Cassidy-Graham is Hazardous to America’s Health and Bank Account

The Senate Republican leadership is at it again, filling a sewer pipe with perfume to convince us it’s pretty, and doesn’t stink. Rural Americans are too smart to be fooled by the latest attempt to repeal, but not replace, the Affordable Care Act. The question is will a few Republicans be smart enough to see through the scam and do the right thing by voting no?

The Cassidy-Graham bill in the Senate will see unaccountable billions of dollars pour into states like Florida and Pennsylvania, at the cost of states like Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, Maine (and most of the Deep South, Midwest and Far West). These states wouldn’t even have to spend the federal block grant money on health insurance for its residents under the scheme cooked up by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), with the help of Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).

This bill is so wretched that protections for people with pre-existing conditions will be gutted, and coverage will be whittled down to the point where Americans would have limited benefits at a much higher cost. Rural Americans who finally had affordable health care thanks to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare will be left with little choice but to have no health coverage at all.

Even Wall Street analysts conclude Cassidy-Graham will disrupt the marketplace and leave states without necessary financial resources. That means states will either have to slash more than just health care services, or raise taxes to make up for the federal shortfall.

The Congressional Budget Office is currently analyzing the impact of Cassidy-Graham, but indications are that its scorecard will show the bill is in the neighborhood of the previous repeal-without-replace estimates: 32 million Americans left without health insurance, including 15 million next year alone; and a 20 percent hike in premiums for less health coverage.

Why the rush to beat the Sept. 30 deadline for passing the bill with so much opposition to the repeal effort, including from a majority of Americans? Because once again this bill contains within it the means for a nearly $1 trillion tax cut for the rich, with Rural States being left out in the cold without a blanket. That is really all the GOP leadership cares about: repaying the lobbyists and fat-cat donors who finance their campaigns.

It’s no surprise then that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is trying to steamroll a repeal-without-replace bill though the Senate without proper procedure and review in the public eye. That doesn’t sit well with maverick Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who thinks that if the bill is so good then why try to hide from the American people?

The GOP is scrambling to avoid another “thumbs down” from McCain. In an attempt to kiss up to McCain, Republicans came up with a stunt hearing for the bill in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This committee doesn’t even have jurisdiction over the bill, but since it’s chaired by one of the sponsors of the measure, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), it’s a safe place to ram it through. It’s like holding a hearing for a farm bill in the Senate Intelligence Committee. There’s a clear stench rising from that move.

Trump is suddenly onboard with Cassidy-Graham, after he urged Republicans to move on from repeal and replace earlier this month. Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks Trump has had a real change of heart just because he reached a deal with Democrats to keep the government open; avoid Washington defaulting on its loans; and making a small down payment on hurricane relief.

Trump is simply looking for another win, and if he can get it this time with Republicans — almost immediately after making a bargain with Democrats, he and his message machine will trumpet far and wide his “bipartisan administration.” Any Democrat or Republican who believes that, probably thinks a sewer pipe filled with perfume smells just fine.

Congress Must Fund Harvey Recovery Ahead of Petty Partisan Priorities

Post has been updated (see bold insert below)

Not even this Congress can avoid the reality that its game plan for an end-of-the-year home stretch has been severely altered. America’s appetite for petty politics has been washed away by a merciless tempest.

Providing federal aid to rural and urban areas shattered by Hurricane Harvey is pressing for communities drowning in need. Floodwaters, high winds and storm surge are now estimated to have wreaked a whopping $190 billion in destruction. Ensuring help is on the way sits atop the House and Senate agenda for lawmakers returning to Washington today.

With the $19.9 trillion federal debt limit nearly reached and only four weeks until the next federal fiscal year begins, it would be unseemly to engage in the political theatrics of a fiscal showdown in Washington amid all the horror stories and tears shed by and for those whose lives were nearly destroyed by Harvey. Perhaps the stark projection that Harvey eclipsed the cost of Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy combined will curtail the usual grandstanding in Congress that adorns Capitol Hill whenever the federal debt ceiling must be raised to avoid default, or a budget must be passed to ensure the government does not shutter its doors.

