Trump threatens Puerto Rico and targets Obamacare

Busy, busy, busy.

Today Trump has claimed that due to the already perilous situation Puerto Rico was in before Maria hit, FEMA and the military resources provided may move out of Puerto Rico for infrastructure and financial reasoning. Well he claims it’s that, more likely he’s annoyed by the bad press and the San Juan Mayor antagonizing him, so he’s threatening the whole territory. Given the sheer devastation from the Hurricane and yes the previous issues Puerto Rico was dealing with, if Trump pulls out FEMA and the military, people will die. I can’t tell if the region could even be maintained if they leave, as bets I can tell it would depend on whether other states in the area chip in to provide support.

But Trump wasn’t done today, as he signed an executive order requiring agencies to craft new rules, within present laws, to allow insurance agencies to provide cheaper, laxer plans. Basically, lean plans that healthy people will use to be insured, and promptly get kicked off of if they ever get sick. He claims this will give more people coverage, more likely this will hurt the individual market, potentially collapsing it, and harm god knows how many people. This is just petty, he can’t pass the repeal bill so now he’s trying to cripple the ACA by executive order, actions that he and the Republican party exhorted Obama for doing, attempting to craft law from the executive desk!

Some days man, I swear.

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Obamacare Repeals back. Again.

Oh for the love of…

The Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare, has twelve days to pass before reconciliation ends, and their chance is gone. The bill would in effect transfer all of the funding for the ACA into block grants, parcel them out to states and overhaul Medicaid and repeal some protections, like pre-existing conditions. The only question I have is:

Why. Is this. Still. A thing.

I mean, I know why. It’s Obamacare, and the whole GOP has been basically redefined as the repeal and replace party, and this really is their last chance to do it. On the other hand, they’ve already lost. Four times (they had four bills, and McCains dramatic final No vote on the skinny repeal was the final straw. Or so I thought). And yet this persists.

Likely this will come down to the wire, assuming it can get past the CBO and the parliamentarian in less than two weeks, and then Leadership okays it (likely, again “repeal and replace”), and no more than two senators vote against it (Rand Paul is already opposed, and Murkowski and Collins haven’t yet weighed in), but hey. It could happen.

We’ll see what the CBO has to say about this.

Single Payer Healthcare

Senator Kamala Harris (D. Cal) has recently announced her support for Single Payer healthcare, and announced her decision to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders Single Payer Plan.

What this signals is a shift in the Democrat Party, with the grassroots support and the surprising success of Sanders 2016 campaign, much of the party is signaling a willingness to support a universal healthcare plan. Additionally, Harris is most likely positioning herself for a presidential run in for the 2020 election, the junior senator of California is seen as a rising star in the party and may well have a chance. Assuming her rhetoric and political skills match her ambitions.

In regards to Single Payer Healthcare, well it’s complicated. The system itself is a strange mixture of private, public, Medicaid, Medicare, poor and old subsidies and employment insurance. There isn’t really a unifying structure or design, which is why Sanders bill is a ‘Medicare for All’ bill, rather than developing a new structure for everybody. It’s not necessarily a bad plan, and is one of the more feasible if implemented (for obvious reasons that will not happen in the current congress) but it’s current deign is far to preliminary and needs significant work form Healthcare experts (wonks as it were) to be a success and not a disaster. For all the complaints regarding the ACA, no one can say it wasn’t a fully fleshed out plan.

Basically, this amounts to a signal from Harris to potential supporters, and a potential recognition of the shifting tone of the party and the significantly changed tone of the Grassroots. In regards to actual value, well if they get the wonks working on an actual plan unlike the Republicans, well this might actually pass. They got three and a half years, get on it.

The Repeals Dead…again

The Skinny Bill has been defeated and McCain has confirmed his ‘Maverick’ reputation.

To clarify, The Health Care Freedom Act, and aren’t republicans just so damn original, was voted on in the early hours of Thursday night in America, with McCain giving his vote at the end of the night. And it was so. Damn. Dramatic. 

Say what you will, man knows how to work a room.

Anyway with this Repeal’s been defeated, for now anyway. Regardless of what’s happened the republican party has been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years, and that’s not a commitment that just gets forgotten. It’s likely the Trump administration will do their level best to sabotage Obamacare, the subsidies and such, hard-line conservative (caucuses and think-tanks alike) will continue to push for this, most likely for years.

Still I don’t doubt McConnell is looking forward to Tax reform right now. Who knows? Might even pass something.

