Category Archive: Politics

Mar 26

Republicans Look Forward to Next Failure

President Donald Trump - Looking Forward to Tax CutsThe stunning collapse of the Republican healthcare bill now imperils the rest of President Trump’s ambitious congressional agenda, with few prospects for quick victory on tax reform, construction projects, or a host of other issues in the months ahead despite complete GOP control of government.

While Republicans broadly share the goal of Trump’s promised “big tax cuts,” the president will have to bridge many of the same divides within his own party that sunk the attempted overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. And without savings anticipated from the healthcare bill, paying for the “massive” cuts Trump has promised for corporations and middle-class families becomes considerably more complicated.

Meanwhile, other marquee agenda items, including a $1 trillion investment in roads and other infrastructure and proposed crackdowns on both legal and illegal immigration, will require the support of Democrats, many of whom have been alienated by the highly partisan start to Trump’s tenure. …

House Republicans leaders had been counting on changes to the tax code included in the healthcare bill to make the task of paying for future tax cuts easier.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said the bloc of hard line Republicans who helped stymie the healthcare overhaul were guilty of “ripping the lungs out of tax reform.” If they don’t revisit the healthcare bill immediately, Norquist said, they will soon realize that “they didn’t shoot and wound healthcare reform, they shot and killed permanent tax reform.”

House Speaker Paul D Ryan (R-Wis) acknowledged Friday that the healthcare defeat “does make tax reform more difficult, but it does not make it impossible.”

–John Wagner, Damian Paletta and Sean Sullivan
Trump’s Path Forward Only Gets Tougher After Health-Care Fiasco

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/26/tax-cuts-trump/

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Mar 25

Why Trumpcare Failed

Ezra Klein - Why Trumpcare FailedThe American Health Care Act failed because it was a terrible piece of legislation. It would have thrown 24 million people off insurance and raised deductibles for millions more — and the savings would’ve gone to pay for tax cuts for millionaires. It broke virtually all of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, and was opposed not just by Democrats but also by Republicans. …

This is a failure for Speaker Paul Ryan on many levels. He wrote this bill, and when the speaker takes over the process like that, the upside is it’s supposed to create legislation that can pass. On this most basic task, Ryan failed, and failed spectacularly.

Some legislation fails even though the party faithful love it. For the Democrats, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill was like that — it went nowhere in the Senate, but liberals appreciated that Nancy Pelosi tried. The American Health Care Act wasn’t like that. Republicans were glad to see it die.

But beyond the legislative and tactical deficiencies, the AHCA reflected a deeper failure of moral and policy imagination. Ryan spent the latter half of Barack Obama’s presidency promising to repair the Republican Party’s relationship with the poor (remember Ryan’s “poverty tour”?). He’s spent every day since the passage of Obamacare saying the Republicans could do better. This is what he came up with? The GOP put their greatest policy mind in charge of the House of Representatives and they got… this?

–Ezra Klein
The Failure of the Republican Health Care Bill Reveals a Party Unready to Govern

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/25/american-health-care-act/

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Mar 24

Trump’s Backup Plan: Blame Ryan

Greg Sargent - Trump's Backup Plan: Blame RyanNobody knows whether the House GOP health bill will pass today, or even whether it will get voted on — the vote could get postponed again, even though President Trump has demanded this vote or else he will allow Republicans to languish under the oppression of Obamacare forever (yes, it’s possible this is a bluff). The White House isn’t sure it has the votes. The whip counts show enough opposition to sink it. But a last-minute shift that puts it over the line is definitely possible.

Still, here are a few things we already know: Even if Trump “wins” and the bill passes, this whole process has been an utter disaster from start to finish. The media analysis is already being framed in a way that will obscure this from view. And Trump himself is determined not to learn the right lessons from the whole mess — no matter what happens.

The New York Times reports today that Trump is bracing for a possible loss, and he’s already moving to pin the blame on Paul Ryan if it fails …

Meanwhile, top Trump adviser Stephen K Bannon is also moving to blame Ryan for a loss, New York Magazine reports, by distancing himself from the bill and blaming Ryan for the fact that it doesn’t drive down costs. And so, if the bill goes down, the story will become whether Trump can shift the blame to Ryan and move on to other things, as Bannon apparently hopes to do. In this telling, the reason the bill failed (or the reason it was so close to tanking, if it prevails) will be that the White House underestimated the difficulty of getting the bill passed, or had too much faith in Ryan’s ability to do so.

