Tag Archives: The Politics of Healthcare Insurance

If Trump and Congress don’t bring back the healthcare subsidy?…Another one kicks in….

A new wrinkle has been added to the football of healthcare insurance subsidy payments….

It seems that there are fail safes in the law that kick’s in if one type of subsidy is gone….ANOTHER subsidy would become available …This one would make available tax credits that would replace the subsidy money gone….And could be used by even MORE people that us the current system…(The number of uninsured Americans is reported to have risen recently by one poll)

Insurance companies would raise rates , but a good amount of people who idamize their taxes could claim the higher payments and rcoup some of the increased money they paid to insurers from the government…This would surely cost the government MORE than just paying the insurance comoanies direct since it requires more papaerwork and handling….

This would NOT help those low-income people who need the current subsidy availablity up front….(But they have states lining up to sue the Trump Admin to free the subsidy money….The US Senate has the votes to pay the subsidies for 2 years, but the House is another thing)

If President Donald Trump prevails in shutting down a major “Obamacare” health insurance subsidy, it would have the unintended consequence of making free basic coverage available to more people, and making upper-tier plans more affordable.

The unexpected assessment comes from consultants, policy experts, and state officials, who are trying to discern the potential fallout from a Washington health care debate that’s becoming even more complicated and volatile.

What’s driving the predictions? It’s because another subsidy that’s part of the health law would go up for people with low-to-moderate incomes, offsetting Trump’s move.

“It’s a kind of counter-intuitive result,” said Kurt Giesa, a health insurance expert with the Oliver Wyman consulting firm.

Think of pushing down on one end of a see-saw and the other end goes up.

According to one estimate, more consumers would sign up for coverage next year even though Trump says the Affordable Care Act is “virtually dead.”….

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Note….

The chances of the Affordable Healthcare Law (Obamacare) going away in its entirety are remote….

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The Senate has the votes to pass compromise Healthcare fix…The House?

The problem is getting a bill vote….

And getting past Conservatives in the House?

On Thursday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that every single Senate Democrat would back a bipartisan bill to restore the subsidy payments to health insurance companies defunded by President Trump. Combined with the 12 GOP senators who officially co-sponsored the bill, that gives the measure a filibuster-proof supermajority if and when it comes to the floor for a vote.

But with a powerful committee chairman and several other lawmakers in staunch opposition, hostility to the bill radiating from the House of Representatives, right-wing advocacy groups mobilizing against it, and a President who appears to hourly change his mind on the policy, there is no guarantee the bill will pass.

The list of Republican co-sponsors of the bill unveiled on Thursday includes half a dozen committee chairs, making it more difficult for Senate leaders to refuse to hold a vote. But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who chairs the Finance Committee that would take up the bill if it goes through the committee process, is not one of them.

“I’m concerned we’re just perpetuating a bad process,” Hatch told TPM. “They want to do it for another two years. I’d rather face the problem now.”

Hatch is referring to the heart of the bill, which provides two years of funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies to health insurance companies that go towards lowering the cost of care for low-income patients.

Bill co-author Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told TPM Thursday that if the bill does go through a regular committee markup, an open question at this point, it would go through Hatch’s Finance Committee. Asked if Hatch would commit to holding a hearing and markup on the bill, a GOP aide called the question “premature.”

“He would have to talk to committee members about it to see how they want to move forward,” the aide said…..

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Trump changes his mind on Senate Healthcare compromise ‘deal’….GOPer’s are stuck….

I posted up the announcement that Senators LamarHunt and Patty Murray had what they thought was a compromise to pay insurance companies for carrying low income people on health insurance, that they MUST cover in turn for allowing states wiggle room in their coverage….

I DID mention that the announcement was met with a thud….

President Trump was happy for about two hours with the ‘deal’ until he heard that his party memebers , particuly House Conservertives began to complain LOUD and CLEAR that they would not go along with something that would let Trump boast he got a deal with Democrats that would SAVE a program they have vilified for the past six year….Of course the ageement would be viewed as a direct reputation of their politics on healthcare…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t said much about the whole thing so far…

House Speaker Ryan wants healthcare to go away….

But it’s NOT that simple…

By kicking the whole thing to Congress, where it should be?

