The Open Thread for September 22, 2017

First Read: “Backers of the GOP Graham-Cassidy health-care bill – Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) plus President Trump via Twitter – maintain it doesn’t touch protections for those with pre-existing conditions. And Cassidy also says the legislation will cover more people than current law does.”

“They all have one problem: No one from the health industry is backing them up. The health insurers are against Graham-Cassidy, with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association saying that the legislation ‘contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical condition.’ The American Medical Association is also against the bill. Ditto the American Hospital Association.”

“So if Graham/Cassidy/Trump claim that the legislation protects those with pre-existing conditions and expands coverage, the question follows: Which study or industry expert backs that up?”

Washington Post: “That bet, made out of fear rather than a sense that victory is any nearer than it has been all year, can be traced to this year’s August recess — the five-week stretch back home that immediately followed the Senate’s previous, failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health-care laws. The late-summer break, distant as it already feels to many of us, remains fresh in some lawmakers’ minds.”

“It did not entail the kind of high-profile clashes at town halls that Democrats faced eight years ago as they began drafting the Affordable Care Act — or that House Republicans confronted at the start of the year, when their repeal effort took shape. Nevertheless, according to GOP senators and aides, Republicans faced an unrelenting barrage of confrontations with some of their closest supporters, donors and friends. The moments occurred in small gatherings that proved even more meaningful than a caustic town hall — at meetings with local business executives, at church, at parks.”

A Republican Senate aide told Independent Journal Review that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are attempting to buy Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) support through new changes to their controversial Obamacare repeal proposal before an expected vote next week.

“This draft includes 3 separate provisions benefiting Alaska.”



Stephen Bannon told Vanity Fair that Jared Kushner, who oversaw the data operation of the Trump campaign, consulted regularly with Facebook director Peter Thiel:

“When I asked Bannon about whether Thiel had some part in the data operation leading up to the election, he said, “When I joined the campaign, we were 16 points down and 85 days out. So I wasn’t working closely with Peter at that point.” He paused for a moment and then added, “Jared was interfacing with him pretty regularly.” On data?, I asked. “Data and other things. Ask Jared.” A source close to Kushner, however, denied that Thiel “worked with Jared on the campaign’s data operation.”

The role that data played in Trump’s victory appears to be of particular interest to legislators and prosecutors delving into the campaign’s interactions with Russian associates. As has been widely reported, separate probes, in the words of the McClatchy news service, have been “examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation—overseen by Jared Kushner—helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.”

Facebook reversed itself and will give Congress copies of 3,000 political ads bought through Russian accounts, the Washington Post reports.   Politico: “The ads have become of increasing interest to Mueller and his team, according to people familiar with the investigation, because they could show Russian efforts to interfere — and who was behind them.”



Edward Luce: “At stake in Alabama’s Republican primary election is the loyalty of the president’s base. Are they set on humbling America’s establishment come what may, as Mr Trump originally promised? Or is their allegiance to the president as a person, regardless of what he does? Next week will test the theory of Mr Trump’s base. Alabama is the laboratory.”

“It is a gamble Mr Trump did not have to take. On one side of the Alabama primary is Luther Strange, the sitting senator, whom the Republican establishment convinced Mr Trump to endorse. On the other is Roy Moore, the insurgent challenger, who is vowing to drain the Washington swamp, as Mr Trump earlier did. Mr Moore is backed by Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former chief strategist and architect of his 2016 campaign. It has been barely a month since Mr Bannon was ejected from the White House. He is already on an opposing side to the president.”

The Washington Post runs a must-read profile of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R):  “The central argument of Moore’s campaign is that removing the sovereignty of a Christian God from the functions of government is an act of apostasy, an affront to the biblical savior as well as the Constitution. Among the prices he says this country has paid for denying God’s supremacy: the high murder rate in Chicago, crime on the streets of Washington, child abuse, rape and sodomy. It’s a crisis he hopes to address next year from the floor of the Senate.”



Kevin Drum says that we don’t need a CBO score on the latest bill to repeal Obamacare. “The plan for passage is similar to Repeal 2.0: do it fast before the CBO can tell us how many people would lose health insurance if it passes. But we don’t really need the official CBO score for that since we already know that Graham-Cassidy would eliminate the individual mandate and slash spending on Medicaid. Those two things account for the vast bulk of CBO’s score, which means that its score of Graham-Cassidy will be very similar: about 23 million people would be tossed off their insurance plans over the next decade.”



“Some Democratic leaders think single-payer goes further than voters might want, but a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows the proposal is fairly popular — at least in principle,” notes Steven Shepard at Politico. “Nearly half of voters, 49 percent, say they support “a single-payer health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan” — greater than the 35 percent who oppose such a plan. Seventeen percent of voters have no opinion. Two-thirds of Democratic voters support single-payer, while 18 percent oppose it…A single-payer system is even more popular than the “public option,” described to poll respondents as “a government-run health insurance agency that would compete with other private health insurance companies within the U.S.” Forty-four percent of voters back a public option, compared with 33 percent who oppose it. More voters, 22 percent, have no opinion.”



