Can Trump and Rand Paul Save Healthcare?

Last week, Donald Trump signed a new executive order facilitating more flexibility for consumers of health insurance.
The order allows for more flexibility in purchasing insurance across state lines, and greater freedom both small businesses and groups of consumers in creating “association health plans” (AHPs). In theory, this will broaden access to the benefits currently enjoyed only by those with employment-based insurance, and other types of group insurance.
The order paves the way for healthcare reforms long favored by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who believes the reforms will help bring down healthcare costs.
In an op-ed for Breitbart, Paul writes:
Millions of Americans will be eligible to band together to demand less-expensive insurance. The 28 million individuals left behind by Obamacare will now be eligible for inexpensive insurance.
How will it work? Well, nationwide associations like the National Restaurant Association will be allowed to form groups across state lines and, with the leverage of size, demand Big Insurance bring down their outrageous premiums.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 20, 2017.

Senate Deal To Stabilize Obamacare “Dead On Arrival” In The House

Not even a full day after Senators reached a “bipartisan” deal to keep subsidies to health insurers for the next two years, this latest attempt to keep Obamacare alive appears to be dying, because moments after Fox News reported that the Alexander-Murray Bill “will be dead in the House” as many in the GOP “want full repeal and replace”, Bloomberg reported that the bipartisan deal has “stalled out” according to Senator Thune, while Senator Hatch said that he opposes the Alexander-Murray fix altogether.
ALEXANDER/MURRAY HEALTHCARE BILL WILL BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL IN THE HOUSE. HOUSE GOP INSISTS ON REPEAL/REPLACE – SOURCES: FOX NEWS ALEXANDER-MURRAY PLAN `HAS STALLED OUT,’ GOP SEN. THUNE SAYS SEN. ORRIN HATCH SAYS HE OPPOSES ALEXANDER-MURRAY OBAMACARE FIX

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal To Keep Obamacare Subsidies, Send Healthcare Stocks Soaring

It appears that President Trump’s action last week has scared lawmakers, as taking the subsidy ‘punchbowl’ away from healthcare providers has been suddenly met with a bipartisan deal that Republican Senator Alexander says would maintain Obamacare safeguards for two years. Healthcare stocks are soaring back from the recent weakness to new record highs…
As The Hill reports, Sens Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday that he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.

A Call for ‘Do-Nothing’ Presidents Without Legacies

Some in the news media and editorial page pundits are aghast that many of President Donald Trump’s executive orders and legislative proposals sent off to the United States Congress represent an attempt to undue the presidential ‘legacy’ of Barack Obama. The question is, why should it be presumed that presidents need to have policy legacies to leave behind after their term in office has ended?
In this particular case, many of those on the political ‘left’ are focused on the proposals coming out of the Trump White House to repeal and replace ObamaCare – the (un)Affordable Care Act – as well as ‘climate change’ legislation and international agreements, land use and mining regulations, and the Iran nuclear armaments deal.
Not All Presidential Legacies are ‘Equal’ in the Eyes of the Pundits An interesting question is whether the news pundits would be in the same public policy uproar if an immediately preceding president had been a classical liberal or libertarian and had left a ‘legacy’ of having dismantled the interventionist-welfare state, which his successor started to intentionally reverse by once more introducing all the same regulatory and redistributive legislation that had been repealed and abolished.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 17, 2017.

Trump And Bannon Make Up: Breitbart Chief Slams Vanity Fair, Predicts Huge Victory For Trump In 2020

The original, populist, “grassroots” Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president.
When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he ‘alone’ could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters.
Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

“We Will Own This” – Retiring Republican Congressman Bashes Trump’s Obamacare Order

Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent is just one of a handful of Congressional Republicans who has stepped up his criticisms of the president after announcing – often with a purposeful air of liberation – that he would not seek another term in 2018. So perhaps with an eye toward landing a lucrative TV news analyst job in 15 months, Dent took to CNN to share his views about the president’s controversial decision to cancel federal cost-sharing subsidies to Obamacare insurers, a decision that Dent believes will ultimately hurt the Republicans by forcing them to take ownership of the ‘death spiral’ that now appears inevitable as insurers jack up premiums – or pull out of markets like UnitedHealth did – to compensate now that the lucrative government payoffs that made it possible (and profitable) for insurers to provide coverage for the riskiest patients (aka those with preexisting conditions) have ended.
Trump has been threatening to kill the subsidies for months – a fact that hasn’t been lost on insurers, who’ve jacked up premiums preemptively to account for the ‘uncertainty’ surrounding future federal health-care policy. But as Dent sensibly asserts, by killing the payments, Trump is creating an opening for Democrats to sell a narrative where the Republicans spitefully sabotaged Obamacare after failing to repeal it and replace it with ‘something way better,’ as president Trump had repeatedly promised.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

Democrat AGs From 18 States Sue To Keep Obamacare Subsidies, But Who Really Benefits?