The White House — and Republicans — also thought they could render the policy specifics and procedural challenges meaningless through sheer force of bluster. They attacked the Congressional Budget Office’s credibility in advance, but that only left them flatfooted and unprepared when the CBO did find that enormous numbers will lose coverage, which ended up weighing heavily on moderates, despite efforts to undercut its findings in advance. They opted for an absurdly compressed time frame, which alienated moderates and even some conservatives.

Indeed, the Times‘s reporting confirms that Trump never cared much about the policy or the process …

Yet there is no recognition, anywhere, that this might have been part of the problem all along. Worse, all of this will only be obscured if the bill passes, because the coverage is being framed as an epic gamble in which Trump either emerges as the heroic risk-taking “closer” or an abject failure at “dealmaking.” If he succeeds, the closeness of the vote bolsters the “closer” narrative. If he falls short, the failing was personal.

–Greg Sargent
Even If Trump “Wins,” This Health-Care Mess Has Been a Horrendous Disaster

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/24/blame-ryan/

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Mar 23

Why the Republican Base Will Continue to Be Chumps

Matt Taibbi - Why the Republican Base Will Continue to Be ChumpsA dynamic that all good swindlers understand is that once you’ve gotten a person to make one embarrassing decision, it’s easier to get him to make the next one. A person who loses 10 grand trying to buy the Brooklyn Bridge is a good bet to spend 20 more chasing the loss. Con artists call this “reloading.”

The Trump phenomenon has been like this. Megachurch moms and dads across the country grit their teeth when the “grab them by the pussy” tape came out, quietly convincing themselves that “locker-room talk” was less horrifying than a Hillary Clinton presidency.

When they cast their votes weeks later, it was like a secret transgression that bound them to the new leader. This counter-intuitive brand of politics is very effective.

–Matt Taibbi
Milo Yiannopoulos Isn’t Going Away

Afterword

Taibbi was talking about Milo Yiannopoulos, but the Republicans have understood this for decades. Thus, they betray their base (chumps) and get punished for it at most only one election cycle. The Same old trick works again and again. Vote for helping the middle class. Get tax cuts for the rich. Vote for helping the middle class. Get Tax cuts for the rich. There is no end to it!

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/23/republican-chumps/

Mar 22

The Problem Is Capitalism, Not Market Failures

Capitalism - We Work for All; We Feed AllI just read an interview over at PorMarket, The Exercise of Market Power Probably Contributes to Economy-Wide Inequality. It’s with Jonathan B Baker and discusses how effectively having a monopoly tends to increase inequality. If this sounds a little obvious, well, that’s because it is. This is why monopolies are technically illegal. But the issue really isn’t specific market failures. The issue is (or should be) capitalism itself.

The first question starts, “The discourse on concentration, market power, and bigness in many US industries has increased dramatically in the last year.” Really?! Like so many things that economists were thinking a lot about over a century ago, economists are again thinking about them. It’s sad because this really isn’t about finding a better way to arrange our economy. This is instead a big effort at capitalism apologetics. It’s a faith-based belief that capitalism is the right system. These economists (and they are mostly “liberal” economists) are trying to tinker with the system to save it. No thought is given as to whether capitalism is worth saving — much less if it can be saved.

Problems of Capitalism

A question later on in the article starts, “The five largest internet and tech companies — Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft — have outstanding market share in their markets.” It then goes on to ask about anti-trust. That’s an issue with Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

For example, I think Google is the biggest search engine because it is the best. The truth is that a company could come in and destroy Google. Certainly Microsoft could have, but it never thought it necessary to create anything but Google with more images on the front page. Now it is true that Google might be immune to competition because at this point it is “good enough.” Any better search engines might be welcomed by people who have to do research seriously, but for 99 percent of the people Google is good enough. Even still, I can see Google losing out.

Facebook

I leave Amazon alone, because it is kind of a hybrid of these companies on one hand and Facebook on the other.

Facebook is different a bird altogether. It is successful because it is successful. You could create a Facebook that is ten times better, yet it wouldn’t matter because what makes Facebook useful is that everyone is on it. So Facebook is a huge financial success due to nothing but the luck of timing (and having rich friends whose dads could back you — again: luck).

