The GOP Is Making Health Care Great Again

November 13, 2018

The GOP Is Making Health Care Great Again
By Deroy Murdock, National Review

October 26, 2018 U.S. President Donald Trump shows off the signed “Right to Try Act,” which gives terminally ill patients the right to use experimental medications not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. (REUTERS/Leah Millis )

While Obamacare has been neither repealed nor replaced, it is being superseded. As President Donald Trump said, “We will deliver relief to American workers, families, and small businesses, who right now are being crushed by Obamacare, by increasing freedom, choice, and opportunity for the American people.”

The total number of Americans with health insurance rose from 292.3 million in 2016 to 294.6 million in 2017, the Census Bureau reports. Some of the following new reforms have helped 2.3 million more Americans enjoy medical coverage and alternatives under Republican leadership rather than Democrat mismanagement.

Republicans last December “ended the unfair individual-mandate penalty” under Obamacare, President Trump observed. “People are paying a lot of money for the privilege of not paying a lot of money for bad health care. And we’ve ended it.” Every single Democrat in Congress opposed individual-mandate repeal, which was part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Trump signed legislation in February to repeal the Independent Payments Advisory Board, also known as the “Death Panel,” that would have rationed Obamacare. IPAB is dead and threatens no one.

As promised, Trump signed the Right to Try Act on May 30. Terminally ill Americans who have exhausted other options now are free to use drugs that have passed the FDA’s Phase 1 safety trials but not yet passed effectiveness tests. The FDA’s “compassionate use” program only helped some 1,200 patients annually, the White House estimates. It added: “‘Right to Try’ gives the over 1 million Americans who die from a terminal illness every year a new tool to fight and make potentially lifesaving decisions about their treatment.”

“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure,” Trump said. “I want to give them a chance right here at home.”

The U.S. House’s roll call on this measure showed the parties’ true colors.

All 228 Republicans present voted for the Right to Try on May 22. But only 22 Democrats voted yes. The other 169 voted to deprive terminally ill Americans of the experimental drugs that might keep them alive. California’s Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, and New York’s Jerrold Nadler were among the pharmo-totalitarians who did not let even these imminent deaths tame their lust to control others.

The Trump administration in June authorized “association health plans.” Entrepreneurs, small employers, and civic organizations (e.g., the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Association of Michigan) now may join hands and insure their employees and members, including across state lines.

Last summer, the administration extended the duration of short-term, limited health plans from three months to one year, with renewals permitted up to three years. In essence, Team Trump increased twelve-fold the allowable length of short-term policies. “For example, according to E-Health, the average lowest premium for an Obamacare plan for a 40-year-old woman is about $4,200 per year,” Trump noted. “By contrast, the average lowest premium for short-term coverage for this individual is about $1,300 a year — a savings of $3,000,” or 69 percent off.

These plans are cheaper because they lack many of Obamacare’s costly, needless, and foolish mandates. Every Obamacare plan must include pediatric vision coverage — even if the policy holder is childless, sterile, and mortally terrified of small, screaming objects.

The GOP’s cost-cutting, liberty-expanding dynamic contrasts vividly with the Democrats’ cruel, truncheon-wielding approach. As Health Secretary Alex Azar wrote in the Washington Post on August 15: “Such plans were offered for terms of up to 12 months for decades until, in an effort to push Americans into Obamacare, the previous administration restricted the plans to 90 days and prohibited insurers from renewing them beyond that time period.”
The administration in August required hospitals to post the prices of their procedures online and update them annually. Patients will be able to shop around when deciding where to get treated. Such competition should slow or even counteract medical-cost inflation.

The president this month signed two bills that increase drug-price transparency. “Our great citizens deserve to know the lowest price available at our pharmacies,” he said. “They’ll be able to see pricing. … And as they start leaving certain pharmacies, those pharmacies will be dropping their prices.”

The administration opposes “gag clauses” in Medicare Part D plans. Pharmacists now are free to tell patients about money-saving prescription-drug options.

President Trump has turned the FDA’s red lights green. “We’ve massively sped up the FDA approval process,” he said October 10. “Last year, the FDA approved more than 1,000 low-cost generics — the most in its history … saving America almost $9 billion in the first year of my administration.”

