Armed with just one of Trump’s tweets, Bernie Sanders attempts to fight off the forces of darkness that are massing to repeal Obamacare

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I’m usually pretty wary of gimmicks, but I think the fact that Bernie Sanders took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon, during a debate on the repeal of Obamacare, accompanied by one of Donald Trump’s magnified tweets, was one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen in a long time. The Trump tweet in question, by the way, was from May of 2015, and it said the following… “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”

Sanders, with the comically large tweet behind him, said, “Millions of people voted for him on the belief that he would keep his word.” The Senator then went on to say, “If he was sincere, then I would hope that tomorrow, or maybe today, he could send out a tweet and tell his Republican colleagues to stop wasting their time, and all of our time. And for Mr. Trump to tell the American people that he will veto any proposal that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid or that cuts Social Security.”

According to reports out of D.C., Obama was also on Capitol Hill today, urging Democrats to stand strong against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which extended health coverage to approximately 20 million Americans during Obama’s tenure as President. According to Representative Elijah Cummings, who spoke with the press after the meeting, Obama had encouraged them “to fight” to protect what will go down in history as the greatest domestic accomplishment of his administration.

According to the BBC, Vice President-elect Mike Pence was also on Capitol Hill today, telling members of his party that, together, they would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something else. As for how they’ll destroy Obamacare, the New York Times believes they’ll use an arcane parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation, which, in the Senate can can generally be achieved with a simple majority. If you’re interested in learning more about how the budget reconciliation process works, I’d encourage you to read the whole New York Times Q&A, which is really quite fascinating. Here, however, is the section relating to how Republicans may use the budget reconciliation process as a work-around to kill Obamacare.

…Republicans hope to use the fast-track procedure of budget reconciliation to repeal or nullify provisions of the law that affect spending and taxes. They could, for example, eliminate penalties imposed on people who go without insurance and on larger employers who do not offer coverage to employees.

They could use a reconciliation bill to eliminate tens of billions of dollars provided each year to states that have expanded eligibility for Medicaid. And they could use it to repeal subsidies for private health insurance coverage obtained through the public marketplaces known as exchanges.

Republicans could also repeal a number of taxes and fees imposed on certain high-income people and on health insurers and manufacturers of brand-name prescription drugs and medical devices: tax increases that help offset the cost of the insurance coverage expansions.

Those provisions were all rolled back in the reconciliation bill Mr. Obama vetoed last January. That bill did not touch insurance market standards established in the Affordable Care Act, which do not directly cost the government money or raise taxes. The standards stipulate, for example, that insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums because of a person’s pre-existing conditions. Insurers must allow parents to keep children on their policies until the age of 26, and they cannot charge women higher rates than men, as they often did in the past.

Such provisions are politically popular, but it is not clear how they could remain in force without the coverage expansions that help insurers afford such regulations. Without an effective requirement for people to carry insurance, and without subsidies, supporters of the health law say many healthy people would go without coverage, knowing they could obtain it if they became ill and needed it…

Here, just because I can’t help but share it, is Representative Kieth Ellison’s tweet about Pence being on Capitol Hill.

kithellisonpence

For what it’s worth, Trump has said in the past that he wouldn’t support the dismantling of Obamacare without first having another plan ready, suggesting that they would “do it simultaneously,” dismantling Obamacare, while, at the exact same time, putting something better in place. Trump, however, as we know, is prone to lying. And, as of right now, no details about a Republican plan have been made public. In fact, it seems to be the consensus opinion that they don’t yet have a plan. But yet the continue to lay the groundwork to destroy the America Cares Act. The following comes from CBS News.

…“If the ACA were to be repealed, tens of millions of Americans lose their coverage,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Monday during the press call. “And tens of millions of others will see their healthcare costs skyrocket.”

Hoyer bashed a plan that was recently floated by Republicans that would involve Congress passing a repeal plan, but delaying its effective date for at least a few years while a replacement plan can be developed.

