"March to Save our Care" Surrounds Capitol   
Activists and supporters of Planned Parenthood marched around the capitol Wednesday evening in defiance against a senate GOP healthcare bill that would strip many of the provisions of Obamacare. They say these changes will particularly hurt women and poor people. Donald Trump's administration supports the plan.
          Are Democrats Thinking Their Way Out of Victory?   

Would you mind if Democrats learned to be mindless?

Nevada Democrats do seem to have their acts together. They kept their heads in 2016 when everyone around them was losing theirs, and accomplished a good deal of what they wanted at the 2017 legislature. And 2018 seems to be coming into focus.…

Representative Jacky Rosen will run for the Senate after only a few months in Congress, and the Democrat could face a serious primary challenge. Whoever wins faces a vulnerable Republican, Dean Heller, the only GOP Senator up for reelection in a state Hillary Clinton carried. Heller has managed to defend the Republican lack of transparency on health care legislation after falsely claiming Democrats did much the same thing on Obamacare. He also said both yes and no on how he’s going to vote on the un-Christian and anti-life bill his white male colleagues generated without a woman or person of color being involved before finally saying he wouldn’t vote for the bill in its current form with Governor Brian Sandoval standing next to him—because Heller is not only bipartisan, but brave.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak has declared his candidacy for governor. He may face a Democratic primary—his commission colleague Chris Giunchigliani is making noises (this could make the commission meetings must-see-TV). The winner of that contest will face Adam Laxalt, grandson of a major Nevada political figure. He’s also the hirer of outside lawyers who charge the state hundreds of thousands of dollars to do legal work that Laxalt’s people would be able to do if they were members of the Nevada bar, and he is a defender of Sheldon Adelson’s interests to the point that a Gaming Control Board chairman who’s never had the whiff of a taint of a sniff of a scandal attached to him decided he’d better record a conversation with Laxalt.


Democrats think when they should act, and Republicans act when they should think.


These campaigns will unfold with Trump registering the lowest approval ratings of any president at this point in an administration since polling was done with an abacus. But Republicans have won each special election so far, so why not think it can continue?

Well, let’s be fair. In each election, the Democratic candidate did far better than she or he normally would. In Georgia and South Carolina, in blood-red districts, the Democratic House candidate came within three points of the Republican.

But Republicans still won, and the reason is simple. To quote Charlie Pierce, America’s best political blogger (well, my favorite, anyway): “Through decades of constant and unrelenting pressure, and through finagling with the franchise in a hundred ways in a thousand places, the Republicans have compressed the votes they need into an unmovable, diamond-hard core that will vote in robotic lockstep for whoever it is that wins a Republican primary. In American politics today, mindlessness is one of the strongest weapons you can have. Republicans vote for Republicans in Republican districts.”

That Democrats lack mindlessness can be proved even without referring to certain lefties in 2016. Consider the response to recent Democratic defeats from D. Taylor, the Unite Here leader who was the driving force behind the Culinary in Las Vegas for so many years. Besides properly attacking the president, the speaker, the Senate majority leader and the GOP congressional caucus, he declared, “Hope is not a strategy and ‘resisting’ is not a plan. The Democratic Party is out of excuses on its electoral performances.… In red states or blue states, Democrats should be able to compete—and win.”

As Pierce shows, some of that point is debatable, but then we recall his union didn’t do all it could in 2014, out of displeasure with some provisions of Obamacare and the lack of movement on immigration reform. The Culinary Union was being mindful when it needed to be mindless.

Heller is in the Senate because in 2012, Shelley Berkley ran 85,000 votes behind Barack Obama while Heller ran 26,000 ahead of Mitt Romney. She won Clark County by 60,000 while Obama took it by 100,000. Obama carried Washoe County by 7,000, Heller by 20,000. Both large counties bear some credit or blame, depending on your political views.

Berkley faced attacks over ethics, but also Washoe choosing the northerner over the southerner, regardless of party. Did Democrats ask themselves who would most strongly support Obama, or was more “acceptable”? A minimal number of Republicans ask those questions. If more did, we might have a more mindful president.

Laxalt’s grandfather ran smart campaigns. But he won his first statewide race, for lieutenant governor, when Democrats refused to unite behind his opponent because of previous political battles. They were mindful when they should have been mindless, and have paid for it ever since.

And thereby hangs the tale. Democrats think when they should act, and Republicans act when they should think. If Democrats don’t want Senator Heller and Governor Laxalt, they need to grasp that distinction.

Michael Green is an associate professor of history at UNLV

The post Are Democrats Thinking Their Way Out of Victory? appeared first on Vegas Seven.


          Re: What are your health insurance stats?   
GraduateStudent wrote:
mhalley wrote:This will be all over the map as it depends on your zip code and your company, and of course employment. I pay $2008 a month as a retiree at age 62 for me and the wife for a 7k deductable non hsa plan. :oops:


Interesting that zip code matters.... where do you live?


Obamacare premiums vary enormously by geography. Even two adjacent counties can have premium differences of more than 30%. At the state to state level, the differences can be several times. I think it's due to different state regulations as well as the number of companies serving the area, as that determines the amount of market competition.

Interestingly, some of the highest cost of living states, such as Massachusetts, have some of the lowest premiums, and some of the lowest cost of living states, such as Wyoming, have some of the highest premiums.
          On Conference Call, Conservative Leaders Demand Full Repeal of Obamacare   
(CNSNews.com) – During a conference call on Friday, conservative leaders from organizations including the Tea Party Patriots, Club for Growth, and ForAmerica, as well as former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), demanded that Republicans in Congress completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. “It is important to remember that our current situationContinue reading
          Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later   
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a statement from
          Will Repealing Obamacare Kill People? | Manhattan Institute   
Source: Will Repealing Obamacare Kill People? | Manhattan Institute ABSTRACT The best statistical es
          Pro-Life Provisions in Obamacare Repeal Bill ‘Non-Negotiable’ for Many Republicans   

Many conservative leaders say whatever form the Republican bill to repeal and/or replace Obamacare takes, it must contain provisions to protect the unborn and get taxpayers out from having to fund Planned Parenthood.
          Senate Takes First Step To Repeal Obamacare — So What's Next?   
At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans moved one step closer to repealing a law they have railed against since the moment it was passed nearly seven years ago. By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a budget resolution that sets the stage for broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed through a process known as budget reconciliation. The resolution now goes to the House, where leaders are hoping to approve it by the end of the week. The powerful tool sets up a fast track for repealing large parts of Barack Obama's major domestic achievement; the best guess is that the Senate is still several weeks away from largely repealing Obamacare. But as the process continues, large questions still loom over how — and when – Republicans will replace the health care law. An expedited repeal, starting with a vote-a-rama The vote took place during a session known as a "vote-a-rama." These all-night vote-fests happen surrounding budget resolutions, which allow senators to
          In blocking a bad single-payer healthcare bill, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was not 'cowardly' – quite the ... - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

In blocking a bad single-payer healthcare bill, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was not 'cowardly' – quite the ...
Los Angeles Times
Many Democrats would have lost politically regardless of how they sided on this pipe dream — angering taxpayers satisfied with their current insurance if they voted for the bill, or riling the potent California Nurses Assn. if they opposed it. Rendon ...
California Single-Payer Organizers Are Deceiving Their Supporters. It's Time to Stop.The Intercept
Death threats directed at Assembly leader over universal health care billSacramento Bee
What Killed Single-Payer In California?New Republic
Science 2.0 -ThinkProgress -PJ Media -The Mercury News
all 103 news articles »

          US healthcare will get worse without Obamacare. California needs to chart its own course. - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

US healthcare will get worse without Obamacare. California needs to chart its own course.
Los Angeles Times
Jerry Brown supports the Healthy California Act and allows California to chart the path to a better healthcare system and become a model for the rest of the nation. ... I am sure many of our elected officials can afford to pay entirely for their own ...


          Yes, California can (stick it to Trump on healthcare) - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

Yes, California can (stick it to Trump on healthcare)
Los Angeles Times
Just when Senate Republicans are releasing the details of their Obamacare repeal bill — which would cut billions in Medicaid spending and likely leave millions of Americans with no health insuranceCalifornia lawmakers are mulling a plan to ...


          How California made Obamacare work - ModernHealthcare.com   

How California made Obamacare work
ModernHealthcare.com
"California has in essence reached virtually universal coverage," said Peter Lee, executive director of the state-operated insurance exchange, Covered California, during a session Friday at the 2017 AHIP Institute and Expo in Austin. "We've done that ...


          Essential California: The dream of single-payer healthcare in ... - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

Essential California: The dream of single-payer healthcare in ...
Los Angeles Times
Senate leaders have now released their Obamacare repeal bill, and it would hurt wide swaths of the state's population.

and more »

          Senate GOP healthcare bill would be 'devastating' for L.A. County ... - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

Senate GOP healthcare bill would be 'devastating' for L.A. County ...
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County officials gathered Tuesday morning to warn of the impact the Senate healthcare bill could have on the county, which is home to one out of ...

and more »

          Worried about losing health care? You're in good company - Sacramento Bee   

Sacramento Bee

Worried about losing health care? You're in good company
Sacramento Bee
Californians have a message for Republican-controlled Washington as the U.S. Senate continues work to overhaul the health care system: We like what we've got. A new statewide poll found that Golden State supporters of the Affordable Care Act, also ...
With Obamacare, More California Latinos Sought Care for HypertensionNBCNews.com

all 7 news articles »

          COLD ANGER – The Corporate U.S. Media Has Weaponized Against US…   
Donald Trump’s supporters are angry“, or “uneducated”, or “unenlightened”, or (Fill_In_The_Blank). So goes the latest round of media talking points as the election draws near. Meanwhile, don’t pay attention to that 25% increase in ObamaCare premiums you just received… look away,… look away… The corporate media narrative controllers are fully engaged. The gaslighting is extreme as the same entities utilize their microphones in a brutal attempt to create a self fulfilling prophecy. In essence, what they are really trying to save is themselves. However, the reality disconnect only solidifies their irrelevance. At this point, anyone still trying to convince us...
          Comment on FORCED HOME INSPECTIONS ARE COMING WITH OBAMACARE by kencing   
<strong>kencing nanah pada bayi</strong> Hai This is my first time visit at here and i am in fact happy to read all at single place. i particularly like about the picture / article / presentation that you describe. Very interesting. de Nature Indonesia merupakan sebuah CV yg bergerak dalam bi…
          I Never Said That   
We don't claim to know what Jesus would say if he were here today. But we suspect he might set the record straight on his words getting taken out of context. Here are just a few things Jesus never said. • He never got specific on his return date. (So please put those billboards away.) • He never proclaimed himself a Republican, Democrat, socialist, or member of The Rent Is Too Damn High Party. • He never declared any of the following a sin: same-sex marriage, immigration, Obamacare, Harry Potter books, animal rights or any of Miley Cyrus' VMA outfits. • He never took a stand on "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays." • He never declared his preference for a sports team, or implied that he might care about the outcome of a game. (Except that one weird verse about the 1990s Bills.)

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          Re: Five Reasons Why The Navy Yard Shooting Probably Won’t Revive Gun Control   

So, 40 votes to repeal Obamacare is good, but two votes for stronger gun control is not?


          McConnell: We’re not splitting repeal and replace   
So much for Donald Trump’s input, eh? Yesterday, a president tweeted out his strategy for solving a impasse in a Senate over a ObamaCare repeal effort — to split a repeal & replace functions & pass each separately. Senators Ben Sasse & R& Paul immediately endorsed a idea, although Sasse did want to give a […]
          Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
Washington Post
President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Trump is killing his party's health billCNN
Fox News -NBCNews.com -ABC News -HuffPost
all 5,739 news articles »

          Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
Washington Post
President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Trump is killing his party's health billCNN
Fox News -NBCNews.com -ABC News -Los Angeles Times
all 5,745 news articles »

          Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
Washington Post
President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Trump is killing his party's health billCNN
Fox News -NBCNews.com -ABC News -Los Angeles Times
all 5,745 news articles »

          Cruising the Web   
For all those people who think that Trump's tweets are brilliant at reaching the public and throwing his opponents off balance or whatever other bit of analysis used to show that somehow he's playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of the world can't even set up the checker board, is this really a set of tweets that makes you proud that he's your president?




These morning tweets follow other tweets touting ones supporting policy actions by his administration and the GOP. Does he think anyone will pay attention to any of that when he's tweeting comments on a morning show's appearance and the show's ratings? It's as if he's taken a master a class on self-sabotage.

Isn't he supposed to be in the middle of trying to help a GOP repeal of Obamacare?

Remember when conservatives ridiculed Obama interview talking to GloZell, the woman who is mainly known for eating cereal while sitting in a bathub of milk or going on Between Two Ferns? Well, was any of that less respectful of the office of the presidency than such tweets? I have come to regard Trump's tweets as a verbal expression of his id. That is the level he operates at and we get a glimpse at what impulses control him through Twitter. All his advisers urging him to focus on policy and presenting an image of gravitas are the ego trying to mediate between those impulses and reality. They might win out for hours, even days sometimes, but the id is there ready to take over.

There used to be a time when Republicans claimed that character mattered in the presidency. Today...not so much.

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Canada thinks it can control the Internet.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google on Wednesday in a closely-watched intellectual property case over whether judges can apply their own country's laws to all of the Internet.

In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too.

Those siding with Google, including civil liberties groups, had warned that allowing the injunction would harm free speech, setting a precedent to let any judge anywhere order a global ban on what appears on search engines. The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical."
Charles C. W. Cooke comments,
That amusing episode of The I.T. Crowd notwithstanding, “the Internet” is not a single black box somewhere in London, but a massively decentralized network of networks that, while conforming to a few agreed-upon technical specifications, gives new meaning to the word “diffuse.” Or, put another way, “the Internet” is a patchwork quilt of cables, satellites, switches, service providers, cell phones, desktops, laptops, web-servers, and protocols that, taken together, forms the sprawling web to which we are all so accustomed. The beauty of this arrangement is that anybody can participate. Want to be the next Facebook? To start with, at least, all you’ll need is a domain name, an internet connection, and a computer, and . . . that’s it. Though there are certain breakpoints (IP allocation, root DNS, etc.), there is no central permission structure that newcomers have to navigate. It’s open. It’s wild. It’s wonderful.

Now, this is not to say that censorship is impossible. It’s not. If a government wishes to block access to a particular site within the physical borders over which it has jurisdiction, it can do so. Likewise, websites and services that contradict local law can be legally removed, and, if it so wishes, a government can demand that any organization operating on a network within its borders must conform to its rules. What it can’t do, however, is export those judgments abroad.

Suppose that I, a permanent resident of the United States, were to host a website that contained speech that was banned in, say, Germany. Certainly, the German authorities could prevent Germans from seeing my site. And, if anyone chose to mirror my site on server inside Germany, they could shut that person down quite quickly. But they couldn’t have me shut down in America, and they couldn’t prevent people in other countries from accessing my site over the web. My server would be in America, connected to a network in America, subject to the law in America, and guaranteed the protections to which Americans are entitled. The German government, annoyed as it might be, would have to accept that....

And that, ultimately, is why the Canadian Court’s decision is so hilarious. I understand why people are worried about the idea — if taken seriously, it would give any less-free-than-America country an effective veto over the First Amendment. But they shouldn’t fret too much: The judges can say what they like, but their edict is simply unenforceable. If it wishes to do so, the government of Canada can prevail upon Google to abide by its rules within Canada. In addition, it can regulate the web in Canada to prevent access to sites it dislike. But it can’t force Google in America or France or Australia or Singapore to do a single goddamned thing. And thank goodness for that, eh?
I hope that he is correct, but we've seen the EU slapping a $2.7 billion fine on Google because the EU thinks it violates antitrust for Google to promote Google Shopping sites over other shopping sites. I'm not sure what there is about a FREE service like Google that the Europeans don't understand. Are European citizens actually hurt by Google giving them a free shopping search engine and then putting their items at the top? Would they prefer to pay for their search engines? Please, just keep your hands off Google. As more countries try and figure out ways to make money off of fining Google, they should consider the unintended consequences.
“The EU has effectively decided that some companies have become too big to innovate,” Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said in a statement following the Google Shopping decision. “The EU’s actions have created a cloud of uncertainty that will make large tech companies overly cautious about making changes to the user experience and service offerings that would benefit consumers.”

Jonathan Tobin applies Occam's Razor
to explain why Obama didn't do more about Russia's attempts to interfere in our election last year.
But the real problem here is not so much Barack Obama’s failure to act as the most plausible reason for his inaction: Vladimir Putin’s capers didn’t impact the election results.
Despite the efforts by Democrats to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton's loss and their frustration that Obama didn't do more about it, there really is no evidence that the WikiLeaks revelations from John Podesta's emails had any effect on the course of the election.
But there’s a simpler, even more plausible explanation for Obama’s inaction: The president saw that the hacking was having almost no impact on the course of the campaign and thus wasn’t going to mess with the results. Far from the crime of the century, it was, at worst, a minor annoyance to Clinton that Obama obviously felt didn’t warrant a major dustup with Putin.

It’s true that Russia’s actions were outrageous and deserved a strong US response, both then and now. It can also be argued that the public had a right to know about it. But it was only after Clinton lost and she and her supporters began searching for excuses that Russia’s actions were considered an important factor in the outcome.

While Putin was way out of line, the impact of the WikiLeaks document dumps on Clinton’s candidacy was marginal at best.

The contents of the Democratic National Committee e-mails were embarrassing to Podesta and then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who wound up losing her job after proof of DNC collusion with Clinton against Bernie Sanders was produced. But there was almost nothing in those documents that related directly to Clinton, let alone being enough to influence voters.

Every WikiLeaks story was also almost immediately overshadowed by other, more damaging gaffes or revelations about Trump, such as his attack on a Gold Star family or the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. Nothing the Russians did matched the damage done by either of those Trump disasters.
Instead of looking for some external events or action, just admit that Hillary was a lousy candidate. That should actually be comforting to the Democrats. With such a compromised candidate whom so many Americans just never liked, they still won the popular vote and came really close to winning the states that put Trump over the top. If they can pick a better candidate in 2020, and can make an appeal for the voters they lost in the Rust Belt, chances are pretty strong that they'll win that year. They should be more concerned about forging a message that doesn't repel independents and those voters they lost in 2016. That's their real challenge and focusing all the time on Russia, Russia, Russia won't help them achieve that goal.


Good to know.
Tell your friendly environmentalist activist. But they're not really interested.
The benefits of fracking far outweigh its costs not only economically, but environmentally, a Stanford University geophysicist said Friday.

After teaching geophysics at Stanford for 30 years Mark Zoback took the helm of Stanford's new Natural Gas Initiative three years ago, he said, because of gas's environmental benefits.

"We did it because there were so many important and obvious environmental benefits to the utilization of natural gas," Zoback said. "So it’s somewhat ironic to be asked to argue for the notion that these benefits outweigh the environmental costs, when it’s the environmental benefits that got me into this business in the first place."

Zoback's remarks opened the annual debate at Stanford's Silicon Valley Energy Summit, and were swiftly challenged by representatives of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Counci
Zoback argued that natural gas can replace coal and "dirty diesel" at significant scale throughout the world, supporting economic growth while slashing carbon emissions. (When burned, natural gas emits about half the CO2 that coal does).

The Senate has some really dumb rules. And the minority party can use them to slow everything down to a standstill. Chuck Schumer is taking advantage of every tool that the rules provide.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used an upper chamber procedure Wednesday to block a national security briefing hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, irritating Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

The rule that Schumer had invoked, which he has been exercising the use of over the past two weeks, blocks Senate committee business from happening two hours after the Senate convenes session for the day. Schumer has consistently used the procedure as a way to delay business in Senate to make demands on Republicans on the health care bill.

The rarely-used tactic has cut short a committee hearing on free speech, stopped a hearing on Russian meddling in the U.S. elections and blocked a mark-up to advance bipartisan anti-human trafficking legislation....

Grassley had sent a joint letter with subcommittee judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham to the FBI Tuesday requesting all documents related to the FBI FISA surveillance requests on the Russia investigation.

“Today, the Judiciary Committee was set to hear from senior intelligence officials about highly sensitive intelligence gathering authorities that will soon require action from Congress. It’s disturbing and reckless for the Minority Leader to block the briefing. We’ve seen too many recent reminders of how unsafe the world is today. This is no time to play politics with our national security,” he said.
If they could use the nuclear option to get rid of a much more prominent rule concerning filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, why not use it to get rid of this stupid rule. If it's a "rarely-used tactic," no one except the angry members of the minority party will miss it.


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I had so much fun last night. I'm visiting my daughters in D.C. and we went to the Nats-Cubs game. I haven't seen a live baseball game in about 50 years since I was a kid and we'd go to the Cubs games. So I scheduled my trip to catch the game. After falling behind in the seventh inning, I thought it was pretty hopeless for the Cubs based on the way they've been playing this year. But they rallied in the ninth inning to go ahead on a triple by Jon Jay. It was so exciting and I could celebrate with all the other Cubs fans in the stadium including a cute little girl, about 10 years old, sitting with her family of Cubs fans in front of me who told her parents that John Jay had written five of the Federalist Papers. Exactly right and the Cubs' Jon Jay was a hero tonight. Go Federalists!


What a blast! And then as walked out of the stadium and came back on the Metro and hear all the Nationals fans complaining about the Nationals' bullpen. Eh, they're still doing well. I'm just hoping that the Cubs are recovering their mojo. At least their closer, Wade Davis, another historically relevant name on the Cubs roster


          Mitch McConnell Caricatured And Mocked Obamacare's Process. Then He Adopted It.   
“Americans believe that on issues of great importance, one party shouldn’t be allowed to force its will on everyone else,” he wrote.
          Strohalm   

In een interview over de eventuele omzetting van Obamacare zei Trump deze week dat hij direct het ene systeem zou vervangen door het andere, zonder een vacuüm te laten ontstaan waarin mensen even niet verzekerd waren. "We can do that" beloofde de president-elect. Wat hij absoluut niet kan is overnight een nieuwe economie introduceren. Dat

Het bericht Strohalm verscheen eerst op Marieke van der Werf.


          Mitch McConnell: Replacing failed Obamacare   
Excerpts of Senate majority leaders's remarks Thursday on the Senate floor:              
          McConnell rejects Trump's advice to replace ObamaCare now, replace later   
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting President Trump's suggestion on how the Senate could promptly pass its ObamaCare overhaul measure -- by immediately repealing the 2010 heath care law and replacing it later.
          Obamacare Isn't Budging   
Senate Republicans continue to work to repeal and repeal Obamacare, but even if they succeed, it has become clear this week that the law has fundamentally shifted expectations surrounding health care in the country. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to delay a vote on the Senate's ...
          I like Obamacare, and here’s why   
John and I were thrilled to hear the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision on the American Care Act. Well, were thrilled to hear CNN’s retraction of their first statement that the individual mandate was overturned. First because of the implications for our country, second because it is in line with our faith beliefs, and […]
          News Briefing for Tuesday, June 2   
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: End the NSA dragnet (Op-ed) http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/opinion/2015/06/01/end-nsa-dragnet/28276189/ HEALTHCARE: Obamacare’s Double-Digit Rate Hikes For 2016 Disclosed “After two years of relatively stable premiums across the country, rates will jump in 2016 by double-digit percentages for individual policy purchasers on public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act in practically every state, according to the first […]
          News Briefing for Monday, May 18   
  HEALTHCARE: The dire ObamaCare threat to New York’s hospitals “City Comptroller Scott Stringer laid out the grim facts last week on how the most progressive law in decades means disaster for New York City. The bottom line of Stringer’s report: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, Uncle Sam will cut more than […]
          News Briefing for Friday, May 15   
HEALTHCARE: One in four Americans who got insurance still can’t afford medical care: Study “One in four people who bought health insurance on their own couldn’t afford medical care last year, according to a study released Thursday that shows out-of-pockets costs are still getting between Americans and their doctors despite Obamacare’s progress in cutting the […]
          News Briefing for Wednesday, May 13   
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: GOP SENATORS’ PRO-CONGRESSIONAL EXEMPTION FROM OBAMACARE CRUSADE DRAWS SCORN – FROM AMERICA (Jenny Beth Op-Ed) “Pity poor Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)40% And Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)45% And Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)14% , Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)32%, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)42% , Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)58%, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)51%, Sen. Lindsey Graham […]
          News Briefing for Tuesday, May 5   
HEALTHCARE: Obamacare exchanges are not cheap to build or run “In its next Obamacare-related decision, the Supreme Court will decide whether employers in states that chose not to establish their own Obamacare exchanges can be forced to pay penalties for not offering insurance the government deems acceptable. The case is somewhat complicated and based on […]
          News Briefing for Monday, April 20   
HEALTHCARE: Group Takes On Insurance Companies Over Obamacare “Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, challenged the president of Humana Thursday for his support of Obamacare during a shareholder’s meeting. Danhof took aim at Bruce D. Broussard, president of the insurance giant Humana, over his support of Obamacare, particularly in […]
          News Briefing for Wednesday, April 1, 2015   
HEALTHCARE: CALPERS COULD OWE OBAMACARE $770 MILLION IN “CADILLAC TAX’ “California government entities and their unions are panicking because Obamacare’s punitive 40% “Cadillac Tax” beginning in 2018 will directly hit the low-deductible and broad-provider network type of “platinum” healthcare coverage that public employees have enjoyed under the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS). With the […]
          News Briefing for Wednesday, March 25   
HEALTHCARE: How many will have to pay back Obamacare subsidies? “More Americans will owe the government money for their Obamacare subsidy than won’t, says a new analysis. A big upcoming Tax Day question is how many Americans with government-subsidized health insurance will find that they collected more in subsidies than they’re qualified for and have […]
          News Briefing for March 14   
HEALTHCARE: Obamacare special enrollment for penalty payers a one-time deal, admin says “The Obama administration said Friday the special enrollment period that kicks off this weekend for uninsured Americans who missed Obamacare’s signup deadline and face a tax penalty will be a one-time deal, as the nation confronts the confluence of health care and tax […]
          Twitter Borrows Trump's Obamacare Strategy: 'Impeach Now, Replace Later' | HuffPost   
This one speaks for itself.
          CMS Releases 2016 ACA Marketplace Reinsurance And Risk Adjustment Data   

On June 30, 2017, CMS released the results for the third year (2016) of the reinsurance and risk adjustment programs, two of the Affordable Care Act’s “three R” premium stabilization programs. The 2016 results from the risk corridor program, the “third R” will be announced later this year.

ACA’s “Three R” Progams Are Modeled After Medicare Part D, But Are Weaker And More Controversial Than Their Part D Counterparts

The ACA’s three R programs were modeled after similar premium stabilization programs that have operated for about a decade for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. The Part D program also has a risk adjustment program (which adjusts premiums prospectively rather than insurer income retrospectively), a reinsurance program (which is much more generous than the ACA program and permanent rather than temporary), and a risk corridor program (also permanent, and initially more generous than the ACA program.). The part D premium stabilization programs played an important role in attracting insurers to the prescription drug program initially and have helped to keep premiums stable and premium increases low since the program was launched in 2006. They have undoubtedly been an important factor in maintaining the popularity and bipartisan support for Part D.

The ACA premium stabilization programs have proven far more controversial than the Medicare Part D programs. The risk corridor program has been criticized as an Insurer “bail-out” and was seriously undermined by appropriations riders enacted by Congress limiting program payouts to the amount collected from insurers. For 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services was only able to pay out 12.6 percent of the amounts owed insurers under the statutory formula because of this constraint, while it has been unable to make any payments for 2015 as it had to set off 2015 collections against 2014 obligations.  This no doubt contributed to the insolvency of a number of insurers and has resulted in a number of lawsuits in the Federal Court of Claims, as insurers attempt to collect the full amount they claim they are due under the statute.

The reinsurance program was supposed to collect $25 billion over its three- year life and pay $5 billion of that amount to the Treasury, apparently to reimburse it for funds spent on the Early Retiree Reinsurance program from 2010 to 2013.  Collections fell short in the first two years, and the Obama administration took the position that this reimbursement to the Treasury would only be paid after all reinsurance obligations were first met.  It paid nothing to the Treasury in 2015 and less than a half a billion dollars for 2016.  This position has been condemned by ACA critics and legislation was introduced in 2016 to force HHS to make the repayment.  The Trump administration has apparently not bowed to this pressure and is paying the full $4 billion due to insurers under the program for 2016.

The formula used by the risk adjustment program has also come in for criticism. CMS made a number of changes in its risk adjustment methodology for 2017, including factoring in preventive services and better accounting for drug cost increases.  It will incorporate even greater changes for 2018, including adjustment for partial-year enrollees and prescription drug use and setting up a separate risk adjustment pool for very high costs cases.

A Widespread Recognition Of The Importance Of Reinsurance

Despite criticism, the reinsurance program has in fact made a substantial contribution to constraining marketplace premiums. During 2014, the reinsurance program reduced net claim costs an estimated 10 to 14 percent, during 2015, 6 to 11 percent, and during 2016, 4 to 6 percent.  The end of the reinsurance program after 2016 has been a major driver of premium increases for 2017 and 2018.  Recognizing this, there is a consensus in Congress that further reinsurance funding is needed.  The House’s American Health Care Act, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, and health reform legislation introduced by Democrats all include reinsurance funds for the individual market.

The federal risk adjustment program for 2016 covered non-grandfathered insurers in the individual and small group markets in every state except Massachusetts, which operated its own risk adjustment program. Transfers happened within each state.  The reinsurance program covered non-grandfathered insurers in the individual market in every state.

Participating insurers were required to set up EDGE servers through which they could transfer to CMS the data necessary to calculate reinsurance programs and risk adjustment information while retaining control of sensitive enrollee information. Nationally, 496 insurers were eligible for reinsurance payments.  Of these 445 will receive reinsurance payments.  CMS estimates that 52.9 percent of claims between $90 and $250,000 will be payable for the year, with 83 percent of that money currently available through the $3.3 billion already collected for the reinsurance program.

A total of 751 insurers participated in the risk adjustment program, which covered the individual and small group markets. Default risk adjustment charges were assessed against 42 insurers, 41 that did not submit EDGE server data and one that did but did not provide HHS with access to the required data. Of the 709 insurers that participated in transfers, 469 issued individual market non-catastrophic plans, 247 issued individual market catastrophic plans, 552 issued small group market plans, and two issued merged market plans.

The CMS report states that reinsurance and risk adjustment transfers correlate strongly with paid claims, showing that the programs are working as intended.  Insurers in the lowest quartile of claims costs were assessed on average a risk adjustment charge of 18 percent of total collected premiums, while insurers in the highest quartile of claims received risk adjust payments of 27 percent of total premiums.  Risk adjustment transfers averaged 11 percent of premiums in the individual market, up from 10 percent in 2015, while small group transfers remained steady at 6 percent of premiums.  CMS reports that there was a significant improvement in the quantity and quality of data provided by insurers for 2016, and thus a higher correlation between interim risk scores released in the spring and the final scores released on June 30.

Surprisingly, CMS reports that risk scores remained stable in the individual market and decreased in the small group market.  It was expected that as individuals had been enrolled longer in the program and insurers became more experienced in reporting the diagnoses on which the risk scores were based, the risk scores would go up, but they did not.  The data also would seem to refute the commonly held belief that the marketplace population is becoming sicker.  Risk adjustment transfers (calculated using the absolute value of net transfers for each issuer in the risk pool) amounted to 11 percent of enrollment-weighted monthly premiums in the individual market, 6 percent in the small group market, and 18 percent in the catastrophic market, for a national average of 8 percent.

Big Winners And Losers

The size of some of the transfers is remarkable.  Blue Cross of California will receive an estimated $210 million in reinsurance payments, $49 million in risk adjustment in the individual market, and $217 million in risk adjustment in the small group market.  Blue Shield of California is slated to receive $201 million in reinsurance, $265 million in risk adjustment in the individual market, and $106 million in risk adjustment in the small group market. The California Kaiser Foundation Health Plan will receive $99 million in reinsurance, but must pay in $183 million in risk adjustment in the individual market and $255 million in risk adjustment in the small group market.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida is slated to receive $127 million in reinsurance and  $464 million in risk adjustment payments in the individual market, while Molina Healthcare of Florida must pay in $253 million, Celtic Insurance Company of Florida $161 million, and Coventry Health Care of Florida $112 million.  Molina Healthcare of Texas must pay in $126 million in individual market risk adjustment.  Other insurers receiving nine-figure risk adjustment or reinsurance payments include Humana Employers Health Plan of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.


          Popcorn, Pinballs, and Piranhas   

The Capitol Hill unit of the country’s fake news operation—50 or so crisply attired journalists with their faces deep in their phones—is loitering outside the ballroom where Republican senators are eating lunch. The spacious anteroom is packed; my colleague who reports frequently from the Senate and House says he’s never seen it so crowded. Behind the enormous doors, GOP leaders debate what is to be done about the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a potentially disastrous piece of legislation that could tear health insurance away from more than 20 million Americans. In the hallway, those of us who’ve been sent to the U.S. Capitol to find the news keep looking at our phones, hoping the news will come to us.

Hark—the news! Our screens reveal that the health care bill with the 17 percent approval rating has been kicked down the road until after Independence Day. We mill beneath a tremendous mural that’s tightly draped in plastic, like a Dexter victim, and make eyes at the century-old sculpture of Benjamin Franklin. Security types scurry about, herding us away from the staircase. “Make a path, guys,” says a broad-shouldered suit. Several of us drift reluctantly to the right, but only a few inches. “Guys. Guys. I know this is tough,” the man insists. We guys shift one or two more inches, then return to where we were. We watch the crack under the big doors as if a magic light might spill out at any moment and write our pieces for us.

Like the answer to a prompt on a flashcard, a familiar face materializes a few feet away. It is Elizabeth Warren, who strolls past our press amoeba with an intense expression that calls to mind such phrases as “due process” and “friends, Romans, countrymen.” When nobody detaches to follow her, my colleague explains with a sigh: “She never talks to us.”

A little after 2 p.m., the GOP brass finally finishes eating. (They’ve been at it since 12:30.) The senators now face a logistical challenge: All paths of egress swarm with piranhas who, convention dictates, can attack their prey far more ruthlessly than the more genial schools of notebook-wavers swimming around the White House and the Supreme Court. The anteroom branches into two exit routes: a stairway and a narrow corridor leading to an elevator lobby. We line the walls like villi coating the sides of a digestive tract. Sean Spicer walks by. Nobody moves. “Sean doesn’t know anything,” a colleague snarks.

The whispers start around 2:15. Murkowski, it’s Murkowski. Sen. Lisa Murkowski shoots out of the ballroom like a pinball. “Senator, senator!” the correspondents entreat in low voices. “Is the delay good or bad for the bill?” “Did the CBO score—?”

Murkowski doesn’t break stride. She proceeds to the elevator enclosed in a glom of pump-heeled, jacketed humanity, the whole inquisitive organism gliding with her and swishing its extravagant tail of stragglers. Then: Perdue. Perdue! Some of the clump breaks off and doubles back. The journalists on the sidelines pepper their returning colleagues with questions: What’d she say? Did you hear? There’s no time to debrief; Tim Scott, John McCain, and Bob Corker are streaking toward the staircase. It’s like the moment when, after a few trial pops, the microwaved popcorn starts cooking in earnest. The lunchers are dispersing everywhere; Democratic senators are arriving with prepared statements. The piranhas fan out, desperate for some morsel of flesh.

Power crisscrosses the anteroom in an invisible grid, or like the wire you pull on a bus to get it to stop. There is jocular power, exchanged in handshakes and good-to-see-yas, and the soaring power embedded in the architecture, and the breathless, sidelong power of being in the know. Two aides confer in the corner, their voices hushed and heavy with import. “That depends,” one murmurs, “on the defectors.” He kneads the word like a sore muscle.

In configuring itself around loci of legislative authority, the fourth estate follows certain rules. Taller, more aggressive journalists seem to gravitate toward higher-profile senators, such as Florida’s Marco Rubio. Smaller and shyer correspondents flit about the room’s edges, picking off lower-wattage congresspeople as they try to escape. There’s my colleague, latched onto John Thune like a sea lamprey.

The carnage of fact-finding roars around us, but this is ritualized, stylized mayhem. The politicians have their lines, their lockstep. The reporters know they won’t get anything other than a sound bite, if they even get that. Mitch McConnell may be trying to persuade his party to replace Obamacare with the legislative equivalent of a high school chemistry accident, but when he returns the gaze of 50 iPhone cameras, his eyes are not the window to his turbulent soul.

The evasive, boilerplate answers. The dispiriting contrast between the sense of things happening and the garbage you discover written down in your notebook afterward. In the Trump era, our best, most useful work seems to emerge from shadowy sessions with teed-off anonymice, not elaborate Kabuki performances in which John Cornyn’s indigestion might be mistaken for a brewing GOP revolt.

Standing in the hallway, waiting for someone important to say nothing as he or she breezes past, one can’t help but wonder if this entire ceremony deserves to go the way of Obamacare (RIP). Yet what if Murkowski forgets herself and reveals a top-secret plan to sabotage the BCRA? What if another civilian gets body-slammed by a public servant? The Capitol corps will be there, ready and waiting to let the American people know. That’s a comforting thought. Let’s hope their phones stay charged.


          About That Tax Cut for the Rich   

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came to terms with reality and announced that he would delay the health care vote he had been planning to hold this week. Since then, Republican members of Congress have been negotiating terms, trying to strike a health care agreement before flying back to their home states on Friday to screw around for 10 days. Though they were making progress by Thursday morning in narrowing the options, senators still had to get through that little part where they make impossible decisions on the issues that have bitterly divided them.

Some of the more obvious tweaks have been made. Senate holdouts representing states hollowed out by the opioid crisis—West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, and others—are likely to get the full $45 billion in grant funding that they’ve been seeking all along, Politico reported Wednesday night. The bill will also likely be adjusted to allow people to use their health savings accounts to pay for premiums, something conservatives fought for in this bill.

But these changes still fall within the realm of tinkering. Capito, for instance, has said that the opioid money would not be enough—she wants the stingy long-term growth rate for the bill’s Medicaid caps raised, too. That’s something conservatives would be loath to do.

A lot of senators, including many in the rank-and-file, still want to see the bill’s refundable tax credits for individuals boosted. And the most conservative wing of the party, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, want more market deregulation. The “grand bargain,” then, still amounts to conservatives giving way on Medicaid cuts and other spending, while moderates give way on market regulation.

Here’s what that might look like, per the current discussions.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis, you’ll recall, left McConnell about $188 billion in additional funds to spread around to buy votes. The opioid crisis funds and HSA changes could exhaust about half of that. If senators wanted to substantially increase the tax credits to those with lower and middle incomes—or even dependents on employer plans—that could exhaust the savings, and a new stream of revenue would be needed.

That’s why some senators are now talking more seriously about keeping the Affordable Care Act’s 3.8 percent net investment tax, as Bloomberg first wrote Wednesday afternoon. This is not a new conversation: Since December, there’s been a debate over whether to keep any of the ACA’s taxes to help fund elements of replacement legislation. Opinions have varied. But the House-passed American Health Care Act chose to repeal nearly all of the taxes and finance the bill through Medicaid cuts. And the Senate kept that framework. The very correct depiction of Trumpcare as “cutting Medicaid to finance tax cuts for the wealthy” has caused a lot of political headaches for the party, and now some senators are having second thoughts.

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said Wednesday that he wanted the party to reconsider ditching the investment tax, which only affects individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000, and using that money to bump up the individual tax credits.

“If we did that, that would be another $172 billion that could then be utilized to perhaps offset some of the areas in which people have expressed concern,” Rounds said, “or as a way to allow for individuals who have never been helped by Obamacare, in the group market.”

Rounds has always been receptive to keeping the investment tax. He now has more support—and more importantly, it appears that this wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for conservatives. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a conservative holdout, said on Thursday that he could live with keeping the Obamacare tax. Cruz said that he doesn’t want to keep it but didn’t answer when asked whether it would be a deal-breaker. Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Thursday that keeping the tax wouldn’t be a deal-breaker in his chamber either.

The conservative holdouts would demand a price, though: Give us deregulation, and we’ll stomach the losses.

Cruz has been selling one particular deregulatory proposal hard over the last week, which leaders are now taking seriously as something they’ll have to engage with to get conservative votes. As my colleague Jordan Weissmann wrote Thursday, the amendment would allow insurers within a state to sell cheaper plans that don’t comply with the ACA’s regulations so long as they also sell one plan that does.

One might call this “the MacArthur amendment by other means.” The MacArthur amendment, which sealed conservatives’ support for the House bill, allowed states to waive the ACA regulation, called community rating, that barred insurers from charging sicker people more. Eliminating that regulation would bring down premiums for healthier people while sequestering those with pre-existing conditions in high-risk pools. The Cruz amendment, essentially, would embed the high-risk pool within the traditional market: All the healthy, younger people would sign up for the cheaper, noncompliant plan, causing an increase in prices for the regulated plans as only sicker people enroll in them. In other words, it could undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, much as experts fear would happen under the MacArthur amendment. Cruz believes that the federal subsidies and stabilization money would be enough to ensure that premiums remain within reach for those most in need of care. But his more moderate colleagues, after witnessing the shellacking the House bill got with the MacArthur amendment, are leery of such a move. And yet South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a member of the Senate leadership, said leaders could consider it if there was a way to ensure it didn’t unravel markets. (There’s also, as with all regulatory changes considered under the reconciliation process, concerns about whether the Senate parliamentarian would allow it.)

Again, senators have about 24 hours to reach an agreement under McConnell’s latest artificially imposed deadline. That means that senators who have been fighting for the last two months will have 24 hours to miraculously come together around an agreement where conservatives abandon some of their deeply held priors on tax cuts and spending while moderates assent to market reforms that could undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Maybe they’ll need the weekend.


          The Angle: Slipping Masks Edition   

He can’t help it: President Trump has managed to keep his misognyist tendencies quiet during the first few months of his administration. With today’s tweets, Michelle Goldberg argues, he shows that the stress of being in office is getting to him.

Make it so: Trump speaks as though Obamacare were already dead and in the dustbin. That’s so he’ll stop having to hear how much better it is than Trumpcare, William Saletan writes.

Staring down Islamophobia: In the first two installments of Slate’s new video series, our Aymann Ismail seeks out and speaks with people who fear Muslims, wherever they may be.

Not my “partner”: People in married same-sex couples should claim the title of “wife” or “husband” for their spouse, Jacy Topps writes. Letting everyone else choose neutral alternative language denies the reality of gay marriage.

For fun: The best stand-up specials of 2017, so far.

Go, Norm,

Rebecca


          The Republican AHCA Bill is going to screw over the majority of Americans   
This Healthcare act currently in the process of replacing Obamacare is economically devastating. It will to greatly decrease tax breaks for the lower and middle classes but for the upper class, amounts in the range $30,000 in tax breaks as the minimum with $197,000 being the max. This bill is essentially taking from the poor and giving to the rich and is not well examined. It was rushed by the premature repeal of Obamacare and undoubtedly has an infinite number of flaws. What I want is for them to fear the Constitutional rights of their Constituents who can and will take them out of power. Congress you will not pass this bill and you will bring back Obamacare and it will remain for however much time is necessary for you to come together and form a decent healthcare bill and thoroughly examine it before you are ready to truly replace it.
          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Obamacare Has Problems. The Senate Health Care Bill Doesn't Solve Them, Experts SayNPR
CNN -Fox News -NBCNews.com -ABC News
all 6,139 news articles »

          Why the Obamacare Repeal Effort Will Never Disappear   
none
          Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later   
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump urged Republican senators in a tweet on Friday to repeal Obamacare immediately if they cannot agree on a new plan to replace it, muddying the waters as congressional leaders struggle for consensus on healthcare legislation.

          With The Senate's Health Care Vote Delayed, What's Next For Democrats?   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: To health care now - both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are complaining that they aren't working together. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the Senate floor yesterday. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MITCH MCCONNELL: It's unfortunate that our Democratic colleagues refuse to work with us in a serious way to comprehensively address Obamacare's failures in the seven years since they passed it. MARTIN: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had this response. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) CHUCK SCHUMER: We Democrats are genuinely interested in finding a place where our two parties can come together on health care. MARTIN: So what is the next move for the Democrats? Tom Perez is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's with us in the studio. Thanks for coming in this morning. TOM PEREZ: Always a pleasure. MARTIN: Do congressional Democrats really want to work with Republicans to try to
          The Reality TV/WWF President   
The Reality TV/WWF President Robert Tracinski, at The Federalist, asks that the media stop magnifying every presidential drama -- the utterly tween meangirlish tweets Donald Trump sent out about "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. I think people can't help but report this stuff because it's so shocking, and because if they don't, others will. From Tracinski's post about Trump's continuing tackiness on Twitter:
It's the stuff of squabbling between rival high school cliques. From the other side, I hear the argument that this is some brilliant move by Trump to keep the media focused on trivialities while he gets things done. Meanwhile, the current Republican Congress has been spectacularly unproductive and has delivered very little of Trump's promised agenda. They can't even pass an Obamacare replacement, much less repeal it. The president is not entirely responsible for the inaction of Congress, even a Congress where his own party has a majority. But the whole pitch for Trump as president was that he was going to be a superior leader and negotiator who would knock together the heads of all those wimpy beta males in Washington, DC, and get things done. And if he's supposed to be such a master manipulator of the press, shouldn't there be some results to show for it? No, I'm afraid Trump isn't doing this out of some kind of calculation. He's doing it because this is who he is and because the fake drama of tabloid gossip columns and "reality TV" is what made him a household name. The media is going along because this is what they love, too. After all, it was media shows like "Morning Joe"--he was a guest dozens of times--that provided Trump with total media dominance during the last election cycle. They have continued that relationship with the latest Twitter spat, just with Trump in a more antagonistic role. Maybe they think this makes for good TV, and I suppose people who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like. The rest of us are going to get bored and starting tuning out politics. It's too bad that the important issues won't just go away while no one is paying attention to them.
I don't really think that's the case, but -- and I wish I could remember whom I heard this from -- the words coming out of The White House have all the class and decorum of the World Wrestling Federation. [see bottom of post.] Yes, this is The President of The United States: And the NBC spokesman: And finally, actually, that pro-wrestling tweet, which I found: via @MZHemingway
          Is Healthcare on Life Support?   
Congress has an abysmal approval rating of about 20%.  There are dozens of reasons for this rating.  Right now, my disapproval with Congress stems from the chaos in Washington over healthcare. Obamacare is imploding.  It’s up to the Republicans to repeal and replace it.  I know the Democrats will say... CONTINUE
          Comment on GOP failure to repeal Obamacare by Wolfie   
We have American friends, originally pro Obamacare who are getting premium increases much like that when wages are being squeezed.
          Trump's suggestion to repeal Obamacare with no replacement would remove healthcare from 32 million people [Obvious]   
Obvious [link] [212 comments]

          Trump comes up with brilliant plan: Let's just repeal Obamacare and forget about passing Trumpcare. What could possibly go wrong? [Dumbass]   
Dumbass [link] [447 comments]

          Next 100 Days: In the Era of Trump, NYS is Out of Step and In the Crosshairs (Adam Wisnieski/City Limits)   

Adam Wisnieski / City Limits:
Next 100 Days: In the Era of Trump, NYS is Out of Step and In the Crosshairs  —  During President Trump's first 100 days, the national conversation turned on big ideas: whether it was right to bar refugees, whether Obamacare was worth keeping, and more.  Over the past several weeks …


          Sasse, Paul And Trump Call For Obamacare Repeal Instead Of Reform   

In statements echoed by President Trump on Twitter, two prominent Republican senators have called for the GOP to skip the health care overhaul and focus on simple repeal of Obamacare if Republican Senate leadership cannot find 50 votes to move the current health care reform bill forward. Earlier this week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

The post Sasse, Paul And Trump Call For Obamacare Repeal Instead Of Reform appeared first on Freedom Daily.


          Comment on Repealing Obamacare Will Hurt Black Women and Their Families by Business Directory   
<strong>Business Directory</strong> [...]we came across a cool website which you may take pleasure in. Take a appear when you want[...]
          List of Obamacare Taxes Repealed in Senate Health Bill   

          With The Senate's Health Care Vote Delayed, What's Next For Democrats?   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: To health care now - both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are complaining that they aren't working together. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the Senate floor yesterday. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MITCH MCCONNELL: It's unfortunate that our Democratic colleagues refuse to work with us in a serious way to comprehensively address Obamacare's failures in the seven years since they passed it. MARTIN: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had this response. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) CHUCK SCHUMER: We Democrats are genuinely interested in finding a place where our two parties can come together on health care. MARTIN: So what is the next move for the Democrats? Tom Perez is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's with us in the studio. Thanks for coming in this morning. TOM PEREZ: Always a pleasure. MARTIN: Do congressional Democrats really want to work with Republicans to try to
          McConnell: GOP will 'continue to wrestle' with Obamacare replacement   
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that he plans to continue the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare -- the same day President Donald Trump called for repealing the law immediately and replacing it later.

