Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Insurance & Coverage

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U.S. Representative Kim Schrier, the only woman doctor in Congress, has delivered her first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, concerning the future of the Patient Protection Act, also known as the ACA. Watch it above.


Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m honored to deliver my first floor speech today, speaking about an issue that is deeply personal to me, to the patients I care for as a pediatrician, and to thousands of my constituents in Washington’s 8th District.

As you know, the lawful nature of the ACA has been challenged, and if the decision stands, seventeen million Americans will lose their health insurance. This includes many of my patients, children, and people with pre-existing conditions.

Having seen families struggle to pay ever higher insurance premiums and deductibles each year, I understand that we need improvements in our system. The answer is to shore up the ACA, not dismantle it. As the lone woman doctor in Congress, and as a patient with Type 1 Diabetes, I look forward to leading the conversation.

The first step is to preserve the protections that we have now. This is why I am so pleased that the House will take steps to intervene in this court case. I ask my colleagues to consider the fates of their constituents who might not have access to care without the ACA, and to support this intervention. Millions of Americans and thousands in my district are counting on us.

Recommended Link

It’s official: Medicaid expansion will be on Idaho’s ballot

This is a really, really, really big deal… and proof that progress is possible even in the reddest of the states. “Medicaid expansion is coming to Idaho if the people have their way,” Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter reports. “Dozens of volunteers, led by Reclaim Idaho’s Emily Strizich, Luke Mayville, and Republican State Representative Christy Perry, officially delivered petition signatures Friday morning to put Medicaid expansion on this fall’s ballot.”

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Jimmy has found himself in the middle of a battle over American health care, so tonight he responds to more criticism from Senator Bill Cassidy and those other jerks who want to take our health care away.


Money for war is magically always there; money for healthcare must be counted bean by bean.

— Adam Johnson: There are three types of single-payer ‘concern trolls’ — and they all want to undermine universal healthcare

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Jimmy responds to Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Lindsey Graham, Governor Chris Christie, and Brian Kilmeade after they reacted to his monologue about the #GrahamCassidy health care bill.

Partial transcript:

Oh, I get it, I don’t understand because I’m a talk show host, right? Well, then, help me out, which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $240 billion from federal health care assistance?

Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026?

Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits?

Or the part where the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill? Which part of that am I not understanding?

Or could it be, Senator Cassidy, that the problem is that I do understand, and you got caught with your G-O-penis out. Is that possible? Because it feels like it is.

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Jimmy shares his thoughts on Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham’s new health “care” bill including why it doesn’t pass Cassidy’s “Jimmy Kimmel Test.”

Call Senator Cassidy’s office and tell his staff you’re tired of the lying.

(202) 224-5824 or (225) 929-7711

Read More »


I would strongly support reintroducing some form of public option — a way for people to buy into public insurance — that could eventually lead to single-payer.

— Paul Krugman: What’s next for progressives on healthcare?


I talked with the marketing director of the small hospital in Greenville, Maine, yesterday at lunch… She told me that the hospital is the biggest employer in town, with 180 employees, and that it relies on Medicaid for 65 percent of its revenues. It is unlikely that this community hospital could survive the cuts that are in the Senate bill.

— Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine (The New York Times: Republican support of Senate health repeal erodes during break)


CBO: Senate Republicans’ version of Trumpcare would leave 22 million uninsured

The score is in, and as expected, it’s ugly:

The Senate bill to repeal the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law, the budget office said.

An earlier House version of Trumpcare was scored by the CBO as likely to result in 24 million Americans becoming uninsured. This Senate version is barely less awful.

A summary of the score has been published on the CBO’s website.

CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured under this legislation than under current law—primarily because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 22 million in 2026. In later years, other changes in the legislation—lower spending on Medicaid and substantially smaller average subsidies for coverage in the nongroup market—would also lead to increases in the number of people without health insurance. By 2026, among people under age 65, enrollment in Medicaid would fall by about 16 percent and an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

Gutting Medicaid and ripping apart the provisions of the Patient Protection Act will harm tens of millions of people and result in at least thousands of deaths. That’s immoral and unethical. This is evil legislation, and it absolutely must be defeated.