“Republicans’ so-called ‘repeal and delay’ plan is code for ‘repeal without an alternative,’” Hoyer said…

Assuming the Republicans go forward with their ‘repeal and delay’ strategy, it’s estimated by the nonpartisan Urban Institute that nearly 30 million Americans could lose their insurance. 22.5 million would lose their insurance, according to the report, if the ACA’s underlying subsidies are repealed, and anther 7.3 million would lose their coverage because of “the near collapse of the nongroup insurance market.” So, if you have any friends or loved ones who might lose their insurance, especially people with pre-existing conditions, who may never have an opportunity to get insurance again, you’d better start looking for a second or third job. Or, better yet, you could look up the names and numbers of your elected officials, call their local offices, and say the following to whomever picks up the phone. “Hello, my name is ____, and I’m a constituent of ______, and I’d like for him/her to know that if he/she votes in any way to defund Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or Obamacare, he/she will never get my vote again. What’s more, I will contribute $25 to his/her opponent come next primary season, and encourage all of my friends to do the same.”

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26 Comments

  1. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    A powerful post that will have impact in all corners of American society.

  2. John Galt
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Insurance is for the weak, and there is no room for the weak in the new America. If you aren’t willing or able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and cure your own diseases, you’d better move to Canada.

  3. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    The only part of this blog more powerful than the posts themselves is the comments section. Full of interesting insights and vigorous debate.

  4. Bob
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    He is one of the few worthy leaders in government. But The Jean thinks you’re all a bunch of bros.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    “Gotcha” politics. Stole a page from Jon Stewart. Not so brilliant. Won;t be effective. Just a media show as usual from Mr. Sanders.
    Since we know Trump doesn’t care about whether anyone notices when he lies– and neither do his supporters, and he gets away with it, who exactly was this tweet put on display for? The people most thrilled by it. The left. Who get off on their anger.

    Bob, please stop misrepresenting my positions. Thanks.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    With bro-produced social media content in decline, Bernie has decided to become a walking/talking meme. He should try a sandwich board.

  7. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I definitely like Sanders as a Senator.

    His primary campaign was comedy and I did not like him, though, in retrospect Clinton could have done more to bring him and his magical positions into her campaign.

  8. kjc
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “I definitely like Sanders as a Senator.”

    me too.

    Jean, please stop misrepresenting his positions. Thanks.

  9. Lynne
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    One positive outcome of this election is that Bernie Sanders now has a larger voice in the Senate. Here he is showing us why his is a good voice to have.

  10. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Did I represent his positions? Nope. I represented his positioning. I don’t like the guy and never will, but I do hope he finds a way to be effective. This looks like media whoring to me. His comment post election were absurd and more of the same. he never accomplished much in the Senate before. He takes stands. He doesn’t get much done. But maybe it will be different now. He has more power. I hope he uses it for more than self-gratification.
    The NY state free college plan looks good. (Note they put an income cap on it.) it always should have gone state by state to get to truly free, since states control public college funding (v student loans). Not sure Bernie gets all (or even most) of the credit for that, but he surely did take it. And his supporters will accept nothing less. I’m sure if Obamacare is not repealed and Medicare and Medicaid not cut (unlikely) Bernie will get credit for that too. Because he’s so selfless.
    I do enjoy ripping on him. He’s predictable now as are his followers. They suspend all critical thinking– as the first line of Mark’s post attests. Someone needs to fill that void:) I guess if people stop the idolatry, I’ll stop. So probably not any time soon.

  11. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Should have said ‘they suspend all critical thinking *around the subject of Bernie…*’– that’s his special magic. And Trump’s. Either way disillusionment will follow when they get in power. It’s already happening on the right. It’s not worth winning on. Natural political consequences follow. At least I hope so. Nothing about US politics seems natural or seems to bear consequences any more.

  12. M
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Bernie is not the problem, Jean. Trump is the problem, and Bernie is one of the few people we have on our side who are well-positioned to fight him. Yes, this was a gimmick, but it was a gimmick that worked. It brought attention to the fact that Pence was on Capitol Hill yesterday, marshaling forces against Obamacare.

  13. Demetrius
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    A gimmick, yes … but an effective one.

    Let’s hope many others join the chorus – pointing out, in sharp detail, Trump’s despicable dishonesty.

    It may take awhile, but eventually the (Trump=Lies) meme is bound gain traction, especially as his presidential “honeymoon” wears off, and the actual responsibilities and complexities of governing (rather than just campaigning) begin to set in.

  14. kjc
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    ” They suspend all critical thinking”

    luckily this is just your oft-repeated bias and not actually true. i mean, a lot of what you say isn’t true. but i don’t think you can help it.

