Category Archives: Lobbying

Alternative paths to universal health care coverage

The Hill reports that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to unveil ‘Medicare for all’ bill on Wednesday:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will unveil his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday[.]

The advisory from his office says that Sanders will be joined by Senate co-sponsors, though does not list who they are. He will also be joined by “medical professionals, business leaders, and patients.”

The issue has emerged as a key test for 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.

In fact, the Washington Post reports today that The dam is breaking on Democrats’ embrace of single-payer:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) became the fourth co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for all” health-care bill Monday. In doing so, he joined Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

What do those four senators have in common? Well, they just happen to constitute four of the eight most likely 2020 Democratic presidential nominees, according to the handy list I put out Friday. And another senator in my top 8, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), last month came out in favor of the idea of “Medicare for all” — though not this specific bill (yet).

This is about as far from a coincidence as you can get. And it suggests the dam is breaking when it comes to the Democratic Party embracing government-run health care, also known as single-payer.

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John McCain casts the decisive vote to kill GOP ‘Obamacare’ repeal; now comes more GOP sabotage

When a politician does the right thing, a rare occurrence these days, I will give them the credit and respect they deserve.

In a totally unexpected move early this morning, Senator John McCain in the end did the right thing, joining two GOP women stalwarts, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, to defeat evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s ultimate act of legislative malpractice to repeal “Obamacare.”

Thank you Senator McCain. After all the calls and emails to the senator’s office that you all have made over the past several weeks, today I would urge you to do the same to offer a word of thanks to the senator. And do the same for Sens. Collins and Murkowski.

The New York Times reports, Senate Rejects Health Law Repeal, With McCain Casting the Decisive ‘No’ Vote:

The Senate in the early hours of Friday morning rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.

The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.

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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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‘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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