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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 28,565

Journal Archives

Trump tweets support for Senate Obamacare repeal bill

Source: Politico

By CRISTIANO LIMA 06/22/2017 06:53 PM EDT Updated 06/22/2017 07:11 PM EDT

President Donald Trump said he was “very supportive” of the Obamacare repeal bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday.

“I am very supportive of the Senate #HealthcareBill. Look forward to making it really special! Remember, ObamaCare is dead,” he tweeted Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t offer a full White House endorsement of the plan. Pressed on whether the president would publicly support the bill, Sanders painted the bill as a work in progress, saying Trump “wants to bring the stakeholders to the table” and “have those conversations,” adding, “we’ll get back to you.”

Hours before Sanders’ remarks, when asked by reporters what he thought of the Senate draft, Trump said “it’s going to be very good.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/22/trump-tweets-support-for-senate-obamacare-repeal-bill-239874

Senate Dems Warn GOP Colleagues 'Own The Consequences' Of ACA Repeal

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ESME CRIBB Published JUNE 22, 2017 1:31 PM

Democratic senators on Thursday harshly criticized their Republican colleagues’ newly unveiled health care bill, warning that GOPers would “own the consequences” of repealing Obamacare and urging the public to read the proposal and to question their Republican representatives about it.

“I thought it wouldn’t be possible for the Senate Republicans to conjure up a bill even worse than that one. Unfortunately, that is what they have done,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a press conference after the bill was publicly released for the first time. In a speech on the Senate floor minutes after the bill’s release, Schumer had said the Senate bill is “every bit as bad as” the House GOP’s version.

“Surely we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises,” he told reporters. “Every American should be asking their Republican senators one simple question this weekend — why do the wealthy deserve a tax cut more than we deserve health care?”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), speaking after Schumer, said Republican senators have “done everything possible to prevent people from seeing” the legislation. “No hearings, no scrutiny, no public input,” she said.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/senate-democrats-slam-obamacare-repeal-bill

A terrifying threat from Tropical Storm Cindy: Floating masses of deadly fire ants

By Peter Holley June 22 at 2:26 PM

A swarm of fire ants clings to a chain-link fence and floating debris in 2004 in Lithia, Fla. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

Tropical Storm Cindy may have been downgraded to a tropical depression Thursday, but that doesn’t mean Gulf Coast residents are in the clear.

As the storm moves inland, it’s still expected to dump enough rainfall between Texas and Florida to cause severe flooding, which raises the possibility of another threat that may take some locals by surprise: floating fire ants.

The notoriously tough insects are just as dangerous when they’re wet as they are dry, according to Alabama officials, who are warning residents to keep their eyes peeled for floating mounds of fire ants.

“Floodwaters will not kill fire ants,” the warning states. “Instead their colonies will emerge from the soil, form a loose ball, float and flow with the water until reaching a dry area or object.”

“Floating colonies can look like ribbons, streamers or a ball of ants floating on the water,” the warning adds. “These amoeba-like masses contain all of the colonies’ members — worker ants, brood (eggs, larvae, pupae), winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.”


Hospitals Group: 'Go Back To The Drawing Board' On Senate ACA Repeal

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ESME CRIBB Published JUNE 22, 2017 3:44 PM

The American Hospital Association on Thursday urged Senate Republicans to “go back to the drawing board” on their newly released bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“From the onset of this debate, America’s hospitals and health systems have been guided by a set of key principles that would protect coverage for Americans,” Rick Pollack, the AHA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the draft bill under discussion in the Senate moves in the opposite direction.”

The version of the legislation released on Thursday would impose deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid than the House bill and eliminate most of Obamacare’s subsidies. Pollack cited the potential Medicaid cuts as a major concern.

“Medicaid cuts of this magnitude are unsustainable and will increase costs to individuals with private insurance,” he said. “We urge the Senate to go back to the drawing board and develop legislation that continues to provide coverage to all Americans who currently have it.”


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/american-hospital-association-criticizes-obamacare-repeal

President Obama's Statement on Trumpcare

Source: Facebook

Barack Obama
21 mins

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.
At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.


Read more: https://www.facebook.com/barackobama/posts/10154996557026749

Senate Health Care Bill Gets Lukewarm White House Reaction

Source: Roll Call

Tepid response follows cheerleading from Mike Pence

Posted Jun 22, 2017 3:08 PM
John T. Bennett
@John T. Bennett

President Donald Trump and his top aides responded to the health care overhaul bill crafted by Senate GOP leaders with striking silence, even after Vice President Mike Pence said a final vote must happen in the next few weeks.

