Category Archives: Budgets

CBO: Trump sabotage of ‘Obamacare’ would send premiums and the deficit skyward

The Trump administration is going to have to file a status report in House v. Price regarding its position on the continuation of cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies under “Obamacare.”

On August 1, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion for leave to intervene filed by several state attorneys general and the District of Columbia. As part of that order, the Court ordered “the case shall continue to be held in abeyance. Appellee, appellants, and intervenors are directed to file status reports at 90-day intervals.” A status report was due on or about August 22 after a continuation in May.

[T]his bizarre lawsuit could still blow up the ACA insurance markets:

A pending court case, House v. Price (née House v. Burwell — and so much turns on the name change), has given the administration a bomb it could use to blow up insurance markets across the country. At stake is the legality of the payments the federal government makes to insurance companies to help cover the medical expenses of low-income people.

If Obama’s appeal continues, then the payments continue. But if President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions were to decide not to continue the appeal, that’s a game changer.

By moving to defuse House v. Price, the Trump administration could signal that it means to make the best of Obamacare. At the same time, however, the case may represent the last best chance to rip the statute up from the roots. Skittish insurers are watching closely to see what the administration will do. Time is short: Insurers will have to decide very soon whether they want to participate on Obamacare’s exchanges in 2018.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Even more insurers could withdraw from the public marketplaces where more than 10 million Americans obtained coverage last year.

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States can intervene to prevent GOP subterfuge on ‘Obamacare’ cost sharing reduction subsidies

There is a status report due to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later this month in the case of House v. Price (née House v. Burwell), a bizarre lawsuit that could still blow up the ACA insurance markets:

House v. Price offers a back door to undoing Obamacare’s exchanges.

To destabilize the ACA insurance markets, all the administration would have to do is dismiss its appeal and stop fighting the case. At that point, the district court’s injunction — its order to stop making the illegal cost-reimbursement payments —would spring into effect.

Faced with enormous financial losses, many insurers would flee the market. Recall that the Affordable Care Act would still require insurers to cut their low-income enrollees a break — it’s just that insurers wouldn’t get reimbursed. The only way to make the numbers work would be to jack up premiums on everyone. In that scenario, the Urban Institute estimates that premiums would rise, on average, by $1,040, and that hundreds of thousands of people would lose coverage.

On Tuesday, the court permitted a coalition of state attorneys general to intervene in the lawsuit to prevent this GOP subterfuge between president Trump and the Tea-Publican Congress to sabotage “Obamacare.” Court ruling could help keep Obamacare subsidies:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that could help preserve a key subsidy that benefits health insurers and millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act. The ruling could make it more difficult for the White House to carry out recent threats by President Trump to cut off the payments, giving legal standing to a new set of the payments’ ­defenders.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a coalition of 16 state attorneys general, all of whom want to preserve the subsidies, may intervene in the appeal of a lawsuit over the fate of cost-sharing subsidies — payments the government makes to insurers on behalf of about 7 million low-income Americans who receive breaks on their health plans’ deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

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The rehabilitation of Martha McSally as a mythical moderate Republican begins

Oh, this is rich. Rep. Martha McSally, who rallied House GOP members to pass House Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act in the House with the battle cry of “Let’s get this fucking thing done!”, has now joined a bipartisan House group to stabilize “Obamacare.”

This is like the arsonist who burns your house to the ground and then pretends to be a hero by rescuing you from the fire she set. And the GOP-friendly media in Arizona is playing along with McSally’s attempt to rehabilitate her image by again pretending that McSally is a mythical moderate Republican when she votes with Donald Trump’s agenda nearly 100% of the time.

The Arizona Republic reports, With GOP health-care efforts in tatters, 3 Arizona lawmakers want a bipartisan fix:

[T]hree Arizona members of Congress have joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to shore up a portion of the nation’s insurance system.

A proposal released Monday by the 43-member Problem Solvers Caucus would effectively guarantee insurance subsidies for the individual markets and exempt more businesses from mandated health coverage.

