Wendy Rogers: Let’s take care of our known problems

I stand with President Trump to repeal Obamacare

America must start to repair its healthcare system. The designers of Obamacare ultimately wanted a single payer system. It doesn’t work; case in point: the broken Veterans Administration (VA) system, which my husband and I experience first-hand.

Wendy Rogers & Donald TrumpAs far as being a conservative goes, I’m as conservative as they come. I am ardently pro-life as a mother and grandmother, strong on national defense as a retired career Air Force lieutenant colonel and one of America’s first military women pilots, and I want the government out of my mess kit because I’m a tireless but successful 20-year small business owner.

Academically and professionally, I practiced as clinical social worker in the military mental health system before I trained to be a jet pilot. I cannot bear to see families continue to be plagued by rising premiums and limited choices in healthcare, especially in Arizona where premiums have climbed 116%.

I knocked on thousands of doors where AZ-1 voters told me something must be done to fix the current healthcare mess. I’m not in Washington, but I read the news. Last weekend, my mid-20s-aged kids asked me what I thought. You know what I told them?

I said, “Democracy is messy. We cannot agree a lot of the time, but that’s what the Founders envisioned. Arm-wrestling, passion, patriotism, and compromise. If we had more small business owners and military veterans working this in Congress, we’d get more done. I believe in the president’s agenda overall. Congress needs to get onboard to repeal and replace Obamacare, reform our tax code, repeal onerous regulations, and foster energy independence. Congress needs to help drain the swamp, not add to it.

And I’ll tell you something else. I met the president way back in December 2015 when I introduced him to the crowd in Mesa AZ as the representative military veteran in strong support. I’ve read his books. I’m close to some who work in the administration. As my commander-in-chief, I trust President Trump to have my back. More of us in the military trust this president than any other in a very long time. That should tell you something. A new healthcare law must wend its way through Senate rules and administrative action before we can arrive at a better system. I trust President Trump to steer that course for the good of our country.

Conservatives and citizens all must realize that standing on principle is all well and good, but it cannot be worth falling on one’s sword if we end up with nothing.

These challenges are fixable. We’re Americans. We accomplish great things. Let’s take care of our known problems, so we’re better prepared to thwart the unknowns when they crop up like North Korea’s ICBMs, ISIS infiltrating our own country, or opioids ravaging our families.

Let’s get it DONE.

Air Force (ret) Lt Col Wendy Rogers’s home is in Flagstaff. She and her husband own and operate their own home inspection business across Pinal, Maricopa, Yavapai, and Coconino counties. She is a current pilot who flies her own aircraft, Search and Rescue member of Civil Air Patrol, HAM radio operator, and avid national and statewide traveler. She and her husband have two children and three grandchildren. She was one of the Air Force’s first women pilots and ran for Congress in AZ-1 in 2016.

Trent Franks, Other Arizona Conservatives Need to Keep Healthcare Promises

By Sam Stone

The Trump Administration may be less than two months old, but for conservatives, it may already be D-Day in Washington.

In less than 48 hours, the House of Representatives is set to vote on the curiously named “American Health Care Act” – the current GOP effort being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan as a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

This bill is the wrong idea at the wrong time and it does not deserve a “yes” vote. Right now, the count says that it’s too close to call. So every member of Congress counts.

Here’s our question: Will Trent keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare in a responsible way?

Let’s step back.

Trent Franks is no rookie when it comes to opposing Obamacare. Look at his record here. Lots of detail and votes against what he consistently calls: “Health care proposals that wrested control of the American health care industry from the hands of private organizations and turn it over to the federal government.”

Right when this year’s Congress began, Franks and Congressman Andy Biggs introduced the Protection from Obamacare Mandates and Congressional Equity Act.

Franks said it contained three bedrock principles:

  • First, it gives every American more coverage options.
  • Second, it would allow Americans to purchase their coverage across state lines, opening up more opportunities for competition that will, in turn, help to lower costs for consumers.
  • Third, our alternative protects the patient-doctor relationship.

Just a month ago, Rep. Franks said: “My concern is [a repeal-replace bill] will give some lackadaisical senator a reason to vote against it. My concern is the entire repeal is in mortal danger … There may be some people who will get weak-kneed.”

