Category Archives: Healthcare

Any thing to do with Healthcare

The “filibuster-proof” Democratic Senate majority in Pres. Obama’s first Congress (2009-10) was fleeting….

The “filibuster-proof” Democratic Senate majority in Pres. Obama’s first Congress (2009-10) was a fleeting, evanescent, phenomenon of perhaps six or seven non-continuous months during which the Senate was often out of session anyway.

The Democrats increased their majority with the defection of Arlen Specter (R > D, Pa) and the seating, no earlier than July 2009, of Al Franken (DFL, Minn.)

But it was lowered temporarily by the deaths of Edward Kennedy (D, Mass.) and Robert Byrd (D, W .Va), and permanently by the election of Scott Brown (R) to fill Kennedy’s seat.

The only significant thing that the 111th Congress accomplished, and indeed could accomplish, was passing a very ramshackle, jerry-built, jury-rigged Affordable Care Act — and that was by dragging poor old Ted Kennedy away from his death bed to cast the 60th vote for cloture and passage.

It’s silly, tedious, and ahistorical for either Republicans or diehard Democrats to complain about how little the Democrats accomplished the last time they controlled both chambers of Congress. George W. Bush (R) was still President during the 110th Congress (2007-8), and the Democrats could (even in theory) only block GOP filibusters for about a quarter of the 111th. Then, of course, the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives after the elections of 2010.

As I explained in two laboriously-researched and carefully-written footnotes to the Wikipedia article on Party Divisions of United States Congresses….

DSD @ Politicaldog101….

Feb. 2018 Poll…Biden beats Trump…Obamacare support 47/35 for…Tax cut 30% support to 41% against…

Good news for Democrats in the latest Public Policy Polling poll out today….

Here are the highlights of PPP’s first public national poll of the year:

2018 Landscape

Democrats have a solid 49-41 lead on the generic Congressional ballot, although that’s down a shade from December when it was 51-40. Beyond their overall lead, they’re also benefiting from an enthusiasm advantage- 65% of Clinton voters say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote in the election this fall, compared to 58% of Trump voters.

Paul Ryan’s seen a bump in his approval rating after the passage of tax reform- in December it was 23-58, and now it’s 29-53. There’s been no such boost for Mitch McConnell though- he was at 13-61 then and he’s at 14-59 now.

Tax Reform

Public opinion is more split about the tax bill now than it was before the holidays. 38% of voters say they support the plan to 41% who are opposed to it. Voters are still skeptical about how much they will personally benefit from it though. 35% think it will help their family’s finances, 29% think it won’t have much of an impact on their family’s finances, and 28% think it will hurt their family’s finances. That skepticism voters have about how much the tax bill will help them is probably rooted in the fact that 56% think it will mostly benefit the rich to 31% who think it will mostly help the middle class.

One interesting finding is that only 17% of voters realize that more than 80% of the benefits from the tax plan will go to the wealthiest 1%. It will be interesting as Democrats message around that in the midterms this year to see how much increasing awareness of that fact will impact feelings about the bill.

Health Care

While the tax issue isn’t hurting Republicans quite as much as it was a couple months ago, the party’s failed effort on health care last year continues to hurt it quite a bit. Voters support the Affordable Care Act 47-35, and only 34% think the best path forward on health care is to repeal it compared to 60% who prefer to keep it in place and make fixes to it as necessary. A majority of voters nationally- 51%- think that the Trump administration is actively taking steps that will hurt people’s health care and raise costs to only 42% who don’t think it’s trying to do that.

Donald Trump

Trump has the highest approval rating we’ve found for him in a long time this month, with 44% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. Even so he trails Joe Biden 51-42,….

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Trump budget would cut Billions from social safety net programs….

A TRUE Republican Conservative throwdown….

Lower taxes for Rich people and Corporations …..

Spend more money on guns and tanks….

And?….

TAKE from the poor and less fortunate in America….

Makes sense, …Right?

The budget that President Trump proposed Monday takes a hard whack at the poorest Americans, slashing billions of dollars from food stamps, public health insurance and federal housing vouchers, while trying to tilt the programs in more conservative directions.

The spending plan reaches beyond the White House’s own power over the government social safety net and presumes lawmakers will overhaul long-standing entitlement programs for the poor in ways beyond what Congress so far has been willing to do.

