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OC GOP Chair still doesn’t get Healthcare Reform


This is another one of those stories I just couldn’t get to before my early August business trip, but Register reporter Martin Wisckol contacted me for a comment on the Koch Brothers’ Freedom Partners recent event in Dana Point that was designed to show how the private sector could help the poor.  Yes, they could start by raising everyone’s pay, but it’s the Koch Brothers and any discussion about helping the poor is lip service.

from the story:  The move toward transparency, intended to better market the group’s message to the masses, includes the public unveiling earlier this year of an $889 million budget for this election cycle. That includes money for programs that are not overtly political, such as a grassroots Latino outreach program that provides driving lessons and tax preparation services.

The title of the weekend’s event is “Unleashing A Free Society: Expanding Opportunity for All Americans,” and a press release emphasized that this would focus on “especially the least fortunate.”

The lineup of speakers reveals the group’s early favorites to carry the free-market torch in next year’s presidential election: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Rand Paul, whose campaign said he was unable to accept the invitation because of scheduling conflicts, spoke at an earlier Koch event.

Martin asked my opinion and I gave him a quote.  You can read the story here.

A rebuttal to my comments came from OC GOP Chair Fred Whittaker of Orange.  And in his statement, a demonstrable admission that the GOP still doesn’t get it when it comes to Healthcare reform.

Whitaker told the Register: “(The Kochs) say social good can be achieved through private action more than government action,” Whitaker said. “I don’t think Obamacare helps the poor in the least – it would be more affordable for them to just run into the emergency room the way they used to.”.

Ah, no it wouldn’t.

Emergency room healthcare is the most expensive you can get.  Without insurance, poor families often avoid preventative measures about their health and seek emergency treatment when the doctor is the last and best option.  This is what you can come to expect from the Party that continues to vote to repeal Obamacare time after time.

Initially, emergency room visits went up under ACA.  But what Whitaker should know is that under ACA, ER medical bills that used to go unpaid are now being covered.  From CBS: Last year, about one-fourth of the nearly 65,000 patients treated in the ER at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, N.C., were uninsured, costing the hospital over $7 million in unpaid bills.

“It’s just considered business as usual,” Amy Sousa, who works at the hospital, told CBS affiliate WNCT. “It’s how we operate.”

But a new study by researchers at Stanford University suggests that fewer people ages 19 to 25 are using ERs due to a provision in the ACA that allows those young adults to retain coverage under their parent’s health insurance plans.

The study looked at data from state hospital records in Florida, California and New York, before and after the law was implemented. And it found that the 19-25 age group had a decrease of 2.7 ER visits per 1,000 people, or a relative change of minus 2.1 percent, under ACA.

“Our results suggest that the ACA’s dependent coverage provision is associated with a relative decrease in the number of ED (emergency department) visits for young adults,” the study concludes.

An analysis of California state records by the Los Angeles Times also shows the number of ER visits at public hospitals in Los Angeles County — the nation’s most densely populated — slowed down during the first three months of expanded medical coverage under the ACA.

What’s more, new studies published in the progressive Mother Jones magazine, demonstrate ACA is a blessing for the working poor, giving them better health insurance and more income in their households.  From the story:

“…a study by Brookings economists Henry Aaron and Gary Burtless, one that starkly illustrates whom the ACA spends money on via premium subsidies and Medicaid benefits. It’s the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution.

Recent ACA enrollment data bears this out. Of the 11.7 million buyers of private health plans on the ACA exchanges, over 60 percent have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The 11 million beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion all have incomes under 138 percent FPL. Taken together, those numbers mean about 80 percent of the law’s direct beneficiaries have incomes below 200 percent FPL.

Sliced another way, about half (48 percent) of private plan buyers in the 37 states using had incomes ranging from 150 to 300 percent FPL, a more or less working class range. But more than half of those were at the lower end, 150 to 200 percent FPL.

The truth is, the ACA private plan market works best for people with incomes under 200 percent FPL. That’s the cutoff point for the beefy if little-known cost-sharing subsidies that reduce deductibles and copays and make the coverage comparable to (or, for those under 150 percent FPL, better than) that offered by high-quality employer-sponsored policies. A recent study by Avalere Health showed that people with lower-incomes who qualify for such subsidies are snatching up private plans from ACA exchanges—but uninsured buyers at higher income levels haven’t been nearly as enthusiastic. It would be great if more generous subsidies could make the exchange plans more attractive to those relatively better-off Americans on the upper end of the scale, but Democrats allocated what the political traffic would bear.”

