District Connection - 8/22/16
As Obamacare failures continue to mount, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies, Aetna, announced it will end coverage for Affordable Care Act exchanges in another 10 states this year, leaving Aetna exchange plans available to consumers in only 4 remaining states. This means that the roughly 80,000 Aetna customers in Georgia who have purchased these exchange plans will have to find another health insurance option in 2017. And Aetna isn’t alone. Cigna and United Healthcare have also indicated their desire to leave many state exchanges, including Cigna in Georgia, next year. The dwindling number of available plans will certainly lead to higher prices and fewer choices for Georgians in rural areas of our state who are already struggling to make ends meet and care for their families. We have more choices than most in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, but for our neighbors in south Georgia, for example, choices may be nearly non-existent.
- AJC. Aetna to pull out of Georgia’s Obamacare insurance marketplace
- NPR. Where insurers’ exits are hurting Obamacare exchanges and where they aren’t
- Wall Street Journal. The Aetna mugging: as Obamacare implodes, Democrats blame insurers
What’s most concerning, however, is that with state exchanges failing rapidly, the Obama Administration is simply doubling-down on its failed policies rather than recognizing that government-run marketplaces aren’t really marketplaces at all and moving us back closer to a traditional free market-based structure where insurers want to compete for business. The Administration is being pressed by the left to constrain markets even further, of course, as Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) wants to do away with choices altogether. But experience shows that single payer health care would only cost us more and provide us less. That’s why even Democrats in Congress rejected this option!
There is a better way, and the House is working together to move in that direction. As the prices continue to rise and choices continue to shrink in the President’s health care plan, my hope is that if this President—and if not, the next President will work with us on solutions. Together, with solutions like those in the House GOP’s health care alternative, we can ensure coverage for who need it and choice for those who want it.
CLICK BELOW as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discusses the tenets of our Republican health care plan and why it’s better than the failed ACA.
Another week has gone by, and with it came yet another troubling foreign policy decision by the President. Last week, the President released 15 dangerous prisoners from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, into the custody of the United Arab Emirates, marking the single largest transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo under the President’s watch. Ever since he took office, President Obama has dogmatically pursued his vision to close Guantanamo Bay, and it has become increasingly clear that attempting to fulfill a 7-year old campaign promise has come at the expense of good policymaking and will jeopardize American lives and national security in the process. This isn’t simply an empty assertion, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has reported that 30 percent of former Guantanamo prisoners are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorism, and there have been recent reports of former detainees being involved in an ISIS-affiliated terror plot and rejoining Al Qaeda’s leadership.
The simple truth is that these detainees were placed in Guantanamo Bay for a good reason. Georgia, and specifically the Atlanta metro area, is a target for terrorism. We are the largest, most economically productive region in the southeast, and with major events -- from sports competitions to trade shows -- brining millions of people from around the country and the world to the metro area every year, Georgians should be especially concerned about this short-sighted, unsafe strategy by the President. The American people deserve a President whose top priority is national security; not fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of it.
- CNN. Largest transfer of Gitmo detainees under Obama announced
- USA Today. Pentagon releases 15 more Gitmo detainees
Tax reform may not be everyone’s passion, but it’s one of those issues that seems to always be at the forefront of our national conversation – certainly in a presidential election year. Whether you’re a teenager receiving your first paycheck, a small business owner weighing the implications of hiring another employee, or the leader of a billion-dollar corporation determining where to build your next manufacturing plant, the tax code impacts you. READ MORE FROM MY RECENT EDITORIAL ON THE PROGRESS WE’RE MAKING TOGETHER.
- Gwinnett Daily Post. Tangible tax reform for America
From the time the Wall Street Journal first reported that the Obama Administration sent what amounted to a $400 million cash payment to Iran in an unmarked cargo plane, many have questioned the Administration’s motivation – believing it to be ransom for American hostages. The Administration has repeatedly denied that allegation, claiming there was absolutely no quid pro quo connection between the two events, but last week, State Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the money was withheld for ‘leverage’ until the Americans’ release. While we can debate the semantics of the term used to describe the act, the fact remains, this feels an awful lot like ransom and sets a very dangerous precedent. Despite the President’s own Justice Department raising concerns that the payment would indicate a willingness by the United States to pay large sums for detained citizens, it is now clear that the funds were directly correlated to their release. Not only does this put Americans at greater risk of being detained abroad, but it further damages their trust and confidence in government. From national security to transparency, the American people deserve better.
- The Hill: State Dept: $400M Iran payment was 'leverage' for prisoner release
- Wall Street Journal: Justice Department Officials Raised Objections on U.S. Cash Payment to Iran
- Washington Post. Obama’s Iran debacle looks worse and worse
- Wall Street Journal. U.S. sent cash to Iran as Americans were freed
I want to bring some good news to you this week about how our friends and neighbors in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties are helping each other succeed. We're so blessed in our part of the world to have corporate citizens and community activists that take an active interest in our area and want to make our lives better. But that's certainly the case with Jackson EMC and the Forsyth County Arts Alliance. Last week, both of these groups stepped up to the plate and provided thousands of dollars in grant money to local organizations that are serving our neighbors. The investments that these community leaders are making will last for years to come, and I want to thank them for helping lead the way to a better 7th District.
- Forsyth County News. Forsyth County Arts Alliance awards grants
- Gwinnett Daily Post. Jackson EMC announces grants for Gwinnett nonprofits
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