Trump’s Budget and Healthcare Plan: Economic Terrorism on the Elderly, Poor, and Children
By Jeff Kirkpatrick
UPDATE July 14, 2017: Trumpcare 3.0 has arrived. See, “Trumpcare 3.0: From Bad to Worse”. This follows a second revision that was released on June 26, 2017; see “Senate Trumpcare v2.0”. The Senate Republicans released their original version of Trumpcare on June 22, 2017; see: “Senate Tax Cut (healthcare) Draft”.
Trump’s budget plan is an attack on America. Specifically, it is an economic attack on the elderly, the poor, and most importantly – on the children of the United States of America. It is economic terrorism.
Anyone with three or more functioning brain cells knows by now that Trump is detached from reality. Given this, it’s no surprise that the title of his budget plan is nothing more than a marketing gimmick: “America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”. This would be comical if it wasn’t going to – you know – kill people.
When thousands of people died in France in 2003 it was because of a heat-wave. Since the EPA is going to undergo drastic cuts, and since – as Mulvaney pointed out: “We’re not spending money on [Climate research at NASA] anymore. We consider that a waste of your money,” – we can expect more heat waves, and probably, more deaths – not just in France – but in the United States as well. This is also thanks to the elimination of LIHEAP which provided “more than $3 billion annually to help heat homes in the winter” according to the Washington Post. This program (also known as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) which … used to – not only provide assistance to low income families help pay for heating bills – but all energy bills. It was a much needed program to help keep people warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. In the winter, it is mostly senior citizens who are likely to now freeze to death; in the summer, it will again probably be senior citizens who will die from heat related causes, as demonstrated in the exceptional episode in France in 2003.
Speaking of senior citizens, Meals on Wheels funding is also going to be slashed – because … Republicans claim the program is not “not showing any results”.
Also on YouTube here: Mick Mulvaney defends eliminating Meals on Wheels because the program is “not showing any results.” – YouTube (3:35) published by Daily Kos on March 16, 2017
Okay, so this proves that Republicans lack empathy and compassion. “It’s one of the most compassionate things we can do,” says the White House budget director.
This is twisted thinking at its most extreme.
This is a trait seen in sociopaths. It’s fair to say that with Trump’s budget and Ryan’s proposed healthcare plan, Republicans are indeed, sociopaths. They are going to kill people.
Yet, these bastards actually claim eliminating programs and slashing programs is “compassionate.” To clarify, it’s their position that it’s compassionate to the people who fund these programs, not to the people who go hungry. It demonstrates a set of twisted values; as Rep. Pelosi points out, “The budget is a statement of values, and President Trump has shown he does not value the future of children and working families.”
And never mind the psychological and sociological benefits of Meals on Wheels; for many seniors, having someone show up with a hot meal provides more than food. Many of them are housebound at least partially and have almost no social contact whatsoever – except for the volunteers from Meals on Wheels.
These assholes aren’t just cruel, they are also factually wrong – what a shock: they ignore facts and make up their own. In “Trump’s budget: Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year on what Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips cost so far,” Heather Timmons quotes Mulvaney and demonstrates that he is wrong:
Meals on Wheels “sounds good,” he said during a press conference at the White House, but the administration is not going to spend money “on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.” On after-school programs that provide meals, he said “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that.”
Research refutes this argument: Because they keep seniors out of nursing homes, Meals on Wheels helps cut states’ Medicaid costs, a 2013 study shows, while several studies show after school programs improve grades.
Hey, don’t worry folks. The Meals on Wheels program only received $3 million. Since that’s about how much it costs taxpayers for Trump to go to Mar-A-Lago for a weekend, we can all be at peace knowing that as senior citizens die from hunger and loneliness, Trump will have one more weekend to drag his fat ugly ass on a golf course – because this makes America……great again….
And go ahead and cut back on WIC – Women, Infants and Children program. Hey, why not? I mean, why should mothers, children and infants eat – you know – food?
Mulvaney also assures us that “Nobody’s going to get kicked out of their houses” – but this is pure bullshit. The Housing and Urban Development [HUD] program is going to be facing the budget ax as well so low-income people will no longer be able to receive financial help through HUD in the same way; and since they won’t be receiving help to pay for energy bills – notably heating and cooling – which could add hundreds to thousands of dollars a year in expenses, the prospect becoming homeless is a clear and present danger for many under Trump’s ideological insanity. Additionally, Mulvaney “complained” about the cost of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) “and indicated that the administration wants to alter it,” as reported by Zaid Jilani. But that’s not all.
