The Pronk Pops Show 970, July 18, 2017, Story 1: Will Trump Challenge The Washington Establishment To Achieve His Promises? You Betcha. Will He Win? Long Shot –A Movement Is Not A Viable Political Party That Can Beat The Democratic Party and Republican Party and Their Allies In The Big Government Bureaucracies, Big Lie Media and The Owner Donor Class — Votes Count — Independence Party???– Videos –Story 2: Replace Republicans With D and F Conservative Review Grades and Scores Root and Branch With Real Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians Until New Political Party Is Formed and Becomes A Viable Party — Videos

Posted on July 19, 2017. Filed under: American History, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Defense Spending, Diet, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Exercise, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Insurance, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mike Pence, Monetary Policy, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Image result for cartoons big government republicans

Image result for cartoons big government republicansImage result for branco cartoons big government republicansImage result for branco cartoons big government republicansImage result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacareImage result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacareImage result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacareImage result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacare

Thank you from cartoonist A.F. Branco

Thank you for your conservative cartoons and many laughs.

An interview with political cartoonist Antonio F. Branco

Story 1: Will Trump Challenge The Washington Establishment To Achieve His Promises? You Betcha. Will He Win? Long Shot –A Movement Is Not A Viable Political Party That Can Beat The Democratic Party and Republican Party and Their Allies In The Big Government Bureaucracies, Big Lie Media and The Owner Donor Class — Votes Count — Independence Party?? — Videos —

Donald Trump vs The Establishment

How Liberal Is Donald Trump?

Full Show – Republicans Embrace Failing Obamacare, Trump Says Let It Fail

Liberals react to the 2016 Election result exactly the way you expected.

The Donald and butthurt Liberals

Milton Friedman on Classical Liberalism

Milton Friedman: The Two Major Enemies of a Free Society

Milton Friedman schools young Bernie Sanders about poverty

Milton Friedman: Why people refuse to reduce the government size?

The Difference Between Classical Liberals and Libertarians (Steve Davies Part 2)

What Is Libertarianism? – Learn Liberty

What is Classical Liberalism? – Learn Liberty

What Is Libertarianism? – Learn Liberty

The Decline and Triumph of Classical Liberalism (Pt. 1) – Learn Liberty

Classical Liberalism: The Decline and Triumph of Classical Liberalism (Pt. 2) – Learn Liberty

Pat Buchanan: The establishment is in a panic over Trump

The Rise of Conservatism: Crash Course US History #41

The Reagan Revolution: Crash Course US History #43

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

From white supremacy to Barack Obama: The history of the Democratic Party

The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

Bill Whittle – Racism – Democrats and Republicans switch sides?

The history of the racist Democrat party in under 12 minutes by Billy Whittle

Who Are America’s Elites? – Ben Shapiro

456. The Iron Fist of the Ruling Class | Angelo Codevilla

LIMBAUGH: Washington Establishment FEAR Trump SUCCEEDING

Rush Limbaugh: “The Media did not make Donald Trump, and they can’t destroy him”

How Did The U.S. End Up With A Two-Party System?

George Carlin ~ The Ruling Class And What They Own

Story 2: Replace Republicans With D and F Conservative Review Grades and Scores Root and Branch With Real Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians Until New Political Party Is Formed and Becomes A Viable Party — Videos

Conservative Review: LIBERTY SCORECARD

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard

MUST WATCH: President Trump Reacts to GOP Healthcare Bill Collapse – “Let ObamaCare Fail” (FNN)

Sarah Sanders Press Briefing on GOP Healthcare Bill Failure 7/18/17

Richard Epstein: Obamacare’s Collapse, the 2016 Election, & More

“The Classical Liberal Constitution” (featuring the author, Richard Epstein)

The Classical Liberal Constitution

Total Proof Republicans Lied About Repealing Obamacare

Hannity to GOP: Get the job done or get out of Washington

Sen. Paul: The Republican plan kept the death spiral

The Newsroom – Rinos, Real Republicans, The Tea Party, The Founding Fathers on religion and more

Mark Levin Destroys Leftist Democrats And RINO Republicans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

KY F 42%

Republican Senate Whip John Cornyn

 

 

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 926-930

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 644-650

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 617-628

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1-9

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017, Story 1: Downsizing The Federal Government or Draining The Swap: Trump Should Permanently Close 8 Departments Not Appoint People To Run Them — Cut All Other Department Budgets by 20% — Video — Story 2: Federal Spending Breaks $4 Trillion for Fiscal Year 2017 — Story 3: The American People and President Trump Vs. Political Elitist Establishment of The Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — Videos

Posted on July 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Cartoons, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Independence, Insurance, Law, Life, Medicare, Movies, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Security, Senate, Social Security, Taxation, Taxes, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Image result for cartoons on big government democratic and republican partiesImage result for cartoons on big fat governmentBar Chart of Government Spending by AgencyImage result for cartoons on big government democratic and republican parties

Image result for cartoons the american people and trump vs washington establishment

 

Story 1: Downsizing The Federal Government or Draining The Swap: Trump Should Permanently Close 8 Departments Not Appoint People To Run Them — Cut All Other Department Budgets by 20% — Video

Order of Establishment of the Executive Departments

Rank*
Year
Executive Departments
1
1789
2
1789
3
1789
1947
Department of War
Department of Defense (merger of War and Navy departments)
4
1789
1870
Attorney General
Department of Justice
1798
Department of the Navy
(merged with War Department in 1947)
1829
Postmaster General
(Post Office privatized in 1970)
5
1849
6
1862
1903
Department of Commerce and Labor
(Departments split in 1913)
7
1913
8
1913
9
1953
1980
10
1965
11
1966
12
1977
13
1979
14
1989
15
2002

Close Permanently The Following Federal Departments

1. Department of Agriculture

2. Department of Commerce

3. Department of Education

4. Department of Energy

5. Department of Housing and Urban Development

6. Department of Interior

7. Department of Labor

8. Department of Transportation

Keep Open The Following Federal Departments 

But Cut Budgets By 20 Percent

1. Department of Defense

2. Department of State

3. Department of Treasury

4. Department of Justice

5. Department of Veterans’ Affairs

6. Department of Health and Human Services

7. Department of Homeland Security

How to Solve America’s Spending Problem

Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

The Bigger the Government…

The War on Work

What Creates Wealth?

The Promise of Free Enterprise

Why Capitalism Works

What is Crony Capitalism?

WH Website Asks Americans to Suggest Ways to Reorganize, Eliminate Federal Gov’t

Trump signs order to cut government costs

President Trump Signs Executive Order to Cut Government Costs

Trump orders a total examination and reorganization of federal agencies.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Dan Mitchell Commenting on Downsizing Government and Federal Bureaucracy

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Bureaucracy Basics: Crash Course Government and Politics #15

Types of Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #16

Controlling Bureaucracies: Crash Course Government and Politics #17

Can the United States Reform its Way to Financial Security?

 

President Trump has filled far fewer top jobs in cabinet or cabinet-level agencies than President Barack Obama had at this point in his presidency.

The status of top jobs
25 weeks into each administration:

Confirmed
by Senate
Nominated or
Announced
Empty
Trump 33 57 120
Obama 126 43 41

Story 2: Federal Spending Breaks $4 Trillion for Fiscal Year 2017 — Videos

Bar Chart of Government Spending by Agency

The bar chart comes directly from the Monthly Treasury Statement published by the U. S. Treasury Department. <—- Click on the chart for more info.

