Every “New” GOP Health Proposal Would Mean Less Money for States


Graham-Cassidy Bill would have stolen $205 billion from states over 6 years

❝ U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was joined by other GOP senators as he talked to reporters this week. The bill authored by Graham and Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy would have shifted health policy decisions to the states while sending them much less federal money…

❝ “Under our approach, the money and power in Washington is given to state officials who will be accountable at the ballot box and therefore more accessible than any Washington bureaucrat,” Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said after their Graham-Cassidy bill died this week.

But authority is less enticing when it’s accompanied by the cuts in federal dollars that the proposals have entailed, said Mari Cantwell, chief deputy director of the California Department of Health Care Services and director of the state’s Medicaid agency. Under Graham-Cassidy, California would have lost $74 billion between 2020 and 2026.

Nationally the cuts would have reduced federal health funding to the states by $205 billion in that period of time, according to an analysis by Avalere Health, a health policy research company…

❝ Graham and Cassidy pledged to try again, saying that replacing the Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare, is inevitable. “It’s only a question of when…”

Teresa Miller, acting secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, said that statements like that from Republican leaders are the opposite of reassuring. “The problem we need to address is stabilizing the insurance market and the longer this discussion about repealing and replacing goes on, the longer it’s going to take to stabilize.”

This is just the latest attempt at Republicans dragging their feet in response to the growth of public support for universal healthcare through the Obama years. Rationales duel with outright lies for supremacy in Republican agitprop. No matter. Lies always become clear to a voting public that may be slow to respond – but, you can’t hide this crap forever.

RTFA for as many details as you can stand.

New Mexico’s Republican Governor wants science education to retreat to the Dark Ages

❝…In an attempt to make it easier for states to handle science education a bit better, a group of prestigious scientific societies banded together to make their own science education standards. The resulting Next Generation Science Standards were offered to the states free of charge, allowing them to be adopted in their entirety or modified to fit a state’s needs.

❝ Last week, it became apparent that New Mexico’s modification of the standards was a bit extreme, eliminating references to climate change, the age of the Earth, and evolution. And this week, some New Mexico legislators are blaming it on a misguided attempt to “politically sanitize” the science…The problems came to light earlier in September, when New Mexico’s Public Education department released a formal notice that it was seeking input on new science standards…Mother Jones decided to have a look at some of the changes, and they were rather striking.

❝ For example, a mention of “Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old geologic history” was chopped down to “Earth’s history,” neatly getting rid of the information about how old it is. A reference to the evolution of life was cut entirely. The clear rise in global temperatures was swapped out in favor of talk about temperature fluctuations. In short, the proposed new standards get rid of basic facts, specifically in areas that are politically or culturally contentious…for Republicans and other anti~science nutballs.

The one thing that was missing was why. This wasn’t a case of local politicians messing with science education as a part of their platform, as has happened in Texas and elsewhere…Two Democratic lawmakers have pointed the finger at the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez. The lawmakers, Bill McCamley and G. Andrés Romero…had been supporters of a bill that would see the Next Generation Science Standards adopted verbatim, a course that had been recommended by a panel of education experts organized by the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature but was vetoed by Martinez

You don’t have to be trapped by Know-Nothings in the American Confederacy to have children’s education threatened by bigots and superstitious fools. Martinez is governor by virtue of a Democrat Establishment throwing away easy electoral opportunities to satisfy a cabal more concerned with lineage in political power – than issues.

Aetna CEO wants public discussion of single-payer healthcare coverage

❝ The chief executive of one of the country’s largest health insurance companies says he is open to having a single-payer debate….“Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation,” Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini said…

❝ Bertolini spoke to a private meeting where Aetna employees could ask questions of their chief executive. A partial video of his remarks provided to Vox includes Bertolini responding to a question about single-payer health care.

“In the news media, it is reporting that the Republican health plan is paving the way to a single-payer system,” an Aetna employee asks Bertolini. “What are your thoughts on that, and how would it impact Aetna?”

This was his response:

Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation. But let me remind everybody that Aetna was the first financial intermediary for Medicare. We cut the first check for Medicare in 1965 to Hartford Hospital for $517.57.

❝ The government doesn’t administer anything. the first thing they’ve ever tried to administer in social programs was the ACA, and that didn’t go so well. So the industry has always been the back room for government. If the government wants to pay all the bills, and employers want to stop offering coverage, and we can be there in a public private partnership to do the work we do today with Medicare, and with Medicaid at every state level, we run the Medicaid programs for them, then let’s have that conversation.

