Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Trump Pick Tom Price, Cool Heads Can Prevail On Health Reform<p> The Senate committee hearing for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, demonstrated some fundamental differences between the two major parties on health policy &mdash; differences that may have to be overcome or set aside if the Affordable Care Act will be replaced.</p> <p> Democrats and Price &ldquo;went around &hellip; a number of times,&rdquo;a s Sen. Murphy said, on the difference between health insurance for all and &ldquo;access to&rdquo; health insurance for all.</p> <p> Each time a Democratic Senator asked Price if he would work to guarantee the former, he answered back with a commitment to the latter.</p> <p> But here&rsquo;s the ugly truth: There&rsquo;s really no such thing as universal coverage without coercion. Some people, given the choice, won&rsquo;t buy insurance. That&rsquo;s why Price and others frame it as &ldquo;access&rdquo; to health insurance.</p> <p> We want all Americans to have the option and ability to buy health insurance, but we aren&rsquo;t going to make them.</p> <p> Therein lies the fundamental disagreement: Who makes what choices when it comes to health care? Price argued it should be the patient, while Democrats seemed to imply that without the federal government, patients would have limited choices, no choice, or would make poor choices for themselves. &nbsp;</p> <p> For example: Sen. Sanders also criticized the idea of &ldquo;access to&rdquo; health insurance. &ldquo;I have access to buying a 10 million-dollar home. I don&rsquo;t have the money to do that,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> Democrats and Republicans alike should acknowledge that high prices are a barrier to insurance coverage, even under the &ldquo;Affordable&rdquo; Care Act. Indeed, when uninsured Americans are asked why they don&rsquo;t buy insurance, the number one response is that <a href="">it&rsquo;s simply not affordable</a>, with 46 percent citing this reason.</p> <p> It follows that, in order to increase the number of people buying insurance, the policy goal should be to decrease the price.</p> <p> The ACA attempted to do this through a web of subsidies and tax credits, tied to income level. But the regulatory burden of the ACA has proven to be too much: Too many Americans have suffered harm in the form of cancelled plans, narrowed provider networks, and increased deductibles premiums &mdash;even for some people with subsidies.</p> <p> A better approach would be to focus on lowering the pre-subsidy or &ldquo;raw&rdquo; price of insurance, the key factor in the equation.</p> <p> Republicans expect that a freer market in health insurance would result in more affordable options, as insurers would offer more basic plans (like those available pre-ACA) again. And fewer mandates would not reduce choice, but would expand it.</p> <p> Democrats unfairly charged that Price was not willing to share a specific plan to replace the ACA. These accusations seem misdirected at the congressman who has perhaps done more than any other Republican to work toward replacement.</p> <p> Price has sponsored, every year since 2009, his comprehensive replacement plan, the <a href="">Empowering Patients First Act</a>. Democrats vacillated between saying there was no specific plan and criticizing Price&rsquo;s, a confused line of attack.</p> <p> Democrats make a few other charges, including the idea that without the ACA there would be no coverage for dependents up to age 26, and that there would be no mandated benefits, such as coverage for substance abuse disorders or birth control. But those claims completely ignore that state insurance commissions have jurisdiction in these areas.</p> <p> Indeed, 37 states had mandates for dependent coverage (<a href="">up to age 31 in New Jersey</a>!) before the ACA. And all 50 states had some number of mandated benefits.</p> <p> As Price said over and over again, no one &mdash; Republican or Democrat &mdash; wants to see Americans lose health coverage, face higher costs, or experience difficulty getting the care they need. With these goals, can it be so hard to find common ground?</p> <p> Throughout the hearing Price said he hoped to &ldquo;lower the temperature&rdquo; in this heated debate in order to work toward shared goals when possible.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s all hope that cooler heads prevail in the polarized and over-politicized discussion of what&rsquo;s next for health reform.</p> <p> As Chairman of the Committee Sen. <a href="">Lamar Alexander</a> emphasized in closing the hearing, we wouldn&rsquo;t close one highway bridge before opening a new one, and Republicans similarly hope to transition away from the ACA in a responsible, thoughtful way.</p> <p> Although confirmation hearing can tend toward political theatre, Americans are hopeful that both parties will focus on real solutions, despite our differences, in the months to come.</p> HeathFri, 20 Jan 2017 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumObamacare's Most Popular Provisions Are The Ones Killing It<p> This week, the American Action Network released <a href="">unsurprising polling data that show 54 percent of Americans</a> want full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or major changes to it. Support for repeal reaches 70 percent under the condition that lawmakers provide a transition period ensuring that current ACA beneficiaries can keep coverage while new reforms are implemented.