These are valid concerns, but they sound like reasons not to vote for the current plan, which has all sorts of problems.

The reliable conservative policy think tank Heritage Action makes the fundamental case that the AHCA falls short:

“Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act.  That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

“Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system that empowers patients and doctors.”

Congressman Franks is a solid conservative leader. Currently, he is listed as “leaning no.” That’s why this is the ideal time to give him the support, encouragement and, well, cautionary warning he may need to stay true to his principles and his promises by not resting until Obamacare is gone – and in its place a true, principled alternative – instead of Obamacare-lite.

Conservative Club for Growth: Donald Trump will betray us on healthcare

Are you against government-run, taxpayer-paid healthcare? Trump is not. He’s with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, not us.

Vote NO to Donald Trump!

Opinions On Obamacare in Ohio, Penalties Increase

This story ran on NPR’s Morning Edition on Friday.

The takeaway on the story is that Obamacare is a redistribution and degradation of the quality of healthcare. According to the survey 27% of Ohioans say Obamacare has directly hurt them while 21% say it has directly helped them.

Lilo Whittaker, who responded to the poll, lives on a wooded one-acre lot in rural Ohio. The setting is idyllic on a cold winter morning. Chickadees chirp outside and a pot of coffee brews in the kitchen.

But at nearly 60 years old, Whittaker says the picture isn’t perfect. When Whittaker first heard about the federal health overhaul several years ago, she expected it would help.

“I thought, this is great,” Whittaker says. “People will be able to afford their health insurance, get decent coverage and begin to take care of their medical issues.”

But, in the past two years, Whittaker says, her husband’s Parkinson’s medications went from just over $150 a month to more than $400. The couple’s health insurance coverage has also become less affordable.

“A lot of people like me will forgo going to a doctor even if they have a problem because you can’t even afford your deductible or your copay,” she says. “And I don’t think your health insurance issues here are addressed properly.”

Couple this story with an article in the Washington Times in which H&R Block is reporting that the average tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance is $383. For many Americans who still cannot afford insurance, this is a huge burden. Many Americans were expecting a tax refund only to find out the government penalized them when they did their taxes.

Halfway through tax season, uninsured filers are paying more than twice as much as they did last year to satisfy Obamacare’s penalty for lacking coverage, H&R Block said Tuesday in an analysis that found other customers are still struggling to match their incomes to tax credits they got from Uncle Sam.

The tax-prep giant said its customers are paying an average penalty of $383 because of the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate,” compared to $172 last year.

This is what happens when government entangles health insurance into your personal income taxes.

Obamacare has become an utter disaster. The next Republican president better lead the charge to repeal it and replace it with free market solutions.

Surprise! (NOT!) Average Affordable Care premiums going up in 2015

Reprinted from YahooNews.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many people covered under President Barack Obama’s health care law will face higher premiums next year, the administration acknowledged Thursday. While the average increases are modest, it’s more fodder for the nation’s political battles over health care.

Officials stressed that millions of current HealthCare.gov customers can mitigate the financial hit if they’re willing to shop around for another plan in a more competitive online marketplace. Subsidies will also help cushion the impact.

It’s currently taking an average of 30 minutes for returning customers to update their coverage.

Premiums for the most popular type of plan are going up an average of 5 percent in 35 states where Washington is running the health insurance exchanges this year and will do so again in 2015, said a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Monthly premiums are one of the most important and politically sensitive yardsticks for Obama’s health care law, which offers subsidized private insurance to people who don’t have access to coverage through their jobs. Sharper premium hikes were common before it passed.

The modest average increases reported for 2015 mask bigger swings from state to state, and even within regions of a state. According to data released by the administration, some communities will still see double-digit hikes while others are seeing decreases. Most are somewhere in the middle.

“Prior to the Affordable Care Act taking place, we saw double-digit increases in health care costs in this country,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “Those were routine.”

Many people who go back to the website “will now find that their costs are limited to only 5 percent on average,” he said, “a much lower cost increase than was in place before the Affordable Care Act.”

Even after Thursday’s report, the bottom line remains blurry.

Last year’s report provided average premiums for three types of plans across 48 states — close to a national number. This year’s report has no comparable statistic.

