tom-cotton

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Sen. Tom Cotton faces fiery town hall crowd over health care repeal, support for Trump

  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was pounded with tough questions from around 2,000 angry constituents at a town hall in his home state Wednesday night.
  • Attendees asked about everything from the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to Cotton’s support for Trump.
  • Cotton’s town hall was one of the most contentious among a slew of raucous town halls, despite the fact that it was in a state Trump won with more than 60% of the vote in 2016.
  • In one of the most stunning moments of the night, a woman named Kati — who described herself as a multi-generation Arkansan from a Republican family — stood up to tell Cotton that without the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions, she “will die.” Read more (2/23/17 8:23 AM) 

Meanwhile, other Congresspeople are trying to dodge their constituents so they don’t get yelled at too

  • Some members of Congress are simply pulling out of previously scheduled public events and town halls.
  • In New York, Rep. Lee Zeldin canceled a constituent event after his office discovered that members of local protest groups planned to attend.
  • In Huntsville, Alabama, Rep. Mo Brooks pulled out of a town hall event sponsored by tea party activists after interest in the event gained steam.
  • It’s not just Republicans who are facing pressure from organizers on the ground. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is being trolled by constituents in San Francisco who are organizing a town hall with an “empty chair” after Feinstein declined to participate in an event. Read more (2/22/17 5:45 PM)
nytimes.com
The National Death Wish
Two senators with a recipe for American stagnation.
By David Brooks

A few weeks ago, Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Republican senators from Arkansas and Georgia, introduced an immigration bill that would cut the number of legal immigrants to this country each year in half, from about a million to about 500,000….

Cotton and Perdue’s position, which is now the mainstream Republican position, is based on the unconscious supposition that American society is like a lake, with a relatively fixed boundary. If you cut the supply of fish coming from outside, there will be more food for the ones born here.

The problem is that American society is actually more like a river. Sometimes the river is running high, with a lot of volume and flow, with lots of good stuff for everybody, and sometimes it’s running low.

Let’s illustrate the point by looking at one portion of the labor market. Right now construction is booming in many cities. This has created high demand for workers and pervasive labor shortages….

Employers have apparently decided raising wages won’t work. Adjusting for inflation, wages are roughly where they were, at about $27 an hour on average in a place like Colorado. Instead, employers have had to cut back on output. One builder told Reuters that he could take on 10 percent more projects per year if he could find the crews.

In other words, the labor shortage hasn’t led to higher wages; it’s reduced and distorted the flow of the economic river. There’s less home buying, less furniture buying, less economic activity. People devote a larger share of their income to housing and less to everything else. When builders do have workers, they focus on high-end luxury homes, leaving affordable housing high and dry.

The essential point is that immigrants don’t take native jobs on any sort of one-to-one basis. They drive economic activity all the way down the river, creating new jobs in some areas and then pushing native workers into more complicated jobs in others.

mulderswatch  asked:

who in the world is tom cotton and why is he being destroyed?

he’s a demon from my home state. one of my three representatives in congress, and tbh my least favorite. probably the worst senator in the whole of the senate. he had a town hall tonight and it was fucking incredible, he got absolutely ROASTED.

he’s getting destroyed bc he doesn’t do his goddamn job, despite the fact that arkansas has been one of the states most benefited by the affordable care act, he’s a passionate proponent of repealing it, despite not having a cohesive plan for replacement that ensures that there won’t be any coverage gaps (pls pls pls everyone watch this interaction between him and a constituent with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome about the AAC) (Edit #2: the constituent is @katiaches my absolute hero, thank you @dongwater for giving me her url. She has a youcaring for her egregious medical expenses here!)

he was the instigator of that #47Traitors letter to iran back in 2015 (P MUCH AS SOON AS HE STEPPED FOOT IN WASHINGTON)

he’s said that gay people should just be glad we’re not hanged for being gay and that indiana’s “religious freedom law” isn’t that bad

thinks we don’t have enough people in prisons as is

thinks clean coal is totally legit and despite the fact that he agrees that climate change is real and caused by human activity, he still voted for trump’s climate change-denying nomination for the EPA, Scott Pruitt, and refused to promise he wouldn’t vote to defund the department of energy or the national science foundation

co-sponsored a bill to cut the number of visas and green cards given yearly

is in general the  w o r s t

tbh these aren’t all the #receipts or even close they’re just the ones that immediately came to mind.

