Category Archives: Congress
Last week President Trump issued an executive order rolling back President Obama’s executive order to subsidize insurance companies. The subsidies reimburse the companies for reducing certain out-of-pocket expenses to policy holders.
The only problem is Congress refused to appropriate money for the subsidies. So Obama whipped out his pen and phone and and started spending the money anyway. And Trump continued that practice. But a federal district court judge says that’s illegal.
Insurance Companies’ Very Bad Week
This week two Republican senators, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey, introduced a bill to to partially end the individual mandate, no longer requiring some people to buy health insurance.
Yesterday two more Senators, Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray, made a deal to keep the subsidies alive. Trump said nice things about it last night but withdrew support today.
Time.com tries to explain what’s going here.
Senator McCain sided with Jimmy Kimmel in shooting down best bud Lindsey Graham on Friday. He announced he would vote “no” on the Graham Cassidy health care reform.
Two McCain Bill Kills
Those in the know think that pretty much kills the bill. And that would make two health bill kills for McCain.
Damn, should have drawn that on the fuselage.
As usual, the industry’s concern is for consumers.
Insurance Industry Explains Why
Industry spokesmen displayed their concern in an article titled “Even the Insurance Industry is Against the Latest GOP Health Care Plan”:
Despite the general view that health insurance companies would benefit from a free and open market, two of the biggest trade groups for insurers — Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans — announced their first opposition to the Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Both the Blue Cross and the AHIP came out against the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill Wednesday, arguing that the legislation would lead to an unstable market that would harm both insurers and patients.
“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,’’ the Blue Cross association said in a statement. “The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”
The AHIP doubled down on those sentiments, writing that the bill “would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market” and could “potentially allowing government-controlled, single payer health care to grow,” in a letter to Senate majority and minority leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The insurance trade associations’ resistance joins a number of health care groups already speaking out against the proposed bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Association of Retired Persons.
The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after two of its drafters, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), has a voting deadline of Sept. 30. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation next week after several previously unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.
President Donald Trump talked up the bill Wednesday, saying that it has “a very good chance” of passing in the Senate.
Amy Coney Barrett is a Notre Dame Law professor. She was nominated by President Trump for a seat on the seventh court of appeals.
But first she has to get past Senate Judiciary Committee member Diane Feinstein. The Senator wanted answers about an article Professor Coney Barrett co-authored 20 years ago. It was a meditation on what a Catholic judge might do in a capital punishment case. The authors concluded he/she should recuse.
But the professor came across as a little too Catholic for the senator. Feinstein told her, “I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”
Of course, the professor might have taken that as a compliment.
Man Bites Dogma
But no dogma lives within Senator Durbin. The apparently unorthodox Catholic senator from Illinois demanded to know if Coney Barrett is an “Orthodox” Catholic.
A WSJ opinion piece by theology professor C.C. Pecknold had this to say about the dogma:
Mr. Durbin’s attempt to make such a distinction shows that this affair is about more than Catholicism. It is about an ideology—a politically progressive civil religion—that makes comprehensive claims to which all other religions are expected to conform.
Republican leaders told President Trump they had a plan to get things done in Congress. They didn’t. And the swamp remains.
So Trump made a deal with Chuck Schumer to raise the debt ceiling and free up billions for hurricane victims. Now he’s looking at Schumer for more deals.
Here’s what Rich Lowry has to say about that:
The idea that Trump, who has been too inept to help his own party in Congress, will team up with perhaps the most deviously shrewd Democrat in the country and come out on top is difficult to credit. Schumer will milk Trump for whatever he can get — every tactical advantage, every bit of new spending — so long as he doesn’t give away anything important and doesn’t materially boost Trump’s political standing.
National Review’s Jonathan Tobin thinks the Republican party means nothing to Trump. Maybe for good reason:
Trump is unbound by any loyalty to the party that nominated him or to men such as House speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell. To the contrary, he regards them as foes in a cold war against a political establishment he neither likes nor trusts.