OBAMACARE vs. TRUMPCARE

Trump Alone Can Fix It, Except Healthcare

Well, here we are again. The Democrats gave the country the gift of healthcare and like an addict, we do not want the Republicans to take it away. After 7-years of complaining about Obamacare, the elephants in the room forgot to actually pen an alternative bill. No one was working on a rewrite of the plan?

But the blame this time sits in the lap of the 45th President of the United States. Donald Trump has brought nothing to the debate and his actions are embarrassingly superficial and valueless. His language about how the plan will be “beautiful” and “really great” are terms he could have used for one of his beauty pageant contestants. His lack of understanding of healthcare was exposed when he admitted that healthcare was “complicated.”

If all those great and “really smart” people that Trump brought into his cabinet and administration were really smart and great, they would have revised the 906-page Affordable Healthcare Act and made it a better law. But no, they were so busy signing executive orders they took their collective eyes off the ball.

As we watch this drama and dysfunctional relationship between Congress and the White House play out, we learn how little influence Donald Trump has on the process. The Congress must stand behind their work while getting an earful from their constituents when they hold town meetings. Some say that people are being bused in from out of their districts to do these protests, but we are talking about a national bill, right? Why would it matter where the people come from if they are against a healthcare act that will affect all Americans?

This whole episode has vividly exposed the great divide between Republicans. We hear little about those snarly Tea Party people, but they are still around and they are against anything the government might do that has any hint of helping people. We are also seeing the imaginary line between “normal” GOP members and the neo-conservatives. The reason I use the “neo” prefix is because they aren’t old line conservatives like Ronald Reagan, who never walked away from a tax increase that could fix a problem. These new conservatives, like Rand Paul, seem to have some deep-seated reason to not like a good idea. Might Rand Paul be a plant in the Senate for doctors?

Trump should be listening to the CBO scores because the organizations and lobbyists that are paid to protect groups like kids and retired people use the data to send emails to millions of people.

Scare headlines like: Pregnancy to cost 425% more under Donald Trump’s health plan compared to Obamacare, are being splashed on the front pages of newspapers all over the world. Why? Because most of those countries have a single-payer system and they find Trump’s battle with healthcare to be rather humorous. See, they have already solved that problem.

The Donald has once again showed his lack of understanding about how government works and how Congress moves like a turtle. If he was a bit wiser he would have gone right into rebuilding US infrastructure, moving forward with something that would have helped commerce in our country. Most products move on rail, road or runway and if they are in disrepair the economy suffers. Healthcare, in its present state, keeps people at work and that helps the country. Why kill it?

How can the President of the United States sit by and let this happen? It’s as if he is powerless and has no ability to fix what is there now. He really doesn’t care. Just listen to him: “Let Obamacare fail. It’ll be a lot easier, and I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.” Once again, it’s blame the other guy and let the people suffer. The atrophy of this “leader” is demoralizing.

This morning (7-18-17), USA Today ran a story asking the question, Will Trump exercise? “He’s 71, holds down an incredibly stressful job, and is overweight. He doesn’t exercise. His eating habits are less than ideal. And to top it off, he doesn’t get enough sleep.” The good news for Trump is that he doesn’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. But after rolling back all the nutritional standards on school lunches, he’s guilty of being part of the problem on healthcare in more ways than one.

The anxiety and stress that Donald is feeling with his new job is the same as the stress he has created for undocumented people and those with pre-existing conditions. Clearly, Donald J. Trump is bad for the health of America. Wait until we discover more lead in the drinking water somewhere in America. In short, Trump hasn’t fixed healthcare for America, he’s made it worse.

 


HEALTHCARE IS COMPLICATED

Trump Unqualified as Insurance Czar

The House of Representatives’ poorly written healthcare act is very much like a guy with a hangover eating a habanero pepper omelet the next day. Crap in, crap out.

They might claim that it’s the hair of the dog, but in reality, it was just what they shouldn’t have done. When the House narrowly passed the American Healthcare Act on May 4, 2017 (by only two votes), with 20 Republicans voting against the bill, the Donald played right into Democratic hands.

