Category Archives: senate

Insurance Industry Opposes Republican Health Bill

Fortune seemed surprised that insurers oppose last ditch Republican efforts to replace and repeal ObamaCare.

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.

The Dogma Within

dogma

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

republican leaders

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.

Republican Leaders

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.

Trump Schumer Deal

trump schumer deal

The Trump Schumer deal came to pass this week. Chuck Schumer made an offer to increase the debt ceiling for three months. And Donald Trump took him up on it.

Swamp dwelling Republicans were aghast. Earlier in the day Paul Ryan had blasted the same offer as “ridiculous and disgraceful”.

Trump Schumer Deal

But then Republicans haven’t had much luck closing deals for Trump. Obamacare still stands and Trump outpolls Congress.

Mark Steyn says, “there are now three political parties in Washington.” Democrats, Republicans, and Trump. The Democrats have a base. Trump has a base. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan don’t have a base.

Trump Signs Russian Sanctions Bill

russian sanctions bill

Congress can’t repeal ObamaCare but it frog marched Trump to the signing table for a Russian sanctions bill. The House voted 419-3 for the bill and the Senate came in 98-2.

Russian Sanctions Bill

And the president can’t reverse the sanctions without Congressional approval. Which may be unconstitutional, at least that’s what Trump said in his initial signing statement.  Still, he didn’t have much choice but to sign the veto proof bill.

Bloomberg’s Eli Lake says leakers are forcing Trump to act against his will.

Putin’s pissed.