Obamacare lives: Daily Bullshit, July 19-21, 2017

Parts-Unknown.org is now live on the new server. While I’d managed to propagate the changes for myself, it could take a couple days for others to get the updates, which made my usual practice of blabbing about these entries on Twitter premature. So this entry was actually produced to go live on Friday, July 21—not before—even as I began composing it late in the evening on July 19.

Updates

  1. Unfortunately, my hopes for a seamless transfer have been dashed. Apache on the old server was misbehaving, so I’ve shut it down. You’re now getting the new site or you’re getting an error. Fortunately, the only other web services I’m running are a URL shortener at greybeard95a.com, which I think I can replace with a new instance at n4rky.me (this would actually be what I originally acquired the latter domain for although it’s been through some twists and turns since), and some stuff for the Human Science Institute, which is sufficiently low volume that it can move with only minimal disruption.
  2. Finally published, July 21, 2:59 am.
  3. Articles that should have been included in the original publication but weren’t, July 21, 12:54 pm:
    • The pay ratio between CEOs and ordinary workers still exceeds 300:1.[1] (Income inequality)
    • The Republicans still don’t have a consensus on health care and Donald Trump “ordering” them to reach one doesn’t make it so.[2] (Obamacare)

Obamacare

In our last installment, Mitch McConnell’s grand effort to pass a bill to (not really) “repeal and replace” Obamacare had crashed and burned. He then planned a vote on a “clean” repeal.[3] This, too, has now crashed and burned as three senators, all women who had had a lot to say about health care and who had nonetheless been excluded from the working group to draft the bill, announced their opposition.[4] But Obamacare’s supporters should temper their glee as Donald Trump appears inclined to withhold subsidy payments for insurance companies and could do so beginning as early as Thursday, July 20[5]:

[Donald] Trump declared that his plan was now to “let Obamacare fail,” saying Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a bill to bury the Affordable Care Act. If he is determined to make good on that pledge, he has plenty of levers to pull, from declining to reimburse insurance companies for reducing low-income customers’ out-of-pocket costs to failing to enforce the mandate that most Americans have health coverage. . . .

Trump has considerable leverage to gum up the works of the Affordable Care Act. He could throw insurance markets into a tailspin at any time by cutting off the reimbursement payments to insurers, as he has threatened to do. He could further destabilize the markets by not enforcing the mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

And he could cancel advertising and other efforts to encourage enrollment under the Affordable Care Act when the annual sign-up period begins in November. A barrage of negative statements from the administration could project an official view that the health law is collapsing, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.[6]

And at least a few Republicans in the House seem to think a repeal effort can rise phoenix-like from the ashes yet again,[7] which may be so, but they still fail to explain how the conflicts that have so far plagued the effort can now be overcome.[8]

Rachael Bade and Kyle Cheney, “House Republicans in denial about Senate health care bill failure,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/house-gop-obamacare-repeal-reaction-240671

Paul Demko and Josh Dawsey, “Trump threatens to gut Obamacare markets,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/trump-obamacare-markets-subsidies-cut-240684

Tara Golshan, “3 GOP women were left out of the Senate’s Obamacare repeal effort. They just tanked it,” Vox, July 18, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/18/15991020/3-gop-women-tank-obamacare-repeal

Thomas Kaplan, “‘Let Obamacare fail,’ Trump says after Republicans’ health bill crumbles,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 18, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/latest-gop-health-plan-to-repeal-only-collapses/435208013/

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Richard Cowan, “Republicans meet late into night as Trump demands new U.S. healthcare plan,” Reuters, July 19, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-idUSKBN1A40UX


Golden Showers

Normally, I’m bored shitless by personalities but this might bear watching. In the Wall Street Journal, “[a]ccording to a business person formerly based in Moscow who has had dealings with Crocus Group, [Irakly “Ike”] Kaveladze is ‘a total straight shooter. Very easy to deal with. Very low key, gets deals done for the family, no fuss, no ego.’”[9] But in the Politico article, he is “a business associate of a top Moscow oligarch and was once the focus of a congressional money-laundering probe”[10] and he is portrayed as possessing “thousands of fake accounts in Delaware”[11] and numerous shell corporations.[12]

