Category Archives: Economics

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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Senate showdown on ‘Obamacare’ repeal set for Tuesday

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote on Tuesday in his last ditch strategy to repeal Obamacare:

Talking is no longer working. It’s time to vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking the rare step of forcing his members to take a tough vote on an Obamacare repeal bill, H.R. 1628 (115), that is on track to fail, making them own their votes.

Senior Senate Republicans believe the high-profile vote expected Tuesday — followed by conservative backlash over the GOP’s failure to fulfill its seven-year campaign pledge — might provoke enough heat from the base to bring senators back to the negotiating table.

It seems like a long shot. But McConnell may be playing the long game — making his members walk the plank not as an act of desperation but as part of a strategy that just might work. He’s used it before to get what he wants.

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If the strategy doesn’t bring senators back to the table, the vote could demarcate a decisive end to at least the public Obamacare repeal debate for some time. That would allow the Senate, which has already spent two months trying to dismantle and replace the health law, to move on and notch some legislative wins [or not]. Many are more than ready to turn to other priorities, like tax reform.

Still, holding a doomed vote is unusual for McConnell, who typically goes to great lengths to protect his members from politically difficult votes.

“Everybody has to be held personally accountable,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who has been furiously whipping the repeal effort. “Everybody is a good enough politician that if they’ve got a reason to justify their vote, they’ll be able to sell that.”

The vote Tuesday will be to start debate on Obamacare repeal. But it is unclear as of now which bill would serve as the actual policy — an extremely unusual move. McConnell said earlier this week the Senate would vote on a repeat of a 2015 bill that repealed much of the health care law. Since then, senators have floated the idea of voting on multiple options, including repeal, the Senate’s repeal-and-replace measure or a combination of these and other policies.

That would be moot if the Senate doesn’t even vote to start debate.

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The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

The Yin and Yang mosaic

The Yin and Yang.

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

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CBO: repeal of ‘ObamaCare’ results in 32 million uninsured and a massive premium spike

Tea-Publicans think THIS is a good idea and will vote on it in the Senate next week: The new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report says repealing “ObamaCare” without a replacement would result in 32 million people losing their insurance in the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. CBO: ObamaCare repeal without replace would cost 32 million insurance:

The bill would also massively increase insurance premiums. According to CBO, average premiums would increase by about 25 percent in 2018 alone. The increase would reach about 50 percent in 2020, and premiums would about double by 2026, CBO said.

The GOP health care plan: “Perhaps you should die and decrease the surplus population.” These people are amoral and inhumane. Not only should they be kicked out of office, but Dante needs to create a new ring of Hell in his Inferno where these people can endure a fitting punishment for all eternity.

‘Trumpcare’ failure, and more to follow

Well resisters, last night two unlikely Tea-Publicans, Mike Lee (UT) and Jerry Moran (KS), announced their opposition to evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s abominable Senate bill to repeal and replace “Obamacare” with  a mean-spirited “Trumpcare.” Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect:

Two more Republican senators declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing, for now, a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The announcement by the senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, left their leaders at least two votes short of the number needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.

With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders now have two options.

They can try to rewrite it in a way that can secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, given the complaints by the defecting senators. Or they can work with Democrats on a narrower measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge.

WRONG! Tea-Publicans will do what they always do: retaliate out of spite and vindictiveness, and continue to sabotage “Obamacare”:

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, conceded Monday night that “the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He outlined plans to vote now on a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with it taking effect later. That has almost no chance to pass, however, since it could leave millions without insurance and leave insurance markets in turmoil.

A “clean” repeal effort was rejected in January for a “repeal and replace” plan because Tea-Publicans did not have the votes for a clean repeal then; it is far less likely they have the votes now. (Of course, our Rep. Martha McSally is at the ready to lead the GOP over the insanity cliff with her battle cry of “Let’s get this fucking thing done!“)

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Sen. John McCain forces delay of vote on Senate ‘Trumpcare’ bill

So Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, is an expected “yeah” vote then? McCain’s Surgery Will Delay Senate Votes on Health Care Bill. Even though McCain is Concerned Over Medicaid Cuts In Draft Of Senate Health Care Bill? (Read his Statement).

The CBO won’t have Monday score for Senate healthcare bill, and there will not be a vote this week.

Here’s what we already know: How the Republican health-care bill could raise premiums for 177 million Americans:

A leading business coalition has warned that employers could pick up the tab if millions of people lose their coverage under the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

David Lansky, president and chief executive of the Pacific Business Group on Health, a nonprofit organization whose members include Boeing, Chevron, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Intel, Walmart and the Walt Disney Company, told The Washington Post that the Senate proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act could push the costs of providing health care to uninsured people onto employers and their workers.

“There are a couple of specific reasons continuing to support an effective Medicaid program and an individual market is important, and one of those is its importance to business,” Lansky said.

Approximately 177 million Americans receive insurance through employers. Until now those plans have been largely left out of the debate over the future of the Senate health bill, which would make long-term cuts to Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, and reshape the individual market where people buy their own coverage.

But if the bill is passed and more people are uninsured, or public sector programs facing federal funding cuts decrease their reimbursements, Lansky said hospitals will simply shift those costs onto commercially insured patients — namely employers and employees.

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