The “Debt Total” bar chart is generated from the Treasury Department’s “Debt Report” found on the Treasury Direct web site. It has links to search the debt for any given date range, and access to debt interest information. It is a direct source to government provided budget information.

$$$ — “Deficit” vs. “Debt”— $$$

Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.

“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If the DEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.

Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site. Check out the CBO’s assessment of the Debt. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it dramatically cuts into our budget.

Huge Mistake! White House Reveals Budget Deficit Will Be $250 BILLION Greater

Federal Spending to Top a Record $4 Trillion in FY2017

1. June Unemployment Report Was Better Than Expected
2. Federal Spending to Blow Through $4 Trillion in FY2017
3. What Does the Government Spend Our Tax Dollars On?
4.Even President Trump’s Federal Budget Increases Spending

Overview

Both the Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget announced last week that federal spending will top $4 trillion for the first time ever in fiscal 2017, which began on October 1, 2016 and ends on September 30.

The Congressional Budget Office released its annual “Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027” last week in which it projected that total federal spending in fiscal 2017 will hit a record $4,008,000,000,000. That’s up from the previous record of $3.853 trillion spent in fiscal 2016.

While most Americans have no idea how much our out-of-control government spends each year, much less what our enormous annual federal budget deficits are, long-time clients and readers, know this is a topic I focus on and warn about each and every year – and will again today. This is something every American voter should absolutely know about!

Yet before we get to those discussions, I will summarize last Friday’s better than expected unemployment report for June. The strong jobs report had several significant implications for the economy going forward as I will discuss below. Let’s get started.

June Unemployment Report Was Better Than Expected

Friday’s unemployment report for June was a welcome surprise, especially following the weaker than expected report for May. The Labor Department reported at the end of last week that the economy created 222,000 new jobs in June, up from only 152,000 in May – and well above the pre-report expectation of 179,000.

The increase in new jobs in June was the largest in four months and the second highest of the year. Hiring was also revised higher for May and April than previously reported. The pickup in hiring in the spring coincides with a fresh spurt of growth in the economy after a slow start to the year.

Monthly change in nonfarm payrolls

The headline unemployment rate rose slightly from 4.3% in May to 4.4% in June, but that was largely because more jobless Americans rejoined the labor force by actively looking for work last month. That’s a good thing.

Hourly pay rose 0.2% to $26.25 an hour in June, the government said. Over the last 12 months, wages have only advanced a modest 2.5% — up slightly from the rate reported for May, but still well below the usual gains at this late stage of an economic expansion.

Underemployment, which measures people who want to be working full-time but are not, rose to 8.6% in June from 8.4% in May. It‘s still far lower than in prior years but it’s never a good sign to see this measure tick up.

The number of Americans who work part-time but want a full-time job also rose a notch to 5.3 million in June. Part-time employment has been a persistent problem for job seekers since the recession ended, as many companies try to limit increases in full-time workers.

Overall, economists say the strong job gains in June reflect a healthy labor market. Some believe we are approaching the level of “full employment.”

Federal Spending to Blow Through $4 Trillion in FY2017

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported last week that federal spending will top $4 trillion for the first time ever in fiscal 2017, which ends on September 30.

The CBO released its annual “Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027” last week in which it projected that total federal spending in fiscal 2017 will hit a record $4.008 trillion. That’s up from the previous record of $3.853 trillion spent in fiscal 2016.

Federal spending to top $4 trillion

The record $4.008 trillion the CBO estimates the federal government will spend this fiscal year equals $33,805 for each of the 118,562,000 households the Census Bureau estimated were in the United States as of March.

I should note for the record that while federal spending will top $4 trillion for the first time this year while Donald Trump is president, this year’s spending is actually tied to Barack Obama’s budget passed in his last year in office. So don’t blame President Trump… yet.

The federal budget goes up every single year, no matter which party is in office, and no matter that our national debt will top $20 trillion later this year. Clearly, federal spending is out of control, and no one in Washington, DC has the will to stop it – including President Trump (more on this below).

Apparently, leaders in both parties no longer believe there is a limit to how much our country can borrow and spend. There is no longer any sense that our ballooning national debt will at some point trigger a new financial crisis much worse than what we experienced in late 2007-early 2009.

Worst of all, WE keep electing and re-electing these people. In that sense, it’s our own fault.

What Does the Government Spend Our Tax Dollars On?

Many (if not most) Americans don’t understand how and where the government spends our tax dollars and the tens of billions it borrows each and every year. That’s what we will take a look at in the discussion just below. Let’s start with this graphic for an overview.

Government spending

Pew Research had an excellent analysis on how the federal government spends our money (and what it borrows) earlier this year. I’ll reprint the highlights for you below (emphasis mine).

“When thinking about federal spending, it’s worth remembering that, as former Treasury official Peter Fisher once said, the federal government is basically ‘a gigantic insurance company,’ albeit one with ‘a sideline business in national defense and homeland security.’

In fiscal year 2016, which ended this past September 30, the federal government spent just under $4 trillion, and about $2.7 trillion – more than two-thirds of the total – went for various kinds of social insurance (Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, unemployment compensation, Veterans benefits and the like).

Another $604 billion, or 15.3% of total spending, went for national defense; net interest payments on government debt was about $240 billion, or 6.1%. Education aid and related social services were about$114 billion, or less than 3% of all federal spending. Everything else – crop subsidies, space travel, highway repairs, national parks, foreign aid and much, much more – accounted for the remaining 6%.

It can be helpful to look at federal spending as a share of the overall US economy, which provides a consistent frame of reference over long periods. In fiscal 2016, total federal outlays were 21.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For most of the past several decades, federal spending has hovered within a few percentage points above or below 20%.

The biggest recent exception came in the wake of the 2008 mortgage crash: In fiscal 2009, a surge in federal relief spending combined with a shrinking economy to push federal outlays to 24.4% of GDP, the highest level since World War II — when federal spending peaked at nearly 43% of GDP.

Social security, Medicare, human services a growing share of spendingMeasured as a share of GDP, the biggest long-term growth in federal spending has come in human services, a broad category that includes various kinds of social insurance, other health programs, education aid and veterans benefits.

From less than 1% of GDP during World War II (when many Depression-era aid programs were either ended or shifted to the war effort), federal spending on human services now amounts to 15.5% of GDP.

It actually was higher – 16.1% – in fiscal 2010, largely due to greater spending on unemployment compensation, food assistance and other forms of aid during the Great Recession. Now, the main growth drivers of human-services spending are Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

While spending on human services has grown to represent a greater share of GDP over time, the defense share has become smaller: It was 3.3% in fiscal 2016, versus 4.7% as recently as fiscal 2010. In general, and perhaps not surprisingly, defense spending consumes more of GDP during wartime (well over a third at the height of World War II) and less during peacetime.

The major exception was the Reagan-era military buildup… From a post-Vietnam low of 4.5% of GDP in fiscal 1979, defense spending eventually peaked at 6% of GDP in fiscal 1986.

Besides human services and national defense, the next-biggest category of federal spending is interest on public debt. Excluding interest paid to government trust funds (such as the Social Security and military-retirement trust funds) and various other small government loanprograms, the $240 billion in net interest paid on federal debt in fiscal 2016 represented 1.3% of GDP. [Remember that interest rates are near historic lows today.]

