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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Mitch McConnell is holding the country’s health care hostage in a blacked-out Senate, and millions are rising up in anger.

You’d think a bill that revamps a sixth of the American economy and stands to strip 23 million Americans of their health care might warrant a debate, a public comment period, or god forbid, a public release. Unfortunately, this is Donald Trump’s America, where the most exclusive club is wherever Mitch McConnell and his gang of 13 white men are hiding the latest version of the health care bill—from fellow Republicans, Democrats, the press, and the public.

With McConnell pushing for a pre-July 4 recess vote, and fears of a sequel to May’s House vote, activist groups are pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to protect the Affordable Care Act:

  • Planned Parenthood is holding Pink Out the Night demonstrations in cities and towns across the country, where supporters will rally to protect communities’ access to health care, including reproductive health.

  • Indivisible and MoveOn are holding sit-ins at Senate offices across the country, including in D.C., Maine, and New York. Ohio Indivisible groups unable to secure a town hall with Senator Rob Portman in his state offices showed up on Capitol Hill with stories of how the bill would impact their lives and chanting “No hearings? No vote!”

  • For constituents in 10 states with vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2018, Indivisible created, a site with a general game plan and continuously updated digital toolkits for lobbying senators in each of the 10 states, and options to submit amendments to the bill.

  • For constituents in states with Democratic senators, Indivisible recommends calling their offices to ask that they either withhold consent or filibuster to slow down Senate business and prevent a vote.

The message is slowly getting through to Democrats. Activists have suggested withholding consent during Cabinet confirmations, but even fervent Democrats have bristled. Then on Monday night, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said all options, including withholding consent and filibuster by amendment, are on the table.

“This radical departure from normal procedure, on a bill of such consequence,” Schumer said as Democrats held the floor with a series of speeches Monday night, “leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well.”

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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45 responses to “Activists Mobilizing Against Senate Trumpcare Bill”

  1. mary5920 says:

    I am seeing a wee bit of push back from our corporate media finally, although they spend way too much time obsessing about how many votes it needs and which blah blah Republican will say what (all play acting) while very little about what this tax cut for rich people will really do to gut health care access.
    The media hasn’t gotten to the point of admitting that all these Republicans are just flat out lying about the bill and its consequences.

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    • 788eddie says:

      Please keep in mind who the media really is: just another big business. While many of the writers are looking at issues objectively (or, at least with less bias), their bosses may have another agenda.

      Just sayin’.

  2. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    The joke about these Republicans is this: Protests will grow hotter and more angry until another Republican is shot by one of their own gun toting constituents in their own Republican state.

    All that was needed was to stop lying about the real reason they want to cut $800 billion from medicaid…to hand over a tax cut, the 4th in 3 presidential administrations. Are we now to figure out that the Republicans will hold taxpayers hostage unless they give their billionaire cronies annual tax cuts?

    Here is the only option left to stop this madmess. First, get rid of the Republican majority. They cannot be trusted to do the right thing with our tax dollars. Second, stop funding billlionaire owned corporations every year with trillions in tax dollars.

    If they can’t stay in business of their own management skill, good riddance. Think about it. If these ancient businesses die a natural death due to mismanagement, it will mean an end to constantly increasing tax cuts and subsidies they receive leaving more tax funding for programs Americans want and need.

    When you keep these relics in business, they have no real reason to create jobs in the US. They know they can go offshore where labor is cheaper. When it comes to profit, their game now is to increase prices constantly on products and services that have seriously decreased in consumer value. So why should they worry about price gouging? Price gouging is pure profit they can stash offshore in tax free accounts.

    • 788eddie says:

      And let’s not let anyone forget how the Republicans literally ran the economy into a ditch under the last Republican president.

      This Republican administration and congress are traitors to the American people, and need to pay the price of their traitorous actions.

      • dpaano says:

        And what really frosts me is that we elected them and WE pay their salaries, but they do whatever they want despite polls, surveys, and letters from constituents, healthcare businesses, hospitals, etc.

  3. Jim Samaras says:

    “You’d think a bill that revamps a sixth of the American economy and stands to strip 23 million Americans of their health care might warrant a debate, a public comment period, or god forbid, a public release.” This writer must mean like the dimocrats did before passing Obamacare…..What a joke! Under the current plan a family making 60K a year must shoulder an insurance payment of $700 per month and a $3000 deductible while not qualifying for any subsidy. That’s affordable health care?

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Give it up Samaras. No other country of the world has healthcare that hands billions to billionaires in tax cuts and tax subsidies.

      Obamacare allowed over 22 million Americans to finally afford healthcare insurance.

