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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 13, 2017

 

Health & fitness for office

by Tom Sullivan

The Master of Disaster wants to take a wrecking ball to the signature achievement of his predecessor, the Kenyan Usurper. His Hill colleagues having failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, he uncapped his mighty pen and set about the task on his own with yet another Executive Order. So badly does he want it killed, he almost walked out of his announcement without signing it. The Vice President had to call him back.

From the Washington Post:

The White House confirmed late Thursday that it would halt federal payments for cost-sharing reductions, although a statement did not specify when. Another statement a short time later by top officials at the Health and Human Services Department said the cutoff would be immediate. The subsidies total about $7 billion this year.

Trump has threatened for months to stop the payments, which go to insurers that are required by the law to help eligible consumers afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. But he held off while other administration officials warned him such a move would cause an implosion of the ACA marketplaces that could be blamed on Republicans, according to two individuals briefed on the decision.
This is part of the "synthetic repeal" Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration, mentioned last week in a tweet storm last week.

It's the slow sabotage of the system by people without a care for those harmed. The order includes recycled ideas that haven't worked in the past.

From the New York Times:

In a joint statement, the top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said Mr. Trump had “apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system.”

“It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America,” they said. “Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.”

Lawmakers from both parties have urged the president to continue the payments. Mr. Trump had raised the possibility of eliminating the subsidies at a White House meeting with Republican senators several months ago. At the time, one senator told him that the Republican Party would effectively “own health care” as a political issue if the president did so.
Jonathan Chait observes that sabotage would be unnecessary if the system truly were imploding as advertised (by the GOP):
The exchanges in 2017 had stabilized financially, as insurers found a profitable price point. The Republican Party has, as a matter of theological principle, refused to accept the possibility that Obamacare might succeed at its stated ends. If Obamacare were truly collapsing, sabotage would not be necessary. It is the law’s success, not its failure, that has made Trump so determined to wreck it.

********************

In press photos from yesterday's signing, Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's 5th District features conspicuously in front next to the sitting president. Foxx is not on any committees with oversight of health care and has never been prominent in health care debates, so why she was there is a mystery.

Or maybe not, as Howie reminded readers this week:
... most people outside of North Carolina who have ever heard of this unfortunate batshitcrazy extremist just know Virginia Foxx for her tight embrace of bigotry and radical right buffoonery. In North Carolina, everyone knows she hates immigrants and she hates gays and she hates... well... she sure hates public education. She just doesn't believe in it. Like so many Republicans, she doesn't think education is for everyone, just for the wealthy. So it's completely appropriate that this year, she's fighting for her political life against Jenny, a dedicated public school teacher.
That would be my friend Jenny Marshall. Jenny has been working the district hard since serving as a Sanders organizer and delegate to the 2016 DNC convention. You can help Jenny help Virginia Foxx find her way back to Watauga County at Blue America.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.