(CNN)Sen. John McCain, recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, will make a dramatic return to the Senate Tuesday to cast a critical vote on health care legislation.
(CNN)Sen. John McCain, recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, will make a dramatic return to the Senate Tuesday to cast a critical vote on health care legislation.
Republican Party leaders are trying furiously to find 50 votes for some kind of legislation that would, one way or another, repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The big focus of their efforts are a handful of relatively moderate senators from states where Obamacare has had a particularly strong impact on coverage. And although the campaign includes some old-fashioned political pressure, with President Donald Trump set this week to visit two of those states (Ohio and West Virginia), GOP leaders are also trying to use persuasion.In particular, they are still trying to convince those holdout senators that repealing the 2010 health care law wouldnt cause their constituents to suffer.
So far those senators have been skeptical, and for good reason. The Congressional Budget Officehas projected that the GOP proposals under consideration would mean between 22 to 32 million people lose health insurance, depending on the specific bill. Multiple independent experts have come to similar conclusions.
Meanwhile, a huge pile of research and datasuggests that when people lose insurance, they are worse off because they end up skimping on care they need, going into debt paying for the care they get, or some combination of the two. This is particularly true for people with the lowest incomes and most serious medical problems in other words, the people who need help the most.
Not that it should require a bunch of academic researchers make these points. Each of the bills under consideration would drain more than $1 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid and tax credits for people who buy private insurance on their own.Obviously that is going to hurt, as anybody now depending on those programs for insurance can attest.
But apparently neither data or common sense is enough to stop Trump administration officials, Senate leaders, and their outside allies from making their case. Publicly and privately, they continue to say repeal wouldnt cause a lot of pain.And lately they have been leaning heavily on two arguments in particular:
Last weekend, two administration officials wrote a Washington Post op-ed dismissing the agencys predictions as little more than fake news. It was merely the latest volley in a campaign to discreditthe CBO that Republicans have been waging ever since it first issued a devastating projection of what the initial legislation, in the House, would mean for insurance coverage.
These attacks typically focus on a prediction that CBO genuinely got very wrong. The agency vastly over-estimated enrollment in the Affordable Care Acts exchanges. What Republicans never acknowledge is that on the most important prediction, about the total change in the number of Americans with insurance, CBO was extremely close especially if you adjust the projection for the Supreme Courts 2012 decision giving states extra leeway to avoid expanding Medicaid.
Could CBO be making a bigger error now? Sure. Projections are subject to uncertainty, as the agency itself goes out of its way to stress.
But error can run in both directions. And even if CBO has overestimated the coverage loss by a factor of two, an unprecedented error, that would still mean the current version of the Senate bill would lead to 11 million fewer people with health insurance. That would still be a very big number which is to say, it would still represent a whole lot of Americans struggling with medical bills if that repeal bill becomes law.
Oddly, CBOs critics in the Republican Party dont seem to realize the potential fiscal implications of their argument. If actual coverage losses under the GOP plan would be smaller than the projections suggest, its also possible the federal government would end up spending a lot more money on Medicaid and insurance tax credits.
In a sense, proponents of repealing and replacing the ACA are trying to have it both ways, Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, said. The Republicans are criticizing CBO for over-estimating the effect of the individual mandate and the losses in coverage, while benefiting from projections of big spending reductions that pave the way for tax cuts.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week repeated an argument he and other Republicans have made many times before. He called the CBOs most recent coverage prediction a bogus number because people will choose not to buy insurance.
The basis for this claim is that, according to the CBO, the vast majority of coverage losses in the first two years of passing repeal would be the effects of removing the individual mandate the financial penalty for people who decline to get coverage. And Ryans description certainly applies to some of those people. Absent the penalty, a significant number would opt not to pay for insurance particularly if, under the Affordable Care Act, they think their available options are too expensive.
But thats not the whole story. Many people have no idea they are eligible for subsidized coverage or Medicaid until the mandate drives them to investigate options online or to consult with counselors at which point, these people are quite happy for the coverage.
Take the mandate away and they never take that step. In fact, there is some evidence that repeal would depress insurance enrollment because some Americans would believe, mistakenly, they could no longer get assistance. Something similar happened after welfare reform, in the 1990s, when a significant number of legal immigrants stopped applying for Medicaid even though their eligibility hadnt changed.
Removing the mandate also has a secondary effect on the market, one that becomes more important over time. The people most likely to decline insurance are the ones in relatively good health. That forces insurers to raise premiums and, in some cases, to raise them preemptively, as many are doing right now because the Trump administration has signaled it wont enforce the mandate aggressively.
Saying that all of the insurance losses the CBO attributes to repealing the mandate are the result of individuals not being forced to buy insurance is at best incomplete and in reality quite duplicitous. Craig Garthwaite, health economist at Northwestern University
Republican bills would cause premiums to rise for precisely this reason, the CBO and other experts say, pricing more and more people out of the market. (Eventually premiums would come down, but only because, thanks to weaker regulations, policies would be less generous and less available to people with pre-existing conditions.)
