Iowa Poll Sets Stage For Marco Rubio Surge

On the eve of the first primary of the 2016 presidential election cycle, the Des Monies Register has released its most recent poll results.  The poll of likely caucus-goers holds some interesting revelations as to who could emerge with momentum after Monday’s vote.

The most interesting numbers have to do with Marco Rubio whose campaign has been hampered by a split in the mainstream republican vote among several candidates.

The poll shows that Marco Rubio is the second choice among mainstream republican voters with 21% saying they support the Florida Senator.  The leader among the mainstream is Donald Trump at 34%.

Thirty-eight percent of likely GOP caucus-goers identify themselves as primarily mainstream, rather than tea party or evangelical conservative, and Trump does better than any other candidate with 34 percent of their support. Rubio is next at 21 percent. Cruz gets only 10 percent of these voters. via De Moines Register

Interestingly Ted Cruz came in third among those who identified themselves as mainstream republicans at 10%.

Marco Rubio scored the second highest image rating in the poll at 70% just behind Dr. Ben Carson at 72%. That positive image has made Rubio the second choice among voters in nearly every category.

This sets the stage for Marco Rubio to have a surge in the Iowa caucus.  If support waivers for the other candidates Rubio will benefit.

A last-minute change of heart could happen. Rubio, Cruz and Carson are among the only candidates with a positive favorability rating. Further he is one of only a handful of candidates whose supporters are enthusiastic about him becoming the nominee. On the down side less than half of Rubio’s supporters

If Rubio could skim a point or two from the other candidates it could be enough to give him a strong second place finish in Iowa with serious momentum going into the New Hampshire primary next week.

A second place finish by Rubio would likely spell the end for a couple of campaigns who are depending on the same group of voters to give them an impressive finish on Monday. Added incentive for Rubio to finish strong as he could pick up support in the primaries ahead  from those candidates who drop out .

GOP Debate: Winners, Losers and What We Learned

It is starting to get hot on the Republican Primary campaign trail as the top tier of candidates solidify their support for the upcoming caucus in Iowa. In an effort to cull the herd of hopefuls, the Republican National committee has scheduled a gauntlet of debates that has become more about attrition than policy discussion.

What gave this debate a more interest than some of the others was its proximity to the Iowa Caucus on the campaign calendar. At least four or five of the candidates in this debate field probably won’t be on the debate stage next time around. So for some it was an audition for Vice President while others made a last attempt at shoring up support in hopes of a surprise showing in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Winners

The two front runners earned that title as they traded barbs and held off attacks by some of the other candidates. Pundits questioned whether Donald Trump would be able to stand up to the increased scrutiny that would come with fewer candidates on the main debate stage. The Donald answered the call with a solid response on the trade war with China while refusing to back down on his controversial stand against Muslims.

Mr. Trump might have had the line of the night when he asked if he was angry. Trump replied my saying that “I will wear the mantle of anger”, a line that will score big points with his base of support.

Senator Ted Cruz also had a big night. He successfully fended off questions about his birth status and recent stories about mishandled campaign filings. He also was successful in restating his position on National Defense and earned some cheers from the crowd when he talked about how he would have handled the recent capture of American Sailors.

Losers

Dr. Ben Carson had another lack luster GOP debate performance which was highlighted by his complaints that he wasn’t getting enough airtime. Carson failed to cover any new ground and stayed away from the serious policy debates about taxes and the trade deficit.

Jeb Bush was also largely ineffective using the same tired talking points that have him dropping in the polls. Bush keeps floating a message that is just not getting any traction leaving some to wonder why he is still in the race.

What We Learned

During and exchange Senator Ted Cruz suggested that Donald Trump might make a good Vice President on his ticket. Trump said that he would probably “go back to building buildings if this doesn’t work out.”

As far as potential Vice Presidents two candidate stood apart in tonight’s GOP debate. Carly Fiorina showed off the impressive debate and interview skills that could be an asset on the campaign trail. John Kasich solid answers on policy and strong track record as Ohio governor make him a strong VP choice.

Read Related Post: Fiorina Shines In Debate

GOP Debate: Carly Fiorina Shines Again

Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum Shine in Undercard GOP Debate

In what could be their last chance on the GOP debate stage, Rick Santorum and Carly Fiorina had some memorable lines in the undercard debate for the Republicans.

One of the best lines came from Fiorina when she accused President Obama of having a “Bromance” with Russian President Vladamir Putin referring to the Obama administrations recent dealing with the quasi-dictator.