Edit: holy fuck, how did I forget about Cassandra Butts, yeah she was an amazing nominee of President Obama’s to be the next ambassador to the Bahamas, and she died while waiting to be confirmed bc Tom Cotton wanted to “punish” president obama for the Iran nuclear deal. so he refused to confirm her. he admitted that he did this just to punish president obama and had no gripes with her personally or with her impeccable public service record.

he’s a goblin

cnn.com
Arkansas town hall crowd erupts at Sen. Tom Cotton
Sen. Tom Cotton faced an angry crowd Wednesday at a town hall in his home state of Arkansas, as constituents demanded answers on everything from Republicans' plans to repeal Obamacare and build a border wall to funding for PBS.
By Eli Watkins and Tom LoBianco, CNN

This video makes me happy. People are mad. Good.

Also, Tom Cotton is a maniac.

Here's a list of every US senator that does — and doesn't — pay interns

You can’t get a job without experience, but you also can’t get the experience without a job.

A group called Pay Our Interns is trying to help end the practice of unpaid internships — starting on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, the group rolled out a database of paid internships in the U.S. Senate. 

Mic took this list and then followed up with senators’ offices to confirm the accuracy of the database and include senators that pay interns but were left off the original list.

U.S. senators currently accepting applications for paid internships (24 total)

Democrats/Independents  

• Delaware Sen. Tom Carper offers summer interns a stipend but not interns in the spring and fall. The deadline is April 21. 

• Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz's team pays all interns, a spokesman confirmed with Mic via email. Applications are rolling.

• Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono offers travel assistance to some interns that qualify. The deadline is March 31. 

• Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly has two paid legislative internships, the Wayne Townsend and Frank J. Anderson Legislative Programs, which pay a stipend, a spokesman told Mic in an email. The other internships are unpaid. 

• Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren offers small stipends to applicants not receiving college credit for the internship based on need. The deadline is March 15.

• Nebraska Sen. Heidi Heitkamp pays all interns. Applications are considered on a rolling basis. 

• New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich pays all interns $12 per hour. The deadline to apply for the summer is March 31.

• New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall’s website says internships are unpaid, but a spokesperson told Mic in an email that interns are either compensated through an outside foundation or a stipend of roughly $10 per hour.

• Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown offers “some limited financial assistance based on need,” which students can request when they submit their applications, according to a spokeswoman.

• Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley offers the Otto and Verdell Rutherford Congressional Internship, a $5,000 stipend for students who couldn’t otherwise afford the opportunity, based on need. The deadline to apply is March 15.

• Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey offers two special paid internships in addition to several other opportunities, which are all unpaid. The deadline is March 15.

• Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pays all interns $12 per hour. The deadline to apply for the summer is March 17.

• Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine offers stipends to students who do not receive school credit, a spokeswoman confirmed in an email. The deadline is April 14. 

Republicans 

• Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has an internship program for college students and high-school seniors; both get modest stipends. Deadline is March 16.

• Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake offers two kinds of internships: personal office and judiciary internships. Judiciary interns are paid, a spokesman confirmed to Mic in an email; however, office interns are not.

• Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s website lists no compensation information regarding interns, but he has posted a job listing for a paid internship with his re-election campaign. A spokesperson didn’t respond to multiple requests for clarification.

• Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts pays interns a monthly stipend. Applications are due on March 17. 

• Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul offers either a stipend or college credit to interns. The deadline is March 10.

• Maine Sen. Susan Collins pays interns, according to a 2013 report by the Atlantic, but her campaign site does not list details. A spokesperson for her office didn’t respond to multiple requests for confirmation.

• North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven pays all interns a stipend. Applications close on March 15.

• Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe offers stipends to summer interns but not interns in the spring and fall. The deadline is March 15.

• South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s summer interns are unpaid, according to an email from a spokeswoman, but fall and spring interns are paid if their school does not offer credit. 

• Utah Sen. Mike Lee pays all interns a stipend, a press officer confirmed with Mic in an email. You can apply on a rolling basis through his website.

• Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso gives each intern a monthly stipend to help with living expenses. The deadline is March 19.

U.S. senators who have already closed applications for paid internships (18 total) 

Democrats 

• Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy offers stipends to some interns, but they are not guaranteed, according to his site.

Republicans 

• Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan pays interns a small stipend, but applications for this summer are closed.

• Arizona Sen. John McCain pays his interns, but applications are now closed. 

• Idaho Sen. Jim Risch pays interns, but the applications for the summer are now closed.

• Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton pays some qualified interns a stipend if they are not receiving academic credit, a spokeswoman confirmed in an email to Mic, but applications for this summer are currently closed.

• Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo pays all interns, but applications for the summer are now closed. 

• Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran pays all full-time interns, but the applications for the summer are now closed. 

• Maine Sen. Angus King pays all full-time interns in his office, a spokesman for his office confirmed in an email.

• Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran offers stipends.

• Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker pays all interns a stipend.

• Missouri Sen. Mitch McConnell pays all interns a stipend.
• Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer pays fall interns but not summer interns. Applications for summer are now closed. 

• Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse pays all interns a stipend, according to a representative from his office who confirmed this to Mic by email. Applications for summer closed March 1.

• North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr pays a stipend to spring and fall interns but not interns who work during the summer, according to the Atlantic. His press office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification. Applications for the spring are now closed, but applications for the summer are still open.

• South Dakota Sen. Mark Rounds pays all interns a stipend, but applications for the summer are now closed. Applications for fall are due May 1.

• South Dakota Sen. John Thune pays interns a monthly stipend based on available funds, but applications are now closed. 

• Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch pays the summer interns in his D.C. office a “modest stipend,” but interns in his state office are part-time and unpaid.  

• Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi pays interns $1,600 to help cover the costs of living in D.C, but applications closed March 9th.

U.S. senators that do not pay their interns (50 total)

Democrats  

• California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

• Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s Senate website says that internships are on a “voluntary basis” and that “no stipend is provided.” News reports also indicate the interns are unpaid. His office did not respond to request for comment. 

• Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman confirmed this was the case in an email to Mic

• Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

• Delaware Sen. Chris Coons does not compensate interns, according to his Senate website. A spokesperson for his office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.  

• Florida Sen. Bill Nelson’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesperson confirmed this in an email to Mic

• Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman confirmed this to Mic in an email.

• Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin’s interns are unpaid, a spokesman confirmed in an email to Mic

• Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey’s interns are unpaid, according to the Atlantic report, former alumni testimonials, and a job listing. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

• Michigan Sen. Gary Peters’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. Her office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

• Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesman confirmed this to Mic in an email.

• Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

• Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate site. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A representative for her office did not respond to request for comment. 

• New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s internship website makes no mention of compensation, but a spokesman confirmed the internships are unpaid. 

• New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

• New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokesman for her office confirmed this with Mic in an email.

• New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesman didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

• Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden’s interns are unpaid, according to the Senate website. A spokesman confirmed this with Mic in an email. 

• Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed’s interns are unpaid according to reports in the Atlantic and the Providence Journalthough his Senate website does not obviously list information about intern compensation. A spokesman for the senator didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

• Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s interns are unpaid according to a 2013 Atlantic article. A spokesman for the senator confirmed the Atlantic story is still accurate in an email.

