Tagged: Obamacare

Patriot Week In Review: Congressman Crawford Calls, KARK Won’t Quit, & The Day Death Died

Here’s a list of our top stories from this week:

  • Congressman Crawford called me.  He told me his millionaire surtax plan would only break his no-tax pledge if he voted for it–and he does plan to vote for it, if it makes it to the floor of the House–but ‘it would be worth it.’


Patriot Talk: Obamacare’s Constitutional Hurdle

In this week’s episode of Patriot Talk, guest Derek Glover & I discuss the Supreme Court hearings from last week.  We also discuss the ramifications for Obama’s campaign if the law is struck down or upheld.

Hope you enjoy:


Articles referenced in this episode:

Jonah Goldberg article: http://bit.ly/HWVM3I

Kennedy quote: http://bit.ly/HWVUQG

Patriot Week In Review: Local Media Hits New Low, Candidates Discuss Obamacare, Patriot Talk, & Joe Biden Thanks Dr. Pepper

Here’s a list of our top stories from this week:

  • Introducing Patriot Talk!  This is our new video project to keep you informed about what’s going on in politics around the county, state, and country.  The response has been terrific!

As always, thank you for reading!

Nic Horton

Democrat Candidate for AR House Kyle Osborne Says He is “Not For” Obamacare…Kind Of

I attended the health care forum in Searcy last night.  It was a discussion between incumbent state rep. Mark Biviano & his challenger, Kyle Osborne, who currently serves as Searcy police chief.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  Kyle Osborne is opposed to Obamacare…kind of.  His direct quote:

“I’m not for Obamacare…but we have to do something to fix health care.”

Throughout the rest of the debate, he continued to say we should do something, but it should not be until the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare’s constitutionality, and he failed to specify what ideas he has to fix the problems. In fact, he offered this gem later in the discussion:

“As a Democrat, I do not have all of the ideas.”

That is a direct quote.  He also said ‘we shouldn’t have the White House telling us how to do it.’

Later on, Osborne said he was ‘opposed to the way Obamacare is now,’ but added ‘it’s not a bad idea.’

When asked what parts of Obamacare should be preserved, Osborne cited the preexisting conditions & provisions that allow adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

Osborne stopped just short of saying he thinks the law is unconstitutional, but did say he thinks it will be ruled that way by the Supreme Court.

Where does Osborne stand on Obamacare, you ask?  I have no idea.  But I cannot wait to hear what Osborne’s golf buddy, Governor Beebe, has to say about these developments.

2.  Rep. Biviano opposes Obamacare fully, says it is unconstitutional, and should be scrapped.

As for pre-existing conditions provisions, Biviano said this policy is already adding to the cost of premiums for consumers.

When asked what effect Obamacare will have on the state, Biviano cited Arkansas’ doctor shortage and predicted that Obamacare would add 400,000 patients to the Medcaid rolls, a program that is already on life support.  He also predicted health care rationing in the state if the program is fully implemented here.

(Osborne said we should wait and see how the Supreme Court rules before he answers this question)

When asked for alternative solutions to Obamacare, Biviano said he has traveled the world working in the health care industry and the only real solutions he has seen have been private and market-driven.

Biviano also said that 80% of employers may opt-out of health care plans for their employees if Obamacare remains intact.

3.  Osborne thinks services may have to be cut to save Medicaid.

“No one wants to say that services will be cut, but that’s an option that’s on the table.”

(Direct quote, can be read here.)  He concluded his recommendations on saving Medicaid with,

“I don’t know that there’s really an answer right now.”

4.  Biviano says we can avoid cutting services/raising taxes if we deal with shortfalls Medicaid now.

Biviano reiterated that Republicans tried to apply this year’s surplus to fill the void in Medicaid, but the Governor blocked the effort.

Here are some of the other questions that were asked & the candidates’ responses:

Q:  If you are elected and Obamacare is struck down, how will you work to fix health care in Arkansas?

Biviano:  “I will continue to work to block the implementation of exchanges in our state.  Did you know you cannot buy health insurance from another state?  You should be able to buy health plans online.”

Osborne:  “If elected, I will meet with anyone who has ideas.  As a Democrat, I do not have all the ideas.”

Q:  Do you think we should crack down harder on Medicaid fraud?

Osborne:  “We have to stop fraud, and to do that we’re going to have to hire a lot more prosecutors & judges.”

Biviano:  “Before we can hire more prosecutors & judges, we have to identify the problem.  I was proud to help craft the Westerman plan to rein in fraud.”

Q:  Has Obama’s accommodation on mandated birth control coverage solved the problem?

Biviano:  “No, this is about freedom. We shouldn’t be mandating this.”

Osborne: “No, it hasn’t fixed the problem.”


Q:  Should we have federal or state health care exchanges? 

Biviano:  “The Democrats want to make a distinction between state & federal exchanges but you cannot do it.  The federal government will have its hands all in it.  We cannot afford a state exchange under federal guidelines.”

