The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance

What was definitely missing from the Donald Trump Tax Cuts Act the House Republicans unveiled this week? It didn’t have enough Obamcare repeal. So they’re going to add it. Because it’s just one more way to screw over the middle class.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday that lawmakers are considering repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their tax-reform bill given President Trump’s repeated demands to do so.
Brady said Trump has told him twice by phone and once in person that he wants the mandate repealed in the tax bill. Trump has also publicly called for the idea. […]

“No decisions have been made; we’re listening to members and certainly the president as well,” Brady said.  

Still, he noted that the idea is under consideration. He said lawmakers have asked the Congressional Budget Office for an updated analysis with the mandate’s repeal

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The Republican tax cuts plan, now with more people losing their health insurance

What was definitely missing from the Donald Trump Tax Cuts Act the House Republicans unveiled this week? It didn’t have enough Obamcare repeal. So they’re going to add it. Because it’s just one more way to screw over the middle class.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Friday that lawmakers are considering repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their tax-reform bill given President Trump’s repeated demands to do so.
Brady said Trump has told him twice by phone and once in person that he wants the mandate repealed in the tax bill. Trump has also publicly called for the idea. […]

“No decisions have been made; we’re listening to members and certainly the president as well,” Brady said.  

Still, he noted that the idea is under consideration. He said lawmakers have asked the Congressional Budget Office for an updated analysis with the mandate’s repeal

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Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go

It is now August. The House of Representatives got the hell out of town last week. Senate leadership is rushing to the doors. And popular vote loser Donald Trump is still having his Trumpcare tantrum.

While Republicans in the Senate have announced plans for bipartisan hearings on health care beginning when Congress returns to work after Labor Day, the White House is making clear that President Donald Trump continues to look for more immediate answers on a GOP health care bill that would involve getting only a majority of Republican votes in the Senate, as he meets Wednesday afternoon with one key GOP lawmaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. […]
Portman has made clear to reporters in recent days that while last week’s defeat of the GOP ‘skinny’ bill was a setback, he’s not ready to give up on the GOP figuring out how to get to 50 votes in

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Trump is not going to let Trumpcare go

It is now August. The House of Representatives got the hell out of town last week. Senate leadership is rushing to the doors. And popular vote loser Donald Trump is still having his Trumpcare tantrum.

While Republicans in the Senate have announced plans for bipartisan hearings on health care beginning when Congress returns to work after Labor Day, the White House is making clear that President Donald Trump continues to look for more immediate answers on a GOP health care bill that would involve getting only a majority of Republican votes in the Senate, as he meets Wednesday afternoon with one key GOP lawmaker, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. […]
Portman has made clear to reporters in recent days that while last week’s defeat of the GOP ‘skinny’ bill was a setback, he’s not ready to give up on the GOP figuring out how to get to 50 votes in

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What we’re talking about when we talk about Trump sabotaging Obamacare

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Popular vote loser Donald Trump has had one remarkably consistent idea when it comes to Obamacare: his ability to destroy it from within, or try to anyway, by withholding critical payments from the federal government to insurers who are essentially subsidizing the out-of-pocket expenses for lower-income people buying insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. Basically, the payments compensate insurance companies who are making low-deductible plans available to lower-income people. Those enrollees, by the way, make up about 58 percent, or about 7 million, of all the Obamacare customers.

What happens if they go away, as early as today, as rumors suggest? The individual markets would be drastically disrupted and could potentially collapse completely. And who gets really hit? The middle class and lower-income people.

Insurers would have to decide whether to increase premiums for everyone in order to lower co-pays for people who get the

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No rest for the so-far victorious: Republicans trying to revive the Zombie of Zombie Trumpcare

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We’ve had a weekend to celebrate, to rub popular vote loser Trump’s nose in the defeat of Trumpcare, but the party’s over. The fight continues because Republicans are assholes and won’t stop until only the people who can afford to pay directly for medical care can get it. Obamacare repeal can, and very well might, still come back.

Despite a reddit post to the contrary that’s been getting an awful lot of attention, the repeal bill is still on the Senate calendar with the threat of once again crawling out of its coffin. That doesn’t mean Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to bring it back—his last words on the issue were “It’s time to move on” directly following last week’s dramatic failure. That failure was on the Better Care Reconciliation Act which was just an amendment to the actual bill on the floor—the House-passed American Health Care

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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

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Senate Democrats stepped up, and they saved Obamacare

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Sure, the trio of Republican defectors in the Senate—Collins, McCain, and Murkowski—are getting lots of plaudits for standing up to leadership to kill Trumpcare. But what absolutely has to be recognized and applauded is the unity of Senate Democrats throughout.

Start with the five Democrats who are all up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump won by more than 20 points: Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jon Tester of Montana. Five more are also in states that Trump won but by smaller margins: Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. Not one of them gave an inch in working with McConnell to undermine Obamacare. Not one of their votes—even in procedural motions—were in question throughout the process.

Thank Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of

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So, McConnell—about that promise to start shoring up Obamacare markets …

Three weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made what he considered his worst threat: if the Senate Republicans didn’t pass an Affordable Care Act repeal, they would have to work with Democrats on fixing it.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said. “No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

Over-the-top rhetoric aside, it’s time to fulfill that promise. Insurance markets are NOT imploding all over the place, but popular vote loser Donald Trump is going to do his damnedest to make it happen.

