Appearing on Fox News Wednesday morning, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was asked by host Bill Hemmer if it was okay to refer to the Republicans’ proposed legislation as “Trumpcare,” just as Republicans for years referred to former President Barack Obama’s signature health care act as “Obamacare.”
Conway, however, pushed back and said that Trump’s name does not belong on the bill.
“It’s the American Health Care Act, and I think it’s aptly named that for this reason,” she explained. “It wants to cover, it wants everyone to have access to coverage, and that is something that didn’t happen under Obamacare… I’ll call it Trumpcare if you want to, but I didn’t hear President Trump say to any of us, ‘I want my name on that.’ It’s not about branding according to someone’s name. This is serious business.”
Conway went on to bash Democrats for saying that Obamacare allowed more people to have more health care access because in many cases the health plans they obtained had high deductibles and co-payments.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan held a press conference to defend Republicans’ health care plan, which was widely panned across the political spectrum after its rollout Monday night. Despite criticism that the plan would deprive millions of Americans of coverage, destabilize insurance markets and unfairly burden states, Ryan praised the legislation as “monumental, exciting conservative reform.”
“This is what we’ve been dreaming about doing,” the House Speaker told reporters. It’s a “conservative wish list,” the speaker said. Ryan then ticked off parts of the legislation that should thrill conservatives, before concluding that it gets “Washington out of the business of being a nanny state.”
Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s pledge to stop nannying the American people stopped short of women’s health care choices.
“It ends funding to Planned Parenthood and sends money to community centers,” Ryan boasted. What the bill actually does is stop federal Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood—that means stripping the organization of millions in federal funds. As Voxpointed out, that would hit poor women the hardest but impact anyone that relies on Planned Parenthood’s services if clinics are forced to close as a result.
The idea that medical services offered by Planned Parenthood could be unloaded onto community centers is a popular conservative talking point. But in reality there are many problems with this plan, including the fact that community clinics don’t necessarily specialize in reproductive health services and are already burdened with more patients than they can handle.
Ryan’s pledge to defund Planned Parenthood comes on the same day as “A Day Without a Woman,” a nationwide protest highlighting the importance of women’s work. As reproductive justice advocates have long argued, women’s productivity is inextricably bound to having the freedom to decide when to start a family. Meanwhile, studies show that investing in women’s health has clear economic benefits.
Here is a collection of articles with analysis and discussion of Trumpcare, which Trump and the GOP claim should replace the Affordable Care Act.
WASHINGTON — Millions of people who get private health coverage through the Affordable Care Act would be at risk of losing it under the replacement legislation proposed by House Republicans, analysts said Tuesday, with Americans in their 50s and 60s especially likely to find coverage unaffordable.
Overnight, House republicans released their long-awaited proposed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, which many have already dubbed Trumpcare. We laid out some of the key changes and proposed provisions as part of the new law which will now be debated, first in committee as soon as Wednesday, and then will seek the approval of the House and Senate. It is here that things may turn more complicated.
The Republican Party in its modern incarnation is incapable of writing a decent health-care bill, if we define “decent” to mean both some level of technical competence as well as morally decent. That inability has been clear to the party’s outside critics for many years. Republicans have fervently denied this, and probably believed their own denials. As a result they locked themselves into a course of action that forced them to propose a bill on a deadline. They seem to have realized the impossibility of the task midway through, but, unable to retreat on their commitment, they instead rushed out a plan that is shambolic and cruel.
Why exactly is every single top administration or Trump campaign member lying about contacts to Russia before and after the election? Most likely because they have something to hide, and what might that be?
Why did the now-Attorney General of the United States give false and misleading statements under oath pertaining to his interactions with Russian officials? What credible explanation is there for that?
Jeff Sessions is a former Senator and a practicing attorney, he knows the importance of precise and unambiguous language, and likewise when to use language that is the opposite thereof, why did he choose the latter?
Why did Donald Trump, over the past weekend, hate-tweet four times in rapid succession a claim, unsubstantiated then or since, that President Barack Obama committed felonies, only to follow them up within an hour by a disparaging tweet about former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger? How do these two events cohere logically?
On a related but separate note, how credible is information or “proof” he claims to have of what would be the biggest scandal since Watergate when Trump turns his attention just a bit later to a staffing matter of a TV show?
What is this proof, and given his plenary power as president over U.S. intelligence output, why did he not simply release it at least in redacted form?
These are questions that need to be answered, and I believe they will be.
But what do they point to?