I have to start off by, I guess first congratulating all of the millionaires on the incredible gift that they are about to get. I always wondered what you get for the person who has everything, and now I know, it’s cutting benefits to young children, poor families, the infirm, the elderly.

— Dr. Ben Danielson, senior medical director at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle (The Seattle Times: Senator Maria Cantwell vows to use ‘every tool we have’ to stop GOP health-care plan)

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“Jimmy returns from his time off after his newborn son Billy had heart surgery and he talks about the outpouring of love and support he has received, the not-so-nice things some people have said, and he speaks with Louisiana’s Republican Senator Bill Cassidy about the health care debate.”


Oh, gosh. Let’s put it this way: People in my office have read all parts of the bill. I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill. That’s why we have staff.

— Representative Thomas Garrett of Virginia, speaking to MSNBC: “I don’t think any individual has read” Trumpcare bill


Dave Reichert announces he’ll oppose Trumpcare bill

His vote apparently not needed for the legislation’s passage, Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) announced this morning that he will be opposing the newest incarnation of Trumpcare when it comes up for a vote within the next few hours.

“Unfortunately, the current House bill falls short and does not provide the essential protections I need to support it,” Reichert said in a statement sent to news outlets but curiously not yet published on his own official website or social media channels.

“With all of the political banter surrounding this bill, it can be difficult to remember that this decision ultimately comes down to people. We need to know our loved ones can get and afford the care they need, regardless of age, income, or health status,” Reichert’s statement added.

Reichert has been deluged by calls, emails, and faxes insisting that he oppose the legislation, which would be catastrophic for American families.

Fellow Republican Jaime Herrera-Beutler is also a no on the bill. Republicans Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers are expected to vote yes.


Republicans almost have the votes to pass Trump/Ryancare — call before it’s too late

“House Republicans are finally within striking distance on their [scheme to gut] health care bill, flipping at least two members through a small amendment and shoring up support among some undecided members through good old-fashioned whipping,” reports The Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller.

Two key Republicans in the no camp (Fred Upton and Billy Long) have changed their minds after Trump, Pence, and Ryan came down on them like a load of bricks.

There are still a number of Republicans who are opposed, and the bill’s prospects are dicey, but it could pass with enough arm-twisting.

Now is the time to call your members of Congress, especially if any are Republicans, and tell them you’re fiercely opposed to this disastrous legislation that would sabotage the healthcare of millions of Americans. Insist that they vote no.

Dave Reichert is now said to be in the “lean yes” camp, which is appalling. Reichert needs to hear from as many constituents as possible.

Alaska’s Don Young, meanwhile, is still “undecided”.

Here is the current HuffPost whip count on the latest version of the GOP health care proposal. This whip count is based on conversations with lawmakers and staffers with knowledge of how members are voting. Not every lawmaker on this list has confirmed how he or she will vote ― this is our best guess:

No (16)
Mark Amodei (Nev.)
Andy Biggs (Ariz.)
Barbara Comstock (Va.)
Ryan Costello (Pa.)
Charlie Dent (Pa.)
Dan Donovan (N.Y.)
Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.)
Walter Jones (N.C.)
John Katko (N.Y.)
Leonard Lance (N.J.)
Frank LoBiondo (N.J.)
Thomas Massie (Ky.)
Patrick Meehan (Pa.)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)
Chris Smith (N.J.)

