Monday, December 2, 2013

What if you could buy health insurance on Amazon.com?


President Obama: "I am accused of a lot of things but I don't think I am stupid enough to go around saying this is gonna be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn't gonna work." What if companies competed to sell health insurance on functioning websites like Amazon or Travelocity? What if ehealthinsurance.com, a private website that delivers quotes and connects millions with actual insurance plans, could sell insurance to all fifty states?

Today, Cyber Monday is supposed to be the moment of truth for HealthCare.gov. Even if the website "functions" for the "vast majority" of those who try it, there will hardly be any holiday "deals." In fact, over 5.5 million Americans will visit HealthCare.gov because Obamacare is forcing them to do so.

These are only the people whose plans have been cancelled in the individual health insurance market. Some estimate as many as 100 million Americans may lose health insurance coverage under Obamacare. In fact, the Obama administration estimates that at least half of those with private health insurance will lose coverage when Obamacare employer mandates go into effect by the end of 2014. 

For those seeking private insurance on the upgraded website, costs are soaring like never before. Families are seeing premiums double. Students with inexpensive coverage are seeing that coverage dropped. Even the Speaker of the House saw his premiums double when he joined the District of Columbia health insurance exchange.

HealthCare.gov is a disaster. Insurance companies are not receiving correct information. Enrollment data has been hacked and is appearing in Google searches. The person in charge of building HealthCare.gov testified before Congress that all of the back-office payment and accounting systems have yet to be built. Can you imagine if actual commerce operated this way? It is no wonder that more than half of the American people do not trust President Obama or believe his "leadership" inspires confidence.

Where do we go from here? 

The logical approach would be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety and begin the process of introducing free market reform to the health insurance market. The House Republican Study Committee and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) have market oriented plans for review on their websites. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) intends to offer his own plan in the coming days. Unfortunately, many Republicans in Senate "leadership" have demonstrated little appetite for this approach.

The Senate Republican "leadership" strategy seems to be to allow Harry Reid to walk further and further out on the plank defending Obamacare. As Americans become increasingly angry, nervous Senate Democrats will make Harry Reid jump off the plank in order to save their political skins. This strategy is risky for two reasons.

(1) The Obama administration can further delay mandates until after the 2014 election as they have done recently with the small business mandate thereby delaying the harmful effects of Obamacare to the voting public.

(2) The GOP runs the risk of being perceived as a party of all talk and no action. While party insiders have taken great glee in showcasing Obamcare's failings and the Democrat politicians who supported them, many Republican politicians have not thrown political weight behind practical alternatives.

The GOP needs to fight to roll back Obamacare at every opportunity. Now is not the time to offer a "fix" for something that was built on lies to begin with. Some of us cannot wait that long.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Obama will never "let 'em keep what they got!"


Referring to the nearly five million Americans who have already lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare, former President Bill Clinton suggested that "even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let 'em keep what they got."

Later that day at a White House press briefing, an NBC reporter asked "if some people are allowed to stay on their old plans and other people are forced to get on the Obamacare system because they did not have any coverage, then the whole system collapses, basically there is no way to balance both. Does the White House acknowledge that there is no way to make both of those work?"

In response, White House spokesman Jay Carney agreed stating that "any fix that would essentially open up for insurers the ability to sell new plans that did not meet standards would create more problems than it fixed because it would essentially allow insurers to... charge prices that undercut prices of other plans that kept to the basic coverage."

Therein lies the crux of the issue. A free market system where insurers compete to "undercut the prices of other plans" and you decide what coverage best suits your personal needs and budget is a "problem" in President Obama's view. President Obama is worried that his plan will not fare well competing alongside private insurance offered outside the restrictions imposed by the Unaffordable Care Act unless Obamacare is subsidized. That is why President Obama has resisted calls from nervous Democrats including the senior senator from California to delay the imposition of the individual mandate.

President Obama never intended to allow you to keep your health insurance whether you liked it or not.



Ironically, neither did Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We Cannot Wait Until 2014, Chip Away at ObamaCare Now


During a conference call with bloggers to promote his bill to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance, Senator Ron Johnson told the story of a woman who is battling lung cancer and her husband who is recovering from prostate cancer. Both are enrollees in the soon to be extinct Wisconson high risk insurance pool for patients with pre-existing conditions. The Wisconsin couple is not looking forward to seeing its "substandard" annual insurance costs double to nearly forty thousand dollars under Obamacare.

Stories of unnecessary hardship caused by Obamacare are happening across the country and have been relayed numerous times on the pages of this blog. Former Obama supporters and political agnostics are up in arms when they discover not only that President Obama did not keep his promise to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance, but he lied repeatedly about his intention to do so. President Obama continues to lie to cover up past lies and tried to deflect blame by pointing his finger at insurance companies whose crime was to abide by the law that President Obama signed. He even blamed the American people as well for being foolish enough to purchase "substandard" health insurance in the first place.



Given all this, you would think Republicans would be able to take advantage of the situation and use the opportunity to begin to roll back Obamacare in some meaningful way. Senator Johnson's bill is an attempt to do that. In fact, there are reports that a Senate Democrat who represents a southern conservative state is considering a similar proposal.

Yet, when Senator Johnson was asked whether he is working with Senate Democrats to advance similar proposals, the answer was no. When asked what his strategy was for forcing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a vote on his bill before the end of the calendar year when Obamacare goes into effect, Senator Johnson's answer was to help elect more Republicans so Republicans can take control of the Senate in 2014.

I am not opposed to electing conservative Republicans, but the 2014 elections are a year away. In the meantime, we should be working to chip away at this terrible law by any means available to us.