The insurance market components of the ACA (the mandate, the subsidies, and the ban on pre-existing conditions) all work together they are inexorably intertwined, saysCraig Garthwaite, a health economist atNorthwestern University. Saying that all of the insurance losses the CBO attributes to repealing the mandate are the result of individuals not being forced to buy insurance is at best incomplete and in reality quite duplicitous.
The CBO doesnt parse out how much each of these factors matter. But one thing clear is that, over time,effects of the mandate per se would actually recede, relatively speaking, because other changes in the Republican bill would be taking effect. Tax credits for people who buy insurance would get smaller. Federal contributions to Medicaid would decline, creating shortfalls that would lead states to cut coverage.
In 2026, CBO predicts, 15 million out of 22 million newly uninsured would be people who would qualify for Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act remained in place.By and large, these would be people who had no affordable alternatives in the private market under GOP proposals.
AsLoren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative on Health Policy noted on Twitter, the main issue is many who lose coverage w/mandate repeal would lose coverage due to other [repeal] provisions regardless.
An intellectually honest defense of Republican repeal plans is that they would mean fewer regulations of health insurance, lower taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and less government spending. Conservatives would argue these steps free up resources for other purposes and improves the economy, in ways that would ultimately matter more than making sure people have health insurance.Another intellectually honest defense of the GOP proposals is more philosophical that healthy and wealthy people shouldnt have to spend as much as they do now, in order to subsidize the costs of the sick and the poor.
A different, but still intellectually coherent, argument for repeal focuses on the individual mandate specifically not on whether it works but on whether it should even exist. Many conservatives think its just plain wrong to penalize people for tuning down insurance. On that point, at least, its quite possible a majority of Americans agree.
Sometimes Republican leaders and their allies make these arguments explicitly.But it turns out most people think health insurance is pretty important. And now that the Affordable Care Act has made coverage more available, they dont want to give it up,particularly if Republicans arent proposing to put something better in its place. That is probably why GOP leaders keep insisting their bills wont leave millions struggling to pay for medical care, when that is exactly what those proposals would do.
Jerusalem (CNN)Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces broke out again across Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, with the mood tremendously intense around Jerusalem’s Old City.
(CNN)“Devil’s Bargain” — Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green’s in-depth exploration of the mind and machinations of former Breitbart News boss and Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon — and “Shattered” — a painstaking account of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign by Jonathan Allen, also of Bloomberg, and Amie Parnes of The Hill — have both climbed the bestseller lists and monopolized the attention of the chattering classes since their releases. (“Shattered” was published in April; “Devil’s Bargain” hit shelves this past week.)
A British woman says she is being forced to go to court to get an apology after she was questioned by counter-terrorism police for reading a Syrian art book on a plane.
Faizah Shaheen was reported to authorities by Thomson cabin crew on a honeymoon flight to Turkey in 2016.
Her lawyers told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she believes she was singled out because of her race.
Thomson said its crew were “trained to report any concerns” as a precaution.
Ms Shaheen – a Muslim, whose work in mental health care in part involves looking for the signs of radicalisation in young people – was reading Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline on the outbound flight.
The book is a collection of literature, photos, songs and cartoons from Syrian artists and writers.
She was stopped by police when she returned to the UK two weeks later.
Ms Shaheen and her husband were taken to a room at Doncaster Airport for questioning under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.
She said the interrogation lasted around 30 minutes, during which she was asked about the book, her work and the number of languages she spoke.
“I felt upset and distressed, followed by anger. I struggled to accept that I was being singled out for reading a book on art and culture,” she explained.
“One year on, Thomson Airways has failed to provide an explanation or apology despite legal involvement.
“This attitude has left me with no option but to seek a declaration from the court under the Equality Act.”
Ms Shaheen’s legal team said it had written to Thomson telling the company it believed she had been a victim of discrimination.
It argued she believes she was singled out because of her race.
Ravi Naik, of ITN solicitors, said that while Thomson had acknowledged its initial communication, it had not responded to its correspondence since January.
“The Equality Act contains strong protections against discriminatory treatment on the basis of someone’s race and religion and for good reason,” he said.
“We have asked the airline to apologise, to which we have never received a meaningful reply.”
Ms Shaheen said she does not desire compensation, but “an apology and explanation from Thomson Airways to ensure that it never happens again”.
Jo Glanville, director of English PEN – a British free speech organisation who helped fund the book Ms Shaheen was reading – said Thomson’s actions amounted to “a fundamental violation of our liberty, undermining our freedom to read any text we like in a public place”.
She added: “Thomson should review its staff training procedures so that such an error never happens again. Reading a book should never be viewed as grounds for suspicious behaviour.”
Thomson said in a statement: “We’re really sorry if Ms Shaheen remains unhappy with how she feels she was treated.
“We wrote to her to explain that our crew undergo general safety and security awareness training on a regular basis.
“As part of this they are encouraged to be vigilant and share any information or questions with the relevant authorities, who would then act as appropriate.”
Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40668083
(CNN)Texas is famously hot and its prisons are no exception, especially in the summer months. So much so that a federal judge has ordered one prison to cool off for the sake of inmates’ health.
Research from anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label suggests social media is making youngsters more anxious.
Forty per cent said they felt bad if nobody liked their selfie and 35% said their confidence was directly linked to the number of followers they had.
One in three said they lived in fear of cyber-bullying, with appearance cited as the most likely topic for abuse.
One expert said children were growing up in “a culture of antagonism”.
The survey, of more than 10,000 young people aged 12 to 20, suggested that cyber-bullying is widespread, with nearly 70% of youngsters admitting to being abusive towards another person online and 17% claiming to have been bullied online.
Nearly half (47%) said they wouldn’t discuss bad things in their lives on social media and many offered only an edited version of their lives.
“There is a trend towards people augmenting their personalities online and not showing the reality,” said Ditch the Label’s chief executive Liam Hackett.
It found that Instagram was the vehicle most used for mean comments.
Mr Hackett said: “Cyber-bullying continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing young people.
“Not only is the internet redefining the climate of bullying, but also it is having clear impacts upon the identity, behaviours and personality of its young users.”
He called on social networks to put more resources into policing the comments people post online and responding to complaints in a more timely manner.
His views were echoed by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, who also called for a government ombudsman to be set up to mediate between the social network firms and children who are having problems.
She also called for “compulsory digital citizenship classes” in schools.
The findings appear to contradict research from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) earlier this month that suggested cyber-bullying was relatively rare.
The OII research – which concentrated on 15-year-olds – found that, while 30% reported regular bullying, only 3% said it happened both off and online.
The huge variation of findings between surveys is often down to how questions are worded, said Lauren Seager-Smith, chief executive of charity Kidscape,
“This survey paints a bleak picture but there is a great variance in these studies. Part of this is about how you ask the question, who you ask and what age they are.”
She said that she was not surprised by Ditch the Label’s findings.
“We are living in a culture of antagonism. That sadly is the climate our children are growing up in,” she said.
“The jury is out on quite how damaging social media is and whether we all need to spend less time on such networks.”
But, she added, adults also needed to think about their usage.
“Often parents are equally addicted and they have to ask what impact that is having on family life. It could be time for them to say that there is more to life than social networks and the glossy picture of life that it often shows.”
(CNN)Sen. Ron Johnson — who opposed the first version of the GOP health care bill — told reporters last week that he would at the very least vote “yes” on whether to debate the GOP’s newest version of the bill on the floor.
A cat slaughterer in California was sentenced Friday to a maximum jail term of 16 years in jail, but avoided having to register as a sex offender.
Robert Farmer, 26, pleaded guilty in October to 21 felony counts of animal cruelty including stealing, torturing and dismembering several treasured felines in the south San Jose neighborhood of Cambrian Park. Police say Farmer murdered at least 16 cats, but only four of their remains have been found two of which were uncovered in trash bins.
The rapid disappearance of the pets in the fall of 2015 caused great anxiety in the northern California community, prompting owners to keep their outdoor felines enclosed inside. Several of the pet owners issued emotional pleas during the court hearing, which was packed with animal rights activists and community locals donning purple ribbons with white cat paws.
Prosecutors and owners of the victimized cats also claimed that Farmer had sexually abused at least one of the cats he killed, but Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sharon Chatman dismissed the argument based on a lack of immediate evidence.
Farmers attorney, Wesley Schroeder, contended that his client suffered from a long-running meth addiction which functioned as an accelerant to his mental health deterioration, and that the countys probation officer had suggested a nine-year prison term. However, Chatman did impose the most stringent sentence possible 16 years behind bars despite the countys probation officer recommending only a nine-year term.
Given that Farmer is not required to register as a sex offender, he will serve his sentence with two years credit for time already served in county jail rather than federal prison. After release, which could be in as little as four-and-a-half years, Farmer will have to register for probation until the terms of the full 16-year sentence are fulfilled. He will not be allowed to own or care for any animal for 10 years and was given a restriction order to stay away from the Cambrian Park area in addition to undergoing court-ordered psychological treatment.
Farmer was arrested in October after authorities discovered him asleep in his car, with a dead cat in the center console and surrounded by wads of fur. The matter was immediately taken up by scores of activists demanding a harsh sentence for the perpetrator, sparking a widely-circulated petition, frequent calls to the district attorneys office and the creation of a Facebook group entitled Justice for our Catz.
Finally, today, after almost two years and 15 hearings we got a justice for our babies. Today was very long and emotionally exhausting day. We can’t thank you enough for all your help and support, either by attending court or via electronic communication, one of the owners of a slain cat, Miriam Petrova, wrote. You have shown that our pets are not things, but loving family members who have feelings and have a soul and they deserve justice. On their behalf, we want to thank you for being the voices for our voiceless animals.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN)The last time Sen. Bernie Sanders was in Iowa, there was an election to win. It was November 2016 and Sanders was barnstorming Hawkeye State college towns, trying in vain to drum up support for Hillary Clinton.