Consider the high probability that food prices are going to likely go up as well. Add these kinds of cuts to the fact that the agriculture department is going to undergo cuts – about 21%. So farmers will take a serious hit in the end; as Tom Philpott points out, Trump has already done major damage to:
…large-scale farmers, who ultimately grow the food used in these anti-hunger programs. Trump’s immigration crackdown is already wreaking havoc on Big Ag’s labor force; and his trade policies endanger its much-needed foreign markets. By cutting food aid, he’d be messing with an important part of the domestic market, too.
With all these great, intelligent choices combined, food prices are going to climb. But there won’t be food assistance for seniors, children, infants, women, the poor … well fuck, aren’t we just making America great again?
And the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that provides a source for drinking water for over 40 million Americans: bye-bye! Guess you’ll kind of get a taste what it will be like to not have drinking water. Think of the bright side: you will finally know what it’s like in Flint Michigan.
What’s even more bizarre about this is that Mulvaney said “we wrote it using the president’s own words. We went through his speeches. We went through articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers.” Given what I pointed out in the beginning, “Anyone with three or more functioning brain cells knows by now that Trump is detached from reality,” it is disconcerting to realize that Trump’s speeches – filled with numerous word-salads, paranoid claims and praise for dictators, is the basis for this surreal budgetary vision.
And Trumpcare, of course will just simply outright result in deaths. People will no longer be able to afford insurance, at least 24 million people will lose it. Additionally, prices will skyrocket; the Washington Post quotes the CBO report:
Our estimates find that, taken together, premiums for older adults could increase by as much as $3,600 for a 55-year old earning $25,000 a year, $7,000 for a 64-year old earning $25,000 a year and up to $8,400 for a 64-year old earning $15,000 a year.
A number of major medical groups have expressed concerns to outright opposition to Trumpcare including: American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians and American Federation of Hospitals. Make no mistake about it: this is not a healthcare plan – it is “deathcare” [or more accurately, “Death? We don’t Care”] – people will die if this proposal passes. The real purpose of Trumpcare isn’t to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) with a better healthcare plan – it is to rob Medicare and to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to provide tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.
And through all this, Trump’s delusional supporters still cheer him on. This in spite of the reality that Trump is willing to see Americans DIE so the RICH can save on their TAXES. This is beyond immoral – it transcends to EVIL. Trump – no – all republicans who support him – are the stupidest, most corrupt human beings on the planet. They are all committing treason on a daily basis. Trump is a national threat. His cult followers are mindless drones of stupidity and hatred. America is in deep, deep shit, and it gets deeper every day that he remains in office.
UPDATE, March 26, 2017:
On March 26, 2017, Mulvaney said on MSNBC’s Meet the Press, Mulvaney demonstrated his complete and utter ignorance about Healthcare insurance. He stated, like so many of these ridiculous excuses for human beings, that the government should not force people to buy insurance. This is the very definition of what insurance actually is. Imagine this concept applied to car insurance: if people aren’t required to buy it, a large number of people wouldn’t; this would greatly increase the price of car insurance, and over time, only the rich could afford insurance. The only way insurance works in principle is when there are requirements for everyone (who is eligible) to participate in it. Of course, Republicans probably know this (I mean, how stupid can they really be?). Given that they know this reality, the only logical conclusion any rational person can make is that they are spinning mountains of bullshit on America – and we don’t appreciate it.
Although the initial attempt to shove the sociopathic Healthcare plan failed, everyone needs to still stay vigilant. They will be back, there’s no doubt about it. As the New York Times pointed out back in January, Trump can still do major damage to the ACA (Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare) simply by refusing to take action:
“The easiest way for the Trump administration to undermine the health law would be to stop defending a lawsuit brought by the House of Representatives. That suit said that the Obama administration lacked the authority to pay certain Obamacare subsidies. A lower court ruled for the House, meaning that by simply withdrawing from the appeal, the Trump administration could start a process to eliminate those subsidies and cause a collapse of the insurance market. Mr. Trump’s order said nothing about that policy choice.” See, Margot Sanger-Katz, “What Does Trump’s Executive Order against Obamacare Actually Do?” New York Times, January 21, 2017
In other words, even though Trump swore an oath to uphold the laws of the United States, and even though the Affordable Care Act is “the law of the land”, we can be certain that like so many other times before, Trump will break this law as well. Even if Democrats are somehow able to challenge this in some obscure way, they won’t be able to undo any damage that may occur when important court cases go unchallenged. You cannot re-litigate court cases under those conditions; once they are decided by lower courts and then challenged by an appeal, if the Trump administration refuses to take action and defend the law in the appellate court, it will be game over.