It did not take long for democrats to respond to Trump’s executive order halting key subsidies known as Cost-Sharing Reductions or CSRs to insurers.
On Friday, just hours after the executive order was signed, Democratic attorneys general from eighteen states as well as Washington D. C., sued President Trump’s administration to stop him from scrapping a critical component of Obamacare – insurer subsidies that allow millions of low-income people pay medical expenses, even as Trump invited Democratic leaders to negotiate a deal. The states include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state.
The suit follows the administration’s announced plans to end the payments next week; Trump said he would dismantle Obamacare ‘step by step.’ His latest action raised concerns about chaos in insurance markets. Frustrated by the failure of Republicans who control both houses of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump’s action took aim at a critical element of Obama’s signature 2010 law. ‘As far as the subsidies are concerned, I don’t want to make the insurance companies rich,’ Trump told reporters at the White House. ‘They’re making a fortune by getting that kind of money.’
On Saturday morning, Trump doubled down, tweeting that “Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!”
Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

How Socialism Ruined Venezuela

In order to understand the disaster that is unfolding in Venezuela, we need to journey through the most recent century of our history and look at how our institutions have changed over time. What we will find is that Venezuela once enjoyed relatively high levels of economic freedom, although this occurred under dictatorial regimes.
But, when Venezuela finally embraced democracy, we began to kill economic freedom. This was not all at once, of course. It was a gradual process. But it happened at the expense of the welfare of millions of people.
And, ultimately, the lesson we learned is that socialism never, ever works, no matter what Paul Krugman, or Joseph Stiglitz, or guys in Spain like Pablo Iglesias say.
It was very common during the years we suffered under Hugo Chvez to hear these pundits and economists on TV saying that this time, socialism is being done right. This time, the Venezuelans figured it out.
They were, and are wrong.
On the other hand, there was a time when this country was quite prosperous and wealthy, and for a time Venezuela was even referred to as an ‘economic miracle’ in many books and articles.
However, during those years, out of the five presidents we had, four were dictators and generals of the army. Our civil and political rights were restricted. We didn’t have freedom of the press, for example; we didn’t have universal suffrage. But, while we lived under a dictatorship, we could at least enjoy high levels of economic freedom.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 13, 2017.

Trump To Scrap Crucial Obamacare Insurer Subsidy

Update: Late Thursday, the administration said it would immediately stop paying what are known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies. The payments go to health insurers in the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income people with co-pays and other cost sharing. Without them, insurers have said they’ll dramatically raise premiums or pull out of the law’s state-based markets.
According to Bloomberg, the White House said the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services both concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. ‘The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system,’ the White House said in the statement.
The payments will stop immediately, with no transition period, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. They next payments were due next week.
‘Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately,’ the department said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

“The Democrats ObamaCare Is Imploding” Trump Tweets Hours After Cutting Off “Broken Mess” Obamacare Subsidies

Update: President Trump has continued to hammer Obamacare…
ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017

As we detailed earlier, it was an early morning for a seemingly excited, insomniac Donald Trump, who shortly before 6am tweeted on the topic of the night, namely the late Thursday elimination of subsidies to health insurers, which took place just hours after the president signed an executive order to designed to draw people away from Obamacare coverage markets.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

“The Democrats ObamaCare Is Imploding” Trump Tweets Hours After Cutting Off Obamacare Subsidies

It was an early morning for a seemingly excited, insomniac Donald Trump, who shortly before 6am tweeted on the topic of the night, namely the late Thursday elimination of subsidies to health insurers, which took place just hours after the president signed an executive order to designed to draw people away from Obamacare coverage markets.
“The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”
The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Over 5 Million Government Employees Strike Against Fall of Socialism

In France, tens of thousands of people went to the streets for the first time in ten years in protest against Macron. All 5.4 million public employees went on strike. The protests are directed against the planned elimination of 120,000 official posts and the end of the welfare state as many see it. In addition, Parliament has authorized President Emanuel Macron to implement the disputed labor market reforms by means of regulations.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 12, 2017.

One Angry American Rages: “Obama Lied, My 4th Health Plan Just Died”

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It’s our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years.
Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013.
The insurer informed us that because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA),” our plan no longer met the federal government’s requirements.
Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible PPO that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.
Our second death knell, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, tolled in August 2015.
That notice signaled the end of a plan we didn’t want in the first place that didn’t cover our kids’ dental care and wasn’t accepted at our local urgent care clinic. The insurer pulled out of the individual market in all but one county in Colorado, following the complete withdrawal from that sector by Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

Trump To Sign Executive Order On Obamacare Tomorrow Morning

As first previewed over the weekend, tomorrow at 11:15am, President Trump will sign an executive order aimed at taking action on health care, or as the White House put it, “to promote health care choice and competition”, after Congress’s failure to repeal ObamaCare. The order – which is expected to further weaken Obamacare – should, in theory, ease rules on small businesses banding together to buy health insurance, through what are known as association health plans, and lift Obama administration limits on short-term health insurance plans, according to a source on a call with administration officials Wednesday night.
According to The Hill’s sources, the order will direct the Department of Labor to “modernize” rules to allow small employers to create association health plans. Small businesses will be able to band together if they are within the same state, in the same “line of business,” or are in the same trade association.
Needless to say, this latest attempt to dismantle Obamacare did not make the likes of Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Madicaid and Obamacare under Obama, happy, and he took to twitter to make it clear:
BREAKING: Tomorrow 11:15 Eastern, Trump will sign his Executive Order on ACA. 1/
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) October 12, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

