Let the Miracle of the Free Market Work For Health Care

We have two problems with our health care delivery system:  access and cost.  In 2010, ObamaCare was passed to address both problems.  Predictably, it failed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made voting for ObamaCare very simple,   instructing her fellow Democrats to “pass the bill so that you can see what’s in it.”  All but 34 of them did.  Not one Republican voted for ObamaCare.

The American people never did like the Affordable Care Act, especially after the President’s fake-out that we could keep our doctors and insurance plans. Costs have increased even more rapidly, and access to plans and care has become even ‘iffy-er’ as more insurers jump ship every day.

Throughout Obama’s term outnumbered Republican legislators set up “show votes” to signal their desire to repeal ObamaCare.  But that talk was cheap when they knew the bills had no chance of getting past Obama’s veto.  “There’s nothing we can do about it,” they whimpered, even though they had complete control of the nation’s purse-strings and could have cut off the funding.

So the people did the only thing they could do to get rid of this economy-crushing, freedom-sucking, unsustainable mother-of-all-government-programs.  They elected majorities in both houses of Congress and a Republican president who promised to do away with ObamaCare, once and for all.   “NO MORE EXCUSES”, they told Congress.

But it seems voting this hot mess out is not nearly as simple as voting it in.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is trying to ram his “ObamaCare Light” plan through Congress.  But unlike Pelosi’s sheep, conservative legislators in the Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Group and a few brave senators want to see what’s in it and make it right before they pass the bill.

Ryan’s AHCA plan disguises and leaves in place many of the worst provisions of the ACA.  There are so many details that I won’t even try to elaborate here.  But I have one overriding concern about Ryan’s plan.  It does nothing to reduce the cost of health care, and may have the opposite effect.

Only one thing lowers the cost of any product, and that’s competition.  Until consumers make their own health care buying decisions in a competitive free market with transparent pricing, costs will never be reduced.

The GOP plan doubles down on the Medicaid expansion of ObamaCare, continues government subsidies in the form of refundable tax credits (some citizens will get cash back from the government because they pay little or no federal tax), and retains mandates that force individual and employer participation.  This distorts the market and makes health care just one more entitlement, edging us ever closer to a single-payer national plan.  And it further isolates the end consumer from health care purchasing decisions.

The first step must be the complete repeal of ObamaCare.  In 2015 both houses of Congress passed a bill under reconciliation that would fully repeal ObamaCare at a future date.  It was, of course, vetoed by President Obama.  Why not present the same bill to President Trump?  Then let the “invisible hand” of the free market find the appropriate price levels for health care instead of over-prescribing and over-pricing everything by running it through the same big-government machine that pays $700 for a toilet seat.  With all the complexity and control of ObamaCare completely out of the picture, Democrats and Republicans would be forced to start fresh with new legislation to protect consumers and provide a humane, and hopefully more efficient, safety net.

Even before ObamaCare the federal government was the biggest purchaser of health care.  The worst thing our legislators could do right now is pass a watered-down bill that leaves too much of the nasty old fat in the sausage, hoping to squeeze it out later.

Most of us can take care of ourselves and our families if the government will just get out of the way and let the miracle of the free market work.  That would be a big step toward making American great again.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

All I need is a miracle, all I need is you
All I need is a miracle, all I need is you
All I need is a miracle, all I need is you

Mike and the Mechanics – All I Need Is A Miracle

 

 

GOP Anti-Trump Insiders and Pundits – It’s Time to SHUT UP!

network1024Every day, day after day, the anti-Trump insider Republicans wail and moan, louder and longer.  It’s beginning to sound like a teenage summer chainsaw movie.  Or a difficult childbirth.

Paul Ryan calls Trump’s criticism of the Hispanic judge who is clearly politically aligned with Hillary Clinton “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

After his failure floating the hopeless idea of a third-party candidate, Weekly Standard editor and #NeverTrump czar Bill Kristol now suggests that the likelihood of Trump’s impeachment is so great that the GOP insiders should be allowed to choose his running mate.

NewsMax quoted Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) saying, ‘”Trump would make a “terrible commander in chief” and the Republican Party would get “slaughtered” with him as the nominee, while Trump ripped Graham as a “disgrace,” a “nut job” and “one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen.”‘

So-called “conservative” radio pundits like Steve Deace, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck are literally gurgling blood, such is their terror of a Trump presidency.

I have one question for all of you righteously indignant media opportunists who are doing everything humanly possible to damage Trump’s candidacy.  What do you want? 

Do you want Hillary to be elected?  You say you don’t.  You claim to know how calamitous another four or eight years of Democrat rule will be.  You don’t deny the deadly impact that decades of Clinton appointees to the courts will bring.  You know how corrupt the Clintons are, and have been, and can’t doubt that it would get worse – much worse.  You admit Clinton has no clue about the economy and her foreign policy has been a disaster.

So what do you want?