The changes call on lawmakers to eliminate the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and transform the rest of that program into a system of capped payments to states; convert food assistance into a hybrid of commodity deliveries and traditional cash benefits; and expand requirements that low-income people work to qualify for federal assistance…..

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Obamacare enrollment remain’s constant against GOP/Trump efforts to drop the program…..

Americans where subjected to constant attack’s against their healthcare insurance programs by Republicans in the last 12 months….

The Affordable Healthcare program was disliked by a majority of American’s going into 2017….

All of THAT has changed ….

The program has the support of 50% of Americans now (42% against), thanks to the Republicans and Trump trying to repeal it, something that is likely to not happen anymore….

To top all of this?

Sign-ups for the program have remained almost at the same level now as they where when President Obama was in office…

Almost 12 million Americans signed up for 2018 health coverage through marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, according to a new tally that indicates nationwide enrollment remained virtually unchanged from last year despite President Trump’s persistent attacks on the 2010 health law.

The new enrollment numbers — which include totals from California and other states that operate their own marketplaces, as well as states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace — offer the most detailed picture to date of the insurance markets

And they suggest surprising strength in many markets across the country, with consumers steadily signing up for health plans even as Trump and his Republican congressional allies derided the markets as crumbling and unaffordable….

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State’s look to devise their own healthcare ‘mandates’….

If the Fed’s won’t do things?

It becoming increasing the job of seperate states to pick up the slack in providing benefits and support to it’s citizens….

This will make the difference between the mostly coastal Democratic states and the Southern and Mid-Western state’s even bigger as those state continue to provide service , while the other states do not….

The so called Obamacare ‘victory’ by anti-healthcare Republicans will hollow and short lived in some states as they adjust their healthcare umbrella’s…

Nine states are considering laws that would require their residents to purchase health insurance, the The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The proposals come less than two months after Republicans, as part of a sweeping tax code overhaul, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance.

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a law requiring residents to buy health insurance. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, are also considering similar proposals, according to the Journal report.

The ACA’s individual mandate was implemented as a way to keep premiums low by requiring everyone to have insurance. Proponents of the mandate say that, without it, healthy people are less inclined to buy insurance, causing premiums to rise for those who need it the most.

But Republicans have long argued against the idea that people should be forced to purchase health coverage.

The decision to repeal the mandate as part of the GOP tax bill was touted as a victory in Republicans’ effort to repeal the ACA. While the provision did not do away with the entire law, it was a blow….

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Note….

More state are bound to sign up for this effort….

The Republican effort’s to Repal Obamacare is over for now….

A sigh of relief for Americans….

A smile probably for Barack Obama….

And the Republicans can thank themselves for making the Affordable Healthcare/Obamacre more popular that it had ever been when President Obama was in office…

Though the GOP still controls both chambers of Congress and maintains the ability to jam through a repeal-and-replace bill via a simple majority, there are no discussions of doing so here at House and Senate Republicans’ joint retreat at The Greenbrier resort. Republicans doubt they can even pass a budget providing for the powerful party-line “reconciliation” procedure used to pass tax reform last year, much less take on the politically perilous task of rewriting health care laws in an election year.

“I don’t think leadership wants to,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who worked with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on a last-ditch repeal effort last fall. “In the sense of Graham-Cassidy, a partisan exercise? Doesn’t look like it.”

Republicans’ decision to abstain from another attempt at gutting Barack Obama’s health law — at least this year — goes back on a pledge the party has made to voters since 2010. And it underscores how Republicans overpromised in their ability to reform the nation’s health care and never fully recognized how divided the party is over key Obamacare planks like protecting pre-existing conditions and preserving the law’s Medicaid expansion.

And now the GOP is facing reality. Senate Republicans would struggle to pass a bill slashing at Obamacare under the best circumstances this year. They lost a Senate seat in Alabama in December and are down another vote as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) undergoes cancer treatment. GOP leaders would rather put the debacle of last year’s failed attempt behind them…..

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Note….

If Democrats gain a majority in the House next year the cahnces of anymore cuts to the nations healthcare program are gone for years if ever…

 

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to form a YUGE healthcare company

This could only be cooked up during a Republican majority Congress and President….What company will be able match their ability to dominate the Healrthcare market?

