Tag Archives: affordable

Rep. Joe Wilson Shouted Down by "You Lie" Chants During Angry Town Hall

Mother Jones

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More than eight years after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) memorably shouted “you lie” at then-President Barack Obama during a televised broadcast of his speech before a joint session of Congress, constituents in his home state are turning Wilson’s infamous outburst against him.

During a Monday town hall event in Graniteville, attendees shouted down the South Carolina congressman with loud jeers and “you lie” chants over his support for the Trump administration and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Post and Courier, the most raucous exchange occurred when Wilson, who in 2013 voted against extending the Violence Against Women Act, told the crowd he had advocated to protect women against violence.

The event comes on the heels of similar events nationwide, where Republican elected officials have been met by angry protests in their home districts over concerns about various White House policies.

In 2009, Wilson was the subject of bipartisan condemnation after he interrupted Obama’s address to Congress by calling him a liar when the president said his proposed health care plan wouldn’t cover undocumented immigrants. The congressman was forced to apologize for violating congressional decorum with the heckling, but he benefited in the end: Shortly after the incident, an aide confirmed Wilson had raised more than $1 million in campaign contributions thanks to the outburst.

Democrats have frequently pointed to Wilson’s “you lie” remark as a defining example of the disrespect Republicans showed Obama during his two terms in office.

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Rep. Joe Wilson Shouted Down by "You Lie" Chants During Angry Town Hall

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Trump, on Twitter Rampage, Threatens Republican Group

Mother Jones

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President Donald Trump took a swipe at the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday, threatening on Twitter to “fight” the hard-line conservative Republican group if its members fail to get in line with his agenda.

The unusual move to target lawmakers in his own party comes less than a week after the failure of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Freedom Caucus members had petitioned the president to make deeper cuts to Obamacare. That prospect alarmed more moderate Republicans who were already wavering in their support for the legislation, and the bill was pulled from consideration.

After attacking the House Freedom Caucus, Trump turned his aim to one of his favorite Twitter targets, blasting the New York Times and suggesting libel laws be changed to make it easier to sue the paper for coverage he has routinely deemed unfair.

Trump initially blamed Democrats for the health care bill’s failure. He also encouraged his supporters to watch a Fox News segment that urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to resign amid the fallout.

On Thursday, Ryan said that Trump called him to apologize, claiming he “had no idea” that the segment would be critical of Ryan.

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Trump, on Twitter Rampage, Threatens Republican Group

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Republican No Votes on AHCA Were All Over the Ideological Map

Mother Jones

Here’s a fascinating chart from the Wall Street Journal:

Even the Journal’s own description says “holdouts from two wings of the party” sank the health care bill. But that’s not what their own chart shows. Ideologically, there was neither a “coverage caucus” nor a “conservative” caucus. The holdouts spanned the entire spectrum of the party in a pretty even way.

I can’t think of any insightful point to make about this, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. The conventional narrative of the bill being caught between two extreme ends of the party looks like it’s not really correct.

By the way, here’s how the Journal’s article begins:

With the collapse of Republicans’ health plan in the House on Friday, the Trump administration is set to ramp up its efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act in one of the few ways it has left—by making changes to the law through waivers and rule changes.

Obamacare won’t implode on its own, but it might after Trump does everything he can to sabotage it.

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Republican No Votes on AHCA Were All Over the Ideological Map

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On Health Care, Republicans Are Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Mother Jones

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The New York Times reports that the Koch brothers are about to unleash the hounds. They. Have. Had. Enough:

Saying their patience is at an end, conservative activist groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and other powerful interests on the right are mobilizing to pressure Republicans to fulfill their promise to swiftly repeal the Affordable Care Act.

….The sudden caution of the Republican Party leadership, as it grapples with the enormously complicated challenge of replacing the Affordable Care Act, has baffled conservatives who have been fighting the health law for years. In the House, Republicans have voted dozens of times to dismantle the law, and it has been a primary issue in congressional races since 2010. Repealing the law, many conservative lawmakers believe, is the one clear mandate they have from voters.

….The repeal effort by the conservative groups is intended to sway members of Congress who may be hesitating because of public pressure back home. That pressure, conservatives said, is no reason to renege.

