What the Trump Victory Means for Virginia

What does a Trump presidency mean for Virginia?

We woke up this morning to a very different world than most of us expected twenty-four hours ago: the prospect of a Trump presidency and a Republican-controlled Congress. After four years of political gridlock, the odds have improved immeasurably that something will get done in Washington. You might not like the result, but the logjam will break. The ramifications for foreign and domestic policy are far-reaching.

Herewith are some preliminary thoughts on what a Trump presidency means for Virginia.

Energy policy. Trump famously declared global warming to be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and he has campaigned on the promise to boost the U.S. energy economy and revive the coal industry. It’s safe to say that he will do what he can to scrap the Clean Power Plan, which is designed to slow global warming by reducing CO2 emissions from electric power plants. Whether he can do so with a stroke of the pen — issuing an executive order that reverses President Obama’s order — is not clear to me. But one way or the other, I expect he will modify the plan significantly if not kill it outright.

What does that mean for the future of Virginia’s electric grid? Coal is the big winner. Most likely, some coal-fired power plants in Virginia will enjoy an extended lease on life. In the case of Dominion Virginia Power, that implies the need for fewer natural gas-fired plants in the future (or at least a delay in their deployment), which in turn implies diminished future demand for natural gas. What does that portend for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline? I’m not sure, but these are obvious questions to ask.

The future of solar and wind energy also is up in the air. Congress has extended hefty tax credits for the renewable energy sources well into the 2020s. Trump and Congress may spike those subsidies, and the political pressure will be off Dominion and Appalachian Power to boost their commitment to solar and wind. But the economics of solar and wind are steadily improving, and Dominion has stated its conviction that there is value in having a diversified energy portfolio. Furthermore, there is nothing to stop merchant power generators from building solar farms and wind farms and selling the energy into wholesale electricity markets, thus bypassing the established utilities.

In sum, while the pace of adoption may slow, the progress of renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery storage, voltage regulation and other technologies suggests that the electric grid will look very different ten years from now than it does today, regardless of what Trump does. Virginians need to prepare for that future, even if it is not imminent.

Medicaid. Trump campaigned on a promise to end and replace Obamacare. Repealing the program will probably be more difficult than Trump was willing to admit on the campaign trail– will he really yank benefits from the millions of Americans who benefited from the plan? — and his plan to replace it is still fuzzy. But it’s a safe bet that the option of expanding Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act in Virginia will be taken off the table.

Given the unpopularity of Obamacare with a majority of the population and the promise of Congressional Republicans to repeal it if they got the chance, General Assembly Republicans were wise to have rejected Medicaid expansion. Thankfully, Virginia maintained its safety net of hospital-provided indigent care, health clinics, health wagons, and other patchwork programs that provide at least a modicum of treatment for the poor and near poor. That safety net is inadequate but it’s better than nothing.

One thing Virginia can do to replace Obamacare is eliminate the dozens of mandated benefits that drive up the cost of open-market health insurance. One reason the plans in the Obamacare health exchanges are so expensive is that they are gold-plated with federally mandated benefits. If Trump and Congress repeal those mandates, state mandates still will stand in Virginia unless the General Assembly repeals them as well. Health insurers should be given the option of offering stripped-down, basic health coverage which, while less than ideal, would provide cheaper options than are available now.

Military spending. Virginia’s economy has taken a big hit from the reduction in military spending under the Obama administration. Trump has promised to rebuild the military. A Trump presidency undoubtedly will spare the state from further defense cuts, but given the budget box the country is in — a $19+ trillion national debt, rising deficits, and a Federal Reserve Bank seemingly intent upon nudging interest rates higher — it is difficult to see how the U.S. can ramp up military spending to anything close to Bush-era, war-on-terror levels. Relief may be coming, but the glory days are not returning.

