Kentucky first state to implement Medicaid work requirements…

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By Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kentucky on Friday became the first U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or get jobs training, after gaining federal approval for the fundamental change to the 50-year-old health insurance program for the poor.

The approval came one day after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued policy guidance allowing states to design and propose test programs with such unprecedented requirements.

Kentucky’s waiver, submitted for federal approval in 2016, requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate in at least 80 hours per month of “employment activities,” including jobs training, education and community service.

Most recipients must pay a premium based on income. Some who miss a payment or fail to re-enroll will be locked out for six months. The new rules will go into effect in July, Kentucky state officials said.

“Kentucky will now lead on this issue,” Governor Matt Bevin said at a news conference on Friday. “They want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement in the very things they’re receiving,” he said of Medicaid recipients.

Democrats and health advocacy groups blasted the federal policy on Thursday, saying it would make it tougher for the most vulnerable Americans to have access to health care. The Southern Poverty Law Center liberal advocacy group said it planned to file a legal challenge.

Certain groups are exempt, including former foster care youth, pregnant women, primary caregivers of a dependent, full-time students and the medically frail. The Trump administration also said states would have to make “reasonable modifications” for those battling opioid addiction and other substance-use disorders.

Kentucky, along with 30 other states, expanded Medicaid to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level under the Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement commonly called Obamacare.

More than 400,000 Kentucky residents gained health insurance through the program, the highest growth rate of Medicaid coverage of any state.

Among adult Medicaid recipients aged 18 to 64, 60 percent already have jobs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation health policy research group. Most adult Medicaid recipients who do not work reported major impediments as the reason, according to Kaiser.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has said that the program had become financially unsustainable under Obamacare, although the federal government covers the majority of its cost. The waiver is projected to reduce the number of people on Medicaid by nearly 86,000 within five years, saving more than $330 million.

At least nine additional states, mostly Republican led, have proposed similar changes to Medicaid: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb,; Editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Chang

*(ABOUT TIME) – PAUL RYAN TO STEP ASIDE IN ’18, LEAVE DC

Spirits were high inside the House chamber on Thursday, November 16, when, in the early afternoon, the gavel fell and a measure to rewrite the American tax code passed on a partisan tally of 227 to 205. As the deciding votes were cast—recorded in green on the black digital scoreboard suspended above the floor—the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together. Soon he was engulfed in a sea of dark suits, every Republican lawmaker wanting to slap him on the shoulder and be a part of his moment.

Ryan was the man of the hour. Having spent a quarter-century in Washington—as an intern, waiter, junior think-tanker, Hill staffer and, since 1999, as a member of Congress—he had never wavered in his obsession with fixing what he viewed as the nation’s two fundamental weaknesses: its Byzantine tax system and ballooning entitlement state. Now, with House Republicans celebrating the once-in-a-generation achievement of a tax overhaul, Ryan was feeling both jubilant and relieved—and a little bit greedy. Reveling in the afterglow, Ryan remarked to several colleagues how this day had proven they could accomplish difficult things—and that next year, they should set their sights on an even tougher challenge: entitlement reform. The speaker has since gone public with this aspiration, suggesting that 2018 should be the year Washington finally tackles what he sees as the systemic problems with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics,” and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.

And yet speculation is building that, Ryan, even fresh off his tax-reform triumph, might not be able to leave on his own terms. He now faces a massive pileup of cannot-fail bills in January and February. It’s an outrageous legislative lift: Congress must, in the coming weeks, fund the government, raise the debt ceiling, modify spending caps, address the continuation of health-care subsidies, shell out additional funds for disaster relief and deal with the millions of undocumented young immigrants whose protected status has been thrown into limbo. It represents the most menacing stretch of Ryan’s speakership—one that will almost certainly require him to break promises made to his conference and give significant concessions to Democrats in exchange for their votes. To meet key deadlines, he’ll have to approve sizable spending increases and legal status for minors who came to the U.S. illegally—two things that could raise the ire of the GOP base and embolden his conservative rivals on Capitol Hill. There is no great outcome available, Ryan has conceded to some trusted associates—only survival. “Win the day. Win the next day. And then win the week,” Ryan has been preaching to his leadership team.