The website will be fixed eventually. Michelle Obama's college friend may not know how to build and maintain a functioning website but there are internet entrepreneurs in the United States who do. Further, while private health insurance enrollment may be proceeding slowly through the health insurance exchanges, single-payer government Medicaid enrollment is not. Medicaid expansion will continue to drain state and federal budgets while providing substandard care.

Since many Senate Republicans are unwilling to take the larger step of pushing to defund Obamacare in whole or in part, they must embrace smaller steps like Senator Johnson's bill and tie their passage to must-pass pieces of legislation like the budget. If we keep kicking the Obamacare can down the road until 2014 or 2016, it may be too late, especially for the couple in Wisconsin.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Senator Ron Johnson says "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period!"


Remember when President Obama said "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" but did not really mean it?   Senator Ron Johnson thinks President Obama should keep his word and has introduced legislation to ensure that Americans can in fact keep their plans.



The "If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act" gives the two million plus Americans who have already received cancellation notices from their health insurance companies and the millions more whose premiums are skyrocketing an out. It allows them to do what President Obama promised, keep their current health insurance. Senator Johnson's bill would allow people who change jobs to enroll in their new employer's current health insurance plan as well.

The bill is far from perfect. For instance, Senator Johnson's bill is silent as to whether an employer can modify an existing plan by changing a premium or a co-pay or some level of benefit coverage. Senator Johnson's bill does not defund Obamacare either so the vast expansion of single-payer government health insurance through Medicaid continues apace. Nonetheless, it is a significant step in the right direction and should be embraced.

In order to have any chance of becoming law, however, Senate Republicans need to be willing to do what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Senator John Cornyn swore they would not do at a fundraising retreat this past weekend, tie any rollback of Obamacare to forthcoming budget battles. Addressing the "elephant in the room," Senator McConnell suggested that the strategy of tying the Obamacare rollback fight to budget battles "could not and would not work” and was "not conservative policy." Unless Republicans are willing to tie bills such as this to budget resolutions, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can block them from ever receiving a vote.

Republicans need to embrace the political momentum we have now and seize this opportunity to begin to roll back Obamacare. Democrats and liberal pundits are beginning to abandon President Obama allowing him to sink in his own political quicksand in an effort to save their own political skin. It is time for Republicans to unite as a party, lend a hand to any Democrat with an outstretched arm, and begin the process of dismantling this "crowning achievement" that is destroying health care and our economy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obama would have you believe....

Obamacare is working by providing improved access to care at a lower cost even though MILLIONS are getting thrown off their health insurance plans and seeing their premiums skyrocket!

Obamacare is certain to provide better and cheaper health insurance coverage and if we cannot find better and cheaper health insurance coverage, there is something wrong with us!

It is insurance companies' fault for canceling non-complaint plans. We could have kept our non-complaint plans while also buying compliant plans or paying a fine for not complying with the law.

President Obama did not lie when he said repeatedly, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period!"

The Obamacare website is secure even though HHS has not done a start to finish test to verify the security and they are constantly changing code which should trigger continuous such tests each and every time there is a code change. CNN reported the Obamacare website has been hacked!

The Obamacare website is working even though it is frequently unavailable.

Trust us as we destroy not only the health insurance market but the health care delivery market in the United States because it will all work out in the end, just like in United Kingdom!

At the moment, the fifteen year prostate cancer survival rate in the United States exceeds the five year prostate cancer survival rate in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Delay the Individual Mandate and Strike Another Blow to ObamaCare


Did you catch SNL this past weekend?  Even they can't ignore the fact that ObamaCare isn't working. 


Last week, I wrote about how the vultures are circling as the ObamaCare rollout has been a disaster. Today, there is real blood in the water and the sharks are ready to pounce.

During the shutdown debate, there was "concern" among some Republicans over a failure to see an "end game" to the effort to defund ObamaCare. Conservatives were told they needed to recognize they were playing with "live ammo." Conservatives should not "deceive" the American people into thinking Congress can defund ObamaCare without knowing where Republicans are going to find six Democrats to join their effort. Given the disasterous Obamacare rollout, Democrats are running for cover, especially those who represent conservative states and are up for re-election next year.

Democrat operatives are speaking about how the party is, well, let's use the polite word: screwed as Americans get sticker shock over the increased cost of coverage. A law that was sold as lowering the cost of coverage and decreasing the ranks of the uninsured has caused 1.5 million to lose coverage thus far including 500,000 in California and 300,000 in Florida.  This while enrollmaven.com estimates that fewer than 40,000 people have obtained coverage through state health insurance exchanges.

Sensing panic in its ranks, there are reports President Obama is considering extending the open enrollment period through the end of March. Congressional Republicans need to unite and insist that Congress pass a one year waiver to the individual mandate rather than an extension of the open enrollment period and codify it into law.

Why is this so important and why might President Obama try and preempt Congress from doing so?

President Obama knows that once Congress sets a precedent and delays the individual mandate, it will not hesitate from doing so in the future. Also, once Congress delays the individual mandate for one year, that too will be "the law of the land" and subject to debate from one year to the next. 

Fully repealing ObamaCare, or defunding it would have been the preferred option, but if we have consensus on both sides of the aisle to delay at least one more portion, the individual mandate, we should push for delay. Congress need only set the precedent by waiving the individual mandate to inflict serious damage to Obamacare.

For President Obama, it has never been never about increasing access to actual health care or reducing the cost of care. It has always been about control. Listen to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, President Obama's principal health reform adviser, speak about ObamaCare on Fox News. Dr. Emanuel is not interested in suggestions by Democrats like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that people should not be required to purchase health insurance coverage that is inferior or more expensive than coverage they currently have. Dr. Emanuel and President Obama know what is best for people.

