This column by ACRU Senior Fellow and Policy Board member J. Kenneth Blackwell was published April 29, 2017 by Townhall.
In the fallout of President Donald J. Trump’s historic victory, the Democratic Party is in a state of panic. They suffered record-breaking defeats across the country, and are still trying to clean up the mess caused by Hillary Clinton, a candidate who explored uncharted depths of political corruption.
One of the Democrats’ biggest problems is how their grassroots base was ignored by elites who used a complicated process of “Superdelegates” to steal the primary election from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Now, there’s new leadership at the Democratic National Committee. Chairman Tom Perez on a “Unity Tour” has committed himself to bringing back the “Bernie Bros” and embracing a far-left agenda. In the latest rebranding effort, the official DNC website now sells t-shirts with Perez’s vulgar words printed: “Democrats Give a S*** About People.”
But all the marketing and tacky clothing will not save them from the looming disaster known as “Elizabeth Warren.” The Massachusetts senator, who was once paid more than $400,000 to teach a single class at Harvard, has made a name for herself as a shrill defender of income redistribution. Now, she is quickly emerging as the most likely 2020 presidential candidate.
In the United State Senate, Warren has been a factory of bad ideas. She wants to raise corporate-tax rates, which scares companies out of the country. She protests crony capitalism in the financial markets, yet supports the Import-Export bank. She wants to lower student interest rates which only encourages more irresponsible borrowing. She supports taxpayer-funded, late-term abortion. She wants to raise the minimum wage to $22 per hour and have the IRS prepare your taxes. The list of her bad big-government ideas is endless.
When it comes to healthcare, Warren is a staunch defender of Obamacare. As premiums skyrocket, conservatives in Congress are trying to negotiate a new healthcare law to get rid of Obamacare’s heavy-handed mandates. But Warren and her fellow Democrats are standing in the way.
One of the more unusual ways Warren is keeping healthcare expenses high involves regulating over-the-counter hearing aids. Warren has introduced a special-interest backed bill to increase FDA regulations for over-the-counter hearing devices.
The stated goal of the legislation is to “increase access” to hearing devices. But in practice, imposing new regulations on existing over-the-counter devices would restrict access to auditory health care. The bill would drastically disrupt the doctor-patient relationship.
The problems with these new, complicated regulations would be immediate and severe. For example, veterans and Medicaid patients could potentially no longer receive health coverage for doctors’ visits to diagnose and treat hearing loss, as preemption language in the bill would likely prompt insurers to drop audiology screenings and fittings. This would overrule state laws while incentivizing states to entirely drop hearing aid and audiology coverage entirely. It would then, by removing doctors from the auditory health equation, leave the most vulnerable patients uninformed and untreated.
In short, Warren’s bill does two things: drastically increases FDA regulations, and eliminates states’ rights to govern their Medicaid systems as they see fit. Why would Republicans support that?
And why is Warren so intent on pushing a bill on behalf of big corporations? Perhaps she is taking the Hillary Clinton-route by signaling to major donors that she is willing to sell-out to the highest bidder?
It seems like bizarro world on Capitol Hill, but this is a classic example of why the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare is so complicated. Americans deserve more market innovation to provide quality health coverage at lower prices. It is time for special interests and Elizabeth Warren to get out of the way.