Democrats looking for a succinct soundbite about Trump’s United Nations speech can’t do much better than syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr.’s comment “And his threat “to totally destroy North Korea” is what you’d expect to hear in a bar conversation from a well-lubricated armchair general, not from the leader of the world’s most powerful military.” Dionne adds, “But the most alarming part of an address that was supposed to be a serious formulation of the president’s grand strategy in the world was the utter incoherence of Trump’s “America first” doctrine….The speech tried to rationalize “America first” as a great principle. But every effort Trump made to build an intellectual structure to support it only underscored that his favored phrase was either a trivial applause line or an argument that, if followed logically, was inimical to the United States’ interests and values.”


Paul Krugman offers a succinct, sobering critique of the Graham-Cassidy health care bill: “In reality, Graham-Cassidy is the opposite of moderate. It contains, in exaggerated and almost caricature form, all the elements hat made previous Republican proposals so cruel and destructive. It would eliminate the individual mandate, undermine if not effectively eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and slash fundingfor subsidies and Medicaid. There are a few additional twists, but they’re all bad — notably, a funding formula that would penalize states that are actually successful in reducing the number of uninsured…Many progressives have already begun taking Obamacare’s achievements for granted, and are moving on from protest against right-wing schemes to dreams of single-payer. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the kind of environment in which swing senators, no longer in the spotlight, might be bribed or bullied into voting for a truly terrible bill.



Honolulu Civil Beat: “Dozens of legislators and their staffers met behind closed doors Tuesday to hear a briefing by state Emergency Management Agency officials on preparedness for a North Korea nuclear strike on Hawaii.”

“Some lawmakers who attended stressed that the secret meeting was not called because of any immediate threat to the islands. Instead, it was a discussion of how to help the public prepare.”


Time: “Every party cast out of power endures a period of soul-searching. But the Democrats’ dilemma was unimaginable even a year ago, when Clinton seemed to be coasting toward the White House and demographic change fueled dreams of a permanent national majority. Now, eight months into the Trump presidency, the party looks to face its toughest odds since Ronald Reagan won 49 states in 1984.”

“The Democrats are in their deepest congressional rut since the class of 1946 was elected, and hold the fewest governors’ mansions–15–since 1922. Of the 98 partisan legislatures in the U.S., Republicans control 67. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Democrats lost 970 seats in state legislatures, leaving the party’s bench almost bare. The median age of their congressional leadership is 67, and many of the obvious early presidential front runners will be in their 70s by the 2020 election.”



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “used a foreign policy speech to knock President Trump’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal, Russia and his rhetoric on the violence in Charlottesville,” The Hill reports.

Said Sanders: “I call on my colleagues in the Congress, and all Americans: We must protect this agreement. President Trump has signaled his intention to walk away from it, as he did the Paris agreement, regardless of the evidence that it is working.”

Stephen Miles: “In laying out a principled and bold progressive vision for recentering US foreign policy at the core of a progressive platform, Senator Sanders has given voice to those of us who have always believed that our values don’t simply stop at the water’s edge.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

11 comments on “The Open Thread for September 22, 2017

  1. Sure the AMA and AHA are against this new plan. Because, they didn’t make backroom deals, like they did with the ACA.

    Keep drinking the kool-Aid DD!

    • Everyone is against this. Tell you what, why don’t you name a medical/health care group that supports this plan. Even better… explain to me why you support this plan. Be specific. Details matter.

    • And he posts a link to the National Review as if to bolster the claim. Pandora gets it right, pray tell us why you support this bill from hell and why you don’t give a damn if Americans suffer and die?

  2. The Graham-Cassidy bill is an amalgam of all that was wrong, evil and cruel about the two previous versions of Trumpcare with a side of far right games thrown in just for fun. It’s a sad excuse and a slap dash effort to say the least. The Republicans are hell bent on destroying all things Obama, in the process their going to harm millions of Americans and it troubles then not in the least.

  3. @ Pandy and Wikky. Of course you both made a false, judgement. I never said I support this plan. I’m only pointing out the backroom deals the ACA made with those organizations, in the past.

    • So, what’s your point then? That legislation isn’t about deal making?

      And this isn’t about the ACA – which Dems have been trying to fix the bugs since it passed (just like every piece of major legislation passed in the past). This is about Graham-Cassidy, which you say you never said you supported. Okay. Let’s start here: What exactly do you support?

      • Yes, legislation is about deal making. But, to what extent? It should be for the betterment of all. Not, a particular group or if it hurts others.
        For example: “According to CBO, the Senate bill now contains about $600 million in extra Medicaid cash to Vermont, and about $500 million in additional money for Medicaid to Massachusetts, making these three states the only to receive such funding.”

        • Still not sure what you support. (Not sure what that quote has to do with anything either) Do you have a solution?

    • The AMA and the AHA had a chance to participate in the process for the ACA — because there were hearings and hearings and markup where lots of voices got heard here. Which is the way it should work, right? Unlike this GOP business where they have no hearings, no markup and just try to buy off Senators. The GOP approach here lets the Koch Bros have a say, but no one else. Certainly no one who knows WTF they are talking about for improving the health care system. Besides, anono didn’t read this article. Of all of the so-called deals on the table, the only one that came close to even materializing was the Pharma deal. So this article throws alot of smoke, but no fire.

  4. You read National Review and accuse others of drinking Kool-Aid? That ain’t champagne you’re swilling, pal.

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