Republican’s quietly pushing state-centric Obamacare Repeal

In an Exclusive, for Breitbart news, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker opened up on his support for a new plan to repeal Obamacare.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), is publicly supporting a renewed push to repeal and replace Obamacare with a state-centric system that devolves power away from Washington, D.C., out to the 50 states, he told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday evening.

Walker’s support for the plan, which was crafted by his fellow former 2016 GOP presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and will be introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), comes at a critical moment for the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Unlike previous congressionally-offered plans, this one—as Breitbart News has reported in exclusive interviews with Santorum and Graham—block-grants control of healthcare out to the states.

It then allows each state to custom-craft their own healthcare system, and is modeled after Santorum’s successful mid-1990s effort to reform welfare—something that achieved bipartisan support as it was eventually backed by then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Perhaps more importantly, Walker says he will rally the Republican governors across the country from his RGA chairman slot–there are 34 of them currently–behind the effort, something that can help push the bill across the finish line in the Congress since a state’s governors can easily get buy-in from its senators and representatives.

“I think it’s awesome,” Walker told Breitbart News of the effort. “Many of us thought it was a perfect fit several months ago when Rick [Santorum] reached out to me and asked if I could reach out to them and get some support of the other senators and governors. It was a perfect fit because back in February when many of the governors were in Washington talking about this for some time. On healthcare, there are many of us in general who think sending more responsibilities and resources back to the states is directly what our founders intended in the Constitution be it healthcare, education, transportation, or otherwise. What a perfect way to kick start a true repeal and replace of Obamacare by sending it back to the states where we’re definitely more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the people.”

Walker told Breitbart News that this concept is “just better in and of itself” than previous efforts to repeal Obamacare, and than Obamacare itself, because it kicks control out to the states—and is built to last forever rather than just a quick patch up of the healthcare system.

“This is, again if you believe in the Constitution, this is fundamentally at the essence of what the founders intended,” Walker said. “But beyond just the philosophical and the practical side, when Rick Santorum and I first talked about it a couple months ago the beauty of it is not just the philosophical purity of it but also the practical side of it—and by that I mean it’s a great parallel to 1996. This is why when Rick reached out to me as a governor, he said ‘hey, in 1996, the governors like Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and John Engler in Michigan played a key role on welfare reform.’ He was in the House at the time, they passed the bill two times and it got vetoed each time by Bill Clinton as president. Eventually, they got him to sign it probably on the political side because it was an election year but also because they made sure there were adequate resources for the states to be effective in using it. They went out, Tommy Thompson and Engler and others, and dramatically reduced the rolls of welfare recipients in the states and across the country. That, today, is probably one of the—in the last 25 years—most dramatic conservative reforms and it took a system that was skyrocketing, leveled it off at the federal level, provided stable funding for the states which we still use today with TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. So the leap from that is while it’s not exactly the same, the concept is similar: Give this to the states, make sure you start off with adequate funding, give maximum flexibility in terms of these block grants and then let the states make these decisions. Then the practical benefit is by doing it that you can create balance between states that took the Medicaid expansion and states like mine that did not. You also leave the decisions in terms of coverage up to the states so you can have balance between Senate and congressional conservatives, and congressional moderates because both of them can say ‘we’re just leaving this up to the states.’ It’s not just philosophically strong, it is practically I think it can work very much.”

Walker noted that since each state will be able to custom-craft their own healthcare system, it will make 50 separate laboratories for the best ideas to succeed and the worst ideas to fail. Walker said that leftist states like California will eventually discover that government-control of healthcare, if that is what California decides to do, does not work. Meanwhile, conservative states like Wisconsin will implement market-centric healthcare reform that does work—and eventually the best ideas will succeed and rise to the top across the country.

