The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Blitzkrieg! Trump Unleashes Attack on Obamacaregrad

    After being distracted and insufficiently appreciated for his unprecedented electoral victory, and his relentless assault on the rule of law, on regulations, on judges, institutions, our allies, facts, the press, a balanced budget, the Fed, Montenegro, his former cabinet secretaries, the environment, Puerto Rico.... Trump has the scent of the blood of the enemy in his nostrils.

    Trump believes he has won a astonishing victory, one that no one expected, and he is moving to total war. He believes his forces and his Will have triumphed, and are now unstoppable. The fact that he is not being indicted for personally "colluding" with Vladimir Putin's government to tilt the 2016 election proves it.


    With the Mueller inquiry behind him, Mr. Trump seems intent on turning the tables on his foes.

    “There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, some bad things, I would say some treasonous things against our country... They lied to Congress, many of them, you know who they are. They’ve done so many evil things.” 

    The enemy is broken and on the run. Trump has ordered Attorney General Barr's Department of Justice to race onward to total victory by assaulting the premier symbol of Trump's predecessor, Obamacare.

    Only by the complete and utter destruction of this health program which has brought affordable health care to millions of Americans can Trump realize the tour de force, the embodiment of his resolve. He believes it would seal his legacy oif being the greatest President of all time, and ensure a second term win in 2020.

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act on Monday, telling a federal appeals court that it now believed the entire law should be invalidated.

    The administration had previously said that the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that the rest of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive.

    If the appeals court accepts the Trump administration’s new arguments, millions of people could lose health insurance, including those who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and those who have private coverage subsidized by the federal government.... link



    I could be naive but I can't lose my skepticism that the change in court arguments are a play to the base that can end up: nowhere. The lawyers involved are also fishing for loopholes for inspiration for future challenges.

    What medical providers and insurers do right now until the 2020 election is the real wild card. Such a wild card that it boggles my mind if I try to think of it from their point of view. They are in business to make a profit. But every step they take to make a profit either to pennypinch or reap big money (such as the drug cos.) gets pushback in bad P.R.from patients and other unhappy parties while at the same time many Dem candidates are debating whether they should be regulated or put out of business totally. And the whole system is ready to crack but at the same time they have to gear up to lobby mightily.

    While typing this in the background on CNN I just heard a few seconds of live answer of questions by Trump at the Capitol which he stopped to answer something about Mueller report. He ended by saying "The Republican party will soon be known as the party of health care." Clearly the national GOP and the Trump campaign have joined together and plan new messaging and a program to counter Dem candidates on reforming the health care that your term "blitzkrieg" is apt. A blitzkrieg is surely coming.

    But I still think the court cases are just a sideshow as far as any danger to coverage. Again, an attempt to find loopholes and ideas as it moves through the system, case law to refer to. I just don't believe the Supreme Court would invalidate much more of "Obamacare". They will force it back to the legislatures, this is the province of lawmakers.

    P.S. The "Drug Co. prices on TV" etc. news I posted yesterday, that clearly is Trump admin/GOP already starting whatever they are planning to counter Dem candidate proposals with their own.The change in court arguments is just another piece of the coming blitzkrieg. It's been very clear to me for a long time that Trump has the drug cos. in his sites as an industry he is going to attack, he hasn't wavered from that much, he treats it like a promise he made to the base, just like "the wall." It's just that he's never been clear about what he wants to do about it, because of course, he doesn't understand anything about how the whole system works. I have no idea who is advising him. The meeting today on Capitol Hill could just as well be about a coordinated messaging attack on health reform as it could have been about thing I am sure of: the GOP is not just going to sit there and let the Dems discuss health care without piping up with attacks...

    Of course, the Supreme Court, with Roberts vote,  Ok'ed O-care as legal, but being the unhinged narcissistic lunatic he is, Trump must humiliate Obama.  There is no Trump health plan so the Obama health plan must die! No matter the casualties!

    Even if trying to cut health care for millions thins the ranks of Trump shills in Congress, or even wakes up enough voters to help defeat Trump.

    Democrats just got their big 2020 talking point.

    Politico's got leaks from the Senate lunch, and yes health care was one of several things on the menu:

    Victory! McCain's blasphemy will be revenged!

    Trump 2020! So the criminal statute of limitations run out!

    Additional: Here's what Maggie Haberman got on the lunch from her sources in a thread of Tweets, challenging ACA is first...

    speaking of Blitzkrieg:

    One has to admire every veteran Democrat, like Pelosi, who spend a career in the same Congress with Republican liars, grifters, racists and fools like Mike Lee. 

    Whose only concern is distracting, lying and crime/race/socialism baiting enough to win the next election, run the government for the rich, or obstruct Democrats from doing anything for the people or the nation's future, because that would be a very bad precedent.

    I will admire the 'new congress' persons like AOC even more, if they hang around the mega-TV media corporation coddled, and 'both sides do it' enabled, Republican organized crime syndicate DC machine 1/5 as long as Pelosi.

