The Death of Medicaid.

Al Franken at The BookExpo2017 in New York City, 6/1/17. CREDIT: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx.

Getting back to the Fuck You Care Plan, which gets worse at every small reveal. The denials over medicaid come in fast and furious, from evasive denials to outright lies, but the bottom line is quite simple: money will go into select filthy rich pockets; medicaid will be dead in few short years.

The bill would in fact massively cut Medicaid, threatening to completely phase out the program as we currently know it. The legislation would roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, starting in four short years. It would also make deeper cuts to Medicaid by placing “per capita caps” on the program such that states will receive only a set amount of money for each recipient, no matter how much their care actually costs.

Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicaid in the Obama administration, said on Twitter that “the main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid,” characterizing it as “far, far worse than even the House bill.” And the House bill, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 23 million more people without coverage.

But Trump administration officials presented alternative facts on Sunday.

Full story here.

Monday morning on MSNBC, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) countered Roy’s argument. He noted that the tax cuts that Trumpcare would deliver to the richest 400 taxpayers would pay for 750,000 people to be on Medicaid. Franken didn’t rely on a single study but cited the more comprehensive analysis of recent research on Medicaid published in NEJM. These researchers found that for every 750,000 people who lose Medicaid coverage, 1,000 to 2,000 people would die.

Franken actually understates the case. The NEJM cited a recent study estimating that Medicaid expansion has saved one life for every 239 to 319 people covered. That means enrolling 750,000 people in Medicaid could actually save 2,300 to 3,100 lives.

Full story here.

America: Draconian, Backwards, Doomed.

Shutterstock.

America, the experiment, is one that will fail. And no, this isn’t yet another report about the disastrous regime, which is simply yet another symptom of the failure in progress. It doesn’t matter that there a few states sprinkled here and there that you could consider progressive and social minded. The majority of states are not those things. A whole hell of a lot of people aren’t those things. Christianity is the biggest obstacle to social progress, morality, and humaneness. And no, I don’t give a shit if you’re a progressive, social minded christian. Until I see all of you busy, active, protesting, and lobbying against all the asshole christians, I don’t care what you say in private. Whatever you’re doing, it isn’t enough.

The insistence on puritanism rooted in misogyny is one big reason this lost country will continue to slide inexorably downwards. Too many Americans seem to think of the country as a church, and they should have the right to oppress and stomp all over certain people. Missouri is providing a fine example of this in action:

Missouri’s Senate is considering legislation that would allow employers and landlords to discriminate against women who use birth control or have had abortions. The bill, which has the support of the state’s governor, Eric Greitens, was approved by the Missouri House Tuesday.

Known as SB 5, the bill was first passed by the Senate on June 14 following a special session called by Greitens. His aim was to overturn an ordinance that prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their reproductive health choices, according to a report by Feministing, a feminist website.

The ordinance was passed by the city of St. Louis, and Greitens had said it made the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” The Senate seemed to agree with him, as did the House, which on Tuesday passed an expanded version of SB 5 that included more anti-abortion restrictions. Given the Senate’s vote on June 14, it it seen as likely to approve the updated version of SB 5. This would mean that landlords could refuse to offer housing to women based on their reproductive health choices, while employers could fire female staff members who were using birth control, or refuse to hire them. And while of course this isn’t information most landlords or employers have access to, under SB 5 they could ask women what forms of reproductive health care they are using.

Yes, of course women could lie; that’s not the point though, is it? The mere fact that anyone could be given the authority to question you on your contraception use* or specific bits of your medical history ought to scare the living hell out of everyone, it should not be something enshrined in law, to say the least. Can you imagine anything of this kind of thing being applied and passed in regard to men?

* Not that most women will be able to afford contraception in the near future.

Full story here.

When Words Come Back To Bite Your Ass.

In this photo taken April 21, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, speaks about financial reform at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a letter circulated by Hatch Thursday, March 3, 2011. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.

With all the secrecy and other slimy moves in the ramming through of the Fuck You Care Plan, an interesting op-ed has surfaced, from Orrin Hatch. It certainly highlights the ongoing hypocrisy of rethuglicans, and why you can never trust anything they might say, and certainly not what they might do.

In short, in less than a week, Senate Republicans are considering ramming through a major piece of legislation that the public has not seen and will not be able to respond to, and they’re using a method specifically designed to circumvent any mechanism the Constitution allows the Senate’s minority party to stop it.