LIBERALS ONLY LIKE STATE POWER WHEN THEY WIELD IT

Jimmy Kimmel is once again trying to be the moral voice of our country in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.
Two weeks ago, Kimmel dedicated his late-night show to stopping GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare. Now, he is using his platform to call for immediate action on guns.
In a monologue frequently interrupted by the comedy host being on the brink of tears, Kimmel condemned Republican lawmakers for letting the ‘gun lobby’ take over America. He dismissed their offerings of prayers for the Las Vegas victims and suggested, ‘they should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.’
All of this made for good viral material to influence the current gun debate. Liberals and Democrats are all behind Kimmel’s desire to act immediately on guns – yet, there is no real legislation that would have done a damn thing to stop the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (RELATED: Democrats Immediately Call For Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting)
The current focus is stopping a bill that would remove restrictions on gun suppressors, an item the Las Vegas shooter did not use. Noted firearm expert Hillary Clinton has offered the theory that a silencer would have allowed the shooter to kill dozens with no one hearing him, apparently believing that a suppressor makes one of those dreaded assault rifles completely inaudible.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 3, 2017.

Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” is Good for None

Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a single-payer healthcare plan called ‘Medicare for All.’ Sanders titled his approach for nationalizing one-sixth of the American economy as ‘Medicare for All’ in order to offer a template for his vision of the U. S. healthcare system. Unfortunately, using Medicare as the template for the nation’s healthcare system is a little like using the production model for the Lada, the ‘people’s car’ of the former Soviet Union, as the blue-print for the U. S. auto industry.
The ‘Medicare for All’ proposal would transition millions of Americans to a Medicare-style system over the course of four short years, all the while promising to expand benefits, eliminate deductibles, and cut costs. If that sounds too good to be true, it is. The assumption that Medicare can be a long-term, sustainable model capable of absorbing quadruple the number of current enrollees is flawed from the start.
Medicare covers approximately 57 million Americans and is projected to cost nearly $700 billion this year. Revenue for the Medicare trust fund is generated via beneficiary premiums, which Sanders wants to eliminate, and general tax revenue, which he wants to increase. According to the 2016 Medicare Trustees Report, the Medicare trust fund faces a ‘substantial financial shortfall.’ In fact, the report forecasts that within 12 years the trust fund will be depleted unless further legislation is enacted. Sanders’s proposal would place a significant burden on an already financially shaky system.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 30, 2017.

2009 – 2016: Was the Eight-Year Experiment in Maintaining the Status Quo a Success or a Failure?

Clearly, the core strategy of maintaining the status quo is to borrow and spend trillions of additional dollars every year.
The Obama presidency was a grand experiment to test this thesis: the status quo of the U. S. is a self-correcting mechanism. Left to its own devices, it will automatically correct any socio-economic-political imbalances, given enough time.
The Grand Strategy of the post-Global Financial Crisis era was simple: maintain the status quo as is. The Obama administration’s major policy initiative, ObamaCare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, was nothing but the formalization of the existing status quo in healthcare, i.e. the taxpayers subsidize private-sector profiteering.
That is the Affordable Care Act in a nutshell. Costs have not declined, the health of Americans can hardly be said to have improved significantly, but garsh, did healthcare sector profits soar. Most importantly, the status quo was maintained: nothing actually changed in the insurance, pharmaceutical or hospital sectors.
The same can be said for every other sector of the economy: nothing really changed, just more of the same. Higher education: nothing changed, just more student loan debt was issued. The defense industry: more of the same. Global War on Terror, a.k.a. The National Security State–more billions sluiced into the shadows.
President Obama was a master of telling everyone what they wanted to hear while changing nothing in the basic structure of the Empire. The Imperial Imperative of destabilizing nations that didn’t meet with Imperial approval continued unchanged. The murder-by-drone campaign expanded, the support of a hopelessly corrupt regime in Afghanistan continued unchanged, and so on.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on OCTOBER 01, 2017.

Rising up against the Oligarchs does not equal socialism

There are ‘people’s’ groups all over the world who advocate the overthrow of the men at the top -the Oligarchs – who control nations.
These people’s groups want to install socialism as the answer to Oligarchy.
That’s preposterous.
The Oligarchs – bankers, mega-corporate CEOs, financiers, government leaders, intelligence agencies – collude to cut out competition so they can stand alone at the summit of the mountain. And they call this arrangement SOCIALISM. They PROMOTE socialism. They’ve staked out OWNERSHIP of socialism worldwide.
In other words, the ‘people’s’ groups, who claim to be battling for a better world, are doing the Oligarchs’ bidding. Unconsciously, or on purpose.
Useful idiots.
Socialism has never been about toppling power-hungry leaders. Its pretension of equality and share-and-care is a cover for totalitarianism by the few, for the few.
Karl Marx, while predicting a coming utopia on Earth, expressed the absolute need for a ‘transition’ phase called the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on September 30, 2017.