Friday, March 31, 2017

Rethinking Democratic Party Strategy

In the wake of the GOP’s inability to repeal and replace Obamacare and the Democratic party realizing they are a  minority party out of power from city hall to Congress, both parties have circled their respective wagons and firing their guns at their own partisans.  The Democrats have one  set of problems. Theirs is strategy: whether to work with President Trump on some matters of agreement or whether to stonewall everything proposed by Trump and the GOP.  

The GOP’s problem is ideological v political pragmatism, trying to unite two very different factions with very different constituencies. Their chasm opened widely with , the right concerned about limiting federal government and increasing tax breaks to  corporations and wealthy  in the name of job creation and the moderates more concerned about solving the everyday problems of their more purple state constituents .

The Democrats do not have major philosophical and political differences, making it easier to unite.  However, there are some very significant conflicting viewpoints about strategy.  One camp would like to do unto the GOP what the GOP had done unto them. For seven years, the GOP had tried to  stonewall everything in Congress the Democrats wanted, from Supreme Court nominees to stimulus, to Obamacare, to environmental protections, to Wall Street reform.. The GOP had become the party of “no”, and now, imany believe it is the turn  for the Democrats to become the party of no. .

What is a danger is that HSS Secretary Tom Price could do much damage sabotaging the ACA with his administrative functions and the upcoming tax reform legislation could also do some harm. It would be self-fulling the GOP’s prophecy that the ACA was destroying itself.

The alternative is for Democrats joining together with President Trump in coalition politics with Trump supporters and  moderate GOP pragmatists  to repair the ACA and support infrastructure spending. The danger is that it might make Trump look good enough, he would be re-elected, jeopardizing the crucial appointment to the Supreme Court that makes it extremely conservative, jeopardizing Roe v Wade or other issues dear to the Democratic hearts.   

On the other hand, Democrats are beginning to realize that support they normally would have had in 2016 swung to Trump because he showed sympathy with unhappiness of less educated, Southern cultured, and northern blue collar workers ,and promised he would fix it.  Addressing that unhappiness is where both Trump and Bernie Sanders came together and Hillary Clinton missed the boat.   

Where both parties are in danger is forgetting  that their constituents have the power to make a difference in both the Electoral College, the raw national polls, and even local elections.  The laurel leaf of victory will be worn by the party that realizes that partisan warfare and ideology in the long run are not the winners.  It is which party understands the causes  of voter discontent and demonstrates the ability to craft laws and policies that appeal to the restless swing voters.

The Democratic party will have to do what it can to show it cares, even if it means joining in a coalition of strange bedfellows on certain issues. They still have the voice, if not Congressional votes, to raise cain when the GOP harms those same swing voters.

Democrats ought to be careful what they wish regarding the Gorsuch nomination

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the process of Senate confirmation is beginning to look like a game of chicken.  Both the Democrats and the Republicans are threatening each other. The Republicans threaten a rule change if the Democrats carry through with their threat to filibuster the confirmation.  If the GOP changes Senate rules, they may even damage the future effectiveness of the Supreme Court to act as one of the three legs in our country's balance of power system and they are gambling that their maneuver would not backfire on them later. The full Senate vote is scheduled for this Friday.


Democrats ought to be careful what they wish. The Democrats are in a weak position of not having enough Senators (48 of 100). At least three Democrats have already declared they will vote in favor of Gorsuch. In the short term whatever the Democrats do might make little difference. Gorsuch can be confirmed by a GOP rules change. Democrats are gambling, too. The more critical confirmation will be when the next vacancy occurs which, depending on the timing, It might  forever cement the Court into a decisive ideologically conservative majority lasting decades.  

