FROM Margot Sanger-Katz
Is Trump trying to kill Obamacare? The Republican Party has failed several attempts to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, so President Trump is taking matters into his own hands, as much as he can. On Thursday, he took not one but two dramatic actions to weaken the Affordable Care Act — first an executive order to expand cheap, less robust insurance. Then late last night he declared the government will no longer pay some $7 billion in subsidies that help people with lower incomes purchase health insurance. What’s it all mean for the future of Obamacare?
Democrats look to the past, with shades of the future President Trump may or may not be giving the Democrats a boost on Capitol Hill this year. What they care about most are next year's Congressional elections… and the Presidential election in 2020. But this week, there were two blasts from the past. In New York, crowds lined up around the block this week for Hillary Clinton's first signing of her new book, What Happened . In Washington, a gaggle of potential presidential hopefuls lined up behind Bernie Sanders and his new proposal of Medicare for All . Has Sanders discovered "The Issue" for 2020? Does Clinton still have a role to play? Democrats don't want to re-live last year's primaries, but divisions between grass roots activists and Party regulars are still a threat to Party unity.
'Replace' failed, 'repeal and delay' is dead. What's the GOP plan? The Republican-controlled Senate has failed in its attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, a goal the party has had since 2010. It started last night when two senators defected, which apparently caught Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell off guard . This morning he told reporters, "I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful," adding that he would push for a vote on a repeal-only bill. But that appears to be already "dead on arrival." President Trump now says that the government will now let Obamacare fail. What does the GOP's failure tell us about Republican leadership on the Hill and in the White House?
Trump and the GOP take White House victory laps HOUSE REPUBLICANS PASS BILL TO REPEAL OBAMACARE Recovering from an embarrassment just six weeks ago, House Republicans today barely managed to pass a new bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It was 217 to 213 with no votes to spare. In a Rose Garden celebration Speaker Paul Ryan gave President Trump credit for what the GOP calls "the beginning of the end of Obamacare." But Democrats jeered the measure, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark." We hear more from Margot Sanger-Katz, who reports for the New York Times . TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDER STOPS SHORT ON "RELIGIOUS LIBERTY" President Trump today made a gesture toward his base of support, which includes some 81% of white, evangelical Christians. At a National Prayer Day Celebration in the White House Rose Garden, he signed yet another executive order , announcing, "Under my administration, free speech does not end at the steps of the cathedral, or the synagogue – or any other house of worship. We are giving our churches their voices back." Staff writer Emma Green, who covers religion and culture at the Atlantic , says the executive order addresses two basic issues but does not change the law.
What Would Sanders’ Single-Payer Healthcare Plan Cost? Bernie Sanders’ proposal of ‘Medicare for All’ to replace Obamacare is being hailed as visionary by some and as politically unrealistic by others. As it is for all single-payer systems, the biggest argument against it is that it would cost too much. Sanders says it would cost more than a trillion dollars a year, but some analysts say it’s more like double that amount. As Sanders says, if Europe can do it, why can’t we?
America's Health Safety Net Is Full of Holes The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was passed five years ago, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Since then, Republicans have voted to repeal it 60 times — but the latest effort, which happened yesterday, is the first to actually reach the White House. The Act, which was never designed to live up to its name, has provided health insurance to 15 million new people. But it doesn't include controls on the cost of insurance premiums, deductibles, drugs, hospital services or doctors' fees. They are all going up, and a new survey reveals the consequence is mountains of medical debt -- even when employers provide health insurance.
Is the US Facing Generational Warfare? The Obama and Romney campaigns are battling over Medicare and, less openly, the so-called "Third Rail of Politics:" Social Security . In 1940, there were 159 workers for every elderly recipient of Social Security, plenty of younger people to pay benefits for the old. An aging population has radically changed that. Now, those 159 workers have dwindled to only three, and they're paying for their parents' Medicare and Social Security. In the meantime, the elderly have become better off than their children and grandchildren. Is this a recipe for generational warfare? Is there a need to reform the social programs before it's too late?
Paul Ryan and the Race to the White House In less than a week since Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan , it's been called a triumph of Reaganesque proportions -- and a political disaster. In fact, few potential voters know much about the 42-year-old from Wisconsin, a staff member on Capitol Hill until his election to Congress in 1999. But it's already clear that the focus of the presidential campaign has shifted from jobs and the economy to the size and power of the federal government. How radical are Ryan's budget proposals? How much does he want to change Medicare? Will his presence on the Republican ticket clarify the differences between the parties or produce more confusion than ever?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.