          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare -- repeal first, replace later -- began with quiet push from Koch network   

President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed...


          Will Obamacare outlast Trump? The odds improved this week.   

In the heady days just after their surprise victory in November, Republicans talked optimistically of repealing Obamacare in January.

After all, they said, a previous Republican-controlled Congress already had passed a repeal bill, which President Obama vetoed. Now, they could simply pass it again...


          Healthcare debate highlights the split that threatens to paralyze Republicans   

Six months after taking control of the White House and both houses of Congress, Republicans who campaigned for years on repealing Obamacare still can’t agree on how to do it.

A chief reason that the struggle has been so hard is the growing importance in the party of populist blue-collar voters,...


          Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
U.S. President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans’ delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can’t reach a deal they should simply repeal ...
          With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight
Washington Post
Sen. Susan Collins will celebrate the Fourth of July within view of the Canadian border, at a remote northeastern Maine town's annual parade. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will appear on the other end of the continent in an old timber town on an isolated Alaskan ...
On ObamaCare, Republicans still chant repeal, replace; but question is when, howFox News
Senate asks for CBO score on Cruz's healthcare proposalThe Hill
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Washington Examiner -Salon -HuffPost -Hot Air
all 113 news articles »

          Murphy: Is health care in the U.S. a right or a privilege?   

The Declaration of Independence is a shade under 1,500 words in length. That’s a little over twice the length of this article. By comparison, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), signed into law in 2010, is a whopping 381,000 words long — and the myriad regulations that grew out of it constitute 11.6 million words, or about 20,000 pages of the Federal Register.

Read more

Photos


          What the Latest Healthcare Hiccup Means for the U.S. Economy   

The effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare” hit yet another stumbling block this week when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to pull the bill from consideration after realizing he did not have sufficient votes for it to pass.


          Connecticut Looks To Sell Its Obamacare Exchange To Other States   
Kevin Counihan, the CEO of Access Health CT , is walking through the 15th floor of a downtown Hartford office building that houses Connecticut's health insurance marketplace. He passes the legal department, the IT folks and the consultants, then stops in front of three large, wall-mounted computer screens. "These are showing in real time, activity on our website. So, for example, right now you're looking at the number of concurrent users on the site," Counihan says. "So you can see that there are 212 people in the process of applying for insurance on the site." The monitors and technology are just a part of what his agency is doing right. Connecticut is widely seen as one of the states that is succeeding with the Affordable Care Act . The state's website works well, and it has already exceeded its first-year enrollment goals. Other states have noticed. "We were approached by several states who called us and said, 'Would you have any interest in franchising your exchange to us as a
          Call Centers Got Big Deals Under Health Law, But How Big?    
Before the Affordable Care Act was even open for enrollment, Viviana Alvarado was already taking calls from people who wanted to know more. She and about 40 of her colleagues are staffing the phones for Maximus , the company Connecticut has contracted to run its call center. The government contractors running the troubled HealthCare.gov website have been under intense scrutiny in the past month, but those businesses aren't the only ones being paid to rollout Obamacare. In the states that are running their own health care exchanges, practices vary. Oregon, for instance, set up its own call centers; other states, like Connecticut, farm that business out to companies like Maximus. "It's a huge opportunity, and it remains so," says Rick Howard , an analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm. "There are millions of millions of folks coming in for insurance coverage. That represents a great opportunity for both commercial carriers and for those contractors who are servicing health care."
          Obamacare | Podcast #274   
itunes pic

Obamacare makes much needed improvements to America’s health insurance system. But it’s only a bandaid on a dam set to burst.

Have you heard enough rhetoric, pundit posturing, and political scaremongering about the future of America’s health insurance? I hope you can indulge me a bit: I want to offer a different perspective. Most of the debate I have heard is about the ideological merits of health insurance (should people have it?) and who should be paying for it (is there such a thing as a free lunch?).

The biggest issue I see is the lack of big-picture strategic thinking and evaluation.

Who really cares if you are healthy or not?


          Capital Journal Daybreak: A Senate Health Bill Provision You Might Not Have Heard About   
HIGHLIGHTS Provision in Senate Health Bill Could Be a Boon to Insurers Senate Republicans Scramble to Rework Health Bill As Partial Travel Ban Takes Effect, First Impact to Be Felt Abroad Seib Video: Tensions Between U.S. and Syria Heat Up Good morning. Here’s what’s happening today: Something in the Obamacare Repeal Effort You Probably Haven’t Heard […]
          McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

Politico

McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
Politico
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

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          Ohioans Should Brace for Obamacare Sticker Shock   

Obamacare will dramatically increase health insurance premiums throughout Ohio for young and middle-aged men and women alike, based on the most accurate policy data available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Obamacare premium estimates are not readily available for all ages, but figures HHS has released indicate that Ohioans in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s in every county should expect to pay steep costs for President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

A Media Trackers comparison of Obamacare "Gold" plans from HHS and existing policies with similar deductibles listed at eHealth found that:

  • Obamacare plans for 27-year-old female nonsmokers will cost at least $100 per month -- or $1,200 per year -- more than pre-Obamacare health insurance policies in 72 of Ohio's 88 counties.
  • Obamacare premiums for 27-year-old male nonsmokers will be at least $100 per month more expensive than pre-Obamacare premiums in 85 of 88 counties -- and at least $200 more per month in 15 counties.
  • Compared to pre-Obamacare policies for 50-year-old female nonsmokers, Obamacare plans will cost at least $1,000 more per year in all 88 counties, at least $2,000 more per year in 54 counties, and at least $3,000 more per year in 16 counties.
  • Obamacare premiums for 50-year-old male nonsmokers will cost at least $100 more per month than current policies in all 88 counties, at least $200 more per month in 61 counties, and at least $300 more per month in 14 counties.

Statewide annual estimates weighted using county populations from the 2010 Census are shown in the following table.

Obamacare Bronze plans are the cheapest policies for individuals over the age of 30, except in cases of financial hardship; Catastrophic plans are available to those 30 and under. Most Bronze and Catastrophic plans have annual deductibles at least three times greater than the policies quoted from eHealth for this analysis.

Demographic Ohio % Change, Obamacare Catastrophic/Bronze Plan Ohio $ Change, Obamacare Catastrophic/Bronze Plan Ohio % Change, Obamacare Gold Plan Ohio $ Change, Obamacare Gold Plan
Women, Age 27 -2% -$49 84% $1,364
Men, Age 27 37% $421 160% $1,834
Women, Age 50 19% $553 66% $2,017
Men, Age 50 39% $1,001 94% $2,466

Because Obamacare is a redistributive system by design, proponents counter concerns about premiums by pointing to the federal subsidies some Ohioans will receive. A Kaiser Family Foundation study released November 5 estimated that 554,000 Ohioans will qualify for Obamacare subsidies.

For those eligible for the law's entitlement benefits, a portion of Obamacare's astronomical premiums will be borne by taxpayers -- many of whom will also be paying higher costs for their own insurance as a result of the Democrats' latest socialized medicine program.

While Kaiser estimates 812,000 Ohioans will purchase insurance through the Obamacare exchange, dozens of employers across the state have already announced layoffs or cuts from full- to part-time status in order to avoid Obamacare's employer mandate.

Combined with the implosion of President Obama's vow that "if you like your plan, you can keep it," this means more Ohioans than expected may be pushed into Ohio's federally-run Obamacare "marketplace."

The following maps demonstrate exactly how severe and far-reaching Obamacare's premium increases will be for Ohioans in a range of demographic groups. Click each map for further Media Trackers analysis.

OH-obamacare-hikes-female27-gold OH-obamacare-hikes-male27-gold OH-obamacare-hikes-female50-gold OH-obamacare-hikes-male50-gold

As more facts become available to taxpayers, it may turn out that the technological disaster of the Obamacare exchanges at HealthCare.gov is one of the more successful aspects of the 2010 health law.

This story was originally published at Media Trackers.


          Gov. Kasich Moves to Bypass Ohio Legislature for Obamacare Money   

Governor John Kasich’s administration last week requested the Ohio Controlling Board appropriate Obamacare funds for Medicaid expansion, an attempt to circumvent the General Assembly for billions in new entitlement funding from DC.

Despite the partial shutdown of the federal government, a plan amendment submitted to DC by Ohio Department of Medicaid Director John McCarthy to expand eligibility was approved on October 10.

As Statehouse insiders have speculated for weeks, the Kasich Administration will go to the Controlling Board on October 21 to make its case — although without an executive order from the governor, as was widely predicted.

Unfortunately for Gov. Kasich, the Controlling Board “shall take no action which does not carry out the legislative intent of the general assembly,” according to the Ohio Revised Code.

There is no indication the Obamacare expansion meets the “legislative intent” requirement of state law, and in fact the legislature expressly forbade Ohio from adopting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion with a provision of the biennial budget approved by both the House and Senate.

In June, Kasich used a line-item veto to override the General Assembly’s clear intent.

His attempted end run around the legislature is the starkest evidence to date that John Kasich, who was elected in 2010 as a limited government conservative, is less interested in freedom than in “free” money. By 2020, the Obamacare expansion is expected to increase Ohio’s annual Medicaid spending by nearly half a billion dollars.

Kasich has simultaneously expressed his confidence the state should expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans — almost all able-bodied childless adults — and his confidence that Ohio will roll back the expansion if the federal government fails to keep its impossible funding promises.

The U.S. government is currently $16.7 trillion in debt not including unfunded entitlement liabilities; the best-case scenario from the State of Ohio’s perspective is that Kasich’s decision saddles the nation with billions per year in new bills it cannot pay.

Gov. Kasich first announced his support for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as part of his budget plan released February 4. The policy is backed by a broad coalition of groups who found common ground in their desire for more taxpayer money.

After House conservatives stripped the Obamacare expansion from Kasich’s budget, the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), labor unions, socialized medicine lobbyists, and a number of major chambers of commerce across the state redoubled their pleas for the new federal spending Medicaid expansion would bring.

Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a partnership of health care providers, unions, and leftist groups, has worked since February to pressure legislators into backing Gov. Kasich on Medicaid expansion, and sister organization “Healthy Ohioans Work” has begun gathering signatures to send the issue to the ballot.

Despite the efforts of an army of lobbyists and Ohio’s legacy media, who have made serious debate impossible by bashing opponents of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as cruel ideologues, the Obamacare expansion has not received a floor vote in either the Ohio House or Ohio Senate.

Proponents of the Obamacare expansion insist Ohio’s hospitals desperately need more tax dollars, and have used veterans, drug addicts, and the mentally ill as props whose health and happiness supposedly require more federal entitlement spending.

Gov. Kasich, for his part, has abandoned all but the flimsiest pretense of fiscal responsibility, adopting the left’s talking points and even warning God will punish opponents of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

The Kasich Administration falsely insists Medicaid expansion in Ohio will be paid for entirely with “Ohio’s tax dollars,” which would go to other states as a result of Ohio refusing to enact the Obamacare expansion.

This story was originally published at Media Trackers.


          Website Woes Indicate Waste as Obamacare Spending to Skyrocket   

This morning, I walked through the rain to work. After arriving at the office, I proceeded to make myself a cup of coffee and log on to my computer.  The first thing I did was visit the Drudge Report to find out the big headline news today. What I found nearly made me throw my coffee at the computer screen. 

The Daily Caller reported earlier today that CGI Federal, the company contracted to create the Obamacare exchange website, was paid $634,320,919 to build the site.  A drop in the bucket compared to the total federal debt and deficit, sure, but is this the best our federal government can do for a law they’ve so heavily promoted? $634 million and the federal government can’t even get a website to function properly? Outrageous. 

Clearly we need to re-evaluate the total cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, since the grand opening of Obamacare is inspiring so much confidence in how the federal government manages our tax dollars. 

Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, has started the conversation in a commentary he wrote yesterday. He made some disturbing observations, revealing how many of the revenue mechanisms in the Affordable Care Act have “started to unravel, while pressure mounted to expand its spending programs.” Remember now, the Obama administration repeatedly promised that the ACA would cut the deficit.  

Blahous points out that “One of the first provisions to bite the dust was the CLASS long-term care program, suspended in 2011 due to its financial unsoundness.” It was supposed to be a source of $70 billion of revenue in the first ten years to finance Obamacare. Also, the employer mandate, which the Obama Administration delayed with questionable legality, was allegedly scheduled to deliver $140 billion in revenues over the next decade. The delay will no doubt shift that projection downward. Furthermore, Blahous indicates that “The ACA's finances further depend on a new tax on medical device manufacturers, estimated to raise $29 billion from 2013-'22.” Members of both political parties have indicated that they view a repeal of the tax as a compromise that can end the government shutdown, removing that $29 billion revenue source. 

Those are just three examples Blahous has highlighted and they show that Obamacare is already scheduled to lose $196 billion in revenue. In a previous research paper, Blahous noted that “between now and 2021, the ACA is expected to add as much as $530 billion to federal deficits while increasing spending by more than $1.15 trillion.” I fail to see how gutting revenue mechanisms from a law that already increases deficit spending will cut deficit spending. 

So, let’s put Obamacare, which constitutes a massive increase in federal spending, in the context of the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate. The shutdown occurred after Democrats refused to accept a Republican compromise to delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year. The CBO estimates that such a delay would save $36 billion over the next ten years. Delaying the law would also give Congress more time to repeal or revise the law to make it fiscally sustainable, but the Democrats have unconditionally refused to stall the implementation of Obamacare, even in spite of the demonstrated problems with Obamacare’s launch.

Now the raging debate in Congress has shifted over the last few days to raising the debt ceiling and whether or not the federal government will default on its debt obligations to creditors. The debt ceiling is currently $16.699 trillion. As I write this sentence, the U.S. A.’s total debt is $16.970 trillion. The United States is predicted to hit the debt limit on Thursday, next week, the 17th of October.  Dean Clancy, vice-president of public policy at FreedomWorks, has already explained why the government will not default. He’s even made a good case for eliminating the debt ceiling entirely. 

But, given that we’re having this debate, and that the consequences of defaulting on our creditors are reported to be so drastic, is it really a good idea to add another $1.15 trillion (at bare minimum) to federal spending? And can we trust the federal government to manage all that money when they can’t even run a website?

UPDATE: Only 51,000 were able to sign up for the Obamacare exchanges after an entire week. Clearly our tax dollars were well spent on that website. 


          Gov. Kasich Pretends Obamacare is Not Obamacare   

Ohio Governor John Kasich is now insisting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion “is not about Obamacare,” in an attempt to message his fight for new deficit spending around conservative opposition and months of bad news about President Obama’s unpopular 2010 health law.

Expanding Medicaid – an ineffective entitlement program that already consumes nearly half of Ohio’s budget – to able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65 is a key component of Obamacare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

“Medicaid expansion is no different than the current Medicaid program, and to try to tie Medicaid to Obamacare, I don’t see the connection,” Gov. Kasich told reporter Joe Vardon last week.

The connection could not be stronger: the estimated $13 billion in new federal spending Kasich claims Medicaid expansion would “return” to Ohio over the next 7 years would come entirely from Obamacare.

Newspaper editors have joined health care industry lobbyists and progressive activists in cheering Kasich’s attempt to secure billions in “free” Obamacare funding, but Kasich must also contend with the voters and volunteers who made the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment possible in 2011.

Even before the Obama Administration began arbitrarily choosing which parts of PPACA it would enforce, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to block the law’s implementation in the Buckeye State.

“I mean it may have been provided in there, but it was John Roberts, the Republican chief justice appointed by President (George W.) Bush, who said states can have the option to extend their Medicaid coverage,” Gov. Kasich added in his interview with Vardon.

This statement was so misleading that even Vardon, writing for the staunchly pro-expansion Columbus Dispatch, noted that Roberts actually said “states could not be compelled to expand their Medicaid programs but could opt to expand if they so choose.”

With few other exceptions, Ohio’s press has parroted Kasich Administration talking points and hospital lobby rhetoric while framing opposition to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as a thoughtless reaction to the word “Obamacare.”

The Republican governor seems to be taking the media’s assessment to heart.

“This is not about Obamacare,” Kasich told Robert Higgs of the Cleveland Plain Dealer while discussing his speech at a July 9 socialized medicine rally. “This is not about some bureaucracy. This is not about the federal debt.”

Gov. Kasich has been making similarly ridiculous statements for months. In a February 6 RedState post, he wrote that expanding Medicaid as called for in Obamacare would “limit further damage from Obamacare.”

Kasich was far more concerned about entitlement spending, bureaucracy, and the national debt before bigger government meant reelection support from the Ohio Hospital Association and other lobbyists looking for more taxpayer money.

Responding to Obamacare’s passage, on March 22, 2010 Kasich wrote, “In the end, the federal government will just rack up higher deficits and go deeper in debt, leaving future generations to pick up the tab.”

“Ohio government spending will go up also, adding to an already bleak budget picture,” candidate Kasich warned. “Instead of letting states develop innovative solutions to their respective challenges, new federal mandates will require more Medicaid spending and stick states with large and unsustainable costs.”

“Government shouldn’t be making promises it can’t keep – especially when it’s more than $14.5 trillion in the hole,” Governor Kasich said on August 20, 2011, when the federal government was in a pit of debt $2.2 trillion shallower than it is today.

This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.


          Top 10 Ways ObamaCare Sticks It to Young Adults   

Top 10 Ways ObamaCare Sticks It to Young Adults

Top Ten Ways ObamaCare Sticks It to Young Adults

    By Dean Clancy

[Note: a .pdf version of this post can be found at the bottom of this page]

ObamaCare should really be called the Unaffordable Care Act, especially when it comes to adults in their twenties and thirties. ObamaCare’s “individual mandate,” which takes full effect on January 1, 2014, requires all Americans to purchase expensive government-controlled health insurance, even if they don’t want or need it. (1)  The defenders of this mandate, and especially the health insurance lobby, claim a mandate on all of us is necessary to “help the uninsured.”

In fact, the mandate’s real purpose is to prevent the system’s new government-run “health exchanges” from collapsing. Young adults are being singled out as the group who will have to bear the brunt of preventing this collapse. They’re being asked to sacrifice their dollars and their freedom.

Eighty percent of 20-somethings who earn more than about $18,500 a year will see their health insurance costs go up as a result of ObamaCare. In California, the cost of a basic plan for a 25-year-old male will jump as much as 92 percent, in Ohio as much as 700 percent! Meanwhile, the Administration is enforcing ObamaCare selectively, having granted more than 1,200 waivers to politically connected labor unions and corporations over the past three years, and more recently exempting all large businesses.

In short, ObamaCare is unfair, unnecessary, and harmful to our health. No wonder it’s so unpopular, even before it has been fully implemented. We call on all Americans, and especially millennials, to “burn their ObamaCare card,” join the “health care draft resistance” movement, and help us hasten the replacement of government-centered care with patient-centered care.

Here are the top ten ways ObamaCare sticks it to young adults:

1.    Raises insurance costs for adults under 40 (on purpose)
2.    Reduces access to workplace health insurance
3.    Shrinks workplace health benefits
4.    Reduces work-hours
5.    Kills jobs
6.    Increases debt
7.    Raises taxes
8.    Is unfair
9.    Is unnecessary
10.  Is insulting

1.    Raises insurance costs for adults under 40 (on purpose)

ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by driving up their health insurance costs. On purpose. That’s right, the law is designed to drive up costs for people in their twenties and thirties, in order to keep the new ObamaCare exchanges from collapsing.

Unless a lot of young, healthy people sign up to pay for insurance through the government exchange,  premiums will spiral upward as too many old and sick people sign up, which will cause the system to collapse. Thanks to ObamaCare’s numerous mandates, the health insurance in most cases will cost more than it’s actually worth, especially for young adults. Hence the need for a mandate requiring people to pay into the system. The young are, in effect, being drafted into compulsory national service.

How does ObamaCare drive up rates? Primarily by forcing insurance companies to accept all applicants, regardless of age or health status (“guaranteed issue”) and by forcing them to charge all applicants roughly the same price (“community rating”). These mandates make insurance more expensive, especially for healthier folks, some of whom naturally respond to the higher expense by becoming uninsured -- the opposite of the law’s alleged goal. Younger people tend to be healthier. That’s why they also tend to be uninsured -- the high cost isn’t worth it for them, relative to the benefit. The largest negative effects of guaranteed issue and community thus fall on younger people.

ObamaCare imposes a host of other mandates. One is to make insurers cover adults up to age 26 on their parents’ policy. That sounds nice, until we realize that it costs each of us an additional $100 to $400 a year on our health insurance premiums. (And by the way, since when it a 26-year-old a child?) Another mandate requires insurance companies to cover all services deemed by the government to be “preventative,” including “reproductive health services,” “free of charge.” That too sounds great, until we remember that there’s no free lunch. Mandates raise prices. Period.

How much will premiums rise for folks under 40? (2)

  • Almost 80 percent of those aged 21 to 29 with incomes greater than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $18,560 a year, can expect to pay more out of pocket for coverage than they pay today. Younger, healthier individuals can expect premiums to increase by more than 40 percent. (3)  
  • In Ohio the cost of a basic plan for a healthy 25-year-old male will jump by nearly 700 percent, from $355.44 a year ($29.62 a month) in 2013 to $2,383.68 a year ($198.64 a month) in 2014. (4)
  • In California the cost of a basic plan for a healthy 25-year-old male will jump by 92 percent, from $1,212 a year ($101 a month) in 2013 to $2,196 a year ($183 a month) in 2014. (5)

The uninsured (two out of three of whom are under 40) have average annual health care expenditures of around $800 to $1,200. Since health insurance will cost a good deal more than that, they have an incentive to be uninsured. They need low-cost, economical coverage. ObamaCare gives them the opposite. (6)

By the way, premiums will only go down for older folks if young adults voluntarily swallow ObamaCare’s big rate hikes. If young adults opt instead to take a pass on the insurance and just pay the law’s $95 tax penalty “user fee,” rates will go up for older folks. (7)

You can’t defy the laws of economics. If we want to get more Americans insured, we have to enable insurance to cost less. ObamaCare makes it cost more, for the majority of Americans, and especially for young adults

2.   Reduces access to workplace health insurance

ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by incentivizing many employers to stop offering health benefits. When an employer stops offering health benefits, workers must either: a) rely on a relative’s health insurance; b) go into the ObamaCare “health exchange,” b) enroll in Medicaid or other government program for which they may be eligible, or c) join the ranks of the uninsured. Younger workers will often find themselves in the last category: uninsured.

About 156 million Americans (roughly half the U.S. population) get their health insurance through the workplace. Credible experts predict ObamaCare will cause anywhere from 7 million to 35 million Americans to lose their workplace health benefits over the next few years.

  • The official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate projects that between 2014 and 2019 anywhere from 7 million to 20 million Americans will be “dumped” by their employers from their workplace health plan. (8)
  • A former head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is more pessimistic, estimating that Obamacare “provides strong incentives for employers—with the agreement of their employees—to drop employer-sponsored health insurance for as many as 35 million Americans.” (9)

Wait. Would employers really do that? Would they really drop coverage? Yes, it seems, they would:

  • Thirty percent of employers tell surveyors they’ll “definitely” or “probably” stop offering employer-sponsored insurance in the years after 2014. (10)
  • One recent survey found 9 percent of employers “expect” to stop offering health benefits in the next few years (which would affect about 3 percent of the workforce, or about 5 million workers). (11)


Most of this “employer dumping” will occur among small businesses. That will disproportionately affect adults under 40. (12)

3.    Shrinks workplace health benefits
ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by incentivizing employers to offer stingier workplace benefits. Those employers who choose to offer health benefits will be under pressure to try to save money by making the benefits “thinner.” We already have reports of some employers switching to “skinny” plans, which are plans that don’t cover certain items, such as hospital stays. (13)  Yes, “skinny” plans are allowed under the statute. (14)

4.    Reduces work-hours
ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by causing employers to cut back on workers’ hours. (15)  The law’s “employer mandate” requires all employers with 50 or more full-time employees, beginning January 1, 2014, to offer expensive, government-regulated health insurance. (16) “Full time” is defined under the law as 30 or more hours a week. (The average American works about 32 hours a week.) So unsurprisingly, many firms are reducing workers’ hours to 29 hours or below, in order to avoid the expense. According to the Los Angeles Times:

[B]ig restaurant chains, retailers and movie theaters are starting to trim employee hours. Even colleges are reducing courses for part-time professors to keep     their hours down and avoid paying for their health premiums. Overall, an estimated 2.3 million workers nationwide, including 240,000 in California, are at risk of losing hours as employers adjust to the new math of workplace benefits. (17)

5.    Kills jobs
ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by causing employers to eliminate jobs, especially low-end, minimum wage positions. ObamaCare is causing a hiring slowdown. Part of the problem is uncertainty: employers are afraid to hire because they still don’t know how exactly the extremely complicated law will be enforced. But the bulk of the problem is the employer mandate itself: firms are avoiding new hires to avoid hiring that incredibly costly 50th employee. A health insurance plan can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 a year. The law says that if you offer coverage, it must be “affordable,” as defined by the government. That means you, the employer, must pay for roughly 92 percent of the plan’s cost. Many small firms simply can’t afford that. Right now, unemployment among Americans under 24 is a staggering 16.2 percent, and thanks to our economy’s anemic 2 percent a year growth rate, these Americans’ employment prospects are dismal. The ObamaCare-induced hiring slowdown only makes this problem worse, disproportionately affecting entry- and lower-level positions and thus younger adults trying to get their start in life.

6.    Increases debt
ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by driving up the national debt. The national debt has recently soared above $16,000,000,000,000 (sixteen trillion dollars), an historic high. Uncle Sam has additionally racked up nearly $100,000,000,000,000 (one hundred trillion dollars) in future, unfunded promises. That mountain of debt must be paid back by current and future generations. The cost of the law’s coverage provisions alone, over the first ten years of full implementation (2014 to 2023), is around $2,400,000,000,000 (two trillion four hundred billion dollars). The law will likely drive the deficit up by more than $700,000,000,000 (seven hundred billion dollars). (18) The problem boils down to basic math. As one analyst has summed up the problem:

Health spending now averages about 21 percent of households' personal income ... [but the] health care legislation presumes that those in an exchange shouldn't have to pay more than 10 percent of their income for a health insurance policy. (19)

That means someone is going to have to subsidize people who get their coverage through an exchange. Who is going to be on the hook for that subsidy? Current and future taxpayers, of course. How will it be paid for? Mostly through borrowing. (Uncle Sam currently borrows more than one-third of every dollar he spends.) So now young adults, who already carry historically high levels of student-loan debt, will have to help pay for the massive ObamaCare debt as well. (20)  How thoughtful.

7.    Raises taxes
ObamaCare sticks it to young adults by increasing taxes. ObamaCare imposes eighteen new taxes, including an expensive tax on medical devices and the first-ever tax on workplace health benefits -- even a new tax on the sale of your home. Those new taxes are projected to bring in a total of $514,000,000,000 (five hundred fourteen billion dollars) in additional federal revenues over ten years.
    ObamaCare’s 18 New Taxes

  1. Individual mandate tax on individuals who do not purchase health insurance.
  2. Employer mandate tax on employers who do not offer “acceptable” health coverage to their employees.
  3. Annual fee on health insurance providers based on each company’s share of the total market.
  4. Medical expense deduction is limited to those with expenses above 10% of adjusted gross income, up from previous 7.5%.
  5. 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices.
  6. 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services.
  7. Fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs, based on each individual company’s share of the total market.
  8. Increased Medicare portion of FICA payroll tax, rising to 3.8% from previous 2.9%, on couples earning more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for     single filers); increased tax is also applied to investment income for the first time.
  9. Increased penalty for purchasing over-the-counter products with HSAs to 20%.
  10. Reduction in the number of medical products taxpayers can purchase using funds they put aside in HSAs and FSAs.
  11. Limit on the amount taxpayers can deposit in flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to $2,500 a year.
  12. Fee on insured and self-insured health plans to fund PCORI agency.
  13. Elimination of the corporate deduction for prescription expenses for retirees.
  14. Increase in taxes on health insurance companies, by limiting the amount of compensation paid to certain employees they can deduct from their taxes.
  15. End of special deduction for Blue Cross / Blue Shield organizations.
  16. 40% excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans costing more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families (begins in 2018).
  17. Exclusion of unprocessed fuels from the existing cellulosic biofuel producer credit.
  18. Increase in corporate taxes by making it more difficult for businesses to engage in activities that reduce their tax liability.

8.    Is unfair
ObamaCare institutes basic intergenerational unfairness. Sixty-four-year-olds typically spend six times as much on health care as 18-year-olds. Logically, their health insurance rate should be six times higher. But ObamaCare says insurers can charge older folks no more than three times what it charges a young person. This 3:1 community rating forces millennials to pay about 75 percent too much for insurance, so folks in their early 60s can underpay by about 13 percent. Nice! (21)

9.    Is unnecessary
The tragedy of ObamaCare is that it isn’t even necessary. There are less coercive, less expensive ways to help the uninsured. Here are some simple ways to reduce health care costs and thus increase the number of insured people, without costly government mandates or price controls:

  1. Promote competition by passing a federal “health care freedom act” that makes participation in all federal health care programs completely voluntary for individuals.
  2. Permit individuals to deduct 100 percent of their medical expenses from their taxes.
  3. Allow people to buy health insurance across state lines.
  4. Allow everyone, including folks on Medicare and Medicaid, to have a Health Savings Account (HSA) (a pre-tax savings account for medical expenses coupled with a high-deductible health insurance plan).
  5. Provide targeted assistance, via the states, for the one percent of Americans who can’t afford good private health insurance because of a preexisting medical condition.
  6. Encourage states to reform their medical malpractice tort laws to reduce costs. (22) 

This robust agenda would benefit young adults and indeed all Americans by promoting patient power in the health care marketplace. It would help lower the excessive cost of health care, which is the real problem, by reducing meddlesome government mandates, which are the real culprit.

10.     Is insulting
ObamaCare insults young people’s intelligence by trying to make them believe they are benefiting from a policy that actually targets them for the biggest pain.

P.S. There’s an eleventh reason ObamaCare sticks it to young adults: its inevitable negative effects on the quality and availability of medical care. With the new system’s top-down, centralized approach, there will be higher costs, longer wait times, and incentives for doctors and hospitals to scrimp on care.

Conclusion: Burn Your ObamaCare Card!

ObamaCare was rammed through Congress in the name of “helping the uninsured.” What it really does is hurt the young. Two-thirds of the uninsured today are in their twenties and thirties. Most of the uninsured make a rational choice to go without insurance because government policies have made it too expensive, relative to its value for them.

The individual mandate, ObamaCare’s linchpin, will hit young adults the hardest. Eighty percent of 20-somethings who earn more than about $18,500 a year will see their health insurance costs go up as a result of ObamaCare. In California, the cost of a basic plan for a 25-year-old male will jump as much as 92 percent, in Ohio as much as 700 percent! The individual mandate, ObamaCare’s linchpin, is unjust, unnecessary and harmful to our health.

Millennials would be better off “burning their ObamaCare card” and resisting the “health care draft.” We call on Americans who can do so to “opt out” of the ObamaCare mandate and instead pay the small penalty tax “user fee” for being uninsured (or for not having ObamaCare-compliant coverage). (23)  If enough Americans join the resistance movement, we can hasten the collapse of the exchanges, reverse the Washington takeover, and pave the way for a health care system that works for, rather than against, patients. (24)

End Notes
1. Tens of millions of Americans are statutorily exempted from the individual mandate, including prisoners, illegal immigrants, certain religious sects, Native Americans, Americans living overseas, Americans who don't have to file a tax return, Americans whose employer offers them coverage that would cost them more than 8 percent of their income, and any American granted "hardship" status at the discretion of the Health and Human Services secretary. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, section 1501.
https://www.bcbsri.com/BCBSRIWeb/pdf/Individual_Mandate_Fact_Sheet.pdf

2. The following estimates are for insurance in the individual or nongroup market. That is, not for coverage received through the workplace or the government.

3. http://www.contingenciesonline.com/contingenciesonline/20130102#pg33

4.Louise Radnofsky, “Ohio Complains of Higher Health-Insurance Premiums,” Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2013, http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/06/06/ohio-complains-of-higher-health...

5. Avik Roy, “The War On Bros: Exchange Subsidies Won't Protect Young People From Obamacare's Higher Insurance Premiums,” Forbes, June 7, 2013,  http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/06/07/the-war-on-bros-exc...

6.   ObamaCare supporters try to downplay “rate shock” figures like these, by noting that costs will go down for some older folks. True. But how much comfort is it for a millennial faced with a 92 percent premium increase to know that his 64-year-old neighbor will enjoy a 10 percent decrease? Supporters of the law also say that folks earning up to about $45,000 a year will get a relatively generous subsidy, on a sliding scale, to help them afford the premiums (courtesy of the taxpayer), if they buy coverage in the government exchange. Also true. But that taxpayer subsidy is only available to people whose employer doesn’t offer “affordable” coverage, as defined by the government (and whose state doesn’t offer Medicaid to people earning more than 100 percent of poverty). It’s hard for anyone to know for sure whether he qualifies for the subsidy and will remain qualified for it, since third parties (employers, state policy makers) are the ones making the critical decisions affecting his eligibility.

7. Here is now the individual mandate penalty works. The IRS will levy penalties on individuals who don’t buy government-approved insurance. The annual fines will equal the greater of $95 per adult or 1 percent of income (in 2014); $325 or 2 percent (in 2015), $695 or 2.5 percent (in 2016); and then will rise with inflation. The fine for uninsured children equals one-half the adult fine. Additionally, many people are exempted from the mandate, such as those for whom premiums exceed 8 percent of household income. Hence, as premiums increase, more and more people will be exempted from the mandate.

8.  Seven million figure comes from: CBO, Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage—February 2013 Baseline,” February 5, 2013, http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43900_ACAIns.... Twenty million figure from: CBO, “The Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Employment-Based Health Insurance,” March 15, 2012, http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43090. See also: CBO, “How Has CBO’s Estimate of the Net Budgetary Impact of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Coverage Provisions Changed Over Time?” March 20, 2013, http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44008. CBO does think it possible that the number of people in employer-based coverage could go up, by 3 million; but the agency designates as its “best estimate” a 7 million person drop in workplace coverage

9. Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Cameron Smith (American Action Forum), “Labor Markets and Health Care Reform: New Results,” May 2010,  http://americanactionforum.org/files/AAF_Labor%20Markets%20and%20Health%....

10. McKinsey & Company, “How US health care reform will affect employee benefits,” June 2011, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems/how_us_health_care_refor...

11. Deloitte, “2012 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Employers: Opinions about the U.S. Health Care System and Plans for Employee Health Benefits,” July 2012,  http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Insights/centers/center-for-health....

12. Some workers will lose what the law deems to be “affordable” benefits, as their employers offer “unaffordable” plans intentionally, knowing that doing so will drive their lower-income workers to look outside the firm for health coverage, which will save the employer money (because paying a $3,000 federal penalty fine is cheaper than paying for a $8,000 to $20,000 insurance policy). Some economists predict that we may see a lot of firms restructure themselves into two “sister firms”: one for higher-wage workers who will continue to enjoy company health benefits, and one for lower-wage workers who will be “dumped” into the government exchange. In other words, lower-income workers will get the short end. And guess which age group will be hardest hit by that? Yep, young adults.

13.  Brett Norman, “ACA Penalties Spawn ‘Skinny’ Plans,” PoliticoPro, July 16, 2013, http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/some-workplace-health-plans-will-b....

14. http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/05/21/employers-can-minim...

15.  The employer mandate will take effect on January 1, 2014. In July 2013, the Obama Administration surprised everyone by announcing it was unilaterally cancelling the mandate for a year, pushing the effective date back to January 1, 2015. While this cancellation is illegal, so long as the mandate is only delayed temporarily the incentives for employers to cut back on hours and hiring will remain essentially unchanged. The one-year delay will probably cause more employers to “dump” their workers into government health exchanges in 2014 than would otherwise have been the case. This, we suspect, is exactly what the Administration intends.

16. Here is now the employer mandate penalty works. The IRS will level a tax penalty on businesses with more than 50 full-time employees who fail to offer health coverage. The fine is $2,000 per employee after the first 30 employees. Employers will also be fined for failing to offer “affordable” coverage, as defined by the law. The fine is $3,000 per employee if coverage costs more than 8.5 percent of that worker’s income.

17. Chad Terhune, “Part-timers to lose pay amid health act's new math,” Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/02/business/la-fi-part-time-healthc....

18. Estimate by Senate Budget Committee Republicans, based on CBO projections, for the years 2014-2023.

19. C. Eugene Steuerle (Urban Institute), "Fixing the Nation's Four-Tranche Universal Health System: Next Steps for Both Republicans and Democrats," October 28, 2010, http://www.urban.org/publications/901386.html

20. ObamaCare supporters protest that the law “doesn’t add a dime to the deficit,” citing the official CBO cost estimates for the legislation. But that claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The law only appears “deficit neutral” on paper, because of massive budget gimmicks like these. In reality, ObamaCare will cost taxpayers dearly, with younger taxpayers getting hit the hardest. The law includes $700 billion in ten-year Medicare reductions (to help pay for the new entitlement) that the Chief Actuary of the Medicare program assumes are unlikely to take effect, because they would cause 15 percent of hospitals to go out of business by 2019. (Source: CMS Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, Memorandum on Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended,  April 22, 2010, http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/Actuari....) Members of Congress will never voluntarily allow large numbers of hospitals in their districts to go out of business. They will move to provide federal relief. And the relief will most likely come in the form of reversing the Medicare payment reductions. The Chief Actuary also points out that the law assumes a series of deep, automatic, annual reductions in Medicare payments to doctors that Congress has historically never allowed to take place.

21. Avik Roy, “Putting the ‘Insurance’ Back in Health Insurance, Forbes, May 21, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2012/05/21/putting-the-insuran...

22. Dean Clancy, What Should Replace ObamaCare, July 17, 2012,
http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/what-should-replace-obamacare.
See also: Avik Roy, “The Tea Party’s Plan for Replacing ObamaCare,” Forbes, April 7, 2012,
http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/dean-clancy/forbes-the-tea-party-plan-f...

23. For many people, especially younger citizens, it will be more financially sensible to just pay the fine than to buy overpriced health coverage. The fine is small (only $95, or 1 percent of one’s income, whichever is higher, in 2014). If you refuse or neglect to pay the fine on your yearly tax return, the statute prevents the IRS from punishing you, other than by withholding any tax refund you are owed. So you could theoretically sidestep any penalty whatsoever by adjusting your income tax withholdings to avoid being owed a refund.

24. Jacqueline Bodnar, “FreedomWorks Announces “Burn Your ObamaCare Card” Campaign to Resist the Compulsory Health Care Law” (press release), July 11, 2013,  http://www.freedomworks.org/press-releases/freedomworks-announces-%E2%80.... See also: Dean Clancy, “Burn Your ObamaCare Card,” Washington Times, July 10, 2013, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/10/burn-your-obamacare-card/


          All Things (ObamaCare) Fall Apart   

The hits just keep coming for President Obama’s beleaguered health care reform law. If you’ve had trouble keeping up with all of the bad news surrounding ObamaCare, I don’t blame you. For the sake of convenience, let’s take a look at some of this news and then consider the “big picture” for the floundering Affordable Care Act.

Health Insurance “Exchanges”

We’ll begin with the health insurance “exchanges,” which are the primary mechanism by which ObamaCare distributes massive government subsidies to private health insurance companies. These “exchanges” feature only government regulated and approved insurance plans, from which consumers are allowed to choose. When writing the law, Congressional Democrats and the White House left the dirty work of setting up these expensive, complicated “exchanges” to the states.

After a majority of states flatly refused to comply with this unfunded mandate, the Obama administration started scrambling to set up dozens of “exchanges” by itself. At the same time, the federal government is also burdened with the cost of conducting a massive public relations outreach campaign for ObamaCare, which remains unpopular with more than half of Americans. Compliant states are also struggling to implement their “exchanges,” with Idaho official Stephen Weeg acknowledging that the state bureaucracy will need to “beg, borrow, and steal” in order to get its “exchange” operational by the October 1st start date for enrollment.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services even broke ObamaCare’s own rules by approving Utah’s unique “dual exchange” system. It is clear that the Obama administration is becoming desperate to salvage its crumbling law by any means necessary. By the way, even if these “exchanges” are actually set up according to design, some of the nation’s largest insurance companies are still expressing reluctance to provide coverage plans for them in the first place. Perhaps private insurers do not find the idea of entering such government dominated “exchanges” an attractive prospect, after all?

Lawsuits

Lawsuits continue to plague ObamaCare, as well. Earlier this month, a group of small business owners sued the federal government on the grounds that the text of the ObamaCare law does not authorize the government to issue subsidies to private insurance companies in those states with federally-run health insurance “exchanges.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a separate lawsuit that uses Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ flimsy defense of ObamaCare’s individual mandate as a “tax” against the law. Revenue-raising bills, such as taxes, must originate in the House of Representatives in order to be constitutional, but the final version of ObamaCare began in the Senate. This is just a small sampling of the growing number of lawsuits brought against ObamaCare so far.

Medicaid Expansion

ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion isn’t exactly going to plan, either. The law offers full funding for the first few years for those states that expand their Medicaid programs, and then promises 90% of the funding for future years. However, there is no guarantee behind that money, and truthfully, the federal government cannot afford to hold up its end of that bargain for very long.

Once that happens, state legislatures across the country will get stuck with the tab for Medicaid expansion, which will crowd out other state budgetary priorities such as education and infrastructure. As a result, many governors are refusing to take such a risky deal. Even Missouri, which has Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, is turning down Medicaid expansion due to resistance from the state legislature.

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine casts doubt on the belief that Medicaid expansion is even a good idea. After Oregon expanded its Medicaid program in 2008, researchers found that, “…Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes” in the first two years following the expansion. To be fair, the study did discern some positive secondary effects from the expansion, but the primary purpose of Medicaid is to improve health care outcomes for low-income Americans. If the program is not accomplishing that end, then something is seriously wrong with the program, and further expansion through ObamaCare isn’t the solution.

Implementation

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is charged with leading the ObamaCare implementation effort, but it is clear that she is not up to the (potentially impossible) task. As POLITICO’s David Nather put it, “Obamacare fires are flaring up all over.” Unpopular policy and muddled messaging are hampering outreach efforts by the Obama administration, which leads Reuters’ David Morgan to question how many people will even sign up for insurance coverage under the law. After all, the law assumes that many uninsured but healthy Americans will enroll for coverage, and that these citizens will provide the necessary revenue to allow private insurance companies to comply with ObamaCare’s many costly mandates. If that assumption proves false, then the law is in serious danger of systemic failure. 

The need to boost awareness for enrollment efforts is leading President Obama and Secretary Sebelius to take extreme measures. Speaking to Planned Parenthood, President Obama pleaded with the controversial organization to spread the word about enrollment on his behalf. Secretary Sebelius is personally begging health care industry leaders to donate funds for the implementation efforts. Of course, HHS denies that there is anything improper with such solicitation attempts. Fearing the impact that a complete ObamaCare meltdown would have on their industry, some private insurers are reluctantly stepping into the breach to help with the outreach efforts.

The "Big Picture"

So, what’s the “big picture?” Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the law’s chief architects, recently admitted that ObamaCare is starting to resemble a “huge train wreck.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) fully agreed and asked for additional funding to implement the unpopular law. Remember, this is the same law that the Government Accountability Office recently stated would add $6.2 trillion to the long-term deficit, assuming that some unpopular cost-containing measures are phased out after 2019. According to Senator Reid, this law apparently needs even more money in order to function even somewhat adequately.

Why would Senators Baucus and Reid feel so pessimistic for ObamaCare? If you ask progressive Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, he’ll tell you that the problem is (of course) Republicans. In summary, he argues that if only Republicans would keep shoveling money into the admittedly “unwieldy” law, then it wouldn’t have all of these problems! Mr. Klein, why would conservatives who oppose deficit spending and ObamaCare agree to increase the size of both? Was this really the Democratic plan all along? Why would you ever think that that would work?

By the way, Senators Baucus and Reid aren’t the only Democrats worried now that they’re seeing ObamaCare in action. Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) recently acknowledged during a House subcommittee hearing that the Affordable Care Act “does not address [cost containment].” Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) criticized the Obama administration for “raiding the Public Health and Prevention Fund” in order to advertise for ObamaCare. For his part, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) is worried that the law is causing insurance companies to hike premiums, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) fears that businesses still do not know how to comply with the complex law and that some will cut employees’ hours to reduce compliance costs. Failed South Carolina Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, summed up all of these complains when she labeled the law “extremely problematic.”

In 2010, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded that Congress pass ObamaCare despite intense opposition. She infamously argued that, “…We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” More than three years later, we now know all too well what is in ObamaCare: disaster. Unfortunately, that is the “big picture” for ObamaCare.


          Republican Representative Barbara Sears Blocks Effort Against Obamacare   

In early March, Ohio State Representative Ron Young and Rep. Andy Thompson introduced a bill known as, “The Health Care Freedom Act,” (HCFA) that proposed a new line of defense against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or, Obamacare.  The bill, when passed, will prohibit health insurance companies in Ohio from accepting any federal funding that would trigger penalties for employers or individuals who aren’t compliant with Obamacare.  Wednesday, when the bill was brought up in committee, opposition arose; but not only from the expected side of the aisle.  While the Democrats did balk at the bill, Republican Majority Floor Leader Barbara Sears also took issue with HCFA.  One needn’t look too deep to understand why Sears wouldn’t want the HCFA to pass in Ohio.  Not only has she received a substantial amount of financial contributions from the health care industry, she currently works at a health insurance provider and recently passed her own bill which helps implement Obamacare.

Representative Sears is currently serving her third term in Ohio and over the years has amassed nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from various members of the health care industry.  In fact, her list of donors is a veritable who’s who of health care heavy hitters including: Humana, Merck & Co, Aetna, United Health Care, Johnson and Johnson and many more national players.  When she’s not representing the people of Ohio (or the health care industry) in the House, she works as the Senior Vice President of Employee Benefits at Roemer Insurance, who's website refers to her as a “resource,” as well as an employee.  Perhaps it was in the spirit of being a “resource” that led Sears to introduce HB 3, a bill that regulates the “navigators” established in Obamacare.

Navigators will be individuals tasked with helping citizens through the maze of Obamacare before they actually purchase insurance.  According to the federal law, their duties consist of:

 (A) conduct public education activities to raise awareness of the availability of qualified health plans;

(B) distribute fair and impartial information concerning enrollment in qualified health plans, and the availability of premium tax credits under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and cost-sharing reductions under section 1402;

(C) facilitate enrollment in qualified health plans;

(D) provide referrals to any applicable office of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman established under section 2793 of the Public Health Service Act, or any other appropriate State agency or agencies, for any enrollee with a grievance, complaint, or question regarding their health plan, coverage, or a determination under such plan or coverage; and

(E) provide information in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to the needs of the population being served by the Exchange or Exchanges.

The law, which mandates navigators, specifically bars them from issuing health insurance and directs that funding for the new jobs must come from the state exchanges.  The issue of navigators has been surprisingly absent from the news, considering the large amount of money states will have to come up with to comply with this aspect of Obamacare.  California, notorious for their problems with debt, is slated to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to hire 21,000 navigators.

So why would a Republican propose a bill that seeks to further regulate a government created job that will cost the states untold amounts of money?  It would appear that insurance brokers across the country are getting nervous about the prospect of competition from navigators and have been lobbying for stricter standards on them.  One such group, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, has been lobbying nationwide and their Ohio affiliate has contributed financially to Rep. Sears’ campaigns since 2010.  The passage of Sears’ bill restraining the navigators follows similar bills in Maine and Iowa. In Sears’ case, however, even setting aside the steep amount of money she has received from the health care industry, the fact that she works at an insurance agency that will benefit from her bill seems a conflict of interest.  

Her motives become even more suspect when considering her follow-up of speaking out against the HCFA, a bill that will protect consumers against federal penalties for noncompliance with Obamacare.  According to Sears, the HCFA violates the state constitution by preventing health insurance providers from selling a product.  “If I pass a law that tells my carriers that if they accept any funding under (Obamacare)... if I comply in that area, my penalty is suspension of my ability to accept new enrollees in the plan,” she stated.  Yet, as Rep. Young explained, the HCFA doesn’t limit insurance providers any more than the refusal by the state to enact its own exchange.  Why would a member of the health insurance industry resist an effort to combat the broad-sweeping mandates of Obamacare?  Does Sears really believe insurance companies won’t be able to sell their products without federal funding?  Perhaps it is the case that she believes insurance companies care more about receiving federal money then the consumers they are supposed to be protecting.  Considering her close ties to the industry, Sears may be, as she did in regulating navigators, representing the concerns of insurance providers instead of Ohioans.

