OppCast is a weekly podcast from Opportunity News Media that cracks through the surface of political commentary to reveal the people, stories and passions behind the headlines. With commentary from elected officials, gang leaders, preachers, writers, business executives, activists and everyone in between, we flesh out the bare bones political noise for your listening pleasure.

The Health Care Autopsy Episode

With the explosion of the American Health Care Act now nearly a full week behind us, one question remains: What now?

Mixed signals from the White House, the uncertain fate of tax reform, and a health care system still on a downward slope means the issue can’t simply be swept under the rug. Listen in as we dissect what went wrong and how Conservatives can navigate the shaky waters ahead. That’s why we’ve brought in Ryan Ellis, Forbes contributor co-founder of the Repeal Coalition, to dissect what went wrong and how Conservatives can navigate the shaky waters ahead.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Speaker Paul Ryan Says Price Bill Will Be Obamacare Replacement

In an exclusive interview on this week’s OppCast, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) outlined a GOP replacement to Obamacare, explaining that the Republican alternative will largely resemble the comprehensive the Empowering Patients First Act introduced by now-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, M.D.

As for what kind of political climate such a bill will face, we bring in Lanhee Chen of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University to outline the brass tacks.

Ryan dropped in to discuss one of his most overlooked passion projects: helping poverty fighters on the ground level all across the country. In a conversation that spanned his work with those fighting the heroin epidemic in Ohio, to curbing gang violence in Dallas, Ryan gave a broad look at where opportunity conservatism can take the nation moving forward.

A key proponent of that, of course, is health care.

“We’re basically putting into law the Price plan as our replace plan,” Speaker Ryan explained to Opportunity Lives. “It’s very similar to the bill that Tom Price has worked on for so many years, that many conservatives co-sponsored last year.

Secretary Price, who previously served as the House Committee on the Budget chairman, represented Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District from 2005 to 2017, introduced his patient-centered alternative to Obamacare prior to President Obama’s signature law passing, and he reintroduced it every subsequent Congress.Empowering Patients First even garnered a Senate companion bill from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Even as the media insist Republicans have no plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, Speaker Ryan’s announcement that the replacement bill would be built upon Secretary Price’s longstanding bill provide insight into the guiding philosophy of a GOP-driven, patient-centered reform package.

Contrary to breathless media reports insinuating Republicans have lost the political will to repeal and replace Obamacare, Speaker Ryan says that House Republicans remain as committed as ever to undoing the law and reforming the system in a way that works for patients.

“We’re moving to this next right now in Congress. We’re on track. We’re on our schedule. Our plan was always this spring to take on the repeal and replace of Obamacare, so we haven’t changed a thing,” Speaker Ryan reiterated. “I notice there’s a lot of white noise in the press on this, but we’re as committed as ever before.”

Rare bill offers a bi-partisan effort to fight poverty

The decision, for Rep. Pat Tiberi (R – OH), was clear and simple: either he got bipartisan support for his bill or his bill would be pointless.

That’s what makes Tiberi, and all lawmakers involved in the creation of the Investing in Opportunity Act, so unique. Their insistence upon consensus in an age of polarization almost sounds old-fashioned, considering our modern climate. Indeed, coming from a Republican Congressman tucked cozily in a Republican-controlled House, the notion that bi-partisan support is vital may sound a little strange – crazy, even.

But this bill has a very big goal – revitalizing the pockets of America that have seen little to no economic resurgence since the Great Recession – and to accomplish that goal, Tiberi said he and his colleagues needed all the consensus they could get.

That’s why liberal Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) hopped onboard with the effort: because even though incentivizing private enterprises to boost economic investment in economically-distressed communities doesn’t totally jive with the Democratic Party’s penchant for government intervention, it is nevertheless an idea worth trying.

And when most of the loudest voices on the Left are screaming for total gridlock in Washington, such efforts are laudable.

“One of the things I historically knew, but certainly learned form my time in watching the Democrats in how they passed the Affordable Care Act, is that if you don’t historically have bipartisan buy-in, it’s much more difficult to sustain and have longterm support for a program,” Tiberi said in this week’s episode of OppCast.

To use a sports analogy, the bill in question would level the playing field for investment opportunities. For instance, let’s say there is a match-up between the New England Patriots, this year’s Super Bowl Champs, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, this year’s… well, let’s just say their record was not great this year. Given that the Patriots will surely trounce the Jaguars, anyone betting on the lesser team would expect a greater payout, right?

But in the world of investing, there is no such arrangement, no re-set corresponding reward for risk when choosing which communities to invest in, and so investors are dissuaded from putting their money in risky areas – like these economically-distressed pockets all across the country. With no incentive to invest in these areas, the communities continue on a downward trend, and the wealth gap yawns ever wider.

That’s where the Investing in Opportunity Act comes into play. The bill, as outlined a recent Forbes piece, would function in three key aspects:

-Establish “Opportunity Zones” in each state in which investors would be incentivized to deploy capital in new and small businesses

-Make it easier for investors to roll existing capital into “Opportunity Funds” that could be invested in early-stage businesses

-And encourage long-term investor commitments by eliminating capital gains for certain types of investments.

With so much money not being invested, so many opportunities not being leaped upon, it becomes clear why this bill, unlike so many others, has support across both sides of the aisle: it makes logical sense.

Still, with an increasing number of extreme voices in both parties appealing to our nation’s baser concerns, such an even-keeled bill may not survive the tumult.

“But we have to try,” Tiberi said, “and we’ll keep on trying no matter what.”

Black America and education reform

Today marks the last day of School Choice Week 2017, a nationwide celebration with more than 21,000 events in all 50 state. But even though the uplifting message of the week is stronger than ever, we want to break down why all these rallying cries absolutely must be transformed into real political action. That’s why we’re bringing you a special American Enterprise Institute presentation by Professor Howard Fuller of Marquette University, who will explain the role of race and class in modern education reform.

How one DC mother rose out of welfare and taught her daughter “to soar”

To kick off 2017, we bring you a special story of hope. When Crystal Jenkins got pregnant with her daughter in the projects of Washington DC, she had no home, no job and no hope for a better future. Drugs, crime and poverty plagued her life, but her daughter gave Crystal the strength to dream. Now she says her daughter “will have what I never had, she’ll know she can do anything she wants in this life, she’ll know she can soar…” Listen to find out how she did it.

What’s the future of polling?

When so many polls got it so wrong this past November, is polling dead as we know it? We sit down with Kristen Anderson, co-host of the Pollsters podcast, to understand exactly what went wrong and how pollsters are adapting to the changing political landscape.

The Reckoning

It’s finally here. Election day. The final reckoning. As the clock ticks down to zero hour, we sit down to run through the last minute numbers, talking points and demographics (and discuss what we’ll each be drinking on election night). Join us on the lifeboat.

How to get people back to work

This week on OppCast, we break down just what it takes to get people back to work in this country: from policymakers who are plowing ahead on initiatives that will fight poverty across the nation, to passionate volunteers and ministry workers who are helping to transition individuals toward a life of pride and self-sustainability.

Fuel up your political knowledge before the last stop

Hey, you there… so it’s Monday morning, long work week ahead, we know how it is. That’s why on this week’s OppCast, we lay out everything you need to know in politics for this home stretch of election season. From what we’ve learned since the debate, to how online hacking is shaping partisan politics, we’ll get your week started with a strong, caffeinated dose of opportunity.

Comeback: OL Hits the Road

This week on OppCast, we introduce listeners to our Comeback documentary series. With a focus on revealing the people and their stories at the ground level of America today, Comeback charts a course for a new way to address our nation’s toughest, most entrenched social problems.