McCarran-Ferguson Act – Is as relevant today as it was when it was adopted. It declares “that the continued regulation and taxation by the several States of the business of insurance is in the public interest, and that silence on the part of the Congress shall not be construed to impose any barrier to the regulation or taxation of such business by the several States.” It stated that from then on, “no Act of Congress shall be construed to invalidate, impair, or supersede any law enacted by any State for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance.”
Question: What is more important than the care of your health?
Yet, we’ve left one of the most important aspects of our lives in the hands of bureaucrats, politicians, and lobbyists. Year after year, politicians stand before us spouting off the need for transparency, increased competition, expanded access, lower prices, greater quality and on and on. They do this only to return the next election cycle spouting off the need for transparency, increased competition, expanded access and on and on. It’s time for real and meaningful change.
How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time.
Bit #1: It’s time the federal government begin to pivot away from a centralized healthcare model and begin to encourage states to take control of their healthcare system.
- States are oftentimes the largest employer within the state. As such they wield a tremendous amount of leverage that can be used to renegotiate contracts, prices, quality and the level of transparency. States taking control of its own healthcare system will obviously benefit their own State plans but will also give them the opportunity to reform the insurance sector from the inside out and throughout the entire State.
- In 2016, Montana reformed its State’s health plan by renegotiating contracts with hospitals and third-party administrators to move away from inflationary “chargemaster” or “escalator” plans that do not reflect market rates to Referenced-Based Pricing that is slightly more than what Medicare pays out. Montana demanded full accountability of pharmaceutical costs including fees paid up and down the supply chain to help eliminate duplicate costs and it worked. They achieved more than $50 million in cost-savings within the first three years, did not see an increase in utilization rates, and have not seen an increase in employee/employer premiums since 2016.
- The massive infusion of federal dollars into existing health care systems, along with a lack of transparency, is what has contributed to exorbitant inflationary costs and have failed to produce an adequate supply and quality of care. Oftentimes the consumer does not know what the cost of the service is until AFTER the service has been performed. The federal government pivoting away from centralizing healthcare and giving that control back to States, who are closer to the people they represent, know their needs better and are oftentimes more incentivized to “fix” the issue, is how we begin to meaningfully address a mammoth issue.
Bit #2: Audit Medicaid’s eligibility rolls & include a Work-Search requirement
- According to The National Association of State Budget Officers, in fiscal year 2021 Pennsylvania spent more on Medicaid (36%) as a percent of total state expenditures, then it did on Elementary & Secondary Education, Higher Education, Public Assistance, and Transportation COMBINED (35.1%).
- Medicaid was designed for the truly needy among us – the disabled, the elderly and the extremely poor. However, able-bodied people are the fastest growing group enrolling in Medicaid. Able-bodied people on Medicaid grew from 6.7 million in 2000 to 27.8 million by 2018. Their enrollment has far outpaced the enrollment of any other eligible category.
- Furthermore, 1 out of 4 (25%) federal dollars spent on Medicaid is due to improper enrollment. According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMM), more than 80% of improper payments are due to not confirming eligibility, income, citizenship, household size, etc.
- When the state of California audited their Medicaid rolls, they found that a third (1/3) of those on their rolls were dead and had been dead for at least a year.
- We know there is tremendous waste in Medicaid spending. We can begin to resolve this issue by simply auditing the Medicaid rolls, verifying those who are receiving aid are entitled to do so and demand a federal “Work-Search” requirement for able-bodied people as a condition for benefits.
Bit #3: Increase Choice & Access
- Allow doctors to practice across state lines. There is no need for them to waste their training for arbitrary regulations.
- Allow non-MDs to practice without “mandatory collaborative practice agreements.” This will increase access to quality care in rural and urban areas.
- Make permanent many of the “telehealth” reforms such as doctors working across state lines.
- Allow doctors with a valid license to start practicing immediately upon relocation.
 National Academy for State Health Policy, “Independent Analysis Finds Montana Has Saved Millions by Moving Hospital Rate Negotiations to ReferenceBased Pricing.
 National Academy for State Health Policy, “Independent Analysis Finds Montana Has Saved Millions by Moving Hospital Rate Negotiations to ReferenceBased Pricing.
 Jonathan Ingram and Nic Horton, “Obamacare Expansion Enrollment Is Shattering Projections: Taxpayers and the Truly Needy Will Pay the Price,” Foundation for Government Accountability, 2016, https://thefga.org/paper/obamacare-expansion-enrollment-is-shattering-projections-2.
 Office of Inspector General, “California Medicaid Managed Care Organizations Received Capitation Payments after Beneficiaries’ Deaths.”
