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Category Archives: Dirty side of Politics


The neer do wells and TOTUS are pushing a tax reform bill that will ultimately harm and possibly devastate many Americans. The “representatives” have touted this tax reform with more unsaid facts than the spoken lies. The reduction on upper earners will be permanent  while the reduction on the middle to lower earners will be tied to an end date. This “reform” will potentially end a part of the ACA that harm even more Americans. With all of the facts from CBO and many noted economists, the administration is still pushing this “tax reform” and attempting to present it as a good deal. It is my opinion that TOTUS has not read this bill and possibly would not or does not understand what it will do to his own base. This entire so called “reform” is about winning, a victory based on a campaign promise. So we now come to the part where the plan of lying to the public until the public believes the lies to be true. Like so many political lies the people are hurt while our “representatives” remain in office to continue their nefarious ways. This “reform” is just more “political wool” being pulled over the eyes of the “American People” that the politicians are so quick to cite as wanting or needing. The only resistance to the poor legislation is better representation by elected officials and contacting your representative often and with all of the methods available to you. You are their bosses.

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It is unfortunate for us that we are now under the sway of a neer do well Congress abetted by an unapologetic liar in Chief. It is certainly what was expected by his supporters. The expectations were as follows:
Drain the swamp- change how Washington works (the same attempt by Barack Obama which was blocked by Republicans in Congress and tacitly condoned by some Americans) .
Repeal and replace the ACA (aka “Obamacare”, which most people enjoy but do not know they are the same program)
Tax reform, which will ultimately harm almost everyone who makes less than 300 thousand dollars annually.
Given this verifiable information where do we go from here? Our path is relatively clear, forget the party lines and look at the people who currently represent you and what they have or have not done so far. If you do not know any of this then it may be time to rethink your loyalty. A point to remember “Adolph Hitler devastated many countries and murdered millions based on lies that were told over and over until people who at their most vulnerable believed them.” I  personally make efforts to remain as neutral as possible on most issues until I can get all of the facts  however when our elected officials use lies to further their ambitions then I became radical and so should you.

