President Trump’s promised rollback of Obamacare has officially begun. But what does it all mean? And will it affect you?
The federal government will cut billions of dollars in health-care subsidies to low-income households that were introduced under Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the White House announced last week.
These $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” are the payments the government makes to health insurance companies to offset the discounts on co-payments that low-income consumers have received under Obamacare. The subsidies repay health insurers for the higher cost of the “silver plan” through HealthCare.gov — the individual insurance marketplace operated by the federal government and set up under Barack Obama.
The cuts in subsidies may actually hit the middle class the most
Insurers already put insurance premiums up 20% this year in anticipation of the President’s decision to end these subsidies. However, in several states, including Indiana, insurance companies spread their rate increases, so middle-class people on individual plans will likely see a double-digit increase in their premiums next year.
“People who don’t qualify for premium subsidies for cost-sharing reductions, but are also in the individual market because they don’t have employer-sponsored coverage — early retirees who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare or higher-earning freelancers — will be negatively affected by higher premium costs,” Susan Nash, partner at Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago, Ill.
If you’re waiting and wondering what the future holds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the answer most likely depends on where you live.
CHIP is a popular, bipartisan program that provides a safety net for nearly 9 million kids in low- and mid-income families. It’s the latest pawn in the Congressional wrangling over health care. Both the Senate and House are debating bills to reauthorize CHIP funding, and both are considering these bills after the Sept. 30 deadline for reauthorization has passed.
“CHIP has always had bipartisan support since it started 20 years ago,” said Jesse Cross-Call, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). “So it has really been a surprise that it’s taking this long to get it funded. Congress has never blown past the deadline before, so we’re in uncharted territory.”
Missing the deadline means an estimated 11 states will run out of federal CHIP money by the end of this year, and 32 states are expected to run out of money by March 2018, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The only Black Republican senator has come under fire for making an overt appeal to Black people and working class Americans to support President Donald Trump‘s tax plan that would only benefit the rich. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott used slang in an effort to convince “the average American” that the president’s plan would allow them to “take home more of their pay by taking less out of their pay.”
But it was how Scott followed up those words that caused many to react in disbelief. The senator — who was among the loudest voices to condemn Trump’s apparent defense of White nationalists in the wake of deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month — looked right into a camera while recording a promo spot for the tax plan and said, “We want to help you keep yo money.”
Betsy DeVos apointed her friend and ally in the school choice movement, former Governor of Michigan John Engler, as chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Engler is a charter member of the “schools-are-failing” club. He recently retired as president of the Business Roundtable, an association representing some of the nation’s leading businesses, and before that was head of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Expect every release of NAEP scores to be a dire warning about how terrible our public schools are, how we are no longer globally competitive, and why we need drastic steps (school choice?) to close the achievement gaps.
Most folks have no idea what federal agencies do. John Stossel reports on wasteful programs like the Agriculture Department forcing farmers to let cherries rot…
John Stossel investigates what government agencies actually do and finds out that your tax money goes to ridiculous things.
The Agriculture Department actually forces farmers to dump cherries on the ground so you pay higher prices at the supermarket.
President Trump wanted to cut the budgets for many government departments – like the Commerce Department and the Agriculture Department. But Congress increased spending on the very departments Trump wanted to cut.
Departments that almost nobody knows what they even do.
Ed Stringham, President of the American Institute for Economic Research, tells Stossel about how the Agriculture Department even forced one farmer to dump cherries on the ground and let them rot. The government wanted to keep the price of cherries higher, which helps some cherry farmers.
Every day, law enforcement officials across the United States seize cash from motorists stopped at the side of the road. It’s called “civil forfeiture,” and the stories of abuse are legion: over $17,000 seized from the owner of a barbecue restaurant in Staunton, Virginia; over $13,000 seized from a former church deacon in DeKalb County, Georgia; and over $50,000 seized from a Christian rock band in Muskogee County, Oklahoma.
Civil forfeiture allows government to seize property based on the mere suspicion that it is connected to a crime. For instance, the fact that the cops think someone has too much cash is enough to warrant a seizure. After the property is seized, in a complete reversal of the way the American justice system is supposed to work, owners must prove their own innocence to get it back.
Public outrage over the practice has grown as more tales of abuse have been reported. And fortunately, over the last three years, 24 states have passed reforms to protect property owners and curtail civil forfeiture. Less fortunately, on Wednesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new federal policy that threatens to undermine those reforms.
Speaking in a small conference room surrounded by law enforcement officials, Sessions announced the federal government was rolling back a Holder-era policy that had sharply curtailed so-called adoptive seizures. An adoptive seizure occurs when a state police officer seizes property and then transfers it to the federal government, which then forfeits the property under federal law. Importantly, state law enforcement gets to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the forfeiture.
The comment period for the Trump administration’s national monument review has officially ended, and the administration if facing stiff public backlash over its attempt to downsize national monuments across the West.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April directing the Department of the Interior to review two decades’ worth of national monument designations in an effort to decide whether to rescind, modify, or maintain their designations. The review encompasses 21 monuments, mostly located in the Western United States, from New Mexico to Washington.
The review’s public comment period, which lasted for 60 days, elicited more than 2.5 million responses. According to a Center for Western Priorities analysis of the 654,197 comments that had been processed by Interior Department staff as of Monday morning, 98 percent were supportive of maintaining or expanding current national monument boundaries, while just 1 percent supported the idea of shrinking monuments.
Several recently-designated monuments have been the target of Republican lawmakers, primarily the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which President Obama designated in December of 2016. The designation, which was granted after a proposal from five indigenous tribes, meant that oil and gas companies would not be allowed to drill or mine for minerals in some 1.35-million acres of the state. On June 13, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released a recommendation calling for Bears Ears to be downsized, which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a fierce opponent of the national monument, called “ an unquestionable victory for Utah.”