Trump has been claiming that Obamacare will “explode” and that it is in a “death spiral”; this is largely based on a conspiracy theory promoted by a doctor who volunteered for the Trump campaign which I wrote about in “Death Spirals & Trump’s Healthcare Conspiracy.” Even so, Trump will create a self-fulfilling prophecy by making sure – to the best of his ability – that he destroys Obamacare by whatever means possible.
That’s only one threat; of course there are others . The sociopaths who weren’t satisfied with throwing 24 million people off of insurance and by extension, putting their lives at risk, are working hard to come up with a plan that is even more despicable. According to an article by Paul Blumenthal, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), said, “This is not the end of the debate … If [Democrats are] applauding, they shouldn’t.” (See: “House Freedom Caucus Leader Says Obamacare Repeal Effort Not Over Yet,” by Paul Blumenthal, Huffington Post; March 26, 2017
And he’s right. This is just one battle among many to come – and they will not stop unless they are stopped.
. “On inauguration day, he signed an order directing agencies to “minimize” the “burdens” of Obamacare. And the IRS took him at his word. Originally, the IRS was going to play hardball – and flat-out reject the tax returns of uninsured people who didn’t either pay the tax penalty or claim a hardship exemption. But thanks to the president’s order, the IRS now says returns will still be accepted, even with that part left blank. That means a lot of healthy people won’t buy insurance – which begins the death spiral.” See, Dave Ross, “Trump couldn’t kill Obamacare but will he sabotage it?” My Northwest; March 27, 2017
Also on YouTube: “Mick Mulvaney on SSDI during Face the Nation March 19, 2017” – YouTube (0:36) published by Zaid Jilani on March 20, 2017
For further reading see the following publications:
“White House issues gag order to officials on budget details,” by Andrew Taylor, PBS News Hour; March 21, 2017
“Jaws Drop as Trump WH Claims Starving Seniors by Killing Meals on Wheels is Compassionate,” by Jason Easley, Politics USA; March 16, 2017
“Trump budget director: Historically successful Meals on Wheels doesn’t work,” by Katie Paris, Shareblue; March 16, 2017
“Meals on Wheels” Fact Sheet, 2017 (2 pages)
“White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate,’” by Eric Levitz, New York Magazine; March 16, 2017
“Trump’s ‘March massacre’ budget is ruthless,” by Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times; March 20, 2017
“Trump budget director: Feeding elderly and children has to end, it’s not ‘showing any results,’” by Joan McCarter; Daily Kos; March 16, 2017
“Meals on Wheels is ‘not showing any results’ only if you ignore all these results,” by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post; March 16, 2017
“Watch the President of Meals On Wheels Explain How Trump’s Budget Devastates Senior Services,” by Media Matters; March 17, 2017
“The Cost Can Be Debated, but Meals on Wheels Gets Results,” by Aaron E. Carroll, New York Times; March 17, 2017
“Is Meals on Wheels about to become a fatality of Trump’s budget?” by Jamiles Lartey, The Guardian; March 17, 2017
“Meals on Wheels Is Just the Beginning: Economist Mark Price on Trump’s Proposed Cuts,” by Sarah Jaffe, Truthout; March 22, 2017
“These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget,” by David Ingold, Chloe Whiteaker, Michael Keller and Hannah Recht, Bloomberg; March 16, 2017
“No, Feeding Hungry Kids and Seniors Isn’t a Waste of Money – Next up: Puppy Kicking?” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones; March 16, 2017
“Trump’s budget: Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year on what Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips cost so far,” by Heather Timmons; Quartz; March 17, 2017
“Afterschool Alliance” (about after school programs that help students)
“Food, Hunger & Shame in Trump’s America,” by Charles Clymer, Medium; March 21, 2017
“Strengthening SNAP for Rural and Urban America (2017),” by the Union of Concerned Scientists, May 2017
“The Farm Bill,” by the Union of Concerned Scientists, May 23, 2017
“The AHCA Gives up Vital Care to Get Tax Cuts for the Rich,” by Gene Sperling, The Atlantic; March 14, 2017
“Meals on Wheels Seniors Respond to Trump: ‘Cut Something Else,’” by Tessa Stuart, Rolling Stone; March 17, 2017
“Trump’s Budget Would Set Food System Progress Back Generations,” by Elizabeth Grossman, Civil Eats; March 23, 2017
“Trumpcare gives new moms on Medicaid 60 days to find a job – or risk losing coverage,” by wagatwe, Daily Kos; March 23, 2017
Excerpt: Every time I find something new about the bill I am shocked by how cruel and out-of-touch it (and the party at large) is. There really is no depth too low for them to go.