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Rick Newman 16 hours ago

GOP tax plan takes aim at Obamacare.
There’s a reason Republicans in Congress want to pass tax cuts as fast as possible: The less time the rest of us have to examine the details, the better.
The rhetoric surrounding the GOP tax cut plans moving through the House and Senate touts the benefits for ordinary Americans. House Speaker Paul Ryan says a typical family with two kids will save nearly $1,200 per year under his plan. Senate Republicans promise “middle-class benefits all around” and say their plan will generate a $1,500 windfall for the typical family.
Here’s what they’re leaving out: Tax cuts for individuals would expire in a few years under the Senate plan, which means tax cuts today would end up being tax hikes tomorrow. Cuts in business taxes, however, would remain permanent. Republicans insist that cutting business taxes will itself help workers earn more, at some point in the future. But that’s based on old ideas that predate the digital, robot economy and most likely no longer apply.
Business tax cuts may not trickle down to individuals
As analysts run the numbers on the House and Senate plans, it’s becoming apparent that businesses will enjoy the lion’s share of the tax cuts, with individual taxpayers getting more of a token reduction in their tax bills. That’s not inherently bad. The business side of the U.S. tax code is the most broken, with a top rate of 35% that’s out of step with most other advanced economies, which have been lowering business taxes. The United States does, in fact, need a competitive business tax code, to reduce the incentive for U.S. firms to keep profits out of the country and relocate to other places.
If Republicans were being completely forthright, they’d acknowledge this. They’d admit there’s a large risk corporate tax cuts won’t trickle down to ordinary workers, as a roomful of CEOs seemed to indicate at a recent Wall Street Journal conference. They’d confirm analysis by groups such as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget showing that between 65% and 80% of the net tax cut will accrue to businesses, with only a small portion applying to working- and middle-class taxpayers. They might even stick their neck out and point out that the federal tax burden on the typical family has declined slightly in recent years, suggesting there’s no urgent need to cut taxes for most individuals.
But that would require more political courage than anybody in Congress seems capable of mustering. So, what we’re getting instead is a cynical charade in which the talking points say one thing but the numbers say another.
The Senate plan, for instance, would cut taxes for most but not all individual taxpayers, but only until 2025. Then, all the tax cuts would expire. “This is an obvious ruse to hide very real costs and make more room for debt-financed cuts and giveaways,” Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in a statement. It’s also inherently bad policy. It would essentially guarantee a political showdown in 2025, as the deadline for expiration looms and many millions of Americans face a de facto tax increase. The thinking now is that politicians in the future will find a way to avert that tax hike, and extend the cuts. But creating this problem for future taxpayers and policymakers is utter cowardice and terrible planning.
What happens after tax cuts
We’ve been through this before. Tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush were also temporary, and due to expire at the end of 2012. That created the “fiscal cliff” drama that caused volatility in markets and led to a last-minute deal to extend most of those tax cuts, except for the wealthiest taxpayers. It sort of worked out, in the end. But we might not be so lucky next time. Federal debt as a percentage of GDP is only going up, and at some point, Congress will no longer be able to keep putting off the day of reckoning. Meanwhile, hardly any taxpayers are going to put money aside in anticipation of higher taxes in 2026, setting the stage for a national financial shock. In a word, this idea is just stupid. If tax cuts aren’t permanent, they shouldn’t be there.
Another wrinkle in the Senate plan would offset any tax savings for a certain group of taxpayers. The new provision to repeal the “Obamacare mandate,” which requires all Americans to have health insurance or obtain an exemption, would lead a few million generally healthy Americans to forego health insurance. So far, so good, as long as they don’t get sick or hurt. That measure would save the government about $30 billion per year, since it would pay less in subsidies to people who qualify for them but decide not to get insurance.
The problem is that older workers who don’t have an employer-provided plan and earn too much to qualify for Obamacare subsidies would get gut-smacked with premium hikes for coverage that is already exorbitant. Some customers in the so-called individual insurance market — typically those 50 and older — already pay $20,000 and up in annual premiums, not including out-of-pocket costs. With fewer healthy customers paying into the system, insurers will have no choice but to raise premiums for those who remain, and middle-income workers who get no help from subsidies will have to pay the full freight or go without.
A middle-class tax cut sure is complicated.

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Our expectations from the current administration should be quite low. The constant stream of  lies with ever flinching is disturbing to say the least. Add the Right and far right pundits and you have the reason America is America, in some other countries, these pundits would be arrested or censored. Only in America can leaders lie with impunity and the worst of it is that so many Americans would  rather believe the lies than the truth since it apparently supports their biases or ignorance of the facts. It well to listen to whoever you want for information and not for entertainment. Facts are not entertainment, the truth is often dry as toast and buttering it will not make it less true. We all need to pay attention to what’s out there and collect real information.MA