Boomergeddon. Dr. Trump has been peddling a magical elixir of tax cuts, deregulation and a confrontational trade policy to get the economy rolling again. Let’s just say I’m skeptical. Trade wars will be disastrous. Tax cuts may goose the economy, but they will add to the deficit. Deregulation will help, but I think there are practical limits to what can be deregulated. Yes, deregulating the broadband sector and re-examining Dodd-Frank bank regulations could provide a stimulus. But most regulations are embedded in the economy and don’t make sense to scrap. Just to pick one example, are we really going to deregulate coal mine safety after mining companies have already created the technologies, developed the business practices and absorbed the costs of meeting those regulations?

While some economic sluggishness can be blamed on Obama administration policies, not all of it can. As I noted recently on this blog, the aging of the population and the lack of growth in the workforce are demographic trends impervious to public policy manipulation. Meanwhile, Trump has evinced no interest in reforming entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the panoply of anti-poverty programs. Massive spending increases are baked into the cake. The United States is in a fiscal box that limits our economic options, and there is no politically painless way out of it.

Bottom line for Virginia: Don’t look for a miraculous restoration of economic growth and tax revenue. Budget austerity is the new normal. Trump won’t change that. We need to get on with the business of re-thinking the way state and local governments do everything.

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25 responses to “What the Trump Victory Means for Virginia”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    I totally support our exceptional form – and practice of government and accept the verdict of the American people and acknowledge a lot of us did not understand how disaffected so many have been.

    They have spoken – we are going to transition as we have done for over two hundred years – peaceful and orderly – and we’ll go forward from here.

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Unfortunately, Trump has provided nothing more than sound bites for all the of issues reviewed here.

    Trump cannot go against most nations of the world on climate change. He cannot revive coal as the “big winner.” He can not change the price dynamics of natural gas which is what is causing coal its problems, not to mention metallurgical coal which has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with world business cycles. Amazing that Mr. Bacon still does not grasp these concepts.

    As for defense, Hilary has always been a hawk. She would have revived the military. Trump is going to go to a neo-isolationism with his bro Putin in mind. There won’t be a need for much of a military if the U.S. will be disengaged, unless it’s for beating up on Mexicans and Muslims in this country

    The author conveniently avoids mentioning that Trump is for economic isolation and is anti multi-lateral trade agreements. With its ports and location, Virginia is very much tied to global trade. If Trump does what he said, we will tear apart trade deals and plunge the U.S. into a very serious depression a la the early 1930s.

    Trump has not clued us in on his plans for health care other than stuffing the ACA and allowing plan sales across state lines.

    The author fails to mention this, but Trump wants a big infrastructure program, which is badly needed. Hurray! But he doesn’t say how he would fund it. Ironic that victorious Congressman Dave Brat was with Trump but is certain to oppose any infrastructure funding that Trump might propose.

    What the author completely ignores is how Trump used the politics of fear and hatred and racism and xenophobia to eke out a populist victory. These are the politics of white reactionaries. Not worth a mention, I would guess.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      How Trump performs is a whole different thing and yes he got elected by an even more extreme “southern” strategy gathering up some of the more reactionary … and is going to have his hands full trying to forge even a functional conservative governing coalition given the wide ideological swath of the party from David Duke , the alt-right, evangelicals, social conservatives and fiscal conservatives.

      they’ve not even been able with their current majority in Congress to move legislation to the POTUS for veto – like Replace and Repeal of ObamaCare and as a result – they don’t have any concrete ready-to-vote legislation right now – all they have is “ideas”.. 8 years worth and disagreement among themselves about what do actually do much less any of it’s CBO-scored as to it’s real effect.

      that’s just health care…. there are other tough issues that Conservatives themselves cannot agree on to move forward.

      These guys won – they get the right to decide… and to actually deliver on what they’ve been promising… and I say more power to them…

  3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    I supported Gary Johnson, disliking both Trump (because he’s a crude egomaniac) and Clinton (because she’s a crook and part of a crooked family). If a gun was put to my head and I was forced to chose either Clinton or Trump, I’d have held my nose to the point of suffocation and voted for Trump. I simply find nothing redeeming in the Clintons and have felt that way even when I was a voting Democrat. My only joy in the 1980 election was Bill Clinton lost his reelection bid as Arkansas’ Governor.