Washington should be careful not to ignore or forget all the victims, a great many unseen by most of us. While devastation mainly in Houston unfolded for the cameras, Harvey cut an equally violent and unrelenting swath through countless small towns and rural communities. Farmland, roadside businesses, drinking water supplies and countless homes in towns that most Americans outside of the region never heard of were destroyed or damaged by Harvey’s wrath. Those rural Americans whose lives are spun upside down will need to make sure their plight is known and ultimately their needs met, too.

Clearly Congress must act to fund the Harvey recovery immediately, preferably before it raises the debt ceiling or passes next year’s budget. If Harvey assistance must be attached to debt ceiling legislation, as the Trump administration is advocating, then let it be done quickly and without rancor. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he will fund Harvey relief on an installment plan, which is acceptable only if it is does not amount to a scheme to short-change the people of Texas and Louisiana dependent on federal assistance.

UPDATE: Almost shockingly, the curtain came down on the usual Washington theatrics when Trump agreed to a deal proposed by the Democratic congressional leadership that included disaster aid for Harvey; emergency money in anticipation of Hurricane Irma; and an extension on the debt ceiling and funds to keep the government operating for three months. Whatever the motives, Trump’s unpredictable move is good for the country, but it is being described as conservatives’ worst nightmare. The GOP backlash nonetheless did not keep Trump from sharing a victory lap over the deal with his newfound partners on the Democratic side of the aisle.

As for the tone-deaf politicians one bead short of an abacus, they dare not insult Americans with talk at this moment of how jobs can only be created by allowing corporations and the wealthy to pay less taxes. Rural, urban and suburban Americans are suffering because of Harvey, and the victims are the priority. Congress should take care of those Americans in need before it focuses on feeding corporate greed.

Optimistically, Harvey could end up a complete wake up call for many lawmakers in Washington who misinterpret the results of a controversial election as a mandate for their self-serving political ambitions. One example of a course change was scant attention given to a budget provision pre-dating the horrific storm that would have shifted nearly $1 billion in federal disaster relief for other priorities, including the building of Donald Trump’s controversial border wall. The GOP-led House was set to vote this month on the little noticed proposal to slash FEMA funds, but that’s all changed now.

Fortunately for the targets of the ruthless Harvey, priorities are already shifting away from campaign promises and partisan political agendas. The two dozen or so GOP lawmakers from Texas who voted against disaster relief after Super Storm Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012 have seen the light and appear ready to press for the funds needed to rebuild their state. It is a welcome about-face.

Unfortunately, some of those Texas lawmakers, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have made it worse for themselves by trying to wiggle away from criticism by feebly claiming their vote against Sandy funding came because the $50 billion aid package included non-storm related “pork.” They should have just admitted they had made a mistake with their errant votes instead of having to face even more scorn for offering up a fraudulent excuse.

With another potentially deadly storm on the way, Congress can’t play politics with a Harvey relief package. If Category 5 Hurricane Irma hits the United States it may well make Harvey look like a piker.


Want to help those in need? Links to lists of reputable charities assisting victims of Harvey are here, here, and here.

 

Vilsack says U.S. doesn’t appreciate its rural areas, which could draw more value-added manufacturing

Americans don’t appreciate rural America, and small towns could attract many more manufacturing jobs, former agriculture secretary and Iowa governor Tom Vilsack said at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 19.

Vilsack (pictured speaking), a Democrat, is president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He said the U.S. can create more jobs by putting processing and manufacturing facilities near where natural resources are harvested or extracted, instead of shipping raw materials elsewhere. The rhetoric could resonate with Iowa cattle ranchers reeling from the loss of a promised meat processing plant, after the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Angela Ufheil reports for The Des Moines Register, which sponsored Vilsack’s appearance as part of its Political Soapbox at the fair.

“Another challenge facing Iowa, Vilsack said, is the lack of appreciation for rural America. He noted almost all food produced in the U.S. comes from rural areas. Yet those living in cities and benefiting from inexpensive food are so far removed from its production that they don’t understand the challenges farmers face,” Ufheil reports. He suggested that state and federal regulators use incentives that would lighten the financial burden on farmers, saying that they can’t easily absorb increased costs due to regulation.