The Democrats are facing a difficult choice of whether or not  to force the GOP to change Senate rules in order to save Gorsuch’s confirmation All but the three Democrats are already pledged to vote no on Gorsuch, making it still difficult for the GOP to get 60 votes as rules now require. It may be satisfying emotionally for Democrats to get revenge for GOP failure to even consider the Obama nomination, but it would not change the Court makeup. A conservative Gorsuch is replacing a conservative  Scalia. Approving Gorsuch now only makes  the Court  balance the same as what existed before the vacancy,  split 5 to 4 one way or the other on many decisions.

The GOP ought to be careful about changing rules, too. The GOP leadership is threatening to stop  a filibuster  by Democrats by changing Senate rules from the sixty votes needed for confirmation to a simple majority.  That  rule change is called the “nuclear option” because it could weaken one of the three branches of government that check the power of the executive and legislative branches by making the Court even more partisan than it is now. The rule change  makes it easier for the GOP to replace a liberal  seat with a conservative judge in the near future  It also could come back to haunt the GOP making it easier for Democrats to get their nomination confirmed, depending on when the next vacancy occurs and if the GOP maintains its Senate majority at that time.


Let us hope the GOP does not drop the nuclear option bomb.   It  would set a precedent that all future confirmations  more likely would be decided  on an even more partisan or ideological basis than now,  with the majority party always determining the confirmation.  This is weakening the Court’s credibility as an independent body tasked by the Constitution with interpreting the constitutionality  of laws.   Keeping  the sixty vote requirement  at least makes it more likely a nominee would have to have  to gather support from the minority party, with nominees having more bi-partisan, centrist appeal.  






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Russian connection in the White House and the 2016 campaign: a coming together of many elements


This posting was also carried as a column in editions of the Sky Hi Daily News, March 29, 2017

The explosive revelation by FBI Director James Comey before the House Intelligence Committee March 20 that Donald Trump’s campaign’s  Russian connections had been under investigation by the FBI since last July raises many questions.  While there is yet no  proof publicly provided that Trump  or his close associates were  in collusion with Russian agents, there are enough smoke  plumes coming together that hang like one big cloud over the White House.  Whether there is fire in that smoke is the question.

Those smoke plumes  represent three elements coming together at once:  Trump’s  long time desire to do business in Russia, those close to him and friendly to Russia during the campaign and into the White House, and an electorate that was weary of foreign entanglements and  NATO obligations and who cared more about their own domestic agenda than Russian connections. Those political currents were expressed in Trump’s  America First  or Make America Great Again sloganeering, but they also played into Russian foreign policy aspirations to move into the Baltics and the Balkans.

The influence of Russia on the 2016 election is also slowly being revealed  or alleged by media fed by leaks from whistle blowers  within the US government or in foreign dossiers. A concerted cyber attack from Russia  to infuence the 2016 election in the form of planted fake news stories, hacking data bases and  leaking  transcripts unflattering to Hillary Clinton, were  confirmed by Comey’s testimony before the House committee.

It is possible Donald Trump himself turns out to be innocent of any collusion. Due to his business dealings,  he was already kindly disposed to Russia and President Vladimir Putin well before the campaign. During Trump's presidential campaign, few thought he would win, incluing Trump himself.. His bromance with Putin and supporting Russian foreign policy initiatives could be attributed to promoting his business opportunities there with the power that be. That made Trump fertile ground on which others of close ties to Russia could plant pro Russian foreign policy seeds when it became clear Trump had a chance to be a viable candidate..

How likely is it  pro Russian sympathizers in his campaign  or transistion or White House staff influenced his  positions on foreign policy similar to Russia’s or influence the GOP platform?  His campaign staff , his cabinet and  White House advisers, were full of Russian friendlies .  His campaign chairman from May to mid August , Paul Manafort, had provided paid services to the now deposed Putin confident and former president of the Ukraine, and he signed a contract, for millions per year 2006-2009 with an oligarch close to Putin to promote Putin's interest in the world . Manafort also was also paid  as a consultant to the Montenegro government Russia was influencing. Roger Stone is suspected of communicating with Russian intelligence in cyber matters. Carter Page,active the the Russian energy sector and an open apologist for Putin, was a campaign hanger on. Two members of his cabinet have Russian ties. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was Exxon president and got official recognition for his friendship with Russia. Trump’s old friend and new Commerce Secretary, is Wilbur Ross, major investor in a  Cyprus bank known for money laundering  for Russian clients .   His constant campaign companion, and later  briefly national security advisor ,Gen Mike Flynn ,had  been paid to promote Russian state sponsored television.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-trumps-financial-ties-to-russia-and-his-unusual-flattery-of-vladimir-putin/2016/06/17/dbdcaac8-31
.  

