Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Healthcare repeal-and-replace still on life support as Senate returns after break. They got an earful–very little of it good.
Comment: Obamacare is in lousy shape financially, and there are plenty of folks unhappy with the coverage, deductibles, and choices of insurers and networks. Pres. Obama’s promises that you could keep your doctor and your health plan were false–and he knew they were false when he made them, but he had to do so to sell the program. It passed on a party-line vote and many of the Democrats who voted for it were themselves voted out of office.
So, why can’t the Republicans get rid of it, as they repeatedly promised?
The short answer is that Obamacare:
- Included several costly provisions that beneficiaries liked, especially “no caps” on medical payouts and coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Provided lots of free insurance (of low quality) to people who couldn’t pay at all
Republican lawmakers, especially those with lots of low-income constituents, fear that rolling back those provisions means political suicide.
On the other hand, keeping those provisions is costly, requires keeping Obamacare’s taxes, and alienates some conservatives who say (correctly) that it locks in an entitlement forever.
Why does a reform bill still have any chance? Because Republicans recognize two ominous risks: failure will bring disaster to the US health insurance markets and, second, they will be held accountable for that mess.
◆ Donald Trump, Jr., and other top aides met with Russian lawyer who promised information on Hillary (BBC)
The brief meeting occurred in Trump Tower on June 9, 2016; no information was actually provided. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner were also in the meeting, which was not initially disclosed on their forms covering all foreign contacts upon entering government.
The FBI and Congress are both looking at whether Trump campaign officials colluded with an alleged Kremlin plot to undermine Mrs Clinton’s campaign. The inquiries have yet to show evidence of collusion. –BBC
Comment: The bad news for Jr. is not only that he failed to disclose the meeting when he should have. It’s also that when he did finally disclose it, he lied about the purpose, saying it was about Russian adoptions. Presumably, he didn’t want to say they were fishing for information about Hillary in Russian waters. Not good at all.
The Daily Beast reported that a Democratic oppo group was the hidden hand behind the group. But that information is sketchy. Donald Jr. now says the contact came from someone he meeting at a Trump-sponsored beauty pageant in Russia several years earlier.
Democratic-affiliated media (which is to say, almost all media) are treating this as very big news: proof positive of collusion with the Russians.
Not exactly. First, it was an attempt to get information. More important, if the Trump campaign was actually talking with a person they didn’t really know (a private citizen) in June 2016, one obvious conclusion is that Trump’s team did not already have access to good Russian information–information they would have had if they were already colluding.
More on this will obviously come out, and you can assume that Robert Mueller will investigate this thoroughly.
◆ Iraqi PM arrives in Mosul to Declare Victory over ISIS (NBC)
There are still small pockets of fighting in the city, but nearly all has been cleared of ISIS, which has used human shields throughout the fighting.
ISIS seized the city in 2014.
Comment: The problem now is how to govern this destroyed city and fractured country, where Obama’s decision to withdraw left the regime in Baghdad free to act like a purely Shiite sectarian government and to invite Iran in for support. Turning that around will be very difficult.
◆ Chuck Schumer zeroes in on America’s biggest problem: Snortable Chocolate. Calls for crackdown (New York Post)
There seems to be very little medical evidence so far, and Schumer said so.
Plus, the FDA doesn’t know if it has authority to regulate the stuff.
Comment: Research on its effects: good idea. But what’s the basis to regulate and restrict before any evidence, one way or the other?