“Conservatives Demand End to Pre-Existing Conditions Ban,’ by Kevin Drum, Mother Jones; March 24, 2017
“House Freedom Caucus Leader Says Obamacare Repeal Effort Not Over Yet,” by Paul Blumenthal, Huffington Post; March 26, 2017
“Winners and losers in Trump’s budget,” by Reuters; March 16, 2017
“OMB director on President Trump’s budget proposal” – YouTube (4:16) published by CBS This Morning on February 28, 2017
“Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor,” by Damian Paletta and Steven Mufson, Washington Post; March 16, 2017
“Donald Trump Plans to Eliminate Legal Aid Funding That Supports Survivors of Domestic Violence,” by Jordan Smith, The Intercept; March 20, 2017
Excerpt: But if President Donald Trump’s “skinny budget” blueprint is adopted and passed by Congress, the federal funding that supports Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and a network of other legal aid groups across the country would disappear. That’s because the proposed budget eliminates the 43-year-old Legal Services Corporation, the federal entity that provides millions for state-based legal aid operations. Cutting its funding would deny millions of poor people access to the civil justice system, a circumstance that would disproportionately impact women, who make up 70 percent of clients served by LSC funds. Indeed, fully one-third of cases handled by LSC-affiliated groups involve women, like Sonota, who are victims of domestic violence.
In his budget note, Trump wrote that his “aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens — a government that puts the needs of its own people first. When we do that we will set free the dreams of every American, and we will begin a new chapter of American greatness.” Cutting a program that provides for the safety of domestic violence survivors — among many others — seems an odd way to achieve greatness….
The ultra-right Heritage Foundation, from which Trump plucked many of his budget priorities, has long desired to ax the LSC from the federal budget, claiming that it isn’t the “duty of the federal government to provide defense in these types of cases.” The think tank argues that state and local governments already provide this funding and are “better equipped” to address the needs of those seeking civil representation — a position that is not supported by the facts on the ground…..
When Sonota thinks about funding for legal aid being discontinued, she gets choked up. She believes defunding the LSC would sound a death knell for people like her. “To be realistic, being a black, single mother with the odds against me, living in poor communities, we need people to protect people like me, the underdog,” she said. “Cutting legal services … it’s like a cardiac arrest: a death for the community.”
“Trump budget cuts: U.S. federal funding 2018,” by Kim Soffen and Denise Lu, Washington Post; March 16, 2017
“Trump Releases His First Budget Blueprint: Here are the Winners And Losers,” by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge; March 16, 2017
“Trump Health Secretary wants to target ‘moms and kids’ on Medicaid for ‘savings,’” by Tommy Christopher, Shareblue; March 20, 2017
Excerpt: Republicans seem to be competing to see who can be the most heartless these days, but Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is off to an early lead. After refusing to reassure Americans that they would not lose their health care under repeal, and explaining to a cancer patient how kicking him off Medicaid would “strengthen” the program, Price continued the pattern by making the targeting of moms and kids on Medicaid a selling point.….
More to the point, none of the “savings” is used to care for the elderly or disabled, and in fact, the funding cuts will put pressure on states to end “optional” benefits, many of which the elderly and disabled depend upon heavily.
A plan that throws 24 million people off of their health care and achieves “savings” on the backs of “moms and kids” is a cruel measure that deserves failure, no matter how Republicans try to dress it up.
Also on YouTube: “GOP Congressman Buddy Carter Defends AHCA” – AM Joy, MSNBC – YouTube (13:35) published by MSNBC on March 19, 2017
“Hospital Groups and American College of Physicians Say No to GOP Healthcare Plan,” by Hrafnkell Haraldsson, Politics USA; March 8, 2017
Excerpt: As has the American College of Physicians, who in their own letter to Congress said the “AHCA will have a tremendously negative impact on access, quality, and cost of care.”
