Saturday, January 28, 2017

GOP Hit Seniors With Higher Healthcare Costs

NPR: Republican lawmakers meeting in Philadelphia this week say they want their replacement of Obamacare's Affordable Care Act to be done by spring. There is no consensus on a plan yet, but several Republicans in Congress have already circulated proposals that could reduce or eliminate features of the federal health law that have benefited older Americans. Here are some examples:

Prescription drugs

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicare's prescription drug benefit. Before the ACA, people on Medicare had to deal with a gap in that insurance coverage that came to be known as the doughnut hole. That's the point at which Medicare would stop paying part of the cost of drugs, and beneficiaries would have to buy them at full price. Then, when the patient's out-of-pocket costs reached a level deemed to be "catastrophic," Medicare would start paying most of the cost of the drugs again.

A 2011 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that when patients had to pay full price, they'd skip some of their prescribed medications — and that could, potentially, result in sicker patients and higher costs for Medicare.

Gradually, the ACA has been closing the doughnut hole coverage gap. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, beneficiaries have saved more than $23.5 billion in prescription drug costs. It's unknown if this program would be maintained in a Republican plan that replaces the ACA.

Medicaid

Medicaid is commonly thought of as the program that provides health care for the poor. But it also pays for long-term care for a lot of older people, including the majority of nursing home residents.

One idea in some of the Republican proposals for replacing the Affordable Care Act is to turn Medicaid from a guaranteed benefit into a block grant to states. States would get a fixed amount of money from the federal government, and could make their own decisions on how to spend it.

That's an idea that's been popular for some time among conservatives such as House Speaker Paul Ryan. They argue that states know their needs better than Washington does, and the block grant would give states flexibility in meeting those needs.

Critics fear this could do away with many protections that federal law currently provides for vulnerable older people. They also worry about what might happen in an economic downturn, when the demand for Medicaid goes up, but the amount of federal money allocated for it stays the same. For example, would states have to choose between cutting services for poor children versus cutting programs for the frail elderly?

Limiting the cost of insurance premiums for older adults

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could charge people in their 50s and 60s many times more than they'd charge a younger person for the same policy. The affordable care act put a limit on that. Now Insurance companies can only charge older people three times as much as they charge people a few decades younger. But the various GOP replacement proposals either set higher limits — five or six times higher — or they don't have any limits at all.

A study sponsored by the Rand Corporation and the Commonwealth Fund found that if older Americans were charged five times more for insurance than younger people, about 400,000 would no longer be able to afford to buy health insurance.

Friday, January 27, 2017

GOP Looking For A Healthcare Strategy

The Washington Post has obtained a secret recording of a closed-door meeting between Republican lawmakers – and it reveals them expressing serious doubts about how they are going to live up to their promises to the American people of getting rid of Obamacare, while at the same time initiating a replacement without creating chaos.

In the recording, a number of concerns were raised, but chief among them was how they were going to do this in a way that wouldn’t hurt them when the next election comes up.

What’s most striking about the conversations, however, was that key Republicans admitted that they didn’t know what to do as far as a replacement plan is concerned.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

But Clinton Won By 2.86 Million Votes

Democrats who are having trouble moving on from the first stage of grief — denial — over Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump still defend the loss by saying, "but Clinton won by 2,864,974 votes nationwide, even if she did lose the electoral college vote." But a critical look at the numbers reveals a national problem for Clinton, and Democrats in general.

Clinton’s 2.86 million-vote edge came from but 489 of our 3,144 counties. In 2016, 209 of the 676 counties that cast majorities for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 backed Trump, many in the Midwest. The space between is best measured by economics. The 16 percent of counties supporting Clinton account for 65 percent of our GNP, and their median home price is 60 percent higher than in counties carried by Trump.
It was Obama voters who didn't vote in 2016, or who voted for Trump, who “put Trump over the top in Michigan and possibly Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. If Trump produces, they’ll reward him with a second term. If he doesn’t — and he needs to create lots of high-paying jobs in the face of automation and a global economy moving in other directions — then they’ll be ripe to come home to the Democratic Party — if Democrats give them an appealing nominee.”
The state that gave Trump his largest margin of victory was Texas, where he beat Clinton by only 807,179 votes out of 8,969,226 total votes cast. While Trump won 30 states, his margin of victory ranged from less than 100,000 votes up to just over five hundred thousand votes, state by state, except for Texas and his 642,000 vote margin in Tennessee.