    While the self-appointed elites around the world bemoan what can only be racism and hatred, there are a lot of people hurting economically and socially (and I believe not limited to white people only) who shot the bird at those who told them to vote establishment one more time and voted for Trump. Not unlike when left of center Minnesota voted for ex-rassler Jessie Ventura as Governor or when folks in Louisiana voted for Huey Long.

    And, while one must adjust several voting blocks, Trump’s win is not totally dissimilar to that of Obama in 2008. A lot of people see the federal government as rigged against their interests. And, like 2008, voted to send a profane message to Washington.

  4. “Furthermore, there is nothing to stop merchant power generators from building solar farms and wind farms and selling the energy into wholesale electricity markets, thus bypassing the established utilities.”

    There are still prohibitions that exist for Power Purchase Agreements from third parties in Dominion’s and APCo’s service territory. This covers much of Virginia and most of the demand. There are challenges to these policies and it will be up to the SCC to open up solar development to third parties or leave it to the utilities. Or the GA could always pass some legislation to slow it down similar to what was attempted in Florida. The big box stores (Target, WalMart, Costco, Ikea, Lowe’s, etc.) and Amazon. Microsoft, and Google, are all increasing their commitment to renewable energy and this will lessen the need for conventional generation. Even with population and economic growth In Virginia, Dominion’s load growth would be flat if the data center loads were met through PPA’s rather than Dominion-owned generation.

    It would be nice if subsidies to all of the sources of generation could be removed so the market could more accurately price their pros and cons, but that would raise the price of gas, oil, and coal far too much. The huge subsidies for nuclear, even if left in place, cannot make the economics work for new units.

    Most of the first phase of what the CPP hoped to accomplish has already been done. More than 11 GW of coal generation has been decommissioned. Only 12 more coal plants are scheduled to be shut down in the U.S. between now and 2020.

    Trump or not, my great concern is that we will build too many new natural gas-fired plants that will only become uneconomic 10 years from now with rising gas prices and significantly reduced prices of alternatives. None of the solar prices for 2025 assumed any subsidies anyway.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Solar panel farms are around here, littering this beautiful place, typically very ugly, and that ugliness of those rows upon rows of glass and steel amid our natural beauty is compounded by their debilitating impact on the human spirit. It is akin to PORN. With no effort to landscape, Solar panels are headed for big time local trouble unless their sponsors get their act together. I am strongly against these solar farms. Consider them an environmental abomination, an insult to the places they inhabit, and all of those and us who live there, animals, grasses, and humans alike.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: merchant power solar

    I saw this:

    ” Massive solar field proposed in rural area of Louisa County”

    “A solar project proposed off Waldrop Church Road would be more than four times the size of the one now under construction in the county.

    The developer, Belcher Solar LLC, wants to blanket some 1,000 acres of farm and forest land with solar panels, which it claims is enough to provide electricity to 14,000 homes. Producing up to 88 megawatts of power, the solar field could be among the largest on the East Coast.

    By comparison, Dominion Virginia Power’s solar installation on 250 acres just east of the town of Louisa off Chalk Level Road will produce 20 megawatts of power when it is completed at the end of December.”


    so apparently they are going to install a massive solar facility – feed it into Dominion’s powerlines – and sell it to PJM – with – from what I can see – just a local county permit – no permission from Dominion and no permission from the SCC…


    Solar panels installed by Dominion Virginia Power north of Rt. 22 near the town of Louisa. While Dominion’s solar project covers 250 acres, a developer has proposed a new solar field that would be more than four times larger.