Turns out the Republican plan to enrich insurance company execs and the wealthy isn’t so popular with those whose life is dedicated to actually helping people – the very same people Republicans are supposed to be dedicated to helping.
As political missteps go, this is a big one. Ezra Klein no doubt correctly points out that “The GOP health bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve.”
“GOP Health Care Bill Opposed By Medical Groups Of Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals,” by Brian Naylor, NPR; March 9, 2017
“Trumpcare is Very Destructive to Both Medicare and Medicaid,” by Janine Jackson, Truthout; March 19, 2017
Excerpt: The so-called Trumpcare, this new healthcare plan that the Republicans have just rolled out, is very destructive to both Medicare and Medicaid. The Republicans ran against the Affordable Care Act, the so-called Obamacare, but no one ran against Medicare and Medicaid, because the programs work very well and they’re very popular.
Both programs were enacted in 1965. The idea behind Medicare — it’s a part of Social Security — is that you cannot really be economically secure if you’re one illness away from bankruptcy. So Medicare provides basic health insurance for those 65 and over who are receiving Social Security.
Medicaid is intended as a low-income program, but it is the only part of our healthcare system that provides basic insurance for long-term care. So actually many seniors, many middle-class seniors, who find themselves in need of long-term nursing home care wind up relying on Medicaid.
So they are both programs that cover much of the Social Security beneficiary population. All three programs work very well; they’re very popular. And I should say one more thing, that Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and other Republicans have been gunning for all these programs for decades.
And now I think they see they have their chance. So what this does is it basically destroys Medicaid. That was expanded under the Affordable Care Act. That expansion is going to be gone, but in addition they’re going to, instead of now having, if you’ve got that insurance and you need a medical procedure, it gets paid for, instead they’re going to do a kind of cousin of block-granting, where they’re going to give the states money and just say, OK, you take care of your own population. States often are strapped. It will be very hard to keep that coverage.
And for Medicare, they literally raid Medicare. They take about several hundred billion dollars out of Medicare and what they do is give very large tax breaks for the very wealthy.
Also on YouTube: “Why a top physicians’ group opposes the GOP health care plan” – YouTube (4:02) published by PBS NewsHour on March 17, 2017
This video is also here with a transcript: “Why a top physicians’ group opposes the GOP health care plan,” by PBS News Hour; March 10, 2017
“A Running List of People Who Hate Trumpcare,” by Julia Lurie, Mother Jones; March 8, 2017
“Doctors, hospitals and insurers oppose Republican health plan,” by Juliet Eilperin and Mike DeBonis, Washington Post; March 8, 2017
“The GOP health bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve,” by Ezra Klein, Vox; March 6, 2017
“Trump’s Budget Is Out. Now the Lobbying Begins,” by Michael W. Shear, New York Times; March 16, 2017
“Trump Budget Is ‘Heavy Lift,’ Even for G.O.P. Congress,” by Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times; March 16, 2017
“Who Wins and Loses in Trump’s Proposed Budget,” by the New York Times
“Donald Trump Budget Slashes Funds for E.P.A. and State Department,” by Glenn Thrush and Coral Davenport, New York Times; March 15, 2017
“Trump’s EPA Cuts: No One Will Protect Us,” by Lois Marie Gibbs, Common Dreams; March 20, 2017
“Unspeakable Ecocide and the Perils of Trump,” by Paul Street, CounterPunch; February 9, 2017
“America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” by Office of Management and Budget, Trump Administration, March 16, 2017 (62 pages)
“This may be the most brutal number in the CBO report,” by Aaron Blake, Washington Post; March 14, 2017
“CBO: Republican health care bill raises premiums for older, poor Americans by more than 750%,” by German Lopez, Vox; March 13, 2017
“Pentagon Grows, While E.P.A. and State Dept. Shrink in Trump’s Budget,” by Alan Rappeport and Glenn Thrush, New York Times; March 16, 2017
“Mulvaney justifies budget: We can’t ask a coal miner to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” by Louise Nelson, POLITICO; March 16, 2017
“Mulvaney: ‘Only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail,’” by Rebecca Savransky, The Hill; March 20, 2017
“Trump Budget Director Takes Aim at ‘Wasteful’ Social Security Program That Helps Disabled Americans,” by Zaid Jilani, The Intercept; March 20, 2017
Excerpt: The elite Washington media is almost uniquely obsessed with the notion that cutting spending on the old and poor to reduce the federal deficit is the litmus test of a responsible budget plan. At last week’s press conference announcing the proposed budget – which includes massive cuts to regulatory agencies and massive increases in defense spending – Mulvaney was repeatedly badgered by reporters about why the administration is not taking aim at Social Security and Medicare.
