Tag Archives: health insurance

Health care is the top issue in this year’s election for everyone but lawless GOP saboteurs

Donald Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” out of pure spite and hatred for Barack Obama, without any regard for Americans who will be harmed by his actions.

Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would abruptly halt important Obamacare payments, leaving only two likely explanations: incompetence or sabotage. Trump’s latest move on Obamacare is incompetent — or sabotage:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stunned the health-care world on July 7, revealing that it would stop collecting and paying out money under the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program. The program helps level out costs among insurers participating in Obamacare marketplaces. Those with inordinately healthy — and inexpensive — customers pay to compensate those with unusually sick — and costly — customers. Without such a program, insurance companies would compete to attract only healthy customers by narrowing benefits and finding other ways to discriminate against people who need care. Insurers who were unsuccessful in deterring sick people from signing up would have to raise premiums, leading to the loss of healthier customers and a downward financial spiral. With the program in place, on the other hand, the insurers in a given market are part of a big, effective insurance pool whose risks are spread across all.

As you might imagine, Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments:

Many insurers that enroll large numbers of unhealthy people depend on the “risk adjustment” payments, which are intended to reduce the incentives for insurers to seek out healthy consumers and shun those with chronic illnesses and other pre-existing conditions.

“Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices,” said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

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GOP candidates demonstrate contempt for their GOP primary voters: no debates!

There has been an interesting reveal from the The Arizona Republic fka The Arizona Republican this week.

Its editorial board is currently conducting interviews with candidates for the purpose of making primary endorsements.

It turns out the GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senate are willing to meet with the editors of the The Arizona Republican, but they are not willing to debate one another in the GOP primary.

These GOP candidates demonstrate contempt for their GOP primary voters by refusing to debate. The Arizona Republican should withhold its endorsement of any candidate who refuses to debate his or her opponent and demonstrate such contempt for primary voters. (The Arizona Republican will, of course, endorse the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry approved establishment candidates Doug Ducey and Martha McSally, because rubber-stamping the chamber endorsed candidates is what they have always done).

This is why editorial endorsements carry so little weight these days.

In any case, Gov. Doug Ducey, challenger Ken Bennett meet for first time before Arizona GOP primary:

In what will likely be their only face-to-face discussion of policy issues before the Republican primary election, Gov. Doug Ducey and his challenger, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, exchanged polite verbal jabs Friday during a meeting with The Arizona Republic editorial board.

Ducey has declined to debate Bennett at two forums next week: one co-hosted by The Republic and Arizona PBS, and another sponsored by the Clean Elections Commission.

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Paul Ryan plots his final battle in the GOP’s war on the poor

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin” who is leaving Congress at the end of his term — Dude, pack the moving van, I’ll come drive your shit back to Janesville for you this weekend! — is plotting his final battle in the GOP’s war on the poor. This evil GOP bastard can’t leave soon enough.

Politico reports, House GOP budget sets up massive safety net cuts, Obamacare repeal bid:

House Republican budget writers debuted an ambitious deficit-reduction plan Tuesday that would force GOP committees to cut at least $302 billion over a decade and potentially lay the groundwork for another repeal vote on Obamacare.

The GOP’s sweeping budget plan is the first step toward a filibuster-proof bill [under budget reconciliation rules] that could result in real reductions to popular programs like federal student aid or low-income family block grants.

It could also deliver on conservatives’ decades-old promise to rein in entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

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GOP sabotage of ‘Obamacare’ now in the courts

The Trump administration in a brief filed Thursday night says that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about. Trump administration won’t defend ACA in case brought by GOP states:

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional — because The GOP Tax Bill Repealed Obamacare’s Individual Mandateand that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law (e.g. preexisting conditions) will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.

The bold swipe at the ACA, a Republican whipping post since its 2010 passage, does not immediately affect any of its provisions. But it puts the law on far more wobbly legal footing in the case, which is being heard by a GOP-appointed judge [in what was a shameless case of forum shopping] who has in other recent cases ruled against more minor aspects.

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Ann Kirkpatrick is Front Runner at Candidates Forum for Tucson’s Congressman

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Tucson congressional candidates Mary Matiella, Matt Heinz, Barbara Sherry, Bruce Wheeler, Ann Kirkpatrick and Bill Kovacs unanimously raise their hands in favor of supporting renewable energy.

Former Congressman Ann Kirkpatrick emerged as the Democratic candidate with the best chance to be elected to Congress in Tucson at a candidates forum watched by 400 people Sunday in Green Valley.

I’ve studied and met all the candidates and heard them three times at previous candidate forums. My conclusion is that Kirkpatrick has the Congressional experience, common-sense positions, and key political backing to beat the upcoming river of poisonous money from the Koch brothers during this year’s elections.

The Democrat who wins the August 28 primary will likely oppose Lea Márquez-Peterson, a Republican who is closely linked to Kochbot Gov. Doug Ducey. She operates several Hispanic chambers of commerce and is noted for her business bankruptcies.

Knows the job & has support

Kirkpatrick knows the job, having served in Congress from 2013 to 2017 in northern Arizona. Impressively, she has raised a record $750,000 in the campaign’s first five months, with $465,000 cash on hand. She has the endorsement of former Congress members Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, and she has the backing of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She disagreed with all the other candidates on the subject of Medicare for All, an idea that Progressives cheer but which has no known funding source. “I don’t support Medicare for all in a single-payer system because I don’t see a way to pay for it all,” she said, noting that 140 million people already get health insurance from their employers. However, she said people should be able to buy into Medicare especially when there is no reasonable option to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Regarding gun safety, Kirkpatrick says she has changed her position. Nine years ago she had an “A” rating from the NRA, but in 2016 she was given a “D” rating by the gun lobby. Continue reading

Poor children are pawns to be used by Paul Ryan in shutdown politics

Evil GOP bastard House Speaker Paul Ryan has a plan to avert a government shutdown at midnight on Friday. He intends to use poor children covered under the CHIP program as pawns and to attach the long-delayed CHIP program renewal — something which should have already been approved as a stand alone bill — to a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to entice enough votes to pass the short-term spending bill and kick the can down the road again into February.

POLITICO reports, House Republicans coalesce behind plan to avert shutdown:

House Republicans on Tuesday night appeared to coalesce around a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown Friday — even as conservatives threatened to oppose it and a bitter fight continued over the fate of more than 700,000 Dreamers.

Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a plan at a House GOP Conference meeting to fund the government through Feb. 16, and numerous rank-and-file members quickly endorsed it despite their frustration with another short-term patch. To further sweeten the pot, the Wisconsin Republican’s bill also includes a delay of several Obamacare taxes and a six-year extension of a popular health care program for children.

“It’s a good strategic position because not only does it offer CHIP [funding] for six years … but you also have a medical device tax delay as well as the Cadillac tax delay,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), referring to some of the taxes that would be delayed. “I think it puts Democrats in a very difficult position of having to vote against that in the House or in the Senate.”

House GOP leaders will whip the bill Wednesday before a possible Thursday vote. If the funding measure passes the House, senior Republican sources in both chambers expect the measure to clear the Senate.

House GOP leaders, however, still have some work to do: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said many of his conservative members oppose the plan, dismissing the tax delays as a “gimmick” that won’t necessarily help leaders find 218 votes for passage.

After the GOP Conference meeting, the House Freedom Caucus met and did not take a position on the stopgap bill. But Meadows expressed skepticism leadership’s plan would pass in its current form with just Republican votes.

Based on the number of ‘no’ and undecided votes, there is not enough votes for a Republican-only bill,” he said.

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