Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Nixon, Reagan Paved Way for GOP's Race-Charged Health Agenda

MORNING MESSAGE

Richard Eskow
Nixon, Reagan Paved Way for GOP’s Race-Charged Health Agenda
Republican politicians have been attacking black, brown, and poor people for at least half a century with the same kind of language. And they’ve been doing it for the same reason: to promote policies that benefit the wealthy, while harming the poor and middle class. White voters who fall for this ruse will pay a price in the end. It will be no different this time. The GOP’s health care plan also disproportionately harms rural communities and older lower-income people, including the aging lower-income whites who are increasingly plagued by addiction, overdose, and suicide.

Republicans Rework Health Care Bill

Changes likely to House health care bill. The Hill:White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Tuesday said the administration is working with House leadership on a manager’s amendment that would make changes to the legislation … any changes to the bill could further alienate moderate members who are worried about lost coverage and price spikes for lower-income and older people … At least 13 House Republicans are against the repeal plan in its current form … 21 defections [are] likely enough to stop the bill in its tracks … changes [senators] are proposing are the opposite of what conservatives in the House want.”
But what changes? Politico: “One idea being considered: Phasing out the Medicaid expansion in early 2018 instead of Dec. 31, 2019 … Senators are considering taking whatever the House is able to pass and beefing up tax credits for low-income people to help bring down premiums and increase coverage numbers … Also under consideration is injecting billions of dollars into states’ ‘stabilization’ accounts to narrow the coverage gap between Obamacare and the House’s repeal-and-replace bill … but paying for more generous tax credits and stabilization accounts would cut into the bill’s deficit reduction…”
Medicaid cuts could impact 2020 elections. The Hill: “The current GOP bill proposes a restructuring of Medicaid that would do away with the extra federal money given to states by the end of 2019. The bill also would cap Medicaid payments to states … when changes to subsidies and Medicaid kick in, the estimate [of newly uninsured] increases [from 14 million in 2018] to 21 million in 2020 … Nine Republican senators up for reelection 2020 represent states that have expanded Medicaid.”

Travel Ban Faces Judges Today

Travel ban goes into effect tomorrow unless courts act today. Politico: “The Seattle-based federal judge who issued the broadest injunction against President Donald Trump’s first travel ban executive order has announced a hearing Wednesday on a request to block the revised directive … Two other hearings on motions to block Trump’s new travel ban order were already scheduled for Wednesday: one at 9:30 a.m. in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the other at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time in federal court in Honolulu.”

Gorsuch Conflicted?

“Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire” reports NYT: “As a lawyer at a Washington law firm in the early 2000s, Judge Gorsuch represented [Philip] Anschutz, his companies and lower-ranking business executives as an outside counsel. In 2006, Mr. Anschutz successfully lobbied Colorado’s lone Republican senator and the Bush administration to nominate Judge Gorsuch to the federal appeals court. And since joining the court, Judge Gorsuch has been a semiregular speaker at the mogul’s annual dove-hunting retreats for the wealthy and politically prominent at his 60-square-mile Eagles Nest Ranch … For nearly a dozen years, Judge Gorsuch has been partners in a limited-liability company with two of Mr. Anschutz’s top lieutenants. Together, they own a 40-acre property on the Colorado River in the mountains northwest of Denver, where they built a vacation home together.”

Reg Rollbacks Continue

Trump names derivatives regulator. NYT: “In appointing [J. Christopher] Giancarlo to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission … the president took another step toward challenging the Obama administration’s legacy on financial regulation. As a Republican commissioner at the agency since 2014, and more recently as its interim chairman, Mr. Giancarlo has embraced the broad goals of new derivatives regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act while criticizing crucial portions of the fine print.”
Trump to “evaluate” auto fuel efficiency standards, reports The Hill: “President Trump will sign an order Wednesday … the first step toward potentially weakening the aggressive standards that set a goal of a 54.5 mile-per-gallon auto fleet in 2025. Trump will make the announcement during a trip to Michigan … Automakers agreed [with Obama] to comply with the standards — which get stronger through the 2025 model year — in exchange for a formal review in 2018 … But the EPA under Obama completed that review in January…”
“Trump’s Childcare Plan Will Only Help the Rich” notes The Nation’s Michelle Chen: “Trump wants to fund childcare through the tax code with a package of cuts and deductions. This would skew benefits toward well-off married couples, while offering the poorest parents perhaps just a few dollars a month.”
Tax reform faces multiple challenges. The Hill: “…some business groups have criticized the proposal to do away with the deduction for businesses’ net interest expenses … the House GOP blueprint proposes generally eliminating ‘special interest’ business tax provisions … relating to renewable energy, low-income housing and employment … the House GOP blueprint discusses doing away with itemized deductions other than those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions…”

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