarianism. Instead of a strong central government, however, both communitarianism and communalism emphasize creating a federation of communes, just not for the same reasons.

communalism (n.) Look up communalism at Dictionary.com
1871 (in reference to Paris), from communal + -ism.

Thanks to all these mushy isms, it is a little difficult to speak of the difference between a collective and a community.  Nevertheless, people form collectives deliberately for a specific purpose. Whereas people form communities by living together and forming strong ties with each other.

Therefore, only when we speak of a community does it make sense to apply this verse.

John 13:35 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

When we form charitable organizations, because there is a personal relationship it makes sense to provide charity at the community level.  Unfortunately, our political leaders have created new and improved charities.  They have used the state, especially that great collective we call the Federal Government, to give away our tax dollars using expensive health, education, and welfare programs.  Hence we have politicians spending other people’s money on people they don’t even know. The result has been phenomenal fraud, waste and abuse.

Ideally, because the personal relationship between those who give and those who receive charity is so important (It is about love, after all.), charity should only be the function of local, private organizations. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve government, and that should be local government. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve either the state or the Federal Government.

What is the big issue of the moment in Washington DC? It is Obamacare.  What is Obamacare? It is about whether the average American will be able to make his or her health choices without overriding interference from nameless bureaucrats. It about disconnecting the desires of people who pay the bills from the people who provide health care services. It is about giving politicians power just because they want it. It about turning our whole healthcare system into a wasteful and inefficient government-run charity rife with fraud, waste, and abuse.

Please let your senators and congressman know you want Obamacare repealed. You want them to do the same thing they did when they knew Obama would veto their repeal bill. Then you want them to replace Obamacare with laws that allow us to use our own money to make our own decisions. Do we really need their help to provide charity for our neighbors, the people in our communities. No. Not if we actually care about each other. If we don’t, there is nothing they can do anyway. If we don’t care, they won’t either.