Every so often something amazing happens. For seven years and with 60 votes in the U.S. House of Representatives the Republicans have
attempted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Let that sink in for a moment. And then with control of both houses of Congress and the White House they learn that they can't get their act together. Yes, "Health care is complicated." Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee my personal reflection on some of the news stories you have seen and others you might have missed. It's been quite a week...grab a cup!
Oh The Audacity
Remember when the GOP was crying about how the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare was rammed down their throats in a "hurry up" effort by the Democrats? Remember that? The reality is that the ACA had months of open meetings and open hearings and bringing people to the table. It was thought out, and while it needs some fixes, it passed. Consider what the Republicans did with about 19 days of prep time and the failed legislation they called the American Health Care Act. It was bunk and when people learned of the massive gift to the insurance companies, big pharma and the wealthy they were pissed off. But for some in the GOP the AHCA didn't go far enough. It was not mean enough. So they added language in the final day to make the AHCA even more draconian. That is what the leadership of the Republican Party is all about and they showed their hand over the past month and it makes me proud that you...resisted. (Cartoon - Tim Lloyd)
Unified and Just
The fact that hundreds of thousands of you stood up and called congress and let them know you were watching added to the defeat last week Make no mistake about it Donald J. Trump has unified this nation in a way I've not seen for 40 years. All across the country people are engaging their elected officials be it in Chamber Legislative Coffees where in the past the same twenty-five people showed up to be fed pablum now those numbers have swelled into the hundreds. Lawmakers are calling off town hall meetings because of the enormous crowds who have not come to fawn...but to protest and resist. Here in Iowa Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls) said he will no longer attend meetings hosted by the League of Women Voters of Black Hawk and Bremer Counties. Why? Because you are pissed off and you are not going to take this crap any more and you are showing up and demanding answers to questions they do not want to hear. What the hell do these legislators expect? Iowans are at the breaking point. Americans are at the breaking point and resistance is real. Keep it up!
Single Payer Healthcare
Yesterday at a town hall meeting in Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said he will introduce a bill to create a single payer health care system in the United States. He said the "Medicare for all bill will come within a couple of weeks". And added, "It is a common sense proposal, and I think once the American people understand it, we can go forward with it." During the same meeting Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said he will introduce the same bill in the House.
Your Internet Privacy Just Got Sold
On Thursday, the Senate voted 50 to 48 along party lines to scrap FCC internet privacy regulations. The House could do the same as early as next week, sending the resolution to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.
Republicans and industry critics of the rules argue that the FCC should not be regulating privacy in the first place. They say that's the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has long had its own privacy framework.
The FTC polices how internet companies such as Google and Facebook handle customer data. Those companies are are able to use that data and sell it to companies seeking to advertise to...you. Republicans at the FCC and in Congress have already signaled they hope to roll back the broader net neutrality rules. With the FCC privacy rules facing elimination, consumer watchdogs say broadband companies are poised for a windfall by capturing your web browsing history and selling that information to insurance companies and other advertisers. Once the FCC rules are out of the way some think the FTC could step in however, because broadband is treated like a utility the FTC does not have jurisdiction over internet providers.
Did Russia Commit an Act of War?
Democrats are moving on when it comes to calling out Russia for their meddling in the U.S. Election process. Moving on to call Russia out and accuse the nation of an "act of war". Feeling emboldened since FBI Director Comey's disclosure that his agency is investigating (since July) if there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia some Democrats are seizing on the issue to show they are more in line with protecting the United States than are the Republicans who have formed a defensive line behind President Trump. All of this played out, in public, during the House Intelligence Committee hearing this past week. Don't you just love these tidbits?
Last week on my business news broadcast I invited the CEO of the Des Moines Water Works to join me for a discussion about the business of providing safe drinking water to the 500,000+ people Bill Stowe works for. While I don't do politics on that broadcast this is one of those government over-reaches that goes too far. What happened to the GOP Mantra that says local is best? Now some in the Iowa Legislature wish to hand over control of the Des Moines Water Works to politicians. Ask the people of Flint, Michigan how that worked out.
Anyway...if you would like to listen to that conversation just click the link above. It runs about 17 minutes but I think you will be amazed at how calm Mr. Stowe is in the face of the personal attacks that are fostered on him. Enjoy.
Speaking of "moving on" it looks like Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) will be leaving a hot mess in the hands of Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) when he jets off to China. The main issue is the fact the state is broke and it's a combination of factors: Big tax credits and gifts to already successful corporations and not enough revenue coming into the state...think about the massive tax cut fostered by Branstad back in 2013. Oh, one other thing... Remember that sweetheart deal Branstad cooked up with private for-profit companies to run the $4 billion Medicaid program? Mr. Branstad's child has come calling again for more money to keep them afloat. In this scathing article from Iowa Starting Line we learn that, "The Des Moines Register reported late Friday the disheartening news that Iowa would once again be shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for the Branstad/Reynolds failed Medicaid privatization scheme. The three private insurers have lobbied the Governor’s office for yet another payout to cover their “catastrophic” losses under the new setup, and it’s clear now that Branstad and Reynolds have given in." How much? We don't yet know but we do know, according to the providers, that they have lost $450 million...so far.
Iowa is digging a hole when we've come up with yet another $131 million of reduced income while handing out more cash. Meanwhile the GOP controlled Iowa Legislature is eager to back-fill that with cuts to education, mental health care and other services that impact our most vulnerable citizens. Maybe Reynolds can use some of that campaign cash to help bail out her state. Once again, if you like Kansas you're going to love Iowa.
Last week, on the First Day of Spring, I marked the third anniversary (yahrzeit) of the death of my mother June Libbie z"l. For three-and-a-half years I was her primary care-giver. Even did a blog Mom & Me to savor those memories.
From taking her shopping (always a three hour event) to stopping in to her apartment four or five times a week to then twice a day to finally sleeping on her couch at night because I did not want her to be alone and, perhaps fall. That month on the couch prompted some to tell me it was time to admit her to a nursing home. That was not going to happen. I had worked in that industry for ten years and while there are wonderful people attending to the most vulnerable of our citizens I couldn't do it. So, for the final months of her journey she came to live with us in our home.
She died there on a beautiful spring morning the same as we celebrated this past Monday. The night before when I said good night to her she opened her eyes looked at me and gave me the warmest smile I'd seen for months. It is that which I remember daily. There truly are blessings in life...if you look for them.
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!