Obamacare Now Firmly In The Hands Of The One Man Most Hell-Bent On Killing It

Trump Said He’s “Not Gonna Own Obamacare”. Except He Does.

As Vox’s Sarah Kliff astutely points out in two scary sentences: “It has become nearly certain that the health law will survive long enough for the Trump administration to oversee the 2018 open enrollment period. This now puts the Trump administration in control of what happens to the health care law.

The dates don’t lie: as Kliff further points out, Senators will launch a bipartisan effort on protecting Obamacare markets in haste, when they return from break on September 4th. But insurers will need to finalize their 2018 premiums before then. They’ll then have to decide whether to sell Obamacare coverage at all by September 27th, meaning if congress intends to do something it will have exactly 10 working days after it returns from vacation to do it. Not impossible, but lightning-fast, especially for this congress.

This is further complicated by the fact that many in congress are itching to move on to tax reform. Said Utah Senior Senator Orrin Hatch (quite remarkably): “We’re not going back to health care. We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is.”

The voice of the people might make a difference. As Salon reports, a lot of angry people are still showing up at Town Halls, calling for bipartisan solutions.

But the President has made it clear all along: in order for him to get a “win”, Obamacare has to die:

July 18, 2017

In the meantime, there’s only uncertainty. Will Trump back out of cost sharing payments to insurance companies? Will Trump choose not to enforce individual and corporate mandates (so people won’t pay any penalty if they don’t buy insurance)? Tennessee’s insurance commissioner sanely points out: “It’s somewhat inequitable to ask insurers to sign a contract that binds them but may not bind the federal government.” Somewhat?

That’s led more insurers to pull out altogether: most recently Anthem in Nevada, a move that impacts nearly 32,000 people.

One proposal many state insurance commissioners are considering: adding a surcharge to premiums, just like airlines added a fuel surcharge to ticket prices when energy costs were high. This could also prove a very effective monthly reminder of who’s responsible if the White House chooses to screw people over, although it doesn’t change the fact that it becomes more of a burden on the people that have to pay it.

Speaking Of Putting People In Charge Of Things They Want to Kill…

Yesterday we told you the Trump Administration was poised to offer a “sweetheart deal” to coal mining companies, allowing them to shortchange the government on royalties when they dig on public land.

Not only did the Interior Department go ahead and do that, it also passed off responsibility on how to deal with an endangered bird to states. Oil drilling states. Like they are going to protect the bird (known as a sage grouse, BTW.)In both cases, increasing US energy independence was cited. Of course, energy independence in the Obama Administration surged to its highest level ever. And they protected birds.

Trump Administration Could Be Headed For Showdown With Government Scientists Over Report Showing Dramatic Heat Rise In The U.S.

The New York Times reports scientists from 13 federal agencies led by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) find that temperatures in the US are the warmest they have been in 1,500 years.

No word yet on whether the Trump Administration will endorse the report or even release it. The Times said it obtained the advance copy from scientists concerned Trump would suppress it.

There are a few things in the report Trump could latch on to: like a conclusion climate change might not have played a significant role in the 2011 Texas drought.

Separately, the Guardian reports staff at the USDA is being instructed to eliminate use of the term “climate change”, and say “weather extreme” instead.

If You Wanna Feel Good About Something, Don’t Read This…

538 reminds us that while Democrats have high hopes for 2018, their Senate map is terrible: Democrats will have to defend nearly half their current seats, while Republicans will only have to worry about 8 of their 52. So the goal may simply be preventing Republicans from gaining a super-majority, where they could pass anything and everything. Republicans wouldn’t even have to win any swing states to keep a simple Senate majority.

Although we’re not questioning its accuracy, we hate this kind of analysis. Because the only way to win is to start winning. Not by sitting around looking at charts suggesting you might as well not run (or vote).

We Propose A Ban On Mainstream Media!

But only for one thing: stop speculating about how somebody’s finally “taming” Trump’s Twitter tendencies. We don’t mean to single out Bloomberg (they’ve been doing some very fine work,) but they painted a very detailed picture about how new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was not telling Trump to stop Tweeting, but was, at times “offering a different way to say the same thing.”

And it appeared for a little while that Trump’s Tweets had gotten a tad less pugnacious: over a 5 day period Trump used the term “fake news” only once. (And only in the context of not sufficiently praising his accomplishments, not disputing any story.) And he did not hurl a personal insult at any individual. (Although he did throw all of congress under the bus.) And only about 50% of his Tweets ended with an exclamation point! (As compared to about 75% normally).

And then, Monday happened. 5 references to “fake news”, 4 personal attacks, (including an “old favorite” of his: a Democrat (male) “cried like a baby.”) and 4 attacks on “CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO”.

The Tweet that jumped out at us the most was even odder:

And if you click through, you get this message:

Twitter won’t say why it suspended the specific account Trump Retweeted, but in its explanation of why it suspends accounts it says “accounts we suspend are suspended because they are spammy, or just plain fake.”

Leading to a lot of speculation online that the person posting the original Tweet wasn’t a person at all. The Washington Post goes so far as to suggest a Russian bot. In the course of our own research we found this very odd autobiography of the alleged Tweeter on the Tucker Carlson-founded Daily Caller. Other news organizations attempted to contact the source of the original Tweet, all with varying degrees of non-success. According to Heavy, the original Tweet “shared a meme that read ‘Trump fights for us’ and wrote, ‘Trump working hard for the American people…..thanks❤🇺🇸.’”

Now, we’ve Retweeted people we don’t know on occasion, especially when they’ve said nice things about us, so why are we taking the President to task? Because he’s the President. Because he’s appointed himself arbiter of what’s “fake” and what ain’t. Because how’s he supposed to track down leakers in his administration if he can’t even police his own Twitter feed? Do we need to keep going…?