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

The Bizarre Story of How Trump Won’t Stop Claiming a Fake Renoir Painting He Owns Is Real

The following article by Chris Sosa was posted on the AlterNet website October 13, 2017:

This president has a long, disturbing history of ignoring reality

Biographer Tim O’Brien told Vanity Fair an amazing anecdote about how President Donald Trump owns a Renoir print and straight-up refuses to acknowledge it’s not the original painting.

O’Brien spotted the print on Trump’s plane and asked him if it was an original, apparently to see if he’d lie.

Trump told O’Brien it was. The biographer responded, “No, it’s not Donald.” Instead of letting it go, Trump argued with him.  Read More

Trump ramps up the culture war

The following article by Jonathan Easley was posted on the Hill website October 15, 2017:

President Trump is expanding the culture wars, launching new attacks against institutions that he views as liberal, elitist or both.

With his agenda stalled in Congress and his poll numbers sagging, Trump has kept his base engaged and the left inflamed by escalating feuds with key figures in sports, entertainment, tech and media, effectively dragging politics into every corner of public life.

Trump’s aim is straightforward: To convince voters that there is a privileged class that scoffs at their patriotism and cares more about political correctness and diversity than ordinary Americans, their traditions and their economic plight. 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

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on the Iran deal

The following article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website October 14, 2017:

President Trump announced Oct. 13 that his administration would take new steps going forward to confront Iran. (The Washington Post)

In his speech on the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Trump made a number of factual assertions. The deal was negotiated by Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China), Germany and the European Union.

Here’s a guide to some of his rhetoric, in the order in which he made these statements. Read More

Trump governs by disruption — and overloads all the circuits

The following article by Dan Balz was posted on the Washington Post website October 14, 2017:

President Trump reveals new Iran policy in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House on Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Nine months into his first term, President Trump is perfecting a style of leadership commensurate with his campaign promise to disrupt business as usual in Washington. Call it governing by cattle prod.

It is a tactic born of frustration and dissatisfaction. Its impact has been to overload the circuits of government — from Capitol Hill to the White House to the Pentagon to the State Department and beyond. In the face of his own unhappiness, the president is trying to raise the pain level wherever he can.

The permanent campaign has long been a staple of politics in this country, the idea that running for office never stops and that decisions are shaped by what will help one candidate or another, one party or another, win the next election.

President Trump has raised this to a high and at times destructive art. He cares about ratings, praise and success. Absent demonstrable achievements, he reverts to what worked during the campaign, which is to depend on his own instincts and to touch the hot buttons that roused his voters in 2016. As president, he has never tried seriously to reach beyond that base. Read More

Trump Will Speak At A ‘Hate Group’ Event

The following article by Harriet Sinclair of Newsweek was posted on the National Memo website October 13, 2017:

President Donald Trump will be the first sitting president to address the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described as a “rogues’ gallery of the radical right.”

Trump will be the keynote speaker at Friday’s event, which will also be attended by his former strategist, Steve Bannon. Other speakers include the founder of anti-Islam group ACT for America and former Trump strategist, Sebastian Gorka. Read More

Sexual Harassment? Let’s Not Forget The Alpha Creep

The following article by Joe Conason was posted on the National Memo website October 13, 2017:

The accumulating allegations of assault and harassment raised against Harvey Weinstein in recent days are deeply disturbing, and may well result in criminal prosecution of the Hollywood producer. Beyond Weinstein’s own fate, this latest episode in the very old history of women’s mistreatment by unscrupulous men seems likely to expose still more perpetrators, in occupations and industries far beyond the movie business. Sexist thugs prey on the defenseless in corporate suites and military bases, from factories and farms to restaurants and retailers.