The HCFA needs Rep. Sears support to continue to passage.  If she is truly representing the people of Ohio and not the health insurance industry and herself, to back a law protecting her constituents makes logical sense.  As the country counts down to Obamacare taking effect, all eyes will be on Ohio to lead the way out of the coming disaster.

Ask Representative Sears about her motives.


          Ohio Finds New Hope Against ObamaCare   

 

Rep. Ron Young (OH)State Representative Ron Young and Rep. Andy Thompson have introduced a bill in the Ohio House known as, “The Health Care Freedom Act,” that could offer new hope in the fight against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.  The bill focuses on the Obamacare provision that seeks to fine citizens for failing to purchase health care.  As the Health Care Freedom Act claims that it doesn’t conflict with the current federal law, it can be seen as a great step forward for Ohio’s health care freedom. According to the PPACA, employers and individuals must purchase health insurance or they will be subject to tax penalties.  In seven months time, despite the sequester, citizens may be fined anywhere from $695 per person to $4,700 per person; with those amounts set to increase at the rate of inflation.  To help Americans secure health insurance, Obamacare allows for many people to receive subsidies and/or tax credits to offset the cost of insurance.  On the insurance provider side, companies also receive subsidies to help with the added costs associated with covering a larger amount of people at lower rates to consumers.  However, the price for the insurance companies accepting the federal subsidies is the tax penalty for citizens who don’t purchase insurance.  As long as the insurance companies do not accept federal subsidies, consumers will not be subject to penalty taxes.  That is where Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA) has potentially located a weakness. Once passed, HCFA prohibits health insurance companies operating in Ohio from accepting any funding from the federal government that would result in potential penalties for employers or individuals.  If a company chooses to receive federal subsidies, their license would be suspended in the state.  While they would still be able to conduct business previously secured, the company would be barred from writing any new business until the funding is returned to the federal government.  Further, due to the rules set up within PPACA, the subsidized insurance company would be prohibited from participating in any exchange nationwide.  As explained by Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute:
“... since they would no longer be licensed and in good standing with the state, they would no longer qualify under the PPACA as an issuer of “qualified health plans.” The PPACA itself would therefore preclude them from writing new business or receiving subsidies through any Exchanges for as long as the suspension remained in place. Without the (illegal) subsidies, consumers and carriers would have no reason to participate in a federal Exchange.”
 In 2011, voters in Ohio overwhelming supported the adding of language concerning their health care freedoms to the state Constitution.  It now reads:
"No federal, state, or local law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system." 
The HCFA may be just what the doctor ordered in helping protect the citizens of Ohio against the federal government’s attempted intrusion into their state health care and, as evidenced by the support of the additional language to their state constitution, should be passed without objection.

          Kasich Pitches Obamacare Surrender as Pragmatism   

Ohio Governor John Kasich announced his surrender to Washington spending gimmicks on February 4, calling for the expansion of Medicaid eligibility as part of his biennial budget proposal. Kasich, a Republican elected in 2010 and known as a fiscal hawk from his time in Congress, seeks to sell a key component of Obamacare as the pragmatic choice for Ohio.

In a February 6 RedState post defending his embrace of a law he has long spoken against, Kasich wrote, "Now I’ve proposed extending Medicaid health coverage to low-income and working poor Ohioans, in part, to limit further damage from Obamacare."

Obamacare was designed to push millions of Americans into one of the nation's most expensive and least effective entitlement programs, coercing states into compliance by making all federal Medicaid funding contingent on expanded eligibility. The Supreme Court's June 2012 ruling on the bill forbade Washington from cutting off existing funding to states that refuse to expand Medicaid, but Governor Kasich now aims to grow the program anyway.

"Without this move Obamacare is likely to increase health insurance premiums even higher in Ohio," Kasich continued. "Worse, it takes $13 billion of Ohioans’ federal tax dollars out of our state and gives it to other states—where it will go to work helping to rev up some other state’s economy instead of Ohio’s."

In short, Governor Kasich is promoting Medicaid expansion using the language and logic of socialized medicine advocates, treating bureaucratic cost-shifting as actual savings. Kasich even suggested Ohio must claim its "fair share" of Obamacare spending, demonstrating no regard for the fact that DC has run annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion each year since President Obama took office.

Prior to Kasich's February 4th announcement, conservative think tanks Opportunity Ohio and The Buckeye Institute both published critiques of a joint Health Policy Institute of Ohio / Urban Institute study which framed federal spending as free money. Kasich and his staff have cited the study as proof Ohio would come out ahead by expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Not only has the governor failed to address any of conservatives' substantive concerns - instead waving off disagreement as unreasonable ideology - he actually worked with the far-left Universal Health Care Action Network to develop talking points for Medicaid expansion.

In no way does Kasich's current rhetoric square with his past protestations against deficit spending.

"Instead of letting states develop innovative solutions to their respective challenges, new federal mandates will require more Medicaid spending and stick states with large and unsustainable costs," Governor Kasich wrote on March 22, 2010.

"Government shouldn’t be making promises it can’t keep – especially when it’s more than $14.5 trillion in the hole," Kasich said in his August 20, 2011 Weekly Republican Address.

Nearly $2 trillion in national debt later, Ohio's governor has allied himself with lobbyists for socialized medicine, the ultimate promise the government cannot keep. Kasich's abdication of his former fiscal hawk role will make it more difficult for conservative leaders to make a consistent case against entitlement spending and for market-based reforms.

Should the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly choose to support Kasich's Medicaid proposal, the state would "save" money by taking billions in federal funds to cover 100 percent of the expansion for several years. Though federal funding would quickly drop to 90 percent of Ohio's new costs even assuming Congress can borrow forever, care providers are pushing for the change because of numerous perverse incentives built into Obamacare.

Governor Kasich is widely expected to run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but first faces reelection in 2014 in a state that went for President Obama last fall. However politically expedient it may be in the near term to help expand the entitlement state, history tells us how difficult it is to unring that bell.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart


          Yet Again, HHS Secretary Sebelius Extends ObamaCare State "Exchanges" Deadline   

The more forgiving amongst us may feel some genuine pity for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. On one hand, President Barack Obama loaded her department with the mammoth task of writing up the thousands of rules and regulations that will constitute the real weight of ObamaCare. On the other, he charged Secretary Sebelius with the even more onerous duty of convincing a (rightfully) skeptical American public that the new 2,801 page health care reform law represented a landmark achievement that would benefit all citizens. So far, this hasn't gone so well.

The law remains unpopular to this day due to failure in the realms of principle, policy, constitutionality, and public relations. This lingering unpopularity has led to serious real-world consequences for the law itself. As Joshua Withrow noted before, a stunning majority of states have refused to set up their own state "exchanges," which are the basic machinery through which ObamaCare is meant to operate.

Unless these states undergo an inexplicable change of heart, this means that Secretary Sebelius's department will now take on the added responsibility of creating a majority of the state health insurance "exchanges." In fact, her department has so far only granted "conditional approval" to seventeen proposed state "exchanges," so the number may end up even higher than twenty-seven. It goes without saying that creating just one of these exchanges is not a cheap, simple, easy, or quick process.

Remember, the clock is ticking on ObamaCare's implementation. On October 1st of this year, citizens will supposedly be able to purchase health insurance through these "exchanges," with their coverage beginning on January 1st, 2014. Secretary Sebelius, in fear of this fast-approaching implementation deadline, has graciously (read: desperately) decided to extend or even outright waive the deadline for states to set up their own "exchanges."

This isn't the first time that Secretary Sebelius has postponed this particular deadline. Originally, states were meant to submit their proposals to her department on November 16th of last year. However, well aware that a large majority of states would not meet that deadline (or had any intentions of trying), she delayed it on November 9th to December 14th while demanding that those states that did intend to create an "exchange" must submit a brief "letter of intent" along those lines by the original deadline of November 16th.

This new deadline didn't work out so well, either. On November 15th, when Secretary Sebelius finally realized that those "letters of intent" probably weren't in the mail, she ditched that idea and admitted that the letters could be sent on December 14th, as well. However, she insisted that she would make a final decision on January 1st of this year regarding which states would be allowed to create their own "exchanges." Surely, this would be the final deadline.

As you might suspect, it didn't turn out to be the final deadline. On January 14th, Secretary Sebelius admitted that she would still accept proposals from states that desired to create their own "exchanges." In fact, she will now "waive or extend the deadline" for those states. Perhaps to preserve a shred of dignity, her department claims that proposals for "partnership exchanges" between states and the federal government must still be submitted by February 15th.

It's fair to ask whether Secretary Sebelius is "kicking the can down the road" on the issue of ObamaCare implementation. Well aware that her department is ill-prepared (if not completely incapable) of taking on the gargantuan burden of creating dozens of state "exchanges" by itself, she has continually pushed back this key deadline. Now, there is no true deadline, other than the planned starting date of October 1st.

Is there still time for her department to create these "exchanges?" Not if you were to ask Dan Mendelson, president of consulting firm Avalere Health. 

The Washington Post quoted Mendelson as saying that, "It would be very hard at this point to start from scratch. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but it would be unlikely." To be fair, he was discussing recalcitrant states and not the Department of Health and Human Services, but that only makes it worse. A state only needs to construct a single exchange. Secretary Sebelius will have to build dozens. Also, keep in mind that Mr. Mendelson provided this opinion months ago on November 9th. The situation has only grown more dire for Secretary Sebelius since then, as so much precious time has elapsed.

Secretary Sebelius has a hard job. However, she is engaging in pure self-delusion if she believes that repeatedly pushing back these deadlines will cause the states resisting ObamaCare to flock under its banner in these final months. The longer she holds out baseless hope along these lines, the less time her department will have to slap together a pile of last-minute "exchanges."

As FreedomWorks’ Vice President of Health Care Policy Dean Clancy put it, "The wheels are coming off the bus, and the Administration is getting desperate." It's time for Secretary Sebelius to admit the obvious: a majority of states in the Union do not support ObamaCare and do not want to participate in it.

It's that simple.


          With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight
Washington Post
Sen. Susan Collins will celebrate the Fourth of July within view of the Canadian border, at a remote northeastern Maine town's annual parade. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will appear on the other end of the continent in an old timber town on an isolated Alaskan ...
Senate asks for CBO score on Cruz's healthcare proposalThe Hill
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
Mitch McConnell plans to stick to 'repeal and replace' on healthcareWashington Examiner
Salon -HuffPost -Hot Air -Newsmax
all 125 news articles »

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"Re: Welcome, GCR/RV Op-Ed" by Anonymous1 - 7.1.17

Anonymous1

I have tried to explain some of the same theories you have explained, along with Zap and his gang, my parents are on the Tier 1 group exchanges, and while they have done way more than us, including bank documents, and have SKRs, they still have no money. In fact, they call me when there Intel sources do not have information.

I explained yesterday about the greenbooks tax documents, and how Obamacare and the Obama administration have set up tax documents that ended last night. There would have been huge tax implications, if the exchanges were to happen prior to June 30 2017, and that is the true reason for delay. Obama wanted all the credit, and set up these exchanges to be severely taxed. Why we were made to wait, or the real reason, I believe everything was synced up for the second quarter, I will attach this tax document, as a search will not reveal this information.

I believe that was also the reason for the different tiers and the roll out segmented system that has now been changed, the true reason, is everyone is to go at once, all at the same time a shot gun start for everyone. We are past all these ramifications, and now the true blessing should be forthcoming. It is very noble that you are concerned about the people suffering, and I too, am thankful, that many that are struggling can now be helped. It would have not have been good, that the tax would revive the Democratic Party, and continue with our bankrupt and out of control government. The greenbooks, was just that, a remnant of the last failed decade for the ending USA inc.

The most upsetting part of all of this, that the government that has let us down, is the one that is in charge, of these blessing, when these blessings were not to be given to the leaders, that have not only failed us, continue to delay and set up unnecessary taxing, and documents, to line their own pockets once again. I wish since this is a military operation, that they would have completely taken over the government, and made announcements as such, and brought this blessing in, as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The only way to keep greedy politicians from benefiting, from the Gold that has been held for this point in time.

Hope this explained a little why people have been made to wait, and may we all finally receive this blessing.

I included the tax documents, as well as the comments on Dinar Recaps copied off of KTFA, all about these tax documentations.

Sincerely

Reallucky1

https://www.northerntrust.com/documents/wealth-advisor/2017-budget-greenbook.pdf

KTFA

June 21, 2017 (Reposted Per Request)

Doc.K : 2017 Obama Tax year started July 1 2016 expires June 30 2017


ALL MONIES RECEIVED UP TO THE JUNE 30 DATE ARE INCLUDED AND CREDITED TO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. OBAMA CARE AND MANY OTHER OBAMA PLANS WOULD OF PROVED TO BE VIABLE WITH INCOME TAX $$$ FROM THE RV, thus giving Democrats FUEL for changes and continued nonsense.

I believe during the Trump / Abadi visit this year they made the contracts and escrow for said date, June 30, (midnight) for the Trump Administration to get the credit for RV $$ and to PROVE that OBAMA CARE would be insolvent.

We know how much Trump and Abadi love O .

This is scripted folks ....... Why was there a start and stop of the forces moving in Mosul ? Timing. This is why MOSUL dragged out sooooo long .

The USA agencies can tell what book your reading during a baseball game from a satellite.

They could of gotten Bagdadi long time ago. The CBI is just now updating their site ,,,,,, timing.... We should be hearing more about Lower Denoms soon.

TRUMP IS A VERY SMART MAN AND HE IS FOR THE PEOPLE. HE IS NOT GOING TO LET US GET ​ SOAKED by the OBAMA TAX RULES/ PLANS.

Notice the tax brackets, trust, estate, gift, transfer etc....... rules ....... before he left office.

          US : Un patron du charbon porte plainte contre John Oliver (11 réponses)   
Il l'a cherché, il l'a trouvé. John Oliver, le journaliste qui rend la neutralité du net passionnante, est poursuivi pour diffamation par Bob Murray, le PDG d'une entreprise majeure d'extraction du charbon, Murray Energy. Ce dernier n'a pas du tout apprécié d'être pris à partie et moqué lors de l'émission d'Oliver Last Week Tonight, le 18 juin dernier. Une émission durant laquelle Oliver a rappelé que Murray était accusé de négligence sur les règles de sécurité dans ses mines.
John Oliver savait ce qui l'attendait. Le comique anglais, qui présente l'émission Last Week Tonight sur HBO (et fait passer des pubs sur Fox News pour expliquer l'Obamacare à Donald Trump), est poursuivi par le géant du charbon Robert (Bob) Murray, PDG de Murray Energy. En cause : son émission du 18 juin dernier consacrée au déclin de l'industrie du charbon, aux difficultés des mineurs et aux promesses de Trump, durant laquelle Oliver s'en est pris directement à l'industriel...
          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
NBCNews.com -ABC News -NPR -Fox News
all 5,984 news articles »

          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
NBCNews.com -ABC News -NPR -Fox News
all 5,984 news articles »

          Comment on Nina Turner: It Is Not Our Job to Fit Into the Democratic Establishment by Nir Haramati   
"For example, what Nir is saying is that if you insist that slavery be abolished immediately, you are morally at fault." Where am I saying it? "If Nir had his way " What is my way? In any case, what I was actually saying, if you want to use historical examples, is that the current reality is more like refusing to fight in the civil war against the south if the voting Rights act is not implemented immediately. Imagine, for a moment, the New Deal rejected because of a demand to immediate school desegregation, or Obamacare failing because of progressive democrats refusing to sign on anything less than single payer. The reality of the progressive/Democrat debate is more of the nature of all or nothing, coming from progressives, and costing us all Bush AND Trump, than your fraudulent characterization of my words. The idea that as a response to right wing extremism the left must propose equally extremist view is a guaranty of a second civil war, or at best a yo-yo politics.
          The G.O.P.'s Medical Malpractice: Either Republicans Don’t Understand Healthcare, or They’re Just Liars   
healthcare, Obamacare, repeal and replace, GOP healthcare plan, Trumpcare, uninsured Americans, single-payer healthcare, Medicare for All, Mitch McConnell, unregulated markets, free market

The GOP has already indicted itself as both criminally ignorant and casually hypocritical about the nature of health insurance and the critical role government necessarily plays in it.


          Trump Officials Overseeing Health Care Overhaul Previously Lobbied for Health Insurance Firms   
Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Trumpcare, repeal and replace, Republican healthcare plan, healthcare lobbyists, insurance lobby, Tom Price

Senior Health and Human Services Administration appointees previously worked for insurers seeking to influence the consumer regulations mandated by the ACA.


          Obama Isn't Fooling Anyone   

President Barack Obama penned a witty Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, titled "Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System."

In it, he extolled the virtues of a free market system. And to prove that his admiration of capitalism has nothing to do with naked political expediency, Obama signed an executive order that will "root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb."

Sounds rather subjective, though, don't you think? How do we gauge excessive regulation in the Age of Obama? I can't recall a single federal program, piece of legislation, or proposal in the past two years that was initiated to ease the burden on consumers or businesses. (If you know of any, please send specifics to sorry@dowelooklikesuckers.com.)

Obama doesn't have to look far, if he's serious. Nor does he need an executive order. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency is drafting carbon rules to force on states, even though a similarly torturous 2,000 pages on a cap-and-trade scheme intending to make power more expensive was rejected. Maybe there's something in that pile of paper to mine.

Also, the Federal Communications Commission is shoving network neutrality in the pipeline—again, bypassing Congress—so government can regulate the Internet for the first time in history, though the commissioners themselves admit that as of now, any need for rules are based on the what-ifs of their imaginations.

There exists no legislation more burdensome and expensive than the job-crushing (not "job-killing," because, naturally, we can't stand for that kind of imagery) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, formerly known as ObamaCare and presently being symbolically repealed by House Republicans.

That's for starters.

But, of course, there will be no tangible regulatory relief. The Federal Register is a codex of moral well-being, after all. Regulatory schemes are how we make life fairer, the sick healthy, the economy recession-proof, and green energy a reality. It's how we stop the rich from acting selfishly and the weak from stuffing fat kids with Sno Balls.

Last May, a New York Times story, "With Obama, Regulations Are Back in Fashion," laid out how the administration had "pressed forward on hundreds of new mandates." In it, we have what seems like half the White House championing the pettiest of regulations as an ethical imperative.

Our bureaucratic agencies have nearly infinite power to do good via rule-making—once they are in, that is. Keep in mind that the rule allowing "end-of-life" counseling paid for by Medicare was inserted into ObamaCare after passage and only nixed after an ensuing outcry.

It, like thousands of other additions, will return.

A Small Business Administration study says total regulatory costs that businesses (and thus consumers) pay amount to about $1.75 trillion—more than all collected personal income taxes. The Competitive Enterprise Institute found in this past year that the appearance of new rules—including "major" rules that cost more than $100 million annually—had dramatically accelerated.

Which isn't surprising.

When Obama was in a place of political comfort, the free market was a place of unhinged self-interest, unfairness, and misery. Nearly all of our troubles were portrayed as a case of regulatory neglect—and nearly every dilemma was met accordingly.

Nothing's changed but the political conditions.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com. This column first appeared at Reason.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 THE DENVER POST
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM


          Joe Scarborough & Mika Brzezinski Respond To Donald Trump’s Mental State   
Over the last couple of days Donald Trump has both advocated repealing Obamacare without a replacement, which would lead to 26 million people losing insurance, and has insulted Mika Brzezinski. Based upon the media response, the later appears to be the more important story. Therefore, rather than another post on the Republican plans to destroy health […]
          LA RELIGION Y EL PATRIOTISMO ES EL ULTIMO REFUGIO DEL SIRVENGUENZA   
LA RELIGION Y EL PATRIOTISMO ES EL ULTIMO REFUGIO DEL SIRVENGUENZA
Rev. Allan Byron Ramírez
Defensor de la comunidad inmigrante de Long Island por más de 30 anos.








Has visto la noticia en la cual la comunidad inmigrante en Long Island, se ha enfermado con vomito y diarrea al ver las fotos de los hermanos Flores de Long Island, junto con los peores políticos anti-inmigrantes.  Qué asco que le da a nuestra gente ver a los Flores de Long Island; descarados repugnantes traicioneros de su misma comunidad.  Aunque ellos llegaron como indocumentados, respaldan a políticos como Zeldin y Blakeman, quienes apoyan deportar a los indocumentados, y rechazar la ley de Obamacare que beneficia a la comunidad inmigrante.  Y porque?  Porque les están pagando dinero por su apoyo...estos son los peores traicioneros, iguales que Judas Iscariote, dispuesto a traicionar a Cristo por unas monedas.  Hay un lugar muy calientito en el infierno reservado para este tipo de traicionero de los suyos

          Carta abierta a Rafael Flores del Rev. Allan Byron Ramírez   
Carta abierta a Rafael Flores del Rev. Allan Byron Ramírez

Durante mi ministerio en Long Island desde 1982, he visto mucho dolor sufrido por nuestra comunidad inmigrante.  También he visto el odio y la discriminación racial en contra de nuestra gente.  Yo estuve personalmente involucrado en los fraudes en contra de los Jornaleros, los ataques viciosos en contra de Israel Pérez y Magdaleno Escamilla en Farmingville, y  el asesinato de Marcelo Lucero en Patchogue.  Estos fueron unos ataques brutales, no solo en contra de ellos pero también en contra de toda nuestra comunidad inmigrante, y causaron mucho dolor a nuestra gente.

Mi querido Rafael Flores, hoy te quiero hablar de otro ataque tan doloroso como los que ya he mencionado.  Pero este ataque está siendo cometido por un miembro de nuestra comunidad; por Rafael Flores.  Ya hemos visto tus fotos con líderes anti-inmigrantes como Allen West, y Lee Zeldin.  Estos individuos han hablado muy claro sobre su oposición a la reforma migratoria y Obamacare, dos leyes que directamente afectan las vidas diarias de nuestra comunidad.  Estos individuos rechazan ayuda hasta para los niños que han llegado a Estados Unidos desde Centro América como refugiados estos últimos meses.

Yo reconozco que estos próximos dos meses forman parte de la temporada política, y ya he visto tus fotos en la cuales  estás frente a la bandera de Estados Unidos, y mensajes en los que no dejas de invocar el nombre de Dios, como si solo estos símbolos te dieran credibilidad.  En realidad, al ver todos estos  actos de tu parte, me hace pensar lo que alguien dijo hace mucho tiempo: que el último refugio de un sinvergüenza es la religión y el patriotismo.

Rafael, te suplico en nombre de la comunidad inmigrante y de tu gente, desde el punto moral, ético, y religioso, que te apartes de estos políticos quienes prometen traer maldición a tu comunidad, a nuestra comunidad.  

Personalmente, me daría vergüenza fotografiarme con estos políticos anti-inmigrantes, y más vergüenza declarar que los apoyo como lo estás haciendo.  

Tal vez seas ignorante de sus posiciones políticas en contra de nuestra comunidad, pero lo dudo, y ruego que nuestra comunidad también lo dude.  Yo creo que es más creíble que estés recibiendo pagos monetarios por apoyar a políticos que desean conseguir a cualquier Latino y usarlo como un maniquí de vitrina.  Si es verdad que recibes pagos monetarios de estos políticos como Zeldin y Blakeman, en realidad eres como Judas Iscariote, quien estuvo dispuesto a traicionar a Cristo por unas monedas de plata, y tu Rafael, estas traicionando a tu comunidad.  Por eso te imploro, que te apartes del enemigo de tu misma gente, y te lo pido porque sé que nuestra comunidad es buena y te perdonará, pero para recibir perdón, tienes que estar dispuesto a confesar tus pecados.

Tus acciones en apoyar al enemigo de tu gente es un insulto al sacrificio de tus padres, y de todo inmigrante que se ha sacrificado para llegar a este país con el deseo de mejorar sus vidas y las de sus hijos.  Rafael, no traiciones este sacrificio sagrado de todos nuestros padres.  En la historia de Estados Unidos, el traidor más famoso es Benedict Arnold; en la Biblia el traidor más famoso fue Judas Iscariote. ¿Quieres que nuestra comunidad inmigrante recuerde a Rafael Flores como el más famoso traidor del sueño de nuestros padres?

Estados Unidos nos ha dado muchas oportunidades, y yo se que ni en mis mejores sueños pensé que hubiera llegado a la etapa a la que avancé en mi vida profesional.  Pero Estados Unidos también tiene unos capítulos horrorosos en su historial; la esclavitud siendo uno de esos peores capítulos.  

En el viejo Sur de Estados Unidos durante la época de la esclavitud había negros/Afro-Americanos a los cuales les llamaban Tío Tomás (Uncle Tom), porque ellos estaban dispuestos a mantener vigilados a los otros esclavos que trabajaban en las fincas por 14 a 16 horas al día recogiendo algodón, mientras que al Tío Tomas le estaba permitido trabajar en la hacienda sirviéndole al dueño de los esclavos, y pasaba una mejor vida que sus mismos hermanos Negros/Afro-Americanos.  Rafael, me duele decirte, que tus acciones apoyando a políticos anti-inmigrantes  te han convertido en un Tío Tomas moderno.  

¿Ese quieres que sea el testimonio de quien eres?

Si, Rafael Flores, te ruego, te imploro, que tu y yo, tenemos el deber de respetar a los miembros más pobres, más débiles, a los más vulnerables de nuestras comunidades, y darles nuestras voces para que ellos tengan el respeto y la dignidad que todo ser humano se merece.  Especialmente el Señor, nos llama a tener una responsabilidad más alta y honorable hacia ellos, porque tenemos que recordarnos que fuimos extranjeros en la tierra de Egipto, y sabemos cómo se siente ser extranjero, y al extranjero nos dice el Señor, tenemos que tratarlo con dignidad, como si fuera uno de los nuestros.

Ojalá, que regreses al Señor que requiere honor, libertad, y dignidad para todo ser humano, y en este caso, creo que tú necesitas tener esa dignidad para reconocer el error de tus acciones.

Por:
Reverendo Allan Bayron Ramírez

Pastor de la Brookville Reformed Church desde 1982 al 2012, cuando se jubiló, y ahora pasa mucho tiempo en el DF, Ciudad de México.  El Rev. Ramírez fue uno de los primeros líderes que levantó su voz para darle derechos y dignidad a la comunidad inmigrante en Long Island.



          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare -- repeal first, replace later -- began with quiet push from Koch network - Los Angeles Times   

Los Angeles Times

GOP's Plan B for Obamacare -- repeal first, replace later -- began with quiet push from Koch network
Los Angeles Times
President Trump's surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for ...
H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 | Congressional Budget OfficeCongressional Budget Office
HR 1628 - Congressional Budget OfficeCongressional Budget Office

all 6,187 news articles »

          NEWS TO PONDER, SHARE AND WONDER   
Top World News Now                 
February 21, 2013

COURTESY SOCHA FAAL

 Heads up from AntiMullah. Separate vacations and Obambi brings Reggie Love back with  him. If you do  not know what this is, you need to visit/view AntiMullah.com more often to keep up with latest developments.

Tone and content reflects information not normally provided by Lame Stream Media's love fest with Obambi. And worldwide events that discredit his claims and motives for anti-American, pro-Moslem Brotherhood policies and actions.
 
Read and become knowledgeable and stop believing the incredible lies Obama feeds us at every opportunity. Lies his own Democrats increasingly have a problem swallowing and are intentionally leading our nation into certain fiscal and political destruction.


United States
GOP Resists Obama's Push for Tax Rise to Head Off Cuts
Obama Fleshes Out Plans for Infrastructure Projects
Obama considers urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage
White House announces online espionage response policy
US issues final word on essential benefits under "Obamacare"
Anonymous thrown into China-US cyberwar scandal
Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilian workers
In wake of Benghazi, rapid response Marine unit heading to Europe
US issues worldwide caution to its citizens of terror threats
Body found in restaurant rubble after Kansas City explosion
Why Americans Might Be Better Off If Their Burgers Were Made Of Horsemeat
Sex-Change Surgery Available Through Many US Colleges
Majority of US citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported
Hundreds of thousands march in Puerto Rico against gay rights
 
 

Russia
Putin Invites G20 Leaders to St. Petersburg Summit
Migrant workers call on Putin for amnesty
Lavrov: Time to end the war in Syria
Moscow: N. Korea sanctions can only impact nuclear program
IMF warns of higher inflation, slower GDP growth in Russia
Russia's missing billions revealed
Russia Tries To Remove Images of New Drone From the Internet
Russian Military to Develop Anti-Meteorite Defenses
Russia investigates 25 cases of Defense Ministry fraud - Prosecutor General
MP resigns after bloggers disclose his Florida property
Russia escalating attacks on free expression a year on from Pussy Riot protest
‘Ample Evidence’ Linking Ukraine Ex-President to Journalist Murder
French Specialists Resume Work at Chernobyl Disaster Site
Ukraine: Embezzlement At State Orphanages
Belarus Phases Out Russian Warplanes, Radars
 
 

China
Xi Jinping's campaign to purge Communist Party 'won't be easy'
Incumbent cabinet holds final meeting
China's central banker skips retirement bar to stay on
Manila to tackle sea row 'with or without China' at UN
Attacks originating from US rank 1st among overseas hackings in China
Photos show new activity at N Korea nuclear site
Spy agencies scrounge for details on North Korean nuclear test
North Korea: A nuclear 7-Eleven?
N Korean propaganda video shows Obama in flames
US Envoy Opposes S Korean Nuclear Armament
Rise in online fan clubs extolling China's party leaders
After China's multibillion-dollar cleanup, water still unfit to drink
Smog in Pearl River Delta 'worse than in Beijing'
Maoists Block Deal to Break Nepal's Long Political Deadlock
 
 

Cameron to pay respects to victims of Amritsar massacre
Cameron's India trip hits wobble with concern over helicopter deal
Sars-like virus death reported in UK
New coronavirus can infect human lungs as easily as cold virus
Magdalene laundries: Ireland to apologise to survivors
Iranian torture guard refused UK citizenship
Britain expands "bigger than burgers" horsemeat tests
Regulator warns Britain 'on the brink' of energy crisis
Scotland 'faces EU funding cut'
Tanker drivers in Scotland vote to strike
Belfast Orange Order warns members over flag protests
One in four Africans attacked in Ireland
 
 

Berlusconi accused of trying to buy votes days before election
After Bulgarian Protests, Prime Minister Resigns
Greek police fire tear gas on anti-austerity protesters
Greece welcomes Hollande with ‘news blackout’
Dutch experiment in legalised prostitution a disaster
Thieves in Belgium pull off most spectacular and dramatic diamond heist in years
Iceland considers dropping its currency
Lawmakers Threaten to Veto Tightened Budget
EU reinforces sanctions against DPRK
To Revive Honey Bees, Europe Proposes a Pesticide Ban
Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill
Italy politicians make final drive for votes before poll
 
 

Berlusconi's possible comeback a nightmare for Angela Merkel
Merkel's Rainbow Problem: On Gay Rights, Chancellor Still a Conservative
German Officials Signal Berlusconi Isn't Their Man
Germany Sends Troops to Mali
German police raid firms over Ponzi scheme
Germany: Court Backs Adoption by Same-Sex Couples
Net activists slam Germany's open data portal
NSU victims' families want more than sympathy
Security staff at Hamburg airport to strike Wednesday in pay dispute
Swiss mayoral candidate 'pro-Hamas, pro-Iran'
Outgoing chairman of Switzerland's Novartis foregoes $78 million golden parachute deal
Norway is Afraid of Foreign Spies
 
 

Hollande: French soldier killed in northern Mali
Hollande confirms seven kidnapped in Cameroon
Hollande urges investment in Greece, growth in Europe
Hollande: France will miss 2013 growth target
French Kidnapped in Cameroon Were Taken Into Nigeria
France saw 58 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in 2012
Man arrested for serial attacks on Paris Chinese
France to unfreeze development aid to Mali
France Charges 11 In Alleged Kurdish Extortion Ring
 
 
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Syrian rebels threaten Hezbollah with 48-hour deadline
Syrian military reportedly shoots down Israel drone
US direct military support to Mali likely to continue after elections
Mortars Explode Near Assad Palace in Damascus
Missile kills more than 30 in Syria
Typhoid breaks out in rebel-held eastern Syria
Foreign Arms Supplies to Syrian Rebels Expanding
Pro-Assad militia now key to Syrian government’s war strategy
Russia's double dealing on arms to Assad regime leaves UK isolated over Syria
Syrian Rebels Threaten to Attack Lebanon Over Border Dispute
 
Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets
 

Former foreign minister Livni joins Netanyahu coalition
Prisoner X: Benjamin Netanyahu adds to mystery
Secretary Kerry to skip Israel in first trip
Turkey, Israel Cut 1st Defense Deal Since Freezing Ties
Israel Seeks to Curb Weapons Flow to Gaza
West Bank protesters rally for release of deteriorating prisoners
Palestinian Prisoner's Hunger Strike Reaches 211th Day
Fatah Official Warns of Violence if Prisoners Aren't Freed
'Iron Dome' may be instrumental in peace process
Head of Israeli IVF unit arrested in Romania
 
 

 
 

Security deteriorating in Egypt due to political instability
Opposition Sets Conditions For Dialogue With Morsi
Morsi's advisory team less diverse after months of walkouts
Morsi Issues Presidential Decree to Appoint New Mufti
Strike, Protests Hit Egypt's Port Said for 3rd Day
Egyptians protest at Libyan border over new visa rules
Egypt ministry appeals against order to block YouTube
Egypt files new charges against Mubarak's last premier
2 Sunni groups halt roles in Bahrain crisis talks
A Palace Rift in Bahrain Bedevils Key US Navy Base
 

Iran to Conduct Military Drills Over 3 Days
Reformists Meet Khamenei To Improve 'Internal Climate'
Rivals Forced to Apologize to Supreme Leader
Ahmadinejad threat to cancel Iranian poll
Iran Pushes Nuclear-Free Mideast Plans
Syrian Prime Minister Claims Iran is Now “Occupying” Syria
MPs say sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands is non-negotiable
Iran protests Berlin film award for banned Jafar Panahi
Fatwa Issued Against 3G Internet Operator in Iran
Iran FM Spurns Western 'Gold Trade' Offer
Stung by 'Argo,' Iran Backs Conference Denouncing 'Hollywoodism'
 
 

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WITH MINIMAL EDITING


FSM video  picks + 2012 site

white-house-benghazi-LIBYA

· Has the White House been caught in a web of Benghazi (Libya) lies? Plot thickens over edited talking points and what was in President's daily briefings.


Israel_flag

· FOX News reporter runs for cover at Israeli school targeted by Hamas rocket


benghazi_libya_media_coverup_LARGE

· MEDIA WATCH: CBS - Bob Schieffer: Not Sure Benghazi, Libya Was Terrorism


greg gutfeld _FOX the five

· FOX's Greg Gutfeld: Obama Admin Suffering From 'Wordaphobia' regarding Libya


benghazi cover-up_LARGE

· Gov't agencies trying to hide controversial communications? Obama administration's transparency called into question


Israel_flag
breaking news light

· AP Reporter Slams State Department For Silence On Israel


Stakelbeck-MD_ce

· Israel's 'Iron Dome' missile defense system working? Terror analyst Erick Stakelbeck weighs in


PensionShock

· IL Gov. Employs Cartoon Python, 'Squeezy,' to Explain Public Pension Crisis


AllenWest3RB

· Rep. Allen West: It's About Getting Votes Counted Correctly


In Case You Missed It

· MSNBC Anchor Tells Israeli Ambassador Hamas Rockets ‘Rarely Do Damage'

· Congressman: Obama Can't Utter the Words 'Muslim Terrorist Attack' (Libya)

· Students welcome soldier back through song - Special assembly for classmate's father

· Israel and Hamas exchange rocket fire for fifth straight day

· Bill Maher Tells Sean Hannity to Commit Suicide (Warning:Vulgar Language)

· Thousands to Video TSA Pat Downs in Protest

· Based on the classic essay by Leonard Read, a beautiful production from the Competitive Enterprise Institute explaining how the market works to create a simple pencil

· How Campus Censorship Is Ending the American Debate

· BREAKING: Petraeus Said CIA's Talking Points on Libya Were Edited...to Play Down Terrorism


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Obama hides terror truth - Benghazi (LIBYA)

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The California Dept. of Corrections announced it planned to begin a review of more than 9,200 outstanding arrest warrants of parole violators to determine if pursuing these convicted felons would be in the "interest of justice."

A Moment of Truth in Israel

Seven years ago the Israeli government decided to forcibly evict the Jewish residents of Gaza and withdraw all bases and forces from the area.
Israel_flag

Ambassador Rice, Designated Non-Expert on Benghazi

Finally, President Obama has confirmed it was specifically "at the request of the White House" that on the Sunday after the Sept. 11 terrorist onslaught in Benghazi, Susan Rice, appeared as the face of his administration on five TV news talk shows to discuss this debacle.

Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?

by ADAM TURNER
Having the American Ambassador in Benghazi with no American security guards, poorly-trained, largely unarmed, and possibly Islamist-if not-al-Qaeda supportive Libyan security personnel, and no real secure consulate, is nothing short of scandalous.

Tehran, the Terror Capitol of the World

The attacks on Israel were ordered by Khamenei and the support for Syria's dictator Bashar Assad come from Khamenei.

Rep. Allen West Fights On amid Vote-Recount Mayhem

Florida's election procedures are - still - a disaster in the making.

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Rockets? What Hamas Rockets?

Violence between Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza this week is prompting the usual outcry from Islamist groups in America and abroad.

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          Correction: Congress-Health Overhaul-The Latest story   

WASHINGTON — In a story June 30 about health care, The Associated Press incorrectly quoted what Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at an event Friday night in Kentucky. He said, "It's not easy making America great again, is it?" and not, "It's not easy making American great again."

A corrected version of the story is below:

The Latest: McConnell says he'll stick with his health bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected President Donald Trump's advice to first repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and then replace it later with something else

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Senate GOP health care bill (all times EDT):

8:20 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected President Donald Trump's advice to first repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and then replace it later with something else.

McConnell says the current health care bill remains challenging but "we are going to stick with that path."

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that if Republicans could not reach a consensus on the current bill, they "should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!" Several Republican senators signed on to Trump's plan.

But McConnell is showing no interest in that strategy. He told a gathering of Republicans in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, that "failure has to be possible or you can't have success."

McConnell says, "It's not easy making America great again, is it?"

___

3:15 p.m.

The White House says it remains "fully committed" to pushing through a health care plan in the Senate but is "looking at every possible option" to repeal and replace the Obamacare law.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump "hasn't changed his thinking at all" about the struggling health care bill.

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that if Republican senators are unable to pass the Senate bill, "they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

Republican senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ben Sasse of Nebraska have called for that approach.

Sanders says the White House is focused on the "end product" which she says is repealing and replacing the health care law.

___

10:40 a.m.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declining to comment on the president's suggestion that the Senate vote now to repeal the Obama health care law, and vote later to replace it. But that idea was rejected months ago by GOP leaders in the House and Senate.

They considered it politically unwise, since it could draw accusations that Republicans are simply tossing people off coverage without helping them get medical care.

President Donald Trump's suggestion came in an early-morning tweet, which said, "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

The idea isn't without supporters in the Senate. They include Republicans Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Kentucky's Rand Paul.

___

6:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted about the sputtering Senate health care bill.

Trump says: "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

That's an approach advocated by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who's said he opposes the bill, which would do both at once. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed a vote on the bill Tuesday because of opposition from conservatives and moderates. He's trying to nail down changes by this weekend to assure the bill's passage after the July 4 recess.

___

3:35 p.m.

Top Senate Republicans hoping to rescue their push to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul may try doing it by preserving one of his tax boosts on the rich.

It's a break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts, and most things achieved by Obama. But it could help attract votes from moderate Republican senators.

And it underscores Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's feverish effort to yank one of his and President Donald Trump's foremost priorities from the brink of defeat.

The money would instead be used to bolster their proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people.

In a bid for conservative support, Senate leaders are also considering an amendment to let insurers offer plans with low premiums and scant benefits.

Author(s): 

Articles

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President Donald Trump speaks during an energy roundtable with tribal, state, and local leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Department of Energy in Washington, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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President Donald Trump, center, speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, right, listen (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

d5c4661c018949f88a76d0a1b53789cd.jpg

Amelie Hahn of Jackson, waves a message sign on behalf of her daughter. noting the importance of Medicaid for her continued health care, as she and other social service activists, Medicaid recipients and their supporters stage a protest outside the building that houses the offices of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Jackson, Miss. About 35 participants began the morning with a protest at Cochran's office, while sending some representatives to meet with his staff. By mid afternoon, the same group continued their outdoor protest at the federal courthouse where U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., maintains offices. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

3ed868f1d03e448289cc17a1a899084e.jpg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas speak with the media after they and other Senate Republicans had a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

c937c6eebca84d02b2893860a455d51e.jpg

Protesters block a street during a protest against the Republican bill in the U.S. Senate to replace President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators with Utah's Disabled Rights Action Committee chanted and carried signs while blocking State Street Tuesday afternoon. Utah protesters criticized Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch for supporting the bill and say it will cut life-saving Medicaid services and other health protections. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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FILE - In this June 22, 2017 file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine speaks amid a crush of reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Somewhere along the way, the Republican crusade to repeal "Obamacare" also turned into an effort to limit the future growth of Medicaid. That bit of mission creep is complicating prospects for the GOP, and could lead to deadlock. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Source: 
AP

          Correction: Congress-Health Overhaul story   

WASHINGTON — In a story June 30 about health care, The Associated Press incorrectly quoted what Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at an event Friday night in Kentucky. He said, "It's not easy making America great again, is it?" and not, "It's not easy making American great again."

A corrected version of the story is below:

Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it

President Donald Trump says that if Senate Republicans can't make a deal on legislation to repeal and replace 'Obamacare,' they should go ahead and repeal the whole law immediately and replace it later on

By ERICA WERNER and ALAN FRAM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.

Trump's tweet revives an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself considered but dismissed months ago as impractical and politically unwise. And it's likely to further complicate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's task as he struggles to bridge the divide between GOP moderates and conservatives as senators leave Washington for the Fourth of July break without having voted on a health care bill as planned.

"If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!" Trump wrote.

The president sent his early-morning tweet shortly after Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse appeared on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" to talk about a letter he had sent to Trump making that exact suggestion: a vote on repealing former President Barack Obama's health law followed by a new effort at a working out a replacement.

Trump is a known "Fox & Friends" viewer, but Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also claimed credit for recommending the tactic to the president in a conversation earlier in the week.

"Senator Rand Paul suggested this very idea to the president," said Paul spokesman Sergio Gor. "The senator fully agrees that we must immediately repeal Obamacare and then work on replacing it right away."

Either way, Trump's suggestion has the potential to harden divisions within the GOP as conservatives like Paul and Sasse complain that McConnell's bill does not go far enough in repealing Obama's health care law while moderates criticize it as overly harsh in kicking people off insurance roles, shrinking the Medicaid safety net and increasing premiums for older Americans.

McConnell told reporters after an event Friday in his home state of Kentucky that the health care bill remains challenging but "we are going to stick with that path."

"It's not easy making America great again, is it?" McConnell said.

McConnell, R-Ky., has been trying to strike deals with members of both factions in order to finalize a rewritten bill lawmakers can vote on when they return to the Capitol the second week of July. Even before Trump weighed in, though, it wasn't clear how far he was getting, and Trump's tweet did not appear to suggest a lot of White House confidence in the outcome.

"McConnell's trying to achieve a 50-vote Venn diagram between some very competing factions," said Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health policy expert who worked as a Senate GOP aide during passage of the Democrats' Affordable Care Act. "So what the president tweeted takes one side of that Venn diagram and pushes it further away, and actually puts on the table an option that will probably drive that group away from seeking compromise with the other side of the Venn diagram."

Even before Trump was inaugurated in January, Republicans had debated and ultimately discarded the idea of repealing Obamacare before replacing it, concluding that both must happen simultaneously. Doing otherwise would invite accusations that Republicans were simply tossing people off coverage and would roil insurance markets by raising the question of whether, when and how Congress might replace Obama's law once it was gone.

The idea also would leave unresolved the quandary lawmakers are struggling with now, about how to replace Obama's system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that could get enough Republican votes to pass Congress. House Republicans barely passed their version of an Obamacare replacement bill in May, and the task is proving even tougher in the Senate, where McConnell has almost no margin for error.

Moderates were spooked as the week began with a Congressional Budget Office finding that McConnell's draft bill would result in 22 million people losing insurance over the next decade, only 1 million fewer than under the House-passed legislation which Trump privately told senators was "mean." But conservatives continue to insist that the bill must go further than just repealing some of the mandates and taxes in Obama's law.

"It's distressing to see so many Republicans who've lied about their commitment to repeal," Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a conference call on Friday.

Underscoring the fissures within the GOP, conservative group leaders on the conference call welcomed Trump's suggestion but said it didn't go far enough because it could open the door to a subsequent bipartisan compromise to replace Obama's law. At the same time, a key House Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, rejected Trump's suggestion, contending that it "doesn't achieve what President Trump set out to do."

"I really think the Senate's approach — certainly in the House — of not simply repealing but to start to put into place the elements that can make health care affordable, that's what the president set out to do," Brady said in an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program.

Author(s): 

Articles

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95eade3b51434d3d80e1eea75ff64a13.jpg

President Donald Trump speaks during an energy roundtable with tribal, state, and local leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

14243c6692914a7187982036304fedbb.jpg

President Donald Trump speaks at the Department of Energy in Washington, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

d36aa350789b4a2eb80d7d0fe49c7066.jpg

President Donald Trump, center, speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, right, listen (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

d5c4661c018949f88a76d0a1b53789cd.jpg

Amelie Hahn of Jackson, waves a message sign on behalf of her daughter. noting the importance of Medicaid for her continued health care, as she and other social service activists, Medicaid recipients and their supporters stage a protest outside the building that houses the offices of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Jackson, Miss. About 35 participants began the morning with a protest at Cochran's office, while sending some representatives to meet with his staff. By mid afternoon, the same group continued their outdoor protest at the federal courthouse where U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., maintains offices. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

3ed868f1d03e448289cc17a1a899084e.jpg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas speak with the media after they and other Senate Republicans had a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

c937c6eebca84d02b2893860a455d51e.jpg

Protesters block a street during a protest against the Republican bill in the U.S. Senate to replace President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Demonstrators with Utah's Disabled Rights Action Committee chanted and carried signs while blocking State Street Tuesday afternoon. Utah protesters criticized Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch for supporting the bill and say it will cut life-saving Medicaid services and other health protections. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

99b23584e4824e879215111d4077d9fa.jpg

FILE - In this June 22, 2017 file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine speaks amid a crush of reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Somewhere along the way, the Republican crusade to repeal "Obamacare" also turned into an effort to limit the future growth of Medicaid. That bit of mission creep is complicating prospects for the GOP, and could lead to deadlock. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Source: 
AP
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          Donald Trump, ‘Joe’ hosts trade accusations on hit piece   

The astonishing war between President Trump and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” anchors entered a bizarre new front yesterday when hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski accused the White House of blackmailing them with a hit piece in the National Enquirer.

“It is unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played,” Brzezinski said on the air yesterday. “He is easily played by a cable news host. What does that say to our allies? What does that say to our enemies?”

Scarborough and Brzezinski alleged yesterday in a Washington Post op-ed titled “Donald Trump is not well” that “top White House staff members” told them the National Enquirer would publish a negative article about them “unless we begged the president to have the story spiked.” They claim they refused to do so.

Later, Trump on Twitter alleged just the opposite — that the two came to him about the impending supermarket tabloid article.

“Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time,” the president tweeted. “FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”

Scarborough took to Twitter to respond to the president: “Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven’t spoken with you in many months. Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you?”

For its part, the Enquirer released a statement denying the magazine threatened the couple or had knowledge “of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story.”

The Daily Beast, citing White House sources, reported that senior adviser Jared Kushner was among the staff members that Scarborough talked to about the Enquirer story, but denied any blackmail took place.

On yesterday’s show, Brzezinski and Scarborough used the Twitter tirade to question Trump’s mental fitness for the presidency.

“This is absolutely nothing for me personally,” she said. “But I am very concerned about what this once again reveals about the president of the United States. ... It does worry me about the country.”

Presumably in response to their frequent mockery of the president — including ridiculing the size of his hands — Trump tweeted on Thursday that “low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Brzezinski and Scarborough deny in the Post column that she ever had a face-lift but that Brzezinski “did have a little skin under her chin tweaked.”

That prompted The Observer (formerly the New York Observer), which was owned and published by Jared Kushner until Trump won the White House, to post a story yesterday featuring a “leading cosmetic surgeon” speculating about what Brzezinski’s “chin tweak” could have been.

“A 50-year-old working mother of two, Brzezinski really does look younger than her age,” the story notes.