But don’t take it from me: Take it from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who agitated fiercely against the Senate Democrats’ rumored plan to pass Obamacare through reconciliation in 2010.

“This use of reconciliation to jam through this legislation, against the will of the American people, would be unprecedented in scope,” Hatch wrote in a 2010 Washington Post op-ed titled “Reconciliation on health care would be an assault to the democratic process.” “And the havoc wrought would threaten our system of checks and balances, corrode the legislative process, degrade our system of government and damage the prospects of bipartisanship.”

In the op-ed, Hatch details exactly how reconciliation allows a majority party to abuse parliamentary power, and why it’s inappropriate for health care. “It sharply limits debate and amendments to a mere 20 hours and would allow passage with only 51 votes (as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a procedural hurdle),” he wrote. “But the Constitution intends the opposite process, especially for a bill that would affect one-sixth of the American economy.”

Now, of course, Hatch is all for the terrible process, and defends the secrecy on the basis it won’t give democrats a chance to criticise, because as we all now know, criticism is just the worst thing ever.

According to Hatch, holding public hearings on Senate Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan would be useless, because those hearings would only give Democrats opportunity for criticism.

“We have zero cooperation from the Democrats,” he told reporters. “So getting it in public gives them a chance to get up and scream.”

When it was Obamacare on the table, Hatch was a staunch proponent of bipartisanship, arguing in an open letter to Obama that “our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and bipartisan manner.” He added that “the American people deserve an open and vigorous dialogue on this critical legislation and the use of this process would be a clear signal that Washington continues to ignore their voices.”

Think Progress has the full embarrassing story. Well, it would be embarrassing to anyone except a rethuglican.

Media, Oh Media, Wherefore Art Thou?

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Senate secrecy over the Fuck You Care Plan is working, and like a dream. It’s not being covered, anywhere, by anyone. Granted, there’s not a whole lot of story there, but media has no business ignoring it to the point that it seems it’s not a reality. If anything, media should be pounding on this, hard. If there’s a case of the death of democracy, it’s right there.

The informal July 4 deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set for Senate Republicans to pass a health care bill that could strip coverage from 23 million Americans is rapidly approaching — but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the front page of major newspapers across the country on Monday.

National outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post featured no front-page coverage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, which is being secretly written by an all-male group of senators. The lack of attention being paid to the bill indicates McConnell’s strategy of avoiding publicity by drafting the bill behind closed doors, holding no hearings, and unveiling the bill’s text at the last possible minute is paying dividends.

[…]

People who consume their news online also didn’t see any coverage on major outlets’ homepages Monday morning.

Trumpcare has also been a blip on the TV news radar. According to an analysis by Media Matters looking at coverage from June 1 through June 14, the bill has received scant mention on broadcast and cable news, with Republican secrecy surrounding the bill barely even being mentioned.

There’s a reason Republicans want to Trumpcare on the down low — even Fox News is unable to spin the unpopularity of the bill, which is essentially a tax cut for the rich masquerading as health care reform.

[…]

Progressive senators are trying to make the media take notice. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they “schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are currently drafting in secret.”

The letter, which goes on to list each of the 31 rooms where a hearing could be held, says the millions of American who would be negatively impacted by Trumpcare “deserve an open and public debate over the bill.”

“The American Health Care Act would fundamentally redefine health care in our country,” it concludes. “To draft it behind closed doors and pass it without even one hearing is nothing short of legislative malpractice and a repudiation of all the Senate stands for.”

So…how about it, media? Can we get a little bit of outrage over this travesty? A little bit of attention? Think Progress has the full story, along with many images showing the complete lack of coverage.

BIEM.

Courtesy of BIEM.

BIEM is a new sexual health app, designed to help de-stigmatize testing, and make communicating results with partners easier, too.

With the goal of removing stigmas and empowering a new generation to take action, Biem is offering the world’s first virtual sexual health clinic. The app, which launched today, allows users to discreetly talk one-on-one with sexual healthcare providers, get tested right at home, receive results directly to their phones and effortlessly share the information with sexual partners.

Bryan Stacy, Biem’s founder and CEO, created the mobile app’s concept after he was diagnosed with Chlamydia and testicular cancer at once.

“I realized that the worst part of the entire experience was the two-month period before I was diagnosed—the time during which I felt something was wrong, but rationalized it away,” says Bryan about the motivation for developing Biem. “I knew I had to eliminate the barriers that keep people in this damaging loop.”