Ester Bloom, CNBC 21 hours ago

Last Sunday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote on Twitter, “The average American family would get a $4,000 raise under the President’s tax cut plan. Her claim seems to be based on
a paper released by the White House Council of Economic Advisors that says, “Reducing the statutory federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent would, the analysis below suggests, increase average household income in the United States by, very conservatively, $4,000 annually.”
Other Republican leaders in Washington and members of the Trump administration have promoted the proposed tax plan as being materially helpful to “middle-class” Americans. But one of the problems that those trying to sell the plan keep running into is that the definition of “average,” “typical” or “middle-class” remains unclear. In an interview for FOX Business, GOP Senator Rob Portman said
the tax plan “is focused on the middle class.” When pressed by the host to define what that meant for a family in Ohio, he said, “about 150 grand for a family.”
That’s twice the median household income of a three-person, middle-class family in Ohio, which is $73,458, according to the Pew Research Center. .
Nationwide, the average American family currently makes about $74,000 a year before taxes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and while the median American income is $59,000 a year. To some degree, “middle-class” seems to be a state of mind. 70 percent of Americans think of themselves that way, according to a new survey by Northwestern Mutual. But a 2015 report from Pew Research Center shows that, in practice, the middle class has been shrinking over the past four decades and now makes up only 50 percent of the U.S. “When Americans talk about the ‘middle class,’ they are usually thinking about a range, not just the specific income dead in the middle,” explains the Washington Post. It’s also situation specific. “The more people in a family, the more money they typically need to live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle,” writes the Post. Likewise, the more expensive your area, the more you need to make to qualify. Overall, “America’s middle-class ranges from $35,000 to $122,500 in annual income, according to The Post’s calculation” approved by the Pew Research Center. “The bottom line is: $100,000 is on the middle-class spectrum, but barely: 75 percent of U.S. households make less than that,” writes the Post. So would “average” or “middle-class” Americans actually be helped or hurt by tax reform? Politicians and economists continue to argue the point. Economic adviser Gary Cohn took some heat for acknowledging that he “can’t guarantee” taxes wouldn’t go up for some middle-class families. An NPR analysis concludes, “there are many reasons for American taxpayers not to expect $4,000 from this tax overhaul package.” It says, “Already, with the word ‘average,’ there’s reason for a taxpayer to doubt that she would receive $4,000 from this change in tax policy. After all, extremes make averages — the CEA report, for example, estimated the median household could get $3,000.” One now viral rejoinder to Sanders also makes the point that even thinking in terms of “average” can be misleading. If one person is given ten apples and nine others are given zero, each person will have an average of one — but only the first recipient has anything of value. Some experts have made a similar point about the Republican tax plan which, they argue, in practice will heavily favor the rich, including various members of President Trump’s cabinet and Trump himself. “The Republican plan offers almost no direct benefit to the middle class,” wrote Harvard Kennedy School professor and economist Jason Furman for the Wall Street Journal in an op-ed titled, ” No, the GOP Tax Plan Won’t Give You a $9,000 Raise.” And the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi writes, “The big winners are the top 5 percent of taxpayers, with current incomes well over $300,000 per year.” Those “making less than $150,000 will take home a modestly higher sum after-tax,” he predicts, though he declines to name a figure, and overall, for individuals, he predicts, it will be “a wash.” Bridgewater Associates CEO Ray Dalio agrees that “looking at ‘average’ conditions could provide a misleading picture as the concentration of wealth at the top skews the numbers. Instead, he advises a closer look at the plight of the middle class,” CNBC reports. Of course, that strategy only works if everyone agrees what “middle class” means. Here’s how much money Americans think you need to be considered middle class. Last Sunday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote on Twitter, “The average American family would get a $4,000 raise under the President’s tax cut plan.” Her claim seems to be based on a paper released by the White House Council of Economic Advisors that says, “Reducing the statutory federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent would, the analysis below suggests, increase average household income in the United States by, very conservatively, $4,000 annually.” Other Republican leaders in Washington and members of the Trump administration have promoted the proposed tax plan as being materially helpful to “middle-class” Americans. But one of the problems that those trying to sell the plan keep running into is that the definition of “average,” “typical” or “middle-class” remains unclear. In an interview for FOX Business, GOP Senator Rob Portman said the tax plan “is focused on the middle class.” When pressed by the host to define what that meant for a family in Ohio, he said, “about 150 grand for a family.” That’s twice the median household income of a three-person, middle-class family in Ohio, which is $73,458, according to the Pew Research Center. Nationwide, the average American family currently makes about $74,000 a year before taxes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and while the median American income is $59,000 a year. To some degree, “middle-class” seems to be a state of mind. 70 percent of Americans think of themselves that way, according to a new survey by Northwestern Mutual. But a 2015 report from Pew Research Center shows that, in practice, the middle class has been shrinking over the past four decades and now makes up only 50 percent of the U.S. “When Americans talk about the ‘middle class,’ they are usually thinking about a range, not just the specific income dead in the middle,” explains The Washington Post. It’s also situation specific. “The more people in a family, the more money they typically need to live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle,” writes the Post. Likewise, the more expensive your area, the more you need to make to qualify. Overall, “America’s middle-class ranges from $35,000 to $122,500 in annual income, according to The Post’s calculation” approved by the Pew Research Center. “The bottom line is: $100,000 is on the middle-class spectrum, but barely: 75 percent of U.S. households make less than that,” writes the Post. So, would “average” or “middle-class” Americans actually be helped or hurt by tax reform? Politicians and economists continue to argue the point. Economic adviser Gary Cohn took some heat for acknowledging that he “can’t guarantee” taxes wouldn’t go up for some middle-class families. An NPR analysis concludes, “there are many reasons for American taxpayers not to expect $4,000 from this tax overhaul package.” It says, “Already, with the word ‘average,’ there’s reason for a taxpayer to doubt that she would receive $4,000 from this change in tax policy. After all, extremes make averages — the CEA report, for example, estimated the median household could get $3,000.” One now viral rejoinder to Sanders also makes the point that even thinking in terms of “average” can be misleading. If one person is given ten apples and nine others are given zero, each person will have an average of one — but only the first recipient has anything of value. Some experts have made a similar point about the Republican tax plan which, they argue, in practice will heavily favor the rich, including various members of President Trump’s cabinet and Trump himself. “The Republican plan offers almost no direct benefit to the middle class,” wrote Harvard Kennedy School professor and economist Jason Furman for the Wall Street Journal in an op-ed titled, ” No, the GOP Tax Plan Won’t Give You a $9,000 Raise. ” And the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Mark Zandi writes, “The big winners are the top 5 percent of taxpayers, with current incomes well over $300,000 per year.” Those “making less than $150,000 will take home a modestly higher sum after-tax,” he predicts, though he declines to name a figure, and overall, for individuals, he predicts, it will be “a wash.” Bridgewater Associates CEO Ray Dalio agrees that “looking at ‘average’ conditions could provide a misleading picture as the concentration of wealth at the top skews the numbers. Instead, he advises a closer look at the plight of the middle class,” CNBC reports. Of course, that strategy only works if everyone agrees what “middle class” means.