Even though total public debt has continued to grow (it stood at nearly $19.96 trillion in February, hitting the statutory debt limit), the dollar amount of actual interest paid fluctuates with the general interest rate environment. Rates are quite low now, but they were much higher in the 1980s and 1990s; in those decades, net interest payments often approached or exceeded 3% of GDP. END QUOTE

Even President Trump’s Federal Budget Increases Spending

Back in March, President Trump unveiled a controversial new federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which begins on October 1st. The budget was a shocker in that it proposed cutting spending in every federal agency except Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.

The new budget would slash Environmental Protection Agency spending by over 31% next year and cut State Department spending by over 28%, all in one fell swoop. It is by far the most conservative, smaller government budget we have seen in my adult lifetime.

Trump proposals for government agency budget changes

Yet as I wrote on March 21, Mr. Trump’s so-called “skinny budget” has no chance of becoming law. I bring it back up today only to point out that even with Trump’s massive government agency cuts (which will never pass), federal spending still increases in FY2018.

As noted above, the CBO and the OMB now agree that federal spending in FY2017 will be apprx. $4.008 trillion. In Trump’s proposed budget, federal spending would reach apprx. $4.094 trillion. And it goes up each year thereafter, soaring to $5.7 trillion by 2027 – even under Trump’s skinny budget.

The sad reality is that our politicians will not take definitive actions to slow the rise in our national debt. Perhaps that’s because half of American households receive direct benefits from government programs like Medicare, Social Security, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), nutrition programs for mothers and children, subsidized housing and unemployment assistance, to name just a few.

That’s another topic for another day. The point is, federal spending is out of control, and our leaders have no intention of stopping or reversing this dangerous trend. What this means is that we are destined for another serious financial crisis at some point. The markets and our creditors will decide when and it won’t be pretty!

Wishing you well,
Gary D. Halbert

Forecasts & Trends E-Letter is published by Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. Gary D. Halbert is the president and CEO of Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. and is the editor of this publication. Information contained herein is taken from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Opinions and recommendations herein generally reflect the judgement of Gary D. Halbert (or another named author) and may change at any time without written notice. Market opinions contained herein are intended as general observations and are not intended as specific investment advice. Readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. This electronic newsletter does not constitute an offer of sale of any securities. Gary D. Halbert, Halbert Wealth Management, Inc., and its affiliated companies, its officers, directors and/or employees may or may not have investments in markets or programs mentioned herein. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. Reprinting for family or friends is allowed with proper credit. However, republishing (written or electronically) in its entirety or through the use of extensive quotes is prohibited without prior written consent.

https://www.advisorperspectives.com/commentaries/2017/07/11/federal-spending-to-top-a-record-4-trillion-in-fy2017?channel=Economic%20Insights

Social Security Will Be Paying Out More Than It Receives In Just Five Years

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

When social security was first implemented in the 1930’s, America was a very different country. Especially in regards to demographics. The average life expectancy was roughly 18 years younger than it is now, and birth rates were a bit higher than they are now. By the 1950’s, the fertility rate was twice as high as it is in the 21st century.

In other words, for the first few decades, social security seemed very sustainable. Most people would only live long enough to benefit from it for a few years, and there was an abundance of young workers who could pay into the system.

Those days are long gone. As birth rates plummet and people live longer, (which otherwise should be considered a positive development) social security’s future is looking more and more bleak.

No matter how you slice it, it doesn’t seem possible to keep social security funded. In fact, social security is going to start paying out more money than it receives in just a few short years. It may even be insolvent before the baby boomer generation dies off.

According to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds will be depleted in 2034.

When this happens, only 77 percent of benefits will be payable. That estimate is no change from last year’s estimate.

In addition, the Disability Insurance trust fund will be depleted in 2028, which is an improvement from last year’s estimate of 2023. Once that fund is depleted, 93 percent of benefits will be paid.

Right now, Social Security continues to take in through revenue more than it pays it through benefits, which is expected to continue until 2022. Once Social Security begins to pay out more than it takes in, it will be forced to liquidate the assets held by the trust funds.

In 2016, Social Security generated $957 billion in income. It only paid out $922 billion including $911 billion in benefits to 61 million beneficiaries.

But the solutions that have been proposed for this problem don’t hold much promise. For instance, we know that simply raising taxes won’t work.

But increasing the payroll tax is not a good long-term solution to fixing Social Security. For example a higher payroll tax would have negative economic effects. In addition, it’s not even clear that raising the payroll tax would even generate enough revenue.

“Some claim that the solution to preserving Social Security is to raise more taxes, but history shows that doesn’t work,” said David Barnes who is the director of policy engagement for Generation Opportunity in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “In fact, since Social Security was created, payroll taxes have been raised more than 20 times. Twenty times! Yet, the program is still headed towards insolvency.”

This is one reason why so many Western countries, almost all of which are suffering from declining birth rates, have been so eager to open their borders to more immigrants. They’re trying to bring in as many young workers as they can.

But that’s not going to work either. Forget about the high crime rates, terrorist attacks, and social disintegration that Europe is facing now after bringing in millions of immigrants. Even if those problems didn’t exist, immigration isn’t the solution. The West has had wide open borders for decades, and it hasn’t made a dent in the liabilities faced by social security programs (perhaps these immigrants aren’t paying as many taxes as these governments had hoped).

We could let younger generations opt out of social security to stave off future obligations, but that wouldn’t help fund the current generation of retirees. Social security is already on the path to being underfunded for them, and letting young people opt out would obviously make things worst for current retirees.

There isn’t really any viable solution for paying off the future liabilities of social security, aside from cutting the benefits or increasing the retirement age. Otherwise it’s going to run out of money eventually, which is the same story with private and public pensions. We are all paying for our retirements in one form or another, but few of us living right now are going to fully benefit from it.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-19/social-security-will-be-paying-out-more-it-receives-just-five-years

Story 3: The American People and President Trump Vs. Political Elitist Establishment of The Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — Videos

Ronald Reagan .. “Government is the problem”

The Bigger the Government…

Government: Is it Ever Big Enough?

How Big Should Government Be? Left vs. Right #1

Big Government Kills Small Businesses

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Why universal basic income is gaining support, critics

July 15, 2017 Updated: July 17, 2017 11:49am

The idea of government giving every person a universal basic income has been gaining traction thanks in part to endorsements from some Silicon Valley celebs. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and others want to explore the idea.

The idea of government giving every person a universal basic income has been gaining traction thanks in part to endorsements from some Silicon Valley celebs. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and others want to explore the idea.

The idea of a universal basic income — monthly cash payments from the government to every individual, working or not, with no strings attached — is gaining traction, thanks in part to endorsements from Silicon Valley celebs.

Some see it as a way to compensate for the traditional jobs with benefits that will be wiped out by robotics, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, globalization and the gig economy. Others see it as a way to reduce income inequality or to create a more efficient, less stigmatizing safety net than our current mishmash of welfare benefits.

“I think ultimately we will have to have some kind of universal basic income, I don’t think we are going to have a choice,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the World Government Summit in Dubai in February.

In a commencement speech at Harvard University in May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.” And in a July 4 blog post,Zuckerberg praised Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, the nearest thing to universal income in this or any country. Since 1982, Alaska has been distributing some of its oil revenue as an annual payment, ranging from about $1,000 to $3,000, to every resident including children.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Y Combinator president Sam Altman have all said it’s worth exploring. Y Combinator’s nonprofit research lab started a basic income pilot with fewer than 100 people in Oakland last fall with the goal of gathering information to structure a larger research proposal, its director, Elizabeth Rhodes, said.

The concept has been around, with different names and in different countries, for centuries, said Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network.

