Once Again, AHCA Changes to Medicaid Are Not “Cuts”

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Here we go again.

One month ago today I was forced to defend President Trump’s terrible budget proposal (that has not and will never pass) against charges that it cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It doesn’t, obviously. It lowers their growth rates, but still leaves them almost doubling in spending over 10 years. That’s not a cut. And neither are the American Health Care Act’s changes to Medicaid.

The Atlantic describes those changes as follows (emphasis mine):

 

No, Trump’s Irrelevant Budget Doesn’t Cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security

 

If there’s one thing you can count on from Washington (besides death and taxes), it’s annual hysterics over the presidential budget proposal. What makes those hysterics even more obscene is that the presidential budget proposal never comes law. Never. Not even once. It’s as relevant as State of the Union wishlists.

Ever since Paul Ryan became the scion of Republican budgeting in 2008, the main fiscal argument against the GOP has been that they want to cut or eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Even though 2016 proved that lol nothing matters, this year is no different, as the first argument out of the gate against President Trump’s proposed budget is that it cuts all three.

It doesn’t, of course.

Spending for all three programs increases dramatically over the 10-year budget plan, with Medicare spending actually doubling in 2027.

Impeaching and Removing Trump is Risky but Probably Worth It Now

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Impeachment talk began before President Trump took office an excrutiatingly long four months ago, but after the reports about the Comey memo it’s become deafening. Democrats would need Republican help to get it done, but removing him from office might be the only way to return our national insanity to more tolerable levels.

Many analysts and friends discussing the recent revelations and the possibility of impeachment are trying to pinpoint exactly what law Trump may have broken. They’re missing the point.

Articles of impeachment filed in the House of Representative typically cite laws broken by the president, but they don’t have to. The only process required for impeachment is a simple majority vote in the House. The articles on which they vote can say anything they want to get those votes.

Additionally, everyone is talking about impeachment, but no one is following it up by talking about conviction. Impeaching a president doesn’t remove him from office; the additional step of a conviction is required. Like impeachment, conviction is determined by only a vote in Congress, but this time in the Senate.

The Alt-Right Are No Allies of LGBT Americans. Obviously.

Milo

The recent alt-right movement of American nationalists, white supremacists, and online trolls is by definition opposed to most minority groups - Muslims and Hispanic immigrants most prominently. But some in the movement purport to be LGBT allies, defenders of gays and lesbians against other minorities who would do them harm. They’re lying; I found out first hand this week.

One of the primary talking points in favor of alt-right/LGBT synergy is their support of the Assad regime in Syria. “Wut?”, you might say. The argument is indirect to be sure. ISIS persecutes and kills gays, Assad opposes ISIS (but not really), the alt-right supports Assad, therefore the alt-right supports gays.

As absurd as this argument is, they extend it even further to their general opposition of Muslims as a whole.

troll1

This is what we call “concern trolling”. This person and his allies do not actually care about me or my LGBT family, but are feigning concern in an effort to undermine my argument. Everything else they say proves it.

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Neobamacare 2.0: House Passes New AHCA That Still Doesn’t “Repeal Obamacare”

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If you don’t follow the news out of Washington carefully, you’d hardly know this was coming. The House today passed a new version of the American Health Care Act on a close 217-213 vote (20 Republicans voted against). Republicans are cheering, saying Obamacare has been repealed and replaced. It hasn’t.

This new bill does not repeal the Affordable Care Act in full, or even close. It eliminates three main planks: the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, the employer mandate to offer health insurance, and certain taxes that funded parts of it.

The rest of the “repeal” it leaves up to the states. It allows states to apply for waivers (that Secretary Price will undoubtedly approve) remove most of the mandates on insurance companies to cover certain things. These mandates drove up premiums and deductibles, but Democrats got to claim everything was covered for everyone, even though that coverage was largely unaffordable.

New Orleans Begins Erasing White Supremacy, Not History, By Removing Confederate Monuments

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This week the city of New Orleans began removing monuments to Confederate figures from public areas. This process began two years ago when the city council voted to remove the monuments but was then stalled by lawsuits attempting to keep them in place. The fact that it is considered “controversial” to remove monuments to a failed state that waged war against the United States of America in order to preserve its economic base of chattel slavery should appall every American.

