I know I’m running a little late on the next Iran show, but with some law school stuff, a family reunion, and a neat little piece I’m putting together on Ancient Aliens for The Awl all done by the end of this week, I should have that out soon.
In the meantime though, we’ve got this, following up on our last short about the erosion of democratic norms and the death of republics.
Mitch McConnell seems to be doing his level best to tear down what democracy we’ve got, and not in the service of the New Deal or the Great Society, but in an attempt to pry health insurance out of the hands of the poor to give a minuscule number of hyper-rich Americans a marginal tax cut.
History will not be kind to this monster.
Also, check out our Patreon! We’ve now got at least one patron pledging $5 monthly, which means that SFD will now be producing a monthly news analysis show (which will be something like this short, but with a little more topical focus and a little like a spoken version of the news posts I was trying out for a while) for patrons who’ve signed up for $5 or more.
“…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
—Nick, from the Great Gatsby, on Daisy and Tom Buchanan
Every week is a slog and every Monday morning feels like deja vu as the crowd in the White House commits one more blunder, hires one more incompetent, sends one more tweet, and takes one more irrevocable step towards the downfall of democracy.
It’s easy to become fatigued, to think that other people will keep calling, that other people will march and protest, and that you can retreat for a while, rest, and let the world take care of itself. That’s what the left did during the Obama years, during the Clinton years, and more than anybody’s like to admit, during the Bush years, too.
Donald Trump and his ilk, when all is said and done and destroyed, will have no trouble returning to their money and their vast carelessness and by then it will be too late. If you’re ever going to care, you’ve got to care now.
So on Monday of last week, head of the FBI James Comey testified before Congress that the FBI had been running an investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia since last July. He would not specify who exactly or what exactly they were investigating, and he left aside why he had to announce a non-investigation of Hillary Clinton right before the election while remaining totally silent about an actual investigation of Donald Trump. He also confirmed what everybody already knew:
If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums.
That’s 14 million more people uninsured than right now, and the number would kick up into the mid-20-millions by 2020 when the Medicaid expansion runs out.
Of course, the administration’s not sure whether it trusts the CBO:
The new bill, the AHCA, debuted to excoriating reviews from pretty much all sides. The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, and much more important for Republicans, the American Association of Retired People, or AARP, came out against NoCare.
Why? Well, it wrecks some of the best (and depending on your perspective, only good) parts of ObamaCare.
In order to widen the risk pool and lower the cost of insurance generally, ObamaCare forced all Americans to either pay an ongoing series of income-scaled fines or purchase health insurance. Young, healthy people who might otherwise have gone uninsured would then purchase insurance and subsidize old, unhealthy people. In order to reduce the financial burden for those young people, the original ACA also provided generous tax credits for people making between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty line, which is $11,770-$47,080 for a single person and $24,250-$97,000 for a family of four.
Here’s Ezra Klein explaining that risk pool and ‘death spirals’.