The White House is facing growing pressure from both sides to find a solution to the plan cancellations being sent as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama’s claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” has come under a great deal of fire lately, as individuals receive cancellation letters from insurers that have changed their plans because they don’t meet the law’s standards. Officials are attempting to find a solution to uphold the president’s promise without undermining the law or adding unrealistic costs, The New York Times reports.
Yet this is easier said than done, and a number of lawmakers under political pressure are turning to legislation that would require canceled plans to continue. On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the fifth Senate Democrat to formally support a change to the health care law so that those who like their plan can keep it, The Hill reports. The senator said she would support the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. A similar bill, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., would prevent the cancellation of policies that don’t meet the heath law’s standards. The House is set to vote on the bill Friday, and some Democrats are expected to support it. House Democratic leaders remain united in opposition.
The White House says that the Upton bill would undermine the health care law. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan policy think tank, released a report Tuesday saying that the bill would have severe adverse effects on the ACA. According to CBPP, Upton’s bill would undermine insurance-market reforms under the law and encourage healthier individuals to remain outside the exchanges, thereby raising premium rates.
The issue isn’t that simple. There’s no easy fix to the cancellations, and these trade-offs are necessary to making health reform work, The New Republic explains. Yet the frustration will likely continue building until some kind of solution is found. The White House has not yet announced what an administrative fix might look like, and it remains unclear what one could be.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."