The Political Soapbox is an extension of the paper’s Changing Iowa series, which explores the “demographic, cultural and economic changes taking place across the state, including the pressure being put on mid-sized farmshow automation is reshaping Iowa’s workforce, and how Iowa’s smaller cities have been left behind,” Ufheil reports.

Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog.  Published on June 21, 2017. Article written by Heather Chapman.  Al Cross,  former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog. Photo credit: Des Moines Register by Angela Ufheil

A Better Deal to Protect U.S. Jobs and Ensure Free Trade is Fair Trade

Donald Trump made a lot of promises about killing lousy free trade agreements, promoting American made products and keeping U.S. jobs from moving overseas, but so far his idea of fair trade is more like his Yankees getting an all-star pitcher without having to give up a blue chip player in return. That would be a great deal for New York sports fans, but we’re not talking about a game here. These broken promises are a bum deal for American agriculture and manufacturing.

It’s long been pretty clear that we haven’t had much luck trusting top elected officials to wrangle a really good international deal for American workers and businesses, because they are just too darn beholden to special interests. Circling the federal trade negotiators constantly are the deep-pocketed lobbyists for shareholder-driven Wall Street and multinational corporations that have mastered the dark art of finding cheep labor and blind-eye regulations in foreign countries.

Finally a plan was unveiled this week by the Democrats to inject a referee into the trade and multinational business world that could take political favors out of the games Washington plays with the American economy. The proposal calls for creating an “independent trade prosecutor” to investigate unfair trade practices and recommend how the U.S. should respond in kind. That’s A Better Deal for American workers, farmers and entrepreneurs than the one we have now.

The new strategy additionally calls for the creation of an “American Jobs Security Council” to keep a watchful eye on countries like China and Russia that use state-owned and allied companies to acquire U.S. businesses with the intent of cornering a market and ultimately shipping jobs overseas. Consequently there are few reciprocal opportunities for U.S. companies, especially in China where there are enormous obstacles that prevent mutual business opportunities for American entrepreneurs.

We also heard a lot of promises on the campaign trail last year about penalizing companies that move overseas, but the truth is American businesses still get to write-off expenses incurred from offshoring their factories overseas. This new deal would wipe out the tax deductions and tax profits on businesses that move their headquarters overseas at a 35% rate.

Of course penalties alone aren’t going to bring U.S. jobs back home, so there are incentives that would create a tax credit of up to 20% of the cost of returning factories to the U.S. There are even added tax breaks for companies that relocate to Rural America and other hard hit areas. That’s A Better Deal for all of us.

There are also some simple steps in the proposal, like sanctioning countries that manipulate their currency to pay less for for U.S. goods and crops; penalizing government contractors that outsource jobs overseas; and making sure the government buys from American suppliers and service providers. You would think those ideas are a no-brainer and are already on the books as law. They aren’t, but they should be.

We’re going to hear a lot about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement in the next year or so. That’s a big deal, but if we stay on the course we’re on right now it will mostly likely be just another bait-and-switch raw deal negotiated on a golf course at a private country club by those same lobbyists that get paid to ignore the American worker and farmer. We need to send people to Washington who want us to have A Better Deal, and slowly but surely we’re seeing a blueprint drawn that says Grown in America and Made in America comes first.