“That’s why conservatives not only who believe that constitutionally the power should not just flow to the states but to the people, but I also love the idea of saying ‘our ideas work so let the states like ours who are going to be aggressive and it will be market-driven and put the power in the hands of the people compete against places like California which might have a much more aggressive governmental role,” Walker said. “Note the difference out there, and eventually states that fail on this will turn to the states that are succeeding.’ We, in a small way, we kind of started to do this already because as a I mentioned before in Wisconsin I did not take the Medicaid expansion. I did not do a state exchange. Because of the way the court decision was on Medicaid, I was able to for the first time in my state’s history cover everyone living in poverty and take those above poverty and transition them into the marketplace where they were able to purchase coverage on their own. That, to me, is the kind of concept I want going forward. I want to do things like that, and so yeah if you’re down and out we’ll take care of you to begin with but if you’re able to work we’re going to transition you into the workplace and care for the most needy among us.”

Here are more details on what the plan will include:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday that he is working with a broad coalition of Republicans in both the House and Senate, along with several governors, to develop a new effort to repeal Obamacare.
The effort, which comes after serious tumult with prior legislation in both the House and the Senate, would devolve power over healthcare away from the federal government and back to the states. It would allow each of the 50 states to individually craft their own plans, and would mirror the effort led by Santorum in the mid-1990s which saw the only successful entitlement reform in the nation’s history.

During the administration of former President Bill Clinton, Santorum—then in Senate GOP leadership—devised a strategy to win bipartisan buy-in that Clinton signed ending guaranteed cash benefits in place since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency and devolved much welfare power back to the states. Since then, the Santorum-led reform—which was essentially block granted out—has held strong and not seen any significant problems.

This effort on healthcare, Santorum says, would mirror that effort: Allowing the states to handle these affairs to better custom-craft healthcare systems to the needs of their constituents.

“In short, this is the last chance for a healthcare bill to pass, and this is the best idea that’s been floated yet,” Santorum told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Monday afternoon. “Winston Churchill said that ‘America does the right thing after they have tried everything first.’”

Santorum has been working with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) among others, as well as with House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). He has also been working with a large group of Republican governors, including Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Arizona’s Doug Ducey, Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson, and Mississippi’s Phil Bryant. Two of those states—Arkansas and Arizona—are Medicaid expansion states; the other two are not.

Santorum said that the effort to include a broad array of governors from vastly different states is designed to show how this plan can work all across America in each of the 50 states and be popular nationwide. It also, he says, shows the potential for some bipartisan buy-in; while no Democrats are as of yet committed to working on something at all, this could be the very reform that revives GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare and decentralize control of healthcare, killing off chances of dangerous single-payer once and for all while winning some support from Democrats desperate to get past the failed saga of Obamacare.

“Republicans have tried everything else first and now we have the right thing to do,” Santorum told Breitbart News. “I have no question that we can get very broad support among the Republican base and frankly this will get support from a Democrat or two. The reason is because of the way that Obamacare is structured, it benefits a handful of states. There are four states in order of how well they do: Massachusetts, California, New York, and then Maryland. Those four states which comprise about 21 percent of the population of the country get close to 40 percent of the money under Obamacare.”

This should come as exciting news to conservatives all across America. It finally gives them a chance to repeal Obamacare and also shut down the debate over healthcare. As we have seen worldwide Government controlled healthcare just doesn’t work very well. It claims to be “affordable” but ends up being more expensive in the long run. Taxes go up, Premiums go up and governments are forced to cut spending in other areas of necessity.

Here is an excerpt from a Daily Wire article as to why government controlled healthcare just doesn’t work:

1. Medicare underpays doctors. Since 1999, the program has paid doctors about 80 percent of what private insurers pay, according to CNN Money:

Private insurers allow an average of $1,226 for low-back disc surgery, while Medicare will only permit $654, for instance.

And the gap can grow wider depending on where the patient is. In New York, insurers allow $1,352 for a gall bladder removal, compared to $580 for Medicare.

Some services are more comparable. For office visits by established patients, for instance, Medicare will allow 92% of what insurers do.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Medicare’s low reimbursement rates have resulted in some doctors being compelled “to see 30 or more patients a day to make ends meet.”

The reason for Medicare’s underpayment is that the program uses a centralized point system to assign values to various services, creating reimbursement rates that are below market value and forcing doctors to raise costs elsewhere to make up the difference.

