Friday Reads: Republicans Raise a Nasty Tasting Beer in a Toast to my Early DeathPosted: May 5, 2017
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Be prepared to call your Senators! Mitch McConnell is a sneaky twisted bastard and we need to kill the abomination that just got passed in the House yesterday. The best thing I can say about this atm is that it has gone from so fast track that the CBO hasn’t even scored the law to the Senate Slow Lane. It also puts a very large sign on the back of some Congress Critters that says ‘Kick my ass out of Congress voters!’
Can you imagine having a nasty can of Bud with anything let alone in celebration of the likelihood that over 24 million people will die much more quickly–and likely painfully–so you can bestow unnecessary tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires? I am a basket of pre-existing conditions. This bill will be the death of me and millions of others on medicaid and it’s likely to crash the Medicare system too. It’s a bill that kills sick people, old people, and poor people so the rich can line their pockets more with the spoils of gambling. Plus, it shows us that very shortly they will be coming for our Social Security.
Passage of the House’s health-care bill gives the Obamacare repeal effort new life after months of wrangling, but key Republican senators are already pushing it aside to write their own bill with no clear timetable to act.
The narrowly passed House measure can’t get anywhere near the 51 votes needed as is, even though Republican senators insist they’re united on delivering on their seven-year vow to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Instead, they want to write their own bill.
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate health committee, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership, described the plan even as the House was celebrating passing its repeal after weeks of back-and-forth.
“We’ll write our own bill,” Alexander said in an interview, although he said senators would consider pieces of the House bill. “Where they’ve solved problems we agree with, that makes it a lot easier for us.”
The decision will delay the prospect of any repeal bill reaching President Donald Trump’s desk. Before the failure of the House bill in March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had talked of taking it up and passing it in a week.
A senior White House official said the administration is ready for a slower, more deliberative debate in the Senate, where the main sticking point is expected to be how to address Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.
The House bill, which squeaked through the House on a 217-213 vote Thursday, became an even tougher proposition for the Senate with changes made in recent weeks to win over conservatives. Those revisions raised potential procedural hurdles, and also sparked new Republican concerns over how the measure would affect coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.
President Swiss Cheese for Brains stood in front of the press in the Rose Garden and lied his ass off–or was totally ignorant of the bill–saying it would make premiums cheaper, insure every one, and preserve the right of those of us with pre-existing conditions to get health care. It does none of these things. Among the things it just might do is actually ruin employer-based healthcare too because with its ability to exempt coverage of all kinds of things it’s likely to gut every one’s plan. So, no one is safe except those that can afford to outlay millions of dollars for what might happen to them during their lifetime. This is utterly barbaric!
You knew that the American Health Care Act would turn the individual insurance market back into a bombed-out hellscape for the sick and old. But did you realize it could also ruin employer-based health insurance, at least for people whose companies worry more about cutting costs than attracting top-notch talent?
So reports the Wall Street Journal. The House GOP’s legislation—which seems likely to pass Wednesday (Update, 2:25 p.m.:The bill passed on a 217–213 vote)—would allow states to opt out from many of Obamacare’s insurance market regulations, such as those requiring carriers to cover a set of essential services or banning lifetime and annual caps on coverage. But even if states like New York and California don’t waive those rules, businesses operating in them effectively could for their own workers. That’s because the Obama administration released guidance in 2011 saying that employers could choose which state’s law they wanted to operate under when it came to required benefits packages. At the time, it didn’t matter much, since the Affordable Care Act created a single set of national standards. But now, per the WSJ:
Under the House bill, large employers could choose the benefit requirements from any state—including those that are allowed to lower their benchmarks under a waiver, health analysts said. By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation.
The Journal cautions that some companies may be hesitant to slash their employees’ benefits, since they use them to recruit talent, and notes that most big employers didn’t impose coverage caps prior to Obamacare. “Even if self-insured health plans are no longer banned from imposing annual or lifetime limits, they’re unlikely to attempt to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube,” one industry expert told the paper. “The benefits of reimposing limits are questionable.”
But back to Kremlin Caligula’s lies. This bill does everything he everything that he promised his voters that he would never do to our health care. It’s all in preparation to ram gigantic tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires through Congress to by pass laws that stop those kinds of actions because they explode the deficit.
