Governors Call for Bipartisan Fix to Health Care

The following article by Kyle Stewart was posted on the Roll Call website July 18, 2017:

State leaders want to be at decision table with Congress

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is one of 11 governors calling for a bipartisan solution to health care reform. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Following the collapse of the Senate’s health care overhaul bill, a group of governors are suggesting a new way forward: bipartisanship. And the group wants a spot at the decision table.

Eleven governors from across the nation issued a statement Tuesday morning calling on the Senate to stop the effort to repeal the 2010 health care law without a replacement.

“This could leave millions of Americans without coverage,” the statement said. “The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets.” (more…)

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How Paul Ryan’s Hypocritical Fiscal Hysteria Threatens Working Families

The following article by Harry Stein was posted on the Center for American Progress website July 17, 2017:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 10, 2017.

After years of hysterical warnings about budget deficits under former President Barack Obama, Republican congressional leaders suddenly seem to have shed their concern for the deficit. In The Atlantic, Russell Berman questions whether “deficits still matter to Republicans” under President Donald Trump.1

While this changing approach to budget deficits is certainly hypocritical, it continues a consistent pattern of selectively using fiscal hysteria as a weapon to attack programs for low- and middle-income Americans. A recent article by this author for Harvard Law and Policy Review defines fiscal hysteria as “exaggerating the impacts of deficits and debt, thereby underestimating the extent to which the United States can afford to solve problems facing the American people.”2 While fiscal hysteria does not actually lead to sustainable fiscal policy—since it tends to be deployed selectively for political gain—it does lead to policies that enrich those at the top at the expense of everyone else.3 (more…)

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Estimated Premium Increases from Repeal and Delay

The following article by Emily Gee and Thomas Huelskoetter was posted on the Center for American Progress July 18, 2017:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at his office on Thursday, when the Republican health plan was made public. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

After the failure of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reverted to the previously-rejected strategy of repealing major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no replacement.

McConnell’s revived strategy of repeal and delay would cause immediate chaos in the individual insurance market despite putting off the implementation of certain provisions for two years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that this approach would increase premiums in the individual market to levels 20 percent to 25 percent higher relative to those under the ACA in the first year after enactment. By 2026, premiums would be about 100 percent higher than under current law. (more…)

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Trump suggests Republicans will let ACA market collapse, then rewrite health law

The following article by Juliet Eilperin and Sean Sullivan was posted on the Washington Post website July 18, 2017:

The Senate Republicans’ health-care bill was dealt a fatal blow on July 17, when two more senators came out against it. Now President Trump is suggesting to repeal Obamacare, let the insurance market fail and then make “a great healthcare plan.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

As divisions between the two main ideological camps within the GOP widened Tuesday, Republicans were scrambling to contain the political fallout from the collapse of a months-long effort to rewrite former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment.

President Trump predicted Tuesday that Republicans would wait for the federal insurance market to collapse and then work to broker a deal to rewrite the nation’s landmark health-care law, while Senate leaders pressed ahead with a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no immediate replacement. (more…)

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The following article was posted on the website July 18, 2017:

With Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) releasing separate statements Monday night confirming they will not support the Senate version of Obamacare repeal and replace, the legislation was dealt a near fatal blow. The failure to rally enough senators around the Senate version – especially with deep cuts to Medicaid that will hurt millions of constituents – resulted in a quick tweet by President Trump calling for simple repeal of Obamacare with a promise to work (possibly with Democrats) to craft new legislation. (more…)

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Four charts that show who loses out if the White House cuts food stamps

The following article by Orgul Dement Ozturk was posted on the Conversation website July 18, 2017:

The White House has proposed cutting 25 percent of SNAP’s budget – about US$193 billion – over the next decade.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though it’s more widely known by its pre-2008 name, food stamps. This program helps about 44 million people per month buy food. Last year, the government spent $71 billion in total on the program.