All of this capped a week that began with a glimmer of hope that Republicans could pass an Obamacare replacement plan. But after Senate GOPers jumped ship when the Congressional Budget Office reported 22 million fewer Americans would have insurance by 2026 under the plan, the vote was pushed until after the Fourth of July.

Making matters worse, Republicans were forced to react on the record to Trump’s MSNBC tweets and were left scratching their heads trying to decipher the logic of the cyber-lashing.

Author(s): 

Chris Cassidy

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President Donald Trump, accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 30, 2017.

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Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of ‘Morning Joe,’ above.
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          Sasse Sends Plan B to Trump: If No Agreement Next Week, Repeal First and Spend August on Replace   

Washington, D.C. - This morning, Senator Sasse urged President Trump to adopt a two-step strategy of repealing and then replacing ObamaCare – if an agreement is not reached by the day members return from the July 4th state work period. Sasse suggests that Trump call on Republicans to repeal ObamaCare through reconciliation upon return, and then to spend August crafting a replacement bill for a vote on Labor Day.

The full text of the Senator’s letter is found below:

Mr. President:

The Senate will next be in legislative session on Monday, July 10. If we don’t get to agreement on a combined, comprehensive ObamaCare repeal and replace plan by that day, I humbly suggest that you publicly call on the Congress to do two things: (1) to immediately repeal as much of ObamaCare as is possible under Congressional budget reconciliation rules, and then (2) to cancel the scheduled August state work period and instead to spend that month working through regular order, six days per week, writing a health reform package with a vote to be scheduled on Labor Day.

You campaigned and won on the repeal of ObamaCare.  So did every Republican senator. We should keep our word.  Also like you, almost every Republican senator believes that health reform was needed before Democrats passed ObamaCare in 2010, and fundamental reform is still needed today. While we strongly disagree with Democrats that health coverage and premiums would be improved by more federal intrusion into health finance and delivery markets – and the nation’s tragic experience with ObamaCare’s broken promises supports our view – true reform was nonetheless needed then and is still needed now.

On the current path, it looks like Republicans will either fail to pass any meaningful bill at all, or will instead pass a bill that attempts to prop up much of the crumbling ObamaCare structures. We can and must do better than either of these – both because the American people deserve better, and because we promised better.

Therefore, I write to ask that you call on us to do two things:  First, hold all Republicans accountable to our promise to repeal ObamaCare. With only one exception, every member of this Senate majority – moderate and conservative – has explicitly endorsed and/or already voted to repeal ObamaCare, most recently on December 3, 2015. And our newest colleagues, Senators Kennedy and Strange, who were not here at the time of that vote, have also campaigned on promises to repeal this disastrous law. We must keep our word.

Therefore, on July 10, if we don’t have agreement on a combined repeal and replace plan, we should immediately vote again on H.R. 3762, the December 2015 ObamaCare repeal legislation that the Congress passed but President Obama vetoed.  We should include a year-long implementation delay to give comfort to Americans currently on ObamaCare that a replacement plan will be enacted before expiration.

Second, please call on Congress to cancel the August state work period to instead work around the clock exclusively on a health replacement plan on which we can vote this Labor Day. After we gave our word to repeal and replace ObamaCare’s monstrosity, we should not go back to our states during August as the American people struggle under fewer choices and skyrocketing costs.  We should remain in DC at work.

This two-step plan to keep our two promises – both repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with a system that provides affordable and portable health insurance – seems like a no-brainer to this gym rat.  I’m hopeful that you will agree.

Thank you for your consideration,

Ben Sasse
United States Senator


          Weekly Commentary: The Road to Normalization   
The past week provided important support for the “peak monetary stimulus” thesis. There is mounting evidence that global central bankers are monitoring inflating asset prices with heightened concern. The intense focus on CPI is beginning to blur. They would prefer to be on a cautious path toward policy normalization.

June 25 – Financial Times (Claire Jones): “Global financial stability will be in jeopardy if low inflation lulls central banks into not raising interest rates when needed, the Bank for International Settlements has warned. The message about the dangers of sticking too closely to inflation targets comes as central banks in some of the world’s largest economies are considering how to end years of ultra-loose monetary policy after the global financial crisis… ‘Keeping interest rates too low for long could raise financial stability and macroeconomic risks further down the road, as debt continues to pile up and risk-taking in financial markets gathers steam,’ the bank said in its annual report. The BIS acknowledged that raising rates too quickly could cause a panic in markets that have grown used to cheap central bank cash. However, delaying action would mean rates would need to rise further and faster to prevent the next crisis. ‘The most fundamental question for central banks in the next few years is going to be what to do if the economy is chugging along well, but inflation is not going up,’ said Claudio Borio, the head of the BIS’s monetary and economics department… ‘Central banks may have to tolerate longer periods when inflation is below target, and tighten monetary policy if demand is strong — even if inflation is weak — so as not to fall behind the curve with respect to the financial cycle.’ …Mr Borio said many of the factors influencing wage growth were global and would be long-lasting. ‘If, as we think, the forces of globalisation and technology are relevant [in keeping wages low] and have not fully run their course, this will continue to put downward pressure on inflation,’ he said.”

While global markets easily ignored ramifications from the BIS’s (the central bank to central banks) annual report, the same could not be said for less than super dovish comments from Mario Draghi, my nominee for “the world’s most important central banker.”

June 27 – Financial Times (Katie Martin): “What’s that, you say? The ‘R-word’? Judging from the markets, Mario Draghi’s emphasis on reflation changes everything, and highlights the communications challenge lying ahead of the president of the European Central Bank. The ECB’s crisis-fighter-in-chief threw investors into a fit of the vapours on Tuesday when he said he was growing increasingly confident in the currency bloc’s economic recovery, and that ‘deflationary forces have been replaced by reflationary ones’.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Annie Massa and Elizabeth Dexheimer): “Mario Draghi hinted at how he may sell a gradual unwinding of European Central Bank stimulus. The ECB president repeated his mantra that the Governing Council needs to be patient in letting inflation pressures build in the euro area and prudent in withdrawing support. At the same time, there’s room to tweak existing measures. ‘As the economy continues to recover, a constant policy stance will become more accommodative, and the central bank can accompany the recovery by adjusting the parameters of its policy instruments -- not in order to tighten the policy stance, but to keep it broadly unchanged.’ The comments echo an argument first made by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann… With his nod to a frequent critic of quantitative easing who has been calling for an end of the 2.3 trillion-euro ($2.6 trillion) program, Draghi may have set the stage for a discussion in the coming months on phasing out asset purchases.”

When the ECB chose not to offer any policy clarification coming out of its June 8th meeting, wishful markets had Draghi holding out until September. The timeline was moved up, with the ECB president using the bank’s annual meeting, held this year in Sintra Portugal, to offer initial thoughts on how the ECB might remove accommodation. Market reaction was swift.

German 10-year bund yields surged 13 bps Tuesday and almost doubled this week to 47bps. French yield jumped 14 bps Tuesday – and 21 bps for the week - to 82 bps. European periphery bonds were under pressure. Italian 10-year yields rose 16 bps Tuesday and 24 bps for the week to 2.16%. Portuguese yields rose 14 bps Tuesday, ending the week at 3.03%. Draghi’s comments rattled bond markets around the globe. Ten-year Treasury yields rose seven bps to 2.21% (up 16 bps for the week), Canadian bonds 11 bps to 1.57% and Australian bonds 10 bps to 2.46%. Emerging market bonds also came under heavy selling pressure, with Eastern European bonds taking a pounding.

June 28 – Bloomberg (Robert Brand): “This is what it sounds like when doves screech. Less than 24 hours Mario Draghi jolted financial markets by saying ‘deflationary forces’ have been replaced by reflationary ones, European Central Bank officials reversed the script, saying markets had misinterpreted the central banker’s comments. What was perceived as hawkish was really meant to strike a balance between recognizing the currency bloc’s economic strength and warning that monetary support is still needed, three Eurosystem officials familiar with policymakers’ thinking said. Their dovish interpretation sparked a rapid unwinding of moves in assets from the euro to stocks and sovereign bonds.”

I don’t see it as the markets misinterpreting Draghi. Understandably, inflated Bubble markets have turned hyper-sensitive to the course of ECB policymaking. The ECB’s massive purchase program inflated a historic Bubble throughout European debt markets, a speculative Bubble that I believe unleashed a surge of global liquidity that has underpinned increasingly speculative securities markets.

If not for massive QE operations from the ECB and BOJ, I believe the 2016 global reversal in bond yields would have likely ushered in a major de-risking/deleveraging episode throughout global markets. Instead, powerful liquidity injections sustained speculative Bubbles throughout global fixed income, in the process spurring blow-off excess throughout global equities and risk assets more generally. Recalling the summer of 2007, everyone is determined to see the dance party rave indefinitely.

First-half QE has been estimated (by Bank of America) at (an incredible) $1.5 TN. Bubbling markets should come as no stunning surprise. At May highs, most European equities indices were sporting double-digit year-to-date gains. The S&P500 returned (price + dividends) almost 10% for the first half, with the more speculative areas of U.S. equities outperforming. The Nasdaq Composite gained 14.1% in the first-half, with the large company Nasdaq 100 (NDX) rising 16.1%. Despite this week’s declines, the Morgan Stanley High Tech index rose 20.3%, and the Semiconductors (SOX) jumped 14.2% y-t-d. The Biotechs (BTK) surged 9.7% during Q2, boosting y-t-d gains to 25.6%. The NYSE Healthcare Index gained 7.7% for the quarter and 15.3% y-t-d. The Nasdaq Transports jumped 9.7% during Q2, with the DJ Transports up 5.3%. The Nasdaq Other Financials rose 7.9% in the quarter.

Central banks have closely collaborated since the financial crisis. While always justifying policy stimulus on domestic grounds, it’s now been almost a decade of central bankers coordinating stimulus measures to address global system fragilities. I doubt the Fed would have further ballooned its balance sheet starting in late-2012 if not for the “European” financial crisis. In early-2016, the ECB and BOJ would not have so aggressively expanded QE programs – and the Fed not postponed “normalization” – if not for global ramifications of a faltering Chinese Bubble. All the talk of downside inflation risk was convenient cover for global crisis worries.

As Mario Draghi stated, the European economy is now on a reflationary footing. At least for now, Beijing has somewhat stabilized the Chinese Bubble. Powered by booming securities markets, global Credit continues to expand briskly. Even in Europe, the employment backdrop has improved markedly. It’s just become difficult for central bankers to fixate on tame consumer price indices with asset prices running wild.

Global market liquidity has become fully fungible, a product of multinational financial institutions, securities lending/finance and derivatives markets. The ECB and BOJ’s ultra-loose policy stances have worked to counteract the Fed’s cautious normalization strategy. Determined to delay the inevitable, Draghi now faces the scheduled year-end expiration of the ECB’s latest QE program, along with an impending shortage of German bunds available for purchase. Behind the scenes and otherwise, Germany is surely losing patience with open-ended “money” printing. This week’s annual ECB gathering provided an opportunity for Draghi to finally get the so-called normalization ball rolling. Despite his cautious approach, markets immediately feared being run over.

June 28 – Bloomberg (Alessandro Speciale): “Mario Draghi just got evidence that his call for ‘prudence’ in withdrawing European Central Bank stimulus applies to his words too. The euro and bond yields surged on Tuesday after the ECB president said the reflation of the euro-area economy creates room to pull back unconventional measures without tightening the stance. Policy makers noted the jolt that showed how hypersensitive investors are to statements that can be read as even mildly hawkish… Draghi’s speech at the ECB Forum in Sintra, Portugal, was intended to strike a balance between recognizing the currency bloc’s economic strength and warning that monetary support is still needed, said the officials…”

June 28 – Bloomberg (James Hertling, Alessandro Speciale, and Piotr Skolimowski): “Global central bankers are coalescing around the message that the cost of money is headed higher -- and markets had better get used to it. Just a week after signaling near-zero interest rates were appropriate, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney suggested on Wednesday that the time is nearing for an increase. His U.S. counterpart, Janet Yellen, said her policy tightening is on track and Canada’s Stephen Poloz reiterated he may be considering a rate hike. The challenge of following though after a decade of easy money was highlighted by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s attempt to thread the needle. Financial markets whipsawed as Eurosystem officials walked back comments Draghi made Tuesday that investors had interpreted as signaling an imminent change in monetary policy. ‘The market is very sensitive to the idea that a number of central banks are appropriately and belatedly reassessing the need for emergency policy accommodation,’ said Alan Ruskin, co-head of foreign exchange research at Deutsche Bank AG.”

Draghi and the ECB are hoping to duplicate the Fed blueprint – quite gingerly removing accommodation while exerting minimal impact on bond yields and risk markets more generally: Normalization without a meaningful tightening of financial conditions. This is unrealistic.

Current complacency notwithstanding, turning down the ECB QE spigot will dramatically effect global liquidity dynamics. Keep in mind that the removal of Fed accommodation has so far coincided with enormous counteracting market liquidity injections courtesy of the other major central banks. The ECB will not enjoy a similar luxury. Moreover, global asset prices have inflated significantly over the past 18 months, fueled at least in part by a major increase in speculative leverage.

There are three primary facets to QE dynamics worth pondering as central banks initiate normalization. The first is the size and scope of previous QE operations. The second is the primary target of liquidity-induced market flows. And third, to what extent have central bank measures and associated market flows spurred self-reinforcing speculative leveraging and market distortions. Inarguably, ECB and BOJ-induced flows over recent quarters have been massive. It is also reasonably clear that market flows gravitated primarily to equities and corporate Credit, asset classes demonstrating the most enticing inflationary biases. And there are as well ample anecdotes supporting the view that major speculative leveraging has been integral to myriad Bubbles throughout global risk markets. The now deeply ingrained view that the cadre of global central banks will not tolerate market declines is one of history’s most consequential market distortions.

And while the timing of the removal of ECB and BOJ liquidity stimulus remains uncertain, markets must now at least contemplate an approaching backdrop with less accommodation from the ECB and central banks more generally. With this in mind, Draghi’s comments this week could mark an important juncture for speculative leveraging. Increasingly unstable currency markets are consistent with this thesis. The days of shorting yen and euros and using proceeds for easy profits in higher-yielding currencies appear to have run their course. I suspect de-leveraging dynamics have commenced, though market impact has thus far been muted by ongoing ECB and BOJ liquidity operations.

June 27 – Reuters (William Schomberg, Marc Jones, Jason Lange and Lindsay Dunsmuir): “U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash. ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?’ Yellen said… ‘You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be,’ she said.”

While headlines somewhat paraphrased Yellen’s actual comment, “We Will not see Another Crisis in Our Lifetime” is reminiscent of Irving Fisher’s “permanent plateau” just weeks before the great crash of 1929. While on the subject, I never bought into the popular comparison between 2008 and 1929 – and the related notion of 2008 as “the 100-year flood”. The 2008/09 crisis was for the most part a private debt crisis associated with the bursting of a Bubble in mortgage Credit – not dissimilar to previous serial global crises, only larger and somewhat more systemic. It was not, however, a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929, which was characterized by a crisis of confidence in the banking system, the markets and finance more generally, along with a loss of faith in government policy and institutions. But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.

As such, it’s ironic that the Fed has branded the banking system cured and so well capitalized that bankers can now boost dividends, buybacks and, presumably, risk-taking. As conventional central bank thinking goes, a well-capitalized banking system provides a powerful buffer for thwarting the winds of financial crisis. Chair Yellen, apparently, surveys current bank capital levels and extrapolates to systemic stability. Yet the next crisis lurks not with the banks but within the securities and derivatives markets: too much leverage and too much “money” employed in trend-following trading strategies. Too much hedging, speculating and leveraging in derivatives. Market misperceptions and distortions on an epic scale.

Compared to 2008, the leveraged speculating community and the ETF complex are significantly larger and potentially perilous. The derivatives markets are these days acutely more vulnerable to liquidity issues and dislocation. Never have global markets been so dominated by trend-following strategies. It’s a serious issue that asset market performance – stocks, bond, corporate Credit, EM, real estate, etc. – have all become so tightly correlated. There are huge vulnerabilities associated with various markets having become so highly synchronized on a global basis. And in the grand scheme of grossly inflated global securities, asset and derivatives markets, the scope of available bank capital is trivial.

I realize that, at this late stage of the great bull market, such a question sounds hopelessly disconnected. Yet, when markets reverse sharply lower and The Crowd suddenly moves to de-risk, who is left to take the other side of what has become One Gargantuan “Trade”? We’re all familiar with the pat response: “Central banks. They’ll have no choice.” Okay, but I’m more interested in the timing and circumstances.

Central bankers are now signaling their desire to proceed with normalization, along with noting concerns for elevated asset prices. As such, I suspect they will be somewhat more circumspect going forward when it comes to backstopping the markets - than, say, back in 2013 with Bernanke’s “flash crash” or with the China scare of early-2016. Perhaps this might help to explain why the VIX spiked above 15 during Thursday afternoon trading. Even corporate debt markets showed a flash of vulnerability this week.


For the Week:

The S&P500 dipped 0.6% (up 8.2% y-t-d), and the Dow slipped 0.2% (up 8.0%). The Utilities fell 2.5% (up 6.2%). The Banks surged 4.4% (up 4.2%), and the Broker/Dealers jumped 2.6% (up 9.8%). The Transports rose 1.9% (up 5.7%). The S&P 400 Midcaps added 0.2% (up 5.2%), while the small cap Russell 2000 was unchanged (up 4.3%). The Nasdaq100 dropped 2.7% (up 16.1%), and the Morgan Stanley High Tech index sank 3.0% (up 20.3%). The Semiconductors were hit 4.9% (up 14.2%). The Biotechs dropped 3.9% (up 25.5%). With bullion dropping $15, the HUI gold index sank 4.5% (up 1.9%).

Three-month Treasury bill rates ended the week at 100 bps. Two-year government yields gained four bps to 1.38% (up 19bps y-t-d). Five-year T-note yields rose 13 bps to 1.89% (down 4bps). Ten-year Treasury yields jumped 16 bps to 2.30% (down 14bps). Long bond yields increased 12 bps to 2.84% (down 23bps).

Greek 10-year yields were little changed at 5.36% (down 166bps y-t-d). Ten-year Portuguese yields rose 10 bps to 3.03% (down 72bps). Italian 10-year yields surged 24 bps to 2.16% (up 35bps). Spain's 10-year yields jumped 16 bps to 1.54% (up 16bps). German bund yields surged 21 bps to 0.47% (up 26bps). French yields rose 21 bps to 0.82% (up 14bps). The French to German 10-year bond spread was unchanged at 35 bps. U.K. 10-year gilt yields jumped 23 bps to 1.26% (up 2bps). U.K.'s FTSE equities index fell 1.5% (up 11.2%).

Japan's Nikkei 225 equities index declined 0.5% (up 4.8% y-t-d). Japanese 10-year "JGB" yields gained three bps to 0.09% (up 5bps). France's CAC40 sank 2.8% (up 5.3%). The German DAX equities index was hit 3.2% (up 7.4%). Spain's IBEX 35 equities index fell 1.8% (up 11.7%). Italy's FTSE MIB index declined 1.2% (up 7.0%). EM equities were mostly higher. Brazil's Bovespa index rallied 3.0% (up 4.4%), and Mexico's Bolsa gained 1.8% (up 9.2%). South Korea's Kospi increased 0.6% (up 18%). India’s Sensex equities index declined 0.7% (up 16.1%). China’s Shanghai Exchange rose 1.1% (up 2.9%). Turkey's Borsa Istanbul National 100 index added 0.8% (up 28.5%). Russia's MICEX equities index gained 0.6% (down 15.8%).

Junk bond mutual funds saw outflows of $1.735 billion (from Lipper).

Freddie Mac 30-year fixed mortgage rates dipped two bps to 3.88% (up 40bps y-o-y). Fifteen-year rates were unchanged at 3.17% (up 39bps). The five-year hybrid ARM rate gained three bps to 3.17% (up 47bps). Bankrate's survey of jumbo mortgage borrowing costs had 30-yr fixed rates up a basis point to 4.01% (up 34bps).

Federal Reserve Credit last week added $0.8bn to $4.431 TN. Over the past year, Fed Credit declined $5.0bn. Fed Credit inflated $1.620 TN, or 58%, over the past 242 weeks. Elsewhere, Fed holdings for foreign owners of Treasury, Agency Debt jumped another $17.9bn last week to $3.310 TN. "Custody holdings" were up $83bn y-o-y, 2.6%.

M2 (narrow) "money" supply last week slipped $4.3bn to $13.510 TN. "Narrow money" expanded $686bn, or 5.4%, over the past year. For the week, Currency increased $2.7bn. Total Checkable Deposits fell $12.7bn, while Savings Deposits gained $6.9bn. Small Time Deposits were little changed. Retail Money Funds fell $4.1bn.

Total money market fund assets added $4.2bn to $2.621 TN. Money Funds fell $96bn y-o-y (3.5%).

Total Commercial Paper declined $5.4bn to $973.6bn. CP declined $77bn y-o-y, or 7.4%.

Currency Watch:

The U.S. dollar index fell 1.7% to 95.628 (down 6.6% y-t-d). For the week on the upside, the Swedish krona increased 3.4%, the British pound 2.4%, the Canadian dollar 2.3%, the euro 2.1%, the Australian dollar 1.6%, the Norwegian krone 1.3%, the Swiss franc 1.2%, the Brazilian real 1.1%, the Singapore dollar 0.8% and the New Zealand dollar 0.7%. For the week on the downside, the South African rand declined 1.6%, the Japanese yen 1.0%, the Mexican peso 0.6% and the South Korean won 0.4%. The Chinese renminbi gained 0.82% versus the dollar this week (up 2.42% y-t-d).

Commodities Watch:

The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index surged 5.3% (down 6.5% y-t-d). Spot Gold declined 1.2% to $1,242 (up 7.7%). Silver slipped 0.5% to $16.627 (up 4.0%). Crude rallied $3.03 to $46.04 (down 15%). Gasoline jumped 5.6% (down 9%), and Natural Gas rose 3.6% (down 19%). Copper gained 2.9% (up 8%). Wheat surged 11.1% (up 29%). Corn jumped 4.2% (up 8%).

Trump Administration Watch:

June 27 – Bloomberg (Steven T. Dennis and Laura Litvan): “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay a vote on health-care legislation came as a relief to some Republican holdouts, but it sets off what will be a furious few weeks of talks to deliver on the GOP’s seven-year promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans went to the White House Tuesday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump, who also promised his political supporters he would do away with Obamacare. ‘We’re going to solve the problem,’ the president told senators. But Trump also conceded the possibility that the health bill wouldn’t pass. ‘If we don’t get it done, it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like,’ he said… ‘And that’s OK, and I understand that very well.’”

June 29 – Reuters: “Congress will need to raise the nation's debt limit and avoid defaulting on loan payments by ‘early to mid-October,’ the Congressional Budget Office said in a report… Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has encouraged Congress to raise the limit before the legislative body leaves for their August recess. But it remains unclear if a bipartisan agreement has been struck to allow the limit to be raised, as both chambers continue to be weighed down by health care and tax reform and trying to find an agreement to fund the government after the September 30 deadline.”

June 30 – CNBC (Fred Imbert): “President Donald Trump's White House is ‘hell-bent’ on imposing tariffs on steel and other imports, Axios reported Friday. The plan — which was pushed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and was supported by National Trade Council Peter Navarro, and policy adviser Stephen Miller — would potentially impose tariffs in the 20% range… During a ‘tense’ meeting Monday, the president made it clear he favors tariffs, yet the plan was met with heavy opposition by most officials in the room, with one telling Axios about 22 were against it and only three in favor, including Trump.”

June 29 – Financial Times (Stefan Wagstyl): “Angela Merkel threw down the gauntlet to Donald Trump as Germany’s chancellor pledged to fight at next week’s G20 summit for free trade, international co-operation and the Paris climate change accord. In a combative speech on Thursday in the German parliament, Ms Merkel also promised to focus on reinforcing the EU, in close co-operation with France, despite the pressing issue of Brexit. But in a sign that it may be difficult to maintain European unity around a tough approach to Mr Trump, Ms Merkel later softened her tone, as she prepares to host G20 leaders in Hamburg next Friday.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Joe Light): “Two U.S. senators working on a bipartisan overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are seriously considering a plan that would break up the mortgage-finance giants, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The proposal by Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner would attempt to foster competition in the secondary mortgage market… Corker and Warner’s push to develop a plan marks Congress’ latest attempt to figure out what to do with Fannie and Freddie, an issue that has vexed lawmakers ever since the government took control of the companies in 2008 as the housing market cratered. The lawmakers’ plan is still being developed, and a Senate aide who asked not to be named cautioned that no decisions had been made on any issues.”

China Bubble Watch:

June 25 – Financial Times (Minxin Pei): “The Chinese government has just launched an apparent crackdown on a small number of large conglomerates known in the west chiefly for their aggressive dealmaking. The list includes Dalian Wanda, Anbang, Fosun and HNA Group. The news that Chinese banking regulators have asked lenders to examine their exposure to these companies has sent the stocks of groups wholly or partly owned by these conglomerates tumbling in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Obviously, the market was caught by surprise. But it should not be… The immediate trigger is Beijing’s growing alarm over the risks in China’s financial sector and attempt to cut capital outflows. In late April, President Xi Jinping convened a politburo meeting specifically focused on stability in the financial system. Foreshadowing the crackdown, he ordered that those ‘financial crocodiles’ that destabilise China’s financial system must be punished.”

June 26 – Wall Street Journal (Anjani Trivedi): “As Beijing looks to rein in companies that have splurged on overseas deals, it is talking up the systemic risks to its financial system. But just how serious is the problem? After all, for years Beijing has urged leading companies to ‘go global,’ and encouraged banks to support them with lending. Its words were taken to heart: Companies like sprawling conglomerate HNA Group and insurer Anbang pushed the country’s outbound acquisitions to more than $200 billion last year… Now… regulators are investigating leverage and risks at banks associated with China Inc.’s bulging overseas deals. It’s clear that Chinese banks are already heavily exposed to China’s big deal makers through basic lending. Chinese lenders had extended more than 500 billion yuan ($73.14bn) of loans to HNA alone as of last year…”

June 26 – Bloomberg: “China may finally be ready to cut the cord when it comes to the country’s troubled local government financing vehicles. Beijing’s deleveraging drive has seen rules impacting LGFV debt refinancing tightened, spurring a slump in issuance by the vehicles, which owe about 5.6 trillion yuan ($818bn) to bondholders and are seen by some as the poster children for China’s post-financial crisis debt woes. Signs the authorities may be taking a less sympathetic view of the sector has ratings companies flagging the possibility that 2017 could see the first ever default by a local financing vehicle.”

June 29 – Reuters (Yawen Chen and Thomas Peter): “The struggles of China's small and medium-sized firms have grown so acute that many are expected to become unprofitable or even go belly-up this year, boding ill for an economy running short on strong growth drivers. The companies - which account for over 60% of China's $11 trillion gross domestic product - have entered the most challenging funding environment in years as Beijing cracks down on easy credit to contain a dangerous debt build-up. Many of the firms - mostly in the industrial, transport, wholesale, retail, catering and accommodation sectors - are already grappling with soaring costs, fierce competition and thinning profits. The strains faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to grow more visible as Beijing deflates a real estate bubble and eases infrastructure spending to dial back its fiscal stimulus.”

June 29 – Reuters (Leika Kihara and Stanley White): “One of Chinese banks’ favorite tools for increasing leverage has staged a remarkable but worrisome comeback just two months after a regulatory crackdown on leveraged investment… Chinese banks’ issuance of negotiable certificates of deposit in June nearly hit the high recorded in March… NCDs, a type of short-term loan, have become extremely popular in recent years with Chinese banks, especially smaller lenders due to their weaker ability to attract deposits. During a clampdown on runaway debt in April, Chinese regulators warned banks against abusing the tool for speculative, leveraged bets in capital markets. But after a deep but brief drop, NCD issuance has risen again as regulatory attention appeared to ease in recent weeks, hitting 1.96 trillion yuan ($287.73bn) this month, up sharply from 1.23 trillion yuan in May and just a touch below March’s record 2.02 trillion yuan."

June 28 – Financial Times (Gabriel Wildau): “Capital flight disguised as overseas tourism spending has artificially cut China’s reported trade surplus while masking the extent of investment outflows, according to research by the US Federal Reserve. A significant share of overseas spending classified in official data as travel-related shopping, entertainment and hospitality may over a 12-month period have instead been used for investment in financial assets and real estate, the Fed paper argued… Disguised capital outflows in the year to September may have amounted to $190bn, or 1.7% of gross domestic product… Chinese households have in recent years looked at ways to skirt government-imposed limitations on foreign investment as its economy slowed and the renminbi depreciated.”

June 28 – Bloomberg (Joe Ryan): “As Elon Musk races to finish building the world’s biggest battery factory in the Nevada desert, China is poised to leave him in the dust. Chinese companies have plans for additional factories with the capacity to pump out more than 120 gigawatt-hours a year by 2021, according to a report… by Bloomberg Intelligence. That’s enough to supply batteries for around 1.5 million Tesla Model S vehicles or 13.7 million Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids per year… By comparison, when completed in 2018, Tesla Inc.’s Gigafactory will crank out up to 35 gigawatt-hours of battery cells annually.”

June 28 – CNBC (Geoff Cutmore): “China's economic growth will accelerate because the country will finally get leaders who aren't scared, a former advisor to China's central bank said Wednesday. ‘The most important reason is that there is a new group of officials being appointed ... (who will emerge) around the 19th Party Congress which will be in mid to late October,’ said Li Daokui, who is now Dean of the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. …Li said the Chinese economy will grow 6.9 to 7 percent by 2018 from 6.7 percent in 2017. China posted 6.7% GDP growth in 2016, the slowest in 26 years. ‘These (new) officials have been carefully, carefully scrutinized before they are appointed so they are clean. They are not worried about becoming targets of anti-corruption investigations,’ he added.”

Europe Watch:

June 26 – Bloomberg (Sonia Sirletti and Alexander Weber): Italy orchestrated its biggest bank rescue on record, committing as much as 17 billion euros ($19bn) to clean up two failed banks in one of its wealthiest regions, a deal that raises questions about the consistency of Europe’s bank regulations. The intervention at Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA and Veneto Banca SpA includes state support for Intesa Sanpaolo SpA to acquire their good assets for a token amount… Milan-based Intesa can initially tap about 5.2 billion euros to take on some assets without hurting capital ratios, Padoan said. The European Commission approved the plan.”

June 28 – Reuters (Gernot Heller and Joseph Nasr): “Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble… underscored Germany's concerns about what he called a regulatory loophole after the EU cleared Italy to wind up two failed banks at a hefty cost to local taxpayers. Schaeuble told reporters that Europe should abide by rules enacted after the 2008 collapse of U.S. financial services firm Lehman Brothers that were meant to protect taxpayers. Existing European Union guidelines for restructuring banks aimed to ensure ‘what all political groups wanted: that taxpayers will never again carry the risks of banks,’ he said. Italy is transferring the good assets of the two Veneto lenders to the nation's biggest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), as part of a transaction that could cost the state up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion).”

June 25 – Reuters (Balazs Koranyi and Erik Kirschbaum): “The time may be nearing for the European Central Bank to start discussing the end of unprecedented stimulus as growth and inflation are both moving in the right direction, Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Weidmann, who sits on the ECB's rate-setting Governing Council, also said that the bank should not make any further changes to the key parameters of its bond purchase scheme, comments that signal opposition to an extension of asset buys since the ECB will soon hit its German bond purchase limits. Hoping to revive growth and inflation, the ECB is buying 2.3 trillion euros worth of bonds…, a scheme known as quantitative easing and long opposed by Germany… The purchases are set to run until December and the ECB will decide this fall whether to extend it… ‘As far as a possible extension of the bonds-buying program goes, this hasn't yet been discussed in the ECB Council,’ Weidmann told the newspaper…”

June 26 – Bloomberg (Carolynn Look): “It seems the sky is the limit for Germany’s economy. Business confidence -- logging its fifth consecutive increase -- jumped to the highest since 1991 this month, underpinning optimism by the Bundesbank that the upswing in Europe’s largest economy is set to continue. With domestic demand supported by a buoyant labor market, risks to growth stem almost exclusively from global forces. ‘Sentiment among German businesses is jubilant,’ Ifo President Clemens Fuest said… ‘Germany’s economy is performing very strongly.’”

June 29 – Reuters (Pete Schroeder and David Henry): “German inflation probably accelerated in June, regional data suggested on Thursday, suggesting a solid upswing in the economy is pushing up price pressures as euro zone inflation moves closer to the European Central Bank's target. The data comes only days after ECB head Mario Draghi hinted that the bank's asset-purchase program would become less accommodative going into 2018 as regional growth gains pace and inflation trends return following a period of falling prices. In another sign of rising price pressures in the 19-member single currency bloc, Spanish consumer prices rose more than expected in June… In the German state of Hesse, annual inflation rose to 1.9% in June from 1.7% in May…”

June 28 – Reuters (Gavin Jones and Steve Scherer): “He is an 80-year-old convicted criminal whose last government ended with Italy on the brink of bankruptcy - and he may well be kingmaker at the next election within a year. Mayoral elections on Sunday showed four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia party remains a force to be reckoned with... ‘Berlusconi sees this as the last challenge of his career,’ said Renato Brunetta, a close ally for over 20 years and Forza Italia's lower house leader. ‘He feels he has suffered many injustices and deserves one last shot. Who can deny him that?’ Matteo Renzi, leader of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), and Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement have dominated the national scene in recent years, relegating Forza Italia to a distant third or fourth in the polls. Yet in the mayoral ballots, Forza Italia and its anti-immigrant Northern League allies trounced the PD and 5-Star in cities all over the country, suggesting they have momentum behind them just as the national vote comes into view.”

Central Bank Watch:

June 27 – Wall Street Journal (Tom Fairless): “The euro soared to its biggest one-day gain against the dollar in a year and eurozone bond prices slumped after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted the ECB might start winding down its stimulus in response to accelerating growth in Europe. Any move by the ECB toward reducing bond purchases would put it on a similar policy path as the Federal Reserve, which first signaled an intent to taper its own stimulus program in 2013. But the ECB is likely to remain far behind: The Fed has been raising interest rates gradually since December 2015, while the ECB’s key rate has been negative since June 2014. Mr. Draghi’s comments, made Tuesday at the ECB’s annual economic policy conference in Portugal, were laced with caution and caveats. But investors interpreted them as a cue to buy euros and sell eurozone bonds, a reversal of a long-term trade that has benefited from the central bank’s €60 billion ($67.15bn) of bond purchases each month. ‘All the signs now point to a strengthening and broadening recovery in the euro area,’ Mr. Draghi said.”

June 28 – Financial Times (Dan McCrum and Chris Giles in London and Claire Jones): “Bond and currency markets whipsawed on Wednesday as Europe’s two most influential central bankers struggled to communicate to investors how they would exit from years of crisis-era economic stimulus policies. The euro surged to a 52-week high against the dollar after investors characterised remarks by Mario Draghi as a signal he was preparing to taper the European Central Bank’s bond-buying scheme — only to drop almost a full cent after senior ECB figures made clear he had been misinterpreted. Similarly, the British pound jumped 1.2% to $1.2972 after Mark Carney, Bank of England governor, said he was prepared to raise interest rates if UK business activity increased — just a week after saying ‘now is not yet the time’ for an increase. The sharp moves and sudden reversals over two days of heavy trading highlight the acute sensitivity of financial markets to any suggestion of a withdrawal of stimulus measures after a prolonged period of monetary accommodation.”

June 25 – Reuters (Marc Jones): “Major central banks should press ahead with interest rate increases, the Bank for International Settlements said…, while recognizing that some turbulence in financial markets will have to be negotiated along the way. The BIS, an umbrella body for leading central banks, said in one of its most upbeat annual reports for years that global growth could soon be back at long-term average levels after a sharp improvement in sentiment over the past year. Though pockets of risk remain because of high debt levels, low productivity growth and dwindling policy firepower, the BIS said policymakers should take advantage of the improving economic outlook and its surprisingly negligible effect on inflation to accelerate the ‘great unwinding’ of quantitative easing programs and record low interest rates.”

Brexit Watch:

June 27 – Reuters (Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton): “Prime Minister Theresa May struck a deal on Monday to prop up her minority government by agreeing to at least 1 billion pounds ($1.3bn) in extra funding for Northern Ireland in return for the support of the province's biggest Protestant party. After over two weeks of talks and turmoil sparked by May's failure to win a majority in a June 8 snap election, she now has the parliamentary numbers to pass a budget and a better chance of passing laws to take Britain out of the European Union.”

Global Bubble Watch:

June 28 – Wall Street Journal (Richard Barley): “Sometimes financial markets are surprisingly bad at connecting the dots—until they can’t ignore the picture forming before their eyes. The screeching U-turn in bond markets is a good example. The world’s central banks are sending out a message that loose monetary policy can’t last forever. The shift is mainly rhetorical, and action may yet be some way off. But expectations matter, as they did when the Federal Reserve indicated in 2013 that its quantitative-easing program could be wound down. That caused global bond yields to surge, led by the U.S., and sparked extended turmoil in emerging markets. This time, the bond reversal has been centered on Europe. Ten-year German bund yields started Tuesday just below 0.25%, but by Wednesday afternoon stood at 0.37%. That helped lift bond yields elsewhere, since low German yields have been acting as an anchor. The selloff in the bund Tuesday was the worst in 22 months…”

June 28 – Reuters (Sujata Rao): “Global debt levels have climbed $500 billion in the past year to a record $217 trillion, a new study shows, just as major central banks prepare to end years of super-cheap credit policies. World markets were jarred this week by a chorus of central bankers warning about overpriced assets, excessive consumer borrowing and the need to begin the process of normalizing world interest rates from the extraordinarily low levels introduced to offset the fallout of the 2009 credit crash. This week, U.S. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen has warned of expensive asset price valuations, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has tightened controls on bank credit and European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has opened the door to cutting back stimulus, possibly as soon as September. Years of cheap central bank cash has delivered a sugar rush to world equity markets, pushing them to successive record highs. But another side effect has been explosive credit growth as households, companies and governments rushed to take advantage of rock-bottom borrowing costs. Global debt, as a result, now amounts to 327% of the world's annual economic output, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said in a report…”

June 26 – Bloomberg (Garfield Clinton Reynolds and Adam Haigh): “Greed seems to be running the show in global markets. Fear has fled, and that may be the biggest risk of all. Currency volatility just hit a 20-month low, Treasury yields are in their narrowest half-year trading range since the 1970s and the U.S. equities fear gauge, the VIX, is stuck near a two-decade nadir. While markets have signaled complacency in the face of Middle East tensions, the withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus and President Donald Trump’s tweetstorms, the Bank for International Settlements flagged on Sunday that low volatility can spur risk-taking with the potential to unwind quickly.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Annie Massa and Elizabeth Dexheimer): “The growing market for exchange-traded funds hasn’t been fully put to the test, according to one of the top U.S. speed trading firms. Ari Rubenstein, chief executive officer and co-founder of Global Trading Systems LLC, told lawmakers… that while investment dollars have flooded the U.S. ETF market, the new order has not endured an extreme period of stress. Volatility, a measure of market uncertainty, has remained low. ‘In some ways the markets are a bit untested,’ Rubenstein said… ‘It’s definitely something we should talk about to make sure industry participants are prepared in those instruments.’”

June 29 – Financial Times (Javier Espinoza): “Private equity buyouts have enjoyed the strongest start to a year since before the financial crisis as fund managers have come under intense pressure from investors to deploy some of the record amount of capital they hold. The volume of deals involving private equity firms climbed 29% to $143.7bn in the first half of the year, the highest level since 2007, according to… Thomson Reuters.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Enda Curran and Stephen Engle): “Investors aren’t sufficiently pricing in a growing threat to economic and financial market stability from geopolitical risks, and the latest global cyberattack is an example of the damage that can be wreaked on trade, Cornell University Professor Eswar Prasad said. His remarks came as a virus similar to WannaCry reached Asia after spreading from Europe to the U.S. overnight, hitting businesses, port operators and government systems.”

Fixed Income Bubble Watch:

June 27 – CNBC (Ann Saphir): “Bond investors may soon pay a hefty price for being too pessimistic about the economy, according to portfolio manager Joe Zidle. Zidle, who is with Richard Bernstein Advisors, believes the vast amount of money flowing into long-duration bonds is signaling a costly mistake. ‘Last week alone, there is a 20-year plus treasury bond ETF that in one week got more inflows than all domestic equity mutual funds, and all domestic equity ETFs combined year-to-date,’ he said… He added: ‘I think investors are going to be in a real painful trade.’”

June 26 – Bloomberg (Mary Williams Walsh): “The United States Virgin Islands is best known for its powdery beaches and turquoise bays, a constant draw for the tourists who frequent this tiny American territory. Yet away from the beaches the mood is ominous, as government officials scramble to stave off the same kind of fiscal collapse that has already engulfed its neighbor Puerto Rico. The public debts of the Virgin Islands are much smaller than those of Puerto Rico, which effectively declared bankruptcy in May. But so is its population, and therefore its ability to pay. This tropical territory of roughly 100,000 people owes some $6.5 billion to pensioners and creditors.”

Federal Reserve Watch:

June 28 – Bloomberg (Jill Ward, Lucy Meakin, and Christopher Condon): “Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave no indication her plans for continued monetary policy tightening had shifted while acknowledging that some asset prices had become ‘somewhat rich.’ ‘We’ve made very clear that we think it will be appropriate to the attainment of our goals to raise interest rates very gradually,’ she said… In her first public remarks since the U.S. central bank hiked rates on June 14, Yellen said that asset valuations, by some measures ‘look high, but there’s no certainty about that.’ ‘Asset valuations are somewhat rich if you use some traditional metrics like price earnings ratios, but I wouldn’t try to comment on appropriate valuations, and those ratios ought to depend on long-term interest rates,” she said.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Christopher Condon): “Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer pointed to higher asset prices as well as increased vulnerabilities for both household and corporate borrowers in warning against complacency when gauging the safety of the global financial system. ‘There is no doubt the soundness and resilience of our financial system has improved since the 2007-09 crisis,’ Fischer said… ‘However, it would be foolish to think we have eliminated all risks.’”

June 28 – Bloomberg (Luke Kawa): “When a trio of Federal Reserve officials delivered remarks on Tuesday, the state of U.S. financial markets came in for a little bit of criticism. When all was said and done, U.S. equities sank the most in six weeks, yields on 10-year Treasuries rose and the dollar weakened to the lowest level versus the euro in 10 months. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that asset valuations, by some measures ‘look high, but there’s no certainty about that.’ Earlier, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the stock market ‘seems to be running very much on fumes’ and that he was ‘somewhat concerned about the complacency in the market.’ Fed Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer suggested that there had been a ‘notable uptick’ in risk appetite that propelled valuation ratios to very elevated levels.”

June 27 – Reuters (Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton): “With the U.S. economy at full employment and inflation set to hit the Federal Reserve's 2% target next year, the U.S. central bank needs to keep raising rates gradually to keep the economy on an even keel, a Fed policymaker said… ‘If we delay too long, the economy will eventually overheat, causing inflation or some other problem,’ San Francisco Fed President John Williams said… ‘Gradually raising interest rates to bring monetary policy back to normal helps us keep the economy growing at a rate that can be sustained for a longer time.’”

June 29 – Financial Times (Alistair Gray and Barney Jopson): “Regulators have given US banks the go-ahead to pay out almost all their earnings to shareholders this year in a signal of their confidence in the health of the financial system. The Federal Reserve has given the green light to a record level of post-crisis distributions, including an estimated total of almost $100bn from the six largest banks. All 34 institutions passed the second part of its annual stress test, although the Fed did call out weaknesses in capital planning at Capital One… The big six US banks — Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — are set to return to shareholders between $95bn and $97bn over the next four quarters, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy. That is about 50% more than they were able to hand out after last year’s exam.”

U.S. Bubble Watch:

June 27 – Wall Street Journal (Shibani Mahtani and Douglas Belkin): “This is what happens when a major American state lets its bills stack up for two years. Hospitals, doctors and dentists don’t get paid for hundreds of millions of dollars of patient care. Social-service agencies help fewer people. Public universities and the towns that surround them suffer. The state’s bond rating falls to near junk status. People move out. A standoff in Illinois between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan over spending and term limits has left Illinois without a budget for two years. State workers and some others are still getting paid because of court orders and other stopgap measures, but bills for many others are piling up. The unpaid backlog is now $14.6 billion and growing.”

June 28 – Bloomberg Business Week (Elizabeth Campbell and John McCormick): “Two years ago, Illinois’s budget impasse meant that the state’s lottery winners had to wait for months to get their winnings. Now, with $15 billion in unpaid bills, Illinois is on the brink of being unable to even sell Powerball tickets. For the third year in a row, the state is poised to begin its fiscal year on July 1 with no state budget and billions of dollars in the red. If that happens, S&P Global Ratings says Illinois will probably lose its ­investment-grade status and become the first U.S. state on record to have its general obligation debt rated as junk. Illinois is already the worst-rated state at BBB-, S&P’s lowest investment-grade rating. The state owes at least $800 million in interest and late fees on its unpaid bills.”

June 26 – Wall Street Journal (Lev Borodovsky): “Commercial real estate prices are starting to roll over after reaching record highs, capping a long postcrisis rally. While there is no sign that a decline would mean imminent danger for the economy, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren recently warned that valuations represent a risk he ‘will continue to watch carefully.’ So far, prices have proven resilient, reflecting in part the unexpected 2017 decline of interest rates and the rising capital flows from diverse sources such as U.S. pensions and overseas investors.”

June 28 – Wall Street Journal (Chris Dieterich): “Booming demand for passive investments is making exchange-traded funds an increasingly crucial driver of share prices, helping to extend the long U.S. stock rally even as valuations become richer and other big buyers pare back. ETFs bought $98 billion in U.S. stocks during the first three months of this year, on pace to surpass their total purchases for 2015 and 2016 combined… These funds owned nearly 6% of the U.S. stock market in the first quarter—their highest level on record—according to an analysis of Fed data by Goldman Sachs… Surging demand for ETFs this year has to an unprecedented extent helped fuel the latest leg higher for the eight-year stock-market rally.”

June 27 – Reuters (Kimberly Chin): “U.S. single-family home prices rose in April due to tight inventory of houses on the market and low mortgage rates… and economists see no imminent change in the trend. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of 20metropolitan areas rose 5.7% in April on a year-over-year basis after a 5.9% gain in March, which matched the fastest pace in nearly three years.”

June 27 – Bloomberg (Andrew Mayeda): “The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for the U.S. economy, removing assumptions of President Donald Trump’s plans to cut taxes and boost infrastructure spending to spur growth. The IMF reduced its forecast for U.S. growth this year to 2.1%, from 2.3% in the fund’s April update to its world economic outlook. The… fund also cut its projection for U.S. growth next year to 2.1%, from 2.5% in April.”

Japan Watch:

June 29 – Reuters (Leika Kihara and Stanley White): “Japan's industrial output fell faster in May than at any time since the devastating earthquake of March 2011 while inventories hit their highest in almost a year, suggesting a nascent economic recovery may stall before it gets properly started. Household spending also fell in May, leaving the Bank of Japan's 2% target seemingly out of reach.”

EM Watch:

June 28 – Reuters (Brad Brooks and Silvio Cascione): “President Michel Temer called a corruption charge filed against him by Brazil's top prosecutor a ‘fiction’ on Tuesday, as the nation's political crisis deepened under the second president faced with possible removal from office in just over a year. Temer, who was charged Monday night with arranging to receive millions of dollars in bribes, said the move would hurt Brazil's economic recovery and possibly paralyze efforts at reform. The conservative leader said executives of the world's biggest meatpacker, JBS SA , who accused him in plea-bargain testimony of arranging to take 38 million reais ($11.47 million) in bribes in the coming months, did so only to escape jail for their own crimes.”

Geopolitical Watch:

June 29 – New York Times (Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger): “Twice in the past month, National Security Agency cyberweapons stolen from its arsenal have been turned against two very different partners of the United States — Britain and Ukraine. The N.S.A. has kept quiet, not acknowledging its role in developing the weapons. White House officials have deflected many questions, and responded to others by arguing that the focus should be on the attackers themselves, not the manufacturer of their weapons. But the silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands.”

June 28 – New York Times (Sheera Frenkel, Mark Scott and Paul Mozur): “As governments and organizations around the world grappled… with the impact of a cyberattack that froze computers and demanded a ransom for their release, victims received a clear warning from security experts not to pay a dime in the hopes of getting back their data. The hackers’ email address was shut down and they had lost the ability to communicate with their victims, and by extension, to restore access to computers. If the hackers had wanted to collect ransom money, said cybersecurity experts, their attack was an utter failure. That is, if that was actually their goal. Increasingly sophisticated ransomware assaults now have cybersecurity experts questioning what the attackers are truly after. Is it money? Mayhem? Delivering a political message?”

