May 6, 2017
OBAMA-TRUMP-REPUBLICARE 2.0 by A F Branco
☤House GOP Lawmakers Have Finally Passed A Bill “Aimed At Repealing Obamacare” ... Or At Least Major Portions Of It
(AHCA)Passed The House With 20 Republicans, All Democrats Against.
by Tami Luhby and Nicole Ridgway
Conservatives complained that the bill does not fully repeal Obamacare and that many provisions are too similar to the health reform law. Insurers worried that Republicans would cut federal support for Medicaid and tax credits, leaving many of their customers without coverage. After some last-minute changes to the legislation enough conservatives and moderates were convinced to support the bill Thursday. Still, the American Health Care Act goes a long way to fulfilling the Republicans' seven-year pledge to repeal former President Obama's landmark health reform law.
Replace Obamacare subsidies with refundable tax credits based mainly on age.
· The GOP's plan would eliminate the Obamacare subsidies, which are refundable tax credits based on a person's income and cost of coverage in their area. More than 8 in 10 enrollees on the Obamacare exchanges receive this assistance, but individuals making more than $47,500 and families of four earning more than $97,200 do not qualify.
· Instead, the Republicans want to issue refundable tax credits to help people afford coverage on the individual market, but these credits will be based mainly on a person's age. The credits will range from $2,000 for people in their 20s to $4,000 for those in their early 60s.
· The credits will also have an income cap. Those making more than $75,000 would see their tax credits start to phase out, and an enrollee making more than $215,000 would not be eligible. Families with incomes above $150,000 would see their credits dwindle, while those earning more than $290,000 would not qualify.
· The bill would also kill the additional help that individuals earning less than roughly $30,000 a year receive to cover their out-of-pocket costs. More than half of the enrollees on the Obamacare exchanges receive these cost-sharing subsidies.
Trade the individual and employer mandates for continuous coverage requirements
· The GOP's bill would get rid of the Obamacare requirement that people have health coverage or face a tax penalty.
· It would also eliminate the mandate that employers with at least 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers. Under Obamacare, these companies had to provide affordable insurance to staffers who work more than 30 hours a week. Under the old Obamacare they would have faced a penalty if they did not meet this criteria and their employee sought subsidies on the exchanges.
· Instead, the Republican plan seeks to allow insurers to impose a 30% surcharge on the premiums of those who let their coverage lapse for at least 63 days. The plan would enable insurers to levy this surcharge for one year, but it would only apply to policies bought in the individual or small group markets. Under a recent amendment, states that seek waivers could replace this provision with one that allows insurers to charge consumers who've had a gap in coverage based on their health status.
Weaken Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions
· States could get waivers that would allow carriers to set premiums based on enrollees' medical backgrounds under several circumstances. Those enrollees would have to have let their coverage lapse, and the state would have to set up a risk program -- such as a high-risk pool-- that, in some cases, could provide help to those being charged higher premiums.
· States could also seek waivers that would allow insurers to sell plans that don't include all the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Under Obamacare, carriers must provide outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity, mental health and substance abuse, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, lab work, preventative care and pediatric services.
Eliminating these 2 provisions could lower premiums somewhat and give consumers a wider choice of plans. But it would also make it harder for people to buy comprehensive coverage and weaken the protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The bill would provide $138 billion through 2026 to help states and insurers lower premiums and set up high-risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
Revamp Medicaid funding
· The GOP bill would significantly overhaul Medicaid. It would send the states a fixed amount of money per Medicaid enrollee, known as a per-capita cap.
· States could also opt to receive federal Medicaid funding as a block grant for the adults and children in their program. Under a block grant, states would get a fixed amount of federal funding each year, regardless of how many participants are in the program.
Either option would limit federal responsibility, shifting that burden to the states. However, since states don't have the money to make up the difference, they would likely either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments. The block grant would be more restrictive since the funding level would not adjust for increases in enrollment, which often happens in bad economic times.
♦The legislation would also end the enhanced match rate for Medicaid expansion for new enrollees starting in 2020. Those already in the program could stay as long as they remain continuously insured. States that have not already expanded would not be allowed to do so, starting immediately.
⚒ States could also require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work, participate in job training programs or do community service.
⚕ The Congressional Budget Office projects that bill would cut the federal government's spending on Medicaid by 25% by 2026 as compared to current law.
♿ States would also be allowed to seek waivers to allow insurers to charge older consumers even more than 5x times younger ones.
⚖ Eliminate Obamacare taxes- The Republican legislation would eliminate the taxes the law levied on wealthy Americans, insurers, prescription drug makers, device manufacturers and others.