Lean No (8)
Paul Cook (Calif.)
Jeff Denham (Calif.)
Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.)
David Joyce (Ohio)
Michael Turner (Ohio)
David Valadao (Calif.)
Daniel Webster (Fla.)
David Young (Iowa)

Undecided (13)
Justin Amash (Mich.)
Carlos Curbelo (Fla.)
John Faso (N.Y.)
Darrell Issa (Calif.)
Steve Knight (Calif.)
Erik Paulsen (Minn.)
Bruce Poliquin (Maine)
Peter Roskam (Ill.)
Ed Royce (Calif.)
Elise Stefanik (N.Y.)
Rob Wittman (Va.)
Kevin Yoder (Kan.)
Don Young (Alaska)

Lean Yes (17)
Rod Blum (Iowa)
Ted Budd (N.C.)
Bradley Byrne (Ala.)
Mike Coffman (Colo.)
Rick Crawford (Ark.)
Tom Emmer (Minn.)
Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.)
Garret Graves (La.)
Peter King (N.Y.)
Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)
David McKinley (W.V.)
Dave Reichert (Wash.)
Hal Rogers (Ky.)
Scott Tipton (Colo.)
Glenn Thompson (Pa.)
Lee Zeldin (N.Y.)

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This is a monologue worth watching.

“Jimmy and his wife Molly welcomed their second child together, William ‘Billy’ Kimmel. At three days old, Billy had successful open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is now home with his family. Jimmy opens up about his son’s birth and health complications and encourages donations to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where Billy and so many other kids get such wonderful care.”

FOR MORE: Jimmy Kimmel’s humanity underscores heartlessness of Republican Party’s approach to the poor (The Huffington Post)


Dave Reichert is “undecided” on new Trump/ Ryancare bill: Time to call his office again

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are trying once again to take away the healthcare of millions of Americans. For this attempt, they’ve struck a deal with the far-right wing “Freedom Caucus”, hoping to secure the votes of the most militant and extreme members of the House Republican Caucus. But that deal has come at a cost: squeamish, more reasonable Republicans are refusing to pledge their support.

Twenty Republicans are in the no camp so far including Jaime Herrera-Beutler (WA-03). If a few more join, the bill won’t have enough votes to pass.

Dave Reichert is once again (surprise, surprise) in the “undecided” camp.

Please call his office in D.C. at (202) 225-7761 and ask him to oppose this bill. If you can’t get through, call the Issaquah district offices at (425) 677-7414 or (877) 920-9208 or the Wenatchee office at (509) 885-6615.

Washington, DC Office
1127 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7761
Fax: (202) 225-4282

Issaquah Office
22605 SE 56th Street Suite 130
Issaquah, WA 98029
Phone: (425) 677-7414 or (877) 920-9208
Fax: (425) 270-3589

Wenatchee Office
5 South Wenatchee Ave, Suite 315
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Phone: (509) 885-6615

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Suzan DelBene lambastes Trumpcare in blistering House floor speech


If Republicans crafted legislation that lived up to the promise of ‘insurance for everybody,’ they’d have broad bipartisan support.

But that’s not what they did. This bill threatens massive disruption and chaos — not only to our healthcare system, but to middle-class families.

Families who sit around their kitchen table trying to figure out how to pay their mortgage, buy groceries, and also get health coverage for their kids.

The Republican bill does nothing to help them.

In their rush to check a political box, Republicans have crafted legislation that does nothing but hurt working Americans.

And in the last 24 hours, it’s gone from bad to worse.

Make no mistake — the changes made in the 11th hour, to appease the most extreme members of Congress, put life-saving care even further out of reach.

Some may use “alternative facts,” but this is reality. And the reality is their bill jobs $75 billion from Medicare, forces older Americans to pay 5 times more than others and shifts $312 billion in out-of-pocket costs onto middle-class families.

But this is about more than numbers. It’s about people.

Like Rachel, from Kirkland, who suffered a heart attack and blood clot at the age of 35.

She now depends on frequent tests, medications and doctor visits to stay healthy. Thankfully, it’s all covered by her insurance.

Rachel told me, “I’m horrified by the talking point that equates repealing the Affordable Care Act with getting freedom back. For me, the loss of the ACA gives me nothing but the freedom to die sooner and worry more.”

