Obamacare ‘Is Mainly a Simple Expansion of Medicaid’

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In Heritage Work

The increase in health care coverage under Obamacare results largely from the expansion of Medicaid rolls, a new Heritage Foundation report concludes.

Since many of those who signed up for health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges were already covered, Heritage’s Ed Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski write, “the inescapable conclusion is that, at least when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.”

Here’s how the numbers break down:

The data show that in the first half of 2014, private health insurance enrollment increased by a net of 2,465,586 individuals. That net figure reflects the fact that 61 percent of the gain in individual coverage was offset by a drop in employer group coverage. During the same period, Medicaid enrollment grew by 6,072,651 individuals. Thus, while a total of 8.5 million individuals gained coverage, 71 percent of that net coverage gain was attributable to the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults.

A report last year explained why the Medicaid expansion is bad for taxpayers and bad for patients.

Do you think there’s a better way to expand health coverage to the uninsured? Tell us in the comments.

Is the Federal Reserve Stabilizing the Economy? Or Destabilizing It?

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In Heritage Work

While the conventional wisdom holds that the Federal Reserve has stabilized the economy, this isn’t necessarily true, Heritage Foundation economist Norbert Michael writes in a new report.

“There is evidence that the Fed has not been as effective as once thought in accomplishing its stabilization goals, and even some evidence that the Fed era has had more economic instability than the pre-Fed era,” he explains.

This infographic lays out the case: Continue Reading »

Six Steps to Eliminate Government Waste and Control Government Spending

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In Heritage Work

“Eliminating waste and controlling government spending is best accomplished by reducing the size and scope of government,” Heritage Foundation economist Romina Boccia argues in a new report.

She explains:

The federal government does too many things that would be done better by individuals and organizations in the private sector, or by state and local governments, or that should not be done at all. A smaller, more limited federal government would focus on providing essential public services, legal services, and a basic social safety net, and would otherwise leave individuals free to determine their own affairs to the maximum extent possible in the defense of liberty.

Congress should take the following six steps to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, Boccia writes: Continue Reading »

Obamacare Is Turning Out as Bad as Predicted

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In Heritage Work

The facts are in. As The Heritage Foundation predicted, Obamacare is turning out to be a disaster. Heritage expert Robert Moffit has more in a new article in the National Interest .

  • Deductibles increased. Average deductibles on employer-based health plans run about $1,000, while average Obamacare deductibles are about $2,000.
  • Premiums increased. The president promised to lower all premiums by $2,500 annually. The opposite happened. Premiums increased by 100 percent for 27-year-olds in some states. They increased by 50 percent for 50-year-olds in others. For employees who get their health insurance through small businesses, 11 million saw premium increases, while just six million saw premium decreases.
  • Competition was reduced. The number of insurers offering coverage on the individual markets in all fifty states declined by 29 percent. Over half of counties in America have only one or two insurance providers.
  • And we still don’t know how many are covered. The Congressional Budget Office reported 6 million had signed up for Exchange plans. The administration said 8 million, then backtracked.

And what about the so-called crucial 18- to 34-year-old demographic, which would determine the health of the program? Well, the administration said 35 percent of enrollees were in that range, which sounds pretty close to their goal of 40 percent. “But thanks to excellent reporting by Politico,” Moffit notes, “we learned that [this] number included children enrolled in the exchanges. Nice try.”

Should Obamacare repeal remain a priority for the new Congress? Tell us in the comments.

We Don’t Need an International Court to Deal with Corruption

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In Heritage Work

In an effort to crack down on global corruption, some are advocating an international anti-corruption court. This is a bad idea.

“Among other problems, it would not address widespread and deeply entrenched petty corruption, would prove ineffective in cases of true impunity, and arguably would trivialize genocide and war crimes by equating them with theft and abuse of power,” Heritage Foundation experts Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, and James M. Roberts explain in a new report.

Transparency International defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” The map above makes clear that corruption is a serious issue world-wide. But an international solution would threaten American sovereignty and do little to solve the underlying problem.

Heritage’s experts recommend the U.S. should: Continue Reading »

Ebola: What We Know and What We Should Do About It

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In Heritage Work

Photo: Newscom

Lawmakers and the public are turning to The Heritage Foundation for leadership and answers about Ebola. A new report by Heritage expert David Addington explains the facts about Ebola, what we know about its spread, and what the government can do to contain it.

The basics about Ebola

Ebola symptoms are (1) fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, (2) severe headache, (3) muscle pain, (4) weakness, (5) diarrhea, (6) vomiting, (7) abdominal pain, and (8) unexplained bleeding.

Symptoms will begin anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure, though eight to 10 is typical.

Ebola is passed through contact with infected bodily fluids, and items that have been in contact with bodily fluids, such as needles and syringes. It does not spread through air, water, or, generally, food.  People who have recovered from Ebola are no longer contagious. The mortality rate is around 50 percent.

What can you do?

In order to help prevent the spread of Ebola, practice careful hygiene. Carry an alcohol based hand-sanitizer and wash frequently with soap and water. Do not come into contact with the clothes, bedding, needles, medical equipment, or the live body or remains of an individual with Ebola.

What can our leaders do?