  15. A Sad Day for America
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    They will kill Obamacare just to kill it. They have nothing to replace it with. It was a conservative idea in the first place, conceived of at the Heritage Foundation, but they will kill it anyway, because that’s what they do.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Here, from the New York Times, is how they’ll do it:

    Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the top Republicans in Congress made clear on Wednesday, more powerfully and explicitly than ever, that they are dead serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

    How they can uproot a law deeply embedded in the nation’s health care system without hurting some of the 20 million people who have gained coverage through it is not clear. Nor is it yet evident that millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions will be fully protected against disruptions in their health coverage.

    But a determined Republican president and Congress can gut the Affordable Care Act, and do it quickly: a step-by-step health care revolution in reverse that would undo many of the changes made since the law was signed by President Obama in March 2010.

    Step 1: Defang the filibuster

    The Senate intends to pass a budget resolution next week that would shield repeal legislation from a Democratic filibuster. If the Senate completes its action, House Republican leaders hope that they, too, can approve a version of the budget resolution next week. Whether they can meet that goal is unclear.

    The resolution contains seemingly innocuous language, instructing four committees that control health care policy — two in the Senate, two in the House — to draft legislation within their jurisdiction that would cut at least $1 billion from the deficit over 10 years. But that language has real teeth. The legislation produced to meet those instructions can pass the Senate with a simple majority — 51 votes if all senators are present — obliterating the power of the Democratic minority to block it.

    Those four committees would have just a few weeks, until Jan. 27, to produce legislation repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act. House Republicans have some practice at this, because they have voted more than 60 times since 2011 to repeal some or all of the law.

    The budget blueprint will guide Congress but will not be presented to the president for a signature or veto.

    Step 2: Add the details

    The committees — House Energy and Commerce, House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — will quickly assemble legislation intended to eviscerate the health care law.

    The repeal legislation will be in the form of a reconciliation bill, authorized by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Such bills can be adopted under special fast-track procedures. But Senate rules generally bar the use of those procedures for measures that have no effect on spending or revenue. So the legislation, as now conceived, would probably leave the most popular provisions of the health law intact, such as the prohibition on insurers’ denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

    Instead, the legislation would:

    ■ Eliminate the tax penalties imposed on people who go without insurance and on larger employers who do not offer coverage to employees.

    ■ Eliminate tens of billions of dollars provided each year to states that have expanded eligibility for Medicaid.

    ■ Repeal subsidies for private health insurance coverage obtained through the public marketplaces known as exchanges.

    It could also repeal some of the taxes and fees that help pay for the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act. But some Republicans have indicated that they may want to use some of that revenue for their as-yet-undetermined plan to replace the health care law.

    The 2010 law imposed taxes and fees on certain high-income people and on health insurers and manufacturers of brand-name prescription drugs and medical devices, among others. Republicans have not said for sure which taxes they will scrap and which they may keep.

    Republicans say they will delay the effective date of their repeal bill to avoid disrupting coverage and to provide time for them to develop alternatives to Mr. Obama’s law. They disagree over how long the delay should last, with two to four years being mentioned as possibilities.

    Step 3: The new president’s role

    Within days of taking office, President-elect Donald J. Trump plans to announce executive actions on health care. Some may undo Obama administration policies. Others will be meant to stabilize health insurance markets and prevent them from collapsing in a vast sea of uncertainty.

    “We are working on a series of executive orders that the president-elect will put into effect to ensure that there is an orderly transition, during the period after we repeal Obamacare, to a market-based health care economy,” Mr. Pence said at the Capitol on Wednesday.

    He did not provide details, and Trump transition aides said they had no information about the executive orders. But some options are apparent. The federal government could continue providing financial assistance to insurance companies to protect them against financial losses and to prevent consumers’ premiums from soaring more than they have in the last few years.

    Step 4: Find a replacement

    Even as they move full speed toward gutting the existing health law, Republicans are scrambling to find a replacement. At the moment, they have no consensus.

    Mr. Pence said on Wednesday that the replacement would probably encourage greater use of personal health savings accounts and make it easier for carriers to sell insurance across state lines. Also, he said, it would encourage small businesses to band together and buy insurance through “association health plans” sponsored by business and professional organizations.

