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Health Reform: The Road Ahead

Health Reform: The Road Ahead

Originally published at Fox News.

Health Reform: The Road Ahead

Friday’s decision to pull the House Republican health reform bill was not the end of health reform. In fact, it may have been the best step toward actually achieving real health care reform – if congressional leaders learn from the experience.

The Republican congressional leadership erred because they decided to repeal and replace Obamacare within the traditions of the pre-Trump legislative swamp.

By default, they accepted the fake scores of the Congressional Budget Office. By allowing the scores to exist, they let Democrats and the media quote “the non-partisan CBO” to their disadvantage.

Leadership applied the absurd limitations of Senate reconciliation rules to a House bill, even though it was guaranteed to frustrate their conservative members.

They established a deadline for failure – which we know is detrimental to large legislative achievements. Reagan took eight months to pass a tax cut, which was giving away money. We took 18 months to pass welfare reform, which had the support of 92 percent of Americans. Obama took eight months to pass Obamacare – even while he promised it would cure all our health care ills.

The current congressional leadership tried to pass a complicated, critical bill to repeal and replace Obamacare in fewer than three months.

While Republicans focused on process, and a complex, wonky, Washington-insider argument (just read the transcripts), their opponents in the media and the Left hammered away at the human cost of their bill. The result: By the time the bill was pulled, only 17 percent of Americans – or one in five – wanted it.

In an era when total outsider candidate Donald J. Trump was elected president, congressional leaders adopted a “trust us, we’re in Washington” strategy. They promised all the rough edges would be smoothed over during stages two and three – which were obscure and undefined. Americans didn’t believe them.

Frankly, they were fortunate to avoid the vote. Insider health reform was a major factor in killing the Democratic House majority in 1994 – after a 40-year reign. Insider health reform killed the House Democratic majority in 2010, too. Voting for a bill with 17 percent approval might have broken the current House majority.

History has taught us: America doesn’t like political health care. There is a deep imperative for Congress to think through bipartisan health care reform.

The House and Senate GOP leadership can learn a lot of lessons from this failed experiment – if they are willing to.


There are a set of principles for successful conservative reforms. President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher used them in the 1980s. We followed them in creating the Contract with America in 1994, reforming welfare in 1996 and passing the balanced budget in 1997.

As Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said: “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.” The best short book on her fight to reform Britain, Claire Berlinski’s There is no Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, makes clear the moral, human arguments Thatcher used to dismantle socialism in Britain.

1. The number one goal of any health reform must be to communicate with the American people and convince them this will provide a much better future than the current system. Tom Evans’s The Education of Ronald Reagan outlines Reagan’s years at General Electric and the lessons he learned in focusing on educating the public, so they would educate the Congress.

In Reagan’s farewell address, he explained his legislative successes this way: “I’ve had my share of victories in the Congress, but what few people noticed is that I never won anything you didn’t win for me. They never saw my troops, they never saw Reagan’s regiments, the American people. You won every battle with every call you made and letter you wrote demanding action.”

A new health reform effort must start by focusing on the American people and winning their support. It will be President Trump’s health rallies in the states which win the day not clever insider negotiating in Washington.

2. The key is to focus on health and health care not on financing.

When asked about his success, Eisenhower said, “Whenever I run into a problem I can’t solve, I always make it bigger. I can never solve it by trying to make it smaller, but if I make it big enough, I can begin to see the outlines of a solution.”

That principle applies to reforming the health system. To solve health financing, you have to expand the discussion to the entire health system.

For decades, government has tried to focus on financing. Costs continue to rise. Systems get more and more complex. A bigger and bigger percentage of money is spent on bureaucracy (public and private) rather than health. People get lost in the arguments about insurance and programs, because they are highly technical and don’t relate directly to their lives.

The first goal must be to describe the values (and the systems which will achieve those values) that matter to people.

People want to live longer and healthier, at lower cost, and with greater convenience. For example, people want solutions other than nursing homes. They want systems other than maintenance for diseases. They want health and independent living. There are many.

Health policies have to be described in both micro and macro terms.

Micro policies are quite simply “what does it mean to me and my family?” People at the personal level want to know about their own health, their access to health care, their premiums, their deductibles, and whether they have access to the doctors they want.

Macro policies are how the society, the private sector, nonprofits and government are going to organize and incentivize activities to achieve the micro policies.

3. Health is the largest sector of the American economy and the most complex. Health care is at least ten times more complicated than national security. It is one-fifth of our economy.

Really understanding and solving health and health care takes more time than politicians and bureaucrats have been willing to invest.

Hearings must be held geographically, by topic, and by specific specialties to gather enough information to develop a series of steps that will improve health and health care.

Listen-Learn-Help-Lead is the key system for involving the entire country and developing a comprehensive understanding of what the American people want and how to achieve it.