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/paul-manafort-vladimir-putin-russia
(AP story)





















The Montenegro, Manafort, Russia, McCain, NATO entanglements

The Montenegro entanglements, Manafort, Russia, McCain, NATO

Update 4/12/2017: Pres. Trump agreed to admit Montenegro into NATO, expanding NATO.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-montenegro-idUSKBN17D1XL

There is a Russian/Manafort connection with Montenegro dating years ago, but before NATO is an application for membership.  At their first  NATO meeting during the time of the Trump administration,
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not attend and will be in Moscow instead.  The Russian interest in Montenegro is historic.  Sen. McCain has been interested and knowledgeable about Montenegro and got embroiled over a spat with Libertarian isolationist Rand Paul. The spat got personal.  The following post is from a facebook posting recently.  The Manafort Russian connection is most likely the subject of the FBI investigation into Russian influence in the US Presidential Elections in 2016.

Per Balkan Reports, the impression of those in the Balkans is that Secretary of State Tillerson supports Montenegro's membership in NATO.  The entire Balkans are concerned with Russia's increasing influence and presence in their region and look at this as a way to counter this.

The Manafort/Russian/McCain issue  connection was described in https://www.thenation.com/article/mccains-kremlin-ties/

 The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. that is one of the best in the Mediterranean which Russia has coveted for centuries. It is particularly suited for submarines.It is located directly across the narrow Adriatic sea from Italy. Russia had tried to stealth take over Montenegro by huge investments in real estate and energy. However, the situation is not simple in politics there, but bringing Montenegro into NATO is a historical opportunity to block Russia's attempt to grab the port there. It is far more important to US strategic interest because of the port than even the Ukraine or Georgia. Paul is the one looking unhinged; not McCain. So important is that port to Russia that recently uncovered was an attempt to assassinate the PM of Montenegro who was advocating joining NATO. Russia was using Serbian operatives.

https://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/russia-stirs-hornets-nest

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-s-hopes-rise-as-us-secretary-urged-nato-addmission-03-22-2017


Russian security services were involved in the attempted assassination of Montenegro's prime minister in October, the Montenegrin special prosecutor said.
UPI.COM

GOP between a rock and a hard place on repeal/replace Obamacare

The GOP is between a rock and a hard place with repeal and replace Obamacare. They break campaign promises with a plan that either fails to repeal Obamacare or it double crosses their voters with a replacement with much worThe Gse, not better, coverage. Tomorrow the House may vote on the Ryan/Trump replacement or not. It may not be brought to the floor because it lacks the votes to pass. The ultra conservatives oppose it because it does not repeal Obamacare as they promised.Voting "no" serves two purposes. They will not face the sting from angry voters for yanking their health insurance from them or a threat  from a more conservative primary challenger if they are in gerry mandered safe GOP districts. They are already so far on the right and  they are using a far right rationale to keep that segment on their side. Others, the few GOP representatives in swing or districts Hilllary carried who vote for the GOP bill, will face a backlash from voters in 2018 who feel they have been doublecrossed since the proposed GOP bill breaks another promise. It brings with it no affordable insurance for 24 million and higher premiums and deductions for others between the age of 50-65 years old. The replacement is a worse plan, not a better plan and it is going to hurt the very groups that voted for Trump.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Russian connection red flags were flying very early in the Trump campaign