June 25 – Reuters: “Qatar is reviewing a list of demands presented by four Arab states imposing a boycott on the wealthy Gulf country, but said on Saturday the list was not reasonable or actionable. ‘We are reviewing these demands out of respect for ... regional security and there will be an official response from our ministry of foreign affairs,’ Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the director of Qatar's government communications office, said… Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which imposed a boycott on Qatar, issued an ultimatum to Doha to close Al Jazeera, curb ties with Iran, shut a Turkish military base and pay reparations among other demands.”

June 27 – Reuters (Foo Yun Chee): “EU antitrust regulators hit Alphabet unit Google with a record 2.42-billion-euro ($2.7bn) fine on Tuesday, taking a tough line in the first of three investigations into the company's dominance in searches and smartphones. It is the biggest fine the EU has ever imposed on a single company in an antitrust case, exceeding a 1.06-billion-euro sanction handed down to U.S. chipmaker Intel in 2009. The European Commission said the world's most popular internet search engine has 90 days to stop favoring its own shopping service or face a further penalty per day of up to 5% of Alphabet's average daily global turnover.”
          FreedomWorks' Member of the Month for July 2017: Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.)   

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) is FreedomWorks’ Member of the Month for July. This decision is based on Rep. Palmer’s unwavering dedication to fully repeal ObamaCare, and his consistently conservative voting record, maintaining a 92 percent lifetime score with us.

As an experienced policy expert before his election to Congress in 2014, Rep. Palmer served as president of the Alabama Policy Institute, was a founding board director of the State Policy Network, and served on four state commissions on behalf of three different governors.

Rep. Palmer currently serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is the chairman of the Intergovernmental Affairs subcommittee. He has committed himself to focusing on core issues of economic freedom by cutting spending, reforming regulations, and voting to repeal ObamaCare.

Rep. Palmer has been a trailblazer on reining back the monumental growth of the federal government. Along with that growth, the tentacles of the federal government have spread to what has been referred to as “the fourth branch of government”; over 450 federal departments, agencies, and sub-agencies.

These agencies shouldn’t have the authority to make law, which is tasked to Congress under Article I of the Constitution and were not elected by the people, yet they make concerning regulatory decisions on existing law. Rep. Palmer reintroduced H.R.850 this year which would provide more oversight and transparency over these agencies and the funding they take in. Limiting the control the agencies have over altering legislation would increase accountability regarding regulatory decision making.

As a member of the House Freedom Caucus Rep. Palmer was a key player to amending the more conservative version of the House Repeal bill, by authoring an amendment that would drive down the cost of insurance and provide more state control over Medicaid through block grants.

Rep. Palmer said, “The amendment that I authored on invisible risk sharing will drive down the cost of health insurance premiums and helps ensure that those with preexisting conditions have affordable coverage. The option for states to choose to receive Medicaid funding as a per-capita cap or a block grant will provide states with more flexibility to meet the needs of their Medicaid eligible people and will reduce the waste of billions of Medicaid dollars to fraud, inefficiencies and mismanagement. The AHCA also gives states the option to establish work requirements for able-bodied adults without small children. Together, these additions to the AHCA are the most substantial entitlement reform in 50 years.”

As a champion on fighting for economic freedom and fiscal responsibility FreedomWorks is pleased to recognize Rep. Palmer as Member of the Month for July. We are proud to name a ember of Congress each month who diligently fights to preserve economic freedom and individual liberty.


          RATIONING: The Key Component Missing In The Current Healthcare Debate   
By: Renee Nal | New Zeal While it has been proven that the Affordable Care Act was designed specifically to fail in order to pave the way for Single Payer, one major piece of the Obamacare puzzle has been inexplicably left out of the existing debate, and that is the inevitable rationing that the legislation […]
          On ObamaCare, Republicans still chant repeal, replace; but question is when, how   
“Repeal and replace” prevailed as the GOP mantra on health care reform dating back to the Pleistocene Epoch, wedged somewhere between the Pliocene and Holocene periods.
          McConnell rejects Trump's advice to repeal ObamaCare now, replace later   
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting President Trump's suggestion on how the Senate could promptly pass its ObamaCare overhaul measure -- by immediately repealing the 2010 heath care law and replacing it later.
          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
Here's How the Wealthy Gain From GOP Health Care BillNBCNews.com
HuffPost -Bloomberg -Slate Magazine -Washington Examiner
all 6,027 news articles »

          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Trump Warms to Old Idea: Kill Health Law Now, and Replace It LaterNew York Times
Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
NBCNews.com -Los Angeles Times -HuffPost -Bloomberg
all 6,105 news articles »

          Trump: Without Deal, Repeal Obamacare Now and Replace Later   
As negotiations continue to revive the stalled GOP health care bill, President Trump endorsed a repeal-first, replace later strategy if no deal is reached.
          GOP Delays Health Care Vote Amid Defections, Disagreement   
Senate Republicans Tuesday postponed a planned for on the GOP bill to replace Obamacare until after the July 4th recess.
          Fox Host: People Worried About Losing Obamacare Probably Shouldn’t Have Had It In The First Place   

Kennedy_062817.png

Fox Business host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery revealed her cold, selfish lack of concern for Americans worried about losing their health care under Trumpcare. 


          McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

Politico

McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
Politico
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

and more »

          Trump Signals Support for Repealing Obamacare Now, Then Replacing It Later   
Republicans will need at least 51 votes to pass a health care bill under a procedure known as budget reconciliation
          The Hammer Is About To Fall   
Obamacare is almost dead, Trump says to repeal now. House is going to hold back the sanction bill. Immigration laws were passed, one being Kate's law. Project Veritas continues with its investigation into CNN exposing fake news. Susan Rice is prepared to testify and Eric Holder tweets something...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit http://www.figanews.com or http://FinanceArmageddon.blogspot.com or http://www.newsbooze.com or http://www.figanews.com for full links, other content, and more! ]]
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 33842906)   
.if you don't get young, healthy people signing up ... obamacare will collapse. The young healthy people are the ones that are gonna be funding it.
          Reply by R.P. McMurphy   
Actually No Its not the Law, In fact there is no law that states you have to pay Income tax so therefor Obamacare is null and void on its face! Find me a law that says you have to pay Income tax! [/quote] It does not exist. Many people have very quietly own court case against the IRS...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 47673265) (OP)   
Actually No Its not the Law, In fact there is no law that states you have to pay Income tax so therefor Obamacare is null and void on its face! Find me a law that says you have to pay Income tax!
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 31161862)   
Obamacare is here to stay. Its the law....
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 44609403)   
Upper Class Middle Class Lower Class The reason behind Obamacare is to destroy the middle class so they become lower class. Now we have the 1% vs the masses that's the reasoning behind Obamacare.
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 47709972)   
I signed up too, can you believe this Obamacare for a guy who is based in Turkey ? This must be a miracle, lovin it.
          Reply by R.P. McMurphy   
There will be a surge for the first week or two... mostly from the same people trying to sign up but can't due to their technical glitches, then it will die off. And that will be the failure that is obamacare. Most people do not want this shit, and I applaud John Bohner and the House...
          Reply by Bucephelus   
. If ObamaCare is SOOO fucking good, why hasn't the so-called "first family" signed up for it? :obamaswap:
          No – 22 Million Will not LOSE Their Healthcare   
As most already know, from day one, I’ve been an ardent opponent of ObamaCare. I’ve said many times that it was created expressly to fail. And it was designed to
          Obamacare’s ‘Cadillac’ tax could hit cities, states hard   
Some cities and states with generous health insurance plans will have to pay the Obamacare Cadillac tax too. Lincoln expects it to cost $700,000 annually.
          Nebraskans to see another double-digit increase in Obamacare rates   
Obamacare health insurance premiums will go up about 18 percent next year in Nebraska, continuing their upward trajectory since the federal health care program was launched.
          Republicans Rebrand Obamacare Strategy From ‘Repeal’ to ‘Repair’   
Can't post content, go to following link https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-01/republicans-rebrand-obamacare-strategy-from-repeal-to-repair
          GOP to Block the Repeal of Obamacare by Stalling   
Remember it’s a dual monarchy — it’s an illusion that two parties in both the House and Senate actually exist With just one day away from the Republicans self-imposed deadline to repeal botched Obamacare legislation, we can see that the GOP has no intention of achieving anything in favor of Trump, as both the Democrats and Republicans are wrapped up by the powers-that-be just as Intellihub has reported for years. With high-paid talking heads like Rush Limbaugh claiming that the two party system actually exists, it’s hard for narrow-minded members of the general public to figure out the true pyramid...
          Behind closed doors, Republican lawmakers fret about how to repeal Obamacare   
PHILADELPHIA — Republican lawmakers aired sharp concerns about their party’s quick push to repeal the Affordable Care Act inside a closed-door meeting Thursday, according to a recording of the session obtained by The Washington Post. The recording reveals a GOP that appears to be filled with doubts about how to make good on a long-standing promise to get rid of Obamacare without explicit guidance from President Trump or his administration.
          Senate Republicans Ask for CBO Score for Cruz's Proposal - Newsmax   

Newsmax

Senate Republicans Ask for CBO Score for Cruz's Proposal
Newsmax
Sen. Ted Cruz's proposal to allow insurance companies to sell non-Obamacare compliant plans as long as they also sell at least one Obamacare-compliant plan is being given a hard look by Senate Republicans, Axios reported Saturday. Axios reports that ...
Friday Talking Points — 'You Crazy, Lunatic, 70-Year-Old Man-Baby'HuffPost
McConnell: We're not splitting repeal and replaceHot Air

all 124 news articles »

          Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later   
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump urged Republican senators in a tweet on Friday to repeal Obamacare immediately if they cannot agree on a new plan to replace it, muddying the waters as congressional leaders struggle for consensus on healthcare legislation.

          Healthcare: Repeal and delay?   
President Trump endorsed a Republican senator’s plan to repeal Obamacare first, and replace it later. What that could mean for millions of Americans.
          McConnell: GOP will 'continue to wrestle' with Obamacare replacement   
McConnell said Friday that he will continue the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, while Trump called for repealing it immediately and replacing it later.

          Will “22 Million People” Lose Their Health Insurance if the Senate Health Bill Passes?   
Every day people are hearing the Democrat mantra that if Obamacare is repealed “22 million people” will lose their health insurance.  As a result, many on the left are claiming Republicans are heartless monsters who want to kill people. But is this true?  Will “22 million people...
          Pelosi gives another muddled speech, confusing details and mispronouncing words   

Another strange speech by Nancy Pelosi caught the media’s attention Thursday, as the Minority Leader took the podium for her weekly press conference. Into a hot mic, she seemed to reminded herself what time of day it was. “It’s afternoon. It is afternoon. Good afternoon everyone,” she began. Then, removed from her reminder by seconds, she said, “Thank you for being here. I’m honored this morning, or now afternoon…” It went downhill from there. Pelosi referred to a Democratic ranking member as as the “chairman” before correcting herself, then denounced Republican attempts to replace Obamacare. “And what does that mean? Higher costs, fewer benefits, uh, terrible

The post Pelosi gives another muddled speech, confusing details and mispronouncing words appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.


          Rand Paul says no to insurance company bailouts, proposes formation of associations to purchase group health insurance   

Following the unveiling of Senate Republican leadership health care legislation last week, a number of conservative and moderate members either rejected the proposal or was not sure of support. U.S. Senator and physician Rand Paul said, “The current bill does not repeal Obamacare. It does not keep our promises to the American people. I will oppose it […]

The post Rand Paul says no to insurance company bailouts, proposes formation of associations to purchase group health insurance appeared first on Outbreak News Today.


          Yes Florida, The Economy *IS* On The Mend   
I happened across this article today and wish I could claim that I wrote it. Here is the opening...

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida delivered his party's weekly address on Saturday morning, and made a provocative claim about President Obama.

"The bottom line is this president inherited a country with serious problems," Rubio said. "He asked the Congress to give him the stimulus and Obamacare to fix it. The Democrats in Congress gave it to him. And not only did it not work, it made everything worse."

What a joke!

So have a look at the full article here and see the Rubio claim debunked soundly.

Not only has the U.S. economy grown for the last 10 quarters, but the workforce has ADDED jobs for the last 22 months straight.

Can we do better? Sure. Did Obama policies make things worse?

I don't think so!

          Senate Republicans Ask for CBO Score for Cruz's Proposal   
Sen. Ted Cruz's proposal to allow insurance companies to sell non-Obamacare compliant plans just as long as they sell at least one Obamacare-compliant plan as well is being given a hard look by Senate Republicans, Axios reported Saturday.
          Groups join in condemnation of bill to repeal, replace Obamacare    
As the U.S. Senate mulls over the Republicans’ health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, local opponents are crying foul on behalf of a variety of people facing cuts to their Medicaid coverage.
          McConnell on Obamacare repeal: ‘Not easy making America great again’   
The majority leader bucks Trump, says the Senate GOP will work on simultaneous repeal and replace.
          The high cost of waiting to drain the swamp   
 

“Drain the swamp!” It was the battle cry of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Many Republican members of Congress echoed that call as well, riding it to victory — and control of both legislative chambers. The American people rallied around the cry because it reinforced their impression of what Washington had become: a swamp infested with special-interest groups and power-hungry bureaucrats. They rallied, too, because it held the promise of getting our country back on track — by reforming the tax code, repealing Obamacare, cutting spending, and eliminating the needless red tape that stifles entrepreneurship and innovation. But more than five months into the new Congress and the new administration, precious little draining has occurred. The delay in action is not only frustrating, it’s expensive: With the promised reforms, the U.S. could have created as much as $5 billion per day in economic output. If nothing changes, the swamp will end up costing more than 2 million prospective jobs over the next decade...more
          Re: Getting the most out of ObamaCare [by hero69]   
Main Forum::Getting the most out of ObamaCare
Quote:

Yvonne wrote:
No, Pebble, he retired because many of his patients could not afford Obamacare, they can afford only to pay the fines or the bronze plan, which is no insurance at all. He is not retired from medicine, he decided to work for an insurance company by visiting patients in their homes. This prevents them from using nursing homes. The bottom is - Obamacare is a mess. Arizona had a 116% increase in 2016. Government does some things well, but it is horrible at managing education and healthcare.
ask those people who had no insurance before Obamacare, who didn't go to the doctor, if Obamacare is a mess to them....ask those people who couldn't get coverage due to pre-x conditions
          What the Senate's Obamacare Replacement Would Mean for Mental-Health Treatment   
When Obamacare repeal was but a twinkle in Republicans' eyes, Pacific Standard wrote about how the disappearance of the Affordable Care Act might affect Americans who need mental-health care, including addiction treatment. At the time, we didn't yet know what the ACA's replacement would look like. Now we do.
          McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

Politico

McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
Politico
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.
Why the world should pay attention to America's civil war over healthcareThe Guardian

all 116 news articles »

          Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
Washington Post
President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
Mitch McConnell plans to stick to 'repeal and replace' on healthcareWashington Examiner
Senate Republicans Ask for CBO Score for Cruz's ProposalNewsmax
Friday Talking Points — 'You Crazy, Lunatic, 70-Year-Old Man-Baby'HuffPost
Hot Air -U.S. News & World Report
all 135 news articles »

          California Has the Means to Create a Single-Payer Health System, Despite the Assembly Speaker's Decision to Stop a Single-Payer Bill    
The Assembly can still take up the bill, says the California Nurses Association.

The push for single-payer health care in California has been a hopeful counterpoint to congressional GOP efforts to decimate health safety nets. But in late June, Democratic California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon pulled SB 562, a Senate-passed bill to create a statewide system to eliminate all private insurers. Rendon said the Senate bill lacked many specifics, such as a revenue stream for the estimated $140 billion needed annually to cover caring for 37 million residents in addition to all federal health program spending.

That characterization is not entirely true. The bill’s leading advocate, the California Nurses Association, released an extensive report in June that said the revenues could come from a 2.3 percent increase in several taxes: primarily state payroll taxes and gross receipts for businesses after their first $2 million, which would exempt small businesses. The Senate bill omitted any revenue stream. CNA hopes Rendon can be pressured to revive the bill before a mid-July deadline.

AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld spoke with Michael Lighty, CNA director of public policy, about what’s next for single-payer in California.

Steven Rosenfeld: What happened in the Assembly to stop single-payer from going forward? We've heard a lot of things, but you were there.

Michael Lighty: Essentially the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, decided to abort the process at the beginning of Assembly consideration of SB 562. Rather than refer the bill to its first policy committee, which is Health, he decided to just hold it. That represents a denial of democracy and is inconsistent with his claim that the bill needs work, because precisely the process that would have constituted that work was the one that he stopped. We see this as an unusual and extraordinary act to essentially misrepresent the piece of legislation before his House could even consider it.

SR: He said it didn’t have a funding mechanism, but I suspect there’s more to it than that because as you said, each side of the legislature is fully capable of analyzing and assessing revenue options.

ML: Exactly.

SR: What do you think the resistance was really about?

ML: Well, if you look at it, about a week or so before he took this act, David Townsend who is the lead political consultant for those Democrats oriented to the business agenda and who takes deep and large amounts of money from the health insurance companies, from the prescription drug corporations and from the hospital corporations and those same donors contribute to Speaker Rendon, Townsend, about a week before Rendon took his action, called for him to do so in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. There is clearly a direct connection because the most vociferous opposition from assembly members is coming from those same Democrats who get that same kind of corporate money and for whom Townsend works.

It’s not that subtle. Just follow the money. Then, of course, there is a whole set of other actors who don’t want to see this bill beyond the healthcare industry itself. There are advocates and reformers who prefer to incrementally change the present system but never take on the private insurance companies. They’re fine with slowing the momentum of this hugely popular bill.

SR: Let’s break that down. Are the same corporate critics who are trying to stop this in California also active in the debate in Washington? Are they taking sides against the House-passed bill and the Republican Senate healthcare bill?

ML: Well, yeah. Some of them are on the hospital side. I don't think the prescription drug corporations have really weighed in particularly heavily on the GOP bill. They’re getting everything they want I guess from Trump’s FDA. Then the health insurance companies are very moderate in their reaction to the evisceration of the present healthcare system that the GOP bill represents. So I think that they kind of like the tax subsidies that are subsidizing their profits and the Republican bill would continue that, although in a much worse form for patients. So it’s a pretty good deal for the insurance companies. SB 562, not surprisingly, is much more of a threat to those interests than the GOP bill.

SR: So they’re taking the same position nationally as in California, which is basically, protect our profits above all else.

Michael Lighty: Exactly. This is the health care industry. It’s not a system based on care giving. That’s actually a kind of consensus position. Elisabeth Rosenthal has written about that, the transformation from care giving to an industry devoted to revenue and profit. So you’ve got the private insurance companies in California since 2011 making $27 billion in profits. They wouldn’t make those under SB 562 because they wouldn’t be doing that business.

SR: Let’s go back to SB 562. I know a lot of people were waiting for your revenue analysis. Did it come out too late? Would it have been more helpful if it looked at a broader range of tax options? I suspect it would have been criticized and attacked no matter what.

ML: It is true that it would have been criticized and attacked, but it hasn’t really been effectively criticized because no one engages with the methodology or even a critique of those particular financing sources. They just dismiss it because it was, you know, sponsored by the California Nurses Association.

The engagement level is quite superficial. If they were to look at it deeply, I think they would see that in fact it does provide kind of the traditional way of funding these state single-payer and even federal healthcare through a payroll tax [increase]. It does have a provision for what that would be, and more creatively and we think politically viably, is a proposal for a gross receipts tax [increase]. Then with a small sales tax as well that has exemptions to make it progressive.

We actually think that, yeah, engage on that. If there are alternatives, let’s have at it, but you can do that through the regular [legislative] process. The financing plan came out as soon as possible. To achieve that deep analysis in that time frame is unprecedented. So it did come out toward the end of the Senate process, but certainly in plenty of time. If these were true supporters of Medicare for all systems at the state level, if they really supported single-payer, they would take it up and engage and they haven’t. Rendon stopped it instead.

SR: The big question that was not talked about was whether California could do this. Then what other tax options might be fair or equitable was never discussed. California’s economy is as big as countries like Italy and Canada that have single-payer. Do you think legislators get that?

ML: No. They’re accepting this mainstream media portrayal of Rendon’s position as legitimate when it’s not. He doesn’t even know what’s in the bill. He made remarks that made it clear he hadn’t even read like what the benefits are of the bill. He claimed that he was on top of the process, but we had met with his own policy staff who told us to address a set of issues that we then addressed in 17 amendments we provided to the bill’s author two hours before Speaker Rendon stopped the process. You’re right. There’s no engagement at that level and if there were, people would understand the opportunity this presents; [that] it still does.

We’re not totally out of the picture here. Speaker Rendon could move this bill to the Assembly Health Committee. They could hold a hearing on July 11th and meet all the existing deadlines. It’s by no means too late today, but you got to understand that the Democratic leadership in Washington didn't want to talk about single payer. Obviously the healthcare industry doesn't want it on the table. It’s a reform that's supported by 80% of Democrats nationally. We had a poll showing that 70% of Californians supported it. Even after the industry arguments, it was 58% [support]. The politics are completely solid for it. As you say, the financing is entirely doable, so why is it being stopped by all these players? It’s certainly not because we can’t address all the issues they raised.

SR: What's next then in California? The nurses have held protests at Rendon’s office. What’s the most effective thing you can do?

ML: The most effective thing we can do right now is maximize pressure on Speaker Rendon because A, he still has time to act, B, it sends a clear message that we’re not going to stop until we win guaranteed healthcare for all Californians, and that if he thinks he is protecting ‘his members’ as he has asserted, this shows that actually he’s not. He’s jeopardizing their political future instead.

SR: While the push goes on in California, what is the impact of what’s happening in Congress? Does it help? Does it hurt? Does it underscore that California needs a solution on its own?

ML: That’s the point. California has to chart its own course because it can’t be subject to the dominance of the healthcare industry in Washington and the inability to craft a solution that can really guarantee healthcare in the immediate future. Whereas in California, which has a two-thirds Democratic legislature and a Democratic governor it could. It could do that. It does hurt our effort that this, if the GOP bill were to pass, the [federal subsidy] monies would be lessened over time. But that starts in 2020 and later. So that is again an argument for urgency now because if we start now we can actually have a system up and running by then.

Then also the GOP [federal legislation], the uncertainty around healthcare and people’s ability to get the healthcare they need, creates the urgency to act. The anxiety that people feel is real and only this type of reform of SB 562 or Medicare-for-all nationally, an approved Medicare-for-all, would provide peace of mind. Ultimately that’s what we offer, is peace of mind to individuals, to businesses, to society. Speaker Rendon is employing the tactics of secrecy and denial to harm and extend, to harm people and extend human suffering.


          Twitter Borrows Trump's Obamacare Strategy: 'Impeach Now, Replace Later'   
Trump's idea comes flying back like a boomerang.
          Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later - Reuters   

Reuters

Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later
Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump listens as South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a statement from the Rose Garden after meetings at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg. 1/2. left. right. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President ...

and more »

          How the GOP health care bill will affect Medicaid - Fox Business   

Fox Business

How the GOP health care bill will affect Medicaid
Fox Business
Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins and Republican strategist Adam Goodman on Trump's call to repeal ObamaCare and what Medicaid cuts may look like. Category. News & Politics. License. Standard YouTube License. Show more. Show less.

and more »

          Πιέζει για κατάργηση του Obamacare ο Ντόναλντ Τραμπ   

Με μήνυμά του στο Twitter ο πρόεδρος των ΗΠΑ κάλεσε την Παρασκευή τους ρεπουμπλικάνους γερουσιαστές να ακυρώσουν αμέσως το ασφαλιστικό σύστημα που έχει γίνει γνωστό ως Obamacare


          Nonsense   



Can you believe this nonsense?

The American people have never liked ObamaCare.

Liars like Nancy Pelosi have insisted that they will -- they just need to get used to it.

It's time for people like Barack and Nancy to get used to the fact that people don't like ObamaCare.

We need to get used to the fact that they lied to people and kept us from getting what we needed: Medicare for all.

That's what we needed.

But did we get support from our 'independent' media?

No, they rushed to sell ObamaCare.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, Tony Blair's biggest groupie continues to throb for the War Hawk, and much more.




Drone video shows the immense destruction as civilians flee ISIS in Mosul, Iraq
 
 




Day 247 of The Mosul Slog.


Yes, it still drags on.


IS counterattacks in retaken parts of Mosul stall Iraq push
 
 




Stall?


247 days and counting.


And it was supposed to be over in weeks (not by the end of 2016 as REUTERS maintains here).


247 days.

: Iraqi PM al-Abadi is expected to announce victory in Mosul within hours.
 
 




He can announce it in five seconds, won't change the fact that this operation took 247 days.

Nor will it change the fact that Mosul is destroyed from US-led coalition bombings.

Would he have done that to a Shi'ite majority city?

Of course not.



In war squeezed amongst the bombs and bullets are little bodies
 
 





SO many look the other way as the destruction continues.

How?




Not as dark as the skies over Iraq in 2003.
 
 



John Rentoul is a propagandist who writes for THE INDEPENDENT.

He whored for Tony Blair before the start of the Iraq War and all the way to this very day.

There's no accountability.

He's held to no standard.

And that's part of the problem.

That's in England.

In the US, MOTHER JONES hires pro-war pundits who promoted the Iraq War.

There was no accountability on any level.

And the lesson was: Look the other way.

Which is what happened on so many levels.

The DNC spent the last election cycle trying to bully and push around young people.

What they didn't get was that it's easy for old whores to look the other way but the young were not going to do the same.

We saw it on campus after campus in the last years.

We saw the young people turning against so-called 'independent media' that were nothing but propaganda mills for the Democratic Party.

This should be a time for independent media to flourish but it whored out.

Whether we're talking THE NATION or PACIFICA RADIO, they whored out.

And we spent many years warning that the young were watching.

The Iraq War demonstrated many things and it surely destroyed faith in corporate media.

But, as the years passed, it also demonstrated that so-called independent media was no better.

Norman Solomon thinks he can sneak back in.

He's laughed at on campuses, he's the punchline to a dirty joke.

They had professors who used his book on war or referenced Norman's 'activism.'

But that was long ago.

And he went into hiding when Barack Obama was president.

Eight years as the Iraq War raged.

How stupid does a Norman Solomon think people are?

And while some older people will go along, the enthusiasm and passion of the youth will not play.

They haven't been co-opted and beaten down for years the way so many have.









The following community sites updated:




  • Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) plan to split healthcare into two bills - one a simple repeal, and the other a larger bill that would allow Democrats and moderate Republicans to add back features of Obamacare that they like - is getting more traction. As even moderates like Pat Toomey (R-PA) are saying they'd be okay with doing it that way:

    The post More Republicans call for Simple REPEAL of Obamacare appeared first on iPatriot.


  •           TaxMama’s TaxQuips Tax Season PotPourri   

    Today TaxMama® wants to address several issues that are confusing people this year – or important for you to know.

    http://taxmama.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/tmreplies.gif

    Dear Friends and Family,
    We are getting a great many questions this year. These are some of the important issues we are seeing.

     

    ACA Penalties – You probably know that President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that appeared to wipe out all the ObamaCare penalties. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. Congress still has to write changes to the various laws that are affected. And the IRS still has to issue procedures. When all that is done, your tax software will incorporate the changes and make it possible for you to get your penalties canceled. In the meantime, if you face 2016 penalties, put your tax return on extension and wait. Or file your tax return to get your refunds, less your penalties. You might be able to amend later to get a refund for the penalties you paid.

     

    Incorporating or setting up LLCs, then not having income – folks, when you set up an entity, please be prepared to use it – or don’t set it up until you’re ready. Once you’ve set up an LLC, partnership, corporation or whatever, you are on the hook to file a tax return each year. Even if you have no income, or no activity. And if your state (like California) requires an annual fee, you must pay that each year, or face increasing penalties. So, please, think before you entitize.

     

    Premature deposits into IRAs, HSAs or other tax deferred or retirement accounts – make sure that your income doesn’t disqualify your deposits to these accounts, right away. If you have over-contributed, draw the money out before April 18th or re-characterize them as 2017 deposits. Otherwise, you might face penalties, which start at 6% of the excess contribution – and increase over time.

     

    1040NR and other visa and immigrant-related questions. So many of you have questions about these issues. Thank goodness we have folks like Jean Mammen, EA, Mike Reed, EA and “Uncle” Bill Porter, EA to answer these particular questions. While we try to answer them all, I urge you to buy a copy of Jean Mammen’s book, “

    1040NR? or 1040? U.S. Income Tax Returns for Visa Holders +: International Organization and Foreign Embassy Employees.” It will guide you through the steps you need to take to prepare your own tax return.

     

    Please drop by MarketWatch.com and the TaxWatch columns for more tips.

     

    To make comments and toss in your own ideas, please drop into the TaxQuips Forum.

     

    And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about changes in the tax laws and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

    [Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed version of TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]

    Please post all Comments and Replies in the TaxQuips Forum.

    File Download (0:00 min / 3 MB)


              TaxMama's Year-End Tips   

    Today TaxMama® wants to remind you about last-minute steps to take before 2016 ends.

    http://taxmama.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/tmreplies.gif

    Dear Friends and Family,

     

    The Electoral College has confirmed our new president-elect. So we can expect some changes next year. You can view an outline of what to expect next year, here.

     

    For now, we still need to take care of some of the routine things. Here are some quick steps:

     

    • Make your charitable contributions before year end. Note: Remember to look up the charity to see what they do with your donations. The Foundation Center is a good source of information. For instance, the president of the Salvation Army receives no compensation (see page 7). While the president of Goodwill Industries is receives over $700,000 in compensation (see page 73).
      • Clean out your closets and make a list of all the things you are taking to your favorite thrift shop.
      • Make your final cash contributions.


    • If you are age 70 ½ or older, remember to draw your Requirement Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your retirement accounts. There are substantial penalties if you don’t draw the money in time.
      • You are entitled to draw up to $100,000 from your retirement account and transfer it directly to your charity.
      • This would make it possible to take your RMD without paying taxes on the amount. But you won’t get a deduction for the contribution.


    • Folks with too much money in their IRAs or retirement plans should consider transferring the funds to their Roth IRAs, or cashing some of the money out. Do some computations to see how much you can transfer at your lowest possible tax rate.
    • Balance out your brokerage accounts. Are there any gains or losses you can harvest?
      • And are you in a low enough tax bracket that your capital gains will be taxed at 0% or 15%?


    • Prepay certain routine bills.
      • Pay your January mortgage payment late in December – so your payment covers most of the month’s accrued interest expense.
      • Pay your full property taxes, not just half.
      • If you owe state taxes, make your 4th quarter payment in December.


    • Folks who are in business or use employee business deductions:
      • Delay your invoicing until January, so you can move income into next year. (No constructive receipt)
      • Make your major equipment purchases before the end of the year.
      • Prepay January’s expenses, dues, etc. before the end of December.


    • SSNs and ITINs – make sure that you have ID numbers for all eligible people in your household BEFORE filing your 2016 tax returns. Without them, you stand to lose tax credits and tax benefits.
    • Health insurance, get insurance in place for all household members for 2016. Penalties are high without coverage. Don’t count on Obamacare to disappear for 2017.


     

    For much more detail, tax professionals can sign up for the CPE Link Tax Update workshops – discount still good until December 30. Everyone else, drop by my column at MarketWatch.com and the TaxWatch columns.

     

    To make comments and toss in your own ideas, please drop into the TaxQuips Forum.

     

    And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about changes in the tax laws and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

    [Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed version of TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]

    Please post all Comments and Replies in the TaxQuips Forum .

    File Download (0:00 min / 4 MB)


              Trump Tells Senators To Repeal Obamacare Now, Replace It Later   
    "If Republican Senators are unable to pass ...'
              Will My High Premiums Go Down? More Q&A About The GOP Health Plan   
    We've received hundreds of responses to our callout for questions about the Senate Republicans' proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this week, we answered questions about continued coverage for serious health conditions and insurance premiums for older adults. Today, we begin with a question from a young adult who says he's excited about the potential repeal of Obamacare. Q: I'm a 29-year-old who lives in Minneapolis. I purchased my insurance through the exchange for 2 1/2 years. What started to concern me were the increasing premiums that started to feel out of proportion with my actual true costs of health care. I don't qualify for a subsidy, and I went from paying maybe $120 a month to paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to $400 a month for health coverage. And I was seeing the doctor once a year for a checkup, and other than that, would not step inside a doctor's office. -- Jordan Myers, Minneapolis, Minn. A: Jordan is right to be optimistic. Under the
              En veremos queda el freno de Trump al Obamacare en el Senado   
    Lo que se creía iba a ser el primer logro de Donald Trump como presidente, hasta con relativa facilidad en el Congreso al tener mayoría republicana tanto en Cámara como Senado, hoy se convierte en la principal incógnita de su mandato. El proyecto de ley para frenar el Obamacare, sistema de salud forjado por su antecesor, Barack Obama, genera serias […]
              Trump urges Senate Republicans to kill Obamacare now, replace later   
    Republican leaders set Friday as goal for working out changes to health-care legislation
              Obamacare repeal could net NJ elite $1.1 billion   

    Congress is looking to repeal taxes that cost NJ's wealthiest $1.1 billion, but most of the state's congressional delegation opposes it. Obamacare repeal could mean $1.1 billion tax windfall to New Jersey's wealthiest Congress is looking to repeal taxes that cost NJ's wealthiest $1.1 billion, but most of the state's congressional delegation opposes it.


              7/2/2017: HEALTH & SCIENCE: Reforming the reform   

    If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then the US health system – the way it was before Obamacare and how it will function after the Trump Administration tries to “reform” his predecessor’s program – will probably look like a real...
              Comment on Leaders call latest Obamacare repeal bill ‘tax cuts that would help the rich’ by Peter Everett   
    Except, our leaders would exempt themselves from what us "common folk" would be required to participate in. Oh, by the way, more and more Canadians now receive private health insurance, along with their single payer. Wait times are far less with the private insurance. Canada also has far fewer people. Can you imagine wait times under a U.S. plan? Dead but fore you see the Dr.
              Comment on "Health Care Failure May Mean Trump Immigration Pivot Against Ryanism Finally At Hand" by James Kirkpatrick   
    A one sentence bill repealing Obamacare in whole would do just that.
              Comment on "Health Care Failure May Mean Trump Immigration Pivot Against Ryanism Finally At Hand" by James Kirkpatrick   
    That is why I supported the GOP - because it promised to reverse a program that costs me thousands a year. Obama's no dummy - Obamacare's principal beneficiaries are Democratic voters. A good number of GOP Obama care supporters in Congress probably favor it because of noblesse oblige. Problem is they're doing it with other...
              Comment on "Health Care Failure May Mean Trump Immigration Pivot Against Ryanism Finally At Hand" by James Kirkpatrick   
    Republican law makers, who have never been celebrated for their intellectual prowess, are discovering the hard way that it's easier criticizing Obamacare than writing a health-care bill to replace it. From what I gather, they have no idea how to go about writing a health-care bill that's half as good.
              A Hospital In Rural Colorado Is The Cornerstone Of Small Town Life    

    When you pull into Hugo, a town 100 miles east of Denver on Highway 287, you're greeted by one grocery store, one restaurant, one liquor store, one historic railroad roundhouse, two bars and a single antique store by the name of Main Street Mama's.

    "I am the Main Mama, I am indeed," says Linda Orrell, who runs the shop.

    Sitting on a bar stool in what used to be an old pool hall, Orrell says Hugo is pretty small — "about 825, or so, maybe 850 [people] on a good year."

    The population has held steady for a long time, she says, because it's a good place to live.

    "It's a town that people tend to come back to, to retire" Orrell says. "And it is home."

    There's something else you'll find in Hugo: one regional hospital. Town residents are very proud of their hospital, but changes to the Affordable Care Act could reduce its funding and force it to cut back services.

    From the outside, Lincoln Community Hospital looks more like a small 1960s-era apartment building. But it has all the essential high-tech health care equipment: modern imaging machines, tele-medicine links even an AirLife helicopter. Rachel Smith, the assistant director of nursing, says the thing that really sets the hospital apart is the quality of its care.

    "It's definitely not treat 'em and street 'em," Smith says. "It's definitely somebody you're going to see — maybe even later that day, later that week."

    Smith grew up in Hugo. Her mom, Linda Messer, is the lab director and says what defines the hospital is the sense of community that comes with being in a small town. "The thing that I like best about rural health is that I get to take care of all my friends and family," Messer says. "So it's rare that I don't know everyone that I take care of."

    The close connections are apparent throughout the hospital. In one room, recovering from back surgery, is 86-year-old retiree Ken Sterling. He was in the Navy, then did appliance repair and even served as mayor of Hugo. Sterling's dad edited the local paper, the Eastern Colorado Plainsman and helped build the hospital back in the '50s. There's a reason Lincoln Community is in Hugo — it's roughly 100 miles to Denver and roughly 100 miles to the nearest hospital near the Kansas-Colorado border.

    "I don't know how much you've driven out in this part of the country," Sterling says, "but there's a whole lot of nothing. People have a tendency to get a lead foot — there are a lot of car accidents."

    Officially there are a little over 5,500 residents in all of Lincoln County – that's a population density of about two people per square mile. But Interstate 70 is only about 15 miles north of town, so a lot of people in cars and trucks pass through the area.

    "There are an awful lot of people that depend on this place," Sterling says of the hospital. "And I'm not talking of people that work here. I'm talking about people that get care here."

    People like Ted Lyons, who had to be hospitalized because of an infection. Lyons is 69 and was a cattle rancher and a Republican county commissioner for more than a decade. He's been watching a lot of C-SPAN on TV recently, including the push to replace the Affordable Care Act. Lyons says he'd like President Trump to visit Hugo's hospital.

    "I thought I'd write a letter to Trump and see if he was flying over in his helicopter," Lyons says. "He could land down on the helipad and come [see] what a real hospital is about."

    Lyons agrees with Trump that Obamacare needs to change; that it "leaves too many loopholes." As the co-owner of one of the two bars in town, Lyons hears lots of stories from locals, including one couple who saw their insurance premiums skyrocket.

    "They said their insurance went from $400 a month to $1,200 a month — and then that outfit quit," says Lyons. "So they were totally without insurance."

    Like half of Lincoln Community Hospital's patients, Lyons is covered by Medicare. One chronic problem for the hospital is that its reimbursement from Medicare doesn't cover the full cost of the services it provides.

    The hospital also receives — and depends on — Medicaid payments, and that program is facing deep cuts under the Senate health bill now under consideration.

    Lyons was on the hospital's board when it nearly had to shut down a couple of decades ago. He says he wants lawmakers to work together to keep the parts of Obamacare that work and fix funding for hospitals.

    "You don't drown the duck to get a feather out of him," Lyons says.

    Sterling says he also supports whatever helps save his hometown hospital.

    "Don't even talk about losing this place!" Sterling says. "That would be a tragedy. Really."

    Both men know that making the finances work for rural hospitals is tricky. As Congress works to change the health system once more, many small town facilities like Lincoln Community Hospital are on thin ice.

    This story is part of NPR's reporting partnership with Colorado Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.

    Copyright 2017 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.

              With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight - Washington Post   

    Washington Post

    With health bill looming, senators aren't rushing into the July Fourth spotlight
    Washington Post
    Sen. Susan Collins will celebrate the Fourth of July within view of the Canadian border, at a remote northeastern Maine town's annual parade. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will appear on the other end of the continent in an old timber town on an isolated Alaskan ...
    Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
    Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
    Mitch McConnell plans to stick to 'repeal and replace' on healthcareWashington Examiner
    The Detroit News -U.S. News & World Report -TheBlaze.com -Salon
    all 127 news articles »

              Trump, GOP Senators Suggest Simply Repealing Obamacare Without Replacement   
    With Republican lawmakers unable to reach a consensus on how to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump and some influential senators are now calling for a straightforward repeal of the law, with any replacement to come at some later date. President Trump, as is his tendency, made his suggestion in an early morning Tweet, saying that if GOP senators …
              Budget Office: Long-Term Medicaid Spending Would Drop 35% Under Obamacare Repeal Plan   
    As we mentioned in our coverage of the Congressional Budget Office’s review of the Senate proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the ten-year focus of the CBO analysis could not fully illustrate the impact of Medicaid cuts that wouldn’t come until the latter half of that decade. Today, the CBO released a separate report that estimates what effect those …
              GOP Might Not Include $172 Billion Tax Cut In Obamacare Repeal Plan   
    Though Senate leadership recently decided to delay a vote on its plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the GOP is still hoping to get the details of that bill ironed out before the holiday. One possible change involves a controversial tax on the wealthy that has long been a target of repeal advocates. The current version of …
              The Death Panels, Charlie, and The Vatican   
    The "Charlie" story gets worse every day.

    The British, who have single-payer (ObamaCare V.2.0) decided that Charlie will not be treated for his condition, which means that Charlie will die pretty soon.  The European Court of "justice" agreed. 

    It gets worse.

    The parents have fund-raised about $1 million to obtain an experimental treatment in the USA.  But they--under British single-payer/ObamaCare V.2.0) may not go to the USA--no matter whose money it is--to attempt to save the life of Charlie.

    It gets worse.

    The Brits have further declared that the parents must leave Charlie in a hospital to die.  They may NOT remove him to their home to take care of him there in his final days.

    And then it gets far, far, worse.

    The Roman Catholic church issued a limp-wristed 'it's for the best' statement which is a complete and total denial of the ACTUAL Catholic position on parental rights and the right to life.

    And I used the term "limp-wristed" with full knowledge of the implications.  The funnyboys are running the asylum at this time.  We've mentioned the civil war in the Church a few times, and it continues its roll.  Pp Francis has terminated Cdl. Muller (Doctrine of the Faith) in a move clearly retaliating for Muller's refusal to agree with Francis on indissolubility of marriage.

    The right thing to do, of course, is to pray and fast.  But a verbal slam or two is also justifiable.
              Comment on Obamacare Inspires Unlikely Political Action in Red California by Samantha Sheppard   
    There needs to be more research before you can say universal health care is too expensive. Here's an article that suggests it is doable. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-pollin-single-payer-healthcare-healthy-california-20170621-story.html Healthcare for profit does not work. We see skyrocketing costs (and obscene salaries for insurance executives)-there is no market force that will stop this. Universal health coverage is provided by every other first world nation, and it works well. It is time for that here. Bankruptcies have been halved since the ACA went into effect.
              Arizona Gov. Proposes Tax Hike on Hospitals   
    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proposed a tax hike on hospitals to pay for Obamacare. Caroline Heldman, Occidental College Associate Professor of Politics and Paul Howard, Manhattan Institute, weigh in.
              3 fixes to Obamacare that the Republicans will never consider   
          I know that this is the second time this week I have blogged on the Republican efforts to change Obamacare.  I use the word "change" because I don't see how their plans improve the program in covering more people with health insurance.  So here are the 3 Democrat ideas on improvement that we would be considering if not for the electoral college this past November.
        1) Develop a public option plan along the lines of a Medicare for all plan.  The federal government could use its collective negotiating power to lower healthcare costs the way it does presently for older people in Medicare.   I know critics will say that the Medicare program is going bankrupt but Obamacare added years to the solvency of Medicare.  When Republicans talk about adding competition to the healthcare market they never offer this choice which will have the best chance of bringing real competition to the market.
        2) Coming up with a constitutional way to get all states to expand Medicaid to more low income persons.  The private market place will never be a good place for persons on very limited incomes.
        3) Mandate that everyone purchase health care insurance and provide healthy subsidies to make health insurance affordable for everyone.  The only way the health care pools will ever control costs is for everyone, young and old, healthy and sick, to be included in the pool.  Now the pools tilt too much in the direction of the old and sick.
          Finally, the escalating costs of Obamacare insurance is related to lack of competition (see number 1 and 2 above) and having health care pools bringing in more young and healthy persons (see number 3 above).  Of course the real solution to providing health care is a single payer system and not just reforming Obamacare.  Bernie had it right.

    P.S.
         I tried to make the political arguments for not reducing the number of Americans who have health insurance.  What really bothers me is that so many Americans have bought into a political agenda pushed by Trump and conservative Republicans that shows a lack of concern about the well being of other Americans.  How can you in good conscious deny the care that so many others may need because you have values that place more value on tax breaks for millionaires than care for children born in low income families?  By supporting Trump and his values you are as morally impaired as he is and should recognize your lack of a social conscious.
              Trump to Senate: Repeal Obamacare now, replace later   

    Trump to Senate: Repeal Obamacare now, replace laterPresident Trump on Friday called for repealing Obamacare immediately, even if the GOP health care bill fails.



              Comment on Trump is Going Crazy on Twitter Again; Democrats Angling to Remove President for Being Mentally Unstable by oldmantrader   
    Things that Donald Trump has destroyed. Clinton and Bush political dynasties nothing but ashes. Global warming narrative that has the US spending trillions while other nations continue to pollute. CNN is now in his cross hairs. Obamacare on life support. What is next? My guess the Democratic party already a shell will be further weakened by Trump as they are lead by old people who continue to cling to yesterday's narrative. What say you?
              Trump jumps into health debate — repeal now, replace later   
    trumpspeaks

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden after meetings at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. Photo by Jim Bourg/ Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has barged into Senate Republicans’ delicate health care negotiations with a suggestion bound to muddle things: If you can’t cut a deal on repealing the Obama-era law, then repeal it right away and then replace it later.

    Trump is trying to revive an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself considered but dismissed months ago as impractical and politically unwise.

    And it’s likely to further complicate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s task as he struggles to bridge the divide between moderates and conservatives. Senators have left Washington for the Fourth of July break without voting on a bill as planned.

    “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump wrote on Friday.

    The president tweeted that message shortly after Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” to talk about a letter he had sent to Trump making that exact suggestion: a vote on repealing former President Barack Obama’s health law followed by a new effort at a working out a replacement.

    Trump is a known “Fox & Friends” viewer, but Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also claimed credit for recommending the tactic to the president in a conversation earlier in the week.

    “Sen. Rand Paul suggested this very idea to the president,” said Paul spokesman Sergio Gor. “The senator fully agrees that we must immediately repeal Obamacare and then work on replacing it right away.”

    Either way, Trump’s suggestion has the potential to harden divisions within the GOP as conservatives like Paul and Sasse complain that McConnell’s bill does not go far enough in repealing Obama’s health care law while moderates criticize it as overly harsh in kicking people off insurance rolls, shrinking the Medicaid safety net and increasing premiums for older Americans.

    McConnell told reporters after an event Friday in his home state of Kentucky that the health care bill remains challenging but “we are going to stick with that path.”

    “It’s not easy making America great again, is it?” McConnell said.

    McConnell has been trying to strike deals with members of both factions in order to finalize a rewritten bill lawmakers can vote on when they return to the Capitol the second week of July. Even before Trump weighed in, though, it wasn’t clear how far he was getting. Trump’s tweet did not appear to suggest a lot of White House confidence in the outcome.

    “McConnell’s trying to achieve a 50-vote Venn diagram between some very competing factions,” said Rodney Whitlock, a veteran health policy expert who worked as a Senate GOP aide during passage of the Democrats’ Affordable Care Act.

    “So what the president tweeted takes one side of that Venn diagram and pushes it further away, and actually puts on the table an option that will probably drive that group away from seeking compromise with the other side of the Venn diagram.”

    A McConnell spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s tweet.

    [Watch Video]

    Even before Trump was inaugurated in January, Republicans had debated and ultimately discarded the idea of repealing the overhaul before replacing it, concluding that both must happen simultaneously. Doing otherwise would invite accusations that Republicans were simply tossing people off coverage and would roil insurance markets by raising the question of whether, when and how Congress might replace Obama’s law once it was gone.

    The idea also would leave unresolved the quandary lawmakers are struggling with now, about how to replace Obama’s system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that could get enough Republican votes to pass Congress. House Republicans barely passed their version of a replacement bill in May, and the task is proving even tougher in the Senate, where McConnell has almost no margin for error.

    Moderates were spooked as the week began with a Congressional Budget Office finding that McConnell’s draft bill would result in 22 million people losing insurance over the next decade, only 1 million fewer than under the House-passed legislation which Trump privately told senators was “mean.” But conservatives continue to insist that the bill must go further than just repealing some of the mandates and taxes in Obama’s law.

    “It’s distressing to see so many Republicans who’ve lied about their commitment to repeal,” Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a conference call Friday.

    Underscoring the fissures within the GOP, conservative group leaders on that call welcomed Trump’s suggestion but said it didn’t go far enough because it could open the door to a subsequent bipartisan compromise to replace Obama’s law. At the same time, a key House Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, rejected Trump’s suggestion, contending that it “doesn’t achieve what President Trump set out to do.”