I believe the answer is really quite simple: Donald Trump is in some form a Russian asset — we don’t know yet the exact form but we will know. He and his campaign were aware of and contributed – probably with targeting – to the Russian undercover operation. The campaign was kept abreast of the actions, progress, and output of the clandestine operation against Hillary Clinton and Democrats more broadly. The campaign also very likely suggested targets
All this was done, again in my opinion, to shroud the involvement of Trump and his company with the Russian government and the extensive, corrupt oligarch complex in that country that sustains the Putin government.
What could that involvement be? Certainly, we know that Russian money flowed into the Trump organization, purchasing Trump properties in New York, Florida and elsewhere. Much of this money likely fell under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
My guess would be that Trump’s company isn’t viable without these funds.
That alone would be sufficient to give Vladimir Putin sway over this White House. What else there is, we do not know yet, but my guess would be there’s much more.
The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson has a profile piece of Donald Trump’s never-opened Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku, in the capital city of Azerbaijan. The hotel was built at the end of the downtown strip in the city of almost three million people. According to Davidson, the project seems poorly thought out at first blush.
The more time I spent in the neighborhood, the more I wondered how the hotel could have been imagined as a viable business. The development was conceived, in 2008, as a high-end apartment building. In 2012, after Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, signed multiple contracts with the Azerbaijani developers behind the project, plans were made to transform the tower into an “ultra-luxury property.” According to a Trump Organization press release, a hotel with “expansive guest rooms” would occupy the first thirteen floors; higher stories would feature residences with “spectacular views of the city and Caspian Sea.” For an expensive hotel, the Trump Tower Baku is in an oddly unglamorous location: the underdeveloped eastern end of downtown, which is dominated by train tracks and is miles from the main business district, on the west side of the city. Across the street from the hotel is a discount shopping center; the area is filled with narrow, dingy shops and hookah bars. Other hotels nearby are low-budget options: at the AYF Palace, most rooms are forty-two dollars a night. There are no upscale restaurants or shops. Any guests of the Trump Tower Baku would likely feel marooned.
Davidson also points out that the timing of the project, specifically when the Trump Organization announced they would be involved in the building of the luxury hotel, was very odd as the “occupancy rate for luxury hotels in the city hovered around thirty-five per cent.” This was odd because if you want to have a viable luxury hotel business you are supposed to at least convince yourself that you can maintain at least a 60 percent occupancy rate over 10 years. How did this strange project, costing tons of money, get so far down the line?
The Azerbaijanis behind the project were close relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. According to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Azerbaijan is among the most corrupt nations in the world. Its President, Ilham Aliyev, the son of the former President Heydar Aliyev, recently appointed his wife to be Vice-President. Ziya Mammadov became the Transportation Minister in 2002, around the time that the regime began receiving enormous profits from government-owned oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. At the time of the hotel deal, Mammadov, a career government official, had a salary of about twelve thousand dollars, but he was a billionaire.
After Donald Trump became a candidate for President, in 2015, Mother Jones, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and other publications ran articles that raised questions about his involvement in the Baku project. These reports cited a series of cables sent from the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009 and 2010, which were made public by WikiLeaks. In one of the cables, a U.S. diplomat described Ziya Mammadov as “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan.” The Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, told reporters that the Baku hotel project raised no ethical issues for Donald Trump, because his company had never engaged directly with Mammadov.
According to the report, the IRGC’s interest in doing business in Azerbaijan with the Mammadovs may have in large part been connected to the latter’s ownership of a bank, allowing the IRGC to launder money at a time that Iran was largely cut off from the international financial system due to sanctions relating to the country’s nuclear weapons program.
The report noted that during the same years that the transportation ministry was awarding lucrative contracts to Azarpassillo, the Mammadovs invested in a number of building projects, while also putting money in a number of offshore banking accounts and shell companies, all of which are widely used for money laundering due to their lack of transparency.
All of these problems were brought to light by Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald months ago.
Another business relationship that could raise concerns about conflicts involves Azerbaijan, a country the State Department said in an official report was infused with “corruption and predatory behavior by politically connected elites.” According to Trump’s financial filings, the Republican nominee is the president of two entities called OT Marks Baku LLC and DT Marks Baku Manaaina Member Corp. Those were established as part of deals the Trump Organization made last year for a real estate project in the country’s capital. The partner in the deal is Garant Holding, which is controlled by Anar Mammadov, the son of the country’s transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov. According to American diplomatic cables made public in 2010, the United States possessed information that led diplomats to believe Ziya Mammadov laundered money for the Iranian military. No formal charges have been brought against either Mammadov.