2. Doctors and hospitals using Medicare must abide by a complex web of codes. According to Mark Levin’s book, Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future, rampant “administrative minutiae” bogs down doctors, such as “one code for suturing an artery will become 195 codes, designating every single artery, among other variables.”

3. Medicare is particularly vulnerable to fraud. Levin notes that a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report declared that Medicare has been “a high-risk program since 1990” due to “the program’s size and complexity,” although the exact amount is “unknown.” A 2013 GAO report concluded that there were nearly $50 billion in improper Medicare payments that fiscal year; a 2014 Inspector General report found that Medicare issued $6.7 billion in erroneous payments in 2010 due to confusing billing codes and “lack of documentation.”

Although improper payments are not necessarily indicative of fraud, they reflect how the enormous and complex nature of the Medicare program results in waste, fraud, and abuse.

4. Medicare is trying to require doctors to use an electronic records system, putting patients’ privacy at risk. Medicare has threatened to penalize doctors who don’t use the system. Not only are some doctors resistant to changing their habitual methods, they are also concerned about patient privacy. For instance, The Wall Street Journal pointed to Yale School of Medicine professor, Mary Minkin, who discovered that “the electronic records system displayed patients’ gynecological records to other providers they consulted.”

“There’s no reason the dermatologist has to know about my patients’ libido issues,” Minkin told the Journal.

5. Fewer doctors are accepting Medicare. A 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 21 percent of doctors won’t take new Medicare patients, compared to 14 percent of new private insurance patients. Additionally, a 2013 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report found that “9,539 physicians who had accepted Medicare opted out of the program in 2012, up from 3,700 in 2009,” reported The Wall Street Journal, suggesting that 2015 was not an outlier year for doctors opting out of Medicare. After all, why would doctors want to deal with lower payments to battle Medicare’s maze of codes?

6. Medicare denies claims at a higher rate than any private insurance company. The American Medical Association (AMA), which endorsed the public option, found that Medicare denied claims at a rate of 4.92 percent in 2013. By contrast, Aetna, United Healthcare and Cigna denied claims at rates of 1.5 percent, 1.18 percent and 0.54 percent that year, respectively.

This also seems to be a trend. Medicare had “more than double any private insurer’s average” in the AMA’s 2009 report card.

7. Medicare faces $36.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. According to the Medicare Trustees’ 2015 report, “Medicare’s 75 year total spending in excess of dedicated revenues is $27.9 trillion. Using the CMS Actuary’s more realistic alternative scenario, that figure soars to $36.8 trillion.”

The report also projected that Medicare Part A – the hospital insurance aspect of the program – will be bankrupt by 2030.

8. Single-payer health care systems are a massive failure. “Medicare for All” would be a single-payer program for everybody. Canada is an example of a nationalized single-payer system that the Left loves – but it’s riddled with problems:

A 2014 study by the Fraser Institute found that wait times for medically necessary treatment in Canada have increased from 9.3 weeks in 1993—not great—to 18.2 weeks. Wait times were especially bad if you needed hip, knee or back surgery (42.2 weeks) or neurosurgery (31.2 weeks).

As we know from the scandal involving the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, health care delayed is health care denied. The people who suffer the most under the Canadian system are those who can’t afford to hop on a plane or pull strings to get treated in the United States.

Martin Samuels, the founder of the neurology department at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, found this out when he worked as a visiting professor in Canada. “The reason the Canadian health care system works as well as it does (and that is not by any means optimal) is because 90% of the population is within driving distance of the United States where the privately insured can be Seattled, Minneapolised, Mayoed, Detroited, Chicagoed, Clevelanded and Buffaloed,” Samuels wrote recently in Forbes. “In the United States, there is no analogous safety valve.”

Medicare clearly faces a series of critical problems stemming from the program’s enormous size and complexity; expanding it cover all Americans would only exacerbate those problems further. But Sanders never allows facts to get in the way of his ideology.

This last attempt has snuck under the radar as Trump moves onto Tax Reform but make no mistake he is still working on the destruction of Obamacare.

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