Democrats are more than ready with their ideas for strengthening the ACA. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer laid out a few this morning, including resolving the issue of cost-sharing reduction payments that

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Mitch McConnell’s best efforts to destroy the Senate fail—for now

Last night Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain delivered a reprieve not just for millions of people whose health care hung in the balance, but for the institution of the Senate and maybe even the republic. It’s impossible to overstate just how not normal this whole fiasco has been. Every false charge Republicans ever leveled against the process Democrats were forced to resort to in order to pass the Affordable Care Act in the first place became the blueprint for how they proceeded over the past months.

The first lie was that Republicans were entirely shut out of the process of crafting Obamacare. That lie has persisted for eight years, since meetings—bipartisan meetings—began on Obamacare in 2009. Just to recap that process, the Senate Health Committee had 60 hours of debate and mark-up for the bill, then the Finance Committee took it up and spent eight days

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In shocker, Senate Republicans fail to strip health care from millions in dead of night

A remarkable thing happened in the Senate tonight. Enough Republican Senators realized that they could stop a bill that they did not want to become law by voting against it. The skinny Trumpcare bill failed, 49-51, when Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), John McCain (AZ), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted no. We might have to say nice things about McCain for a while. Stupid Sen. Dean Heller (NV), who has the most to lose, did not take this opportunity and voted with his leader.

Enough Senate Republicans decided that they couldn’t use the excuse House Speaker Paul Ryan gave them in his half-hearted endorsement of the House and Senate going to a conference committee to vote for this thing. They didn’t want to  kick sixteen million people off of their health insurance next year. Or maybe they were just embarrassed by the whole dismal farce of a legislative process this whole

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CBO scores skinny Trumpcare: 16 million lose coverage, premiums increase 20 percent by next year

We’ve got skinny Trumpcare or Zombie Trumpcare 5.0—or the John McCain Surrenders the Last Shreds of His Integrity bill—finally on the floor and the CBO worked fast to figure out what it’s going to do.

What it’s going to do is kick 16 million people out of their health insurance in the next year. An election year. Because the bill doesn’t include Medicaid, by some miracle, the loss of insurance is somewhat curtailed compared to other bills the Republicans have been struggling with.  Besides that, it’s going to increase premiums in the non-group market “by roughly 20 percent relative to current law in all years between 2018 and 2026.” It’s also going to mean a death spiral kicks in, because as fewer healthy people sign up, the higher premiums go and more insurers leave the markets.

That’s as it stands now. The House may or may not decide to

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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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John McCain and friends demand that Paul Ryan doesn’t let the bill they want to pass become law

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ_, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) all really, really don’t want the skinny Trumpcare bill they are going to vote on in the coming hours to become law. They really, really hate it. They just held a press conference to say so.
 
Johnson says “‘virtually nothing we’re doing in any of these bills’ are keeping their promise to fix the problems with health care.” Graham called it a “fraud,” “disaster,” “pig in a poke” and also “half-assed.” McCain, again, said they needed some bipartisanship here.

So they’re all voting against it, right? Wrong.

This whole exercise was to say that they are going to vote for this bill just as long as House Speaker Paul Ryan promises he won’t let it become law. They are demanding a bipartisan conference committee with input from all the governors. And what will

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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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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

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Senate Parliamentarian nixes ACA regulation waivers in skinny Trumpcare: Will McConnell go nuclear?

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled out another part of the plan Senate Republicans have for their skinny repeal/Trumpcare proposal. The provision saying states could waive Obamacare’s essential health benefits regulations is nixed.

If it’s going to happen, it’s going to have to get 60 votes—and that’s not going to happen. So, if they want to keep those waivers and undo regulations, which the hard-right extremists like Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz insist on ending, they’ve got to figure out a radically different way of doing it.

Or McConnell blows up the Senate again, as the extremists have been goading him to do for months. He could ask the Senate president—in this case Vice President Pence, who would be in the chair when the bill came up—to overrule the parliamentarian. But then the Senate would have to vote on it, and McConnell would have to get 50 of his colleagues to agree

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McCain says the health and lives of millions of Americans aren’t as important as his defense bill

Arizona Sen. John McCain made his position on whatever it is the Senate is doing today on Affordable Care Act repeal and Trumpcare very clear in an exchange with Sen. Chuck Schumer Thursday morning: just get done with this so we can get to what matters—McCain’s defense authorization bill.

Schumer had just declared his intention, now that Republicans apparently are actually intent on passing their skinny repeal bill, to have “numerous” amendments, and “many more” amendments after the bill hits the floor. He also made clear he wasn’t going to give consent to bring up McCain’s defense authorization bill in the middle of this massive healthcare fiasco.

That apparently enraged McCain (which isn’t hard to do) because he wants to just set aside this whole taking health insurance away from millions of people thing so that they can get to what matters. “I believe,” he told Schumer, “that our obligation to the

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Planned Parenthood defunding reportedly back in ‘skinny repeal’ proposal

One of the things scratched on the napkin Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be taking into lunch today, where a cabal of Republican senators apparently plan on writing their Obamacare repeal bill, is Planned Parenthood defunding. But wait, you say, didn’t the Senate Parliamentarian already say they couldn’t do that without 60 votes? Yes, she did. Nevertheless, they are persisting. According to Axios, this is the working list they’re taking into lunch.

  • Individual mandate repeal
  • Partial repeal of the employer mandate
  • A one-year defunding of Planned Parenthood
  • More money for community health centers
  • A provision addressing the ACA’s 1332 innovation waivers. The Senate replacement bill would have made them much more flexible, allowing ACA regulations like essential health benefits to be waived. It’s unclear how much more flexible they’ll be under skinny repeal, especially because it remains unclear whether the original expanded waivers complied with budget rules.

They’re going to have

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