With both chambers of Congress under Republican control next year, the health care law will face even closer scrutiny from opponents still pursuing its repeal.

Nonetheless, industry experts said the picture appears positive for consumers and the administration.

“Benchmark premiums going into year two of the health law are very stable nationally, driven largely by strong competition among insurers,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “How the law is playing out varies quite a bit across the country, with premiums increasing in some areas but actually going down in other places, which is almost unheard of.”

Administration officials said that on the whole, the market for individual insurance has gotten better for consumers.

“In today’s marketplace, issuers are competing for business,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “Returning customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save.”

The administration says about two-thirds of current customers can still find coverage comparable to what they have now for $100 a month or less if they shop. That estimate takes into account the tax credits that most consumers receive, which cover about three-fourths of their premiums on average.

Also, 91 percent of customers will have a choice of three or more insurers this year, with each company usually offering a range of plans. That’s a notable improvement from last year, when 74 percent of customers had similar options.

The most popular coverage, known as the lowest cost silver plan, will go up 5 percent next year across the 35 states included in the administration’s analysis. The second-lowest cost silver plan — the benchmark the government uses to set subsidy levels — will go up an average of 2 percent.

Tax credits are based on a person’s income and the premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan in their community. The slow premium growth for the second-lowest cost silver plans is also good news for taxpayers who are subsidizing the program.

Open enrollment season for 2015 is now in its third week and runs through Feb. 15. The next big deadline for consumers is Dec. 15, the date by which new customers must sign up if they want their coverage to take effect on Jan. 1. For current customers, it’s the deadline to make changes and updates that would take effect Jan. 1.

Current customers who do nothing will be automatically renewed in the plan they have now on Jan. 1. But with all the changes in premiums for 2015, administration officials and consumer advocates are urging people to come back and shop.

“For the vast majority of people, if they stay in the same plan, I think they’ll see rate increases in the single digits to high single digits,” said Andy Slavitt, a top HHS official overseeing technology and management issues.

The administration has set a goal of 9.1 million people enrolled in 2015, including most of the current 6.7 million customers.

NRCC: Not Happy With Obamacare? Blame Kyrsten Sinema!

Although released earlier this year by the NRCC, this ad is as relevant today as it was in March. As your premiums and deductibles increase while your coverage decreases, remember who Arizona’s biggest champion of Obamacare was – Kyrsten Sinema.

This election, there is a much better choice. Vote for Wendy Rogers on Election Day!

LIBRE: Survey: Employer-Provided Health Care Getting More Expensive

Libre Initiative

73 Percent Shifting to High-Deductible Plans

(Washington, D.C.) – A survey of employers who offer health care to their workers finds that moderate increases in premiums are expected next year, with a large majority planning to shift to less expensive plans that offer less coverage in the years ahead. The survey of 1,700 employers was conducted by Mercer, and it indicates that employers expect a 3.9 percent increase in premiums for their workers in 2015. Many say that they will hold premium increases down by managing worker schedules to keep them below 30 hours worked each week. Furthermore, 73 percent say that within 3 years they will offer a “Consumer directed health plan” which features lower premiums for the employee, but also has high deductibles. One-fifth say this will be the only plan they offer. Mercer concludes that “health reform is clearly accelerating” the trend toward these high-deductible plans.

Daniel Garza , Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:

“There have been a lot of promises made by supporters of the new health care law: lower premiums, lower deficits, better choices, and a guarantee that people could keep coverage that they liked. None of this has come to pass and now in 2015, Americans will face a heftier Obamacare penalty if they cannot afford health care.

After the disastrous rollout of the new law, supporters promised to fix it. But a year later, there are no fixes and the problems are growing worse. Now it’s becoming clear that more and more workers will be forced out of plans they may like and left with few options. All the while, their out-of-pocket costs continue to rise, either on premiums or deductibles. And all we have are more broken promises from the people entrusted with fixing it.”

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The LIBRE Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit, national grassroots organization dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives. Latinos have been disproportionately hurt by the economic downturn suffering from higher levels of unemployment and poverty. Our aim is to equip the Hispanic community with the tools they need to be prosperous. Connect with us on Facebook at The LIBRE Initiative and @LIBREInitiative on Twitter. Visit: www.thelibreinitiative.com

Obamacare’s Effect on the Middle Class: Insult to Injury

A brief rant to complain about the Democrat’s Obamacare.