Having run a campaign during which he promised to cover everyone, protect Medicaid from cuts, and replace Affordable Care Act plans with “terrific” coverage, Donald Trump is now behind a bill that cuts Medicaid, covers fewer people, and allows states to replace ACA plans with stingier coverage. Having promised repeatedly to protect patients with preexisting health conditions from insurance market price discrimination, Paul Ryan is pushing a plan that removes existing protections and replaces them with hand-wavy and inadequately funded high-risk pools. Having leveraged public discontent with high deductibles and rising premiums, Republicans are pushing a bill that will leave most patients with higher out-of-pocket costs for equivalent plans and bring back skimpy plans with even higher deductibles.
That’s all happening because the GOP is committed to rolling back the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act, delivering a financial windfall to high-income families even though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin swore at his confirmation hearings that the Trump administration would not pursue tax cuts for the rich.
The bill is currently being rushed through the House at breathtaking speed with no time for a Congressional Budget Office score or for members to hear from constituents back home. Republicans are acting like their plan cannot survive even cursory scrutiny by experts or the public for the good reason that their own rhetoric strongly suggests that they do not believe the public would find this legislation acceptable if they knew what it did.
And for the pleasure of knowing they were likely killing millions of people with their policy, THEY THREW A PARTY. I can imagine they iced their beer with what is running through their veins.
When the House Republican Conference gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, it was greeted by a couple of motivational songs: “Eye of the Tiger” and “Taking Care of Business.” On Twitter, the A.P.’s Erica Werner also relayed the message that the Party’s leadership sent to the rank and file, which was equally lacking in subtlety: “It’s time to live or die by this day.”
A number of House Republicans, especially those from competitive districts, weren’t overly enthusiastic about fulfilling the health-care suicide pact that Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, was forcing on them. Ultimately, though, a number of countervailing factors won out: loyalty to the Party, eagerness to score a legislative win, hostility toward Barack Obama, free-market ideology, and a reluctance to antagonize wealthy G.O.P. donors. On Thursday afternoon, when it came time to vote on the American Health Care Act of 2017, only twenty Republicans broke ranks, allowing the bill to pass by the slightest of margins.
In the most immediate of terms—congressional whip counts—that was a victory for Ryan and his ally in the White House, Donald Trump. On their third attempt at passing an Obamacare-repeal measure, and after much drama and humiliation, the House Republicans had assembled a majority. But at what cost? The vote represented a moral travesty, a betrayal of millions of vulnerable Americans, and a political gift to the Democrats. And if it ultimately costs the House G.O.P. its majority in next year’s midterms, that would be a richly deserved outcome.
Ryan and his sidekick, the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pushed through a bill that, if it ever goes into effect, could upend one-sixth of the American economy and result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health coverage. Since the Republicans failed to give the Congressional Budget Office time to “score” the bill before voting on it, we don’t have any official estimates of its likely effects. But the bill that was passed on Thursday was an amended version of a bill that the C.B.O. had previously determined would raise the number of uninsured people by twenty-four million over ten years, and increase premiums for many others, particularly the old and the sick, as well.
I thought the gridlock in Washington DC was a sign that the system was broken. Well, the system is more broken than ever before. We have a new SCOTUS judge that couldn’t get acceptance from the usual majority of the Senate that was the result of a virtual shut down of the approval process by the slim majority of Republicans in the Senate. Now, we have bills shoved through that are worse than the one that just sent hundreds of thousands of Americans into the streets, on to the phones, and into town hall meetings. It is time for more of that. It is also time to prepare for the Mid Term elections. These stinkers need to go!
Donald Trump had had it.
The Obamacare repeal bill that the president had just boasted was on the cusp of passage was suddenly in trouble again, and the president demanded to talk to the influential congressman who dropped a bombshell hours earlier with an announcement he’d be voting “no”: Michigan Rep. Fred Upton.
Sitting in the Oval Office Tuesday evening, Trump dialed Upton in his congressional office. The president raised his voice and swore at Upton several times during a 10-minute conversation, sources familiar with the call said. But Upton stood his ground. He explained that he, like Trump, wanted to ensure people with pre-existing conditions were protected, even quoting the president verbatim talking about the need to do so.
