Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When it comes to health care, who has the right stuff?

There is a right side on the health care debate. Who is on that side? Who is on the other side?

Who’s on the right side?

Consumers Union has entered the health care fracas with Six-Figure Ad Buy Targets 5 GOP Senators to Oppose ACA Repeal. This is from the via Sarah Kliff ( in her VoxCare email.

Consumers Union, the political arm of product ratings organization Consumer Reports, announced Monday that it’s expanding a six-figure radio ad campaign against Senate Republicans’ health care bill to a total of five states.

The $100,000 ad buy targets vulnerable and centrist Republicans who are seen as most likely to buck their party and oppose the bill, which Senate GOP leaders aim to pass this week. The ads highlight the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and possible coverage losses. The House version of the bill would lead to 23 million more uninsured Americans in a decade, according to a cost estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The ads, which will run this week, target Republican Sens. *Lisa Murkowskiof Alaska, Jeff Flakeof Arizona, Susan Collins*of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. The group already ran ads earlier this month in Arizona and Nevada, which is represented by Heller, who announced on Friday he opposes the bill because of the adverse affect it could have on his constituents who are on Medicaid. Both Arizona and Nevada opted to expand Medicaid, and both Heller and Flake are expected to face close re-election fights in 2018.

Put a bookmark right here. And then search to the end of the MorningConsult snippets for “Jeff Flake.”

“The consequences of the Senate’s legislation are just as dangerous and misguided as the House version: millions of Americans could lose coverage, consumers would pay more out-of-pocket for care and higher premiums for plans that cover far less, and millions of people that depend on Medicaid could be cut off completely,” Betsy Imholz, who directs special projects at the Consumers Union, said in a statement.

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still pass the bill this week, assuming all Democrats oppose the legislation. Currently, five senators — Heller and four conservatives who say the bill doesn’t go far enough in undoing Obamacare — have said they couldn’t vote for the bill in its current form.

The three other senators being targeted by Consumers Union — Murkowski, Collins and Capito — are also wary of cutting federal spending on Medicaid, but haven’t taken a final position on the measure. Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is one of the 2010 law’s most popular provisions. A Morning Consult poll conducted in May showed 46 percent of voters want Republicans to leave the expansion intact.

The three Republicans have also raised other concerns, including funding for opioid addiction treatment. A provision eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood for one year is also opposed by Murkowski and Collins. In a television interview with ABC News on Sunday, Collins said she would wait to take a position on the overall bill until after the CBO releases its cost estimate of the Senate measure, which could come as soon as Monday.

You didn’t find “Jeff Flake” did you? It’s time for LTEs, tweets, FB posts, op-eds, all directed at Flake. There is a right thing here and he needs some nudging, apparently, to commit to it.

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) has relevant comments on that in Will GOP moderates fold and give Trump a win? If so, they lied to you.

The Senate’s health-care bill is on the verge of collapse, multiple reports tell us this morning, with numerous GOP senators balking at the brutal new Congressional Budget Office analysis, which found that the bill would leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026, 15 million of them in the next year alone.

But the bill is far from dead. The big question now is whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can buy off a few moderate senators with “side deals.” Politico reports that such discussions are well underway as we speak.

But what the CBO report really tells us is this: No side deal can actually rescue the bill in any meaningful sense from the moral criticism that these moderate Republicans themselves have lodged against it. A few moderates may end up backing the bill — and it may even pass — but if so, they will be largely embracing priorities that they basically asked us to believe they reject as unacceptable.

Let’s get Flake to take a stand and commit to voting NO.

The latest whip count shows that at least six moderate Republicans — Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Bill Cassidy (La.) — oppose or have serious concerns about the bill. Collins has balked at the Medicaid cuts harming the “vulnerable.” Heller has decried tens of millions losing insurance. Capito, Murkowski and Portman have all expressed varying concerns about their states’ Medicaid expansion population losing coverage. (Four conservatives also are leaning against the bill; a total of three “no” votes would sink it.)

Again, where’s Flake?

Who’s on the other side?

The Senate health care bill is the political equivalent of a hot potato laced with sarin nerve gas. That’s why the NY Times reports the Vote Delayed as Republicans Struggle to Marshal Support for Health Care Bill

Doctors, hospitals and other health care provider groups came out strongly against the Senate bill, as did patient advocacy groups like the American Heart Association. But business groups were ramping up their support. In a letter on Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Senate bill and urged senators to vote for it.

The Senate bill “will repeal the most egregious taxes and mandates” of the Affordable Care Act, allowing employers to create more jobs, said Jack Howard, a senior vice president of the group. The bill, he noted, would repeal a tax on medical devices and eliminate penalties on large employers that do not offer coverage to employees.

A separate letter expressing general support for the Senate’s efforts was sent by a coalition of 28 business and employer groups including the National Association of Home Builders, the National Restaurant Association and the National Retail Federation.

But Senate conservatives found themselves squeezed between business sentiment and their conservative base. Club for Growth, an ardently conservative political action committee, came out strongly against the Senate measure on Tuesday.

“The Club for Growth and the American people took Republicans in Congress at their word when they promised to repeal every word – ‘root and branch’ – of Obamacare and replace it with a patient-centered approach to health care,” the group’s president, David McIntosh, said in a statement. “Only in Washington does repeal translate to restore. Because that’s exactly what the Senate GOP healthcare bill does: it restores Obamacare.”

Why is Club for Growth listed here as supporting the Senate bill? Because they want an even worse version that will transfer even more wealth from the bottom 50% to the top 1%.

Aesop’s Moral: A man is known by the company he keeps. Is this the company that defines Jeff Flake?

Appearing in Washington, Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio cited the 22 million projection and expressed bewilderment that fellow Republicans would be on board with the bill.

“And they think that’s great?” he asked. “That’s good public policy? What, are you kidding me?”

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