Republicans Offer Obamacare Replacement

This week, Republicans offered their long awaited plan to replace Obamacare.   They had long opposed Obamacare and had vowed to replace it, but the calls became even louder and more widespread this year. Many major insurance companies left the health care exchanges, leaving very little choice of plans for people to choose from in a number of areas of the country and even a small number of counties with no choices at all. Additionally, costs for Obamacare exchange plans skyrocketed with premiums in Minnesota, for example, increasing roughly 50% while at the same time the average deductible had gone up dramatically in the last few years.

It became pretty obvious—and the exit of every major insurer from many or most of their markets made it clear—that Obamacare was in a death spiral and something dramatic had to be done. To keep it, it would have to have had a major overhaul and an infusion of additional tens of billions of dollars. Or it could be replaced with something easier to manage and with a lot less bureaucracy.

The proposed plan is roughly 130 pages, compared to Obamacare’s roughly 1100 pages plus volumes of bureaucratic rules that were developed to implement it. If the length of the respective bills is an indication of the size of the bureaucracy needed to oversee it, then that has to be a good first step. The IRS alone added thousands of staff to handle Obamacare, and we all remember the problems with even such seemingly simple things as building an Obamacare website. At some point, simpler almost can’t help but be better. Continue reading “Republicans Offer Obamacare Replacement”

Regulations, Big Business and the Poor

Government regulation is a topic of frequent debate between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives say regulations often come at too high of a price, while liberals say that they are vital to protect us and our fellow citizens and that conservatives don’t care. So let’s break down a couple of recent examples. Continue reading “Regulations, Big Business and the Poor”

Socialism and the Poor in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez took power in Venezuela in 1999, on promises to do more to help the country’s poor.  He brought a growing snowball of socialist economic policies with him that have continued since then.  Venezuela has long been a member of OPEC, the world’s oil cartel, and has among the largest oil reserves in the hemisphere.  In 2001, Venezuela was the largest economy in South America.  Soon after taking office Chavez began nationalizing companies, including the nation’s oil companies, and began using the money from oil production to pay for subsidies for consumer goods that have grown over time, for everything from food to diapers. Continue reading “Socialism and the Poor in Venezuela”