Clinton won 21 states, including DC, but her margin of victory in the states she won was not as good as Trump's victory margin, in the states he won.
Ave. margin of victory in winning states:
Trump: 56%
Clinton: 53.5%
_________________
Trump: + 2.5 points
Clinton's national vote lead comes from seven states where she won very out-sized victories over Trump. These seven states, topped by California, allowed Clinton to run up her popular vote victory by 2,864,974 votes. In fact, Clinton loses by 1.4 million votes when California's vote tallies aren't included as part of the national aggregate of votes.

State Clinton Trump Win
Margin
CA 8,753,788 4,483,810 4,269,978
NY 4,547,218 2,814,346 1,732,872
IL 3,090,729 2,146,015 944,714
MA 1,995,196 1,090,893 904,303
MD 1,677,928 943,169 734,759
NJ 2,148,278 1,601,933 546,345
WA 1,742,718 1,221,747 520,971
California is the only state where Clinton's margin of victory was bigger than President Obama's in 2012 — 61.5% vs. Obama's 60%. Clinton got 6% more votes than Obama did In 2008, but the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% over those years.

What's more telling is the GOP won almost all of the swing state Senate elections, including a robust showing in the diverse swing state of Florida, and a blowout in crucial Ohio.

In the U.S House distributed national aggregate of votes, Republicans topped Democrats by more than 2.7 million votes, nearly equaling Hillary Clinton's national popular vote total.

Clinton's 2016 loss culminates a trend of losses for Democrats over multiple election cycles. Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.


Democratic Decline Down Ballot

The economically ascendant counties Clinton won, largely urban and suburban, are geographically isolated. Democrats occupy archipelagos — islands of the relatively privileged surrounded by what has become, to them, an unknown largely rural land, in which less educated and more aggrieved voters dog paddle to survive. The counties that switched their votes from voting twice for Obama to Trump were far smaller, whiter, and slower-growing than the rest of the Obama coalition. The population of counties that flipped to Trump was 78% white. But individual voters in those counties that flipped didn't switch from Obama to Trump, for the most part they just didn't vote for Clinton or they voted for a third party presidential candidate.

The growing economic disparity among voters aggravates a growing “despair gap” of in equality. A study by the Center for American Progress found a direct correlation between the percentage of “underwater” homes and counties that voted for Trump. Similarly, a sociology professor at Penn State found Trump fared better in counties where the mortality rates caused by drugs, alcohol, and suicide were highest. What issued from Trump’s America was a desperate and angry cry for economic help.

After the 2016 election, Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.


States With Unified Party Control

Republicans gained 2 more states' governor-ships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016, with only a net two seat gain in the U.S. Senate resulting in a 52-48 Republican majority, and net six seat gain in the U.S. House, resulting in a 241-194 Republican majority.

Number of electoral votes won:
Trump: 306
Clinton: 232
_________________
Trump: + 68

Popular vote total:
Trump: 62,958,211
Clinton: 65,818,318
_________________
Clinton: + 2.8 million

Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: 58,474,401
Clinton: 57,064,530
_________________
Trump: + 1.4 million

More:


Daily Kos Federal and State District Returns by State

Who Put Trump in the White House?

Kim Moody, a co-founder of Labor Notes and author of “In Solidarity: Working-Class Organization and Strategy in the United States,” published a tough critique of Democratic mistakes and misguided strategy, beginning long before 2016, in a Jacobi Magazine article, "Who Put Trump in the White House? The Democratic Party has been collapsing for years, but no one noticed before Trump came along."