</p> <p> The ACA, which has <a href="">already started to unravel legislatively</a>, has never been overwhelmingly popular with the public. However, as the AAN poll affirms, two key provisions in the Affordable Care Act are popular: Fully 92 percent of people favor the rule that requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing health conditions, and 79 percent favor the requirement that allows parents to keep their children on their plans until the age of 26. Because of their popularity, some Republicans are <a href="">discussing keeping these rules</a>.</p> <p> It&#39;s understandable why these two rules are popular. No one wants to see our friends and neighbors with pre-existing conditions struggle to find or afford health insurance. Similarly, the age-26 rule has resulted in an increase in the portion of young adults who have insurance coverage, even if it is with mom and dad.</p> <p> But here&#39;s the bitter medicine: These rules, popular as they are, are exactly why the ACA is unworkable. Policy people on the Right and the Left know this. You can&#39;t mandate that insurance companies take all comers without also mandating that all people buy in.</p> <p> The ACA tried to address this problem with the individual mandate. But the mandate didn&#39;t have sharp enough &quot;teeth.&quot; According to <a href="">recent data from the IRS</a>, 6.5 million people paid the penalty for going uninsured in 2015. The average penalty was $470. For many ACA plans, this would equal two or maybe one month&#39;s premiums. So the people paying the penalty are saving serious cash. (Granted, they risk facing high health bills should they get sick or hurt, but when making the decision, they&#39;re hoping to stay healthy.)</p> <p> Similarly, <a href="">2.3 million young adults</a>, most of them likely healthy, did not seek coverage in the ACA exchanges because they joined their parents&#39; plan.</p> <p> So what happened? The people with the most to gain from ACA coverage (sicker, older people) signed up while more younger, healthier people didn&#39;t sign up: They either went uninsured or stayed on their parents&#39; plan, if they were young enough.</p> <p> Therefore, the pool of people insured through ACA plans was sicker than expected. This created <a href="">financial loss for insurers</a>, caused some insurance companies <a href="">to leave the exchanges</a>, and is certainly contributing to ever-dwindling choices and higher premiums. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services show that the average premium for a midlevel plan will increase by <a href="">25 percent in 2017</a>. And in <a href="">more than 40 percent of all counties</a>, exchange customers have only one insurer to &quot;choose.&quot;</p> <p> The bottom line is that the provisions that make Obamacare attractive to many are the same provisions that have brought on its demise.</p> <p> Rather than keeping these provisions, there&#39;s a better way to help these sympathetic groups, such as state-based high-risk pools. These pools target financial help to those who really need it, like people with costly pre-existing health conditions.</p> <p> As for young adults, they&#39;d benefit tremendously if many of the ACA&#39;s other regulations were undone, such as mandates on what all insurance plans must cover, or restrictions on age-based pricing. Then more millennials could afford to buy their own insurance plans, lessening the need for dependent coverage.</p> <p> We can never create a utopia where everyone has all the resources they need to consume everything they want, especially in healthcare. No one wants to be sick, and no one wants our sick friends to struggle with bills from hospitals or insurance companies. But we can make changes that make the insurance marketplace more competitive and functional for everyone, including those who need a safety net.</p> HeathMon, 16 Jan 2017 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs It Acceptable For Trump's Nominees Not To Agree With Him In Policy? • After The Bell HeathFri, 13 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNewsmax's 30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30<p> President Ronald Reagan once said, &ldquo;The future does not belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.&rdquo; In that spirit, Newsmax has compiled a list of the brightest and bravest in the Grand Old Party under the age of 30.</p> <p> While a majority of these young people come from political backgrounds &mdash; including a few who even hold elected office &mdash; they all possess a great influence in promoting Republican values that belies their ages.</p> <p> Whether the influence of these 30 is demonstrated by becoming a viral sensation, by taking on the mantles of leadership, or by laying the groundwork to organize and propel other Republicans, Newsmax&rsquo;s rankings take into account each candidate&#39;s accomplishments relative to their age and seek to highlight emerging voices alongside established ones.</p> <p> Each honoree has succeeded in enlarging the Republican tent by pushing the party&rsquo;s ideals through legislation, swinging the conversation to the right, and building the base from the bottom up.</p> <p> It is thanks to these young men and women that the Republican Party will endure for another new generation of profound minds.</p> <p> <strong>1. <a href="">Tomi Lahren</a></strong> &mdash; A newcomer to this annual list, Lahren, 24, shot to the top this year with her booming social media presence. The &ldquo;Tomi&rdquo; show on TheBlaze TV has taken Facebook &mdash; and the world &mdash; by storm. In fact, she proved so popular in 2016 that Donald Trump&rsquo;s campaign tapped her to help boost the candidate&rsquo;s social media profile. But it was her Final Thoughts segment aimed at Colin Kaepernick&rsquo;s national anthem protest that really launched her into the stratosphere. On Lahren&rsquo;s official Facebook page, which has nearly 4 million page likes, the Kaepernick post alone collected 135,000 comments, 718,000 likes, 1.5 million shares, and 66 million views.