Health is broader than payments. The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Food and Drug Administration, federal community health centers, the Indian Health Service, the Veterans Administration, Tricare, etc. are all part of the fabric of meeting our health potential.

4. As the health reform plan evolves it has to be described in very detailed question-and-answer systems online, so people can understand how it affects them, health professionals can understand how they will be impacted, the news media can understand it, and the elected officials can explain and defend it.

The plan should meet the goals defined by President Trump during the campaign. They were the goals the American people voted for and, unlike Obama, we should keep our word.

The plan should be implemented in a series of bills. It is impossible to write a comprehensive health care bill. No one can understand the complexity. No one can understand all the second and third order effects. The 21st Century Cures bill, as a bipartisan achievement, is a better model than the Hillarycare and Obamacare comprehensive bills.

5. It should be possible to outline the entire new system in a series of very clear charts, so everyone can understand the goals and the directions before being asked to support the transition process. People both have to understand the long-term values-based goals and the policy changes, which will be bridges to achieve these goals.

6. Properly developed, a dynamic, innovative, science-based American health system will be the largest job creator, the largest sector of high paying jobs, and the biggest earner of foreign exchange in the country. If we liberate the American health system so it can once again be the most innovative and effective in the world, people all over the planet will buy American health products, seek American health technology, and ask to see American medical specialists. Health is not a problem, it is a great opportunity and should be approached as such.

7. Following a disciplined road map like this is hard work and requires more patience and more discipline than the inside Washington game. As Reagan, Thatcher, and the “Contract with America” Congress proved, it can also yield dramatically bigger and better results.

Your Friend,

Source: Will County News

Trump News April 7, 2017

The White House 

President Trump's Weekly Address
President Donald J. Trump calls on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria – and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenges of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded, and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace will – in the end – prevail.

  • 10:30AM: President Trump leads an expanded bilateral meeting with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping


  • 2:35PM: President Trump has a working luncheon with President Xi Jinping

Statement by President Trump on Syria.
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President Trump participates in the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride.
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President Trump Proclaims April 7, 2017, as Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.
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Photo of the Day:

President Donald Trump receives a briefing on a military strike on Syria from his National Security team, including a video teleconference with Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, on Thursday April 6, 2017, in a secured location. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
EDITORS NOTE: For security purposes items in this photo have been blurred out.
View Photo

Vice President Mike Pence: Honoring our Heroes’ Sacrifice.
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Vice President Mike Pence to Travel to the Republic of Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and Hawaii.
Read More

Read yesterday’s press gaggle with Sean Spicer aboard Air Force One here.

Read the press briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster here.



  • USA Today: “Trump: Wounded warriors are ‘real heroes’”
    Read More
  • Daily Caller: “Donald Trump Honors Members Of The Wounded Warrior Project At The White House”
    Read More

Source: Will County News

With Dutch-Islamist ‘Denk’ Party, Immigrants Rebel Against Assimilation

With Dutch-Islamist ‘Denk’ Party, Immigrants Rebel Against Assimilation

The left’s scheme to win diversity votes backfires with rise of radical party

By Selwyn Duke03/29/17 7:00am
gettyimages 644295072 With Dutch Islamist ‘Denk’ Party, Immigrants Rebel Against Assimilation

The leaders of Denk, Netherlands’ first party led by immigrants, pose on February 23, 2017. BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images
What would you say about the appearance of a political party that opposed assimilation and advocated what, in essence, is the creation of a nation within a nation? It’s a timely question, as the little noted outcome of the March 15 Dutch election was the rise of just such an entity.
Perhaps “rise” is too strong a word. The party, the Islamist “Denk,” captured just three of the 150 seats in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives. Yet, it’s a striking result considering the party was formed a mere six months ago but still managed to win 205,000 votes from, presumably, the 600,000 to 700,000 voting-age Muslims in the country.
“Denk” is most cleverly named, meaning “think” in Dutch and “equality” in Turkish (the party was founded by two ethnically Turkish parliamentarians). But the party isn’t thinking about equality.
As American Thinker’s Alex Alexiev informs, “Denk is as radical as [Turkish president] Erdogan’s AKP, of which Denk claims to be an affiliate. It openly rejects integration, the worn-out mantra of the Left, which it sees as a form of racism, and instead advocates acceptance of Muslims and their culture as they are. Aiming to take advantage of the migrants’ youth, it urges voting at 16 and control of local government by the local majority, thus solidifying existing Muslim-dominated parallel societies in Dutch cities with large Muslim populations like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.”
This is just another step toward balkanization-born destruction, and it is not unprecedented. Consider how it’s already the case in Sweden that “‘[a]ssimilation is completely out of the question,’” CBN News reported in 2014, quoting Danish journalist Mikael Jalving. “‘All mainstream political parties would laugh [at the word ‘assimilation’]. [To them] the word ‘assimilation’ is a Nazi word.’”