“While there was a swing among white, blue-collar and union household voters to Trump, it was significantly smaller than the overall drop in Democratic voters,” writes Moody.  Moody blames a reduction in direct door-to-door human contact campaigning with lower-income voters in favor of purchased media forms of campaigning, including TV ads, for falling turnout for Democrats.

Democrats purport to be the party that champions improved living standards for working people, but they have been unable to deliver in recent years, owing increasingly to the Republican’s strategy of all-out obstruction. Moody explains “centrist liberalism” is a doomed philosophical foundation for Democrats because it is associated with the Party’s failure to produce needed economic reforms.

Many in the Democratic Party are coming to grips with the reality that voters increasingly reject centrist public policies Democrats have been promoting, legislating, and campaign on for two decades.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.

Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.

Republicans gained 2 more states' governor-ships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016.

Moody concludes, "Democrats are going to need a much bolder economic strategy that acknowledges the failures of the past and points the way to a more robust advocacy of the kind of economic agenda that empowered the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Democrats should not allow the Trump Administration to claim ownership of a massive investment in infrastructure upgrades and twist it into another corporate raid on the federal treasury. Instead, revitalizing America’s crumbling infrastructure should be the signature project of the Democratic party, and protecting the integrity of it, is the central challenge of the next few years."

Read the full article at Jacobin

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk - 01/24/2017

Listen to BlogTalkUSA.com "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" talk radio program cohost Rheana Nevitt Piegols and special guest cohost for the evening Texas Young Democrat Michael Messer discuss standardized testing in Texas public schools, charter school vouchers and much more... Program recorded live on Tuesday January 24th, at 8:30 PM CST.

Standardized Testing Overwhelming Texas Public Schools


A standardized test is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or "standard", manner. Standardized - one size fits all - tests are theoretically designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner.

The chief indicator by which most public schools and educators are judged today is student performance on standardized tests. If a school's standardized test scores are low, the school's teachers and staff are judged to be ineffective.

Standardized test scores are what state legislators who allocate public school funding today rely on to evaluate public school performance levels. Test scores determine not just how much funding public school districts and individual schools within districts get, but which public schools are allowed to stay open and which are closed and then turned over to charter school corporations to operate.
Test scores are also used to hire, fire, and compensate teachers. Today, 35 states require teacher evaluations to include these scores as a factor—and many states have introduced new tests just for this purpose. Test scores are also used to determine whether students can move on to middle and high school, be admitted to Honors and AP programs, and graduate from high school.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Republicans Plot Deep Cuts To Seniors' Social Security Retirement Checks

Republican Rep. Sam Johnson (R Tx.), the chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee announced in December his "plan to permanently cut save Social Security."

Johnson's Social Security Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 6489) includes cuts Republicans have been impatient to enact for decades. Johnson bill violates candidate Donald Trump's firm promise to protect the program.  But members of President Trump's new administration are not only on board with the Republican plan to cut Social Security benefit checks, they strongly favor privatizing Social Security.

Johnson has led Republicans on the Social Security subcommittee for a decade, so it’s not surprising that the bill is made up of a lot of ideas they have supported in the past. Johnson's Reform Act proposes 15 changes. Of those, 10 have impacts under 0.10 percent of funding. Many are considered "negligible." The big cuts come in three provisions of Johnson's bill:
  1. Raise the retirement age from 67 to 69 for Americans who are currently 49 or younger
  2. Change the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) benefit formula that determines the size of a retiree’s initial payments
  3. Change the method for calculating inflation so the program's cost of living adjustments rise according to chained CPI, a far less generous metric than the current law’s inflation index. 
Other cuts come in the form of means-testing requirements, or on limits on what spouses or other auxiliary beneficiaries can receive.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

March Then Act!

Those who participate in protest marches must take the next steps to define actual demands and priorities for candidates to take to voters in 2018-20. They must work every day to help those candidates win their elections. It can be done. If you don't think it can, just remember the tea party did it during the last President's first mid-term in office.

