Monday, January 23, 2017

LATE MONDAY POST




Monday was a day of catching up on “to dos”. Filed important tax documents, paid any outstanding bills and wrote x number of checks for the charities and PACs I support.

Aside from some religious based organizations that I like those personally special that any one of you feel worthy of support, I have a group that fall into the PAC and or tax exempt classification that I feel are instrumental in fighting to preserve our civil liberties. Among those but not the only ones are the ACLU Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans United, Interfaith United, People for the American Way, NAACP, Common Cause, as well as The Anti-Defamation League.

I had time to read my newspapers, the Times and WSJ as way as scan the Ledger’s obituaries.

The day was not all self-centered; we are now in the4th day of the Trump Presidency and I followed some internet stories.

Monday’s Executive Orders including one cancelling our participation in the TPP trade agreement. Another one extending the Regan era USA law that already prohibits the use of American taxpayer dollars for abortion services anywhere, including in countries where the procedure is legal by freezes funding to nongovernmental organizations in poor countries if they offer abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries. The third blocking the last minute Obama appointments by frizzing new non-essential federal jobs.

The new administration is woefully behind in filling not only cabinet positions but also those directly concerned with White House functions.

Tonight the Senate did approve Mike Pompeo as C.I.A. director*; only the third critical appointment. It appears that Rex Tillerson having received committee approval will become Secretary of State. I will try to post later Tuesday the list of needed appointments and their status with comments on some.


*Not a cabinet post but needed Senate approval.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

THE FIRST DAY



Although in my last blog I tried to sound optimistic about Trump’s Presidency one of his first Executive Orders has been discouraging.



Once again in typical Trump fashion he has gone blindly charging ahead without any known plan of action.


The pundits that seem to have knowledge of the contents  in his   last night's executive order regarding ‘Obama Care” state that it is broad, vague, and with no specifics.



According to Maggie Fox of the Washington Post;” The executive order, signed in the Oval Office as one of the new president’s first actions, directs agencies to grant relief to all constituencies affected by the sprawling 2010 health-care law: consumers, insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, states and others. It does not describe specific federal rules to be softened or lifted, but it appears to give room for agencies to eliminate an array of ACA taxes and requirements.”



Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation has remarked that “Potentially the biggest effect of this order could be widespread waivers from the individual mandate, which would likely create chaos in the individual insurance market.” “The order suggests that insurers may have new flexibility on the benefits they must provide.”

"The details of the required benefits are left up to HHS. So for example, it's pretty clear from the statute that insurers have to cover hospital care, physician visits, drugs and other services."

But it doesn't say insurance companies have to pay for every single one. So the new administration could move quickly to allow more flexibility and let insurance companies decide they will only pay for a certain number of visits, or limit how many days they'll pay for in a hospital — no matter how sick someone is.

"There is nothing in the law that says hospital care has to be unlimited,"



Fox further quotes Levitt "The law lays out 10 categories of essential benefits that insurers have to provide.” "The law lays out 10 categories of essential benefits that insurers have to provide," Levitt said. "The details of the required benefits are left up to HHS. So for example, it's pretty clear from the statute that insurers have to cover hospital care, physician visits, drugs and other services."

But it doesn't say insurance companies have to pay for every single one. So the new administration could move quickly to allow more flexibility and let insurance companies decide they will only pay for a certain number of visits, or limit how many days they'll pay for in a hospital — no matter how sick someone is.

"There is nothing in the law that says hospital care has to be unlimited."



It would seem that this Exec Order will allow HHS and the insurance carriers not to pay for birth control advice and the free contraceptive medications.



Levitt also suggests that the law would end the subsidies to the insurance carriers used to provide low cost policies to the low income population.

"Insurers would still have to provide coverage with low copayments and deductions but they wouldn't get paid for doing so," Levitt said. "Their contracts with the federal marketplace allows them to get out of those contracts if the subsidies end. “Said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. In addition, he said, the order suggests that insurers may have new flexibility on the benefits they must provide.


Under attack is the mandated coverage requirement with its penalties. This is unpopular with the healthy young since the premiums are adjusted upwards to make more affordable those that cover the needs of the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

"The Trump administration could virtually end the individual mandate all on their own by using their authority to grant hardship waivers," Levitt said. "There is no definition of hardship in the law."


This is a potential that will impact on everyone who now has health care insurance.

(I have extracted from material by as well as Maggie Fox in articles in Saturday’s Washington Post)

Friday, January 20, 2017

FIRST THOUGHTS




Donald J. Trump is our 45th President. He was not elected by mandate in fact he DID NOT RECEIVE a majority of the popular vote.

That however does not mean that Hillary was the choice of the majority of Americans who voted. We will never know how many like me voted for her for what we thought was the “lesser of two evils”.

Despite all the bluster, confusion, no obvious plans, disconcerting choices for key Cabinet posts Trump's Inaugural Address has given me hope that my fears are wrong.

These utterances if sincere bode well for the nation

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”

“We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”

“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones”

“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

The next 72 hours may be indicative of whether we can sleep at ease at night. A lot will not only be determined by Presidential edicts but by the reactions of the Democrat leadership in Washington.

Will it be party politics as usual the country be damned? Or, will there be a sense of compromise and working for the best interests of the nation.

It is true that as Trump said, because of so much of our dollars going to other nations we have let our infra-structure decay. If continued that could destroy our civilization.

When Obama first took office I had argued that to combat the recession the FDR era PWA and WPAs even the CCC should be revived. That was ignored in favor of political motivated and often patronage laced grants. 


I cannot accept the pessimistic   attitude of Susan Page for USA Today:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/20/donald-trump-president-inauguration-speech-analysis-defiant-address-and-political-revolt/96836152/?csp=breakingnews

Let us hope and pray as each of us can do in our own manner.