• Virginia Sen. Mark Warner’s interns are unpaid, according to the Atlantic and a recent job listing. His office didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. Representatives for her office didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

• Washington Sen. Patty Murray’s internships are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate site. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s internships are unpaid, according to the application listed on her Senate website. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

Republicans  

• Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website, which cites budget restrictions. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

• Arkansas Sen. John Boozman’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

• Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s Senate website lists no compensation for interns, but the Atlantic report and job listings indicate the roles are unpaid. A representative did not respond to request for comment. 

• Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s interns are unpaid, a member of his press office confirmed in a phone call to Mic

• Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson’s interns are unpaid, according to the online application and the Atlantic report. A spokesperson didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s Senate website and application materials make no mention of compensation, neither does a recent press release calling for applications. The media contact listed on the press release didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s interns are unpaid, a spokeswoman confirmed to Mic in an email.

• Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy’s interns are unpaid, according to his campaign website. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Montana Sen. Steve Daines’ internship page does not list any compensation, but a listing for the internship describes it as “volunteer” position. A representative for his office didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Nevada Sen. Dean Heller’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A representative didn’t respond to multiple request for comment.  

• North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis’ Senate website doesn’t indicate whether interns are paid or not, but job listings online say they are unpaid. A press representative didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s interns are unpaid, a spokesman for his office confirmed over the phone.  

• Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford’s are unpaid according to his website. A spokesman confirmed this in an email to Mic

• Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey’s interns are unpaid, according to her Senate website. A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

• Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesperson confirmed this to Mic in an email.

• Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s internship website doesn’t list any information about compensation, but job listings and news reports say the internships are unpaid. A representative for his office didn't respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s Senate website lists no compensation for interns, but job listings indicate the work is unpaid. The Atlantic also reported his interns are unpaid, but his office did not respond to multiple requests by Mic for comment. 

• Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s interns are unpaid, according to his Senate website. A spokesperson didn’t respond to Mic’s request for comment. 

• West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s Senate website lists no information about compensation, but job listings indicate the internships are unpaid. A spokesperson didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. 

• Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s Senate website says that interns can receive college credit, but the Atlantic and job listings indicate the role is unpaid. A representative didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. 

A final note: In several cases, a senator’s website listed internships as unpaid, but after following up with their office, Mic learned that they do make funds available to certain interns through scholarships, travel assistance, or outside foundations. Also, many senators’ offices, whether they pay or not, help interns get college credit for their time spent working. If that means you can graduate sooner, or pay for one fewer class in a given semester, you’re technically not working for nothing. But giving interns college credits — without a stipend for living costs — still ignores what’s at the heart of Pay Our Interns’ point. As Vera put it himself, even the best learning experiences can’t pay the bills.

Read our full article which goes into more analysis (3/10/17 2:02 PM)

youtube

Secular Talk: Tom Cotton: Medicaid Shouldn’t Apply To ‘Able-Bodied’ Poor People  

Published on Mar 20, 2017

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Sunday called on “able-bodied” poor people to be removed from Medicaid.

CNN host Jake Tapper noted during an interview on State of the Union that Republican governors had criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to repeal Obamacare because it would reduce funds for Medicaid, leaving millions without medical coverage…

bloomberg.com
Senate GOP to Snub House Obamacare Repeal Bill and Write Its Own
Several key Senate Republicans said they will set aside the narrowly passed House health-care bill and write their own version instead, a sign of how difficult it will be to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal Obamacare.

Steven T. Dennis  and Laura Litvan at Bloomberg:

Several key Senate Republicans said they will set aside the narrowly passed House health-care bill and write their own version instead, a sign of how difficult it will be to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal Obamacare.

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate health committee, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership, both described the plan, even as the House was celebrating passing its repeal after weeks of back and forth. The decision will likely delay even further the prospect of any repeal bill reaching President Donald Trump’s desk.