The House hearing on the Trump tweet and the Russia connection yesterday in which the FBI director and the national security chief publicly confirmed that they could find no evidence Pres. Obama ordered a wire tap on Trump towers and that since last July the FBI was investigatiing the Russia connection, was historical.  The red flags were flying even before then regarding the Russian influence in the campaign.  Below is myblog posting which was published in the Sky Hi News June 19, 2016.Paul Manafort, mentioned in the column, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and was named campaign chair in April, resigning in August.. Beginning in March 2106, Trump began his anti-NATO crusade. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/05/whats-trumps-position-on-nato/

By the September "Commander in Chief" forum, Trump's foreign policy was in synch with Russia's in many ways.  In a September 8 post in this blog, I wrote the following: "Donald Trump in the recent "Commander in Chief" forum called Vladimir Putin a better leader than President Obama.  That bromance between Trump and Putin is more than just a matter of flattery and egos.  It has real repercussions for future conduct of foreign policy if Trump is elected. 

 Trump supports foreign policies that dovetail neatly with Russia's,, excusing the Russian grab of the Crimea, going
along with the stealth invasion of Eastern Ukraine, calling NATO obsolete as a military defense alliance, and fuzzy about whether Russia's ally Assad in Syria must go, None of those policies are in America's or our allies' interests. Only when it comes to fighting ISIS do Russia and the US have much in common, but even then the devil will be when any peace agreements are negotiated, as Russia will be firm to protect Assad."

"
The June 19 post about the early red flags:
There are many in Grand County who have more than a passing interest in what happens to NATO.  They still have family in eastern European countries that are current members of NATO and were once Soviet satellites.  Lithuanians and Poles  have settled here and have become respected members of our community. Those countries belong to NATO.  Other Eastern European settlers in Grand County from countries not in NATO are Russians and Moldovans.
Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians (the three Baltic States) and Poles in particular must be looking at alarming statements from Donald Trump for his comments that “We don’t really need NATO in its current form. NATO is obsolete…if we have to walk, we walk.”  Many  look with raised eyebrows  at the  sometimes called “bromance” with Russian President  Vladimir Putin.  Putin called Trump  "a brighter person, talented without a doubt." Putin reiterated has admiration of Donald Trump June 19 on Fareed Zakaria ‘s CNN program, as well as asking why the West still needs NATO.
Trump’s public assertion that not only is NATO obsolete, but their members are not living up to their promises to contribute. There is far more at stake than money.
Russia is on the march in a seeming attempt to reassemble former Soviet satellites , restoring past glories.  Russians also resent and fear  their former neighboring buffer states becoming NATO members and permitting missile defense installations (even if the defense systems are turned toward the Middle East) . Their grabbing  or helping surrogates grab   parts of non NATO members of Georgia, the Crimea and eastern Ukraine has been seen as a threat in particular to the NATO member Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.  NATO was quick to move more forces to the Baltics in response as a warning to Russia not to mess with members of NATO. Without NATO, the small Baltic states in particular would be vulnerable to a Crimea and Ukraine like grabs, making Poland and Romania especially at risk. In his June CNN comments, Putin slyly ignored Russia’s land grabs which would have answered his question of Why NATO?

There may not be a conspiracy involved, just a case of Trump’s ignorance or isolationist advocacy or wanting to make a deal with Russia,  but there is an interesting connection with his most inner advisor. It is his campaign chairman,  Paul Manafort, who was a political consultant to  once  president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was attempting to stop some in his country who wanted greater trade ties with the West, while he was closely connected to Russia  and wanted his country to be more connected to them. A revolution followed in 2014.  During that revolution, Yanukovych fled first to the eastern Ukraine and now resides in exile in Russia.

