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!

 


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.