Last night, I heard on the news that someone was rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Oh. That was the first I had heard of that. It appears that the boy no-wonder gave SF General $75 million. With a net worth of $58 billion, that is roughly equivalent to me giving SF General the contents of the wallet — and I carry very little cash on me. Yet in addition to being given ridiculous sums of money for being in the right dorm room at the right time, he’s given hugh societal pats on the back for what is the equivalent of me giving spare change to beggars.

Why Don’t Economists Talk About Capitalism Itself?

My point is not to beat up on Zuckerberg, however. I don’t find him particularly more evil than any other high tech billionaire. But the question is why is it, “The discourse on concentration, market power, and bigness in many US industries has increased dramatically in the last year”? And why isn’t it, “The discourse on the random and immoral natural of capitalism has increased dramatically in the last year”?

I know the answers to these. Regardless of all the pretense to economics being a science, it isn’t. And the people who practice it are trapped by their faith-based beliefs.

The Unstated Assumptions

Whenever I talk about this kind of stuff, I know there are tech people out there who scoff at me. When I worked more directly in high tech, I used to talk about this stuff. I got lots of scoffs. But the responses I got were always the same old stuff. First: communism! Somehow, the fact the USSR under communism didn’t work as well as the US under capitalism is taken to mean something, despite the fact the US had a huge advantage to start with and then the lack of a world war decimating it.

Second: innovation! If it weren’t for capitalism, there would be no innovation and we would all still be farmers. But this is so clearly not the case. And there are other ways of encouraging innovation than making it like a lottery. What’s more, capitalism encourages people to game the system. Look at how litigious Apple and Microsoft have been.

When I look at innovation, what is normally the case is that people working at universities and national labs come up with new ideas, and then private companies come in and monetize them. Well, there’s no reason why the government and non-profits and worker collectives couldn’t do the same thing. (Note: in the old days, many corporations also innovated; but those days are long gone.)

I’m Still Searching for Answers

Note that both of these reasons for why we absolutely must stick with capitalism are not based on evidence. They are just taken as given in our society. I’m not saying that I’m right. And I certainly don’t have all the answers. But I know that whether capitalism is the right system for us is a question, not a given. It doesn’t matter how well you think, if you can’t see the important questions, all the thinking in the world will take you nowhere. And we are getting there. Fast.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/22/capitalism-given/

Mar 22

GOP Reasons for Healthcare Bill Make No Sense

Jonathan Chait - GOP Reasons for Healthcare Bill Make No SenseRather than advocate for the alleged benefits of the bill — if anybody even alleges them any more — Republicans have staked their case on a series of reasons unrelated to its direct effects on the healthcare system:

1. They promised. “We made a promise and now it is the time to keep that promise,” says Paul Ryan. “If we keep that promise, the people will reward us. If we don’t keep our promise, it will be very hard to manage this.” …

A related argument maintains that Republicans would somehow take the blame for the status quo if they failed to pass the bill. “I’m optimistic that none of my members in the end want to be responsible for the status quo on Obamacare,” says Mitch McConnell. Of course, Republicans will be held responsible for the status quo regardless of whether they pass a healthcare bill.

2. Losing will embolden our enemies. “[Trump] told us if we don’t pass this bill on Thursday, it will put everything in jeopardy that he wants to do, his agenda,” Republican Representative John Duncan of Tennessee told The Hill. “If we are not able to move forward with healthcare reform, it endangers tax reform,” Representative Bill Flores of Texas, a former chairman of a House conservative caucus, tells Sahil Kapur. “The folks that were able to tear this down would feel like they’re empowered to tear the next big project down.” This is, essentially, the domino theory of legislation. But, really, think about it rationally: the folks who are tearing down Trumpcare are fellow Republicans in Congress. If Trumpcare fails, are they going to turn against tax cuts? …

3. But think of the tax cuts! The manic drive to pass the healthcare bill follows from a legislative strategy that was designed to culminate in a huge tax cut that would not have to be phased out after a decade. Republicans continue to insist health reform must be passed for this reason. …

4. We’ll lose Congress if we fail. “If we get this done, and tax reform, [Trump] believes we pick up ten seats in the Senate and we add to our majority in the House,” says Republican Representative Chris Collins of New York. “If we don’t get it done, we lose the House and the Senate.” Trump has reportedly emphasized the same point to his party. …

The AHCA is the fruit of a failed strategy. The law’s design was dictated by a legislative schedule that initially assumed Republicans would simply defund Obamacare, move on to tax cuts, and return to health care at their leisure later on. They have instead been forced to craft an actual healthcare bill on a manic time frame, using a legislative mechanism that is not designed for major social legislation. Like people leading a country into a losing war, they demand to push on and invent new reasons to justify the cost, because they can imagine nothing worse than admitting they failed.