But if we want to turn it all over to the government to run, is the government really the right place to run all this stuff? And that’s the debate that needs to be had. They could finance it, and if there is one financer, and you could call that single-payer. …

I think it’s hilarious that he ignores federal administration of SSA and Medicare. Both of which have administration costs less than 10-25% of typical American private insurance companies.

❝ What Bertolini seems open to is a version of single-payer where the federal government would contract out certain functions private companies, such as Aetna. These insurers would, in his own words, become a “back room for government.”

A Republican solution for Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads


One of those roads turned to gravel – and more potholes

❝ After living more than 40 years along a road plagued by potholes, Jo Anne Amoura was excited to see city crews shred her block of Leavenworth Street into gravel.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. We’re going to get a new street,’” Ms. Amoura recalled. “And then we waited and waited and waited.”

Fresh pavement never arrived. Only after the asphalt had been ripped out almost three years ago did Ms. Amoura and her neighbors learn that their street had been “reclaimed,” Omaha City Hall’s euphemism for unpaving a road…

❝ As in many big cities, the infrastructure here is crumbling, a problem exacerbated by decades of neglect and a network of residential roads, including Ms. Amoura’s, that have never met code. But Omaha’s solution is extreme: grinding paved streets into gravel as a way to cut upkeep costs…

❝ While President Trump has called for extensive investments in infrastructure, federally funded efforts are likely to go to decaying interstate highways and airports and dams. Some experts estimate that $1 trillion is needed to repair roads, bridges and rail lines over the next decade.

But infrastructure is also decaying at the most local levels — on cul-de-sacs and in neighborhood playlots unlikely ever to see federal funding. So cities like Omaha have resorted to unusual solutions…

“This isn’t something that happened over one year or two years,” said Brooks Rainwater, a senior executive and the director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities. “This has been decades of not investing in our infrastructure.”

Thing is, taxpayers have been paying their taxes. The ordinary citizens who have been living and working in America’s cities for generations. Politicians keep trying to attract industry by NOT collecting taxes from the new guys at the top of the scale. Maybe promising lower taxes for their executive class, as well.

Yes, it’s not just a Republican problem at the front end. Both clubhouses in our incompetent 2-party private political association are less than understanding of economics beyond slogans. But, the right-hand side of that 2-party equation ain’t about to begin supporting legislation and regulations that fill life’s needs for folks who work for a living. That’s reserved for the important people.

RTFA for the details, folks. It ain’t a surprise, anywhere in the GOUSA.

Conservative Libertarian hedge funder pockets $35 million state aid package


Chris Goodney/Bloomberg

Cliff Asness, the founder of AQR Capital Management, is a hard-core libertarian who opposes big government…In 2010, he described the administration’s economic team as “Cossacks on a shtetl.” In 2015, he took to the august pages of The Wall Street Journal to moan about Obamacare, and the same year claimed that global warming isn’t the big deal some people make it out to be. In 2012, he made a cameo in a documentary called Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged, and argued that the blame for the financial crisis rested squarely on “all-intrusive” government policies…

…You might think that, when approached by the state of Connecticut, where his firm is headquartered, about accepting a $35 million aid package he would say, “Thanks, but we‘re good. Accepting the money would violate the principles I hold near and dear. Honestly, I wouldn‘t be able to sleep at night if I took the money.” But you would be wrong

…The assistance for…AQR, which has $172 billion in assets under management, has been questioned by some, including the state comptroller, over whether the initiative actually benefits jobs in the state.

In America, Asness once more verified you can take hypocrisy to the bank.

Paul Ryan’s tax plan ends up giving 100% of Its benefits to the top 1%

File this one under “too good to check.” Max Ehrenfreund passes along the latest analysis of Paul Ryan’s tax proposal from the Tax Policy Center and notes that by 2025 it gets a wee bit lopsided:

blog_republican_tax_plan_one_decade

This is like a parody of Republican tax proposals. In its first year, the top 1 percent start off getting a mere 76 percent of the benefit….Within ten years they get nearly 100 percent of the benefit. Ryan and the congressional Republicans manage this by giving the poor and middle class nothing and actually taking money away from the upper middle class. The only people who benefit are the rich and the really rich.

As for the really, really rich, the top 0.1 percent get an average tax break of $1.4 million, while the rest of us get about $3 trillion in extra federal debt and no long-term change in economic growth. What a deal.

More craptastic politics from the least productive hacks in Washington, DC. I honestly think Ryan trots his spreadsheet out with a new set of lies every couple of years just so Congressional Republlicans can say, “look, we have a proposal!” – even though it’s about as useful as a new crutch to someone who just had his legs amputated.