Using the legislative process for a Health Care Bill 

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Though the Republican Health Care Bill, as formulated by the Senate leadership, lacks the vote to pass, a new and possibly more productive strategy is underway.

Instead of withdrawing the bill, with the help of John McCain and Mike Pence, it has been put before the Senate for debate and amendment.  This may result in the formulation of some kind of new health care plan or revision of Obamacare that legislators can live with.

The difference is between a top-down proposal that no legislator has read (which was the way Obamacare was pushed through), vs. the give-and-take of the legislative process, which emulates a free political marketplace.

One possibility:  A so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.  This would eliminate unpopular mandates and taxes while keeping other features of the existing Affordable Health Care Act.

[Read more…]

“It’s too late for Charlie”

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The parents of the baby Charlie Gard have given up their legal battle to send their terminally-ill child to the United States for treatment.

The American doctor who came to London to examine the child concluded that the experimental treatment he was offering would not be helpful after all.

The question of who gets to decide on treatment for a child–parents or doctors?–was not definitively answered, at least in terms of British law. [Read more…]

Republicans again fail to repeal & replace Obamacare

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Two more Republican Senators announced that they would oppose the latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, killing the measure.

What about just trying to repeal Obamacare, which has been floated as plan B?  Enough Republicans have said that they will oppose that too, so that proposal is dead in the water.

Republicans say that they want to do away with Obamacare.  But they are unable to do anything about it, even though they control the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

I suspect part of the problem is that the proposed replacements are not that different from Obamacare in the first place, so that Republicans don’t want to be blamed for the next unpopular health care plan.

But repealing the Affordable Care Act and going back to the way it was before is also going to be unpopular, since entitlement programs are almost impossible to take back once they are passed.

Then again, the Republican majority seems incapable of passing any substantive program.  This is reportedly the least productive legislature in 164 years.

Why do you think the Republicans are having such trouble governing?

[Read more…]

The U.S. doctor will go to U.K. for Charlie Gard

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If the baby can’t go to the doctor, let the doctor come to the baby.  Here is the latest development in the case of Charlie Gard, the baby with a horrendous disease whom British judges won’t allow to come to America for experimental treatment, violating his parents’ wishes, so that he can “die with dignity”:  The American doctor who offered to treat him, at the judge’s invitation, will fly to the UK to assess the child’s condition.

If there is a chance the experimental treatment might help, there are indications that the judge may change his ruling.

The doctor is no crackpot, as has sometimes been implied.  He is with the Columbia University Medical Center.

Details after the jump. [Read more…]

OK, try this health care bill

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has released yet another health care bill, designed to pick up support from both conservative and moderate Republicans who opposed the previous version for different reasons.

This new plan to replace–or, some say, revise–Obamacare keeps more of that program’s taxes and provides more money for opioid addiction, low-income subsidies, and insurance company relief.  A proposal aimed at conservatives is to allow insurance companies to offer stripped-down policies–not loaded up with government requirements–at a low cost.

McConnell can pass the bill with only two Republican defections.  Senators Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Susan Colllins (Maine) have already said they won’t support the revised bill.  (Ten Republican senators rejected the earlier option.)  So he has to win over the rest.

Do you think this bill is enough of an improvement to pass?  Do you think it should?  Details of the plan after the jump. [Read more…]

Wombs for men

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Some scientists are saying that it might be possible in a decade or so to transplant a functioning womb into a man.

In the UK there is an effort to have the National Health Service sponsor the necessary research and to have taxpayers fund the operations.

This would allow “transgender women who were born male” to have children.

The advocates see another market with gay men and even heterosexual men so that they too can experience the “joys” of being pregnant.

The joys of being pregnant!  More likely in that decade is the perfection of the artificial womb so that women can avoid those particular joys.  Perhaps in that day, men may have children, while women won’t.

Or will nature will reassert itself?   [Read more…]