Many in the United States’ foreign relations community on both sides of the aisle  look at Donald Trump’s foreign policy with alarm.  A particularly large howl was raised in a March open  letter  by 121 GOP national security leaders.  George W Bush’s secretary of State, Richard Armitage, announced  this month he would vote for Hillary Clinton.

 http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/06/16/richard-armitage-plans-vote-hillary-clinton/he would vote for Hillary Clinton.

policy/

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/07/trump-nato/492341/


http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/06/16/richard-armitage-plans-vote-hillary-clinton/

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trump puts America First and many Americans last with his health insurance and tax initiatives

Also publlished in the Sky Hi News on line and print editions March 22, 2017


Pres Donald  Trump puts America First and  many Americans last with his  two largest initiatives, replacing Obamacare and his budget proposal, Trump  is indeed making good on his promise to put America first as he defines those words in solely defense spending terms,  but he does it by putting  older, sicker, poorer, and the young, and blue collar lower income workers   last while reducing taxes on the very rich.


Trump’s definition of making America great again as expressed in his proposed budget and embrace of the GOP health care plan  is more military might and cutting  more than $600 billion from taxes on the already wealthy and businesses that  pay for Obamacare. It is a shift based on the ideology of the good of smaller government , isolationism, and lowering the  tax burden on the rich and corporations and reducing the federal deficit. But Trump  ignores the impact on humans, especially  the lower middle class working poor and older  Americans, groups  that voted for him  in 2016.


By  election time in  November 2018,  some of the ideological rubber and Trump campaign promises will have hit the real world road of human suffering and political backlash as Medicaid expansion is cut so that 14 million lose their insurance. Soon after 2018 elections  the 50-65 year old will be hit with a 20 to 25% increase in health insurance premiums.


The  purely ideologically motivated  claim that what people really want is choice and competition and less debt burden on their grandchildren. They fume that 3% of the American population do not have the choice of benefits or multiple plans since they only have access to one insurance company and they take that as proof Obamacare is failing.   That is not what  most consumers primarily care about.  Polls and media interviews of Trump supporters have been very clear. They want lower cost insurance premiums and  less out of pocket expenses. After all, candidate Trump had promised them better access to better health insurance.  The most damning disconnect with consumers  about the Trump administration making the gift of choice  the shiny object they want to provide,  is that is that 14 million will have no choice of even one plan, since they will have no way to afford premiums  with the cuts to Medicaid and premium subsidies. These disconnects  are   like a consumer asking for the chocolate  they were promised, but giving them a licorice stick  or an empty candy wrapper instead.  


Eventually, per the Congressional Budget Office, (CBO) 24 million currently insured will be uninsured in ten years, taking the US back to where  the number of uninsured was the same as was before Obamacare. Remember those days? Health care  bills were the number one cause of bankruptcy.  The emergency room became the primary care doctors and hospital’s  expensive charity care costs  were shifted to higher premiums for everyone else to pay.


The Trump budget proposal shows how little it cares about the human factor in many ways, claiming they see no benefit in certain programs so they are cutting federal subsidies to  latch key kids of after school programs including feeding them,  Meals on Wheels  (35% of funding is coming from the feds now) that keeps grandma at home instead of in a nursing home, reducing Medicaid that pays for seven million grandmas to stay in nursing homes.


http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/prices-grand-pronouncement

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/03/16/how-will-the-house-gop-health-care-bill-affect-individual-market-premiums/






https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/?pnref=story (Budget director says feeding kids is overrated) video










http://amjmed.org/under-aca-medical-bankruptcy-continues/  (but uninsured over 2x more likely to have problems paying medical bills )

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/many-older-americans-costs-rise-131227123.html?.tsrc=fauxdal&post_id=1598506623_10208278306067487#_=_