“We have approved seven state waivers that provide federal assistance to help states pay for the sickest patients and allow insurers to keep premiums lower, all without increasing taxpayer burden,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), wrote last week. “These waivers appear to be working. For example, Wisconsinites will see their individual market premiums decrease by an average of 11 percent, due to the waiver.”

In an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Health Secretary Alex Azar unveiled another option for patients. Employers will be liberated to offer workers tax-free Healthcare Reimbursement Arrangements. Employees could use HRA funds to cover qualified medical expenses. Employers who provide group coverage will be allowed to deposit up to $1,800 in each employee’s HRA annually.
Also, the secretaries wrote, “we would permit employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market.” This repeals a particularly ugly display of President Obama’s sadism. “In 2013, the Obama administration forbade employers from using HRAs or any similar arrangements to reimburse employees’ premiums for individual market coverage. That shut down an option many employers had used to assist employees in obtaining coverage.”

These reforms may explain the most startling development of all: Obamacare’s damage seems to be in remission. Average, annual, individual premiums on grew from $2,784 in 2013 to $5,712 in 2017 — a 105 percent hike. With Americans now enjoying greater freedom and choices, and insurers largely unshackled, Obamacare’s destruction is being reversed.

CMS reports that average Obamacare premiums will drop 1.5 percent in 2019, the first decline since this monstrosity took full effect in 2014. Rates are expected to fall 16 percent in Pennsylvania and 26 percent in Tennessee. According to the White House, 23 new insurers will enter the market next year. Today, 56 percent of counties in the federal exchange have only one insurer. Next year: 39 percent.

Ignore the Democrats. Republicans are making healthcare great again.


President Donald Trump gives EMOTIONAL Speech

September 11, 2018

Does Free Speech Offend You?

September 7, 2018

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction. The term “freedom of expression” is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.


El nuevo proyecto proestadidad fue presentado en el Congreso

June 28, 2018

La medida propone la incorporación inmediata de Puerto Rico y recomendar las medidas que se requieren para la transición

Washington – La nueva legislación proestadidad de la comisionada Jenniffer González persigue que inicialmente Puerto Rico se convierta en un territorio incorporado y se cree un Grupo de Trabajo del Congreso para examinar los cambios en las leyes estadounidenses que se requieren para admitir a Puerto Rico como estado 51 de Estados Unidos a más tardar en 2021.

Teniendo en cuenta que un Congreso no obliga al otro, el proyecto de ley – que tiene el respaldo de 36 legisladores-, establece que su ratificación supondría “la intención del Congreso de aprobar legislación a base del informe final del Grupo de Trabajo”.

Bajo el territorio incorporado, Puerto Rico tendría que pagar contribuciones federales sobre ingresos sin los derechos políticos de la estadidad.

Ocho de los nueve miembros del comité serían nombrados por el liderato del Congreso. El noveno miembro sería la comisionada residente.

La medida tiene el respaldo de los republicanos que presiden el Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara baja federal, Rob Bishop (Utah), y del subcomité de Asunto Insulares, Doug LaMalfa (California).

El Grupo de Trabajo deberá estudiar las leyes de Estados Unidos y hacer recomendaciones al Congreso y al presidente de Estados Unidos – a más tardar el 1 de enero de 2021-, sobre cómo leyes que no aplican al territorio de Puerto Rico o aplican de forma diferente a los estados, deben ser enmendadas o eliminadas para permitir la transición hacia el trato igual de Puerto Rico.

El congresista LaMalfa sostuvo que una vez se hagan los estudios correspondientes, entonces el Congreso tomará su decisión.

En el Senado, la presidenta del Comité de Energía y Recursos Naturales, la republicana Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), ha indicado que no tiene en agenda el debate sobre el status político de Puerto Rico.

President Trump State of the Union Address 2018

January 31, 2018

Time to make Puerto Rico the 51st state.

January 24, 2018

Puerto Rico has become a colonial ghetto. Time to make it the 51st state.

Pedro Rossello, Opinion contributor Published Jan. 23, 2018 / USA TODAY

Former governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Rossello, comments on the effort seeking to request statehood for the island.

