One Thing Keeps Jumping Out At Us In The Senate Health Care Proposal

Many Of The Most Despicable Cuts Don’t Go Into Effect Until 2019 Or Even 2020

We read the Senate’s draft and found: some things go into effect retroactively: for instance, the “individual mandate” that required everyone to have a health care plan or pay a penalty (p. 10), and the “employer mandate” (p.11). Other things go into effect almost immediately: for instance, not allowing abortions to be covered if you’re getting government subsidies (p.8), and reversing the tax on tanning beds (p. 29).

But most cuts that involve patients losing basic coverage or paying a lot more, don’t go into effect until 2019 or 2020. Gets rid of essential benefits starting in 2020 (p. 41). Medicaid “flexibility” starting in 2020 (p. 86). Older people can be charged 5X more starting in 2019 (p. 134).

Meaning Republicans will do their best to make everything look fine–or even better–in the meantime, at least until they can get through the next election cycle. It’ll be up to Democrats and outside people to remind everybody what’s coming, and not let up.

If you want read it too, it’s here.

Also, we came across an interesting piece from Slate that underscores a lot of what we’ve been saying about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his role in pushing the bill to a vote before the 4th of July.

Big News From Supreme Court On Trump’s “Travel Ban” Could Come As Early As This Morning

It’s the final day for the Supreme Court until the first Monday in October. And several rulings will be announced, typically at around 10 AM EDT.

In addition, the court is likely to address Trump’s “Travel Ban” in some way: by deciding whether to hear arguments in the fall, and whether to overturn lower court rulings blocking it from going into effect in the meantime. It could also do nothing and let things stand as they are now, which is unlikely considering it’s a matter involving the President.

Also important: a ruling that’s seen as a potential key test for separation between church and state. It’s about whether schools with religious affiliation are entitled to government money for things that have nothing to do with religion. The case involves a grant applied for by a parochial school to provide materials made out of recycled tires for a playground.

Over the weekend there was a lot of back and forth in the legal blogosphere about whether Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire after today.

Koch Brothers Pledge $400-Million For Midterms

Democrats in 2018, here’s a taste of what you’re up against.

But there are strings attached. Coupled with the announcement of all that money just waiting to support GOP legislators, a message that they’re unhappy with the Obamacare repeal in its current state, because it does not go far enough. A Koch representative calling the proposed multi-year phase out of Medicaid expansion “immoral.”

This all going down at a weekend of seminars for donors to Koch’s political groups, and others including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee, who are currently opposing the Senate health care bill on similar grounds. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and House Majority Whip John Cornyn (who almost never misses one of these) was also there, as well as a bunch of GOP House members.

While there’s no arguing $400 million is a huge amount, it also may not represent the full-throated backing of House and Senate Republicans it’s being made out to be (especially if they don’t do as they’re told). The Koch brothers pledged more than double that amount, nearly $900-million, toward the 2016 elections. Yes, that was a Presidential year, so it makes sense the dollar amount would’ve been higher. (Since they never endorsed Trump, they ended up paying out a lot less.)

Koch Disciples Hold Key Posts In Trump Administration

Why is this a surprise? Well, there’s this:

And there’s Charles Koch famously commenting on Trump vs. Clinton  “If I had to vote for cancer or a heart attack, why would I vote for either?”

And some critics say the Koch seminars are now just for show, and they’ve lost influence in Washington.

Still, Vice President Mike Pence stopped by this weekend to pay his respects. Pence is a long-time Koch favorite (although Charles Koch at least, appears to be more liberal on same-sex marriage than Pence.) Also notably, Trump’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Marc Short, has been both Pence’s Chief of Staff, and President of one of the Koch brothers’ biggest political organizations.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that so far Trump’s legislative priorities have been Koch priorities: deregulation, tax cuts, Obamacare repeal. And things the Koch brothers don’t tend to love: trade wars, massive infrastructure spending, are on the back burner at least for now.

(BTW, in Trump’s Tweet above, “P.B. Club” refers to Mar-A-Lago, in Palm Beach, not a shared love of peanut butter.)

Wouldn’t You Like To Determine Exactly How Every Single One Of Your Tax Dollars Is Spent?

We’ve been frustrated that so many of the things our tax dollars are going to support these days are things we’re against. Turns out, that’s something we’ve got in common with the Koch brothers. Only the they’re really in a position to do something about it.

And yes, even though they’re evil, and want to line their already stuffed pockets with extra profits from running all their highly polluting industries with as little regulation and as little taxation and as much political favor as possible, they also give away a ton of money. Why? Because it’s part of their real clear vision of what they want America to look like. And that involves wealthy people directly supporting the things they feel are worthwhile through charitable giving, which is tax deductible (and will remain so even under the most severe tax cut plan).

It’s not just universities and think tanks that promote their economic ideas that are benefiting. This weekend they gave former NFL star Deion Sanders $21-million to support lower income neighborhoods in North Texas. You could say that’s “just PR”, except: $100-million for cancer research at MIT, $150-million for patients at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, $100-million to Lincoln Center in New York, to support the arts. The list goes on: this fawning (and poorly written) 2014 press release from the Metropolitan Museum of Art make it seems like David Koch hauled the granite and installed hundreds of LED lights by himself when he renovated the museum’s famous fountains.


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