      You repubonuts need lobotomies. We know why men like you hate Obamacare. You finally have to grow up and be men and pay for your healthcare and stop dumping the costs onto ours in higher copays, higher deductibles and higher premiums.

      No other country of the world including those with triple the number in population pay Big Pharma the kinds of prescription drug costs Americans pay.

      You little weasels need to get off your butts and start paying for your healthcare needs and stop getting it FREE at the ERS in DogPatch.

      • Jim Samaras says:

        Listening to the rhetoric still Ellie? Explain how tax cuts and health care reform hand money to billionaires. All I know is we were NOT allowed to keep our doctors nor our perfectly acceptable health care insurance as promised. I agree there should be a public hearing on anything the republicans decide on but the blow back they’re getting from many senators on the right is because the subsidies still exist and the free market not allowed to stand on it’s own. Let’s attack big pharma and allow foreign manufacturers to sell in the states. Force the FDA to do it’s job and approve them instead of protecting the interests of their lobbyists. Then perhaps moochy dipsticks like you and your followers will have the ability to provide your own affordable health care without big brothers assistance.

        • dbtheonly says:


          The very existence of health insurance disrupts the “free market”

          The fact that medical prices are not clearly listed disrupts the “free market”

          Rather than insulting Ms. E, you might wish to consider practical plans to make health care affordable.

          In re importing drugs the FDA hasn’t approved; you ever hear of Thalidomide?

          • Jim Samaras says:

            I would hope over 50 years that the screening process may have improved db and the right people are in place at the FDA.
            It would be hard to list medical prices as that may depend on the doctor but one does have the ability to shop for his care leaving the free market intact. While difficult to shop while having a heart attack these instances occur very infrequently in comparison to overall medical costs. Why not provide emergency care premiums at a very low cost and allow people to build a policy to their liking from there

          • dbtheonly says:

            How is the “free market” intact if you have to choose a Doctor without any idea of what she charges for various services?

          • Jim Samaras says:

            You can ask up front. But choosing a doctor isn’t solely based on price as it can be an emotional decision.

            The preexisting conditions clause, along with drug costs is what drove the premiums up to an unaffordable level.

          • dbtheonly says:

            Okay, and do you agree that emotional decisions disrupt the “free market”?

            I also agree with your second paragraph. Every study ever done shows that a large percentage of health care is consumed by a small percentage of people.

            The question is what one does with those with pre-existing conditions? One knows that these people are in the greatest need of health care. Further, these people are generally less capable of affording their necessary care.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Buying a car or a house can be an emotional decision. Must we make laws to take emotion out of that buying process?

            Good question but people must be held responsible for the decisions they make in life and not pass those bad decisions on to the backs of those who have tried to make the right ones

          • dbtheonly says:

            Cars and houses have listed prices. Sure, you’re expected to negotiate, in fact with property, the Buyer makes the offer. So we’re back to the lack of published prices for medical care. A “free market” can not exist in the absence of published prices.

            You’re not seriously trying to equate pre-existing medical conditions to bad behaviour? One does not decide to get cancer. One does not choose to be injured in a car wreck. You’re not seriously suggesting denying medical care based on some alleged “bad decisions”? The practical ramifications would make Sarah Palin’s Death Panels look gentle in comparison.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            While doctors don’t put their prices on the wall of the office they can still be negotiated with. I had a deal years ago with a family physician where I gave him $1500 per year to see myself and family for seasonal checkups, sniffles, earaches, things like that. While he didn’t advertise that deal all I had to do was ask. He told me he wished others would follow suit.

            The bad decision I was referring to is not securing a catastrophic insurance plan BEFORE the catastrophe occurred db. Under such a plan the cost would be minimal as we’ve agreed those occur a tiny fraction of the time as far as health care is concerned. I would have no problem as a taxpayer helping with THAT type of coverage for very low income folks

          • dbtheonly says:

            Would it be mandatory to buy, subsidized or otherwise, your proposed catastrophic insurance?

            If yes, you’re back to ObamaCare.

            If no, you haven’t solved the problem as some will not prioritize their spending wisely. And we still have to decide what to do with them & their health expenses.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Nothing would be mandatory except that lower income people would qualify for a government subsidy or perhaps even sponsored. Keep in mind this insurance may only be $50 a month. If higher income, younger people opted not buy this inexpensive policy and something happened then those are the bad decisions I was referring to.

          • dbtheonly says:

            Okay, you’re back at square one. People, often young, will not buy your insurance.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Then unfortunately, if catastrophe happens they have no one to blame but themselves. But of course even under a scenario like that the bleeding hearts would blame somebody else. Sounds foolish doesn’t it?

          • dbtheonly says:

            Blame is irrelevant.

            All I’m asking is who covers the cost.