Rural America Deserves A Better Deal Than The One We Have Now

Refilling the Swamp wasn’t the deal many of us in Rural America signed up for last November.  The shady back room deals, the fat-cat financial people lining their pockets with taxpayer treasure, the government cuddling up with leaders of countries that suck up American jobs, and running the family business out of the White House wasn’t what we agreed to, but that’s clearly the lousy deal we’re stuck with right now.
First off, we don’t speak Russian in Rural America, so let’s say this plainly so those slick, big city folks back at the White House can understand us: America has always been great and it always will be. Rural Americans want something better than mounting broken promises to keep America great.
So now that we’ve seen the bum deal the ruling party in Washington is trying to sucker Rural America into accepting, let’s think about A Better Deal, and then try to shape it into something that works in our towns, counties and states — and most of all, something that works at our kitchen tables, where our biggest policy decisions are made each day. One size doesn’t fit all is something you learn the deeper you get into the heart of America, but a few sound baseline ideas can make all the difference when you’re trying to make a good life for you and your family.
One thing we know for sure, we’ve seen a lot of jobs created in this country since the turn-around began from the The Great Recession of 2008. The problem is too many of these jobs aren’t paying enough of us a fair wage for a hard days work.  When you factor in inflation, wage growth is basically zero right now. So we need A Better Deal than the one we’ve got right now. It will mean investing in a real public infrastructure repair plan and creating incentives for Rural Innovation and small business expansion.  We won’t see growth in “Made in America” products, or “Harvested in America” produce, meats and fish until Washington really cracks down on unfair foreign trade, and makes it more expensive for corporations to ship American jobs overseas.  It sure isn’t doing that under the current government.
The next thing Rural America could use is A Better Deal when it comes to the cost of raising our family and providing the security we need for a good future. The costs are just too damn high, whether its our prescription drugs, providing our family with a valuable education, or childcare that allows parents to go to work knowing their kids are safe and being looked after.  Washington also needs to ensure there is more competition in Rural America so we have choices in how we light and heat our homes and businesses, and can pick out more affordable telephone, Internet and cable services, too.  Busting up the monopolies that limit choices in Rural America would send a solid signal that Small Town America isn’t going to have to play second fiddle to Wall Street anymore.
Finally, investing wisely in the tools and resources Rural America needs in the 21st Century is A Better Deal all around. We need new tax incentives for businesses that invest in workforce training and education, rewarding those that commit to long-term growth.  It’s time for programs to invest in apprenticeships for new workers in all kinds of businesses that can move to Rural America, where the streets are safe, the air and water are clean and in many cases a handshake is still a contract that doesn’t need a high-priced lawyer to make it work.  Innovation, smart start-ups and creative small business need Washington to provide tax credits, grants and low-interest loans to compete and prosper.  For starters, Rural Connectivity sure needs to be upgraded to compete with urban and suburban America.  We can create a lot of jobs, directly and indirectly, by erecting the towers and stringing up or burying the fiber optic cable needed to bring broadband and high speed internet to the estimated 40% of Rural America that is without reliable connectivity right now.
There are others ways to ensure Rural Americans are protected from the greed and short-term, profit-driven world that surrounds The Heartland, like not only preserving Social Security, but increasing its benefits, too.  Along those lines, since every Trumpcare plan that the GOP has concocted in the House or Senate sticks it to Americans between the ages of 50 and 65, isn’t it time to start talking about lowering the age that Americans become eligible for Medicare? Expanding Medicaid to include family farmers and working Americans struggling to make ends meet makes a lot of sense, too.  It sure has helped a lot of Rural Americans to see Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.  It’s opened up a lot of eyes to the fact that Medicare and Medicaid are single-payer systems that work better than most private insurance policies, allowing more Americans to have access to the best healthcare providers in the world.  Doctors like those programs too, because they mean less paperwork and red tape than dealing with the haggling, slow-to-pay insurance companies.
Yes indeed, it is time for A Better Deal.

Health insurance is a big worry for farmers

A new study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that lack of access to affordable health care is one of the biggest problems facing American farmers, affecting their risk management, productivity, health, retirement, the need for a secondary source of income, and land access for new farmers.

“The rising cost of healthcare and the availability of affordable health insurance have joined more traditional risk factors like access to capital, credit and land as a major source of worry for farmers,” principal investigator Shoshana Inwood of the University of Vermont said in a press release. She conducted the study with researchers from the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, part of the research organization Norc at the University of Chicago.

The researchers interviewed farmers in 10 states, and sent 1,062 of them a mail survey in March 2017. In the interviews, many farmers said they knew someone who had lost a farm because of an uninsured illness or injury. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents said affordable health care was important to reducing their business risk, and half said they are not confident they could pay for a major illness without going into debt. “With an average age of 58, farmers and ranchers are also vulnerable to higher insurance premiums due to age-rating bands,” the release said.

Farmers are also likely to have pre-existing conditions (64 percent in the survey), so many of them took off-farm jobs in order to qualify for group insurance policies, which must cover such conditions. With passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “A number of farmers in their 50s we spoke with said they had left off-farm employment in the last five years to commit to full-time farming because they and their families would not be denied health insurance in the individual market due to pre-existing conditions,” said Alana Knudson, co-director of the NORC Walsh Center.

