A recent article in the Duluth News Tribune reported that Trumpcare would cap federal spending on Medicaid and force states, nursing homes, hospitals and others to make up the difference, which would grow over time. Medicaid has been a big part of the nation’s health-care system for over 50 years and insures nearly 1 in 5 Americans. One in every two people over the age of 65 will have some type of stay in a nursing home, with one in 10 staying longer than five years. Of those currently receiving nursing home-level care, 40 percent are under the age of 65.

A per-capita cap (sending a fixed amount to the states for each beneficiary) or a block grant (sending a fixed amount to the states for their entire program) would give states substantially less federal funding than they would get under Medicaid today, with the cuts growing larger each year.

“What a huge impact this could have, even here in Detroit Lakes,” said Janet Green, regional director of Ecumen, which owns Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes and manages Sunnnyside Care Center near Lake Park for Becker County.

With an aging population, Minnesota could be especially hurt by the proposed changes to Medicaid, which covers many nursing home residents.

“In Minnesota, there are a rising number of older adults and people needing Medicaid to pay for long-term health needs,” Green said.

Long-term care costs, based upon a recent survey by Genworth Financial, shows median costs for home care at $65,000 a year and a private nursing home room at $97,000 a year, according to University of Minnesota Extension. Costs like that can quickly consume a lifetime of savings, leaving people dependent on Medicaid for nursing home care.

Any cuts in Medicaid will mean less money to pay our staff,” she said. And nursing homes, for obvious reasons, are all about people—some 70 percent of total costs are for personnel. “As you know, we have a worker shortage in Minnesota, and we have a hard time paying staff as needed,” Green said.

Loss of federal Medicaid funding could have a detrimental effect on efforts to keep people in their homes longer and out of nursing homes.  But if funding for those programs goes away, more people will try to stay at home without services, and it will end up costing the system more in the long run. “People will be sicker and need more costly care,” she said.

Medicaid pays the premiums, deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare for lower-income elderly people, Medicaid changes could also hurt Medicare beneficiaries.

“Sometimes it’s all about money, and we’re not really looking at how it’s going to affect people,” Green said of the Medicaid proposal. “At the end of the day, we want to make sure we’re taking care of our elderly and vulnerable.”

Fox Illinois reported that more than one-third of Illinois nursing homes filed self-reported data proving they were understaffed in 2015. Residents were denied 9.1 million hours of vital care they need. Some Illinois lawmakers are trying to change that with SB 1624.

SB 1624 is a new bill to enforce an old bill, making sure nursing homes have enough staff to care for their residents properly.

“Here’s the problem, we now know that even though that bill has been law for six years, it’s simply, in many instances, not being followed,” Senator Daniel Biss, who is sponsoring the bill, said.

“It’s overwhelming at times, especially if you can’t give your 100 percent,” LPN Tabetha Oster said. “I have heard that when public health comes in, that some facilities use management on the schedules to make it look like there’s more staff for that day.”

 

 

Mother Jones keeps an ongoing list of all the people and groups that hate Trumpcare:

Breitbart News, which Trump strategist Steve Bannon ran for years, published headlines including, “Obamacare 2.0 Guts Enforcement, Gives Illegal Aliens Health Care Through Identity Fraud” and “Conservatives: Paul Ryan”s Healthcare Plan Replaces Obamacare with Obamacare-Lite.”

The National Review called the replacement a “disappointing start” because it doesn’t repeal all of the Obamacare regulations.

Four Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid—Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)—penned a letter to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shortly before the latest version of the bill was released Monday expressing concern that an earlier draft of the replacement “does not provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been outspoken in calling for a full repeal of Obamacare, said the GOP legislation was “dead on arrival.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) expressed similar frustration, calling the bill a “missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.”

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told Katie Couric that she “has a lot of concerns” about the bill—particularly the estimates that 6 to 10 million people could lose their health insurance. Collins objected to the roll-back of Medicaid expansion and also warned that the bill could increase health care costs for seniors.