Three of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the U.S. — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase — are starting a new health care company. Details are thin, but the new entity will be “free from profit-making incentives” and focus on employer-based health benefits, the companies said in a statement.

Why it matters: The health care industry was already beside itself over the prospect that Amazon, on its own, might enter the pharmacy business. Amazon along with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan can bring to bear resources that few existing companies have the power to match….

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Note….

The OTHER Healthcare companies took a BIG hit on the market today….

Something the Democrats got out of the shutdown deal…

We ALL have been saying that the Democrats , under Chuck Schumer lost against the Republicans in the shutdown showdown a few days ago….

But over at Vox they point out one thing the Democrats won…

….if Democrats do need to shut down the government in three weeks, they’ll do so with the Children’s Health Insurance Program funded for six years, rather than seeing it weaponized against them. That’s a big deal, both substantively and politically….

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Will Trump and Republicans get rid of the employers requirement to offer Health Insurance?

The Individual Health Insurance mandate requirement is gone….

Large comoanies have always offered heltah insurance to their employee’s…

But Midsized companies didn’t…

The Affordable Healthcare law’s requirement for offering healthcare insurance was desisted to help insurance pool’s and increase the number of Americans coverage numbers ….

Like other things?

Trump and Republicans are lookinbg to wipe out almost ANYTHING that has President Obama’s fingerprints on it, and helps rich people and companies make MORE $$$,  even it hurts American’s well being…

Wait…..if the employor mandate is set aside?

It will actually cost taxpayers MORE money…

……While large companies have long offered health benefits, many have chafed at the detailed requirements under the health law, including its reporting rules, which they see as onerous and expensive. Now that relief has been extended to individuals, some companies believe they should be next in line.

The individual mandate and the employer mandate are “inextricably entwined,” said James A. Klein, the president of the American Benefits Council, an influential lobby for large companies like Dow Chemical, Microsoft and BP, the oil and gas producer.

“It is inequitable to leave the employer mandate in place when its purpose — to support the individual mandate — no longer exists,” Mr. Klein said. “We are urging Congress to repeal the employer mandate.”

Opposition to the employer mandate could increase as more employers are fined for not offering coverage or for not meeting federal standards for adequate, affordable coverage. Since October, the Internal Revenue Service has notified thousands of businesses that they owe money because they failed to offer coverage in 2015, when the mandate took effect….

But Tom Leibfried, a health care lobbyist at the A.F.L.-C.I.O., called the proposals to repeal or weaken the employer mandate “a very bad idea.”

“The Affordable Care Act was built on a framework of shared responsibility,” Mr. Leibfried said. “If you get rid of the employer mandate, you will see people lose coverage from their employers.”

Such a move could also increase costs for the federal government. Even though Congress has eliminated the penalties for people who go without insurance, millions of consumers are still eligible for financial aid in the form of tax credits to help them pay insurance premiums. These subsidies increase with the rapidly rising cost of insurance. If fewer people receive coverage from employers, more will qualify for subsidized coverage in the public marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act.

“The employer mandate holds down the cost of premium tax credits for the federal government,” said Catherine E. Livingston, a tax lawyer at the law firm Jones Day who was the health care counsel at the I.R.S. from 2010 to 2013.

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Not so fast on the Medicaid ‘ya gotta work’ thing…

The concept of if you can’t find a job, or are forced to work a job that isn’t safe or pays virtually nothing, and might even cause you to lose your benefits IS going to court….Other argue this is a way for Republicans to cut Medicaid expansion (Without Congress) for those who might need the entitlemnet program ‘s benefits…

Kentucy the first state to go ahead with the Trump Admin advisory on the subject has added punitive enforcement actions for those who even lose their jobs…

Advocacy groups are gearing up to sue the administration, arguing that it doesn’t have the power to allow work requirements and other rules for Medicaid without action from Congress.

But the administration is defending the legality of the shift. When unveiling guidance Thursday on the work requirements, top Medicaid official Seema Verma said the administration has “broad authority” under current law to allow states to make changes through waivers.

On Friday, the administration quickly gave Kentucky the green light to implement work requirements for some beneficiaries, the first time such an approval has been given.

