Obamacare repeal fails in House

It was a massive tax cut for the rich, disguised as a health care bill.  It would have resulted in 24 million more people being uninsured by 2026, and those who do get coverage will get less and pay more.  A lot more.

On the nongroup market, annual net insurance premiums for a 64-year-old with an income of $26,500 would rise from $1,700 to $14,600. Yup, that an annual increase of $12,900, to buy a significantly less generous policy than is now available under ACA. For proponents of AHCA, that’s politically self-immolating.

All week we watched the spectacle of Republicans who merely want to destroy Obamacare, fighting with the Republicans who want to be even more cruel.  The fact that they couldn’t agree among themselves is almost immaterial to the main lesson here.  The Republican Party proposed this bill.  Never let anyone forget it.  The shame can never be allowed to fade.

Rep. Steve King openly peddles white nationalism

From Daily Kos:

That’s Iowa Rep. Steve King, the prime architect of the party’s newly aggressive anti-immigrant stance, a position he obtained by scuttling post-2012 party efforts at reworking and moderating the party’s past immigration stances. He’s voicing these thoughts in support for Dutch white nationalist stain Geert Wilders.

And yes, this is the new Republican “normal.”

In case you had any doubt as to whether our Representative in Congress is openly white supremacist, let’s see what David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, has to say about it:

OK, that clears it up.

Trump fires the US Attorney who would be investigating Trump

All 46 U.S. attorneys have been purged by the President. They were abrubtly asked to resign in a move that can only consolidate Donald Trump’s power. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who has been asked personally by Donald Trump to stay on, was asked to resign with all the rest. When he refused he was fired.

Bharara would have been responsible for investigating Donald Trump’s operations in New York.

More immigrants, less crime

From Boing Boing:

In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, sociologists and criminologists from University at Buffalo (SUNY), the University of Alabama, Kennesaw State University, the State of Georgia, and Georgia State University review 40 years’ worth of FBI data on violent crimes and property crimes, correlating this data series with Census data on the influx of immigrants to US cities.

The authors conclude that US cities undergoing net increases in migrants also experienced stable or declining crime rates for murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny.

Further, they found that there was “significant association” between the presence of foreign-born people in a city and a decline in crime — the more foreigners, the safer the cities became.

House GOP approves bill allowing companies to force genetic testing on workers

Why on earth wouldn’t you trust your employer with your private genetic information?

If you think your genetics are your own personal beeswax, think again. Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the Affordable Care Act this week, the House GOP quietly pushed forward a bill – HR 1313 – that would make it legal for employers to demand genetic testing from workers. Workers who refuse could be penalized for thousands of dollars.

On Wednesday, a House committee approved the bill with “all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed,” according to Business Insider.

“What this bill would do is completely take away the protections of existing laws,” said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a civil rights group. In particular, privacy and other protections for genetic and health information in GINA and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act “would be pretty much eviscerated,” she said.

Steve King meets with French fascist candidate

Long a vocal proponent of extremist anti-immigrant policies, Iowa Rep. Steve King hasn’t wasted any time jumping on the anti-immigrant, white nationalist Trump bandwagon. Now he apparently wants to make sure America is crystal clear about his support for white nationalism throughout the rest of the world, as well.

He met with Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen is, for newcomers, the white nationalist leader of the extremist-right French political party National Front. Her father was himself a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier; she herself is a Trumpesque figure who demands immigrants be stripped of jobs, welfare, school rights, and all other government services in favor of native citizens.

Republican health care plan cannot work

From Paul Krugman, who knows a bit about economics:

The structure of the Affordable Care Act comes out of a straightforward analysis of the logic of coverage. If you want to make health insurance available and affordable for almost everyone, regardless of income or health status, and you want to do this through private insurers rather than simply have single-payer, you have to do three things.

1.Regulate insurers so they can’t refuse or charge high premiums to people with preexisting conditions
2.Impose some penalty on people who don’t buy insurance, to induce healthy people to sign up and provide a workable risk pool
3.Subsidize premiums so that lower-income households can afford insurance

So that’s Obamacare (and Romneycare before that): regulation, mandates, and subsidies. And the result has been a sharp decline in the number of uninsured, with costs coming in well below expectations. Roughly speaking, 20 million Americans gained coverage at a cost of around 0.6 percent of GDP.

Republicans have nonetheless denounced the law as a monstrosity, and promised to replace it with something totally different and far better. Which makes what they’ve actually come up … interesting.

For the GOP proposal basically accepts the logic of Obamacare. It retains insurer regulation to prevent exclusion of people with preexisting conditions. It imposes a penalty on those who don’t buy insurance while healthy. And it offers tax credits to help people buy insurance. Conservatives calling the plan Obamacare 2.0 definitely have a point.

But a better designation would be Obamacare 0.5, because it’s really about replacing relatively solid pillars with half-measures, severely and probably fatally weakening the whole structure.

Anti-Semitic Valentine’s Day card at Republican event

So, this happened.

Central Michigan University’s College Republicans threw a Valentines event where attendees got gift bags prepared by the university’s young, upstanding Republicans, including this one, bearing a likeness of Adolf Hitler and the message, “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.”

The College Republicans have since apologized.

Republican Party spits on the Constitution and America in one tweet

The Republican Party could have stood up for the Constitution and the rule of law when Trump issued his first Muslim ban order.  Let’s see how they did.

Not so good.

The Republican Party appears to be joining Donald Trump in trying to undermine the legitimacy of the American court system—a coequal branch of government to the executive, with a thinly veiled call to stand against the courts after the 9th Circuit’s decision to uphold a restraining order on Trump’s Muslim ban

When it starts to turn against Trump, remember:  the Republican Party stood with him.