This is why Republicans need to unite and use this political momentum to give Americans one year of reprieve. Republicans should use any and every legislative opportunity to accomplish this goal. Now is the time to unite the party, shepherd as many vulnerable Senate Democrats as possible onto our side, join hands and do something that has been long overdo, drive a dagger straight into the heart of Obamacare!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everything Conservatives Predicted About ObamaCare is Coming True


We should not apologize for trying to stop it!

In a recent op-ed, George Will compared the Tea Party movement to Barack Obama in their "[mutual] disdain for the practice of politics within the Framers’ institutional architecture." Despite providing the only functional opposition to an unconstitutional law that is so unpopular that no one in the entire state of New York has enrolled, Republican apparatchiks and establishment politicians are more interested in fighting conservatives and those who represent them than fighting Obamacare. Some have gone so far as to suggest it is a "fools errand and a deception" to continue to fight Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested there will be "no more shutdowns over Obamacare."

Yet, the vultures are circling as the Obamacare rollout has been a disaster! 


Liberal heavyweights such as Fox News contributor Alan Colmes, comedian Jon Stewart, and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer have all suggested publicly that President Obama allow Congress to pass a one year delay to the individual mandate. Liberal editors and writers see the implementation of their dream slipping through their fingers. They see a president with a paltry 37% job approval rating providing "selective transparency" of a program that is causing the mainstream media to ask the obvious question, "If the website is not fixed, will people still have to pay the fine?"

Therein lies the million dollar question. Only three of the thirteen people who stood behind President Obama in the Rose Garden on Monday have enrolled in Obamacare themselves. Insurance companies are terminating millions of policies including nearly 500,000 policies terminated by Florida Blue and Kaiser Permanente in California. Consumer Reports is advising its readers to avoid the Obamacare website. Respected business reporters are acknowledging the effect Obamacare is having in turning America into a nation of part-time employees. Even senior Obama Administration officials are unwilling to guarantee that the Obamacare website will be fixed by the end of the year. Given all that, it seems only logical to wonder why the Obama Administration has not sought to delay the individual mandate itself. After all, it has already unilaterally delayed the mandate that large corporations insure their employees by one year.

Yet, the current fiasco was foreseeable. The Obamacare website was launched despite failing key tests only days before the launch and despite receiving serious red flags from the very programmers who built the website itself. Despite claims by President Obama that Obamacare "is more than just a website," polls suggest a majority of Americans believe the problems are more fundamental than poor website design. To fix the problems created by the Canadian web design company, President Obama announced a "tech surge" by the internet giant Verizon.

Given all this, it is amazing that some Republican strategists suggest that "defunders" owe "conservatives" an apology. Do cancer survivors like Joseph Claps and his wife who own a deli and catering business in Stamford, CT owe an apology too?

The Claps, originally Obama supporters who supported the President's health care vision, were surprised to receive a letter from their insurance provider stating that their $21,000 annual insurance premium was set to rise. Given that the Claps wake up at 4:30 am six days per week to run their small business, they are not sure when they will find the time to add part-time jobs to cover the increase.

How about my friend: A fifty year-old non-smoker, who nonetheless developed lung cancer that has since spread to the rest of his body. He is being kept alive by experimental drugs administered at a world-renowned cancer research hospital, treatment that might not otherwise be available to him under Obamacare. My friend is healthy enough that he has been able to return to work. Given that his daughter started college recently, he would like to live long enough to see her graduate.

Do physicians owe them an apology as well?  A recent study conducted for the American Medical Association, an organization that lobbied for the passage of Obamacare, found deep dissatisfaction among doctors with the electronic medical records the federal government requires them to keep. These physicians find many of the questions invasive and unnecessary, the systems flawed and the time required to maintain them detracting from patient contact and care. More studies show that many doctors will not guarantee acceptance of Obamacare. 

While it is not surprising to find the most rabid ideologues unswayed by the plethora of evidence that Obamacare is not working, it is upsetting that those who claim to support its repeal undermine the efforts of those who are trying to repeal it. We will not apologize for doing all we can to stop this train wreck which is harming millions of Americans.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Republicans Need to Stop Playing the Blame Game

During a speech at CPAC in February, 2012, Americans for Tax Reform Founder and President Grover Norquist told an audience of glum conservative activists concerned about the prospect of a Mitt Romney candidacy not to worry about a President Romney because he would “do as he is told.” Norquist went on to elaborate his belief that

We are not auditioning for fearless leader, we just need a President to sign this stuff [spending  cuts]. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership movement for the next twenty years will be coming out of the House and the Senate so focus on electing the most conservative Republican who can win each House and Senate seat and then pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to be President of the United States.




Norquist’s condescending remarks highlight the disgust grassroots conservative activists have for Washington, D.C. insiders who view politics as a game filled with winners and losers where policies do not have consequences in parts of the country not serviced by The Washington Post and The New York Times. Notice that Obamacare was omitted from Norquist’s remarks.

While Senator Ted Cruz has suggested the strategy that the House of Representatives is currently following, namely to fund non-partisan national priorities like helping kids dying of cancer, Norquist dismisses such efforts as abandoning House Republicans so they can go play in traffic! There are no "winners" under Obamacare, only losers!

The losers are all around us! Americans whose health insurance premiums have doubled, Americans whose jobs are being converted from full-time to part-time work, Americans who have lost their jobs all together and left the workforce! Obamacare is not a game!

Pretenders like Grover Norquist and Kimberly Strassel need to get off their high horses, join the fight and stop trying to undermine our efforts. Ted Cruz's strategy is working! Harry Reid has blinked on funding the military and providing death benefits to the families of fallen service members.