</p> <p> <strong>2. <a href="">Elliott Echols </a></strong>&mdash; As the director of the Republican Leadership Initiative in Washington, D.C., Echols mobilized the organization to train political field staffers and organizers for the 2016 election. The 26-year-old activist spent most of the election traveling to various battleground states to focus the Initiative&rsquo;s efforts in what would become an upset victory in the presidential race. Prior to his current role with the Republican National Convention, Echols was the national youth director for the RNC, a position that was geared toward engaging both young voters and College Republican groups.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">3. </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning</span></span></a></strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> &mdash; A senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, Manning, 28, is frequently invited to comment on issues like healthcare, entitlements, and economic policy for print, digital, radio, and television media. The Republican National Convention called her a &ldquo;Rising Star&rdquo; in 2015, and, this year, the Steamboat Institute named her its 2017 Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism.</span></span></span></p> <p> <strong>4. <a href="">Niraj Antani</a> </strong>&mdash; In 2014, a year after graduating college, Antani won elected office to the represent the 42nd District in the Ohio House of Representatives. In 2016, the 25-year-old Republican incumbent won re-election over his Democratic challenger by 26 points. Prior to his budding legislative career, Antani served as the communications director for The Ohio State University College Republicans during the 2012 presidential election and as chair of Young Americans for Romney in Ohio.</p> <p> <strong>5. <a href="">Alison Howard</a> </strong>&mdash; As the director of Alliance Relations at Alliance Defending Freedom, Howard, 28, is on the front lines in D.C. fighting to preserve religious freedom, the sanctity of marriage, and the lives of unborn children. Before joining ADF, she served as the communications director for the Concerned Women for America, the &ldquo;largest public policy women&rsquo;s organization&rdquo; in the U.S.</p> <p> <strong>6. <a href="">Ryan Fournier</a></strong> &mdash; Currently enrolled at Campbell University and majoring in political science, Fournier, 21, gained widespread recognition as the founder and national chairman of Students for Trump, a social media phenomenon that helped engage millennials in support of the eventual president-elect.</p> <p> <strong>7. <a href="">Aundr&eacute; Bumgardner</a></strong> &mdash; At the age of 20, Bumgardner was elected to represent the 41st District in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2014, the youngest person ever to win such a bid in the state&rsquo;s General Assembly. His campaign ran on themes of lowering taxes, improving transportation, pushing for townships to balance their budgets, and shoring up the economy overall. Bumgardner served on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Education, and Transportation committees while in office.</p> <p> <strong>8. <a href="">Erin Stewart</a></strong> &mdash; The mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, Erin Stewart was re-elected to a second term in 2015 by a convincing margin, championing a leadership that is bipartisan in a largely Democratic state. The 29-year-old&rsquo;s executive career began in landmark fashion when she became the youngest mayor in the city&rsquo;s history, the second woman to hold the office, and now the first to be re-elected in New Britain. Her name is already being whispered around the state in connection to upcoming elections for higher offices currently occupied by Democrats.</p> <p> <strong>9. <a href="">Saira Blair</a> </strong>&mdash; She was the youngest person elected to either state or federal office in 2014, winning in the first election in which she was eligible to vote. Her West Virginia House of Delegates campaign focused on lowering her state&#39;s income tax to &ldquo;below 6 percent,&rdquo; coupled with creating a &ldquo;business-friendly environment that will stimulate job growth.&rdquo; Blair was re-elected to a second term while juggling the demands of college.</p> <p> <strong>10. <a href="">Alex Smith</a></strong> &mdash; She was elected national chair of the College Republican National Committee while completing her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law. Smith is also a distinguished graduate of The Catholic University of America. She has appeared on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN on programs such as &ldquo;The O&rsquo;Reilly Factor,&rdquo; &ldquo;The Kelly File,&rdquo; &ldquo;Your World With Neil Cavuto,&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart,&rdquo; as well as in print and digital media in The Wall Street Journal and Politico.</p> <p> <strong>11. <a href="">Drew Christensen</a></strong> &mdash; Minnesota state Rep. Drew Christensen represents District 56A. He was elected to office in 2014 and ran on education and healthcare reform while pushing to trim the debt of the state government. Christensen, 23, serves on the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, Education Finance, Education Innovation Policy, and Higher Education Policy and Finance Committees.</p> <p> <strong>12. <a href="">Anthony &ldquo;AJ&rdquo; Edgecomb</a></strong> &mdash; The youngest member of the Maine House of Representatives, he represents the 148th District. The 21-year-old currently serves on the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, and the Engrossed Bill committees while attending the University of Maine at Presque Isle where he&rsquo;s majoring in physical education.