Editor’s note: Our news coverage and commentary on Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have been much on our audience’s minds. It’s topic No. 1 by a wide margin even as lawmakers went home on recess. Here’s a sample of what you had to say in our mail.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding the House Freedom Caucus and its opposition to Republican leadership’s Obamacare replacement bill, I say may their tribe increase exponentially.
I knew the House and the Senate were stacked against truly draining the swamp. They worked diligently during the primaries to assure protection of the swamp.
I struggled to justify voting for the lesser of two evils once again, but knew a Clinton administration would be certain death for our country. I had a little hope a Trump administration would at least stall the plummeting direction of true American constitutional governing. Which it may still do.
To stand strong in the D.C. environment you have to have unflinching faith in truth based on fact. So many go with just good intentions of fixing D.C., and are soon consumed or conformed. If you are there to be reelected, you will become a swamp creature.
While I know I will not always agree with the Freedom Caucus, I am able to agree with their principles. I may not like all of the actions that need to be taken to right this country, as they very likely will at times affect me adversely.
Nonetheless, these actions are needed for the sake of my children and grandchildren. They deserve to have the same opportunities that were afforded to us to make a better life for themselves through perseverance and the hard work of their own hands.
I pray we will have a few true, red-blooded Freedom Caucus candidates running for offices in my home state of Tennessee. I will be watching, listening, and voting for them.
Stand your ground, for God and country, no matter the cost.—Mike Dee
Note: Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, tweeted this the day House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Obamacare replacement bill:
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 24, 2017
‘We Do Not Live in a Vacuum’
Dear Daily Signal: As a new member of The Heritage Foundation, allow me to express my total dismay at the behavior of a group it supports, the House Freedom Caucus.
First, the way the caucus conducted politics on the health care bill reminds me of totalitarian regimes. They were not interested in honest discussions and negotiations. They asked for something and then, once they got it, they wanted more and more. Until the time when the so-called negotiations broke down.
Only in totalitarian countries are these black and white politics possible because the governments are in total control and there is no system of check and balances and honest discussions. Think of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and, above all, the Soviet Union. In recent times, think of Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Turkey.
The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, fast. We must fight them, Dems, in 2018!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
Second, the way the Freedom Caucus conducted itself was unrealistic, infantile, and egocentric. It was an ego trip for them to show how “powerful” they were. Like Mussolini used to say, “You are with us or against us.”
What they did in blocking the health care bill was a shame to true conservatism, which sees the value of honest negotiations and which takes into consideration the reality of the day. Think of Reagan.
Remember, we do not live in a vacuum, but need to react to and engage with many other outside forces and come to terms with them the best way we can. We need to be flexible, not set in concrete.
If things do not change, I do not think I want to be part of The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal any longer.—Gabriella Schooley
Words and Music
I’m hoping President Trump will change his tune and work with the House Freedom Caucus and Senate conservatives, but until then I just have these words for your consideration: Lyin’ Ryan must go. —Don Warmus
Understand and Remember
Dear Daily Signal: I think that The Daily Signal, and the Republicans, should first understand and remember that Democrats need to learn how to think. They have taken so many payoffs, and thrown away so many morals, that if they actually did think they would panic in confusion. The only thing constant with the Democrats is they like treasonist actions; it makes them more money.—Ed Downs
Obamacare Alive and Well
Dear Daily Signal: It’s The Heritage Foundation’s fault. Holding out for a 100 percent perfect bill leaves us with Obamacare alive and well. Thank you … not!—Mark Sabin, Brookfield, Wis.
Republicans Can’t Agree
Dear Daily Signal: I sure hope the Freedom Caucus doesn’t screw up getting rid of Obamacare. I might have to resign from the Republican Party. I almost became an Independent last election. It seems like the Republican Party can’t agree on anything.—M. Snow
Get Off the Dime
Dear Daily Signal: We have waited too long for a Republican president, House, and Senate. If the folks in the Freedom Caucus can’t work with the president, I’m done with them. How much “freedom” will we have if Obamacare stays on the books? Get off the dime and start cooperating.—Ronald DeMatteo
Where Did the Money Go?
Dear Daily Signal: All the discussion about Obamacare and its replacement seem to me to miss an important key point. So many people had their premiums go up, and yet insurance companies are bailing left and right because they’re losing money.
It seems to me that an examination of where all the extra funds went might be instructive, but I haven’t seen a word about where all that money went.
One other thing: Insurance premiums never go down. Regardless of what is done, premiums will continue to rise, although perhaps at a different rate.
What can be done to truly cut medical costs? Or is that not the same as cutting the cost of the insurance that pays those costs?—Don Downard, Dynamic Performance LLC
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) March 31, 2017
Better Than Obamacare
Dear Daily Signal: If the Freedom Caucus blocked the vote, I thought before Ryan withdrew the health care bill, it is the last time I will vote Republican. Hope they all lose next election. Guess they would prefer Obamacare.—B. Bower
It’s About the Options
Dear Daily Signal: I believe what is getting lost in the discussion on the repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act is that it comes entirely down to the procedural options.
There is no problem with the repeal; that is, there are enough votes to get it to the president’s desk. The challenge comes in the replacement. There are not enough votes in the Senate (60) to pass a replacement bill that includes all of the desired policy pieces to bring it to a “perfect” conservative outcome.