And here is why:

  1. The GOP accused Democrats of not reading the Obamacare act before they voted on it. Trump forced his party members to do the same thing and thus sabotaged those running in 2018. We must remember the 213 Representatives who voted NO on this one.
  2. The de facto party leader, Donald Trump, said that everyone would get coverage and that pre-existing conditions would be covered, while the same leader let the Freedom Caucus roll him and agree to the deal for a state opt-out for insurance companies.
  3. House members made it seem that they were either expecting their older “brother” the Senate to fix their work or, worse, they were just appeasing Trump and showing that they have more division within their party. I used the word “brother” on this one because the committee writing the Senate version of the bill consists of 13 men. Why?

We are hearing lots of talk about Healthcare and Insurance companies. The typical gripe on Obamacare is that there are so few insurance companies in certain states.

Why doesn’t anyone on TV talk about the efforts of state insurance commissioners? Some have blocked the expansion of companies into their States. For example, many people don’t know that it took GEICO many years to get into the Massachusetts market. WHY? Well, the large insurance companies based in Boston blocked any insurance companies that offered what was defined as “discounted” insurance. Boy, that is restrictive. That has since been resolved, but it begs a bigger question.

Why would the President keep rotating that hackneyed phrase that he believes in  states’ rights and wants to give the states more control over Health Insurance? Once you give the states MORE control over healthcare, why even have a national healthcare act? And when all the states raise taxes the President might think he won’t get blamed, but he should think again and stop listening to people like Steve Bannon.

Because of Obamacare, we are no longer debating that there should be a national healthcare plan.  We are now just debating what it should be and who should pay for it. But when the first person with a pre-existing condition dies, Donald Trump and the Republican party will have blood on their hands. That Republican lie about death panels will then be rolled out by the Democrats. Only this time people will believe it.

With all the companies Donald Trump ran in his past life, we are sure that he heard debates about healthcare for his employees. His involvement was probably tertiary with him; either telling someone to do business with someone’s company he liked, or just saying get the price down.

Now, we have Tom Price running around and saying repeatedly how great the plan is, while never addressing any questions. His presentation, like those of most Trump underlings, is just a mini campaign-like speech fraught with fact-free slogans and fallacies. Is it because he doesn’t know what he is talking about, or is it a case of specifics left out so no mistakes are made?

Anyone running a business would ask a few questions before voting on a plan. The first is how much will this cost? The second is what does it do for my workforce? I remember that middle-class rationality of how it would be great to have a “real” businessman run the government.  Well, where can we get one? Or, better yet, where can we get a real businesswoman?

Donald Trump has admitted that healthcare is complicated. Obama once opened an explanation with a remark on how complicated the subject was and Jon Stewart called him out. Stewart challenged Obama by forcefully explaining that it’s the President’s job to help us understand complicated matters.

Let’s face it, a simple man cannot grasp the complexities of things and then turn them into a well-thought-out plan. Trump does hate, sarcasm and bullying well, but on the mattes of state, he’s clumsy and foolish. Sad!


BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

The Mandate Trump Never Saw Coming

By all accounts, Donald J. Trump doesn’t seem like a dim bulb, but the light of his own ego blinds him to the clever ideas he might have.

The debacle of March 24, 2017 may have been a little late for the Ides of March, but the fact that the Republican majority in the House couldn’t ramrod a Frankenstein healthcare bill, might demonstrate they are paying attention. Had they passed that bill, the ill effects would have determined the outcome of the 2018 elections.

Trump seems to be bumping into walls in the dead of night. Wearing his ill-fitting bathrobe, he cannot even comprehend, as he puts it, the strange procedures and rules of the House of Representatives. Did they not teach civics at the Wharton School of Business? Penn graduates are embarrassed everywhere.

And then, the leader of the free (but not free trade) world says this, “We had no Democrat support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote so it’s a very difficult thing to do,” He then added, “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is to let Obamacare explode.”

Let’s review for the folks at home. In the 115th Congress, the House has 237 Republicans and only 193 Democrats. Even with 5 vacancies currently, a fifth grader can see the Republicans have the majority. That is 44 more members and surely, they could get any bill passed in their chamber. Not so fast. The Republicans stand on states’ rights and anti-mandate is to their detriment.

Trump seems to think his role is to win, rather than lead. There is no responsible governance in what he says when he fails. He first looks to blame a someone or something rather than solve a problem. How did this man do well in business? Oh that’s right, he owned the business. There was no one there to dock his pay or fire him when he did poorly.

