Republicans scramble for health bill votes after Trump ultimatum | Reuters


Democrats uniformly oppose the bill, and it appeared to lack the needed Republican support as well, despite last-minute changes intended to broaden its appeal.

At least 35 Republicans still plan to vote against the bill, according to CBS News. If all House members were to vote, Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes.

Source: Republicans scramble for health bill votes after Trump ultimatum | Reuters

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Republicans Want to Repeal Medicaid, Too | Bloomberg View


Obamacare, President Donald Trump is fond of saying, is a “complete and total disaster” and must be replaced.

Yet one of the most significant features of his party’s proposed replacement has little to do with Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act would drastically reshape Medicaid — ending the federal government’s long-running, open-ended commitment to help states pay for care for the poor. Instead, in 2020, Washington would make limited per capita contributions that would shrink as a share of costs with every passing year.

Source: Republicans Want to Repeal Medicaid, Too – Bloomberg View

Constituents and the GOP party brand put pressure on health care vote | Brookings Institution


In the contemporary Congress, for most members, actions that help their personal reputations and those that build the party brand are one and the same. This is in large part because congressional districts now are generally what Laurel Harbridge Yong describes as “well-sorted,” where a majority of voters support a given party, align themselves ideologically with that party, and support that party’s candidates for federal office. As a result, legislators do not often find themselves making trade-offs between what’s good for the party with what’s good for their constituents.

Just because this kind of cross-pressuring is relatively uncommon, however, doesn’t mean it never occurs and that it doesn’t matter when it does happen.

Source: Constituents and the GOP party brand put pressure on health care vote | Brookings Institution

Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups | Brookings Institution


“Deaths of despair” in midlife rose most dramatically for white non-Hispanic Americans with a high school degree or less—a pattern that diverges sharply from overall rates of “deaths of despair” in midlife in other rich countries.

The chart above compares “deaths of despair” in midlife for white non-Hispanics in the U.S. with overall “deaths of despair” (all races combined) in midlife in other rich countries over time.

Source: Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups | Brookings Institution

William Rivers Pitt | When It Comes to Trump, We Should Be Too Petrified to Laugh


White House adviser and Jedi-level bullshit artist Kellyanne Conway told a New Jersey newspaper last week that the microwave ovens are watching us.

Too bad she didn’t drop that brick a few weeks ago; Betsy DeVos could have used it to buttress the guns-in-schools-because-bears argument she unspooled during her confirmation hearing. They keep microwaves in teacher’s lounges, don’t they? Surely there’s one in the cafeteria. Be afraid.

Source: William Rivers Pitt | When It Comes to Trump, We Should Be Too Petrified to Laugh

Gorsuch Would Use “Originalism” to Affirm Right-Wing Agenda


Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the “evolutionists” for their lack of a theory.

“I have a theory,” he told us. “It is original. If you convince me that this is the way it is in 1791 [when the Bill of Rights was adopted], you got me.” He added, “Seems to me you have to be limited by whatever is said in the text of the document…. I look at the text, I say it’s not in the text; it was never the constitutional tradition.”

Source: Gorsuch Would Use “Originalism” to Affirm Right-Wing Agenda

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THE MEMO: Trump faces dangerous week | TheHill


President Trump is at risk of having the worst week of his presidency — but it could still turn around.

.. a defeat on healthcare would be disastrous for Trump. The vote is set for Thursday.

If, on the other hand, the legislation passes, it would buttress one of the White House’s central arguments: that, like Trump or not, he is a president who gets things done.

Source: THE MEMO: Trump faces dangerous week | TheHill

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9 questions Americans are—and should be—asking about the American Health Care Act and its projected impact | Brookings Institution


The legislation does not repeal the ACA in its entirety, but it does make significant changes to many ACA provisions, including the law’s Medicaid expansion, financial assistance for people purchasing individual market health insurance, and federal requirements that individuals have and employers offer health insurance.

The law would also limit federal funding for state Medicaid programs. However, the ACA’s insurance market regulations—including the requirement that insurers offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions on the same terms as to everybody else—would generally not change under the AHCA.

 The ACA provisions affecting Medicare are generally not affected.

Source: 9 questions Americans are—and should be—asking about the American Health Care Act and its projected impact | Brookings Institution

Trump, Koch brothers at odds over ‘Trumpcare’ vote | Reuters


If they vote against, they could face the wrath of a vengeful and combative president. If they vote for it, they risk retribution from the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and other powerful right-wing players whose money can be pivotal in re-election races.

As Trump faces the most formidable, high-stakes negotiation of his presidency, the fierce battle in the U.S. Congress over his plan to replace Obamacare is a test of whether Republicans will trust him with their political futures at the risk of alienating deep-pocketed conservative advocacy groups.

Source: Trump, Koch brothers at odds over ‘Trumpcare’ vote | Reuters

Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California | Reuters


Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.

The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles.

Source: Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California | Reuters