What kind of National representation is it when town hall meetings are filled with Hand picked attendees? TOTUS has used hand selected attendees in his town hall meetings. This does not represent the American people. These folks are not even a microcosm of America. These engineered meetings are similar to Hitler’s “town hall” meetings in the 1930’s. These meetings while not representative of America as a whole amount to a captive audience. Their  enthusiasm is similar to the audience on a game show vying for a chance to be seen or heard. This use of the population based on their usefulness to the speaker speaks to the lack of honesty by this President. Apparently it is easier to keep up a barrage of outrageous Tweets that serve only to take the focus off the real issues rather than making even the slightest attempt to Govern. It is clear that this Resident of the Whitehouse has no interest in truly Governing and uses bully tactics to affect a sense of it which excites his ever shrinking base. The executive orders issued are not really  laws but they have not been challenged by Congress as many of Obama’s were. It is easy to state forward progress while Tweeting about so many extraneous issues that have nothing to do with Governance. It is easy to excite people with lies as they can contain anything as long as people believe them. It is coincidental that Trump’s Grandfather was an immigrant and had his Grandson been President at that time what would have become of him? The worst part of this Presidency is that all actions thus far are based on fulfilling campaign promises at any cost rather than actually governing a country. A major issue is the ACA and it’s repeal which was supposed to allow for tax reform. To explain: The offered Health care changes or replacement was supposed make funding available to reform the tax code. Now the methodology  is go at these important issues in a piece by piece manner that if completed will cause  long term problems that will take years to fix.

