Trump threatens opponents of his health care bill

AHCA changesPresident Trump is pressuring conservative Congressmen who are opposed to his health care bill.  The “repeal and replace” response to Obamacare, which retains many of the elements of that program, is facing a vote on Thursday.

The president says that representatives who vote “no” may not get re-elected.  He said that he would campaign for those who vote “yes.”

This time President Trump is on the same side as Republican leaders such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who are usually branded as the “establishment” by Trump supporters.  Still wanting a government role in health care, the GOP leadership is also leaning on bill opponents, implying that they might face primary opposition if they do not get on board.  But they have also added “sweeteners” to win more votes.

While conservative Republicans, especially members of the “freedom caucus,” oppose the government’s continued involvement in citizen’s health care decisions, liberal Democrats object to any changes at all to Obamacare.

The vote will be close.  Some 20-25 House Republicans either oppose the bill or are undecided.  Trump can only afford to lose 21.

UPDATE:  Conservative organizations, some of which distribute campaign money, are threatening supporters of the bill, saying that a “yes” vote will brand lawmakers to be insufficiently conservative to earn their support.  The health care bill is shaping up to be the first major policy conflict between Trump and conservatives.

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Trump pushing conservatives to adopt GOP health care bill

4527428186_6a8f43375d_zPresident Trump is taking ownership of the Republican bill to replace Obamacare with an alternative national health care system.  He is trying to “quash” conservative resistance to the proposal and has pledged to do what it takes to get the bill passed.

But the President is open to changes to the bill, which will surely look different once it goes through the various committees and amendment processes.

The administration does not, however, like the word “Trumpcare.”  Then again, the Obama administration did not like the word “Obamacare.”  Just as the previous president preferred “The Affordable Care Act,” Trump spokesmen prefer the actual name given in the bill, The American Health Care Act.

Republicans who don’t like it but who want to distance it from Trump are calling it Ryancare.   Senator Rand Paul, a critic of the program, is calling it Obamacare-lite.  I suspect, though, that “Trumpcare” is going to stick.

In our previous discussion of the Republican plan, many of you were opposed to it.  Does it change your mind, now that President Trump is getting behind it? [Read more…]

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare

obama-1301891_640The Republicans have finally introduced a bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  Let us call it Trumpcare!

The new plan would eliminate penalties for not having health insurance and cut Obamacare taxes.  People could still get health insurance on state exchanges.  And low income Americans would get subsidies in the form of tax credits.  Those who don’t pay income taxes will still get the money to help pay for their health insurance.  Health Savings accounts will also be part of the program.

The new bill will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicare money.  Also, tax credits may not be used for policies that pay for abortions.

What do you think of this replacement?  Does Trumpcare keep too much of Obamacare?  Does it do too much or too little?

 

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Starving patients to death

starvation_by_ivnkadsyra-d4f57bcEuthanasia laws have a way of expanding.  Once a society accepts the concept that sick people should be “put out of their misery,” the benefit can be applied ever more broadly–to those who are not terminally ill, just depressed; to people who cannot give consent; to the mentally handicapped; to children.  What begins as a humane-sounding way to end heart-breaking suffering, to be used only in rare and carefully defined cases, turns into something ever-more brutal.

Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997.  A new law would allow caregivers to deny food to those who have written an advance-care directive allowing for non-treatment.  Not just intravenous nutrition, but actual eating and drinking, even if the patient is hungry and wants to eat. [Read more…]

Alcohol vs. marijuana

marijuana-34353_640California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in the last election, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and our nation’s capital.

This trend has the alcohol industry worried.  The fear is that as people pick their poison, they will choose marijuana for their intoxicant instead of beer or liquor.  Some alcohol companies are giving money to anti-marijuana legalization efforts and re-adjusting their long-term plans.

I remember hearing that Willie Nelson praised marijuana because it helped him stop drinking.  Alcohol reportedly made him mean; marijuana made him mellow.

Could it be that marijuana would be better for society than alcohol?  Or would wide-spread marijuana use just give us a land of Lotus eaters?

Read the story in the Financial Times after the jump. [Read more…]

Euthanizing the mentally ill

Assisted Suicide laws usually have a provision specifying that a person must be “mentally competent” in order to make the decision to die.  But California’s new euthanasia law allows for the assisted suicide of patients who are so mentally ill that they have been institutionalized. [Read more…]