Any good business person knows you never kill a revenue source. Even if the product the people are buying is not the state of the art version, you want to keep them as customers until you can upsell them into the next version. This means that Trump, if we want to give him some credit, might be thinking that the revenue from the 20 million new insured Americans might be a good thing. Too much credit?

The one thing that Republicans wanted most to scratch in the Affordable Healthcare Act was the mandate. They associated the mandate with the big bad, evil government being involved in healthcare. Wait, that is simply a tax. If everyone signed up for healthcare and the system took on a more universal approach, there would be more revenue. If all the states would have all gotten on the bandwagon and promoted Obamacare, we would be better off now.  

When red states balked at the exchanges for ideological reasons, they were throwing money away. Let’s see, where is Bobby Jindal today? He left his state healthcare system in shambles coming in dead last in most categories except premature death where Louisiana was 47th out of 50 States.

The good idea that Trump kept telling us about at those big loud rallies was creating a marketplace of more competition in order to lower prices. Increasing costs is one of the debate points people raised saying Obamacare is bad. Trump knows better than anyone that a monopoly in a segment leads to higher prices. That’s why he wanted to get Native Americans out of the casino business.

With a little bit of smart legislation, Trump could cure what ails the AHA right now. All he would have to do is to convince Congress to pass a law saying that states do not control which insurance companies operate in their domains. In a sense, this would be no different than Congress giving Major League Baseball a mandate to operate across state lines without worry about the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887.

Why not write an exception for healthcare providers right now, so that some of the more aggressive players could come into states like Alabama where there is only one provider now? But that would mean Trump would have to convince Congress to pass something. I thought he was the deal maker? Turn out the lights Donald, the party is over.

It’s right there in front of Trump and he doesn’t see it. He wants to win and have everyone kiss is ass instead of coming up with solutions that would help Americans now. We have said it many times and will keep saying it, the President has the wrong people around him. Sad!

 


The Simple Truth About Donald Trump

Who gave him the keys to the car?

According to the NHTSA, the average percentage of DUI repeat offenders is 30%. There is someone killed every 52-minutes in America due to a vehicle accident where alcohol was involved. NBC’s Today provided this stat: The FBI says that every day almost 300,000 people drive drunk, yet only 4,000 are caught by police.

That means thousands of people are behind the wheel at any time who can put you and your loved ones in danger. We have someone at the wheel who is putting America in danger every day and someone must pull him over.

After the brief time Donald J. Trump has been in office, we have seen some rather bizarre actions, Orwellian use of language and the unfettered use of social media to embarrass himself and our great country.

As we have suggested on these pages before, someone should be controlling both the official POTUS tweeter feed and the personal @realDonaldTrump page. Once Trump became President, those sites became official government conduits for establishing administrative policy. Each tweet is a legal US document.

With every fabrication Mr. Know-it-all transmits to the world, the United States of America becomes a little smaller and petty in the eyes of the other world leaders. Mr. Trump, to be politically incorrect, the whole world is laughing at you (and not in a good way).

When both the head of the FBI and the head of the NSA both testify to Congress that there is no proof the Obama administration wire-tapped your phones, you couldn’t let it be, you had to tweet into the hearing more untruths.

Like the guy at the bar who has all the confidence in the world that he can drive home after countless doubles, no one on your team has the balls to take the keys away from you. Your power-hunger ego won’t really allow anyone in your inner circle to at least ask, Is this a good idea?

You’ve ended up in the ditch many nights Mr. President and maybe that is your lame justification for free-base tweeting at all hours of the night. Well, at least I didn’t kill anyone. And even when someone does get killed, you use your account to placate your own self-esteem rather than consider how your words can hurt.

Less than half of the American voters gave you the new car. They are still giving you permission to do things they don’t even know will hurt them dearly, soon. What happens when your blind sighted healthcare bill takes medical access away from all those coal miners in West Virginia? What will your “fans” think of you when those premiums and deductibles actually go up, not down as you have promised? And your claim that everyone will be covered is a bold faced lie that is worse than Obama’s pronouncement that you can keep your doctor.

Your press secretary is the punchline in a visual joke and no one sees Sean anymore; they see Melissa McCarthy’s rage and satire. The fact that you program him to say things like Mike Flynn was a volunteer in your campaign to lessen the guilt-by-association for his Russian engagement cover-up is all on your Mr. President. I even see SNL sketches in my mind rather than a real president. For such a “bad show” they have certainly repositioned you as the fool.

