With Republicans’ ObamaCare overhaul sidelined on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration is vowing to use its full legal authority to “immediately” help Americans and mitigate the health care law’s “harmful effects.”
That means that as congressional Republicans regroup on strategy for pursuing future legislation, it will fall to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other administration officials to pursue changes to the Affordable Care Act for now. These potential changes would not be as sweeping as those contained in the failed GOP legislation, but range from cutting government costs to providing relief from certain requirements to customers and insurers.
“Secretary Price is, and always will be, focused on patients,” agency spokeswoman Alleigh Marre told Fox News on Wednesday. “He and the HHS team will continue to pursue actions to mitigate the ACA’s harmful effects and protect patients.”
Though President Trump has threatened to let ObamaCare “implode” on its own, his administration has several options to try to improve the 2010 law absent new legislation – and already has used one.
Trump signed an executive order in January directing federal agencies to easy some of ObamaCare’s regulatory burdens -- resulting in the IRS processing tax refunds for Americans who violated the law and failed to provide the agency with proof of insurance.
Additional options for the HHS secretary include tweaking what types of coverage insurers are required to offer, pulling back on the mandate to buy insurance and cutting federal subsidies that help low- and middle-income customers afford ObamaCare coverage – which likely would prompt a backlash.
Continue reading at Fox News....
By John Stossel
President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed.
Trump then tweeted, "ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!"
But I do worry.
Trump is right when he says that Obamacare will explode.
The law mandates benefits and offers subsidies to more people. Insurers must cover things like:
Insisting that lots of things be paid for by someone else is a recipe for financial explosion.
Medicare works that way, too.
When I first qualified for it, I was amazed to find that no one even mentioned cost. It was just, "Have this test!" "See this doctor!"
I liked it. It's great not to think about costs. But that's why Medicare will explode, too. There's no way that, in its current form, it will be around to fund younger people's care.
Someone else paying changes our behavior. We don't shop around. We don't ask, "Do I really need that test?" "Is there a place where it's cheaper?"
Hospitals and doctors don't try very hard to do things cheaply.
Imagine if you had "grocery insurance." You'd buy expensive foods; supermarkets would never have sales. Everyone would spend more.
Insurance coverage -- third-party payment -- is revered by the media and socialists (redundant?) but is a terrible way to pay for things.
Today, 7 in 8 health care dollars are paid by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance companies. Because there's no real health care market, costs rose 467 percent over the last three decades.
By contrast, prices fell in the few medical areas not covered by insurance, like plastic surgery and LASIK eye care. Patients shop around, forcing health providers to compete.
The National Center for Policy Analysis found that from 1999 to 2011 the price of traditional LASIK eye surgery dropped from over $2,100 to about $1,700.
Continue reading at Reason.com....
So. What comes next on repealing ObamaCare?
The TrumpCare bill (AHCA) was a disaster. It was not a vote to repeal ObamaCare, but rather a vote to keep it, and tweak it. That’s not what Republicans promised to do, and it’s not good enough. We should not mourn its passing, but celebrate it. The defeat of the bill was glorious, and the members of the Freedom Caucus who opposed it are heroes.
The reason fans of the free market are angry is not because TrumpCare failed — but because of the statements by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump that they are done with trying to repeal ObamaCare. Those statements are wrong and dangerous. As Ted Cruz once said:
First principle: Honor our promise. When you spend six years promising, “If only we get elected, we’ll repeal Obamacare,” you cannot renege on that promise. Failure is not an option. Breaking our word would be catastrophe. The voters would, quite rightly, never again trust Republicans to deliver on anything.
The response to the defeat of TrumpCare is not to pick up the ball and go home. It must be to draft a bill that actually does what Republicans promised, and drives down costs through market-based mechanisms.
What should such a bill look like? As it turns out, Ted Cruz had a proposal that outlined an answer to that question. I blogged that op-ed before, but with the defeat of the AHCA, Cruz’s op-ed has renewed relevance, as a blueprint that could bring Republicans together and actually repeal ObamaCare. I think it’s worth giving his proposal another detailed look.
Keep reading at Red State....