</p> <p> <strong>13. <a href="">Kayla Kessinger</a> </strong>&mdash; Kayla Kessinger, 24, represents the 32nd District of West Virginia and was first elected to office in 2014. She won re-election this year and serves on the Energy, Government Organization, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and Small Business Entrepreneurship and Economic Development committees.</p> <p> <strong>14. <a href="">Chelsi H. Bennett</a></strong> &mdash; Another &ldquo;rising star&rdquo; in the GOP, 28-year-old Bennett is a successful lawyer, entrepreneur, political consultant, and pastor&rsquo;s wife &mdash; whew. She has served as an elected official, a motivational speaker, and senior policy adviser, to name a few of her many accomplishments.</p> <p> <strong>15. <a href="">Steven Crowder</a> </strong>&mdash; Steven Crowder, 29, is a talk show host who provides insightful nuance on the many issues coursing through the political arena today. He is tactful, entertaining, and, above all, right. Whether it be engaging Bernie Sanders supporters or lambasting the ludicrous claims of the Left, Crowder never shies away and always has a smile on his face. Both a first-rate commentator and comedian, he continues to bring in followers by the hundreds of thousands with his <a href="">&ldquo;Louder with Crowder&rdquo;</a> podcasts and videos.</p> <p> <strong>16. <a href="">Ashe Schow</a></strong> &mdash; At 28, she is the senior political columnist for the New York Observer and a reporter covering higher education. In 2016, the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, Families Advocating for Campus Equality, and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments presented Schow with a &ldquo;Champion of Justice&rdquo; award in recognition of her hard-hitting reporting on gender politics and free speech issues. Previously, she made a name for herself as a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner and an editor and writer for The Heritage Foundation.</p> <p> <strong>17. <a href="">Elly Maye</a></strong> &mdash; She is a YouTube star who is most famous for her fun, informative video &quot;Top 10 Reasons I&rsquo;m Not a Democrat,&quot; which has been watched nearly a half-million times on her channel. Maye, 24, is a writer and video contributor to conservative heroes Dinesh D&rsquo;Souza and Wayne Dupree. She is also a frequent guest on conservative radio and online streaming shows.</p> <p> <strong>18. <a href="">Jimmy Sengenberger</a></strong>&mdash; A prolific talk show host and commentator, Sengenberger, 26, has been penetrating the radio waves throughout Denver since 2008. A rising leader in Colorado politics, Sengenberger is also the president of the Liberty Day Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit that works with educators and communities to expand literacy and understanding of the Constitution.</p> <p> <strong>19. <a href="">Katie Pavlich</a></strong> &mdash; The 28-year-old journalist is an editor for and a former contributing editor to Townhall Magazine. Her first book, &ldquo;Fast and Furious: Barack Obama&rsquo;s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up,&rdquo; made The New York Times Best Seller list for nonfiction. Her most recent book, &ldquo;Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women,&rdquo; hit bookshelves in 2014, and she was honored the same year as &ldquo;Woman of the Year&rdquo; by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Pavlich provides her insight frequently on Fox News and never ceases to be off target.</p> <p> <strong>20. <a href="">Adi Sathi</a></strong> &mdash; This 26-year-old Michigander is the vice chair of coalitions within his state&rsquo;s GOP, one of the youngest members of the convention&rsquo;s leadership. In addition, Sathi is an Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies legislative fellow in the office of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Senate president pro tempore and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.</p> <p> <strong>21. <a href="">Kierstin Koppel</a></strong> &mdash; She is the founder and president of Galt Solutions, a boutique political consulting company in Miami, Florida. Prior to starting her firm, Koppel, 27, worked as the national youth director for the presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Koppel is also involved with Generation Opportunity.</p> <p> <strong>22. <a href="">&ldquo;Millennial&rdquo; Millie Weaver</a></strong> &mdash; The 25-year-old former model has made a name for herself as a political activist, reporter, and satirist. Weaver is most known for her contributions to and the videos on her <a href="">YouTube channel</a>, which has attracted more than 50,000 subscribers since she created it a little more than a year ago.</p> <p> <strong>23. <a href="">Sterling Beard</a></strong> &mdash; The Dartmouth graduate is currently the editor-in-chief at Campus Reform, a conservative spotlight on the news and events happening at America&rsquo;s universities. Beard, 27, has recently earned such accolades as &ldquo;rising star in journalism&rdquo; by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute for his recent work with the Heritage Foundation in 2015.</p> <p> <strong>24. <a href="">Kristin Tate</a></strong> &mdash; The 25-year-old political columnist appears frequently on TV programs across the political spectrum: Fox News, Fox Business Network, PBS, CNN, and Newsmax TV. Tate&rsquo;s writing has been featured in the Washington Examiner, National Review, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Daily Caller. Her new book, &ldquo;Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You for a Ride &mdash; and What You Can Do About It,&rdquo; will be released in paperback this spring, and copies will surely continue to fly off the shelves.