It Couldn't Be Fixed: Policy and Politics in the Republican Health Care Bill

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Now that the Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has failed, let’s take a step back and understand why no bill based on the Republican approach to health care could have been fixed enough to reduce the pain to levels acceptable to a majority of Republicans in Congress, let alone to the American people. 

The basic design of the bill was deeply flawed from the perspective of anyone who thinks that America has a responsibility to guarantee quality, affordable health care to all. The design only made sense if one, instead, seeks a politically palatable way to reject that responsibility and reduce federal health care spending in order to cut taxes on large corporations and the rich.

What started as a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became a bill to partly repeal the health insurance regulations and subsidies for insurance purchased in the individual marketplaces, fully repeal the Medicaid Expansion, and radically restructure – and drastically reduce – funding for traditional Medicaid.

Are the Republicans Ready to Gut Higher Education to Avoid a Severance Tax on Natural Gas Drilling?

As we enter the third week of an impasse over funding the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania state budget, an astonishing possibility has come into view: the House Republicans, led by Speaker Mike and Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed, appear to be prepared to block funding for the four state-related universities – Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University – rather than agree to the Governor’s demand that they raise $600 to $800 million in new recurring revenues.

Unpacking the Right’s Breathless Embrace of New Seattle Minimum-Wage Study

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A recent column by A. Barton Hinkle in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (and also on the Reason Foundation web page) about minimum wage increases is getting a lot of attention in conservative intellectual circles. In the piece, Hinkle compares climate denial to skepticism expressed about a recent study on the effects of Seattle’s increase in its minimum wage.    

Yes! Millennials SHOULD Lead the Next Labor Movement

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Kashana Cauley, a writer for "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah," published a column yesterday, "Why Millennials Should Lead the Next Labor Movement," to which I say "hallelujah."
 
Since Keystone Research Center began operating in December 1995, we have argued that the main answer to economic inequality is labor unions that fit the industries and jobs of today and the future.

PA House GOP Stealth Attack on Medicaid

**UPDATE 7/11/17 - 4:45 PM** The House passed the bill through to the Senate 102-91. The Senate must again vote on the bill as amended

PA House Republican leaders are trying to force Pennsylvania to seek federal waivers for our Medicaid program that would establish requirements that Medicaid recipients either be working or searching for a job and that that ask them to pay premiums or higher co-pays for their insurance. 

These ideas were part of Governor Corbett’s plan to expand Medicaid, which Governor Wolf rightly rejected.

MEMO: Revenue Options to Finish the 2017-18 Budget

MEMO

To: Editorial Page Editors, Editorial Board Members, Columnists, and Other Interested Parties

From: Marc Stier, Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Date: July 10, 2017

Re: Revenue Options to Finish the 2017-18 Budget

New Estimates of the Loss of Federal Funding to Pennsylvania from the Senate Health Care Bill

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The Manatt Health Group and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released a new study of the impact of the Senate health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, on the states. Their estimates of the impact of the bill confirms our recent study showing that Pennsylvania will suffer devastating reductions in federal funding for Medicaid.

The new study provides two sets of estimates of how much federal funding each state loses – one if the state keeps the Medicaid Expansion and a second if it does not. According to the study, if Pennsylvania eliminates the Medicaid Expansion in 2021, the state stands to lose $30.1 billion in federal funding between 2020 and 2026 – $25 billion as a result of the elimination of federal funding for the Medicaid Expansion, and $5.1 billion as a result of the impact of per capita caps on traditional Medicaid.

S&P to PA: Snap Out of It

Remember when, in the movie Moonstruck, the character played by Nicholas Cage tells the character played by Cher that he loves her. And she slaps him in the face and says, “Snap out of it?”

Senate Bill Raises Marketplace and Employer-based Premiums for Most Pennsylvanians

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We have been focused recently on the impact of the Senate health care bill on Medicaid, mainly because the dangers of both the House and Senate bills to Medicaid have not been well known, and because the Senate bill is far worse than the House bill. 

So, in this and next post I want to remind you that if you purchase health insurance on the exchanges / marketplaces or receive it from your employer, the Senate bill is bad for you as well.

How Dumb Does Senator Toomey Think We Are?

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I’m not just a practitioner of political rhetoric, but also a connoisseur of it. I can appreciate a good argument and a well-turned phrase put forward by our ideological opponents. And, rather than get disturbed by what the other side says, I take their best work as a challenge. But what truly does get me angry is when our opponents not only lie, but do so with arguments that are insulting to the intelligence of the people we are trying to influence – the citizens of Pennsylvania and America.

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