Category Archives: Economics

John McCain puts zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill on life support

All of your efforts have paid off with Senator John McCain. The Arizona Republic reports Sen. John McCain will vote against Graham-Cassidy health-care bill:

For the second time in two months, Sen. John McCain is giving the thumbs down to his fellow Republicans’ efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain, R-Ariz., announced Friday in a written statement. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.

“Without a full CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

McCain added that he took “no pleasure in announcing my opposition,” particularly because one of the bill’s authors, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is one of his best friends.

“I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I,” McCain said.

Jimmy Kimmel tweeted his thanks to Senator McCain.

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Kochbot Governor Ducey supports harming health care for Arizonans

Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, supports the zombie ‘Trumpcare” bill despite not knowing — nor caring — about what This Republican health-care bill that is the most monstrous yet.

Let’s be clear: Tea-Publicans do not care about health care — they have been trying to repeal Medicare/Medicaid since it was first enacted — this zombie bill is not about health care at all. It is about freeing up revenue to give “the biggest tax cut in history” (per our Dear Leader) to corporations and the Plutocrats whom Tea-Publicans serve. Senate Republicans Embrace Plan for $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut: Senate Republicans, abandoning a key fiscal discipline doctrine, agreed on Tuesday to move forward on a budget that would add to the already $20 trillion federal deficit in order to pave the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.

The Koch brothers’ private political operation largely supplanted the Republican National Committee last year. It’s right-wing millionaire and billionaire donors do not give a damn about the health care of their fellow American citizens, they only care about one thing: they want the tax cuts they paid for through campaign donations to the GOP, so they can redistribute wealth from the undeserving poor to the elite Plutocrat class. Behind New Obamacare Repeal Vote: ‘Furious’ G.O.P. Donors. They want to accumulate all of the money. And Governor Doug Ducey is the loyal lickspittle servant of the Koch brothers. After all, it was unlimited  Koch dark money that got him elected governor.

The Arizona Capitol Times reported on how our clueless Kochbot governor Ducey defends support of Graham-Cassidy:

Gov. Doug Ducey is defending his support for the latest bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he has no idea how much federal aid that would cost the state and how many Arizonans would lose health care.

But the governor said he remains convinced that what comes next will be better than what exists now, even without yet knowing the effect on the state and its residents.

The words “reckless” and “irresponsible” come to mind.

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Little Lindsey Graham is lying his ass off about his zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill

Senator John McCain’s puppet boy, Little Lindsey Graham, got his panties in a bunch yesterday when a reporter asked Senator Bill Cassidy about Jimmy Kimmel saying that he”lied to his face” about what he wanted in his health care bill, and that the Graham-Cassidy zombie “Trumpcare” bill fails the “Cassidy Test” (aka “Kimmel Test”).

I do declare! How dare he impugn the honor of Senator Cassidy. He has offended my genteel Southern sensibilities. Hand me my dueling glove so I can challenge this scalawag to a duel!”

Even our Twitter-troll-in-chief took to Twitter to say Senator Cassidy “does not lie.” When the world’s biggest liar is your character witness as to your veracity, you have a serious credibility problem.

Caitlin Owens of Axiox.com reports, Repeal first, ask questions later: “If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it. And one of them isn’t Lindsey Graham,” a senior GOP aide told Caitlin.

So Little Lindsey Graham either doesn’t know what his bill will actually do, or he and Senator Cassidy are the lying sacks of shit that Jimmy Kimmel says they are. The fact checkers are going with the later. You want to duel you cracker, let’s duel!

ABC News reports Fact check: Sen. Bill Cassidy on his health care bill assertions:

Below are four statements by Cassidy about the legislation and our analyses of them, based on conversations with health care experts.

Statement: “There will be more folks covered under this bill than the status quo, and it protects people with pre-existing conditions.” — ABC News interview

Fact check: The Graham-Cassidy bill would scrap the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance — the crux of Obamacare, anathema to its opponents — meaning people would no longer be penalized for not having insurance.

James Capretta, a fellow with the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, told ABC News that the absence of the individual mandate means it would be “highly, highly unlikely” more people would be covered under Graham-Cassidy than under current law.

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A morally bankrupt political party hellbent on denying medical care to millions of Americans

The Trump administration has expanded its sabotage efforts of “Obamacare” into a full-scale undermining of the American healthcare system. Under Trump, Obamacare outreach groups face budget cuts as high as 98%:

The Trump administration has informed government-funded Obamacare outreach groups of deep impending budget cuts next year, with some nonprofits having budgets slashed by as much as 98 percent.