</p> <p> <strong>25. <a href="">Grant Strobl</a> </strong>&mdash; Ascending to national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, Strobl has been heavily involved with conservative campus activism for more than five years, beginning in high school. The 21-year-old University of Michigan student has written for the YAF&rsquo;s The New Guard newsletter, Red Alert Politics, The Detroit News, and Fox News&rsquo; Copy That newsletter.</p> <p> <strong>26. <a href="">Justin Haskins</a></strong> &mdash; At 29, Haskins is the executive editor at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank. Also, he recently created the New Revere Daily Press, a news start-up that primarily collects but also produces conservative and libertarian content and commentary, while providing nuance as well.</p> <p> <strong>27. <a href="">Gus Portela</a></strong> &mdash; The 27-year-old is the national executive director for the College Republican National Committee. He worked on Rick Santorum&rsquo;s presidential campaign in 2012. He is one of the youngest influential Hispanic Republicans to come to the forefront of GOP activism in recent history, and will continue to help expand the big tent of the party.</p> <p> <strong>28.Hope Hicks</strong> &mdash; This 28-year-old is a relative newcomer to politics, and her career in it has been both surprising and serendipitous. Hicks, a public relations wunderkind, was discovered by Donald Trump while doing some work with Ivanka Trump&#39;s fashion line. When the eventual president-elect began his presidential campaign, Trump immediately tasked Hicks with the job of press secretary, seemingly on the fly. Hicks grew in the role and then became the spokeswoman for Trump&#39;s transition team. After the inauguration, Hicks will ascend to the role of White House director of strategic communications in the Trump administration.</p> <p> <strong>29. <a href="">Matt Hanrahan</a></strong> &mdash; As the campaign director for Dan Carter, the Republican challenger to longtime incumbent Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, 21-year-old Hanrahan ran a campaign that had a higher turnout among Republican voters in more than four election cycles. Hanrahan was the former chairman of the College Republicans at The Catholic University of America and the vice-chairman of D.C. Federation of College Republicans.</p> <p> <strong>30. <a href="">Quaterrius &ldquo;Quay&rdquo; Manuel</a></strong> &mdash; This Georgia teen became an overnight YouTube sensation when footage captured him engaging in a public debate with a Black Lives Matter supporter who was protesting Donald Trump. The YouTube video accrued millions of views across social media &mdash; and several death threats directed at him in response to his arguments. Manuel, 16, who proclaims to be a &ldquo;conservative Christian Republican&rdquo; on Twitter, has amassed nearly 25,000 followers on the social media platform since the video went viral. The undeterred teenager hopes to run for public office in the future.</p> HeathThu, 12 Jan 2017 16:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumParticipants Of Social Media Need To Be More Thoughtful Of Posts • Risk & Reward HeathThu, 12 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBrace For Democrats Fear-Mongering On Obamacare Repeal<p> The American people should be prepared:&nbsp; We should expect nothing less than defcon-five level alarmism from some lawmakers on the Left who are fearful that President Barack Obama&rsquo;s namesake health care law will soon be undone.</p> <p> In fact earlier this week, Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who oversaw the passage of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. House (and likely lost her post as Speaker due to the law&rsquo;s unpopularity), said Republicans want to &ldquo;Make America Sick Again.&rdquo; How&rsquo;s that for demagoguery?</p> <p> Pelosi is leading a wide-scale messaging effort against the repeal of Obamacare. She circulated a &ldquo;Dear Colleague&rdquo; letter to Hill Democrats, and held a December 29 conference call to gear up for January press events to &ldquo;highlight the risks of repeal of the ACA.&rdquo;</p> <p> We know what that means. As is typical, Democrats will use the most vulnerable people in society in an attempt to scare the public into supporting big government. They will argue that low-income people and people with pre-existing conditions will suffer as a result of Obamacare repeal.</p> <p> They will oversell the &ldquo;risks of repeal&rdquo; while they ignore the very real harms the Affordable Care Act is causing. They will not acknowledge that the law has fueled the skyrocketing of health insurance premiums and deductibles. They will conveniently ignore that Obamacare resulted in the cancellation of millions of health plans (despite promises to the contrary), that it has led to more limited provider networks and health care access, and that it has still left 28 million people without insurance.</p> <p> Democrats must be missing the polling data that shows that&nbsp;<a href="">more than half again as many people</a> say the Affordable Care Act has hurt their family as say it helped.&nbsp; In short, Democrats will not heed the results of the election and admit their policy is a colossal failure.</p> <p> Instead, Democrats will focus on one messaging point: They will argue that Obamacare repeal will take insurance away from 20 million people who now depend on the law&rsquo;s benefits.</p> <p> And even that point is misleading.