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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

GOP Senate Takes Up Bill To Repeal Obamacare

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 1, 2015:

The House reconvened at 10 PM today.

Bills which may be considered today:
H.R. 8 - "To modernize energy infrastructure, build a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce, bolster America's energy security and diplomacy, and promote energy efficiency and government accountability, and for other purposes."
S.J. Res. 23 - "Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units"."
S.J. Res. 24 - "Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units"."
H.R. 4127 — "To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2016 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed: Unless indicated by a Recorded Vote the bills were passed by Voice Vote.
H.R. 1541 — "To amend title 54, United States Code, to make Hispanic-serving institutions eligible for technical and financial assistance for the establishment of preservation training and degree programs."
H.R. 1755 — "To amend title 36, United States Code, to make certain improvements in the congressional charter of the Disabled American Veterans."
H.R. 2212 — "To take certain Federal lands located in Lassen County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2270 (413-2) — "To redesignate the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, located in the State of Washington, as the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, to establish the Medicine Creek Treaty National Historic Site within the wildlife refuge, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2288 (407-0) — "To remove the use restrictions on certain land transferred to Rockingham County, Virginia, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3279 — "To amend titles 5 and 28, United States Code, to require annual reports to Congress on, and the maintenance of databases on, awards of fees and other expenses to prevailing parties in certain administrative proceedings and court cases to which the United States is a party, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3490 — "To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute, and for other purposes."
S. 611 — "To amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize technical assistance to small public water systems, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 10 PM today. The Senate is expected to move to a bill to repeal Obamacare later today.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 79-7 to confirm Gayle Smith to be Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. (USAID).

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “When Washington Democrats passed Obamacare over the objections of the American people, they were confident Americans would soon warm to the law. But more than five years later, the American people continue to oppose this unprecedented Democrat attack on their health care.

“Is it any wonder? When Americans think Obamacare, they think increased cost. Runaway premiums. Surging deductibles. Tax hikes on the Middle Class. When Americans think Obamacare, they think decreased choice. Fewer doctors. Faraway hospitals. A frightening scarcity of options for too many when they get sick. When Americans think Obamacare, they think broken promises and endless failure. Imploding state-based exchanges. Collapsing co-ops. Insurers eyeing the exit door. Fewer jobs. And the Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.’

“It’s not like Obamacare’s structural failures are just going to go away. They’re baked into the law, and they only seem to get worse as time moves on. Just as we’ve seen costs rise, choices narrow, and failures mount, we’ve seen congressional Democrats block attempts to start over with real health reform.

“This week, we finally have a chance to vote to end Obamacare’s cycle of broken promises and failures with just 51 votes. This week, we’ll take up the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 that already passed the House. It’s a bill that will take the first steps necessary to build a bridge away from Obamacare.”

Politico writes, “Republicans are closer than ever to putting a repeal of Obamacare on the president’s desk. After an all-out effort by emissaries and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the past two weeks to woo skeptical GOP senators, Senate Republicans are lining up behind a more aggressive plan to gut President Barack Obama's signature achievement through a majority-vote budget mechanism known as reconciliation. . . . Separately, the measure would deny funding to Planned Parenthood as conservatives have demanded.”

And Roll Call adds adds, “It’s all systems go for the Senate GOP’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood and upend the Affordable Care Act. Republican senators emerged from a conference meeting Monday evening generally enthused by the effort to gut as much of the health care law as is feasible under the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules. . . . As he left the meeting, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said he was ‘very encouraged’ by the emerging proposal that would roll back more of the Affordable Care Act than the version of the bill passed by the House.

Leader McConnell noted, “[B]y employing the same tactics Democrats used to help get Obamacare across the finish line, this bill will not be subject to a filibuster.

“In other words, it can’t be blocked by defenders of Obamacare’s failed status quo. In other words, the President can’t be shielded from the weighty decision he’ll finally have to make when this measure lands on his desk.”

Then, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid took to the floor shortly after to fume about the Republican majority moving to repeal Obamacare. Reid declared, “My friend, the Republican Leader, has an obsession with the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. He can't give up on this obsession.”

Reid went on to claim that “the Affordable Care Act continues to work,” that the unpopular law “is increasing quality health coverage, improving care, and there’s no question about that.”

Sen. Reid might want to read a few news stories about the law he helped jam through Congress five years ago. The New York Times wrote recently, “UnitedHealth Group rattled federal officials when it announced last week that it was losing money in the insurance exchanges, saw no reason to expect improvements in 2016 and might pull out in 2017. Those concerns followed the collapse of 12 of the 23 nonprofit insurance cooperatives created with federal loans under the health law.

“In addition, insurance markets in many states are unstable. Premiums are volatile. Insurers say their new customers have been sicker than expected. And the law is as divisive as ever. In the latest poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, people reporting unfavorable views of the law outnumbered those with favorable ones, 45 percent to 38 percent.”

According to The Charlotte Observer, “North Carolina’s health insurance rates under the ACA are going up as much as 50 percent on some policies next year. Because of higher premiums and deductibles, insurance agents across North Carolina say they’re seeing renewed interest in old-style catastrophic coverage

“Those who might benefit earn too much to qualify for federal premium subsidies. They’re looking to save money by choosing benefits they want and leaving out others, such as maternity care. These short-term plans, popular before the ACA, are economical because they limit benefits and are not sold to people who have pre-existing medical conditions.

“But that isn’t allowed under the ACA, which requires insurers to cover everyone, no matter their medical status, and requires all Americans to buy health insurance that covers 10 ‘essential health benefits’ – or pay fines for not having insurance. People who buy short-term plans – which some critics call ‘junk’ plans – still would be subject to the federal penalties, as if they are uninsured. But many conclude it’s worth it to pay the fines if they can save thousands of dollars. . . .

“Many ACA plans also have high deductibles and high out-of-pocket minimums, meaning consumers might have to pay thousands of dollars before reimbursement kicks in. That’s why some healthy people are looking for low-cost catastrophic coverage.

“‘Obamacare has created a vacuum,’ said Sam Gibbs, the Asheville-based executive director of AgileHealthInsurance. ‘They’ve priced a lot of people out of the market, and these products are filling in the gap.’

“[North Carolina’s] premium increases are among the highest in the nation. . . . ‘I don’t believe it’s sustainable,’ said Leslie McMillan, a health insurance broker in Rolesville, in Wake County. ‘I’m afraid the ACA is going to implode. People are not going to be able to afford it, or people are going to buy short-term medical and go catastrophic.’”

Read More at the ARRA News Service about Obamacare is also proving to be “a big nightmare” for small businesses.

Evidence of Obamacare’s failures is all around and for Democrats to consistently deny them conflicts with the realities Americans face every day.

As Leader McConnell said, “When the President picks up his pen, he’ll have a real choice to make. He may well decide to stick to his rhetoric that the law is working better than even he intended and veto the bill.

“But he should instead decide to finally stand with a Middle Class that’s suffered enough from this failed law and sign it. We'll see.

“It’s a choice the President has never faced before, and it's a choice he’s going to face after Senate action this week.”

Tags: Senate, Obamacare, nightmare, small businesses, news reports To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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