–Jonathan Chait
Why Trump Thinks Passing a Terrible Healthcare Bill Makes Sense

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/22/ahca-healthcare-reasons/

Mar 21

Like GOP Generally, Trump Wants to Exploit Terrorism, Not Stop It

Peter Maass - Trump Exploits Only Some Kinds of TerrorismThe first thing to understand is that attacks by foreign-born terrorists are rare. From 1975 through 2015, a total of 3,024 Americans were killed in such attacks, with most of those occurring on 9/11, according to a recent Cato Institute report. In other words, the annual odds of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist are 1 in 3,609,709. Each of these deaths is a tragedy, of course, but they represent a fraction of the preventable fatalities from any number of causes, including spouse-on-spouse violence, traffic accidents, and even toddlers with unsecured guns.

Trump’s eagerness to exploit only a particular type of terror attack — by Muslims — was reflected in his selective reaction to two incidents in his first month in office. In late January, he remained silent when a white Christian shot dead six Muslims in a Canadian mosque. A few days later, an Egyptian with a machete attacked French soldiers at the Louvre while shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” Nobody was killed, not even the attacker — one soldier was slightly injured before the Egyptian was shot four times. Yet within hours, Trump tweeted:

His disingenuity exposes a glaring fallacy in his executive orders. The handful of Muslim-majority countries named in the orders represent a negligible threat for domestic terrorism. The few attacks in America that have involved Muslims, including 9/11, drew largely on people from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt — but those countries were not included in either order from the Oval Office. A ruling by Judge Theodore Chuang that blocked the second order noted “strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose of the travel ban.”

–Peter Maass
For Donald Trump, a Terror Attack Will Be an Opportunity Not a Curse

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/21/exploit-terrorism/

Mar 20

Rima Khalaf Resigns From UN Due to Trump Pressure

Rima KhalafOn Wednesday, a UN agency published a report noting that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Yesterday, the author of that report, who has served as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalaf, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the UN secretary-general to demand that she withdraw the report.

Khalaf, a Jordanian national who has served in multiple high government positions, refused the demand to repudiate her own report, instead choosing to resign. The report — which was co-authored by the Jewish American Princeton professor and former UN official Richard Falk, a longtime critic of Israeli occupation — has now been removed from the UNESCWA website.

What makes this event most remarkable is how unremarkable the report’s conclusion is: It’s a point that a former Israeli prime minister — as well as Trump’s own defense secretary — has made unequivocally. Back in 2010, Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister and its most decorated soldier, explicitly warned that Israel was on a path to what he called a permanent “apartheid” state. As he put it: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Seven years later, Israel is indisputably committed to exactly that outcome. Many of its key ministers do not even support a two-state solution. Israeli expansion of illegal settlements continues unabated. Palestinians are further away than ever from full political rights, or even enjoying the right of democratic self-determination. As Barak himself pointed out, this is the very definition of apartheid.

Yet now, thanks to the Trump administration’s self-destructive devotion to Israeli interests — an odd posture for a president who ran on a platform of “Putting America First” — it is impermissible for UN officials to note this reality lest Israel be offended.

–Glenn Greenwald
Trump Administration Ousts UN Official to Protect Israel From Criticism

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/20/rima-khalaf/

Mar 19

Another Trump Policy to Screw His Supporters

Todd VanDerWerff - Another Trump Policy to Screw His Supporters - CPB EditionIt’s true that just over 23 percent of the CPB’s budget (nearly entirely derived from the federal government) goes toward the development and acquisition of television and radio programming. And, yes, losing that stipend will hurt PBS and NPR on some level — though the difference will probably be covered by private funding, whether thanks to corporations, grant foundations, or the famous “viewers like you.”