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Paying attention to events that occur requires background on the events. The Trump administration and the related news sources have blown the Kneeling and standing with arms linked way out of proportion in that the original protest had nothing to do with the flag or military. The media(?) and administration took the ball and ran in the opposite direction. The right (an oxymoron these days ) used this as a way to create another smokescreen and provide tweet fodder for the President. MA

Jaquelin Thomsen
12 hours ago
The Hill

An Indianapolis sports columnist accused Vice President Mike Pence of using a Colts game to stage a political event after Pence walked out of the game over football players kneeling during the national anthem. Gregg Doyel wrote in a column for the Indianapolis Star that Pence had staged the walk-out as the Colts played against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and that “Pence knew” players would be kneeling. “What, you think he didn’t know the 49ers would kneel on Sunday? Pence knew. The 49ers are the one franchise, the only franchise, that have had at least one player kneel before every game since Colin Kaepernick was the first to do it in the 2016 preseason,” Doyel wrote. “Kaepernick played for the 49ers, of course. “Doyel also noted that reporters following Pence were told to stay in a van outside the game “because Pence wouldn’t be there long.”
NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard, one of the pool reporters with Pence, tweeted that reporters were told to stay in a van outside the game because Pence “may depart the game early.”
The columnist also questioned how much in taxpayer money was spent on the political stunt.
“He traveled here with his usual contingent of aides and bodyguards, and he didn’t fly standby on Delta. Chew on that for just a minute,” Doyel wrote.
Pence tweeted Sunday that he left the game after seeing NFL players kneel during the anthem. President Trump later tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave the stadium “if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country.” Pence’s early departure came after Trump began attacking NFL players who kneel during the anthem last month. He said any player that kneels is a “son of a bitch” and said owners should fire any players that take part in the demonstration. Trump also called for people to walk out of NFL games if they saw any protesters kneeling.
Ann Coulter: ‘We May As Well Have An Attractive, Dignified’ President If No Border Wall

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With the recent election of TOTUS, the lies of our Congress have become  front and center. We have always (or should have) suspected that many of our representatives  lie to us on a daily basis. We now have a CIC and his administration lying on a national scale. We are hearing the truth from no one in the Trump administration due to President’s the lack of knowledge on many fronts. This has been his method of working all of his life. He listens and hears only what his limited brain power allows to stick. As a leader he reads nothing of substance and supports no one if they do not adore him. We are now faced with potential legislature that will devastate many who are already in dire straits. HIs “tax cuts” are on the neediest no matter how the administration tries to spin it. Since the repeal of the ACA died or neer do well Congress has think about reaching across the aisle ( as they should have done all along). We have come to a point where the Constitution is largely misunderstood and hardly read. Our Congress apparently does not care about serving if it does not serve them!. They are for the most part (majority party) just outright liars. There was a time that we understood that campaign promises were just that promises, once elected the “ins” did what they could but now they just lie and hope we pay no attention to them while they make their own way while socking away their substantial salaries and perk.  As I listen to the assorted representatives , I realize that they all espouse the same flawed information about taxes and healthcare. Apparently lying is the order of the day for our government officials and they do with a straight face.. They all deserve the “HUTA” award for their service*.

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*Heads up their A_ _.


America was founded on protest. The current administration was ushered in on protests yet Totus is attempting to exert pressure on protesters. This time it’s the NFL, is there anyone or thing that his President will not attack? It is bad enough that he has no idea what his “job” entails and cannot seem to do it but to spend his time tweeting on everything that can garner attention is hardly the job he was selected to do. This minion has caused a huge rift in America and has distracted  many from the harm he is doing here and abroad. It reminds me of what a certain German despot did in the 30’s (I believe Trumps family originated in Germany). The 1930’s brought us Adolph Hitler and his cohorts who murdered millions (including Germans) but made it look acceptable with lies and innuendo. We have a Tweeter In Chief  who for lack of a moral compass will have millions without healthcare, have us in wars with other countries and standing alone because our allies have been alienated by his actions. (very Hitlerian). The one thing we can be sure of is the next President will have fences to mend thereby taking time way from the work of fixing our own homegrown problems while Donny rides into the sunset with his phone in his hands exclaiming what a good job he has done. The worst part of all of this that he does not understand or perhaps cannot  the long range effect of his actions and those of his cabinet. To put a fine point on things the GOP aka Dupublicans have shown their willingness to lie with a straight face to their constituents  to get campaign promises enacted no matter the cost in human health and ultimately jobs. This administration was voted in on promises and lies and continues on that track in all its dealings. Our allies world wide are looking at us with amazement at the dysfunction and wondering where it will end.