My middle class family cannot afford health insurance. Simply put, the premiums are too high, the deductibles have exploded and the coverage and access to doctors has gone down.

Obamacare2When President Obama said health insurance would improve, he lied. His biggest advocate here in Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, lied.

Now my family has no coverage. We make too much money to qualify for the Medicaid expansion and we make too little money to pay the high monthly premiums – even with the subsidies!

Not only that, the new healthcare system requires individuals to give access to your bank account as a monthly debit – something I refuse to do.

I imagine there are millions of Americans who also signed up for the automatic monthly debits. When that monthly payment takes place, they better have the money in the bank or they’ll probably get hit with bank fees.

Next year when I do my taxes, I’m going to be penalized for not being able to afford health insurance. The IRS will penalize me for not signing up by reducing my tax refund (if I get one) – insult to injury!

America’s health insurance market has been made worse, far worse. Like public education, health care has been dumbed down. Middle class Americans are worse off now thanks to Democrats and President Obama.

If you’re like me, you know that elections have consequences. If you’re like me, you’ll focus your anger on the ballot box this November.

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Arizona Voters Can Thank Kyrsten Sinema for their Children’s Loss of Health Insurance Under Obamacare

Wendy Rogers

(PHOENIX, AZ) Wendy Rogers has released the following statement criticizing Kyrsten Sinema’s record on Obamacare.

“Kyrsten Sinema has been a longtime advocate of universal healthcare.  She readily admits having authored parts of Obamacare.  She routinely misled the people of Arizona by parroting the Obama administration’s talking points, to include the lie ‘if you like your doctor (or insurance plan), you can keep it.’[1]  In 2009 before the vote on Obamacare, as a cheerleader for the Obama administration, Sinema perpetuated this lie to countless audiences while barnstorming across Arizona.[2] Since then, however, thousands of Arizonans are suffering from the lie since they’ve now lost their insurance or their doctors from before the law was passed,” said Rogers.

“In a recent interview with The Arizona Republic, Robert Meyer, the CEO of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said that 20 children are coming to his facility every day only to find that Phoenix Children’s Hospital is NOT covered by their insurance because of Obamacare.  Previously, they may have had coverage which included Phoenix Children’s Hospital, but since Obamacare brought about the creation of ‘narrow network’ plans, now their choices are drastically reduced to only a select few facilities.  Parents are left with a stark choice – either take their loved one somewhere unfamiliar or try to argue with their insurance company to receive out-of-network coverage for their sick child, something which Meyer notes ‘causes tremendous anxiety for the parents and families that are going through major crisis.’”[3]

“Despite these terrible flaws, Kyrsten Sinema refuses to back down.  Regardless, she voted against the repeal of Obamacare saying ‘the fundamentals of [the program] are good,’[4]  . . . in the face of all the contrary evidence.  At the very least, Kyrsten Sinema should go on record to say she was wrong for supporting Obamacare and spreading the Obama administration’s lie to Arizonans.  Obamacare hurts families.  I’m a mother – – it pains me deeply to see bad government policy continue to hurt children.  Obamacare is wrong for our nation, and Kyrsten Sinema should be ashamed for supporting it.”

Democrats prepare for damage control over Obamacare premiums

Interesting article recently in Politico that details how Democrats are preparing their talking points on the premium shock about to hit the healthcare market – right before the mid-term elections.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Arizona’s 1st, 2nd and 9th congressional districts where Democrats are seated and being challenged by Republican challengers. (My prediction is Tobin, McSally and Rogers will win Tuesday.)

Here’s the article written by Edward-Isaac Dovere.

Obamacare’s next threat: A September surprise

Obamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not.

Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.

The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again.

So they’re trying to avoid — or at least, get ahead of — any September surprise.

Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue.

In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned in implementing health care is to stay on it,” said Tara McGuinness, the White House senior communications adviser who has been spearheading the effort for the West Wing, reflecting on previous run-ins. “We are not going to let anyone distort the debate.”

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