Is Obamacare Repeal Back from the Dead?

With the potential for a government shutdown looming over Washington, it appears that Congressional Republicans have reinvigorated their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The recently released  “MacArthur Amendment”  to the American Health Care Act’s (AHCA) is reportedly an attempt to bring together conservatives like the Freedom Caucus and more moderate Republicans like the Tuesday Group. The amendment would give states the option to pursue a waiver of federal standards that Obamacare imposes.

In other words, states wanting to opt out would have to show their intention to “reduce premium costs, increase the number of persons with healthcare coverage, or advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

Last month, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the first iteration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) just hours before a vote was expected to take place after convincing President Trump that the bill likely would not pass.

The controversial legislation had drawn ire from both sides of the Grand Old Party. Budget hawks such as Rep. Justin Amash believed that the bill did not go far enough in repealing the ACA’s framework, while moderate members like Pennsylvania’s Chalie Dent came out against the bill because they believed too many people would lose coverage.

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Jonathan Bydlak in Roll Call: Stifling Competition Reduces Access to Affordable Prescriptions

There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the future of American healthcare policy, but one thing is for sure: Too many Americans still deal with unaffordable options based on outdated regulations and a system desperately in need of reform.

Writing in Roll Call today, CRS founder and president Jonathan Bydlak takes on one such way by which taxpayers and patients are getting ripped off.

A monopoly is rarely built in a day, and while public ire often points at companies who seek to profit, the root of many problems lies instead with the systems that enable unbalanced profiteering in the first place.

And while hauling the infamous “pharma bro” in front of Congressional panels might have been cathartic for lawmakers, actually ensuring patient access to affordable prescriptions will require more serious steps to target the systems that enable abuse to occur.

Luckily for Congress, there’s an easy way to do just that, thanks to new legislation that takes aim at legal structures long overdue for reform.

Americans are rightfully concerned with rising medical costs, but some of the ways by which costs rise can be tedious and difficult to understand for those not already familiar with broader regulatory issues.

What’s going on, though, is actually pretty straightforward: Brand-name producers regularly take advantage of systems designed to protect consumers to instead protect their bottom lines and crush out competition from their generic competitors.

Read the full piece here.

Where does your tax money go?

As we approach this year’s Tax Day, we know that Americans have wildly different national priorities that they would like to see become reality — or perhaps, things they would prefer the government to step away from entirely. Thanks to a new report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, taxpayers can see our own “receipt” showing where our dollars went and how those priorities match our own.

As you can see, the majority of tax dollars go into a very small collection of budget items — items which are generally kept off the table for any sort of reform or cuts.

We know that the United States’ fiscal situation is far from healthy and could become downright dire in a very short amount of time if major changes do not happen.

This year on Tax Day, remember the timeless words of Milton Friedman: “Keep your eye on one thing and one thing only: how much government is spending, because that’s the true tax.” Let’s rededicate ourselves to taking on the true tax once and for all.

 

ICYMI: Jonathan Bydlak in Medium – New Media as a Change Agent

Most Americans want Congress to spend less, but politicians always seem to do the opposite. What’s the cause of this discrepancy?

One key reason is the gap between what Washington is doing and how most Americans live our daily lives. Most of us are focused on jobs and responsibilities in the real world and don’t have time to track what Congress is doing all the time.

Connecting people with their government is a crucial task that new technology has begun to solve.

Can new media be a change agent?

Read the full piece here.

Tax day costs burden consumers

A report from our friends at the National Taxpayers Union sheds light on the real costs involved with big government, as taxpayers face not only what they owe the federal government but all of the costs involved with paying this money.

According to the most recent annual PRA report (drafted by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the OMB), Americans spent over 9.78 billion hours complying with the government-imposed paperwork burden during FY 2015. Looking to future years, according to OIRA’s live-tracker of “Government-Wide Totals for Active Information Collections,” Americans are projected to spend over 11.6 billion hours complying with paperwork regulations that have been approved, and are being implemented, which would cost $128 billion annually.

Read the full report here, and this Tax Day, remember that the true cause of high taxes is high spending — and work even harder to rein it in.


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