&nbsp; First, the number is way off. We have to consider not just enrollments in Medicaid or the exchanges (or young adults who were added to their parents&rsquo; plans). We have to look at the net increase in health insurance enrollment after considering that many people&nbsp;lost&nbsp;coverage under the Affordable Care Act.&nbsp;<a href="">Researchers who did this</a>&nbsp;found that approximately 14 million people, not 20 million, gained insurance coverage. The overwhelming majority of those (11.7 million) were simply added to the Medicaid program.&nbsp;</p> <p> And most of those new Medicaid enrollees (<a href="">about two-thirds</a>) were eligible for the program before the law passed. This means they would not lose their Medicaid coverage as a result of Affordable Care Act repeal.</p> <p> Even so, Medicaid isn&rsquo;t the best solution for low-income Americans. They would be better off if they could afford private insurance of their own, because private insurance is accepted more widely among health providers and correlates to better health outcomes.&nbsp; The best policy to help our low-income neighbors is one that targets the root problem &mdash; high insurance premiums&mdash;and &nbsp;brings them down.</p> <p> Obamacare does the opposite. It made health insurance more expensive through cumbersome, misguided, and unnecessary regulations. This is why premiums are now double or triple what they used to be for some consumers.</p> <p> After the law&rsquo;s regulations raise prices this way, it uses a system of subsidies to bring prices back down (for some, but not all customers). The government brags that&nbsp;<a href="">8 in 10 exchange customers</a>&nbsp;are subsidized. But this is silly. Why not simply avoid the higher prices to begin with? After all, taxpayers fund the subsidies; they don&rsquo;t just appear out of thin air.&nbsp;</p> <p> The quality of the plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges should be examined too. One study showed that&nbsp;<a href="">half of Affordable Care Act customers skipped a doctor visit</a>&nbsp;because they couldn&rsquo;t afford it. Surely this isn&rsquo;t what the law&rsquo;s creators envisioned.</p> <p> As with any policy change, there will be winners and losers in the immediate term. It&rsquo;s a big country, and there&rsquo;s no doubt that some people have benefited due to the Affordable Care Act. But it&rsquo;s not a law that works for everyone or even most people, and kind-hearted Americans should not allow Democrat fear-mongering to scare them into thinking that millions of their compatriots will be left without health care should the Affordable Care Act be repealed.&nbsp;In the long run, repealing the law and replacing it with a more economically sound health care policy will benefit us all, including those who have gained coverage in recent years.</p> HeathWed, 11 Jan 2017 08:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIt's Time To Replace ObamaCare — What Will The GOP Choose?<p> This week the Republican Study Committee <a href="">reintroduced</a> legislation called the American Health Care Reform Act (AHCRA). The bill first debuted in 2013, but with Republicans now in control of the House, Senate, and White House, the likelihood of ObamaCare repeal and replacement &mdash; and public interest in conservative replacement plans &mdash; is at an all-time high.</p> <p> Some Americans, especially those harmed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through <a href="">premium spikes</a> or cancelled plans, may ask why the GOP wants to replace the law at all. Why can&rsquo;t we simply repeal it and go back to the system we had before?</p> <p> It boils down to this: The system before ObamaCare was distorted by other outdated laws, leaving some Americans with poor and limited insurance options. &nbsp;We needed healthcare reform in 2009 &mdash; just not the healthcare reform that we got.</p> <p> Before the ACA, too many Americans felt trapped in jobs because their employer provided their health insurance benefits. Some without employer-provided insurance had trouble finding affordable options, so they went uninsured or underinsured and risked bankruptcy. Others were over-insured and consumed more health services than they needed.</p> <p> All of these problems needed solving before the ACA, and Republicans will still need to address them should the ACA be repealed. &nbsp;Importantly, Republicans should also work to craft a policy that responsibly transitions those Americans who&rsquo;ve come to depend on ACA plans to the new system.</p> <p> How will they do it? The specifics vary from plan to plan, but nearly all replacement plans include a universally available tax deduction (as in the AHCRA) or tax credit for health insurance. This policy is an attempt to level the playing field for people who do not currently enjoy employer-based health insurance benefits. &nbsp;</p> <p> Since the WWII era, our policies have favored employer-centric health insurance by providing an unlimited tax exclusion for these on-the-job benefits. Meanwhile, folks without benefits have been paying for health insurance with post-tax dollars.</p> <p> We would all be better off with a level playing field. For one thing, this would reduce &ldquo;<a href="">job lock</a>&rdquo; in an ever uber-ized gig economy. Gone are the days when people worked 30 years in the same full-time job with great benefits. Today, no one should feel trapped in a particular job simply because insurance is too hard to get elsewhere.</p> <p> For another thing, by making it more attractive for people to buy insurance on their own (instead of through employer-centric groups), we could greatly increase the number of buyers &mdash; decision makers &mdash; in the health insurance market, which would spur competition.</p> <p> In other words, rather than selling to your boss, health insurance companies would have to sell their policies directly to you, meaning they&rsquo;d have to compete to offer you the plan that suits your family best at the best price.