Notably, Biem doesn’t require a subscription and complies with all medical regulations. The app’s judgement-free, information-forward experience requires a video chat with one of Biem’s healthcare providers prior to getting tested, and costs $45 for each session. Once complete, users will get tested through one of the app’s lab partners hosted throughout the United States. If users prefer being tested at home, there’s an additional $45 fee.

As STD rates in the U.S. rapidly rise, Biem hopes to address the national epidemic with a platform that eliminates “the awkwardness, shame and inconvenience that prevents people from getting tested and talking to their sexual partners about health and STDs.” Unlike other online heath clickbait, which often employs fear mongering tactics, Biem is an LGBTQ-friendly alternative that merges convenience with personalized care.

Courtesy of BIEM.

Via Out. You can download BIEM here.

DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds.

Trump on DAPL. © Marty Two Bulls.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”

Indian Country Today has the full story.

Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:

“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”

But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.

“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.

“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.

Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.

“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”

Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.

“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.

Full story here.

The Abortion Conundrum.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite.

The rethugs have painted themselves into a corner in their effort to deny healthcare to American citizens. They want anti-abortion language and rule in the Fuck You Bill, but if they include it, that might just derail their evil scheme. If they don’t include it, the theocrats will be upset and oppose it. Oh, a villain’s work is never done. Interestingly, they’ve managed to place themselves in a position of being foiled no matter the direction. I’d like to think this is good news, as far as killing off this sinister legislation, but I’m sure it won’t stop them for long.

The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, who interprets Senate rules, told Republicans that a provision that stops people from using refundable tax credits for private insurance covering abortion may not be allowed, according to the Hill.

Republicans decided to push this legislation through using budget reconciliation, so they wouldn’t need any Democratic votes, but anti-abortion language does not fall under budgetary changes. This means they would be in violation of the Byrd Rule, which says that a bill’s language can’t be more about policy matters than how much money is being spent.

But if Republicans fail to include the language, influential anti-choice groups will oppose the repeal-and-replace bill they’ve worked months on and spent the majority of the Obama administration vowing to pass. Anti-choice groups, such as the Susan B Anthony List and Family Research Council, have pressured Senators to include prohibitions on abortion coverage and funding of Planned Parenthood in the health care bill, or they will oppose it. Some Republican Senate leaders similarly say that the bill can’t stray too far from the caucus’ stance on abortion, according to Politico.

[…]

David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at Family Research Council, a far-right conservative group, told the Hill, “If the Byrd Rule were to be an obstacle to ensuring the GOP replacement plan in the Senate does not subsidize abortion, that’s something that would be a serious problem for us and the pro-life community.”

Orrin Hatch said he believed that a bill without anti-choice language could possibly doom the bill. Republicans are looking for workarounds that could allow them to restrict abortion coverage and still make it through budget reconciliation.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Invocation of Senate Rule 14.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accompanied by Senate Republican leaders, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

While all eyes are on Comey right now, the ever oily ophidian Mitch McConnell is busy making sure that millions upon millions of American citizens will be thoroughly deprived of healthcare. This is the perfect time for sly and sleazy tricks, with all the scandals breaking like so many rotten eggs; and it is summertime, with all its enticing distractions, offering respite from the constant anxieties of American life. It would be so much easier, and nicer, to go off on my new bicycle for a rideabout, than to report on yet more of the machinations of the regime.

Senate Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he is striving to get a vote on the Republican health care bill by July 4, before Congress leaves for August recess. As ludicrous as this deadline seems, the Senate could pull it off — but it will be done without much public scrutiny.

Sen. McConnell implemented Senate “Rule 14” Wednesday to fast-track the GOP House health bill. This rule allows the Senate to skip the committee process (goodbye full senate committee debate) and instead “fast-tracks” the bill by moving it on the senate calendar so it can be brought to a vote.

Republicans need to pass a health care bill immediately. And they need to pass a bill that reconciles the needs of both the House and Senate, by September 30th in order to use reconciliation. Reconciliation is a 1974 act that expedites the senate’s consideration of bills that pertain to the budget. While Washington watches James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senate Republicans leaders and the health care working group will still be meeting for a working luncheon to continue negotiations.

[…]

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Health and Human Services 2018 budget request on Thursday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) vocalized her frustration with the senate leader invoking rule 14. She asked the chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), if there is going to be a public hearing on the Senate’s secret health bill. A befuddled Hatch said he did not know. “But we have no idea what’s being proposed,” McCaskill exclaimed.

