Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Health Care

The following article by Mary Ellen McIntire was posted on the Roll Call website October 17, 2017:

Alexander, Murray have an agreement on stabilizing insurance marketplaces

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray have a tentative deal on legislation to stabilize the insurance marketplaces. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said he has reached an agreement with Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the panel’s ranking Democrat, on a limited deal to stabilize the individual health insurance markets.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, briefed GOP senators on that deal during their weekly policy lunch Tuesday.

President Donald Trump said at an appearance at the White House on Tuesday that administration officials have been involved in the Alexander-Murray talks and signaled he supports what he described as a one- or two-year package.

He called it a “short-term deal” that is needed to “get us over this hump” until Republicans might find a way to send him a measure to partially or completely repeal the Obama-era law.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer spoke positively of the agreement, saying, “Two years of cost sharing provides real stability to the system and we want to make sure that happens.”  Read More

McCain condemns ‘half-baked, spurious nationalism’ in clear shot at President Trump

The following article by Paul Kane was posted on the Washington Post website October 16, 2017:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) cautioned against the U.S. turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism” during a speech after receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal on Oct. 16. (Reuters)

PHILADELPHIA — An emotional Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) launched a thinly veiled critique of President Trump’s global stewardship Monday night, using a notable award ceremony to condemn “people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

McCain said that “some half-baked, spurious nationalism” should be considered “as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.” Read More

Most Americans Know NFL Kneelers Aren’t Protesting Flag

The following article by Janice Williams of Newsweek was posted on the National Memo website October 15, 2017:

Colin Kaepernick’s movement is starting to catch on in America.

new poll released on Saturday by HuffPost/YouGov found 57 percent of Americans knew that players were protesting police violence when they kneeled during the national anthem–up from 48 percent of Americans who knew what kneelers were protesting in September.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of self-described football diehards said they knew NFL protests were in response to police brutality, which was 13 percent more than fans who knew why protesters were kneeling in September. Read More

Trump’s not going to be able to avoid blame for kneecapping Obamacare

The following article by Philip Bump was posted on the Washington Post website October 13, 2017:

President Trump on October 4, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

This article has been updated.

Let’s set aside for the moment President Trump’s decision to end Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to insurers, a system under which insurers are subsidized to help keep costs low for low-income insurance recipients.

Let’s also set aside the other ways in which the Trump administration has been deliberately undermining enrollment in the Obamacare marketplaces. We’ll set aside that the administration has slashed funding to outreach programs by as much as 92 percent, ended partnerships with state groups aimed at getting people enrolled, cut funding for advertising the enrollment period and even decided it would shut down the enrollment website for 12 hours a week for maintenance. Read More

Contraceptive Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

The following article by Jamila Taylor and Nikita Mhatre was posted on the Center for American Progress website October 6, 2017:

Over the past several months, the Trump-Pence administration, as well as Congress, have attacked women’s health and rights numerous times. Greater access to affordable and effective contraception has been one of the hallmark achievements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But now, the current administration is threatening to limit these gains with the release of sweeping regulations that would allow any employer, insurance plan, school, or individual to use the guise of religious or moral objection to deny access to no-cost contraception.

By requiring coverage for contraceptives with no out-of-pocket costs, the ACA increased women’s access to a wide range of contraceptives. Read More

An Emboldened KKK is Utilizing a Deeply Disturbing Recruitment Tool

The following article by Linley Sanders of Newsweek was posted on the AlterNet.org website October 11, 2017:

Credit: Martin / Flickr

The Ku Klux Klan hopes to recruit future white supremacists at high school football games.

The racist group distributed propaganda fliers at a Friday night football game at Gray’s Creek High School in North Carolina. The fliers showcased racist comments about Jews, Mexicans and Muslims written atop the Confederate flag, also attacking Black Lives Matter, recent NFL take-a-knee protests, and black culture.

The fliers were left on cars during the October 6 game and criticized any removal of Confederate flags and Confederate monuments as a sign that people do not “respect the white majority of America,” providing evidence that the historic Confederate symbols fuel white supremacy.  Read More

Businesses Lead the Way

The following article by Susan Milligan was posted on the U.S. News website October 13, 2017:

Corporate America has discovered that having LGBT-friendly policies helps the bottom line.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA — In 1991, Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel made no bones about why it fired gay and lesbian workers, saying in a company memo that the firm’s “traditional American values” could not co-exist with those “whose sexual preference fails to demonstrate normal heterosexual values which have been the foundation of families in our society.”

This year, the restaurant and gift shop is a corporate partner at the Out & Equal Summit, an annual meeting of companies and organizations seeking to promote workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. And putting its money where American consumers’ mouths are, the company handed out coupons offering a 35 percent discount on all online purchases into December, but only if buyers enter “EQUAL35” in the promo code line. Read More

‘Dreamers’ Deal May Hinge On Separating Trump From Hard-Liners On His Staff

The following article by Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett of the Tribune Content Agency was posted on the National Memo website October 10, 2017:

Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers who favor a deal to protect some 700,000 young immigrants facing possible deportation because of the end of the Obama administration’s DACA program are seeking to drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and hard-liners on his staff, launching appeals directly to a president who they see as potentially sympathetic to people brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

In his public comments, Trump has shown an unwillingness to be boxed in by his most hard-line advisers on immigration. He initially wavered on what to do with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected the young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” then openly contradicted Attorney General Jeff Sessions hours after the attorney general announced the end of the program last month. Read More

The striking new evidence that expanding health coverage reduces crime

The following article by Dylan Scott was posted on the Vox website October 10, 2017:

Credit: Oscar Gronner

It seems like we spend all of our time debating whether health insurance actually improves people’s health and, to a lesser extent, how much financial security it provides them.

Those things are important! But health coverage also changes our society in ways that aren’t so obvious.

For instance: Health insurance seems to help fight crime.

This concept has been floating out there for a while: Friend of VoxCare Adrianna McIntyre wrote about “Obamacare’s secret crime-fighting potential” back in 2014. Read More