Hospital stocks dipped on the House vote, but quickly bounced back on the news the Senate would start over with its own version, with the BI North America Hospitals Index up 0.9 percent at 2:39 p.m. Hospitals fear the winding-down of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will leave them with more customers who can’t afford to pay.

Trump celebrated the House vote with a news conference at the White House, standing alongside dozens of Republican lawmakers.

“This has really brought the Republican Party together,” he said.

But in the wake of the House’s razor-thin 217-213 vote, the Senate made clear it was going in a different direction. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who has been very critical of the House bill, said Thursday she hopes they start with “a clean slate” in the Senate.

To get some kind of bill through his chamber, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to unite moderate and conservative wings of the party that want to pull the measure in entirely different directions. The GOP controls the chamber 52-48, meaning he can lose no more than two Republicans and still pass it, given the united Democratic opposition.

The added sweeteners that helped win crucial GOP support to get the House bill through that chamber had made it even more difficult to get it through the Senate. One of the many obstacles with the House version is that it could run afoul of budget strictures governing the procedure under which the bill is being handled.

‘Manage Expectations’

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah said Republicans’ goal will be to craft a measure that can get 51 votes.

“Coupled with the constraints imposed by the budget reconciliation process, we must manage expectations and remain focused on the art of the doable as we move forward,” he said in a statement after the House vote Thursday.

In short, without changes, the House bill arrives in the Senate well short of the 50 votes, plus a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, that will be needed to pass.

“We are not under any deadlines, so we are going to take our time,” No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas said. “When we have 51 senators we will vote but not until then.”

Coverage and Premiums

Several moderate Republicans have been demanding a more sweeping rewrite of the House bill to ensure more people get covered and premiums come down.

A number of moderates were unhappy with a Congressional Budget Office estimate showing an earlier version of the House measure would have resulted in 24 million more people without insurance within a decade.

That wing is led by Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a doctor who worked for decades in a charity hospital, and Collins, who together crafted a more moderate plan that kept the Affordable Care Act’s taxes in place instead of repealing them.

Other senators who have expressed concerns about the House bill include Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado, who both hail from states that have benefited from the Medicaid expansion.

Slower Pace

Despite intense pressure from Trump to push through a repeal bill, several senators said in interviews in recent weeks that the Senate should take its time.

But several House Republicans have warned the Senate not to tinker too much with the measure they passed Thursday.

Representative Dave Brat of Virginia, a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus who only came on board when states were allowed to bring back higher prices for pre-existing conditions, warned there can’t be any changes to the House bill in the Senate and keep conservatives on board.

“Not at all, none,” he said of any Senate adjustments. “It’s about time they got a dose of medicine. They better not change it one iota.”

One advantage McConnell has is Senate rules, which allow fast-track consideration and an end to debate after a potentially all-night voting session on amendments.

But procedure isn’t enough to trump math. Given all the differences and the GOP’s slim majority, there’s every possibility the bill simply bogs down and goes nowhere, or goes so far in a moderate direction that it loses conservatives in both chambers.

Vulnerable Republicans

While Republicans have a favorable Senate map in the 2018 midterms, Democrats are targeting Dean Heller of Nevada, Jeff Flake of Arizona and, increasingly, Bob Corker of Tennessee for possible pickups.

Heller is by far the most vulnerable as the only incumbent running in a state Democrat Hillary Clinton won in last year’s presidential election.

These senators could feel vulnerable to political attacks for supporting a repeal bill, given the new popularity of the Affordable Care Act.

Complicated Senate Rules

To get through the Senate with only a 50-vote margin, any health bill needs to be scrubbed by the Senate parliamentarian for portions that could violate the “Byrd Rule” – a law that limits what can be passed in the Senate under the reconciliation mechanism.

While Pence – or the presiding officer – ultimately determines what complies with the rule, the long-standing Senate precedent is to defer to the parliamentarian’s rulings.