Article 4, Section 4 – Protecting our borders under the U.S. Constitution: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government and shall protect each of them against Invasion…(to include invasion of drug cartels and uncontrolled ILLEGAL immigration).
Border control is a question of sovereignty, but the open border policies of the Biden Administration and Democrat controlled Congress are dangerous and counterproductive. The Administration is refusing to enforce our laws and openly proclaiming to the world that we will not seek to keep caravans out of the United States or remove unlawfully present people. This encourages desperate people to entrust their lives to traffickers and to risk travel across some of the most inhospitable territory in the world. Despite the claim these policies are about helping poor people, they are anything but “compassionate.”
No nation can remain sovereign without secure and safe borders, and we have given the federal government the authority and power to determine who is coming to the U.S., for what purpose, and for how long. Our immigration laws give agencies tremendous authority to keep us safe from threats as varied as COVID-19 and terrorism and we should expect the Administration to use that authority to our benefit. Instead, the Administration’s reckless and feckless policies jeopardize the safety of Americans and migrants alike. Our health and welfare have taken a back seat to political considerations.
“Chaotic” is a fair description of the state of our immigration laws and practice. Our immigration enforcement is in shambles while we transport unverified, untested, and unvaccinated illegal immigrants all over the country. Adding insult to injury, the Administration seeks to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to people detained by immigration authorities.
The numbers speak for themselves, with more than 1.7 million illegal aliens encountered by U.S. immigration authorities last year alone. The numbers are explosive. If current numbers hold, we are on trend to have roughly 4.0 million illegal alien encounters at our border this fiscal year. This is unacceptable. Credible academic research demonstrates that we have lost control over our southern border. This rise in illegal immigration correlates with the conduct of administrations which favor lax enforcement.
The bottom line is that broadcasting to the world that the U.S. is not serious about immigration has created this crisis. Making matters worse, Congress has a constitutionally mandated role in setting and funding immigration policy – and it has too long sat on the sidelines, allowing the White House to act unilaterally, and (often) unconstitutionally. Senators should take their oversight role seriously and stick their noses into Executive Branch activities.
Pennsylvanians have a right to influence what happens in our country and we have a right to an immigration policy that works.
‘First Things First’ Policies
- Various amnesty provisions have been proposed by the Administration and Congress, but before we talk about amnesty for unlawfully present aliens we must secure the border with a wall, technology and personnel.
- Trafficking has serious consequences in our everyday lives. We need to stop these at the border and prosecute them here. S. attorneys and federal law enforcement take their cue from the White House, but Congress controls the budget. Trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and long jail sentences should be a priority.
- Getting away with fraud encourages it. Those who enter or attempt to remain here through fraud should be barred from obtaining status in the U.S. This Congress’s immigration legislation ignores fraud, encouraging it, rather than making the consequences serious, cutting those would-be immigrants off from obtaining benefits.
- Deportations are down nearly 60%, despite the claim that criminal alien removal is a priority. Tellingly, the Administration and Congress haven’t done anything to address the backlog problems with Immigration Judges. Criminal aliens should be the number one priority for apprehension, detention, and removal and Congress has the authority and tools it needs to do something about it.
- S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is supposed to efficiently and effectively determine who qualifies for immigration benefits, but the agency is a failure and Congress has not held it accountable. USCIS’ director is now the Secretary of Homeland Security, rewarded with more power and influence for failing to manage his agency. This is Congress’s fault because it throws money at the agency but leaves the agency alone to manage its affairs. This must stop and the right place to start is to strip USCIS of its Fee Funded Agency status. For nearly twenty years, the agency has been permitted to underperform and Congress must provide oversight.
- Among the more significant problems with immigration is that Congress has not provided guidance. Instead of narrow, discrete bills that solve immediate problems, Congress looks to giant, unworkable bills that go nowhere. My highest priority will be a bill that deals with the southern border. A combination of physical barriers, technology solutions, and manpower solutions can make the border secure. Instead of seriously discussing this, Congress permits the Administration to spend billions paying to NOT build sections of wall authorized by statute. Similarly, Congress has long known that the H2A visa program does not serve the industries which suffer chronic labor shortages that it was designed to serve, but no remedy has been seriously proposed. Immigration problems deserve hearing and narrow, discrete bills that represent compromise and real solutions.
- The Remain in Mexico Policy was crafted to discourage caravans of foreign nationals from coming here in anticipation of easy asylum approvals. It stages them in Mexico while they make their claims rather than turning them loose in the U.S. Both the Trump Administration and the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that it is an effective way to manage this problem. It is time for Congress to formally authorize the program.
