Category Archives: Lobbying

Questions for Martha McSally re: health care

Below is some recent reporting on health care to help you formulate your questions for Rep. Martha McSally for her “chicken bunker” tele-town hall tonight.

The largest health insurance companies in the United States reaped historically large profits in the first quarter of this year, despite all the noise you hear surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplaces. Profits are booming at health insurance companies:

Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group — the big five for-profit insurers — cumulatively collected $4.5 billion in net earnings in the first three months of 2017. That was by far the biggest first-quarter haul for the group since the ACA exchanges went live in 2014. Other major insurers, such as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield company Health Care Service Corp., also are improving their ACA operations.

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Aetna lost money only because it had to pay Humana a $1 billion break-up fee after their merger failed; otherwise it would have been in the black. Some other things to keep in mind:

  • The ACA exchanges represent a small amount of the insurance market, and most of the for-profit carriers have bailed on those plans.
  • Employer-based coverage is a profit center, but insurers continue to invest more in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid.
  • Congress suspended the ACA’s health insurance industry fee for 2017, which is creating a temporary windfall.
  • The first quarter of the year is usually good for health insurers. Deductibles are reset, leaving people on the hook for a lot of their out-of-pocket medical expenses. The fourth quarter usually is the worst, since people often reach their deductibles by the end of the year.

Uncertainty over the future of health care for millions of Americans grew deeper Monday after the administration and House Republicans asked an appeals court for a 90-day extension in a case that involves federal payments to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes who buy their own policies. Insurers seek stability as Trump delays health care decision:

The fate of $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” remains under a cloud as insurers finalize their premium requests for next year.

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Rep. Martha McSally ‘chicken bunker’ tele-town hall tonight (Updated)

UPDATE:  Rep. Martha McSally on Wednesday morning announced she has canceled a telephone town hall later today that was set to give constituents a chance to talk to her directly about health-care legislation. Rep. Martha McSally cancels today’s phone-in town hall due to emergency trip:

In a brief statement, McSally’s office said the congresswoman was traveling to Tucson because a man described as a father figure is gravely ill.

“The man who has been a father figure in Rep. McSally’s life for the last twenty (years) took a turn for the worse this morning in his battle against cancer and his health is rapidly deteriorating,” read the statement from her spokeswoman, Kelly Schibi.

“Rep. McSally has to urgently fly back to Tucson this afternoon. She regretfully will have to reschedule the health care telephone town hall for the next available date. Due to this emergency, the Congresswoman will also miss votes on Wednesday and Thursday. Rep. McSally has already informed the Speaker of this unfortunate circumstance. She appreciates her constituents’ understanding during this difficult time.”

The Arizona Daily Star reports, McSally to hold phone-in town hall Wednesday evening:

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally announced she will hold a telephone town hall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, giving constituents a chance to talk to her directly about health-care legislation.

To participate in the call, dial 877-229-8493 and enter the code 114341.

Our “cowardly lion“ congresswoman Martha McSally is too afraid to meet her constituents face-to-face to explain her votes in a public forum.

The tele-town hall comes nearly three weeks after McSally rallied the GOP troops to “Let’s get this fucking thing done!” in voting in favor of the “Zombie Trumpcare” American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed on a party-line vote.

McSally-tatoo-caption

According to FiveThirtyEight’s Congressional Tracker (last updated May 18), Rep. McSally stands by her man Donald Trump 100% of the time.

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Rev. William Barber Is reviving Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Poor People’s Campaign’

The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays movement that opposed North Carolina’s “most restrictive voting law in the nation,” recently scored a major victory against this TeaPublican tyranny. Strict North Carolina Voter ID Law Thwarted After Supreme Court Rejects Case:

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to revive a restrictive North Carolina voting law that a federal appeals court had struck down as an unconstitutional effort to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The court’s decision not to hear an appeal in the case effectively overturned one of the most far-reaching attempts by Republicans to counter what they contended, without evidence, was widespread voter fraud in North Carolina. The law rejected the forms of identification used disproportionately by blacks, including IDs issued to government employees, students and people receiving public assistance.

Fresh off this victory, Rev. Barber announced last week that he will step down as president of the North Carolina NAACP and lead a new national initiative that aims to end poverty and begin what Rev. Barber calls “a national moral revival.” The Nation reports, The Rev. William Barber Is Bringing MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign Back to Life:

This new Poor People’s Campaign will pick up where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. left off 50 years ago when he turned his focus to uniting poor people across lines of race and geography and pushing their priorities onto the federal agenda.