Trump has put the responsibitly for a possible loss of health insurance for tens of millions in Congress’s lap….And could be providing Democratic talking points to run on in next years Midterm elections …Something conservatives are being short sighted about…

No matter what?

Republicans in Congress WILL end up doing something to save the healthcare bill …..

To have people losing their health insurance due to HUGE premium increases next year for a program that a majority of Americans NOW want to keep, just fix, is a recipe for political disaster ……

A bipartisan Senate deal to curb the growth of health insurance premiums is reeling after President Donald Trump reversed course and opposed the agreement and top congressional Republicans and conservatives gave it a frosty reception.

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced their accord Tuesday after weeks of negotiations and five days after Trump said he was halting federal subsidies to insurers. Under the lawmakers’ agreement, the payments would continue for two years while states were given more leeway to let insurers sidestep some coverage requirements imposed by President Barack Obama’s health care law.

In remarks Tuesday in the Rose Garden, Trump called the deal “a very good solution” that would calm insurance markets, giving him time to pursue his goal of scrapping Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, the target of Republican derision since it was signed into law.

Although top Democrats and some Republicans praised the Alexander-Murray compromise agreement, Trump backed off after a day of criticism from many in the GOP.

In an evening speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, he said that “while I commend” the work by the two senators, “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.”

A White House official said Trump’s statement was aimed at conveying opposition to the Alexander-Murray plan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The subsidies — called cost-sharing reductions — go to insurers for reducing out-of-pocket costs for lower-income people. Since Obama’s law requires insurers to make those cost reductions, insurers and others have warned that halting the subsidies would force premiums higher and prompt some carriers to abandon unprofitable markets.

“This agreement avoids chaos,” Alexander said when he announced the deal. “I don’t know a Republican or Democrat who benefits from chaos.”

Alexander said the president had encouraged his efforts in two phone calls in recent days. But Trump has also repeatedly called the subsidies bailouts of insurers, who he’s pointedly said have contributed little to his campaigns…..

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Bipartisan Senate Obamacare agreement lands with a thud for GOPer’s….

The agreement worked out between Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Senator Patty Murray seems like a compromise that will keep money flowing to healthcare insurers and let states have some wiggle room on their coverage….

It is NOT a Repeal of the current National Healthcare Program….

It IS a reinforcement of the very law that Republicans tried to hang around the Democrats….

Donald Trump has forced his own Republicans to either take the blame for casting tens of millions of American out of their coverage or YES…Making a compromise with Democrats…(They can’t pass a Repeal we KNOW)

If they approve this?

Republicans KNOW they are eating their OWN ‘crow’….Served up by their party leader……

In advance of the deal’s announcement, many Republican senators were already distancing themselves from the emerging plan.

“I don’t know. I’m not sure what the Senate should do,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) Tuesday morning.

In the House, which passed an ACA repeal bill, there appeared to be even less appetite for a bill that bolsters an element of the law that they have pilloried for seven years without more forcefully rolling back other parts of it.

“This is like we have to fix the Senate’s failure,” said Cole. Using a football analogy, he blamed Senate Republicans for fumbling the ball on the one-yard line.

In the eyes of Cole and other leading Republicans, the party’s congressional majorities were put at risk by the unsuccessful repeal push. With Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon already threatening primary challenges against senators up in 2018, some fear that asking lawmakers to reinforce the bill they tried to undo is simply not a defensible position.

On the other hand, doing nothing is also likely to spur criticism of the Republicans.

As senators announced their agreement, a new analysis emerged Tuesday showing the large stakes for insurers in the short term if the cost-sharing payments are not restored. By the end of 2017, health plans will lose more than $1 billion nationwide, according to the analysis by Avalere Health, a Washington-based consulting firm.

Both state and industry officials welcomed the prospect of a possible deal on the subsidies, but they also warned that it could come too late given that the 45-day open enrollment period for the ACA begins Nov. 1.

The timing — just two weeks before the start of the fifth enrollment season for ACA coverage — could mean havoc back in states, where some insurance regulators already are reeling from Trump’s decision to stop funding CSRs…..

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Is Trump actually gonna push Congress to support Obamacare?

While the media chorus has been anti-Trump on the Affordable Healthcare law know as Obamacare….