Shortly after, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) issued a press release stating, “litigation is expected because the approval violates federal law.”

While NHeLP is “still reviewing” the approval’s details, “the action appears designed to achieve significant cuts in Medicaid enrollment rather than Medicaid’s stated purpose of furnishing medical assistance to low-income people,” Jane Perkins, the group’s legal director, said in a statement….

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Massachusetts’ Republican governor Baker rides an Anti-Trump wave…

We keep seeing  over and OVER how Republican lawmakers working in Congress struggle and squirm after their party leader, the President of the United States says something stupid, misleading or plain wrong….

They KNOW the guy is a functioning racist, uninformed and ego matic knucklehead….

But they are sacred of his supporters voting them out of office come November and they are even more scared of just plain removing a sitting President…

That does NOT apply to Charlie Baker up in Massachusetts ….

Image result for charlie baker

Being the GOP Governor in a Blue state that did NOT vote for Donald Trump last November…Baker has made known his oppostion to several of Trump’s views and action while quietly embracing some others that work for HIS state…

Donald Trump got crushed by Hillary Clinton in Massachusetts. And after his first year in office, polls show the president is now even less popular here.

Trump’s rock-bottom ratings should be dragging Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to defeat in 2018. Instead, the opposite is occurring. Baker is not only more popular than any other politician in solidly Democratic Massachusetts, he’s the most popular governor in the nation.

His defiance of the laws of political gravity is proving maddening to opponents who once viewed him as a certain one-termer. And it offers a ray of hope to the handful of other Republican governors facing blue-state electorates in November with the prospect of an unpopular president in the background.

“Charlie Baker is the Flying Wallendas of Massachusetts politics,” said Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh, referencing the famed stunt performers who execute daring high-wire acts without a safety net. “None of the Democrats running against him right now can beat him.”

Baker’s unique talent has been his ability to get as much distance as possible from Trump without thoroughly disowning him and alienating his own party. He works with Trump when necessary, but more frequently speaks out against his policies.

Baker was a vocal opponent to the Republican health care plan, which was poised to deliver a serious blow to funding for the state’s health care structure. He’s also spoken out against the travel ban and Trump’s immigration policy…..

image….bostommagazine.com

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A second Republican Governor that fits the same pattern is Maryland’s Larry Hogan….

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) remains broadly popular at the start of his fourth year in office and holds commanding leads over the three top Democrats vying to challenge him in November, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday.

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Hogan suggests Maryland take 'deep breath' after election

Hogan’s goal to be the first GOP governor to win re-election in Maryland in more than 60 years grew more complicated in November, when his fellow Republican won his surprise victory in the presidential election.

Republicans across the country are trying to strike the right tone in response to the president’s actions, but the political climate in deep-blue Maryland creates a particular peril for its governor.

Hogan is popular here. Trump is not.

The governor’s approval ratings have consistently topped 70 percent. Trump captured less than 34 percent of the state’s vote in November.

As the new president’s policies draw protests, Hogan has resisted pressure to engage on any national issues that could alienate either his crossover Democratic supporters or his Republican base….

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10 Things that Trump & Co. have done last year…

The Hill has a list of the things that Donald Trump (and his Republican friends) has had  his hands on and got done…or undone in 2017…..

Image result for trump /ryan/mcconnell

President Trump’s first year in office had its stumbles, but it also had a number of successes that had the White House and congressional Republicans crowing at the end of the year.

While Trump has seen his approval ratings fall, he’s also gone a long way toward meeting a number of his campaign promises, including a pledge to reduce taxes.

The tax-cut bill approved by Congress days before Christmas was sweeping in scope and a major victory for a White House that hopes to build on it in Trump’s second year in office.

Here’s a look at Trump’s biggest accomplishments of the year.

1. The tax-cut bill

Trump capped off 2017 with his first major legislative victory — the passage of the Republicans’ tax-cut bill, which slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and reduces individual rates as well as implements some key breaks.

It’s the biggest tax legislation to be approved by Congress since 1986, and would be significant if that’s all it did.

The fact that it also eliminated ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy insurance and opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling — something several GOP administrations had tried but failed to do — makes it truly historic….

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image…businessinsider.com