There will not be a third-party candidate.  There will not be an insurrection at the Republican convention that will yield a new nominee.  Donald Trump will face Hillary Clinton in the election, and that is settled.  It’s not good enough to say you just aren’t going to vote, because failure to vote for one is a vote for the other, and that is mathematical, metaphysical fact.

If you have any hope of being taken seriously, or maintaining your relevance in the media and in public life ever again, you have only one choice of action.

SHUT UP.  NOW!

 

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

 

Rockin' On the Right SideHush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry
He said shut up – he said shut up!
Oh God, can’t you keep it down?
Voices carry!
Hush hush, voices carry!

Voices Carry – Til Tuesday

South Carolina Tells Nikki Haley “No Refugees”

photo by WLTXPresident Obama’s accelerated plan to resettle up to 200,000 Syrian refugees in the United States over the next two years faces a tsunami of opposition from American citizens, and their security concerns over the program have pressed elected officials at every level into action.

Senator Jeff Sessions conducted an oversight hearing on the resettlement plan, and today House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a task force to find a way to put the program on hold until their security concerns could be addressed and resolved.  A number of congressmen have made statements in opposition, and some have proposed bills prohibiting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Last night the Dept. of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the State Department held a classified briefing in an attempt to assuage the concerns of members of Congress.  South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney said the briefing did not offer much new information but added he has done his own research and determined that the vetting process amounts to little more than a question on a form asking, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”  Mulvaney expects a House vote today which would require the agencies to specifically vet each refugee in detail prior to approval for resettlement.  “That would be the ‘pause’ some have referred to,” he said.

Pressure is being applied at the state level as well, and as of this writing over 30 governors have stated opposition to Syrian refugee resettlement in their respective states.  South Carolina governor Nikki Haley was an early advocate of the program, but acquiesced to calls for tighter security and wrote a letter to the State Department requesting a hold on Syrian refugees headed for her state.  South Carolina state representative Chip Limehouse plans to file a bill that would prevent the state from funding refugee relocation.

At the local level, county councils in South Carolina, supported by fervid testimony from constituents at council meetings, are passing resolutions that they hope would prevent Governor Haley from placing refugees in their counties.  Greenville County’s resolution stated, in part: “…the Greenville County Council will not approve or proceed with the United States Refugee Resettlement Program and rejects the expenditure of state funds to assist the United States Refugee Resettlement Program in Greenville County.”

While the Greenville County resolution won unanimous approval, as did similar bills in Berkeley and Pickens counties, York County’s motion by councilman Bruce Henderson failed for lack of a second.  Councilman Robert Winkler told me he is completely opposed to any program that might bring a terrorist to our shores.  When asked why he wouldn’t second the motion, he said, “We just didn’t have enough time to know exactly what we were voting for.  But I don’t really think there is anything we can do about it anyway – if Governor Haley wants to put refugees in our county, she can just do it, no matter what we say.”  Winkler pointed out that not much county money is spent directly on refugees other than the cost of police, fire departments, and schools.  Benefits such as food stamps, cash welfare, health care and housing are funded by the state and federal governments, so the county does not have any control over expenditures for refugees.

It’s not clear exactly who, if anyone, has the authority to stop the Obama administration from proceeding with the resettlement of Syrian refugees, or, for that matter, any other refugees.

Governor Haley contends that no Syrian refugees have been resettled in South Carolina to date.  If the predominantly conservative local and state officials prevail, that status will not change any time soon.

This article is sponsored by Watchdog Arena.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

And if she should tell you “come closer”
And if she tempts you with her charms
Tell her no no no no no-no-no-no
No no no no no-no-no-no
No no no no no
Don’t hurt me now for her love belongs to me

Tell Her No – the Zombies

They song may be from 1965.  But the Zombies are still alive!

We Need A Strong, Articulate Conservative Speaker – Big Time!

John-Boehner-Crying-DrudgeMessage to our Congressmen and Women:

When House Speaker John Boehner stepped down, it was a big day for us conservative citizens. We thought Washington finally got our message – that we are tired of our Republican political leaders caving in to the liberal ideology that is responsible for the decline in our economy and our weakening morality.

We salivated at the opportunity to replace Boehner with a true conservative Speaker of the House.  But who was put up as our new leader? Boehner’s right hand man, Kevin McCarthy.  Ugh.  Fortunately, McCarthy quickly shot himself in the foot and pulled his hat back out of the ring.

Then we were left with a choice between Daniel Webster, who wants to be a manager who will get bills through the House early and then go home for dinner, and Jason Chaffetz, who fired Congressman Mark Meadows when he stood up to Boehner last summer.  Double Ugh.

As he exited, stage left, McCarthy pressed fellow insider Paul Ryan to take the job.  UGGH!

When will the GOP understand that conservatives can’t take a chance on another middle-of-the-road squishy let’s-not-hurt-any-feelings Speaker?  We can’t accept someone who will merely manage the House bills and then turn the show over to the Senate and the President, to let the results fall where they may.  We demand a Speaker of the House with vision, leadership, and most of all, the courage to stand on principle.