            Do you kick them to the street? The guy, hit by a drunk driver, do you look for his insurance card before putting him in an ambulance?

          • Jim Samaras says:

            db, at what point does personal responsibility or lack thereof have repercussions in your opinion?

          • dbtheonly says:

            All I asked was who pays the cost of uninsured health care.

            But all sorts of make all sorts decisions I consider unwise. Voting Republican for example. I have no wish to be the judge of whose actions disqualify them from medical attention.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Lol….I feel the same way about the Dems db.

            Actually now that I think about it the $50 or so per month that the catastrophic ins would cost would probably be a sort of single payer system. Forced on people like a tax. That may be a pill conservatives may have to hold their nose on and swallow. But from that point forward broader coverage would be optional through a re insurance provider similar to ones available with medicare.

            I agree, nobody wants a death panel. But I also think that is overblown by the hard left

          • dbtheonly says:

            It wouldn’t be as much a single payer, as ObamaCare, penalizing people, by tax, who don’t buy health insurance.

            ObamaCare also set up State web sites where people could compare the coverage and costs of the various products offered by the various private insurance companies.

            I know it would choke you, so I’m not going to ask you to like ObamaCare. It’s enough that you like it with a different name.

            With the Senate version of TrumpCare being done in secret, I’m hard pressed to know what it is. As such I’m not opposing it until I know the details.

            But from what little I’ve seen, reducing or restricting Medicare or Medicaid is not likely to improve the general health of the nation.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Except what you call a penalty would actually purchase an insurance plan.

            I know they do but the prices are exorbitant with high deductibles and those who do not qualify for subsidies are paying through the nose because of the pre existing mandate. The subsidies are not affordable to the taxpayer in the long term. Like I suggest $50 to $70 per month “subsidy” for very low income people republicans will and must swallow

            I haven’t examined the new program either db but it sounds like it includes money given to the states to dole out as needed for medicaid

          • dbtheonly says:

            I’ve like the idea of money collected in uninsured penalties being used to fund care for the uninsured.

            Insurance price is a balancing act. Premia need to cover outlays plus administration. Higher deductibles = lower cost. It’s a question of risk. How much do you want to keep and how much pass off to the Insurer?

            I’m generally opposed to dumping Federal Programs on the States, if for no other reason, that a Federal Program should work exactly the same in New Jersey and New Mexico.

            I’m very dubious about the rumored limitations for Medicare in the Senate plan. Keeping funding for three years and then dropping it strikes me as a scam.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            I don’t understand why you believe collecting a “penalty” would better than purchasing ins in the first place.

          • dbtheonly says:

            I don’t.

            I recognize that people do not always act in their own best long term interests.

            CBO analysis supposed to come out today. We’ll get real answers.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Ok but the ins I’m talking about could be viewed as a tax and withheld from their checks so as far as their long term interests are concerned all thought is taken away. (As a republican did I just say that? LOL)

          • dbtheonly says:

            I’m laughing with you.

            Your idea is a really good one. In fact, I think it’s the only real ultimate solution to the health care issue.

            My suggestion would be to piggyback it on to Medicare and make Medicare available to all.

            Doing so will create numerous problems of its own. In my mind, rather just deal with them than the constant arguments and disfunctions, under ObamaCare and whatever TrumpCare is hoing to turn out to be. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed.

            You have my word that if Trump does propose making Medicare universal, I will cheer, defend it here, and write my Congressman urging support.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            I called myself a republican but actually am an independent as has been documented in previous posts that I voted for Obama in 08.

            We’re back to single payer and the only problem I have with that is it may take motivation away from anyone to become a doctor or pharma from searching for cures of Cancer, Alzheimer, etc.
            Along with it however, some sort of tort reform must be enacted. Not the type that limits liability, the type that makes the loser pay. Insurance costs for a physician is ridiculous due to frivolous lawsuits.

            I agree, once it’s fixed it’s fixed but part of fixing it means things must be done that aren’t in congressmen, lawyers or lobbyists best interests. This conundrum is part of the swamp that MUST be drained before any progress can begin. New blood on both sides in the midterm and a second Trump term may just get it done

          • dbtheonly says:

            BBC has CBO citing that 22 million will lose health insurance under the Senate version of TrumpCare.

            That’s not good.

            I also agree that the lobbying swamp needs to be drained. Keep coming up against First Amendment problems though. I think it was dtgraham & I had the discussion a month or so ago.

        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          Sure…That’s an easy one to explain. When Lard Ass built 2 casinos in NJ, he got an automatic tax cut just for locating in the state. So, he doesn’t pay taxes and someone else, namely ME pays what he doesn’t. Wake up stupid. Not even you can be such a dimwit.