- Congress should also engrain the “First Safe Country” rule in statute. Foreign nationals who find haven in a third country should remain there while they pursue benefits in the U.S., NOT be invited to enter the U.S. while we figure out IF they have a claim.
- Of the 1.7 million unlawfully present aliens who were encountered at the Southwest Border in 2021, over 1 million of those encountered were from countries other than Mexico – by far the highest total for non-Mexican nationals. Most of the encounters were people from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Yet, the U.S. provides over $1 billion in government aid to these three countries combined for a variety of initiatives including energy, clean water, financial services, COVID, transportation, infrastructure, education, etc. Why do we continue to send financial aid to these countries if their citizens are relocating, in record numbers, to the United States? Congress controls the purse. It is time for Congress to redirect these funds in stabilizing our border crisis.
- As long as the United States remains under a state of National Emergency concerning COVID, Title 42 must be strictly enforced. Title 42 was invoked under the previous Administration and is a public health order allowing Border Patrol to expel migrants immediately in an effort to control the domestic spread of the coronavirus.
What’s happening at the U.S.-Mexico border in 7 charts | Pew Research Center
U.S. Government Support to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States Department of State
As your U.S. Senator, I will vociferously defend your Medical Freedom.
- Medical Freedom means “patient autonomy.” I, the individual, get to decide what treatments I will subject my body to.
- Medical Freedom also means the freedom to discuss ideas and differing views. Who are we, if not slaves, if we can no longer even question what happens to our own bodies? We are at a very dangerous time in America’s history when those on one side of the argument gets to be the sole arbitrator of truth.
In America, for now, we still have the right to question the “experts.” In fact, asking questions is central to “good” science.
The scientific method:
- Ask a question
- Discuss what is observed
- Test hypothesis
- Look for trends
What I Believe:
1. I believe in parental choice.
2. I believe as parents we love our children more than Dr. Fauci, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi, combined. As such, I believe that if given the best available information parents will make the best decision for their family.
3. I believe in parental consent BEFORE a child is vaccinated.
4. I believe there should be absolutely no vaccine mandates, specifically among those 18 and younger.
5. I believe there is no logical reason to jab perfectly healthy children with an experimental vaccine we do not know the long-term developmental and reproductive impact it will have on our children.
6. I believe Americans should have the same or more rights than unlawfully present aliens who are being resettled throughout the nation unvaccinated, untested, and unverified.
7. I believe categorizing vociferous dissent as “domestic terrorism” is wrong and removes legitimate parental concerns from the realm of civic debate.
8. I believe parents have the right to see all books and materials used in classes taken by their children.
9. I believe in school choice.
10. I believe we can do better than this Administration.
Creating an ECONOMY that creates JOBS!
I want to create an economy where corporations don’t have to leave our country to flee our onerous tax system. Instead, they can keep their money and investments here and provide jobs in America.
I want to create an economy where the Middle-Class is not squeezed under the pressures of taxes, instability, inflation, mandates, and regulations.
I want to create an economy where those who find themselves below the bottom rung of the economic ladder, as I once was, have the ability to claw themselves from underneath that rock and carve out a life for themselves.
- Today, our country is not working for us, and we are growing more and more divided as a nation.
- I want to help create sustainable growth. Growth solves the deficit problem, the spending problem, and the debt problem. Growth restores solvency to the Social Security and Medicare programs without breaking promises. Growth improves living standards and our quality of life. Growth extends the ladder of economic opportunity off safety nets and gives a chance to those wanting to help themselves. Growth creates jobs and drives incomes higher.
- In short, growth does the most to solve the most problems at the lowest cost and does so in a way that unites the country.
- Clarify the mandates of the Federal Reserve.
- The Federal Reserve plays a significant role in creating income inequalities for certain wage earners. They pump up asset values for those who have assets and then taper quantitative easing when the bottom 90%’s wages begin to grow.
- Today, the Federal Reserve’s primary focus is on monitoring wage growth. When there’s growth in the bottom 90%’s income, this oftentimes signals to the Feds that inflation is impending. The Fed then rushes in and raises rates to stymie that growth.
- As your Senator, I will work to clarify the Fed’s mandates to focus on stabilizing the U.S. dollar instead of punishing income growth. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, during times when the dollar was stable, real wage growth for the bottom 90% increased by more than 3.5%. Conversely, during those times when the dollar was volatile, real wage growth for the bottom 90%, decreased -0.07%.
- As your Senator, I will work to make the tax code Pro-Growth:
- A tax code that puts exports on the same playing field as foreign products.
- A tax code that puts domestic products on the same playing field as imports.
- A tax code that is Simple, Transparent, Efficient, Fair & Neutral.