I’m not voting against this bill because it’s a Republican bill. I’m voting ‘NO’ for families like Rachel’s.

Healthcare doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. I stand ready and willing to work on commonsense solutions that expand coverage and reduce costs.

But I was sent here to make my constituents’ lives better. this bill doesn’t do that and I encourage my colleagues to vote no.


Dave Reichert is undecided on Trumpcare bill — Call his office and tell him to vote NO

A spokesperson for Dave Reichert has told The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner he is not yet committed to voting for the Trumpcare bill being pushed by Paul Ryan:

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, says he’s undecided on the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) — which he voted for in committee earlier this month.

Breanna Deutsch, a Reichert spokeswoman, said in an email the bill has changed since that committee vote.

“There are likely more changes to be made. Until we know what those changes are, Congressman Reichert is undecided,” she said.

Please call Dave Reichert’s office (1-202-225-7761) now and tell him to vote NO on the Trumpcare bill. Reichert needs to hear from as many of us as possible.

Courtesy of Governor Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, here are some essential points you can make in your message regarding the destructive impacts Trumpcare would have on Washington State:

  • The working families in our rural communities will be hit hardest, but all of our communities will be affected by the huge decreases in coverage and barriers to care for those with cancer, chronic illnesses and high pharmaceutical costs.
  • Over 700,000 people in our state will be at risk of losing coverage unless we can find $1.3 billion in 2023, increasing to $2 billion in 2028, to continue Medicaid coverage for 600,000 of these people – an unrealistic amount to raise in the current fiscal climate.
  • Our long-term and support services system will lose $90 million immediately – a 6 percent cut.
  • Charity care and bad debt decreased by $1.1 billion due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and we can expect this to increase, impacting everyone going to a hospital in Washington.

You can contact Dave Reichert by calling his D.C. or in-district offices:

Washington, DC Office
1127 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7761
Fax: (202) 225-4282

Issaquah Office
22605 SE 56th Street Suite 130
Issaquah, WA 98029
Phone: (425) 677-7414 or (877) 920-9208
Fax: (425) 270-3589

Wenatchee Office
5 South Wenatchee Ave, Suite 315
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Phone: (509)885-6615

Reichert’s website has a form that accepts email; be advised that only messages from constituents receive a response from Reichert’s staff.

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U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene and Pramila Jayapal have been forcefully speaking out against the House Republicans’ extremely destructive Trumpcare bill as it has speedily made its way through committee in the House of Representatives. These videos show them in action.

Jayapal on Republicans’ Massive Tax Cuts for the Rich


Thank you, Mr. Higgins, for your leadership to prevent this unprecedented shift of wealth from working people to millionaires, billionaires and corporations.

Let us be clear that this Pay-More-For-Less bill is not a health care bill, it is a tax bill that gives $600 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest, and is paid for on the backs of poor and middle-class households. In fact, the one basic principle that seems to be consistent in this bill is that the richer you are, the bigger your tax cut.

For instance, the top 4% of income earners who earn more than $300 million a year will get a total tax break of $275 million, or about $200,000 a year each.

Meanwhile, working families will see their benefits cut and their premiums rise.

Madam Chairman, this is America. We don’t begrudge people’s good fortune. But this bill is pure greed.

The rich get richer while 24 million people are stripped of health care. That is simply not right.

I yield back.

Suzan speaking in support of Jayapal’s motion on preserving Medicaid expansion

Recommended Link

Oklahoma Republicans seek to kick 111,000 off Medicaid to save money

Cruel, cold-hearted Oklahoma House Republicans are seeking to deprive over a hundred thousand of their constituents access to Medicaid in order to close a budget shortfall.

Recommended Link

New Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issues executive order to expand Medicaid

An additional 300,000 residents of Louisiana will soon have healthcare under Medicaid, thanks to an executive order signed by new Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who succeeded the deeply unpopular Republican Bobby Jindal on Monday.