But without a path from protest to power, the Women's March will end up like Occupy. It is exciting when a protest meme leaps from social networks to the streets, capturing the imagination of millions. But it is all too easy to succumb to the false hope that a big splashy protest march is a transformative tsunami that leads to ballot box victory on election day. A big splashy protest march is only the first step on the long and often difficult road to winning elections.

Democrats have about 90 weeks until early voting starts for the Nov 2018 election. Activists at the county and neighborhood levels must work every week to identify every Dem leaning voting age citizen, documenting their contact and demographic info. As Democratic leaning people are identified, county level organizations must plan and execute programs that build relationships with those people to make them an active part of the Democratic base.

Those programs must be designed to invite that disconnected part of the electorate to participate in regular conversations at house and town hall meetings, and on social media. Democrats must do old fashioned base building work, and learn how to combine Internet and mobile communication with those traditional community organizing activities to accomplish that mission.
In the realm of political plays, it does seem that the most important number for Democrats in the near term is Democrats need gain only 24 U.S. House seats to be the majority in that chamber.

As the majority party, Democrats can block legislation, conduct investigations, and more to limit the GOP agenda, and perhaps set the stage for bigger gains in 2020. It's do-able in a wave year - maybe a pro-women wave election year.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

DNC Chair Candidate Forum Live Stream


When they meet on February 23–26, 2017, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee will elect a new chair. They will signal whether or not the party will boldly begin to transform itself back into the party of New Deals and Great Societies sought by the new generation of Democrats. Those 400-plus voting members of the DNC must take stock of the need to strike a bold new direction to reverse the party's losses.

This group of DNC voting members is dominated by state party chairs and political appointees, and overlaps substantially with the super-delegates from the 2016 Democratic primary. Party insiders estimate that roughly two-thirds of the DNC members supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during that race.

Democrats lost another net 43 seats in legislatures across the country in 2016, after previously losing 910 seats during Obama's administration. Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in 2016.

Republicans are now in control of a record 67 (68 percent) of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, more than twice the number (31) in which Democrats have a majority, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Republicans hold more total state legislative seats in the nation, well over 4,100 of the 7,383, than they have since 1920. Democrats now have total control of just 13 state legislatures.

Republicans gained 2 more states' governor-ships in 2016, after already gaining 12 over the last 8 years, increasing its total to 33, a record high last seen in 1922. Democrats had also lost 69 US House seats and 13 US Senate seats since 2009 and barely managed to stem further losses in 2016.

And Democrats face a more challenging election map in 2018 than they faced in 2016. Survival of the Democratic Party is literally on the line.

There are now seven declared candidates for the 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election:
  • Sally Boynton Brown, Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party
  • Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
  • Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Keith Ellison, U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota 5th District|
  • Jehmu Greene, Political Analyst
  • Jaime Harrison, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party
  • Tom Perez, 26th United States Secretary of Labor
All seven DNC Chair candidates will participate in a panel discussion forum on the future of the Democratic Party on Monday, January 23 at 7 p.m. in Washington, DC at George Washington University, hosted by Democracy in Color. You can view the forum via live stream. (View Recorded Live Stream Video.)

Watch FB live stream video of the five candidates already running for DNC Chair address committee persons at the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) meeting on Saturday, December 17, 2016.

Click Here to watch Huffington Post's January 18th DNC candidate forum live stream video.

Guide to the Candidates (Information from candidates’ campaign websites.)


Friday, January 20, 2017

BlogTalkUSA: Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk Inauguration Special

Join BlogTalkUSA.com "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" talk radio program cohosts, Rheana Nevitt Piegols and Michael Handley for an inauguration special program Friday evening at 9:00 PM CST. Together with Texas Young Democrats Kristi Lara and Kevin Numerick, Rheana and Michael will talk about Obama and Trump, Democrats going forward, and the GOP agenda to repeal Affordable Healthcare, gut Social Security, gut Medicare, gut Medicaid, scrap the Paris climate agreement, privatize public education, outlaw contraceptives, privatize our national parks and more...  We invite our listeners to call in and share their thoughts as we say goodbye to President Obama and look ahead to the GOP agenda.

