Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hallelujah: Graham and Cassidy are trying to fool ya - and so is Arizona's Governor Clueless!

One of the authors of the latest Senate bill aimed at the Affordable Care Act, Bill Cassidy, lied to Jimmy Kimmel about what he intended and supported. Cassidy and the other author, Lindsey Graham, are lying to the American people (no surprise) and even lying to their fellow senators.

Here’s a readable analysis of what their bill does and does not do from the Huuffington Post. The Sponsors Of Obamacare Repeal Are Trying To Fool America — And Fellow Republicans.
Here’s what they’re not telling you, or their colleagues, about the bill.

The story Graham and Cassidy are telling the public is a vast over-simplification, one that leaves out the bill’s most important elements. And the story they are peddling to colleagues? That’s even more misleading.

The bottom line is that the Graham-Cassidy bill is like every other repeal proposal that’s come before Congress this year. It would mean millions more people struggling to get care or being exposed to financial hardship. And it’d most certainly hit some Republican-leaning states hard.

… the proposal actually does a great deal more than simply give states more control over how to spend dollars now going to health care. It also gives them less of that money to spend.

Ini effect the bill takes the money now given to the 30-odd states which expanded Medicaid and redistributes it to all 50 states. Thus there will be less money per state and it will have large negative effects on those states that did expand Medicaid.

[For example,]the bill calls for redistributing funds among the states ― in general, taking from those, like California, where officials have tried diligently to expand coverage and giving to those, like Texas, where officials have done nothing or even tried to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

And then, on top of all that, the bill would cut Medicaid by introducing a “per capita cap,” reducing projected spending on the program by roughly $179 billion in the first 10 years, based on Congressional Budget Office assessments of previous legislation. This is a change that would affect the entire Medicaid program, including the parts that existed before the Affordable Care Act came along, which would mean less coverage for groups like poor children and the disabled that Republicans have frequently promised to protect.

In general, the bill would move money from Democratic to Republican states. Graham and Cassidy have generally acknowledged this, when pressed, and sometimes justified it in the name of fairness.

But when the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at the effect of Graham-Cassidy on a state-by-state basis, it found that plenty of GOP states would end up losing out in the first decade. Among them are Alaska, Arizona and Maine, which are home to Sens. Lisa Murkowski, John McCain and Susan Collins ― the GOP trio that famously voted against the last repeal bill in late July, preventing it from passing. Because Republicans need 50 votes to pass repeal and have only 52 members, Graham-Cassidy can’t pass without the support of at least one of those senators.

Lies, damned lies, and GOP statistics

To assuage such concerns, Cassidy has put out his own numbers, via a spreadsheet available on his website and, presumably, in wide circulation on Capitol Hill. It purports to show that the vast majority of states, including all of those states with key Republican senators, end up with more money, not less.

If these are the numbers Republicans like Capito are considering, they are falling for a ruse.

In short, the cuts are much deeper than Cassidy’s spreadsheet shows, and the bill would hurt many more states than the document acknowledges.

In a normal legislative debate, such propaganda wouldn’t really matter. Multiple independent experts, including those at the Congressional Budget Office, would have plenty of time to analyze the proposal. Lawmakers, in turn, would have plenty of time to study those results ― and reach their own conclusions about which projections were the most reliable and which raised issues that mattered most to them.

But with the debate suddenly moving at breakneck speed, and a possible vote next week, that won’t happen. Already the CBO has said it doesn’t have time to provide a full analysis, including effects on coverage and premiums, as it did for previous bills. As a result, Cassidy’s misleading numbers could sway one or two key senators, potentially making the difference in whether millions of Americans lose access to health care.

Arizona’s Governor is Clueless about Graham-Cassidy

This is jaw dropping.

Duceyis Gov. Clueless
Arizona's Governor Clueless

Howard Fischer reports In the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required, reprinted on the front page of this morning’s Daily Star). Ducey defends support of Graham-Cassidy even though Ducey has no freaking idea about what that bill will do to Arizona citizens. Or, worse, maybe he knows exactly what is headed our way and does not give a sh!t.

Here are a few gems.

Gov. Doug Ducey is defending his support for the latest bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though he has no idea how much federal aid that would cost the state and how many Arizonans would lose health care.

“The numbers are important,” the governor said Wednesday. Ducey said his staff is analyzing the elements of the Graham-Cassidy bill on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, which U.S. Senate Republican leaders are trying to get voted on before the end of the month.

But the governor said he remains convinced that what comes next will be better than what exists now, even without yet knowing the effect on the state and its residents.

“Obamacare is a failure,” he said. “It’s time for it to go.”

Yet Ducey sidestepped a question of whether he could guarantee that none of the 400,000 people who have been added to the rolls of the state’s Medicaid program because of the Affordable Care Act would again find themselves without health insurance.

“Well, I haven’t seen the final bill,” the governor said of the legislation he has endorsed. Anyway, Ducey said he believes the measure will provide Arizona with “the longest possible transition so that we can move people from Medicaid into a superior insurance product.”

He did not say what that would be.

Scriber’s usually unreliable sources tell us that Ducey was overheard to mutter “What, me worry?”

Ducey also acknowledged that the proposal by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would financially penalize states like Arizona, which expanded Medicaid eligibility long before there was an Affordable Care Act. That’s the result of voter approval in 2000 of Proposition 204 which guaranteed care for everyone up to the federal poverty level at a time when Medicaid eligibility was far less.

Significant Digit: $1.6 billion

Well, Governor Clueless, try this.

One study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities puts the annual loss to Arizona at $1.6 billion by 2026.

… Ducey provided no specifics on how Arizona will be able provide care to as many people who are in the Medicaid program now with fewer federal dollars. In essence, the governor said he’s just convinced it would be better and more efficient.

Like I said: that’s our Governor Clueless.

One vote will determine health care in America

That’s my prediction.

The really ugly bottom line is that health care in America might very well depend on whether our Senator McCain will suck up to his BFF Lindsey Graham and the extent to which he is influenced by Gov. Clueless.

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