Friday, March 17, 2017

Rand Paul comes unhinged on NATO expansion to Montenegro


Should NATO be expanded to Montenegro? Rand Paul thinks no; John McCain thinks yes. Paul called McCain too old and unhinged on MSNBC Morning Joe this morning (3/16/17). Rand Paul needs a history and geography lesson. Why is Montenegro important? It is located in a narrow spur of the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, and directly across from it is Italy. So it is in American interests for Russia to have a submarine base there? Historically its Bay of Kotor is a port of enormous depth...
that is one of the best in the Mediterranean which Russia has coveted for centuries. It is particularly suited for submarines. Russia had tried to stealth take over Montenegro by huge investments in real estate and energy. However, the situation is not simple in politics there, but bringing Montenegro into NATO is a historical opportunity to block Russia's attempt to grab the port there. It is far more important to US strategic interest because of the port than even the Ukraine or Georgia. Paul is the one looking unhinged; not McCain. So important is that port to Russia that recently uncovered was an attempt to assassinate the PM of Montenegro who was advocating joining NATO. Russia was using Serbian operatives.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

America is in a twitter over Trump's tweets

Once again President Donald Trump’s tweet gets America in a twitter. I so many words he  accused President   of a crime, wire tapping him.  There was some  blowback  he surely  had not anticipated.   Even his spokespeople were  unable to explain the whys and hows how he got such information.  Members of Congress interviewed on Sunday talk shows could not back him up    He tweeted : “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”


Immediately those who were in control  and knowledgeable of the nation’s intelligence and surveillance at the time of the last campaign and in prior administrations, James Clapper,         and Michael Hayden, were quick to make the point that a president did not have the power to order wire taps and that attested that they knew of no warrants approved for such wire taps. They educated TV viewers about the process to approve wire taps via special judges panels The FBI Director ,James Comey , urged the Justice Department to say it isn’t true.


Speculation by those interviewed throughout last  weekend centered on missing  proof or how he got that information.  Was it from Breitbart News reporting a right wing conspiracy theory, or some internal  intelligence report, or information from other countries’ intelligence services?   Some speculated he did it to divert attention from more  evidence of meetings  of those close to him with Russians and speculation  that members of his campaign staff had been in cahoots with Russian officials during the campaign to influence the outcome.


What can those  do who feel nervous and scared that there is an administration led by a President who appears to be unhinged and  with a staff that is itself  in disarray? What if the world ceases believing what he says and/or miscalculates war and peace policies? The public has has little ability to separate  fact from fiction since so much of the investigation into the Russian connection  is taking place  behind closed doors. One person I admire and respect very much said she does not believe anyone  on any side involved in the Russian affair.  Others said to me on the weekend, they were afraid that the President was not equipped to handle  or challenges to our national security.  They called this a dangerous time.

Here is what I suggest those do who feel frightened or bewildered :  First, demand and look for credible proof. Follow what is  expressed publicly, especially by those made under oath.  Do not rely on one  or a couple of media outlets for news and consider many others, even those that make you uncomfortable.   Become knowledgeable about the  the checks and balances within our government that make accusations  or abuse of power unlikely.  Demand  that more hearings  be held in public and that investigations are truly independent. Do not become so fixated by sensational breaking news that you forget what  other  issues being decided upon   that affect your daily life.  Some I am following  are GOP plans  that would to affect the access and benefits of health insurance for everyone,  executive orders and  administration subversion of consumer and environmental protections which would hurt our pocket books and  health, and civil liberties. For more, visit www.mufticforumblog.blogspot.com

Trumpcare/GOP plan is shift and shaft, replace and wreck

My initial reaction:


The GOP/Trumpcare is shift and shaft. replace and wreck
(Credit  independent Sen.  Angus King for those words)


Updated and retitled " Trumpcare is Shift and Shaft, repeal and wreck.   3/10.17
In Sky Hi Daily News print and e editions, 3/15/17 : Republican's Health Scare Bill

Sen. Angus King  (I-ME)recently called the GOP/Trumpcare replacement plan for the ACA/Obamacare,"Shift and shaft; repeal and wreck". The legislation is now going through the Republican dominated House of Representatives. King  is not the only one opposing it: So have American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, the insurance company trade association, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP.)  Some conservatives also oppose it because they want to do away with any insurance premium subsidies as being "socialism"..

