Friday, January 24, 2020
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr mitch mcconnell...

Mitch McConnell is a sad, sad turtle

Mitch McConnell clearly did not have a speech ready for this moment. McConnell was carrying only the “happy” envelope as Republicans called Mike Pence down to the Senate fully expecting that they had the votes they needed to pass the “skinny repeal.”...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr 170308 D SW162 1232...

Nuke North Korea President Schlump? Maybe not so much.

"The North Koreans had best not test us, or we will respond with fire and fury such as the world has never seen." Nice going, way to scare the sh*t...
The White House / Flickr trump at podium with pence and ryan clapping...

Republicans have a solution to finding the votes they need for their healthcare bill—massive...

The bad news? The evaluation of the new Senate Republican health care bill by the Congressional Budget Office shows that 22 million people will lose their health care over the next decade, most of those in the next year.  But there’s good news....
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr rex tillerson...

Tillerson on North Korea: ‘Diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops’

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided one of those statements that was probably meant to be a lot more comforting than it came out. Tillerson downplayed messages that President Trump had previously posted...

After the midterms, remember when I spoke of “incremental change?” Here’s what it could...

In the euphoric days following the Democratic steamroller in the US House, the conversation quickly turned, since as Democrats we’re actually concerned with governing, The Democratic challengers had made quite a few rather concrete promises, and the question was how to actually get anything done in a split congress. One possible solution was to pass promises made through the House, and then let Yertl the Turtle scuttle them in the Senate, enabling the Democrats to put more pressure on flipping the Senate to get those measures passed.That’s a perfectly valid strategy, since it shows that we’re doing our part, and it’s McConnell and the Senate that are stifling popular measures. My personal suggestion was that we consider using incremental steps on big issue legislation. Medicare-for-all was a perfect example. It’s popularity in polling is now well over 50%. and a lot of candidates touted it in their campaigns, but it’s not something that could be passed in this congress , Or even in a Democratic Senate that lacked 60 votes to break a filibuster. So don’t even try. Remember, a walk scores the same run as a homer if you can get all the way around the bases. My suggestion was to break Medicare-for-all into smaller, incremental pieces, each one of which itself is popular, and yet sets the table for future incremental steps. The example I chose was prescription drug prices. Medicare and Medicaid combined are the largest purchasers of prescription drugs in the United States. And yet they are at the mercy of the big pharma companies, forced to pay the “going freight.” Pass a bill that allows Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with the drug companies for lower, bulk prices. And if they refuse, then threaten to negotiate directly with Canadian drug companies for FDA approved alternates. Since the GOP base is largely made up of older, lower income, white Americans that are currently on either Medicare of Medicaid, good luck killing that bill in the Senate, and see what it gets you.The next increment would be to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with insurance company medical “groups” of hospitals and physicians for lower rates. See how it goes? Well, one of the candidates currently running for President on the Democratic side is proposing to do exactly that, but writ large, and on a much sneakier (which I of course love) level. In her televised town hall in Michigan on MSNBC Monday night, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand floated her own vision of Medicare-for-all, on an incremental level. One possibility that has been floated was for anybody over the age of 50 or 55 to be able to voluntarily “buy in” to Medicare. This is a totally sensible plan, since it allows those most likely to be uncovered by private or company provided insurance access to healthcare, and it also minimized the “high risk” pool for insurance companies. Gillibrand’s plan is subtly different, but that subtle difference make all the difference in the world. Her plan would allow anybody not covered by private insurance to “guy into” Medicare, regardless of their age. It would leave people already covered by private or company provided medical insurance the option to keep their coverage if they wished. In my humble opinion, if this bill passed, it would lead to Medicare-for-all […]

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