There does seem to be a plan afoot to get Congress to work on fixing the countries healthcare program….

It seems that Trump in his own way  IS pushing Republicans and Democrats to get together and work out  a ‘deal’…..

Trump stopping of insurance payments to insurance companies puts the onus on Congress to do so….Trump wants to stop having ok the monthly payments and he’s right…The monthly thing was a dig at Obama , who is gone….

The problem is now where it should be…In Congress….

Republicans cannot do this alone…

So Democratic leaders WILL have to sit down and work out a deal with the Republicans to make the payments a longer term thing that comes from them , Not the White House and yes….Like things are supposed to be?…Democrats are gonna have to let the states  have more flexibility ….

This won’t hurt blue state healthcare users….But it WILL hurt red sate state users, some who surely lose some coverage…. Red state Democrats might be able run on those cuts since the Obamacare program has gained support by more Americans even in Red states….

The last few years actions by Republican against the nations healthcare system have come home….

Here’s the latest….

Congressional Democrats have to decide how badly they want an ObamaCare deal.

Senate Republicans are open to renewing the insurer payments that President Trump canceled last week, but, in return, they want to expand a program that allows states to waive Affordable Care Act regulations.

That asking price could be hard for Democrats to swallow.

While Democrats want to protect ObamaCare, they fear that expanding the waivers would allow states to chip away at the bedrock protections of the law, including the rules on what an insurance plan must cover.

The politics of the health-care debate are also shifting.

While ObamaCare used to be a liability for Democrats, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in August found that 60 percent of respondents think Republicans are responsible for problems in the Affordable Care Act going forward. Only 28 percent said the responsibility rests with Democrats.

Polls like that make some Republicans nervous about an ObamaCare backlash in the 2018 elections. And Democrats, hopeful of winning back the House and potentially even the Senate next year, are eager to hang ObamaCare’s problems around the GOP’s neck.

“Republicans in the House and Senate now own the health-care system in this country from top to bottom, and their destructive actions, and the actions of the president, are going to fall on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Friday.

Negotiations over an ObamaCare bill have been going on for weeks, with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) seeking an agreement to stabilize the markets and protect people’s coverage options.

Democrats say they are pushing for a deal, and Murray said Friday she was “optimistic” that one could be reached…..

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Note….

Anybody rmention Bernie Sanders ‘Single Payer’ rants?

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Trump’s Obamacare action is going to court…State’s announce lawsuit..

Why NOT?

The Republican’s took President Obama to court on the program…..

18 State Attorney General’s have joined together to file against Trump’s excutive actions  concerning the Affordaable Healthcare law….

President Donald Trump’s move to cut off critical Obamacare subsidies will almost surely be tied up in the courts for years as Democratic-led states seek injunctions, while insurers seek to recover payments they say they’re owed.

It’s impossible to predict whether a judge might order the administration to continue the payments while the lawsuits are heard, but at least some legal experts express doubts.

“Forcing an administration to continue making payments when the president believes there is no appropriation, and when Congress believes there’s no appropriation, would be a pretty extreme move by the court — even if it was a temporary measure,” said Nicholas Bagley, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School who has written extensively about Obamacare legal issue

The result is that consumers are likely to be caught holding the bag if their insurers bolt and their Obamacare markets teeter on the verge of collapse. Many will end up paying higher premiums to make up for the shortfall, estimated at $7 billion this year alone. And although most insurers have locked in commitments to participate in the Obamacare markets for 2018, some may re-examine those decisions….

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Trump reaches out to Democrats for Healthcare Help….

He does it again….

First it was for the Dreamers….

Now this….

The man is stuck in a nowhere land since doing this will only anger his adopted party people and embolden the Democrats to explore this out loud…

Image result for schumer/trump

Although it’s not known what Trump proposed or how Schumer responded, word traveled fast among Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill:

  • The initial reaction among some Republicans was consternation, even though they didn’t know the upshot of the call.
  • A well-wired Republican told us: “It codifies the Rs’ failure on repeal/replace and shows the President can move without hesitation or ideological impediment to make a deal with the Dems. It depresses R base turnout in the midterms, as Trump voters are further disconnected from the Congressional wing.”

