🏀☘ Welcome to a special March Madness & St. Patrick’s Day edition of Friday Takeaways! We’ll get right to the news, as we know most of you are either secretly watching the Tournament, sneaking a mid-day Guinness, or both. 🏀 ☘
WEALTHCARE: YOU PAY MORE. YOU GET LESS. BIG INSURANCE COMPANIES GET A BREAK. Even before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reviewed the GOP healthcare bill, we knew it would force you to pay more for less care: making older Americans pay as much as five times more for their insurance and threatening opioid addiction and mental health treatments. Now we know it’s much worse: The plan would leave 24 million Americans without insurance and increase premiums by 15 – 20 percent in the next year alone.
As news outlets across the country are already reporting, this bill will have real impacts on real people, and Republican candidates up and down the ballot will have to answer for it.
FL – Miami Herald: Republicans’ healthcare plan is a classic case of class warfare
OH – Columbus Dispatch: Ohio’s public health programs could lose $115 million in GOP Obamacare replacement
OH – Herald Star Online: Brown: Rewriting Obamacare could adversely impact 200,000 Ohioans
OH – Cleveland.com: 24M more uninsured due to Republican health plan could crowd ERs, force hospitals to slash programs
WV – Herald Dispatch: GOP health plan could put addiction treatment at risk
New York Times: One Certainty of G.O.P. Health Plan: Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Washington Post: GOP health-care bill would drop addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans
CNN: Trump’s plan for Medicaid could hurt the opioid abusers he promised to help
Forbes: GOP Plan Strips Addiction, Mental Health Coverage For Millions As Opioid Deaths Soar
Boston Globe: Obamacare repeal could hurt rural areas — a key Trump constituency
CNN: DSCC OUTLINES ATTACK ON HEALTH CARE. This week CNN highlighted how Democrats plan to use the GOP health care bill against Republicans in 2018 and how the DSCC is already preparing to make Republicans own the toxic consequences of their health care plan, including 2018 targets Jeff Flake and Dean Heller. Key points from the article:
• “Sen. Chris Van Hollen, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told CNN Tuesday that stripping Medicaid funding from states will be a top issue in 2018. “The Republican plan is one broken promise after another, forcing older Americans to pay as much as five times more for their care and stripping Medicaid funding that states from West Virginia to Arizona use to fight the opioid epidemic,’ Van Hollen said. ‘In every Senate campaign, we will make sure voters know that Republicans will make you pay more for less care so that the insurance companies and rich can profit.’”
• “Democrats plan to push Republican candidates in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which both expanded Medicaid and have 2018 Senate races. The GOP plan, according to experts, would likely endanger Medicaid funding for issues like drug treatment and mental health rehabilitation.”
• “On the Senate side, Democrats told CNN they see opportunities to message directly to older voters in states with 2018 elections such as Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Maine. “This is moving from theoretical conversations about what the plan would potentially do, to a very real impact on seniors where they could be forced to pay up to five times for care,” said one Democratic aide tasked with winning back the Senate. The aide added Democrats expect the predicted rate hikes could be felt on seniors right before voters go to the polls making the message resonate even more […] On average, voters over 65 make up close to 20% of voters in midterms, more than their share in presidential elections.”
• “Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada are of particular interest to Democrats. Both their states have a sizable number of senior voters, and were fertile ground for Clinton — she won Nevada and lost Arizona by just 4%. Voters 65 and older backed Trump over Clinton nationally by 7% in 2016, according to exit polls. In Arizona, that number was a more stark — 13%. But in Nevada, Clinton won seniors by 5%. Florida and Maine, meanwhile, are two of the oldest states by population.”
MORE POLLS, MORE GOP PROBLEMS. Don’t take our word for it, voters do not like the Republican health plan.
FLORIDA: 76 percent oppose forcing seniors to pay five times more for their care.
ARIZONA: 55 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican plan.
NEVADA: 65 percent of those surveyed are less likely to support a senator who voted to repeal ACA.
Bonus: this is the third straight poll that show’s Senator Heller is in trouble – 53 percent would vote for a Democrat over the incumbent.
NATIONALLY: Just 34 percent of voters like the GOP plan.
NOBODY’S HAPPY WITH HELLER. Senator Dean Heller is “likely to be in the fight of his life in 2018,” and backlash over the GOP healthcare bill is only making matters worse. Heller’s drawn ire from both conservatives- one talk radio host called him “weak-kneed”- and the Las Vegas Sun Editorial Board who gave him this warning: “Our voters come before party. Period. If Heller forgets that, voters will remember his betrayal of them when they next see his name on the ballot.”
GOING DOWN? JEFF FLAKE DUCKS INTO ELEVATOR TO AVOID HEALTH CARE QUESTIONS. That’s right: Senator Flake took shelter in an elevator to avoid questions on the bill from reporters but is openly embracing one of the most damaging provisions to his state in the capping and cutting of Medicaid. Arizona expanded the program in 2014 under Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, covering some 400,000 Arizonans.
TRUMP’S BUDGET: BAD FOR YOU, GOOD FOR THE POWERFUL
The Trump Administration released its budget yesterday, calling for an increase in defense spending… and decreases in just about everything else. The budget, which is being described as “too rushed, indiscriminate and reckless,” makes devastating cuts to programs that many Americans depend on including Meals on Wheels and housing assistance, and guts climate change and NIH research and peacekeeping initiatives. This budget shows us where Trump’s priorities are: not with us.
Nevada Break: Included in the budget is money to utilize Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository, which has been roundly denounced in Nevada. Since Heller one of the most endangered Senators in 2018, you’d think Trump would have given Heller a heads-up about the line-item to give him cover. Guess not.
JOSH MANDEL CELEBRATES SUNSHINE WEEK IN (HYPOCRITICAL) STYLE
It’s Sunshine Week – a time when open government is lauded and secrecy is condemned – and the Ohio Democrats are celebrating by looking back on Josh Mandel’s repeated attempts to conceal information from the public. The extensive list includes spending $1.84 million in taxpayer money on self-promotion TV ads that he hid from the Ohio Controlling Board, spending taxpayer money on telephone town halls to discuss issues that had nothing to do with the treasurer’s office, and accepting questionable campaign donations and hiding the motive behind those donations. If it sounds hypocritical, that’s just Josh Mandel.
IN THE STATES:
CT – IJR: Chris Murphy Delivers Counter-PowerPoint to Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Replacement
MN – Brainerd Dispatch: Klobuchar, bipartisan effort introduce legislation to help opioid addicts
MO – NPR: Sen. Claire McCaskill Speaks Out On Why ‘Trumpcare’ Is A ‘Disaster
MT – Sidney Herald: Tester explains concerns with Republican’s health care proposal
NY – New York Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand leads push asking DHS for $50M to fund protection of religious sites
OH – WKKJ 94.3: Sherrod Brown Highlights Legislation to Expand Support for Veterans’ Caregivers
PA – Philly.com: Sen. Bob Casey vows to ‘fight like hell’ in Philly town hall
WV – Raw Story: Sen. Joe Manchin warns Trump: Your supporters will know who took away their health care
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
Bonus Read: A previously unpublished short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald from 1920: The I.O.U.