Some polls suggest that Republicans may be in jeopardy of retaining their majority in the House of Representatives if they do not capitulate to President Obama and Congressional Democrats. If true, that may be due in part to the fact that they have not effectively explained what they are fighting for. During their twenty-one hour filibuster, Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and others read letter after letter from constituents who have lost their jobs, had their hours reduced, lost their health insurance or had their premiums doubled. During a recent episode of the Mark Levin radio show, caller after caller relayed similar stories. Yet, we do not hear similar efforts to convey such stories from the House of Representatives.

During a recent conference call with bloggers, Republican House Conference Chairperson Cathy McMorris Rogers pushed back suggesting that similar letters had been read on the House floor and committee hearings were being held. Unfortunately, while milions of people listen to talk radio, not nearly as many watch C-SPAN during the afternoon.

House Republicans need to fly their constituents into Washington, D.C. and hold daily press conferences telling the stories of constituents who have lost their jobs, lost their businesses, had their hours reduced, lost their health insurance or had their premiums skyrocket. We should not be hard to find. There are millions of us and we have taken to social medial This is exactly what President Obama is doing!

Currently, Republicans are mired in news coverage surrounding the government shutdown and stories about veterans who are being prohibited from visiting memorials to the wars in which they sacrificed. While disgraceful behavior, it pales in comparison to the inevitable crisis that would unfold if a future President and Congress were to withhold actual health CARE, not merely, insurance, for failure to capitulate to this demand or that.

Republicans need to stop worrying about who the mainstream media will “blame” for the government shutdown and start listening to why voters are so upset, nervous and outraged as Obamacare begins to fundamentally transform our nation. Liberal cheerleaders like former White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs, Fox News contributor Alan Colmes, comedian Jon Stewart and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer all appreciate that the Obamacare rollout is a farce and its mandates should be delayed. Yet, the GOP leadership is planning to surrender despite President Obama's paltry 37% job approval rate.

During a conference call with grassroots organizations, Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN) was unwilling to confirm that the House of Representatives would insist on coupling defunding Obamacare or a delay in the implementation of the individual mandate to any extension of the debt limit or increased government spending. The grassroots is not focused on personalities and "auditioning" a "fearless leader." We support anyone and everyone who fights with us! Unless we begin to uproot Obamacare root, tree and branch, there may be nothing left to fight for.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why Would Harry Reid Want to Help Kids with Cancer?

There is a concerted effort to impugn the credibility of Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and House Conservatives fighting to defund Obamacare. They are called extremists, anarchists, and hostage takers, all from a guy who ‘palled around’ with terrorist Bill Ayers and worshiped at the altar of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. We are told Senators Cruz and Lee are holding a “gun to the head” of the American people, ironic considering the lecture on civil discourse delivered by President Obama at the University of Arizona only a few years earlier. We are told President Obama will not negotiate with such men though his calendar is full negotiating with a ‘man’ who gassed over one thousand civilians and another whose country is threatening the world with its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Here we are, a “moral melodrama” as columnist George Will called it on full display. What is really going on? As they said during their twenty-one hour filibuster last week, the principle aim of Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee is to make Washington listen to the American people and bring President Obama and Congressional Democrats to the negotiating table.

While the media is focused on the panda webcam at the National Zoo that President Obama has chosen to turn off in order to save 3 cents per day, millions, not thousands, of Americans are losing their jobs, their health insurance or both! Yes, that is correct. A law that was designed ostensibly to provide health insurance coverage to those who are currently without, is doubling premiums, causing companies to drop spousal and family coverage, causing insurance companies to leave the market altogether, and causing companies across the country to convert full-time employees to part-time employees or drop them entirely. People are confused by and scared about Obamacare as demonstrated by this man-on-the street video produced by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. While liberals hail it as an example of demagoguery surrounding the implementation of Obamacare, the reality is that the video demonstrates that NO ONE but the lobbyists who wrote Obamacare understands its nearly 3,000 pages and the Department of Health and Human Services' 10,000 pages of regulations. How could they?

President Obama claims to feel “exasperated” that Republicans have not capitulated to his demands. Republicans have responded in kind by funding what are presumably non-partisan national priorities: the United States military, the Veterans Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Parks Service, and the National Guard.

Yet, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asks “what right do they [Republicans] have to pick and choose what parts of government are going to be funded?” Has Harry Reid never read the United States Constitution? Harry Reid claims that Republicans are “obsessed with this Obamacare thing” as if Obamacare does not affect the federal budget in any manner. Harry Reid should listen to Senator Mike Lee more often. He could learn a great deal about the guiding document he has sworn to uphold.



While defending his priorities, President Obama has been known to suggest “if you can save just one life…” A CNN reporter turned the question on its head and asked Harry Reid “if you can help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it,” it being funding the National Institutes of Health. Harry Reid responded by calling the reporter an idiot!



While liberal mouthpieces like NBC’s David Gregory suggest that people are not “marching in the streets” demanding an end to Obamacare, over 100,000 attended a tele-townhall demanding an end to Obamacare and over 2,000,000 have signed a national petition demanding that Obamacare be defunded. Ironically, the 1,000,000 signature threshold was passed on Labor Day and the 2,000,000 signature threshold was passed on the first day people were able to sign up for coverage under the Obamacare exchanges.

Despite all the economic malaise in the United States, despite stories of “glitches” causing the Obamacare website to be unavailable, despite small businesses being unable to register for coverage, despite the Obamacare premium calculator being unable to calculate an individual’s premium correctly, despite evidence that computer hackers have compromised Obamacare computer systems, despite President Obama unilaterally and unconstitutionally rewriting or revising major provisions of Obamacare more than nineteen times since its implementation, Congressional Democrats are determined to impose Obamacare's mandates on the American people, all while maintaining their personal exemptions.