    “I really think the Senate’s approach — certainly in the House — of not simply repealing but to start to put into place the elements that can make health care affordable, that’s what the president set out to do,” Brady said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program.

    The post Trump jumps into health debate — repeal now, replace later appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


              Trump jumps into health debate _ repeal now, replace later   
    Trump jumps intro health care fray to encourage Senate Republicans to repeal 'Obamacare' now, worry about a replacement later.
              Trump flip-flops and calls for repeal of Obamacare without replacement   
    Repeal and then replace … eventually. That’s President Donald Trump’s new Obamacare approach as of Friday, when he abruptly called on Senate Republicans to repeal Obamacare outright if they cannot pass the healthcare bill under consideration. “They should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!,” Trump tweeted. […]
              CHNM 154: How Are The Health Insurance Changes Going To Affect Your Escape Or Your Business   
    As you are probably aware the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is under attack by the current administration in Washington. What the changes to the ACA will be is anyone’s guess as of this writing. But, regardless of what changes, there are things you should know that can help you with your escape plan or in […]
              Keep their promises   

    The American Health Care Act, still awaiting a vote in the Senate, will bring relief to small businesses that have seen their costs skyrocket via taxes and mandates throughout Obamacare's history, the opposite effect of what was promised. The AHCA will make health care more affordable for small businesses and our employees, eliminating the penalties and costs...

    The post Keep their promises appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Correction: Congress-Health Overhaul story   

    Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., said at an event Friday night in Kentucky. WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on. Trump's tweet revives an approach that GOP leaders and the...

    The post Correction: Congress-Health Overhaul story appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Correction: Health Care-McConnell story   

    ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky.— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected President Donald Trump's advice to nix the GOP's complex health care proposal in favor of a bill that would simply get rid of "Obamacare" once and for all. Former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, and Republicans have been trying to get rid of it ever since.

    The post Correction: Health Care-McConnell story appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Rep. Biggs Joins President Trump, Sens. Paul, Sasse in Calling for Separate Obamacare Repeal   

    Ben Sasse, R- Neb., in suggesting that Congress should repeal Obamacare before moving to revitalize the failed health care system:. "President Trump, Senator Paul, and Senator Sasse have made valid points this week about separating the repeal and revitalization of our health insurance industry from the devastation caused by Obamacare. "As I wrote in an op-ed this...

    The post Rep. Biggs Joins President Trump, Sens. Paul, Sasse in Calling for Separate Obamacare Repeal appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Indiana Dems defend ACA in health care debate   

    July 01-- In 2010, U.S. Rep. Senate Republicans have been divided over the current proposal, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, postponed a vote on the measure until after Congress' weeklong July 4 recess. Among other things, some conservative lawmakers feel the Senate plan doesn't go far enough in repealing "Obamacare," while more...

    The post Indiana Dems defend ACA in health care debate appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              AP Top Political News at 8:43 a.m. EDT   

    Trump's White House is all but ignoring Spanish speakers AP FACT CHECK: When a swoopy line on a chart misleads Trump backs repealing' Obamacare' now, replacing it later US renews pressure on China with an eye on NKorea threat Congress comes up short on major action so far this year More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments Bill targets law aimed...

    The post AP Top Political News at 8:43 a.m. EDT appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              North American Politics Headlines at 8:43 a.m. EDT   

    AP FACT CHECK: When a swoopy line on a chart misleads Trump's White House is all but ignoring Spanish speakers Trump backs repealing' Obamacare' now, replacing it later US renews pressure on China with an eye on NKorea threat Congress comes up short on major action so far this year More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments Bill targets law aimed...

    The post North American Politics Headlines at 8:43 a.m. EDT appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Plan B for Obamacare floated; ‘Repeal, replace later’ revival alarms GOP   

    WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump's surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare- and worry about replacing it later- has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months. The influential Koch network, backed by the billionaire industrialists, floated...

    The post Plan B for Obamacare floated; ‘Repeal, replace later’ revival alarms GOP appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              North American Politics Headlines at 8:38 a.m. EDT   

    Trump's White House is all but ignoring Spanish speakers Trump backs repealing' Obamacare' now, replacing it later US renews pressure on China with an eye on NKorea threat Congress comes up short on major action so far this year More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments Bill targets law aimed at keeping politics out of churches Measure would...

    The post North American Politics Headlines at 8:38 a.m. EDT appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              AP Top Political News at 8:38 a.m. EDT   

    Trump's White House is all but ignoring Spanish speakers Trump backs repealing' Obamacare' now, replacing it later US renews pressure on China with an eye on NKorea threat Congress comes up short on major action so far this year More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments Bill targets law aimed at keeping politics out of churches Measure would...

    The post AP Top Political News at 8:38 a.m. EDT appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              AP Top Political News at 7:40 a.m. EDT   

    Trump backs repealing' Obamacare' now, replacing it later More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments Bill targets law aimed at keeping politics out of churches Measure would require new war authorization from Congress Ivanka Trump keeps quiet on dad's tweets assailing TV host MSNBC' Morning Joe' hosts fire back at Trump Twitter blasts Trump,...

    The post AP Top Political News at 7:40 a.m. EDT appeared first on InsuranceNewsNet.


              Washington Is Rigged to Feed the Beast on ObamaCare   

    On the question of health care reform, as on every other public policy issue, the Washington establishment has rigged the game so that the only reasonable answer is more government power and control. More taxes, more regulations, more government spending, more deficits, and more national debt.

    According to the Washington establishment, the free market, free enterprise, and private business and industry never work to advance social goals and the public interest. To the establishment, the private sector is just a den of greed, deception, and rip-offs. 

    The twentieth century has established indisputably that it is government control, central economic planning, and socialism that always fail. We see that lesson from the old Soviet Union to China, which boomed once it was liberated from socialism and Communism; from dirt-poor East Germany to economically booming, prosperous West Germany; from economically lifeless North Korea to economically vibrant, thriving South Korea; and from Cuba, Venezuela, and everywhere else socialism and Communism were tried. Government control, socialism, and Communism were the roads not only to serfdom, but also to poverty and decline.

    But according to the Washington establishment, just the opposite is true: If you want to serve the public good, the only answer is more power and control for Washington.

    Consequently, the only way to save the uninsured from early, untimely death is government coercion via the individual mandate, forcing working people to buy expensive gold-plated health insurance the government has chosen for them. That is effectively a huge tax on the middle class and working people, increasing the cost of premiums beyond their reach.

    Employers, too, must be forced via the employer mandate to buy the most expensive health insurance for their workers. That only increases the cost of employing someone, forcing many out of the labor market altogether.

    Both mandates lead to more uninsured people, not fewer. Republican reform, by repealing those costly regulations, would deliver on the original promise of reducing premiums. Even the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) validates that. Millions of the uninsured would voluntarily sign up for health insurance as premiums declined.

    The relentlessly establishment CBO, however, propagates the mistaken lessons of government power and control. That’s how the CBO decided the Republican health care reform bills would increase the number of uninsured by tens of millions of people. The media then repeated these CBO proclamations as holy writ that cannot be questioned by any reasonable person. Media deception is, of course, central to the rigging game.

    Studies show that health outcomes for people covered by Medicaid are not any better than for the uninsured. That’s because the government doesn’t pay doctors and hospitals enough to ensure timely health care for the poor on Medicaid. Doctors and hospitals would go bankrupt providing health care for those on Medicaid. Health care providers cannot afford to buy the latest health-care technology to best serve the poor with what the government pays through Medicaid. 

    But CBO counted everyone on Medicaid as “insured.” So reversing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansions to millions of Americans who are not poor increases the uninsured by millions more. That supported hysterical Democrat claims assailing Republicans as “the party of death,” and Republican reform as “blood money,” killing people so the rich can get another tax cut. This propaganda was as foolish as anything the Soviet communists used to spout during the Cold War.

    The Washington establishment told us Medicaid was a compassionate program providing essential health care to the poor and most vulnerable. But in fact Medicaid was an institutionalized means of denying health care to the poor. 

    Every year, thousands of Americans die on Medicaid because they cannot get timely essential health care from the program. What the Democrats say about Republican health reform, echoed as the media, is more true of the Democrats’ much-revered Medicaid.

    This would be true as well of the Democrats’ revered, so-called single-payer health system—single-payer actually meaning “government health care monopoly.” Democrats and their media scribes never think to ask, where do you go for health care when the single payer won’t pay?

    The Republican health care reform measures now languishing in Congress would reform Medicaid so that it better serves the poor. Control over Medicaid would be devolved to the states. Where that has been done before, as most recently in Indiana and Rhode Island, studies show the state reforms increase access to health care for the poor.

    That is why the Republican reforms are better for the poor on Medicaid than the unthinking, unquestioning, Democrat status quo. It’s time to unrig the game so the establishment doesn’t always win.


              Open thread for night owls: 'Fearless Cities' push back against the rise of the right   

    Jimmy Tobias at The Nation writes—These Cities Might Just Save the Country: Dispatches from the Urban Resistance, from Atlantic City to Miami Beach: On the second weekend of June, hundreds of activists, NGO workers, mayors, city councilmembers, academics and others from Spain and around the world flocked to Barcelona to discuss progressive resistance to the the rise of the right wing wherever it exists. Many American activists attended:

    [...] Local organizing is fascism’s foe. That was one of the essential themes beaming out of Barcelona [last] month, where hundreds of urban organizers and elected officials met for a three-day summit called Fearless Cities. They came from Hong Kong and Rojava, from Valparaiso in Chile and Belo Horizonte in Brazil, from New York City and Jackson, Mississippi, and far beyond to teach and learn and build an international municipalist movement: a movement, that is, that harnesses civil society in cities to revitalize democracy and empower youth, immigrants, refugees, working people, and many, many more.

    YellowBackgroundOwlBadge_TEXT_%281%29.jpg

    The conference was organized by Barcelona en Comú, the leftist political coalition that took power in the city in 2015. It included sessions on participatory budgeting, sanctuary and refuge cities, “deprivatization” of energy and water systems, the radical potential of public space, and the fight against gentrification, among other topics.

    For those who attended, Fearless Cities was an introduction to the “global movement that is trying to find energy and power in municipalism and in local fights,” says Helen Gym, a Philadelphia City Council member and the vice chair of Local Progress who spoke at the summit. “It was so exciting to be with progressive municipal leaders from all around the world pushing back against state authoritarianism, fighting for the rights of immigrants and refugees, tackling racial justice issues and talking about the essential services like health care, education and transit.”

    Gym was particularly energized, she says, by the way that progressive movements in places like Barcelona develop and elect political leaders from within their own ranks, rather than being co-opted by professional politicians. Barcelona en Comú’s horizontalist, from-the-ground-up organizing and electoral work, she argues, is something to aspire to in the United States.

    “I found it very inspirational and very instructive,” adds Brad Lander, a New York City Council member and the Chair of Local Progress, who also presented at the summit. “It is a critical moment for cities to both resist the right-wing tide and make progress on our goals, and there are people doing that around the world, and we can learn things from each other.” [...]

    What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

    • Instead of wearing safety pins in solidarity, try Safety Pin Box—a subscription kit for white allies, by Kelly Macias
    • Will conservatives learn anything about deregulation from the London fire that killed dozens, by Ian Reifowitz
    • When you control all three branches of government, you’re responsible for government, by David Akadjian
    • Democrats: Use Trumpcare chaos to push single-payer Medicare for all, by Egberto Willies
    • How to improve Obamacare: If Republicans were smart, they'd listen, by Sher Watts Spooner
    • Oil shock and our energy future, by DarkSyde
    • Unprecedented spite: The American carnage of the GOP health care bill, by Jon Perr
    • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: what was done back then—and where we are now, by Denise Oliver Velez
    • Free speech is only for conservatives, by Mark E Andersen

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    At Daily Kos on this date in 2003So who is in charge of finding WMDs?

    How can anyone claim Bush knows what he's doing, when he doesn't even know who's in charge of finding WMDs in Iraq?

    Meeting last month at a sweltering U.S. base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.

    The rank incompetence within this administration's Iraq team is breathless. And Bush's ignorance as to the most important issue facing him -- the finding of WMDs -- is startling.

    Good thing Mr. Cambone, lurking in the bowels of the Pentagon, is on the trail of those "missing" WMDs. With any luck he should trip over a germ lab or two in just a matter of days.

    Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.”


              Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Doctors and Patients Avoiding Obamacare: Saving Money and Regaining Freedom   
    EpisodeObamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, promised affordable health care to all Americans. It also promised that you could keep your current health plan without huge increases. On all of these fronts, the Affordable Care Act has failed to meet its promises. There is plenty of blame to go around; both health insurers and politicians are painfully acting in their own best interest while the average American is suffering.   As it stands, average health care premiums under the Affordable Ca ...
              You Can't Impeach Someone For Vulgarity, But...   



    Two dozen Secretaries of State, including many Republicans in red states like Oklahoma, Mississippi, Utah, Texas, Arizona, Indiana, North Dakota, and Tennessee told the Trump Regime to "go jump in the Gulf of Mexico" when they asked for voters' personal information. Trumpanzee woke up Saturday accusing them, of trying to hide something. What they're doing is protecting their citizens from an authoritarian, proto-fascist regime that more and more people-- across the political spectrum-- are coming to realize is a danger to the country. (About time!)

    Right around the time Donnie Deutsch challenged Señor Trumpanzee to a fist fight, mentioning that "he's a vulgar pig... physically disgusting to look at... besides the obvious vulgarity, the obvious stupidity, he’s not mentally okay... Enough is enough with this disgusting, vulgar man, Dylan Byers told his followers to read his new CNN column with this tweet: "I made the dog wear a tie but he is still licking his own ass. My column. Byers' column for CNN makes it clear that 5 months in the White House hasn't lifted Trump out of the sewer he's lived his disgusting life in. "The 'dignity of the office' does not seem to concern him," he wrote. "He is distracted from immense responsibilities by personal grievances. And he still believes it is acceptable to publicly degrade women based on their physical appearance."
    Even after 160 days as president, Trump has not changed his priorities or his sense of proportion when it comes to personal slights. He can not help attacking his critics in the media, even if those attacks reflect negatively on him, distract attention away from his executive and legislative efforts, and threaten his legacy.

    On Thursday, in response to criticism from MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the president tweeted, "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!" [This morning, Trump chopped up his Adderall, snorted it and reached for his phone:]




    The vulgar attack, which drew criticism from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and several Republican Senators, as well as a number of Democrats, served as a potent example of the president's temperament. Unlike his predecessors, Trump seems unconcerned with taking the moral high ground and staying above the fray. When his critics go low, the president seemed to indicate Thursday, he will go lower.

    The tweets also showed how Trump's unbridled tweeting can get in the way of his own stated political ambitions. When Trump published his tweets, shortly before 9 a.m. ET, Senate Republicans were wrestling with legislation to repeal Obamacare, the House was preparing to vote on two bills likely to advance Trump's immigration agenda, and the president himself was just an hour-and-a-half away from an intelligence briefing that, given ongoing international events, was likely to focus on security concerns in Syria and North Korea.

    Health care reform, immigration reform and national security were key focuses of Trump's presidential campaign, and remain areas of significant concern to Trump's supporters and Americans generally. But instead of using his powerful Twitter account to drive attention toward these issues, the president sought public revenge against cable television personalities he claims not to watch.

    The justification given by deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders amounted to she did it first.

    "This is a president who fights fire with fire," she told Fox News. "[He will not] be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else."

    Brzezinski has been an outspoken critic of Trump-- on Thursday, she called him a liar who was destroying the country-- but what confounded many politicians and members of the media was why one cable news host's criticism was the fire the president of the United States felt the need to fight, and why he felt the need to fight it with gasoline instead of water.

    "Please explain how the president of the United States can be 'bullied' by the hosts of what he says it is a low-rated cable TV show?" Fox News political analyst Brit Hume tweeted. "Absurd."

    The president's attacks on Brzezinski also served as a litmus test of what Republicans, conservative pundits and members of Trump's own family were willing to tolerate from the president in terms of his remarks about women.

    House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump's remarks inappropriate. Republican Senator Susan Collins called for "respect and civility," and her colleagues Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham said Trump's comments were beneath the dignity of his office. Even the usually pro-Trump conservative pundit Laura Ingraham stressed the need for "message discipline" from the White House.

    But Trump's most loyal supporters reliably circled the wagons.

    "Maybe liberal Joe should stop calling the @POTUS a schmuck, a liar, a thug and mentally unhinged," Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted. On his radio show, he called the media "crybabies," even as he acknowledged Trump's tweets may not have been in his best interest.

    First Lady Melania Trump, who has said she wants to make combating cyberbullying a focus of her time in the White House, was similarly supportive. "As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder," her communications director said in a statement.

    On Friday morning, Brzezinski and Scarborough issued their own response.

    "President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal," the co-hosts wrote in a Washington Post column. "America's leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, Morning Joe."

    The pair also wrote that, earlier this year, "top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas."

    Trump hit back: "Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time," he tweeted Friday morning. "FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show."
    The number of Americans who have had enough of Trump is rapidly rising and according the polls even 4 weeks ago, 43% of the country thinks Congress should start the impeachment process already, up 5 points from the week before. It could well be up to 50% by July 4th. His negatives spiked at the Gallup daily tracking poll this week:



              Comment on Obamacare, Cronyism, and Bailouts for Corrupt Health Insurance Companies by In One Image, Everything You Need to Know about Health Insurance, Community Rating, and Pre-Existing Conditions – Liberty Community   
    […] for almost all of the additional “insurance coverage,” they’re left with an increasingly dysfunctional system. As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to lose money. And I definitely don’t want them […]
              Comment on The Ever-Growing Fiscal Burden of Obamacare by In One Image, Everything You Need to Know about Health Insurance, Community Rating, and Pre-Existing Conditions – Liberty Community   
    […] Which makes sense since I’m a fiscal wonk and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are diverting ever-larger amounts of money from the economy’s productive […]
              News 17 Mins Ago Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   

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              Comentario en Marco Rubio culpa a la prensa por informar errónamente sobre revocación del Obamacare por Roman Rodriguez   
    La politiqueria, al mas puro estilo criollo, esta influyendo en los MCM. dando informacion controvertida para afectar las gestiones del gobierno presidido por Mr Trump. Por prinera vez simpatizo con los declaraciones del Senador Marcos Rubio y pienso que tiene mucha razon en lo que dice. Si continua desarrollanse y mantiene su honestidad politica, quizas un dia pueda ser un gran presidente de USA. Vivir por ver. La prensa conoce sus poderes, como periodista lo se perfectamente, pero deberian respetar su mision y no trastar de influir en beneficio de un opositor cualquieram contraviendo su funcion principal de informar la verdad y solo la verdad, y si alguien quieres hacer otra cosa, que lo haga de forma editoroal y bajo su personal y unica responsabilidad, para de esta forma ponen en juego sus condicion profesional y no asumir actitudes propias de difamadores y chantajistas, que crean preocupaciones y miedos innecsaraios. Los metodos de la politiqueria son gemelos de la censura y la parcialidad de algunos libelos de la prensa, en cualquer lugar y como sucede en los paises con regimenes totalitarios.
              Comentario en Marco Rubio culpa a la prensa por informar errónamente sobre revocación del Obamacare por Migsant   
    Marcos rubio apesta
              Many Could Face Steep Rise in Obamacare Premiums for 2017   
    Title: Many Could Face Steep Rise in Obamacare Premiums for 2017
    Category: Health News
    Created: 6/24/2016 12:00:00 AM
    Last Editorial Review: 6/24/2016 12:00:00 AM
              More Evidence Obamacare Is Lowering Numbers of Uninsured   
    Title: More Evidence Obamacare Is Lowering Numbers of Uninsured
    Category: Health News
    Created: 6/21/2016 12:00:00 AM
    Last Editorial Review: 6/22/2016 12:00:00 AM
              In Wake of High Court Ruling, What's Next for Obamacare   
    Title: In Wake of High Court Ruling, What's Next for Obamacare
    Category: Health News
    Created: 6/25/2015 12:00:00 AM
    Last Editorial Review: 6/26/2015 12:00:00 AM
              Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies for Obamacare   
    Title: Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies for Obamacare
    Category: Health News
    Created: 6/25/2015 12:00:00 AM
    Last Editorial Review: 6/25/2015 12:00:00 AM
              What Would Happen If Republicans Repeal Obamacare But Don't Replace It?   
    After failing to bring the Senate to a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued that the best path forward is to repeal Obamacare now and then delay replacing the legislation until a later date. However, this path would be risky on two fronts. From an economics standpoint, it would risk throwing the health care industry into bankruptcy. Politically, the repealers would then be blamed for the volatility and any downturn in the industry.
              Did Obamacare Really Save Lives?   
    (Natural News) One of the popular objections to the GOP proposals to reform health insurance markets is that the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) saved thousands of lives per year, and hence that tinkering with ObamaCare will literally kill lots of people. For example, Hillary Clinton tweeted out: “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re...

              Trump wades into healthcare fight amid wavering Republican support - Washington Examiner   

    Washington Examiner

    Trump wades into healthcare fight amid wavering Republican support
    Washington Examiner
    After weeks of staying on the sidelines of the Senate's Obamacare reform talks, President Trump dived into the debate this week with a characteristic mix of disciplined negotiating tactics and off-message detours. Trump's increased role in promoting ...
    Democrats go in for the kill on ObamaCare repealThe Hill
    On ObamaCare, Republicans still chant repeal, replace; but question is when, howFox News
    Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
    Toledo Blade -New York Times -The Detroit News -Salon
    all 133 news articles »

              Why the Obamacare Repeal Effort Will Not Die, No Matter What   
    People will continue to vote enthusiastically for the party that will strip them of their health care so long as that party promises to turn back the clock.
              Sasse, Paul and Trump Call For Obamacare Repeal Instead of Reform   

    In statements echoed by President Trump on Twitter, two prominent Republican senators have called for the GOP to skip the health care overhaul and focus on simple Obamacare repeal if Republican Senate leadership cannot find 50 votes to move the current health care reform bill forward. Earlier this week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced

    The post Sasse, Paul and Trump Call For Obamacare Repeal Instead of Reform appeared first on Conservative Firing Line.


              Sen. Sasse’s two-step strategy for health care repeal and replace   
    Senator Ben Sasse is urging President Trump to adopt a two-step strategy in repealing and replacing Obamacare. He is asking the president to call on Congress to immediately repeal as much of Obamacare as possible under Congressional Budget reconciliation.  He says that way no one under the coverage now will lose those benefits. Sasse says, […]
              Former Gov. Heineman says Sen. Sasse man to lead health care reform   
    Former Governor Dave Heineman is voicing his frustration with the stalled GOP healthcare bill. He says promises were made. Heineman says, “Republicans for the last three elections said they were for repeal and replacement of Obamacare and if we got a Republican president we would do it on day one. Well we got a Republican […]
              Disabled school children caught in debate over repealing and replacing Obamacare    
    Public schools in Kansas receive $46 million a year in Medicaid funds to provide services for disabled children like 7-year-old Franklin Fergus of Lawrence. But caregivers and health care advocates say that funding could be in jeopardy under plans that congressional Republicans are proposing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare."
              Senate Republican bill would slash Medicaid spending, CBO says   
    A Senate proposal to replace Obamacare would cut spending on government Medicaid for the poor by 35 percent come 2036, a nonpartisan congressional research office said Thursday, further complicating Republican efforts to forge a deal.
              With The Senate's Health Care Vote Delayed, What's Next For Democrats?   
    Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: To health care now - both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are complaining that they aren't working together. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the Senate floor yesterday. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MITCH MCCONNELL: It's unfortunate that our Democratic colleagues refuse to work with us in a serious way to comprehensively address Obamacare's failures in the seven years since they passed it. MARTIN: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had this response. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) CHUCK SCHUMER: We Democrats are genuinely interested in finding a place where our two parties can come together on health care. MARTIN: So what is the next move for the Democrats? Tom Perez is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's with us in the studio. Thanks for coming in this morning. TOM PEREZ: Always a pleasure. MARTIN: Do congressional Democrats really want to work with Republicans to try to
              Radio Free Acton: Micah Watson on C.S. Lewis and the dangers of democratic education   
    On this edition of Radio Free Acton, we’re joined by Micah Watson, the William Spoelhof Teacher-Scholar Chair at Calvin College, to discuss the views of C.S. Lewis on democracy, specifically as they relate to the area of education. Continue Reading...
              Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 35634135)   
    Well....yes it does. All Congress (House) has to do is threaten to "defund" one of the bullshit Liberal programs like Obamacare and see how fast the King and his libtard army retreats.
              In One Image, Everything You Need to Know about Health Insurance, Community Rating, and Pre-Existing Conditions   
    When discussing government involvement in the health sector, I usually focus on the budgetary implications. Which makes sense since I’m a fiscal wonk and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are diverting ever-larger amounts of money from the economy’s productive sector. I also look at the tax side of the fiscal equation and complain […]
              Republican Replacement Won’t Fix ObamaCare – Ep. 262   
    Summary: Once again the solution doesn't work.  As with the Democrats' solution, the penalties are too low.  In both the House and the Senate, trying to force people to buy insurance won't work because the penalty for not buying insurance is not stiff enough. The reason they aren't doing that is, politically, it is a losing proposition. This is why the Republicans never should have touched this issue. If they did not have the guts for outright repeal, they should have never done anything. They should have left it alone and the Democrats would have owned this disaster. The best thing the Republicans can do, politically, is do nothing. In this way any collapse cannot be attributed to ambiguity in the market. Downward Pressures on the Dollar Very big day in the market today; the most significant being the breakdown in both the NASDAQ composite and the U.S dollar. The dollar was down sharply and broadly today, led lower by a rally in the euro The catalyst for the euro rise was statements by Mario Draghi early in the morning where he commented that downward pressures on inflation were transitory A somewhat hawkish stance on inflation and the markets took that to mean that QE will come to an end sooner rather than later But I think the markets are looking for any reason to trade the dollar lower I have been talking about that on this podcast, that the dollar has been looking weak It broke down again today, the dollar index down just over 1 full percentage point on the day The dollar trading at its lowest level in 8 months I think this was the lowest closing level in about 9 months The euro is trading at a 113 handle NASDAQ Woes At the same time the dollar was breaking down, so were tech stocks, the FANG stocks were particularly weak The NASDAQ composite down just over 100 points on the day That's a pretty big move; a 1.6% decline The Dow was only down about 100 points, just under a half percent So the NASDAQ experienced about triple the decline I talked about that on this podcast a couple of episodes ago when we had that one really big reversal day in the NASDAQ stocks When the NASDAQ stocks made an all-time record high and then closed negative We had that kind of flash crash coming into the final hour of trading To me, there was some big money that decided to get out of those stocks
              Senate Plan Makes ObamaCare Worse – Ep. 261   
    Summary: Let the SS ObamaCare Ship Sink The Republicans in the Senate finally unveiled their version of ObamaCare Repeal & Replace.  It's very heavy on replace, but there really isn't any repeal. They are replacing it with something that may even be worse. Regardless, we still should let the ObamaCare ship sink while it's called the SS ObamaCare. Senate Bill Leans Toward Socialized Medicine The House already passed their version. The Senate version is even worse; it takes away all penalties for not buying insurance. At least the House version tried to create some kind of penalty. Now, a penalty of any sort would not be necessary if the government did not mandate insurance companies to cover people with preexisting conditions. The only way insurance companies can survive, if the Senate bill were enacted, is with massive government (taxpayer) subsidies. Moral Hazard Of course the Senate does not consider the moral hazard of offering a "medical bill-paying service", so the cost will be enormous. This solution will collapse the health insurance industry and lead to socialized medicine. If the Senate Republicans really want socialized medicine, they should just come out and say it. If you don't believe in the free market, just come out and say it. Something For Nothing If the government can deliver healthcare cheaper and better than the free market, then why not socialize everything? Republicans are afraid to say that they don't believe this because they want to get elected and they know that the voters don't understand that capitalism works.  They just want something for nothing.  The Senators want to get elected so they are going to provide it for them. It was a relatively quiet week, this week; not a lot of market-driven data Next week, things might pick up a bit; we'll get the final week of Q2 So I have a feeling there may be a little more action as some of the portfolio managers look to window-dress a bit or get their portfolios looking better for the end of Q2 The dollar finished the week on a down note, although it was relatively flat on the week; it was down today The opposite for gold Up about $6.50; it was also flat on the week, but it had a good day Gold stocks were not flat; I think the gold stocks, as a group, the best performing sector in the market I have been noting on this podcast that these stocks have been trading better When they were weak, that precipitated the correction in the price of gold Then gold bottomed out when the gold stocks showed some relative strength That has continued, and I think this was a pretty good week, technically We're close to getting above some key resistance on these stocks So we will see what kind of bid they can pick up next week as we wrap up Q2 I think the significant thing, for the dollar and for gold Is that the dollar is in the process of putting in a very significant top The flip side of that is that gold will be putting in a significant bottom I think the catalyst for breakdowns for the dollar and breakouts in gold Will be some realization, some capitulation on the part of the markets And for the Fed to square perception with reality
              Government, Not Amazon Putting Cashiers Out of Work – Ep. 259   
    Summary: Amazon Buys Whole Foods The Dow was up today; mainly on the surprise announcement that Amazon, the king of on-line retailing, is buying Whole Foods.  In a labor market significantly altered by ObamaCare-style government intervention, this news could signal further changes to the labor market.  Retail has experienced a steady decline, and this move could usher in a new wave of Amazon Go-style services. Economic Surprise Index Headed For  2009 Territory According to an article in Zero Hedge: For the 13th straight week, US economic data disappointed (already downgraded) expectations, sending Citi's US Macro Surprise Index to its weakest since August 2011 (crashing at a pace only beaten by the periods surrounding Lehman and the US ratings downgrade). The last time, Us economic data disappointed this much, Ben Bernanke immediately unleashed Operation Twist... but this time Janet Yellen is hiking rates and unwinding the balance sheet. "Unexpected" Bad News in Housing Starts and Building Permits Another "unexpected" big drop in housing starts; the third month in a row is accompanied by a drop in building permits, so that means that this trend is likely to continue. The last time we had 3 consecutive monthly declines it was 2009. We got some more bad economic news coming out today, and it capped a week of generally worse than expected news I was looking at a chart of the Economic Surprise Index on an article on Zero Hedge and it was a new low for this cycle They went back to find the last time the Economic Surprise Index was this low It was right about the time the Federal Reserve launched "Operation Twist" Remember that? I was calling it "Operation Screw" When the Fed was lengthening the maturity of its balance sheet It was selling some of its short term bonds and buying longer term bonds To have a better impact on pushing down long-term interest rates Yet today, when the market is being surprised by the same amount of negative economic data "Unexpected negative news" Again, every time you read a negative news story it is always prefaced with "Unexpected" I always put that in quotes because, why don't they expect it by now? You get enough bad news, you should expect it At some point, they will, and that's when the index starts to go the other way When things are bad long enough, people start expecting bad things to happen And then the next thing you know, good things happen So the Economic Surprise Index goes the other way People are still optimistic, yet they keep being disappointed Despite this, the Fed is not only not doing "Operation Twist", it is tightening It's putting the screws on big time in that it has just announced quantitative tightening Not only did they just raise interest rates on Wednesday but they indicated they are getting ready to do quantitative tightening for the first time ever This has never been tried before by the Federal Reserve It's amazing, too that the Federal Reserve is always out there talking about quantitative easing helped the economy It pushed up asset prices, it pushed up the stock market, pushed up the real estate market O.K., if that is what they think, how can they believe they can reverse the process, do quantitative tightening, and not have a negative impact on asset prices? Not have a negative impact on the economy? It's amazing that they have the hubris that they actually believe that this can be accomplished Again, it doesn't have a positive impact: you inflate an asset bubble and the asset bubble can distort the economy and lead to phony economic growth, the appearance of economic growth Yes, if you try to suck the air out of the bubble that phony wealth is going to disappear and you're going to be left with all the problems created by artificial stimulus So to the extent that the Fed actually follows through with quantitative tightening, And again, they are "data dependent"
              Statehood Would Be a Step Down for Puerto Rico – Ep. 257   
    Summary: In Puerto Rico's  recently held non-binding referendum on statehood, just 23% of the eligible voters who actually voted overwhelmingly chose statehood.  This would mean that Puerto Rico would keep its current debt and take on the $20 trillion U.S. national debt. This would offer the moral hazard of offering Puerto Ricans additional welfare benefits. The last thing Puerto Ricans need is to be in a situation where it is more attractive not to work. A lot of people are asking me abo0ut the recent non-binding referendum in Puerto Rico on statehood 97% of the people who bothered to vote voted for statehood over independence or maintaining the status quo Only about 23% of the eligible voters actually voted So most people who objected to statehood boycotted the election So most of the people who voted were predisposed to vote for statehood The last statehood referendum held in 2012 was even more in favor of statehood Nevertheless, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló is going to go to Washington demanding that the will of the Puerto Rican people be addressed If you do not know by now, I am Puerto Rican I am an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico so I vote in Puerto Rican elections I do not vote in U.S. National elections, but I am away from Puerto Rico at present Had I voted, I would have voted to maintain the status quo I don't want Puerto Rico to become an independent country, but the last thing I would want is for Puerto Rico to become a state That's why I am doing this podcast Most of the articles I'm reading on this issue address the idea that state will somehow benefit Puerto Rico, because they have been in a recession for 10 years, they have high unemployment They have a lot of debt and somehow they see statehood as a solution to this problem Statehood for Puerto Rico is like throwing a drowning man an anchor  The worst thing that could happen to Puerto Rico is for it to become a state If Puerto Rico becomes a state, every person who lives in Puerto Rico, who is currently exempt from paying Federal income tax will now have to pay it The IRS doesn't exist in Puerto Rico Puerto Ricans also do not have to deal with Obamacare - it doesn't exist there Each Puerto Rican currently owes about $20,000 in debt American citizens per capita owe $61,000 in debt That's just the $20 trillion national debt That doesn't include all the other unfunded liabilities Right now, Puerto Ricans do not share in the U.S. national debt If Puerto Rico becomes a state, the per capita debt goes from $20,000 to $80,000 Because they inherit a share of the U.S. national debt Why would they want to sign up for that?
              Will Republicans Dump Trump for Pence? – Ep. 249   
    Summary: Republicans face chaos around Trump's political difficulties, causing some to consider potential advantages of a President Pence.  Market volatility has not yet brought the DJIA below pre-Trump numbers while the dollar index slides and gold moves up. Meanwhile, household debt is higher than 2008 levels even as fewer Americans own homes. It looks like I picked a very volatile week to go out to Las Vegas, although I didn't pick this week; the week picked me I have two conferences that I am attending here: the Las Vegas Money Show and the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference  otherwise known as SALT A lot is going on, certainly the political chaos in the United States, the Dow was down 365 points yesterday based on new revelations with respect to why Donald Trump may have fired FBI Director James Comey Was he doing it because Comey refused to give up on his investigation of Trump's Russian ties? Now you've got Congress members on both sides of the aisle questioning whether the allegations are true Apparently Comey has some contemporaneous notes of conversations he had with Donald Trump Donald Trump may have asked him to give up the investigation Although from what I've heard President Trump said it would be nice if Comey gave up the investigation - was that some kind of idle threat? Did that mean "You'd better do it, or you're fired." I have no idea, but this obviously is creating concerns for the Trump Administration The market, as far as I'm concerned, is really not down very much at all, given how much it had rallied based on nothing but the optimism surrounding expectations for all the good things that would happen as a result of a Trump Presidency We were going to get tax reform, we were going to get regulations; we were going to have all this stimulus Not only has none of these things materialized yet, even before the scandals broke, it was obvious that even if we got any of the promised legislation Of course I've always said it would not even help the economy But regardless, people actually think it it is going to, which created the big stock market rally Even before this controversy it was obvious that the expected improvements were going to take a lot longer than people thought Now this is going to delay Trump's agenda even more Because now, rather than concentrating on tax reform or repealing ObamaCare, or stimulus, now they've got to deal with damage control to hold on to the Presidency and fend off these calls for impeachment Now they've got to get a special prosecutor and all of this is going to add additional delays Of course, a lot of momentum we had in Q1, in spite of weak GDP, you had all this confidence, all this enthusiasm on the part of Republicans and Trump voters And it was all this confidence that was supposed to lead to extra economic growth Businesses were going to have more confidence to invest and hire And consumers were going to have more confidence to spend Well certainly, what is happening now in the White House is going to shake some of that confidence Some of the people who were so enthusiastic about Trump don't even know if Trump is going to be there anymore And to the extent that is is there, he is politically damaged Now he has to use a lot of his political capital just to secure his position rather than to advance his agenda Whether or not that agenda would actually help the economy Despite that, the drop in the stock market is not very large Look at what's happening in Brazil Maybe one of the reasons the U.S. stock market is not getting crushed today is because the Brazilian market is getting obliterated Brazilian stocks today are down around 10-20% based on the Brazilian political scandal Where they have an audio recording of the President of Brazil offering a bribe Their market is crashing because they are calling for resignation or impeachment
              Trump Train Ready To Derail – Ep. 240   
    Summary:  President Trump's campaign promises are falling by the wayside one by one.  First the backfire on the replacement for Obamacare, and then, just as talk of tax reform heats up, the administration seems to be gazing toward the Democrats for a bi-partisan solution to tax reform.  No good can come from bi-partisanship.  When the Republicans and the Democrats are working together, that's when you really have to watch your pocketbook.  That's when the most damage gets done. The stock market initially rallied on the jobs number, but sold off by the end of the day; normally, you get a print this low the dollar index would tank and gold would take off. That didn't happen because the night before Donald Trump decided to Make America Great Again by bombing Syria. Well, I am back on dry land, I was away for a week doing a cruise with the Real Estate Guys Summit at Sea One of the presenters was senior vice-president and chief economist of Fannie Mae Doug Duncan I thought my presentation would be a big contrast to his, I thought he would present the usual government unrealistic estimates, but I was very pleasantly surprised, as I listened to his presentation, I found I agreed with him And after a private conversation with him after his presentation, we had a great discussion and we didn't desagree on anything! He is very bearish on the housing market, very much against Fed policy He's against the minimum wage We had a long conversation and we really disagreed on nothing! I was quite surprised to find a government insider who showed such economic insights So it's just not Peter Schiff who sees these problems looming on the horizon In the bond market, in the real estate market The is a minority of government economists, just like I'm in the minority of Wall Street or investment economists But it's good to know that there are some good people working within the government But I wanted to get into topics of this podcast; a lot to talk about Let's start with the Non-Farm Payroll report The jobs report that came out on Friday is usually the most highly anticipated release of the month Everybody was enthusiastic about this report Earlier in the week we got the ADP number, the private sector number which is normally a precursor to the official government number and that number was way ahead of estimates, so there was a lot of enthusiasm that we would have a beat for the official government March number They were looking for 175,000 jobs which was going to be a reduction from the 235,000 jobs reported for the month of February The actual number of jobs that were created was not 175,000 but 98,000 Big miss on the headline number In fact, they actually revised downward the previous month So they took that down from 235,000 to 219,000 and now we got 98,000 versus 175 And the private payrolls were even worse; they were looking for 170,000 and we only got 89,000
              Trump Needs To Lead Not Oppose The Freedom Caucus – Ep. 239   
    Summary: President Trump needs to lead, not oppose.  He is opposing the very forces who put him in office.  By aligning with the mainstream Republican Party, he vacates the opportunity to lead the economy successfully through the inevitable consequences of the Obama Administration's failed economic policies. Investors are jumping on the bandwagon of hype surrounding the Trump Presidency.  Abandoning safe havens and emerging markets, they are buying into the American stock market at high valuations, which is the equivalent of abandoning the lifeboat and swimming back onto the Titanic just because the band is playing. As I suspected, we now have a bit of a civil war breaking out in the Republican Party On the one side, you have the Freedom Caucus, and then you have everybody else, or the mainstream of the Republican Party It seems like Donald Trump is the general of the mainstream One of the battlefields is Twitter Where you have President Trump calling out even specific Congressional members of the Freedom Caucus by name And blaming them for the failure of the Republican agenda Remember: we don't want the Republican agenda Donald Trump ran on a platform of "Making America Great Again" One of the reasons America is not great is because of the Republican agenda Republicans have played a role in destroying this economy It's not like the Republicans are all good and the Democrats are all bad That's not the case The difference, in terms of the economy, between Republicans and Democrats, is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi They're all politicians! Their business is perpetuating their own careers and their own power base What do they need? They need votes and they need money How do you get votes? Promise something for nothing. Give out freebies.  Take advantage of the fact that the average voter is a moron, and they're just voting for free stuff from the government Sometimes there is a difference between the way the Democrats and the Republicans wrap it up Who said, "Let's wrap up Obamacare in a Republican bow."? Republicans like to wrap up socialism in different packaging That's how they get votes - they're afraid to engage the electorate on an intellectual level Because they really don't have one
              Over-Confident Republicans Poised For Disappointment – Ep. 238   
    On Monday the market got its first opportunity to react to President Trump and the Republican Congress' failure to repeal and replace Obamacare With something more palatable And as a result, the market declined At the lows, the Dow was down approximately 200 points Although the "Buy the Dippers" came out, and by the end of the day, the Dow was UP about 150 points But it was the 8th consecutive down day for the Dow Which I think was a tie for the longest losing streak since 2011 Had the Dow been down again today, it would have been the longest losing streak since sometime in the 1970's So it wasn't that surprising that the Dow rallied We were up about 150 points, so we more than wiped out yesterday's losses On the other hand, the dollar sold off yesterday and actually traded with a 98 handle For the first time since just after the election Almost all of the Trump-related dollar rally has been eviscerated The dollar rallied back today closing at 99.71 today The pound was weak; the Scottish are getting ready to have another referendum Whether or not they want to leave the U.K. Remember, the Scots did not want to leave the EU They narrowly rejected an independence referendum before and now that there is going to be another vote, the market is nervous Maybe that helped push the dollar down, but we're below 100 on the dollar index right now Gold got back up to $1260 yesterday; at one point it was up about $17 I didn't see it hit $1261 That was about the high for the year Gold still closed today above $1250 Silver was actually up again Adding to yesterday's gain, we're now holding above $18 So gold and silver going up; the dollar going down We did get a rally in the bond market yesterday; gave back some of that today I think today's rally was more of a technical bounce on the "Buy the dip" mentality
              Obamacare Lives To Die Of Natural Causes – Ep. 237   
     Earlier I talked about the Trump honeymoon, and  my belief that it wouldn't last long, in fact I thought it might have ended before the marriage began with the inauguration It did carry on a bit after that, but it seems to me that the honeymoon is ending now Today, the attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare went down in flames That's something I had predicted a while ago; I said that I doubted that they would be able to repeal Obamacare and it turns out that I was right They didn't do it In fact, President Trump threw a Hail Mary late in the negotiations by threatening the Republican holdouts: "Pass this bill or else." He basically said, it's this or nothing - If you don't replace ObamaCare, you're stuck with the consequences I think that was a bad gamble for the President to have made, in fact as soon as he issued that ultimatum I thought that was going to be a problem because I didn't think the conservatives were going to buckle as a result of that threat And they didn't Now, not only has the bill been pulled, President Trump is in a very awkward position because he's already said Take it or leave it And Republicans left it Now how does he come back to the negotiating table? Now, if he comes back, he doesn't have a lot of credibility I still think it would be better if he went back to the negotiation table I think it was a bad tactic for Trump to say, "It's my way or the highway  I think that if this bill doesn't succeed, they should try again They should recognize the problems in the replacement bill and work harder to fix them The problems is a lot of Republicans don't have the stomach for real reform  
              Why TrumpCare Won’t Work, Either – Ep. 233   
    It looks like the Republicans on Capitol Hill, with the blessing of Donald Trump, are trying to repeal one big healthcare program and replace it with another big government entitlement They're calling it TrumpCare First they were calling it ObamaCare Lght, but now they're embracing the term, "TrumpCare" Whatever it is, it is not going to work It's just going to be another disaster wrapped up in a different package But before I get into explaining this, I want to talk a little bit about the GDP numbers and the Atlanta Fed In my last podcast, I mentioned that even though the Fed was getting closer to the point at which it was going to raise interest rates again Even though it was talking tough on raising rates, the GDP estimates were collapsing Well, they collapsed again today Now the same Atlanta Fed that was at 1.8% for Q1 GDP is now at 1.3% as of today When we began the month of February - February 1st - they were looking for 3.4% GDP for the first quarter If you go back and listen to my podcast, at the time I recorded it I said, they're kidding. They've got to be crazy - there's no way we're going to get 3.4% They're going to have to come down, and that's all they've done And now we're at 1.3% and falling Now maybe part of that is because we got the worst trade deficit today in 5 years Although, I think the numbers were highly anticipated so I don't know why that would have come as a surprise And we got Consumer Credit for December and it was a huge drop in the increase of credit card debt Meaning that consumers took on a lot less credit card debt than Wall Street expected Now that's a good thing I don't like it when Americans go deeper into debt to buy stuff You've got a bubble economy that's 7%, people buying stuff they can't afford And when they finally stop going deeper into debt you've got a problem If that's where you're getting your GDP
              Fiscal Stimulus Impossible Without Monetary Stimulus To Finance It – Ep. 210   
    What a difference a day makes Between Tuesday evening, when the markets first began to realize that Donald Trump was going to win the election and the predictions of collapsing stocks and soaring gold prices appear to be taking hold Because at one point the Dow was down about 800 points and gold was up about $60 All of a sudden, the sentiment started to shift and by the time the U.S. markets had opened for trading Gold had lost its rally, the stock market had recovered its losses And we began a huge rally, in fact, the Dow was up about 1,000 points this week This was one of the biggest up weeks in the Dow since 2011 Also the gold market ended up down, I think it was down about $70 on the week Better than $100 below the high it hit on Tuesday night Silver also down about $1 Gold & silver stocks down closer to 20% The opposite was going on in the bond market, it had its worst week since 2013 It looks like a lot more carnage can come if we really start to break down; yields are still low The yield on the 10-year is just above 2.1 and on the 30-year it's just above 2.9 These are still low yields, but they're not nearly as low as they were What's more important is the momentum in this move and how much higher interest rates could potentially go As this bond bubble deflates What is responsible for this change of heart? Everybody was so convinced that the markets would tank if Trump was elected that we had a 300+ point rally on Monday, the day after the FBI decided that they weren't going to do anything about the Clinton email scandal And the market rallied because people thought, "Oh, OK, this means that Hillary is a shoe-in." And then Trump became President and the market rallied even more And the opposite on gold; gold sold off when it looked like Hillary would win, and it had a big rally when it seemed that she wouldn't After we got Trump, the metals went the other way What is responsible for this change of heart? Remember, I always said if didn't make sense that people thought Hillary was good for the stock market What did Hillary mean for business? More regulation, more government, higher taxes What was Donald Trump promising? He was promising tax cuts, tax reform, repatriation, regulatory reform, repeal Dodd-Frank, repeal Obamacare So he's saying, we're going to take away the regulation, we're going to take away the taxes That has got to be good for the economy, so why were people so excited about Hillary When Trump was talking about a pro-growth, pro-business agenda?
              President Trump and Treasury Secretary Icahn? – Ep. 111   
    It's been over a week since I did my last podcast there's been a lot of economic news - almost all bad The markets have been under pressure - we're back down near the mini-Black Monday lows, solidly in correction mode The pressure on international markets has been greater Yet the vast majority of economists expect the Fed to raise interest rates by December This would really mean last minute - as the Fed's messaging hints at an interest rate hike by the end of the year If you look at the Fed's reasons it listed were: Weakness in overseas economies Lack of inflation, as the Fed measures it Increased improvement in the labor markets Why would the Fed move if all these concerns still exist? The answer is, it would not move No one wants to connect the obvious dots When the Fed refused to rule out an interest rate hike in October or December it might have been the worst thing for the markets because it is admitting it is considering kicking the economy when it is down Initially I thought the Fed would indiciate a dovish hold, but they opted for a hawkish hold, which exacerbates the issues with the markets, as the hike is already priced in International markets assume America can handle higher interest rates; but the Fed is still talking up the economy to send the message that the U.S. can handle higher rates, even though it can't I discussed this at length in my recently released video of my address in Jackson Hole, Wyoming I really want discuss in today's video two people who are in the news: Donald Trump and Carl Icahn Trump was on 60 Minutes this week and Carl Icahn recently released a video called, 'Danger Ahead' Trump's performance really hit the ball out of the park with his delivery, not that I agree with everything he said The typical voter will buy his bill of goods The interview was a commercial for Donald Trump in which he promises everything to everybody The promises to cut taxes on everyone but the hated hedge fund managers He promises to repeal and replace Obamacare with something even better and still insure everybody He promises to save Social Security He promises to grow the economy To the average voter, who doesn't really understand economics, he sounds like he can pull it off He sounds optimistic about what the country can be like if he is elected president The economy will grow because jobs will come back from overseas How is he going to do that? I don't know, but it doesn't matter He says it in a way that people are going to believe it Who will argue against it? He is not singling out any one interest group that will suffer His performance was brilliant, even though much if what he promises is impossible His tax message resonates because currently the government uses high corporate taxes so that special interests groups can be given favors by Congress, and higher taxes are held over the heads of those who do not buy them off with votes With lower corporate taxes, the politicians lose that leverage Trump doesn't need these special interest votes because he's spending his own money All Trump needs to do is get the nomination, then the Republican Party will support his Presidential Campaign His campaign for the nomination has been largely fueled by publicity He is running a better campaign in light of public perception Trump is throwing light on the problems who the average guy really feel - even if he is pie and the sky Carl Icahn is in the news because he could be Treasury Secretary if Trump is elected, and he would probably not be that bad His new video, calledDanger Ahead" starts out as a commercial for Donald Trump, giving him even more publicity, but in the second half of the video he addresses the real root of the problem in the U.S. economy He addresses our bubble economy and correctly blames the Fed He points out that quantitative easing and zero percent interest rates ...
              Currency Traders Still Buying Rate Hike Rhetoric – Ep. 85   
    The U.S. dollar started out this morning on the defensive Government released CPI numbers generated a sharp reversal across the board Gold sold off, but closed slightly down against the dollar April CPI up just .1% on the month; year over year prices dropped -.2% Lowest CPI since October 2009 Core CPI (excludes food & energy) rose .3% Biggest monthly jump since March 2006 News sent dollar up on anticipation that rate hike will be more likely Inflation benchmark is just as real as the 6-1/2% unemployment goal Traders still haven't figured out that if we ever approach the goal, it will be moved Biggest factor within the .3% rise in the Core was +.7% in health care costs Biggest increase since January 2007 - prior to Obamacare Rising costs will slow consumer spending, weakening the economy and undermining employment Yellen in a press conference today did not actually project a rate hike It's all about extend and pretend; actually postponing the rate hike will buy the Fed some time before launching QE4 Increased inflation as the economy cools down means stagflation The media is spinning increased inflation as good news Bad economic news released yesterday: Unemployment numbers came out higher Fewer hires mean fewer fires Chicago Fed National Activities Index came in at -.15 Three month moving average down to -.23 MAY PMI expected to rise to 54.6 unexpectedly declined to 53.8 - lowest lever in 16 months Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index continued to slide from 43.5 to 42.4 May Philadelphia Fed looked for a bounce back to 8; missed expectations with 6.7 Missed expectations 5 out of the last 6 months Existing Home Sales expected improvement over March; dropped to 5.04 million Kansas City Federal Reserve Manufacturing Index missed expectations at -13; dropping for 5 consecutive months Economic data as bad as 2009 and inflation is getting worse Janet Yellen acknowledged underlying issues with unemployment number, mentioned discouraged and part-time workers Labor Force Participation Rate is not improving Low-skilled jobs in jeopardy with minimum wage hikes $15/hr fever will further hurts employment and erodes the tax base Higher minimum wage will transform workforce because employers will hire better workers for the higher wages Movement will substitute technology for labor costs Minimum wage hikes will undermine the economic recovery that Janet Yellen pretends is existing So she can continue to pretend that the Fed's monetary policy is working And she can pretend that they can actually raise interest rates In the unlikely event Yellen tests a rate hike, they will have to acknowledge that they were wrong The Fed can always blame the data for deciding not to raise rates and therefore save face
              Bad Economic News… When It Rains, It Pours – Ep 74   
    Dollar usually drops on bad news but rallies because traders automatically buy on the dip Bad news is dismissed because the first quarter "doesn't count" This puts greater pressure on the last 3 quarters to make up for the first quarter and still show growth Expectations of a bump similar to last year are based on non-repeatable conditions - Obamacare and inventory build Inventory to sales ratio is the highest it has been since 2009 What is the basis for dismissal of the bad news in Q1? Data confirms that the consumer is already broke Consumers will be hit with rising oil prices Traders who are loading up on the dollar are ignoring all the evidence that they are wrong The wake-up call will be like the sub-prime mortgage crisis The same thing will happen in the Foreign Exchange Markets when they realize the story is not about a recovery but about another round of QE Changing trend coming in the dollar Changing trend in the oil market Changing trend in the gold market If we don't get a recovery in the summer how is the Fed going to raise rates in Q4? Election year 2016 will likely see no rate hikes Retail Sales missed Wall Street expectations with a bounce of only .9 March Small Business Optimism fell to lowest level in 9 months Hiring Plans dropped to lowest level in 6 months Business Inventories for February rose to .3 based on weak wholesale sales Inventory to Sales Ratio holding at 1.36 (highest since July of 2009) My radio broadcasts from a year ago predicted that the data was not reflecting reality April Empire State Manufacturing Index missed expectations at -1.9, near a 2-year low Employment down Hours worked down New orders down to 3-year lows Prices paid went up March Industrial Production dropped .6, missing expectations - 4th consecutive month below estimate This news can't be blamed on April showers Those who have been betting on the recovery are about to realize they made the wrong bet
              Markets, Economic Data, & The Ben Bernanke Book – Ep. 73   
    Markets continue to rally worldwide Record highs overseas - much more action in Asia Markets riding a sea of liquidity Gold had an interesting week, closing at 1207 The dollar had one of its best weeks in months In terms of other currencies gold was at a 2-year high This means that the euphoria about the dollar is not universally shared Commodities in general were up - crude oil was up - holding above 50 This is a good indication of a solid bottom on the price of gold Traders continuing to make bullish dollar bets in the face of bad economic data Traders are willing to throw out the first quarter - regardless the excuse The bounceback from Q1 2014 was due to reasons that will not be repeated Obamacare created a huge rush to sign up There was a big inventory build anticipating future sales Bets for a 2015 Q2-3 rebound are based on optimism for consumer spending February Revolving Credit tumbled by $3.7 billion Non-Revolving Credit surged $19.2 billion - mostly student loans Consumers are cash poor, yet Wall Street believes they will start buying when the temperature rises Government under-reporting student loan defaults due to forbearances Wednesday release of FOMC minutes encouraged the dollar speculators because there were discussions about higher interest rates in June Currency traders still haven't figured out the the Fed's comments are all theater They are playing the game based on FedSpeak until it falls apart A drastic turn in the FOREX markets will take a lot of people down with it February Wholesale Trade declined again after January reported biggest decline in 6 years This marks the first 3-month decline since 2008 financial crisis Inventories rose slightly because of decline in sales Inventory to Sales Ratio at 1.29 - highest since 2008 financial crisis 2014 GDP increase was due to rush to build inventory in anticipation of recovery Bottom line: economic data shows that a second-quarter bounce in the GDP is just wishful thinking Ben Bernanke's new book titled "The Courage to Act" belongs in the fiction section Let historians justify his role in history - it is far to early to claim success This is the same guy who was blind-sided by the 2008 financial crisis He claimed courageous decisions in the face of critics, while actually putting politics and the banks ahead of the country His book may be coming out on eve of next economic fire that he set
              Will April Showers Rain on the Wall Street Excuse Parade? – Ep 68   
    April Fool's Day and all the fools are buying U.S. stocks Atlanta Fed GDP Now Estimate for Q1 GDP finally down to zero Despite the fact that the economy is worse than the 2008 crisis, Wall Street expects a Q2 boom Last Q2 was boosted by Obamacare spending and inventory build No data supports wishful thinking that Q2 will stage a comeback U.S. corporate profits fell despite Wall Street gains Q4 corporate profits dropped by 3% Final revision for Q4 GDP held at 2%, weaker than expectations First back to back decline in March University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment since October 2013 Personal Income and Spending rose only .1%, missing expectations for 4th consecutive month Savings rate increased to 5.8%, contrary to Fed's objective to maintain spending bubble Savings increase is problematic for the Fed because it undermines the spending spree that masquerades as wealth The Fed will have to launch QE4 to encourage more spending The March Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index plunged by 17.4%- the sharpest 1-month decline since 2008 Chicago PMI was below 50 in March - near 6 year lows March ADP numbers lowest in 14 months - biggest miss vs expected in 4 years March ISM Manufacturing Index dropped again to 51.5 - lowest level in 22 months - 5-month decline - first time since 2008 Construction spending "unexpectedly fell" Zero might not be the floor for Q1 GDP Stock market weakening again - oil and gold up U.S. dollar no longer making new highs Everyone is going to come to the same conclusion at once triggering violent moves in the market Right now there are still people willing to buy the dollar, but eventually there will be no one to take the other side of those trades Countries with smaller balance sheets will start raising rates when dollar plunges and commodities rise Friday jobs number, the Fed's gauntlet, will start reflecting the rest of the bad economic news Rate hikes are so far into the future they are beyond QE4
              SchiffRadio Podcast Episode 18   
    Episode 18 Synopsis Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admits fraud promoting Obamacare: "They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference." Administration's argument to Supreme Court about constitutionality of Exchanges claims "typo" The average American may not be able to make decisions for others, but they know what is best for themselves
              SchiffRadio Podcast Episode 7   
    Episode 7 Synopsis More deflation/inflation propaganda The Fed prefers inflation because at least they know how to fight it Money printing in VenezuelaBloomberg warns Yellen not to follow Sweden's example Obamacare premiums going up after the electionMark Cuban's plan to limit student loans Wells Fargo employee demands $10,000 raise for himself and other employees British Minister under fire for suggesting intellectually disabled should be able to work for less than minimum wage News about QE4 Yellen ironically speaks up on wealth inequality
              SchiffRadio Podcast Episode 6   
    Episode 6 Synopsis Big downside moves in global equity markets U.S. stock market trends Gold moves upward U.S. Dollar weakness A detailed analysis of this month's FOMC minutes Share buybacks and other artificial boots to the stock market More Obamacare blowbacks against the job market and employee healthcare The straight story on misleading reports on the economy How California labor law put a vineyard out of business Interview with Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel in his new book
              McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