McCaskill makes a valid point. Georgetown University congressional expert Josh Huder says what’s truly remarkable is the Senate will replicate what the House did: push this bill forward with little transparency.

It’s not transparent, but it’s a good way to get health care legislation passed. The Senate is using reconciliation to get this done, which prevents a Democrat filibuster. “This bill will not get 60 votes anywhere. If you want to the bill to pass, this is the only way to do it,” said Huder.

Think Progress has the full story.

Don’t Put Oak Galls In Your Vagina.

Oak Gall. Screenshot.

Seems there’s always an unscrupulous person somewhere, trying to convince people with vaginas to stick this, that, and the other up there. Generally speaking, outside of approved objects, like sex toys, bits of your partner[s], and tampons, you really, really shouldn’t do that sort of thing, let alone listen to people who think sticking a high tannin oak gall up your vagina is a good idea. It’s not. Drying out your vagina is not a good thing, in any way, and is likely to lead to nasty problems. Dr. Jen Gunter addresses this on on her blog. The particular purveyor of oak galls not only advises sticking them up your vagina, but drinking them, too. A teeny, tiny bit of sense goes a long, long way. And if you want tannins, drink a glass of red wine. Don’t put that up your vagina, either.

This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other “traditional” vaginal practices, meaning tightening and drying the vagina which is both medically and sexually (for women anyway) undesirable. Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good). It could also wreak havoc with the good bacteria. In addition to causing pain during sex it can increase the risk of HIV transmission. This is a dangerous practice with real potential to harm. Here’s a pro-tip, if something burns when you apply it to the vagina it is generally bad for the vagina.

GYNO Etsy seems all about dry tight vaginas. I’m thinking they should back away from the medicinal products, you know? It’s promoting a both a bad sexual ideal, that something must be wrong if your vagina is damp, and a dangerous practice. While many women won’t buy this product it’s just one more bullshit message about vaginal health. It’s no wonder there are so many useless and/or harmful products on drugstore shelves designed to dry and clean vulvas and vaginas.

So don’t put dried up wasp’s nest in your vagina. I feel pretty confident in offering that up as medical advice and for goodness sake don’t tell Paltrow.

Full article here.

Make The Planet Great Again.

Most have probably seen this, but if you haven’t, it’s a must.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a stunning response to the U.S. president, calling his decision “a grave mistake.”

“If we do nothing, our children will know a world of migrations, of wars, of shortage. A dangerous world,” Macron said, referencing the cataclysmic effect of climate change all but completely ignored by the Trump administration.

He also encouraged American scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to come to France where their contributions and innovation would be appreciated. As for Trump’s vague promise to rework the terms of the Paris agreement, Macron issued a staunch warning.

“The Paris agreement [will] remain irreversible and will be implemented not just by France but by all the other nations,” he said, the two exceptions being Syria and Nicaragua.

“We will succeed,” he continued. “Because we are fully committed, because wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: ‘Make our planet great again.’”

And there you have what a lot of people are going to do here in uStates – leave. Oh, by the way, California has passed single payer healthcare. Even though I’m a native, I won’t go back, the SoCal I know was gone long ago. I’m sure that won’t stop another massive influx of people.

Via Alternet.

And, The Idiot Fucks Us All Into The Ground.

President Trump announced Thursday afternoon that he is withdrawing the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, a move that honors a campaign promise but risks rupturing global alliances and disappointing both environmentalists and corporate titans.

But Trump said he would seek to negotiate a new climate deal that is, in his view, “fair” to America’s interests.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers,” Trump said.

“We’re getting out,” he added, “but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

Trump argued that the Paris agreement would “punish” the United States and instituted “onerous energy restrictions” that would stymie economic growth, especially in manufacturing industries. The president claimed that meeting the accord’s greenhouse gas emission standards would cost the United States close to $3 trillion in lost gross domestic product and 6.5 million industrial jobs.

I can’t go on. Not right now. Jesus Fuck, the idiot is going to kill us all. Full story is at The Washington Post. Read at your peril. Also, stay the hell away from twitter, it’s infested with fucking idiots, waving their tiny flags, which are considerably bigger than their brains.

There’s also this, but there’s no funny business with Russia, no, no.  And this: Trump’s argument for withdrawing from Paris agreement contains multi-trillion dollar math error: In a cost-benefit analysis, you’re supposed to analyze the costs and the benefits.