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Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor on Friday, just minutes ahead of a planned vote, dealing a devastating blow to efforts by President Donald Trump and the GOP to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Shortly after the bill was yanked, House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed reporters, saying, "This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard. All of us, myself included, will need time to reflect how we got to this moment, what we could have done to do it better."
Ryan said he told Trump at the White House that they didn't have the votes to pass the bill. "I told him that the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill and he agreed with that decision," Ryan said.
Speaking later, Trump said Democrats in the House — all of whom had planned to vote against the bill — shoulder the blame for the defeat, telling reporters in the Oval Office, "Obamacare is exploding. With no Democrat support, we couldn't quite get there. We were just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed."
"I'm disappointed," Trump said, adding, "I'm a little surprised to be honest with you."
The president thanked Republicans in the House, especially Ryan, saying, "I think Paul really worked hard" to get the bill passed.
"We all learned a lot, we learned a lot about loyalty, we learned a lot about the vote getting process, we learned a lot about arcane rules," Trump said.
Trump predicted that Obamacare would soon "explode" and that its collapse would bring Democrats to the table to negotiate a bipartisan health care bill with him.
Continue reading at NBC News....
Donald Trump warned House Republicans in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that many of them could lose their seats in the 2018 elections if they don’t pass their bill to replace Obamacare.
The president’s message came a day after GOP leaders made several changes to their measure aimed at wooing reluctant Republicans, including limits to Medicaid enrollment and an accelerated phaseout of some taxes.
“Support it!” Trump told lawmakers, according to Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina, who said he still opposes the measure. He said Trump’s remarks contained “nothing in detail, except politically it’s the right thing to do.” Trump didn’t take any questions from lawmakers.
Asked on his way into a closed-door GOP meeting whether they had the votes, Trump said, “I think so.” And Republican leaders voiced optimism that the new changes would put them over the top when the bill reaches the House floor Thursday. A member of the House vote-counting team said they’re getting closer to the 216 votes they need for passage.
“The president just came here and knocked the ball out of the park,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Tuesday. “He knocked the cover off the ball.” He called the moment a “rendezvous with destiny” for Republicans.
But House conservatives said late Monday that they didn’t get the changes they were looking for and could block passage.
“Currently there are not enough votes to pass the legislation,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Monday night after a raucous caucus meeting. The group, which has opposed earlier versions, didn’t take an official position on the changes, but a spokeswoman said a whip count by the group showed it could defeat the bill.
Read more at Bloomberg,com....
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said he does not believe proposed Republican healthcare legislation will pass through Congress.
"I don't believe so. I think there's enough conservatives that do not want 'ObamaCare lite,' " Paul said on ABC's "This Week."
Paul during the interview stressed a clean repeal of ObamaCare.
“None of us ran on this plan. We ran on repealing ObamaCare because it doesn’t work,” Paul told ABC’s “This Week.”
Paul has dubbed the new GOP plan, released earlier this month by House Republicans, “ObamaCare lite,” and has vowed to vote against the measures once they reach the Senate. “I was elected in 2010 right after it came into place, to repeal it,” Paul said of former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation.
Conservative lawmakers have criticized the GOP measures for keeping certain components of ObamaCare in place.
“We never ran on making the entitlement subsidies permanent,” Paul said.
Read the full article at The Hill....
Trump administration officials acknowledged to Republican senators at a White House meeting Tuesday that the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is in serious jeopardy.
One adviser to a senator present at the meeting said the acknowledgment was simply that "they don't have the votes to pass this in current form," a reference to whether the House GOP bill in its current form could survive in the Senate.
The meeting included a handful of conservative senators who have expressed deep concerns with the bill. According to multiple aides, Vice President Mike Pence made a short visit to the closed-door briefing with lawmakers.Another senior Republican aide to a senator in the room said that the White House is "definitely looking at pretty big changes to the Ryan bill."
"There is no possible way a bill can be drafted by an individual or a handful of people and shoved down the throats of 535 people. It doesn't work that way," a Republican senator told CNN, noting that changing the bill is a normal part of the process.
