After the House barely managed to pass a measure that, while not perfect, at least dismantles sizable portions of the Affordable Care Act, Republican leaders in the Senate vowed that version of “repeal and replace” was “dead on arrival” in their chamber.
And, true to their word, it was. The latest iteration of healthcare “reform” is a sick joke being played on Republicans’ constituents and all Americans, as it perpetuates some of the worst things about Obamacare — meaning, the bill the Senate is writing will do little in the form of providing relief to Americans.
However, the bill will be a nice payoff (at taxpayers’ expense) to a number of Republican senators who, for some reason, think they have some inherent right to hold the entire country’s health care system hostage for their own personal gain. (RELATED: Health insurer in New Mexico needs 80% premium increase as Obamacare collapse accelerates)
Here are a half-dozen ways they are doing so (note that three of these apply specifically to that RINO Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska), as reported by The Federalist. They are:
— Buying off Murkowski for her support (again): Section 106 of the Senate bill contains brand-new language that dedicates one percent of the new Stability Fund to “each state where the cost of insurance premiums are at least 75 percent higher than the national average.” Only one state fits that description, Bloomberg News reported — Alaska. If passed as-is, that means $1.32 billion in Stability Fund dollars is automatically going to Alaska.
— The Alaska Pipeline: A revised portion of the bill, Section 126, modifies language altering specific Medicaid payments to hospitals that are based on a state’s total uninsured population, not its Medicaid enrollment. Here again, Alaska ‘wins’ — due to the fact that the state recently decided to expand its Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare, it now qualifies for more tax dollars under the changes.
— The initial Senate bill made Medicaid per capital determinations based on eight consecutive fiscal quarters (a two-year period) of spending on Medicaid. The revised measure, however, contains language that permits “late expanding Medicaid states” defined as states that decided to expand Medicaid most recently, between July 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, to base their spending only on the previous four quarters (one year). Alaska is one of the states that qualify under this revised provision.
As The Federalist reported:
The most recent actuarial report on Medicaid noted that, while the actuary originally predicted that adults in the expansion population would cost less than existing populations, in reality each newly eligible enrollee cost 13.6 percent more than existing populations in 2016. Some states have used the 100 percent federal match for their expansion populations—i.e., “free money from Washington”—to raise provider reimbursement levels. Therefore, allowing these three states to use only the quarters under which they had expanded Medicaid as their “base period” will likely allow them to draw down higher payments from Washington in perpetuity.
Advantage: Alaska. And all because Murkowski was an early opponent of any bill that did not feed her state’s growing Medicaid addiction (despite the fact that Uncle Sam is $20 trillion in debt).
— Buying off South Dakota: The revised legislation added Section 138, making services provided by states to Indian Health Service enrollees subject to a 100-percent Medicaid funding match. Currently, only services “received through an Indian Health Service facility whether operated by the Indian Health Service or by an Indian tribe or tribal organization” gets 100 percent matched funds. Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota has pushed for the addition of this measure for a year, noting he would expand Medicaid under Obamacare — if Uncle Sam agreed to 100 percent reimbursement for any Medicaid services provided to enrollees in the Indian Health Service.
— Bribing New York State: “This provision, originally included in the House-passed bill, remains in the Senate version, beginning at line 12 of page 69,” The Federalist reported. “Originally dubbed the 'Buffalo Bribe,' and inserted at the behest of congressmen from upstate New York, the provision would essentially penalize that state if it continues to require counties to contribute to the Medicaid program’s costs.
— Taxes, taxes: While the revised measure retains some $230 billion in revenue, it spends far less, leaving lawmakers a honey pot of about $100 billion in tax money to spend to “persuade” others to sign on — and you know they will spend it, but not on paying down the debt.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.