It enjoyed a wave of U.S. popularity in the 1910s and ’20s and again in the ’60s and ’70s when it was championed by free-market economist Milton Friedman, Martin Luther King and, for a while, Richard Nixon.

It resurfaced again after the 2008 financial crisis, when soaring unemployment and corporate bailouts focused attention on the “99 percent.” The concept picked up steam in recent years as studies started predicting widespread unemployment because of automation.

Basic income has fans across the political spectrum, but for very different reasons. Libertarian backers would replace all or most welfare programs with a monthly cash payment as a way to prevent poverty, reduce government bureaucracy and let people decide for themselves how to use the money.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right), shown in May receiving an honorary degree from Harvard, also supports the universal income concept. Photo: Paul Marotta, Getty Images

Photo: Paul Marotta, Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right), shown in May receiving an honorary degree from Harvard, also supports the universal income concept.

By contrast, “those left of center like the idea of using (basic income) as a supplement to the existing safety net,” said Natalie Foster, co-chairwoman of the Economic Security Project, a two-year fund devoted to researching and promoting the idea of unconditional cash.

In a “utopian version,” the money would “sit alongside existing programs” and go to every man, woman and child, Foster said. But if you made it enough to keep people above poverty — $1,000 a month is a popular number — “it starts to add up to a very significant portion of the GDP,” Foster said.

That’s why some proposals would reduce or eliminate payments to children or to adults over 65 if they are getting Social Security and Medicare. Some would limit the benefits going to high-income people, either directly or indirectly by raising their tax.

“In the simple model, everyone in the lower half (of the income distribution) would be a net beneficiary, everyone in the upper half would be net payers,” Widerquist said.

Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist with the American Enterprise Institute, has proposed a basic income plan that would replace all transfer payments including welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies, the earned income tax credit, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It would also eliminate farm subsidies and “corporate welfare.”

In exchange, each American older than 21 would get a monthly payment totaling $13,000 a year, of which $3,000 would go to health insurance. After $30,000 in earned income, a graduated tax would “reimburse” some of the grant until it dropped to $6,500 at $60,000 in income. However, the grant would never drop below $6,500 to compensate for the loss of Social Security and Medicare.

Murray admitted that many seniors get more than $6,500 worth of benefits a year from those two programs, which is why it would have to be phased in.

“What I’m proposing would actually be cheaper than the current system,” Murray said. It would give adults a “living income” and “liberate people” who are tied to a job or welfare program in a particular city because they can’t risk leaving to pursue a new opportunity.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk favors universal basic income to compensate workers displaced by automation. "I don’t think we are going to have a choice," he said at a February event in Dubai. Photo: KARIM SAHIB, AFP/Getty Images

Photo: KARIM SAHIB, AFP/Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk favors universal basic income to compensate workers displaced by automation. “I don’t think we are going to have a choice,” he said at a February event in Dubai.

Andy Stern, a senior fellow at the Economic Security Project, has proposed a “left-of-center” plan that would give every adult 18 to 64 a monthly cash payment of $1,000. It would replace welfare programs such as food stamps, the earned income tax credit, unemployment and Supplemental Security Income. But it would keep Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security disability.

He figures the plan would cost about $1.75 trillion a year. Ending welfare programs would save about a third of that. Another third could come from ending the tax deduction for mortgage interest and other write-offs. The remaining third could come from new sources such as a tax on carbon emissions or financial transactions.

Stern would not reduce payments to the rich or raise their taxes because that would bring back the problem he is trying to eliminate — determining who is “worthy and unworthy” to receive benefits. But many of the tax increases he envisions “would have a disproportionate effect on higher-income people,” he said.

Some opponents of guaranteed income say it will encourage laziness. Proponents say the current system discourages work by taking away some benefits as income goes up.

Zipcar founder Robin Chase, now a speaker and author, said universal income would encourage and reward important work that “does not get monetized,” such as child care and volunteer work. It would also spur business creation. “I had the luxury of taking risks because I had a husband who had a full-time job with health care. A majority of the population cannot take any risks in pursuing innovation or higher-value, non-remunerative things.”

Some believe the answer to income inequality and automation is not guaranteed income but a guaranteed job. Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, has said the federal government should provide a job with benefits to anyone who wants one and can’t get one. “A job guarantee could simultaneously lower un- and underemployment while providing critically needed labor in fields ranging from infrastructure to education to child and elder care,” Bernstein, who was an economist in President Barack Obama’s administration, wrote in the American Prospect.

Jason Furman, who chaired Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, doesn’t like guaranteed jobs or guaranteed income. Furman, now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, said universal income suffers from three problems.

“One is that it’s very hard to make the numbers add up. To get to (incomes) like $12,000, you need huge increases in taxes. Two, there are a lot of benefits to targeting. You only get unemployment if you don’t have a job and are looking for a new job. If anything, I might toughen the work search requirement” to receive unemployment.

Finally, he said, “I believe there is no reason that people can’t be employed in the future. We have thousands of years of experience of technological progress not leading” to mass unemployment. He pointed out that technologically advanced countries do not have higher unemployment rates than those that are less advanced.

“We should put more effort into how to create jobs and prepare people for jobs in the future,” he said. Universal basic income “is giving up on work and giving up on people. I’m not prepared to do that.”

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. 

http://www.sfchronicle.com/aboutsfgate/article/Why-universal-basic-income-is-gaining-support-11290211.php

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017, Story 1: Much Ado About Nothing — What Dirt/Leverage/ Compromising Information Did The Russians Have On Hillary Clinton? — Donald Trump Jr. Wanted To Know — Smells Like A Russian Intelligence Setup and/or Democrat Dirty Trick — Who Leaked The Emails To New York Times? FBI leakers — American People Ignoring Paranoid Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Still Waiting For Any Evidence of Trump/Russian/Putin Collusion — Clinton Collusion Conspiracy Crashing — Desperate Delusional Democrat Deniers of Reality — Videos — Story 2: When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint A Special Counsel To Investigate Intelligence Community Leaks and Hillary Clinton Destruction of Government Records, Mishandling of Classified Documents and Related Pay for Play Public Corruption of Clinton Foundation? — Was Democratic Hired Opposition Research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele Former British Intelligent MI-6 Agent A Cutout For The Russian Intellegence Disinformation Campaign Contained in The Russian Donald Trump Dossier? — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

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Image result for fusion gps trump russian dossier

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

 

Image result for fusion gps trump russian dossier

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Image result for cartoons democrats russion collusion

Story 1: Much Ado About Nothing — What Dirt/Leverage/ Compromising Information Did The Russians Have On Hillary Clinton? — Donald Trump Jr. Wanted To Know — Smells Like A Russian Intelligence Setup and/or Democrat Dirty Trick — Who Leaked The Emails To New York Times? FBI leakers — American People Ignoring Paranoid Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Still Waiting For Any Evidence of Trump/Russian/Putin Collusion — Clinton Collusion Conspiracy Crashing — Desperate Delusional Democrat Deniers of Reality — Videos —

“YOU HAVE ZERO CREDIBILITY” HANNITY DESTROYS THE PROPAGANDA MEDIA IN EXPLOSIVE OPENING MONOLOGUE

DON JR (FULL INTERVIEW) ON HANNITY ABOUT MEETING W/ RUSSIAN LAWYER

Sekulow on Don Trump Jr. controversy: Much ado about nothing

‘IT WAS A WASTE OF 20 MINUTES’ – DON TRUMP JR ON MEETING W/ RUSSIAN LAWYER – KRAUTHAMMER REACTS

Brit Hume on ‘farcical episode’ involving Donald Trump Jr.

