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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Republican Health Plans Have Winners And Losers, Just Like Obamacare | FiveThirtyEight

"The Affordable Care Act sacrificed affordability in order to get more people insured. Prohibiting companies from denying people insurance because of pre-existing conditions, for example, opened up access to everyone, but it also made insurance more expensive for people who were healthy. Similarly, requiring insurers to offer a comprehensive set of benefits meant that low-cost plans offering only catastrophic coverage were no longer allowed for most people, which meant higher premiums for everyone. President Trump has promised to insure more people at a lower price, but it’s not clear how he could make that happen.

Now, Republicans who have promised for years to repeal and replace the ACA are tasked with balancing winners and losers, coverage and cost. GOP House members outlined their replacement plan last week. Here’s a look at how the main policy proposals would shake out against the current system.

Insuring the sickest Americans

Underlying the tradeoffs of any health policy is the world’s most expensive medical system. Until we do something about the high cost of care overall, someone has to pay, whether it’s the federal government with tax dollars, companies or individuals. But just a sliver of the population is responsible for the majority of health care spending in the U.S., and figuring out how to pay for the most costly patients is one of the biggest challenges in health care policy.

Before the ACA, many states had high-risk pools: state-run programs for people with serious medical needs who couldn’t get health insurance elsewhere. Most enrollees had been turned down for coverage by insurance companies because of pre-existing health conditions and didn’t have an employer-sponsored plan. In 2007, 34 states had pools that spent more than $1.8 billion on the 201,000 people enrolled in these programs, which did little to reduce the overall uninsured rate but were life changing for many of the people they did cover.

By requiring that insurers cover everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions, the ACA did away with those programs. Republicans have pushed to bring this system back, because removing the people who cost the most to treat would result in lower premiums for everyone else in the general insurance pool. That shift would isolate the people with the greatest medical needs, however, and leave them open to funding shortfalls. The programs rely on sick people paying more for care, anywhere from about 120 percent to 250 percent of what a healthier counterpart would pay, which can be an added strain on families. In Minnesota, which had the oldest and largest high-risk pool in the country, a 60-year-old man in the program paid $685 per month for a plan with a $2,000 deductible in 2014, according to information gathered by Lynn Blewett, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied high-risk pools. “For people who could afford it, it was a good product,” Blewett said. “But there were a lot of people who couldn’t afford it.”

Republican Health Plans Have Winners And Losers, Just Like Obamacare | FiveThirtyEight

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What the Jewish Cemetery Attack and Trump’s Movement Have in Common - The Daily Beast

"Jay Michaelson


Why did it take the desecration of a Jewish cemetery for President Trump and Vice President Pence to finally condemn anti-Semitism?

There were, of course, multiple factors that finally teased out a condemnation from the president (issued, rather bizarrely, at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture): Ivanka Trump’s tweet on Monday, following the fourth round of bomb threats against Jewish community centers. The dread felt throughout the Jewish community after Trump not only failed to condemn anti-Semitism in response to a question at his press conference, but scolded the questioner, an ultra-Orthodox Jew. Surely some of that concern had percolated inward to Trump’s inner circle, as his own Jewish allies began asking just what was so difficult about condemning Jew-hatred.

But there’s something about cemeteries in general, and Jewish cemeteries in particular.

To desecrate an individual grave is a personal insult, but to vandalize an entire cemetery is to insult an entire people. Though the perpetrators are still unknown, it was against Jewish identity itself. It’s an outing, an othering: no, Jew, you are not one of us. Even in death, we will despise you. You are not an individual, not a person; you are a Jew. It’s a uniquely personal act of depersonalization.

There’s another reason why Jewish cemeteries, like African American ones, are laden with historical significance.

Twenty years ago, when I was a college student on a rail pass across Europe, I visited the old Jewish cemetery in Prague. Its crooked, crumbling stones seemed the fitting memorial to a community once proud, now devastated. And on one of them, someone had left a note saying, in German and English, vergeben und vergessen: forgive and forget. I left a second note, with the piety of a 21-year old, zachor: remember.

In fact, this cemetery had not been affected by the Holocaust. But we both knew what we were taking about.

Jewish cemeteries are a reminder of Jewish death, and Jewish death means the Holocaust, a genocide still unprecedented in scope and scale.

The bigoted, racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, white supremacist far right knows this. (Their wanna-be “alt” signifier can go to hell.) Whoever committed the acts of vandalism in the Chesed Shel Emet cemetery, they knew that defiling a cemetery is a particularly loathsome act, and defiling the graves of dead Jews, many of whom were surely Holocaust refugees or survivors, has a very particular resonance..."

What the Jewish Cemetery Attack and Trump’s Movement Have in Common - The Daily Beast

Undocumented Woman With a Brain Tumor Locked Up by ICE - The Daily Beast

"The 26-year-old undocumented woman was in a detention center in Texas when she started complaining of headaches earlier this month.

