Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

If I got paid $10 for each article I’ve read throughout the years that talked about Nancy Pelosi’s fundraising abilities, I’d be rich. This article mentions it again by saying “Few can match Pelosi as a fundraiser. She is herself the ninth wealthiest member of Congress, a resident of ‘billionaires’ row,’ and is tapped into the party’s most well-heeled donor networks and constituencies on the West Coast.”

Fundraising isn’t what’s holding the Democrats back. President Obama got it right in his final interview with Rolling Stone when he said “there is a cohort of working-class white voters that voted for me in sizable numbers, but that we’ve had trouble getting to vote for Democrats in midterm elections. In this election, [they] turned out in huge numbers for Trump. And I think that part of it has to do with our inability, our failure, to reach those voters effectively.”

There’s a pretty detectable pattern with elections. When President Obama’s name has been on the ballot, he’s won. When President Obama’s agenda is what people have voted on, he’s gotten a shellacking. This ties into Ms. Pelosi because she’s been a loyal foot-soldier for President Obama’s agenda. They’ve been connected at the hip policywise.

Ms. Pelosi and President Obama complained that they just didn’t get their message out. That’s either outright denial or it’s spin. The thing that’s holding the Democrats back is their message. The Democrats’ message sounds elitist. With Obamacare, Democrats said that they knew what’s best for families. Then-Speaker Pelosi infamously said this:

TRANSLATION: You don’t need to know what’s in it. We know what’s best for you.

The Democrats’ losing streak in the House will continue, at minimum, for several more cycles. That’s partly due to their policies and partly due to their messenger. The history is clear. Nancy Pelosi is a control freak who doesn’t connect with white working class voters. She’s a San Francisco liberal elitist. That won’t work when populism is what the people are insisting on.

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In Part I, I wrote that Jonathan Gruber was fearmongering by insisting that 20,000,000 Americans would lose their health insurance if the ACA was repealed. Specifically, Dr. Gruber said “Twenty million Americans have gained insurance coverage, and millions more would be covered if recalcitrant states had fully embraced the law rather than resisting out of pure partisan politics.”

Betsy McCaughey disputes the notion that 20,000,000 people would lose their health insurance if the ACA was repealed in this op-ed. She explained “Sixteen million of those who gained coverage are enrolled in Medicaid, the public program for low-income residents. Obamacare allowed states to expand who could sign up for Medicaid, with the federal government covering the tab. Repeal could result in less federal funding. But no one is pushing to abolish the nation’s health safety net. And states that just expanded Medicaid are unlikely to do a 180 and shrink it. The 16 million are likely safe.”

Now that that myth is debunked, it’s time to disprove other claims Dr. Gruber made. For instance, he said this:

Republicans would like to pretend that they can therefore preserve the first leg while getting rid of the other two, as witnessed by Trump’s recent statements praising the insurance protections in the law. But this cannot be done. If you tell insurance companies that they can’t discriminate and allow individuals to wait until they are sick to buy insurance, then insurance companies will lose money. Insurers will rightly be afraid that individuals will wait until they are sick to show up to buy insurance, and as a result insurers will either exit the market or charge very high prices to protect themselves.

Actually, Republicans don’t have to go that direction. Minnesota’s high risk pool prevented Dr. Gruber’s scenario. Rather than implementing a mandate, Minnesota simply subsidized people with pre-existing conditions when they bought health insurance. The insurance companies got paid and they didn’t have to worry about Dr. Gruber’s scenario.

McCaughey asks and answers another important question:

Will people with pre-existing conditions lose out?

No. All the GOP replacement plans protect them but not through the cynical, coercive scheme that Obamacare used.

Obama forced two groups of people into the same insurance pool: the healthy and the chronically ill. Healthy people would pay premiums but never meet their sky high deductibles. Instead, their premiums would foot huge medical bills for the chronically ill, who consume 10 times as much medical care. Healthy people saw it was a scam. They refused to sign up, despite the penalty.
Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel says forcing the healthy to enroll is essential.