“I am not supporting this bill without a legislative fix,” Upton said, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
Trump did not want to talk about the merits of the legislation — he didn’t care much about those specifics, senior officials said. What mattered to him was how a failed vote would hobble his presidency and the ability to get other legislation through Congress.
He wanted a win.
There you go folks. “He wanted a win.” Kremlin Caligula had to have a win and no one around him would be spared his wrath if he didn’t get it. So, 24 million plus people will lose their access to health care, rural hospitals will likely go under, and Medicaid and Medicare as we know it will die a painful slow death. But the sociopath in the white house gets a win.
Oh, and the very rich would get a BIG WIN. This bill is likely to cost $800 billion dollars over 10 years and do nothing remotely about health care other than to fuck it up worse that it’s ever been fucked up before. But the rich and President Swiss Cheese for Brains get richer and get a win. At what point does the Republican party either remove the skin suits and just be the demons that they are or do we get buckets of tar, lots of feathers, thousands of pitchforks and a few sharpened guillotines and drive them back to the realms of hell?
The health care bill passed by the House on Thursday is a win for the wealthy, in terms of taxes.
While the Affordable Care Act raised taxes on the rich to subsidize health insurance for the poor, the repeal-and-replace bill passed by House Republicans would redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars in the opposite direction. It would deliver a sizable tax cut to the rich, while reducing government subsidies for Medicaid recipients and those buying coverage on the individual market.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is funded in part through higher taxes on the rich, including a 3.8 percent tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent payroll tax. Both of these taxes apply only to people earning more than $200,000 (or couples making more than $250,000). The GOP replacement bill would eliminate these taxes, although the latest version leaves the payroll tax in place through 2023.
The House bill would also repeal the tax penalty for those who fail to buy insurance as well as various taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers. The GOP bill also delays the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-end insurance policies from 2020 to 2025.
All told, the bill would cut taxes by about $765 billion over the next decade.
The lion’s share of the tax savings would go to the wealthy and very wealthy. According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 20 percent of earners would receive 64 percent of the savings and the top 1 percent of earners (those making more than $772,000 in 2022) would receive 40 percent of the savings.
Fuck you you ungawdly poor people! And women! And children once you get past the viability point in the womb we don’t care about you either! And any one unfortunate to ever have been sick before or born sickly!!!
Being a woman means you’re basically a pre-existing condition from the get go! The Republican Party just called us all survivors of a deadly disease!
Obamacare contains many provisions to help poor and lower-income Americans.
Primarily, it expanded Medicaid to cover adults who earn up to $16,400 a year. The American Health Care Act would end the enhanced federal Medicaid funding for new enrollees starting in 2020. And it would curtail federal support for the entire program by sending a fixed amount of money per enrollee or by providing a block grant. States would likely have to either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
All this could hurt not only poor adults, but also low-income children, women, senior citizens and the disabled.
Also, Obamacare provides those with incomes just under $30,000 with generous subsidies to lower their deductibles and out-of-pocket costs in individual market policies. The legislation would eliminate the subsidies.
Finally, the premium tax credits the legislation would provide would not go as far Obamacare’s subsidies for lower-income consumers
Folks making $20,000 a year would take the biggest hit at any age under the GOP plan, a Kaiser study found. A 27-year-old earning this amount would only get $2,000, instead of $3,225 under Obamacare, on average. Meanwhile, a 40-year-old would get $3,000 versus nearly $4,150. However, the biggest loser would be a 60-year-old, who would receive only $4,000, instead of nearly $9,900 under Obamacare.
In its review of an early version of the bill, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million fewer people would have coverage by 2026 as compared to current law. The majority of those would have qualified for Medicaid under Obamacare.
Major health insurance lobbying groups are concerned about the bill’s impact on all these folks, many of whom are their customers.
“The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage,” Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said after the bill passed the House Thursday.
Not any organization having to do with Health Care supports any of this. This what they had to say about the last abomination of a plan. Just wait until they finally get to read what just passed in all of its unread, unscored, and completely unready-for-prime time format.
The House GOP’s newly-released (and already widely maligned) Obamacare replacement plan has now made a trio of powerful medical interest group enemies: the AARP, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Hospital Association (AHA).
