McConnell Says Senate Republicans Might Revisit Obamacare Repeal

By David Morgan
Reuters, Oct. 17, 2018

Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday, calling a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a “disappointment.” He said, “If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks … We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”

First, Do No Harm (to ObamaCare)

By Michael F. Cannon
The Wall Street Journal. Oct. 11, 2018

The legislation the U.S. Senate rejected Wednesday would have subjected patients with expensive illnesses to soaring premiums, canceled coverage and medical bankruptcy. You might expect such legislation to have been introduced by Republicans and defeated by Democrats, but you’d be wrong. Democrats sought to deny care to the sick. Republicans stopped them.

Senate Democrats Fail to Block Trump’s Short-Term Health Plans

By Adam Cancryn and Miranda Ollstein
Politico, Oct. 10, 2018

A long-shot bid to derail the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health plans died in the Senate on Wednesday, even with Sen. Susan Collins providing the lone Republican vote for the resolution. The Senate vote ended in a 50-50 tie, falling short of the majority needed to pass the measure that would have blocked new regulations allowing insurers to sell health plans that don’t have to comply with Obamacare rules, plans that could be renewed for up to three years.

Trump Signs Bills Banning Drug Pricing ‘Gag Clauses’

By Jessie Hellann
The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018

On Twitter, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer implies President Trump’s USA Todayop-ed is “false and misleading” and appeals to the authority of an Associated Press “Fact Check” carrying the headline: “Trump distorts Democrats’ health care ideas.” But it’s the AP headline that may need a rewrite. In the body of its story, the news service acknowledges: “There definitely are serious questions about ‘Medicare for All,’ including the massive tax increases that would be needed to pay for it and longstanding differences in society about the proper function of government.”

Donald Trump: Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ Plan Will Demolish Promises to Seniors

By President Donald Trump
USA Today, Oct. 10, 2018

Dishonestly called “Medicare for All,” the Democratic proposal would establish a government-run, single-payer health care system that eliminates all private and employer-based health care plans and would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years. “Medicare for All” would really be Medicare for None. It would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business. Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors. There would be long wait lines for appointments and procedures, and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. would have total power and control over seniors’ health care decisions.

State Innovation: The Key to Affordable Health Care Coverage Choices

By Doug Badger and Edmund Haislmaier
The Heritage Foundation, September 27, 2018

Obamacare’s rigid and centralized federal regulation of the nongroup market is failing. Premiums have risen, choices have contracted, and enrollment in individual policies continues to fall. Section 1332 of the Obamacare statute provides states with very limited authority to escape Obamacare’s mandates and test new approaches to undoing some of this damage. Several states have successfully used a waiver to change market conditions sufficiently that premiums fell for individual health insurance while still protecting the ability of people with high health care costs to access care. Waivers alone, however, are not enough. Congress should enact legislation to empower states to establish consumer-centered approaches that reduce health care costs and increase choices. To make incremental progress towards this goal, the Trump Administration can simplify the unnecessarily restrictive waiver progress established by the Obama Administration in order to provide near-term relief to consumers without new federal spending.

ObamaCare’s Poverty Tax Hit 20 Million People At a Cost of $8.4 Billion

By Jason Pye
FreedomWorks, Oct. 2, 2018

New Internal Revenue Service data compiled by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) reiterates that the individual mandate predominately hit lower- and middle-class income earners. In 2016, roughly 77% of those who were subject to the individual mandate earned $50,000 or less. Overall, more than 4.9 million people paid more than $3.6 billion in penalties. Maryland and Ohio had the highest percentage of payers who earned $50,000 or less, at roughly 85% each. Alaska, California, and Wyoming had the lowest percentage, at roughly 68% or lower. Around 33% of these payers earned $25,000 or less.

Don’t Buy the Hype: Medicaid Expansion Would be a Disaster for Idaho

By Charles Katebi
The Heartland Institute, Sept. 19, 2018

If voters approve the ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Idaho, the state will expand the program to able-bodied adults that earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line. Supporters of Medicaid expansion claim the program will generate millions of dollars in new revenue and save money. But the best-available evidence shows Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers far more than the predictions made by numerous analysts. In response to these increasing costs for their new expanded entitlement, states have been forced to divert funding away from essential public services, including schools, law enforcement, and transportation.

A Better Solution for People in the “Gap” Who Need Health Insurance

By Rick Santorum
Idaho Freedom Foundation, Oct. 2, 2018

Idaho’s ballot initiative to expand Medicaid is misguided, writes former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). The state would be wise to look at the experience of other states first. The Foundation for Government Accountability reviewed the experiences of 17 states that expanded and found that the federal money doesn’t come cheap. Every state far surpassed projected enrollment in the first year of expansion. In fact, they surpassed projections by an average of 91%. Separately, The Goldwater Institute found that “Arizona’s expansion not only failed to deliver on its promise to alleviate supposed cost burdens on private payers, it exacerbated them.”

Seema Verma Pushes Back on Obamacare ‘Sabotage’ Charges

By Kimberly Leonard
Washington Examiner, Oct. 3, 2018

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma on Wednesday cited reduced Obamacare premiums and expanded choices as evidence that the Trump administration has not “sabotaged” the healthcare law, as charged by Democrats. “For the very first time, rates have [been] going down… I think we have been successful in that area,” Verma said at an event hosted by the Economist Group in D.C. Next year, premiums for Obamacare customers are expected to fall by an average of 2% for mid-level plans. Verma previewed a forthcoming report that she said will show more health insurers are entering Obamacare and that they are offering more types of health plans.