What the House of Representatives has proposed is very simple. President Obama, let’s hold you to your word. You said, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period! If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period!” Let everyone who would like to, keep their health care plans for one year while letting those who want to “enjoy” the benefits of Obamacare, “enjoy” them for one year. If people really like Obamacare, the benefits will be obvious. If they do not….

Friday, September 27, 2013

Senator Ted Cruz Advanced the Argument to Defund Obamacare

Did House Republicans thank him? Not exactly. In a conference call with bloggers earlier today, House Republican Conference members Sean Duffy, Tom Reed and Rodney Davis 'acknowledged defeat' in the effort to defund Obamacare instead setting their sights on an effort to delay the implementation of Obamacare, an effort championed by House Republican Conference chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers.

Suggestions included a one year delay of the individual mandate and allowing states to claim temporary exemptions from Obamacare. Congressman Davis expressed a frustration about the inability to return to regular constitutional order so as to implement true spending cuts. Another idea that was floated included tying the implementation of Obamacare to such a return so that the implementation of Obamacare would be temporarily delayed for the length of the term of each continuing resolution. Other ideas included a so-called ‘Fair CR’ eliminating special exemptions and subsidies for Members of Congress and others.

Earlier in the week on the Laura Ingraham radio show, Congressman Duffy remarked “Thank God he [Cruz] wasn’t fighting at the Alamo!” suggesting that Cruz’s calls to filibuster the House continuing resolution in order to prevent Harry Reid from stripping language to defund Obamacare amounted to ‘surrender.’ What Congressman Duffy failed to appreciate is that Senator Cruz’s filibuster effort helped refocus the nation’s attention on many of the ills of Obamacare including the devastating effect it is having on employment. Senators Cruz and Lee never guaranteed that their strategy would cause the demagogue that is President Obama to suddenly wake up and suggest that these guys have a valid point. Rather, as successful experience litigators, both knew that if Republicans stood united with the base of their party and did not repeat the mistake of past budget battles of negotiating with themselves in public, they would be able to force President Obama and Congressional Democrats to the negotiating table and advance the cause of delaying, defunding and dismantling Obamacare, a cause the every Republican member of Congress claims to support.

Congressman Duffy seemed to express a frustration that the idea of tying the defunding of Obamacare to the passage of a continuing resolution seemed to be sprung on the House of Representatives at the last minute. What this demonstrates is that Senators Cruz and Lee are correct. Congress is not listening to the American people. How else to explain the nearly two million signatures on the national petition to defund Obamacare in less than two months. http://dontfundit.com. If Republican Congressman and Senators want to repeat their 2010 electoral success in 2014, they would do well to pay attention to events of the past two months and tailor their agenda accordingly.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Senator Ted Cruz's Post-Filibuster Call to Action!

 
In a follow-up conference call earlier today, Senator Ted Cruz reminded bloggers and reporters that the fight to defund Obamacare has always been a multistage process. Stage one began in July and August, energizing and mobilizing the grassroots conservative base. Stage two happened when the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the continuing resolution funding the government but defunding Obamacare. Stage three requires uniting senate Republicans before beginning to pick off red state Democrats.

Senator Cruz reminded everyone that there are seven states that Mitt Romney won which are represented by Democrat senators, six of which Barack Obama failed to win 42% of the vote. A Democrat senator from one such state, West Virginia, just announced his support for a delay in the implementation of the individual mandate.

Senator Cruz suggested that there has been “material progress” focusing the nation’s attention on the nightmare that is Obamacare. He suggested that an unfortunate aspect of the political coverage is that those who want to continue to fund Obamacare are distracting people by focusing their attention on the political personalities. Senator Cruz believes that the success of his filibuster was to remind people of the substantive issues surrounding Obamacare, such as how many people across the country are losing their jobs or having full-time hours reduced to part-time, and how many people are losing health insurance coverage or having their premiums skyrocket.

Senator Cruz reminded people that the vote to defund Obamacare is a “show vote.” The substantive vote will be the vote for cloture on Friday concerning whether to allow Harry Reid the opportunity to strip the defunding language out of the continuing resolution. While Senator Cruz acknowledged that senators are entitled to disagree as to the better tactical approach to defunding Obamacare, he admonished those senators to be honest with their constituents and admit that their tactical disagreement includes allowing Harry Reid to fully fund Obamacare.

Senator Cruz suggested that GOP got clobbered in three of the last four federal election cycles, 2006, 2008 and 2012, primarily because the conservative base of the party was not energized. He suggested that the success of the 2010 election cycle was due in large part to the energy of grassroots, fighting against the recent passage of Obamacare.

Senator Cruz concluded by reminding activists that if DC politicians listen to their constituents, we can win the Obamacare fight!

Activists should continue to call their Congressmen and Senators, 202-224-3121, convince their friends to join the nearly two million Americans who have signed the national petition to defund Obamacare, http://dontfundit.com, and tweet their thoughts using the hashtag #MakeDCListen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Two Million Americans vs Washington, D.C.

A friend visited the emergency room recently to treat a severe infection in his leg. His doctor was unavailable so he was advised to go the local emergency room to receive treatment. After waiting the requisite several hours, my friend was visited by a nurse who, upon looking at his electronic medical chart, asked about a prescription for eye drops that had been filled at a pharmacy outside the hospital earlier in the day. What makes this story interesting is that the prescribing physician was located in another state and unaffiliated with the treating hospital. My friend soon discovered that this nurse knew every prescription that my friend had filled whether from a local or online pharmacy including those prescribed by doctors located in other states not affiliated with the network of local doctors and hospitals. Welcome to Obamacare!