The OC GOP chair simply mimics the national party when it comes to Healthcare Reform, but by encouraging the working poor to continue using ERs for healthcare simply demonstrates the Republicans have no plan for healthcare reform.  And its a shame really, because with a little homework, Mr. Whitaker might be shocked to discover that the genesis of today’s ACA started with Orange County’s own Richard Nixon until Watergate got in the way of meaningful domestic reforms. The idea was championed by the conservative Heritage Foundatin as a response to Hillarycare and was later adopted by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before becoming the basis of Obamacare.


  1. Vern Vern August 14, 2015

    Wow, the head of Orange County Republicans is ignorant, dishonest, and opposes Obamacare. Keep getting those hard-hitting scoops, Dan! Aren’t you supposed to be at ComicCon or something?

  2. Greg Diamond Greg Diamond August 14, 2015

    Isn’t this where your new buddy Rick Clark is supposed to show up and smack your butt for talkin’ all complicated-like, you librul?

  3. Florice Florice August 16, 2015

    I debated Fred Whittaker a number of years ago. He became involved in the Republican Party as a teenage because of desegregation in the San Gabriel Valley.

    • Cynthia mae Curran Cynthia mae Curran August 18, 2015

      Well, his becoming a Republican because of the San Gabriel area getting minorities doesn’t work in the long term because even South Orange County now has a lot of Latinos at least 18 percent in most cities there. Lots of OC republicans are too lazy to maw their lawn or babysit their kids so they hire a lot of non-whites to do that. That’s why Republicans in Orange County scream about illegal immigration but add to the situation by hiring them as day laborers and housekeepers.

  4. MikeM128 MikeM128 August 17, 2015

    The ACA limits out-of-pocket maximums, the max amount of costs for covered services you’ll pay out-of-pocket in a policy period on your health plan. In 2015, your out-of-pocket maximum can be no more than $6,600 for an individual plan and $13,200 for a family plan before marketplace subsidies.

    This alone shows what Morons Obamacare supporters are. The people you are trying to help have insurance that they cant afford to use. Based on this I think the only winner is health care insurance providers. Seems to be a lot of money just to get free birth control.

    Just wait for 2016…………..

  5. Cynthia mae Curran Cynthia mae Curran August 18, 2015

    Well, this is true, I have brought up breakthroughs in high tech related to 3-d printing that make medical devices cheaper and just recently a 3-d printed pill was accepted by the FDA. Its possible that 3-d printing could lower some of the medical costs. The problem unlike an Ipad, medical costs also have a lot of labor costs for technicians, nurses and doctors. The best Republican Idea so far is to sell across state lines. I think if Republicans and their libertarian cousins don’t like public health clinics maybe private ones funded by crowdfunding or big donors like Bren and so forth. Republicans have their biases, every wants to run to Texas, there are a lot of folks in Texas now in Arizona. I see their plates in Tucson Arizona. In fact Arizona and Utah or Idaho will do just as fine as Texas if you are a Republican. The reason I bring this up Utah has come up with alternative methods of handling things for a small Republican state. Its involved a lot on 3-d printing in medicine. It has a lot lower poverty rate than Arizona and Texas since the Mormons tend to take care of their own more than Evangelicals do and it even houses more the homeless.

  6. Vern Vern August 24, 2015

    Nice little blog you got here.

    Shame if anything ever happened on it.

    • Rick Clark Rick Clark August 24, 2015

      Compared to that pulp-clogged, under-thought, over-written waste of cyberspace that routinely blocks anyone advocating a position other than yours (or that of your lord and master Bizarro)… this is a breath of fresh air.

      (This is where you and Humpty Diamond show your intellectual superiority by posting another typically weak response whining about foul play and defamation or tossing around unsubstantiated digs.)

      • Vern Vern August 24, 2015

        Awwww… at least you got Yosemite Sam now, Dan. At least that is…


        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | August 25, 2015

          For Angelica, I deleted your comment about Mr. Nelson and his extended “family.”

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