HEALTH CARE COMPACT Blog

4-23-2014
Office of Gov. Sam Brownback

“The Health Care Compact will allow states to restore and protect Medicare for generations to come,” said Governor Brownback.

“Obamacare is the most serious attack on Medicare and seniors since the program’s inception. By cutting $700 million out of Medicare, President Obama and his allies made a policy statement that ideology is more important than protecting seniors. I oppose any effort at the state level to reduce Medicare benefits or coverage for Kansas seniors. I signed HB 2553 with this understanding and will work to make it a reality when the compact becomes effective.”

4-23-2014
Health Care Compact

A Democratic lawmaker who voted against Obamacare points out that one of its defenses is hostages. Massachusetts representative Stephen Lynch said:


“There are parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, that were postponed because they are unpalatable,” he told the Boston Herald. The “Cadillac tax” that goes into effect in a few years and taxes employer health plans over a certain value, he said, will be “the first time in this country’s history that we have actually taxed health care.”


Repeal is now impossible, he says, because of the number of Americans who’ve signed up for the law’s exchanges. Democrats will take big political hits on the law this fall anyway, Lynch said.


“We will lose seats in the House,” he said. “I am fairly certain of that based on the poll numbers that are coming out from the more experienced pollsters down there, and I think we may lose the Senate.”


The rush to get 8 million enrollees, whether or not the exchanges even had a back end was driven by the desire to hold 8 million health plans at risk so Obamacare could not be repealed.


However, even if it can’t be repealed, it can be replaced. Or repealed and then replaced. In either case the Health Care Compact idea has become more relevant than ever. It recognizes that some sort of health care system should cover participants, but it primaily answers the question of “who decides” the sort of healthcare.


So the sequence is likely to be: the Dems lose both houses and the Republicans will pass a replacement. If the replacement is better the Republicans will gain political points. If the Replacement is as bad or worse then the Republicans will be punished. That’s the way things are supposed to work; and in fact Lynch is warning that is how it will work -- against the Democrats.

4-23-2014
Health Care Compact

What does it mean when the newspapers highlight the Democrats who are not running away from Obamacare? Democrat Gary Peters of Michigan has turned from Obamacare supporter to someone who pledges to fix it.


Greg Sargent is happy to hear Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu will support the bill, while criticizing it.


Landrieu vowed to campaign aggressively against GOP foe Bill Cassidy’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the state, offered a spirited defense of the law — while acknowledging it has some problems — and even insisted he’d be at a “disadvantage” over the issue.


The Huffington Post is even running an honor roll of Democrats who aren’t running away from Obamacare. “While some Democrats are advertising their resistance to the Affordable Care Act, others, such as Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), are embracing the health care law.”


This is like a navy touting the ships that haven’t sunk. While one shouldn’t conclude that Obamacare is politically dead, these Democrats-support-the-president stories suggest Obamacare is in deep trouble.


The White House tried bolster advocates by sending money their way.


Until now, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the only official known to have solicited financial support for Enroll America, a nonprofit that promoted enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. But a Government Accountability Office report released Monday detailed not only the secretary's involvement but that of a White House adviser.


According to the report, though HHS officials said they were "not aware" of any federal government officials outside the agency soliciting funds for Enroll America, a representative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation told GAO "about a discussion" in 2012 between one of their staffers and the "Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy."


Though not named in the report, this would have been Jeanne Lambrew. The GAO said they were told the official nudged the foundation to give a "significant" contribution.


But even that might not be enough. The Daily Caller reports a “high-profile Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate says she is against special Obamacare subsidies for lawmakers in Congress — a rare position for someone in her party.”


In a new ad released Tuesday, Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn says: “No one in Congress should get a subsidy to pay for their own health care.”


Her position is notable because the issue of Obamacare subsidies is usually argued by conservative critics of the health-care law. It also shows Nunn’s attempt to move away from the liberal wing of the national Democratic Party.


The subsidies given to Enroll America are insignificant when compared to the subsidies being handed out everywhere. The question that much be faced is who will pay for all these subsidies?


Why “the government” of course. But the government is in deep deficit so the correct answer must be in the end: the taxpayer. And that’s why so many Democratic lawmakers are running scared.