For those of you who are outraged that the NSA is creating digital dossiers on law abiding American citizens, this is exactly what Obamacare and electronic medical records are doing TODAY! According to the Department of Health and Human Services, mosts doctors offices and 80% of hospitals will employ electronic medical records by the end of the year. That is not surprising since they have received billions of dollars in incentive payments to deploy such systems. Despite the claimed benefits, in the age of Wikileaks, does the government need access to our most personal medical information in order for our health system to operate efficiently? Former CIA director David Petraeus resigned from office to avoid the threat of blackmail should an enemy possess compromising information about a personal relationship. Don’t such all encompassing record keeping systems invite similar potential for abuse if Senator X will do anything to keep information about a venereal disease or psychological disorder confidential?

With the debate over defunding Obamacare in full bore, one wonders why it is so difficult for Republican senators and congressmen to explain the ills of Obamacare and the virtues of defunding it, especially since all claim to support the effort. After all, every GOP congressman save one voted to defund Obamacare last week. All GOP congressmen profess pride in their forty or so votes to repeal the law. Byron York reminds readers that twenty GOP senators co-sponsored an amendment that all GOP senators supported to defund Obamacare earlier this year. Yet, you do not hear a peep in opposition when it comes to discussing the dangers of continuing to fund the implementation of electronic medical records or the potential for abuse inherent in giving community activists loyal to President Obama access to a federal data hub replete with your confidential financial information without subjecting these individuals to a criminal background check.

President Obama is fond of characterizing the GOP as the party of ‘No Thank You.’ Yet, when Congressman Peter King goes on CNN proclaiming hope that the defund effort fails in the U.S. Senate after voting to defund Obamacare himself only hours earlier, and anonymous GOP operatives send opposition research to Chris Wallace in advance of an interview with Senator Ted Cruz, can the GOP properly be characterized as doing everything possible to delay, defund and dismantle Obamacare?

The principle argument against defunding Obamacare seems to be a worry that President Obama will use the occasion to shut down the government blaming Republicans in the process. However, by capitulating to political pressure from President Obama, Republicans demonstrate that they are putting their perceived personal political interests ahead of the interests of the citizens they ostensibly represent. Record numbers of Americans rose up in 2010 to hand Republicans a landslide victory in the House of Representatives, principally in reaction to the passage of Obamacare. Many of those same voters stayed home two years later, largely because the nomination of Mitt Romney as the GOP presidential candidate, the only Republican to implement a health plan similar to Obamacare while governor, did not inspire a belief in voters that Republicans had the appetite to fully repeal Obamacare.

Republicans point to the last government shutdown as evidence that politics are against them. Yet, the former GOP House whip at the time, Tom DeLay, reminded listeners to the Mark Levin radio show that the opposite was true. In fact, DeLay argues that fighting Obamacare makes good political sense because most Americans oppose its implementation. Recent polls suggest most Americans do not understand Obamacare and precious few believe it will have a positive impact on their family.

The last point is not surprising since Obamacare is having a devastating effect on employment in America. Despite protestations from the White House, the Obamacare employer mandate is cannibalizing full-time employment resulting in record levels of part-time employment. The official unemployment rate has never dipped below 7.5% since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the longest stretch since 1948. The employment participation rate is at its lowest rate in decades and black unemployment is at a high of 13% under our first black president, far exceeding the rate under his white predecessors.

Every day, the news is replete with stories about how Obamacare is negatively impacting employment and health insurance coverage in America, the very problem it is ostensibly designed to fix. In the past week, IBM announced that it is shifting 100,000 retirees from private health insurance coverage to government health insurance exchanges. Walgreens announced that it is doing the same for over 100,000 current employees. Home Depot announced that it is dropping health insurance coverage for 20,000 part-time employees.

Even some of President Obama’s loudest union cheerleaders are fretting the implementation of Obamacare. 40,000 longshoremen quit the AFL-CIO recently over their support of Obamacare. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, one of President Obama’s loudest supporters, was forced to admit that Obamacare is having a negative impact on employment.

Hospitals across the country are laying off people as well, just as more and more Americans are qualifying for free health insurance. The world famous Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee are laying off thousands in preparation for the implementation of Obamacare. Not only do these hospitals suffer from the pressures of other large businesses, but they are being squeezed by nearly one trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare under Obamacare.

Investors Business Daily is running a tally of over 300 large businesses, public and private, that have reduced employment or employee hours as a result of Obamacare. This helps explain why nearly two million Americans have signed a national petition to defund Obamacare at http://www.dontfundit.com/. Ironically, the petition passed the one million signature threshold on Labor Day earlier this month.

That is why Senator Ted Cruz has suggested it is time for the GOP to unite around the idea of defunding Obamacare. If ever there were an issue around which Americans are tired of playing partisan political games, this is it! Americans do not respect politicians who exempt themselves from the laws they pass. They are not prepared to stand for another ‘read my lips’ moment from the GOP.

Americans do not want a health insurance plan that The New York Times admits restricts their choice of doctors and hospitals. That is not what President Obama promised in 2009. Obamacare is causing premiums to skyrocket despite promises that they would fall. In fact, there is evidence Obamacare likely will cause cancer patients to die unnecessarily. This will happen while Obamacare pays subsidies to guest workers and foreign students and makes foreigners cheaper to hire than American citizens.

Republicans need to stand united in opposition to Obamacare as they did when the law was passed. Only by standing united and learning from mistakes in prior budget battles by not negotiating with themselves in public will Republicans force President Obama and Congressional Democrats to the negotiating table. Might there be a protracted battle where Republicans do not get everything they seek, sure. They will not get anywhere, however, unless they stand united in opposition and continue to make the case to the American people.