HEATED DEBATE ON TRUMP JR RUSSIAN MEETING – ERIC BOLLING vs KAT TIMPF

Why Donald Trump Jr.’s email release could be so damaging

“Fake News York Times” Tries Desperately to Slime Donald Trump Jr. to Dilute Trump’s G20 Success

Here’s Why Alan Dershowitz Doesn’t See Any Legal Jeopardy for Trump Jr.

Krauthammer Turns on Trump, Says Trump Jr Revelations Damning

THE FIVE – REACTION TO TRUMP JR RUSSIAN MEETING CONTROVERSY

Donald Trump JR is being SETUP by Fusion GPS (FAKE DOSSIER)

Donald Trump Jr. releases private emails on Russia meeting

Donald Trump, Jr. Russian Collusion Email Scandal | True News

Ben Shapiro: Donald Trump Jr. releases email chain from Russia offering material on Hillary Clinton

EXPOSED: Democratic Operatives Caught FRAMING Trump With Russian Collusion Scandal

Trump Jr.’s released email chain distracts from his father’s agenda: Senator Wicker

Source: Justice Dept. probe to examine Trump Jr. emails

BREAKING: Dems W/ Ties To Clinton Campaign Paid For The “Trump Russia Dossier”

Donald Trump Jr. releases email chain on Russia meeting

TRUMP KEEPS WINNING | TUCKER INTERVIEWS SCOTT ADAMS – TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT

Why the Profoundly Stupid Love “Morning Joe”

PAUL JOSEPH WATSON REACTS TO TRUMP JR RUSSIAN MEETING CONTROVERSY

Roger Stone: Donald Trump Jr Did His Job Investigating Hillary Russia Ties

TRUMP KEEPS WINNING | TUCKER INTERVIEWS SCOTT ADAMS – TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT

What is Fake News?

Russian lawyer who got inside Donald Trump’s inner circle had been denied US visa

By her own account, the Russian lawyer that managed to slide her way into Trump Tower last year and meet with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, his campaign manager and son-in-law is a former Moscow prosecutor who had been denied a visa to enter the United States.

Natalia Veselnitskaya filed an affidavit in a federal case in New York describing how she managed to get special permission to enter the United States after the visa denial to help represent a Russian company called Prevezon Holdings owned by the Russian businessman Denis Katsyv in a case brought against it by U.S. prosecutors.

“I represent victims in many criminal cases involving economic crimes. I have been retained by Denis Katsyv and the defendants in this action to assist their attorneys in the United States, Baker & Hostetler LLP to prepare their defense,” she wrote in the January 2016 affidavit filed in court in New York City.

“As counsel to Defendants, it is important that I be able to participate in the defense of this action by traveling to the United States. For that reason, I applied for a visa to enter the United States, but was denied,” she added. “I also applied for entry visas for my children, so that they could be together with me over the Christmas holiday while I was working in New York on this lawsuit, but this was also denied. However, the United States did issue a parole letter for me to enter the United States in order to help defend this lawsuit.”

It was apparently during the time she was in the United States on that parole entry that she arranged to meet with Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower.

During the meeting Veselnitskaya raised the issue of restoring U.S. adoptions inside Russia if the United States would repeal the Magnitsky Act, a law passed in 2012 punishing Moscow for human rights violations in connection with the death of a lawyer who had discovered a massive money laundering scheme inside the country.

Another player in the Russian influence scandal, the U.S.-based political firm Fusion GPS, was also involved in helping Prevezon, Katsyv and Baker Hostetler, according to the Grassley letter. Fusion has been a major focal point of the FBI and Congress because it hired a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele to produce a salacious intelligence dossier that made wild and still unsubstantiated claims about Trump ties to Russia.

Congressional investigators involved in the Russian influence case told Circa on Sunday that they are almost certain to probe if Veselnitskaya used her parole entry status to contact the Trump family and whether there is any connection to the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS.

“This is new information that raises all sorts of new questions and we are digging into it as we speak,” one congressional investigator told Circa, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

President Trump’s lawyers said Saturday they feared Veselnitskaya’s meeting at Trump Tower may have been part of a broader election opposition effort to smear the Republican by creating the impression he and his family had extensive ties to Russia as the Kremlin was interfering in the 2016 election.

“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team. “Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the President and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier. “

In her affidavit, Veselnitskaya described her path to becoming a successful private attorney in Moscow, starting with working as a Russian government prosecutor in Moscow,

“I have been practicing law since 1998. I am the founder and managing partner of the law offices of Kamerton Consulting. In 1998, I graduated with distinction from the Moscow State Legal Academy with a degree in jurisprudence,” she wrote. “Upon graduation from the Academy, I started working at the Prosecutor’s Office. I worked there for three years, overseeing the legality of statutes that were adopted by legislators of Moscow Oblast. After that I moved into private business.”

She also swore in the affidavit she did not speak English. Trump lawyers said she brought a Russian translator to the June meeting.Veselnitskaya also claimed U.S. government officials so distrusted her that they had her stopped and searched in London on her way back to New York in late 2015.

“I was detained for two hours by Heathrow Airport officials who specifically targeted me on the basis of the parole number that the United States Government had assigned to me. During this detention I was unjustifiably subjected to a strip search, for no apparent reason. I should not be subjected to such humiliation when I have been promised entry into the United States to defend against the scandalous accusations in this lawsuit on behalf of my clients.”

https://www.circa.com/story/2017/07/09/politics/russian-lawyer-who-got-inside-donald-trumps-inner-circle-had-been-denied-us-visa

As part of his Russia investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller plans to review the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and the email thread that detailed the planning for that meeting, according to a report Tuesday.CNN reported that Mueller will examine the meeting between Trump Jr., former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, with a Russian attorney who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.Trump Jr., released an email chain from June 2016 leading up to the meeting showing that he agreed to meet with the attorney who was offering him “very high level and sensitive information” that would “incriminate” Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president.Mueller is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/robert-mueller-to-review-donald-trump-jrs-meeting-with-russian-attorney-emails-report/article/2628338

Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr.

Senate intel panel to seek testimony from Trump Jr.: Senate source

The U.S. Senate’s intelligence committee is seeking documents from Donald Trump Jr. and intends to call on him to testify before lawmakers, a Senate source told Reuters on Tuesday after Trump Jr. released an email chain citing Russian support for his father before last year’s U.S. election.

The source said there is no date set yet to hear testimony from U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest son, and that the committee is in the process of sending Trump Jr. its request for information.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information “that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] … and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also attended in June 2016. They met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who Trump Jr. said ultimately did not provide the promised material on Clinton.

In the emails, Trump Jr. corresponds with publicist Rob Goldstone, who represents the son of an Azerbaijan-born billionaire who has also done business with the Trumps. Trump Jr. forwarded the thread to Kushner and Manafort.

Here, the text appears in chronological order; headers were added by NPR. See the text as tweeted here, combined into one pdf. NPR journalists have annotated the text below with context and analysis.

