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  • July 5, 2017
    Unprecedented Spite: The American Carnage of the GOP Health Care Bill

    In December 2003, Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly opposed President Bush's Medicare Part D prescription drug program. With good reason. The new benefit included the infamous "donut hole," a gap in coverage which still saddled many seniors with out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions. Making matters worse for 45 million elderly and the United States Treasury alike, the law crafted by then representative and future PhRMA president Billy Tauzin (R-LA) prohibited Uncle Sam from negotiating drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies as the VA and most industrialized economies have long done. Adding insult to injury, the Republicans' new government program was completely unfunded, adding a projected $400 billion to the national debt over a decade because, as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) later explained, "it was standard practice not to pay for things."

    But when its disastrous launch in January 2006 left "Bushcare" teetering on the brink of catastrophe, Democrats in Congress and in the states moved quickly to help the administration and American seniors. Computer systems failed. The web-based comparison shopping "exchange" experienced serious glitches. Some six million Medicare/Medicaid "dual eligibles" found themselves unable to get their prescriptions filled. As future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) put it, "The implementation of the Medicare plan has been horrendous." Nevertheless, as the New York Times reported on January 16, 2006, 20 states--most of them Democratic--"announced that they will help low-income people by paying drug claims that should have been paid by the federal Medicare program." As a freshman Senator named Hillary Clinton explained her party's response to the Republican fiasco:

    "I voted against it, but once it passed I certainly determined that I would try to do everything I could to make sure that New Yorkers understood it, could access it, and make the best of it."

    To put it another way, both sides don't do it.

    As the unveiling of the Senate GOP health care bill this week once again showed, the subterfuge, sabotage and sheer cruelty of the 8-year Republican effort to abort the Affordable Care Act know no limits. A calamity a wiser Donald Trump might call "American carnage"--22 million more uninsured Americans, millions more facing financial ruin, gutted essential health protections, skyrocketing premiums to maintain comparable coverage, jacked-up deductibles, spiraling out of pockets costs and over 200,000 needless deaths by 2026, all to fund an $600 billion tax cut windfall for the wealthy--Mitch McConnell's "Better Care Reconciliation Act" has nothing to do with "replacing" Obamacare. For 25 years, Republicans have never wanted to enable universal health care coverage for the American people, but only to prevent the Democratic Party from doing so.

    We know this--that is, that Republicans feared not Obamacare's failure, but its success--because they told us so.

    Continue reading at Daily Kos.

    Perrspective 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Share

    June 20, 2017
    Commander in Chief Trump Goes AWOL

    "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." With that phrase, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States ensures civilian control over--and accountability for--the American military. While the power to declare war rests with Congress, responsibility for America's global vision, its foreign policy and national security objectives, the military strategies to achieve them, the operational plans they entail and, most solemn of all, putting the lives of servicemen and women in harm's way, rest with the president alone.

    But what if the occupant of the White House fails to fulfill his constitutionally-mandated role as commander in chief? How would U.S. allies and enemies alike react to the strategic confusion and policy-making void left by the president's abdication of his or her most important job? What should the American people believe--what should their 1.5 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines do--when the Pentagon's mission is a mystery?

    Sadly, these questions are not hypothetical. As his decision this week to delegate Afghanistan strategy and force levels to the secretary of defense once again showed, commander in chief Donald Trump is absent without leave.

    As the New York Times and the Washington Post reported this week, President Trump announced this week that when it comes to America's 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, the buck stops at the Pentagon.

    President Trump's decision to delegate authority to the Pentagon to set troop levels in Afghanistan has raised concerns that a few thousand additional troops expected to deploy soon could be just the beginning of a new surge in the country after 15 years of war.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis assured lawmakers Wednesday that a large increase in deployed forced will not happen, but some experts and former battlefield commanders warned the White House and Congress should be careful not to give the Pentagon a blank check.

    Those experts are right to be worried.

    Continue reading at Daily Kos.

    Perrspective 9:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Share

    June 19, 2017
    Ask Your Senator if Trumpcara™ is Right for You

    Are you ashamed to be seen with your health care bill? Do you fear facing your own constituents? Are you plagued by feelings of dread and mild nausea at the thought of disappointing your seething supporters, angry activists and demanding donors?

    If you answered "yes" to all these questions, you might be a Republican member of Congress suffering from moderate to severe Irritable Base Syndrome (IBS).

    That's where Trumpcara comes in. Brought to you by the good people of GOPLabs®, Trumpcara keeps your IBS at bay. With one simple vote, you calm the outbreak of red rage and make your pain and discomfort--and insurance for 23 million Americans--disappear!

