HealthCare Notes


With Tax Scam Complete, GOP Caucus Unveils Insane Budget Blueprint to Attack Safety Net
"An ultraconservative Republican House caucus on Wednesday put forth its spending plan that represents a draconian wishlist of attacks on the social safety net and consumer and environmental protections while including a plan to further enrich the wealthy by making making permanent parts of the GOP tax plan."


At a private luncheon, Senator Heller says low turnout is key to re-election, promised ACA repeal
"Senator Dean Heller has been avoiding constituents and his staff tossed out a woman battling Stage 4 cancer when she dared to ask about his stance on the Affordable Care Act, but he sure had a lot to say on the subject at a mysteriously closed-to-the-press luncheon where he was collecting checks and making promises. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was able to get audio of Heller’s speech to the Nevada Republican Men’s Club and his comments were surprising, especially his strategy for winning in November: “We now have less than 60,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. Let me be more clear. If we can get that number below 50,000, I can’t lose,” Heller said Tuesday in Las Vegas, according to audio obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I can’t lose. Because the ratio of voter turnout in a non-presidential year — we’re in a non-presidential year — the tendency of Republicans to vote is higher than the other party.” A sitting U.S. senator is hoping people don’t participate in democracy. How can you represent a state where you are trying to discourage the majority from turning out for an election? Based on current trends in special elections, Heller’s strategy is going to be a loser. Bigly.  And what about the Affordable Care Act? Senator Heller hemmed and hawed over the last year, pretending he was giving it serious consideration, but when asked about it by his fellow Republicans, he said they absolutely will repeal it if Republicans hold the majority."

FDR warned us about charlatans like Paul Ryan, and told us exactly how they'd attack Social Security
"Republicans passed a tax-scam bill last year which creates a $1.3 Trillion deficit in order to give their mega-donors and favored special interests special benefits. As a reward for their most loyal employee, the Koch brothers deposited $500,000 into Paul Ryan’s JFC right after the bill passed.  Weeks after taking $1.3 Trillion from ordinary Americans and handing it to his billionaire paymasters, Ryan was “concerned” about the national debt and deficit again. Naturally, he believes this will require “reforms” to Social Security and Medicare, programs that benefit ordinary Americans. And by ordinary, I mean those of us who cannot deposit $500k in his campaign account."


Pennsylvania voters say the GOP’s health care antics cost Saccone their vote
"Election night exit polling by Public Policy Polling found that among PA-18 voters who said health care was the most important issue, Democrat Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone by a margin of 64 to 36. Saccone’s support of the Republican health care agenda — namely, efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — made 41 percent of voters less likely to vote for him. Fifty-three percent of voters disapproved of GOP efforts to repeal the health care law and 48 percent believed Republicans are trying to sabotage the law since they failed to repeal it. These numbers are all the more surprising given the fact that PA-18 is a Republican district that gave Donald Trump a 20-point victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. But as Forbes’ Bruce Japsen previously reported, health care is especially important in Western Pennsylvania. Although health care premiums have risen (a rise which officials in Pennsylvania attribute to Trump’s “refusal to make cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018”), the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) — the region’s largest non-governmental employer — has grown substantially under the ACA. Pennsylvanians — namely, those living in rural areas — have also benefited from the state’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA, which went into effect in 2015 and has been touted by health experts as means of addressing the state’s opioid crisis. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) declared the epidemic a statewide disaster emergency earlier this year. While Lamb has acknowledged that Obamacare has its flaws, he ran his campaign on fixing and building upon the law, rather than repealing it. If Medicaid expansion were repealed, approximately 585,000 Pennsylvanians would lose health coverage."

More than one-half of births in rural America are covered by Medicaid
"If Republicans succeed in slashing Medicaid, they'll succeed in doing away with maternity care in much of rural America. Even now, about 45 percent of rural hospitals don’t have maternity care, with almost 1 in 10 rural counties losing hospital-based obstetrics programs between 2004 and 2014. "When rural hospitals are squeezed, they have to look at what fixed costs they can shed," Katy Kozhimannil, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health told KHN. She continued, "The fixed costs of providing obstetrics services are very clear, and very distinct." Obstetrics is expensive. And supposedly “pro-life” Republicans want to make childbirth not just more common, but more dangerous and more expensive by cutting Medicaid even further."


Bypassing Major Networks, 1.6 Million Tune In for Sanders 'Medicare for All' Town Hall
"Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) town hall on Medicare for All drew more than one million online viewers in addition to the hundreds of attendees who packed an auditorium at the U.S. Capitol to capacity. Speaking with multiple panels featuring single-payer healthcare advocates and experts—including Dr. Don Berwick, who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama—Sanders moderated a nearly two-hour discussion about the failures of the current U.S. healthcare system and how its costs and outcomes compare to those in countries with universal healthcare."