REPORT: CHINA PREPARING FOR “HUGE EXODUS” OF NORTH KOREANS FLEEING WAR
Beijing "Urgently" Recruiting Korean-Chinese Interpreters In Border Town In Anticipation Of USA Military Strike
Paul Joseph Watson
China has ordered the “urgent” recruitment of Korean-Chinese interpreters in a town near the North Korean border as Beijing prepares for an onslaught of refugees in the event of a U.S. military strike against Pyongyang. A Chinese government document obtained by the Korea Times orders “the town of Dandong to recruit an unspecified number of Korean-Chinese interpreters to work at 10 departments in the town, including border security, public security, trade, customs and quarantine." The document suggests Beijing is “bracing for an emergency situation” arising out of a “possible military clash between the United States and North Korea” which would trigger a “huge exodus” of North Koreans fleeing to China, according to the report.
Officials in Dandong have also been put on rotating night shifts since April 25th in preparation for the emergency. China is already home to some 100,000 North Korean defectors and Beijing is unlikely to welcome a large wave of new refugees. Previous reports stated that China had sent 150,000 troops to the North Korean border, although Beijing denies this.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated that the U.S. will strike North Korea if the Stalinist state carries out a sixth nuclear test. On Sunday, North Korea threatened to sink a nuclear-powered submarine that has been deployed to the region. “The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming a underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface,” the North’s propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a posting.
Japan is also set to deploy a helicopter carrier that is authorized to use weapons to escort and protect a US Navy supply ship heading towards the Pacific to resupply the American armada sent by President Trump. Tokyo’s authorization of the ship’s “necessary use of weapons” is the first such instruction since World War II.
JAPAN DEPLOYS WARSHIP TO SUPPORT US ‘ARMADA’, AUTHORIZES “NECESSARY USE OF WEAPONS” FOR FIRST TIME SINCE WORLD WAR II
The Japanese Navy Has Reportedly Deployed A Helicopter Carrier To Escort And Protect A USA Supply Vessel
Zero Hedge❘Kyodo news.
In a post-World War II precedent-setting move under the country’s expanded military doctrine, the Japanese Navy has reportedly deployed a helicopter carrier and authorized it to use weapons, if necessary, to escort and protect a US supply vessel. Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the Izumo Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carrier to protect a US Navy supply ship, which is heading towards the Pacific to resupply the American armada sent by Donald Trump to keep North Korean nuclear ambitions at bay.
The Japanese helicopter carrier is set to depart Yokosuka port in Kanagawa Prefecture Monday to escort the US Navy supply ship form waters off the Boso Peninsula, near Tokyo, to the area off Shikoku, one of the four main islands of Japan. Japanese media reports that the US ship could be delivering supplies to the aircraft carrier – the USS Carl Vinson striking group, that is now conducting a joint exercise with South Korea’s navy in the Sea of Japan. To ensure success of their escort mission, the Japanese seamen have been authorized the minimum necessary use of weapons, to deter any attacks amid North Korean threats to sink US ships, the Japan Times reports.
Monday’s Izumo deployment will set a new milestone for the Japanese Navy which has not escorted any military vessels, outside of troop exercises., since the adoption of a pacifist constitution following Japan’s defeat in World War II. In 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party passed legislation to allow the country’s military to participate in foreign conflicts, overturning its previous policy of fighting only in self-defense. Since the Japanese constitution only allowed Japanese armed forces to act in self-defense, the legislation reinterpreted the relevant passages to allow the military to operate with overseas allies in “collective self-defense.”
The latest Kyodo News survey showed the Japanese are divided over whether or not to amend the Article 9 of the Constitution, which outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes. According to the figures, 49% of some 3,000 mail-in respondents said Article 9 must be revised while 47% oppose the change. Some 75% of respondents who support the pacifist constitution claimed that Article 9 allowed the country to stay out of world conflicts since World War II.
China Demands “Immediate Halt” Of US Missile Shield Deployment In South Korea
China Believed That Dialogue And Consultation… Is Only Realistic And Viable Way To Achieve Denuclearisation.
LN Buzz Team❘Zero Hedge
US military officials said that U.S. military’s THAAD anti-missile defense system has “reached initial intercept capability” in South Korea, although they added that it would not be fully operational for some months. Just hours after the announcement, Beijing lashed out at DC and demanded an “immediate halt” to the controversial US missile shield. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang voiced the government’s position against the move during a briefing on Tuesday.
“We oppose the deployment of the US missile system to South Korea and call on all parties to immediately stop this process. We are ready to take necessary measures to protect our interests,” he said according to AFP, adding that “China’s position on the THAAD issue has not changed.” Responding to the THAAD installation, China announced on that it will stage live-fire exercises and test new weapons to protect its security.
