March 14, 2017: CBO Report on TrumpCare, HR. 1313, S. 608, Dan Coats, and H. R. McMaster
- The CBO released its initial analysis of the American Health Care Act (i.e. "TrumpCare") yesterday.
- The House Education & Workforce Committee recently advanced HR. 1313, a bill which would allow employers to impose penalties on employees who refuse genetic testing.
- Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 608 yesterday, which would overturn the most recent Muslim ban.
- Cloture motions were filed on the nominations of Dan Coats as the Director of National Intelligence and H. R. McMaster as Lieutenant General.
- Seema Verma was confirmed as CMS Administrator on a vote of 55-43.
CBO Analysis of TrumpCare:
The Congressional Budget Office (BCO) released its report on the effects of the GOP's American Health Care Act (i.e. "TrumpCare) bill. Among its major findings:
- 14 million people would lose healthcare coverage in the first year, rising to 24 million by 2026. In total, 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026, as opposed to 28 million under the ACA.
- The federal deficit would be reduced by $337 billion over ten years, largely due to an $880 billion cut to Medicaid.
- Premiums overall would be expected to rise for the first two years, then fall afterwards. But the savings in premiums would not be evenly distributed: premiums would be 20-25% lower for a 21-year-old, 8-10% lower for a 40-year-old, but 20-25% higher for a 64-year-old.
- Assistance in the form of subsidies and tax credits for lower-income people would tend to be lower than under the ACA, while assistance for higher-income people would tend to be higher than under the ACA.
- Planned Parenthood would lose federal funding, which "would affect services that help women avoid pregnancies." Additionally, the many women who rely on Planned Parenthood because their areas do not have other health care clinics or providers would lose access to care.
In the wake of the CBO report, even more conservatives have now expressed concerns about the bill, and Democrats remain largely united in opposition to it.
- Full text of CBO report
- Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion, Report Says (NYT)
- GOP health-care plan: Conservative lawmakers continue to push back on Obamacare replacement (Washington Post)
- The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on ObamaCare repeal plan (The Hill)
- Harris on CBO Report: GOP Plan Would Be Catastrophic (Harris press release)
- Feinstein: Millions Will Lose Health Insurance under Republican Plan (Feinstein press release)
- Rep. Peters Slams GOP Healthcare Bill after CBO Score Shows 24 Million Americans Losing Insurance (Peters press release)
The House Education & Workforce Committee voted on March 8, 2017 to advance HR. 1313, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act. The bill is being promoted by its GOP sponsor as a way of promoting employee wellness programs. However, a major provision of the bill would allow employers to impose financial penalties on employees who refuse to undergo genetic testing.
In general, under the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on their genetic information. This new bill would create an exemption to GINA restrictions for genetic testing offered as part of a voluntary employee wellness program. However, although Republican supporters of this bill are touting the "voluntary" nature of the specified wellness programs, what's important to note is that employers are allowed to offer significant financial incentives (such as discounts on benefits of up to 30%) to employees who participate in these programs. Conversely, they are allowed to deny these incentives to employees who choose not to participate.
The bill has also been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee. As of today, no hearing or markup session for the bill has been scheduled in either committee.
- Bill information
- House Education & Workforce Committee markup session
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
- House Energy & Commerce Committee membership
- House Ways & Means Committee membership
- Employees who decline genetic testing could face penalties under proposed bill (Washington Post)
- HHS secretary expresses concern on bill allowing employers to demand genetic tests (Stat)
Yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 608 into the Senate, a bill which would overturn the President's latest "Muslim Ban" Executive Order. Feinstein noted in her official statement that this Order is discriminatory and "would do nothing to make us safer."
Feinstein was joined by 37 other Democratic and independent senators who co-sponsored the bill. As of today, the following Democratic senators have not yet co-sponsored the bill:
- Maria Cantwell (WA): (202) 224-3441
- Joe Donnelly (IN): (202) 224-4814
- Heidi Heitkamp (ND): (202) 224-2043
- Joe Manchin (WV): (202) 224-3954
- Claire McCaskill (MO): (202) 224-6154
- Bill Nelson (FL): (202) 224-5274
- Gary Peters (MI): (202) 224-6221
- Jon Tester (MT): (202) 224-2644
- Mark Warner (VA): (202) 224-2023
- Sheldon Whitehouse (RI): (202) 224-2921
- Bill information
A motion of cloture was filed yesterday on the nomination of Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence. After easily passing his confirmation hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee (the committee approved Coats 13-2, with only Dems Kamala Harris and Ron Wyden opposing him), Coats is expected to be confirmed without much controversy. However, Senator Harris noted in an official statement, "after careful consideration of Senator Dan Coats’ record and past positions on issues ranging from torture to surveillance to Iran, I regrettably cannot support his nomination to serve as the Director of National Intelligence."