Longest-held territory in U.S. history remains a blemish in the American credo of democracy.

Following back-to-back destruction by two of the most powerful hurricanes in recent history, Puerto Rico has been dramatically present in national news. One prominent element of the coverage has been the recognition that Puerto Ricans are natural-born U.S. citizens. Another salient aspect of mainstream news media communications has been the delayed, inadequate and ultimately unfair treatment afforded these citizens at this tragic hour — solely based on where they live.

In the years after the U.S. acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898, following an invasion of U.S. troops during the Spanish-American War, the political conditions and the civil rights of residents have been defined by a series of federal Supreme Court decisions, known as the Insular Cases, legalizing their unequal treatment.

The most notable of the six decisions came in 1901, stating that while in an international sense Puerto Rico was not a foreign country — since it was subject to the sovereignty of and was owned by the United States — it was considered foreign to the U.S. itself.

And the case in 1922, which determined Puerto Rico to be a jurisdiction in which no U.S. citizen could lay claim to all the protections afforded by the Constitution. Regardless of where they may have been born, it held that U.S. citizens automatically lost certain fundamental rights if they opted to live in Puerto Rico.

Notwithstanding this legal construct, Congress granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917. Under federal statute, Puerto Ricans became and are now natural-born U.S. citizens, but with a caveat: Citizenship comes with limited rights compared with those of other U.S. citizens. Among those: The right to vote in national elections, the right to have voting representation in Congress, the right to participate equally in federal health programs such as Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and others as long as they, or any other Americans, live on the island. The law established a colonial ghetto.

The U.S. tricks the U.N. into keeping a colony

In the mid-20th century, the United Nations adopted a resolution to grant independence to colonial countries and peoples. But by then, the Puerto Rico and U.S. governments had already colluded to remove Puerto Rico from the U.S. list of non-autonomous governments, thus pretending that colonialism on the island had been eradicated.
Today, this longest-held territory in U.S. history remains a blemish in the American credo of democracy.

Status limbo permeates every aspect of life in the island

This civil limbo engenders an egregious and unfair social and economic treatment of American citizens. This inequality includes discriminatory considerations under many federal laws in such fundamental areas as education, health care, infrastructure and economic development. The recently adopted federal tax reform is a dramatic reaffirmation of how this unequal, discriminatory policy seriously hampers the possibilities of economic recovery, following more than a decade of depression.

One of the defining elements in a ghetto is the community’s lack of power. Poverty, in its broad meaning, cannot be merely conceived as a low-income level but rather as a state of powerlessness. After nearly 12 decades of unequal treatment under the aegis of the U.S. Congress, it is time for this last remnant of U.S. imperial rule to be banished to the annals of history.

The people of Puerto Rico have clearly opted for statehood twice in the past five years in open, free and fair plebiscites.

The federal government must acknowledge its responsibility in this shameful situation and proceed to redress more than a century of unequal treatment of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico. It is time for the U.S. to return to its traditional values as a republic, and renounce its obsolete colonial doctrine by admitting the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico as equal participants with the rest of their fellow citizens in all the states.

As former U.S. attorney general Richard Thornburgh asserts: “Puerto Rico is the last American territory meeting historical criteria for admission to statehood.”

Dr. Pedro Rosselló is a two-term former governor of Puerto Rico (1993-2001). He serves as chairman of the Puerto Rico Shadow Congressional Delegation. He holds a master’s in public health, a doctorate in medicine and a doctorate in education. He is also the father of the current governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.


Puerto Rico launches vocal bid for statehood

January 11, 2018

Puerto Rico launches vocal bid for statehood
Hall of Fame catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez part of ‘shadow’ delegation

By Tom Howell Jr. – The Washington Times – Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Weary of their “colonial” status, a delegation of Puerto Ricans marched on Capitol Hill Wednesday to demand statehood, saying the island territory pays taxes and serves in the military but is being short-changed by federal programs and lacks the political clout to recover from crises like Hurricane Maria.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló said the storm recovery underscored the island’s lack of congressional voting power — until now, many Americans didn’t know that Puerto Ricans were U.S. citizens — as it lobbies for its fair share of hurricane relief funding, alongside Florida and Texas.