You have failed the Breathalyzer test so many times it’s not funny. You have also not been able to walk a straight-line with the American people. Why don’t you try to just tell the truth? Maybe Bernie Sanders is right. You just might be that pathological liar he described.

We would ask for the results of your blood test, but we would rather see your income tax returns for the last 4 years. Get off the road and get some help, Trump, before someone gets killed. Or you start that war you kept telling us Hillary would create. You are unfit to hold the office, Sir. Sad!

 


Leadership and Lies

Trump’s Legislative Disconnection

We all know that most Presidents send well-thought out messages to Congress that they are expected to make into some kind of legislation. Those ideas are then whittled and worked into a proper bill, voted on by both houses and then sent back as a finished bill or act for the President to sign.

The messaging coming from this Commander-In-Hype is based on pure generalizations instead of any well thought out plan with details and the ramifications of those details.

Let’s review what Trump has foamed:

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

“Obamacare. We’re going to repeal it, we’re going to replace it, get something great. Repeal it, replace it, get something great!”

“There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private’… I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

So, Donald Trump says he will take care of everybody. It won’t cost you votes Donald, it will cost us MONEY. He endorsed this first draft of a healthcare reform presented by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan yesterday March 7, 2017. It is clear, that by letting Congress take away the mandate, not everyone will be covered. In fact, they will be throwing millions off the insurance rolls. FACT.

Mr. Know-It-All, healthcare is as complicated as the number of possible ailments and conditions in the medical universe. It seems that most people who, have had to deal with doctors, hospitals and insurance companies already know this. You wouldn’t construct a building without detailed plans, Mr. President, so why would you build a healthcare system for America without a certain blue print? Cost, can we have the cost?

Next, “something great” is what a used car salesman says when you walk onto his lot. Stop hyping things you haven’t even read. And one should note, even if he read the document, as I did yesterday, he would not even know what it says. It is a construct in legislative form, thus incomprehensible to any mere mortal.

When you say, your new plan will be “very popular” you reveal more of your own personal litmus test for everything rather defining a good plan. A good plan should be fair, affordable and lower the cost by inserting enough preventative benefits to keep people out of the hospital and on the job.

The net result of all these layered lies from Trump is that what he imagines the healthcare act to be, is nothing like it will be. And you can write this down, people will end up paying more. There is nothing in there to control costs of doctors, medical professionals or prescriptions. FACT!

No one should fall for this vague notion that the proposed law will increase competition, thus lowering prices. Competition is going away, not because of Obamacare, but because hospitals, insurance and pharm companies are making so much money they are eating up the small companies and creating vast-almost monopolies. There is nothing in the proposed law to stop mergers and impose regional controls. Many states, like Massachusetts and Alabama have strict rules about which insurance companies can operate in their domains. The states will be more powerful with this reform.

And now to the fat-white elephant in the room: Planned Parenthood received $528 million last year from the Federal Government and served and treated, from their 56 independent local affiliates that operate nearly 650 health centers, more than 2.5 million women. We can defund this institution and give the money to other women’s centers, but what happens when the patient really needs help and an abortion is their only option? Do those new “approved by the government” centers send those women back to Planned Parenthood? Women have abortions and all those men in the Congress have probably paid for one somewhere along the line.

So much for the government getting out of telling you want to do. This new flawed document puts the government just as much in your face as Obamacare. From making it a law that married people MUST file joint returns, to limiting the monthly amount one gets, this is far from fair. If you are under 30-years of age, you only get $166 to spend on whatever ailment you have. Hope you don’t get cancer.

By sending the responsibilities of providing healthcare back to the states, Trump and the feckless legislators can go back to their fans and say, we promised it, we did it. All the while, those same Representatives and Senators will enjoy the high-end healthcare that we, the people, pay for. And then, the states will have to add more taxes on gas, goods and services. Just like the middle class will pay for the damn wall.

The real truth, this is not a reform of a healthcare act, it’s just those people trying to take Obama’s name off of something they didn’t contribute to the first time. Let’s put a name and face on this one, it’s TRUMPCARE 1.0 and when it makes you pay more, you’ll know who to blame this time.