The motion of cloture, if passed, would limit debate on Coats's nomination to 30 hours. The vote on the cloture motion is expected tomorrow, with a final vote on the confirmation no later than Friday. (Given the relatively wide support Coats has received, though, it's likely that the full 30 hours will not be used, therefore his vote could happen as early as Friday.)
- Senator Harris Statement on Vote Against Director of National Intelligence Nominee (Harris press release)
- Senate panel advances Trump's intelligence director pick (The Hill)
H. R. McMaster
A motion of cloture was filed yesterday on the confirmation of H. R. McMaster as lieutenant general. Under federal law, three- and four-star generals and admirals must be confirmed by the Senate in their rank, and must additionally be re-confirmed whenever their job function changes. McMaster was named as Gen. Michael Flynn's replacement as Trump's national security adviser, a post which does not normally require Senate confirmation. However, Senate confirmation is required in order for McMaster to keep his 3-star rank as an active-duty officer. This confirmation is not expected to be contested.
As noted above, the motion of cloture, if passed, would limit debate on McMaster's confirmation to 30 hours. The vote on the cloture motion is expected tomorrow, with the final vote no later than Friday. As with Coats, the relatively uncontroversial nature of this appointment means that the debate is not likely to use all 30 allotted hours, so a final vote could happen as early as Friday.
- McMaster needs Senate confirmation to keep 3 stars (Politico)
- Trump Chooses H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser (NYT)
Seema Verma was confirmed yesterday as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The final vote tally was 55-43.
The following Democrats and independents voted in favor of Verma's confirmation:
- Joe Donnelly (D-IN): (202) 224-4814
- Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): (202) 224-2043
- Angus King (I-ME): (202) 224-5344
- Joe Manchin (D-WV): (202) 224-3954
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling both of my senators and thanking them for their strong statements opposing the TrumpCare bill and for their efforts to overturn the Muslim ban. I will also thank them for their votes against Seema Verma yesterday. I will also ask them to use additional procedural methods to add pressure to overturn the ban.
I'll also call my Congressman and thank him for his strong opposition to TrumpCare. I'll also ask him to oppose HR. 1313 and I'll repeat my request for him to co-sponsor H. Res. 186.
If you haven't called yet regarding H. Res. 186, the REINS Act, or the SCRUB Act, please see yesterday's updates.
If you are not from California, you can find contact information for all U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your Representative in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I wanted to thank Senator Feinstein for her strong statements against TrumpCare. I believe that any plan that takes healthcare away from millions of Americans is wrong. I also appreciate her vote against Seema Verma yesterday. And I would like to thank her for introducing S. 608 to overturn the President's Muslim ban. I believe that ban is discriminatory and unconstitutional, and I'd like to encourage the Senator to continue pushing to get it repealed, including objecting to every call for unanimous consent until it is rescinded. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code) .I wanted to thank Senator Harris for her strong statements against TrumpCare. I believe that any plan that takes healthcare away from millions of Americans is wrong. I also appreciate her vote against Seema Verma yesterday. And I would like to thank her for co-sponsoring S. 608 to overturn the President's Muslim ban. I believe that ban is discriminatory and unconstitutional, and I'd like to encourage the Senator to continue pushing to get it repealed, including objecting to every call for unanimous consent until it is rescinded. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to thank Congressman Peters for his strong statements against TrumpCare yesterday. I believe that any plan that takes healthcare away from millions of Americans is wrong. On another note, I'd like to ask the Congressman to oppose HR. 1313 in the Energy & Commerce Committee, which would allow employers to demand genetic testing from their employees. Finally, I noticed that the Congressman still hasn't co-sponsored H. Res. 186, which would direct the Treasury Department to release the Preisdent's tax returns and financial conflicts. I think that is a necessary step in the investigation so I would like to ask the Congressman to co-sponsor that resolution. Thank you."