There is an old parable about two men fighting over a chicken bound at its feet. Both men claim ownership of the chicken and ask a rabbi to resolve their dispute. The rabbi suggests that the men untie the chicken’s feet and watch the chicken run to its rightful owner. The Republican Party needs to stand united, unbind the American people from the shackles of Obamacare and see which way we run. If they do, I have no doubt they will reap rewards in 2014 and beyond.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Tea Party vs The Surrender Caucus

Championing an effort that is long overdue, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are leading a fight to put teeth into the cause of dismantling Obamacare. An effort that is ostensibly backed by every GOP member of Congress given the thirty odd votes the House of Representatives has taken to repeal Obamacare, Senators Cruz and Lee are exerting the only leverage available to Members of Congress, especially those whose party holds the majority in only one House of Congress: the power of the purse.

What is striking is the resistance Senators Cruz and Lee have received, not from Democrats, but from Republicans. Self-described budget hawk Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) declared the campaign to defund Obamacare to be “dishonest” and “hype”. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) called the effort “silly” and lacking “courage”. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) likened the effort to defund Obamacare to a “temper tantrum” and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) suggested that such an effort was the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Sen. Burr’s comment is truly ironic because his spokesman reminds journalists of the several stand-alone bills the Senator has co-sponsored seeking to repeal Obamacare, bills that have never and will never receive a vote in a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. Senate Minority Whip and former National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) was an original signatory to Sen. Lee’s letter pledging not to vote for a spending bill that continues to fund Obamacare. However, Sen. Cornyn has since removed his name from the letter despite claiming to support the full repeal of Obamacare on his campaign re-election website and hiring a grassroots Tea Party activist to run his re-election campaign.

One reason proffered for why defunding Obamacare is a fool's errand is that the continuing resolution re-authorizing government spending at the end of September contains proportionally little spending on Obamacare. Perhaps. However, as Erick Erickson notes in RedState, there is nothing preventing Congress from attaching a rider to a continuing resolution rescinding subsidies for state exchanges and rescinding funding for Medicaid expansion. Further, there are considerable administrative and implementation costs yet to be incurred at the IRS and HHS that can be curtailed.

A second reason proffered is that President Obama will never sign a law curtailing his signature legislative accomplishment. Again, perhaps. However, with more Americans continuing to look disfavorably on Obamacare than ever before, it is incumbent upon Republicans to continue to make the case for why it should be repealed or curtailed. As Senator Cruz has said, Republicans “will lose 100% of the battles they begin by surrendering.” Further as Senator Lee points out, even President Obama has admitted that Obamacare is not ready for “prime time” by illegally delaying the employer mandate and choosing to selectively enforce the law. Consequently, since this selective enforcement benefits large businesses at the expense of individual consumers, Senator Lee argues that Congress should not reward this inequity by continuing to fund the implementation of the law.

Prominent Republican operatives like Karl Rove remain unconvinced by these arguments. Therefore the question remains, where do they draw the line? In National Review Online and on The Freedomcast, John Fund details the potential horrors of the new Federal Data Hub meant to combine the databases of several federal government agencies in order to help implement Obamacare. This data hub will be accessed by tens of thousands of Obama’s community activist supporters who will be permitted to view the confidential health and financial information of millions of Americans. If you are concerned about the abuses resulting from the recent IRS scandal, the Federal Data Hub has the potential to create abuses of that magnitude on steroids! Remember 2010 Delaware Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell? Her tax records were accessed improperly by an unknown Delaware state official during a heated campaign season. Get ready for much more of that during the next election cycle.

Further, John Fund notes that contractors will not be subject to criminal background checks or be required to have earned high school diplomas. I imagine Karl Rove has confidence that President Obama will prevent felons convicted of fraud and identity theft from abusing their access to his confidential financial information or groups like Wikileaks from posting his confidential health records on the internet for all the world to see. If Republicans are unwilling to draw a line in the sand and defund the entirety of Obamacare, perhaps they might at least draw a line in the sand and defund the Federal Data Hub. Surely Congressional Republicans are able to articulate the inherent horrors of the Federal Data Hub and force President Obama and Congressional Democrats to explain their willingness to shut down the federal government over their insistence to fund this program.

As Senators Cruz and Lee have explained, the travesty of Obamacare is not just its effect on our health insurance market and our health care delivery system but on the broader economy. Obamacare is responsible for the largest expansion of part-time employment at the expense of full-time employment in our nation’s history and our lowest employment participation rate in decades. Even an Obamacare information call center in California is being staffed with part-time employees so as to avoid the requirement of having to provide these individuals with health insurance. Bankrupt cities like Detroit and near bankrupt municipalities across the nation are contemplating easing their financial burdens by dumping their employees into the health insurance exchanges thereby forcing federal taxpayers to subsidize the poor financial management of states and municipalities. Surely, Congressional Republicans can defend their decision to defund Obamacare by explaining how the law has contributed to persistently high unemployment.

The question remains, why are Congressional Republicans who claim to oppose Obamacare unwilling to stand tall and support this effort to defund the law? Perhaps the answer lies in a letter signed by over one hundred GOP donors urging Congress to pass so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Congressional Republicans seem so concerned that the possibility of a protracted fight with the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats over the budget might upset the possibility of passing a legislative priority for their donor base, that they have ignored the outcry from their voter base.

As Senator Cruz explained, this may be the last best chance to defund Obamacare before it goes into effect as President Obama’s strategy is to enroll as many people as possible getting them “addicted to the sugar” of subsidies. In fact, the Obama administration has announced that it will not verify income and rely on the honor system when determining whether new enrollees qualify for subsidies.

Americans need to let their voices be heard by calling their Members of Congress 202-224-3121, attending their townhall meetings http://congress.freedomworks.org/districtoffices and signing the petition not to fund Obamacare http://www.dontfundobamacare.com/. As of this writing, the petition has nearly 200,000 signatures!