    Some type of subsidy or tax credit for consumers, to help defray the cost of premiums, is also likely. States would have more authority to set insurance standards, and the federal government would have less.

    Mr. Trump has also endorsed the idea of state-run “high-risk pools” for people with pre-existing conditions who would otherwise have difficulty finding affordable coverage.

    Many experts have said that repealing the health law without a clear plan to replace it could create havoc in insurance markets. Doctors, hospitals and insurance companies do not know what to expect.

    Without an effective requirement for people to carry insurance, and without subsidies to buy it, supporters of the law say many healthy people would go without coverage, knowing they could obtain it if they became ill and needed it.

    Democrats in Congress say they will do everything they can to thwart Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. They plan to dramatize their case by publicizing the experiences of people whose lives have been saved or improved by the law.

    In the Senate next week, Democrats will demand votes intended to put Republicans on record against proposals that could protect consumers. Defenders of the law also hope to mobilize groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association to speak up for patients.

    The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, are encouraging their colleagues to organize rallies around the country on Jan. 15 to oppose the Republicans’ health care agenda.

    And to buttress their case, Democrats are compiling statistics from the White House and from researchers at liberal-leaning groups like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Commonwealth Fund and the Urban Institute, which warn of catastrophic consequences if the law is repealed.

  17. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Was iteffective? how do you know? Obama was at the capitol, the press conference was all over it, many other advocates spoke on defense of the ACA including my childhood best friend who is a disabilities advocate. Lots of people were there and have worked on this issue for decades. Bernie holds up a sign and creates a visual and gets credit for drawing attention to the issue. And nothing has happened yet with any substance. He is good at hogging media attention. Cult of personality.

  18. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Please note that no one here seemed to notice Obama or anyone else who spoke yesterday. ‘Let’s hope many others join the chorus.” They don’t go past the Bernie visual. He hogs the limelight.

  19. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    KJC I’m ok with being wrong. That’s a risk of independent thinking. I actually like being wrong. That’s how I learn. You seem to fear it as you rarely say much except that I’m wrong. When you baxkdych statements up I learn something. You rarely do. Be a better troll KJC. As it stands you are merely an enforcer of the party line. Afinger wagged at any disruptive perspective. It must be so dull.

  20. jean henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Pardon typos. Cold fingers on Phone. (What a gorgeous frigid day though.)

  21. Bob
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    You really are ridiculous. And KJC is correct. A lot of what you say isn’t true. Posting thousands of words a day doesn’t make you right. Bernie hogs the limelight? You even fail to see the irony in that.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I dont buy your narrative about Bernie being starved of warranted attention, Bob. It’s true. I dont think my perspective is ridiculous. Just different. It is only wrong if you believe that a political perspective can be singularly right, and all others wrong. And I don’t, because to believe that is anti-democratic.

  23. anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    “Poll: Most Americans Say Don’t Repeal Obamacare Without A Replacement”

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/06/508379529/poll-most-americans-say-dont-repeal-obamacare-without-a-replacement

    “An overwhelming majority of people disapprove of Republican lawmakers’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a ready replacement for the health care law, according to a poll released Friday.

    And judging by the letter-writing and lobbying in the first week of the new congressional session, many health care and business groups agree.

    A poll released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 75 percent of Americans say they either want lawmakers to leave Obamacare alone, or repeal it only when they can replace it with a new health care law. Twenty percent of those polled say they want to see the law killed immediately.

    But Drew Altman, CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, says the poll shows lawmakers don’t have a strong mandate to repeal Obamacare.”

  24. anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I guess public opinion didn’t matter. The Senate voted to repeal Obamacare with nothing to replace it.

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4641262/senate-votes-51-48-repeal-obamacare

  25. Posted January 8, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    And, just as we discussed, they began dismantling Obamacare last week without having a replacement plan in place.

    screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-1-58-55-pm

  26. Posted January 8, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Remember these faces.

    15826738_1625009060846172_6837247433422567847_n

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] But, as we discussed before, maybe that was never they plan. Maybe they only want to “repeal and delay.” The important thing is that the repeal will put a lot more money into the pockets of the […]

  2. […] intention, despite what they may say, to offer a replacement plan. Maybe they only want to “repeal and delay.” That would, after all, put a lot more money into the pockets of their rich donors, who had […]

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