Rx: One Week Before Debate and Healthcare Looms Large in Election

Which Republican will be able to compete with Underwood on healthcare?

Need to publish your policy/position papers on healthcare including prescription drugs as Underwood been doing so for 3 months

It’s one week before the primary debate among the seven Republican candidates competing for the honor to challenge Congresswoman Lauren Underwood in November.

And in case you’ve missed it, over the past 3 months, Underwood has rebuilt momentum on the issue that propelled her to Congress in 2018 — healthcare.

Let’s look at the the timeline:

  • October 18 – Underwood releases her 5 point plan to lower prescription drug prices hinging on the approval of seven pieces of legislation
  • October 18 thru November – Underwood does a media tour including an opinion feature in the Chicago Tribune highlighting her prescription drug prices 5 point plan
  • October and November – Underwood named to the Time: Next 100 influential people and Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 for her leadership in Congress on healthcare
  • December 11 – The House approves H.R. 3 which calls for “negotiation” of prices for medications between pharmaceutical companies and Medicare, with significant penalties if Pharma does not go with pricing based on the price of same medications in six countries plus cap on out of pocket under Medicare Part D
  • December 17 – Underwood introduces Lower Costs for Insulin Now Act (H.R. 5444) while simultaneously putting her bill’s language into the final appropriations bill negotiated and approved on same day.
  • December 18 (same day House approved Articles of Impeachment) – 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rules Affordable Care Act individual mandate unconstitutional
  • December 19 – Senate approves appropriations package including Underwood’s legislation
  • December 20 – President signs into law the Insulin bill with appropriations
  • January 10 – Underwood introduces H.R. 5575, The Primary and Behavioral Health Care Access Act with 16 Democratic cosponsors
  • January 13
    • Northwest Herald publishes (online edition) article of Underwood introducing her new bill at a Kane County press conference on Saturday the 11th
    • Underwood appears on MSNBC, basically calls President Trump’s commitment to protect preexisting conditions a lie and creates fear that Texas vs. USA will not be decided until after election and millions will lose their healthcare if decided in plaintiffs’ favor

So now it is time to see which Republican candidate(s) can step up and show the Republican primary electorate who can compete with Underwood in November on her strongest issue. It’s not taxes, it’s not impeachment, it’s healthcare, including prescription drug pricing.

And it’s time for the Republican candidates to publish their detailed policy/position statement papers so voters can read them and make up their own minds.

I will say up front that I’m operating off of the assumption most of the Republican candidates have already written these detailed papers, and are only waiting for the right time to publish them so the voters can read them.

It is my honest opinion that the time is now.

Contrasting what Underwood is doing on healthcare/prescription drugs, here’s Ted Gradel’s take on last night’s Democratic presidential debate, the video is less than a minute:

So as Gradel said and he is right, what was represented on the stage by ALL SIX of the candidates, including the “moderates” is the Lauren Underwood wing of the party.

And not everyone, including Underwood, is championing Medicare for All single payer or the Medicare Opt-In plans for healthcare.

Underwood’s latest legislation and the H.R. 3 prescription drug pricing are big government socialist solutions to healthcare.

Keep in mind, healthcare by itself is not going to propel the Democratic presidential nominee to beat President Trump in November, but healthcare by itself could very well propel Underwood to a 2nd term.

It’s up to the congressional Republican candidates to have genuine and well researched policy position(s) on healthcare and prescription drug prices. Just like high prescription drug prices, all of us are paying too high health insurance premiums, and Underwood in her latest legislation as well as her embrace of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s government price controls on prescription drugs, this is socialism without a single-payer healthcare solution.

And it will be said again, we are beyond platitudes, sound bites, abstracts, slogans, talking points and bromides. The primary electorate needs to see detailed policy positions.

While at the debate next week, candidates will have only two minutes to answer a direct question and most likely only one minute rebuttal, but hopefully on healthcare and possibly other issues, the candidate can refer the audience to their campaign websites for the details of their positions.

In case you missed it, here is what Lauren Underwood said in her interview Monday night on The Last Word on MSNBC to Lawrence O’Donnell is below.

Something needs to be pointed out that Underwood says in this just over 2 1/2 minutes segment from MSNBC. The attorney general did NOT tell the Court to take its time. The 5th Circuit ordered the case back to district court in its December 18 ruling to evaluate the case before the appeals process moves to the eventual U.S. Supreme Court date, presumably during the 2020-2021 Supreme Court session:

Just prior to the segment released by Underwood’s campaign Twitter account yesterday afternoon, MSNBC showed a graphic with recent polling of the Democratic primary/caucus electorate of the issues important to them:

Goes without saying (but will say it anyway), a general election poll will look significantly different than a Democratic primary/caucus electorate, but one would still see healthcare as a top, if not the top domestic issue, even over the economy and taxes.

Need more convincing? Look at these two videos released by Protect Our Care in the past 24 hours touting the most controversial component of H.R. 3:

So to the Republican primary electorate, don’t go easy on the candidates. Make them spell out their position on healthcare, and all of the major issues.

