Friday, May 5, 2017

MORNING PETE: Why the Republicans are Trying to Pass a Health Care bill that is Opposed by Almost Everyone

My wife, Therese Mageau, posted this question on her Facebook Page:

Someone please explain to me: Exactly "who" were the Republicans trying to please by passing this health care bill? If hospitals, consumer groups, doctors, AND insurers are against it, who is for it? 

She got two very informative answers. (See below.)

The House’s passage of the bill led to an outcry from the health care industry and consumer groups, which found an uncommon ally in some insurers.

From her Facebook Friend, Tom deBoor

Their base. They feared getting primaried from the right and/or that their base would not turn out for an election (2018) where they know the Democratic base will be energized. Also, because of other laws, they needed to pass it not only for the tax cuts it includes but so they can add much larger tax cuts (for their real base). Some may be counting on the Senate to block it (that worked well for the Dems who voted for the carbon tax in 2009) but likely the calculations are even more cynical than that. They include: 
(1) That although 61 percent of Americans currently believe Republicans own health care, hundreds of millions of dollars of dark money + the right wing media machine will be able to convince a majority that any bad things that happen are a result of Obamacare and they need time to fix it and/or the Democrats blocked them from passing all the measures needed to fix it (if their bill fails the Senate, you can also count on them to do everything they can to sabotage Obamacare, as they've been doing since the day it passed).
(2) That the bad effects won't really kick in enough in time to affect the 2018 elections, and may not kick in enough to determine 2020 either.
(3) The trillion dollar tax cut (read bribe) that passing this makes possible will make most of us so happy (directly or indirectly) that we'll decide we don't really give a s*** about the 24 million kicked off health insurance, most of them rural working class Trump zombies who will vote for them anyway, persuaded that somehow their pain is the Dems fault, since that's what they want to believe anyway. Scratch the surface of most Americans these days, and you'll find the struggles they've gone through have made them rather hard and mean, and more than a few believe that people who get sick or who don't have insurance have only themselves to blame. Of course they want pre-existing condition support to protect *themselves* of course, and the Republican bill promises that's still in place, with what sounds like a lot of money ($140 billion) to make it so. They'll only find out it's a mirage when they actually need those protections, at which point they'll just be part of the 20 million that the much larger happy healthy population doesn't give a s*** about. For all of the above reasons, Dems who assume this won't pass the Senate or that if it does, Republicans have signed their death warrant, are foolish. The only way to give the lie to the arguments above is to get out there and stay out there from now through 2018 and beyond. The only thing people find more persuasive than a right wing TV ad (they've got the best of Madison Avenue; we've got the mailroom) and right wing media is a human face in front of them that they know.

From her Facebook Friend, Joy Herr-Cardillo
Two reasons: tax cuts to billionaires and they needed a political win.

The monstrosity that is the American Health Care Act…

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

MORNING PETE: Time to Call Your Elected Representatives to Save ACA Protections of People with Serious Illnesses and Other Pre-existing conditions

According to a May 1 NYT article, entitled "Pushing for Vote on Health Care Bill, Trump Seems Unclear on Its Details", Congress is on the verge of passing a Repeal and Replace bill for the Affordable Care Act that would, among other major deficiencies, include a provision for the Federal government to grant waivers allowing insurers to consider "health status" as a factor in setting rates.

In a nifty bit of legislative sleight of hand, a crucial amendment to the original Ryancare bill on the one hand appears to promise that “Nothing in this act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.” 

It is this clause that is allowing Trump to claim that people with pre-existing conditions are protected. However, as the NYT article points out:
But the amendment also says that the federal government can grant waivers allowing insurers to consider “health status” as a factor in setting rates. Rates for a person with cancer, diabetes or multiple sclerosis could be far higher than the standard rate, effectively pricing the sick out of the market without technically blocking coverage, critics say.
“Health status underwriting could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions,” the American Medical Association said in a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the latest version of the repeal bill.
So, this may be a critical moment to pick up the phone and call your elected representatives to make sure they stand firm against such a cynical and cruel amendment. And, make sure that any Trump-supporters you might know are aware of this attempted sleight of hand on the part of the Republican congress. Again, from the article:

The possibility that Republicans would muster a majority for the repeal bill set off alarms among supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Topher Spiro, the vice president for health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, declared a “red alert” on Sunday, saying on Twitter, “Only a TIDAL WAVE of calls tomorrow can stop them.” Particularly in districts represented by moderate Republicans, protest groups have organized emergency rallies outside congressional district offices and sent out action alerts asking people to “call, call, call” their representatives.

Monday, May 1, 2017

MORNING PETE: The Republican Rush to Deregulate

Now that we're back from our month long trip to Southeast Asia, there's so much to catch up on and write about, so I'll try taking on some important issues as briefly as I can.

Today's (May 1) NYT article "Trump Discards Obama Legacy, One Rule at a Time"
deserves reading and thought about what actions can be taken to slow the breathtaking pace and wide scope of Republican efforts to undo important regulations put in place by President Obama's use of Executive Orders.

At the very least, I think one should share this information with friends (no matter who they voted for), so they can be aware of what the Republican controlled government has been doing in this first 100 days that will Make America Worse.

And, it can never hurt to write and/or call your Senators and Representatives offices (even if they are Democrats) and urge them to do everything in their power to slow this harmful activity and, at least, publicly denounce for the media to cover and for Americans of all stripes to know about.