Chad Benson, host of “The Chad Benson Show,” borrows Jim’s stool again today. In this episode, Chad and Greg break down the latest Democratic presidential debate. First, they get a kick out of watching Elizabeth Warren squirm out of answering whether she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for government-run health care and watching mild-mannered Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg hammer her for not answering. They also groan and protect their wallets as Warren pitches her wealth tax yet again and Andrew Yang counters by touting the horrendous value-added tax. They note how Tulsi Gabbard was the only Democrat on stage who admits President Trump won in 2016 and thinks impeachment will only help Trump in 2020. And they have fun with some of the really bad answers candidates gave when asked to name people who think differently than them but have had a profound impact on their lives.
Congress is currently engulfed in impeachment hearings, subpoenas, and talking points. But House Republicans say if they regain the majority in 2020, they will reduce the debt and repeal Obamacare.
Should they be believed this time?
Republicans made Obamacare repeal the centerpiece of their campaign messaging from 2010-2016. After winning the House, the Senate, and the White House, Republicans tried to move on Obamacare. Ultimately, GOP leaders did not push a straight repeal. Instead they looked to repeal key mandates and make other reforms. The legislation passed the House but died in the Senate.
The individual mandate was ultimately neutered in tax cut legislation, when the Republicans voted to fine people zero dollars for refusing to purchase health insurance.
However, costs are still rising and Americans are deeply frustrated with their coverage. So would Republicans actually move to repeal Obamacare? What other provisions ought to be part of any plan to remove Obamacare but still cover pre-existing conditions, bring down costs, and address other major concerns?
Greg Corombos asks Chris Jacobs, a longtime health policy expert and the author of “The Case Against Single-Payer.”
As Democratic presidential hopefuls argue about whether to pursue single-payer or keep private insurance but add a government-run public option, Jacobs explains why he believes those candidates are debating distinctions without a difference. He reveals why a pubic option would also eventually lead us to government-run care.
Listen to the full podcast here.
On Wednesday, President Trump announced the Food and Drug Administration will be finalizing the details to ban all non-tobacco flavored vaping products. The action comes after a number of recent deaths and hospitalizations were blamed on vaping.
But Consumer Choice Center Senior Fellow Jeff Stier says Trump and the media are missing huge chunks of the real story. As a result, he says the government is about to take sweeping action that will do nothing to solve the problem and will actually make it much worse.
While Stier admits he tends to let adults make their own decisions on products like vaping, his frustration over Trump’s decision is that it’s not supported by the facts.
According to Stier, e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes and millions of ex-smokers are now healthier because they switched to vaping.
Furthermore, Stier says nicotine vaping is not related to the health scares and deaths seen in recent weeks. It’s actually street versions of vapes with very different ingredients.
“Every bit of scientific evidence that we have (of the damaging vapes) points to vaping of THC butane hash oil contaminated with Vitamin E acetate, which should never be heated and inhaled into the lungs,” said Stier.
Stier says banning nicotine vapes for problems they don’t cause would be like banning hypodermic needles because some use them to inject damaging drugs into their systems.
Listen to the full podcast as Stier explains what will happen to the number of medical emergencies linked to vaping if the FDA follows through on this ban.
In the second part of our interview with American Commitment President Phil Kerpen, we examine why Republicans failed to coalesce around a health care reform bill despite controlling the House, Senate, and White House and having seven years to prepare.
Kerpen explains how close Republicans came on multiple occasions and why they landed on the best approach when it was too late.
In the first round of Democratic presidential debates in the 2020 campaign, multiple Democrats announced their goal to decriminalize illegal immigration, end deportations of people who commit no other offense than entering the country illegally, and extend government-funded health care to those who broke the law to get here.
With both parties now acknowledging a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, what would be the impact of removing criminal penalties for coming into the country illegally and what would be the financial toll on taxpayers to fund health care for millions of people who failed to enter the country properly?
We discuss all these questions and more with Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Some Democratic presidential candidates want to pursue a single-payer, government-run health care system. Virtually all who don’t want to go that far endorse adding a public option to the existing structure.
Seems like a compromise, right? A decade ago, a public option was dropped from the Affordable Care Act because even some Democrats thought it was putting too much power in the government.
In this podcast, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner explains why adding a public option wouldn’t bring more competition to the health care market but simply grease the skids for single payer. She also discusses the looming cost to taxpayers if the U.S. goes down this road. Finally, she lays out the financial of Democrats wanting to extend taxpayer-funded health care to people in the U.S. illegally.
Illinois now has perhaps the most permissive abortion laws in the nation after Democrats pushed an expansive new bill through the legislature and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law on Wednesday.
Democrats billed the proposal as shoring up existing law over concern that the U.S. Supreme Court could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, but Republican State Rep. Tom Morrison says the legislation was far more sweeping than that, starting with how lawmakers view abortion.
“The most important thing it does is that it says that abortion is a fundamental right of women – actually not just women. The sponsor of the bill said anyone with a uterus and ovaries, so I guess that’s not just women today as they would define it,” said Morrison.
When it comes to specifics, Morrison says the expansion of abortion access is obvious.
“This bill was 126 pages long and expanded [permissiveness of abortion]. It removed clinic regulations. It removed provisions to have two doctors involved in a late-term abortion. There’s a provision for non-physicians to do abortions up to a certain point,” said Morrison.
According to Morrison, the bill also changes the definition of a viable unborn baby.
“It’s now left up to what the doctor determines at the moment, rather than having two doctors agree on a case by case basis,” said Morrison, who adds that the lone doctor can be the abortion provider and a late-term pregnancy can be considered non-viable simply because the baby would need to be flown to another facility for care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.