The pain was caused by a brain tumor and, today, lawyers for the woman who remains in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fear she’ll die there without ever seeing or speaking to her family again.

It’s a scenario that advocates worry could become far more common under President Donald Trump’s new immigration enforcement rules.

According to her legal team, helmed by attorney Marcia Kasdan, the woman — who we will identify as Sara to protect her privacy — was being held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas, when she started complaining of terrible headaches.

In her court testimony, Sara acknowledged that she illegally crossed the border on Nov. 4, 2015, and border patrol agents apprehended her. A sworn statement from Border Patrol agent Roberto Gonzalez Jr. says Sara told him on Nov. 8, 2015 that she came to the U.S. to work, and not to seek asylum.

She told an immigration judge on Jan. 12, 2016, that she actually did come to the U.S. from her native El Salvador seeking asylum, and that she feared her aunt — who she said is gang-affiliated — would kill her because she was in a relationship with a Salvadoran police officer. But Sara missed the deadline to file her asylum claim, so the judge ordered her deportation. Her legal team, which began working with her after she missed that deadline and acknowledges that it was missed, appealed. She has been in detention since then."

Undocumented Woman With a Brain Tumor Locked Up by ICE - The Daily Beast


Relevant Case law setting guideline limits to ICE searches an seizures of undocumented aliens.

“United States Supreme CourtINS v. LOPEZ-MENDOZA, (1984)No. 83-491Argued: April 18, 1984    Decided: July 5, 1984Respondent Mexican citizens were ordered deported by an Immigration Judge. Respondent Lopez-Mendoza unsuccessfully objected to being summoned to the deportation hearing following his allegedly unlawful arrest by an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agent, but he did not object to the receipt in evidence of his admission, after the arrest, of illegal entry into this country. Respondent Sandoval-Sanchez, who also admitted his illegal entry after being arrested by an INS agent, unsuccessfully objected to the evidence of his admission offered at the deportation proceeding, contending that it should have been suppressed as the fruit of an unlawful arrest. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the deportation orders. The Court of Appeals reversed respondent Sandoval-Sanchez' deportation order, holding that his detention by INS agents violated the Fourth Amendment, that his admission of illegal entry was the product of this detention, and that the exclusionary rule barred its use in a deportation proceeding. The court vacated respondent Lopez-Mendoza's deportation order and remanded his case to the BIA to determine whether the Fourth Amendment had been violated in the course of his arrest…..”

It's legal for an immigration agent to pretend to be a police officer outside someone's door. But should it be? - LA Times

"During a nationwide operation this month by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a team of ICE agents in Los Angeles approached the house of a man targeted for deportation.

“Good morning, police,” one agent announced in the pre-dawn darkness. 
A man opened the door moments later.

“Good morning, how you doing? I’m a police officer. We’re doing an investigation,” the agent said.
The exchange, captured on a video released publicly by ICE, seemed routine. But it has reignited long-simmering objections from immigrant rights attorneys and advocates, who say the scene illustrates unethical — and in some cases, illegal —  ruses ICE agents have used for years, portraying themselves as officers from local police departments to ensnare people or fool them into revealing the whereabouts of family members.
The use of the tactic, critics said, is particularly egregious in heavily immigrant cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, where police and elected officials have tried for decades to distinguish their cops from federal immigration agents, in an effort to convince immigrants living illegally in their cities that they can interact with local police without fear of deportation. The practice of using ruses predates the Trump administration. But the president’s announcement of his intent to dramatically increase the number of people ICE apprehends for deportation has increased concerns by immigrant advocates that the tactic will grow even more prevalent.

“There is something fundamentally unfair about ICE exploiting local and state policies that are trying to improve public safety by promoting immigrants’ trust in law enforcement,” said Frances Miriam Kreimer, senior attorney at Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco.
Kreimer is challenging the legality of a ruse ICE officers used to arrest a client, in which they told the man they were police officers investigating a crime.

'I’m not going to do it.' Police aren't eager to help Trump enforce immigration laws'I’m not going to do it.' Police aren't eager to help Trump enforce immigration laws"

It's legal for an immigration agent to pretend to be a police officer outside someone's door. But should it be? - LA Times: ""

Trump on Slavery: ‘Boy, That Is Not Good’ - The Daily Beast

"President Trump on Wednesday visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture and was reportedly moved to audibly comment on the horrific nature of slavery during his tour. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King accompanied the president and, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said that when Trump came upon a stone auction block for selling slaves, he commented: “Boy, that is just not good. That is not good.” Later, when he saw a set of shackles used on slave children, he said, according to King: “That is really bad. That is really bad.”

Trump on Slavery: ‘Boy, That Is Not Good’ - The Daily Beast



Today Trump Honored Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington And... Ben Carson