</p> <p> Some Republicans want to take other steps that they hope would make insurance markets more competitive, including allowing the sale of insurance across state lines and allowing small businesses to pool together to negotiate rates. But the most important step conservatives can take to make insurance plans more competitive is to repeal the ACA&rsquo;s harmful and unnecessary regulations.</p> <p> Before the ACA, state insurance commissions determined what plans were acceptable to be sold in their states, and what coverage plans had to provide.</p> <p> The ACA added a federal layer of regulation in an attempt to standardize plans, but it went too far. The law took away popular, more basic (and affordable) insurance plans (which is why so of these <a href="">plans were cancelled</a> in 2014 as the ACA took effect).</p> <p> The AHCRA, like some other conservative plans, proposes to address the problem of pre-existing conditions by reviving and expanding an older idea:<a href=""> state-based high-risk pools</a>.</p> <p> These pools offer targeted relief (subsidized coverage) to those who really need it. &nbsp;This is a much better approach than the ACA&rsquo;s requirement that insurance companies &ldquo;take all comers,&rdquo; which has sadly resulted in sicker pools and higher premiums for everyone. &nbsp;</p> <p> Whatever replacement Republicans ultimately put together, it should include the grandfathering of ACA plans and subsidies during a transition period. This will allow the new system to begin working alongside the old (ObamaCare), without ripping the carpet out from beneath anyone.</p> <p> There are many proposals on the right, and they vary in important details, but the basic premise is the same from plan to plan: Conservatives want to replace the ACA with economically sound reforms that make the market for health insurance more competitive and free, which would lead to lower premiums, making it so that more Americans could afford to buy insurance.</p> <p> Regardless our political leanings, we should all welcome these ideas into this critical debate.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is the director of health policy for the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, a non-partisan research and educational institution dedicated to improving the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, POLITICO, Roll Call, Real Clear Policy, National Review Online, and Huffington Post, among others.</em></p> HeathSat, 7 Jan 2017 10:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmericans Didn't Get Duped At The Voting Booth By The Russians • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 7 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDems Are Using THIS Again To Scare Americans Into Supporting ObamaCare • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 7 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Americans Should Not Be Afraid But Aware and Weary • Bulls & Bears HeathSat, 7 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe New York Times' Double-Standard On Obamacare<p> In the New York Times, reporter Robert Pear <a href=";action=click&amp;contentCollection=undefined&amp;region=stream&amp;module=stream_unit&amp;version=latest&amp;contentPlacement=3&amp;pgtype=collection&amp;_r=0">offers an overview</a> of the &quot;parliamentary tactic&quot; Republicans might use to &quot;obliterate Obamacare.&quot; (It appears the article&#39;s title originally used the word &quot;trick&quot; instead of tactic, but was later edited.) The &quot;trick&quot; is budget reconciliation.</p> <p> Scroll halfway through the report and you will find a casual mention of Obamacare&#39;s history: &quot;Congress also made changes to the Affordable Care Act in a reconciliation bill passed immediately after <a href="">President Obama</a> signed the <a href="">health care overhaul</a> in 2010.&quot;</p> <p> That&#39;s quite the understatement.</p> <p> Democrats, and some in the media, are suffering from selective and collective amnesia about Obamacare&#39;s passage. The reconciliation process, although not technically the process by which Obamacare became law, was critical to creating what we know today as Obamacare. Health reform as we know it was really two bills, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.</p> <p> Here&#39;s the whole history: Between April 2009 and January 2010, Democrats held a 60-vote majority in the Senate. During this time the Senate passed House Bill 3590 (on Christmas Eve 2009) that was finally named the &quot;Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.&quot; But this legislation was completely different from what was originally House Bill 3590. The original bill in the House concerned home loans for service members and was completely unrelated to healthcare.</p> <p> (Avik Roy and I discuss the history of Obamacare in <a href="">this podcast</a>, and for a longer read, John Cannan helpfully follows the legislative process in <a href="">an article for the Law Library Journal</a>.)</p> <p> The Senate essentially cut out all the language from House Bill 3590, even the title, and replaced it with health reform in an effort to rush Obamacare through. The House also passed healthcare legislation, but it was not House Bill 3590. The House healthcare bill was different. But &mdash; if you remember from &quot;Schoolhouse Rock&quot; &mdash; in order for a bill to become law, both houses have to pass the same bill.</p> <p> Democrats lost their 60-vote supermajority on Jan. 19, 2010, when Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown in a special election to replace the deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. With Senate Republicans unified against the ACA and no way to get past a filibuster, this meant the Senate could not pass the House version of health reform, for lack of 60 votes. But House Democrats had problems with the Senate version, so Democratic lawmakers were in a bind.