Health Care

#Neobamacare: The Good and (Mostly) Bad of the House GOP Health Care Plan

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When Obamacare passed in 2010, it marked a turning point in American politics from which we will almost certainly never recover. For fans, this was a good thing. For foes, necessarily bad. But a few permanent truths emerged that our current discourse must acknowledge.

We’re stuck with it now, and the main purpose of our politics will be to reform it every 4 years. That’s the point of any government-driven health care - having your own team control it.

And in that vein House Republicans have introduced their own version of health care reform reform - the American Health Care Act. President Trump has endorsed it, and HHS Secretary Price, who would implement it if passed, has called it a good first step in the process.

But the first step in the process was supposed to be repealing Obamacare itself in full. That’s what almost every Republican has campaigned on since the Tea Party wave in 2010. The AHCA doesn’t repeal the ACA in full, and in fact doubles down on much of it, just in a Republican way instead of a Democratic way.

We Should Defund Planned Parenthood, But Not Over Abortion

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In case the headline wasn’t clear enough, this post is not about abortion. That sentence may be the only time I use the word at all. But this is definitely about Planned Parenthood and why it should not be federally funded, regardless of what goods or evils it may provide.

Planned Parenthood Federation for America, Inc. is a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation, so it doesn’t pay any income tax on its revenue or profits like most other private health care providers do. It received a total of 1.3 billion in revenue in the most recently reported year, 2013. Just under half of that was from government funding, $528 million.

So not only is Planned Parenthood not paying any taxes, they’re also receiving almost half their total income from your tax dollars. There’s a term for this (and no, it still has nothing to do with the “A” word). It’s corporate welfare.

Quality of Healthcare Going Down Say Voters

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About 70 percent of likely voters rate the quality of the health care they receive as good or excellent, down one point since January, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. While that might seem “not so bad,” that is the lowest level in two and a half years of polling. This number should be relatively good for limited government activists, however it is coupled with another statistic that is rather worrisome.

About 38 percent of respondents on this poll stated that they are for a single-payer system for health care. More disturbing is that 64 percent of those voters feel that more government involvement in health care would be a good thing.

Now that everyone is really scared, the silver-lining remains that a majority (51%) believe that Obamacare will make health care in America worse, and support for less government involvement in health care (44%) still outpaces support for a single-payer system.

Yes, this means that more Americans are thinking that less government would be a good thing, however this trend is starting to flatline a bit. One big reason for this is the lack of a concrete proposal from Republicans to replace Obamacare. Repeal is simply not going to be enough, if only because of the few items under the new law that are extremely popular, like keeping children on parental policies until age 26, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Today in Liberty: Email Scandals, Threats to Signature Legislation, and Netflix’s Discovery That Big Government Is No Friend

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Plenty of red meat in the news these days, from Hillary Clinton’s homebrewed email server to the US Ambassador to South Korea getting slashed in the face. Taken individually, these stories are just a fun diversion as part of surprisingly full news cycle. Taken together, however, they represent a potential sea change in how government functions — and how citizens and voters are reacting to it. Not surprising that things are changing in the time of NSA data gathering, a newly confident Russia, and the (continued) rise of the brutal Islamic State. So here’s a rundown for those seeking the little glimmers of liberty buried under the chaos.

CPAC happened last week and there was an air of excitement and momentum surrounding the incredibly deep GOP field leading into 2016’s presidential election. Scott Walker has ramped up his game and Jeb Bush tried to make the case that he’s not just the guy the Democrats would love to see make a run. And Rand Paul, as he usually does, won the straw poll largely due to the contingent of young voters who attend the annual gathering. A really great thing in fact because it means the millenials may actually be migrating to the right at a greater clip than anyone knew. But while Rand won the youth, social media and news data says that Scott Walker’s the one to watch…for now:

Liberty vs. Safety: The vaccine debate heats up in a fledgling campaign year

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The last few years have seen an acceleration of medical vaccines as a hot button political issue. As formerly dormant diseases have resurfaced along with communities that shun science and common sense, the backlash has been fierce. A USA Today columnist is even calling for criminal prosecution and jail time for those who don’t vaccinate their children. But in the land of the free is that really appropriate, no matter the public health risk? And do we really want our politicians weighing in?