The GOP purrs no one will lose health insurance who has it today under Obamacare/ACA,. That's today, but by 2018, and many millions of individuals  will realize they have been shafted.The Brookings Institute estimates fifteen million more than today will be uninsured and the Congressional Budget Office estimates fourteen million by 2018.  Premiums  on individual markets will rise first  but ten years later they will decrease only by   10% over now  but  58 million will be uninsured  by then, close to pre Obamacare figures.  It saves $ 300 billion reducing deficit in ten years  by dropping Medicaid expansion and reducing  subsidies (tax credits)  to  one half of Obamacare subsidies. Medicaid expansion being phased out affects  eleven million now in that program  as are 7 million seniors in nursing homes. Yes,the GOP reassures us, it will be patient centered because patients can make more choices. Some choice when 24 million more than now cannot even afford premiums much less make  choices  of insurance plan benefits.

What is wrecked is the mechanism used to finance premium subsidies and the coverage of pre-existing conditions.  Obamacare/ACA depended on taxes on the top 1% and others. The ACA put those who have high demand on health care, such as seniors and those who were sick, into large pools that included  those with less frequent use of services paying in, too, to spread the cost of premiums around.  $600 billion of  taxes are being eliminated, mostly benefiting  the rich,  and the pools are being broken up  into segregated  ones for  high users  and/ or charging  some  more for fewer benefits.

.The  shaft to consumers who still can afford premiums is that their benefits they get now will become optional and their premiums, especially paid by over 50 years old Americans, will pay 25 to 35% more per  AARP. No longer required to be included in all insurance plans would be such benefits as prescription drug coverage, annual physicals, no-copay cancer screenings, prenatal/maternal care, and mental health and drug rehab coverage.  These will become optional benefits for which you must pay extra or pay for them out of your own pocket or  will not be included in your "affordable" policies  which shrink to the catastrophic coverage category.

The shift is obvious. "The bill would cut more than 20 taxes enacted under President Barack Obama's heath law, saving taxpayers nearly $600 billion over the next decade. The bulk of the money would go to the wealthiest Americans" per an Associated Press analysis. The burden would  be shifted to  the   the poor and older Americans . While The Trump/GOP plan calls for reduction and  elimination of Medicaid expansion,  older Americans  will also shoulder the burden.  Obamacare subsidies were based on income but Trumpcare would base tax credits on  age, providing only $4 thousand tax credits to older people, yet permitting insurance companies to charge five times the premium costs of younger ones. .

__________________________________________________________________________________ 
 Here is where your Colorado Congresspoeple stand now on the GOP/Trumpcare bill  per an a NPR report.  Opposed,are all Democratic House members and  Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, . In favor of Trumpcare/GOP legislation,  Mike Coffman (6th district) . "Equivocal" Republicans are Scott Tipton, Ken Buck ,and Doug Lambourn,.and  Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. However. other sources list Gardner  as one of the four Republican senators who will vote against the  GOP proposal because of the cuts to Medicaid, he says,





The  GOP sales pitch supporting Trumpcare is based on false pretenses and untruths.  They claim Obamacare is failing so take their plan or leave it ..    They claim premiums have soared. They point out horror stories in seven states,, yet the total number of those seeing premium rises are only 3% of Americans. In fact, health care costs under Obamacare  have risen less than they were projected to rise without  Obamacare. They claim a third of the counties(mostly rural ) have only one plan to choose from, yet they propose a plan that would cause rural health providers and hospitals to close their doors as they lose paying customers.