Once again, however, this exposes potential conflicts between Trump’s business connections and national security. While the development is currently on hold, it has not been canceled, meaning that Anar Mammadov could soon be paying millions of dollars to Trump. If American intelligence concludes, or has already concluded, that his business partner’s father has been aiding Iran by laundering money for the military, will Trump’s foreign policy decisions on Iran and Azerbaijan be based on the national security of the United States or the financial security of Donald Trump?
As of right now, the Trump Organization continues to say that they didn’t drag their feet when doing their due diligence on figuring out who they were dealing with, they just took a very long time. The problem is that, by law, if they were to be investigated for having broken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, they would have to at the very least show their “due diligence.” Davidson asks for this bit of evidence from Trump’s Organization.
I asked Garten how deeply the Trump Organization had looked into the Mammadov family’s political connections. Had it been concerned that Elton Mammadov, as a sitting member of parliament, might exploit his power to benefit the project? How much money had Ziya Mammadov invested in Elton’s company? Garten noted that he didn’t oversee the due-diligence process. “The people who did are no longer at the company,” he said. “I can’t tell you what was done in this situation.” He would not identify the former employees. When I asked him to provide documentation of due diligence, he said that he couldn’t share it with me, because “it’s confidential and privileged.”
President Trump and congressional Republicans are poised to roll back a series of Obama-era worker safety regulations targeted by business groups, beginning Monday night with a vote by the Senate to kill a rule that required federal contractors to disclose and correct serious safety violations.
In a narrow result that divided along party lines, the Senate voted 49 to 48 to eliminate the regulation, dubbed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule. Finalized in August and blocked by a court order in October, the rule would limit the ability of companies with recent safety problems to complete for government contracts unless they agreed to remedies.
The measure to abolish it had already cleared the House. The next step after the Senate vote will be the White House, where Trump is expected to sign it.
A half-dozen other worker safety regulations are in Republican crosshairs, with one headed to the Senate floor as soon as this week. Many are directed at companies with federal contracts. Such companies employ 1 in 5 American workers — meaning the effort could have wide-ranging effects.
“This is the opening salvo of the Republican’s war on workers,” said Deborah Berkowitz, a senior policy adviser at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when many of the regulations were crafted. “It sends a signal that Congress and the administration is listening to big business and their lobbyists and they are not standing up for the interests of the American workers.”
But hey, Muslims are scary, Obama is tapping phones, and Trump makes me feel good as a white man, so I’m really happy he is going to make it more likely I die at work!
The proposal defunds Planned Parenthood. No federal funding can be made, either directly or indirectly, by Medicaid to a healthcare organization that “provides for abortions,” other than those done in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.
Essential health benefit rules are repealed. As of Dec. 31, 2019, ACA rules that required qualified health plans to provide hospitalization, maternity care, mental health services and other benefits would be sunsetted. That’s likely to make maternity coverage, among other services, immensely expensive, if available at all. State could maintain the standards if they wish, but the federal standards would be eviscerated.
Income-based premium subsidies would be replaced by age-based subsidies, which will hurt working-class families in many states. Under the ACA, subsidies to help individual buyers afford premiums and (for poorer households) deductibles and co-pays were based on household income. The GOP measure will base them on the buyer’s age, instead, with older buyers receiving more help than younger. The GOP plan limits subsidies to $4,000 per individual; under the ACA, which also keys subsidies to the cost of benchmark insurance plans in the buyer’s home market, the subsidies theoretically could be several times higher.
This scheme will reduce subsidies to many of the people who need them the most, while awarding them to recipients who don’t need them.
The Medicaid expansion is killed. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the Medicaid expansion is repealed. Traditional Medicaid will be block-granted, a system almost certain to result in less federal funding for the joint state-federal program than it would have received, over time. The neediest and sickest Americans will increasingly be on their own, as states get less federal help to provide them with medical services.
All of Obamacare’s taxes are repealed, another boon for the rich. Everything from the tax on tanning salons and medical devices to the surcharge on high-income taxpayers will be gone. As we explained earlier, this amounts to an enormous tax cut for the wealthy — at least $346 billion over 10 years, every cent going to taxpayers earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples). The proposal would sharply raise the limits on contributions to tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts — another gimme for the rich.
To summarize, RyanCare will take away health insurance from millions of non-affluent people, make the insurance people do have much worse, and open a major front in the War on Women in order to pay for a massive upper-class tax cut. In conclusion, Both Sides Do It but Hillary Clinton is worse — right???