SNAP serves the most vulnerable in our society, for whom a little money means a lot. According to the Congressional Budget Office, cuts to SNAP will likely have a major impact on the individuals who were hurt most by the recent recession. (more…)

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Trump Trauma Is Real and Affecting Many. We Need to Be Brave and Fight Back

The following article by Kali Holloway was posted on the AlterNet website July 17, 2017:

There is no way to sugarcoat the fact that Trump has helped stoke some of the ugliest aspects imaginable. But there are voices of sanity and many helpful things we can do.

Volunteer Tom Garing cleans up racist graffiti painted on the side of a mosque in February, 2017 in Roseville, CA

The day after the 2016 presidential election, therapists around the country reported a surge in clients emotionally devastated by the shock and disgust of Donald Trump’s win. Several psychologists recounted meeting with patients who compared the jarring effect of the election to the psychological blow of 9/11.

Tracey Rubenstein, a Florida-based social worker, told JTA that in the months following Trump’s victory, “80 percent of her clients would cite the election and its aftermath as a new source of fear, sadness or anxiety in their lives.” Psychotherapist Enrico Gnaulati wrote that he was “inundated with clients using therapy time to process their shock, disbelief, dismay, and outrage.” This June, the New York Times spoke with psychologist Robert Duff, who said the political climate is “a topic of conversation and a source of anxiety in nearly every clinical case that I have worked with since the presidential election.” Four decades of practice didn’t prepare psychologist Sam Menahem for the outpouring of grief he saw following Trump’s triumph, which affected patients more extremely than any other election he recalled. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Menahem told JTA, “never.” (more…)

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CNN is paying Stephen Moore to lie to its viewers about health care

The following article by Craig Harrington was posted on the Media Matters website July 17, 2017:

Credit: Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

Discredited economic pundit and former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore continues embarrassing CNN during news segments with his supposed policy expertise. Media Matters compared two of Moore’s recent appearances — one in which he appeared alongside a credentialed policy expert, and one in which he faced only an ill-prepared network host — and found distinct differences in the tone of each discussion. These differences demonstrate the dangers of news outlets continuing to rely on unscrupulous hangers-on from the Trump administration to comment on policy issues.

Over the years, Media Matters has chronicled Moore’s shoddy predictionsintentional misinformation, and misleading claims. Despite ample evidence of Moore’s gross incompetence as an economic analyst, CNN still hired him in January under the guise of “senior economics analyst” to serve as a sort of in-house surrogate for the Trump administration. Moore has spent his time at CNN undermining his colleagues and embarrassing his network while ceaselessly parroting the Republican Party’s agenda. His shameless defense of the president’s unfounded reasoning for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord even led Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs to blast CNN on its own program for maintaining a relationship with the pundit. (more…)

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House GOP unveils budget plan that attaches major spending cuts to coming tax overhaul bill

The following article by Mike DeBonis was posted on the Washington Post website July 18, 2017:

House Republicans unveiled a 2018 budget plan Tuesday that would pave the way for ambitious tax reform legislation — but only alongside a package of politically sensitive spending cuts that threaten to derail the tax rewrite before it begins.

GOP infighting over spending, health care and other matters continues to cast doubt on whether the budget blueprint can survive a House vote. Failing to pass a budget could complicate leaders’ plans to move on to their next governing priority as hopes of a health-care overhaul appeared to collapse late Monday in the Senate. (more…)

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Why health savings accounts are a bust for the poor but a boost for the privileged

The following article by Simon Haeder was posted on the Conversation site July 13, 2017:

Credit:  AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his new version of the Republican health care bill July 13, he relied on a favorite Republican device to solve the nation’s health care woes – Health Savings Accounts.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were established by the same legislation that created the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit in 2003. HSAsallow individuals to make tax-deductible contributions, withdraw money tax-free to pay for qualified medical expenses and avoid taxes on the money invested in the account. (more…)

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