But most of the federal government’s dollars to CPB (just over 65 percent) go toward one thing: keeping rural PBS and NPR stations alive. These stations only continue to operate due to funding from the federal government. If Trump’s proposed budget becomes law, PBS and NPR themselves will continue to exist, on TV, on the radio, and on digital platforms. So will local affiliates in major urban areas. But many of those rural stations will be shuttered.

The rural areas served by those stations backed Trump heavily. He received 62 percent of the vote in rural counties. Thus, his budget’s proposed defunding of CPB is yet another way that a policy proposed by Trump seems as if it will have the most adverse effect on those who voted for him.

–Todd VanDerWerff
Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Won’t Kill PBS

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/19/cpb-budget-cut/

Mar 18

Not All Political Tribalism Is Created Equal

RNC Oregon Sign - Political TribalismI head Sam Harris say something in a video from some time ago. Basically, it was this, “There is no reason why a person’s position on guns should correlate with their position on global warming.” And he went on to discuss political tribalism. It’s not surprising that I share the same concern that he does. There are a lot of thing I agree with Harris about. Just the same, as usual, I think Harris’ thinking is simplistic. And his example is bad.

For one thing, in the US, the liberal position about guns is that they should be regulated. I’m sure that Sam Harris — who is very pro-gun — is nonetheless on the “liberal” side of this. Of course, what he writes is very clearly designed to appeal to gun fanatics. But if you press him, he’s for the same kinds of gun control measures that Barack Obama is. So in that regard, he would be in the same liberal tribe.[1]

Political Tribalism Is a Given

But the broader observation is worth talking about. People are tribal in their political beliefs. This is hardly surprising given that humans are social animals. If we weren’t, we certainly would have gone extinct by now. But from a political standpoint, it is troubling. I’ve seen people transition from both liberal to conservative and conservative to liberal. And it is usually a single issue that does it. I am right now watching a liberal friend turn into a conservative because of transgender rights. And it won’t surprise me at all if she’s wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat the next time I see her.

The problem is that there are good reasons for correlations that Harris mentioned. For example, there is an evidence base for reducing access to guns and for doing something about global warming. That’s true to a very large extent on the left in this country. Now that may be because the left in this country is really just the center in a global sense. We have, of course, heard that liberals who believe in evolution and global warming insist that vaccines cause autism. But it turns out that it is actually conservatives who are most likely to believe this hokum — by a large amount.

Partisan Differences

I’m really skeptical because I am a liberal (in a general sense), but it certainly seems that tribalism on this side of the isle is based on a general belief in science. And my personal experience is that more politically involved liberals will grudgingly accept unpleasant evidence — eventually working it into their world views.

On the right, we see far more tribalism. And on this we have some evidence. John Dean lays it out in Conservatives without Conscience. In that book, he documents that roughly half of the Republican Party is made up of authoritarian followers. So it is hardly surprising that conservatives would be tribal. In the US, conservatism is almost the definition of authoritarian.

Still, on the left, we are tribal. In some ways, I wish we were more so. I’ve often been bothered by how quickly we are to cast aside public figures who allegedly act inappropriately. Conservatives are more likely to stick by such people until the evidence is overwhelming. And I have a fair amount of respect for that. Think of Shirley Sherrod and ACORN. But I don’t think that’s so much about tribalism as it is cowardice. As a Democrat, I can say with much justification that this is something we really need to work on.

Levels of Tribalism

But there are different levels of tribalism. In its most pure form, you will never disagree with what your group believes. But there are more moderate forms of it too. Most liberals I know do have a knee-jerk reaction to things (I very much include myself in this). If the Cato Institute announces that they have a new healthcare bill, we are ready to pounce. But in general, we are open to being wrong.

It’s not like tribal beliefs are random. In the United States, the main thing that doesn’t make sense is the Republican Party. When I talk to conservative people, I usually find that their beliefs are far more coherent. But the party itself is effectively a con: a party dedicated to the interests of the rich, which advertises itself as the opposite. That’s where the authoritarians come in. The Democrats couldn’t get away with such a bait and switch.

It’s Not All Bad

But it clearly is tribalism that causes someone to start with “I don’t want boys peeing in girls’ bathrooms” to “The estate tax is a communist plot!” But going from “Now I see that we need a mandated a living wage” to “Women should have the right to control their own bodies” doesn’t strike me as necessarily tribalism (given that having a baby is one of the biggest economic decisions you’ll ever make). So I don’t think that all tribalism is created equal.