Talk about clueless. Sure, constituent pressure is having an effect, but it’s nowhere near the biggest issue here. The biggest issue is that after voting to dismantle Obamacare dozens of times when they knew it was just a symbolic protest vote, Republicans suddenly have to think about what will happen if they dismantle it in real life. Answer: they now have to admit that they can’t dismantle the whole thing. They never fessed up to that before, so it’s no wonder the base is confused, but the House and Senate leadership have always known it. They can only dismantle the parts related to the budget because Democrats can filibuster the rest. And if Republicans dismantle only half the law, it will probably destroy the individual insurance market.

Oops. That would be bad, even by Republican standards. Plus there’s the fact that millions of people would lose coverage, which is bad by centrist voter standards, even if Republicans don’t really care about it. In other words, the GOP leadership is finally having to face up to the fact that repealing and replacing Obamacare is a tough nut to crack. Centrists will abandon them if they cause chaos, but hardliners will abandon them if they spend too much money. That’s why they’ve agreed to modify their current plan to exclude subsidies for the well-off:

The concession on tax credits is a middle ground between what conservatives were demanding and what leadership wanted. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and RSC Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) in recent weeks came out against the GOP plan to replace Obamacare tax subsides with advanceable health care tax credits.

They preferred a tax deduction that would not allow those who don’t pay taxes to receive a check in the mail, calling such “advanceable” credits a “new entitlement.” At the crux of their concerns is the price tag, which they worry would increase the deficit.

A tax deduction, of course, would be useless to the poor and working poor, the very people who need help the most. But the Freedom Caucus doesn’t care about that. Luckily for them, their leadership understands just what a political disaster that would be.

In any case, the Freedom Caucus is right about one thing: advanceable tax credits are a new entitlement. Or, more accurately, a continuation of an old entitlement. There’s really not much difference between Obamacare’s subsidies, which are paid directly to insurance companies, and Ryancare’s tax credits, which are paid to the taxpayer, who then pays the insurance company.

As for the deficit, well, Ryan’s plan will only increase the deficit if Republicans also repeal all of Obamacare’s taxes and then decline to pass any new ones. Which they will. So that’s a legitimate complaint too.

As usual, it all comes down to money. That’s really the only thing that matters.

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On Health Care, Republicans Are Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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4 Republican Senators Just Rebelled Against the House Plan to Repeal Obamacare

Mother Jones

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After a week of keeping their bill under guard by Capitol Police, House Republicans introduced their plan to repeal Obamacare late Monday afternoon. But a band of four Republican senators had already begun revolting in public—even before the language of the new measure had seen the light of day. They sent a letter to their caucus leader Monday afternoon saying that they couldn’t support the latest leaked version of the House plans because it doesn’t protect people who gained Medicaid under Obamacare.

One of the Affordable Care Act’s most effective ways of lowering the number of people who lack health insurance has been a provision that allows those who earn 138 percent or less of the federal poverty level to enroll in Medicaid. The Supreme Court added a level of uncertainty to this implementation by allowing states to decide whether or not they want to opt into that program, but 31 states have accepted Medicaid expansion to date, granting government-covered insurance to about 11 million additional people.

Republican Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Cory Gardner (Colorado), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday voicing their concerns. “While we support efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and make structural reforms to the Medicaid program,” the letter says, “we are concerned that the February 10th draft proposal from the House of Representatives does not provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or the necessary flexibility for states.”

The four senators all hail from states that have accepted Medicaid expansion, and they made that necessary prerequisite for any plan they’d be willing to consider. “We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” the letter explains.

This early warning spells serious trouble for Republican hopes of repealing Obamacare. Republicans plan to pass their repeal bill through a budget reconciliation process in which only a simple majority is necessary, so they don’t have to worry about a Democratic filibuster. But with just 52 Republican senators (and few possible Democratic defections), Republicans probably can’t pass a bill without these four senators. At the same time, the GOP leadership is having to fend off the Freedom Caucus in the House, as this group of tea-party-supported legislators threaten to withhold support because the bill doesn’t go far enough in ditching policies—such as the government offsetting the cost for low-income individuals to buy health insurance—implemented by the ACA. While the four renegade senators sent their letter to McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul was complaining on Twitter that the House proposal wasn’t conservative enough.

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4 Republican Senators Just Rebelled Against the House Plan to Repeal Obamacare

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