</p> <p> To get the healthcare legislation they wanted, lawmakers crafted a strategy to pass the Senate version of health reform in the House (on March 21, 2010) and to follow that bill immediately with another, House Bill 4872 (ultimately passed on March 25, 2010). This latter bill made substantive changes to health reform, the changes House Democrats wanted, but was passed via the budget reconciliation process. Therefore, it required only 51 votes in the Senate to become law. Obama signed both bills into law, and together they make up what we know today as Obamacare, the ACA, or health reform.</p> <p> Obamacare would not be what it is today without the budget reconciliation process, the same process Republicans are considering using to repeal major (budget-related) parts of Obamacare. It&#39;s a double standard to pretend that Republicans are using trickery or unprecedented tactics to repeal the misguided healthcare legislation, considering how critical reconciliation was to the law&#39;s creation.</p> HeathThu, 5 Jan 2017 12:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #63 What's Next For Health Reform?<p> IWF&#39;s director of health policy Hadley Manning is joined by Avik Roy, a healthcare expert, president of The Foundation For Research On Equal Opportunity, and the opinion editor at Forbes to discuss what&#39;s next for health reform.</p> HeathThu, 5 Jan 2017 09:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumQuality' Of ACA Health Plans Up For Debate<p> <strong>As the open enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act draws near, many Americans are once again facing difficult healthcare decisions. Many are hoping that with a new president in the White House, the Affordable Care Act will be replaced &ndash; but as it stands now, ObamaCare is still in place.</strong></p> <p> Even though the December 15 deadline has passed, says people can still get coverage starting February 1 if they sign up by next Sunday (January 15). This year, more than eight out of ten people who enroll through qualify for financial help &ndash; and the website says &quot;most people can find quality plans with premiums for $50 to $100 per month.&quot;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Not everyone agrees with the price and/or &quot;quality&quot; of health insurance plans. &quot;There&#39;s almost no such thing as a $50 premium or even a $100 premium before subsidies under the ACA,&quot; says Hadley Heath Manning of </span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">As for those plans, Manning says they&#39;re not quality.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;And compared to other plans &ndash; for example, those offered by employers and those offered before the Affordable Care Act &ndash; the network of providers available to people in the ACA exchange-based plans is much smaller,&quot; she says. &quot;So we have to judge the quality of a health insurance plan not just by what the policy says it will cover, but what in reality consumers can access when they go to use their plan.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">As a result, Manning says her heart goes out to people who may have no other choice but enroll in an ObamaCare exchange plan, especially if they live in a state where it&#39;s the only thing available.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <strong>A viable, growing option</strong></p> <p> Healthcare-sharing organizations have become a viable option for many families and individuals over the last few years as they have had to deal with the federal health insurance requirement. According to Citizens&#39; Council for Health Freedom, more than 300,000 Americans have opted to go the medical-sharing route. Several of those groups (<em>above</em>) offer a faith-based solution to the challenges presented by rising costs of healthcare and policies that can be expensive.</p> <p> Anthony Hopp with Samaritan Ministries says although healthcare-sharing groups are exempt from the individual mandate under ObamaCare, that has never been his organization&#39;s main selling point.</p> <p> &quot;We put forth the fact that you can be in community with your brothers and sisters in Christ,&quot; he begins. &quot;You can know where your money goes every month, you can be a good steward of the resources that God has entrusted to you, you can take charge of your own healthcare and be able to direct it as you see fit for each person&#39;s family.&quot;</p> <p> Hopp tells OneNewsNow that the growing number of members of healthcare-sharing organizations is playing a part in reforming healthcare at the grassroots level.</p> <p> &quot;The whole healthcare landscape is a dark one right now,&quot; he shares. &quot;And I think what healthcare-sharing organizations are doing is a bright light in that darkness &ndash; and the bright light is what the members are doing, it&#39;s not what a particular organization is doing.&quot;</p> <p> He says in Samaritan&#39;s case, it&#39;s the 65,000 households who faithfully &ndash; month after month &ndash; support each other and take care of one another in a practical way by sharing medical needs.</p> HeathWed, 4 Jan 2017 10:01:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMany Celebrities Declining Inauguration Performances • After The Bell HeathThu, 22 Dec 2016 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConway On Balance: "I Have A Lot Of Time These Other Men Don't" • After The Bell HeathThu, 22 Dec 2016 08:12:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum