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Public Health: ‘Skinny’ Obamacare Repeal Would Clash With Republicans’ Health Care Promises

Fewer people would probably be covered under Medicaid, too. Over the last few years, signups for Medicaid have increased substantially, even among people who could have been covered before Obamacare expanded eligibility. Many of those people presumably didn’t realize they qualified for Medicaid and first tried to buy private insurance because of the mandate, before learning that they could get Medicaid and not have to pay a premium. Without a mandate, fewer people are likely to find their way into the program.Continue reading the main storyThe Congressional Budget Office thinks that eliminating the individual mandate would have substantial negative effects on the insurance market, raising prices and reducing enrollment. It is hard to imagine that more insurers would wish to participate in this smaller, sicker market. The budget office still needs to evaluate a skinny repeal bill, but it seems likely that the reductions in coverage from a mandate repeal would save the federal government enough money for the bill to comply with budget instructions.It is worth considering these effects in the context of Republicans’ criticisms of Obamacare itself. On the Senate floor Tuesday, Mr. McConnell assailed the health law as building unstable insurance markets and providing too little consumer choice. A skinny repeal would probably exacerbate those effects.OPEN GraphicGraphic: How Senators Voted to Consider the Republican Health Care BillPresident Trump has often criticized Obamacare as making insurance premiums too costly, with deductibles that are too high […]

$45 Billion to Fight Opioid Abuse? That’s Much Too Little, Experts Say

The Affordable Care Act vastly expanded access to addiction treatment by designating those services as “essential benefits.” That means they had to be covered through both an expansion of Medicaid to far more low-income adults and the marketplaces set up under the law for people to buy private plans. Both the House and Senate health bills would effectively end the expansion and cap federal Medicaid spending, resulting in the loss of coverage for millions of people, according to the Congressional Budget Office.Continue reading the main storyAccording to the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were roughly 1.35 million low-income Americans in 2015 with an opioid use disorder. Only 25 percent of those people get treated in a year, although the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of health insurance coverage has provided more resources for closing the treatment gap.Richard G. Frank, a health economics professor at Harvard Medical School, has estimated that last year, people who enrolled in expanded Medicaid incurred about $4.5 billion in costs for mental health and addiction treatment […]

Senate Republicans May Give Up Tax Cut in Effort to Save Health Bill

But the negotiations themselves are attracting controversy, and personal strains are showing. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, dressed down Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, this week over Medicaid cuts. Senate Republicans bristled after a “super PAC” tied to President Trump went after one of their own for opposing the bill, Senator Dean Heller of Nevada. Adding to the insult, one of the top officials of that group, Nick Ayers, was named Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff on Thursday — after the blowup.Continue reading the main storyDemocrats are also angry. For seven years, Republicans have denounced what they call corrupt deals made by Senate Democrats to buy votes for passage of President Barack Obama’s health care bill. The frantic wheeling and dealing among Republican senators on Thursday had more than a faint resemblance to the negotiations that led to adoption of the health care law in 2010.“The slush fund is open,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, referring to about $200 billion that could be available for deals in the Senate repeal bill. “Applicants can queue up and have a good chance of being treated favorably if they are from the right political party.”Mr. […]

Carbon Price, Yes. Clean Air Act Rollbacks, No.

A group of GOP elder statesmen, economists, and business leaders have proposed a carbon tax to address the growing dangers of climate change. It’s welcome and long overdue to see prominent Republicans acknowledge that “Mounting evidence of climate change is growing too strong to ignore,” and that “the risks associated with future warming are too big and should be hedged.” Also welcome is their recognition of the “needless climate divide between the GOP and the scientific, business, military, religious, civic and international mainstream.” And as James Baker said in today’s press conference, America needs to “lead from the high ground” in the global effort to stem climate change.These senior Republicans are trying to help their party find a way out of its cul-de-sac of climate denial and inaction. Whether President Trump and GOP Congressional leaders are interested remains to be seen. And how their proposal evolves, if anyone is interested, also remains to be seen.But while giving the Climate Leadership Council members credit for their serious intentions, there are serious problems with their proposal.1. We Need All the Tools in the ToolboxWhat’s critical is that we cut carbon pollution fast enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We have a moral obligation to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, and we need deep cuts in global carbon pollution by mid-century to meet that obligation. That’s the objective of the Paris Climate Agreement, with its goal of limiting warming to 1.5-2 °C […]

The Awesome Power Of The Latino Vote: We Owe It To So Many Heroes

Tired of the negativity of this long, protracted political campaign? Keep reading. This may lift your spirit in these uncertain days. Our community has a lot to be proud of, for instance, Sgt. Roy Benavídez, whose extraordinary act of heroism earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, the country’s highest distinction. During combat in the Vietnam War, Sgt. […]

Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director The majority of US voters believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legalized, while more than nine in ten Americans endorse allowing its use for therapeutic purposes, according to the results of nationwide polling data provided by Quinnipiac University. Fifty-four percent of respondents say that the […]

The Clock Is Ticking: Register to Attend NORML’s 2016 Conference and Congressional Lobby Day

By Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director We are ten days out from NORML’s 2016 Conference and Congressional Lobby Day and we are excited to share with you the full itinerary! Have you registered ;to attend? We have some fun events planned and it would be a shame for you to miss out! Our ‘pre-registration’ social will […]