Osborne:  “I was under the impression that we had the opportunity to opt-out of some federal guidelines.”

Q:  Some say Obamacare is a symbol of the end of limited government.  Do you think government has gotten too big?

Osborne: “Obamacare, that’s an example of how they’ve gotten too big.  But I can’t answer the rest of that question until the Supreme Court rules.”

Q:  Is  Obamacare going to make it more difficult for insurance companies to provide coverage?

Biviano: “Yes, they’re going to pass their additional costs on to consumers.”

Osborne:  “I was an insurance agent 35 years ago.”

Q:  The independent advisory board morally appropriate?

Biviano:  “No, it goes against the democratic principles that this country was founded on.”

Osborne: “We are treading new ground with Obamacare. No one knows what to expect.” (he then asked if the board is at the federal or state level)

From my perspective, the contrast was pretty clear between the two candidates.  Despite the fact that Mr. Osborne agreed with Mr. Biviano on almost every point, Biviano’s knowledge of the health care industry and health care policy was clearly evident, while frankly Osborne just rambled through most of the discussion.  By my count, he did not offer a single policy recommendation, substantive or otherwise.

Now, remind me:  which party is the one that wants to cut services?  Which party is it that doesn’t have solutions, but just talking points, just wanting to throw ‘granny off a cliff?’  It’s not the Republican party, and that was fully evident last night.

For more info from the event, you can read my tweets or follow the hashtag #AR46HC.

Nic Horton

State Rep Candidates Set to Discuss Healthcare Tonight in Searcy

State Rep. Mark Biviano & his challenger Searcy Police Chief Kyle Osborne will participate in a healthcare forum tonight in Searcy.  The discussion will be moderated by Dan Greenberg, president of Advance Arkansas Institute. 

Coincidentally, the Supreme Court also begins hearings on the constitutionality of Obamacare today.

If you’re in White County, it would be worth your time to stick your head in.  The event begins at 6:30 and will be held at the Carmichael Community Center, 801 South Elm Street.

(See what’s wrong with American healthcare in one graphic)

Nic Horton

The Truth About Health Insurance Exchanges

As you probably know, Obamacare permits states to establish health insurance exchanges that will operate as new bureaucracies to oversee the purchase of government-approved insur­ance.  There has been an ongoing debate within conservative circles about whether or not it is best to implement the exchanges now in order to retain some state control or whether states should whole-heartedly fight their implementation.  In Arkansas, Republicans have been united & adamant that the exchanges be delayed.

Now a new report has set out to debunk some of the purported benefits of implementing the exchanges.

According to Jonathan Ingram, a health care policy analyst for the Illinois Policy Institute, states electing to create these exchanges must comply with federal rules that will dictate virtually all aspects of the exchanges’ opera­tions.

“If a state chooses to establish an exchange, it will bear the full cost of running it.  While a number of people are urging states to immediately create an exchange, the reasons are based on myths, not facts.”

In this report, Ingram responds to those myths.

Myth: If a state does not build an ex­change, the federal government will build its own and op­erate it here in Illinois.

  • Fact: Nobody knows what will happen if Illi­nois refuses to implement an exchange.
  • Fact: While Congress supplied funding for the states to set up health insurance exchanges — though not to run them — it did not provide the federal De­partment of Health and Human Services with the resources necessary to establish a federal ex­change in every state that refuses.

Myth: An exchange administered by a state will en­sure the state has greater flexibility than if the federal government administers the exchange.

  • Fact: Although the state exchange would be run by state officials, the state would have no more freedom or flexibility than under a federally-im­posed exchange.
  • Fact: Federal rules will dictate virtu­ally all aspects of the exchange’s operation.

Myth: The Supreme Court case only concerns the in­dividual mandate and the exchanges will move forward regardless of the Court’s ruling.

  • Fact: The Supreme Court is deciding several is­sues concerning the ACA, including wheth­er to strike down the entire law.
  • Fact: If the Court strikes down the entirety of the law, the money and effort expended to create the exchange will have been wasted.
  • Fact: Even if the Court upholds the law — or part of the law — legal challenges to the exchange provisions and their related federal rules are already being prepared.

(This report was included in Advance Arkansas Institute’s weekly policy bulletin, which you should sign up for if you are not already receiving it.)


Nic Horton

What’s Wrong With American Healthcare, In One Graphic

From the American Enterprise Institute’s blog:

Talk about a vicious cycle. The above chart (from must-read healthcare blogger Avik Roy) comes as close as anything I’ve seen to explaining in a picture what is wrong with the American healthcare system. It shows how government policy creates a dysfunctional healthcare market by insulating consumers from the true cost of their healthcare decisions, raising demand/overconsumption of high-end services/costs, prompting more government intervention (like Obamacare) … and more insulation. Rinse and repeat.

You can read the rest of their analysis here.

Nic Horton