Denk advances this mentality in Holland, and it “wants imams to be present in all schools, hospitals, and the military, whose education is to be paid by the state, but without any state interference in the curriculum,” according to Alexiev.
This is a recipe for a Dutch version of the British education scandals of recent years, in which some schools were caught teaching a curriculum so aggressively Islamist that students didn’t know whether English or Sharia law was more important or which one they should follow. Of course, Denk aims to avoid similar scandals by having such education officially sanctioned.
Denk “also has foreign political ideas that are closely aligned with those of Erdogan,” adds Alexiev. “It calls for EU policies that are pro-Palestinian and anti-American and, of course, vigorously denies that there was an Armenian genocide.”
Consequently, even some Muslims have criticized Denk’s platform. An example is Ahmed Marcouch, a Morrocan-Dutch Labour MP, who “accused the party’s MPs of constantly using ‘us-against-them rhetoric,’” reports the Express.
The concern is that Marcouch may not represent as large a cross-section of Europe’s Muslims as multiculturalists might like to imagine. What if the Denk phenomenon—advancing Islamist dreams explicitly via a political party—spreads to other European nations? As Alexiev asks, “What happens to Europe if it turns out that its Muslims do not want to integrate?”
Others have sounded the same alarm, such as Dr. Mudar Zahran, a leader of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition and self-described “orthodox Muslim” currently living as an asylee in the United Kingdom. In a 2015 Glazov Gang interview (video below), he bluntly stated, “[W]e do have a genuine problem with Muslims in Europe… In most cases they don’t seem to fully integrate in the country. Not to mention the cases where there are people who want to turn Europe into a Muslim state in 30 or 40 or 50 years through producing children and depending on welfare through the children.” (Apropos to this, Erdogan recently called on Turks in Europe to have five kids each.)
As for Denk, another troubling policy it’s pushing is a “Racism Register,” which would mirror sex-offender registers; those on it would be stigmatized and banned from holding public office. The party also wants to create “a thousand-man ‘Racism Police’” and establish “stricter sentences for ‘racist and discriminatory behavior,’”
What is their goal? The Express states that the register “will reportedly catalogue Dutch citizens who do not respect immigrants.” Since the “immigrants” in question are Muslim, this actually is an “Islamophobia” register.
Therein lies an oft-missed issue. Since Islamophobia measures often seek to punish those criticizing or satirizing Mohammed or other elements of Islam, they can be Islamic blasphemy laws by another name—hence a Trojan horse for Sharia law.
It would be unsurprising if this is Denk’s intention because Sharia actually enjoys a wide embrace. For example, the Center for Security Policy released a 2015 poll of Muslims in the US showing that “a majority (51 percent) agreed that ‘Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah [sic].’” In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that robust majorities in many Muslim nations (e.g., 99 percent in Afghanistan; 91 percent in Iraq) favor making Sharia the law of their land.
This brings us to an irony of Denk’s birth. The Western left has been supportive of Third World immigration because it amounts to the importation of voters. In the U.S., 85 percent of our immigrants since 1965 have come from the Third World, and 70 to 90 percent of them vote for Democrats upon being naturalized (and sometimes before). In France, 90 percent of Muslims vote for socialists. Then, there was the 2009 admission by Andrew Neather, a former advisor to ex-British prime minister Tony Blair, who revealed that the massive immigration into the UK orchestrated by his Labour Party during the previous 15 years was designed to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”
While the left doesn’t care if newcomers assimilate, it does want them to assimilate into leftism. If the Denk phenomenon ever grew powerful enough, it could help render leftism out of date. After all, pious Muslims and libertine leftists are not only not on the same page—they’re in different books.
No matter the people entering a nation and the party vying for their loyalty, and their dreams and schemes, something is forgotten in all the talk about assimilation: When the group of immigrants is large enough, the process is never absolute.
Even if the immigrants want to adopt a new national identity, as opposed to just seeking economic opportunity—and even if the West were less decadent and offered something attractive to assimilate into—the immigrants wouldn’t be the only ones to change. They would also change their new country.
This happened in the U.S. with the Germans, Irish, Italians and others. In a given case, you can argue whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s undeniably a real thing. And it’s missing from our debates. The matter of immigration is nothing less than an existential question: What kind of country will you have tomorrow?
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The Hill, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily and American Thinker. He has also contributed to college textbooks published by Gale – Cengage Learning, has appeared on television and is a frequent guest on radio.


Source: Will County News

No Immunity, No Testimony

No Immunity, No Testimony

No Immunity, No Testimony

No member of the Trump team should agree to testify without a grant of immunity.