    Hmm, Sen. Susan Collins, in interview with Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis, seems pretty aggressive about wanting to protect the ACA, here's the first of his just finished thread of six tweets on it, click on it for the full thread:

    Susan Collins tells me she plans to write a letter to Barr expressing her disappointment that he is not defending the ACA in court. 1/

    — Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) March 27, 2019

    oh now this is warfare to be sure:

    How will Mitch McConnell spin this for the heavily Medicaid, SS disability dependent 85% Trump voting Harlan County Kentucky folks? Pelosi socialist baby killing government takeover (of government) program? 

    as usual, turns out this was an authoritarian seat-of-the-pants decision, possibly fueled by Adderall or just a "natural" manic-episode high:

    WH move to invalidate Obamacare on Monday came despite opposition of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Bill Barr, me and ⁦@burgessev⁩ -

    — Eliana Johnson (@elianayjohnson) March 27, 2019

    p.s. FWIW, interesting, Haberman just saw the above story and sees in it blame for Mulvaney encouraging his delusions:

    POTUS has an ideologue for an acting WH chief of staff, and people in West Wing have wondered how it will play out. Here's the answer, via @politico

    — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 27, 2019

    Neal Katyal retweeted: basically another political degradation of the DOJ:

    Krugman's take on it just out, similar to mine above, government helping people, other than rich donors,  is a very bad precedent. Forget. the "credibility" of the DOJ, this is the Trumpian Triumph of the Will, made for his rallies of deplorables and his campaign.


    "It’s now clear that Republicans just have a deep, unreasoning hatred of the idea that government policy may help some people get health care.

    Why? The truth is that I don’t fully get it. Maybe it’s anger at the thought of anyone getting something they didn’t earn themselves, unless it’s an inheritance from daddy. Maybe it’s a sense that a lot of gratuitous suffering is or should be part of the human condition or God's plan.......whatever the reason, however, the fact is that whatever they may claim, today’s Republicans hate the idea of poor and working-class Americans getting the health care they need."

    It's a pretty amazing op-ed for him. To feel it important to say this, I suspect he doesn't like to admit in writing  I try to understand how others think, but in this case I really do find it hard. It's like admitting there is evil that cannot be analyzed.

    p.s. Katyal is such a constitutional legal nerd that I suspect he is just looking everywhere for evidence of the one point: that the government has fallen apart, that all branches are not working as they are supposed to....

    All confirmed again--Trump and Mulvaney nonsense:

    A fight inside the White House exposes Trump’s depravity and unfitness

    Op-ed By Greg Sargent @, March 28

    [....] the latest example of this perhaps deserves a category all its own. We’re now learning that pleasing his base is a key reason Trump fully embraced a lawsuit targeting the Affordable Care Act that, if successful, could unleash enormously destructive damage throughout the health-care system, including, perversely enough, in areas often mythologized as “Trump country.”

    Multiple new reports have filled in the details on the battle inside the White House that resulted in this decision. It does not appear that questions about the law or the real-world impact the lawsuit might have weighed heavily on Trump’s mind.

    The lawsuit in question, as you’ve heard, seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act based on a legal theory that is being dismissed by commentators across the spectrum as bad-faith nonsense. But a Texas judge decided to pretend otherwise and recently struck downthe entire ACA as unconstitutional. It’s now up on appeal, but the administration has now embraced the lawsuit’s argument that the whole law is invalid, after having held a relatively measured position in the past.

    Now we’re learning more about how this happened. The New York Times reports that during a “heated” argument inside the White House, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a tea party zealot, and another adviser named Joe Grogan, prevailed upon Trump as follows:


    His base of voters would love it. This apparently overrode the fact that the new attorney general opposed the move, presumably because the lawsuit is utterly absurd on its legal merits, and the fact that the administration has no plan to deal with the millions who would suddenly lose health coverage. Note that Pence appeared worried about the politics of this, not its enormous human toll, but never mind that for now.

    Similarly, The Post reports that Mulvaney and his allies “told Trump that joining a lawsuit to overturn the ACA will help him fulfill a campaign promise and could help lead to his reelection.” Translation: It will keep the base happy.

    This comes as many Republicans appear ready to concede (rhetorically and for now) that they’ve lost the political argument over the ACA’s future. As one GOP strategist notes, it’s an enormous political risk to align the GOP with “advocating for the disruption in coverage for Americans who are currently pleased with their own health care.”

    That’s a funny stance, given that Republicans have been trying to repeal the ACA with no serious replacement for nine years, but in effect, it concedes that repeal is now a political impossibility. And Republicans just learned this the hard way, losing the House in a massive rout after trying and failing at repeal. Those inside the White House against this move (Pence) offered Trump this warning [....]

    Dem talking point (this is an Oct. 2018 Trump tweet):


    Fuggeaboudit, just another P.R. stunt?


