Trump administration readies Medicaid changes threatening coverage for tens of thousands

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Undeterred by the law or anything resembling human decency, the Trump administration is readying a new round of Medicaid waivers that will mean tens of thousands of people could be dropped off coverage. They’re adding drug use disclosure to work requirements and are prepping to approve the waivers in three more states, Arizona, Wisconsin and Maine. That’s despite the fact that they got slapped down by a federal judge on work requirements in Kentucky and are currently being sued in Arkansas for a work requirement waiver there.

To make it even more heinous, the administration is likely to circumvent Arizona’s attempt to exempt Native Americans from its waiver, another Trump attack on the identity and sovereignty of the tribal nations. The Trump administration says that the tribes are a race and not discrete nations and thus should get the exemption Arizona has asked for them. The administration says

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LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank

Do we even have laws anymore? It hardly matters what voters vote for if Republican politicians are simply going to ignore the laws they pass out of spite.

The LePage administration is rejecting applications for Medicaid from people who became newly eligible for the program under an expansion approved by voters last fall, according to documents and a progressive advocacy group that is suing the state.

Maine’s LePage is a prime example of a law-averse crackpot politician who in better times would have been run out of town on a rail by better people; in this case his administration has simply decided that no matter what measures voters approve they’re going to ignore it. Right now LePage and allies are appealing a court decision requiring them to Follow The Damn Law, an effort that appears to be nothing more than an effort to delay an inevitable outcome but, what the

Continue reading “LePage refusing to implement voter-passed Medicaid expansion because he’s a bitter spiteful crank”

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”

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”

With Trumpcare back in the grave, red states move to slash Medicaid on their own

Since the dream of destroying Medicaid died with the latest Trumpcare failure, the Trump administration and red state governors are going to have to just do what they can with their existing powers, and those powers are making life as miserable as possible for those people who have Medicaid. One of the first things the Trump administration did was to relax the rules so that states could fundamentally alter and shrink the program.

At least six states with GOP governors— Arkansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Maine, Wisconsin and Indiana — have already drafted plans meant to introduce new rules people would have to meet to be eligible for Medicaid, which provides healthcare to the poor.
Some want to add work requirements or introduce drug testing for recipients. Others want to raise premium prices. […]

Critics say the proposed changes will leave fewer people on Medicaid and hurt the poor and vulnerable.

“There are

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Is Nevada Sen. Dean Heller going to continue to hit himself over the head with bad Trumpcare votes?

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2018, had a very, very bad Wednesday—downright humiliating. After getting totally bashed by state activists for his caving in to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and voting to move forward with a bill to strip health coverage away from tens of thousands of Nevadans, he decided he’d better do something—and something stupidly symbolic was all he could come up with.

That was an amendment “To express the sense of the Senate that Medicaid expansion is a priority and that Obamacare must be improved.” It was defeated 10-90. That’s just humiliating. His attempt was so obviously shallow and stupid that only 10 of his colleagues were wiling to embarrass themselves by associating with it.

Meanwhile, Heller declared he would happily back a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare as long as it left Medicaid intact. “We’ll see at the end of the day what’s

Continue reading “Is Nevada Sen. Dean Heller going to continue to hit himself over the head with bad Trumpcare votes?”

Destroying Medicaid set to be Republicans’ consolation prize in Trumpcare fiasco

The most consistent goal of Republicans in all this fighting over Trumpcare has been the ultimate destruction of Medicaid. Sure, the so-called moderates have tried to either slow that down, or make it less drastic for their own states, but they have all agreed on the idea that it should be cut dramatically, and that its structure should be fundamentally altered so that it ends up being just another block grant program that gets shrunk to nothing over time.

This is where there is real danger in the “skinny repeal” strategy Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to have settled on.