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally helped craft the bipartisan plan for the Republicans as a way to help stabilize the individual markets, which face a deadline next month for setting premium levels even as President Donald Trump has suggested he may withhold subsidies to them.

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John McCain casts the decisive vote to kill GOP ‘Obamacare’ repeal; now comes more GOP sabotage

When a politician does the right thing, a rare occurrence these days, I will give them the credit and respect they deserve.

In a totally unexpected move early this morning, Senator John McCain in the end did the right thing, joining two GOP women stalwarts, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, to defeat evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s ultimate act of legislative malpractice to repeal “Obamacare.”

Thank you Senator McCain. After all the calls and emails to the senator’s office that you all have made over the past several weeks, today I would urge you to do the same to offer a word of thanks to the senator. And do the same for Sens. Collins and Murkowski.

The New York Times reports, Senate Rejects Health Law Repeal, With McCain Casting the Decisive ‘No’ Vote:

The Senate in the early hours of Friday morning rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.

The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.

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Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s final desperate act to repeal ‘Obamacare’ (updated)

The straight repeal of “Obamacare,” the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, a policy that Tea-Publicans had voted for over 60 times in the past seven years when they used it as a bludgeon against Democrats and campaign fundraising talking point to the GOP crazy base — secure in the knowledge that their ideological antics would never actually become law — failed spectacularly in the Senate on Wednesday on a vote of 45 to 55, with seven Republicans (including Sen. John McCain) and all Democrats voting to block it. The latest vote to repeal Obamacare fails in the Senate.

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is down to his final desperate act to repeal “Obamacare,” the so-called “skinny repeal” bill that has yet to be drafted in secret in the dark recesses of McConnell’s star chamber,  a bill strategically designed to attract 50 GOP senate votes so that Vice President Mike Pence can, once again, break the tie vote to pass anything in the Senate to get it to a House-Senate conference committee.

Andrew Prokop at Vox.com provides analysis, Republicans’ last-ditch plan to save their health bill, explained in 500 words:

Republican leaders now have one last-ditch plan to keep their effort to repeal Obamacare alive.

Senate leaders’ new plan is to try to pass a simple, stripped-down “skinny repeal” bill that gets rid of just a few Obamacare provisions — like the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax — while leaving the bulk of the law in place.

We don’t yet know whether skinny repeal will pass the Senate, or whether enough Senate Republicans will unify around some alternative proposal that can squeak through. We don’t even yet know what, exactly, would be in a skinny repeal bill.

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D-day for Health Care Vote in Senate (updated)

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is forcing a procedural vote today to advance an “Obamacare” repeal and “Trumpcare” replacement, even though there is no bill that senators have had a chance to read and review, even as late as this morning.

Adding to the drama, Sen. John McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer, is flying back to Washington for the vote so that he can cast a vote to take health care away from 20-30 million Americans, including more than 400,000 of his own Arizona constituents. It takes a real “hero” to do that.  He will also vote to blow up the health insurance markets by reintroducing segregation of the health insurance market, one for the young and healthy, and one for the old and sick with pre-existing conditions, with higher deductibles and premiums that make health insurance unaffordable to the latter group. All for the purpose of giving the wealthiest Americans another undeserved tax break (the real purpose of these GOP bills). Such a “maverick” from a man who enjoys the best health care in the world. Cynical old bastard.

The New York Times reports, Senate Braces for Health Showdown With McCain on Hand but a Plan Unclear:

Senate Republican leaders, keeping alive their push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, are barreling toward a showdown vote on Tuesday to begin debating a repeal of the health law. And Senator John McCain announced Monday night that he will be on hand to cast his vote, despite a diagnosis of brain cancer.

Before Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, announced that he was jetting in to cast what is expected to be a vote in favor of starting debate, President Trump spent Monday ratcheting up pressure on Republican senators to get onboard. Mr. Trump criticized their inaction and warned that they risked betraying seven years’ worth of promises to raze and revamp the health law if they did not.

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Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, countered, “No matter how many ways President Trump tries to twist or hide the truth, the facts won’t change: The Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver for millions of Americans.”

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