The House Freedom Caucus—a group of about three dozen conservative members of Congress—blasted the replacement bill for being another “entitlement program” that offers refundable tax credits to poor Americans. “This is Obamacare by a different form,” said former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to Politico. “There’s nothing ‘wonderful’ about the GOP plan,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). “It repackages Obamacare, breaks promises & doesn’t lower costs.” Some other conservative Republicans agreed. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) called the bill a “stinking pile of garbage” written by the “insurance lobby,” according to the Washington Examiner.

Americans for Prosperity launched the #YouPromised campaign, demanding “full repeal.” Monday’s legislation “falls far short of the promises Republicans made to the American people in four consecutive federal elections,” AFP President Tim Phillips told The Hill.

Heritage Action for America CEO Michael Needham called the GOP legislation “bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.” He added, “Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act.”

FreedomWorks public policy director Jason Pye called the legislation “ObamaCare-lite,” saying that a provision allowing insurers to charge more for consumers who don’t keep continuous coverage is “an individual mandate by another name.”

Club for Growth President David McIntosh called the bill a “warmed-over substitute for government-run health care.” He added, “The problems with this bill are not just what’s in it, but also what’s missing: namely, the critical free-market solution of selling health insurance across state lines.”

CATO Institute health policy expert Michael Cannon denounced the legislation on Fox News as “a fresh coat of paint on a building the Republicans have already condemned.”

 

The New York Times reported that The American Medical Association, a powerful lobbying group representing the nation’s doctors, announced that it opposed the House Republicans’ proposed legislation to replace the federal health care law, because the bill “would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits.”

All of the major hospital groups, including the American Hospital Association, also came out against the bill. Trumpcare will most likely “lead to tremendous instability for those seeking affordable coverage,” the hospitals said in a letter to Congress. The hospitals also raised concerns about Republicans’ plans to significantly alter Medicaid, which they said could result in a loss of coverage and cuts to health care services.

The American Nurses Association, which strongly backed Obamacare, tweeted,“The #AHCA threatens health care affordability, access, & delivery for individuals across the nation. Therefore, we oppose. #ProtectOurCare”

The Wall Street Journal emphasized the backlash from senior groups including the AARP.  The AARP, which represents nearly 40 million older Americans, opposed the legislation in a letter to Congress arguing that the act would increase the cost of health care for older people. The criticism also took the form of a snarky video in which a squirrel helps explain the harmful impact of what the group calls the bill’s “age tax.” Older Americans generally spend more on health care, but under Obamacare, insurance companies couldn’t charge them more than three times as much as younger clients. The replacement bill pushes that ratio to 5-to-1. According to the group, the age band provision is “Washington politician speak for overcharging older Americans for their health insurance while lining the insurance companies’ pockets.”

Jonathan Chait at the New Yorker Magazine had a great article on the social catastrophe that is Trumpcare.

“The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the American Health Care Act describes, in dry budgetary language, a social catastrophe. The bill would deprive 14 million American citizens of their health insurance next year, a number that would rise to 24 million by the end of the decade.

The changes Trumpcare would impose upon the health-care system are easy to understand. It is, quite simply, a redistribution bill. It would reduce taxes on the rich, and thus reduce the amount of subsidies for coverage for people who can’t obtain it through their job or Medicare. By 2026, CBO finds, the average subsidy would be about half as large. But the cut would not be distributed evenly. Middle- to upper-middle class customers buying insurance, especially young and healthy ones, would get larger subsidies. Poor, sick, and old customers would get enormous cuts in their subsidy levels. CBO has a graph showing the bill’s effect on Americans who make less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The dark-blue bars represent the status quo. The light-blue bars show what Republicans hope to “achieve”:

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Responsibility and accountability – even for the powerful – are rooted into the core of our legal system. This country’s founders knew that a democracy needs a court system that empowers people to protect themselves by holding the powerful to account. That’s why the Constitution guarantees each person the right to a trial by jury. The founders feared unaccountable power in the form of the King of England against his “subjects.” 21st Century America may not have a king, but it does have billion dollar corporations touching every part of every person’s life. These corporations now seek the kind of unaccountable power our founders sought to protect against, and they’re seeking that power by destroying your constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Politicians who are in the pockets of large corporations and insurance companies have devised a plan specifically aimed at destroying our right to hold those in power accountable for their misdeeds. Their plain is to enact laws that will all but destroy your right to use the judicial system to protect yourself. They have introduced bills which, if passed, will enact arbitrary changes to courts all across the country, including:

  • Limiting compensation for injuries caused by medical professionals, including doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and medical device manufacturers,

to $250,000.00, regardless of how much that injury devastated your life

or the extent of malfeasance by the medical professional or company.