Sorry. There’s a fairer way. Trump would allow insurers to charge ill people more then subsidize these ‘high risk’ customers with taxpayer dollars. That spreads the cost fairly over the whole population, instead of burdening people in the individual market.

Voilà, premiums and deductibles will drop fast for people in the individual market.

This is the key:

Healthy people would pay premiums but never meet their sky high deductibles. Instead, their premiums would foot huge medical bills for the chronically ill, who consume 10 times as much medical care. Healthy people saw it was a scam. They refused to sign up, despite the penalty.

The architects of the ACA are scrambling to protect their ‘accomplishment’ rather than considering doing what’s right. The important point in this is asking a simple question: why should we trust the people who told us that we could keep our plans and our doctors if we liked them? They’ve lied before. It’s foolish to think that they suddenly became honest now that they’re leaving office.

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If pictures are worth 1,000 words each, then this election has given us a ton of words worth pondering. Before getting to the pictures, though, it’s important to establish a foundation for why these pictures happened. Victor Davis Hanson wrote this article, which explains, at least in part, why Hillary was doomed before the start.

Dr. Hanson correctly states “even as Obama left the Democrats with ideological and political detritus, he also had established an electoral calculus built on his own transformative identity that neither had coattails nor was transferrable to other candidates. Indeed, his hard-left positions on redistribution, social issues, sanctuary cities, amnesty, foreign policy, and spending would likely doom candidates other than himself who embraced them.” It doesn’t end there, though.

Dr. Hanson is right in stating “What then has the Democratic Party become other than a hard left and elite progressive force, which without Obama’s personal appeal to bloc-voting minorities, resonates with only about 40 percent of the country. The Democratic Party is now neither a centrist nor a coalition party.” This graphic helps illustrate Dr. Hanson’s point:

This graphic paints a bleak picture for the Sanders/Warren/Ellison wing of the Democratic Party:

It’s impossible to be a national party when you don’t control any levers of power in Washington, DC, especially when you control the governorship and legislature in only 2 states. Democrats hold only 15 governorships and 30 of the 99 legislative bodies (Nebraska is unicameral). It’s difficult to spin that into a picture of being a vibrant national party. That’s the picture of a decaying regional party at best.

These pictures illustrate the transformation Donald Trump brought to the GOP:

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This NY Times article highlights the fact that liberals haven’t come to grips with the fact that the nation rejected President Obama’s agenda this past Tuesday night.

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior advisor to President Obama, said “It was not a rejection of Obama or Obama-ism. It was probably more about the two candidates running in this election.” It’s indisputable that Hillary wasn’t a good candidate. Still, this isn’t an either-or situation. Just like FBI Director Jim Comey didn’t lose this election for Hillary, it’s equally true that President Obama’s policies tied a millstone around Hillary’s neck, too.

Obamacare was something that Mrs. Clinton couldn’t avoid. With premiums skyrocketing right before the election, Hillary was essentially silent. Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, Bill Clinton and Gov. Dayton criticized the ACA right before the election. From that point forward, Mrs. Clinton was trapped in an impossible situation. From that point forward, President Obama’s signature achievement was attacked. It will be largely dismantled, which is good news for families because it’s hurt more people than it’s helped.

President Obama’s aides are citing President Obama’s accomplishments:

Moreover, although Mr. Obama said that all of his progress would go “out the window,” advisers now argue the opposite: that many accomplishments cannot be overturned. He will be remembered, they said, for pulling the country out of the Great Recession, saving the auto industry, bringing home most troops fighting overseas, killing Osama bin Laden, enacting higher fuel efficiency standards and restoring relations with Cuba.