Most states’ expansion of Medicaid under the ACA was a boon to younger farmers, who said it allowed them to get health care for their children without having to take an off-farm job. There’s another possible factor for young farmers: Almost half the farmers surveyed said they’re worried they’ll have to sell some or all of their farm if they need to pay for long-term medical expenses such as nursing-home care, and selling off land to the highest bidder could make it less likely that land is sold to young farmers who lack capital, said Inwood.

Farmers are looking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to represent their concerns in national health-policy discussions, said Inwood. “We have a shrinking and aging farm population,” she said. “The next Farm Bill is an opportunity to start thinking about how health insurance affects the trajectory of farms in the United States.” The bill is up for renewal next year.

Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog.  Published on June 21, 2017. Article written by Heather Chapman. Al Cross,  former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.

Rural States Lead in Opposing Administration’s Bid to Get Our Private Data and Voting Records Amid Fears It Could End Up in Wrong Hands

It’s completely understandable that Rural States have taken the lead in opposing the Trump administration’s inquisition to try to prove widespread voter fraud exists in America. The whole effort reeks of politics, like a dark quixotic quest to prove an absurd accusation of widespread election chicanery, or a poorly disguised attempt to wage a wholesale voter suppression campaign.

More so than politics, however, protecting their privacy is one thing Rural Americans hold dearly, and the potential for that information to be abused and misused is a legitimate fear all across the country.

It’s well known government databases are not the most secure chambers in cyberspace, having been hacked before. The idea of their private data in the hands of the government scares the heck out of Americans, especially with the Russians and other unsavory identity thieves lurking in the dark reaches of the Internet.

So far at least 45 states have refused to hand over to the panel sensitive information, especially names combined with Social Security numbers. None, however, has mocked the request for information as colorfully as Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, who told Trump’s voter fraud commission to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the latter notorious for his heavy-handed voter suppression tactics in his home state, head the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Kobach has even been fined in a lawsuit charging he violated the National Voter Registration Act, but in perhaps the most baffling revelation in the process, he refused to comply with his own directive to hand over some of the information he requested for the commission.

According to the commission’s letter, the panel astonishingly is seeking “full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.”

The suspect effort on the part of the Trump administration may have already been rendered null and void, between the nearly unanimous opposition to the commission’s demand for private voter information by the states, and a wave of anticipated lawsuits, some of which have already been filed. There is a pretty sound case that’s being made that the Voter fraud commission violated the law, so hopefully the witch hunt ends before some innocent American gets burned.

A Rural Voters Bill of Rights and Responsibility

A Rural Voters Bill of Rights and Responsibility

On this, Independence Day 2017, we hereby declare these rights and responsibilities for public consumption, comment and dissemination:

The Constitution

We respect and abide by the rules, liberties and protections granted in the U.S. Constitution of the United States in its entirety. We reject any attempt at cherry-picking, or omitting clauses and passages to suppress the rights and freedoms bestowed upon Americans by the Founders.

Live and Let Live

We respect our right to choose how we live and we respect the rights of others to choose how they live, all within the rule of law and under the protections granted by the Constitution of the United States. We do not seek to impose our lifestyle on others and we expect the same in return.

Local Jurisdiction

We believe in regional and local control of decisions regarding the application of these rights, within the rule of law, and afforded under the protections granted by the Constitution of the United States.

Privacy

We believe in our right to privacy and the quiet enjoyment of our homes and property. We demand that right be respected, and in return we do the same for others.

Quality of Life

We believe Rural Americans are entitled to necessary services, including (among others) public safety, adequately maintained roads, bridges, waterways, airports, railroads, schools, power grids, and communications networks; affordable quality health care; and common recreational and gathering places, including (among others) parks, forests, beaches and trails.

Free Enterprise and Collective Opportunity

We respect traditional enterprise, and welcome technology and innovation that offers new opportunities, provides sustenance, and contributes to rural quality of life and the betterment of our communities. We believe in the right to employment that results in fair compensation and provides for a reasonable standard of living. We believe that “Made in America” means excellence above all else.

