Here’s why the CBO report is bad news for Republicans on health care

The following article by Paige Winfield Cunningham was posted on the Washington Post website May 25, 2017:

The final word is in: The House Republican bill to replace large parts of the Affordable Care Act would save $119 billion over a decade but cost 23 million Americans their health coverage.

Those figures are actually pretty similar to initial estimates for the House’s American Health Care Act — before Republicans added in some last-minute amendments changes.

Yet when the CBO released its score late Wednesday afternoon, it reignited a heated debate in Washington over the ongoing GOP effort to ditch big provisions in President Obama’s health-care law – an issue that took a temporary back seat amid all the drama over President Trump’s relationship with Russia and his treatment of former FBI Director James B. Comey. (more…)

Read More

Fact-checking a rosy portrait of the American Health Care Act

Note:  A similar commercial has been airing in the Twin Cities supporting Rep. Erik Paulsen.

The following article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website May 24, 2017:

“As a mom, rising health-care costs are a big concern. My family lost our insurance and doctor because of the Affordable Care Act. But now, we have hope.”
— California resident Elizabeth Jacinto, in an ad sponsored by the American Action Network

In a $2 million ad campaign to support the House GOP health plan, the right-leaning American Action Network (AAN) features a California woman named Elizabeth Jacinto who says she suffered under Obamacare and expresses enthusiasm for the American Health Care Act. The ACHA only narrowly passed the House and was greeted lukewarmly by the Senate, so a key part of the effort appears to assist 21 GOP lawmakers who cast a tough vote to support the proposal. (more…)

Read More

Coverage Losses by State and Congressional

The following article by Emily Gee was posted by the Center for American Progress May 25, 2017:

The Capitol is illuminated before sunrise in Washington. (Bloomberg)

Earlier this month, House Republican leaders rushed to vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)— before a CBO score became available, perhaps knowing full well that the nonpartisan agency’s findings could undercut their claims that it would lower premiums while protecting people with pre-existing conditions. But now that the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) updated score has been released, it confirms what the bill’s architects tried to bury: the AHCA would harm Americans by rolling back health insurance coverage while raising costs and reducing benefits. (more…)

Read More

More than Mueller probe needed to assess Russian meddling

The following commentary from the Star Tribune Editorial Board was posted on their website May 20, 2017:

An independent, 9/11-style commission could examine broader threat.

Robert Mueller, then director of the FBI, in 2007. The Justice Department has appointed Mueller to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The U.S. Justice Department appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead a criminal investigation into possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Russia government is a welcome and overdue move to bring integrity and seriousness of purpose to the daily revelations that threaten to overwhelm Washington.

But more is needed. An old-school, by-the-book prosecutor, Mueller is expected to undertake a meticulously thorough examination and has the sweeping powers necessary to do so. He will be focused on whether the president, his campaign associates or members of his administration have or had illegal ties to an adversarial nation. If laws were broken, he will determine which ones and to what extent. Mueller also remains bound by Justice Department rules and supervision. His decisions, actions and budget can be reined in at any time. And a criminal probe, no matter how thorough, will not address the larger issues that confront this nation about how to ensure that U.S. elections and governments are protected against foreign interference. (more…)

Read More

Will leaders stand up to Trump?

To the Editor:

As someone who’s been deeply troubled by the administration in general and by the firing of FBI Director Jim Comey in particular, I was cautiously heartened by Rep. Erik Paulsen’s somewhat tepid statement calling for an independent investigation. Words are important, and so this is a decent start. However, if he does believe the situation is serious enough (as I do) to warrant an investigation of the president, then he must take action.

One thing he could do at any time is to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 356 (which actually establishes what Rep. Paulsen is calling for) as his fellow Republicans Reps. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, and Justin Amash, R-Michigan, have. Will he? Or will he take other significant action? Past experience has shown he won’t. (more…)

Read More

Paulsen brought criticism on himself

To the Editor:

Athens had Socrates. Eden Prairie has Rick Wall.

Plato said Socrates described himself as a “gadfly” sent to torment the people of Athens by asking uncomfortable questions and goading the citizens into self-examination. Eden Prairie has Wall’s April 21 “Sure is a lot of Paulsen Bashing” letter. In it Wall asked where the “concerned citizens” have been for the “last eight years” and questioned their motivation for “crawl(ing) out of the woodwork like termites in the spring to bash U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen.” (more…)

Read More

Paulsen follows President Trump

To the Editor:

Congressman Erik Paulsen has made it clear to his constituents in the Minnesota 3rd District that he is little more than a follower of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

His recent votes, especially on the American Health Care Act, have shown that he is willing to put party over the good of the Minnesotan 3rd. While he attempted to explain his vote in his May Star Tribune op-ed, Paulsen fails to convincingly address the issues. (more…)

Read More

Missing the Point?

To the Editor:

I think the 80 or so percent of Trump supporters who still support him and believe what he says miss the point of what the anti-Trump people are seeing. We see a sexual predator, perpetual liar, racist, arrested adolescent and crying man/baby. Our moral standards are way too high to support a person like that. We are astonished that a morally and intellectually bankrupt person is our president, put there by people who value ideology, power and party more than country and humanity. We believe in bravery, freedom and facts. The only fake news is what comes out of Trump’s tweets, mouth and the White House press office. I think we can now call it even between Hillary’s e-mails and Donny’s dump of intel into the Russians’ lap when we talk of mishandling of secrets, OK? Donny is a frightened little boy who is in way over his head, and the likes of Erik Paulsen seem to share his fear, depraved morality, greed and religious intolerance. Good luck with that in the next election.

Greg Oasheim, Minnetonka
Star Tribune, May 18, 2017

Read More

Erik Paulsen and the GOP at the tanning salon

To the Editor:

To look my best for my high school prom in 1987, I went to a tanning salon. Everyone in my suburb did! We thought that tans looked healthy. Thirty years later, tanning salons persist, as does the perception among many Caucasian teens that they look better with a tan.

Now I’m a dermatopathologist, and I have diagnosed thousands of skin cancers – the vast majority a result of exposure to UV light. I see a range of sun-related tumors. Some are common and treatable, such as basal cell carcinomas and others are deadly, such as melanoma. My colleagues in dermatology see patients who are obsessed with reversing the effects of sun-damage. The consensus in the medical field is clear – sun exposure damages skin, from cosmetic changes (premature aging) to altered DNA (cancer).
Scientists and medical professionals are also in agreement about the special danger of tanning salons as distinct from sun exposure alone. Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year. More young women develop melanoma than young men, thought to be related to the ubiquity of tanning bed use in this population. It’s clear that use of tanning beds lead to more medical problems and health care needs. Based on this evidence, the fact that the ACA imposed a 10-percent tax on tanning as a way to help fund coverage for some 20 million Americans made sense to me. (more…)

Read More