Just the same, tribalism does bother me — especially when I see it in an extreme form on the left (or even worse, in myself). But in general, people bind together because they already agree with each other. There are liberal ways of looking at the world and conservative ways. There are also authoritarian ways of looking at the world. That’s the most dangerous kind of tribalism. And that’s roughly a quarter of our population — and overwhelmingly on one side of the political spectrum.

Afterword: Libertarians

Libertarians love to flatter themselves that they break the mold and just believe in “liberty.” I don’t want to get into it. But libertarians are just as tribal as anyone else. Look at how libertarians are anti-union almost to a person. There’s no reason for this. In fact, “right to work” laws are explicitly limiting the rights of employers and employees to make contracts, yet libertarians usually love them. I think it’s fair to say that libertarians are just following the herd on this. If not, I’ll have to lower my opinion of them even more.


[1] After the Sandy Hook massacre, Harris wrote The Riddle of the Gun. Note this amazing bit of false equivalence:

Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm.

So on one hand you have those who think mentally ill people should be allowed to roam the streets with machine-guns. And on the other, you have people who can’t get inside the heads of gun enthusiasts. This is particularly stupid when you consider that there are people who would like guns to be completely illegal.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/18/political-tribalism/

Mar 18

AHCA Does None of the Things Trump Says It Does

Ezra Klein - AHCA Does Literally None of the Things Trump Says It DoesOn March 8, Trump laid out his case for the American Health Care Act. Here’s what he said:

It follows the guidelines I laid out in my congressional address: a plan that will lower costs, expand choices, increase competition, and ensure health care access for all Americans. This will be a plan where you can choose your doctor. This will be a plan where you can choose your plan.

These talking points are familiar enough that it’s easy to let them fade into the background. But it’s worth taking them seriously. This is Trump’s case for the bill he’s backing. Does he know that literally every single one of these points is wrong?

The AHCA doesn’t lower costs. Apples to apples, the Brookings Institution estimates “that premiums would be 13% (~$1,000) higher under the AHCA than under current law, holding plan generosity and the individual market age distribution fixed at their current law levels.” To the extent that the AHCA sees lower premiums, it’s because older people can’t afford care and younger people buy sparer plans. That is no one’s idea of lowering costs.

The rest of the problems flow from there. Most people will have fewer affordable choices under the AHCA because their subsidies will be so much smaller (and many people will have no affordable choice at all, and so will go uninsured). Competition is likely to fall as the marketplaces shrink — fewer consumers wielding smaller tax credits will not prove an attractive market to insurers.

The idea that the AHCA will “ensure health care access for all Americans” is sufficiently absurd that I’m not even going to spend time on it.

But the idea that it will let you choose your doctor and plan is more interesting — it seems entirely possible to me that Trump doesn’t realize the limited choices people complain about in Obamacare are the result of people being unable to afford more generous plans with broader networks, and it seems likely to me that he doesn’t know the AHCA will make that problem worse, or why conservative health reformers think that’s a good thing.

–Ezra Klein
Does Donald Trump Know What the GOP Health Bill Does?

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/18/ahca-trump/

Mar 17

Seven Other Problems With Obamacare Repeal

Michael Hiltzik - Seven Other Problems With Obamacare RepealThe headline findings in the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Obamacare repeal bill produced by House Republicans are brutal enough: 24 million Americans losing their health coverage, healthcare costs soaring for many millions more, and the evisceration of Medicaid, all while handing the richest Americans a handsome tax cut.

But in its fine print, the CBO report identified at least seven other ways the GOP proposal would damage the US healthcare system. Some would have effects reaching far beyond the middle- and low-income buyers of insurance on the individual market who are the Affordable Care Act’s chief beneficiaries.

  1. Shopping for health insurance will become tremendously more complicated…
  2. Individual insurance plans will tend to offer skimpier benefits…
  3. Out-of-pocket costs will be much higher…
  4. Employer-sponsored insurance might start to disappear…
  5. A key program promoting public health will be axed…
  6. Patients of Planned Parenthood clinics would be cast adrift…
  7. The continuous coverage rule would drive 2 million people out of the market and make the overall insurance pool sicker…

–Michael Hiltzik
Seven New Ways the GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Bill Would Wreck Your Healthcare

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/03/17/obamacare-repeal-4/

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