Prepared 6.26.17 for LCI Issues by Rob Richardson
The Better Care Reconciliation Act – Senate GOP Healthcare Bill
- Allows insurers to change the rating rules and potentially charge older clients more than five times what a younger person would pay for the same plan;
- Ends cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, which reduce out of pocket expenses for lower income individuals in 2020;
- Reduces the maximum eligibility amount for an individual or family to qualify for an advance premium tax credit from 400% of the federal poverty level to 350%;
- Allows stats to pick and choose which benefits would be mandated for their residents through a waive system;
- Repeals or reduces 10 different taxes – the highest being the
- Medicare Tax on Unearned income (3.8%) for individuals earning over $200K and families over $250K on net investment income;
- Additional Medicare payroll tax (0.9%) on payroll earnings over $200K for an individual and $250K for families.
- Allows states to add work requirement to “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients for fiscal years after 2024;
- Beginning 2025 federal Medicaid reimbursements will increase by the U.S. general rate of inflation rather than the medical rate of inflation (which rises faster);
- States can impose more frequent eligibility audits on Medicaid recipients (currently on once per year);
- Health Savings Account contributions increase to $6,550 for an individual and $13,100 for a family.
- Medicaid cuts disproportionately hurt rural hospitals, 700 of which across the country already teeter on the brink of closure. (NPR’s Bram Sable-Smith);
- Cut almost $1 billion in funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides 12 percent of the CDC’s budget, starting this October.;
- Appropriates only $2 billion in fiscal year 2018 to address the opioid drug epidemic;
- After 2019, subsidies that help the vast majority of people with ACA health plans afford their premiums would stop.
To our members who are concerned about effects of climate change, especially on Cape Cod:
The Education (AEO) Committee is planning a series of public interactive talks, complete with relevant handouts. We will need lots of help. We need “curators”…individuals who will take on the planning and communication around each presentation. Please find the one which appeals to you and let Rand Burkert know you’d like to participate!
Here is the series as we now conceive it. Some of these have committed speakers + and others are in early planning stages.
Lower Cape Indivisible Climate Change Series
The Education Committee of LCI believes Climate Change is the issue which we cannot let slide! We begin with the assumption that Climate Change is fact.
Our goal is to answer the question “What Can I Do About…?”
We hear much frustration among fellow Cape Codders who feel they don’t know what to do, and we observe a lack of understanding about the relevant work being done and possibilities for work to be done.
+ The first meeting will set the stage: Climate Change (hereafter CC) as it exists in the microcosm of Cape Cod. What changes have we seen already? What is threatened in the future? This first interactive talk will bring the issue close to home. Presenter is Mon Cochran of 5c’s.
Following this, several subjects will be covered complete with handouts detailing what we can do personally; locally; at county, state and federal level.
First set will cover existing unavoidable effects on various important aspects of our lives
+ Effect of CC on Cape Cod nature: Bob Prescott
+ Effect of CC on Pleasant Bay, a surrogate for the many Cape Cod estuaries: Carol Ridley, director PB Alliance.
Effect of CC on Cape Cod fishery: Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance.
Effect of CC on development and RE sales: Cape Cod Commission environmental economist
Effect of CC on tourism and business: Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Then a series on how to actually cut back on carbon loading
+ Carbon footprint. What does it mean? Carbon reduction possibilities using clean energy. Review 5C’s personal carbon footprint calculator. Pat Hughes. If attendees bring ipads, can actually do there.
+ Carbon reduction possibilities with native trees and shrubs and minimizing of fertilizer: Kristin Andres of APCC. Handouts: town fertilizer regs, native plant lists. Role of Conservation Commissions/Bds. of Health.
Prepared by Mike Schell for LCI Issues
Day after day, night after night, all we hear, read and watch is “Trump, Trump, Trump.” Tweets, leaks, Rose Garden nose thumbing at Europe, science and climate change, mega bombs, cruise missiles and on and on.
Let’s step back. What should we be doing, thinking, watching? The Trump Show is a distracting Side Show. We need to pay attention to real stuff, real issues, real needs of the country and all its citizens. We need prescriptions for what is ailing us. This is a large and panoramic challenge, but let’s start somewhere.
I am starting with the substance of a recent article by Paul Rosenberg entitled The GOP’s biggest budget lies: Take these down, and progressives will start to win. I urge you to read it. Clink on this link to get it.
Here’s the crux of what it says – all solidly supported by historical evidence and logical analysis.
The proposition that the federal budget must be balanced notwithstanding whatever suffering, famine and human destruction is left in the wake of the effort rests on three lies. The first is that the national debt is a problem. It isn’t. The second is that the cause of recent increases in the national debt is welfare spending. It isn’t. The third is that Republicans are better, more reliable, responsible managers of the economy and the finances of the Federal government. Demonstrably, they aren’t.
The author’s refutation of the second lie is particularly illuminating of the real issues to which we should be addressing ourselves:
Indeed, as Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson explained just over a year ago, in their paper A World Upside Down? Deficit Fantasies in the Great Recession, all of the US long-term federal debt is due to just three oligopoly sections: the military-industrial complex (the backbone of empire, with bases all around the world and almost half the world’s military spending), the medical-industrial complex (with twice the per capita dollars of other systems), and the financial section (which has recently cost trillions of dollars in lost wealth and economic activity).