    1. Larry,

      These merchant power plants are a bit different from what I was describing with the PPA’s, which are direct sales between the producer and the end user (or with the utility). My concern with all big central station solar projects, whether owned by utilities or others, is that they displace an existing valuable land use, typically require expensive and intrusive new transmission, and provide few of the benefits to the grid that more distributed generation offers. The SCC has a minimum size before their jurisdiction kicks in and I believe this facility is below that.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        TomH – I travel quite frequently between Spotsylvania CH and I-64 via Louisa… there are thousands and thousands of acres of unused land – a good deal of it – what used to be farmland….

        It’s not unusual – I note the presence of such land – everywhere. You can see it for dozens, hundreds of miles along the Interstates.

        Rural Virginia , much of the Eastern rural USA is a vast wasteland of fallow land… that has little uses these days other than small parcels of cropland and cattle grazing..

        people who own this land are more than happy to lease it out for cell towers, wind and solar farms, and whatever non-farming uses that can bring in rent. I think for that matter, they’d go for gas and oil also..if it was on their land.

        where am I going wrong?

        1. Larry,

          Someday soon we will need to use it as farmland again. But not for our current industrial agriculture. That is just as unsustainable as a fossil-fueled energy system. Regenerative, biological farming is beginning to take hold. If we raised the beef we consumed here in Virginia in a year-round grass-fed intensive grazing system we would increase Virginia’s economy by over $200 million per year. Now we raise calves on grass for a few months and then send them to feedlots elsewhere. All the value-added costs go to other states. It is also great for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the soil.

          This would increase some of the more labor intensive and main-street service jobs that were so plentiful decades ago.

          Having real farms instead of housing developments or solar farms would also maintain the beauty of this region. In the second half of the 20th-century we created too many ugly buildings: strip malls, house designs not suited to the climate, and structures poorly designed for their function. An architect named Christopher Alexander wrote a book called “A Pattern Language” that described a variety of design principles that give function and beauty to buildings and public spaces. For centuries this was common knowledge, now it is rare.

          The best human system mimic natural ones. It makes the most sense to capture natural energy (solar) close to where it will be used. Littering our natural landscape with machine-age forms further separates us from the world that sustains us and does nothing to elevate our spirit.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Hey Tom – we have roads, pipelines, powerlines, train corridors, big box parking lots, storm ponds, power plants, coal mines, coal ash piles, etc…

            we already grow most of our cattle and poultry in the east – just look out your window on the rural interstates…

            the cattle especially – we grow millions of cattle along roads like I-81… and most of us never really “see” them .. they’re just part of the “landscape”. 🙂

            Poultry is often done in huge heated structures even if they are out during the day but often seen only as long metal buildings along the interstates.

            corn and wheat and grains is no longer grown on smaller farm plots but instead on mega farms where giant GPS-tractors and other equipment with minimal manpower do the work…

            smaller plots with manual labor cannot grow the product and sell it for enough profit to pay for the labor…

            look around… where-ever you live.. for the rural – but beyond that for all the open/unused land that cannot be used even for small parcel farming anyhow…

            aren’t you the fella that thinks centralized industrial scale energy generation is going to lose out to decentralized dispersed energy generation?

            or have I got the wrong person?

  6. Natural gas is still probably the way to go. Coal will have a slower decline, and this will only further keep natural prices cheap for the foreseeable. What I think Virginia should be hoping for is a manufacturing “renaissance”, wherein the U.S. starts to bring back jobs that we have lost overseas due to globalization. So far, it doesn’t look like cheap natural gas price alone is enough to bring these jobs back to America. There is some talk of corporate tax rate reduction down to as low as 15% to really give American business an excuse to keep jobs here, and start to bring jobs back home.

    This sounds awesome, but do we even want these jobs back? I do, but is the workforce there? Engineers, scientists, technicians will be needed. Will corporate management enter the 21st century and share valid concerns about the environment, exposure to pollution, incident reduction, and hire some people, and kindly try to regain trust lost? If not, then the Make America Great Again movement will be short lived.

