Thursday, March 9, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: The American Health Care Act Is a Wealth Grab, Not a Health Plan


Richard Eskow
The American Health Care Act Is a Wealth Grab, Not a Health Plan
It’s not a “health” plan. It’s a wealth grab for the already wealthy. Its benefits will go, first and foremost, to billionaires who make more money from investments than from work. The 400 highest-earning households in the country will get an average tax break of $7 million per year under the Republican plan. Who will benefit the least? Teachers, nurses, firefighters… pretty much anyone who works for a living.

Trump Prepares To Shift Blame

Trump prepares to blame Dems for GOP health care fail. Politico: “In a private Oval Office meeting with conservative activists Wednesday, President Donald Trump sold Paul Ryan’s health care bill as strong and necessary. But minutes later, his top aides offered some willingness to consider changing some of the core provisions, even as Trump himself suggested a fallback position — that they could try again in two years, and Obamacare will fail on its own, leaving Democrats to take the blame.”
GOP Sen. Tom Cotton says “start over” in tweetstorm. Washington Examiner: “[Cotton] said the House bill will never pass in the Senate without ‘major changes.’ … ”No excuse to release bill Mon night, start voting Wed. With no budget estimate!’
Doctors and hospitals oppose House bill. The Hill: “Major hospital groups, including the American Hospital Association and a larger coalition of hospitals called America’s Hospitals and Health Systems, have written letters to Capitol Hill slamming the legislation and urging members to oppose it. Doctors, through the American Medical Association (AMA), joined that chorus on Wednesday morning, calling the bill ‘critically flawed.’ Other major players — including seniors advocacy group AARP and health organizations from the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society to the March of Dimes — have also panned the bill.”
Bill clears first House committee. The Hill: “The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday advanced GOP legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare on a party line vote … The committee markup lasted over 16 hours, stretching until after 4 a.m. … The measure now goes to the House Budget Committee, with plans for a vote in the full House within weeks.”
Trump meets with Dems about drug prices. Politico: “… two liberals who’ve been critical of the president, Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch, left a White House meeting on curbing drug prices Wednesday feeling good about their chances for buy-in from Trump. Democratic lawmakers also are holding out modest hopes that he might meet them in the middle on infrastructure investment, which was the focus of a lunch meeting Wednesday.”

GOP Rips Apart Regulations

GOP forges ahead on deregulation. Politico: “The Senate sent a bill killing an Obama administration education rule to President Donald Trump’s desk Wednesday, making it the sixth in a series of regulations that GOP leaders plan to overturn using an obscure 20-year-old law that allows them to avoid Democratic filibusters. House Republicans have lined up eight more rifle shots at Obama-era rules for the Senate to consider, giving the GOP a chance to stay in sync despite the civil war over health care.”
Republicans struggle with Dodd-Frank repeal. Bloomberg: “The Senate Banking Committee, led by Mike Crapo, on Thursday is scheduled to consider a measure about publishing research on exchange-traded funds, and a collection of other narrow bills with bipartisan support. In the House, the Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing about flood insurance, further stalling the rollout of Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s plan to eliminate laws enacted in response to the financial crisis of 2008. Reality is setting in on Capitol Hill that rolling back the Dodd-Frank banking law won’t be quick or easy.”
SEC nominee rife with conflicts. NYT: “[Jay] Clayton, a longtime partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell who is President Trump’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, has represented big banks like Goldman Sachs and Barclays as well as prominent hedge funds and corporate executives, according to a financial disclosure form made public on Wednesday … the filing reveals a number of previously unadvertised assignments, including work he has done for companies facing intense government scrutiny: Deutsche Bank, UBS and Volkswagen.”

Iger Grilled On Trump Ties

Disney CEO under fire at shareholder meeting. LAT: “[CEO Bob] Iger fielded unusually pointed questions over his decision to remain on [Trump’s business] council. But he defended his position on the panel, calling his participation a ‘privileged opportunity.’ … Mehrdad Azemun of Chicago had taken to the microphone to tell Iger that as an immigrant from Iran who ‘grew up in the U.S. being raised on Disney,’ he felt that the CEO’s participation on the council ran counter to the company’s values … Azemun [is] a shareholder proxy who is a community organizer with People’s Action…”
More from Orlando Sentinel: “‘This relationship is functionally bad for your bottom line,’ said Robel Worku, a community organizer with the Colorado People’s Alliance. He cited hundreds of thousands of signatures on electronic petitions asking Iger to sever ties with Trump.”

Can Trump Coalition Be Broken?

Some analysts see Trump coalition as enduring. NYT: “One of the mainstays of Democratic optimism is the conviction that a growing body of young voters — more liberal than their elders — will soon dominate elections, just as the baby boomers did before them. In point of fact, however, millennials are slowly, incrementally becoming a less reliable Democratic constituency.”
“Can Trump Divide Organized Labor?” asks The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka snapped heads across the Democratic coalition when he appeared on Fox Business Network last week to assess President Trump’s first speech to Congress … With his surprisingly warm appraisal, Trumka—who also met privately with Trump on Tuesday—captured how the administration’s disruptive agenda is accelerating the class inversion reshaping American politics … President Richard Nixon famously promoted affirmative-action programs for construction projects partly to split the Democratic coalition by pitting organized labor against African Americans. The unions could soon face another such wedge: While the AFL-CIO has opposed Trump’s plan to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, it has not moved to pressure unions to boycott the project.”

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