    Politico

    McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
    Politico
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

    and more »

              'Special Report' Panel: North Korea, Health Care Reform Battle, Repeal Obamacare Now?    
    Charles Krauthammer, Olivier Knox, Tim Farley discuss with guest host Bill Hemmer.
              Трамп и перо    

    Самая короткая заметка вышла на этой неделе в The New York Post. «Stop. Just stop (Остановись. Просто остановись, — перевод ред.)», — говорится в ней. Материал, опубликованный в издании, посвящен президенту США Дональду Трампу, который начал очередной виток войны с американскими СМИ с оскорбительного твита в адрес работников телеканала MSNBC.

    «Слышал, что в программе с жалкими рейтингами Morning Joe плохо обо мне говорят (хотя я ее уже давно не смотрел). Тогда почему ее ведущие — сумасшедшая Мика с низким IQ и псих Джо — приехали ко мне на курорт Мар-а-Лаго на три дня накануне Нового года и умоляли о встрече со мной? У нее была кровь на лице после "пластики". Но я отказал им», — написал в своем аккаунте в твиттере Трамп. 

    Интересно, что критике подверглись сотрудники «Морнинг Джо» и на страницах газеты «Нэшнл энкуайрер», которую называют близкой к республиканцам. В частности, издание написало, что Джо Скарборо и Мика Брзезински тайно обручились, а когда информация просочилась, якобы оказывали давление на республиканцев-конгрессменов, чтобы материал не был опубликован. Впрочем, даже представители Республиканской партии оказались недовольны заявлениями Трампа, а трое женщин-сенаторов от партии, которую представляет президент, уже высказались с критикой по поводу сексистских высказываний миллиардера. Причем, как напоминает Russia Today, голоса трех республиканок пригодились бы Трампу для того, чтобы продвинуть проект закона о здравоохранении, который Белый дом продвигает вместо Obamacare. 

    На стороне Трампа, кроме некоторых газетчиков, его супруга Мелания и пресс-секретарь президента США Сара Хакаби-Сандерс. «Президент просто отвечает на оскорбления, он не позволит либеральной прессе себя позорить», — приводит слова представительницы Белого дома ТАСС

    Кроме «Морнинг Джо» президент США также имеет испорченные отношения с CNN, недавно он прокомментировал увольнения журналистов с телеканала. Напомним, им был дан расчет за публикацию непроверенных материалов, в которых они ссылались на собственные источники, утверждавшие, что кампанию Трампа поддерживал Кремль. Заявления об уходе пришлось написать журналисту Томасу Фрэнку и двум редакторам Эрику Лихтблау и Сексу Харрису. Оба, кстати, являются лауреатами Пулитцеровской премии. «Я невероятно счастлив, что телеканал избавляется от мусорной журналистики и фейковых новостей. Очень вовремя!» — написал в Twitter хозяин овального кабинета. 

    Некоторые журналисты отмечают, что поведение Трампа в отношении СМИ — это традиция для миллиардера, который демонстрировал нечто похожее еще 30-40 лет назад, когда в начале 1980-х начинающий, но амбициозный предприниматель привлекал внимание прессы. «Трамп обожает быть в центре внимания СМИ, поэтому его выпады против ее представителей, скорее всего, не проявление авторитаризма, а эффектный трюк, позволяющий ему оставаться "темой номер один" для газет и телевидения», — ранее писала The New York Times. С другой стороны, в интервью «Газете.Ru» ведущий корреспондент одного из топовых американских изданий признался, что с приходом в Белый дом тактика Трампа в отношении СМИ поменялась. «Корреспонденты, ранее работавшие в Москве, переписывались друг с другом во время пресс-конференции Трампа: "Господи, Трамп ведет себя как Путин". Особенно когда он начал спорить с Buzzfeed и назвал их "фейковыми новостями"», — рассказывал журналист изданию. 

    Впрочем, некоторые эксперты считают, что Трамп, делая выпады в адрес СМИ, действительно просто защищается. «Если вы сегодня обратитесь к New York Times, Washington Post, посмотрите передачи CNN, вы увидите, что там нередко проходят материалы, которые можно назвать так: как нам избавиться от Дональда Трампа. Они действительно направлены на подрыв авторитета президента», — сказал «Санкт-Петербургским ведомостям» главный научный сотрудник Института США и Канады Владимир Васильев.


              Trump to “bribe” moderate Senators to support health bill, then move bill right   
    The Trump White House is planning to “bribe” moderate Republican Senators with money to fight the opium crisis, to get them to support the draconian Senate Obamacare repeal bill, according to a Trump administration source who spoke with Axios’ Jonathan Swan. What’s worse, the same source says the Republicans will them move the bill even […]
              California Has the Means to Create a Single-Payer Health System, Despite the Assembly Speaker's Decision to Stop a Single-Payer Bill    
    The Assembly can still take up the bill, says the California Nurses Association.

    The push for single-payer health care in California has been a hopeful counterpoint to congressional GOP efforts to decimate health safety nets. But in late June, Democratic California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon pulled SB 562, a Senate-passed bill to create a statewide system to eliminate all private insurers. Rendon said the Senate bill lacked many specifics, such as a revenue stream for the estimated $140 billion needed annually to cover caring for 37 million residents in addition to all federal health program spending.

    That characterization is not entirely true. The bill’s leading advocate, the California Nurses Association, released an extensive report in June that said the revenues could come from a 2.3 percent increase in several taxes: primarily state payroll taxes and gross receipts for businesses after their first $2 million, which would exempt small businesses. The Senate bill omitted any revenue stream. CNA hopes Rendon can be pressured to revive the bill before a mid-July deadline.

    AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld spoke with Michael Lighty, CNA director of public policy, about what’s next for single-payer in California.

    Steven Rosenfeld: What happened in the Assembly to stop single-payer from going forward? We've heard a lot of things, but you were there.

    Michael Lighty: Essentially the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, decided to abort the process at the beginning of Assembly consideration of SB 562. Rather than refer the bill to its first policy committee, which is Health, he decided to just hold it. That represents a denial of democracy and is inconsistent with his claim that the bill needs work, because precisely the process that would have constituted that work was the one that he stopped. We see this as an unusual and extraordinary act to essentially misrepresent the piece of legislation before his House could even consider it.

    SR: He said it didn’t have a funding mechanism, but I suspect there’s more to it than that because as you said, each side of the legislature is fully capable of analyzing and assessing revenue options.

    ML: Exactly.

    SR: What do you think the resistance was really about?

    ML: Well, if you look at it, about a week or so before he took this act, David Townsend who is the lead political consultant for those Democrats oriented to the business agenda and who takes deep and large amounts of money from the health insurance companies, from the prescription drug corporations and from the hospital corporations and those same donors contribute to Speaker Rendon, Townsend, about a week before Rendon took his action, called for him to do so in an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. There is clearly a direct connection because the most vociferous opposition from assembly members is coming from those same Democrats who get that same kind of corporate money and for whom Townsend works.

    It’s not that subtle. Just follow the money. Then, of course, there is a whole set of other actors who don’t want to see this bill beyond the healthcare industry itself. There are advocates and reformers who prefer to incrementally change the present system but never take on the private insurance companies. They’re fine with slowing the momentum of this hugely popular bill.

    SR: Let’s break that down. Are the same corporate critics who are trying to stop this in California also active in the debate in Washington? Are they taking sides against the House-passed bill and the Republican Senate healthcare bill?

    ML: Well, yeah. Some of them are on the hospital side. I don't think the prescription drug corporations have really weighed in particularly heavily on the GOP bill. They’re getting everything they want I guess from Trump’s FDA. Then the health insurance companies are very moderate in their reaction to the evisceration of the present healthcare system that the GOP bill represents. So I think that they kind of like the tax subsidies that are subsidizing their profits and the Republican bill would continue that, although in a much worse form for patients. So it’s a pretty good deal for the insurance companies. SB 562, not surprisingly, is much more of a threat to those interests than the GOP bill.

    SR: So they’re taking the same position nationally as in California, which is basically, protect our profits above all else.

    Michael Lighty: Exactly. This is the health care industry. It’s not a system based on care giving. That’s actually a kind of consensus position. Elisabeth Rosenthal has written about that, the transformation from care giving to an industry devoted to revenue and profit. So you’ve got the private insurance companies in California since 2011 making $27 billion in profits. They wouldn’t make those under SB 562 because they wouldn’t be doing that business.

    SR: Let’s go back to SB 562. I know a lot of people were waiting for your revenue analysis. Did it come out too late? Would it have been more helpful if it looked at a broader range of tax options? I suspect it would have been criticized and attacked no matter what.

    ML: It is true that it would have been criticized and attacked, but it hasn’t really been effectively criticized because no one engages with the methodology or even a critique of those particular financing sources. They just dismiss it because it was, you know, sponsored by the California Nurses Association.

    The engagement level is quite superficial. If they were to look at it deeply, I think they would see that in fact it does provide kind of the traditional way of funding these state single-payer and even federal healthcare through a payroll tax [increase]. It does have a provision for what that would be, and more creatively and we think politically viably, is a proposal for a gross receipts tax [increase]. Then with a small sales tax as well that has exemptions to make it progressive.

    We actually think that, yeah, engage on that. If there are alternatives, let’s have at it, but you can do that through the regular [legislative] process. The financing plan came out as soon as possible. To achieve that deep analysis in that time frame is unprecedented. So it did come out toward the end of the Senate process, but certainly in plenty of time. If these were true supporters of Medicare for all systems at the state level, if they really supported single-payer, they would take it up and engage and they haven’t. Rendon stopped it instead.

    SR: The big question that was not talked about was whether California could do this. Then what other tax options might be fair or equitable was never discussed. California’s economy is as big as countries like Italy and Canada that have single-payer. Do you think legislators get that?

    ML: No. They’re accepting this mainstream media portrayal of Rendon’s position as legitimate when it’s not. He doesn’t even know what’s in the bill. He made remarks that made it clear he hadn’t even read like what the benefits are of the bill. He claimed that he was on top of the process, but we had met with his own policy staff who told us to address a set of issues that we then addressed in 17 amendments we provided to the bill’s author two hours before Speaker Rendon stopped the process. You’re right. There’s no engagement at that level and if there were, people would understand the opportunity this presents; [that] it still does.

    We’re not totally out of the picture here. Speaker Rendon could move this bill to the Assembly Health Committee. They could hold a hearing on July 11th and meet all the existing deadlines. It’s by no means too late today, but you got to understand that the Democratic leadership in Washington didn't want to talk about single payer. Obviously the healthcare industry doesn't want it on the table. It’s a reform that's supported by 80% of Democrats nationally. We had a poll showing that 70% of Californians supported it. Even after the industry arguments, it was 58% [support]. The politics are completely solid for it. As you say, the financing is entirely doable, so why is it being stopped by all these players? It’s certainly not because we can’t address all the issues they raised.

    SR: What's next then in California? The nurses have held protests at Rendon’s office. What’s the most effective thing you can do?

    ML: The most effective thing we can do right now is maximize pressure on Speaker Rendon because A, he still has time to act, B, it sends a clear message that we’re not going to stop until we win guaranteed healthcare for all Californians, and that if he thinks he is protecting ‘his members’ as he has asserted, this shows that actually he’s not. He’s jeopardizing their political future instead.

    SR: While the push goes on in California, what is the impact of what’s happening in Congress? Does it help? Does it hurt? Does it underscore that California needs a solution on its own?

    ML: That’s the point. California has to chart its own course because it can’t be subject to the dominance of the healthcare industry in Washington and the inability to craft a solution that can really guarantee healthcare in the immediate future. Whereas in California, which has a two-thirds Democratic legislature and a Democratic governor it could. It could do that. It does hurt our effort that this, if the GOP bill were to pass, the [federal subsidy] monies would be lessened over time. But that starts in 2020 and later. So that is again an argument for urgency now because if we start now we can actually have a system up and running by then.

    Then also the GOP [federal legislation], the uncertainty around healthcare and people’s ability to get the healthcare they need, creates the urgency to act. The anxiety that people feel is real and only this type of reform of SB 562 or Medicare-for-all nationally, an approved Medicare-for-all, would provide peace of mind. Ultimately that’s what we offer, is peace of mind to individuals, to businesses, to society. Speaker Rendon is employing the tactics of secrecy and denial to harm and extend, to harm people and extend human suffering.

     

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              Minneapolis Just Adopted a $15 Minimum Wage in a Landslide Vote   
    City council members credit the hard work of grassroots labor organizations.

    The Minneapolis City Council passed a law Friday making it the first Midwestern city to adopt a $15 minimum wage, increasing the salaries of 71,000 workers by 2024. 

    With the historic vote, Minneapolis joins a growing wave of progressive U.S. cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., where the Fight for $15 movement and other grassroots organizations have scored major labor victories.

    Before the vote, which passed 12-1, Minneapolis city council members credited activists and organizers from Fight for $15 and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha for pushing the bill forward. 

    Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) tweeted a video of himself singing "Money (That's What I Want)" in celebration of the news. 

    “Keep it up. We’re going to fight here in Washington, you guys are fighting there in Minneapolis, we’re fighting all over the country so the American people can get a raise,” Ellison said. 

    In May, Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate introduced a $15 minimum wage bill that has little chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress. 

    In the face of austerity and social safety net cuts in the federal government, grassroots organizers and activists are looking more and more to local and state arenas to implement policies that combat poverty and inequality. 

     

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              Progressives and Democrats Make Coast-to-Coast Protest Push to Finish off Trump's Assault on Health Care   
    As Mitch McConnell scrambles for votes in the Senate, protesters target Republican senators in 10 states.

    The political battle to stop the GOP-led Congress from destroying healthcare safety nets, via House and Senate bills to dismantle Obamacare and shrink Medicaid, jumped into a new orbit Wednesday, as the Senate Majority Leader said he would keep revising the legislation and numerous pro-healthcare groups stepped up their protests.

    On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell announced he did not have enough votes to pass his healthcare-cutting bill before the upcoming long July 4 holiday recess. While McConnell said on Wednesday that he hoped to have a revised bill before the weekend, his failure to get 50 out of 52 Republican senators to go along prompted progressives and Democrats to launch a new wave of protests, phone-banking, letter-writing and other efforts targeting Republicans in 10 states before Congress reconvenes in mid-July.

    These efforts come as new polls find that only 12 percent of the public supports the Senate Republicans' healthcare plan.

    “A 53% majority say Congress should either leave the law known as Obamacare alone or work to fix its problems while keeping its framework intact,” the USA Today/Suffolk University poll said.

    By midday Wednesday, protests had begun. Outside the Capitol, NARAL Pro-Choice America held a rally attended by several Democratic senators and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the country, Progressive Democrats of America activists hovered in the Phoenix and Tuscon offices of Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, where they held signs saying, “Healthcare is a Right” and “Medicare for All,” and wore hats saying, “Single-payer now.”

    Flake is among a handful of GOP senators who have not endorsed McConnell’s bill or are seen as vulnerable in 2018 targeted by PDA. The other senators are Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, West Virginia’s Shelley Capito and Nevada’s Dean Heller, who all would see draconian cuts to health care safety nets in their states.

    PDA is one of many groups urging members to contact their senators. They have phone and letter-writing tools on their Facebook page. Others, like ActionNetwork.org, seek volunteers for sit-ins at Senate offices on Thursday, July 6. While other Trump protests are planned, stopping McConnell’s health care bill is the most immediate priority.

    “AllOfUs, Democracy Spring, Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution, and the People's Consortium are working together to organize, coordinate and support sit-ins at Senate offices across the country on Thursday, July 6,” ActionNetwork’s website said. “We will target as many Republican senators as possible with a common demand that they vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

    The Indivisible Project has launched TrumpCareTen.org, which targets GOP senators in 10 states. In addition to the states and senators named by PDA, they’re looking at Alaska’s Dan Collins, Maine’s Susan Collins, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Ohio’s Rob Portman, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy and Arkansas’ Tom Cotton. The site has brief sketches of each senator’s positions, scripts to call specific senators and call scripts encouraging Democrats to stop all Senate business until McConnell relents.

    “Every day, Indivisible will post daily call scripts to use on your calls to the 11 senators in 10 key states focusing in on specific topics that must be addressed in the Senate's work. Check back here and spread the word,” the site said. “McConnell’s “delay does not mean the bill is dead; it means this recess will determine whether the bill dies once and for all or lives to see another day.”

    Indivisible’s site also has an interactive state-by-state map that gives callers specifics about how the Senate bill would raise premiums in each state, and how many people would lose private insurance, employer-provided healthcare or coverage through Medicaid. It explains that callers to Senate offices need to speak knowledgeably to Senate staffers, because these conversations from home-state callers are noted and tallied.

    “Find out how much premiums would increase and how many people would lose health coverage in your state under TrumpCare, then contact the Senate staffers handling health care for your senators and tell them to vote NO on TrumpCare,” their website said. “As we said in the Guide, the person answering the phone when you call your member of Congress’ office will be a staff assistant or intern. You should always ask for the Senator's legislative assistant who handles that particular issue for the Senator. In this case: health care. Often times, you'll be put through to that person’s voicemail. Leave one. And then use the information below to send a followup email.”

    What Stopping The Senate Means

    The stakes are enormous in the fight over the Senate’s bill. McConnell’s legislation is not merely fulfilling the GOP’s promises for the past seven years to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The House and Senate have used that pledge to shoehorn in another longtime GOP goal, so-called federal entitlement reform, which in this case, has meant cutting back the future funding of Medicaid by a quarter.

    Each of these elements has very different implications. The Obamacare repeal provisions deregulate the health insurance marketplace. Congressional budget analysts have said it would leave the public paying less for premiums, but far more for out-of-pocket costs due to escalating co-pays and deductibles and having insurance policies cover less than is now the case. As Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told NPR on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers are not concerned with cutting the same costs as the public.

    “The conservatives—they’re focused on what the federal government spends on health care, reducing federal spending and cutting the federal budget and capping entitlement programs,” he said. “The American people are focused on something entirely different: their own health bills, their premiums, their deductibles, and their drug prices.”

    Altman said that the House and Senate bills do nothing to address pocketbook concerns of ordinary Americans. In fact, by deregulating insurance markets, he said the GOP’s bills would make these costs take even bigger bites out of household spending.

    “The biggest change in health care today has been the steady rise in deductibles and other forms of cost sharing,” Altman said. “That change in insurance is probably a bigger change than the ACA, which has occurred under the radar screen while we’ve had this great debate about the ACA. And the biggest question in health care we’re not debating is how much cost sharing is too much.”

    Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, the real impact of the GOP’s decision to go after Medicaid (the government health plan for the poor and disabled) and mostly leave Medicare (the government plan for seniors) alone, “pits the elderly against the poor.” (The GOP bills still cut into Medicare, because Medicaid pays for nursing home care under that program.) But, as the Journal wrote, “By singling out Medicaid, it would signal that the burden of cost containment will fall largely on the poor while sparing the elderly."

    The deliberate undermining of healthcare for people with private insurance and lower-income people on Medicaid—tens of millions of whom are woman and children—has left longtime Democratic lawmakers like Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, saying they have never seen a bill as cruel, heartless and backwards as the GOP health care proposals. To make matters even worse, the bills’ spending cuts would be given to the wealthiest Americans as tax relief.

    “Can you even believe what this does for wealthy people who can afford whatever they want with respect to healthcare?” Feinstein said Tuesday. “And all these children, five million of them [in California] that depend on Medi-Cal, or there is no health care… My voice level goes up two octaves when I talk about it, it makes me so upset.”

    “I think it’s a shame and a disgrace that we are moving down this road,” Lewis said on Monday, in a discussion with Sen. Corey Booker, D-NJ, on the Capitol steps that went viral. “Telling the most vulnerable segment of society you’re on your own.”

    Because of the Senate’s arcane rules and the procedural tactics that McConnell is using to push the bill through with a simple majority of 51 votes, no other Senate business can be taken up until the healthcare bill is passed or set aside.

    This means that stopping the GOP’s Obamacare-Medicaid-tax cut bill will could force the Republicans to work with Democrats going forward, as much as they have refused to do so thus far. On the other hand, if they pass it (and President Trump signs it), they will quickly move onto tax reform, an area where the GOP wants to give even more to the wealthy, leaving, as John Lewis said, the rest of America to fend for itself.

    That’s why the protests this weekend and into early July will be pivotal—as important as any seen since Trump and the current GOP-majority Congress took office.

     

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              GOP Health Care Plan Crushes Working-Class Blacks and Whites, but Not the Middle-Class Whites Who Elected Trump    
    Contrary to the media narrative, wealthier whites, not poorer ones, formed the GOP’s 2016 voter base.

    As the drama crests this week surrounding possible Senate passage of an extraordinarily punitive health care bill, we should ask, why is the GOP so heartless? Why are Republicans bent on cutting access to care for the most vulnerable people, especially the poor—including the white working-class voters who were said to be a pillar of Trump’s base?

    After the election, many in mainstream and progressive media said that Trump’s base, and indeed the wave that lifted the GOP into its congressional majority today, were white working-class voters who abandoned Democrats en masse. The Atlantic heralded Trump’s “blue-collar” rise on “class, not ideology.” The AP pointed to “both parties’ working-class whites.” Thomas Frank—whose 2004 book, What’s the Matter With Kansas, traced the rise of white conservatives—described Trump’s base as mostly “working-class whites” worried about the economy.

    It turns out that most of the Americans who helped elect Trump and the GOP are white, but they are not poor. In his crusade to dismantle Obamacare and cut Medicaid’s future appropriations by a quarter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not turning on his voters; according to recently released national survey data, those who voted for Trump and the GOP in 2016 are overwhelmingly white, yes; but the majority of them are not poor and not working class.

    “A few weeks ago, the American National Election Study—the longest-running election survey in the United States—released its 2016 survey data. And it showed that in November 2016, the Trump coalition looked a lot like it did during the primaries,” blogged Duke University’s Nicholas Carnes and Vanderbilt University’s Noam Lupu for the Washington Post. “Trump’s voters weren’t overwhelmingly poor. In the general election, like the primary, about two-thirds of Trump supporters came from the better-off half of the economy.”

    “In short, the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a ‘coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters’ just doesn’t square with the 2016 election data,” they said, explaining that most pollsters incorrectly assumed that the 70 percent of Americans who don’t have college degrees were working class and poorer—and many are not.

    “Many analysts have argued that the partisan divide between more and less educated people is bigger than ever. During the general election, 69 percent of Trump voters in the election study didn’t have college degrees. Isn’t that evidence that the working class made up most of Trump’s base? The truth is more complicated: many of the voters without college educations who supported Trump were relatively affluent,” they wrote.

    In the survival-of-the-fittest world of American capitalism and GOP politics, there’s no shortage of right-wingers bashing the poor, whether they are white or not. That mindset clearly has spilled over into those promoting the GOP’s health care bills, where a schism is emerging between the voters in the GOP's 2016 base and those McConnell's bill is targeting.

    A typical example emerged this weekend on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation, where Ben Domenech, the Federalist’s founder and publisher, smeared Ohio’s Medicaid disability recipients as unworthy of public benefits.

    “When Governor Kasich, you know, pushed for the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, he ended up having to throw 34,000 disabled people off of the program because it incentivized adding these working, able-bodied adults over people who actually were in the system who had disabilities or had other dependence,” he said, repeating the GOP's old trope of deadbeats on welfare.

    There’s nothing new about this undercurrent in the GOP. Last year, writing in the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson went after poor whites (drawn to Trump) as people who could do the nation a favor by dying.

    “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die,” he wrote. “Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs....The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

    How much of this attitude is reflected in the Republicans’ health care bills? The answer is plenty. The House-passed bill takes $820 billion out of future Medicaid appropriations over the next decade, rapidly phases out government subsidies for insurance premiums bought by individuals on government exchanges and deregulates insurance without any coverage requirements or price controls. While those policies will cause chaos across the economic spectrum, including the middle class, the poor are the hardest hit.

    The Senate bill has even harsher elements than the House bill. It would cut Medicaid more by turning it into a rationed-care system where states receive grants, and adopt a stingy new formula for annual increases. Health policy experts have noted McConnell’s plan wants “lower-income people to pay more.” Its use of tax credits to offset premium increases and deductibles will be of little use to the working-class poor and lower-income seniors, a new analysis from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found.

    Just as mainstream media mischaracterized those who elected Trump and the GOP, it’s likely they are missing the same ingredient in who would be hurt most by the GOP's health care proposals: non-GOP voters. It’s not just blue states that would see the largest rollbacks—as they are the states that most aggressively embraced Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid. It’s also poorer people, working-class whites and non-whites, who, as the American National Election Study notes, didn’t elect Trump and the GOP. 

    Where McConnell’s plan is likely to fall off the rails is from the chaos it would bring to more middle-class and affluent whites—or red rural states like Alaska and Maine with high health care costs. That is, if his efforts to please corporate health care interests are seen as backfiring on Tea Partiers who infamously yelled, “Hands off my Medicare.” (Late Monday's release Congressional Budget Office analysis may provide that catalyst, projecting the Senate bill will leave 22 million Americans uninsured by 2026.)

    But as policy experts dug into the Senate bill on Monday, their analyses seemed to confirm that McConnell’s bill wasn’t targeting his party’s better-off base. One newly discovered provision would lock out anyone who missed an insurance payment from buying a new policy for six months. One-third of those with pre-existing conditions had this coverage gap in the past two years, but they tend to be poorer. Another report found the bill could push seniors out of nursing homes paid by Medicaid, as a subsidy of Medicare. 

    Those likely to be hardest hit include working-class whites, but they were not Trump's voters, the analysis by Duke University’s Nicholas Carnes and Vanderbilt University’s Noam Lupu underscored. “According to the [American National] Election study, white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters. That’s a far cry from the working class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined.”

    No one ever accused McConnell of not knowing what he is doing.

     

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              GOP's Cruel 'Health Care' Bill Goes After Children, the Poor and Veterans   
    “The ACA is not repealed. Health care for poor people, kids, the disability community and seniors is."

    Soon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his Obamacare repeal legislation Thursday, the verdict by health policy experts was the Senate GOP bill was a disaster like the House-passed bill. Then they started discovering its hidden features.

    “The ACA is not repealed,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid and Medicare for the Obama administration. “Health care for poor people, kids, the disability community and seniors is. The ACA income based tax credits stay—due to Senate rules. They just get bulldozed. More accurately, the people receiving the help do.”

    That’s right, after years of railing against Obamacare, McConnell’s bill doesn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. Instead it damages private insurance markets, seriously dismantles state-run Medicaid, leaves millions of women and children and vets without care, and further roils the private sector as business and personal healthcare costs will rise—as what is covered by insurers will shrink.

    “Older people will be charged much more,” Slavitt continued. “People over 350% of poverty [line household income] won’t get any support. Insurance will only cover 58% of someone’s needs… Millions of families lose coverage. Those with insurance will get a lot less.”

    Most people in America know the GOP’s health safety net slashing jihad is a disaster. Only 16 percent favor the GOP’s bill, compared to 41 percent who favor Obamacare and another 28 percent who want to improve that law, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. But they don’t know the hidden disasters.

    This goes beyond playing politics to playing with people’s lives—a point former President Obama said in a long FaceBook post on Thursday. This is deeper than the GOP yelling and screaming for years about how horrible Obamacare is and now making it worse. McConnell’s spin is that the Senate is making improvements to the House bill, a claim that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. But what McConnell wants the Senate to pass must be compared to current law and the current system, as imperfect as it is. 

    What’s hidden in the bill, according to a joint statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Dental Health Project, March of Dimes, First Focus, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Family Voices, and the Children’s Hospital Association, is that the Senate bill will permanently harm children, if its proposed spending cuts and dismantling of Medicaid are implemented. “Over time, capping Medicaid would likely force states to ration care, reduce eligibility levels, reduce benefits for children, or reduce provider reimbursement rates even further—all of which will result in diminished access to care for children and pregnant women,” the eight patient care organizations said.

    “Maternity, mental health, cancer treatments, not required,” Slavitt tweeted. “Insurers won’t cover expensive HIV & cancer meds if they are the only ones. Coverage will devolve. That’s the point, not a side effect. The main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid. Far, far worse than even the House bill. Medicaid’s cuts of 25% in the House increase much more in the Senate. Hundreds of billions more cuts. Medicaid cuts spike further in 2025. The year baby boomers turn 80. And Medicaid pays half of nursing home care in the country. This bill is awful for anyone planning on aging. Age tax, nursing home cuts, robbing Medicare Trust Fund.”

    An analysis by Jeanne Lambrew, senior fellow, and Ellen Montz, fellow, at the Century Foundation, had the following summaries from a chart that compared the Senate bill to current law: “Increases premiums by up to 20 percent; raises premiums for people over age 60 by more than 20 percent and lowers their tax credit; allows states to reduce benefits and remove limits on annual out-of-pocket costs, affecting people with pre-existing conditions; limits services for 2.4 million who use these [Planned Parenthood] clinics; cuts [opioid addiction] treatment spending by a large fraction of the $183 billion provided under current law; provides over $170 billion in ten-year tax breaks to [drug and insurance] industries with over 20 percent of the highest-paid CEOs.”

    That last point—on who wins and who loses—was echoed in Obama’s Facebook post.

    “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” the former president wrote. “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.”

    Next among the bill’s hidden disasters is the impact on veterans and rural areas. As Emily Blair, manager of military and veterans’ policy for National Alliance on Mental Illness wrote in The Hill, dismantling of Medicaid will hurt vets, families and rural hospitals.

    “Only 40 percent of America’s approximately 22 million veterans are enrolled in and receive all or part of their care through the Veterans Health Administration,” she said. “Eligibility depends on minimum service requirements, disability ratings, and discharge status. Additionally, millions of veterans living in rural areas find it impossible to access care at a VA facility. These factors combined leave a significant gap in access to healthcare. For approximately 1.75 million veterans—nearly 1-in-10—Medicaid fills this gap and for many, is the sole source of coverage for primary and specialty healthcare.”

    The Senate legislation is also filled with internal contradictions, Slavitt noted, starting with its unregulated dismantling of Medicaid.

    “They completely get rid of the guardrails,” he tweeted. “States have to submit a description of ‘alternative means’ for ‘increasing access to comprehensive coverage, reducing average premiums, and increasing enrollment’ but they have gotten rid of the requirement to actually offer coverage that is as comprehensive and as affordable to as many people.” And the Senate bill creates incentives for states to do this, such as a $2 billion fund to seek federal waivers, which once awarded cannot be revoked for eight years.

    Another hidden feature in the legislation is the likely economic chaos that will ensue as people lose their health care and health care options. This Twitter dialogue from Rodney Whitlock, a "longtime congressional health care staffer-turned-consultant” who is a Republican, laid out what’s likely to follow after insurers are allowed to pay only 58 percent of policyholder health care costs.

    Whitlock began,

    “Guaranteed issue, 58% AV [actuarial value or how much of average costs the plans will cover] and no coverage requirement is pretty much the definition of a death spiral. The only takers are users.… Most of the bill is about Medicaid & tax cuts, but yes, as written this will instantly destroy the individual market …  Individual users small business & self employed. Bye entrepreneurship America. Uninsured millions will hurt hospital systems. Elderly care!!! ... Not just small business. I worked for big corporation, but rely heavily on freelance talent. Gonna suck to lose them. … Add to that insurance companies have been explicitly allowed to charge those users more.”

    This is not idle speculation. This week, insurance companies were required to submit to federal officials the anticipated rate increases in 2018. According to a detailed report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, some of the same insurers made multiple filings, where prior to Capitol Hill Republicans and President Trump creating chaos specifically by refusing to say what 2018 federal subsidies would be, they anticipated significantly lower premium increases. The CBPP labeled this intentional chaos “GOP market sabotage” and noted in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, insurers filed two sets of proposed rate increases. They were less than 10 percent prior to the GOP sabotage, and then three to four higher with it. They chronicled this sabotage since January.

    The Center also sought to put the House-passed tax cuts in perspective, which were not changed in the Senate legislation. The tax cuts for the “richest 400 families” roughly is equal to federal cost of maintaining Medicaid expansion in Nevada, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alaska, they noted.

    Other hidden disasters were noted by hospital executives like Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson, who wrote on LinkedIn: “This is not forward progress. The evidence shows that under the AHCA [GOP American Health Care Act], we will have 51 million uninsured individuals in America within the next decade, and those who can least afford the cost will pay more. The Senate should not aim to simply make the number of people losing insurance smaller than it would be with the AHCA. We can achieve better health for all if we deliver on the three-part test for access, affordability and outcomes. It will take time, and our country must reflect that we, as individuals and communities, must do better."

    President Obama made much the same case on Facebook.

    “I hope our Senators ask themselves—what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage?” he wrote. “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,” he continued. “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.”

    You can be sure that Mitch McConnell isn’t on this wavelength. What he’s looking at is making whatever deals are necessary to get 51 votes in the Senate. Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if even more hidden disasters emerge from his legislation in the coming days. After all, the Republicans are tinkering with one-sixth of the economy and real-life issues affecting every American household.

     

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              McConnell Finally Releases Summary of Senate Obamacare Repeal and It's the Biggest Attack on Health Safety Nets in Decades   
    The Senate GOP leader is trying to spin it as a gentler version of kicking millions off health care.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a summary of the latest Obamacare repeal legislation late Wednesday, ending a Washington waiting game after secret drafting sessions, but depicting a bill that will have dire consequences for much of America.

    McConnell’s summary tries to put a softer spin on the Republicans’ most strident attack on health safety nets in decades. It preserves most of the features of the House-passed bill, which repeals Obamacare, shrinks future Medicaid funding by a quarter and rewards the rich with tax cuts. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the House bill would leave 24 million Americans without health care while increasing insurance costs and reducing coverage for almost everyone apart from healthy young adults.

    Unlike the House, the Senate bill phases in the cuts to federal health spending over the next few years, instead of immediately pulling the carpet out from millions of Americans who were resting a little easier because they had some measure of health security. It will "rejigger" Obamacare subsidies for lower-income people buying private insurance, while gradually limiting their eligibility.

    That’s the takeaway as first reported by the Washington Post. On Thursday morning, McConnell is to meet with “wary senators,” the Post reported, adding he will likely tinker with the bill's details to try to get to 51 votes to pass it.

    “The bill largely mirrors the House measure that narrowly passed last month but with some significant changes,” the Post said. “While the House legislation pegged federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income as the ACA [Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare] does. The Senate proposal cuts off Medicaid expansion more gradually than the House bill, but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also removes language restricting federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions, which may have run afoul of complex budget rules.”

    It’s likely many nasty details will come to light as interest groups, health policy experts, Senate Democrats and their staff parse the legislative language, as opposed to McConnell's talking points.

    In many respects, McConnell’s revisions are not a surprise. They resemble the anti-Obamacare bill he shepherded in late 2015, which included closing government health care exchanges, scrapping subsidies for premiums, repealing Medicaid expansion in 30 states, ending tax penalties for people who don’t buy insurance and employers who don’t offer it, repealing its taxes on businesses, individuals and medications, and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood. Variations of those features have been resurrected in the new Senate bill, although there is new language giving states some flexibility in how they will draw down their Medicaid spending. The brunt of that may not take effect until 2020. But the end result is the same: Republicans have used the rallying cry of repealing Obamacare not just to gut the law, but to structurally change and shrink Medicaid and give wealthy people a tax cut.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Post reported other details that were leaking out. The Senate would make deeper cuts to Medicaid than the $820 billion taken out of the program by the House. It would do so by converting it into a per-capita block grant program, which will push states to ration current levels of care unless they raised their taxes. The Senate would also tie future funding increases to a stingier inflation index, pleasing fiscal conservatives.

    The pending cuts in Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies will be phased in over the next few years, not immediately. That means the numbers of people receiving premium subsidies would gradually shrink as the maximum qualifying income is lowered. All of the Obamacare taxes will vanish, except for those people with the priciest “Cadillac” plans.

    Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare and Medicaid programs for the Obama administration, has noted that the House-passed bill would not just prompt 24 million people to lose coverage over the next 10 years. Those who keep their coverage will see costs rise 15 to 20 percent, or more if you’re older or live in rural areas. The Medicaid cuts, one-quarter of its future budget, will mean fewer kids, seniors, people with disabilities and poor people will be covered, he said. Some 7 million people who now get coverage through their employer will lose it. If you have elderly relatives in need of nursing home care (the part of Medicare paid by Medicaid), that coverage also will be reduced, he explained.

    The House bill also repealed minimum coverage requirements, which means insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles will rise, whereas what’s covered in policies will shrink. Early analyses of the Senate bill said that approach was retained. “Essential benefits & value of benefits no longer protected in Senate bill—gutting pre-ex[isting] protections,” Slavitt tweeted.

    Democrats Weren't Idly Waiting

    Democratic senators had been anticipating McConnell’s bill. That’s why they started slowing down the Senate’s business. They also held a series of hearings to emphasize who would be hurt, especially in red states. The Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, led by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, held a hearing Wednesday on how the bill “would devastate rural America.”

    On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Robert Casey and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin issued a report with police saying they were worried about how the bill would hurt efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, consumer groups and medical associations have been holding forums around the country to hear the public explain how Obamacare has helped them, especially people with pre-existing conditions who could not previously get health insurance. Center-left groups like Indivisible were staging sit-ins in Senate offices of Republicans who expressed reservations about the Medicaid rollbacks.

    People who have been watching Republicans rant about repealing Obamacare for years had a pretty good idea of what McConnell was about to drop in everyone’s lap. The broad contours are unchanged. Twenty-something million Americans will lose private coverage. Those on Medicaid—most of whom are women, children and the disabled—will see services cut by a quarter or more. And just about everyone in America who is not among the top 2 percent will see more money vanish from their paychecks and savings, as insurance executives, hospital corporations and drug makers get richer.