    1. TBill,

      Natural gas does have benefits. But utilities are using a solution that requires a 40-year payback for a 10-year problem.

      I have listened to the ads that said “I am an energy voter”, with the tagline that said “more oil and gas – what could possibly be wrong with that?”. Well, there could be a lot wrong with that, both economically and environmentally. I think people are confusing the means with the end. Many remember the economic vitality of the 50s and 60s, when we were using lots of oil and gas. They have made a correlation between oil and gas use and economic well-being, so they want to encourage its use. I think what people are searching for is a return of that economic security and sense of optimism. They use oil and gas as a surrogate hoping that by having more of that we will, as a consequence, create the other. It is understandable, but faulty logic.

      We get caught up in our various favorite methods for the “means” and create divisions in the process. If we could focus more on the “ends” we want to achieve, we might find we are more in agreement than we thought.

      I spent time in the computer and telecommunications industry, so I am often tempted to use that as a metaphor. We had a great desire to increase our ability to manage and manipulate data and to communicate it. In the 50s and 60s our most powerful tool was the mainframe computer. If we had been fixed in our conclusion that it was the only tool that could achieve the “ends” we wanted, we would have missed out on the development of personal computers, laptops, and the internet that came along in rudimentary form in the 80s and 90s.

      I see the nascent energy alternatives in the same light. Would we give up our ultra-thin laptop in exchange for a mainframe that costs thousands of times more and occupied a building? Would we rather have the cell phone “bricks” of the late 80s or the capabilities of today’s smartphones?

      We have to be willing to let go of the old in order to embrace the new. The 50s and 60s were an era of centralization, mass production, and mass advertising. Today the model is decentralization, customization, and rapid response. Our current business models reward providing more capability using less mass and less energy at a lower price. Our energy system is beginning to do the same if we will only let it.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    I don’t think coal and manufacturing are coming back – it’s not only globalization – it’s technology and automation.

    What’s happened is that computerization and automation , software, has vastly changed the landscape and far, far outpaced our education system’s ability to adapt and provide the right kind of education for the times. Blue collar, assembly line, manual labor is not dead but it has far, far less jobs and not near enough for all the folks whose basic education is not enough for 21st century jobs.

    These folks are not happy and they expressed their ire in a big way at this election – but “helping” them is going to be a tall order and ironically when the same folks are also saying “get the govt out of our lives”, “no govt goodies”, etc…

    It’s going to be interesting seeing what real solutions come out of the new folks in charge…. I’m a skeptic…but it is clearly what the voters voted for…

    1. Stuff gets made somewhere. Let’s make more here.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        it does get made – but unfortunately a lot of it is now made by machines and robots – and the labor we need is not assembly line labor but folks who know how to make and maintain the machines and robots.

        required 21st century skills are higher level reading , ability to think critically and to work collaboratively to solve problems.

        our schools are still teaching 20th century blue collar skills and that’s why we rank near the bottom of the advance economy nations who are outcompeting our folks for those 21st century global jobs.

        No one wants to tell the workers the truth… and telling them we’re going to bring back those jobs is just denial of those harsh realities.

        People 40 and over who have lost their jobs to automation and technology – it’s cruel to tell them those jobs are coming back instead of telling the truth – they have to re-train –

        .. and govt needs to try to help develop regional job centers to attract our share of the jobs –

        but if we do not have a trained workforce – they’re not going to come…

        nothing would do my heart more good than to hear Trump and the GOP to start to tell our displaced workers this truth – and get on with the things we have to do if we are going to get better.

        it’s a MUST DO – thing or we are going to see more and more men – unemployed, unemployable and getting entitlements…

        there are millions of new jobs.. in the 21st century economy but workers have to be much more highly educated.

  8. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Kinda bummed about the comments here. You have some of the biggest changes coming in the country’s history and you are arguing about whether solar farms are pretty or not. What’s the problem? Too embarrassed to consider Donald Trump who thumbed his nose at the GOP hierarchy and may not be a real conservative?