Trumpian Philosophy: Any Regulation Is Bad, Even If It Protects Sick Old People
"Wednesday’s example comes to us from The New York Times, and isn’t this decision going to be a lovely one when they come for Medicare because of the “unexpected” explosion of the deficit due to the abomination of a tax bill they just passed. The Trump administration is scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury, part of a broader relaxation of regulations under the president. The shift in the Medicare program’s penalty protocols was requested by the nursing home industry. The American Health Care Association, the industry’s main trade group, has complained that under President Barack Obama, federal inspectors focused excessively on catching wrongdoing rather than helping nursing homes improve. That last sentence is a real keeper, isn’t it? If you keep punishing us for our substandard practices, we won’t be able to improve our substandard practices. Punishment for breaking laws is a hindrance to our abiding by them. Thousands of criminal defense lawyers are wondering why they didn’t think of that one first."

Trump WILL Cut Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid

Intolerable cruelty: Kansas Medicaid leaves elderly to die without care
"Governor Brownback, a man who considers himself someone of significant faith, working to transition to the position of Ambassador to Religious Freedom, may need to learn a few things from the book he professes. The Kansas City Star revealed that the policy in Kansas has left many families struggling to figure out care for their loved ones."

Trump Eases Rules To Allow Nursing Homes To Abuse Elderly Without Punishment

8.8 million people signed up for Obamacare coverage despite Trump’s sabotage
"About 8.8 million Americans enrolled in health coverage through, the Trump administration announced Thursday, a slight dip from last year after the Trump administration cut spending and outreach but far from a dramatic drop. Last year, about 9.2 million people signed up through, which serves more than 30 states. A dozen states run their own marketplaces and several of those states have not yet closed their open enrollment."


The 10 Step Scheme for One-Sided Class War
"1. Scream about the debt and deficit. 2. Shrink revenue by slashing taxes for the already palatial elite. Summarily dismiss all concerns about the debt and deficit, because, well, the debt and deficit don't really matter. Plus, tax cuts for the rich grow the economy anyway. Or maybe not. It doesn't matter. What matters is that one render unto the power elite the things that are the power elite's; everybody else can go to hell. 3. Scream about the debt and deficit. 4. Savagely gut Social Security and Medicare, because obviously the debt and deficit. Turns out the debt and deficit do matter. And to get the debt and deficit under control after slashing taxes on the rich will require nothing less than shared sacrifice from all Americans. But not really all Americans. The persecuted John Galts of the world have shouldered the burden of sacrifice long enough. Time, then, for all those particularly shiftless souls lacking the creativity and work ethic of the ruling class to sacrifice. Time for these ungrateful hordes to genuflect at the altar of capital and empty their pockets in tribute."

Republicans Coming To Steal More

Trump Wants To Cut Aide To American Children To Pay For Tax Cuts For The Wealthy


Activist With ALS: Kill The GOP Tax Bill & Save My Life

The Republican Long Game
"with Donald Trump in charge, Republicans feel no need to conceal. They have been emboldened, I think, to show their true selves because they feel Trump has their back with his supporters—and as long as they have that army behind them, they are willing to take the risk of promoting a “reform” nearly everyone else hates. Those aggrieved white men who form the bulk of rank-and-file Republicanism don’t care if they have to pay more taxes. They don’t care if their health insurance premiums soar. They don’t care if their children can’t afford to go to college. Surveys show that they are more devoted to Trump than to their own welfare, and they will follow Trump wherever he leads, even if he leads them to financial disaster. He voices their hatreds, and hatred trumps policy. Such is modern Republicanism."

People with rare diseases join cancer patients on the list of those screwed by Republican tax plan
"It’s starting to look like it would be a very bad idea to get sick, in any serious way, if the Republican tax plan becomes law. Ending cancer treatments for Medicare patients and partial Obamacare repeal aren’t the only ways the bill takes serious aim at health care. The tax bill could also cause problems for people with rare diseases"


'You Can Save My Life': Traveling on Same Plane, Man With ALS Confronts Sen. Flake Over GOP Tax Bill
"Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) boarded a plane leaving Washington, D.C. on Thursday, less than a week after voting for a tax bill that could result in devastating cuts to disability programs."

GOP Budgets, Statements Make Plans Clear: Costly Tax Cuts for Wealthy Now, Program Cuts Later
"The Senate bill raises taxes on millions of low- and middle-income households and raises the number of Americans without health insurance by an estimated 13 million."

