Tomorrow ObamaCare Turns Seven Years Old. What’s In Store For The Year Ahead?

Tomorrow marks the seventh birthday of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It might not make it to eight. That all depends, of course, on whether the House GOP can get enough party line votes to push their ACA “repeal” bill over to the Senate.

Interestingly enough, Republicans are facing similar situations as Democrats did back in 2009 and 2010 when it comes to making their vision of national health reform a reality. Just as Democrats relied on the budget reconciliation process for the ACA to be signed into law by former President Barack Obama, Republicans are using this special legislative process to their advantage, too. By the graces of budget reconciliation, Democrats were able to get away with passing sweeping legislation in 2010 without a single Republican vote and no Republican filibuster. The GOP could potentially do the same without needing Democratic support, but that’s proving to be a difficult roadblock to circumvent due to intraparty factions.

The Washington Post reports that the House GOP health reform bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), can’t lose more than 21 House votes and two Senate votes, assuming that no Democrat will want to endorse a restructured version of health reform that doesn’t increase government’s responsibility of ensuring universal coverage. As of this week, however, 24 House Republicans and six Republicans in the Senate have voiced hard opposition to AHCA. Just like some Democrats in 2010 didn’t think the ACA went far enough towards single-payer or were unhappy with the fact that a public option didn’t make the cut, some House Republicans don’t think the AHCA stands firm on conservative principles.

All hands are on deck now for the House GOP to garner enough support for AHCA to not be a total bust. President Trump has officially intervened by reaming out the Freedom Caucus for their hard opposition to the bill, and amendments have been made to temper the sticking points on Medicaid reform and tax credits.

Read more about that here.

About that big drop in NC energy emissions this century

What do all these things have in common?

NC emissions 2 Environmental Kuznets

Curious?

Read “The Market Forces Behind North Carolina’s Falling Emissions” to find out.

N.C. charter law receives a C+ in annual ranking

The Center for Education Reform (CER) released their annual charter school law report card today.  North Carolina is tied with Texas and Utah for the 12th best charter school law in the nation and is only one point shy of receiving a B.

We would improve our grade if we allowed multiple authorizers to operate in the state.  Currently, only one entity, the N.C. State Board of Education, has the authority to approve charter schools.  In other states, universities, school districts, non-profit organizations, and other entities have approval powers.

Your regular HB2 update….

For starters, sportswriters can’t seem to get enough of that wise old philosopher—-UNC coach Roy Williams—-waxing on the ill-effects of HB2 on our fair state. All I can say is Roy hit the nail n the head when he said he “may not be the smartest but I’m darn sure not the dumbest.” I think the Tar Heels performance against Arkansas Sunday evening reveled that statement to be true. As for Roy’s statement that he’s having a hard time “figuring out why we think our law is what’s right when 49 other states don’t have that”—well that remains to be seen, considering several other states are considering bathroom bills. Last but not least, as for Duke “paying the price” for having to play in Greenville instead of Greensboro, well, my heart just weeps for Duke…..

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports N.C.’s economy is doing just fine in spite of HB2:

Tourism has thrived: Hotel occupancy, room rates and demand for rooms set records in 2016, according to the year-end hotel lodging report issued last week by VisitNC, part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, North Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for attracting and expanding businesses with the arrival of 289 major projects, and seventh in projects per capita — the same as in 2015, according to Site Selection magazine, which released its 2016 rankings in the March edition.

North Carolina finished first for drawing corporate facilities in the eight-state South Atlantic region, said Site Selection, which uses figures tracked by the Conway Projects Database.

And in November, both Forbes and Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina the No. 2 state for business climate.

Note the article mentions–as if we haven’t heard–the number of acts pulling out of N.C. due to HB2—Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam, Boston, Maroon 5 and Cirque de Soleil. Not on the list? None other than ultra-left singer James Taylor, who will be performing at Merlefest come April. Go figure.

The private sector and America’s best infrastructure

Edward Hamberger writes at the Washington Examiner about one area in which American infrastructure stands out.

If death and taxes are certainties in life, so too now is the fact that America’s public infrastructure is failing. Without real leadership and dollars, this will not change.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded America’s infrastructure a “D+” and estimated $4.59 trillion in needed spending over the next decade to rectify the situation. “The only infrastructure sector to receive a B in this year’s report was rail, where private freight companies have invested heavily—$27.1 billion in 2015—to improve service,” reports the Wall Street Journal, noting the grade was the highest of 16 graded sectors.

