Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), best known as Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) sidekick, just can’t let go of his hurt feelings over the reliably disastrous scores the Congressional Budget Office gave the various iterations of Trumpcare. He’s taking his war on nonpartisan, reality-based economic projections to the Senate floor, and op-ed pages. The CBO, he insists, was off “by more than 100 percent” in its projections of coverage on the health insurance exchanges. He also said it was off “by around 100 percent” on its Medicaid enrollment projections. But if you click on the links Lee is providing in his op-ed, you’ll notice that he’s linking to the 2010 estimates from the CBO—the ones before the Supreme Court decided that not every state had to participate in the Medicaid exchanges. But in reality, when you consider the CBO’s subsequent analyses:

The CBO actually nailed the overall impact of the law on

Continue reading “Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty”

Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), best known as Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) sidekick, just can’t let go of his hurt feelings over the reliably disastrous scores the Congressional Budget Office gave the various iterations of Trumpcare. He’s taking his war on nonpartisan, reality-based economic projections to the Senate floor, and op-ed pages. The CBO, he insists, was off “by more than 100 percent” in its projections of coverage on the health insurance exchanges. He also said it was off “by around 100 percent” on its Medicaid enrollment projections. But if you click on the links Lee is providing in his op-ed, you’ll notice that he’s linking to the 2010 estimates from the CBO—the ones before the Supreme Court decided that not every state had to participate in the Medicaid exchanges. But in reality, when you consider the CBO’s subsequent analyses:

The CBO actually nailed the overall impact of the law on

Continue reading “Sen. Mike Lee escalates Republican war on CBO with astounding dishonesty”

Republicans in disarray insist that fighting Trump is ‘healthy’

The first six months of the Trump presidency will go down as the least productive, most tumultuous ever for a unified government. The Republican House, Senate, and White House should be a juggernaut of dystopian productivity. Instead, we’re heading into the August recess with the Senate two weeks earlier than planned, having taken taken precautions to make sure Trump can’t make recess appointments while they’re away. What Republicans have managed to achieve in the past few months has been done without any help from the administration or to actually isolate and hamper Trump.

Among its more notable successes this year, and against Mr. Trump’s objections, Congress passed a tough Russia sanctions bill with a veto-proof majority, which the president begrudgingly signed this week. Congress also approved a law to help veterans get health care—a bipartisan, bicameral, messy but ultimately successful effort that came together with zero involvement from the administration.

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Another day, another threat from the White House to insurance companies

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There’s been a rampant rumor that this was going to be the week that the Trump administration pulled the plug on cost-saving reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies on Obamacare exchanges. The threats have been coming daily since the Senate failed to pass an Affordable Care Act repeal, and Wednesday is a repeat.

“We said from the very beginning that we would look at that on a month by month basis,” said Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney on CNN Wednesday. “That has not changed.” […]
However, Mulvaney left open the possibility of ending the subsidies as the White House moves soon to decide on what to do about the CSR payments, which he and the president have called insurance company bailouts.

“The way to fix that is not by bailing out the insurance companies. These cost sharing reduction payments are payments to the insurance

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As new Obamacare rates come in, insurers and state officials point finger at Trump and GOP

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Insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act’s markets are having to file their proposed rate increases for next year, and as they file in, states are seeing 30 percent increases as the norm. There’s one reason for the hikes everyone agrees to: Republicans. Between Congress’s Trumpcare fiasco and popular vote loser Donald Trump’s sabotage, there’s just too much uncertainty and insurers have to hedge their bets by increasing rates.

Big insurers in Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa and Wyoming are seeking to raise premiums by averages close to 30% or more, according to preliminary rate requests published Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Major marketplace players in New Mexico, Tennessee, North Dakota and Hawaii indicated they were looking for average increases of 20% or more. […]
Together the filings show the uncertainty in the health-insurance marketplaces as insurers around the U.S.

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Republican Congress finally showing signs of moving on, beginning work on Obamacare fixes

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The White House is apparently not ready to let Trumpcare die, bringing in Republican governors and this week’s most worthless Senate hacks, Republicans Dean Heller (NV), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Bill Cassidy (LA) to try to keep repeal alive. The rest of the Senate? They’re moving on.

In what could be seen as a not so subtle rebuke of both Trump for his sabotage threats and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his subversion of Senate norms and traditions in trying to ram through repeal, a powerful committee chairman is actually following regular order to do something to fix the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the influential chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced that his panel would begin work in early September on legislation to “stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market” for 2018. He publicly urged Mr. Trump

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Remember that dumb lawsuit over Obamacare payments? It’s a big problem for Trump

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Popular vote loser Donald Trump received notice Tuesday that his threats to sabotage Obamacare are going to land him in court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that states can step in to the administration’s appeal of a lawsuit from the House of Representatives challenging the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies Trump has been threatening.