The Health and Human Services Department announced August 31 that it would cut funding for the health law’s in-person assistance program by 41 percent. Late Wednesday night, the administration sent each group its individual budget. It shows widespread variation in how big those funding cuts will be.

Last year’s budget for the navigator program ran out on September 1. This year’s grants were released just before midnight on September 13, meaning that the outreach groups went two weeks with no funding at all. This led to some groups laying off workers or shutting down operations entirely.

Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a new report showing that Trump is making Obamacare premiums more expensive:

The Trump administration’s management of Obamacare is causing higher premiums and lower enrollment in the individual market, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds.

The nonpartisan office estimates that average premiums in the health law marketplaces will be 15 percent higher next year “largely because of short-term market uncertainty — in particular, insurers’ uncertainty about whether federal funding for certain subsidies that are currently available will continue to be provided.”

The CBO also estimates that there will be less competition in the marketplaces next year, which it also attributes to the uncertain federal environment surrounding the health law’s future.

The subsidies the CBO refers to are the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which cover copays and deductibles for low-income health care enrollees. The Trump administration has not said whether it will continue to pay these subsidies next year, causing many insurance plans to raise their premiums to prevent any possible shortfall in revenue.

The CBO also points to “announced reductions in federal advertising, outreach, and other enrollment efforts” as additional factors that will make Obamacare sign-ups smaller next year than they otherwise would have been.

President Trump has often described the Affordable Care Act as “imploding on its own.” The CBO report suggests this isn’t the case at all; rather, the Trump administration is making specific policy decisions that are leading to an individual market that will be less functional, with fewer people signed up and higher premiums for those who do enroll.

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(Update) Action Alert: you have until September 30 to kill this zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill

Yesterday I posted an Action Alert: you have until September 30 to kill this zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill.

Steve Benen doubles down on this action alert today. Senate Dems issue a ‘red alert’ on Republican repeal efforts:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a “red alert” to health care advocates late Friday, and we’ve seen similar sentiments from Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand‏ (D-N.Y.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.). Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told health care proponents, “Drop what you are doing to start calling, start showing up, start descending on DC.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been focused on his single-payer proposal, but he added yesterday, “Our immediate concern is to beat back yet another disastrous Republican proposal to throw millions of people off health insurance.”

Among opinion leaders, progressive voices like the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and the New York Times’ Paul Krugman both devoted their columns today to warning the public that the threat to the existing health care system is quite real.

Dylan Scott at Vox.com reports that Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, has announced his support for the zombie “Trumpcare” bill — before he has any idea of what its effects are — potentially giving cover to Senator John McCain to once again demonstrate that he is not a man of principles — “regular order! “– but a partisan political hack. John McCain might have just received permission to vote for Obamacare repeal:

The Senate’s longshot Obamacare repeal bill gained more momentum Monday after receiving a big endorsement: Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

The governor’s position matters because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has said his governor’s support was necessary for the senator to back the plan, which would bring it one vote closer to the magical number of 50.

Ducey said that he would support the bill from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would turn much of Obamacare’s funding into block grants for states with few strings attached. The bill would also place a federal spending cap on Medicaid, which is jointly funded by the states and feds, for the first time. That has caused many governors, who administer Medicaid, to balk.

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Anti-Public School Lecture Set at Koch-Funded UofA Class in Tucson

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

The Koch Brothers “Freedom Center” lecture against public education and in favor of privatization of education is set for Thursday, Sept. 21 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

The lecture, entitled “Public Goods and Education,” will be delivered by libertarian professor Jonathan Anomaly in Social Sciences 332 from 12:30 to 1:45 pm on Sept. 21. Anomaly was imported in 2017 from Duke University, where he founded the Heterodox Academy website, set up to fight a perceived liberal bias in universities.

Because the lecture is political propaganda, it has caused concern among Tucson’s elected leaders. The Koch Brothers’ extreme right-wing agenda has sabotaged public education in the state and promoted school vouchers to funnel taxpayer money into for-profit private and religious schools.

In August, more than 111,000 Arizona parents and voters signed petitions circulated by Save Our Schools Arizona in opposition to a new state law creating school vouchers that undermine public schools. The measure to veto the law is set to be on a referendum ballot in November 2018.

The abstract of Assistant Professor Anomaly’s talk describes education as a “good,” like a box of cereal, which students “consume.” The lecture makes a bogus economic analysis of  “markets for education,” as if it were a product to be bought and sold.

The lecture is a diatribe against unions and “bureaucrats with monopoly power.” It is a clear example of how dark money politics are subverting higher education in Arizona.
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