Killing bin Laden was something big that he’ll deservedly get credit for. I don’t think he’ll get credit for pulling the nation out of the Great Recession, though. TARP was enacted before the 2008 election. That pulled us out of the Great Recession. Further, Obamanomics never worked that well. Economic growth has been anemic for 8 years. (It’s difficult to claim that President Obama pulled us out of the Great Recession when economic growth was virtually nonexistent for 8 years.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to say that President Obama pulled us out of the Great Recession when voters elected Donald Trump. Trump specifically ran on a program that’s intent on reversing most of President Obama’s economic agenda. Trump plans on enacting tax reform, including the lowering of marginal tax rates, regulatory reform that’s killing the energy industry and repealing the ACA. I’m betting that this talking point will disappear once those things are enacted and the economy starts growing at a robust clip.

Bringing the troops home is something President Obama’s political base will appreciate but I don’t think the nation at-large agrees. They won’t agree because the price of bringing the troops home was the rise of ISIS.

This is President Obama from Fantasyland sounds like:

“When I think about the polarization that occurred in 2009 and 2010, I’ve gone back and I’ve looked at my proposals and my speeches and the steps we took to reach out to Congress,” he told the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in a pre-election conversation published by Vanity Fair. “And the notion that we weren’t engaging Congress or that we were overly partisan or we didn’t schmooze enough, or we didn’t reach out enough to Republicans — that whole narrative just isn’t true.”

First, Speaker Boehner didn’t reject President Obama’s stimulus plan out of hand. Second, it was President Obama that rejected the Republicans’ ideas without giving them serious consideration. He told Eric Cantor that “elections have consequences. You lost.”

When his policies get dismantled, which is inevitable, he’ll have nobody but himself, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to blame.

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Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute is recognized as a health care industry expert. Tanner’s latest article on the ACA delivers a detailed explanation of why the ACA is collapsing. Tanner’s article starts by saying “Listen closely. That’s the sound of a health-care plan dying. With the announcement this week of massive premium hikes for health insurance purchased through exchanges, it has become impossible to pretend that the Affordable Care Act is itself healthy.”

Here in Minnesota, Gov. Dayton punctured that image by admitting that “the Affordable Care Act isn’t for increasing numbers of Minnesotans.” Then he apologized for making that statement. The bad news for the DFL is that he apologized to DFL politicians for making their lives a living hell. The minute people heard about the big premium increases, they started peppering DFL legislative candidates with questions about MNsure. But I digress.

According to Tanner, the crisis is already manifesting itself in troubling ways. Further into the article, Tanner wrote “The average deductible for a family with a Silver plan now exceeds $6,400. Total out-of-pocket costs can exceed $12,000. This is on top of rapidly shrinking provider networks that make it increasingly difficult to keep your doctor. As Bill Clinton famously said, ‘People are paying twice as much and getting half the coverage.'”

Then Tanner tauntingly says “But at least the ACA is doing away with that whole pesky choosing-your-insurer headache. Increasingly, insurance companies are dropping out of the exchanges altogether. Fully one-third of US counties now have just one insurer participating.” Actually, it’s worse than that. The county I live in is one of 5 counties in Central Minnesota where Blue Plus is only available for government-run programs. Blue Plus is the only insurance company that isn’t capped this year.

What happens when the other major health insurance companies reach their caps? Experts are predicting that they’ll do that fairly quickly once open enrollment starts. What are the families in those counties supposed to do when that happens? The Dayton administration has admitted that they don’t have an answer to that situation.

This is coming true:

All of this was entirely predictable. The ACA prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people who are already, or likely to become, sick. Nor can insurers charge those sick people more.

The ‘cure’ for this should’ve been establishing a high-risk pool. That’s what Minnesota did … in the 1970s. That kept the healthy patients’ prices fairly stable. People with pre-existing conditions using the high-risk pool get a subsidized health insurance policy. Because young healthy people aren’t getting charged high premiums, they’re more apt to buy health insurance. Also, the ability to pick out a plan that they like makes them most likely to buy insurance.

The White House’s only option is to lie about the rate increases:

After reading Mary Katherine Ham’s article, I’m more furious than ever that there’s a politician left that voted for the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It’s nothing of the sort. The people that inflicted this torture on Americans are in-American. They aren’t patriots.