The BCRA and the Repeal Bill aren’t dead yet, though that might not make a difference

Okay so maybe I spoke too soon. 

Currently the Republican senate (seeing as they still refuse to cooperate with the Democrats, who still refuse to cooperate with the Republicans so long as repeal is on the table) is moving forward with two bills (technically four), the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA 2.0 with the Cruz Amendment) and its subsidiaries (the original, and 2.0 without the Cruz Amendment), and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA), both (all) of which lack the votes necessary to pass. This is especially true with John McCain’s recent diagnosis of brain cancer, leaving it in doubt whether he will be returning to the Senate for next weeks session or beyond.

As such it must be noted that for each bill Republicans can only afford to lose one senator, and each bill currently has at least three guaranteed no votes – the BCRA has Senators Collin, Lee, Moran and Paul, with the ORRA has Senators Collin (again), Capito, Murkowski and possibly more, given the context of this particular piece.

To explain, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act was passed and sent to the Oval Office before, this was just in 2015 when Obama was in office. Naturally it was vetoed as everyone expected, Obama was certainly never going to dismantle his signature legislation. The difference now is there’s a Republican President in office, which means now there are actually consequences if this bill passes. So naturally some people are skittish about a bill that would leave 32 Million people without healthcare actually passing.

So Trumpcare ain’t dead yet. Still there’s currently no real option regarding the healthcare situation, certainly none with any real chance of passing right now, so there’s every chance that these bills (one of them anyway) may be sent to the senate floor simply to die.

 

Citation:
Vox: A guide to the Healthcare Bill

BCRA is dead, and it looks like the repeal bill will fail too

So, yesterday in addition to the earlier holdout Senators Collins and Paul, two additional Senators, Lee (the arch-conservative) and Moran from Kansas, detailed their opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act and sunk the Bill. Accordingly Trump and McConnell responded with plans to issue the 2015 repeal bill that then-president Obama vetoed and simply get rid of Obamacare altogether. Ignoring the fact that removing a sweeping healthcare bill with facets involving Tax law, Medicare, Insurance and subsequent regulations and individual state laws is simply too difficult to be realistically passed, it looks like said bill will simply fail as well.

Well McConnell, this is what happens when you don’t include the women in your caucus into your little legislative tea party.

Yes, the three Senators who have immediately signaled their opposition to the 2015 repeal bill are Senators Collin (of Maine), Capito (of West Virginia) and Murkowski (of Alaska). And all three were also not included in the crafting of the bill, you know the one that went out of its way to defund Planned Parenthood for a year, massively reduce the numbers of insured citizens and repealed the Medicare Expansion that all of their states used. Cause reasons.

So, the BCRA is dead, Repeal is dead, and now Trump is saying he’ll simply let Obamacare fail, and he will somehow not be blamed for it. Just Price (his health secretary) for sabotaging it, McConnell for not repealing and replacing it, anybody involved in the crafting of the one bill that tried like his Vice President Pence. Oh, and yes Trump, because of course he would be blamed for letting and encouraging it to fail. 

Honestly I imagine most republicans are glad that this is done now. Maybe now they can move onto taxes? Surely that’ll end well. (heh)

 

Citations:

The Atlantic: McConnell Calls for Repeal Vote
Vox: The Ladies Have It

Senate bill Currently DOA

It ain’t looking good for McConnell. 

With Senator McCain currently recovering from surgery in Arizona (an eye clot above his eye was removed) there are currently (at best) 49 senate votes to debate on the current Bill. Which means that the bill wouldn’t even get a basic debate before being abandoned.

Further, Senators Collin and Paul remain firmly against the current state of the bill, with Collins estimating “between eight and ten” senators being unwilling to vote for it in its current form, she said on ABC’s “This Week”. How accurate that is I’m not sure, but regardless McConnell has pushed back the vote again in light of McCain’s recovery time.

At this stage it is looking increasingly unlikely the bills gonna go anywhere, to the point that Michael Needham, President of the Conservative Heritage Action for America, estimated only 20 senators were actually willing to vote for the bill, and that the Republican party was not serious about repeal. Personally I think they weren’t serious about repeal and replace, but at this stage that’s splitting hairs.

I’m not sure how McConnell will work his way out of this one, but I’m still not about to count him out; he still has that $200 Billion to work with (or whats left of it)

 

Citation:
Politco: Senate Healthcare Bill Stalled