The court agreed with the state officials that there’s reason to believe the Trump administration isn’t adequately acting on behalf of states. The Trump administration and House Republicans opposed the states’ effort. […]
The Trump administration and House Republicans sought and received several delays from the appeals court this year, arguing in part that the repeal and “replace” effort on Capitol Hill―now stalled―could make the case irrelevant.

But at any time, Trump could drop the appeal or simply order the Treasury to end the payments.

That, coupled

Continue reading “Remember that dumb lawsuit over Obamacare payments? It’s a big problem for Trump”

Idaho turns on Trump in wake of big health insurance premium hikes, demands Congress act

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This is something you don’t see … ever. Idaho’s very Republican insurance commissioner is very pissed at popular vote loser Donald Trump and the Republican over big Affordable Care Act premium increases announced by insurers—an average 38 percent hike, with 50 percent hikes for some silver plans.

Idaho said the proposed increase for silver plans was because of “the potential refusal by the federal government to fund the cost share reduction mechanism.”
Insurers are required under law to lower co-pays and deductibles for lower-income Obamacare customers, with the government reimbursing them. But the Trump administration has not decided if it will make the payments in 2018.

President Trump has repeatedly said he wants to let Obamacare implode as a way to get Democrats on board for repealing the law.

Idaho’s insurance director, Dean Cameron, said the uncertainty is leading to price increases.

“I call on Congress to

Continue reading “Idaho turns on Trump in wake of big health insurance premium hikes, demands Congress act”

Idaho turns on Trump in wake of big health insurance premium hikes, demands Congress act

Campaign Action

This is something you don’t see … ever. Idaho’s very Republican insurance commissioner is very pissed at popular vote loser Donald Trump and the Republican over big Affordable Care Act premium increases announced by insurers—an average 38 percent hike, with 50 percent hikes for some silver plans.

Idaho said the proposed increase for silver plans was because of “the potential refusal by the federal government to fund the cost share reduction mechanism.”
Insurers are required under law to lower co-pays and deductibles for lower-income Obamacare customers, with the government reimbursing them. But the Trump administration has not decided if it will make the payments in 2018.

President Trump has repeatedly said he wants to let Obamacare implode as a way to get Democrats on board for repealing the law.

Idaho’s insurance director, Dean Cameron, said the uncertainty is leading to price increases.

“I call on Congress to

Continue reading “Idaho turns on Trump in wake of big health insurance premium hikes, demands Congress act”

Are Republicans learning from their Trumpcare failure? Of course not

It’s just possible that the Republican party will move on from the finger-pointing and circular firing squad over Trumpcare failure, but not likely. House Republicans are blaming Senate Republicans. Senate Republicans have been blaming the ignorant and unhelpful occupant of the White House. And popular vote loser Donald Trump is lashing out at all the Republicans. So much for the big blame the Democrats strategy. In all the finger-pointing, there’s little hope that Republicans will land on the actual problem: they can win elections, with a bit of cheating, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, but they are incapable of governing.

Now that Republicans have failed to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, the GOP faces an existential Obamacare problem with no immediate answer. Do they keep trying to undermine it, as they’ve promised for seven years? Or do they try to make it work better—even if that means

Continue reading “Are Republicans learning from their Trumpcare failure? Of course not”

Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again

Petulant popular vote loser Donald Trump does not like losing. At all. He’s on day four of a tear against the Senate for not repealing Obamacare. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more bailouts for insurance companies OR Congress ever again, and he’s back on that theme Monday morning.

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One of those things he can do—he can seriously destabilize the health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), payments the government makes to insurers that help reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income people. The other thing he can’t do—he can’t take away Congress’s health insurance. Only they can do that, and it doesn’t seem too likely that they will,

Continue reading “Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again”

Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again

Petulant popular vote loser Donald Trump does not like losing. At all. He’s on day four of a tear against the Senate for not repealing Obamacare. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more bailouts for insurance companies OR Congress ever again, and he’s back on that theme Monday morning.

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One of those things he can do—he can seriously destabilize the health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), payments the government makes to insurers that help reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income people. The other thing he can’t do—he can’t take away Congress’s health insurance. Only they can do that, and it doesn’t seem too likely that they will,

Continue reading “Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again”

Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again

Petulant popular vote loser Donald Trump does not like losing. At all. He’s on day four of a tear against the Senate for not repealing Obamacare. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more bailouts for insurance companies OR Congress ever again, and he’s back on that theme Monday morning.

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p class=”is-empty-p”>

One of those things he can do—he can seriously destabilize the health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), payments the government makes to insurers that help reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income people. The other thing he can’t do—he can’t take away Congress’s health insurance. Only they can do that, and it doesn’t seem too likely that they will,

Continue reading “Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again”

Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again

Petulant popular vote loser Donald Trump does not like losing. At all. He’s on day four of a tear against the Senate for not repealing Obamacare. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more bailouts for insurance companies OR Congress ever again, and he’s back on that theme Monday morning.