For those like me, take your blood pressure medication before reading this. You’ll thank me later.

Mary Katherine writes “Like many other Americans, I got a letter last week. This letter is becoming an annual tradition, arriving on my doorstep in October to inform me of my Obamacare insurance premium hike. Last year, the letter said my Bronze plan, purchased on the marketplace formed by the, ahem, Affordable Care Act, would increase by almost 60 percent. This year, my premium is going up 96 percent. Ninety-six percent. My monthly payment, which was the amount of a decent car payment, is now the size of a moderate mortgage. The president refers to these for thousands of citizens as “a few bugs” when to us it feels like a flameout.”

Frankly, I’m more than a little disgusted with politicians that care more about preserving their legacy than they are with doing the right thing for the American people. People that spin the facts to preserve their legacy are disgusting people. They aren’t patriots. But I digress. Unfortunately, that’s before finding this out:

For this astronomical payment, I get a plan with an astronomical deductible that my healthy family of three will likely never hit except in the most catastrophic of circumstances.

President Obama, how can a moral person justify their support for legislation that hurts middle class families like Mary Katherine’s? Answer: They can’t if they’ve got a conscience. Apparently, you don’t have a conscience. Then again, that isn’t really news to anyone who’s paid attention to President Obama.

This is both infuriating and heartbreaking:

My individual deductible is more than two times the high deductible on my old “junk” plan. My family’s deductible is ten times what the IRS defines as a high deductible. I now pay a high premium for a high-deductible plan, while also paying co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, meaning my plan is both junkier and more expensive.

This isn’t a time for tinkering around the edges of this God-forsaken legislation. This isn’t a time to spin this legislation as having some problems but lots of positive things. In totality, it’s the worst legislation enacted into law. It’s immoral, too.

Mary Katherine’s pre-Obamacare plan fit her families’ needs perfectly. She did the right thing for her family. Once the ACA was signed into law, though, the Obama administration eliminated her options and raised Mary Katherine’s prices. There’s nothing justifiable about that.

Some liberals will criticize me for this post, especially the title. That’s their problem. After reading this article, though, I’m not worried about liberals’ criticisms. The truth is that health insurance premiums are going through the proverbial roof with the ACA. People should flinch when they hear that “[before] taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps.”

One of the states that “will see much bigger jumps” is Arizona. According to the article, “in Arizona, unsubsidized premiums for a hypothetical 27-year-old buying a benchmark “second-lowest cost silver plan” will jump by 116 percent, from $196 to $422, according to the administration report.” These astronomical premium increases will further the death spiral because young people have little incentive to buy health insurance. They’re better off paying the penalty, then buying health insurance if they need major medical help.

This year’s 116% premium increase in Arizona will seem mild compared to next year’s premium increases. What’s frightening is that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jim Angle and Brit Hume discuss what’s possibly coming next in this interview:

This map should frighten the bejesus out of Democrats:

David Montgomery’s article should frighten the DFL. Here’s why:

New figures released Monday show an average premium increase of 25 percent in the 39 states using the federal insurance exchange. Minnesota uses a state-run exchange, MNsure. Among the 43 states with available data, Minnesota has the fourth-highest premium increase, behind Tennessee, Oklahoma and the 116 percent increase in Arizona. All three states use

Despite Minnesota’s huge increase, it’s not among the states with the highest 2017 premiums, though it is now above-average in costs. That’s because just a few years ago, Minnesota had among the lowest premiums in the nation, so even years of double-digit increases leave Minnesota with the 13th-highest premiums in the country, according to a Pioneer Press analysis.

Going from the lowest premiums in the nation to the 13th-highest isn’t something the DFL should be proud of. Most importantly, it isn’t likely that Minnesota families will let the DFL off the hook in 2016 or 2018 for demolishing Minnesota’s insurance system.

Republicans have repeatedly highlighted the fact that the DFL shoved MNsure down Minnesotans’ throats without a single Republican vote. Even Esme Murphy jumped Sen. Jeff Hayden about the DFL’s MNsure plan.