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It’s gaining support, including from Nevada Sen. Dean Heller who’s strongly considering it. That’s just

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Republicans threaten financial stability and physical health of millions with Trumpcare

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When you boil Trumpcare down to its essence, what you get is the destruction of Medicaid. That’s been the goal of Republican lawmakers for decades, and more than anything is what’s driving this crazy, unprecedented, undemocratic drive by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There are two extremely salient stories every other Republican should be thinking about going into this thing, particularly those from states that expanded Medicaid. The first comes from Health Affairs, demonstrating that Medicaid expansion hasn’t just improved the health of enrollees—it’s improved their finances.

The researchers compared the change in both the uninsured rate and the rate of unpaid medical bills in both expansion and non-expansion states, before and after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. In terms of unpaid medical debt, both sets of states were essentially the same. But in 2015, after the law, “the share with medical debt fell 7 percentage

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Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?

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While it’s completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he’s still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he’ll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don’t cooperate. Or maybe he’s just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as

Continue reading “Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?”

Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?

Campaign Action

While it’s completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he’s still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he’ll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don’t cooperate. Or maybe he’s just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as

Continue reading “Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?”

Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?

Campaign Action

While it’s completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he’s still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he’ll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don’t cooperate. Or maybe he’s just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as

Continue reading “Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?”

Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?

Campaign Action

While it’s completely unclear as of now what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to force the Senate to vote on as early as next Tuesday, it is clear he’s still trying to bribe senators. It appears that he is trying to negotiate some kind of new Zombie Trumpcare (version 4.0?) while holding out the threat that he’ll force the Republican caucus to vote on a straight Obamacare repeal if they don’t cooperate. Or maybe he’s just scrambling and keeping all his options open. What he is doing, however, is offering some of the Medicaid expansion state senators a pittance to try to bring them along.

Senate Republican leaders and Trump administration officials, trying to rally support for their health care bill, are apparently dangling an offer of some new money to help low-income people get health insurance. It could be as

Continue reading “Will ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans fall for a bad Medicaid bribe?”

Cartoon: Repeal & Whatever

After trying varying degrees of cruelty with their replacement for the Affordable Care Act, it looks like Congressional Republicans may be throwing in the towel. Or not. They may try another last ditch effort that will satisfy a cold-hearted Senator Ted Cruz while at the same time appeasing a senator like Susan Collins of Maine. Balancing cruelty and extremism with more traditional conservative values sure is a difficult thing to do.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to exhibit all the legislative finesse of a MOAB. One day he wants to let Obamacare die while unleashing a tweet storm denying any personal responsibility, the next day he orders senators back to the negotiating table. (This, just one year after his “I alone can fix it” speech at the Republican National Convention.)

My guess is that Republicans in Congress won’t get their act together to pass their beloved “repeal

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Paul Ryan: Oh, hey, since we can’t destroy Medicaid, let’s go ahead and privatize Medicare

While Obamacare repeal—and the destruction of Medicaid—continues to crumble around Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s feet, House Speaker Paul Ryan is going back to his tried-and-true efforts to try to destroy Medicare. And this time around, Social Security is in his sights, too.

The proposal calls for more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs. It also serves “as a vehicle for changing taxes,” CNN reports, which is “the primary legislative focus of the 2018 budget.”
 
“In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black in a statement. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.”

The spending plan will likely face hurdles within the Republican Party: While

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: Oh, hey, since we can’t destroy Medicaid, let’s go ahead and privatize Medicare”

McConnell to moderates: Go ahead and vote to kill Medicaid, it’ll never really happen

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pulling out all the stops to get the Republican senators who are not down with killing Medicaid on board his Trumpcare bill. He’s telling them that they can vote safely for it, because the cuts won’t happen because a future Congress will stop them.

Here’s what McConnell has told several hesitant senators (including [Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): The bill’s deepest Medicaid cuts are far into the future, and they’ll never go into effect anyway.
“He’s trying to sell the pragmatists like Portman, like Capito on ‘the CPI-U will never happen,'” a GOP lobbyist and former Hill staffer told me.

