Tom Price is coming after Medicare, Obamacare under the guise of helping doctors

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, arguably the most corrupt member of the Trump administration outside of the Trump family, is going after Medicare and the Affordable Care Act and government all in one fell swoop. He’s doing it for his fellow physicians, he says, which is probably true. But there’s no doubt that his toxic anti-government, anti-Medicare ideology is at work here.

It was, on its surface, another of the health secretary’s many meetings with “victims” of Obamacare — this time with some of the conservative physicians who felt the law was hurting their patients and their own bottom lines. An official readout from Price’s staff trumpeted the eight participating physicians as “witnesses” to Obamacare’s failings.
But that wasn’t Price’s only message to the doctors, according to two participants in the meeting. The health secretary also signaled he would protect the doctors from a raft of

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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”

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.

x

<

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.

x

<

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”

Lies, damn lies, and fake news

In his 2007 book The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore warned about what he saw as a dire threat to American democracy. “The ‘well-informed citizenry,’” Gore fretted, ”is in danger of becoming the ‘well-amused audience.’” In a presentation on Super Tuesday 2008 (“That’s Entertainment: Politics as Theater in Campaign ‘08”), I elaborated on Gore’s alert.

When politics is entertainment, the first thing that suffers is the truth.

More than nine years later, the American people have a professional entertainer in the Oval Office. And as recent headlines have shown, the truth is suffering indeed. Despite the unified assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin’s Russia interfered in the 2016 election, only one-third of Republicans polled believe it. Other surveys found that 72 percent of Trump voters said stories about Russia are “fake news,” with 32 percent even rejecting the claim that Donald

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Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare runs very deep

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The taxpayer dollars you are sending to Washington, D.C., to help people get health insurance coverage are actually being used by the Trump administration to destroy the very program that would achieve that goal. Does that sound like something the federal government should be doing, using funding for a program to destroy that program? No? Well, it’s happening.

The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it.

The effort, which involves a multi-pronged social media push as well as video testimonials designed at damaging public opinion of President Obama’s health care law, is far more robust and sustained than has been publicly revealed or realized.

The strategy has caught the eye of legal experts and Democrats in Congress, who have asked government

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Tom Price’s Health and Human Services Dept. forced to admit Obamacare is doing pretty well

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This is inconvenient for the Trump administration. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, part of Tom Price’s Department of Health and Human Services, mis out with its report on the health of the insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act for 2016, and it’s pretty good.

The transitional reinsurance and permanent risk adjustment programs functioned smoothly for the 2016 benefit year, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act compliant market continued to grow. […]
The transitional reinsurance program continues to provide significant protection to individual market issuers with exceptionally high-cost enrollees. […]

Both the transitional reinsurance program and the permanent risk adjustment program are working as intended in compensating plans that enrolled higher-risk individuals, thereby protecting issuers against adverse selection within a market within a state and supporting them in offering products that serve all types of consumers.

Those are the top-level findings, all boiling down

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Trump and Republicans lie about Medicaid spending … now with handy charts

On Wednesday, Republicans continued their effort to sell their miserable death-inducing wealthcare plan. In an effort to make it look less like an anti-Robin Hood money grab that steals from the poor to give to the very rich (which it is), they resorted to that most Ross Perot-like way of explaining numbers—badly made charts. Both Donald Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price deployed charts to “prove” that the Republican healthcare plan was not cutting Medicaid. Both of them are wrong.

Trump’s chart was, of course, attached to a tweet, and was laid out with such lack of skill that it was easy to picture Trump himself spending hours with Excel for Dummies Donald, puzzling it out. However, the plain ugliness of the graph disguises some genuine skill in distorting information that argues Trump wasn’t actually at the helm.

Badly made chart of Medicaid spending

Price clearly has access to aides with a little more experience in both graphic tools

Price_Healthcare.jfif

Continue reading “Trump and Republicans lie about Medicaid spending … now with handy charts”

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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McConnell is keeping Trumpcare such a secret even Trump’s health secretary hasn’t seen it

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Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s Trumpcare bill is such a big secret, even popular vote loser Donald Trump’s health secretary Tom Price hasn’t seen it, but he doesn’t seem too concerned by that fact. Testifying at a Senate hearing Thursday morning, Price was asked by Democratic Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, “Have you or anyone in your department seen what the Senate Republicans are working on in terms of their version of Trumpcare?”

Price says that he’s “had multiple conversations with senators,” and that his staff “has provided technical assistance,” but that he himself has not “seen any legislative language.”

Durbin: You have not seen it? You haven’t seen it either?

Price: As I say, my staff has provided some technical assistance to individuals, but I haven’t seen any legislative—

Durbin: Well, we haven’t seen it either. And we’re told that we’re going to vote on it

Continue reading “McConnell is keeping Trumpcare such a secret even Trump’s health secretary hasn’t seen it”

Why doctors in charge of HUD and HHS still won’t improve health outcomes

Where a person lives can determine all kinds of important health outcomes. So it’s significant that doctors within the Trump administration are now uniquely positioned to make an impact on housing and health outcomes for Americans, according to Dr. Prabhjot Singh. If a person’s living situation is not stable, they are at greater risk of becoming ill. Thus, Singh notes, solutions aiming to improve the health care of Americans must go beyond the physical to include the social, as well. 

In recent years, research has demonstrated that there’s a strong relationship between safe and affordable housing and improved health. The findings of a 2013 Federal Interagency Working Group further reinforced the conclusion that improving housing conditions can have a dramatic impact on patients’ health. But despite all we know, our health systems do not address patients’ housing needs as a matter of course. That’s not what they were designed to do. 

However,

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Trump’s hiring freeze has left a scary number of public health jobs vacant

Tom Price, Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary, calls the Centers for Disease Control “an absolute jewel to our nation.” But under his so-called leadership, the CDC has 700 vacant jobs thanks to a continuing hiring freeze.

Several positions are in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, which regulates some of the world’s most dangerous bacteria and viruses and manages the nation’s stockpile of emergency medical countermeasures. Others include positions in the director’s office, infectious disease offices and the office for noncommunicable diseases, injury and environmental health.

The National Institutes of Health has the same problem:

At NIH, hiring is permitted for “essential patient care staff vacancies,” but reassignments are not allowed and contractors cannot be used for full-time duties, according to an internal NIH memo last month.

Some support positions, such as program assistants and laboratory assistants, remain vacant. Many of those personnel log in or

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Top Republicans conduct tiny bit of oversight on Tom Price over staff communications crackdown

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is enjoying being dictator of his own little fiefdom, getting reporters arrested for trying to ask him questions and barring his staff from talking to Congress. Which isn’t going over well even with Republican Congress.

The May 3 memo from HHS Secretary Tom Price’s chief of staff, Lance Leggitt, instructed employees not to have “any communications” with members of Congress or their staffs without first consulting the department’s assistant secretary for legislation. Leggitt’s memo said he was only restating a long-standing policy on congressional relations and gave eight examples of contacts needing approval, including requests for calls, briefings, hearings and oversight.
The 10-sentence memo drew an incensed reply from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairmen, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. They asked Price to clarify in writing Leggitt’s

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