The first monument removed on Monday was an obelisk in Liberty Place on Canal Street. This was no statue to an honorable general or great leader who happened to be on the wrong side of history. It was erected in 1891 to commemorate the attempted uprising sixteen years prior by the Crescent City White League to overthrow the recently elected Union-allied governor. They succeeded and occupied the state house for three days before President Grant sent in federal troops to clear them out.

The next monuments to come down will be statues of General Robert E Lee, PGT Beauregard, and first and only Confederate President Jefferson Davis. These are not the only honorifics bestowed on Confederate figures in the state. There are numerous schools, streets, and even parishes named after them. I happen to live in Jefferson Davis Parish, but there is also a Beauregard Parish and Allen Parish, named after a Confederate governor.

Conservatives REALLY Don’t Want to Call Syria a War; It’s Definitely a War

 U.S. Bombs Dropped on Foreign Soil  | Statista

The United States military has dropped almost 50,000 bombs on Syria and Iraq over the last two years. Most of that has been against ISIS targets in the desert regions between the two countries, but some, including President Trump’s airport bombings last week, were against the Assad regime itself.

 The U.S. dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016 | Statista

Eliminating the Filibuster Makes the Senate More Democratic, Not Less

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Apparently we needed more evidence that everyone in politics now holds the exact opposite positions on every process issue that they did for the entire eight years of the Obama presidency.

In 2013 the Democrats were fed up with Republicans’ obstruction of Obama’s judicial nominees, so they changed the rules of the Senate to only require a simple majority to stop debate and proceed to a vote, down from the usual 60.

Republicans condemned the move as against the character of the chamber, and anti-republican. They were right, in a sense.

Since Democrats now hold a 48-vote minority in the Senate after President Trump was elected, more than enough to block his Supreme Court nominee, both parties switched sides. Republicans eliminated the 60-vote threshold and confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Court with 54 votes.

No, 24 Million Will Not Lose Coverage Under TrumpCare

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I’m relunctant to defend this dumpster fire of a bill, but I do prefer arguments against it to be honest, and the main one right now isn’t.

Immediately after the Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act came out, headlines coalesced around the finding that 24 million people would lose coverage compared to current projections. Ignoring the fact that the initial CBO estimates about Obamacare itself were hilariously wrong about increased insurance coverage compared to Medicaid expansion, the headlines about the GOP proposal are just wrong.

Yes, the CBO estimates that 24 million fewer people will have insurance or Medicaid coverage in 2026 if Trumpcare replaces Obamacare. However, the bulk of them will not “lose coverage”; they will choose not to purchase it.

cbo

Trumpcare replaces the individual mandate that taxes people for not having some form of health coverage with the ability for insurers to charge people more if they haven’t had coverage recently.

If you stop forcing people to buy something…get this…fewer people will buy it. This isn’t the dystopian crisis that left-leaning media and pundits suggest; it’s their own panacea - choice. It’s freedom. 24 million people will not be denied coverage, they will decide not to buy it. That is a decision free citizens should be allowed to make.

#Neobamacare: The Good and (Mostly) Bad of the House GOP Health Care Plan

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When Obamacare passed in 2010, it marked a turning point in American politics from which we will almost certainly never recover. For fans, this was a good thing. For foes, necessarily bad. But a few permanent truths emerged that our current discourse must acknowledge.

We’re stuck with it now, and the main purpose of our politics will be to reform it every 4 years. That’s the point of any government-driven health care - having your own team control it.

And in that vein House Republicans have introduced their own version of health care reform reform - the American Health Care Act. President Trump has endorsed it, and HHS Secretary Price, who would implement it if passed, has called it a good first step in the process.

But the first step in the process was supposed to be repealing Obamacare itself in full. That’s what almost every Republican has campaigned on since the Tea Party wave in 2010. The AHCA doesn’t repeal the ACA in full, and in fact doubles down on much of it, just in a Republican way instead of a Democratic way.


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