Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

OBAMACARE EQUALS NO HEALTH INSURANCE

Without subsidies, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unaffordable for most people.  Because it is so bad, many looked to President Trump to repeal and replace it with something much better and much less expensive.  When it was fully implemented in 2017, most Americans no longer received subsidies, which had totaled over $60 billion/year.  Incidentally, because employers were not required to provide heath insurance for part-time workers, most new jobs being created  in the U.S. under Obamacare were part-time.  While this made the unemployment roles look good, it was a nightmare for most Americans.

I’ve been a supporter of universal healthcare since the year 2000 and, although I did not vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, I was hopeful that he would make good-healthcare-for-all a reality.  It did not cross my mind that Obama would promulgate legislation that would destroy healthcare for many more Americans than it might help.  It also did not occur to me that healthcare premiums would double, triple, or even quadruple…and that deductibles would be as expensive as twelve thousand dollars/year and co-pays double…and that all of these consequences combined would have the cumulative effect of destroying healthcare for tens of millions Americans.

Let’s give the creators of Obamacare the benefit of the doubt and assume that their hearts were in the right place, and that the passage of the ACA was not simply an attempt of government takeover of 1/6 of the U.S. economy.  The Affordable Care Act demonstrated that it was not affordable and is pitiful health insurance…it was poorly and incompetently designed and executed.  It reminds me of  the homily that “an elephant is a mouse designed by committee,” but in the case of the ACA, designed by one political party in Congress.  Okay, so it’s time scrap it and start over.

But wasn’t Obamacare  designed to be like Romneycare, which was passed by Mitt Romney when he was a Republican governor of Massachusetts?  That’s what politicians said to justify Obamacare, but that’s “bull”.  Romneycare only affected about  8% of the Massachsetts population or about 6.5 million people.  Obamacare covered everyone except those exempted by the President, or about 300 million Americans.  Romneycare did not have penalties or mandates that Obamacare did until it was repealed by President Trump in the new tax cuts law. The very few good aspects of Obamacare, pre-existing conditions and coverage by parents’ insurance until age 26, could be simply added to new health insurance Federal legislation.

Although Obamacare  is clearly very bad and expensive health insurance, except for those receiving significant subsidies or exemptions,  the U.S. may end up being stuck with it. The reason is totally political.  One sixth of the economy is healthcare.  The ACA or “Obamacare” is a politician’s dream come true but the average American’s nightmare.  With thousands of dollars required for deductibles before reimbursement by insurance companies kicks in, Obamacare for most ends up basically being only catastropic health-care insurance, which is important and necessary, but not something one should pay a lot of money for.

An opportunity for Obamacare to be either repealed and replaced came with the 2016 Presidential election.  Only if Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives will Obamacare be replaced with healthcare that is affordable and truly cares about people.  Legislation failed in 2017 but hopefully will be attempted again if Repubilcans can win more Senate seats in the 2018 Congressional elections.

 

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WILL PRESIDENT TRUMP BECOME OUR GREATEST PRESIDENT?

George Washington was our greatest President…without him there would be no United States of America.  Abraham Lincoln was our second greatest for ending slavery and preventing the South from seceding from the Union and therefore keeping the United States as one country.  Ronald Reagan was our third greatest because America was in a huge mess after Jimmy Carter’s presidency and Reagan turned it around by rebuilding our military to the extent that the Soviet Union collapsed, and President Reagan also and grew the economy, which resulted in the doubling of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the ten-year period from the time Reagan’s cuts in tax rates went into effect (1983).

I believe that Donald Trump is now our fourth greatest president and may eventually move up to being our third, then our second, and finally our greatest.  He already knows the best policies to pursue for the U.S. to prosper…in addition to knowing how to handle sticky international problems and strengthening our military, but now he needs to become even better at dealing with the Democrats and the media and be far more careful in his choice of words and protecting himself from the likes of Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosie, Chuck Shumer, Adam Schiff, etc.

As I write this post (2/3/18), President Trump recently signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is reving up the U.S. economy, big time.  This comes as the President terminated over a 1,000 job-killing useless regulations, initiating a huge increase (7 trillion dollars) in the Stock Market, creation of 2.4 million new jobs, very low unemployment rate (4.1 %), increases in the Civilian Labor-Force Participation Rate, and growth in the Gross Domestic Product by 3-5%.  Morever, by giving the military more flexibility in fighting ISIS, most areas formerly held by ISIS have been recaptured.  President Trump is now trying to get an illegal-immigration-stopping wall built on our southern border, an end to chain migration, and an end to VISA-lottery immigration.  If Congress ever passes his FY 2018 budget, our huge amount of broken-down military hardware will be repaired.