For example, Democrats believe the provision that critically won over the conservative House Freedom Caucus likely violates the Byrd rule. The amendment would let states apply for waivers to allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions if they haven’t maintained continuous coverage, provided the state also has a high-risk pool.

That amendment also would let states ditch “essential health benefits” such as maternity and prescription drug coverage.

Pre-Existing Conditions

How the measure handles pre-existing conditions provisions will face scrutiny among Senate Republicans, even if they first clear the parliamentary hurdle.

Susan Collins of Maine, for one, said in a recent interview she wouldn’t support allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be charged much more money. “I can’t go for that,” she said.

She said that she would instead consider more support for so-called invisible high-risk pools that act as essentially a reinsurance plan to bring costs down for everyone. The House bill has some funding that could be used for such a pool.

Reversing Medicaid Expansion

The House bill’s $800 billion-plus cut to Medicaid goes too far for some Senate Republicans, particularly those from states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

That includes Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Murkowski. Each reiterated their objections to the House bill in interviews in the past week.

It’s unclear whether they will be satisfied by reallocating some of the spending in the bill, shrinking the tax cuts, or some combination, although senators have been meeting in small groups and discussing possible amendments.

Age Rating and Tax Credits

The House bill’s move to let insurers charge people age 50-64 five times what they charge young people – up from a 3-to-1 ratio now – would dramatically increase their premiums, even as poorer people would see skimpier tax credits under the new system.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted as much as a 759 percent increase in premiums for low-income seniors whose premiums are now capped as a percentage of their income.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership, has been crafting a provision that would reduce the premium spike for these seniors – an issue particularly important to senators in high-cost states like Murkowski’s Alaska and in states with older populations like Capito’s West Virginia and Collins’s Maine.

Fuller Repeal

On the party’s right flank, Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky will try to pull any measure closer to a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act while adding conservative planks.

It’s not clear how they can do so and still get enough votes to pass the final product.

Cruz said Wednesday he is talking with senators and the administration about ways to improve the bill and bring down premiums. One provision he hopes to add is an amendment allowing insurers to sell across state lines to boost competition. That’s something Trump promised on the campaign trail but could run into procedural objections, as well as political resistance.

Paul, meanwhile, may be the toughest vote to get on the right. The libertarian-minded senator has criticized the House bill for continuing some tax credit payments to insurance companies.

The Senate’s NOT going through with the #AHCA, and will instead craft its own version of an Obamacare replacement (aka #Trumpcare).

huffingtonpost.com
#AHCA (aka #Trumpcare) back from the dead? Some Republicans think they may have a health care deal
The reality is they may be even further away from an Obamacare replacement than before.

Matt Fuller and Jonathan Cohn at HuffPost Politics:

WASHINGTON ― GOP moderates and conservatives are nearing a deal on health care that in theory could get the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act out of the House and over to the Senate. The changes also might move Republicans even further away from passage ― no one really knows.

The deal, brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), would allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision ― the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. In order to obtain the waiver, states would have to participate in a federal high-risk pool or establish their own, and satisfy some other conditions.

In exchange for that conservative concession, the amendment would reinstate the Essential Health Benefits that were already taken out of the bill ― though, again, states could waive those provisions as well if they were able to show that doing so would lower premiums, increase the number of people insured, or “advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

That’s according to a white paper describing the amendment, which is the result of weeks of negotiation between Meadows and MacArthur. While they have both agreed to the amendment, supposedly representing a number of conservatives and moderates respectively, the amendment is still being reviewed by the Senate and House GOP leadership.

Additionally, with Republicans effectively going back on their repeated promises to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, the amendment could lose a number of Republicans who already supported the legislation. In short, even though the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus think they have a deal, Republicans writ large might have nothing.

