Tag Archives: “Trumpcare”

Trump needs to fire some staff – especially Bannon

But first …

*****

By Steven R. Maher

In the wake of the disastrous end of his “repeal and replace” Obamacare legislation, President Donald J. Trump should fire some of his staff. It’s what a smart businessman usually does after such a debacle.

After he withdrew the legislation, Trump said he wanted to work with Democrats in the future on health care. He also clearly wants to work with the “Freedom Caucus,” the successor to the “Tea Party” – a group that thought throwing 24 million Americans off their health insurance didn’t go far enough.

The website “Business Insider” reported on Saturday March 25, 2017, that White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon said to Freedom Caucus members: “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

The New York Times reported Saturday that Bannon and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short wanted a vote on Trump’s health care bill because they would be able to compile an “enemies list” of Republican Congressman to take revenge on.

“You know, the last time someone ordered me to do something, I was 18 years old,” one Freedom Caucus member was quoted as saying. “And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Trump also supposedly said during one meeting that he was not going to negotiate further on his insurance program, and Trump wanted their votes.

Not private sector

This “take it or leave it” approach might work in the private sector where everyone works for the boss, but it can be fatal in ego driven Washington, where Trump needs the votes of independently elected representatives.

Trump has two choices: If Trump expects to win enough Republican votes to pass his legislation on every major issue, he will be turning veto power on his Presidency over to a group of conservative extremists who will not compromise on issues that cry out for bi-partisan support. If he wants to find common ground with the Democrats, Trump will be writing off the Freedom Caucus.

Either way, Trump should clean house. A first good step would be to fire Bannon and Short. Both have alienated the Freedom Caucus. The Democrats despise Bannon for his involvement in Breitbart and see him as the evil genius manipulating Trump for his own obscure goals. Getting rid of Bannon would demonstrate that Trump is serious about changing his approach and would make it easier for Trump to reach out to either the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats.

Bannon feuds with Ryan

The one to watch is White House Chief of Staff Rence Priebus. Priebus reportedly urged Trump to work on his health plan first. He is a close ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom Bannon has also been feuding. This is another reason for Trump to fire Bannon. Not only is Bannon alienating the Freedom Caucus, he is straining the relationship between Trump and Ryan. If Trump fires Priebus, Washington insiders would take this as a victory of Bannon over Ryan.

Trump will undoubtedly find many scapegoats for his defeat on health care. Whether he learns the harsh lessons Washington taught him on March 24, 2017, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Trump faces two upcoming issues on which he is also likely to be opposed by the Freedom Caucus. As the New York Times reported Saturday: “Mr. Ryan repeatedly counseled the president to avoid seeking vengeance – at least until he has passed spending bills and a debt-ceiling increase needed to keep the government running. In the end, the president decided to back down.”

More 🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears – thanks, Jim!💚

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Go, Congressman McGovern, go!

From Jim McGovern’s office:

Congressman McGovern: GOP Health Bill a Reverse Robin Hood! – Stealing from Working Class to give tax cut to Billionaires!

Today Congressman Jim McGovern led floor debate for House Democrats as Republicans began the process for consideration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Congressman McGovern – who was the top Democrat at the more than 12-hour markup of the bill last night – called out Republicans for rushing the bill to a vote without any hearings or input from experts.

Congressman McGovern also called out Republicans for refusing to even tell members of Congress what is in the bill, which has constantly been changing as President Trump and Republican leadership have scrambled to get their members to support the bill.

Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech – Excerpts Below:

“Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans.

“According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – this bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill.

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

******

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Remarks:

“We aren’t here to debate the Republican health care repeal plan. We aren’t here to debate that, because Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans. Instead, we’re here to debate a martial law rule that will allow Republicans to rush their bill with its brand-new backroom deals to the floor today without any proper deliberation.

“As a matter of fact, it would let them rush any bill to the floor today – or any day through Monday.