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Note…

It would be normal for a President to work with both parties to build a consesnsxse for legislation…

But Trump has knocked the Republicans to get the GOP nomination and continued to do so…And he has promised to work against the Demeocrats also…

The man doesn’t REALLY know what he’s doing…And he can’t seem to figure out how to do this ‘Congress’ thing…

image..syracuse.com

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No Repeal….No other action…Healthcare Insurers move to raise rates for individual’s….

Republicans have failed to repeal the law….

And have NOTHING to fix it…..(they could do something later…Congress is NOT good on deadlines)

So in a lot of states?

They are allowing the insurance companies to raise their rates by up to 60%…..

Of course this is a effort to get Congress to continue to subsidize the insurance companies …..But?

In the end?

The Republicans are trying to get what they wanted in the first place…

To make something that people have come to like and depend on?

A failure….(They are sure to place the blame for the increased premiums on Obama, not their none efforts…)

Health insurers are aggressively increasing prices next year for individual policies sold under the federal health care law, with some raising premiums by more than 50 percent.

By approving such steep increases for 2018 in recent weeks, regulators in many states appeared to be coaxing companies to hang in there, despite turmoil in the market and continuing uncertainty in Congress about the future of the law, the Affordable Care Act.

In Georgia, the state insurance commissioner, Ralph T. Hudgens, an outspoken critic of the law, often referred to as Obamacare, said the rates he approved would be up to 57.5 percent higher next year. The state had already lost Anthem, the large insurer that offers for-profit Blue Cross plans in several states, which left many markets in Georgia.

“Obamacare has become even more unaffordable for Georgia’s middle class,” Mr. Hudgens said in a statement. “I am disappointed by reports that the latest Obamacare repeal has stalled once again and urge Congress to take action to end this failed health insurance experiment.”

In Florida, the average rate increase will be about 45 percent, according to state regulators. And in New York, where officials said prices would still be below where they were before the law took effect, premiums were expected to increase by an average of about 14 percent. Many states have not made insurers’ rate increases public, and experts said the rise in costs for consumers could run from 10 percent to nearly 60 percent…..

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Rural Hospitals Are Dying and Pregnant Women Are Paying the Price

…from Politico Magazine….

….As Congress debates repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, rural hospitals are in a kind of purgatory, unsure about their Medicaid budgets and the private health insurance that sustains them. At least 81 rural hospitals have shut down across the country since 2010, according the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center at UNC. The pace of closures has been increasing since the Great Recession, but the current health care policy limbo—which leaves hospitals and insurers unable to predict their income—exacerbates the problem. “The uncertainty is really impinging providers, particularly hospitals, from making the kinds of decisions that might put them on a better footing,” says center director Mark Holmes…..

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Bipartisanship to sink the Repeal leads to embrace…..

Amen….

Somebody had to stop people from taking away millions of Americans Healthcare Benefits…..THAT is more important than making party hack’s happy….

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the latest plan to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law had been pulled from the floor, a Democrat and a Republican embraced.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Susan Collins of Maine — one of three Republicans who had formally announced opposition to the latest plan, known as Graham-Cassidy — gave each other a hug in a Capitol elevator on Tuesday and Roll Call’s camera was there….

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Why would Senator Murkowski change her mind and vote for a Healthcare Repeal?

She gets virtually NOTHING in return politically…..

And her state gets less…..

Image result for sen murkowski after repeal vote

There are plenty of reasons to think she won’t support this bill. Murkowski already took a political risk in July when she voted down the last repeal bill. She was hailed as a hero for it by many in Alaska, too, greeted by hugs and flowers when she went back home. She’s also not up for reelection until 2022, and this photo of her hula-hooping soon after that vote seemed to show a liberated senator living her best life and not looking back.

But there’s a simpler reason, too. It’s just math.

Various experts have already explained why Alaska would lose under the Graham-Cassidy bill.

 Avalere Health, a consulting firm, said the bill would yield an 11 percent loss in federal funding in the state, or $1 billion, between 2020 and 2026. Groups like Kaiser and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities show similar numbers. Even the Centers for Medicare for Medicaid Services, which has the rosiest numbers, shows a negative effect on Alaska.

Murkowski’s governor also opposes the bill, and on Friday, Alaska’s health department unveiled a new report projecting that Graham-Cassidy would mean a 65 percent cut in federal funding for the state by 2026.