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More lies and misinformation from the Oval office- its surprising that any of them can turn without bumping into a wall. MA.

By Tracy Jan
September 6, 2017 at 4:46 PM

It’s a long-running talking point spouted by Trump administration members and the president himself: Undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from black and Hispanic Americans.
Hours after President Trump dismantled an Obama-era program that had granted 800,000 young undocumented immigrants permission to live and work in the United States, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders again made the claim.
“It’s a known fact that there are over 4 million unemployed Americans in the same age group as those that are DACA recipients; that over 950,000 of those are African Americans in the same age group; over 870,000 unemployed Hispanics in the same age group,” Sanders said during Tuesday’s press briefing. “Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.”
Here’s the problem: immigrant and native-born workers are imperfect substitutes. There is no evidence that the unemployed Americans, be they black, white or Hispanic, have the skills necessary to hold the same jobs occupied by the young beneficiaries of the five-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“It is one thing to say that there are hundreds of thousands of minorities the same age that are unemployed, and a very different thing for them to have the same education, skills and experience as the employed DACA workers,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and former chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.
“And if they do,” he added, “it begs the question as to why they don’t have those jobs in the first place.”
Contrary to Sanders’s assertion, he said, DACA improves the economic outlook for low-skilled, American-born workers. Without work permits, undocumented immigrants are more likely to take any job they can, even work that falls far below their skill or education level. DACA, on the other hand, allows those workers to move to jobs that better match their background, freeing up low-skilled positions.
There is just no compelling proof that immigration — legal or illegal — “squeezes out native-born workers in any systematic way,” Holtz-Eakin said. “We’ve experienced waves of immigration and still, on average, reached full employment.”
The number of jobs in the United States is not fixed. An influx of immigrant workers  generates economic growth and employment opportunities by increasing productivity, said Jackie Varas, director of immigration and trade policy at American Action Forum.
“Many DACA recipients are also more skilled than other immigrants because they possess a college education, so they don’t compete with low-skilled Americans,” Varas said.

Furthermore, said Darrick Hamilton, an economics and urban policy professor at The New School, blacks and Latinos want access to quality jobs, not just jobs at the bottom of the labor market.
“Why do we reserve and presume the bottom of the labor market for blacks and Latinos?” Hamilton said. “Many DACA recipients are full-time students not engaged in taking away jobs.”
Of the DACA-eligible immigrants over 21 years old, 12 percent have bachelor’s degrees, 3 percent have advanced degrees, 84 percent have completed high school and some college, and 2 percent did not graduate from high school, according to an analysis by New American Economy.
A Moody’s Analytics analysis of Trump’s proposed economic policies last year showed that removing all undocumented immigrants from the labor force would trigger an economic recession within one year.
Another American Action Forum study found that if all undocumented immigrants were deported, there would not be enough American workers to fill all of the jobs that would be left open. And even if all available native workers filled the open slots, the country would still be short 4 million workers.
Trump and his supporters have often pitted minority groups against one another. But there is no broad economic justification to do so.
“Cannibalizing stigmatized and marginalized groups against each other serves the wealthy interests that benefit from such divisive colonial and labor segmenting tactics,” Hamilton said.