The campaign, which launches in partnership the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, will bring together organizations with a longstanding commitment to confronting poverty and inequality—local and national groups such as Picture the Homeless in New York and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. Barber said a task force made up of poor people and economists, theologians, and other experts will in September release a report called “The Souls of Poor Folks” that will lay out the campaign’s agenda.

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Think the Senate will save us from the disastrous House AHCA bill? Think again

The conventional wisdom is that the U.S. Senate intends to rewrite its own health care bill from the wreckage of the disastrous American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House last week. The implication is that the Senate bill will be much better than the House bill.

The problem with conventional wisdom is that it is frequently wrong. There are Tea-Publicans in the Senate who are just as reckless and irresponsible, if not more so, than their counterparts in the House. Putting your faith in these “12 angry (white) men” and the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle Mitch McConnell on the Senate AHCA working group is a foolish and risky bet.

AHCA Working Group

The Washington Post reports, Senate hard-liners outline health-care demands with Medicaid in the crosshairs:

Senate conservatives, once seen as an impediment to the Obamacare repeal push, are instead lobbying for changes that would drop millions of adults from Medicaid, limit the value of tax credits over concerns about funding abortion and weaken or cancel consumer protections.

Senators like Mike Lee (R-Utah) believe these changes will help reduce health-care spending, prevent tax-credit dollars from paying for abortions and expand access to health insurance by lowering premiums — all arguments supported by conservative advocacy groups.

And such changes are also looked on favorably by some House Republicans who don’t expect their version of the American Health Care Act to survive the Senate.

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Rally to Stop Trumpcare on Tuesday – Tucson (Updated)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) said “if it takes a Democrat” to explain House Republicans’ healthcare bill, he’s willing to do it. House Democrat offers to hold town halls for Republicans:

Maybe a Democrat ought to go into every district where a Republican who supported TrumpCare won’t hold a town hall meeting, and do it for them,” he said during an interview on MSNBC.

“I think every Republican who voted for this thing ought to have to stand in front of their voters and explain it,” Maloney said.

“And if it takes a Democrat to go in and do it for them for a while, I’ll explain what’s in this bill, and if he doesn’t like it, he should stand up and explain it himself.”

Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has taken up his challenge and he will hold a town hall in Tucson to explain the vote of Rep. Martha “Let’s get this fucking thing done!” McSally, the “cowardly lion” who is cowering in her chicken bunker too afraid to stand before her constituents to explain her vote to take away your health care. See op-ed by Dr. Matt Heinz, Martha McSally wrong on repeal of health law.

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What: Rally to Stop Trumpcare

When: Tuesday, May 9, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

Where: Rincon High School, 421 N. Arcadia Avenue (5th Street and Swan Road), Tucson, AZ

RallytoStopTrumpcare

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While you were sleeping, AZ legislature passes Ducey’s immoral budget

After a marathon session of back room deals and arm twisting among Tea-Publican legislators — to the exclusion of the Democratic minority who represent over 40% of Arizonans — Arizona’s Tea-Publican controlled legislature approved a budget in the wee hours of Friday morning when only a handful of reporters were left watching their dirty deed. This is how one-party autocracy works in Arizona.

“A budget is a moral document.” Ducey’s budget is immoral.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona lawmakers pass $9.8 billion budget:

Arizona lawmakers passed a $9.8 billion budget early Friday that provides 2 percent pay hikes for public-school teachers, a modest income-tax cut for residents and $1 billion in extra bonding authority for the state’s public universities.

The final spending plan for fiscal 2018 featured key elements Republican Gov. Doug Ducey outlined in January, as lawmakers began their work. But it also underwent significant changes at the hands of Republicans in the House and Senate. No Democrats voted for the budget.

“Arizona has passed a budget that prioritizes education, boosts teacher pay, and invests in our universities — all without raising taxes on hardworking Arizonans,” Ducey said in a statement minutes after the budget won final approval at 3:55 a.m. “For the first time in a decade, we are making significant and lasting investments to grow our state.”

Ducey won’t receive the budget bills until Monday, when the Senate is scheduled to send the final documents to his office. He is expected to sign them.

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