In addition, Morrison fears the legislation will be very dangerous for mothers who suffer complications from an abortion. He says the new law does not require a coroner to investigate the deaths of women who were patients at abortion clinics, essentially allowing those deaths to vanish into the wind.
Among the most controversial provisions is the provision to allow abortions at any stage of pregnancy, even when the child could survive outside of the mother. While supporters frequently refer to parents making the decision after discovering their child is severely deformed, Morrison says there’s no mention of that issue in the bill.
In fact, Morrison says reasons like “familial health” are cited as reasons for an abortion at any stage.
“It could mean anything. It could mean financial health. It could mean mental health. It could mean a mother doesn’t like stretch marks and that would impact her perception of her body image.
“It’s totally up to interpretation. Maybe it it’s that a family already has a boy and they want a girl, so they abort the child because the child isn’t the sex that the couple wants. Maybe it’s that sleep would be interrupted for someone in the family,” said Morrison.
Morrison does believe the recent string of pro-life legislation banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected played a role in the pro-abortion legislation advancing in Illinois. He says momentum for aborting viable babies was pretty tepid before that.
“Even some of of the pro-choice legislators were reluctant to support those bills. Those southern states, as they moved forward on their bills and signed them into law, then the proponents in Illinois figured they had the green light to offer a counter to what was happening in those other states,” said Morrison.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Morrison also explain how the new Illinois law could soon lead to the overturning of parental notification and consent laws for minors seeking abortions, how Illinois abortion providers are circumventing the ban on partial birth abortions and much more.
Pro-life activists are aghast at New York’s new abortion law, which allows abortions at anytime in the mother’s pregnancy if the abortion provider deems there is any risk to the patient’s health.
On Tuesday’s anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion at any time during a woman’s pregnancy, the New York State Senate approved the Reproductive Health Act. Cheered lustily by its allies, the bill paves the way to late-term abortions.
“This act permits abortion at any point during pregnancy if the abortionist deems it necessary for the mother’s life or health,” said Alison Centofante, director of external affairs at the pro-life group Live Action.
She says the law in New York previously allowed late-term abortions to save the life of the mother. She says adding a health exception provides a green light to abortion providers.
“According to Doe v. Bolton at the U.S. Supreme Court, health includes not just physical health but encompasses emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age consideration. This effectively allows abortion for any reason,” said Centofante.
Centofante stresses that there’s no need to terminate a late-term pregnancy to preserve the health or life of a woman.
“A late-term abortion like this is not needed. It’s a viable child. You can deliver that child and save the life of the mother. We can deal with the health issues separately while saving the life of this child,” said Centofante.
According to Centofante, 75 percent of Americans believe abortion should be banned after the first trimester, but she says what matters is reaching the woman whose world is turned upside down by an unplanned pregnancy.
“No woman walks into a Planned Parenthood abortion facility feeling empowered. They walk in feeling alone, like they have no other choice. Many of them, when polled, say if one person had just said that they would help me through this, I wouldn’t have gone through with my abortion. We need to be that one person for those around us,” said Centofante.
Listen to the full podcast as Centofante explains the New York abortion law in more detail and why some of those who benefit most from it may be violent criminals.
Earlier this month a federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, and even with the the U.S. headed toward a divided Congress next month, a conservative policy expert says this could be a great opportunity for market-based solutions to make progress.
Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, using the logic Chief Justice John Roberts used to save the law in 2012. At that time, Roberts declared the law constitutional because the penalty for violating the individual mandate amounted to a tax. But with last year’s tax law reducing the penalty to nothing, O’Connor said both the mandate and the entire law must go.
The decision is just the first in what will likely be a long legal battle sure the reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but with the law in legal limbo, Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner says the opportunity could be ripe for a legislative fix.
Turner was part of a group urging Congress to adopt the Health Care Choices plan for much of 2018. GOP leaders ultimately chose not to take up the plan or even the issue. Turner suspects it’s because they were still wounded from their 2017 efforts.
“I think Congress was traumatized by what they’d been through with the rejection after putting so much effort into trying to do repeal and replace and failing in 2017. They were afraid to try that again,” said Turner.
Instead, she expects the new House Democratic majority to push for a single-payer system, known on the left as Medicare for all.
“After Obamacare’s failure, you’d think that maybe they’d learned a lesson but no. They just want to say, ‘If you give us all the money and all the control, we’ll be fine and we’ll be able to fix health care,” said Turner.
“We don’t believe that. We believe that you’ve got to devolve power down to the states and ultimately to individuals to make better decisions, to give resources to people who are sick, who are low income, who need help purchasing health insurance,” added Turner.
Democrats hammered away on health care in the midterm election campaign. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even mentioned how the fight over coverage for pre-existing conditions was a major factor in her party regaining the majority.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Turner explain how her plan is more generous to people with those conditions than anything provided for in Obamacare, how the Health Care Choices plan could be of great benefit to Medicaid patients, and how it could greatly reduce our all of our health care costs. She also discusses what’s realistic with Democrats running the House come January.
There is no shortage of pundits or experts telling us exactly what happened in last week’s midterm elections, but what the actual voters said might surprise some people.
Extensive exit polls were conducted on Election Day and other surveys quizzed tens of thousands of likely voters. Some conventional wisdom turned out to be right, but some did not.
Take health care. It was the number one issue given for driving a vote and of those who said health care was their top concern, a strong majority voted for Democrats. But for those who want to see changes to health care policy, how exactly would they like to change it?
Another major issue was the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Lots of people said the debate mattered to them, but which party actually benefited the most?
Traditionally, men vote more often for Republicans and women prefer Democrats. That didn’t change. But in addition to the gender gap, we have the marriage gap. What does that look like and how did it change in 2018?
Listen to the full podcast as I discuss it all with Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.