Category Archives: Healthcare

‘Trumpcare’ bill was DOA in Congress, so a desperate attempt at ‘Trumpcare 2.0’

Tea-Publicans in Congress want to hold a vote on their “Obamacare” repeal bill aka “Trumpcare” on Thursday for one reason, and one reason only: it is the seventh anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. The post-policy nihilism of the GOP is all about empty symbolism and marketing to the conservative media entertainment complex for them.

Just one problem: Tea-Publicans do not have the votes to pass their own bill among their own members in Congress. The radical House Freedom Caucus demands nothing less than a straight-up repeal of the entirety of the ACA (something these lunatics apparently do not realize cannot be done under the budget reconciliation process, which this bill is proceeding under). Concessions to these far-right radicals will lose the mythical moderate Republicans who have the ACA’s expanded Medicaid in their states and who are afraid of voters turning on them for taking away their health care (looking at you Rep. Martha McSally).

The so-called American Health Care Act aka “Trumpcare” bill drafted by the GOP’s alleged boy genius, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the sate of Wisconsin” and Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan, is dead on arrival (DOA) in Congress. He does not have the votes and he desperately wants to avoid a defeat on Thursday which would demonstrate just how weak a Speaker of the House he is.

So boy genius last night rolled out “Trumpcare 2.0” to try to sway enough GOP members of Congress to go along in the House to avoid an embarrassing defeat. (This new version is no more likely to pass the Senate than the original bill). It is all about saving face, the one thing that really matters to boy genius.

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AZ Court of Appeals upholds Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan

The Arizona Court of Appeals has affirmed the Maricopa County Superior Court decision upholding former governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion plan in 2013. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Arizona appeals court says Medicaid expansion law is constitutional:

The appellate court in its opinion (.pdf) said the law imposed an assessment that is exempt from the requirement that any act by lawmakers increasing state revenues, such a tax hike, must get a two-thirds vote in the Legislature [the “Two-Thirds for Taxes” amendment, Prop. 108 (1992)].

The health care law was approved by a simple majority.

At issue is the assessment on hospitals, which the state uses to draw down matching federal funds.

The law has allowed Arizona to expand eligibility to residents who earn between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

In 2015, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach also upheld the law, ruling that the hospital assessment that funds the program is not subject to Arizona Constitution’s supermajority provision.

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GOP’s ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill threatens public health in Arizona

Debate over the GOP’s American Health Care Act largely focuses on how the bill seeks to remake private-sector insurance and the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, but a less-publicized provision of the bill would eliminate a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fund of nearly $1 billion that sustains public health programs nationwide. GOP health bill would cut nearly $47 million in Arizona public health funds:

Arizona could lose $46.8 million in federal public health funding over the next five years via a cut included in the House Republican health bill, likely forcing local health departments to reduce or cut public health programs.

The Arizona Department of Health Services received $9.3 million this fiscal year from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The money is included in the Affordable Care Act, but the GOP plan that cleared two House committees last week would discontinue funding next fiscal year.

The fund pays for program such as providing childhood immunizations and counteracting emerging public health threats such as the Zika and Ebola viruses. It also helps pay for efforts to curb childhood lead poisoning, fight heart disease, manage diabetes, promote skin-cancer awareness and smoking cessation.

“This funding is in danger,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “There is no guarantee these programs would continue.”

Christ noted that money for many of these public health programs was allotted before the Affordable Care Act became the nation’s health law in 2010, so she is hopeful that Congress will restore funding even though the GOP bill, as written, would eliminate it next fiscal year.

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OMB preliminary analysis is in line with CBO analysis of GOP’s ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill

A White House preliminary analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office, according to a document viewed by POLITICO on Monday. White House analysis of Obamacare repeal sees even deeper insurance losses than CBO:

The preliminary analysis from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimates. The White House has made efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO.

White House officials late Monday night disputed that the document is an analysis of the bill’s coverage effects. Instead, they say it was an attempt by the OMB to predict what CBO’s scorekeepers would conclude about the GOP repeal plan.

“This is not an analysis of the bill in any way whatsoever,” White House Communications Director Michael Dubke told POLITICO. “This is OMB trying to project what CBO’s score will be using CBO’s methodology.”

In that case, the OMB closely approximated what the CBO analysis says using its congressionally mandated “dynamic scoring” method, which lends credibility to the CBO report, rather than discredit it. CBO was more conservative in its estimate.

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CBO scores GOP ‘Obamacare’ repeal: 24 million would lose health care insurance (updated)

Just as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of health care policy had predicted, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today scored the GOP “Obamacare repeal” bill aka Ryancare Trumpcare, and finds that the Obamacare revision would reduce insured numbers by 24 million:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act would lower the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million while reducing the federal deficit by $337 billion by 2026*, congressional budget analysts said Monday.

[This is dynamic scoring required by the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 to make long-term budgetary effects appear better. See Paul Krugman on dynamic scoring, Selective Voodoo.]

UPDATE: The way the bill achieves the 10% lower average premiums has little to do with increased choice and competition. It depends on penalizing older patients and rewarding younger ones. According to the CBO report, the bill would make health insurance so unaffordable for many older Americans that they would simply leave the market and join the ranks of the uninsured. No Magic in How G.O.P. Plan Lowers Premiums: It Penalizes Older People.

The report from the Congressional Budget Office underscores the dramatic loss in health insurance coverage that would take place if the GOP health-care plan is enacted, potentially contradicting President Trump’s vow that the plan would provide “insurance for everybody” and threatening support from moderate Republican lawmakers.

Fourteen million people would lose health coverage next year alone, the report stated. Premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher in the first year compared to the ACA, and 10 percent lower on average after 2026. By and large, older Americans would pay “substantially” more and younger Americans less, the report states.

No wonder Donald Trump does’t want the GOP plan to be called “Trumpcare.” White House: Don’t call it Trumpcare. This grifter and con man literally brands his name on every product imaginable, so how bad does this GOP bill have to be for him to say “sorry, no“?

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The post-truth politics of the GOP: there are no neutral arbiters of facts (it’s all just opinion)

I have explained the “Foxification” of the news for years.

The concept of “fair and balanced” reporting requires that when someone says the Earth is round and revolves around the sun (a demonstrably provable fact), a counter argument that the world is flat and the sun revolves around the Earth must be presented, and both positions be treated equally and “fairly,” even though one is factual and one is utter nonsense.

We report, you decide” simply means that facts no longer matter, everything is mere opinion, and whatever you believe — despite all factual evidence to the contrary –is equally valid. “Don’t bother me with the facts, I know what I believe!

This is the very foundation of the post-truth politics “fake news” propaganda of  FOX News and the conservative media entertainment complex.

This explains what the editors of the Washington Post complain about today. The GOP’s mind-blowing hypocrisy on the CBO:

As House Republicans began work on their Obamacare replacement plan last week, they avoided addressing the likelihood that it would significantly increase the ranks of the uninsured and dodged questions about its fiscal responsibility by plowing ahead before Congress’s staff experts at the CBO had a chance to estimate the proposal’s effects. In the absence of sober-minded analysis, Republicans offered tricky rhetoric about expanding choice and freeing the market.

But they can avoid facing up to the negative consequences of their plan for only so long: The CBO will soon issue a report on their proposal, probably this week. So Republicans preemptively attacked the country’s designated budget scorekeepers. “If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer inveighed. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) sneered at the office’s “unelected bureaucrats.” Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) declared that “CBO has scored everything wrong forever, so they’re a minor concern.”

These attacks are beyond galling.

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