Paraphrasing Martin Luther King, Senator Coburn once said, “Cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right?” Help Congress find its conscience!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ted Cruz stands for freedom. What does Obama stand for?

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/07/03/our_friend_in_cairo_ted_cruz_obama_morsy

by United States Senator Ted Cruz (R - Texas)

On Sunday, June 30, millions of Egyptians turned out to protest President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime. Fed up with his disastrous economic mismanagement and systematic disregard for constitutional freedoms, the Egyptian people took to the streets to demand his resignation. "Leave! Leave!" they chanted in what may have been the largest demonstration in the history of the Middle East -- if not the world.

It was a breathtaking scene -- and potentially a watershed moment. Unlike the angry, disaffected youth who raged through the Arab Spring in 2011, these crowds, like those in the recent protests in Turkey, were made up of middle-class citizens protesting against a regime with an unpleasant tendency to trample on the rights of women, Christians, and Jews -- and to stifle the independence of the press and judiciary, ruining the economy in the process. While there has been some unfortunate violence, the Tamarod ("Rebel") movement is also organizing demonstrations, gathering signatures of no confidence in Morsy's government (it has gathered 22 million already), and threatening additional civil disobedience in the form of strikes if Morsy does not step down.

One would expect to find the United States standing firmly with these people. Surely, after our long and lonely search for secular and democratic partners in the Arab world, we could find some common ground with them. Surely, we could see the value of an administration in Egypt that could act as both a southern bulwark for Israel and a much-needed partner in countering the terrorist outposts in the Sinai and Horn of Africa. And surely, we could help support a government that could stand as an example for struggling states like Libya and Iran -- one that proves Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East are not predestined to live in oppressive theocracies.

Tragically, America has been relegated to the sidelines. The number of U.S. Embassy personnel has been reduced, and a travel warning has been issued for Americans in Egypt -- and for good reason. The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsy signs. They were also carrying signs with slogans like "Obama Supports Terrorism" and "Obama Supports Morsy," as well as pictures of the American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red "X" through her face. Some of these were set on fire. On Friday, Andrew Driscoll Pochter, an American college student who was in Egypt to teach English to schoolchildren, was stabbed to death as he took pictures of the protesters.

In what has to be one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory, the United States is -- in both perception and reality -- entrenched as the partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular, pro-democracy opposition.

It did not have to be this way.

When Morsy was elected a little more than a year ago, President Barack Obama could have expressed strong reservations about a member of the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of the country. He should have also been more aggressive about using American aid to extract concessions from the Egyptian government on human rights, as well as economic and political reform. Instead, Obama made a personal call to congratulate Morsy, characterized his election as a "milestone" in Egypt's progress toward democracy, and pledged $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid. In the ensuing months, Morsy received a steady stream of assistance from the United States in the form of arms sales, unconditional financial aid, and visits from high-level officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry -- all of which enhanced the strength and legitimacy of his regime.

Emboldened by U.S. support, Morsy consolidated his power -- removing the traditionally pro-American military leadership, imposing an Islamist constitution, marginalizing the judiciary, and turning a blind eye to brutal attacks against religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shiite Muslims. Morsy also began to agitate for the release of the "blind sheik" Omar Abdel Rahman, who orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Offensive remarks describing Jews as "bloodsuckers" and "the descendants of apes and pigs" soon came to light. Still, the United States continued to place its resources at his disposal -- apparently on the grounds that a budding Islamist dictator with a healthy hatred of Israel and America was the appropriate recipient of Abrams tanks and B-16 bombers.

More recently, as opposition to Morsy coalesced around the Tamarod movement, the Obama administration missed the opportunity to support its efforts and further the vital interests of the United States without firing a shot. Instead, the sole priority seems to be to defuse the situation and preserve the status quo. Ambassador Patterson has assumed the leading role in implementing this policy, meeting with members of the opposition not to encourage them to pursue a true secular democracy in Egypt but to try to persuade them to tone things down. Patterson has said she is "deeply skeptical" of their movement.

Obama, traveling in Africa on the eve of the protests, offered no words of support. Instead, he admonished the demonstrators to remain peaceful and made the tepid recommendation that Morsy engage in a "constructive conversation" about reform, since the president of the United States could not take a side in this debate.

The president's comments fall into an all-too-familiar pattern. We are witnessing a moment of real opportunity for reform in Egypt right now, just as we witnessed hopeful moments in Iran in 2009 and Syria in early 2011. In both cases, meaningful change might have been encouraged through robust economic and moral support for the protesters and diplomatic pressure on the regime. But in both cases, the United States opted for a policy of strategic silence.

The result? In Iran, we saw the window for change snap shut as the mullahs brutally crushed the protests and accelerated their nuclear weapons program. In Syria, hopes that President Bashar al-Assad would turn out to be a reformer proved groundless and the situation descended into chaos. Today, some 100,000 Syrians have been killed, and both Hezbollah and al Qaeda are engaged in a vicious civil war -- one the president is now dragging the United States into, albeit with no clear purpose or strategy.

Hopefully, we can avoid repeating the same mistake yet again in Egypt. As we prepare to celebrate the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this week, halfway around the globe Egyptians may witness the birth of their own freedoms. It is a great pity that Obama's policies have provoked so much hostility toward the United States from the very people we should most want to support -- and it would be an even greater pity if his accommodation of the Morsy regime helped the Egyptian leader remain in power. Since the president has refused to act, Congress should move quickly to freeze all aid to Egypt that is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. We should treat with great caution any proposal to deploy U.S. forces to Egypt in response to these events. And we should find the courage to speak out forcefully on behalf of those advocating secular democratic reforms in Egypt.