Those are terrible numbers, and they’ve left bill supporters desperate to figure out a way to win over Murkowski. One idea that’s been floated is to create a carve-out for the state. In that scenario, the bill would be amended to let Alaska keep Obamacare while it’s repealed for nearly every other state.

Murkowski hasn’t said if she’d bite on something like that. But a longtime Republican operative familiar with the dynamics at play in Alaska said the senator is better off not taking any deal on this bill ― and she likely knows it….

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image of Murkowski being greeted after voting against the first Republican repeal bill in the US Senate…Shareblue

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Republicans….WTF try to pass something only 24% of Americans support?

Update….

It now up to Alaska Sen Lisa Murkowski….

Republican Senator’s Paul, Collins and now McCain will vote AGAINST the Graham/Cassidy Healthcare Repeal Bill….

As we wait for the US Senate to possibly vote AGAIN on trying to back up their pledge to get rid of a Obama healthcare program that they themselves have made more popular….

We see a crescendo of reasons why the Graham/Cassidy Bill is witout any merit EXCEPT to do something that the Grand Ole Party is choking on that needs fixing NOT a misguided hard sell campaign push that could send tens of millions of Americans out of their healthcare insurance….

Some Republicans appear to deaf, dumb and blind on this….

A new poll finds that just 24 percent of voters support the Graham-Cassidy ObamaCare repeal bill.

The poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling finds that 24 percent approve of the new ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill, while 50 percent disapprove.

The low approval number comes as the Senate is heading towards a possible vote on the legislation next week, and as backers are still trying to rally support.

The poll was highlighted by several Democratic groups seeking to defend the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, 46 percent of voters said they would be less likely to vote for a member of Congress if he or she voted for Graham-Cassidy, while 23 percent would be more likely.

Seventy-seven percent said they agreed with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that no one should be denied coverage because they cannot afford it…..

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Note….

…’One official said the concerns from governors have alarmed some in the White House — and that “we really aren’t sure what the impact will be” of passing the bill. They also fear that the bill could bring political blowback from the left and right.

Trump has publicly expressed enthusiasm about the bill, tweeting about it repeatedly. But in conversations with aides, he has turned back to one topic: What can the White House do that is seen as “repeal and replace?” a phrase he likes to repeat’…

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Republican Healthcare Repeal efforts could come back to haunt them next November…

Americans ain’t gonna be happy if they are receiving letters in the mail telling them they have lost their healthcare issurance RIGHT BEFORE  next years Midterm elections….

It’s like the Republicans REALLY don’t want to keep their majorities in Congress, eh?

The Republicans’ latest drive to repeal Obamacare is reminiscent of a poetry fragment from Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.”

Whatever happens with the bill likely slated to reach the Senate floor next week, it is hard to escape the feeling that this wild charge will end badly for the Republicans.

In belatedly pushing the legislation(sponsored by Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Ron Johnson and Dean Heller), Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership have absorbed none of the lessons from the dramatic failure of the last Senate repeal effort with an ailing John McCaincasting the decisive “no” vote.

What has been baffling the Republicans since the days of Social Security and then Medicare is that social welfare programs with middle-class beneficiaries grow more popular over time. American voters, for understandable reasons, do not support legislative efforts to take away benefits that they have been receiving.

As a result, the only voters still passionate about repealing Obamacare are hardcore conservatives.

A Quinnipiac University poll, conducted in early August, found that 60 percent of registered voters (including 28 percent of Republicans) believe that it is time for Congress to move on. And recent surveys have also found that a majority of voters now approve of the once-reviled 2010 legislation known as Obamacare….

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GOP Sen Alexander gives up bipartisan effort on Obamacare….

Kinda KNEW this was gonna stop in its tracks…..

Lindsey Graham is trying to get a last ditch Senate Repeal bill approved by next weeks deadline to do so with a sinple US Senate majority…

Alexander’s efforts had to be seen as undermining the Republican Repeal effort….And some Dempcrats did NOT want to go along with helping Republicans escape the problems of their Repeal efforts…

The Graham effort still seems a few GOP Senator votes short just like the last effort….