Farming, Ranching, Fishing and Natural Resources

We protect the land to ensure clean water, good soil and fresh air in order for our own, and our neighbor’s crops to grow, and livestock to graze. We hold in highest regard the family farmer, fisher, and rancher whose labors put food on all our tables. We expect no government, non-government or corporate entity to unduly interfere with our productivity, or that of our workers, who sow our seeds, harvest our crops, and are lawfully employed to the best of our knowledge. We believe that growing and raising food in America for Americans is of vital importance to national security.

Free and Fair Agribusiness

We believe that providing high quality, American grown crops and other food products enhances trade and profitability for America’s farmers, fishers, and ranchers. We support country-of-origin labeling. We believe it is the right of every American to know where the food we purchase for our families comes from. We believe “Produced in America” means excellence above all else.

Free and Fair Elections

We demand clean, fair and legitimate elections that allow for all who are legally entitled to vote to cast a ballot without intimidation or dishonest attempts to prevent the franchise. We demand that voter records remain private and personal, unless cast in a public fashion, such as at town meeting or other collectively agreed upon forum. We adamantly refuse to allow any foreign or domestic government, non-government or corporate entity to have access to our personal information in order to compromise or suppress our right to cast a ballot in free and fair elections.

If You Think Wealthcare Bills in Congress are Bad for Rural Americans, Wait Until You See the Kind of Devastation Repeal Alone Would Cause

Remember when President Trump promised he wouldn’t repeal Obamacare without replacing it with something immediately? Well, we can add that whopper to his growing list of broken promises made to Americans. Yep, he apparently bamboozled us again.

Now make no mistake about it, the House and Senate bills that would replace Obamacare would cripple Rural America, leaving at least 22 million Americans without health insurance and forcing millions more to pay higher deductibles for less less coverage. The only thing worse would be to repeal Obamacare without even trying to protect at least a few working and middle class Americans from losing their health care. Yet that’s just what Trump proposed today, much to the delight of some defiant GOP lawmakers from Rural States.

Some 18 million people would lose health insurance within the first year of a straight up repeal, and almost twice as many would lose coverage in the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the official referee that determines impact of legislative action in Congress.

Once again, it’s Rural America that would be among hardest hit by such action.

So why would anyone be mean enough to hurt some of the very people who voted for them in the last election? That’s simple: as a lot of us have come to realize, it’s to give the wealthiest Americans a tax cut at the expense of working and middle class Americans.

There are two things that repeal alone and repeal and replace have in common: they both cripple Rural America, and they both give the rich a nearly $1 trillion tax cut.

What are they thinking? Well, who knows? So when your congressmen and senators go home for recess this summer, let them know they need to start thinking about Rural Americans, not just the rich, fat-cat, city-slickers they want to take care at our expense.

CBO: Secretive Senate McConnellcare Health Insurance Bill Whacks Rural and Small Town Americans Among the Hardest of All — Sad

The Senate Trumpcare/McConnellcare bill doesn’t do anything to reassure Americans they will have access to affordable comprehensive healthcare coverage, coming close to mirroring the hazardous-to-your-health House-passed rewrite of the Trumpcare/Ryancare bill that we’ve already told you about here.  Once again, rural and small town Americans can expect sticker shock and less coverage when they get their health insurance policies under the Senate bill.

Here are the most significant new points from the independent Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate healthcare coverage bill released today:

  • Some 15 million Americans will lose health insurance next year under the Senate bill
  • Some 22 million Americans will lose health insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill
  • Older Americans will be hit the hardest under the Senate bill
  • Premiums come down but provide less coverage than Obamacare, forcing Americans to pay more out pocket under the Senate bill
  • Overall there are fewer tax credits for middle class American under the Senate bill
  • The Senate bill would make little noticeable difference in balancing the budget and reducing the federal debt, despite all the promises
  • The bill is a poorly disguised set up for a nearly $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans

The takeaway? All of this is why:

Our lawmakers need to serve the needs of Americans instead of simply carrying the water for small special interests and an extreme minority of Washington lobbyists and partisan political operatives. Americans deserve a better deal.