“It’s a blanket martial law rule that lasts past the weekend – not specific to their health care bill, and not even specific to the topic of health care! What other bills could they be contemplating considering? We saw the Buffalo Bribe is already in the manager’s amendment, but this rule lets them bring up any other bill before the public has a chance to know what it is. Something on the Russia investigation, perhaps? I’ve seen a lot on that in the news lately. Or maybe we’ll give President Trump’s friend Putin a Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the least the Republicans could do after his help with the election!

“But let’s talk about what we have learned so far in the press. We first learned from news reports last night that Republicans were considering changes to the bill that would kill the Essential Health Benefits in current law.

“Let me say that again. Essential – as in “absolutely necessary; extremely important” as defined by the dictionary.

“And sure enough, we reported out this martial law rule in the dark of night, which will allow Republicans to bring the new and unimproved version of the bill – again, now with even more backroom deals – to the Rules Committee later today, or in the dead of night, and take it straight to the House Floor.

“Apparently, there’s no time for it to even sit for one day so members can read it, let alone get analysis from the non-partisan experts at CBO.

“Are they hoping that if they move quickly enough, no one will figure out what they’re up to?

“Well let me lay it out for everyone: essential health benefits require insurance plans to cover basic, essential benefits such as: emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment, pediatric services, and prescription drugs.

“The New York Times this morning pointed out that this late-breaking Republican proposal could lead to plans that cover aromatherapy, but not chemotherapy. Really? Are Republicans seriously contemplating making a change this massive without hearings? Without a markup? No CBO estimate of the impact? No chance to read the bill??? I’ve seen a lot in my years here, but this is truly unbelievable. You guys take my breath away.

“And that’s not even considering the already-dangerous bill we were supposed to be down here considering right now. Let me just make clear what that bill actually is.

“First, it is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know the bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill?

“Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, their bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. That’s right, Republicans are asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: the bill guts Medicaid and Medicare.

“Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, ‘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.’

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations. The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just the other night, and I quote, ‘Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this republican healthcare bill, long term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.’

“Finally, even before imposing martial law last night, this process was horrendous. The Republican majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings. None. Zero. Just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. None. Not one. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score!

“Then, when a score finally came, it showed that the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No! Of course Not!

“Yesterday, in the Rules Committee, we rushed ahead with a cobbled-together managers amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together managers amendments, since the originals had errors – and again, no CBO score on the updated bill. Didn’t my colleagues learn their lesson from last week?

“And even worse – the main manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours before our meeting, is so full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical and likely unconstitutional agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now, they’re saying ‘Don’t Worry. If you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three. You’ll get another chance to vote on Healthcare during step three.’ Never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious step three.

“Or maybe I should just take Republican Senator Cotton’s word for it. He said, and I quote, ‘There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin.’

“Republican Senator Ted Cruz, from my colleague’s state of Texas, called the third prong of this three-bucket strategy, and I quote “the sucker’s bucket.” That’s your own member calling you a sucker if you vote for this!

“We heard testimony all day yesterday, and well into the night, about how disastrous this bill would be for hard working Americans. We heard about how countless major health organizations oppose this plan from the American Medical Association, to American Hospital Association, to the National Rural Health Association, to the AARP, to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to the National Alliance on Mental Illness – and I could go on and on and on.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill. And now, we find ourselves on the floor debating a martial-law rule that will take this reckless process from ‘light-speed’ to ‘warp-speed.’

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“This process is beyond the pale. I’m honestly still stunned that we’re even here debating a martial law rule on legislation of this magnitude when changes to people’s basic essential health benefits are being contemplated without so much as a single hearing, let alone a CBO score. And again – we have no real clue what Republicans will be bringing to the floor later today.

“Now – I’m just going off of what I read in the news, since we haven’t gotten any actual updates from the other side of the aisle.

“This rule would allow them to bring anything to the floor today. Or tomorrow. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Literally anything.

“Will there be a new bill? Who knows! Will it even be on health care? Beats me!

“What mystery changes are they contemplating that are so broad they can’t even narrow their martial law authority down to the topic of healthcare?