Exactly what does President Trump need to do to become the best President in U.S. history?  Circumstances and the President’s actions in response to them have a lot to do with how great a president becomes.  Therefore, how Trump makes America great again despite everything the mainstream media and the Democrat Party do to stop him, will determine, in part, how great President Trump becomes.  Put more simply, Trump’s political enemies will be somewhat responsible for the degree that he becomes great.  There is a simple Arab saying that makes it clear, “the greater our enemy, the greater the victory over that enemy.”  With the release of the four-page memo from the House Intelligence Committee, President Trump had some very formidable and powerful enemies.

I just listened to the State of the Union speech by President Trump and from that I believe that he is on his way to becoming our greatest.  What does he still need to do to become our greatest?  This is what I believe he needs to do at a minimum:

  1. build the southern border wall, end the visa lottery, end sanctuary cities, severely limit chain migration, establish a merit-based immigration system,
  2. pass a great infrastructure bill, using to the extent possible, mostly state, local and private funds,
  3. completely repeal obamacare and replace it with system for great healthcare insurance system,
  4. get to zero budget deficits and begin significantly paying down the national debt,
  5. eliminate ineffective government programs and agencies and reduce the size of the Federal workforce,
  6. rebuild the military to be stronger than it ever has been,
  7. end the opiod crisis,
  8. expose and end voter fraud,
  9. revitalize and make safe depressed inner cities,
  10. help the Democrat Party clean up its corruption,
  11. appoint many more conservative judges,
  12. be more congenial, don’t severely criticize former presidents, don’t exagerate
  13. be re-elected President in 2020.

In today’s partisan political climate, it’s difficult to get much accomplished without great effort, but President Trump is getting important things done despite his many enemies. We’ll know in a few years how great President Trump will be.  Stay tuned.

OBAMACARE vs. TRUMPCARE

The new proposed American Healthcare Act recently passed the House of Representatives, and now the Senate is working feverishly on it since Obamacare is quickly falling apart and needs something to replace it.  Its failure will hurt many people by eliminating health insurance.  Since the U.S. is stuck with Obamacare for now, let’s take a look at it.

 Obamacare covers full-time employees in companies that employ 50 or more people.  Because Obamacare is very expensive, businesses are very wary of hiring additional full-time employees (FTE) and have consequently reduced their numbers to under 50 FTE’s, as well as converting full-time positions to part-time, so as to keep FTE’s under 50.  Consequently, the number of jobs that the Federal government reports each month is baloney because: (a) most of those new jobs are part-time jobs, and (b) the major reason the unemployment rate has lowered is because, after the unemployed run out of benefits, they are no longer considered looking for work and therefore taken out of the unemployment statistics that are calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Those statistics consequently then depict a lowered (phony) unemployment rate; but they have nothing to do with the creation of jobs.  An accurate portrayal of employment is the “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate” which was at it’s lowest level since 1978 when President Obama left office in January 2017.

2. Because Obamacare has deductibles as high as $5,000 for individuals and $10-12,000 for families, as well as very high co-pays, most people with Obamacare that are not subsidized by the government, tend to not benefit from it because they can’t meet their deductibles.  In other words, Obamacare for many people is like not having medical insurance…and at some point many will find it cheaper to just pay the IRS a fine every year for not not having expensive medical insurance that ends up each year in not providing any benefits.

3. With Obamacare’s IPAD (Independent Payment Advisory Board) or “Death Panels” as Sarah Palin calls them, expensive state-of-the-art medical treatment is severely restricted under Obamacare, for the elderly.

4. Though sold to the American public as saving the average American family about $2,500/year, it’s turning out to be far more expensive to everyone except those receiving government subsidies.  There are many, many people paying at least double their previous premiums.  Some are paying as much as five times their former premiums.  Moreover, the Federal government has spent billions in rolling out the Federal and State websites and in providing subsidies.  If and when fully implemented, some forecast that Obamacare will bankrupt the country.

