Category Archives: Lobbying

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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‘Trumpcare’ part the infinity, a return to the bad old days before ‘Obamacare’ – kill this bill

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell unveiled “Trumpcare” part the infinity on Thursday, an evil concoction of truly bad ideas cooked up in the dark in secret without input from stakeholders, the public, or even most senators, and without any public hearings or vetting. This latest iteration of McConnell’s evil plan is just as bad, if not worse, than his earlier evil concoctions.

The new Senate health care bill — and the return of preexisting conditions — explained by Sarah Kliff:

Senate Republicans introduced a revised version of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, one that would allow insurers to once again deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, and to charge higher rates to sick people.

The bill would keep most of the Affordable Care Act’s tax increases but repeal one aimed specifically at medical device manufacturers. It would deeply cut the Medicaid program, making few changes to the bill’s first draft.

Even with these new changes, the general structure of the bill stays the same from its original draft, which was itself largely similar to the bill that passed the House in the spring.

Healthier and higher-income Americans would benefit from the changes in the new Republican plan, while low-income and sick Americans would be disadvantaged. It would create a two-track system for health coverage on the individual market. One would offer cheaper, deregulated health plans [“skinny” coverage or “junk insurance”], which healthy people would likely flock to. The other would include comprehensive plans governed by Obamacare’s regulations, which would cost more and mostly be used by less healthy people and those with preexisting conditions — a system experts expect would function like a poorly funded high-risk pool. [A “death spiral” for this plan.]

Deductibles would almost certainly rise under the Republican plan, as would overall costs for low- and middle-income Americans. Individual market participants would have more options to purchase catastrophic coverage, an option likely to appeal to those with few health care costs.

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‘Trumpcare’ part the infinity to be unveiled today – kill this bill

The Senate Tea-Publicans’ draft Obamacare repeal bill — “Trumpcare” part the infinity — is due to be released today at 11:30 a.m. , according to GOP senators and aides.

“Trumpcare” part the infinity will tentatively include a controversial amendment from Tea-Publicans Mike Lee and Ted Cruz (“the most hated man in the Senate”), according to sources familiar with the matter. POLITICO reports, Senate GOP’s new health care bill expected to include controversial Lee-Cruz amendment:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will unveil the bill on Thursday morning at a closed-door, members-only meeting. It is also expected to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy, include new financial support for low-income people’s insurance, allow people to pay for insurance with pre-tax money, and include billions more to fight opioid addiction.

The amendment from Cruz and Lee will be tentatively included, those sources said, and could be altered or removed later. The amendment would allow the sale of cheap, deregulated insurance plans [“junk insurance”] as long as Obamacare-compliant plans are still sold.

Some Republicans worry that could result in split risk pools, one with sick people with pre-existing conditions and the other with healthy young people. Cruz and Lee argue it will likely lower premiums and allow people to opt out of Obamacare.

The Congressional Budget Office is analyzing two versions of the bill, one with the amendment and one without. That score is due Monday. The Lee-Cruz amendment will be in brackets on Thursday, indicating it is subject to change.

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Action Alert: Final push to defeat ‘Obamacare’ repeal and ‘Trumpcare’ replacement

Tea-Publican leaders are frantically pushing for a vote on the Senate’s ailing “Trumpcare” bill next week. Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is racing to placate warring moderates and conservatives with a new draft due within days, POLITICO reports. GOP struggles to revamp ailing Obamacare repeal bill:

New bill text could be unveiled to senators as soon as Thursday, according to sources familiar with the proposal. A Congressional Budget Office score is likely to follow as soon as next Monday.

“My gut assessment is we need to start voting. … We need to get started, and the goal continues to be to do that next week,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). Pressed on whether his party will be successful, he said: “I never want to fight to lose. I want to fight to win. And that remains the goal.”

Senate Republicans have offered increasingly dour assessments of the bill’s prospects due to a push from conservative Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah to drag the bill rightward and distaste from more moderate senators for future Medicaid spending cuts. Sen. John McCain of Arizona predicted Sunday the effort would be “dead,” yet Cornyn said he feels “pretty good about where we are.”

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Analysis of Senate ‘Obamacare’ repeal and replace bill

The “discussion draft” of the Senate GOP health care bill has been released (online in its entirety here) by evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell, and it is even worse than many anticipated.

Still, four far-right Tea-Publican senators say that it doesn’t go far enough in its cruelty to Americans. “Let the poor die! Rich people want their tax cuts!” Their moral depravity knows no limits.

President Barack Obama offered a succint summation of the bill in a Facebook post:

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

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GOP saboteurs will proceed with an ‘Obamacare’ repeal vote in the Senate next week

Health insurers are scrambling to decide whether to stay or go by Wednesday’s deadline to file plans for the federal marketplace. As we’ve reported here for months, GOP sabotage of “Obamacare” and uncertainty in the health insurance marketplace has caused some insurers to leave the federal marketplace, and others will dramatically increase their premiums or deductibles trying to anticipate the damage that the GOP  health care bill will do to their bottom line. With Health Law in Flux, Insurers Scramble to Meet Filing Deadline:

Even as Senate Republicans hurry to finish their plan to overhaul the law, insurers must meet a series of state and federal filing deadlines. While the Wednesday deadline does not represent a final commitment by the insurer, “it will be a good indicator of the health of these markets,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University.

If an insurer misses the Wednesday deadline, regulators could still choose to accept a last-minute application, as they did last year in Arizona, to make sure residents had access to a policy through the state marketplace. “State officials and governors are going to be very pragmatic to make sure people have coverage,” Ms. Corlette said.

Some insurers are betting against the GOP saboteurs.

[S]ome insurers say they plan to stay — and a few are even expanding into more states.

Oscar Health, the New York insurance start-up, said Wednesday that it expected to offer policies in three additional states for 2018: Ohio, New Jersey and Tennessee. The company, which covers about 105,000 people, also plans to expand in California and Texas while remaining in New York. Oscar had sold policies in New Jersey but left the state this year.

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“We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018,” Mario Schlosser, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C., not to do what’s right for the people.

Wow, is this guy politically naive.

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