Republican Governors Have Created a Fake News Site Masquerading as a Legitimate Publication

The following article by Kali Holloway was posted on the AlterNet website September 19, 2017:

Credit: cspan.org

Never underestimate Republicans’ willingness to pull out a shovel when it seems they’ve hit rock bottom. For proof one need look no further than the Free Telegraph, a website purposely constructed to look like a news publication that’s actually a hyperpartisan bit of propaganda launched by the Republican Governors Association.

The Associated Press reports the website “blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively,” and instructs readers on how to receive “breaking news alerts.” The apparent motive is to fool voters into thinking they are reading a bonafide news outlet, and the site includes “no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected.” Read More

How the latest effort to repeal Obamacare would affect millions

The following article by Simon Haeder was posted on the Conversation website September 19, 2017:

From left, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., hold a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

At the end of July, the nation held its collective breath as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) looked poised to achieve his most formidable parliamentary accomplishment: the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

But Republican hopes were dashed by one of their own, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cast the deciding vote that appeared to decisively derail the multi-year effort.

McCain called to return to “regular order,” to work through committees, to bring in and listen to experts, to be open and transparent, and perhaps most importantly, to at least listen to both parties. Read More

Five things to know about the new ObamaCare repeal bill

The following article by Rachel Roubein and Nathaniel Weixel was posted on the Hill website September 20, 2017:

The new ObamaCare repeal bill under consideration in the Senate includes some controversial policies that have divided Republicans in the past.

Some senators haven’t taken a position on the bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), saying that they have yet to fully digest the bill and how it would work.

In short: The bill ends federal funds for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and the subsidies that help people afford coverage. Instead, the money would be converted into block grants and given to the states.

Here are five things to know about the legislation. Read More

Jimmy Kimmel gets heated about health-care bill, says Sen. Bill Cassidy ‘lied right to my face’

The following article by Emily Yahr was posted on the Washington Post website September 20, 2017:

In May, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue as he revealed that his newborn son, Billy, was born with a heart defect that required immediate surgery. The operation was successful, but Kimmel was deeply shaken by the experience, which happened amid the debate over replacing the Affordable Care Act. Kimmel delivered a passionate plea about the astronomical costs of health care: “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”

Later that week, while talking about whether insurance companies should be able to cap payouts, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) coined the phrase “the Jimmy Kimmel test,” as in: “Would a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything he or she would need in that first year of life?” Cassidy then appeared on Kimmel’s show, and the senator reiterated the importance of making sure middle-class families could afford health care. Read More

Bipartisan Health Care Talks Shut Down Amid Rush to Repeal

The following article by Jason Dick and Joe Williams was posted on the Roll Call website September 19, 2017:

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has halted a bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance market as Senate Republicans aggressively seek to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the health insurance markets suffered a potentially fatal blow Tuesday as Senate Republicans kicked into high gear their attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law.

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline to utilize the 2017 budget reconciliation process that would allow passage of the health care legislation without having to worry about the filibuster, GOP leaders and Vice President Mike Pence lobbied their rank and file to pass legislation spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. It would repeal the 2010 law’s mandates for coverage, curtail the Medicaid program and block-grant money to the states to construct their own health care programs.  Read More

Distorted Districts, Distorted Laws

The following article by Billy Corriher and Liz Kennedy was posted on the Center for American Progress website September 19, 2017:

States must redraw their election districts every 10 years, based on the U.S. census, in order to account for changes in population.1 In most states, legislatures are responsible for redrawing the maps.2 State legislators can manipulate district boundaries to benefit their political party, either by cramming the other party’s voters into as few districts as possible or by thinly spreading the other party’s voters among districts where they are outnumbered.3 This manipulation, called gerrymandering, weakens voters’ ability to affect election outcomes. Technological advances have meant that states with gerrymandered districts have maps that are even more skewed than ever before.4 Recent polling shows that the vast majority of Americans—of both political parties—oppose partisan gerrymandering.5 Read More

Speaker Ryan’s fuzzy math on the nation’s ‘terrible tax system’

The following article by Nicole Lewis was posted on the Washington Post website September 18, 2017:

“It is a terrible tax system that was written in ’86. … The headlines write themselves: We tax our corporations at 35 percent, and successful small businesses are taxed as high as 44.6 percent. The average tax rate in the industrialized world for businesses is 22.5 percent.”

— House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), during an interview with the Associated Press, Sept. 13, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants Americans to start 2018 with a new tax system. After the Republican-controlled Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the pressure is mounting to pass major legislation. And Ryan is hoping to win on taxes. Read More

Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal Bill Would Cause Huge Premium Increases for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

The following article by Sam Berger and Emily Gee was posted on the Center for American Progress website September 18, 2017:

From left, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) hold a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 13, 2017, to unveil legislation to reform health care. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

With only two weeks left to move forward with a partisan health care repeal bill, some Senate Republicans are trying one last time to rip coverage from millions of Americans. Their latest effort, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would make devastating cuts to Medicaid and cut and eventually eliminate funding that helps people in the individual insurance market afford coverage, leading to at least 32 million fewer people having coverage after 2026.

Those who did not lose coverage would see their premiums increase significantly. In the first year, premiums would increase by 20 percent. But the increases would be even greater for people with pre-existing conditions because the bill would let insurers in the individual market charge a premium markup based on health status and history, which could increase their premiums by tens of thousands of dollars.

Huge premium markups for pre-existing conditions

As with a previous Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill in the House, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Graham-Cassidy would allow states to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. And just as with that previous proposal, this would increase premiums for people with certain health conditions by tens of thousands of dollars. Read More

New push to replace Obamacare reflects high stakes for Republicans

The following article by Sean Sullivan and Kelsey Snell was posted on the Washington Post website September 18, 2017:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) spoke about his proposal for health-care reform at a news conference on Sept. 13. (Reuters)

A final GOP effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act burst into view this week in the Senate, where leaders began pressuring rank-and-file Republicans with the hope of voting on the package by the end of the month.

The renewed push comes nearly two months after the last attempt to overhaul the law known as Obamacare failed in a dramatic, early-morning vote, dealing a substantial defeat to President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and prompting many to assume that the effort was dead. Read More

To make their tax plan work, Republicans eye a favorite blue-state break

The following article by Michael DeBonis was posted on the Washington Post website September 16, 2017:

President Trump pauses during a meeting with congressional leaders and administration officials on tax reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Sept. 5, 2017. From left, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas). (Evan Vucci/AP)

As long as there has been a federal income tax, taxpayers have been able to deduct most of the state and local taxes they pay from earnings subject to Uncle Sam’s grasp. But that deduction — especially popular in states rich in Democratic voters — could disappear as soon as next year if President Trump and congressional Republicans succeed in their promised rewrite of the tax code.

The state and local tax deduction, or SALT, has long been a target for tax-policy wonks who see it as an unwise federal subsidy that is mainly claimed by the wealthy. But politics have always intervened: Thanks to the opposition of lawmakers in high-tax states, the deduction has survived every effort to clear out loopholes, including the last federal tax overhaul of similar ambition in 1986.

Now, Republican leaders have made clear the SALT deduction is on the table, and it has shaken up a number of blue-state GOP legislators who are warning that it could derail the ambitious tax plan Trump is now pushing. Read More