Friday, May 19, 2017

Health care III

Are Alabamians going to get decent, honest, intelligent discussion about health care in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate?

This blog entry will endeavor to compile what there is from the candidates (to be updated as more is provided by the candidates).

From Mo Brooks, there is this:

BROOKS SUPPORTS HEALTH CARE BILL PASSAGE, PROTECTS THOSE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

May 4, 2017 
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) today voted in favor of the improved and amended American Health Care Act (AHCA) that partially repeals ObamaCare and drives down projected health insurance costs while maintaining coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Congressman Mo Brooks said, “While today’s health care legislation falls short of the full ObamaCare repeal that I called for and believe in, a partial repeal does more good for working American families than no repeal at all.  I am proud that diligent House Freedom Caucus work has forced amendments that converted substantial increases in health insurance premiums into substantial cuts in health insurance costs for tens of millions of Americans.  The AHCA repeals roughly twenty ObamaCare taxes that have hurt job creators and cut take-home pay.  The AHCA repeals the ObamaCare individual and employer mandate penalties that undermine freedom of choice and liberty.”  
Brooks continued, “Further, the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment forced by the Freedom Caucus helps restore States’ Rights by giving states the discretion to seek and obtain waivers from many of ObamaCare’s most costly, premium-increasing mandates, thereby lowering health insurance costs for struggling American families.  Importantly, in order to receive a waiver, the MacArthur-Meadows amendment requires states to set up a high-risk program that limits higher premiums to one year for those individuals who tried to game the system by refusing to buy insurance.  After one year, the individual would return to standard rate.” 
Brooks stated, “Despite fear-mongering from the left, this legislation explicitly maintains protections for pre-existing conditions and bans health insurers from charging a patient with pre-existing conditions higher premiums as long as they maintain continuous coverage or sign up for new coverage within 63 days of exiting a previous insurance plan.  Consistent with a concerted effort to help those with pre-existing conditions, the amended AHCA provides an additional $8 billion to help offset insurance costs for citizens with pre-existing conditions in those states that seek an approved waiver.  This is on top of the $130 billion available to states through the AHCA’s Patient and State Stability Fund, which seeks to help states repair the damage done by ObamaCare to health markets. And both the $8 billion and $130 billion are over and above the roughly $350 billion per year over-taxed American citizens already give to citizens who have difficulty paying for their health care.”
Brooks concluded, “While the amended AHCA does not fully repeal ObamaCare, and while it is nowhere near what I believe is best, it is a step in the right direction to lower insurance costs for struggling American families and is a vast improvement over ObamaCare.  Leaving ObamaCare in place is not an option for Americans.  I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to build on the progress made in the House on the AHCA to deliver on our promises to the American people.”
From Luther Strange
Obamacare is a total failure. Skyrocketing premiums and deductibles have made health care unaffordable and inaccessible. Alabama families have learned that having access to health care insurance is not at all the same as having access to quality health care. 
Luther Strange is already working with fellow conservatives in Congress to shape legislation to help President Trump keep his promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reform, leading to lowered premiums and increased access.




Thursday, May 18, 2017

#alsen

The special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat in the United States Senate is off and running.

It is occurring in the context of politics in the United States being in great flux and confusion stemming from the 2016 Presidential election.

The Republicans won the White House and Congress in a surprise last November.

Currently, the Trump agenda is in a turmoil, with much due to Trump self-inflicted problems. The situation is getting alarming for the Republicans, who are starting to worry about the 2018 elections.

The Democrats are struggling over how to rebuild their party.

Voters are very anxious about what is going to happen with their health care.

Two other special Congressional elections are in full swing, one in the Georgia 6th Congressional district that will be decided on June 20th, and the other being an at large Congressional election in Montana that will be decided next Tuesday. Both of these elections are going hot and heavy and being viewed as a referendum on Donald Trump.

The course of the Alabama special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat awaits playing out in the above context of flux and confusion in United States politics.

In this Alabama special election for the United States Senate, two big issues the candidates would seem to need to confront are, first, President Donald Trump, and, second, health care.

Alabama voters should take a great interest in the Alabama special election, and also the election has the potential for attracting significant national attention.

For informational purposes, the candidates are listed below, including a links to their campaign websites as they become available.

Republicans
Luther Strange
Mo Brooks
Roy Moore
Randy Brinson
Dom Gentile
Trip Pittman
Bryan Peoples
Mary Maxwell
Joseph Breault
James Beretta
Karen Jackson

Democrats
Doug Jones
Will Boyd
Vann Caldwell
Jason Fisher
Michael Hansen
Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Brian McGee
Nana Tchienkou

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Comey questions

To Senators Shelby and Strange and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, and Palmer:

Can you (who are Alabama's Republicans in Congress) please answer these questions:

1. Do you believe President Trump has obligations of truthfulness and credibility to the American people?

2. If yes, do you believe President Trump has fulfilled those obligations during the past seven days related to the James Comey firing?

3. Will you answer the foregoing questions for the benefit of your Alabama constituents?

More questions
4. Did not Trump collude with the Russians when he asked them to interfere in the election to help him? See Smartest colluders.
5. Have both Flynn and Trump lied to Mike Pence?
6. Should FBI interviewees be asked whether they are willing to work for a man who lies to the American people about his conversations with them? (If you want to send tweets to the interviewees asking them this question directly, go to Lying boss.)


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trey Gowdy

President Trump's firing of James Comey launches the country into a visitation of whether the United States upholds the rule of law and its checks and balances, and whether the firing can rise to the level of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Early in the Watergate story, Nixon wanted Ehrlichman and Haldeman to get the CIA to tell the FBI to back away from its investigation by stating to the FBI that matters of national security were involved. This was a blatant abuse of Presidential power.