During [an] interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, the administration finally started to give in.
Mulvaney was pressed by host John Dickerson about whether the administration would be open to cutting “entitlements.” Mulvaney initially hesitated to endorse any cuts, repeating Trump’s promises on the campaign trail to leave Social Security and Medicare alone.
“Well, I think the promise was he wasn’t going to affect anybody and we haven’t with this budget,” Mulvaney replied. “Keep in mind what this budget is. This is just the discretionary spending part of the budget, which was a necessary first step.”
“But he might look at – at future retirement – future Medicare recipients?” Dickerson followed up.
Mulvaney replied by pivoting to the specific issue of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program administered by the Social Security Administration that aids disabled Americans. He complained about the program’s cost and indicated that the administration wants to alter it.
“The Trump-Ryan Healthcare Act: Some Economic Consequences,” by Jack Rasmus, CounterPunch; March 16, 2017
“No Magic in How G.O.P. Plan Lowers Premiums: It Pushes Out Older People,” by Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times; March 14, 2017
“Killing the Elderly: Social Security Starves Us Slowly as the GOP Tries to Kill Us by Gutting Health Care,” by Dave Lindorff, CounterPunch; March 17, 2017
“Notice a pattern here? Women get screwed under Trumpcare and Republicans just don’t care,” by Laura Clawson, Daily Kos; March 24, 2017
“Millions Risk Losing Health Insurance in Republican Plan, Analysts Say,” by Abby Goodnough and Reed Abelson, New York Times; March 7, 2017
“Obamacare repeal could cost the poor a third of their income,” by Tami Luhby, CNN Money; March 23, 2017
“Who Gains and Who Loses under the American Health Care Act,” by Linda J. Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens, John Holahan, Gordon B. Mermin, Frank Sammartino, Urban Institute; March 22, 2017 (12 pages)
This publication can also be found HERE.
Abstract: Congress is currently considering passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This bill would repeal large portions of the Affordable Care Act, including most of its sources of revenue, and would introduce significant changes to the Medicaid program and the private non-group insurance market. We use the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Microsimulation Model and The Urban Institute Health Policy Center’s Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model (HIPSM) to allocate changes in taxes and federal health benefits across families grouped by income. We find that the AHCA’s changes to federal taxes and health care benefits would be very regressive: that is, taking both tax reductions and benefit reductions into account, the average high-income family would be significantly better off and the average low-income family would be significantly worse off under the AHCA.
“Trump White House Tells Pregnant Women Who Need Health Care To Move or Change Their State Laws,” by Sarah Jones, Politics USA; March 24, 2017
Excerpt: Mulvaney tried to make the unsubstantiated argument that under Obamacare everyone can afford insurance but no one can afford to go to the doctor, “As a result, you have a system where everybody, just about, can afford to have insurance, but nobody can afford to actually go to the doctor and that’s what we’re trying to fix and that’s what the House bill does.”
Yeah, not sure what kind of insurance Mulvaney has but that’s not true. In fact the insurance purchased under Obamacare is varied and people can pick the tier of coverage they want. To parse this out for Mulvaney, the budget director, we call this the free market. People chose what they want to pay for and that determines what is covered but they do have insurance and under Obamacare, due to its regulations, they are reasonably assured that they will actually get what they pay for, which was not true before Obamacare.
This is on YouTube: “U S Rep Sheila Jackson Lee speaks out against Republican Health Bill – March 18, 2017” – YouTube (1:17) published by Seven Generations on March 18, 2017
“Trump Unveils ‘Hard Power’ Budget That Boosts Military Spending,” by Jessica Taylor, KUNC; March 16, 2017
Excerpt: Among all the proposed spending hikes and cuts, some areas would see spending cuts of 100 percent. The administration wants to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Together, the two groups receive about $300 million annually.
Trump also wants to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps to finance public radio and television stations. CPB received $445 million in the current fiscal year.
Several of these eliminated programs aim to help the poorest Americans. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps people pay utility bills and weatherize their homes. And the Community Development Block Grant, a part of HUD, helps support affordable housing and infrastructure (among many other things).
Grants to Meals on Wheels would also likely be eliminated as part of the cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program, and Mulvaney defended those cuts Thursday afternoon, claiming the block granting program was “not showing any results.”