External links:


Rx: One Week Before Debate and Healthcare Looms Large in Election — 17 Comments

  1. I believe Republicans or anybody else advocating a smaller role for the federal government in healthcare are on the losing side of this question in terms of public opinion, but if they want to have any chance of being persuasive on this issue then they need a wonkier candidate who understands policy and can talk about it articulately.

    Rezin would best equipped for that, followed by Oberweis, and then Marter.

    That could change depending on what we hear at the forum but that’s how I see it as of now.

  2. None.

    There are no wonky answers.

    We’ve been through this over and over and over.

    Republicans tried to take heath care away from 22M people and it failed and they got kicked out of office.

    They promised to fix heath care without offering any plan.

    Then they won control of Congress and the White House and they still couldn’t get anything passed.


    If serious Republicans have no real solutions then you think this crew is going to figure it out?


    They didn’t learn their lesson.

    Republicans will continue to lose on heath care because it’s the #1 issue that actually matters.

  3. If you’re asking these candidates for a “wonky answer” on how to get unhealthy, expensive-to-care-for individuals in an insurance pool while also reducing the average cost for people in that insurance pool, you’re not going to get one and I don’t think Democrats or the far-left have answered that (or can answer that) either.

    There’s a tradeoff between quality, access, and affordability which politicians and people who live in clouds don’t like to acknowledge. If someone told you different, they were stupid or lying.

    Also, the free market and guaranteeing everyone with a pre-existing condition is covered, let alone covered cheaply, are incompatible. If someone told you different, they were stupid or lying. Proposing to take something away from people after giving it to them is political suicide.

    You pointed that out, and it’s a valid point that many Libertarians and Republicans make.

    It seems by now most Republican politicians have figured that one out.

    That is the ultimate triumph of Obama’s legacy.

    That he moved Republicans away from defending free markets.

    10 years ago, one of the main arguments against Obamacare from Republicans was that mandating companies cover expensive people will make things more expensive.

    Now they have to lie, change subject, obfuscate, or embrace Obamacare.

    Anyway, we will be arguing mostly about piecemeal items in the near future.

    You won’t see Congress stripping the pre-existing conditions part, passing single payer, or doing anything too drastic. It’s going to be these sub-issues of healthcare, like drug importation or insulin price controls, where having a wonk would be better than having a know-nothing.

    I still think overall Underwood will get the best of whoever the Republican is on healthcare, which we probably agree on, but I think some can do better or worse than each other which was my point and I should have made that clearer, but I stand by everything I said in the 10:02 comment.

  4. HR 5575 is an unaffordable gift to Underwood’s donors in the healthcare industry.

    Everybody gets 6 free medical appointments.

    Who the heck is going to pay for that?

    It’s going to end up costing more than Medicaid!

    That is because almost everyone is eligible.

    Take the 400,000 eligible in our district, at a cost of $500 to $1,000 each.

    That is $400 million just for Illinois 14!

    Now multiply that by 435 districts.

    HR 5575 will be rejected by the CBO as an excessive unfunded mandate.

    The worst part is you don’t have to be a full medical professional.

    Nurses midwives and social workers can rake in these funds!
    Here is what the representative greedily said in the interview:

    “Laura Poss, executive director of TriCity Family Services, said she stands by the legislation that Underwood is introducing.

    “What thrills me about what the Congresswoman is doing is that even though it would mean that we would have more clients, we would be thrilled to have people be able to come in and either get a diagnosis for the first time or be able to access services for a pre-existing diagnosis,” she said.

    “Because if they don’t come in and it’s cost prohibitive, they will be out there without their medication and without their therapy.””

    It’s a gold mine for every con man in the medical industry!

  5. Correcting, I’m not looking for “wonk” or draft legislation, but I’m looking for more substance than just the platitudes, sound bites, abstracts, slogans, talking points and bromides that we’ve been hearing from the candidates to date, with the exception of Jerry Evans on human trafficking.

    And since these Republican candidates are all trying to show primary voters they will have the best chance to beat Lauren Underwood on November 3, they need to show where her record, or her policy proposal(s) are compared to their own. And the candidates need to take apart legislation Underwood has proposed, passed in the House, or passed into law, and show how they will compete against that messaging which Underwood will, and is already, using to make the case for a 2nd term.

    Those two short digital ads from Protect Our Care is only the beginning to the intense campaign Underwood and her allies will be spending millions to get across to voters later this year.

    Look at Underwood on prescription drug prices. She issued her 5 point plan, her position paper, on October 18. Wasn’t wonkish, but detailed, and included specific legislation as components to implement her plan.

    She felt 7 current legislative bills will achieve the goal of lower prescription drug prices. Sean Casten believed only two bills were needed, H.R. 3 and H.R. 987, which both passed but will not go anywhere in the Senate.

    Underwood is even going further, and late last month, started talking about the Senate proposal on prescription drug prices in some detail, and how some components of the House bill and the Senate bill can be negotiated to become law.

    That is what Republican candidates need to be doing, and I know during the fall they were trying to get on the ballot, stay on the ballot in Catalina Lauf’s case, and raise money. But some of these candidates have established campaigns now, Lauf being one of them.

    But they are starting to move in the direction I want to see, albeit slowly.