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Gov. Dayton made some unsubstantiated accusations against Speaker Daudt in this op-ed. Thankfully, Peter Nelson of the Center for the American Experiment quickly rebutted those accusations in this counterpoint op-ed.

The first false accusation that Gov. Dayton made was when he said “‘Hundred of thousands of Minnesotans’ will NOT see actual health insurance increases of 50 percent or more, because many people, who buy their policies through MNsure, will receive federal tax credits that will significantly lower their costs. They will NOT have to spend hours on the phone with MNsure, because its customer service has improved greatly since a bad beginning.”

Nelson quickly rebutted that accusation, saying “Wrong! The Pioneer Press recently reported on the numbers of people effected by rate increases and found that ‘about 300,000 Minnesotans are in that category, of whom 70,000 buy their plan through the state-run MNsure exchange and 230,000 directly from insurers.’ Thus, the number of Minnesotans effected by rate increases who don’t access tax credits through MNsure does step into ‘hundreds of thousands’ territory.”

It’s clear what’s happened. I wrote about it in this post:

Dayton, who’s been a longtime supporter of the law, began his news conference by saying he regrets that his statement was “wrongly used” that way. He also said he has been in contact with Obama administration officials to offer clarification and additional context. But Dayton said he stands by the statement.

TRANSLATION: After telling the truth, Gov. Dayton got a call from the Obama administration. That call was likely X-rated. It likely consisted of Valerie Jarrett criticizing Gov. Dayton and Gov. Dayton repeatedly saying I’m sorry. It isn’t a stretch to think that the administration had a letter pre-written that they insisted Gov. Dayton submit as his op-ed.

Dayton then claims “rate increases and enrollment caps … are NOT the fault of MNsure.”

Wrong! No one argues MNsure is entirely to blame for the present crisis, but it has certainly played a role. When assigning blame for this mess, Daudt points to both “MNsure and federal mandates that destroyed states’ ability to design an insurance market that meets the needs of its people.”

What is MNsure’s role? For one, MNsure and the state have failed to stop people from gaming the system by signing up for coverage when they get sick or hurt outside the enrollment period. People dropping in and out of coverage based on when they need care substantially drives up rates for everyone else who remains covered.

Then there’s this:

President Obama’s dishonesty is disgusting. The reason why premiums are skyrocketing is because young healthy people have consistently refused to buy health insurance. That means that the only people buying health insurance are the people who use it the most. That guarantees skyrocketing premiums.

President Obama, the Democrats, Gov. Dayton and the DFL forced this legislation on us. The people have spoken with the wallets. Initially, the people who needed insurance bought it while the people who didn’t need it paid a fine rather than buy it. Once that started, it guaranteed significant premium increases.

It’s simple math, actually. Insurance companies needed the premium revenues from young health people to pay for the increased claims from older, less healthy people. This wasn’t just foreseeable. It was predicted!

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Thursday, Gov. Dayton apologized for saying that the ACA, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, wasn’t affordable for increasing numbers of Minnesotans. It’s noteworthy that Gov. Dayton didn’t apologize to Minnesotans who buy their health insurance through the individual market. He apologized to DFL politicians who’ve been getting hit hard by constituents. Friday, Gov. Dayton flipped on his flip-flop, saying “Right now, it’s not just raining, it’s pouring on some Minnesotans.

In his letter to DFL candidates, Gov. Dayton wrote “For the 95 percent of Minnesotans who are covered through the Medicaid expansion, MinnesotaCare or through their employer, it’s working. It’s working for the 3 percent who qualify for the federal tax credits through MNsure. But the law isn’t working well for the 2 percent of Minnesotans in the individual market who don’t receive any financial assistance to pay for their coverage.”

This weekend, Gov. Dayton asked President Obama for disaster relief. He didn’t ask for a disaster relief declaration only for the homes that were hit. He asked for a disaster relief declaration for entire counties.

