Republican lawmakers are scrambling to find an alternative to Obamacare – The Economist Nov 16th 2016

Congress is poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What might replace it?











THE last time President Barack Obama counted, congressional Republicans had tried to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), his health-care law, more than 60 times. Donald Trump’s election victory means their efforts will no longer be in vain. Yet despite Republicans’ confidence in Obamacare’s shortcomings, what exactly will happen to the law when Mr Trump takes office remains something of a mystery.

Because Republicans lack the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, they will be unable to pass a comprehensive health-care bill without Democratic votes. Instead, they must rely on a process dubbed “budget reconciliation”, which allows a simple majority to pass tax-and-spending measures. Republicans used this process to send a law repealing parts of Obamacare to the president’s desk. Mr Obama vetoed it early this year. Next year, President Trump will probably sign it.

That will be the beginning, rather than the end, of the Republicans’ task. On its own, the reconciliation bill is best described as a wrecking effort. It would remove the subsidies currently available to poor buyers on the ACA’s insurance exchanges. It would nix the individual mandate, which fines Americans who can afford health insurance but go without it. Both moves would reduce the number of healthy people buying coverage. But a rule banning insurers from turning away those with pre-existing medical conditions would remain. As a result, premiums, already up by an average of 22% this year, would rise further, deterring yet more healthy customers. The “death spiral” that some say already afflicts the exchanges would thus accelerate.

Article continues:

The one thing Republicans didn’t say in response to the EPA’s climate change plan – BY SEAN LENGELL | JUNE 2, 2014 | 7:09 PM

Even as Republican lawmakers denounced the Environmental Protection Agency‘s new rules on power plants, they avoided one argument: that climate change is not real.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at Jun 3, 2014 2.36

For years, congressional Republicans have voiced doubts over the science behind climate change in tones ranging from merely skeptical to certain that it is not happening.

Yet no Republican leader on Capitol Hill — and few if any party back-benchers — challenged the existence of climate change when criticizing the proposed Environmental Protection Agency restrictions.

Instead, Republicans focused on other popular GOP talking points, saying that forcing power plants to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions would lead to higher energy prices for consumers, compromise the nation’s electrical grid, hurt the domestic coal industry and cost American jobs.

To be sure, that doesn’t mean Republican lawmakers now believe in climate change. It may instead simply indicate that they don’t think that it’s the most effective argument against the EPA’s regulations at the time they are announced.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who previously has questioned whether global warming is real, said the proposed new EPA rules “will cripple the coal industry and deprive Americans from jobs.”

“Once again, President Obama is more concerned with the desires of billionaire campaign contributors and placating extremist special interests than helping American workers and families escape the failed Obama economy,” he said.

But the Texan didn’t repeat comments he made in February that “data are not supporting what the [climate change] advocates are arguing.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the administration’s proposal “nuts.”

Article continues:

Texas files notice of appeal in marriage equality case – KATIE MCDONOUGH – THURSDAY, FEB 27, 2014 9:13 PM UTC

Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott wasted no time appealing Wednesday’s equal marriage ruling

Texas files notice of appeal in marriage equality case

Following in the footsteps of Republican lawmakers in Utah and Oklahoma, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) Greg Abbott have filed a notice of appeal against a Wednesday court ruling declaring the state’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

As reported by the San Antonio Express-News, Perry and Abbott are named as defendants in the appeal asking for a preliminary injunction against the ruling.

Perry announced his intent to appeal immediately following the Wednesday ruling. “Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens,” he said in a statement. “The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.”

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declared Texas’ ban on equal marriage and the state’s refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples married in other states to be unconstitutional. In his ruling, Garcia argued that both bans violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment.

More to come as the story develops.