The AMA, the nation’s largest physicians’ group representing more than 220,000 doctors, residents, and medical students, was the latest to pile on against the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Wednesday morning.
“While we agree that there are problems with [Obamacare] that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations,” wrote AMA CEO Dr. James Madara in a letter to Congressional leaders. Madara also cited the bill’s cuts to major public health and preventative health funds as unacceptable to doctors.
The AMA opposition follows action from both the 38 million-member strong AARP, which lobbies on issues affecting older Americans, and the AHA on Tuesday. “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long term services and supports and other benefits,” wrote AARP senior vice president Joyce Rogers in a stark, and surprisingly detailed, letter to Congress.
Oh, they did already:‘In Rare Unity, Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Criticize Health Bill’.
It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation that passed the House on Thursday.
The bill’s impact is wide-ranging, potentially affecting not only the millions who could lose coverage through deep cuts in Medicaid or no longer be able to afford to buy coverage in the state marketplaces. With states allowed to seek waivers from providing certain benefits, employers big and small could scale back what they pay for each year or reimpose lifetime limits on coverage. In particular, small businesses, some of which were strongly opposed to the Affordable Care Act, could be free to drop coverage with no penalty.
The prospect of millions of people unable to afford coverage led to an outcry from the health care industry as well as consumer groups. They found an uncommon ally in some insurers, who rely heavily on Medicaidand Medicare as mainstays of their business and hope the Senate will be more receptive to their concerns.
“The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage,” Marilyn B. Tavenner, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, said in a strongly worded statement.
Now is the time to be overly friendly with your two US Senators. I have the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman as my Rep so I am not worried about him, but I will be bothering Steve Scalise and writing checks to any on that takes the Sleazeball on in this upcoming election. I will be making phone calls like a banshee screaming also. Adopt a RepubiKlan Congress Critter to remove for the 2018 elections.
So, I think over 3200 words is enough for you to sense that I am outraged and appalled and take all of this beyond personally. I am the face of a pre-existing conditions. I did not ask to get Cancer while I was carrying my extremely high risk second pregnancy to term. I did not ask to get Hep C from the resultant 30+ blood transfusions that I got when the Red Cross did not check its donors for the issue. I did not ask to be born a woman. I did not ask or do anything to deserve any of this. I have anxiety and I have depression. That runs in my family. I’ve done nothing to bring any of this on. I am the face of a walking basket of pre-existing conditions. I am 61. I am not sure that Purdue will provide me with insurance when they buy my current university which threw me on to the ACA the minute it was passed. I’m on the Medicaid expansion now thankfully because I do not need anymore tax deductions and was not able to meet the premiums for private coverate. It’s allowed me to get complete health care for the first time in over 5 years including medications without killer co-pays. I take an antidepressant to stop any recurrence of what happened during my divorce over 20 years ago.
The Republicans in Congress want me to die or kill myself. I’ve worked since I was 15. I am well educated and I paid more than my share of taxes. I am now an old, tired woman who chose to teach which isn’t a prestigious high paying job at all. I like urban universities and helping first generation college students get degrees. That’s been my calling for decades. That career choice shouldn’t be an immediate death sentence in such a wealthy country.
I should mention that I’m doing something I’m doing because of my faith. You know that my city is having trouble with housing because we’ve been inundated with short term rentals (e.g. illegal hotels). I have three people living with me. One is a 50 year old woman who has severe right brain damage from being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian. One is a 36 year old black woman in 5th stage renal failure that needs a kidney and dialysis every other day. The other is a young vet who is also a schizophrenic and is extremely sweet-natured. He gets rolled for his monthly check when he’s on the street. I don’t know if you know how much medicare disability pays or what’s paid to disabled vets but it’s not enough to provide a home here in this city to people any more. I am trying to move to Washington state but I feel as a Buddhist that I need to live my faith while I can.
There are basically 4 people right now in my house–including me–that will likely die or have a life that ends badly in quick order without the little they get right now from our system. The Republican party wants us all dead and they raised a cold beer in salute to that yesterday. We are all the face of pre-existing conditions. I’m sharing this with you because I’d like you to put faces to what they just did to a huge number of Americans. They need to know there are faces like mine in the numbers.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?