    As for everyone else, ask your Senator if Trumpcara is right for you. Trumpcara (appallinghealthcareinamerica) legislation isn't recommended for anyone under the age of 65. Trumpcara can cause serious side effects, including:

    • The loss of coverage for three million children under the age of 18, 6.4 million young adults ages 18 to 29, 8.2 million people ages 30 to 49 and 5.1 million older Americans in the reliably Republican 50 to 64-year-old age range.
    • Between 21,000 and 50,000 needless deaths due to uninsurance very year.
    • Mild to severe cashectomies and even financial ruin, as insufficient, age-based tax credits that grow too slowly make insurance premiums unaffordable for older, sicker and less affluent Americans.
    • Conditions like "empty pocket disorder" and deductitis, as the end of the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reductions and essential health benefits along with new surcharges or disqualification to do preexisting conditions saddle families with massive new expenses.
    • "Collateral closures" of rural hospitals and clinics as the gutting of Medicaid puts the onus for covering 51 million uninsured on cash-strapped states.
    • Degenerative employer-provided insurance, as terminated Obamacare health care benefits bring back the worst excesses of the insurance industry including annual and lifetime caps on benefits.
    • "Red state blowback," a tragically ironic affliction of voters in states carried by Donald Trump, states with higher percentages of people of preexisting conditions and fewer choices of insurers.
    • Upward income redistribution caused by an $800 billion transfusion administered by the U.S. Treasury to the wealthiest people in America, a process doctors call "enrichening."

    Women should not handle copies of the legislative text. Nine out of 10 women who read the bill suffered from the immediate onset of severe depression due to the likely loss of coverage for contraception and maternity care. Women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant shouldn't take Trumpcara. In fact, in many states they won't be able to, as waivers from required "essential health benefits" will allow insurers to drop coverage for maternity care.

    So, if you're a GOP incumbent and want to make it to November 2018 without being primaried, take Trumpcara. It's not health care. And in the Senate, it's not even a bill.

    Trumpcara is trademark and GOPLabs is a registered trademarked of GOPLabs, Inc.

    Perrspective 6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Share

    June 15, 2017
    Republicans Betray Their Gray-Haired Base with Trumpcare

    Ever since Donald Trump's shocking victory on Election Day, press, pundits, and pollsters have engaged in a furious debate about which voters propelled him to the White House. Was Trump's win the revenge of the "guns and bitter crowd" in the Rust Belt, the white working-class voters whose racism, xenophobia and/or "economic anxiety" led them to pull the lever in 2016 for the reality TV star? Or was the Republican's core support throughout the primaries and the general election made up of more affluent and suburban backers? And as Trump's approval ratings continue to spiral downward to levels not seen since George W. Bush ambled out of the Oval Office, can he continue to count on an unshakeable "floor" of 35 to 40 percent support?

    While these are all interesting questions, one thing is certain. Donald Trump, like Republicans nationwide over the past decade, has enjoyed the steadfast support of older voters. Since 2008, Americans (especially white Americans) over the age of 50 have reliably rallied behind GOP candidates. But under the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now trying to sneak through the Senate, it will be the gray and the graying who suffer the most.

    To fully measure the magnitude of the coming Republican betrayal of older voters with the AHCA (a.k.a. Trumpcare), it helps to first appreciate their recent loyalty to the GOP. As the charts of exit poll data since 2008 above show, Americans over age 50 show up to vote and vote for Republicans. During presidential election years, voters ages 50 to 64 and over 64 combined have represented between 42 and 46 percent of the electorate. But in the 2010 and 2014 midterm balloting, their share reached a staggering 53 and 55 percent. While John McCain narrowly lost 50- to 64-year-olds by one point in 2008, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump had no difficulty winning voters over age 50 in 2012 and 2016.

    The American Health Care Act is their reward for their loyalty. It's a loyalty expected by the GOP and (as we've learned) demanded by Donald Trump.

    Continue reading at Daily Kos.

    Perrspective 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Share

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    Unprecedented Spite: The American Carnage of the GOP Health Care Bill
    July 5, 2017
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    Commander in Chief Trump Goes AWOL
    June 20, 2017
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    Ask Your Senator if Trumpcara™ is Right for You
    June 19, 2017
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    Republicans Betray Their Gray-Haired Base with Trumpcare
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    CBO: Conservative Bulls**t Obliterator
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    In Praise of Donald Trump
    May 22, 2017
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    How Trumpcare Ends Health Insurance As We Know It
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    April 27, 2017
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