    BREAKING Dealing Another Blow to Trump, Federal Judge Strikes Down Rule Skirting Requirements of Health Act

    By Robert Pear @, March 28

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday struck down a Trump administration rule that allows small businesses to band together and set up health insurance plans that skirt requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

    The rule is “clearly an end-run around the A.C.A.,” said the judge, John D. Bates, of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

    The ruling was the second big defeat this week for Mr. Trump on a top-priority item on his health care agenda as the president has sought to use the courts to obliterate his predecessor’s signature achievement. Another judge on Wednesday blocked Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky.

    Mr. Trump promoted the small business health plans as a way to save people from the “nightmare of Obamacare.” He told small-business owners in June that “you’re going to save massive amounts of money and have much better health care.”

    In the economic report of the president last week, the White House said the small business plans — known as association health plans — showed how consumers benefit when the government reduces federal regulations and increases “choice and competition in health care markets.”

    But Judge Bates said that the rule authorizing such health plans was unlawful and must be set aside because it “does violence” to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the framework for employer-sponsored health plans covering tens of millions of Americans.

    Large employer-sponsored health plans can avoid some requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But Judge Bates said that the Trump administration had improperly stretched the statutory definition of “employer” to include “virtually any association of disparate employers connected by geographic proximity” — as well as sole proprietors who own businesses without any employees.

    The lawsuit was filed by New York and 10 other states [....]

    nope not gonna do it as the Dana Carvey impression of Bush Sr. used to say:

    Republicans have no intention of heeding Trump’s urgent demands to be come the “Party of Healthcare!” — not only is there no such plan, there’s no plan to make a plan. w/ @jdawsey1

    — Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 30, 2019

    Never gonna let you down, never gonna give you up,

    Oh the humanity again! (Picture could use an update with Mulvaney replacing Pootie?)

    FWIW The Examiner sez

    Sure, because after 11-12 years of trying to derail Democratic health care, they're going to come up with their own plan in 2 weeks hunkered over a lab bench wearing goggles, lab coats and the stench of sulfur. Oh, and Trump's a genius. [spoiler: the resulting plan will be 1 page with lots of pictures]


    Trump punts health care until after 2020

    @ Updated 04/01/2019 11:22 PM EDT

    I never believed it for a second. If there was this miraculous health care plan democrats would have found it. Someone would have at least proposed it and I would have heard of it. Obamacare is the best health care plan the Heritage Institute could come up with. Democrats already passed it for them. Any of the ideas to make health care cheaper are against republican principles, for example negotiating drug prices.

    here's two equally cynical buddies for us:

    Don't the Republicans know you're supposed to bring out the "wunderwaffe" to ensure total annihilation of the enemy before the...battle...not after..? Unless, of course, lies are all you've got (again) to go with.

    Mitch tells reporters what GOP plans actually are and what he said to Trump:

    McConnell to Trump: We're not repealing and replacing ObamaCare

    By Alexander Bolton @, April 2

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told President Trump in a conversation Monday that the Senate will not be moving comprehensive health care legislation before the 2020 election, despite the president asking Senate Republicans to do that in a meeting last week.

    McConnell said he made clear to the president that Senate Republicans will work on bills to keep down the cost of health care, but that they will not work on a comprehensive package to replace the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration is trying to strike down in court.

    “We had a good conversation yesterday afternoon and I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans’ view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representatives,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday, describing his conversation with Trump.

    “I was fine with Sen. Alexander and Sen. Grassley working on prescription drug pricing and other issues that are not a comprehensive effort to revisit the issue that we had the opportunity to address in the last Congress and were unable to do so,” he said, referring to Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander(R-Tenn.) and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the failed GOP effort in 2017 to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

    “I made clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate,” McConnell said he told the president. “He did say, as he later tweeted, that he accepted that and he would be developing a plan that he would take to the American people during the 2020 campaign.” [....]

    Andy Slavitt (former head of Medicare, Medicaid & ACA for Obama and now activist on health care) did a 12-point twitter thread yesterday on what he suspects was going on with this whole thing:

    BREAKING: We know Trump wants to eliminate the ACA and is suing to do so.

    What I didn’t know until 24 hours ago was why? Why would a man light the match on health care, where he lost the Congress and which will bring down his presidency?

    Follow if interested. 1/

    — Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) April 3, 2019

    just noticed this followup on the whole thing:

    A warning not to get rickrolled all over again as the troll starts up with health care diversion again:

    President has been all over the map on health care. He has said he wants universal coverage. He calls Medicare-for-all socialism. He’s fought to nix ACA. Says he’s for preexisting condition protections but has pushed to weaken them. He goes back and forth on drug reimportation.

    — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 17, 2019


    Trumpcare is the secret Wunderwaffen that will utterly destroy Pelosi and Biden..!!!!! Yes!! It's almost operational and ready for deployment!!

    And A huge Win!! For Trump! 

    lol, you are so good at getting inside his head, it's almost creepy wink

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