The speaker can’t afford to admit he’s a lame-duck—his fundraising capacity and dealmaking leverage would be vastly diminished, making the House all the more difficult to govern. When asked at the end of a Thursday morning press conference if he was leaving soon, Ryan shot a quick “no” over his shoulder as he walked out of the room.

#UnfollowMcCain: Senator’s plea for Twitter followers backfires

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) lost thousands of followers after he tweeted asking for more in order to reach three million. Reactions to the call focused on his vote in favor of the tax reform bill, as well as the launch of the #UnfollowMcCain hashtag.

*

“We’re only 74 Twitter followers away from 3M – spread the word & help us reach this big milestone,” the senator tweeted Monday afternoon.

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Within hours, however, McCain had lost thousands of followers. Many criticized him for voting in favor of the Republican tax plan, which Democrats say benefits the rich and harms the middle class. The plan sets aside the “individual mandate”of the American Care Act, which critics argued, would lead to a $25 billion cut to the program in 2018, citing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the bill.

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“Over 5,000 people have unfollowed you since you sent this this two hours ago. One reason is you because you – a man undergoing cancer treatment – voted to strip $25 BILLION dollars from the part of Medicare which pays for CANCER TREATMENT,” said one prolific tweeter.

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McCain revealed in July that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. He recovered well enough to continue his work in the Senate, despite a poor prognosis.

“Since this tweet, John’s losing followers quicker than Americans are losing healthcare and tax benefits,” a Texas film critic tweeted.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 2.55.36 PM“I couldn’t click the unfollow button fast enough. Unless you are part of the 1%, there is no reason to help this man because he sure wouldn’t help you,” said another user.

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“.@SenJohnMcCain’s plea for help to reach 3M Twitter followers backfired big time yesterday when he lost 29K followers. Thanks mostly to Russian bots, he’s since gained 5K followers & is now 24,000 short of his goal. Who wants to play today?”

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It was unclear why ‘Russian bots’ would help McCain, one of the loudest anti-Russian voices in Congress. Though now reviled, he was considered a hero by many Democrats after voting against the GOP’s proposal to repeal Obamacare in July.

Soros says he wants to pay more taxes, but prefers Ireland where he paid less than $1,000

George Soros has joined a petition to scrap tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But the billionaire prefers Ireland, where his hedge fund paid just $962 in taxes in 2013, according to Bloomberg.

Four hundred wealthy Americans have appealed to the US Congress urging Republican lawmakers not to cut their taxes. They say the GOP shouldn’t cut taxes for the wealthiest when the US debt is at all-time high and inequality is rising.

The letter, signed, among others, by George Soros and Steven Rockefeller, says the proposal “would lead to deep cuts in critical services such as education, Medicare, and Medicaid, and would hamper our nation’s ability to restore investments in our people and communities.”

The signatories are among the highest earning five percent of Americans, who have $1.5 million in assets or who are making $250,000 or more a year.

The proposed cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s program aimed to spur growth and jobs in the country. They would add at least $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the current national debt. This deficit “would leave us unable to meet our country’s current needs and restrict us in advancing any future investments,” the letter said.

One of the rich who signed the document is George Soros, who has always said wealthy people should pay more taxes. However, he prefers not to pay taxes in the United States, but in countries with more favorable tax laws.

In 2015 Bloomberg reported that Soros’ hedge fund paid $962 in tax in Ireland on $3,851 net income through 2013, while the remaining $7.2 billion operating income was allocated to investors.

A year later, Soros shut down the Irish company and set up another in the tax-friendly Caymans.

By the time the new company in the Caymans was created, Soros had reportedly funneled $13.3 billion in fees, which means he had dodged almost $7 billion in taxes if his business had been entirely located in the United States.

Half of Americans currently pay no federal income tax at all!

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This tax cut isn’t for the middle class, which only pays 2.5% now

By
REX
NUTTING
COLUMNIST

Most American families don’t pay very much in federal income tax, so it’s no surprise that they aren’t clamoring for another tax cut.

Donald Trump and the Republican leaders in Washington have rolled out a plan for another big tax cut, but most Americans wonder why they are bothering with taxes when there are so many other more pressing problems.