The White House did not issue any paper statement about the bill under Trump’s name nor that of any senior official. And when Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefed reports a few hours after the bill was made public, she declined to discuss any of its contents.

In fact, she said there are no plans — for now, at least — for the president to comment on any provision in the Senate bill. She did say Trump is “pleased to see the process moving forward” — and the “process” is the only thing she would discuss as reporters tried again and again to glean clarity on the president’s views of the legislation.

Sanders described the president as mostly focused on “the final product,” which, should the Senate pass an amended version of the bill unveiled Thursday, would be the product of a House-Senate conference committee’s work to hammer out differences in their bills.

Read more: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/white-house-reaction-to-senate-health-bill-strikingly-lukewarm

Warren: Senate O'Care Repeal Bill Pays For Tax Cuts With 'Blood Money'

By MATT SHUHAM Published JUNE 22, 2017 2:20 PM

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) ripped into Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill on Thursday, saying the proposal would pay for tax cuts for wealthy Americans with “blood money” that comes from cutting essential services for the poor, including Medicaid.

“It is finally clear how the Republicans were spending their time locked in those back rooms,” Warren said from the Senate floor, referring to a weeks-long secretive, GOP-only drafting process. “Now we know the truth.”

“Senate Republicans weren’t making the House bill better,” Warren continued. “Nope, not one bit. Instead they were sitting around a conference room table dreaming up even meaner ways to kick dirt in the face of American people and take away their health insurance.”

The bill is expected to come up for a vote as early as June 29.

The senator argued Republicans’ motivation was massive tax cuts for the extremely wealthy and corporations. She detailed the legislation’s proposed tax credits for people purchasing insurance on the individual market, which are less generous than Obamacare’s subsidies. The proposal would also allow states increased access to waivers from Obamacare’s requirements of insurers.

more + video:

Four GOP senators oppose Senate health-care measure in its current form

By Sean Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin and Kelsey Snell June 22 at 1:49 PM

Four Republican senators from the conservative wing of their party say they oppose the the Senate health-care bill as it was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, which places the effort to overhaul the American health-care system in jeopardy as it heads for an anticipated vote in the Senate next week.

Those senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah — released a statement stating that while they cannot support the bill as its currently written, they are open to negotiating changes that could ultimately win their support.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the statement read. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs.”

Their opposition is enough to place the GOP measure in serious jeopardy as McConnell can afford to lose only two Republicans and still pass the measure. The Senate leader can afford to lose only two GOP senators and still be successful — the bill is being moved under arcane budget rules that allows it to be passed with a simple majority or 50 votes, if Vice President Pence is relied on as a tiebreaker.


Rand Paul Is Not Happy: Senate GOP Bill Doesn't Really Repeal Obamacare

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published JUNE 22, 2017 1:09 PM

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday said that while he has yet to review the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill, he is concerned that it does not actually repeal Obamacare.

Paul told reporters that he and a “team of people” will release a statement on the legislation later on Thursday, likely around 1 or 2 p.m. ET.

“My concern is that this doesn’t repeal Obamacare,” Paul told reporters, noting that the legislation offered by Senate GOP leaders keeps many of the Affordable Care Act’s regulations and still offers subsidies.

Paul also said that the bill might not do enough to bring down premiums. He said that it appears that the legislation “actually subsidizes the death spiral of Obamacare” instead of fixing it.



Report: Congress Investigating If Trump Team Used Voter Data Stolen By Russia

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ALLEGRA KIRKLAND Published JUNE 22, 2017 1:13 PM

Congress is investigating whether any private voter information allegedly stolen by Russian hackers was passed to or used by the Trump campaign, Time reported Thursday.

Ken Menzel, general counsel of the Illinois State Board of Elections, told Time that 90,000 state voter records were obtained through cyberattacks on their system, 90 percent of which contained drivers license numbers and a quarter of which contained the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. Two anonymous sources close to congressional investigations into Russia’s election interference say lawmakers want to know if any of this stolen data eventually ended up in the hands of Trump’s team.

Time did not specify which of the five congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the election is investigating this specific thread.

This report is the latest indication that Russia’s cyberattacks on the United States’ electoral infrastructure, which include efforts to delete or alter voter data in Illinois and targeted attacks on election systems in 21 states, are becoming a focus of congressional and federal probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/congress-investigating-trump-team-used-voter-information-stolen-russians
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