News Round-Up: October 23, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• When you just really don’t want it to be Monday (above).

• Trust and believe the Trump administration will point to low open enrollment numbers for Obamacare to prove the program is “imploding.” What they won’t tell you is the administration cut the education & outreach budget for enrollment awareness by 90% in an effort to sabotage sign ups.

• We celebrated Las Vegas Pride this weekend – check out tons of pics from the Pride Festival via The Advocate.

• Scottish tourist Jamie Harron was ordered to spend 3 months in jail in seriously homophobic Dubai for barely touching a man’s hip as he carried a drink through a crowded bar. After losing his job and spending thousands in legal fees, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered Harron to be released. Think twice before traveling to Dubai.

• The upcoming Thor Ragnorak will feature not one but two LGBT characters.

• Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was allegedly arrested and tortured to death by authorities in Chechnya due to “suspicions of homosexuality.”

• Out actress-pop singer Hayley Kiyoko’s new single “Feelings” made a splash on TRL last week. Check out the video below.

U.S. Senate: Bipartisan Agreement Emerges To Stablize Obamacare

The Hill is reporting that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have announced a bipartisan agreement to stabilize the Affordable Care Act.

The deal would extend key Obamacare payments to insurers for two years and give states more flexibility to change Obamacare rules.

President Trump had announced he was cutting off the payments last week, a move that many said would raise ObamaCare premiums and lower enrollment.

More from the New York Times:

“This takes care of the next two years,” Mr. Alexander said. “After that, we can have a full-fledged debate on where we go long-term on health care.”

The deal between Mr. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health committee, and Ms. Murray, the panel’s top Democrat, is an important step for lawmakers hoping to shore up insurance markets after Republicans’ failed efforts to repeal the health law.

Mr. Alexander told reporters on Monday that Mr. Trump had encouraged him to reach a deal with Ms. Murray.

But it remains to be seen whether conservative-leaning Republicans will get on board with the agreement, and whether the House will entertain it. Some Republicans have said they do not wish to provide what they describe as a bailout to insurers.

Trump Considers Plan B: Repeal Obamacare Now, Replace Later

Throughout the 2016 campaign and after his election, Donald Trump has told Americans that he would lead Congressional Republicans to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.

Many times, on camera, he said it would be simultaneous, or at least on the same day or week. Specifically, he told us that it wouldn’t be months apart.

But today, we get this from Trump:

Now, while he considers this option, let’s take a trip on the “way-back machine.”

Check the 1:50 mark:

According to CNN, just repealing the Affordable Care Act without no replacement would have a devastating effect.

That move would probably leave 18 million more people without coverage in the first year after its enactment and 32 million more by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report that looked at an earlier GOP bill to repeal Obamacare.

It would also cause premiums on individual market policies to increase by up to 25% the first year and to nearly double by 2026.

All this would happen mainly because the individual mandate — which requires nearly all Americans to get coverage or pay a penalty — would be repealed. But some insurers would also likely pull out of the market, the CBO said. The remaining carriers would likely raise rates dramatically because the remaining enrollees would tend to be older and sicker.

Oops – Conservative Super-PAC Runs Ads Thanking GOP For Repealing Obamacare


The Republican super-PAC, American Action Network, prematurely bought air time to congratulation House Republicans for keeping their promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Except – as we all know – the House GOP failed to pass their own legislation yesterday.

In fact, there wasn’t even a vote.

NCAA basketball fans were probably confused when these ads ran in several markets last night.

This really is amateur hour, isn’t it?

Poll: 54% Of Americans Support Obamacare

While Congressional Republicans are moving quickly to push their “repeal & replace” of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), a new poll shows the 2010 health care legislation has hit it’s highest level of support yet.

According to Pew Research, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove

This past December, the numbers were much closer – 48% approved versus 47% disapproved.

Of course, the results fall right down partisan divisions: Democrats show 85% approval for the ACA, while Republicans disapprove to the tune of 89%.

A slight majority of Independents (53%) approve, with 45% giving a thumbs down.

Here’s The Bullet Points On The New Republican Healthcare Plan

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Everyone is talking about the newly released Republican plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s the bullet points you should know about how this will change healthcare legislation:

• The Individual Mandate would be gone, as would the Employer Mandate. No more penalty paid for not having healthcare. No requirement of large businesses to provide health insurance for employees.

However, while there would be no individual penalty for not having healthcare (which would have gone to fund public hospitals, etc…), insurance companies will be allowed to tack on a 30% surcharge to restart your insurance should you let it lapse.

Instead of paying a penalty into a system that would fund public health services, you would pay a fine to a private company. Sound better to you?

• The A.C.A. premium subsidies would be replaced by tax credits for individuals making $75K or less ($150K for households). Folks under 30 would get tax credits of $2,000, with the amount going up to $4,000 for those over 60.

But, these are tax credits, so you have to pay for your insurance out of pocket first, then utilize the credits later when you pay taxes. If you are lower income wage earner, you may not make enough money to pay for health insurance out of pocket on a monthly basis.

• The plan would lift the limits for tax-free Health Savings Accounts. However, if you are lower-income earner, you may not have any money after your monthly bills to put into an HSA. This may be something that could help wealthier Americans, but those on a tight budget would probably not see much benefit here.

• The proposed plan would defund Planned Parenthood, removing a vital source of healthcare for millions of Americans.

• The proposed plan would prevent Americans from using their tax credits to pay for any health insurance plan that includes abortion. So, if you take the tax credits, any abortion procedures would have to be paid out of pocket, not by your health insurance.

• The proposed plan would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans up to 5 times as much as younger. Currently, Obamacare limits the difference to only 3 times the cost of younger Americans.

Three popular components of Obamacare will remain:

• No denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions

• No lifetime coverage caps

• Young people will be able to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26

Thoughts? Leave your comments below.

Matt Baume On How The Repeal Of Obamacare Would Affect LGBTs

From super-smart guy Matt Baume (via Huffington Post):

If the ACA is repealed, as Republicans are trying to do, not only would 32 million people lose health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but LGBTs would be disproportionately affected. And “disproportionately affected” is a phrase which here means “get sick and die.”

For example, HIV treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month. Insurance companies that don’t want to pay for that treatment could just refuse to cover all gay people on the basis that gay men are more likely to be HIV positive. Or they could raise monthly premiums just for gays. Or they could create a lifetime cap, so you pay into their system and then as soon as you need expensive treatment, they drop you. All this was legal until the ACA banned it.

Donald Trump: Obamacare Will Be Repealed & Replaced “Essentially Simultaneously”

So now we know – President-elect Trump said at his press conference this morning that the repeal and replacement of Obamacare will be “essentially simultaneously.”

Rumors had been swirling that the “repeal” aspect would happen very soon after Trump’s swearing in as president, but there’s currently no plan that Congress agrees on for the “replacement” component.

Trump suggested today that the repeal and replacement could possibly take place within the “same hour.”

Woman To FL Gov. Rick Scott: “You’re An A**hole!”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott gets an earful from one of his constituents about his actions to cut Medicaid in order to block Obamacare.

Via Raw Story:

“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” said the woman, who identified herself as 39-year-old Cara Jennings. “You’re an a*shole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

The face-off, captured on video by a witness, took place after Scott entered a Starbucks in Gainesville. Jennings is seen shushing another woman as she assails Scott, who responds that his administration has created one million jobs.

“A million jobs? Great, who here has a great job?” Jennings asks. “Or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?”

It turns out the woman who tried to shush Jennings was the governor’s spokeswoman.