Story 2: When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint A Special Counsel To Investigate Intelligence Community Leaks and Hillary Clinton Destruction of Government Records, Mishandling of Classified Documents and Related Pay for Play Public Corruption of Clinton Foundation? — Was Democratic Hired Opposition Research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele Former British Intelligent MI-6 Agent A Cutout For The Russian Intellegence Disinformation Campaign Contained in The Russian Donald Trump Dossier? Yes — Videos

Report: Pro-Clinton Group Behind Russian Dossier on Trump

EXPOSED: Democratic Operatives Caught FRAMING Trump With Russian Collusion Scandal

Christopher Steele, investigator behind Trump-Russia dossier, breaks his silence

Former British diplomat on Russian “honeytrap” tactic

Comey comments on Fusion GPS

MOTHER OF ALL HOAXES: Pro-Clinton Group Behind Fake Russian Dossier, Now Being Investigated

“YOU HAVE ZERO CREDIBILITY” HANNITY DESTROYS THE PROPAGANDA MEDIA IN EXPLOSIVE OPENING MONOLOGUE

Sen Grassley:’Democratic Opposition Research firm Fusion GPS Behind Trump Dossier Was Funded Russia?

Fusion GPS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fusion GPS
Founded 2009
Headquarters Washington D.C.
Key people
Glenn Simpson
Website fusiongps.com

Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm based in Washington D.C. The company conducts open-source investigations, provides research and strategic advice for businesses, law firms and investors, as well as for political inquiries, such as opposition research.[1] Fusion GPS uses “source networks to find information that is not readily accessible or in the public domain”.[2]

History

The company was co-founded in 2009 by Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, both former journalists for The Wall Street Journal.

Work

Opposition research on Mitt Romney

Fusion GPS was hired by Democrats in 2012 to do opposition research on Mitt Romney. Some of the work that received the most media attention was focused on investigating the marriage records of a large donor to the Romney presidential campaign, Frank VanderSloot.[2][3]

Planned Parenthood

In August 2015, Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to defensively investigate the veracity of a series of undercover videos released by pro-life activists that they claim showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissues obtained through abortions to medical researchers.[2] Fusion GPS hired video and transcription experts to analyze the videos and summarized the findings in a forensic report.[4] The report concluded that the “unedited” videos posted by activists had been edited. The pro-life activists attributed the gaps to “bathroom breaks and waiting periods.”[5]

The report was provided to U.S. congressional leadership as evidence as they were considering funding and other issues related to Planned Parenthood operations. After a grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, the pro-life activists behind the undercover videos were later arrested and charged with 15 felonies, including unlawfully recording people without their permission and conspiracy to invade privacy.[6]These charges were dropped 6 months later, but on March 28, 2017, Daleiden and Merritt were charged with 15 felonies in the State of California – one for each of the people whom they had filmed without consent, and one for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy. On 21 June 2017, fourteen of these charges were dismissed, with leave to amend, on the grounds that they were legally insufficient.[7]

USA v. Prevezon

During 2015 and 2016, Fusion GPS was hired by the BakerHostetler law firm which was defending Prevezon from an asset seizure by the U.S. government.[8][9] As part of their litigation support, Fusion GPS investigated Bill Browder, a witness central to the case.[10] During the course of the case, Browder claimed that Fusion GPS had previously been hired to undertake a pro-Russia campaign to aimed at stopping passage of the Magnitsky Act,[11] named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer and auditor who died while being held without charges in a Russian government prison after he revealed that the Kremlin had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from Hermitage Capital Management.

On March 30, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa called for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into connections between Fusion GPS and Russia, and an inquiry as to whether Fusion GPS was acting as an unregistered foreign agent.[11] The company has denied the claim that they were engaged in lobbying or violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[9][12]

Trump dossier and Christopher Steele

In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research for Republicans who opposed Donald Trump’s bid during the Republican primary campaign for the 2016 presidential election. When Trump had emerged as the probable Republican candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election in the spring of 2016, Republican donors stopped funding the investigation, and Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton became Fusion GPS’s new clients.[13] In June 2016, after the Democratic National Committee had been hacked and its emails began to be published online, Fusion GPS retained Christopher Steele, a private British corporate intelligence investigator and former MI-6 agent, to research any Russian connections to Trump. Steele issued a series of memos from June to December 2016, which became the document known as the Donald Trump–Russia dossier.[13]

In January 2017, the U.S. intelligence community briefed then-President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump on the contents of the dossier.[14] CNN reported that U.S. investigators had corroborated some parts of the dossier in February 2017.[15] In March 2017, former FBI director James Comey confirmed that the FBI was conducting an official investigation into one of the central allegations in the dossier, that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential election.[16]

In March 2017, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley initiated an inquiry into whether the FBI had relied on the dossier and on Steele to further its investigation into Trump and his Russian ties.[11] Others have credited Steele with raising questions about the alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.[17]

See also

External Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_GPS

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The Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s Speech In Krasiński Square, Warsaw, Poland — People Who Value Freedom Make A Nation Great — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Travels To Hamburg, Germany, Site of G-20 Summit — Key Issues To Be Discussed Are Trade, Refugees, North Korea, Interference In Elections, and Climate Change — Videos —

Posted on July 6, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, European History, European Union, Foreign Policy, France, Germany, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Italy, Japan, Law, Life, Media, National Interest, News, North Korea, People, Philosophy, Photos, Poland, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Security, Senate, South Korea, Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, United Kingdom, United States of America, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

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Story 1: President Trump’s Speech In Krasiński Square, Warsaw, Poland — People Who Value Freedom Make A Nation Great — Videos

 

Image result for map of NATO countries and RussiaImage result for map of NATO countries and RussiaImage result for map of NATO countries and RussiaImage result for map of NATO countries and RussiaTrump and Duda shook hands at the Royal Castle in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland

“The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken and who have never ever forgotten who they are,”

“And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.”

“A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world. One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.”

“Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies. …”

“…The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive. (Applause.) If anyone forgets the critical importance of these things, let them come to one country that never has. Let them come to Poland. And let them come here, to Warsaw, and learn the story of the Warsaw Uprising.”

~President Donald J. Trump

Warsaw Rising: The Forgotten Soldiers of World War II

EPIC: PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP GIVE A POWERFUL SPEECH at People of Poland GIGANTIC EVENT Melania Trump

Watch Donald Trump’s Keynote Speech In Warsaw, Poland | NBC News

Trumps Speaks To Polish People-Full Address

President Trump Speech in Warsaw Poland Ceremony gets introduce by Melania Trump 7/6/2017

Trump: Alliance with NATO critical to deterring conflict

The strategic importance of Poland to NATO

Mark Levin: Trump gives excellent speech in Poland; The media exposes themselves (July 06 2017)

Trump urges Europe to buy American gas

Gingrich: Trump showed Merkel that he isn’t backing down

Krauthammer: Trump’s Warsaw speech was his best, Reaganesque

Gutfeld on Trump’s speech in Poland

LOU DOBBS REACTS TO TRUMP’S POWERFUL SPEECH IN POLAND

President Trump: Something has to be done about North Korea

 

POLISH CROWD CHANTS ‘DONALD TRUMP!’’USA! USA!’

‘It’s such a great honor’

The Polish crowd attending President Trump’s speech in Warsaw repeatedly interrupted his remarks with chants of “Donald Trump!” and “USA! USA!”

At a wreath-laying ceremony in Krasinski Square, the excited crowd broke out into an American-style, “USA! USA! USA!” chant.

Later, during Trump’s prepared remarks, the crowd repeatedly interrupted the speech with a “Donald Trump! Donald Trump!” chant.

“The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken and who have never ever forgotten who they are,” Trump said in Warsaw, before the crowd began chanting his name.

“Thank you so much, thank you,” he replied. “Thank you so much. A great honor.”

