Of the 39 House Democrats who voted for Rep. Fred Upton’s Obamacare fix — a bill that the White House said would “gut” the Affordable Care Act — the party’s two representatives-turned-Senate candidates stand out most glaringly.
Most of the Democratic defectors hail from competitive districts. Not Rep. Gary Peters, whose Detroit-area seat gave President Obama a whopping 81 percent of the vote in 2012. Or Rep. Bruce Braley, whose Iowa district backed Obama by a 14-point margin over Mitt Romney. But both congressmen are running for the Senate, and the mood toward Obamacare in their home states is decidedly more critical than in their home districts.
“President Obama promised that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, and Iowans think that promise should be honored. That’s why I supported today’s bill,” Braley said in a statement.“There is no such thing as a perfect law, and I am heartened to support a bipartisan effort to improve The Affordable Care Act instead of countless partisan repeal votes to destroy it,” added Peters.
In July, Peters voted with Republicans on a symbolic measure that would delay the law’s individual mandate. He voted for Obamacare in 2010 and has opposed most other GOP attempts to roll back the legislation. Braley has been a more outspoken supporter. Last October, he said GOP attempts to repeal the law were “almost shocking.” Amid the HealthCare.gov website problems, Braley vigorously defended the law in an interview on the Bill Press Show last month.
Both Peters and Braley have been favored in battleground-state Senate races for the seats of retiring Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, respectively. But Peters is facing a well-funded challenge from former state Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Braley doesn’t yet have a Republican opponent; right now he’s looking at a crowded field of GOP opposition.
What We're Following See More »
The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.