All three of these are enormous cash cows for the one per cent, and equally enormous cost-centres for the 99 per cent. Without the costs imposed by lack of competition, regulation and accountability in these sectors, the US would have no long-term debt problem. We would be paying it down, rather than running it up.
The refutation of the third lie is also interesting – supported as it is with historical economic data. The conclusion: “Democrats are superior for the economy as a whole – GDP growth, unemployment rate, inflation – for the stock market, and for controlling government deficits, etc.” A century of economic evidence supports this conclusion.
This one article lays the foundation for several things that need to be done: Investment in America – infrastructure, education, jobs programs, increasing the minimum wage. Healthcare as a right for everyone provided in a system that continues and improves Obamacare’s flattening of the cost curve. Making Wall Street work for Main Street – not the other way around.
This is not the entire program, but it’s a beginning. More to come. I hope you’ll read the article.
Fired up & ready to go. Sunny Side Up.
Compiled by Annie Campbell Dugan, for LCI Issues
Currently under consideration
Senate Bill S27 – A bill to establish an independent commission to examine and report on the facts regarding the extent of Russian official and unofficial cyber operations and other attempts to interfere in the 2016 United States election, and for other purposes.
Members Contact Information
(all addresses end in Washington DC 20510)
Richard C. Shelby (AL), Chair 304 Russell Senate Office Building
Mitch McConnell (KY) 317 Russell Senate Office Building
Thad Cochran (MS) 113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Lamar Alexander (TN) 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Pat Roberts (KS) 109 Hart Senate Office Building
Roy Blunt (SMO) 260 Russell Senate Office Building
Ted Cruz (TX) 404 Russell Senate Office Building
Shelley Moore Capito (WV) 172 Russell Senate Office Building
Roger F. Wicker (MS) 555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Deb Fischer (NE) 454 Russell Senate Office Building
Amy Klobuchar (MN), Ranking Member 302 Hart Senate Office Building
Dianne Feinstein ©A 331 Hart Senate Office Building
Charles E. Schumer (NY) 322 Hart Senate Office Building
Richard J. Durbin (IL) 711 Hart Senate Office Building
Tom Udall (NM) 531 Hart Senate Office Building
Mark R. Warner (VA) 475 Russell Senate Office Building
Patrick J. Leahy (VT) 437 Russell Senate Office Building
Angus S. Kind (ME) 133 Hart Senate Office Building
Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) B40A Dirksen Senate Office Building
By Brett Warren, Lower Cape Indivisible
Did you know that activism is good for you? Being an activist might seem daunting at first, but the alternative—sitting on the sidelines when you feel strongly about something—is actually a source of stress, because it can make you feel more helpless and more anxious. Getting involved is rewarding—and empowering. Here are seven tips on being an introvert activist.
- Know thyself. Recognize the signs that you need to recharge. Maybe it’s that feeling of “glazing over” or sudden fatigue or “brain fog.” Eventually you might get a headache, back or neck pain, nausea, or other unpleasant symptoms. Don’t let things progress to physical discomfort—identify the early signs and pay attention to them.
- Find a phrase about overload that works for you. (Examples: “I’ve reached my saturation point.”
“I’m hitting the wall.” “I’m tapped out.” “I need time to process.”) Overload is about taking in too much information and too many details. Take a break and let your brain catch up. Extroverts also feel this way, so don’t hesitate to speak up and make your exit (or say no) if you have to. People understand.
- Figure out how to push the “reset” button and restore your sense of equilibrium on a daily basis. Exercise. Spend time in nature. Play or listen to music. Make art. Do some creative writing. Garden. Cook. Spend time with pets, children, and people who are older than you. Read. Watch movies. Volunteer in non-political ways. Reorganize your garage. Do daily meditation, even for 5 minutes—it’s restorative because it teaches you how to put your brain in “neutral.” (Try an app like Insight Timer.)
- Choose your news—not just the sources, but also the amount and frequency of information you take in. Steer clear of sensationalism on both sides of the divide. Skip over things you know will upset you. Take regular “fasts” from news and social media—you’ll still find out about the important stuff. Block news sources on Facebook that upset you, and unfollow people whose posts wear you down (maybe you disagree, or maybe they just post too much on political issues). You’ll still be Facebook friends and they won’t know you’ve unfollowed them. (You can refollow them at any time, like after the next elections.)
- Learn what kinds of activism work best for you. Mix it up:
- Postcards take less effort than letters because you have limited space—you don’t even have to sign your name. Have fun. Paul Ryan needs to know he looks like Eddie Munster.
- “Covert ops”—like printing out “leave-behinds” to put in public places—are surprisingly satisfying.
- Protests and town-hall meetings are important times to show up and be counted, but you don’t have to “engage”—you can just be part of the crowd.
- Dare to call! Many introverts dislike making phone calls, but apps like 5 Calls make it super-easy: they dial the number for you and even include scripts you can simply read when you make a call. Your total speaking time is only about 20 seconds per call, and it’s not like you have to actually meet anyone. (Often you’ll just leave a voicemail—but if you do get an actual human, they’re not going to start a conversation with you—they’ll just log your call.) Overcoming this hurdle is liberating—try it!
- Find your tribe(s). Indivisible is a great choice, but there are lots of options. Take on a specific role, help out as a “worker bee,” or both. You’ll be among people who appreciate you for who you are.
P.S. Give yourself a present—read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This book will help you appreciate the essential qualities introverts bring to every aspect of our world. Self-knowledge is power!
By Brett Warren Lower Cape Indivisible www.lowercapeindivisible.com