That was not true for the Democrats when they passed the Affordable Care Act; they were able to impose their will on the American people. Without a supermajority, the Republicans are forced to use any and all of the procedures available to them, which does not include a straight up-or-down vote.
That results in a less than perfect replacement. If the bill is repealed with no replacement, the Republicans will be blamed for any of the negative consequences. Given the processes available to us, we should identify the best replacement option, not the perfect replacement. Does that make sense?—Peter Ansingh
Those Tax Credits
Dear Daily Signal: Much has been made of the refundable tax credits included in the first version of the Obamacare “replacement” bill. Generally I am against subsidies, credits, or whatever such as this. I wish to put that aside for a minute.
The argument for the tax credit is to “equalize” the treatment of insurance that individuals might purchase as individuals with what others receive from their employers. I do not understand this argument. So I need your help.
Yes, on average employers who provide insurance to their employees cover say 60 percent to 80 percent (plus or minus) of the cost of the coverage. Larger employees cover this cost via self-insurance and small employees via insurance. The difference between the two is all about risk management.
The important point is that both groups of employers are able to deduct from their tax bills whatever they pay to cover the employees. An individual purchasing coverage directly would pay 100 percent of the cost.
So back to the argument. What is the difference causing the need for the government to provide a tax credit to those purchasing insurance in the open market versus obtaining it from their employer? To cover the cost of the coverage that the employer pays.
If I have this right, then this proposal will encourage employers to drop coverage (especially if the makeup of their workforce is lower-income folks) so that the employee can go to the private market and get the tax credit.
The unintended consequences will be for employers to drop coverage and push the employee to the individual market. What am I missing?—Glenn H. Gage, Tucson, Ariz.
What Is Desperately Needed
Dear Daily Signal: With all of the disappointment and delays in the health care reform efforts, why doesn’t Heritage just craft its own proposal and give it to the true conservatives to submit to the House of Representatives? That’s what the Democrats did with all of their bills.
Rather than just criticize the new bills, why doesn’t Heritage develop its own and crowdsource it for the final touches. Doesn’t Heritage have all of the reliable experts, or access to them? That is what is desperately needed. This will accomplish a lot more than the current approach.—Robert O’Neill
Anti-Bible and Unconstitutional
Dear Daily Signal: Paul Ryan can’t say that his health care system is constitutional. Our citizens have been trained to believe that health care is an entitlement. They need to know that such a program is anti-Bible and unconstitutional.
Poor people who need help with their health needs traditionally have been aided by churches and other charities. Such a system generates more personal responsibility in health choices.
It is unconscionable to expect others to pay for the consequences of our bad choices.—Ruth Rasmussen
The Unkindest Cut
No, no, don’t take us ‘litely! I am legion, who doesn’t want Obamacare-lite or any other ‘care-lite. We’ve worked, donated, discussed, argued, and been insulted in person and the press, made fun of by buffoons, seen leaders of our insurance companies, corporations, and public seduced and bribed into this big, big, biggie socialist grab. Do not stab us in the back now, Brutus.—Ronald West
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 6, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: If there is any way, Obamacare should be replaced. Not understanding all of it, for a layperson like me I really think some of the plans President Trump has on doing away with Obamacare is just rearranging the old stuff, not fixing or doing away with it.
Obamacare hurts people at almost every level, and it even harms the care that elderly people get. I pray that the president is right, and I know he can’t solve all problems. He needs to get the old crowd of cronies out, so he can work.—BK
Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R Party!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2017
The Only Way to Insure All
Dear Daily Signal: It should be obvious that the only answer is a single-payer health care system. The rest of the modern world recognized this simple fact long ago. We need to up the Medicare tax to cover the cost differential. It is the only way to insure all citizens equally and legally.
Yes, some medical doctors will probably earn less, but the overall good of the whole nation should be the paramount interest. The answer might be to make Medicare a deep and rich package of basic coverage with certain specialty areas above, beyond, and outside that base open to private practice and payment options.
No American citizen should have to forgo medical treatment because of costs that a single-payer system can equalize for the good of all.—Len Swenson
Call in the Insurance Companies
Dear Daily Signal: Call in the insurance companies to the White House to see if they would agree with creating a new heath insurance bill with all the benefits the people like. When passed, offer it as another option. Let the folks decide to go to the new plan or stay with Obamacare.
Obamacare will die on its own. The progressives will own its failure. Not the Republicans. Would that be possible? —Alan Mais
Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2017
And … How Are We Doing?
Dear Daily Signal: I do read you and I will continue. Please do not go twisting information or, even worse, report around certain information. Let it all out honestly. We are adults, we know Trump is going to make mistakes. Then again, expose the fake news as it comes from the liberals.
I want you to be someone I can quote from and have confidence I won’t get embarrassed. Nothing makes me more upset than that the media does not report news because it does not fit their worldview. Keep up the good work.—Steve Gordon
You’re awesome. The Daily Signal is one of the few credible news sources. You’re tops on my list, which is why I donate monthly. Thank you for all that you do.—Kathryn Ludrick
Enough already of images and pictures of President Obama when publishing stories that include his positions and policies. I do not want to see his face or look at him. Use some other image, but please, no more Obama photos in those kinds of stories.—B. Meyer, Rockville, Md.
Excellent job.—William Hawkins
I think all is well. Keep up the good reporting. Not only do I like the message, I’m confident that it “speaks the truth.”—Craig Schwartz
We need all the help we can get.—Bill and Mary