What’s Actually in the GOP Health Care Bill
POLITICO – Covering people with pre-existing conditions has been the hottest issue in the Obamacare repeal debate on the Hill. But peek under the hood of the GOP text and there are a whole lot of other changes — including some surprises — that will have broad but unpredictable consequences for the American health care system and the patients and families that rely on it. Many of the provisions don’t take effect for several years.
Here are several:
Imposes a mandate by another name — The legislation expunges Obamacare’s unpopular individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance. But in its place, the bill allows insurers to charge people who have been uninsured for about two months a 30 percent surcharge on their premiums, an incentive designed to encourage people to maintain insurance coverage.
Gives tax breaks to the wealthy — The bill gifts wealthy Americans with massive tax cuts in the hundreds of billions of dollars. It scraps most of Obamacare’s taxes that are used to fund the law — including two taxes on high-income earners.
Executive Order Frees Tax-Exempt Churches to be More Politically Active
Reuters – U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that allows tax-exempt places of worship to participate actively in politics and could free religious organizations to deny their employees’ insurance coverage for birth-control pills.
The order partially fulfills an oft-repeated campaign promise by Trump, who appealed to religious conservatives in his 2016 run for the White House, although he would need an act of Congress to rescind the underlying law that he has opposed, known as the Johnson Amendment.
The order was widely praised by religious organizations that either felt hemmed in by the law or openly violated it, but the American Civil Liberties Union promised to sue to stop it, saying the order violated the U.S. tradition of separating church and state.
“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore,” Trump said at the signing ceremony at the White House where religious leaders had gathered in support.
Homeless, A Democrat, and in Jail: Is This America’s Most Unlikely Candidate
the Guardian – Troy Minton is the only Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho. He is also homeless. The idiosyncrasies of his campaign do not end there.
“I know I’m innocent,” he said this week during a video call from a county jail in Boise, the state capital, where he has been held for almost two weeks for a probation violation. “I’m going to push forward.”
When it comes to unlikely electoral bids, Minton may be in a league of his own. Personal difficulties aside, he must contend with three Republican candidates in a place that hasn’t chosen a Democratic governor in decades. That’s not to mention any other Democrats who might run against him for the 2018 vote in the thinly populated Western state.
Even so, Minton is not exactly a political novice – he was once part of a lawsuit about a panhandling ban in Boise – and despite odds that might generously be described as long, he is steadfast. “We’re starting to lose what this country was made of and what this state was made of,” he said. He sees himself as the answer. Government “needs to be solely by the people, for the people”.
FCC Chief: Net Neutrality Rules Treating Internet As Utility Stifle Growth
NPR – The Federal Communications Commission will vote on May 18 to formally begin the process of loosening regulations that enforce the so-called net neutrality rules for Internet providers.
Ajit Pai, who became chairman of the commission in January, says he supports a free and open Internet, which rests on a basic principle of “net neutrality.”
This term in recent history has come to encapsulate the idea that Internet providers should treat all web traffic equally and fairly, but Pai opposes the regulatory approach to enforcing net neutrality that was adopted by the FCC’s then-Democratic majority in 2015. Those rules dramatically expanded the agency’s authority and oversight over Internet service providers, classifying them more like utilities, similar to traditional telephone companies.
US Military Member Killed in Action in Somalia
CNN – A US military member was killed and two others were wounded in Somalia Friday when they were attacked while on a mission advising Somali National Army forces, a US defense official confirmed to CNN.
The incident occurred 40 miles west of Mogadishu near the town of Barii. The wounded are receiving medical attention, the official said. They troops came under small arms fire.