More importantly, we need a Speaker of the House who can look confidently into a television camera and articulate the conservative principles that made this country great.

I know there are strong conservative congressmen and women who can present our case convincingly and win back the trust of the American people.  I see you and your work in Washington every day.

Yes, the Speaker’s job is a big challenge.  Nobody ever said going to battle is fun.  But leadership is a calling, and it’s time for some of you real conservatives to put your big boy and big girl pants on.  We need you – big time.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I’m on my way, I’m making it
I’ve got to make it show, yeah
So much larger than life
I’m going to watch it growing

Big Time – Peter Gabriel

 

Boehner Splits The Sheets

AP Photo - J Scott ApplewhiteLast week the big-government agenda of the liberal Democrats was on the ropes.  The American public had finally come to realize that they had been lied to, used, abused and kicked to the curb by the arrogant ruling class.  The ObamaCare power grab was exposed as an impossible and unworkable idea, poorly planned and executed, one which can only result in an epic fiscal disaster and do serious harm to American citizens.  Conservatives who warned for years of the perils of big government were finally vindicated in the public eye.  After all the hard work, the snarky ridicule at the hands of brainless media mouthpieces, and the worry that the American public might never hear or understand the truth, we conservatives were able to catch our collective breath.  For a brief moment.

Now, just one week later, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the liberal news media, and our fearless leader himself are dancing a jig, clinking their champagne glasses, and singing with glee “the wicked witch (Tea Party) is dead”.

What happened?

In a cynical leftward lurch, Congressman Paul Ryan, at the direction of House Speaker John Boehner and Republican leadership, caved in to a Democrat budget plan that increases spending and debt and pushes any potential reductions in spending increases (no spending cuts) into the far distant future.

Boehner showed his true colors – he and his circle of entrenched insiders are more concerned about re-election than they are about the well-being of the nation and its citizens.  By relinquishing ground already won – the budget sequestration of 2011 – they not only gave aid and comfort to the enemy, they waved the white flag to the big-spenders.  They endorsed the Democrat fairy tale that our $17 trillion and growing debt is not a threat to our economy or the future of our kids (we can always print and borrow more money!).  They crossed over to the dark side to join those who believe big government trumps private enterprise and personal freedom.  Boehner has already set his liberal friends up for gun control and amnesty, coming soon to a theater near you.

They showed that they would rather maintain their personally-lucrative positions of minor influence than stand on principle against the destruction of our economy.

Boehner said of us conservatives, “they’re using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals.” 

The response by the Tea Party Patriots was powerful and succinct:  The last time we checked, we are the American people. The Tea Party Patriots all across this country are the last hope for reining in this out-of-control government and protecting our Constitution.”

OUR members?  THEIR goals?  The single-minded goal of the Tea Party is to make our nation stronger, safer, and more prosperous for the benefit of all.

Mr. Boehner, if any of YOUR members are opposed to OUR goal, you can all go to hell.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Mr. Boehner may have finally sealed the fate of the Republican party once and for all.  While conservatives have almost universally supported Republicans with votes, campaign work, and financial resources, it appears that the GOP prefers to go on without us.

At your peril, Mr. Speaker.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side Feeling better now that we’re through
Feeling better ’cause I’m over you
I learned my lesson, it left a scar
Now I see how you really are!
You’re no good, you’re no good
You’re no good, baby you’re no good.

You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt

Paul Ryan – Honorary “Old Bean Counter”

Today’s selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate is encouraging to me.  Not because I have any great insight as to which candidate gives Romney the best chance of beating Obama this fall – I don’t know anything about the art of politics.

What I do know is that our nation’s greatest problem is the state of our economy – the debt, the sagging GDP, the drop in productivity, the unemployment rate, declining personal wealth and income, and the inability of our government to change its failed fiscal policies.   If we solve our economic problems, most of our other problems will solve themselves.

On this blog you’ve heard me opine about how us “Old Bean Counters” could get things straightened out.  I feel like Ryan is one of us.  Not so much old, but he is definitely a Bean Counter.

He stands alone as the only person in DC able to produce a do-able budget that points to a brighter future (although I would advocate a more aggressive turnaround).  He knows that any successful business – or government – must be run by the numbers.  Not by feelings, or wishes, or diplomacy, or hope.

Ryan has shown that he is practical, realistic, and optimistic.  He is able to cut to the chase and make a decision.  He knows how to hold people and processes accountable through controls.  Our government is no different from a business – Dollars In, Dollars Out.  Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.

From the somewhat benign position of vice president, Ryan would not be able to make sweeping changes on his own.  But the fact that Romney chose him indicates to me that Mitt “gets it”.  He is a realist, and he knows that straightening out the economy must be top priority.

So in addition to his veep candidacy, I would also like to hereby nominate Paul Ryan for the lofty position of “Chief Bean Counter”.  We need ya, buddy.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

A Well Respected Man – the Kinks