The risks of being trapped in procedure – even while completely innocent – are simply too great.

There are at least three federal investigatory processes underway, one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and one each in the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Testimony in hearings for one investigative body can easily lead to minor discrepancies with testimony during hearings led by the other two.

Furthermore, if the investigators have tapes of conversations (more than possible since Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted she was pushing for information from the intelligence community) those giving testimony can have their memories of conversations they might have had months ago compared against recordings of the actual dialogues. The same danger will come from testing their memories against documents developed over a period of months including emails, meeting reports, and handwritten notes. Even the slightest deviation can lead to accusations of perjury.

Many members of the Trump team were engaged in numerous meetings during the transition period. If they will just go back and look at their schedules of those days and nights, they will realize how difficult it is going to be to reconstruct each conversation and each meeting with the level of accuracy these investigations will demand.

I know how dangerous this can be, because I once handed over one million pages of material to congressional investigators and was then questioned on that massive amount of information by the Office of the Independent Counsel.

When I was Speaker, the Democrats tried to use the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee to destroy me and stop the momentum of the Contract with America. Despite the Clinton administration’s best efforts, we defeated the IRS and the FEC. And I was cleared of 82 of the 83 charges before the House Ethics Committee – but the counsel found one inaccurate paragraph in a single letter my attorney had written. The struggle took years and cost millions.

The Trump team should take note of the most extraordinary case in my lifetime of process being used to destroy an innocent person – the conviction of Scooter Libby.

An independent counsel was appointed to find out who told the press that a woman named Valerie Plame was a covert Central Intelligence Operative in 2003. Her husband was a diplomat who had been critical of the Bush administration. So, the Left (and naturally the media) thought this was a big deal.

The prosecutor targeted Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, because it would be damaging to the Bush administration before the 2004 election. The prosecutor claimed Scooter had shared government secrets with a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter named Judith Miller. Initially, Miller refused to testify, so – in perhaps the greatest attack on American press freedom in our lifetime – the prosecutor had Miller jailed for 85 days. Finally, she testified that Scooter was the source after he gave her permission to break reporter confidentiality just to get her out of jail.

Libby was ultimately convicted on four counts – but not for leaking information. He was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice because of the way in which he answered questions.

The most relevant part of this story – which shows the investigation was far from an unbiased pursuit of the truth – is Miller never even wrote that Plame was a CIA operative.

Washington Post writer Robert Novak first outed Plame as a member of the CIA in a piece on July 14, 2003. Novak was told by Richard Armitage, the No. 2 person at the State Department. The prosecutor in the Libby case knew this, but he was focused on destroying Libby to hurt Bush – not uncovering the truth. The prosecutor told Armitage to keep quiet in order to continue the investigation. And Armitage – who undeniably leaked the classified information to the public – was never charged.

I tell this story to illustrate clearly that the Trump team members are not going to face fair, dispassionate, balanced investigations designed to pursue truth and justice.

They are going to face a vicious, partisan, blood sport aimed at weakening Trump and destroying his administration.

Remember, 97 percent of the campaign contributions from Department of Justice employees went to Hillary Clinton. The professional ranks of the Justice Department are filled with deeply committed liberals who would consider crippling and destroying the Trump team as their moral duty.

And the nature of the House investigation was captured by Democratic House Intelligence Committee Member Rep. Joaquin Castro. He told CNN, “I guess I would say this, that my impression is, I wouldn’t be surprised after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail.”

The line should be clear.

No immunity. No testimony.

Anything else risks destruction by forces that are immoral, relentless, and frightening.

Your Friend,

Source: Will County News




“The Seven Last Words”

Starts at NOON from:
Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church
925 E. 9th Street, Lockport IL 60441

Shepherd of the Hill Church (12:00 PM)

Father, Forgive Them – Rev. Sharon Engert
Lockport FISH Food Pantry (12:25 PM)
Today, You Are with Me – Rev. Dana O’Brien
First Congregational Church (12:50 PM)    
Mother, Behold Your Son – Rev. Bobbie Molony
First United Methodist Church  (1:15 PM)
My God, My God – Rev. Jon Pedersen
I Thirst – Rev. Phil Sheets
St. John the Evangelist Church (1:40 PM)
It is Finished – Rev. Eric Quinney-Bernard
Legacy Vineyard Church (2:00 PM)
Father into Your Hands – Rev. Ed Loughran

A love offering is being taken for the Lockport Resource Center and the Lockport FISH Food Pantry. There will be an offering plate at each church. Please make checks payable to “LHAMA”.

A bus will be available at Vineyard Church to take people back to their cars at Shepherd of the Hill.

April 2017
Good Friday.
Rain or Shine.

Source: Will County News