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” you are arguing about whether solar farms are pretty or not. ”

    well.. more than that – whether or not coal and coal jobs are coming back and solar/renewable credits taken away – and how that reversion would “help” people… more/better than now….

    and then ironically – how govt and govt-favored entities like Dominion could, if lobby-folk prevail, end up squashing – free-market solar!!!

    Trump is POTUS – that’s a reality. We go forward and things will change – no question… (but I suspect not in ways some think), but the sun will still come up every Morn – hopefully to a country that has not been “nuked” as a result of incompetent leadership…

  10. Peter, I’m with you. The nation has elected a beast, and now it’s time to try to ride the tiger and it scares me. But there is the potential for good here.

    Donald Trump is an enigma. He is crude and cruel. His disparagement of intelligent, rational discussion of issues in favor of simplistic stream of consciousness blather is dismissive, condescending, and insulting. It’s also fundamentally contrary to the leadership we expect in a democracy: one that shares and describes our hopes and our fears and tells us how he will get us there and keep us safe in ways we can believe. Wildly unrealistic claims ending with “believe me” do not achieve this for me.

    And yet. What he does do is speak for people who cannot articulate anything but raw emotion. He emotes for them. He becomes their emotional voice. Those emotions are ugly, and visceral, and reflect their economic class and their prejudices. And, he is intelligent enough and now in enough of a bully pulpit to pursue their goals in ways they cannot imagine. We are going to have four years of this leadership.

    The question is, can we selectively tap, or steer, all that emotional energy into the pursuit of things rational people agree would be good for the nation, instead of bad? There are many things bottled up by our political gridlock that desperately need to be done. There are many others that we can only hope do not get done. Donald Trump does not seem to know the difference. Can we channel him in productive ways?

    “We” is our representatives in Congress; specifically, our Virginia representatives in Congress. How do you channel a bully, a narcissist, an extreme egotist, to do what you want him to do? Well, it’s a combination of standing up to him when he goes in the wrong direction, and gross flattery when he does what you want. And “we” have to stay one step ahead of him, understand where and how we are trying to steer him, and ignore the raw emotion that leaks out in so many personally-offensive ways that ultimately don’t hurt the nation. That’s asking a lot from any politician, let alone Congress, these days.

    Building and rebuilding our energy and transportation infrastructure is needed, some of it desperately. Xenophobia and racism do hurt the nation; yet we just elected him knowing this is who he is; how will we stand up to this ugly side of Donald Trump without also facing the people who chose him? Can he pursue a strategic war, as opposed to respond viscerally to a provocation? Torpedoing our international trade agreements will harm us; eliminating the high corporate taxes that drive our businesses off-shore could be tremendously helpful. Eliminating health care for the poor is unthinkable; rewriting the ACA from scratch may be the best possible outcome. And there’s that old concern, how to pay for it all and balance the budget.

    We have been dealt these cards; it’s up to us to play them.

  11. LarrytheG Avatar

    Trumpsters really don’t care what happens .. they got to put a spear into that hated beast.. it’s now badly wounded.. and if it festers, the more the better..

    If Trump throws the finger at some defender of the status-quo or a foreign leader… GREAT! the more kerfuffles the better!

    Not about “reform” – all about rubbing noses in do do

    talk about “disrupt” !!!

  12. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    I supported Gary Johnson, for what little that was worth, because I saw both Trump and Clinton as the worst two candidates I’ve seen in more than 40 years of voting.

    At the same time, there are four large, but still minority in total, groups of voters. Some voted for Clinton because they liked and supported her character and/or positions on issues. Some voted for her as the lesser of two evils. Some voted for Trump because they liked and supported his character and/or positions on issues. Some voted for him as the lesser of two evils.

