Archive of Articles in the "Health Care" Category

Aftershocks From The Lambquake

[ Posted Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 – 17:04 PDT ]

In practical terms, the election of Democrat Conor Lamb to Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district isn't all that big a deal. Control of the House will not switch, so Paul Ryan will remain as speaker (with one less vote he can count on). Lamb will hold the seat only until November, when the district itself will disappear in the new redistricting map imposed by the state supreme court (to counteract the egregious Republican gerrymandering). So, practically, nothing much will change. In both political and psychological terms, however, the effect of Lamb's victory has to be measured on the Richter scale, because it certainly shook up Washington in a very big way. Congress felt the earth move last night, as the political tectonic plates realigned.

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CA Democrats Refuse To Endorse Dianne Feinstein

[ Posted Monday, February 26th, 2018 – 17:53 PST ]

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California, failed to get her own party's endorsement for re-election last weekend. In a stunning vote of no confidence, the California Democratic Party not only refused to endorse Feinstein, but came very close to endorsing her biggest primary opponent instead. A total of 60 percent of the votes was needed for an official party endorsement. Feinstein got only 37 percent, while challenger Kevin De León got 54 percent. That's a pretty sharp rebuke from the state party, obviously.

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Friday Talking Points [473] -- Mueller's Busy Week

[ Posted Friday, February 23rd, 2018 – 18:28 PST ]

Bob Mueller has had a busy and productive week. His investigation is intensifying quickly, as it gains speed and moves closer and closer to the inner Trump circle. Just a week ago, Mueller's team dropped an indictment on 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 election. By Tuesday, a previously-unmentioned lawyer reached a plea deal with Mueller. Yesterday, Mueller filed an indictment with 32 counts against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Today, Gates officially flipped, and pled guilty to two counts against him, conspiracy and lying to federal agents. Not just another #MuellerFriday, in other words, but a full-on #MuellerWeek. No word from President Trump's Twitter account yet (as of this writing), but if last weekend was any preview, it sure ought to be fun to see him flail around for the next few days as the noose gets tighter and tighter around his innermost circle.

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Friday Talking Points [472] -- Infrastructure Week!

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2018 – 18:04 PST ]

Before we get to all the rest of the news, here's an interesting anniversary: it has been exactly one year since Trump's last solo press conference. In all the time he's been president, he has held a grand total of precisely one press conference, a month after he was sworn in. So what is he afraid of?

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Friday Talking Points [471] -- Trump's Kim Jong Un Envy

[ Posted Friday, February 9th, 2018 – 18:25 PST ]

There's an old joke in Washington that the press knows how to ask politicians questions that can't be answered in any acceptable way. The classic example, of course, is: "So, Senator, have you stopped beating your wife?" This week, however, the Trump White House has been getting a variant: "So, how long was a wife-beater who couldn't get a security clearance allowed to work for the president, and why?"

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Snap Reactions To The State Of The Union

[ Posted Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 – 23:55 PST ]

As usual, I hereby offer up my initial snap reactions after watching both President Trump's first official State Of The Union speech (last year's was just "an address to the Congress"), and the Democratic response. I like to do this before I dive in to what others may have opined about the speech, so as not to be influenced by any Washington media groupthink. Tomorrow morning, I'll be able to see who agreed with me and who didn't, of course.

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Trump To Try Bipartisanship?

[ Posted Monday, January 29th, 2018 – 18:11 PST ]

Tomorrow night, President Donald Trump will give his first official State Of The Union speech. The White House is leaking that his speech will be the first where he reaches out in an attempt to unify the country and offer bipartisan leadership to Congress. That is a pretty tall order for this particular president, for obvious reasons. But even if he manages to deliver an impressive speech, it's not likely to change anything afterwards. At least not in the way of actual bipartisan legislation, since Democrats are not likely to strike such deals right before a midterm election that could put them in a much better bargaining position afterwards.

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Friday Talking Points [469] -- A Crazed Definition Of Modern Womanhood

[ Posted Friday, January 26th, 2018 – 18:58 PST ]

American women were in the news this week in a big way, on both sides of the political aisle. Last weekend, millions of women took to the streets to protest, once again, Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office. By the end of the week, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri was making headlines for his rather Neanderthal views on, as he put it, "modern womanhood."

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Marijuana Legalization Has Passed The Tipping Point

[ Posted Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 – 18:38 PST ]

The state of Vermont has just made some history. It has become the first state in the Union to legalize the recreational adult use of marijuana through its legislature. There was no citizens' referendum where the people voted the new law in; instead, representative democracy worked as designed -- a clear majority of Vermonters were in favor of legalization and their elected representatives actually represented this viewpoint by changing the law. This is important because there are many states like Vermont (24 in total) where the direct democracy of ballot initiatives never took hold. When the people can't directly vote on the issue, it is up to the state government to act, to put it another way. Vermont will become the ninth state with legal recreational marijuana this July, when the new law takes effect. Over one-fifth of the American population now lives where weed is legal. Marijuana legalization can now be said to have reached -- and passed -- the tipping point. There is no going back, at this point, to the failed War On Weed, which has been waged for approximately the last century of American history. All that is really left to happen is for the federal government to wake up to this new reality. That may still take a few years, but at this point it has to be seen as all but inevitable.

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What About The House?

[ Posted Monday, January 22nd, 2018 – 18:19 PST ]

The Senate Democrats ended their government shutdown today, not with a bang but with a whimper. They did not achieve their stated objective, to force a vote on a bill to save the DACA program, but they did at least raise awareness of the issue in Washington, so it can't conveniently be swept under a rug for the foreseeable future. The moderates and the Democratic Senate leadership point to a rather squishy promise made by Mitch McConnell to hold a floor vote on a DACA bill at some point in the next two months, which was apparently enough of a commitment to assuage the fears of a majority of Democratic senators for now. But lost in all the recriminations is one glaring question: what about the House?

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