Curiously, while on one hand Beijing lashed out at the shield’s deployment, on the other, the foreign ministry expressed support for US President Donald Trump’s surprise comments that he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions. Asked about President Trump’s remarks, Geng said that China “has always believed that dialogue and consultation… is the only realistic and viable way to achieve denuclearisation.” “We also said many times that the US and DPRK… should make political decisions at an early date, take action and show good faith so that we can create a better atmosphere for resuming the peace talks and settling the issue,” he added. Beijing has previously expressed loud concerns over the THAAD system and joint US-South Korean drills near the Korean Peninsula, consistently urging all the parties involved to find a peaceful solution to the volatile situation in the region. Backed by Russia, it also proposed a halt to military drills in exchange for an end to Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests during a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session held in New York on Friday. Moscow has likewise opposed the stationing of the THAAD system to be an “additional destabilizing factor for the region” amid alarmingly increasing tensions. It has called on Washington and Seoul to reconsider the decision.
In response to the THAAD deployment, China has imposed a host of measures seen as economic retaliation against South Korea, including a ban on tour groups. Retail conglomerate Lotte, which previously owned the golf course, has also been targeted, with 85 of its 99 stores in China shut down, while South Korea’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor has said its Chinese sales have fallen sharply. The THAAD deployment comes as tension soars on the Korean peninsula following a series of missile launches by the North and warnings from the administration of US President Donald Trump that military action is an “option on the table.”
Further complicating matters, Trump stunned Seoul last week when he suggested South Korea should pay for the $1 billion THAAD system. “I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It’s a billion-dollar system,” Trump was quoted as saying in a published report. “It’s phenomenal, shoots missiles right out of the sky.” Seoul retorted that under the Status of Forces Agreement that governs the US military presence in the country, the South would provide the THAAD site and infrastructure while the US would pay to deploy and operate it. Meanwhile, Thomas Karako, the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that South Korea’s sole THAAD battery does not quite have the range to cover the entire country. But he called it an important first step. “This is not about a having a perfect shield, this is about buying time and thereby contributing to the overall credibility of deterrence,” Karako told AFP. “South Korea with THAAD helps communicate to the North that today is not a good day to attack. It doesn’t mean that they could not do a lot of damage — they would — but it strengthens the overall posture.”
That, however, is irrelevant to China which sees the THAAD deployment as drastically shifting the regional balance of power; as such look forward to aggressive moves by Beijing which will now seek to enforce its own national interest, even if it means dstabilizing South Korea, while boosting Kim’s regime.
CLIMATE CHANGE RALLY IN COLORADO POSTPONED AFTER MONSTER SNOWSTORM
“Sometimes Mother Nature Throws You A Curveball!
Ben Kew | Breitbart
A rally in Colorado Springs designed to warn people of the effects of climate change and global warming was postponed this weekend after a snowstorm made it too risky to proceed. The event, organized by local environmentalist group 350 Colorado Springs, was also a protest against the Trump administration’s policies on climate change.
However, the march was postponed until Sunday after weather forecasters predicted heavy snowfall and possible blizzards. “Sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curveball! We know we aren’t in the business of risking anyone’s safety. Dangerous conditions and wet heavy snow in the forecast for tomorrow,” the group wrote on their Facebook page.
The climate change marches in Denver and Colorado were just two of a series of marches that took place across America over the weekend, as protesters took their anger out at the recent actions of the Trump administration. Since taking office, President Trump has taken steps to roll back environmental regulations and end the Obama administration’s war on coal. In his first White House budget, Trump proposed cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31%, as well as Keystone XL pipeline previously blocked by Barack Obama.
CALIFORNIA CONTRACTORS IGNORE POLITICS IN BIDS TO BUILD BORDER WALL
We Could Put The Wall Up, Probably A Mile Of It, In Three Weeks
Hundreds of companies have submitted bids to the federal government to build the highly contentious, divisive southern border wall, but Rod Hadrian is just one of the few willing to talk about it. “We could put the wall up, probably a mile of it, probably in three weeks,” Hadrian says.
The wall is a proposal so controversial that the anger over it directed at politicians is also being felt by potential builders. Activists have been caught on video gathering outside one San Diego contracting firm, R.E. Staite Engineering, who would not return requests for comment. Neither would several other San Diego bidders with offices within a short distance of the Mexico border. California lawmakers have moved forward on a bill to essentially punish companies who work on the proposed wall by banning them from winning any state contracts.