Yet while media outlets ferret out more alleged villains, as they surely should, let’s not forget the alpha creep, who has so far escaped real accountability. Read More

Why Trump’s executive order may compound the health insurance industry’s problems

The following article by Profession J.B. Silvers was posted on the Conversation website October 13, 2017:

Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump has issued the first of what promises to be a series of health insurance executive orders aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

It instructs the government to essentially exempt small businesses and potentially individuals from some of the rules underpinning the landmark legislation known as “Obamacare,” following the GOP’s failureto get Congress to approve a plan to repeal and replace it.

These steps would free more employers to access bare-bones and short-term health insurance coverage and join together to bargain with insurers. It’s not clear how this order will change the U.S. health insurance market. But as a health finance professor and the former CEO of an insurance company, I’m confident it is more likely to compound many of Obamacare’s problems than to fix them.

Designed this way

To be sure, the Affordable Care Act has problems. For example, premiums have continued to rise since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment – albeit at a moderate pace for insurance obtained through employment.

In particular, many smaller employers have seen their costs rise dramatically since insurers were forced to price their plans based on the average of all claims in the small group market rather than the experience of each firm.

But there is a reason why Obamacare was designed this way. Employers with older and less healthy workers were almost shut out of the insurance market because insurers deemed them so costly to cover and wanted to avoid the risk. Companies with younger and healthier workers had a good deal previously, but many other employers did not.

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to solve this problem by lumping everyone together to even out rates. Making rates more reasonable for many Americans meant requiring some of us to pay more.

Market dynamics

The government’s attempt to keep President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated promise that “if you like your current plan, you can keep it” didn’t help. Employers with low-cost plans and healthier workforces chose to be grandfathered out of many new requirements, leaving a much less healthy – and more expensive to cover – pool for pricing everyone else’s insurance.

Nevertheless, the share of adults without health insurance fell to a record low of 10.9 percent in late 2016, from 18 percent before the health insurance exchanges opened in October 2013, as measured by polling by Gallup and Sharecare. (The uninsurance rate has ticked up to 11.7 percent since Trump took office.)

What would be a good way to get the remaining 28 million Americansinsured at a reasonable cost? It may seem obvious that letting small businesses without much purchasing power in the health insurance market band together will enable them to get the same deals as large self-insured companies – which get to choose among a variety of options.

In most markets, this kind of diversity and choice fosters the robust competition Trump says he wants to see. But in health insurance, this may lead to fragmentation and market failure.

That’s because as insurers scramble for ideal customers – those least likely to get sick – they drive higher-risk people away by charging them higher premiums and making them foot a bigger share of their medical bills. Unfortunately, the latter (people often with preexisting conditions and requiring long-term treatment) really need medical care and the insurance coverage required to get it.

Because of this, all but the largest of the association health plans that the executive order is supposed to encourage still will most likely exclude high-risk individuals and employers, just as they have in the past, as health law expert Tim Jost predicts.

How will the vulnerable get health care?

Trump said that his executive order will help “millions and millions of people.” But I believe it is more likely to drive coverage for many out of reach while benefiting the Americans whose insurance needs are relatively minimal.

One could argue that the government should never have tried to force healthier people to pay so much more for coverage to make it affordable for everyone else. Yet the nation needs a mechanism to help Americans with chronic and preexisting conditions pay for the medical care they need.

Pres. Trump says he’s signing executive order to provide millions of Americans with Obamacare relief; will cost gov’t “virtually nothing.”

Establishing high-risk pools is one way to make this work, and they definitely can help as long as there is funding available. Unfortunately, most attempts to handle high-risk individuals this way have run out of money and left vulnerable patients high and dry. Trump’s approach does nothing to deal with this.

Any solution that makes health insurance more affordable across the board will need to be comprehensive. I believe Trump is instead embarking on a process that is both naïve and piecemeal based on wishful thinking regarding the power of markets to resolve all the problems with this difficult sector.

During his signing ceremony, he promised that the policies established by the order would “cost the government virtually nothing.” If that proves true, it is likely that we will receive exactly what we pay for.

View the post here.