    – James Marter, through Illinois Review sent a detailed policy stance on immigration, and challenged all the Republican opponents to do the same.
    – Catalina Lauf, through social media this past weekend, alluded to policy/platform rollout (her campaign first said this was coming in October, but that never materialized), and cited a current bill for Veterans she supports.
    – Sue Rezin campaign has redesigned her website. Now Rezin told the Daily Herald in November one of her main priorities was lowering prescription drug prices, but to date, no details.
    – Lauf’s campaign web site was slightly modified today, outlining 3 main issues abstracts, but no detail, yet.

    I know, in light of his financial support, Jim Oberweis thinks he can run out the clock, and ride his name ID and money to the nomination without breaking a sweat. I do not think that is wise, because at worst, he would be right but he would have won the primary battle but lost the war, as far as losing to Underwood in November.

    The debates are going to start in earnest next week, and the candidates can breathe a sigh of relief I will not be the one asking the questions.

    Hopefully, discerning voters will be asking tough questions, and we’ll see which candidate is best prepared to take on Underwood in the fall.

  6. All Democrats are totally lacking in credibility on health care. Facts:

    Barak Hussein Obama lied a couple of dozen times on national tv when he said that if Americans liked their doctors and health care plans they could keep these. Gigantic lies by this worst ever president when in fact when his ACA obamacare was implemented, many millions of Americans who DID LIKE their doctors and health care plans lost these.

    The ACA Obamacare had numerous problems including the tremendously flawed rollout to the public.

    Nancy Pelosi when recklessly asking Congress to vote for Obamacare with many hidden provisions said that Congress would have to vote for it to find out what was in it.

    Barak Hussein Obama promised savings of $2500 per year for each family and that never did happen.

    Choices for health care plans were diminished in many States after ACA Obamacare was implemented.

    Bottom line is that no American citizen should ever trust ANY Democrat on anything to do with health care given their miserable record of lies and deceit on this matter.

  7. One other thing. This lady proclaims to be a nurse but there has not been anything in her resume’ or bio indicating she has actual nursing experience. Such as in intensive care unit, post surgical patient care, operating room surgery, etc.

  8. @bred winner

    Those taking points were hot in 2013.

    Dod you just wake up from a coma from 2014?

    Clear your cache on your internet explorer for your heath care talking points.

  9. Cant wait to watch JimmO spit up all over himself when he debates Underwood this fall.

    The GOP is dying and will be dead on the vine when their impeached president is removed this fall.


  10. “Those taking points were hot in 2013.”

    You meant to say 2018.

  11. @correcting – Nope. In 2018 Dems like Lauren Underwood swept into office because Republicans were exposed as frauds who had no plan on heath care.

    Randy Hultgren voted to take away insurance for 22M people.

    Talking points like Pelosi’s statement and the botched roll out were no longer relevant to the conversation in 2018.

    The other talking points didn’t hold any water because….. Republicans were in power and had no plan and did absolutely nothing and they STILL. HAVE. NO. PLAN. TODAY.

    By 2018 Republicans shyed away from heath care because they HAD NO ALTERNATIVE.

    Their only alternative was to repeal the ACA and that is why Lauren Underwood is my Congresswoman!

  12. Is “Oh on” a part of the “stupidity of the American voter” as espoused by Jonathon Gruber, a consultant to the Demmocrat Party re ACA?

    Per WIKI:

    “In November 2014, a series of videos emerged of Gruber speaking about the ACA at different events, from 2010 to 2013, in ways that proved to be controversial; the controversy became known in the press as “Grubergate”.[33] In the first, most widely publicized video, taken at a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber said the bill was deliberately written “in a tortured way” to disguise the fact that it creates a system by which “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”. He said this obfuscation was needed due to “the stupidity of the American voter” in ensuring the bill’s passage. Gruber said the bill’s inherent “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in selling it.[34] The comments caused significant controversy.[35][36][37]”

  13. bred – update your talking points. I swear you’ve been in a coma since 2014. I don’t care what some guy said in 2010-2013. It’s 2020 and repealing the ACA would kick 22M people off insurance. I don’t want to see 22M people lose their health insurance. Republicans like Randy Hultgren voted to kick 22M people off insurance. Republicans like Randy Hultgren lost. And that is why Lauren Underwood is my Congresswoman!

  14. What is pitiful are defennders of the Obama administration and the Democrats’ many lies and law breaking regarding ACA Obamacare. Obama lied numerous times to Americans about them being able to keep their doctors and health insurance if they liked these. In fact, Obama and the Democrats NEVER had plans or procedures to go out to each and every American and ask them and document that they wanted to KEEP their doctors and plans. Millions of Americans lost the doctors and health insurance they liked and Obama, his administration and Democrats in Congress were never held accountable.

    Americans should never forget the deceit and lies of Obama and Democrats regarding health care. Simply put, Democrats never should be trusted on anything regarding health care.

    In addition, the Obama administration had violated federal law by making payments to insurers and spending many millions that never were authorized by Congress.

  15. Bred and I agree!

    Let’s make healthcare the issue of 2020 and see who wins.

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