For his part, Santorum looked reinvigorated in front of friendly crowd.  He referred to South Carolina as his “home away from home” because he has two sons attending the Citadel Military College.  The comfort level showed as Santorum had his best debate effort to date.

In closing remarks Rick Santorum made the case that he was the only candidate in the field to have a winning track record against Hillary Clinton citing a senate debate in which a Bill he was arguing for passed.  Mike Huckabee pointed out that he also has experience battling the Clinton political machine during his time as Arkansas governor.

Although non of the candidates did anything to hurt themselves their performances are inconsequential at this point unless one of the “mainstage” debaters step on a land mine.  With the Iowa Caucuses just 18 days away, its hard to imagine any of the undercard candidates building enough support  to stay in the race.

The real value in this debate for Fiorina is to audition as a potential Vice Presidential Candidate.  Because the Republicans suffer from the false perception that they lack diversity in the party. Fiorina could be an attractive choice for Vice President.

Not only does Fiorina offer diversity to a potential presidential ticket, she has shown the ability to serve as an attack dog for the Republican nominee.   A strong women on the ticket could take the “war on women” attack off the table for the Democrats.

Expect the Republican field to become much more focused after the Iowa caucuses on February 1st and New Hampshire Primary on February 20th.  The candidates who have been running toward the back of the pack will be forced to drop out as fund raising becomes more difficult as Super Tuesday draws near.

 

Think Obamacare Doesn’t Affect You? Think Again

Even If You Don’t Get A Subsidy,  Obamacare Affects You

Open enrollment season is coming to an end. People all of the country are tucking away their insurance cards as dreams of government subsidies dance through their heads. And as the Obama administration touts the success of the program, many Americans who get more traditional coverage through their employer are turning an apathetic ear.

Those Americans who have insurance through an employer are under the impression the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) doesn’t affect them because they are not getting a subsidy. As a result they have tuned out the debate over health care coverage.

If you are one of those people that think that the Obamacare law doesn’t affect you, this post will give you a few reason to think again.

Stifling Patient Choice

Lost in all the noise about mandated health insurance coverage is the fact the Affordable Care Act completely changed the way Hospital systems and physicians are reimbursed.

At the Hospital level, the reimbursement system changed to a focus on individual outcomes rather than the number of patients and the time in which they are treated. Now insurances are looking for whether or not hospitals are evaluating patients for all possible health issues that could cause a readmission. That includes anticipating medical needs the patient might have after discharge form the hospital.

In general, if a patient is readmitted within 30 days the hospital system receives a penalty imposed on future reimbursement. The system includes the hospital and all of the doctors that work within it.

This change in focus has resulted in massive changes in healthcare systems. Because Hospitals are forced to anticipate future healthcare needs of patients, they have been expanding into other services like home care, hospice and even nursing homes.

By doing this hospitals hope to avoid readmission by controlling where patients are referred after discharge. This can stifle patient choice if patients lack knowledge about the services to which they are being referred.

Read Related Story: Hi-jacked Healthcare and How I Regained Control

Restricted Hospital Admissions

In order to be Re-admitted to the Hospital you have to be admitted in the first place. That is why now more than ever Hospitals are careful about who they actually admit to the hospital. Many people don’t know that when a patient goes to the emergency room they are not actually admitted to the Hospital. Emergency falls into a type of outpatient care where admission to the hospital is not necessary.

Because of the focus on outcomes, Hospitals are now increasingly careful which patients they actually admit for inpatient care. If there isn’t a clear positive outcome, hospitals may resist admitting a patient in order to avoid a re-admission later on.

The difference between admission and outpatient treatment is a key distinction for insurance companies. Some tests and treatments aren’t covered if given on an outpatient basis. Hospital admission is also trigger for insurance coverage of other services like Sub-Acute Rehab. If a visit to the ER turns into an overnight stay, don’t assume you have been admitted, ask the attending physician.

We Are All Stakeholders

Even if you don’t receive a direct subsidy for your healthcare coverage, Affordable Care Act regulations have most definitely effected your company’s health care insurance policies. Whether it be an increase in premium or change in enrollment procedures this law effects everyone.

It is silly to think that universal healthcare coverage will be repealed, no matter who wins the white house in 2016. That is why it is important to be aware of the changes in our healthcare system and they effect the average American. If the country is going to get universal healthcare coverage right, we need the input from every American.