There may have been a time, a generation ago, when cutting tax rates was the most popular thing a politician could do. But that day is long gone. I guess you might say Americans are tired of tax cuts, there have been so many.

Today, most Americans aren’t clamoring for lower taxes, probably because most of us don’t pay very much in federal income taxes. Our tax burden has rarely been lower. The latest data show that the 60% of families in the middle of the income distribution — those between about $32,000 and about $140,000 — pay an average of just 2.5% of their income in federal income taxes.

Nearly half of Americans owe no federal income tax at all, but they do pay taxes: payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare, tariffs, excise taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, state and local income taxes, and so on. If they have a problem with taxes, it’s not with the federal income tax.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-dont-want-or-need-a-tax-cut-2017-09-27

A bill that cuts federal income taxes for middle-class families makes absolutely no sense, except as a sad way of camouflaging the real intent of the bill: Giving millions of dollars to the very wealthy, who happen to be the only people who are really benefiting from our uneven economic growth.

The pollsters at Gallup periodically ask people what they think is the most important problem in America. Taxes don’t make the top 10 list; only 2% of Americans mention taxes as a big problem.

In real America — outside the closed doors on Capitol Hill and at corporate boardrooms — the most pressing issues are distrust in the government, racism, immigration, national unity, tensions with North Korea, health care, the economy and jobs, disaster relief, the environment and crime. Even the media is mentioned more often as a major problem than taxes are.

But in Washington, cutting taxes is the most important thing on the agenda. Why? Because the Republican Party apparently is a wholly owned subsidiary of large multinational corporations and the richest 0.1% of Americans.

The people get it. In an NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll, 62% of those polled said taxes should go up on the wealthy, and 55% said taxes should rise for corporations. Meanwhile, 53% said their own taxes should stay where they are.

So, the American people don’t need a tax cut (they pay 2.5%) and they don’t want it, but perhaps a tax cut would be good for them? That’s the argument being pushed by Trump and his advisers: They say cutting taxes, especially on businesses, will unleash the economy, create jobs, and boost incomes.

The problem, they say, is that corporate taxes are too high in the U.S. Our companies can’t compete with foreign-based firms. It’s true that the statutory rate is very high —35% federal corporate tax rate (plus varying levels of state income taxes, plus individual income taxes paid by shareholders).

But nobody pays retail, and nobody pays the statutory rate. Corporations take advantage of lots of special provisions in the tax code to lower their taxes. The effective marginal tax rate on new investments is 19.7%, “very much line with our major trading partners,” according to a paper published by the Obama Treasury Department in January.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross say simplifying and lowering corporate taxes could add 1 percentage point or more to the nation’s sustainable growth rate. So, instead of 2% growth, we could have 3% or maybe even 4%.

Trump says we could get to 6% growth, but why not just say 100%? There is no support — empirical or theoretical — for such a statement. The best economic evidence shows that tax reform could add about 0.1% to 0.3% to annual growth rates. That’s only about one-tenth of the impact promised by the Trump administration.

And that’s if tax reform is revenue-neutral (meaning it won’t add to the deficit).

Unfortunately, the Republicans are relying on those implausible growth rates to argue that their $2.2 trillion tax cut will largely pay for itself. But if we don’t get the growth, then the deficits will climb.

Higher government deficits in a time of full employment can lead to slower economic growth, because they reduce national savings, forcing the nation to rely even more from foreigners for savings, increasing the current-account deficit and leading to a higher trade deficit. Which is exactly what these tax cuts are trying to prevent.

Trump says cutting taxes is all about creating jobs. But the tax cuts in 2001, 2003, and 2004 were designed to funnel money to the “job creators,” who would in turn hire millions of people. But, as it turned out, the rich got the money, but hiring didn’t accelerate.

Trickle down didn’t work.

The real constraint on the economy right now isn’t the number of jobs being created, but productivity. We need to invest much more in technology, equipment, buildings and workers. However, there’s little that cutting taxes can do about that problem, because companies have plenty of capital to invest, if they wanted to.

Profits are near record levels, while net investment is near record low levels. Giving corporations more cash won’t lead to more investment unless companies see a positive return.

The Trump-Ryan tax cuts don’t solve any of our problems, unless you believe that the wealthy don’t have quite enough money yet. But the latest figures from the Federal Reserve show that the top 1% is capturing a greater share of both national income and wealth.