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p class=”is-empty-p”>

One of those things he can do—he can seriously destabilize the health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), payments the government makes to insurers that help reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income people. The other thing he can’t do—he can’t take away Congress’s health insurance. Only they can do that, and it doesn’t seem too likely that they will,

Continue reading “Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again”

Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again

Petulant popular vote loser Donald Trump does not like losing. At all. He’s on day four of a tear against the Senate for not repealing Obamacare. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that there wouldn’t be any more bailouts for insurance companies OR Congress ever again, and he’s back on that theme Monday morning.

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p class=”is-empty-p”>

One of those things he can do—he can seriously destabilize the health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), payments the government makes to insurers that help reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income people. The other thing he can’t do—he can’t take away Congress’s health insurance. Only they can do that, and it doesn’t seem too likely that they will,

Continue reading “Trump continues tweeting tirade, threatens Congress and insurers on Trumpcare again”

Latest House Republican effort to derail Trump-Russia investigation cribbed from conspiracy group

Gone almost unnoticed during last week’s healthcare battles, House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee last Wednesday pulled the latest in their ongoing effort to block investigation of Russian election hacking and its potential connections to the Donald Trump campaign and administration. Specifically, they blocked a Democratic amendment asking for more information about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, replacing it instead with an amendment demanding more investigation of … Hillary Clinton.

By the next evening, Twitter sleuths had identified where the text of that House Republican amendment had been cribbed from: a pro-Trump Reddit conspiracy subgroup.

Thursday night, three Twitter users discovered that a staffer for one of the resolution’s sponsors attempted to crowdsource a number of the resolution’s salient points from r/The_Donald, a subreddit notorious for playing host to unfounded conspiracy theories and anti-Islam tendencies. In other words, not a conventional source of legislative inspiration.

The frequent r/The_Donald visitor

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Senate Republicans release ‘skinny’ healthcare repeal bill, schedule vote for dead of night

What a joke:

Mere hours before the Senate prepared to vote on a “skinny repeal” health care bill that would get rid of Obamacare’s individual mandate, among other provisions, Senate Republicans finally released the bill they plan to vote on.

The Health Care Freedom Act would repeal the individual mandate, which requires people to buy insurance or pay a fine; the law’s employer mandate, which requires employers to provide coverage to their employees; and its medical device tax (temporarily). States would also have the ability to waive some Obamacare requirements for health plans.

True to its name, the “skinny repeal” bill is a mere eight pages long.

Several Senate Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, say they don’t want this bill to become law, but of course they’re probably going to vote for it anyway. These phonies claim they’re satisfied by assurances that House Speaker Paul Ryan

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Senate Republicans continue to pretend like McConnell isn’t totally screwing them on Trumpcare

The wheels are falling off this thing we call Congress over Trumpcare, and it’s all going to come down to whether anyone can trust Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Which means we, as a nation, are fucked. At the lunch today in which Senate Republicans were supposed to be writing the next iteration of the bill—the one that leadership said would pass tonight—the discussion instead was “focused on whether they can be assured House won’t pass skinny, will conference. Senate doesn’t want it to become law.”

Just let that sink in: they don’t want the bill they are about to pass—the bill that they promised was coming for the last fucking seven years—to become law. From what it looks like, McConnell made that promise to them.

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A helluva way to run a government: House, Senate, Republicans in utter chaos over Trumpcare

We’ve seen an awful lot of chaos on repealing Obamacare, that thing that was going to happen on day one of the Trump administration. Seven years after Republicans vowed to repeal it and seven months into 2017 and Senate Republicans might have cobbled together a bill over lunch that might just be a shell to go to conference with the House, or might be the bill the House passes, and it might get enough votes or it might not depending on if anyone knows what they’re doing. Maybe?

This is a story that can only be told in tweets.

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House Republicans move one step closer to criminalizing dissent in the United States

Donald Trump hasn’t been able to tweet-harangue Jeff Sessions into resigning as attorney general (yet), but his constant stream of attacks on Sessions for not targeting Hillary Clinton is having an effect in the House of Representatives, where Republicans on the Judiciary Committee took the next step toward Trump’s goal of criminalizing dissent. When Democrats on the committee pushed for an investigation of Trump’s firing of James Comey—you know, the possible obstruction of justice a special counsel is investigating—committee Republicans decided they’d rather investigate Clinton’s emails again, targeting Comey’s investigation of the emails specifically.

“If it’s in the public interest to investigate the Trump administration, it is most certainly in the public interest to investigate the real crimes by the real criminals,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a committee member.

Sure, we could investigate the sitting president’s campaign’s ties to a foreign country’s interference in our democratic elections, and the

Continue reading “House Republicans move one step closer to criminalizing dissent in the United States”