Trump’s speech celebrated the United States’ alliance with Poland, and announced the country was purchasing the PATRIOT Air Defense Missile System that the Obama Administration had canceled as a part of his revamped START nuclear treaty.

Trump also thanked Poland for being one of the only NATO members to fully honoring its financial commitment to the Western security alliance.

“That is also why we salute the Polish people for being one of the NATO countries that has actually achieved the benchmark for investment in our common defense,” Trump said. “Thank you. Thank you Poland. I must tell you the example you set is truly magnificent and we applaud Poland.”

Trump also said the United States remains firmly committed to honoring NATO’s Article 5.

“To those who would criticize our tough stance” he’s taken with asking NATO members to honor their financial commitments, Trump said, “I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment.”

https://news.grabien.com/story-polish-crowd-chants-donald-trumpusa-usa

Here’s the Full Text of Donald Trump’s Speech in Poland

President Donald Trump delivered the following remarks to the people of Poland from Warsaw’s Krasiński Square after being introduced by first lady Melania Trump.

Thank you very much. That’s so nice. The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice.

We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.

It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free.

President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Szydlo a very special thanks also.

We are also pleased that former President Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

First Lady Melania: People Should Be Able to Live Without Fear 0:42

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.

We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. Thank you. Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you.

This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong.

For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.

So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails.

Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame. You are the proud nation of Copernicus — think of that — Chopin, Saint John Paul II. Poland is a land of great heroes. And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.

The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.

Trump: Strong Bonds Exist Between Poland And U.S. 1:40

For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combating the enemies of all civilization.

For America’s part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will.

Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It’s a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom.

The signs of this friendship stand in our nation’s capital. Just steps from the White House, we’ve raised statues of men with names like Pułaski and Kościuszko. The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world’s greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan.

And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are.

This is a nation more than one thousand years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.

In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.

Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population — the largest in Europe — was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.

What great spirit. We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom. Thank you. Thank you.

Trump’s Warsaw Speech Covers NATO, Russia and Terrorism

This monument reminds us that more than 150,000 Poles died during that desperate struggle to overthrow oppression.

From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.

But there is a courage and a strength deep in the Polish character that no one could destroy. The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well: “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.”

Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity — indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.

And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.”

 

Trump: Americans and Europeans Still Cry Out ‘We Want God’1:15

In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.

As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.”

Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God. And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live. You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls. And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail.

You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.

A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world. One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop.

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.

We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger — one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail. And we do, indeed, want them to fail. (Applause.) They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched. Through all of that, you have to say everything is true. Our adversaries, however, are doomed because we will never forget who we are. And if we don’t forget who are, we just can’t be beaten. Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.

What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.

This great community of nations has something else in common: In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense. The people have been that foundation here in Poland — as they were right here in Warsaw — and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.

Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values. We did not and we will not. We will never back down.

As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future. Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests. That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.

As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO. In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.

Trump: ‘Europe Must Do More’ in Our Common Defense

To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment.

Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection — and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this — Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future.

That is why we applaud Poland for its decision to move forward this week on acquiring from the United States the battle-tested Patriot air and missile defense system — the best anywhere in the world. (Applause.) That is also why we salute the Polish people for being one of the NATO countries that has actually achieved the benchmark for investment in our common defense. Thank you. Thank you, Poland. I must tell you, the example you set is truly magnificent, and we applaud Poland. Thank you.

We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive. (Applause.) If anyone forgets the critical importance of these things, let them come to one country that never has. Let them come to Poland. And let them come here, to Warsaw, and learn the story of the Warsaw Uprising.

When they do, they should learn about Jerusalem Avenue. In August of 1944, Jerusalem Avenue was one of the main roads running east and west through this city, just as it is today.

Control of that road was crucially important to both sides in the battle for Warsaw. The German military wanted it as their most direct route to move troops and to form a very strong front. And for the Polish Home Army, the ability to pass north and south across that street was critical to keep the center of the city, and the Uprising itself, from being split apart and destroyed.

Every night, the Poles put up sandbags amid machine gun fire — and it was horrendous fire — to protect a narrow passage across Jerusalem Avenue. Every day, the enemy forces knocked them down again and again and again. Then the Poles dug a trench. Finally, they built a barricade. And the brave Polish fighters began to flow across Jerusalem Avenue. That narrow passageway, just a few feet wide, was the fragile link that kept the Uprising alive.

Between its walls, a constant stream of citizens and freedom fighters made their perilous, just perilous, sprints. They ran across that street, they ran through that street, they ran under that street — all to defend this city. “The far side was several yards away,” recalled one young Polish woman named Greta. That mortality and that life was so important to her. In fact, she said, “The mortally dangerous sector of the street was soaked in the blood. It was the blood of messengers, liaison girls, and couriers.”

Nazi snipers shot at anybody who crossed. Anybody who crossed, they were being shot at. Their soldiers burned every building on the street, and they used the Poles as human shields for their tanks in their effort to capture Jerusalem Avenue. The enemy never ceased its relentless assault on that small outpost of civilization. And the Poles never ceased its defense.

The Jerusalem Avenue passage required constant protection, repair, and reinforcement, but the will of its defenders did not waver, even in the face of death. And to the last days of the Uprising, the fragile crossing never, ever failed. It was never, ever forgotten. It was kept open by the Polish people.

The memories of those who perished in the Warsaw Uprising cry out across the decades, and few are clearer than the memories of those who died to build and defend the Jerusalem Avenue crossing. Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.

Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested. Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.

And today as ever, Poland is in our heart, and its people are in that fight. Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.

So, together, let us all fight like the Poles — for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.

Thank you. God Bless You. God bless the Polish people. God bless our allies. And God bless the United States of America.

Thank you. God bless you. Thank you very much.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/here-s-full-text-donald-trump-s-speech-poland-n780046

Trump finally turns on Russia as he warns Putin to STOP his aggression in Syria and Ukraine as he issues full-throated attack on radical Islamic terrorism AND government bureaucracy to delight of thousands of Poles who chant his name

  • President Donald Trump met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
  • He later questioned during a landmark speech at Krasinski Square whether the West has the ‘will to survive’
  • Insisted North Korea would face ‘consequences’ and admitted Russia ‘could have’ interfered with the election
  • Trump hit Russia later for its ‘destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran’
  • He urged Vladimir Putin’s government to join the U.S. and its allies in the global fight against terrorism
  • Earlier said he thought Russia had interfered in the election – but that Obama had done nothing about it 
  • Visit to Warsaw came ahead of a journey to Germany for the G20 summit on Friday and Saturday

President Donald Trump browbeat Russia on Thursday for its ‘destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran‘ and urged Vladimir Putin‘s government to join the U.S. and its allies in the global fight against terrorism.

Trump had refused earlier in the day to pin election hacking last year in the U.S. on the Kremlin, saying he thinks it was Putin’s government, but it ‘could have been other people in other countries.’

And he did not mention Russia by name in his remarks to the Polish people when he committed the U.S. to making sure Warsaw is ‘never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.’

But turning to threats against the West later in his speech in front a memorial to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Trump railed against ‘the steady creep of government bureaucracy,’ along with ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ and ‘powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence and challenge our interests.’

‘To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes and cyber warfare, we must adapt our lives to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields,’ he said in a direct reference to Moscow’s meddling.

Speaking to thousands of cheering Poles, Trump called their nation ‘the geographic heart of Europe’ and praising their countrymen for shaking off both Nazi oppressors and Russian occupiers in the last century.