The point is that insurance premiums are expensive for anyone who’s buying through the individual market. That includes the people who are getting federal tax subsidies. The reason why people don’t realize premiums are expensive for everyone is because taxpayers are paying a significant portion of the premiums for those getting federal subsidies.

The ‘other’ thing that Gov. Dayton isn’t being honest about is that premiums are only part of this crisis. Gov. Dayton hasn’t talked about the rising deductibles people pay. Families often have a deductible of $10,000-$13,900. If Gov. Dayton wants to suggest that that’s affordable, then it’s proof he can’t relate to the average family.

Dayton, who’s been a longtime supporter of the law, began his news conference by saying he regrets that his statement was “wrongly used” that way. He also said he has been in contact with Obama administration officials to offer clarification and additional context. But Dayton said he stands by the statement.

Gov. Dayton committed a political gaffe. He accidentally told the truth. I don’t doubt that the Obama administration sought “clarification” on what he said. I don’t doubt it if clarification is the word he’s using instead of ‘getting a lecture’.

Gov. Dayton just issued a faux apology about his statement that the Affordable Care Act is unaffordable. In Gov. Dayton’s faux apology, Gov. Dayton said “Last week I said that the Affordable Care Act ‘is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.’ I regret that my statement was wrongly used against Democratic candidates in Minnesota and elsewhere.” That’s proof that my translation was right in this post.

In that post, I quoted Sen. Lourey, the chief author of the bill that created MNsure in the Senate, as saying “This is sort of a one-time solution for 2017 to take the sting out of the rates for individuals, but we’ll still be feeling the pressure to find a longer term solution.” My translation read “We know it’s bad. We just don’t want to lose the majority because we a) voted for MNsure and b) bragged about how wonderful it would be.”

Gov. Dayton’s faux apology isn’t that health insurance premiums in the individual market are skyrocketing. Gov. Dayton’s faux apology isn’t about the fact that deductibles make the ACA insurance policies essentially unusable. Gov. Dayton’s faux apology is to DFL candidates who’ve gotten hurt because Gov. Dayton unintentionally told the truth. In politics, that’s known as a gaffe. Here’s Gov. Dayton’s letter:

The other thing that Gov. Dayton said that caught my attention is where he quoted President Obama. Here’s that portion of the faux apology:

“Yesterday, President Obama said ‘Just because a lot of the Republican criticism has been proven to be false and politically motivated, doesn’t mean there aren’t some legitimate concerns about how the law is working now.’ I agree. For the 95 percent of Minnesotans who are covered through the Medicaid expansion, MinnesotaCare or through their employer, it’s working. It’s working for the 3 percent who qualify for the federal tax credits through MNsure. But the law isn’t working well for the 2 percent of Minnesotans in the individual market who don’t receive any financial assistance to pay for their coverage.”

That’s spin of the worst kind. When a little town in southern Minnesota gets devastated with a tornado, Gov. Dayton wouldn’t issue a statement saying that most Minnesotans weren’t affected, that only a tiny portion of the state’s population was devastated.

Statistically, Gov. Dayton is partially right. Everyone that’s buying health insurance is getting hurt either through high premiums or high deductibles or both. The thing that can’t be ignored is the fact that these people in the individual market are getting hurt because the ACA’s structure is flawed. Had the ACA been built with a high-risk pool, people wouldn’t be suffering through these skyrocketing premiums and unaffordable deductibles.

Finally, it’s time to shove President Obama off the national stage. He’s lying when he said that “Republican criticism has been proven to be false and politically motivated.” President Obama’s statements are spin. President Obama’s statements are politically motivated, too. He’d love to see a Democrat majority in the Senate. He doesn’t want to see his signature ‘accomplishment’ criticized by historians because it’s a total disaster. That would damage his legacy bigtime.

Gov. Dayton apparently hasn’t learned the first rule of holes. By admitting that DFL candidates are getting hurt because he told the truth in saying that the ACA isn’t affordable, he’s essentially admitted that the ACA is terrible policy. He was right the first time. It’s terrible policy.

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