“Please, I would ask my colleagues to slow down! Be thoughtful – this is not a game. You don’t get extra points for being fast. This health care repeal affects millions upon millions of Americans.

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.

“This is a sad day. This is a sad day for this institution, but it is an even sadder day for the American people.”

🎵🎵🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears! … Congressman McGovern Leads House Democrats in Opposing GOP Health Bill at Final Committee Markup Before Vote

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Go, Jim, go!

From Jim’s office:

McGovern Slams GOP Move to Rush Health Bill Vote Without CBO Score

Congressman Jim McGovern, the top Democrat at today’s House Rules Committee markup of the American Health Care Act, criticized Republicans for rushing the bill to the House floor for a vote tomorrow without any analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the costs of the new version of the bill.

The CBO estimated that the first version of the bill would result in 24 million Americans losing healthcare.

Joining Congressman McGovern at today’s hearing was fellow Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), who is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Both McGovern and Neal spoke about how Massachusetts has been a leader in healthcare reform and how the Republican bill would threaten healthcare access for Massachusetts families.

Below are excerpts from Congressman McGovern’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

TAX CUT FOR WEALTHY, MILLIONS LOSE COVERAGE

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“This bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.”

GOP STEAMROLLING VOTE ON TRUMPCARE

“The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, ‘don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,’ never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious ‘step three.’ Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, ‘there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,’ end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this ‘three-bucket’ strategy quote, ‘the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

*****

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Opening Statement:

“First, let me just lay out what the bill actually is. It is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: this bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, “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.”

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just last night, quote, “Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this Republican healthcare bill…long-term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.”

“Finally, this process is horrendous. The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, “don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,” never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious “step three.” Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, “there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,” end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this “three-bucket” strategy quote, “the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

“Trumpcare” – NOT in style!!!😱😱😱

But first …

*****

REPUBLICANS SUSCEPTIBLE TO “OVERPROMISING” POLS

By Steven R. Maher

“If you’re going to live a good life, you’ve got to live within your income.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Treasury Secretary George Humphrey

“Through his time in office, he [Humphrey] insisted that the government do just that. He fought profligate spending, irritating liberals and imprudent tax cuts, to the annoyance of conservatives.” – From “Eisenhower: The White House Years,” by Jim Newton.

Recently, I was watching a talk show and heard one Republican pundit say that Trump “overpromised” on health insurance during his candidacy for the Presidency.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump repeatedly promised that his replacement for Obamacare (some call it “Trumpcare”) would allow everyone to choose their own doctor and medical plan; would cost less money; increase benefits and make available universal coverage to all Americans.

How was such a miracle to be accomplished?

Basically, through the miracle of the marketplace. Trump vowed he would make insurance rates go down and make health insurance benefits go up by increasing competition of insurance companies by allowing insurers to sell their policies across state lines.

“Believe me,” Trump would say after promising how much better a program than Obamacare, Trumpcare would be.

Trump later backed off from these pledges, saying health care was more “complicated” than he had anticipated.

Susceptible to this?

Why did so many of Trump’s supporters believe this?

I’m beginning to believe that Republican voters are particularly susceptible to demagogic appeals. We saw this with “Supply Side” economics. Under this highfalutin theory, Congress could cut taxes, increase military spending and balance the budget – all at the same time. Try doing this with your personal life. You will find yourself in bankruptcy court. Granted, you will live high off the hog, eating caviar, filet mignon and lobster to your heart’s content – right up to the point where you run out of credit cards and the bondholders decide to cut you off.

Unfortunately – or rather fortunately, given who is in the White House – there is no Chapter 11 under which nations can default on their debt.

Someday the United States will have to balance its budget. Better that we do it now ourselves, rather than wait until America’s creditors force us to do it.

Republicans used to be the party of fiscal rectitude, wearing the old green shade accounting hats as they counted beans. They threw away those sensibilities when they adopted the fraud known as “Supply Side” economics. Now they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater with Trumpcare.

The Republicans won’t be the party of common-sense economics, like Dwight Eisenhower, until they give up “supply side” economics and “Trumpcare.”