The above-satisfactory grade for rail, while far from perfect (passenger railroads face significant funding problems), clearly demonstrates that quality infrastructure requires large, sustained bankrolling. And for freight railroads, constant spending is essential because while taxpayers bankroll roads and waterways, they pay almost nothing for this vital infrastructure that moves the U.S. economy.

But the ASCE grade also demonstrates an important corollary – policy makers must curtail regulatory efforts that would impede private investments in rail infrastructure and push policies that encourage more.

Coddling college students

Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon details new “safe space” guidelines at a major public university.

The University of Arizona is encouraging college students to cry “ouch!” when they hear something offensive, make artwork about race relations, have story time, play four corners, and take a “time out” if they feel uncomfortable.

A new guide for faculty on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom” offers tips for “inclusiveness” and how to establish a “safe space” in the classroom. The guidelines are voluntary for faculty and were first reported by the College Fix.

The guidelines offer “Strategies for Engaging Students,” which include the “One Diva, One Mic” rule and allowing 20-year-olds to yell “ouch” and “oops” in class.

“Creating a safe space for students for engaging in dialogue about challenging topics is vital in promoting positive intergroup interactions,” wrote Jesu?s Trevin?o, the author of the guide and vice provost for “inclusive excellence” at the university.

Ground rules for “personal and group affirmation” include “One Diva, One Mic,” which stipulates that college students should not interrupt each other.

The guide also suggests the “Oops/ouch” rule.

“If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say ‘ouch,'” the university said. “In acknowledgment, the student who made the hurtful comment says ‘oops.'”

“Ground rules help students feel comfortable being honest,” the university said. “Students should be affirmed for being open, honest, and vulnerable about their perspectives and experiences.”

The guidebook suggests games for students like “Four Corners,” where students are split into each corner of the room based on how much they talk in class.

The House Freedom Caucus and Obamacare repeal

Juliegrace Brufke reports for the Daily Caller on the U.S. House Freedom Caucus’ role in the debate about the American Health Care Act.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus said the leadership-backed Obamacare repeal legislation, which is slated to go to vote Thursday, is far from where it needs to be to gain their support and lacks the votes to pass the lower chamber.

The powerful conservative group was joined by GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah — who have also voiced opposition to the bill — at their caucus meeting Monday, where they discussed their stance on health-care reform. …

… The group has repeatedly expressed concerns about the legislation, railing against its language on tax credits, the 30 percent increase in premiums for those who drop coverage and its timeline on rolling back Medicaid expansion. While leadership said adjustments will continue to be made as the Rules Committee has not yet marked up the bill, Meadows said the HFC has been told the amendments they plan to put forward likely won’t be taken seriously by the bill’s proponents.

“Well that’s not to say that’s not to say that there is obviously a whole lot of discussions that are going on and you know if meaningful changes happen — we’ve been trying to negotiate in good faith,” he continued. …

Meadows said the legislation still needs substantial changes, as votes on individual amendments the group puts forward have the potential to be shot down on the floor.

An addiction to entitlements

Dennis Prager uses a National Review Online column to probe problems connected to American government entitlements.

There is one addiction, however, that might be more difficult than any other to escape – in part because it is not even regarded as an addiction. It is Entitlements Addiction, an addiction to getting something for nothing.

One indication as to the power of Entitlements Addiction is that, while great numbers of people have voluntarily given up – almost always at great pain – drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., few give up an addiction to entitlements. For the majority of able-bodied people who get cash payments, food stamps, subsidized housing, free or subsidized health insurance, and other welfare benefits, the thought of giving up any one of those and beginning to pay for them with their own earned money is as hard as giving up alcohol is to an alcoholic.

Politicians know this, which is why it is close to impossible to ever reduce entitlements. And, of course, the Left knows this, which is why the Left almost always wins any debate over entitlements. Every American who is the beneficiary of an entitlement backs entitlements, and many who are not beneficiaries of entitlements would like to be.

This, aside from ideology, is why the Left constantly seeks to increase entitlements: The more people receive government benefits, the more people vote left.