Under the current version of the Senate health-care bill, federal Medicaid spending would drop by 26 percent starting in 2026, pegged to the Urban Consumer Price Index. That’s still eight-and-a-half years away—long past senators’ next

Continue reading “McConnell to moderates: Go ahead and vote to kill Medicaid, it’ll never really happen”

Some of the sickest children would be cut out of Medicaid with Trumpcare

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Some of the cruelest cuts that Republicans’ Trumpcare would make are to children. The threat to children in rural areas has been documented, and now researchers are looking beyond to children with complex conditions like cystic fibrosis, autism, and Down syndrome. Or, in this case, hemophilia.

Mike and his brother have hemophilia, a rare disorder that prevents blood from clotting and is a literal threat to life and limb. He requires intravenous infusions of an expensive drug at least every other day to prevent bleeding. Despite great care, Mike had a severe complication when he was younger: a stroke after a normal toddler fall. You might not notice sitting in a room with him now, but his recovery is the result of years of intensive physical and occupational therapy.

About 37 million children—including Mike—are covered by Medicaid, comprising nearly half of all Medicaid enrollees.

Continue reading “Some of the sickest children would be cut out of Medicaid with Trumpcare”

Rural kids, communities would lose the most under Trumpcare’s Medicaid cuts

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There will be a lot of pain to go around if Trumpcare passes and is signed into law, but some of the worst and most widespread pain will hit the Medicaid population. Even within that group, there will be relatively bigger losers, and children will be among them. Particularly, as a Los Angeles Times analysis of Medicaid enrollment data highlights, rural children.

[In 780] mostly rural counties across the country—the vast majority of which went for Trump—more than half the children rely for coverage on Medicaid and the related Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, according to a Times analysis of county voting data, census data and Medicaid enrollment data.
That is stoking rising alarm among parents, pediatricians and other medical providers in West Virginia and other largely rural states, including Arkansas, Tennessee, New Mexico and Maine.

“There is just no way to cut Medicaid on the scale that

Continue reading “Rural kids, communities would lose the most under Trumpcare’s Medicaid cuts”

John Cornyn channels Trump, takes to Twitter to say freedom means having no insurance

Of all the politicians to emulate, the number two guy in the Senate—John Cornyn (R-TX)—has chosen popular vote loser Donald Trump. On Twitter. He’s picking fights with reporters over Trumpcare, and it’s embarrassing for everyone.

It all started when he tweeted a Wall Street Journal story: “How Many Jobs Does ObamaCare Kill?” (A timely article for the right, considering the brand-new analysis showing that upward of a million job losses under Trumpcare.) Reporter Emily Singer retweeted him with this comment: “Apparently to Cornyn, he views 22 million people losing health care as a fair trade for maybe 250K jobs.”

To which Cornyn responds with this gem:

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Because the ultimate in freedom is having your elected officials take your health care away, make it too expensive to replace, and tell you

Continue reading “John Cornyn channels Trump, takes to Twitter to say freedom means having no insurance”

John Cornyn channels Trump, takes to Twitter to say freedom means having no insurance

Of all the politicians to emulate, the number two guy in the Senate—John Cornyn (R-TX)—has chosen popular vote loser Donald Trump. On Twitter. He’s picking fights with reporters over Trumpcare, and it’s embarrassing for everyone.

It all started when he tweeted a Wall Street Journal story: “How Many Jobs Does ObamaCare Kill?” (A timely article for the right, considering the brand-new analysis showing that upward of a million job losses under Trumpcare.) Reporter Emily Singer retweeted him with this comment: “Apparently to Cornyn, he views 22 million people losing health care as a fair trade for maybe 250K jobs.”

To which Cornyn responds with this gem:

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Because the ultimate in freedom is having your elected officials take your health care away, make it too expensive to replace, and tell you

Continue reading “John Cornyn channels Trump, takes to Twitter to say freedom means having no insurance”