Pressed on whether cutting back or eliminating altogether programs that help the poor was not being compassionate toward people who needed help the most, Mulvaney said that passing this budget was “one of the most compassionate things we can do” because it was being compassionate toward taxpayers who are funding those programs.
Also on YouTube: “VoteVets on Trump’s Budget” – YouTube (1:21) published by votevets on March 21, 2017
“An ‘America Last’ Budget,” by Katrina vanden Heuvel, Common Dreams; March 21, 2017
Excerpt: A true America First policy would build up diplomacy rather than military forces. We’d cut back on policing the world and seek to mediate and help settle disputes. We’d end the pointless war in Afghanistan and reduce our presence in the Middle East’s agonies. We’d seek to revive nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts with the Russians and cool the drive toward a new cold war. We’d work with China to help enforce freedom of the seas in the South China Sea rather than launching a buildup to assert our right to bear that burden alone. All of this would suggest augmenting, not reducing, our investment in diplomacy. We’d want to support U.N. peacekeeping and development efforts more, so that we would no longer dispatch forces to more than 100 nations across the world every year.
“Democrats blast GOP health care plan as dangerous for veterans,” by Leo Shane III, Military Times; March 23, 2017
Excerpt: “This bill keeps getting written and rewritten,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed, D-R.I. “This provision is going to potentially affect millions of veterans … this whole process has been a disgrace.”
“Millions of veterans could be ineligible to receive tax credits under Republican healthcare plan,” by Philip Wegmann Washington Examiner; March 23, 2017
“Prominent Democrats trash Trump regime’s budget assault on the most vulnerable Americans,” by Meteor Blades, Daily Kos; March 16, 2017
“Here are some more responses to the Republican budget from elected Democrats,” by Meteor Blades, Daily Kos; March 18, 2017
This is on YouTube: “Trump White House Calls Starving Seniors An Act Of Compassion” – YouTube (3:44) published by Politics Media on March 16, 2017
“Paul Ryan says he’s been ‘dreaming’ of kicking poor off Medicaid since he was ‘drinking out of a keg,’” by Oliver Willis, Shareblue; March 17, 2017
Excerpt: Speaking at the National Review Ideas Summit, Ryan told conservative writer Rich Lowry that he has been “dreaming” about gutting the funding for the Medicaid program “since you and I were drinking out of a keg.”
This is on YouTube: “Paul Ryan Has Fantasized About Cutting Medicaid Since College,” – YouTube (1:52) published by The Huffington Post on March 21, 2017
“While Nobody’s Watching, Paul Ryan is taking a Sledgehammer to Medicaid’s Promise to Seniors,” by Ryan Grim, Huffington Post; March 21, 2017
Excerpt: “Speaker Ryan and others often argue to governors that a Medicaid per capita cap is about more flexibility (even though states already enjoy expansive flexibility in their Medicaid programs) rather than what it is really about: a way to achieve big federal spending cuts and cost-shifts to states,” Edwin Park, a health policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email. “The House bill makes that starkly clear: $880 billion in federal Medicaid spending cuts over 10 years by ending the expansion and imposing a per capita cap without any new flexibility.”
Ryan’s plan would cut taxes by some $275 billion over the next decade, mostly for the rich, and is setting the stage, he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, for a much bigger tax cut to come. That’s what’s going on here.
When Ryan refers to seeing “the forest through the trees,” he is arguing to conservatives that they should swallow elements of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that they don’t like in order to seize the once-in-a-half-century opportunity to destroy a major federal entitlement program. Everything else is just trees.
“Paul Ryan postpones fundraiser with rich folks benefiting from Trumpcare tax breaks,” by Gabe Ortiz, Daily Kos; March 23, 2017
“Here’s a room full of men cheering their plan to strip maternity and newborn care,” by Laura Clawson, Daily Kos; March 23, 2017
“The Scammers, the Scammed and America’s Fate,” by Paul Krugman, New York Times; March 24, 2017
“Useless Eaters and Ethnic Purity: the Trump/Bannon War for Biological Nationhood,” by Chris Floyd, CounterPunch; March 17, 2017
“Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago,” by Norman Pollack, CounterPunch; March 20, 2017
“Trump to GOP critics of health care bill: ‘I’m gonna come after you,’” by David Weigel, Kelsey Snell and Robert Costa, Washington Post; March 21, 2017