Rebecca Ballhaus, Byron Tau, and Aruna Viswanatha, “Special Counsel Is Investigating Trump Tower Meeting With Russians,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-is-investigating-trump-tower-meeting-with-russians-1500400598

Kyle Cheney, Darren Samuelsohn, and Ryan Hutchins, “Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting was linked to money laundering,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/irakly-kaveladze-trump-tower-russia-eighth-man-240679


Muslim Ban

The new ruling handed the Trump administration a partial victory in the sense that the Justice Department prevailed in part of what it was seeking from the high court. But the operative version of Trump’s travel ban policy is now a far cry from what he originally ordered in January. The once-broad order is now subject to a slew of limitations and exclusions imposed by courts or adopted by the administration in the face of legal challenges.[13]

Josh Gerstein, “Supreme Court won’t let Trump travel ban hit grandparents,” Politico, July 19, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/19/scotus-wont-let-trump-travel-ban-hit-grandparents-240719


Income inequality

Lawrence S. Wittner, “How Much Is a Boss Worth?” Truthout, July 20, 2017, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41318-how-much-is-a-boss-worth

  1. [1]Lawrence S. Wittner, “How Much Is a Boss Worth?” Truthout, July 20, 2017, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41318-how-much-is-a-boss-worth
  2. [2]Yasmeen Abutaleb and Richard Cowan, “Republicans meet late into night as Trump demands new U.S. healthcare plan,” Reuters, July 19, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-idUSKBN1A40UX
  3. [3]Jordain Carney, “New GOP health bill lacks the votes to pass,” Hill, July 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/342447-two-more-gop-senators-defect-on-healthcare-bill
  4. [4]Tara Golshan, “3 GOP women were left out of the Senate’s Obamacare repeal effort. They just tanked it,” Vox, July 18, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/18/15991020/3-gop-women-tank-obamacare-repeal
  5. [5]Paul Demko and Josh Dawsey, “Trump threatens to gut Obamacare markets,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/trump-obamacare-markets-subsidies-cut-240684
  6. [6]Thomas Kaplan, “‘Let Obamacare fail,’ Trump says after Republicans’ health bill crumbles,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 18, 2017, http://www.startribune.com/latest-gop-health-plan-to-repeal-only-collapses/435208013/
  7. [7]Rachael Bade and Kyle Cheney, “House Republicans in denial about Senate health care bill failure,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/house-gop-obamacare-repeal-reaction-240671
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Conservatives and the effort to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare,” July 2, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/07/02/conservatives-and-effort-repeal-and-replace-obamacare
  9. [9]Rebecca Ballhaus, Byron Tau, and Aruna Viswanatha, “Special Counsel Is Investigating Trump Tower Meeting With Russians,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/special-counsel-is-investigating-trump-tower-meeting-with-russians-1500400598
  10. [10]Kyle Cheney, Darren Samuelsohn, and Ryan Hutchins, “Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting was linked to money laundering,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/irakly-kaveladze-trump-tower-russia-eighth-man-240679
  11. [11]Mark Warner, quoted in Kyle Cheney, Darren Samuelsohn, and Ryan Hutchins, “Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting was linked to money laundering,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/irakly-kaveladze-trump-tower-russia-eighth-man-240679
  12. [12]Kyle Cheney, Darren Samuelsohn, and Ryan Hutchins, “Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting was linked to money laundering,” Politico, July 18, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/18/irakly-kaveladze-trump-tower-russia-eighth-man-240679
  13. [13]Josh Gerstein, “Supreme Court won’t let Trump travel ban hit grandparents,” Politico, July 19, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/19/scotus-wont-let-trump-travel-ban-hit-grandparents-240719

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