The announcement by [Sen] Alexander, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was the clearest signal yet that the GOP conference is charging forward with the Graham-Cassidy measure to dramatically reshape the U.S. health care system.

“Senator Murray and I had hoped to agree early this week on a limited, bipartisan plan to stabilize 2018 premiums in the individual health insurance market that we could take to Senate leaders by the end of the month. During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders’ hands that could be enacted,” Alexander said in a statement.

There were other signs the effort was in trouble on Tuesday; at the same time Ryan was throwing his support behind the Graham-Cassidy measure, he signaled the House would not take up the Alexander-Murray bill.

That was despite the bipartisan effort picking up support outside of Congress, with a group of 10 governors ranging from Alaska’s independent Gov. Bill Walker to Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich to Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper writing to Senate leaders to say the Graham-Cassidy measure should be set aside and Congress should focus on the Alexander-Murray effort to stabilize the markets.

Alexander — who bucked some in his party to try to find consensus with Murray, the HELP panel’s top Democrat — was facing pressure from both sides of the aisle….

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image….Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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Some Republicans are giddy about Sanders Single Payer effort….

A Socialist Senator, who hangs with the Democrats,  pushing for something that would cost TRILLONS of dollars in taxes to do, while the existing ‘Obamacare’ healthcare program is having its own issues….

While the GOP has tripped over it’s healthcare pinning to President Obama and the Democrats….

It probably will embark on the same campaign , for a while,  against Nancy Pelosi (who smartly has NOT endorsed the Sanders bill), Democrats and whoever ends up being the 2020 Democratic Presidential nominee , because that person HAS to dance with Bernie Sanders, to get their parties nomination….

As more and more Democrats come out in favor of some form of “Medicare for all” legislation, Republican campaign strategists are salivating.

In much the same way the GOP has tried to tie all Democrats to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in attack ads, they’re planning to tie all Democratic incumbents and challengers to different proposals from Vermont independent Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. in the House, regardless of whether they’ve personally embraced those policies.

“I’m thrilled,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the leadership-backed super PAC that plans to spend $100 million to help Republicans keep their House majority in 2018.

“I love their new policy so much that I’m thinking about taking the $50 or so million I was planning on spending on attacking Nancy Pelosi and putting a small portion toward explaining how single-payer hurts the American people,” Bliss said Tuesday.

That strategy isn’t much different from the GOP strategy of the past seven years, when the party has gone after Democrats on the 2010 health care law. But after months of their own health care legislative failures, Republicans think they finally have an offensive opening on health care again…..

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GOP Obamacare fix’s are being debated…

The Healthcare program WILL be funded by Congress…

But as thes go with Congress….

There is gonna be a ‘give and take’ worked out….

And some Republicans want to cut back the coverage….

After a year of backroom, closed-door, GOP-only meetings on health care, and a bitter, partisan floor fight over repealing the Affordable Care Act that eventually collapsed, senators from both parties came together to hold nearly half-a-dozen public hearings and hammer out a bill to stabilize Obamacare’s vulnerable insurance exchanges by the end of September.

But beneath the bipartisan bonhomie, there is trouble in paradise.

In exchange for funding Obamacare’s subsidies to insurers that cover care of low-income people with severe health needs, Republicans are demanding that some of the ACA’s protections and mandates be waived—and have suggested rolling back the requirement that every insurance plan cover essential health benefits like maternity care and mental health treatment.

This week, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the committee crafting the stabilization bill, mocked the concept of forcing all insurers to offer comprehensive health care plans.

Senate Democrats say they’re open to some increased “flexibility” but worry that allowing too many regulatory rollbacks will lead to more expensive and worse quality health coverage for millions of people. Though many proposals have been tossed onto the table over the past few weeks, the key battle is currently over loosening the rules around Obamacare’s “state innovation” waivers—which states obtain from the federal government to test different health care systems. Some states, including Alaska, have used these waivers to set up reinsurance programs, which have brought down the number of uninsured residents and lowered costs. But other states are seeking waivers for plans that health care experts say would create “barriers to enrollment.”

“Flexibility needs to increase health care for people, not decrease it. If it’s flexibility to take health care away, that’s not something I would support,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told TPM. “I believe that health care is a basic human right and we’re going to make sure that everyone has health care.”….

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