Now it needs to be determined whether President Trump is abusing his power by giving pretext reasons for firing James Comey when President Trump's real reason is to impede the Russia investigation and whether the same can be obstruction of justice by President Trump.

As with Watergate, responsibility will primarily devolve on Congress to uphold the rule of law and checks and balances and to oppose Presidential abuse of power. This will not be easy because it involves reaching conclusions about what were President Trump's true reasons for firing Comey and what are pretext reasons.

There is good basis to think that Senators Shelby and Strange and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, and Palmer will not be up to fulfilling their responsibilities as members of Congress to uphold the rule of law and checks and balance and to oppose Presidential abuse of power in the Comey firing.

If Senators Shelby and Strange and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, and Palmer wish to begin to show that they are up to the foregoing task, the starting point would be for them to issue statements about Comey's firing. In doing that, they might consider the statement that Rep. Trey Gowdy issued yesterday, which is set forth below.

REP. GOWDY STATEMENT ON FBI DIRECTOR COMEY

May 10, 2017 
Press Release
Washington, DC - Rep. Gowdy released a statement following the news of FBI Director Comey.
"Director Comey had a very difficult job. I appreciate his service to our country as both a federal prosecutor and the head of the FBI. I had my differences with him on some matters but never lost sight of the fact that he had a very difficult job and undoubtedly had access to facts that perhaps the rest of us did not. I am thankful for his service to our country and am hopeful our President will select an independent minded person to serve as the head of our nation's premier law enforcement agency. Our justice system is the foundation of our republic. It must be both respected and fully worthy of our respect."
EDIT 
In his farewell letter to the FBI, Comey said, "I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all." This needs clarification concerning whether President Trump could fire Comey for the purpose of impeding the Russia investigation but that there is a separate question of "wrongfulness" that Comey himself cannot raise to resist his firing but that can be an abuse of power and obstruction of justice for which the President may be held accountable either criminally or as an impeachable offense. It is believed that the latter is the case. Review of the Nixon articles of impeachement supports that the latter is the case. Opinion of experts will be sought on this.

FURTHER EDIT
The contradiction between Trump's letter firing Comey and what Trump has said in Lester Holt interview is material in judging what Trump's real reasons for firing Comey were, and whether Trump endeavored (and continues to endeavor) to deceive the American people and Congress about his real reasons by lying in putting forth pretext reasons for the firing,

Trump's letter firing Comey said:
"I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately."

In the Lester Holt interview, Trump said he made the decision to fire Comey before he met with Rosenstein on Monday and that, "Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey."

This contradiction is evidence derived soley from Trump that Trump is trying to deceive the American people and Congress about his real reasons for firing Comey. There is much other evidence not derived solely from Trump that Trump is trying to deceive the American people and Congress about his real reasons for firing Comey.


Update 5/12
In the full Lester Holt interview, Trump says "when I decided to do it [fire Comey], I said to myself 'this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost the election'." Trump further says the investigation should have been over long ago, but that "I might even lengthen out the investigation."

Inquiry to legal experts
I have sent the below email to three professors of criminal law at the University of Alabama School of Law:

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 12, 2017 at 5:55 PM
Subject: abuse of power; obstruction of justice
To: ppierson@law.ua.edu, srushin@law.ua.edu, jcarroll@law.ua.edu
Dear Professors Pierson, Rushin and Carroll,
I didn't receive any reply to my previous March 23rd email to you, concerning whether President Trump could have criminal liability for his public urging of the Russians and Wikileaks to release criminally obtained hacking information. See Smartest colluders.
That's ok. I understand.
I am continuing my work and am currently posting about whether Trump's firing of Comey may constitute Presidential abuse of power and obstruction of justice. See my blog entry Trey Gowdy.
If you or any other University of Alabama law professor in the criminal law or constitutional law fields wish to comment on these subjects, I will be pleased to post what you or they have to say.
In support of my purpose here, I will urge persons in the Alabama media to contact their sources of information about the above subjects in question.
Thanks for your attention.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tom Price

Alabamians need to watch Jake Tapper's interview of Tom Price this morning.

I think it is amazing what Price is able to say with a straight face.

You watch the below video and decide whether you think Price is being straight with the American people about the effects of cutting $880 billion from Medicaid. You decide how much you can believe Price about anything he says.



I have sent tweets directed to Senators Shelby and Strange and Rep. Palmer asking them whether they think Alabamians can trust Price with their health care and whether he is being straight with the American people. I will post any responses I get.



Update 5/9
Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington announced yesterday that he is running for Governor of Alabama.
Governors around the country are on the spot about what the The American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives will do to their state's Medicaid and health care insurance coverage.
Thus far, my opinion is Alabama's Republicans in Congress are not being straight with Alabamians about what The American Health Care Act will do to Alabamians.
Maybe Commissioner Carrington can undertake study of this and maybe Commissioner Carrington can be straight with Alabamians about the subject even if  Senators Shelby and Strange and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, and Palmer can't be straight with Alabamians about the subject.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Can Rep. Palmer defend himself?

To: Rep. Gary Palmer, Alabama 6th Congressional district

So, how is Congress doing its job now for the American people?

Below is how the Democrats thought Congress was doing its job in 2010 when Obamacare was enacted:



America's health care system has gone through seven long, expensive, wrenching years since 2010.

Do you really think you and the House of Representatives got it right yesterday with The American Health Care Act?

Maybe The American Health Care Act will just die in the Senate.

Maybe it will get changed by the Senate, the House and Senate will agree, and President Trump will sign it into law.

My opinion is that Congress continues to serve the American people poorly.

I predict a huge social collision in the country emanating from the House of Representatives action yesterday.

You own your action of yesterday, and you are going to have to defend it.

I don't think you will be able to defend it well.

We'll see.