The Morning Roundup: GOP Health Care Plan Leaves 23 Million Without Insurance | News
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Morning Roundup: GOP Health Care Plan Leaves 23 Million Without Insurance

Posted by on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 9:09 AM

Wednesday was another banner day for the GOP. Let's take a stroll through some headlines.

1) Obamacare replacement would leave twenty-three million out in the cold, according to the CBO.

Premiums would go down (at least for the young, wealthy, and healthy), but costs would go up for people with preexisting conditions. And more than twenty million would lose coverage altogether. From The New York Times, by way of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office:
A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under President Barack Obama’s health law — and 23 million more in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Some of the nation’s sickest would pay much more for health care.

Under the House bill, the number of uninsured would be slightly lower, but deficits would be somewhat higher, than the budget office estimated before Republican leaders made a series of changes to win enough votes for passage. Beneath the headline-grabbing numbers, those legislative tweaks would bring huge changes to the American health care system.

In many states, insurance costs could soar for consumers who are sick or have pre-existing conditions, while premiums would fall for the healthy, the new estimate concludes. […] In addition, it said, “out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars.”

2) The attorney Trump hired for Kremlingate has ties to … wait for it … Russia.

Can’t make this stuff up. From CNN:
The prominent New York lawyer expected to represent President Donald Trump in the widening Russia probes has professional connections of his own to Moscow, which could create yet another public-relations problem for the White House.

Marc Kasowitz, who has been Trump's go-to lawyer for years on both personal and business matters, is defending a Russian bank, OJSC Sberbank, in an ongoing lawsuit in US court. He also represents a company controlled by a Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to the Kremlin.
Speaking of Russia:

3) Jeff Sessions lied.

The attorney general appears to have fibbed on his security clearance form. Also from CNN:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday.

Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn't note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list "any contact" he or his family had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said.

The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials. He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year.
And even MORE Russia ...

4) Top Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump aides last summer.

From The New York Times:
American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.

Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Mr. Flynn. Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russia, who at one time had worked closely with Mr. Manafort.
5) Montana Republican congressional candidate charged with assaulting reporter.

America, 2017, man.

Here’s a first-person account from a Fox News (!) reporter:
Faith, Keith and I arrived early to set up for the interview in a room adjacent to another room where a volunteer BBQ was to take place. As the time for the interview neared, Gianforte came into the room. We exchanged pleasantries and made small talk about restaurants and Bozeman.

During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte's face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!"

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized.
Gianforte has since been charged with misdemeanor assault. The state’s three biggest newspapers have all rescinded their endorsements. The special election is today; the Republican was a slight favorite, though Democrat Rob Quist was posing an unexpectedly stiff challenge. More than half of the estimated total ballots in the election had already been cast, according to the Times, so it’s unclear how much this late turn of events will affect the result.

From the Politics Is Broken files, Republicans have been basically silent:
National Republicans invested in a special election for a vacant House seat in Montana were mostly silent Wednesday evening after their candidate, Greg Gianforte, was accused of assaulting a reporter before a campaign event.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to representatives with House Speaker Paul Ryan's political team, with the National Republican Congressional Committee, and with the Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund.

Each group has a stake in the outcome of Thursday's contest between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. And each group was silent in response.
On to some local news.

6) State Treasurer Dale Folwell thinks thousands are on State Health Plan fraudulently.

By July 31, every state employee on the State Health Plan must provide documentation that proves their spouses and children are, in fact, their spouses and children. From the INDY:
On Wednesday, the INDY reached out to state treasurer Dale Folwell Wednesday to ask why he feels an audit is necessary—and why, while he hopes an audit will reveal zero cases of insurance fraud, he believes the numbers will be in the thousands, which translates to tens of millions of misspent dollars. And the fault, he says, lies with human resource directors across the state (there are more than one thousand) who simply did not perform their jobs.
You can read the complete Q&A with Folwell here.

6) The NBA buys into the HB 2 "compromise" and awards Charlotte the 2019 All-Star Game.

Governor Roy Cooper is touting this as another organization noting the "progress" North Carolina has made. We think he's wrong.

Here's a bit of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's statement, which appeared on the INDY's website:
“We have decided to award NBA All-Star 2019 to Charlotte based on this deep connection and the belief that we can honor our shared values of equality and inclusion, and we are excited to bring the All-Star Game back to Charlotte for the first time in 28 years.

While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law. Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies. All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.

Sports have a long history of helping to change attitudes around important social issues. We believe holding our All-Star activities in Charlotte will be a powerful way for the NBA to continue this tradition.”
That should just about do it. Have a great Thursday.

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