Monday, March 13, 2017

Last Call For The Losing Score

The Congressional Budget Office estimates for the American Health Care Plan Trumpcare are out and they're even worse than expected as Vox's health care reporter Sarah Kliff explains.

The Congressional Budget Office report on AHCA runs five pages, and you can read it here. Here are the key points it makes:
  • CBO estimates 14 million would lose coverage in 2018, mostly people in the individual market. This report projects that much of the early coverage loss would stem from repealing Obamacare’s mandate that all Americans purchase coverage or pay a fine. “Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums,” the report concludes.
  • After that, increases in the uninsured would be from Medicaid cuts. After 2018, CBO thinks that most of the increase in the number of uninsured would stem from changes the AHCA would make to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, an expansion that allowed many more low-income adults to enroll in the program. The bill would “freeze” enrollment in that program on January 1, 2020. Medicaid enrollees would trickle off the rolls as their incomes changed. And this would lead to another big decline in coverage. The number of uninsured, CBO projects, would rise by 21 million in 2020 and hit 24 million in 2026.
  • The individual market would remain small but stable. CBO projects that as the individual market shrinks, premiums would rise between 10 to 15 percent as some healthy people flee in 2018. But over the next few years, the agency expects premiums to go down to 10 percent lower than under Obamacare. CBO thinks more young people will come into the market, as the GOP plan makes a number of changes to make the market more appealing to younger, healthier enrollees.
  • AHCA would be a huge cut to Medicaid. CBO estimates it would reduce spending on the health program for low-income Americans by $880 billion over the next decade. This helps explain why AHCA would reduce the deficit: The bill is spending a lot less money on entitlement programs.

In other words, the CBO estimates are actually worse that the Brookings Institute estimate from last week, if that tells you anything.

In fact you know it's bad, because Republicans like Paul Ryan are only talking about the long term 10% premium costs long term, and the deficit reduction.  Never mind it ruins health care for tens of millions of people, right?

This report confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care. CBO also finds that this legislation will provide massive tax relief, dramatically reduce the deficit, and make the most fundamental entitlement reform in more than a generation. 


Read em and weep boys.

Steve King's Still A White Nationalist

If, somehow, you're still uniformed as to Iowa Congressman Steve King's long, long history of public racism over the years in light of his awful tweet over the weekend that was so bad that David Duke applauded it, today King doubled down on his statement that Americans can't save the country with by having "somebody else's babies".

Rep. Steve King doubled down Monday on comments he made over the weekend in which he appeared to criticize foreigners and immigrants, drawing complaints of insensitivity on social media and from some of his Hill colleagues. 
King, a prominent Iowa Republican and a vocal advocate against illegal immigration, tweeted Sunday, "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." 
Asked by CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" to clarify his comments, King said he "meant exactly what I said." 
"You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values," King said, paraphrasing remarks he said he's delivered to audiences in Europe. "In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture, and you can strengthen your way of life." 
King said he'd like to see less of an emphasis on race in the future. 
"If you go down the road a few generations, or maybe centuries, with the inter-marriage, I'd like to see an America that is just so homogenous that we look a lot the same," he said
King, who was expressing support in his original tweet for far-right Dutch candidate Geert Wilders, predicted that "Europe will be entirely transformed within a half-century." 
King has long been concerned about the decline of "American culture," and said he merely wished to see immigrants better assimilate into the United States. Pressed whether he saw all Americans as equal, the Iowa congressman said their backgrounds mattered. 
"I'm a champion for Western civilization," King said, adding that all people do not contribute to American society equally. "They contribute differently to our culture and civilization."

This is literally White Nationalism Theory 101 here, that the "white race" is being wiped out by interracial couples, and that (white) American civilization is being supplanted by non-white (non) Americans who are not worthy of being considered as such and never will be.

I mean, this is actual Stormfront propaganda here, being spouted by a seven-term US Congressman. And King in particular has had a long history of this, well before the Trump era.  Josh Marshall has been covering Steve King for years at TPM. (So have I.)

Today people are apparently finding out and being terribly surprised that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is a white nationalist and racist and has been that more or less openly for years. Before yesterday's paean to "culture and demographics", Steve King was saying that for every Dreamer who's a valedictorian there are a hundred running drugs. The list of similar statements is all but endless.

We've been on the King beat for years. You can go through our archives and find dozens of offensive, stupid and frequently outright racist comments from King. But there's something more specific about King. King frequently speaks in the language of white nationalists and neo-Nazis who speak of 'white genocide' and America being overrun by non-whites.

He does and he has been for years.  But here's the thing: despite this long and visible history of racism, Steve King keeps getting reelected by Iowans to represent them in Congress.

The problem isn't Steve King.  It's the people who vote for Steve King time and time again despite his racism...or specifically because of it.

The American Health Don't Care Act

We now know what the Republican message is ahead of this week's CBO score of the GOP's Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act.  Republicans spent the weekend telling news shows that kicking millions of people off Medicaid will be doing them a favor.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, on Sunday said that Republican health care reform could not succeed unless people lost access to Medicaid.

Fox News host Chris Wallace noted during an interview with Jordan that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would phase out the law’s Medicaid expansion by 2020.

But Jordan argued that the 11 million people covered by Medicaid expansion should lose their coverage even sooner.

“Isn’t that going to create chaos and throw millions of people off of heath insurance?” Wallace wondered.

“The plan we passed that every Republican supported last Congress said there’s a two year effective date,” Jordan explained. “So, you would repeal Obamacare. But there’s still two years transition time. Everyone knows you need a transition time to bring back a market place.”

“I don’t view success as keeping Americans on Medicaid,” he added. “I view success as bringing down the cost of insurance so families can pick the plan that fits needs. That’s what we’re doing. We have a two year transition time for that.

“And again, remember what we told the voters. We said we’re going to repeal Obamacare, not keep Medicaid expansion around forever. We said we were going to repeal it. So, let’s do that.”

So here's the new message:  If we kick all those people off Medicaid, we'll be able to lower your premiums, so don't worry Trump voters.  We'll take care of you.

Nothing could be further from the truth though.  Republicans have repeatedly said that the goal of their replacement plan wasn't having people with coverage, it was "lowering costs" so that everybody could afford it (which is nonsense because that's literally what Medicaid is for.)

It's still going to be an easy sell to Trump voters of course, because he'll fix whatever real problems the AHCA has.  They're counting on that.  The problem is the Republicans running in 2018 aren't Trump.  They're the ones with the angry town hall constituents and voters threatening to ruin them.

Can Trump, Mitch, and Paul Ryan keep enough of them in line?

We'll see.


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