Paul Ryan's winning 2018 idea: Cut Medicare and Medicaid after giving $1.5 trillion away to the rich
"Noted sociopath and House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn't even gotten the odious tax bill—a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom-up—in final form and passed. But he's already making good on the Republican promise to use the gaping hole it blows in the nation's deficit to start in with the granny-starving again. "We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit," Ryan said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky's talk radio show. "... Frankly, it's the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements -- because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking." Ryan said that he believes he has begun convincing President Donald Trump in their private conversations about the need to rein in Medicare, the federal health program that primarily insures the elderly. As a candidate, Trump vowed not to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. (Ryan also suggested congressional Republicans were unlikely to try changing Social Security, because the rules of the Senate forbid changes to the program through reconciliation—the procedure the Senate can use to pass legislation with only 50 votes.)"

Paul Ryan admits the GOP will gut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts
"Republicans in Congress are openly admitting they plan to use their tax reform bill to justify slashing funding for essential social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. The bill — which is expected to balloon the national deficit by at least $1 trillion, and which only benefits the country’s wealthiest in the long-term — has not yet been reconciled or signed. But Republicans aren’t wasting any time laying out what they see as the next step."

Paul Ryan: Now We're Coming For Your Medicare


The Right Is Attempting to Roll Back the 20th Century @alternet

The Right Is Attempting to Roll Back the 20th Century @alternet:

"This legislation is more than a grotesque effort to take money from the poor and working class and give it to the very richest Americans and corporations. In reality, it is an effort to wholly remake American society by undoing the social progress of the New Deal, the Great Society and the civil rights movement."


Disastrous Republican Tax Plan Is Only the First Step in Long-Term Effort to Cut Social Security and Medicare, Exacerbating Inequality @alternet

Disastrous Republican Tax Plan Is Only the First Step in Long-Term Effort to Cut Social Security and Medicare, Exacerbating Inequality @alternet:

"If all the Republicans were doing was lining the pockets of the already rich, that would be bad enough—pick your adjective. But that’s not the endgame. Before the Senate voted, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a past presidential candidate, said the Republicans must make additional cuts to Social Security and Medicare, both federal programs for those over age 65 as well as people with disabilities and parentless children (such as Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan as a youth)."

On taxes, what in the world was Susan Collins thinking?
"Collins recognizes the fact that her party’s tax plan is slated to end health care coverage for 13 million Americans and cut Medicare by tens of billions of dollars, but she voted for the legislation anyway because Republican leaders said they’ll soon take up other bills that should help prevent too much damage. And so, Susan Collins was comfortable making the gamble. What’s wrong with that? A few things, actually."

Marco Rubio Makes It Clear: Republicans Will Cut Social Security And Medicare After Tax Cuts Pass

The Atrocious Big Pharma Record of the New HHS Nominee @alternet

The Atrocious Big Pharma Record of the New HHS Nominee @alternet:

"Does anyone believe an executive who enabled such profiteering, looting of tax dollars and unethical marketing of dangerous drugs should be health secretary?"

MILLIONS Of Americans Will Lose Their Health Insurance with GOP Tax Plan


The GOP Tax Scam Two-Step: Explode the Deficit With Cuts for Rich, Then Screw the Poor
"the GOP is planning to use the massive deficit hole its plan would create to justify taking a sledgehammer to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—a ploy one group has termed the "tax two-step"."

After Sen. Collins implied AARP would back tax cuts, AARP fires back with a resounding 'NO!'
"Yesterday, she tried to float out a two-pronged excuse by both pretending the tax cuts wouldn’t obliterate Medicare, while attempting to pass the buck onto Sen. Mitch McConnell."

Cancer doctors make emergency trip to Washington, warn senators they're sentencing patients to death
"The only thing that's certain is that if this bill passes, the already devastating cuts that cancer patients on Medicare have been subjected to are going to get much, much worse. That's the only guarantee Republicans are making. It's what they are voting for. Jam your senators' phone lines at (202) 224-3121. Tell them to vote "no" on the Republican tax bill."

During tax debate, Republican questions funding for children’s health
"The context for the exchange between Hatch and Brown was quite extraordinary: this happened on the Senate floor during a debate over the Republican tax plan. In other words, Orrin Hatch was trying to pass a massive series of tax cuts, the vast majority of which will benefit large corporations and the wealthiest of the wealthy. What’s more, as the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell recently explained, The Republican tax bill is often described as being weighted toward ‘the rich.’ But that’s not the full story. It’s actually weighted toward the loafer, the freeloader, the heir, the passive investor who spends his time yachting and charity-balling. In short: the idle rich.” The price tag for the GOP tax plan is roughly $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, there’s the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which needs $15 billion. In other words, CHIP costs literally 1% of the overall cost of the Republican tax package. And yet, there was Orrin Hatch, a supporter of his party’s tax cuts, making the case on the Senate floor that CHIP’s “having trouble” because “we don’t have money anymore.” I feel like I’m stuck in a Dickensian nightmare."