Tag Archives: Obamacare

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Trump’s rose goes to appellate court judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

“Dear Leader” in his reality TV show “Supreme Court Nominee” rose ceremony gave his rose to a white male Washington “swamp” insider,  District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a man who is on record having said the words that Donald Trump most wants to hear: in 2009 Kavanaugh said indicting a sitting president “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis,” and later wrote that “Congress should pass laws that would protect a president from civil and criminal lawsuits until they are out of office.”

In other words, Trump is putting his thumb on the scales of justice to protect himself from the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation, an obvious conflict of interest that undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Has Trump extracted a loyalty oath from Judge Kavanaugh?

No senator should enable this. Period.

The Los Angeles Times has a good backgrounder on Judge Kavanagh. Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran, has inside track to a Supreme Court nomination:

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran with a reliably conservative record, has the inside track for the Supreme Court nomination to be announced Monday evening by President Trump.

The federal appeals court judge, 53, has lived and worked nearly his entire career in Washington, including in past Republican administrations, and he is well-known and respected by the conservative lawyers in the Federalist Society and in the White House counsel’s office.

But some activists on the right have rallied against him, citing his close ties to the Republican establishment and several court rulings that they believe did not go far enough in a conservative direction. [Will they fall silent now?]

Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, making him the only finalist for the nomination with an Ivy League education. Last year, Trump said he was drawn to his first appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, because he had degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

CD2 Congress Candidate Yahya Yuksel Accelerating a Come-from-behind Campaign

Read: Accused Rapist Yahya Yuksel Must Drop Out Now from CD2 Race

Yahyah Yuksel, a Democratic candidate for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat, plans to capture votes by emphasizing universal health care, creating jobs that pay well and building a well-educated workforce.

“We know what is right for the people. It takes people with courage, integrity and experience to get that done, and that’s what we offer,” he said at a lively open house recently.

Charismatic, intelligent and energetic, Yuksel burst onto the campaign scene in March, stole the show at a candidate forum and promptly filed 2,400 signatures to get on the ballot (only 1,274 were required).

Offering a brunch of scrambled eggs, refried beans, tortillas, salsa, and coffee, he showed off his bustling campaign headquarters at 3776 N 1st Ave. (near Roger Road) in Tucson. He is the first in the field of 7 Democratic candidates to hold an open house where voters, staff, and the candidate could freely meet and mingle. He plans to hold more.

“We have a huge office, bigger than everyone else’s office,” he said. “It’s not that we’re raising a ton more money. We’re more efficient with our money.”

Building a campaign

Yuksel knows how to build a campaign. At age 14 he founded Teen Democrats in Tucson, and organized youth groups to campaign for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  At age 19, Yuksel worked for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ successful congressional campaign. Afterward, he served as the Co-Chair for Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich’s successful 2009 re-election campaign.Born and raised in Tucson, Yuksel is an attorney. He has a Masters in Chinese law from China’s top university. His heritage is Persian, Turkish and Kurdish, giving him a memorable name that is perfect for a bumper sticker. He’ll need to work fast, because the primary is on August 28 and the early mail-in ballots go out in less than 60 days. To meet the challenge Yuksel has assembled an election machine of 20 people – ranging from young interns to seasoned campaigners:

  • Kenny Jacobs came from Portland, OR, to be the Campaign Coordinator. He worked as Executive Director of the Pima County Democratic Party for the 2008 election cycle and also worked on the Obama campaign of 2008. His first federal campaign was with Jesse Jackson’s run for President in 1988. In the early 1990s, he worked statewide with Arizona for Fairness in support of  LGBT issues.
  • Dr. Robert Berrier is the Campaign Strategist. For 25 years he headed leadership and organizational development for clients of Spring International, a national survey and focus group business. Berrier has run 60 campaigns for Democrats and progressives and won 59 of them.
  • Laura Little is the social media director. She is the Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement for UA Athletics, in charge of sports marketing and digital advertising.
  • Diane Cuneo is the Creative Director in charge of advertising. She has advertising agency experience.
  • Ivanna Ferra is the Campaign Manager, in charge of reaching young voters. She is a Tucson business owner with an education in marketing. She has worked with Mi Familia Vota, which visits schools, community centers and homes of citizens to register voters.
  • Priscilla Teran is organizing a novel video ad competition for the campaign. She is the General Manager of Tucson Bike Share and was a Community Outreach and Recruiter for the University of Arizona.

Yuksel is competing with Democrats who have been elected to office, including Ann Kirkpatrick, Matt Heinz, and Bruce Wheeler. “Yeah, they’be been in office before, but that doesn’t mean they succeeded in office,” Yuksel said. “We need a new generation with new ideas to get into Congress and represent the people of Southern Arizona.”

Healthcare“We want to have affordable and universal healthcare for everybody, from the day they’re born to the day they die,” Yuksel said. “I see a path forward with our current system, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We just have to reduce a lot of costs and continually mitigate the growing levels of epidemics, the rising age levels and the cost of new medical advances.””We also have to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable, as well as the state hospital networks and the insurance companies,” he said. “The ideas behind the Affordable Care Act are not just from Obama. They have been proposed since Truman first envisioned it and Lyndon Johnson enacted Medicare in 1965.”

Jobs that pay wellWhen I was in China I gained a lot of experience learning about how they attracted investment and how they attracted a huge amount of jobs to their region,” he said. “It’s about industrialization and focusing on your strengths. Southern Arizona has a strong potential for solar energy, optics, planetary sciences, and cybersecurity. These are strong sectors that will bring high-paying jobs.”“But it also a matter of education. I’m not talking about a 4-year or 10-year education. I’m talking about quick vocational training programs that are developed in tandem with the private sector. We’ve seen it done successfully all across the US.”“A lot of people don’t want or need to go to 4-year education to get the job that is high-paying. The 2016 median household income is under $50,000 — it’s not that high. And one of three single-parent families live in poverty. Eight out of 10 families live paycheck to paycheck. It’s incredibly important to have a high-paying job.We can do better by focusing on niches that are strong in this region,” he said. “We can focus on building a strong, educated workforce, and making sure the government is supporting that development through economic incentives.”

Campaign finance reform“Campaign finance reform is the biggest issue facing our democracy,” he said.  Candidates like me are spending a lot more time than they should on raising money because it costs so much to advertise. “We’ve got to change it. We have public media like NPR and C-SPAN. Can’t we make them the primary sources of information about candidates?” he asked.Let’s also expose and disclose all money — from campaign contributions to individual donations — no exceptions,” he said. “We can create this system where the only money a candidate can get is from the voters in that district. It’s a small price to pay for democracy.” “Right now I’m traveling across the US raising funds. Let’s incentivize a system where people in the district are the only ones making contributions to the candidates. That’s what democracy is — not candidates spending 75% of their time seeking contributions.”

A young generation with new ideasDespite the odds, Yuksel is upbeat. “I’m willing to work with everyone to find common ground that we can all stand on. That’s the most important thing. We have to get back to the basics of working together again.”“Congress is so broken. We’ve got to work together. This young generation has new ideas to solve the issues ahead. We will reinvent our institutions so that the 21st century can be another American century.”“I would like everyone to come down and see the energy and the magic that’s happening in our office. It’s hard to explain the momentum we have. We have a lot of people volunteering and getting us out there. We’re going to win this, that’s for sure.”Learn more at his official website www.yahya4congress.com.

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.

Continue reading