          And, since I was an accounting manager for nearly 25 years, every September the HMO hawkers bombarded our office with calls to try and sell us their HMO employer plans.

          It was almost hilarious if not pathetic to hear them all use the same script, “We can save you half of what you are paying now.”

          Sure. Then, comes time to renew and these morons double the cost of the plan to make up for that discount they claimed would mean the employer pays less.

          Now…first of all, Big Insurance isn’t dumb. They don’t want sick people who NEED insurance. They want healthy people who don’t.

          So here is how they make their profits. They sell millions of young people policies who for the next 20 or so years never file a single claim. Pure profit. Don’t bother to deny this. 2 of my friends worked for NY Life and another for Aetna.

          When I worked at Akzo Chemical way back in the late 80s, one of our customers was one of the biggest name Pharmas in the US. I recall asking the manufacturing manager at that company what the average cost of a single pill cost. He said “a half a cent.”

          Then, I asked a chemist friend who worked for Wyeth Ayerst why it drugs cost so much.

          He said in no uncertain terms, “The drug companies rely on the use of those patents to keep drug costs higher.”

          Then, I did some checking on my own. Most of the HMOs and Big Pharma pay billions a year to lobbyists who fight to keep their prescription drug costs high. Don’t bother to deny this.

          You can buy a prescription drug in Sweden, England or France for half the cost here in the US and these are manufactured like ours are…in those countries.

          Time for all good little boys to go back to school. You fool no one with your attempts to launder facts about why healthcare costs in the US are so out of control.

          To rub salt in the wounds, the prices we pay also pay for their lobbyists who suck up to politicians who then turn the screws right back on us.

          I paid for 44 years for SS and Medicare on both a federal and state level. Get a job you bum. Don’t sit there all day posting BS when a lard ass like you lives off MY Dem state taxes.

          • Jim Samaras says:

            Dipstick, did you read my post? We agree on many items like lobbyists, big pharma and the FDA not doing their job to approve the drugs manufactured overseas due to our government protecting those patents you speak of. If you’d like that to change Trump is your man!

            I hope you don’t believe you’re the only one who paid into SS over the years doll. For over 30 years I was done paying for SS by the month of March so I’ve paid my dues. Which brings us to another subject….why end the contributions at 110K or whatever it is today? SS could be solvent if they were to go to perpetuity.

  4. stsintl says:

    American Mafia controls all institutions of our democracy. This is how Mafia operates and gets away with it. Public protests and reasoning doesn’t matter. They’ll get what they want.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Actually, it appears that the special prosecutor is focusing on the one thing Trump fears most: money laundering. He already has been found guilty and got a fine for money laundering once. He won’t get off a second time with just a fine.

      And given his big mouth flaps like a fly’s wings, every one of his real estate deals will be under scrutiny because as we know, the Russians love buying US real estate to launder money.

    • 788eddie says:

      By “American Mafia,” I take it you are referring to the Republican Party?

      • stsintl says:

        Yes, Republican Party. Once the GOP of Lincoln and Eisenhower discarded the core value of “Social Responsibility”, it was left with: Little or no taxes, Little or no regulations, Carry the gun, and survival of the fittest. These are the same core values crime syndicates operate on. So, they infiltrated the party and took it over to legalize everything they do. There are no crime syndicates anymore, because they control everything now. Look at Mitch McConnell. He looks like a Mafia Boss. Trump comes from Real Estate Mafia Family.

  5. dpaano says:

    The Republicans didn’t pay much attention to the millions of women who marched on January 21st….why do you think the Republicans will pay any attention to any activists now? After all, they are above hauling blind and disabled people out of OUR Capitol Building and jailing them….

    • dbtheonly says:

      Well put.

      I think you’ve hit the key point in your other post though. The Republicans keep winning elections. Unless and until they start losing, at all levels, they’ll have absolutely no reason to listen to us.

      • 788eddie says:

        Maybe the elections really ARE rigged, but in favor of Republicans. After all, poll after poll consistently show that there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, by a long shot. How is it they keep winning unless they “rigged the game.” And to distract the rest of us, they keep screaming about voter fraud against them. Now that’s “brass ones!”

        • dbtheonly says:

          Voter ID laws. Gerrymandered districts. Limitations on voting hours. Number of voting booths per site.

          Oh there are any number of ways.

          But all are defeated if Democrats just get out and vote.

          • 788eddie says:

            I have never had a problem voting; I have a 100% voting record, never having missed the right to exercise my right to vote since gaining it at age eighteen. I am now a senior citizen.

            Is that the same for everyone; can ALL citizens in this country vote? They should have that right.

            Those who would want to take away that right to vote should be treated as traitors!

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