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cbos-huge-report-impact-trumpcare-200918767.html

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-charts-20170104-story.html


http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/house-gop-health-bill-adds-big-tax-cut-rich

https://www.yahoo.com/news/its-merciless-democrats-focus-on-seniors-while-attacking-gop-health-care-bill-133511919.html

http://www.npr.org/2017/03/08/519282174/aarp-policy-director-criticizes-republican-health-care-plan

http://www.npr.org/2017/03/10/519629973/new-health-care-bill-find-out-where-your-member-of-congress-stands

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/doctors-hospitals-and-insurers-oppose-republican-health-plan/2017/03/08/d9f0f5c2-0426-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html?utm_term=.0ad08b958d5b

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/judge-rules-aetna-lied-about-reason-for-leaving-obamacare-exchanges


http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/big-differences-gop-health-care-bill-obama-era

http://mainebeacon.com/sen-king-republican-health-care-proposal-will-shaft-mainers-who-need-coverage/

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brookings-institution-expects-cbo-estimate-of-at-least-15-million-more-uninsured-under-republican-health-care-bill-2017-03-09

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/09/us/politics/who-is-really-affected-by-rising-obamacare-premiums.html?_r=0

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/18/obamacare-repeal-could-close-colorado-hospitals/

http://www.newsweek.com/obamacare-repeal-threatens-rural-hospitals-and-trump-voters-who-depend-them-538627

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/cbo-deal-death-blow-gop-133300363.html

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Earlier coments.

In fact, health care costs under Obamacare  have risen less than they were projected to rise without  Obamacare. They claim a third of the counties(mostly rural ) have only one plan to choose from, yet they propose a plan that would cause rural health providers and hospitals to close their doors as they lose paying customers. They claim insurance companies are leaving the market because of Obamacare, but other factors are at work  including court rejections of mergers because the health care industry is already controlled by a nearly non-competitive monopoly of larger insurers, making a mockery of the  free market forces of competition needed to reduce costs. Nothing in the GOP/Trumpcare plan would change that. 

Its GOP honey coated: sales point: they are luring you to support the plan is that you don't have to have health care insurance if you do not want it and you can buy any insurance you
want and cherry pick benefits.How the credits work to help you pay for it is not yet clear. What happens to those who do not make enough to pay any taxes? How will they get credits to offset costs? Will consumers have to upfront costs or pay for them from health savings plans they themselves pay for?  Health savings plans are a way to make consumers pay more from their take home pay for their own insurance. This is a cost shift to consumers. What if your pay check cannot stand more contributions to health savings plans?
Other questions to be answered: how many will lose their ability to afford insurance, what will happen to those who lose their
Medicaid because of the extreme cuts and ending that program in the future as we know it? What other benefits are removed from requirements such as covering presecription drugs, annual checkups, cancer screenings and the pink and blue pills.  Choice may mean  women  will have to pay more for their insurance than men, men will get the advantage, and whether this system is cheaper for the federal government
than Obamacare. Budget hawks will be most interested in the latter.
All of this awaits Congressional Budget Office scoring and scrutiny by others however the various GOP dominated House Committees plan to go ahead without the CBO evaluation of costs and numbers of people covered.  That is an outrage and against even House rules and should not be allowed.
At this point it is probably dead on arrival because it shoves a chunk of
the costs of Medicaid to the states who had already received federal funding for it, and it ends Medicaid expansion in a few
years.. Half of those 22 million who received Obamacare were those who benefitted from Mediciad expansion. The Freedom Caucus also opposes any subsidies of insurance premiums that the GOP plan perptuates because it is "socialism".
The Medicaid issue could be the nail in the coffin hammered in by some GOP Senators who come from states that accepted Medaid expansion. The Medicaid cuts will hurt their state's budgets. That is just for starters because how credits subsidies will be applied or works is not yet clear. They may be hiding cuts that are not yet obvious because they are masked by making subsidies based on age instead of income. We now will be awaiting Congressional scoring and scruitiny by such groups as AARP and independent non profit foundations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation. Initial comments is that older Americans not yet old enough for Medicare will take the brunt of the cost shift to them.  Of course, Democrats will be united against the plan, and the GOP cannot afford to lose many GOP Senator's votes, either from the Freedom Caucus members or those from states who had accepted federal funds for Medicaid expansion., including Cory Gardner of Colorado..http://www.motherjones.com/…/republican-senators-obamacare-…


House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) opens a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump’s first address to Congress is…
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