The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Sen. John McCain, whose vote stopped the Senate’s effort to gut Obamacare and dismantle state-run Medicaid programs for the poor, is now poised to vote yes on an equally destructive bill, according to reports circulating among health policy analysts.

“McCain says he supports Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. Would vote for it,” tweeted Pete Sullivan, staff writer for The Hill, on Wednesday. When asked if he supports a bill drafted by senators Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Bill Cassidy, R-LA, that would eliminate Obamacare’s insurance premium subsidies and convert Medicaid spending into block grants for states, he told reporters, “Yes. You think I wouldn’t be?”

McCain’s justification is the new bill would come through the Senate’s standard committee process, unlike the repeal package he opposed.

This about-face is causing alarm among Obamacare supporters, such as Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for the Obama administration.

“NEW: Repeal push picked up steam with McCain’s shocker,” Slavitt tweeted. “We are in for a battle.”

“Whatever tweaks made to Cassidy-Graham, reminder its highly damaging structure = block grants and Medicaid cap,” tweeted Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham are reportedly working with the White House to push their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” wrote Park and his colleague Matthew Broaddus. “The Cassidy-Graham plan (which Senator Dean Heller has also co-sponsored) would have much the same damaging consequences as other Senate and House Republican repeal and replace bills. It would cause many millions of people to lose coverage, radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, increase out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers, and weaken or eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

How this will unfold in coming days and weeks is unclear. There is a bipartisan push by the Senate Health Education Labor Committee to pass legislation before the federal fiscal year ends September 30, at least to stabilize premium insurances for 2018. In the meantime, the White House has not said if it will keep funding the Obamacare premiums this year and has withheld funds to advertise the next open enrollment period later this fall.

“Graham-Cassidy DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO STABILIZE MARKETS. Rather, it creates massive uncertainty. Insurers would pull out in droves,” tweeted Topher Spiro, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The two paths are clear: 1) the most severe ACA repeal plan yet or 2) a bipartisan stabilization bill. It’s a 24-day fight.”

There you have it. It’s a 24-day fight, and it looks like John McCain will jump ship.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}