One of the senators who attended, Ted Cruz of Texas, said talks are "productive."
"The conversations continue to be productive and they're moving forward well. The conversations are ongoing with the White House, the administration and the House and the Senate," Cruz said Wednesday.
Read more at CNN....
The White House’s top economic adviser said Sunday that every American enrolled in ObamaCare will continue to have access to health insurance under the Republicans’ replacement plan, amid arguments that millions will lose their coverage.
“We don’t think so,” White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn said on “Fox News Sunday,” when asked if many of the insured will lose their health care. “We believe if you want to have coverage, we're providing you access to coverage.”
"We have to make a better plan," he said.
Cohn said Americans who have bought ObamaCare insurance through Medicaid will continue to have that option while others will be offered tax credits to buy insurance.
Still, he suggested that some of the estimated 20 million Americans on federally-backed ObamaCare will fall into a “middle group” in the transition.
Read more at Fox News Politics....
Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but are they replacing it with Obamacare Lite?
So say Sen. Rand Paul and other conservatives, who are not happy with the plan to replace Obamacare that's being crafted -- some argue hidden -- by GOP House leaders.
A 106-page draft version of the leadership bill was leaked last week, providing more details into how the House would dismantle major provisions of the Affordable Care Act and what would come in its stead. A closely held update has circulated among a select few in recent days. Conservatives and Democrats have demanded to see the new version but have had little success in ferreting it out.In response, Paul has gone on a Twitter and media blitz, saying the bill does not accomplish Republicans' mission of repealing Obamacare. That's because many of the GOP replacement measures are too similar to the landmark health reform law.
"What we think is being hidden from conservatives is there's a lot of 'Obamacare Lite' in their bill," Paul said on CNN's "New Day" Friday. "There's a new entitlement program.... There is also a Cadillac tax or something similar to the Cadillac tax that was in Obamacare. And there's also an individual mandate, believe it or not. Instead of paying the mandate to the government, they're going to tell you you have to pay the mandate, by law, to an insurance company."
Read more at CNN....
Since Yahoo disclosed two mega-breaches late last year, its executives have met almost daily with CEO Marissa Mayer for working sessions focused on improving the company’s cybersecurity posture. Employees have also received weekly security presentations from Yahoo CISO Bob Lord at the company’s all-hands meetings. The new working sessions and briefings are part of an internal effort to promote a security culture as the company approaches its upcoming acquisition by Verizon.
But the executive-level concern over security may be seen as too little, too late by a Senate committee that is questioning Yahoo on its reaction to the breaches. Data from over 1 billion accounts was stolen from Yahoo in 2013, data from 500 million accounts was stolen in 2014, and attackers used forged cookies to access user accounts without a password in 2015 and 2016.
Senators John Thune and Jerry Moran sent Yahoo a stern letter earlier this month demanding answers about the company’s response to the breaches after Yahoo canceled a scheduled briefing with staff from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The committee sought information about “the nature of the incident, those affected, and steps the company had taken to identify and mitigate consumer harm, beyond what was already known publicly.” Yahoo has finally responded with a handful of new details about the massive security incidents.
Continue reading at TechCrunch.com....
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans for keeping their Obamacare repeal and replace legislation under wraps.
“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view,” Paul tweeted.
“This is unacceptable. This is the biggest issue before Congress and the American people right now.”
House Republicans’ new version of the replacement bill is being kept in a “dedicated reading room,” Bloomberg reported, where it will be available to members of the House Energy and Commerce committee ahead of a markup. The move is an effort to prevent leaks.
GOP leaders say the bill will be released once it is final.
In several tweets, Paul accused House leadership of not wanting to admit to creating a watered down version of Obamacare, and demanded that they release text of the bill.
Read more at The Hill....
House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it.
The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House Energy and Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them.
The unusual secrecy is a reflection of the sensitivity -- and the stakes -- surrounding the GOP effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of President Donald Trump, who has yet to offer his own plan.
Republican leaders are trying to avoid a repeat of what happened last time. When an outdated draft leaked last week, it was quickly panned by conservatives.
Continue reading at Bloomberg Politics....
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