One paragraph from the Hobby Lobby ruling destroys the entire liberal “anti-women” narrative

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The instant the Supreme Court ruled on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the War on Women™ was back on. Liberals from sea to shining sea had talking points, Facebook memes, and … narratives ready to go and deployed them in a cascade of messaging discipline. It was truly a sight to behold. You may have seen this particularly nonsensical but effective image shared hundreds of times within 24 hours:

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I mean really. But apart from saying “nuh uh!”, conservatives had little effective response to this narrative. But then Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute’s blog discovered a little-noticed passage in the Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito:

The effect of the HHS-created accommodation on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

This refers to an exception created by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces insurers to pick up the tab for coverage objected to by religious non-profit organizations and churches. Women employed by these organizations receive the same coverage, medications, and cost-free contraceptives as everyone else as mandated by HHS, even though the organizations themselves refuse to pay for that coverage.

Smoking bans are not about improving health - they are about control

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When states and cities started banning smoking in public places, any push back by citizens didn’t receive much attention. Smoking isn’t good for one’s health, and certainly doesn’t help anyone nearby. So, with people having fewer places to legally enjoy tobacco, there was at least a little more interest in quitting - the smoking cessation industry got a little boost. Now, insurance companies are not only hitting people with higher rates for life insurance if they use tobacco products, but also for health insurance. Sadly, many of the smoking cessation products out there don’t tend to work very well for a lot of people, though.

The latest tool for dropping tobacco is “vaping” - using e-cigarettes. While there are ones that are marketed for a single use, there are those that people can fill for themselves. This method of walking away from smoking tobacco is actually working for quite a few people, but it seems that government wants to put a stop to the use of e-cigarettes as well.

The claims are that they are just switching addictions, and might hook teens anyway. However, that isn’t necessarily the case, as R-Street is pointing out in a primer on the topic.

Obamacare’s latest victims: college students

Obamacare’s latest victims are not women, the poor or even the elderly, but young, healthy and carefree college students.

Students at the University of South Carolina are in for a treat once they find out their schools’ tuition is going to cost them considerably more next year. The surprise will be even harder to assimilate once they learn that the Affordable Care Act is responsible for the increase.

The school claims that a tuition increase rate of 3.2 percent is necessary to help cover for the almost $18 million it needs to come up with to cover for the state-mandated employee pay raises, implementation of Obamacare and retirement benefits.

While the school is blaming the state for imposing the mandates without providing financial assistance first, it is also urging parents and students to understand their situation. The heavy-handed health care regulations and the increasing mandates regarding pay raises destined to employees are driving the tuition costs up and putting the school’s livelihood on the line.

But the University of South Carolina is not the only large employer suffering the consequences of the mandate. Under ACA, large employees are required to offer health coverage to any employee who puts in more than 30 hours of work a week. If employers are not able to meet these requirements, they are forced to pay a $2,000 fine per employee.

In many cases, companies prefer to go for the fine and end up ditching coverage altogether, leaving employees to search for health care insurance independently. This unintended consequence of the law’s employer mandate has been adding further financial burdens to hard-working low- and middle-income Americans.

Even Obamacare supporters know this: subsidies alone will cost taxpayers over $11 billion

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The weak attempt at trying to tout Obamacare as the reason why consumers are not paying as much in out-of-pocket care, in spite of the premium increases, has had a good run but now, it’s time to focus on the facts: government assistance offered to nine in 10 Americans who signed for health care coverage plans through the Affordable Care Act exchange will cost roughly $11 billion to the federal government this year.

Once you also add assistance offered through state-run exchanges in the mix, costs could top $16.5 billion, but since precise data regarding consumers buying plans in states that run their own exchanges is not available, the numbers are just a rough estimate.

While the subsidies may sound generous, the cost to taxpayers will affect everybody, including low- and middle-income Americans.

The media, and fervent supporters of this administration’s signature health care law, may have picked up the deceptive talking point and run with it, but the reality is that even with subsidies, the cost of insurance plans for individuals available after Obamacare kicked in was approximately 38 percent more expensive than plans available in 2013.

No, Obamacare didn’t magically make young people healthier

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They were anticipating this like their lives depended on it. Democrats and the media breathlessly reported Wednesday morning that a study found that “young adults” are healthier after the passage of Obamacare:

Starting in 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, the first coverage expansion to take effect under the law.

Previous surveys have indicated that this provision, which remains among the law’s most popular, allowed millions of young adults to get health insurance over the last several years.

The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., suggests the coverage expansion also measurably increased the number of young adults who reported that they are in excellent physical and mental health.

Researchers also found a significant drop in how much young people were paying out of pocket for their medical care after the law went into effect.

Great news! Problem solved! Crisis averted! Let’s pass another one! Except under further scrutiny, nearly every claim being extrapolated from this study is wrong.

Here is the actual data collected:

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The survey collected responses from two groups twice: young adults (19-25) and other adults (26-34) each before Obamacare and after. Both groups were asked if they had health insurance, which medical services they used, and to rate their physical and mental health.


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