Monday, October 12, 2015

Last Call For Last Year's Model

A couple of notes of Republicans and Obamacare to report today, first, Jeb! is introducing Jebcare! or something:

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday will lay out proposals to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare law and replace it with a system that provides a tax credit for the purchase of health plans and shifts power to the states.

Bush will detail his plan at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester to start a three-day campaign swing through the state, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary election on Feb. 9 on the road to the November 2016 election.

This sounds familiar!

Key components of Bush’s plan would be a tax credit for the purchase of affordable, portable health plans that protect Americans from catastrophic medical events and an increase in contribution limits and uses for Health Savings Accounts to help with out-of-pocket costs.

Bush would replace the controversial Cadillac tax in Obamacare with a cap on the “employer tax exclusion,” the tax-free status of health benefits provided by employers, as a way to lower insurance premiums.

The “Cadillac Tax,” to take effect in 2018, is a 40 percent tax on the most expensive employer-sponsored health coverage.

He would allow employers to use financial incentives to encourage wellness programs, and enable small businesses to make tax-free contributions to their workers’ individual plans.

Bush would overhaul the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory system and set up a review of regulatory barriers to health innovation.

Oh good, tax credits.  Because the people who would lose their health insurance due to being thrown off expanded Medicare, the loss of exchanges, and can't afford health savings accounts would in fact totally get health care from this plan.   It's also the same plan that Marco Rubio has, because it's the same plan the Republican have had for over a year now, and they can't get the votes to pass it even when they control Congress.

And speaking of Marco Rubio, looks like our old friend Avik Roy has joined Team Marco after bailing on the now failed Team Perry. It's kind of awkward though...

Roy, a conservative health care policy wonk who initially backed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's ill-fated campaign, on Monday announced that he'll be advising Rubio on policy, saying in a tweet, "No candidate expresses — and embodies — the American dream better."

Roy's past words about Rubio's policy haven't been as glowing.

One target has been the freshman senator's criticism of Obamacare's use of "bailouts" for insurers — shorthand for a complicated mechanism meant to provide cash to insurers who cover sicker, costlier patients than they expected to as a result of the health care law. Just this month, Rubio took credit for putting constraints on the program, which he derided as a "crony capitalist bailout program."

Roy, whose Forbes blog regularly features substantive takedowns of Obamacare and also the thin Republican proposals to replace it, has rejected that characterization of the Obamacare provision. He notes the mechanism was meant to coax risk-averse companies to offer new insurance plans to people getting covered under the health care law.

“It’s not an insurance company bailout if it’s the government that’s messing up the health insurance market, right?" Roy wondered in an appearance on CNBC last year. "The insurers are just trying to do their job.”

Oops.  Of course, that risk-pool provision was criminally underfunded by Republicans in last year's budget, and it cost Kentucky 50,000 insured just this month.

In other words, Republicans sabotaged Obamacare again.  Now they plan to finish the job in 2017.

The Man Gets No Respect

President Obama's interview with 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft was, as usual, the Village media trying to score points by yelling.

President Barack Obama's interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" was anything but smooth.

During an interview that primarily covered Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East, correspondent Steve Kroft was combative with Obama, repeatedly asking questions about his strategy on Syria and ISIS and the administration's response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent military maneuvers. 
Kroft interrupted the President multiple times to challenge his answers, which seemed to genuinely perturb Obama. 
One of the more interesting exchanges occurred when Kroft told Obama that Putin "seems to be challenging [Obama's] leadership." 
Obama tried to make the case that Putin's actions come from a source of weakness, rather than strength. Kroft quickly disagreed.  
"He's challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He's challenging your leadership," Kroft repeated. 
Obama cut him off to give his definition of leadership. 
"My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we'll get in Paris," Obama said. "My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon." 
Perhaps the most contentious part of the interview was an exchange regarding the program in Syria to train and equip 5,000 moderate Syrian rebels. The Obama administration officially abandoned the program last week after months of setbacks. By the end, according to a top US general, only "four or five" US-trained rebels were amid the fight in Syria.
Kroft called the program an "embarrassment".

President Obama acquitted himself well, but it was pretty clear that Kroft was going after him pretty hard, and this wasn't going to be a friendly exchange at all.

Judge for yourself above.

Champions Of The Obvious

Now that GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy let the cat out of the bag that the Benghazi investigation was nothing more than millions of dollars spent to try to destroy Hillary Clinton's 2016 run, Republicans are jumping ship and lawyering up.

A former investigator for the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi plans to file a complaint in federal court next month alleging that he was fired unlawfully in part because his superiors opposed his efforts to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in the Libyan city rather than focus primarily on the role of the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The former investigator, Bradley F. Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve who is on active duty in Germany, also claims that the committee’s majority staff retaliated against him for taking leave for several weeks to go on active duty. If true, the retaliation would violate the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which Major Podliska plans to invoke in his complaint, according to a draft that was made available to The New York Times.


Major Podliska, a lifelong Republican, holds a doctorate in political science from Texas A & M University and spent more than 15 years working at a federal defense agency, as an intelligence analyst for much of that time.

In September 2014, he began working for the Benghazi committee, on which his role was to investigate the way that various federal agencies in Washington responded to the attack, in which four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, were killed.

But two things changed in March, Major Podliska said. First, after revelations that Mrs. Clinton relied exclusively on a private email server for her State Department correspondence, the committee became preoccupied with the State Department’s role in the controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack and less interested in a comprehensive investigation.

Second, Major Podliska informed his superiors around the same time that he would need to perform 39 days of active duty for the Air Force in Germany in a handful of intervals, beginning with the middle of that month. (The length of the leave later rose slightly.)

According to Major Podliska’s complaint, another senior staff member, Dana Chipman, who had served as the Army’s judge advocate general, questioned whether he “really needs to go to Germany.”

Major Podliska said in an interview that he believed other staffers were skeptical of his obligations as a reservist and annoyed that he would take time off just as the committee had received its biggest break since being formed in May 2014 — the Clinton email revelations.

So they fired him and destroyed his career because he wanted to get to the truth.  Republicans were never interested in the truth, they were interested in years of taxpayer-funded witch hunts to go after Hillary.

Surprise!  Republicans, when given power, immediately use that power to target their political enemies.  And no, both parties are not the same.


Related Posts with Thumbnails