Others have suggested that the contractors work on the border wall to "make the USA safe again" and then move out of the state- taking your skills to work on different infrastructures projects like rebuilding those bridges that are unsafe and damns that are falling apart.
CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES DEFY LEGISLATORS IN BID TO BUILD WALL
Democrat Lawmakers Introduce Bill Prohibiting Future State Contracts From Going To "Wall Builders"
Despite Democrat legislators’ efforts to impose laws barring companies that work on the wall from receiving future contracts with the state, several construction business owners say they will take on the contract if offered to them. For Rod Hadrian, who runs Hadrian Construction, the politics behind the border wall take a backseat to the lucrative business opportunity. “I have a lot of Hispanics that work for me. I treat a couple like my son,” Hadrian says. Hadrian says his solution for the wall is cost-effective and quick to put up. It incorporates a wire mesh covered in foam and reinforced by rebar, which is then blasted with concrete. "I can probably build this wall for $3.5 to $4 million per mile. I have quotes from contractors,” Hadrian says. “I know that we can do it. Everybody else is almost double. We could put the wall up, probably a mile of it, probably in three weeks,” claims Hadrian.
Another construction company owner interviewed by CBS Los Angeles, Rick Taylor, said he’s also looking forward to meeting President Trump’s demands for a “big, beautiful” wall. Taylor’s design will incorporate visual aesthetics on both sides of the wall which could possibly entice Mexico to pay for part of it. So when you lift the wall up, it’s got décor on both sides, which makes it appealing on both sides, which may get Mexico interested in chipping in a little bit of the money because now they get to look at something that’s beautiful as well. Mr Taylor said, if it’s good for the business, why not. And that’s what it is. It’s a business opportunity. We’re builders, not politicians.
Democrats like Senator Ricardo Lara of California’s 33rd district say legislation is needed to deter construction companies from building the wall. “If you want to do business on Trump’s wall, if you want to work on that, then California quite frankly doesn’t want to do business with you,” Lara recently said in a CNN interview. Lara in December introduced SB-30 which would prohibit the state from awarding or renewing contracts with wall builders.
Over the next few months, 20 prototypes out of designs submitted by as many as 450 companies are set to be built in the Otay Mesa area along the San Diego border with Mexico The designs must meet requirements from the Department of Homeland Security that the wall be at least 18 feet high, be built using concrete, be “physically imposing,” and have features that prevent people from climbing or digging below it. “The wall shall prevent/deter for a minimum of 1 hour the creation of a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pickaxe, chisel, battery-operated impact tools, battery-operated cutting tools, oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools,” solicitation memo from the DHS
5 BORDER HORRORS ☠ THE MEDIA WILL NOT REPORT ON FOR POLITICAL REASONS
The Border Between The U.S. And Mexico Is A Dangerous, Deadly Place
Huffington Post ❘Texas Observer
The border between the U.S. and Mexico is a dangerous, deadly place — a fact that often goes underreported for political reasons. Here are five border horror stories that the mainstream media doesn’t report
1. “Rape trees” Human smugglers ritualistically rape the women and young girls they’re supposed to be helping. Once migrants reach south Texas, smugglers will take them on a 2-3 day hike in immense heat to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints and reach a stash house. During these hikes, smugglers will often rape the women and tie a garment, such as a bra, from the victim to a nearby tree. Police and federal agents call these trees “rape trees.”
2. Border Patrol often finds the half-eaten remains of dead migrants Authorities routinely find the dead bodies of migrants in the Rio Grande Sector of Texas and in the Tucson Sector of Arizona. In one Texas county, the remains of 552 migrants were discovered in a 10-year period. The Ajo area of the Tucson Sector also sees a large number of bodies discovered. Though these incidents have been reported, they are often not included in current discussions about border security or the pros and cons of changing aspects of border security.
3. Migrants who cross the border without permission from a Mexican cartel are subject to brutal violence. Much of Mexico is controlled by violent drug cartels, and if migrants pass through their territory without permission they risk violence and sexual assault. In 2015, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who passed through Sinaloa Cartel territory was intercepted by cartel members. He was severely beaten and sodomized with a wooden object.
4. There are mass graves of unidentified migrants in Texas. Several mass graves of unidentified illegal immigrants were uncovered in Brooks County, Texas. Many of the bodies were buried two to a single trash bag.
5. Families in Central America often put their daughters on birth control before sending them on their journey because it’s expected they will be raped. It’s an open secret that women and young girls are routinely raped by smugglers, so much so that mothers put their daughters on birth control in preparation for the journey. The Huffington Post reports that 80% of female migrants are raped or sexually assaulted on the journey from Central America to the U.S.