Listen to BlogTalkUSA's special "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" program with Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols at 9:00 PM CST, Friday, January 20th, by phone at (515) 605-9375. Press 1 to ask your question, make a comment, and share your thoughts!

Click this link to listen:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blogtalkusa/2017/01/21/eyes-wide-open-demblogtalk-inauguration-special

Download/subscribe to podcasts of our weekly "Eyes Wide Open - DemBlogTalk" program at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blogtalkusa/id968994409

Listen to BlogTalkUSA "Eyes Wide Open DemBlogTalk" with Michael Handley and Rheana Nevitt Piegols every Tuesday evening at 8:30 PM CST by phone at (515) 605-9375. Press 1 to ask your question, make a comment, and share your thoughts! Use this link to listen online: BlogTalkUSA.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Economics of the Affordable Care Act

Any effort to replace the Affordable Care Act will be confronted by the same structural imbalances in the health care economy that the legislation’s authors faced.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal, was crafted to overcome two basic problems in the provision of health care in the United States. First, the costs are incredibly skewed, with just 10 percent of patients accounting for almost two thirds of the nation’s healthcare spending. The other problem is asymmetric information: Patients have far more knowledge about the state of their own health than insurers do. This means that the people with the largest costs are the ones most likely to sign up for insurance. These two problems make it impossible to get to universal coverage under a purely market-based system.

The problem with the skewing of health care costs is that while most people’s health spending is relatively limited, it remains very expensive to provide care for the costliest 10 percent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that per capita spending on health care in the US will average $10,800 in 2017. But the cost for the most expensive 10 percent of patients will average $54,000 per person, compared to an average of just $6,000 for everyone else. The cost for the healthiest 50 percent of patients averages under $700 per person.

Covering the least costly 90 percent of patients is manageable, but the cost of covering the least healthy 10 percent is exorbitant. Very few people could afford to pay $54,000 a year for an individual insurance policy. Furthermore, if insurers were to set their premiums in accordance with overall averages, they could anticipate a skewed patient pool. The more healthy half of the population, with average costs of less than $700 a year, would either limit their insurance to catastrophic plans that only cover very expensive medical care, or go without insurance altogether.

Click here to read the rest of the story:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Majority Support Paris Climate Agreement

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found Americans, by a 56-31 margin, want the U.S. to stay in the pollution-cutting pact. Another poll found 61 percent, counter to Trump, want the EPA's powers strengthened or preserved.

Donald Trump prepares to take office this week with an overwhelming majority of Americans saying in a new poll they don’t want him to carry out his campaign pledge to “withdraw” the U.S. from the international Paris Climate Agreement.

Fifty-six percent oppose withdrawal from the agreement, which was endorsed by 195 nations in 2015 and aims to shift humanity’s production of energy sharply away from fossil fuels, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll, published today.

Even Most Republican Voters Say Government Has Responsibility For Healthcare

For Democrats, public policy for using the federal government to make affordable health care available to American workers is an election winner! More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say the federal government should be responsible for health care coverage, compared with just 32% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

Democrats can win by promising American workers a Medicare-for-all "public option" health care coverage. As the debate continues over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and what might replace it, a growing share of Americans believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure Americans have health care coverage, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

AARP: GOP Plan To Convert Medicare From “Defined Benefit” To “Defined Contribution” Program

As news of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s proposed conversion of Medicare from a “Defined Benefit” to a “Defined Contribution” program spreads, it is stirring fears among the 57 million beneficiaries who rely on it to cover prescription drugs, doctor visits and hospitalizations. Democrats and consumer groups, including AARP, have pledged their opposition Ryan's plan.

Ironically, Ryan is proposing to convert Medicare into the very system he is rushing to repeal — the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) — but without its protections, such as the requirement that private insurers cover those with pre-existing conditions.