“This is the civil rights issue of this time,” Mr. Rosselló said. “It is inconceivable in the 21st century to have the greatest democracy in the world have a colonial territory.”

Mr. Rosselló said there is no excuse for Congress not to grant actual representation to the island.

A whopping 97 percent of the island’s voters supported statehood last year, up from 61 percent in a 2012 vote, and the platforms of both political parties have supported greater representation for Puerto Rico.

Like D.C. and other territories, Puerto Rico’s delegate to Congress — Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón — doesn’t wield an actual vote on legislation.

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló and Republican committeewoman Zoraida Fonalledas were named as “shadow” senators on Wednesday, while Hall of Fame baseball catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez headlines a cast of five House representatives that will press members of Congress on statehood.

The delegation said they will lobby on behalf of the 3.4 million Puerto Ricans until they get an admissions bill from Congress that clears the way for a binding vote back home to become the 51st state.

“We will not be passive actors in this effort,” Mr. Rosselló said.
Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the U.S. in 1898 at the end of the Spanish-American War. And while islanders gained U.S. citizenship almost two decades later, island leaders say the federal government still acts like a colonial overlord.

It imposed a fiscal control board to straighten out its debt crisis, and unlike in the states, its Medicaid program is capped, making it difficult to deal with crises like the Zika virus.

Yet the uneven response to Hurricane Maria brought things to a head. Much of the island is still without power, nearly four months after the storm hit, and media investigations suggest the death toll has topped 1,000, even though the official toll is fewer than 70.

“Whether pegging it to recovery money or pegging it to fiscal reform, I do believe there is a higher consciousness” of Puerto Rico’s plight, Mr. Rosselló said.

President Trump said the storm’s effects were exacerbated by crumbling infrastructure on the island. He shot paper towels into the crowd like a basketball player on the foul line during a post-storm visit to the island, causing critics to question his commitment to the recovery.

Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican and Latino activist named to the shadow House delegation, said some people appear to be using Puerto Rico’s plight just to bash Mr. Trump, when the island’s status is the real problem.

Statehood would put the island on equal footing with states that can tap pots of emergency funding and health care dollars, he said.

Others said prejudice was to blame.

Mr. Barcelo said if Puerto Rico were an island of Irishmen instead of Spanish-speakers, “We probably would have been a state long ago.”

Mensaje de Doña Miriam Ramirez

December 23, 2017

Mensaje de Doña Miriam Ramirez:

“Lo bueno de la Reforma Contributiva Federal para Puerto Rico fue que se acabó el mantengo corporativo, ya Puerto Rico no es un paraiso fiscal para ninguna empresa estadounidense. La nueva reforma eliminó el deseo de todas esas fábricas y farmaceuticas poderosas que gastaban millones en cabilderos para que Puerto Rico se quedara como colonia y paraiso fiscal, porque les convenía contributivamente. Ahora no van a cabildear en contra de la Estadidad, porque ya no tienen esos incentivos que explotaban a Puerto Rico.

Hoy Puerto Rico está más cerca de la Estadidad que nunca, porque con esa Reforma Contributiva Federal eliminamos a los principales aliados de la colonia, que son los principales aliados del PPD. Eso fue el gran logro histórico del Partido Republicano para Puerto Rico. Fue una pena que el PNP no fuera unido al Congreso a exigir que la Isla fuera considerada territorio domestico estadounidense, pero esa lucha la vamos a llevar a cabo en los próximos meses. Tan pronto Puerto Rico entre a ser parte de ese sistema tributario como territorio doméstico de los EE.UU., que lo vamos a lograr con una enmienda, ese es el día que va a nacer el derecho irrefutable de todos los ciudadanos americanos que viven en Puerto Rico a votar por el Presidente, el derecho a tener representantes en el Congreso y a exigir la Estadidad. Si aportamos al fisco federal en igualdad, la Estadidad se convierte en obligación”

President Trump signs GOP tax bill in the Oval Office

December 22, 2017

Remarks by President Trump on Tax cuts and Jobs bill Passage

December 21, 2017