    For any sort of reconciliation to take place, there needs to be some level of understanding and toleration of the other groups and their beliefs. Notice I said toleration and not respect. This will take time, but I think we need some level of consensus both candidates were very flawed and much worse than the Nation has seen, at least in many, many years, before the anger on all sides cools. And the anger needs to cool before things will start moving again.

  13. This election highlighted how deeply divided we are as a nation and how uncivil we have become. Many people across the political spectrum are aware of the severe dysfunction in our federal system. I am not sure Trump or anyone else can use a broken system to heal our ills. He might be the last example of our nation trying to elect a “savior” so we don’t have to the work ourselves.

    It is time to rely less on “government” and rely more on our humanity. Some solutions must be handled at a national level, but many don’t. We can begin more dialogues in our local communities and have fewer shouting matches. We can recreate our republic from the ground up by having more effective local and state governments which will diminish the grip that special interests of all stripes have on the policies that affect most of us.

    Next year, I am going to investigate with our medical community and local employers how we might create a pay for service program to pay primary care physicians directly rather than through insurance. This could be done in a pre-tax way for businesses and employees and cut the cost of care in half. This is the type of medical care that most people use. Insurance could cover the catastrophic acute care which would lessen that cost also. I’m currently thinking of a community co-op model to keep the costs low. I don’t know if this will work, but it is a way we can improve conditions for our community without waiting for a different flavor of special-interest-sponsored legislation to emerge from Washington.

    “To live is to change; to live well is to change often” – Cardinal Newman

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      @TomH – re: ” It is time to rely less on “government” and rely more on our humanity. . ……………. I am going to investigate with our medical community and local employers how we might create a pay for service program to pay primary care physicians directly rather than through insurance. ”

      Perhaps folks need to re-think what insurance is and is not as a start but insurance is necessary to protect from financial disaster not only for your health but things like auto and home…

      Health insurance HAS morphed into something very different than core/basic insurance that is used only rarely when a casualty/loss occurs. Instead, it has come to be expected to function as a de-facto soup-to-nuts payment service for any/all health care for many folks – who actually see deductibles and co-pays as degradation and damage to the value of their policy.

      That’s for folks that have insurance and especially employer-provided.

      For those who don’t have insurance – it’s visits to doc-in-box for ordinary needs and to the ER for the things beyond what the doc-in-boxes can handle.

      I still maintain – that if we had a system of electronic medical records for each of us – it would empower people to be able to seek care wherever they thought best – secure that the chosen provider would, with their permission, access their encrypted – complete medical record and history which would reduce the need for duplicative tests and treatment limited because of a lack of medical history of the patient and allow the provider to focus on the better options – as well as more cost-effective, less wasteful options.

  14. LarrytheG Avatar

    good luck on that. I don’t think it will happen and it’s not about Democrats… it’s about what Republican factions are willing to compromise among themselves …

    I think you’re going to see an internecine war in the GOP with the Dems off to the side..

    Two big issues – health care and immigration – the GOP is unable to agree on a unified position even when they already had both houses of Congress.

    I don’t think adding Trump to that mix – makes it better but actually worse and especially so if Trumps positions have changed.. from what he promised in the campaign.

    The Dems are out of it unless the GOP is so split that one faction and/or Trump tries to make a deal with the Dems…

    there are factions in the GOP that are not going to compromise.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      On immigration, I think there would be a much greater likelihood of legislation if the existing rules were enforced and chiefly against employers. Had Obama refused to become Mr. Open Borders, but had aggressively protected them and deported new arrivals, he could have shamed Congress into passing legislation. But he didn’t and, as such, had no credibility whatsoever. He also could have sued employers that are not using E-Verify or that hire knowing or with reason to know they were hiring people without authorization to work.

      The other area that needs addressing is H1B visas. They are being used to keep down wages for U.S. tech workers. Make it illegal to obtain a visa unless the job pays $100 K or more. I think that, with aggressive enforcement-the kind that upsets the elites, the American public would support laws that allowed long-term illegal immigrants who otherwise followed the rules to stay.

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