Tracy Jan covers the intersection of race and the economy for The Post. She previously was a national political reporter at The Boston Globe.

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This is another effort to move American citizens farther away from medical care, this includes die hard Trump supporters who only see the TOTUS fulfilling campaign promises even if they and their families are harmed by it. MA.

Jeffrey Young,HuffPost 12 hours ago

 

President Donald Trump’s administration has taken more steps to undermine the Obamacare marketplaces it’s responsible for managing.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that it’s making drastic cuts in spending on advertising for the 2018 open enrollment period on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, as well as significant cutbacks in funding for local organizations that help consumers navigate the buying process.
Weakening the two most important tools the federal government has to promote enrollment on the state-based exchanges ― 39 of which are run wholly or mainly by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ― is the latest signal that the Trump administration isn’t committed to serving exchange customers and bolstering the marketplaces during the first open enrollment it will oversee from start to finish.
Less awareness of the open enrollment period running from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, combined with less help from community organizations, which have assisted more than 9 million enrollees with sign-ups since the autumn of 2013, will likely result in fewer people being covered by health insurance obtained via the federally operated exchanges accessed on HealthCare.gov.
In addition, these moves could worsen the financial state of the exchanges, as sicker and costlier consumers are more likely to seek out coverage than healthier people, who may be unaware that the sign-up season is taking place.
Trump himself repeatedly has said he wants to let or make the health insurance exchanges collapse, and his administration has taken a number of actions to destabilize them. That’s above and beyond his advocacy for the Affordable Care Act’s repeal.
Chief among the destabilizing steps has been Trump threatening to withhold billions owed to health insurance companies serving poor enrollees, which has contributed to large rate hikes for next year. The Department of Health and Human Services also has used its websites and social media channels to criticize the Affordable Care Act at taxpayer expense.
And the administration previously canceled other outreach and education programs President Barack Obama’s administration created to help get out the word about coverage options and provide in-person assistance to people seeking help signing up. The current administration also cut the open enrollment period for next year to half its length from last year, giving customers less time to weigh their options.
Trump previewed Thursday’s actions at the beginning of his presidency. He took office at the end of the sign-up campaign for this year, and his new administration promptly halted rounds of advertising for which the Obama administration had already paid, which contributed to national enrollment on the exchanges falling from 2016 levels.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services unveiled two new policies Thursday.
First, the promotional budget for the upcoming sign-up campaign is being cut from $100 million to $10 million. Moreover, a bulletin the agency released indicates that the ad campaign will include no television or radio, and be limited to digital media, email and text messages
Second, organizations with federal contracts to help consumers shop for coverage ― known as “navigators” ― will get far less money. Navigator organizations received $62.5 million from the federal government last year, but will get just $36.8 million this year, a 39 percent cut, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Navigator organizations will receive funding for 2018 based on what percentage of their enrollment targets for 2017 they achieved. So an entity that signed up 70 percent of their target last year will get 70 percent of the amount they expected for this year. These organizations were not told in previous years that their performance would be used to set future funding, and the cuts made public Thursday will force them to scale back their plans for the pending sign-up campaign.
The health insurance industry’s main lobbying group highlighted the importance of the initiatives subject to the administration’s cuts.
“Effective education ensures that consumers understand their coverage options and encourages broader participation of healthy individuals. Marketing, outreach, and education are critical to ensure that all consumers are aware of the upcoming open enrollment period, understand new timelines, and enroll by the deadline,” Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, wrote in an email to HuffPost.
The Department of Health and Human Services offered information about its new policies under embargo to reporters and via a teleconference Thursday. HuffPost was not informed of the announcement in advance nor invited to participate in the call, as other news outlets were.
The Affordable Care Act’s exchanges and the law’s expansion of Medicaid drove the uninsured rate down to a historic low. Just 8.8 percent of Americans lacked health insurance during the first quarter of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. As of March 31, 9.1 million people had private health insurance from an exchange, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Jonathan Cohn contributed reporting.

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