Leadership is expected to discuss the amendment on a conference call this Saturday with GOP members, but public opinion might also affect the landscape. Republicans are trying to say their amendment will cover people with pre-existing conditions ― because, first, the legislation still claims those people can’t be denied coverage, and second, because there will be high-risk pools for those people if insurance costs dramatically go up for them.

The reality, however, is that insurers would be able to effectively deny coverage by pricing sick people out of the market.

“This effectively allows states to eliminate the ACA’s guarantee of access to insurance at a reasonable price for people with pre-existing conditions, in the interest of lowering premiums for people who are healthy,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, said upon seeing a description of the proposal. “It seems to tilt heavily towards what the Freedom Caucus has been looking for.”

Republicans argue that the high-risk pools would then cover those people, taking them out of the regular insurance pool and lowering prices for everyone else, but high-risk pools have traditionally been underfunded by states and the federal government, resulting in poor coverage and high costs for those who need insurance the most.

Those concerns may be significant enough that, even with MacArthur’s blessing, the deal does not win over moderates. The concessions also might not be enough for some conservatives, who have expressed issue with Republicans establishing an advance refundable tax credit to help pay for insurance.

Republicans need 216 votes to pass their health care bill, and based on statements from GOP members, even with the support of the entire Freedom Caucus for the amendment, there may be enough moderate hold-outs to prevent passage anyway. (MacArthur doesn’t count as a convert; he supported the last bill, albeit reluctantly.)

The amendment wouldn’t seem to address the big concerns moderates have expressed ― like raising the cap on how much insurers can charge seniors or cutting $880 billion from Medicaid. These changes are among the reasons that the Congressional Budget Office predicted the House health care legislation would increase the number of people without insurance by 24 million within a decade.

Many Republicans ― particularly in the Senate ― have said such deep cuts are not acceptable. Just this week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he couldn’t support a proposal that jeopardized coverage for the approximately 300,000 people in his state dependent on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

Public opinion has also shifted since the repeal effort began in earnest ― and it has shifted decisively against Republicans and their cause. The Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever, and in a recent Pew Research Center poll, 54 percent of Americans said they trusted Democrats more than Republicans on health care, while just 35 percent said they trusted Republicans more. That’s the biggest advantage for Democrats on health care since 2009.

In short, some leaders in the GOP conference might think they have a deal, but they also might have just found a way to make the bill even more unpalatable for Republicans, thus bringing Congress no closer at all.

Still, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested that Republicans were getting close to a deal. “We’re in the midst of negotiating sort of finishing touches,” Ryan said Wednesday during a trip to London.

Seems like the GOP’s trying for #AHCA 2.0 (aka #Trumpcare 2.0). Just like the first try, it’ll fail.

Please save the ACA and save my life :)

Based on public statements, these are the Republican “pressure point” Senators who have expressed concern about repeal without a replacement:
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
(202) 224-4944
Twitter: @SenAlexader
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
(202) 224-3344
Twitter: @SenBobCorker
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
(202) 224-2353
Twitter: @SenTomCotton
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
(202) 224-3353
Twitter: @RobPortman
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
(202) 224-2523
Twitter: @SenatorCollins
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
(202) 224-5824
Twitter: @BillCassidy
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
(202)-224-6665
Twitter: @lisamurkowski
CALL SCRIPT: “My name is X and I am deeply disappointed in Senator X’s vote to rush through the repeal of the Affordable Care Act yesterday. The law has saved lives across this country, and repealing it for the sake of scoring political points is shameful. I hope Senator X understands how irresponsible it would be to vote to repeal the law without a viable alternative that ensures affordable health care coverage and life-saving access to care for all. I hope they will be a NO VOTE if the Senate tries to repeal the law without a responsible replacement. Thank you.”
Tip: If they ask if you are a constituent and you’re not, just say “I am not a constituent but the Senator’s vote directly affects me and my family, and I will make sure to let voters in his/her state know whether they made the right decision on this issue. Thank you.”