  • Eliminating class-action law suits, which would essentially destroy the ability to bring the kinds of cases that keep us safe
  • Eliminate Individual States Law regarding lawsuits and forcing all cases to Federal Court
  • Allowing insurance companies to make “payments” rather than paying full compensation.

We must tell our government to put people first and stop trampling on our rights. Javerbaum Wurgaft has been protecting citizens of New Jersey and New York by demanding that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of gender, race, or economic status. Please join us in demanding that Congress do the same. We must ban together and contact our representatives to demand they say NO to these outrageous attacks on our rights. Go to each link below and tell them NO!

The Washington Post reported that the House Republicans are advancing a series of bills that would make drastic changes to the civil justice system long sought by insurance company lobbyists and global corporations, including a cap on medical malpractice awards and additional roadblocks for classes of people seeking to sue jointly to address harm.

Civil rights and consumer groups oppose the measures, saying they would severely limit the ability of average Americans to pursue legal remedies from powerful institutions. In a letter to congressional leaders, opponents said the measure would have a “chilling effect” on a broad range of complaints, including civil rights violations, employment discrimination and environmental abuses.

One proposal would limit monetary awards in medical malpractice suits to only $250,000 for noneconomic damages, which include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent scars.  The caps would apply broadly to all manner of medical malpractice, including errors in surgery, side effects from unsafe drugs, abuse and neglect in nursing homes, and sexual assault by doctors.

 None of the four proposals has been aired in a congressional hearing. House leaders “are turning the legislative process into a kind of subterranean operation,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a leading opponent of the bills. “While the populace is spellbound by [Trump], the conservatives in Congress are dismantling access to justice and our tort civil liability system.”

Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice& Democracy at New York Law School, called the fast-paced legislative campaign to overhaul multiple parts of the civil court system “unprecedented.”

“These bills, put together, would exonerate large corporations and the health-care industry for any kind of harm they may cause everyday people,” Doroshow said.

Doroshow and others said the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act would squelch most class-action lawsuits, which typically involve plaintiffs with a wide variety of similar complaints.

Slate had a tragic/comic article on how EVERYONE hates Trumpcare.

Influential groups representing hospitals and nurses came out against the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, joining doctors and the retirees’ lobby to warn that it would lead to a rise in the uninsured. The groups, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital Association, said they could not support the bill “as currently written.”

In a letter to lawmakers, major hospital groups wrote, “As organizations that take care of every individual who walks through our doors, both due to our mission and our obligations under federal law, we are committed to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all.”

The hospitals and the American Nurses Association joined the American Medical Association and AARP, which also rejected the bill.  The A.M.A., which has nearly 235,000 members and calls itself the voice of the medical profession, sent a letter to leaders of the two committees on Tuesday saying it could not support the Republican bill “because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.”

 The array of groups taking strong positions against the bill is evidence that its potential consequences extend far beyond health insurance coverage, to much of the nation’s economy.  AARP — the association of middle-aged and older Americans that is another crucial supporter of the Affordable Care Act — declared its opposition to the bill and even started running an ad against it. In a letter to Congress, the group said the bill would increase health costs for people ages 50 to 64, could lead to cuts in Medicaid coverage of long-term care and would allow insurers to charge older people five times as much as younger ones.

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation issued estimates this week showing how much revenue the government could lose starting in 2018 under Trumpcare as a result of repealing taxes on drug makers (nearly $25 billion over 10 years), insurers (nearly $145 billion), makers of medical devices (nearly $20 billion), and high-income households (more than $270 billion from taxes on earned income and investment income).