Ryan claims that the ACA must be killed quickly because “we have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under Obamacare.” Out of one side of his mouth, he asserts that young, healthy Americans are struggling to buy private health insurance, even though the government provides them with subsidies to help with the cost and requires that they can’t be turned down because of pre-existing conditions. Out of the other side of his mouth, Ryan claims that seniors and people with disabilities will be just fine with a government provided subsidy in the form of a voucher, and no other protection!

In a special report, AARP details what the state of Medicare is today and provides what you need to know about the upcoming debate in Washington over the nation’s most important health care program:
A Battle Looms by Bill Walsh

Republicans Plan To Destroy Social Security and Medicare

Republicans are desperate to destroy Social Security and Medicare. These two programs demonstrate government at its best. The federal government runs these two extremely popular programs more efficiently, universally, securely, and effectively than the private sector does with its alternatives — or indeed could, no matter how well those private sector programs were designed. This is in direct conflict with their fanatically-held beliefs that the private sector should run everything.

Republicans will do whatever they can, quietly, secretly, to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Republicans want to avoid political accountability by destroying Social Security and Medicare without leaving clear fingerprints.

When Republicans Repeal Affordable Healthcare

What happens when the Republican Party repeals the Affordable Care Act without enacting any kind of replacement? According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican-backed Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 — which passed a Senate vote in late 2015 but died due to President Obama’s veto — would drastically slash the number of Americans who have health insurance, while at the same time ensuring higher premiums and chaos in the insurance market.

Here are the CBO’s five biggest reasons the GOP’s repeal plan is a disaster for American health care:
  1. 18 million Americans would lose their insurance in the span of a year. Under the bill passed by Republicans — which would keep insurance market reforms in place but would gut both the Medicaid expansion and subsidies for people to buy private insurance — an estimated 18 million people would lose their health insurance within just one year.
  2. An additional 9 million would lose their insurance shortly after the first year of repeal. Once the elimination of both subsidies and expanded Medicaid happen, the number of people who lose their insurance thanks to the legislation will total 27 million. Over the long run, the CBO projects that the number of uninsured in the U.S. would increase by 32 million by 2026 over what it would have been without repealing the ACA.
  3. Premiums on the individual market would skyrocket by 20% to 25% relative to where they’d be without repeal within a year. In part because the GOP plan still bars insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, insurance premiums on the individual market would increase by as much as 25% within a year of Obamacare repeal, as insurers would scramble to raise prices to cover the costs of insuring more sick people.
  4. Premiums would then go up by 50% after the GOP eliminates the Medicaid expansion and private insurance subsidies. Once people who buy insurance individually lose access to subsidies to help them offset the costs, insurers will raise prices even higher — in fact, the CBO estimates that “premiums would about double by 2026” under the GOP’s bill.
  5. Half the country would be stuck in an area where no insurers would offer them non-group coverage. As if the projected price increases for individual market buyers weren’t bad enough, the CBO also says that many insurers will simply pull out of individual markets in many places, as “about half of the nation’s population lives in areas that would have no insurer participating in the nongroup market in the first year after the repeal of the marketplace subsidies took place.”
Repealing Obamacare is a huge tax cut for the rich. This did not play a major overt public role in the 2009-’10 debate about the law, but the Affordable Care Act’s financing rests on a remarkably progressive base. That means, as the Tax Policy Center has shown, repealing it would shower money on a remarkably small number of remarkably wealthy Americans. Read more about the GOP's tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Democratic Party Base Is Cell Phone Only

The most recent numbers on US wireless (cell phone) only households released in December show the inexorable rise of households without any landline telephone. The new report discloses that as of the first half of 2016, 49.3 percent of all U.S. households have no landline phone, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year, which is a statistically significant difference within this very large study. At 59.2 percent in 2015, the latest year individual state statistics are available, Texas has the highest cell phone only adoption rate of all 50 states.

Further, among households with both landline and cellular telephones, 16.3 percent received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. Combined, 65.9 percent of American households are only or almost only reachable by calling a household member using their mobile cell phone number. At 75.8 percent, Texas has the highest prevalence of adults in wireless-only (59.2%) and wireless-mostly (16.6%) homes.