Tag Archives: Medicaid

Action Alert: Time to kill the evil GOP bastards’ ‘tax cuts for corporations and Putocrats’ bill

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch released the revisions to the Senate tax plan Tuesday night. The new version sunsets most of the individual tax provisions after 2025, but makes the lower corporate tax rate permanent. Senate GOP changes tax bill to add Obamacare mandate repeal, make individual income cuts expire:

Senate Republicans announced that the individual tax cuts in the plan would be made temporary, expiring at the end of 2025 to comply with Senate rules limiting the impact of legislation on the long-term deficit [by making the individual income tax cuts temporary, Senate leaders are seeking to ensure that the bill does not violate the chamber’s Byrd Rule that prohibits legislation passed with fewer than 60 votes from raising the deficit after 10 years]. A corporate tax cut, reducing the rate from 35 to 20 percent, would be left permanent.

Oh, and it also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

This would result in 13 million fewer people having health insurance, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO has also projected that repealing the individual mandate would drive up insurance premiums for many Americans by roughly 10 percent.

As Axios.com says:

Remember “skinny repeal”? The repeal bill that all but three Senate Republicans voted for on the express condition that it not become law? Because, as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it, “the skinny bill as policy is a disaster”? The policy is basically the same this time around.

  • “Skinny repeal” would have done more than just end the individual mandate, but that was its biggest change, and the one that made it a “disaster” for insurance markets. Any vehicle that repeals the individual mandate, without a replacement, will cause premiums to rise and leave millions more Americans uninsured.
  • That said, none of the three senators who killed skinny repeal — Susan Collins, John McCain or Lisa Murkowski — has said repealing the individual mandate would be a deal-breaker for their tax votes.

Why now? The savings. Repealing the mandate would save the government roughly $340 billion over a decade, and Republicans need that money to help offset the lost revenues from $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.

  • As CBO reminded lawmakers yesterday, if the tax bill does end up adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit, automatic cuts would kick in — including $25 billion from Medicare. Some Republicans have also said they won’t vote for a tax bill that adds to the deficit, making the search for spending cuts especially important.

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Kabuki theater: budget vote-a-rama in the Senate today

The U.S. Senate is voting on the GOP’s budget resolution today, which is really not about the budget at all, but rather, rigging the procedural rules in the Senate so that the GOP can vote on its so-called “tax reform” (tax cuts for Plutocrats) bill at some point with a simple majority vote of 50 senators plus the Vice President, and bypass the Senate cloture rule of 60 votes to forestall a Democratic filibuster through adoption of reconciliation rules.

The Senate’s budget process allows votes on any politically charged issue during a so-called vote-a-rama session. This is  all Kabuki theater to get senators to take votes on amendments to be used in campaign ads against them later.

Roll Call reports, When the Budget Resolution Isn’t About the Budget:

When Sen. John McCain removed the suspense by announcing he would vote for the budget resolution moving through the Senate, the Arizona Republican made clear the ridiculousness of the exercise.

At the end of the day, we all know that the Senate budget resolution will not impact final appropriations,” he said in a statement. “To do that, Congress and the White House must negotiate a budget agreement that will lift the caps [sequestration] on defense spending and enable us to adequately fund the military.”

McCain said he was supporting the budget resolution because it includes instructions that provide the path forward for overhauling the federal income tax code without the risk of filibusters, rather than because of the funding levels it would provide.

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The Price is Right: Tom Price resigns over use of charter flights

The New York Times breaks the Friday news dump story that embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns After Drawing Ire for Chartered Flights:

Already in trouble with Mr. Trump for months of unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program, Mr. Price failed to defuse the president’s anger over his high-priced travel by agreeing to pay a portion of the cost and expressing “regret” for his actions.

In a statement, the White House said that Mr. Price “offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted.”

It said Mr. Trump will tap Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary at midnight Friday. Mr. Wright currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for health and as director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

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Ducey is a disaster for Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, self-labels himself, for purely propaganda purposes, as “the education governor.”

The governor’s label would be a joke if his misguided policies did not come with serious and dire consequences for the actual condition of public education in Arizona.

Perhaps the governor should accept responsibility for his policies making Arizona the worst — that’s right, dead last — in public education, as the Republic’s Laurie Roberts describes. Arizona ranks as worst state to be a teacher:

Quick, what is the worst state in which to be a teacher?

If you said Arizona, give yourself a gold star.

WalletHub this week released its annual rankings for the best – and worst – states in  which to spend a career in the classroom. The financial services website compared the 50 states and Washington D.C., analyzing 21 key indicators, ranging from income growth potential to class size to safety.

The best states in which to be a teacher: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.

The worst: Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Hawaii and finally, down there in our usual spot at the bottom of the barrel, Arizona.

We ranked as one of the states with the highest turnover, the highest student-teacher ratios and the lowest spending per student.

And we ranked as dead last in the number of people expected to be competing for teacher jobs by 2024. Gee, I wonder why.

Lest you think things are looking up, two years ago Arizona ranked 49th  overall. Now, we’re 51st.

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Senate pulls zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill from a vote, another win for the resistance

Score another win for the resistance, with special thanks to the disability rights group ADAPT for their fearless opposition to the zombie “Trumpcare” bill. Protesters disrupt Senate health-care hearing, 181 arrested:

The Senate Finance Committee was forced to briefly delay its hearing on the Republican health-care bill on Monday after police were called in to remove loud protesters, many of whom were representing the disability rights group ADAPT. The demonstrators chanted “no cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty” and “kill the bill, don’t kill me,” and could still be heard in the hallways after they’d been removed from the room.

Growing frustrated with the noise, panel chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) snapped: “If you want a hearing, you better shut up.”

Update: A spokesperson for Capitol Police released a statement Monday night saying a total of 181 protesters were arrested.

This marks the first time in the history of the Senate Finance Committee that any protestor was arrested by Capitol Police.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its preliminary assessment of the zombie “Trumpcare” bill, because it does not have sufficient time to complete a full analysis up against the artificial deadline of September 30 imposed by the Senate’s use of the budget reconciliation rules. CBO finds ‘millions’ will lose coverage from repeal bill:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected Monday that the last-ditch GOP ObamaCare repeal bill would result in “millions” of people losing coverage.

The agency did not give a specific number given a lack of time to do the analysis before a vote, but said the “direction of the effect is clear.”

CBO said the reduction in coverage would be felt in three areas: in Medicaid, because the bill repeals ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid; in private coverage, because the bill repeals subsidies that help people afford it; and because the mandate to have coverage would be repealed.

After the CBO analysis was released, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters she would vote against the zombie “Trumpcare” bill, providing the third declared vote against the bill along with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rand Paul (R-Ky), effectively blocking passage of the bill. Collins said she hoped senators could return to the bipartisan ObamaCare stabilization negotiations that were abruptly cut off by GOP leadership last week.

Sen. Susan Collins is this week’s winner of the “zombie kill of the week” award.

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John McCain puts zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill on life support

All of your efforts have paid off with Senator John McCain. The Arizona Republic reports Sen. John McCain will vote against Graham-Cassidy health-care bill:

For the second time in two months, Sen. John McCain is giving the thumbs down to his fellow Republicans’ efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain, R-Ariz., announced Friday in a written statement. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.

“Without a full CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

McCain added that he took “no pleasure in announcing my opposition,” particularly because one of the bill’s authors, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is one of his best friends.

“I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I,” McCain said.

Jimmy Kimmel tweeted his thanks to Senator McCain.

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