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act is rife with unintended consequences, some of the major ones I cited above. But there are many more (tax on medical equipment, doctor shortage, etc.).  All of the unintended consequences were completely predictable.  I don’t think that any revisions of The Affordable Care Act would be sufficient to fix it.  It was incompetently  and sloppily prepared.  I believe that it must be replaced after (this time) being carefully thought out.  Moreover, it’s failing so rapidly that soon there won’t be health insurance.  The House has prepared its version of healthcare insurance, the Senate is debating theirs.  A House-Senate Conference Committee will then meet to iron out the differences between them. The resulting bill will then need to be voted on by both the House and the Senate and then go to the President for his revision or approval.  Whatever replaces Obamacare will be much cheaper as well as a vast improvement by allowing individuals to actually choose their own plan and doctors.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS

Whether you agree or disagree with what President Trump is doing, there is little disagreement that he has done a lot since being sworn in as President on January 20, 100 days ago.  If you disagree (like media pundits Judith Miller and David Gergen), you probably have either not been paying attention or have been only watching CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or MSNBC, since those T.V. stations usually do not report the positive actions the President has taken or downplay/twist his accomplishments.  On the other hand, brilliant journalist Chris Wallace, son of the late great journalist, Mike Wallace, said that President Trump has done more in his first 100 days than any other President he’s ever seen.  Here’s a partial list of the President’s accomplishments in his first 100 days in office:

1. Created and announced the largest reduction in Federal income tax rates that the U.S. has ever had.

2. Worked with the Congress in an effort to have Obamacare replaced with a much better and less expensive healthcare insurance.

3. Signed 30 Executive Orders largely directing various Federal agencies to eliminate specific job-killing regulations.

4. Signed 28 bills into law.

5. Selected a great judge to become his first Supreme Court justice (Neal Gorsuch).

6. Appointed an extremely well-qualified cabinet.

7. Decreased illegal alien border crossings by 73%.

8. Dow Jones Industrial Average increased in value by over 6% (increased over 14% since he was elected on November 8).

9. Met with  numerous groups at the White House (businessmen, union leaders, all 100 senators, etc.) in furthering an agenda to increase jobs, etc.

10. Met with numerous heads of State (like Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Japan, England, Germany, Italy, etc.) to improve relations.

11. Re-established the United States as the world leader by bombing a Syrian airfield when Syria used chemical weapons against its citizens.

12. Used the “Mother-of-all-bombs” (MOAB) on ISIS, killing 94, demonstrating that the U.S. is now serious about destroying ISIS.

13. Convinced China to work to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  China consequently turned back shipments of North Korean coal, placed 175,000 troops on the China-North Korean border and told N. Korea that it would place sanctions on it if there were further nuclear tests.

14. Agreed with Mexico and Canada to attempt to renegotiate NAFTA to make it fairer to the United States.

15. Approved the completion of both the Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines thereby saving the more dangerous train and trucking of the oil.

16. Cancelled U.S. participation in the very flawed and harmful-to-the-U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

17. Etc., etc., etc.

I’ve followed politics since 1960, beginning with the Kennedy-Nixon debates, and have never seen any President do more or work so hard in his first 100 days than President Trump.  Let’s see what happens in the next 1360.  President Trump has become a genuine “Jobs President.”  His policy positions are superb for the United States and his “in-your-face” and negative campaigning style I believe were instrumental in Donald Trump becoming President Trump.  If he continues improving in being more prudent in choosing the words he uses in his tweets and comments, I believe he will change many hearts and minds of Independents and Moderate Democrats and will be re-elected in 2020 by a landside.

 

CONSEQUENCES to the U.S. from PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES

 

President Obama meant well.  He sounded sincere and touted “fairness” as his primary concern in his governance of the nation.  However, it’s true that “the road to hell is paved with people with good intentions.”  In plain English, it almost doesn’t matter if the President was sincere  and meant well if the results of his policies were to cause great  harm to hundreds of millions of people.  The percentage of Americans with full-time jobs (“Civilian Labor-force Participation Rate”) has not been as low as today (62% of civilian labor force) since the late seventies and if unemployment statistics were calculated the way they were in the year 2000, unemployment would be about 10%.  If they were calculated the way they were during the Great Depression, unemployment would be over 20%.  Below is my analysis of those major policies of President Obama that destroyed the American dream for many Americansand which President Trump and the Congress need to reform:

A. OBAMACARE/AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: This  law is a wet blanket on the economy. While I’m for good healthcare, and for insuring people with pre-existing conditions as well as kids up to the age of 26 years-of-age on their parents insurance, Obamacare is a bureaucratic nightmare with much more expensive premiums for most people, and unbelievably-high deductibles and co-pays.  This turns most Obamacare policies into catastrophic care only because most people will never meet their deductibles and will therefore be paying out-of-pocket for most of their healthcare.  This turkey needs to go and hopefully will be replaced with something created by a combination of Senators and Representatives from both major political parties.

