Trumpcare promises to be a yuuuuge job-killer

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The Senate Trumpcare bill won’t just throw 22 million people off of their health insurance, by the Congressional Budget Office’s count. It would kill the hundreds of thousands of jobs that support those 22 million people’s healthcare coverage. According to an estimate from George Washington University public health analysts, it would be about 912,000 healthcare jobs. Vox profiles a couple of the individuals whose jobs are on the line.

CHICAGO — From their offices in a crumbling former nursing school, Aimee Dinschel and Michelle Pihlaja-Olson were preparing to interview 25 applicants for public health jobs. It should have been a moment of optimism for their hospital system, which only recently began to turn a profit after more than a century of bleeding money, and which was expanding its services to the poorest residents of Cook County. Instead, the women were worried.

The health care bill moving through the

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Low-cost medical care for rural students? Republicans love the idea, but not enough to fund it

The Republican “screw it, slash Medicaid to the bone” plan is so unthinking and slapdash that it would cut even programs they supposedly like. Take the use of telemedicine in schools. Of course it’s best for kids to see the doctor in person, but for kids from low-income families in rural areas with few doctors, that might not be an option at all, particularly if they need specialized care. The burden of primary care is increasingly falling on school nurses. Enter telemedicine:

“The goal of school-based tele-health is to support school nurses and be a resource for them when do they do have a student who needs care above what they can provide,” said Kathryn King Cristaldi, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on tele-health. 

Research generally shows telemedicine in schools helps kids avoid the costly emergency room because it forestalls the need for in-person care.

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Red-state school leaders raise the alarm: Trumpcare will hurt our kids

The giant cuts Republicans plan for Medicaid are going to hit schools hard, putting an end to things like school nurses, physical and speech therapists, hearing and vision screenings, and more for kids from low-income families. School principals and superintendents in red states are not happy about this—and they’re letting their senators know, Politico’s Kimberly Hefling reports.

Sasha Pudelski, assistant director for policy and advocacy with the superintendents group, said some Republican senators’ offices have heard from so many people connected to the effort that they’re getting angry about it, asking for it stop.

“We are getting under their skin about this issue,” Pudelski said.

A GOP aide said they are “absolutely” hearing from superintendents and other educators — and listening to their concerns.

“It makes a difference because it helps us to go back and say, ‘OK, is there something more that should or could be done?’”

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Democrats: Use Trumpcare chaos to push single-payer Medicare for all

Now is the time to educate Americans about health care in other countries and to bring single-payer Medicare for all into the debate. It is imperative that Democrats use the current chaos and state of flux to promote significant change in Obamacare that morphs it into the best system.

One of the problems with health care insurance is that our chaotic system provides many different experiences to Americans. Most of your costs are taken care of if you are on Medicare or Medicaid. If you work for a private employer or the government, you have relatively low deductibles and copays. However, if you are an individual, health insurance is a nightmare.

Most Americans get their insurance through their employers, Medicaid, or Medicare. As such, many do not empathize with the problems of those who must purchase their insurance individually. Roughly 10% of Americans are in the individual health insurance market.

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Unprecedented spite: The American carnage of the GOP health care bill

In December 2003, Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly opposed President Bush’s Medicare Part D prescription drug program. With good reason. The new benefit included the infamous “donut hole,” a gap in coverage which still saddled many seniors with out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions. Making matters worse for 45 million elderly and the United States Treasury alike, the law crafted by then representative and future PhRMA president Billy Tauzin (R-LA) prohibited Uncle Sam from negotiating drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies as the VA and most industrialized economies have long done. Adding insult to injury, the Republicans’ new government program was completely unfunded, adding a projected $400 billion to the national debt over a decade because, as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) later explained, “it was standard practice not to pay for things.”

But when its disastrous launch in January 2006 left “Bushcare” teetering on the brink of catastrophe, Democrats in Congress

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After CBO Medicaid analysis, Republicans suddenly aren’t talking about how their cuts aren’t cuts

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Notice what Republicans are not talking about this Friday? Medicaid and how $772 billion in cuts isn’t really a cut. No Republican has tweeted out any distorted graphs purporting to prove that cuts aren’t cuts and really, they’re adding money. They’re not talking about Medicaid at all. Particularly not about that Congressional Budget Office analysis talking about how funding will be 26 percent lower relative to current law in 2026 and 35 percent lower in 2036.

While the CBO warns that projecting beyond the first decade is difficult, the new report estimates that the slower growth rate would drive relative spending down even further in the second decade. By 2036, the government would spend 35 percent less on Medicaid than it would under current law.
If states couldn’t find ways to administer the program more efficiently, they would be forced to raise taxes, cut benefits, heighten eligibility requirements,

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Addiction experts warn McConnell’s $45 billion bribe to moderates won’t help with opioid epidemic

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In order to bribe Republican senators from the Medicaid expansion states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, namely Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Rob Portman (OH), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown $45 billion in treatment funds at them, $4.5 billion every year for the next decade. That’s not going to cut it, say addiction experts, because they can’t offset the drastic cuts to Medicaid in the proposal.