House Speaker Paul Ryan calls tax cuts the “secret sauce” for a better economy. But that the secret sauce is just the same old ketchup and mayo.

Single-payer healthcare advances in California — without way to pay $400-billion tab…

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By Patrick McGreevy

A proposal to adopt a single-payer healthcare system for California took an initial step forward Thursday when the state Senate approved a bare-bones bill that lacks a method for paying the $400-billion cost of the plan.

The proposal was made by legislators led by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) at the same time President Trump and Republican members of Congress are working to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act.

“Despite the incredible progress California has made, millions still do not have access to health insurance and millions more cannot afford the high deductibles and co-pays, and they often forgo care,” Lara said during a floor debate on the bill.

The bill, which now goes to the state Assembly for consideration, will have to be further developed, Lara conceded, adding he hopes to reach a consensus on a way to pay for it.

Republican senators opposed the bill as a threat to the state’s finances.

“We don’t have the money to pay for it,” Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) said. “If we cut every single program and expense from the state budget and redirected that money to this bill, SB 562, we wouldn’t even cover half of the $400-billion price tag.”

Berryhill also said the private sector is better suited to provide healthcare.

“I absolutely don’t trust the government to run our health system,” he said. “What has the government ever done right?”

Lara’s bill would provide a Medicare-for-all-type system that he believed would guarantee health coverage for all Californians without the out-of-pocket costs. Under a single-payer plan, the government replaces private insurance companies, paying doctors and hospitals for healthcare.

The California Nurses Assn., which sponsored the bill, released a fiscal analysis this week that proposed raising the state sales and business receipts taxes by 2.3% to raise $106 billion of the annual cost, with the rest proposed to come from state and federal funding already going to Medicare and Medicaid services.

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Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) called the plan “reckless” and said the taxes would hurt businesses and families while financially crippling the state government.

“It’s offensive to the people who have to pay for it,” he said.

Some Democrats felt the bill was rushed and undeveloped. Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) withheld his vote on the bill on grounds it does not provide enough detail of what a single-payer system would look like.

“This is the Senate kicking the can down the road to the Assembly and asking the Assembly to fill in all of the blanks,” Hueso said. “That’s not going to happen this year.”

Lara said action is required because of what is happening in Washington.

“With President Trump’s promise to abandon the Affordable Care Act as we know it — for one that leaves millions without access to care — California is once again tasked to lead,” he told his colleagues.

He said his father recently had heart bypass surgery but went through the emergency room for help after his insurance company initially turned him down.

Even if the bill is approved, it has to go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been skeptical, and then voters would have to exempt it from spending limits and budget formulas in the state Constitution. In addition, the state would have to get federal approval to repurpose existing funds for Medicare and Medicaid.

Read more about how the single-payer plan would work here

RUSH: If Trump Budget Means The End Of GOP, Why Don’t The Democrats Vote For It?

Published on May 24, 2017

Find More @ http://www.DailyRushbo.com

Shayneby Shaynebi

Demtards are habitual whiners.
Elizabeth Velazquez

their gravy train has come to a screeching halt the hungry rats are scattering
Powder River

Trump has done more to fulfill campaign promises than most other Presidents and although a sound and fiscal budget are a sizable portion of good Government a loss of funding to regulatory agencies i.e. EPA etc would assist in the overall plan to revitalize the economy. That’s the main goal is to get the economy moving and the only way to get that is to defund the out of control agencies and role back the regulation stifling the small businesses that make up the greater portion of our economic engine.
JM Talboo

Fake Media Says Trump’s Budget Has “Deep Cuts” In It But That’s Not True! (REACTION) – LIMBAUGH: Trump’s Budget Is ‘A DREAM COME TRUE’ – Trump Mafia: The FIRST TRUMP BUDGET is gonna annihilate the DEMOCRAT WORLD – Mnuchin Comments On Trump’s “Historic” Budget Proposal: “It Will Prevent Taxpayer Bailouts”: http://trumpisright.blogspot.com/2017/05/limbaugh-trumps-budget-is-dream-come.html
scrumsey

Because they cannot vote to stop paying off their government worker and welfare base.
Paul Squires

Gotta start somewhere