B. IMPEDING ENERGY PRODUCTION:  A decision on the Keystone pipeline was made for political reasons.  Oil production on government land was significantly down, however, basically because the environmental lobby was against all fossil fuels.  Meanwhile, America has more gas, oil, coal, and shale oil than all of the countries in the Middle East combined but government regulations prevent most of it from being developed.  The wealth created by all of this energy could pay off the National debt, the trillions in unfunded liabilities, and produce an economic boom the likes of which no country has ever seen.  And as thoroughly, scientifically, and irrefutably proven in David Archibald’s, Twilight of Abundance, the warming trend of the earth over the last century, up until 18 years ago when it stopped,  is due mostly to Sun Spots and Solar Flares, not to the burning of fossil fuels.  

C. DEFICITS/NATIONAL DEBT: President Obama doubled the National Debt (from $9 trillion to $20).  The Federal government is still borrowing billions/month from the Federal Reserve so the annual budget deficit is currently over 1/2 trillion dollars/year.  Each year the Annual Budget Deficit is added to the total National debt and currently the National debt is about $20 trillion.  This amount of deficit spending and National Debt is unsustainable. The Federal Reserve  has the authority to print money and by doing so has been able to get away with this huge deficit spending,  but doing so without the backing of gold and/or legitimate loans from other countries, simply inflates our currency.  The U.S. dollar is currently the world’s “reserve currency,”  but our borrowing and spending may eventually change that.  When it occurs, the dollar will immediately decrease in value by about 30%, our credit rating dramatically reduced and interest rates on our borrowing dramatically increased, and our ability to borrow severely curtailed.

D. REGULATIONS:  Regulations are necessary in our society but government needs to be very careful in not over-regulating since this can and does add significant costs to the economy, negatively impacts business creation, and reduces freedoms.  The regulations written pursuant to Dodd-Frank, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Affordable Care Act  (“Obamacare”), among many others, are excessively burdensome to people and the economy.  ESA, for example, has caused the destruction of most crops in California’s Central Valley due to the Delta Smelt, a small fish on the Endangered Species list. Dodd-Frank is a financial nightmare that does nothing to prevent future bank problems.  Obamacare has and is destroying jobs.

E.  HIGH TAXES:  Money taken from the economy in taxes should be limited because it hurts the economy.  Tax money should be used only for legitimate purposes.  Higher taxes is a drag and drain on the economy so  government needs to be careful to spend it wisely.  Lowering tax rates on everyone who pays taxes in order to stimulate the economy is the preferred way of increasing tax revenues and growing the economy to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, etc.

F. CORPORATE TAXES:  A significant Obama policy  that has unintentionally done  harm to many people is the retention of the 35% corporate tax, which is higher than any other country in the world.  This has led to the flight  of many U.S. corporations and businesses to other countries, and with this flight, the jobs and taxes that go with them.  They need to be reduced to 15-20%.

G. PROLONGED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS:  Extension of the duration of unemployment benefits for more than  12 months is very harmful to the unemployed as evidenced by studies showing  the unemployed usually do not even look for jobs until a few weeks prior to their unemployment benefits expiring.  At one point, Obama, in conjunction with a Democrat Congress, extended unemployment benefits to 24 months. “Compassion” was the stated reason, but getting the unemployed off of of the official unemployment roles  so that the official unemployment rate would be lowered is the real reaon.

H., I., J.,K., L., M., N., etc.

In closing, most Americans were proud that the U.S. elected an African-American President 151 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed  American slaves, even if they personally did not vote for him.  The United States inherited slavery from England when it took over the country in 1776 but had to temporarily retain slavery  in order to form the Union to include Southern States (the “Great Compromise”).  At the first opportunity, the U.S. rid itself of slavery (in 1863).

The first African-American President unfortunately had no experience in managing anything or in guiding an economy and therefore the U.S. consequently is badly hurting economically.  While I believe President Obama meant well, he also still believed that failed liberal/”progressive” economic policies (“Keynesian economics”) were the way to stimulate the economy and therefore turned a blind eye to workable economic policies.

President Reagan demonstrated how to get an economy working and the proof is the fact that the Gross Domestic Product (which measures the size of the economy) of the United States almost doubled 1n the 10 years following Reagan’s implementation of his large reduction in tax rates (1983-1993) and curtailing Federal regulations.  President Kennedy also stimulated the economy during a recession in the 60’s by cutting tax rates.

 

 

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