Category Archives: Healthcare

GOP to try again with a zombie ‘Trumpcare’ plan, and hurtle towards a government shutdown next week

Congress returns from its recess next week with a government shutdown looming next Friday. “If Congress does not strike the first truly bipartisan deal of his presidency by then, Donald Trump will spend his 100th day explaining to the public why the government he’s charged with running has partially shut down.” How Trump’s First 100 Days Could End in a Government Shutdown.

But first, Tea-Publicans apparently believe they have enough time to try to raise a zombie “Trumpcare” plan from the dead. Sarah Kliff reports at Vox.com, House GOP members are floating a new health plan. Here’s what’s in it.

House Republicans are floating a new amendment to their health care bill — one that would likely cause even more Americans to lose coverage than the last version.

Leaders of the staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus and the more moderate Tuesday Group have reportedly hashed out a proposal that would let some states ditch key Obamacare policies, such as the requirement to charge sick people the same for coverage as healthy people. States would also have the choice to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefit requirement.

The Huffington Post reported on the development late Wednesday night, and Politico posted a short white paper early Thursday describing the changes. We still don’t know how final this amendment is or which House Republicans support the changes.

What we do know is that this latest proposal doesn’t do much at all to assuage concerns about the older proposals. While it meets many of the demands of the party’s far-right wing — namely, the deregulation of the individual insurance market — it does nothing to address concerns about massive coverage loss. Instead, it likely makes those problems worse.

“It’s pretty frustrating to see they’ve worked so hard to come up with another Rube Goldberg–type solution,” says Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.

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Rep. Martha McSally, Trumpism and ‘America First’

The organization Save My Care says it “is a movement to bring together families, advocates and health care providers to protect the health and financial security of all Americans.”

The group is spending more than $1 million on ads during the congressional recess to urge people to contact their member of Congress to help keep the GOP’s American Health Care Act from becoming law. Rep. Martha McSally targeted for supporting GOP health bill.

Rep. Martha McSally supported the American Health Care Act pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump, saying the amended bill “increases choice and access while bringing down health-care costs.” It does not. Not even Republicans are supportive of the American Health Care Act, and the public overall disapproved of the GOP plan by a margin of 56 percent to 17 percent. The public opposed cutting federal funds to Medicaid by an even larger margin — 74 percent to 22 percent. But not Martha McSally, who stands with her man Trump.

Five Thirty Eight’s congressional tracker (updated through April 7) shows McSally voting 100% with the positions of Donald Trump.

This is the 30 second ad you have seen airing against Rep. Martha McSally from Save My Care.

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It is a hard hitting and apparently effective ad.

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Trump to take health insurance hostage – by sabotaging ‘Obamacare’ – unless he gets his way

When I posted about this the other day, Obamacare subsides to continue while House v. Price remains in limbo, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post was so hopeful that he wrote In the battle over Obamacare’s future, Trump just blinked. Bigly.

That was then, this is now.

Just two days later Greg Sargent now writes, Trump has a strange new plan to threaten Democrats. It’s a sick joke.

President Trump likes headlines that portray him as a man of action, so he’s probably pleased with the barrage of Thursday headlines about his latest move on health care. ABC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and many others all inform us that Trump is “threatening” to sabotage the Affordable Care Act to force Democrats to make a deal with him on its future. “Threaten” is a verb that is laden with action, purpose, and intimations of concealed leverage and power. Awesome!

Americans whose health, and for some whose life, depends upon Obamacare health insurance are a mere afterthought, they are simply collateral damage in “the art of the deal.” People must die so “Dear Leader” can claim his “victory.”

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Obamacare subsides to continue while House v. Price remains in limbo

I recently posted about this pending Obamacare lawsuit in Obamacare: ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’:

[T]his bizarre lawsuit that 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.

Destroying those markets, however, carries huge political risks. Trump’s full-throated support for a reckless replacement bill has convinced millions of Americans that he’s intent on taking away their insurance. If their insurance does go away, they’ll probably blame him. It’s his presidency, and his problem.

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.

The New York Times reports today, Trump Administration to Pay Health Law Subsidies Disputed by House:

The Trump administration says it is willing to continue paying subsidies to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act even though House Republicans say the payments are illegal because Congress never authorized them.

The statement sends a small but potentially significant signal to insurers, encouraging them to stay in the market.

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Obamacare: ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’

FactCheck.org reported, GOP’s Obamacare Obituary: Premature:

In reality the law — specifically the ACA marketplaces for those buying their own coverage — is ailing, but still very much alive.

Federal officials announced a few days ago that 12.2 million people were signed up to be covered by Obamacare health insurance policies sold through the federal and state ACA marketplaces, or exchanges, this year — down less than 4 percent from the 12.7 million who signed up during the same period a year earlier. That’s a pretty lively corpse.

Furthermore, this year’s sign-up figure is expected to rise; it doesn’t include “waiting in line” sign-ups that California and three other states allowed for people who had started the enrollment process before the Jan. 31 cut-off. Also, part of the difference is due to Louisiana’s recent expansion of Medicaid, which now covers some who had obtained coverage in 2016 through the Obamacare exchanges.

Indeed, independent experts predict that the Obamacare exchanges — should the GOP Congress fail to repeal the law as promised — likely will remain stable for many years.

“If nothing else changed they would probably stabilize at a lower level of enrollment,” says Mark V. Pauly, a professor of health care management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

That’s also the judgment of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which said in its analysis of the House bill to replace Obamacare that the market for individuals to purchase policies “would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the [GOP replacement] legislation.”

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A looming government shutdown over a border wall and defunding Planned Parenthood

Mark your calendars for April 29. The current funding of the federal government expires on April 28, and Congress is set for a two-week recess just before that deadline.

The Tea-Publican “Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” fresh off their “Obamacare repeal” clusterfuck last week, now have a month to figure out how to avoid yet another GOP government shutdown.

Good luck with that.

Remember, the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, vowed: No more government shutdowns while he runs the Senate. But the Turtle Man does not run the House, where the GOP’s alleged boy genius, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin” and Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan — the architect of the “Obamacare repeal” clusterfuck last week — is in charge. Boy genius just realized last week that “doing big things is hard.” No shit Sherlock. Ryan proved that he cannot herd cats in his own caucus, i.e., the GOP House Freedom Caucus. This is not likely to turn out well.

The New York Times reports, Congress Is Headed to Another Government Funding Showdown:

Ten legislative days before funding would run out, Congress is heading toward another government shutdown showdown. Democrats and many Republicans are likely to refuse to go along with President Trump’s request for money for a border wall financed in part by outsize cuts to medical research. And the specter of another fight over Planned Parenthood funding is also in the offing.

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