     

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              Think Tank 1110am healthcare plan   
    Bernie Sanders said he’s going to push his plan for a single-payer healthcare plan like Europe.  He says Obamacare is costing us too much and the GOP can’t get their bill together to correct the problems. This hours guest: Michael Cannon - Director of Health Policy @ Cato Institute
              Think Tank 1110am Obamacare   
    Can you and your family afford to live with Obamacare? And, do you have faith that Republicans with a majority in the House & Senate & a sitting President will pass other reforms like tax reform & infrastructure bills? This hours guest: Ron Faucheaux - Political Analyst & President of Clarus Research Group Dr. Ed Chervenak - UNO Political Science Professor
              McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

    Politico

    McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
    Politico
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

    and more »

                  
    @Regrann from @popularpolitics - @thedemocrats ・・・ This week, Americans went to the Capitol to tell Republicans to keep their hands off our health care. Call your Republican Senator this week & say no: (202) 224-3121. . #dnc #democrat #health #healthcare #healthcare #healthcareforall #women #children #drugaddiction #lgbt #plannedparenthood #resist #enlist #persist #humanrights #taxcutsfortherich #tomperez @tomperez #senate #barackobama #strongertogether #persist #resist #enlist #trumpcare #obamacare #paris #london #amsterdam #berlin #sydney #lasvegas #miami
              Trump: Let’s Repeal Obamacare First, Replace it Later   
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    Friday morning, Trump decided to sing a different tune. The president has been laboring with the Senate Republicans to pass Obamacare reform. It has been an up-hill battle. Finally, President Donald Trump has decided to come at this issue with a different approach. He suggested just maybe, Republicans should repeal Obamacare and then replace it piece by piece. He tweeted: If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017 This is a solution almost every GOP rep, maybe not McCain, should be able to support. Replacing the healthcare bill no one read, because it was too big to read, is a hard task. It’s a tumor to our system and needs to be treated as such; removed completely, giving the ‘body’ (aka America) time to heal from its wounds. Ben Shapiro comments: Naturally, conservatives have been promoting this policy since literally before the 2016 campaign. And Trump and the Republicans refused to follow that policy prescription, because they believed that simple repeal wouldn’t be a good campaign slogan – they wanted the cop-out of being able to tell Americans that they had a super-double-secret plan to “replace” Obamacare. It turns out no such plan existed, and that the Republican caucus is fractious and bickering, that it unites big spending “moderates” with conservative free marketers – that it’s more difficult to replace Obamacare than to repeal it outright. But only now, after months of talk about how Republicans want to destroy Medicaid and throw poor people off cliffs, does Trump come to this eminently obvious solution. –Daily Wire It seems the job of convincing all conservatives to follow this approach is now on Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). Both have said they would push to separate repeal and replace into two pieces. Will they be able to accomplish this goal? What say you America? Give us your thoughts below.
              Discovered: Why Congress Gets Diddly-Squat Done for America   
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    If you ever wondered why politicians barely get any work accomplished during their terms as a ‘public servant’, we have the answers. Well, at least a good idea why. Joseph Curl from the Daily Wire postulates three reasons: 1) Lawmakers are now so partisan that they vote only the party line, without regard to their constituents’ needs. 2) The massive influx of lobbyist money means that every member of Congress is owned by special interests. 3) Those elected see getting re-elected as their primary job, so they never — ever — do anything to rock the boat. Of course it’s hard to boil down this issue to just three reasons, but you get the general idea. Very simply though, if members of congress put in the same amount of hours of work like most Americans do much more would be accomplished. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy published the official calendar for 115th Congress, first session. It shows that lawmakers in the lower chamber will have 218 days off. Curl did the math and compared that to an average American’s work year: For comparison, you probably get the weekends off, 104 days, plus 10 days of federal holidays and maybe two weeks vacation for a total of 128. That means you work 237 days a year (238 in leap years). The House will be working just slightly more than the days you  get off — 147 in 2017. According to Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) this schedule means the Senate has just 35 working days before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Considering where this nation is at, with a new administration and all the reform it is bringing, that is hardly enough time. Perdue writes his concerns in a Daily Signal piece titled “It’s Time to Pull the Plug on August Recess.” First, we have to complete the work on the first phase of repealing Obamacare and fixing our health care system. Second, we have to pass a budget resolution that will work within the reconciliation process for changing the tax code. Third, we have to use the appropriations process to fund the federal government by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Fourth, we have to deal with our debt limit. The Treasury Department has used extraordinary measures to buy time since the national debt hit its limit of $19.8 trillion in March. Fifth, we have to finally act on our once-in-a-generation opportunity to change our archaic tax code, but we will only be able to do so if we achieve the first four priorities. Due to the amount of work, the senator believes August recess needs to be canceled. “The only appropriate response is to cancel, or heavily truncate, the annual August recess that turns the United States Capitol into a ghost town,” states Perdue. To accomplish this change there would have to be a vote. But good-luck finding politicians who would agree or even be in town to vote.
              McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

    Politico

    McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
    Politico
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

    and more »

              Obamacare pushes Christian group to top of nonprofit list   
    What is Christian Healthcare Ministries and#8212; and how did they end up getting to the top of Crain's Largest Nonprofits list so quickly? The organization didn't even break the top 30 back in 2010. But much has changed since then.
              When there is conflict over care, everyone loses   
    During the heat of debate over the Affordable Care Act in 2009, a Harvard study found that 45,000 deaths in America each year resulted from a lack of health care coverage — Obamacare helped reduce that number. In 2016, the Urban Institute estimated, “For every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage, there was one fewer death […]
              Health care: McConnell to stick with repeal and replace plan   
    ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected President Donald Trump's advice to nix the GOP's complex health care proposal in favor of a bill that would simply get rid of "Obamacare" once and for all.
              Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.
              How to Raise Incomes and Delay the Next Recession   

    Last October, mulling over the economic environment the next President would face, I sent Hillary Clinton memos on how she should provide some stimulus to sustain the current expansion and raise incomes by boosting business investment and productivity. Alas, she did not become President; but that didn’t change our current economic challenges. To be sure, President Trump’s manifold troubles may preclude Congress from doing anything meaningful until after the 2018 elections. But if that’s not the case, here’s some advice for both sides.

    The White House, above all, should appreciate the stakes: Without some form of serious stimulus, the U.S. economy almost certainly will slip into recession well before 2020. From Trump’s recent statements about “priming the pump,” he already understands that the eight-year-old expansion needs a boost. The GOP plan for sweeping tax cuts won’t work here, even if it could pass Congress. To begin, it devotes most of its resources to high-income people and shareholders, who will just save most of their tax savings. More important, the plan would vastly expand federal deficits on a permanent basis. If that happens, the Federal Reserve almost certainly will hike interest rates considerably higher and faster than they now contemplate, and those rate hikes would likely end the expansion.

    Washington needs to prime the pump in a way that directly supports employment over the next two years and carries no long-term costs for the deficit. As it happens, Trump and Democrats already support a reasonable way to do just that – enact a large, two-year increase in public investments in infrastructure. But the plan will attract Democratic support only if Trump gives up the idea of using tax breaks to leverage private investment in new infrastructure projects. Democrats won’t (and shouldn’t) go along, because that approach tilts the program towards infrastructure projects in high-income areas that can generate strong profits for its investors.

    I assume that the President’s economic advisors also have briefed him on the recent, serious slowdown in business investment and productivity growth. Unless Trump addresses those problems as well, most Americans will make little income progress. The challenge here is to focus on changes that will boost business investment in way that strengthen productivity, and do it without raising deficits on a permanent basis.

    One approach that congressional Republicans and some Democrats could support entails allowing businesses to “expense” their investments in equipment – that is, deduct the entire cost in the year they purchase the equipment. This change focuses on equipment investments, because they have the greatest impact on growth and productivity. The catch is that this approach still costs the Treasury many tens of billions of dollars per-year, especially if it covers both corporations and privately-held businesses (like the Trump Organization), as it should.

    Trump could draw some support for the plan from congressional Democrats by insisting that Wall Street pay for it. First, he could deliver on his campaign promise to end the notorious “carried interest” loophole that lets the managers of private equity, venture capital and hedge funds use the capital gains tax rate to shelter most of their income from their funds. Fund managers certainly can afford to pay the regular income tax like the rest of us: In 2016, the top 25 hedge fund managers altogether earned $11 billion or an average of $440 million each.

    To pay for the rest of equipment expensing, Trump should support the call by many Democrats for a small tax on financial transactions – three one-hundredths of one percent of the value of all stock, bond and derivative purchases should do it. (Stock and bond IPOs and currency transactions would be exempt.) Wall Street will howl in protest – music to most Americans’ ears – but the economics are sound. On the plus side, the tax would reduce market volatility by discouraging short-term speculation and ending most high-frequency computer trading. Moreover, today’s short-term speculators and high-frequency traders will have to invest those resources in more productive ways. The negative is that the tax would raise transaction costs and thus dampen investment on the margins. But since the tax would finance a serious reduction in the cost of business investments in equipment, the overall impact on the markets will be positive.

    This plan is far from the dream agenda of either party. A Hillary Clinton presidency would have included many other measures to boost productivity and incomes, from access to tuition-free college for young people and greater access to bank loans for new businesses, to broad retraining opportunities for adults and a path to citizenship to expand job opportunities for immigrants. For their part, congressional Republicans still believe in their trinity of huge tax cuts, drastic deregulation, and deep cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare benefits. But the economics of stimulating an aging expansion and restoring business investment are non-partisan, and both parties should have an interest in reviving income progress for most Americans.

    For President Trump, this plan has three simple parts consistent with his positions: Increase public infrastructure investments, lower the cost of business investments, and make Wall Street pay more of its fair share. If he can cut this deal, nearly everybody will win – but if he can’t, no one will lose more than he will.

    This post was originally published on Dr. Shapiro's blog.


              Does Trump Even Care About Healthcare For Americans ?   
    (Caricature of Donald Trump is by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)

    During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump promised his followers that he would immediately repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. After being sworn in, he promised Americans that his plan to replace Obamacare would cover all Americans with health insurance.

    Both of those promises have fallen by the wayside. The House Republicans passed a plan (AHCA) that would repeal Obamacare and throw 23 million Americans off the health insurance rolls. Trump embraced the plan as though it was a great victory -- and invited House Republicans to the White House for a victory celebration.

    That plan immediately ran into trouble in the Senate, and a similar plan (BCRA) crafted by Senate GOP leaders has been unable to get enough Republican votes to pass. Now it's beginning to look like the Senate Republicans are not going to be able to come up with a plan they can agree on.

    This has Trump once again changing his mind. He has now tweeted that the Senate should just repeal Obamacare, and worry about replacing it later. His thinking is that once Obamacare is repealed, people will be happy to accept any GOP plan -- even a bad one like those already proposed (which would take health insurance away from 22-23 million Americans, and raise premium prices for everyone).

    Trump's proposal would repeal Obamacare, but delay that repeal from taking effect until next year -- which would give Republicans another year to come up with a plan. The problem with that is that after more than seven years of complaining about Obamacare, the Republicans have been unable to come up with a plan -- and there's no reason to believe that could do that in another year. This would just keep the argument alive over the bad Republican proposals, and have them trying to do something just a few months before the November 2018 election. That's something no Republican in Congress wants to happen.

    Trump has now gone from promising to cover everyone to throwing most Americans under the bus. It brings this question to mind -- Does he really care about providing healthcare for Americans, or is he just desperate to get a legislative victory (and be able to show his cult followers that he can deliver on his promises).

    So far, he has not delivered on any of the big promises of his campaign. There is no legislation (or funding) to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. There is no infrastructure legislation. There is no new immigration legislation. There has been no tax reform legislation. In short, there have been no major legislative achievements at all -- lending credence to the view that Trump and the Republican Congress are incapable of governing.

    Trump and his family (and his friends) are rich. They have the money to buy any insurance they want (or pay any medical bills they might accrue). Most Americans are not so lucky. They need Obamacare to be fixed -- not repealed. But Trump seems ready to throw them under the bus to get a legislative victory. He has shown that he really doesn't care about healthcare for American citizens. He only cares about looking good to his cult followers -- and he needs a legislative victory (preferably repeal of Obamacare), even if that means thousands of Americans die for lack of insurance (and many more go bankrupt because they can't pay gigantic medical bills).

    As usual, the narcissist-in-chief only cares about himself.
              The (Really Bad) Numbers For Senate's "Health" Plan   




    Senate Majority Leader McConnell is still trying to convince enough of his fellow Republicans to vote for the Senate's version of Trumpcare (BCRA). Most Republicans claim the bill is a health care plan, will not throw millions of people off the insurance rolls, and will lower insurance premiums. None of those things are true. It is much more a tax plan, takes health care away from at least 22 million Americans, and will actually increase insurance premiums for plans with current benefits.

    Honest Republicans know this, and that's why McConnell is having so much trouble rounding up 50 votes for his version of Trumpcare. Here is how NBC News describes what the Senate plan will do:

    As frustrated GOP senators are discovering, their bill is much less generous than Obamacare because it spends hundreds of billions of dollars less on people’s health care. And the main reason it spends so much less is that its savings are used to cut taxes for wealthy Americans and for medical companies. 
    How close is the relationship? When it comes to Medicaid, it’s almost 1:1. The Senate bill slashes tax revenues by $701 billion over a decade, while reducing Medicaid spending by $772 billion versus current law. Overall, the Senate bill reduces federal health care spending by $1 trillion. 
    The result: More Americans without insurance. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill would cover about 22 million fewer people by 2026 than Obamacare.
    It might be easier to make this tradeoff if the Americans losing aid for health care were the ones benefiting from the tax cuts. But unless you’re paying a penalty under Obamacare's individual mandate for deciding to go without insurance, you’re unlikely to notice the difference in your return. 
    Instead, the biggest gains from the bill, by far, go to the top 1 percent of earners and especially the top 0.1 percent. The individual taxes the Senate would eliminate, a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income and a 0.9 percent payroll tax, only apply to single filers making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000.
    The cost of including these tax cuts, even for small numbers of high earners, is not chump change either. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimatesthe bill’s tax benefits for the 400 highest earning households in America alone are equal to the cost of keeping Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in four states that cover 726,000 people.
    On the spending side, the bill requires people to pay higher premiums to buy a private plan similar to what's available under Obamacare. It accomplishes this by reducing spending on subsidies and distributing them in a way that encourages people to purchase higher deductible plans with lower premiums. At the same time, it eliminates Obamacare subsidies that help low-income people pay their deductibles.
    Here, too, the lower end of the economic spectrum fares worse than the higher end. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation projected premiums for people making over and under 200 percent of the federal poverty line (about $24,000 a year for an individual) and found the biggest spikes came for older low-income customers. The CBO also found this group would have the hardest time finding affordable insurance under the Senate bill.

              No Break From Politics On Obamacare Deadline Day   
    The sign-up period for 2014 individual insurance coverage required under President Obama's Affordable Care Act expires Monday, much as it began. There were HealthCare.gov website snafus, White House pleas for enrollees, and the need for "navigators" to help those enrollees work their way through the often-balky federal insurance exchange site. (Which was temporarily out of service twice by midafternoon Monday.) Now, though, the political bickering is focused on the administration's estimate that it will exceed its first-year goal of enrolling 6 million people in health care exchanges, and on whether the law has hit its target: the nation's uninsured. "We know that there are going to be more people in this country, in the millions, who have insurance than would have had it before," White House spokesman Jay Carney said during his regular briefing with reporters Monday afternoon. "It will be very hard for Republicans and other critics to make the argument that a better world would be a
              Illegal immigrant criminals day in Congress   
    Trump gives voice today to victims of illegal immigrant crime. We actually have a president who wants to protect American citizens from criminals! Two bills are coming up for vote in Congress today. One is Kate's Law, and the other is No Sanctuary for Criminals. Bill O'Reilly is a guest on Laura's program, as is Eric Bolling. Both cannot see how any politician would be able to vote against either of those laws and still be re-elected.


    I have noticed that every time Rand Paul meets in private with the president, he comes out in praise of how open Trump is to his ideas. Rand Paul is obviously very sharp. He has suggested that the healthcare bill be divided into two parts. One would be repeal of Obamacare, which would get support from Republicans. The other would be spending, which would get support from Democrats.

    Even though the two bills on illegal immigration are going to be big winners for Trump, he spends time this morning talking about Mika Brzezinski's face lift. Laura believes the White House, from Trump on down, needs more message discipline. When she worked for Reagan, they agreed on a "message of the day," which was enforced at every cabinet department.


              The terrible execution of California’s single-payer attempt   
    As Republicans in the Senate are working diligently on the destruction of Obamacare, progressives in California are doggedly pursuing a distinctly opposite approach. The California single-payer bill (SB562), aims to expand health insurance coverage to all state residents regardless of income or immigration status. Just as Republicans at the federal level have tried to jam […]
              This is why the dialogue on the future of health care is useless   
    Our national useless dialogue on the future of health care in the U.S. continues. Trumpcare has a long way to go before it potentially becomes law, so no one knows what it will finally look like. Obamacare is in a death spiral anyway. So the existing financing system will change no matter what. But once again […]
              Can The Proposed American Health Care Act Improve On Obamacare?   
    Politics aside, the question everyone should be asking is, will this new plan improve choice, cost, and outcomes for health care consumers?
              Comment on Trump Dictates To The Press: Mika, Obamacare, Bullying the Press Corp by Wow   
    Uh, yes. Look to North Korea, someone who Trump makes look sane and rational.
              Comment on Trump Dictates To The Press: Mika, Obamacare, Bullying the Press Corp by MikeN   
    Dictators say mean and unprofessional things about reporters they don't like? That's what they do? I thought it was more like the other post about Bret Stephens and they try to get the offending writer fired or thrown in jail or killed.
              July 2: Tweets, Obamacare and McEnroe   
    Chicago: Re “The ugly American President: Donald Trump’s tweet-rant against Mika and Joe reaches new low” (June 29). I know the President

              Danse de la pluie   

    Nous pourrions penser au débat quant à une réforme d’Obamacare qui se joue actuellement au Sénat comme aux derniers glouglous de politiciens qui se savent tourbillonner vers le siphon. Ils prétendent tenter de remédier à un racket qui englobe désormais un huitième de l’économie américaine. Comment en sommes-nous arrivés là ? Au début du XXe siècle, il représentait un quart d’un pourcent (0,25%) de l’économie.

    L’explication standard veut tout d’abord que Medicare ait fait flamber les activités liées à la santé dans les années 1960, pour attirer beaucoup de personnes âgées qui auparavant ne bénéficiaient d’aucun traitement particulier et qui étaient, dans l’ensemble, en moins bonne santé que les plus jeunes. Deuxièmement, les innovations technologiques ont permis le développement de tant de nouvelles méthodes de maîtrise des maladies, chez les plus jeunes comme chez les plus âgés, que nous sommes parvenus à traiter plus de malades, grâce à des solutions de plus en plus complexes – ce qui a fait flamber les prix.

    Le plus gros de l’histoire demeure caché bien au chaud dans la matrice de rackets érigée autour des flux monétaires depuis la grosse flambée des prix des années 1960, et qui implique bien des compagnies d’assurance. Big Pharma, les cabinets médicaux qui appartiennent à de grosses sociétés, les monopoles hospitaliers et, bien évidemment, les politiciens, se sont partagé des quantités colossales de capitaux qu’ils n’ont pu obtenir que pour une seule raison : tous les coûts ont été gardés à l’abri du regard du public.

    Dans le domaine médical, personne n’a aucune idée de ce que coûte quoi que ce soit. Certainement pas les patients, parfois qualifiés de « clients » ou de «consommateurs » - mais qui sont véritablement des otages. Si vous vous rendiez à l’hôpital pour vous faire implanter une endoprothèse dans l’artère coronaire antérieure descendante, personne ne pourrait vous dire ce qu’elle coûte, à commencer par le docteur qui a déjà effectué la procédure des milliers de fois. Personne ne peut même en deviner le coût, bien que tout le monde soit certainement capable de vous donner une estimation du prix de l’installation d’une nouvelle pompe à carburant sur sa BMW-28i.

    Les prix des soins de santé ne sont jamais discutés avec les patients. Les médecins perçoivent le sujet comme au-dessous de la dignité de leur profession, de la même manière que les aristocrates britanniques percevaient les questions monétaires à l’époque de Downton Abbey comme des affaires grossières réservées aux servants, similaires au débarrassage de la table du déjeuner. Bien entendu, les « servants », dans le contexte des hôpitaux américains, sont la fantastique hiérarchie de greffiers dangereusement suralimentés, accablés par les trop nombreuses heures passées à entrer des chiffres complètement inventés dans leur ordinateur de travail. Une vie plus stérile peut difficilement être imaginée. Si vous demandiez à la personne avec laquelle vous « interagissez » à la caisse d’un magasin de quoi exactement se compose le total de votre facture, vous ne recevriez en échange rien de plus qu’un regard méprisant – réellement orienté vers l’intérieur, vers ses propres dilemmes existentiels, une dynamique pathologique qui mérite peut-être l’attention des instruments de financement de recherche.

    Le coût de tout ce qui est médical est calculé à l’occasion d’une danse de la pluie privée entre les partis mentionnés plus haut, sur la base de ce qu’ils pensent pouvoir se permettre de soutirer pour chaque cas particulier. Dans les hôpitaux, cette danse est rendue possible par le système ChargeMaster qui, pour dire les choses le plus simplement possible, permet simplement aux hôpitaux d’inventer n’importe quoi.

    Tout projet de loi présenté devant le Congrès dont l’objectif serait de réformer les malfaisances financières du système de santé devrait commencer par rendre obligatoire la publication de ce que font les hôpitaux et les médecins, et ne permettre aux « fournisseurs de services » de ne toucher que ces coûts publics – pour mettre fin à la danse de la pluie qui divise actuellement les rançons versées par les otages du système entre ses fournisseurs. Cet aspect crucial de la crise n’apparaît nulle part dans le débat politique, et n’est jamais mentionné par les organes médiatiques tels que le New York Times, soi-disant défenseurs de l’intérêt public. Peut-être cette facette du problème n’est-elle jamais venue à l’esprit des journalistes – auquel cas je ne peux que me demander jusqu’où va leur stupidité.

    (Ce que je trouve le plus drôle, c’est que le New York Times d’aujourd’hui ait déclaré que 20 millions de citoyens ont pu avoir accès aux services de santé dans le cadre de l’Affordable Care Act. Vraiment ? Vous voulez dire qu’ils ont pu bénéficier de polices d’assurance aux primes de 8000 dollars, alors qu’ils ne disposent même pas de 500 dollars d’épargne ? Sur quelle planète vit le personnel de rédaction du New York Times ?)

    Les questions corollaires quant à la déconstruction de l’armature du racket de la santé, et de la redistribution de ses « fonctions » à une agence gouvernementale « à payeur unique » constituent bien évidemment un débat plus poussé. Je ne dis pas qu’une réforme pourrait fonctionner, même si elle était modelée sur les systèmes qui marchent aujourd’hui ailleurs, comme en France. Les Américains sont devenus allergiques au sujet même de réforme… ou peut-être leurs politiciens les ont-ils, dans leurs propres intérêts, poussés à s’en imaginer allergiques… Le débat qui se joue actuellement au Sénat n’est donc qu’un prétendu de réaffectation des fruits colossaux du racket entre ses responsables.

    Epargnez-vous l’angoisse de réfléchir à l’issue du débat actuel sur le système de santé. Il ne sera pas « réparé ». Le système médical tel que nous le connaissons aujourd’hui finira très vite par exploser, de la même manière que les systèmes de retraire au travers du pays, que les trésors des cinquante Etats, et que tout le reste de l’économie Potemkine américaine. 


              Nominees Submitted For Head of Civil Rights Division and For EEOC Seat   
    Earlier this week, the White House announced President Trump's nomination of  Eric S. Dreiband to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. As reported in an earlier Washington Post background piece, Dreiband, who is a partner in the Jones Day law firm, among other things has a master’s degree in theological studies (with a concentration in ethics and public policy) from Harvard University.  In the George W. Bush administration, Dreiband served as general counsel of the EEOC.  In 2015, he was one of the attorneys who represented Abercrombie & Fitch in its Supreme Court fight over the need to grant religious accommodation to a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf for religious reasons.  He was also one of the attorneys on the brief at the Court of Appeals level representing the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington in its 2014 challenge to the accommodation for religious non-profits who object to the Obamacare contraceptive…
              July 2: Tweets, Obamacare and McEnroe   
    Chicago: Re “The ugly American President: Donald Trump’s tweet-rant against Mika and Joe reaches new low” (June 29). I know the President
              Obamacare pushes Christian group to top of nonprofit list   
    Obamacare pushes Christian group to top of nonprofit list Chuck Soder - What is Christian Healthcare Ministries — and how did they end up getting to the top of Crain's Largest Nonprofits list so quickly? The organization didn't even break the top 30 back in 2010. But much has changed since then. That year, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, which requires most adults to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. • TO SEE THE FULL LIST, BECOME A DATA MEMBER Although Christian Healthcare Ministries doesn't technically provide "insurance," it does offer a
              Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

    Washington Post

    Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
    Washington Post
    President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
    Cruz and Lee play inside game in health fightPolitico
    Understanding Republican CrueltyNew York Times
    Mitch McConnell plans to stick to 'repeal and replace' on healthcareWashington Examiner
    Hot Air -WTOP
    all 152 news articles »

              McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

    Politico

    McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
    Politico
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.

    and more »

              Comentario en Aaron Russo sobre lo que le contó Nicholas Rockefeller y el Microchip por NINJAW   
    CON EL "OBAMACARE" IBAN A IMPONER EL MICROCHIP PERO LA GENTE SE NEGÓ A IMPLANTÁRSELO....ES LA FUTURA MARCA DE LA BESTIA. IGUAL YA EMPEZARON CON LOS PASAPORTES, DNI, Y AHORA CON EL DINERO ELECTRÓNICO (CELULARES) ES LA ANTESALA. PAÍSES ESCANDINAVOS, AUSTRALIA, EEUU, INCLUSO EN NIGERIA EN LOS DNI YA HAN COMENZADO A USARLOS. NO VA SER FÁCIL AL PRINCIPIO.... LA GENTE TODAVÍA SE REHÚSA PERO CON UNA LEY SE TERMINÓ LA REBELDÍA.... https://youtu.be/jOqvtd9QQjc
              Trump says Obamacare should be repealed even if it's not replaced with anything   

    Trump says Obamacare should be repealed even if it's not replaced with anythingDonald Trump is calling for Senate Republicans to repeal Obamacare – even if they have no bill to replace it with. A proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, has struggled in the Senate, with senators from different wings of the Republican party disagreeing on key aspects of the plan. Moderate senators worry that millions of people would lose their insurance following cuts to Medicaid – a healthcare programme for the poor – while conservatives assert that the bill does not do enough to erase Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature domestic legislation.



              Dems Demand Pentagon Investigation on Completely ‘Frivolous’ Aspect of Trump’s Presidency   

    The government is involved in important business this summer – negotiating ways forward on Obamacare, tax reform, the budget and immigration, while conducting wars in the Middle East and keeping an eye on ISIS and […]

    The post Dems Demand Pentagon Investigation on Completely ‘Frivolous’ Aspect of Trump’s Presidency appeared first on US Herald.


              How We Got Here: Why Americans Can’t Seem to Ever Agree on A Good Health Care Fix   
    Republicans on Thursday got one step closer in their epic quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Controversially drafted behind closed doors by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a small group of his Republican colleagues, the Senate bill is, despite earlier pledges, broadly similar to legislation narrowly passed by House Republicans … Continue reading How We Got Here: Why Americans Can’t Seem to Ever Agree on A Good Health Care Fix
              McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again' - Politico   

    Politico

    McConnell on Obamacare repeal: 'Not easy making America great again'
    Politico
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sticking to his current plan of trying to simultaneously repeal and replace Obamacare, despite a call from President Donald Trump and some conservative members of his conference to separate the two tasks.
    The Senate bill does nothing to fix America's biggest health care problemVox
    Obamacare Repeal Deal Risks Making America's Drug Epidemic Even WorseBloomberg
    H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 | Congressional Budget OfficeCongressional Budget Office
    Congressional Budget Office
    all 6,075 news articles »

              Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

    Washington Post

    Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
    Washington Post
    President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
    Going Small on Health CareNew York Times
    GOP's Plan B for Obamacare -- repeal first, replace later -- began with quiet push from Koch networkLos Angeles Times
    H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 | Congressional Budget OfficeCongressional Budget Office
    Congressional Budget Office
    all 6,041 news articles »

              Health Law Changes Hurts Patients’ Rights   
    Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed major legislation repealing many important reforms created by the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.  This new bill, was passed before many legislators had an opportunity to read the text, and before receiving any cost and coverage analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”).  The bill […]
              Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

    Washington Post

    Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
    Washington Post
    President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
    Going Small on Health CareNew York Times
    GOP's Plan B for Obamacare -- repeal first, replace later -- began with quiet push from Koch networkLos Angeles Times
    H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 | Congressional Budget OfficeCongressional Budget Office
    Congressional Budget Office
    all 6,094 news articles »

              Repealing Obamacare without replacement would be "very messy"   

              Open thread for night owls: 'Fearless Cities' push back against the rise of the right   

    Jimmy Tobias at The Nation writes—These Cities Might Just Save the Country: Dispatches from the Urban Resistance, from Atlantic City to Miami Beach: On the second weekend of June, hundreds of activists, NGO workers, mayors, city councilmembers, academics and others from Spain and around the world flocked to Barcelona to discuss progressive resistance to the the rise of the right wing wherever it exists. Many American activists attended:

    [...] Local organizing is fascism’s foe. That was one of the essential themes beaming out of Barcelona [last] month, where hundreds of urban organizers and elected officials met for a three-day summit called Fearless Cities. They came from Hong Kong and Rojava, from Valparaiso in Chile and Belo Horizonte in Brazil, from New York City and Jackson, Mississippi, and far beyond to teach and learn and build an international municipalist movement: a movement, that is, that harnesses civil society in cities to revitalize democracy and empower youth, immigrants, refugees, working people, and many, many more.

    YellowBackgroundOwlBadge_TEXT_%281%29.jpg

    The conference was organized by Barcelona en Comú, the leftist political coalition that took power in the city in 2015. It included sessions on participatory budgeting, sanctuary and refuge cities, “deprivatization” of energy and water systems, the radical potential of public space, and the fight against gentrification, among other topics.

    For those who attended, Fearless Cities was an introduction to the “global movement that is trying to find energy and power in municipalism and in local fights,” says Helen Gym, a Philadelphia City Council member and the vice chair of Local Progress who spoke at the summit. “It was so exciting to be with progressive municipal leaders from all around the world pushing back against state authoritarianism, fighting for the rights of immigrants and refugees, tackling racial justice issues and talking about the essential services like health care, education and transit.”

    Gym was particularly energized, she says, by the way that progressive movements in places like Barcelona develop and elect political leaders from within their own ranks, rather than being co-opted by professional politicians. Barcelona en Comú’s horizontalist, from-the-ground-up organizing and electoral work, she argues, is something to aspire to in the United States.

    “I found it very inspirational and very instructive,” adds Brad Lander, a New York City Council member and the Chair of Local Progress, who also presented at the summit. “It is a critical moment for cities to both resist the right-wing tide and make progress on our goals, and there are people doing that around the world, and we can learn things from each other.” [...]

    What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …

    • Instead of wearing safety pins in solidarity, try Safety Pin Box—a subscription kit for white allies, by Kelly Macias
    • Will conservatives learn anything about deregulation from the London fire that killed dozens, by Ian Reifowitz
    • When you control all three branches of government, you’re responsible for government, by David Akadjian
    • Democrats: Use Trumpcare chaos to push single-payer Medicare for all, by Egberto Willies
    • How to improve Obamacare: If Republicans were smart, they'd listen, by Sher Watts Spooner
    • Oil shock and our energy future, by DarkSyde
    • Unprecedented spite: The American carnage of the GOP health care bill, by Jon Perr
    • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: what was done back then—and where we are now, by Denise Oliver Velez
    • Free speech is only for conservatives, by Mark E Andersen

    TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES

    TWEET OF THE DAY

    x

    BLAST FROM THE PAST

    At Daily Kos on this date in 2003So who is in charge of finding WMDs?

    How can anyone claim Bush knows what he's doing, when he doesn't even know who's in charge of finding WMDs in Iraq?

    Meeting last month at a sweltering U.S. base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.

    The rank incompetence within this administration's Iraq team is breathless. And Bush's ignorance as to the most important issue facing him -- the finding of WMDs -- is startling.

    Good thing Mr. Cambone, lurking in the bowels of the Pentagon, is on the trail of those "missing" WMDs. With any luck he should trip over a germ lab or two in just a matter of days.

    Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio.”


              The Senate's 'healthcare' bill is designed to strip Americans from insurance for a stupid tax cut   

    Campaign Action

    Because there's no way to over-emphasize the point, here's yet another reminder that the Senate "healthcare" bill is terrible by every measure other than as a tax cut for the rich. It doesn't do anything to "fix" health care, and everything it does do makes America's healthcare problems much worse.

    The Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill would drive up the uninsured rate across all demographics, CBO estimates, but hit low-income Americans the hardest. That could leave almost 30 percent of low-income individuals aged 50-64 without coverage by 2026, with close to 40 percent of low income individuals between 30 and 49 years old going uninsured.

    It's a reversal of the Affordable Care Act that neatly rockets the number of uninsured Americans back up to the levels that were considered a crisis in the years before the law took effect. And that's not even taking into account the millions of Americans who will get worse health insurance because the Senate is gutting the rules saying what that insurance must cover.

    The cuts to Medicaid, meanwhile, are simply a straight-up effort to throw people off the program while blaming the individual states for doing the dirty work.

    The legislation would phase out enhanced funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and end the whole program’s entitlement status by imposing new limits on federal funding. Those changes amount to an estimated $772 billion cut to the program over a decade, CBO projected, and force states to take on a greater share of the financial responsibility. As a result, the nonpartisan scorekeeping office projected that some states would need to cut Medicaid benefits and restrict the program’s eligibility.

              TEN GOP Senators Call On McConnell To Fulfill Commitments And Cancel August Recess   
    Ten Republican Senators called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Cancel the August recess The list includes:   Senator Perdue (Georgia) Senator Daines (Montana) Senator Ernst (Iowa) Senator Kennedy (Louisiana) Senator Lankford (Oklahoma) Senator Lee (Utah) Senator Rounds (South Dakota) Senator Strange (Alabama) Senator Sullivan (Arkansas) Senator Tillis (North Carolina) Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have squandered their majorities. So far Congress has refused to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, pass tax cuts and build a border wall.Weekend after weekend American workers work overtime to complete their unfinished work. Why should the elites in...
              July 2: Tweets, Obamacare and McEnroe   
    Chicago: Re “The ugly American President: Donald Trump’s tweet-rant against Mika and Joe reaches new low” (June 29). I know the President
              Comment on Trump Resumes Tweets With Personal Attacks Despite Bipartisan Criticism by bigfatmike   
    "If there is a slaughter of Republicans in the mid-term elections, it will be because Congress has made no progress in REPEALING Obamacare, tax reform ... " Of course, if there is a slaughter of Republicans in the mid-term elections it could also be that Republicans replace Obamacare with a health care system that drops coverage for millions and that also charges higher premiums for less coverage to those that can still afford insurance. Or the slaughter of Republicans in the mid-term elections could be due to Republicans taking any savings to the government from the health care system and spending the savings on tax breaks for the top 1% and the top .1%. There are at least a few plausible hypotheses why the Republican might encounter problems in the mid terms. What really makes you mad? Watching those with income in the millions getting tax breaks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Finding that you are paying higher premiums for less coverage? Having some joker tell you that you have the freedom to choose a policy that you simply cannot afford? What gets your goat? What makes you mad?
              Comment on Trump Resumes Tweets With Personal Attacks Despite Bipartisan Criticism by Jane Surber   
    If there is a slaughter of Republicans in the mid-term elections, it will be because Congress has made no progress in REPEALING Obamacare, tax reform, and improving the economy, NOT because of a few tweets by Trump. Contrary to the opinions of the media and must politicians, Americans in general, are not stupid enough to be distracted from what is important by an inane exchange of insults.
              32 million people would lose coverage if Obamacare was repealed   

    Republican senators are skittish enough that their health care bill would leave 22 million people more without health insurance by 2026, compared to Obamacare. They likely won't be too keen on President Trump's suggestion to just repeal Obamacare immediately and replace it later if they can't get enough support to pass their bill.


              Saturday Reads   
    Obituary: Singer Gary DeCarlo, 75, has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was known for his vocals on the hit single "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye":

    Mercury decided to release the song "Sweet Laura Lee" as a single from the recording session. Needing a B-side for the single, Leka, DeCarlo and Frausher revived a Glenwoods song they wrote called “Kiss Him Goodbye” and recorded it as "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” for the B-side. DeCarlo also played percussion on the song.

    The song became a surprise hit when a DJ in Georgia played it and requests for the song flooded the station. The single made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December, 1969.

    The song was attributed to the band "Steam," although at the time there was no band with that name. The band seen on the cover of the single and that performed the song on a promotional video were hired for their image. The singer in the video was lip-synching DeCarlo’s lead vocal. The “fake” Steam band went on tour and performed live.

    I didn't think the song was that old and more like it was from the 1970s. It just goes to show how fast time has gone.
    _____

    It still holds true regardless of culture that women attach themselves to men as a major means of upward financial mobility.
    _____

    Why are Republicans such cruel assholes?

    Yet that’s surely not the whole story, because Obamacare isn’t the only social insurance program that does great good yet faces incessant right-wing attack. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability benefits all get the same treatment. Why?

    As with Obamacare, this story began with a politically convenient lie — the pretense, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, that social safety net programs just reward lazy people who don’t want to work. And we all know which people in particular were supposed to be on the take.

    Now, this was never true, and in an era of rising inequality and declining traditional industries, some of the biggest beneficiaries of these safety net programs are members of the Trump-supporting white working class. But the modern G.O.P. basically consists of career apparatchiks who live in an intellectual bubble, and those Reagan-era stereotypes still dominate their picture of struggling Americans.

    Or to put it another way, Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe.
    _____

    Juan Martinez, the prosecuting attorney in the Jodi Arias case, is facing an ethics complaint.

    Tammy Rose, a free-lance reporter who covered the Arias trial, filed a sworn statement with the ethics complaint.

    Rose said she and Wood became friends while they were covering the trial's death-penalty phase in 2015.

    They would car pool to the Maricopa County Courthouse and trade text messages through the day.

    "She told me this shocking secret that I was – so shocked when she told me – that she said she was having an affair with Juan Martinez," Rose said in an interview from her Wisconsin home.

    After the ethics complaint was filed, Rose told a sheriff's officer at her Wisconsin home that she had been harassed via text message and phone calls, according to a report filed by the Sheboygan County, Wis., Sheriff's Department.
    _____







              Trumpcare would devastate LGBTQ health   
    Trumpcare would devastate LGBTQ health
    - Obamacare helped many LGBTQ people obtain insurance coverage for the first time. In 2013, before the Affordable Care Act came into effect, ...

              Obamacare pushes Christian group to top of nonprofit list   
    What is Christian Healthcare Ministries and#8212; and how did they end up getting to the top of Crain's Largest Nonprofits list so quickly? The organization didn't even break the top 30 back in 2010. But much has changed since then.
              Touchy CNN Host: ‘This Whole Fake Thing Needs to End and It Needs to End Right Now!’   
    Touchy CNN Host: ‘This Whole Fake Thing Needs to End and It Needs to End Right Now!’CNN host Chris Cuomo exploded on Senator Ron Johnson after he said the debate around the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is “completely distorted using incorrect information.” Johnson said,“We need information, and the debate on this thing has been completely distorted using incorrect information.” Obviously rather touchy after the chaotic week where CNN has been [...]
              Siena College Poll Looks At New Yorkers’ Attitudes On Health Care, Politicians   
    When the failed Republican American Health Care Act was pulled from the House on Friday, there was a collective sigh of relief among Obamacare supporters and participants. Lack of popular support for the measure is reflected in a new Siena College poll.
              My Turn: Doyle McManus: Is Mitch McConnell trying to tank Trumpcare?   
    For weeks, insiders in Washington have been wondering: Is it possible that the Senate's wily majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, secretly wants his health-care bill to fail?That sounds unlikely, I know. McConnell prides himself on his prowess as a legislative strategist; he likes nothing better than crushing his opponents. Repealing Obamacare was one of the GOP's core promises in 2016, and most conservatives (including McConnell, presumably) still believe in the cause. [...]
              GOP Stuffs TrumpCare With Pork To Entice Moderates   

    In their latest attempt to win over some moderate Republicans who are siding with the conservative senators opposing the Senate’s Obamacare replacement package, Senate Republicans have said that they will inject $45 billion to the new health care legislation to help fight opioid abuse. CNN recently reported that the opioid crisis has hit alarming levels. According to their findings, 26 percent of patients treated with some kind of opioids get addicted. Furthermore, one of every 550 patients dies as a result of an addiction-related complication within three years of the first prescription. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio and Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia are the moderates, Republican Senators hope to target with their proposed funding, since both senators have given the opioid crises high priority. But, for now, it seems like the new proposal may go in vain, as both senators believe that the cuts Medicaid that the new bill proposes are a bigger concern. “More opioid funding would be very good and very beneficial, but the core for me is the Medicaid provision,” Capito told The Hill Thursday. Capito and Portman, on their Senate websites, released a joint statement, stating that they cannot support the bill as it currently stands. “For months, I have engaged with my colleagues on solutions that I believe are necessary to ensure that we improve our health care system and better combat this opioid epidemic,” Portman’s section read. “Unfortunately, the Senate draft falls short and therefore I cannot support it in its current form.” “As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, and harms rural health care providers,” Capito wrote. As it currently stands, the GOP’s health care bill, reduces $772 billion in Medicaid funding over the next 10 years. Talking to CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo on his show, Capito said that the GOP’s plans to add $45 billion in funds to combat opioid addiction is pretty much useless unless Medicaid is also expanded. According to him Medicaid coverage and opioid treatment go “hand in hand.” “You’re not going to access the treatment without the coverage, whether it’s through the exchanges or whether it’s Medicaid, you have to be able to have that coverage so that you can access the treatment the extra dollars are going to be put in to provide,” Capito said.

    The post GOP Stuffs TrumpCare With Pork To Entice Moderates appeared first on Liberty News Now.


              Bloomberg: Опасната простота на Тръмп   
    /Поглед.инфо/ Президентът Доналд Тръмп винаги има слабост към прости и фантастични решения на проблемите. Нелегална имиграция? Изграждаме стена. Прехвърляне на работни места в чужбина? Въвеждаме износни мита. Безработица в Апалачите? Да произвеждаме повече въглища. Нарастване на медицинските разходи? Отмяна на Obamacare.
              Health law's ailment? Expectations   
    The young and healthy are a key, but they didn’t sign up for Obamacare. Despite a mandate and penalties, their response was “You’re joking, right?” So either health law insurance will be market-based, or it will be yet another entitlement in an era of rising debt.
              COMMENTARY: Do the math: Replacing Obamacare is a must   

    Neither Sen. Heller nor GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval has ever called a single press conference to discuss Obamacare’s destruction and bankruptcy of the middle class. Why? Why doesn’t that matter to Democrats, or establishment Republicans?


              Life, liberty and the pursuit of health care   
    BY BETTE GRAY

    Having started a free medical clinic in Columbia County, I know the impact the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, has had on improving patients’ lives. From the first moment of roll out though, I knew that there should be changes to the law that would make it sustainable, but, again, unfortunately, those in the trenches who have the most knowledge are relegated to watch as things worsen.

    35708995

    read more


              Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight - Washington Post   

    Washington Post

    Trump proves to be an unreliable ally to Republicans in the health-care fight
    Washington Post
    President Trump is more than his own worst enemy. The damage he has inflicted during his first five months in office has undermined Republican congressional leaders, frustrated members of his Cabinet, exasperated top advisers and strained relations ...
    Going Small on Health CareNew York Times
    Repealing Obamacare with no replacement could be a 'recipe for disaster'ABC News
    Trump wades into healthcare fight amid wavering Republican supportWashington Examiner
    Congressional Budget Office -Congressional Budget Office
    all 5,898 news articles »

              Trump challenges GOP senators to repeal ObamaCare now, replace later if no deal   
    US President Donald Trump issued a blunt challenge to Republican senators to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it “at a later date” if they are unable to strike a deal on more comprehensive legislation. The challenge came as Senate Majority... Read More
              Ryan Shrugged   
    Ryan Shrugged

    by digby




    Via Daily Kos, this is downright surprising:
    Tucker Carlson sounded like a Progressive Democrat in the manner that he grilled Paul Ryan on Trumpcare. The Speaker made a facial expression at the end that should concern every Trump voter.

    Paul Ryan likely did not expect the reception he got from Fox News host Tucker Carlson. He seemed a bit taken aback with the grilling in this excerpted video.

    "Let's get the tax policy so as I understand it," said Tucker Carlson. "And I'm just reading this. So I may have it wrong. But there's an investment tax in here, the net investment income tax. And as far as I know, it only kicks in on couples making over a quarter million dollars a year. So it's a tax on wealthy investors, and you're eliminating it."

    "Yes," Paul Ryan responded. "A 3.8 percent tax. yes."

    "So I guess my question is looking at the last election was the message of that election really we need to help investors?" Carlson asked. "I mean the Dow is over 20,000. Are they really the group that needs the help?"

    "This was a tax on capital income which is bad for economic growth," Paul Ryan said. "It's basically a capital gains tax increase effectively to finance Obamacare. We're undoing Obamacare. So we're not going to keep Obamacare taxes in place. So all of these taxes, the trillion dollar tax cut that this bill represents, that is part of that trillion dollar tax increase that was in Obamacare, to finance Obamacare. We're repealing, we promised we would repeal the Obamacare taxes. This is one of the Obamacare taxes. So we're keeping our promise. And, by the way, it's bad tax policy because it's bad for economic growth. And we're also repealing the Obamacare spending. So we're getting rid of its taxing, and we're getting rid of spending. And this is us keeping our word. You may want to keep that 3.8 percent tax. We're not going to keep it because it was part of Obamacare."

    Paul Ryan shrugs with disregard when challenged about rich getting all the spoils



    "Well but lots of things are part of Obamacare," Carlson said. "You just said a minute ago you're not doing anything about because you can't under reconciliation. But you just said they look to meet every promise in this first round. I guess it's a macro question. ... But also I mean you have the overview here is that the all the wealth basically in the last years is stuck to the top end. That's one of the reasons we've had all this political turmoil as you know. And so kind of a hard sell to say yeah we're going to repeal Obamacare, but we're going to send more money to people who've already gotten the richest over the last ten years I mean that's what this does no? I'm not leftist. It's just that's true."

    And Ryan just shrugged.
              The master negotiator myth   
    The master negotiator myth

    by digby





    I wrote about Donald Trump's allegedly legendary salesmanship for Salon this morning:


    Last year on the campaign trail, Donald Trump made a lot of promises, almost always adding that he planned to fulfill them “quickly.” He would say, “We will defeat ISIS and we will do it very, very quickly,” or “We’re disrespected right now all over the world. But that will change very, very quickly.” (He was right about that one. It changed very quickly, but not for the better.)

    Just before the election in November he said this:
    I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace and it will be such an honor for me, for you and for everybody in this country, because Obamacare has to be replaced. And we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly.
    No one understood why Trump would need to convene a special session of Congress but it sounded very forceful and “strong” (another word he uses constantly). He got so grandiose in his promises to act quickly that at one point he pledged to get nearly his entire agenda done on the very first day.

    What his followers truly loved about him, of course, was that he was saying out loud all the politically incorrect things they felt inhibited from saying in polite company, for fear of someone thinking they aren’t nice people. His candidacy, especially the rallies, provided one gigantic safe space for people to cheer for things that liberals hate. But when you asked people why they thought he would make a good president, it was always because he was a successful businessman who knew how to get things done.

    Trump’s entire pitch was based on his supposedly legendary ability to negotiate. He flogged “The Art of the Deal” like it was the Bible, signing it on rope lines for his adoring fans and constantly calling it the bestselling business book of all time. This was the myth underlying his reality TV “Apprentice” persona, which was inspired by the book.

    Trump was supposed to be a master negotiator who would singlehandedly cut new global trade deals to favor U.S. businesses and leave the rest of the world happily promising to pay more and get less. He would stare down world leaders and they would respect him for his manly strength and determination. He would bring Democrats and Republicans together in a room and bang their heads together until they came to an agreement. He was that good.

    Do I even need to say it? None of that has worked out. The Republicans can’t seem to get any legislation to Trump’s desk, and he has proven to be counterproductive whenever he gets involved. Not only hasn’t he lived up to the hype, he’s actually much worse at negotiating than any president in modern memory.

    Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin, reporting for the New York Times, examined why Trump can’t seem to make any deals as president, and found that much of it is because of his terrible relationships with many Republican officials. Issuing crude threats against Republican senators who come out against him, as a Trump-allied Super PAC did this week when Sen. Dean Heller announced he wouldn’t vote for the Senate health care bill, has been called “beyond stupid” by none other than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself.

    But the larger problem for Trump is that he simply lacks the knowledge one needs to be able to negotiate successfully. Thrush and Martin note:
    A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

    Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.
    It is widely understood, including by its Republican authors, that the bill was a massive tax cut disguised as health care legislation. That the president didn’t know that means he clearly hadn’t read the bill in any depth nor had he read the news media reports about it.

    Washington isn’t the real estate and brand licensing world that Trump is used to. It’s clear that he’s in way over his head. But it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot of evidence that he was never very good at making deals.

    Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter on “The Art of the Deal,” came forward during the campaign to confess that most of what he’d written in that book, which is the basis for the Trump myth, is just that — a myth. Trump inherited a lot of money from his father, who had political juice in New York and co-signed Trump’s deals for years. He struggled for years, through bankruptcy and failed entrepreneurial ventures, managing to survive by finding new and novel ways to fund his lifestyle (some of which are being investigated by the FBI and the special prosecutor right now). The “Trump brand” was slapped on any cheap consum