According to Steve Forbes, Editor of Forbes Magazine - Medicaid is our problem in reforming the failed Obamacare.
A brief review of what Medicaid is - "The federal government would pony up half the costs, the states the other half. But even though the states shared the tab, Washington dictated the rules. States managed the program but couldn't make any changes without getting "waivers" from the Department of Health & Human Services. In addition to covering low-income earners, Medicaid was expanded over the years to help pay for seniors who have no assets and for long-term care for people with disabilities."
But here are the problem perverse incentives - "There was no fixed budget, and spending went to whatever medical bills were submitted. The only way governors could contain costs was to reduce the reimbursement rates for health care providers, which is what happened. Around one-third of physicians no longer take on new Medicaid patients." So, consultations faded away and tests whether medically necessary or not, exploded.
And here is a shocker - "Reputable studies have found no difference in the health outcomes for people on Medicaid and those with no insurance!"
Under Obamacare - eligibility rules were relaxed and the rolls exploded by 11 million (So when they tell us about all those losing insurance a lot came from here). But it gets worse, costs have exploded and medical care has deteriorated, and more providers refuse to accept Medicaid.
Now we get to the complaining by Democrats, because - "House Republicans want to rein in Medicaid's runaway costs by, among other things, gradually rolling back much of the Obamacare eligibility expansion of Medicaid funding, starting in 2020. They would give states more leeway in making changes to the program. In return, states would get a set amount of funding per person, which would grow by a fixed formula, instead of being open-ended, as it currently is. States could also choose to receive a block grant, that is, a chunk of money from Uncle Sam that would provide a fixed amount of Medicaid funding and remain unchanged."
Steve mentions an unanswerable question for the left wing and the Democrats - "It's puzzling, to say the least, that they can defend a program that is ever more costly, increasingly ill-serves its beneficiaries and is riddled with fraud - the Government Accountability Office has found that more than 10% of the program's payments are 'improper'."
And a great idea to reform and help the truly needy is health savings accounts. So, what we need to do is - "Openly 'incentivize' states to enact a program in which most participants would have comprehensive catastrophic coverage and generous health savings accounts (HSA's). The insurance would have high deductibles, which would make it cheap. People would use the money in their HSA's for regular medical expenses. The key is that Medicaid beneficiaries would own their accounts."
Finally, it will work. Why? Medicaid per capita spending is $7,500-$7,800, enough to buy a quality high deductible catastrophic medical health insurance plan - for a low-income family of four it leaves at least $10,000 for everyday expenses to be paid by their Health Savings Account.
HISD Leadership Trainwreck
Your editor has followed HISD and its board for years. There have been many outstanding leaders on our school board - names like Cathy Mincberg, Jeff Shadwick, Rod Paige, and others.
Our current Board is dysfunctional and thanks to Jasmine Jenkins' op-ed on Sunday July 2nd in the Houston Chronicle, everyone knows it.
Among the depressing highlights: a $107 million-dollar deficit, basic education is failing in many schools, (while we will prioritize LGBT history), and the school name change adventure costing many millions, and there is declining performances in many schools.
Hats off to Ms. Jenkins and she is right about the need for an upgrade in political involvement in school elections so we can elect the best and brightest. Failure means wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and more importantly, continuing failure to effectively educate our children.
Trump's Great Week,
If You Focus On Public Policy And Not Tweets
If it was not clear before last week, was Exhibit A that tweeting by the President and the major media's obsession with it is a disservice to our nation and its future.
So last week, this is what the President was doing outside of Russian diversions:
- President Trump's Muslim travel ban went into effect.
- President Trump delivered an important address at the Department of Energy vowing to make American "energy dominant."
- The administration imposed sanctions against Chinese banks for their dealings with North Korea's rogue regime.
- Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced that 66,000 illegal immigrants have been arrested since January. More than 70% of them have criminal records.
- The House of Representatives passed two major pieces of legislation to crack down on illegal immigration. Kate's Law passed 257-to-167.
- The House also passed a bill cracking down on sanctuary cities on a vote of 228-to-195.
And beyond that, our side is making progress with the voters:
Local Concerns From National Trends
- 57% of likely voters support religious freedom for small business owners.
- 62% of likely voters support Trump's proposed five year welfare ban for new immigrants.
- Trump's tax plan is popular, as 61% support "significant" middle class tax cuts.
- Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly denies grants to Islamist groups supported by the Obama Administration.
- The Trump/Pence team is tackling voter fraud.
- Arizona law banning taxpayer-subsidized college tuition for illegal immigrants is upheld.
- The economy continues to grow and unemployment declines.
For Republicans to advance common sense conservative policies that help all of us, we need to make sure people know about them so they can vote for what they like.
In 2018, we can be successful on accomplishments, progress and present the public with a balanced and diverse quality ticket. Doing so puts us on the road to victory.
Doing it the same old way after the colossal failure in Harris County last year is just plain inexcusably stupid.
Matt Patrick RIP
We lost a great conservative media figure, KTRH-740's morning anchor, Matt Patrick. Matt has been for the last five years, the morning anchor for the most reliable radio news in the Houston market and an afternoon talk show host on KPRC-950.
Anyone interviewed by Matt knew that he was a well-prepared interviewer, who never diverted from the facts. When it was time for an opinion he would make sure everyone knows it's an opinion and not hidden editorializing like so many commentators from the left are guilty of.
TCR joins the thousands and thousands of listeners in the Houston area who depended on Matt for the news and guidance and he will be missed.
President Trump In Poland,
A Reagan Type Moment
Donald Trump's recent Reagan type speech in Poland was off the charts. He was so good; you would wonder if we can replicate this type of focused message domestically.
Among the highlights:
"Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph."
"We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.
"The West is unified, not only by bonds of culture, faith and tradition, history, culture and memory but shared values.
"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
"Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense than that bare shred of land on where the hope of Poland once totally rested. Our freedom, our children and our survival depend on those bonds of history, culture and memory.
"So together, let us all fight like the Polish - for family, for freedom, for country and for God."
Inspirational words from Donald Trump, let's get more of this and less tweeting about people who do not matter like Joe and Mika.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
Red, White & Blue returns in September with all new shows for your weekly political information fix.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his nineteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.