Medicaid currently pays for about 1.2 million adults to receive opioid addiction treatment, according to an analysis from Harvard and New York University researchers. Repealing the expansion, those researchers found, would rescind about $4.5 billion in annual funds that currently cover addiction treatment.

The solution, at least according to Portman and Capito, is to insert that money back into the system, albeit as a grant rather than within the Medicaid system. The number could still

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‘Rather go to jail than to die without Medicaid!’ Disability activists arrested at senator’s office

Colorado disability activists have been trying to meet with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to discuss the

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pending Republican healthcare bill, one Sen. Gardner had a hand in writing, that absolutely decimates Medicaid, leaving disabled citizens in terrifying limbo. Many will not be able to stay in their homes and could be forced into institutions if their Medicaid benefits are taken away. 

Sen. Gardner’s staff refused to meet with them and these fearless activists decided to settle in for the night. Their reason for hunkering down and demanding a meeting is nothing short of heartbreaking:

When asked why they would choose to spend all night in the hallway, Morris responded, “because they spend the night in a hallway in this building or they spend the rest of their life in an institution where they’re locked away.”

McConnell’s Trumpcare plan roiled by CBO’s report on dramatic Medicaid cuts

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The Congressional Budget Office’s new numbers on how dramatically the Senate Republicans’ plans for Medicaid would cut it is creating more turmoil among Senate Republicans. The CBO said that in the next ten years, Medicaid spending would be slashed by more than a quarter—26 percent, and in 2036, it would be reduced by more than a third—35 percent, relative to current law.

“That is going to cause a lot of harm, and that’s one of my biggest concerns about the bill,” Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine and a crucial holdout on the bill, told CNN after the release.
For Republican leaders who say Medicaid spending is unsustainable, the findings might be seen as evidence that their policies would work. They want to put annual caps on Medicaid spending and roll back the expansion of the program, which has extended coverage to millions of people in 31 states.

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CBO says Trumpcare would slash Medicaid dollars by a quarter in 2026, by more than a third in 2036

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The Congressional Budget Office worked fast in responding to Sen. Ron Wyden’s request for an analysis of the long-term cuts to Medicaid in Trumpcare. They must have had the data right at hand, because here it is.

In CBO’s assessment, Medicaid spending under the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 would be 26 percent lower in 2026 than it would be under the agency’s extended baseline, and the gap would widen to about 35 percent in 2036 (see figure below). Under CBO’s extended baseline, overall Medicaid spending would grow 5.1 percent per year during the next two decades, in part because prices for medical services would increase. Under this legislation, such spending would increase at a rate of 1.9 percent per year through 2026 and about 3.5 percent per year in the decade after that. […]
The first 10 years of projections in CBO’s extended

CBO

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High-ranking Democrat asks CBO to evaluate Trumpcare’s long-term Medicaid cuts

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has asked the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate the long-term impacts of the Medicaid cuts, which should once and for all debunk the ongoing Republican lie that cuts aren’t cuts. Wyden, as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, asks the CBO to “examine and make public an analysis of the Senate Republican health bill’s Medicaid cuts beyond the 10 year budget window.”

“The American public deserves to see the full extent of pain this bill will bring to people across the country who count on Medicaid as a lifeline.” Wyden said. “I’m hopeful that once my Republican colleagues understand the true implications of this dangerous legislation, they will reject it and work with Democrats to improve America’s health care system.” […]
In the bill, known as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” Medicaid becomes subject to a cap in

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Republicans deny they’re cutting Medicaid, but tell that to the people who would lose coverage

One of the big Republican talking points in favor of their very unpopular Trumpcare bill is that it doesn’t really cut Medicaid. How can they deny something that is made very clear in the Congressional Budget Office report on the bill? If you get into the details, they’re splitting hairs over the meaning of the word “cut,” but mostly they’re just denying reality.

Asked over the weekend about the prospect of Medicaid cuts, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said on ABC that Republicans were not in fact cutting funding for the government-run insurance program for the poor. “We don’t see them as cuts,” she said. Rather, Republicans want to slow the growth of Medicaid spending to preserve it.

Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, also resisted the notion that the Senate bill would cripple Medicaid. He argued on CBS that it would “codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion”

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Republicans are trashing Medicaid’s success to justify slashing it

As Republicans scramble to justify their plan to give rich people a tax break by slashing Medicaid, they’re simultaneously claiming that their cuts aren’t really cuts and that Medicaid doesn’t work, anyway, so cutting it is good. Neither of these things is true—the cuts are cuts, and Medicaid definitely works, according to multiple studies and Medicaid patients themselves. Here’s a sample of what Republicans are claiming:

At National Review, Oren Cass, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes, “in a randomized trial in Oregon that gave some individuals Medicaid while leaving others uninsured, recipients gained no statistically significant improvement in physical health after two years.”