America has a long tradition of providing humanitarian assistance to countries in need, Addington notes, especially when a crisis may pose a direct threat to our homeland, like the Ebola virus does. That’s why American assistance to African countries suffering from Ebola is appropriate.

Domestically, “state, local, territorial, tribal and private sector medical personnel constitute the first responders to a serious communicable disease outbreak when it occurs in the United States.” If this response is insufficient to contain an outbreak, he adds, “the federal government can exercise broad legal authorities to address the situations.”

Lawmakers should also ensure timely and accurate information:

Those at the highest levels of responsibility in the U.S. Congress and executive branch should keep themselves fully informed on the health and economic consequences of the Ebola outbreak so they can help ensure (1) effective and efficient use of the substantial U.S. taxpayer funds involved, (2) that the professionals with the requisite training at all levels of government work together effectively, and (3) that the public is kept accurately informed in a timely manner. Both at home and abroad, and at all levels of government, the dissemination of accurate, understandable information about the Ebola situation, and about government and private responses to it, is crucial.

Read the rest of Addington’s report.

Please share this with your friends and family so that we can all stay safe.

The Terrorist Organization That Is More Dangerous Than ISIS Has Its Sights on the U.S.

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In Heritage Work

Al-Qaeda members in Syria

Al-Qaeda members in Syria. (Photo: Newscom)

Many Americans know very little about the terrorist group Khorasan, which U.S. intelligence leadership is portraying as a much more dangerous threat to our homeland than ISIS.

Heritage Foundation expert James Phillips tells us what we need to know about this group:

  • Khorasan is a group of the most trusted and battle-hardened Al-Qaeda operatives. They are numbered in the dozens and are under the direct command of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al-Qaeda.
  • They were sent from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria with the main goal of recruiting rebel fighters who hold Western passports.  Their purpose is not to attack Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, but the American homeland and other western targets.
  • Khorasan fighters include some of the most sophisticated bomb-makers and terrorist masterminds wanted by the U.S. government.
  • Al-Qaeda is worried about ISIS stealing the spotlight and unseating them as the leader of the global Islamist insurgency.  A massive terrorist attack on American soil would go a long way in helping Al-Qaeda regain the popularity it has lost in the years since Osama bin Laden’s death.

To combat Khorasan, Phillips urges Washington to “stop treating the al-Qaeda threat as primarily a law enforcement problem, and adopt a comprehensive political, military, and ideological program for defeating al-Qaeda’s global insurgency.”

You can read more from James Phillips on Khorasan here and here.

What do you think should be done to curb this threat?

How Heritage Builds Respect for America’s Founding Principles on Capitol Hill

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In Heritage Work

One of Heritage’s key missions is to educate lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff about your conservative principles and how they apply to today’s most critical debates.

Fifty-nine Senate and House staffers graduated last week from Heritage’s Congressional Fellowship program, which equips staffers with a solid grounding in America’s First Principles and knowledge of critical issues like cutting spending, protecting America, and restoring constitutional government.

The Congressional Fellowship is a weekly educational program for legislative and communications staff which runs from January to September. This year, Heritage held 24 luncheons on Capitol Hill featuring Heritage policy experts and leading conservative thinkers.

By educating these Capitol Hill staffers, we can pave the way for future conservative victories and change America’s course.

Do you think it’s important to communicate the principles of America’s Founding to Congressional staffers?

Should Conservative Groups Be Shut Down for Questioning Environmentalism?

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In Heritage Work

In a recent op-ed for EcoWatch, activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called for all companies and organizations, including The Heritage Foundation, that don’t support a radical environmental agenda to be given a corporate “death penalty.”

Here’s what he argues:

I do, however, believe that corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty. This can be accomplished through an existing legal proceeding known as “charter revocation.” State Attorneys General can invoke this remedy whenever corporations put their profit-making before the “public welfare.” . . .

Any state attorney general with the will, resolve and viscera to stand to up to the dangerous and duplicitous corporate propagandists, has authority to annul the charters of each of these mercenary merchants of deceit.

You know we’re making a difference when liberals question our motives, accuse us of being “mercenary merchants of deceit,” and call on the government to shutter us.

At Heritage, we’re in nobody’s pocket. Instead, we stand on principle, advancing policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Moreover, with 600,000 members, we’re the most broadly supported policy organization in America–and just 5 percent of our revenue comes from corporate donors.

Do you agree with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.? Should Heritage and other groups be disbanded for supporting conservative policy solutions?

More Passengers Are Flying TSA-Free, and That’s a Good Thing

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In Heritage Work

TSA

TSA personnel are being replaced by private sector employees at airports across America. Photo: Getty Images

Orlando’s Sanford International Airport just became the 19th airport in America to employ a private company to run its day-to-day security operations, replacing Transportation Security Administration agents.

At these 19 airports, the TSA still oversees all screening operations and provides regulations that are standardized across the country. But more and more airports around the country are finding that they can improve security, lower costs, and provide better customer service by replacing unionized TSA personnel.

“The TSA should do more to get out of the personnel management game and return its focus to overseeing security at U.S. airports,” The Heritage Foundation’s David Inserra argues.

Do you think the TSA should get out of the screening business?

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