Here’s the reality of that Oregon study:

… what it found, in short, was that Medicaid protected enrollees from catastrophic health costs; boosted the likelihood of people reporting they were in good, very good, or excellent health by 25 percent; cut

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Portman, McConnell clash over Medicaid policy in Trumpcare

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reportedly clashed in a meeting of Republican senators trying to hash out Medicaid cuts in Trumpcare Wednesday.

McConnell sided with conservatives eager to dramatically slow the program’s growth, and laid into Portman for opposing it.
“As OMB director, you backed entitlement reform,” he said, according to multiple GOP sources in the leadership meeting. Portman was Office of Management and Budget director under President George W. Bush, and McConnell was implying that Portman had changed his stance from when he worked in the White House.

But Portman, who has backed individual spending caps for Medicaid under the GOP plan but not the slower growth, was having none of it.

“The leadership has overreached on this bill,” Portman shot back.

Portman is a bellwether vote here, one who hadn’t been seriously considered as a real potential “no” vote, but if

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McConnell expected to ‘bribe off the moderates with opioid money’ to get Trumpcare votes

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell uses this recess to go looking for Trumpcare votes, guess who’s reportedly going to be offered major long-term policy shifts and who’s going to be offered short-term money that won’t have a positive impact. That’s right! The far right will get the policy concessions and the “moderates” will get some show money for opioid treatment even as the rest of the bill guts what’s needed to treat addiction. An administration source tells Axios:

“I think we’re going to pass this. I really think they’ll bribe off the moderates with opioid money and then actually move policy to shore up Mike Lee and Ted Cruz. … If it was going to fail, McConnell would’ve put it on the floor. He wants people on the record — put up or shut up. He would’ve said: ‘F— it, let’s fail now and move onto tax reform.’ … Now

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Tom Price, the man charged with enacting the Affordable Care Act, trashes it in op-ed

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Popular vote loser Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (you know, the really, really, corrupt one) has the job of every cabinet member—following and implementing existing law to the best of his ability. But Price wasn’t nominated—or confirmed by Republicans only—to do that. He’s there to do everything in his power to undermine one law—the Affordable Care Act. This week, the Wall Street Journal gave him a place to do that.

This year more than 1,000 counties had only one insurer in the ObamaCare market, meaning millions of Americans had no meaningful choice. Meanwhile, the insurers that did stay in the market increased premiums for their midlevel plans by an average of 25%. Premiums on the individual market are up about $3,000 since ObamaCare was implemented. Think about what else that money could buy!
It is too early to know how much premiums will rise

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Republican senators realize optics of blood money from Medicaid for tax cuts for rich aren’t good

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a new problem in trying to come up with a Trumpcare revision by Friday. There’s opposition from some surprising corners to the idea that they’re giving that completely egregious retroactive capital gains tax cut to the rich and slashing Medicaid at the same time. One of those senators isn’t a surprise—Susan Collins (ME) has stated a slew of objections to the bill and is almost certainly a solid “no” to anything McConnell produces this week. It’s the others that are making life more complicated for him.

Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Rounds of South Dakota both criticized the draft bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for repealing a surtax on net investment income imposed under Obamacare. […]
A third Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed discomfort with the idea of cutting taxes on the rich while transferring burdens on

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Drug overdose deaths reach record high in Mitch McConnell’s home state—Trumpcare will make it worse

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While Senate Majority Leader is planning to kill Medicaid as we know it and force 15 million people out of their health coverage this year, his constituents are dying at an alarming rate. He’s not lifting a finger to do anything about it.

The number of drug-overdose deaths in Kentucky hit a new high in 2016 because of rising abuse of heroin and a painkiller called fentanyl, according to a report released Tuesday.
The state recorded 1,404 overdose deaths, up from 1,248 in 2015, according to the report from the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

“Nearly every community in Kentucky experienced a fatal drug overdose last year — if that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a news release with the overdose report. “We don’t have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a massive problem.”

The Senate

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Smiling, healthy, insured Fox News host mocks Medicaid defenders: ‘we’re all going to die’ sometime

Fox News host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery says Democrats are acting “hysterical” in their defense of Medicaid because they have publicly (and rightly) noted that when you cut Medicaid, you are cutting people’s lives short. 

After showing clips of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Al Franken warning that thousands of people will die without Medicaid, they all had a good laugh, calling the warnings nothing more than hyperbole. A perfectly healthy (for now) Lisa Kennedy Montgomery took it a step further, saying, “We’re all going to die” some day! From Think Progress:

You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria,” she said. “You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know

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Smiling, healthy, insured Fox News host mocks Medicaid defenders: ‘we’re all going to die’ sometime

Fox News host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery says Democrats are acting “hysterical” in their defense of Medicaid because they have publicly (and rightly) noted that when you cut Medicaid, you are cutting people’s lives short. 

After showing clips of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Al Franken warning that thousands of people will die without Medicaid, they all had a good laugh, calling the warnings nothing more than hyperbole. A perfectly healthy (for now) Lisa Kennedy Montgomery took it a step further, saying, “We’re all going to die” some day! From Think Progress:

You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria,” she said. “You know what the crazy thing is? We’re all going to die. And they can’t predict — there’s no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know

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