‘That’s trouble. That’s tough,’ he exclaimed.

‘In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.’

President Donald Trump questioned if the West has the 'will to survive' in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday afternoon

Trump spoke in front of a crowd at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump participates in a wreath laying ceremony before delivering a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

Trump waves next to First Lady of the US Melania Trump, Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady of Poland Agata Kornhauser-Duda before Trump's public speech at Krasinski Square

People cheer as Trump delivers his landmark speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

Ahead of his speech on Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump welcomed the crowd and introduced her husban

Speaking behind bullet-proof glass, the president said Poles are ‘a people who truly know the value of what you defend.’ 

He urged them to uphold ‘a future in which good conquers evil.’

They repeatedly chanted ‘USA, USA’ and ‘Donald Trump! Donald Trump!’

Trump had earlier met the Polish president and warned that the future of the West is in doubt.

In a speech to the public he praised Poland’s ‘will to survive’ because they ‘have never, ever forgotten who they are.’

‘The Polish experience reminds us – the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,’ Trump said.

‘Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.’

First Lady Melania Trump warmed up the crowd in Poland's capital ahead of her husband's speech, saying that all people should be allowed to "live their lives without fear'

During her introduction speech at Krasinski Square on Thursday Melania Trump said she hoped all around world could share in that safety.

First Lady Melania walked alongside President Trump as they arrived at Krasinski Square on Thursday ahead of Trump's speech

Melania Trump, who is taking a prominent role in her husband's key overseas trip, also saluted the Polish people and their 'beautiful country'

Melania donned a navy blue dress with pink and blue stripes for the event on Thursday. She wore purple heels to finish off the outfit

And Trump projected his fight against Middle Eastern terrorism onto the template of Poland’s historic struggles, saying, ‘We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail.’

‘America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We are going to get it to stop,’ he said. ‘While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.’

The president urged European nations to commit more of their money to NATO, as he said the organization’s ‘Article 5’ commitment to mutual defense is an ironclad guarantee.

‘Words are easy but actions are what matters,’ he urged. ‘Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future.’

At a press conference following his private talks with Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea would face ‘consequences’ for its intercontinental ballistic missile test.

He also admitted that Russia ‘could have’ interfered with the 2016 election and vowed to work with Poland on addressing threats from the country

Ivanka was beaming as she arrived at the speech hand-in-hand with husband Jared Kusner. The couple arrived in Warsaw on Air Force One with the president and first lady

Ivanka Trump smiles as she arrives in Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, with her husband Jared Kushner, senior adviser of Trump

Ivanka, who has taken a prominent role in her father's White House administration, arrived in Warsaw on Wednesday evening ahead of Trump's speech

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump took seats in the front row in Krasinski Square ahead of Trump's speech, for which Poles from around the country traveled to see

The pair held hands as they listened to the president made his speech, in which he Poland as the 'geographic heart of Europe'

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump applauded as they listened to Trump's speech, which he made from behind bulletproof glass

Trump’s whirlwind visit to Warsaw came just before a meeting with Putin. He will travel next to Germany for Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit, where he will sit down for talks with the Russian leader for the first time since taking office.

Trump’s appearance alongside the Polish president will go down badly in Russia.

Trump’s visit to Warsaw was coordinated with the Three Seas Initiative, which is a new 12-nation trade and economic bloc organized in part to limit Russia’s power, especially in ways that diminish its dominance in the region’s energy markets.

‘To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies,’ Trump said in his Krasinski Square speech. ‘And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.’

North Korea’s ballistic missile test the day the day before Trump left the U.S. moved the threat posed by Kim Jong-un’s illicit nuclear activity up to the top of the American president’s list of shared threats.

Trump spoke from Krasinski Square, the site of a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis

The Warsaw Uprising (its monument pictured above) was the largest act of resistance by any nation under the German occupation during World War II, and the heroism of the insurgents remains a defining element in Polish national identity

During World War II, the Germans suppressed the rebellion brutally, destroying most of Warsaw and killing around 200,000 people, most of them civilians. Pictured above, Trump and Melania observe the monument for the Warsaw Uprising

Donald Trump shake hands with veteran as dozens of other slook on after delivering a speech in Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday

Dozens of veterans watched Trump's speech from behind the stage on Thursday, sitting next to a monument for the Warsaw Uprising

At his joint press conference with Duda, Trump called on the global community to ensure there are ‘consequences’ for Pyongyang’s belligerence and warned that he is considering a ‘severe’ response.

‘I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior,’ he declared.

‘I have pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,’ Trump said, addressing a question from DailyMail.com, but added: ‘That doesn’t mean that we’ll do them.’

Trump later said that he was working with Poland on addressing threats from Russia and reiterated his calls for NATO members to meet their financial obligations.

Trump said that ‘as a result’ of his administration’s pushing, ‘billions of dollars’ have begun to pour into NATO.

‘In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.’

Trump commemorated Polish and Jewish history in his speech as dozens of veterans looked on. Pictured above, Melania, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda listen to Trump's speech

Trump shook hands with several veterans who listened to the speech as he left Krasinski Square and headed for Germany

Crowds waving US, confederate and Polish flags gathered in and around a Warsaw square where Trump delivered his first public speech in Europe

Some Trump supporters tied a 'Make America Great Again' banner to a barrier fence ahead of the speech. Nearby attendees wore hats bearing the same slogan

While some people carried flags, some banners on display in Krasinski Square featured the right-wing, pro-government Gazeta Polska newspaper.

One man kept his supportive sign straight and to the point: He simply carried around a photo of President Donald Trump to the rally

‘To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,’ he said, checking an important box in his remarks for European leaders who have worried about that his warnings to pay up or else meant the U.S. was rethinking its involvement in the international organization.

Trump heaped praise on Poland for paying up.

He told the Polish people, ‘You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.’

‘A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world.’

As Krasinski Square filled with people, crowds are gathered in neighboring streets, where screens have been set up for viewing

In the center of the square, several rows of seats were set up for guests while others sat in nearby bleachers and behind barriers

In the center of the square, several rows of seats were set up for guests while others sat in nearby bleachers and behind barriers

Former president Lech Walesa is among the special guests in the VIP sector. Poland's leaders have promised Trump a warm welcome before he heads to Germany later Thursday for a summit of the world's developed and developing nations

Former president Lech Walesa is among the special guests in the VIP section. Poland’s leaders promised Trump a warm welcome before he heads to Germany later Thursday for a summit of the world’s developed and developing nations

Trump's speech came just days after Independence Day in the United States and ahead of his appearance at the G20 Summit in Germany

Trump’s speech came just days after Independence Day in the United States and ahead of his appearance at the G20 Summit in Germany

There were so many attendees at the event that some crowded into a glass-enclosed bus stop to watch Trump deliver his speech

There were so many attendees at the event that some crowded into a glass-enclosed bus stop to watch Trump deliver his speech

Trump addressed thousands of Poles from Krasinski Square, site of the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation. More than 150,000 Poles died during the struggle to overthrow oppression

Trump addressed thousands of Poles from Krasinski Square, site of the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation. More than 150,000 Poles died during the struggle to overthrow oppression

Some supporters in the crowd made T-shirts reading 'Make Poland Great Again' a phrase that played on Trump's 'MAGA' campaign slogan

Some supporters in the crowd made T-shirts reading ‘Make Poland Great Again’ a phrase that played on Trump’s ‘MAGA’ campaign slogan

Noting the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, which he will celebrate formally next week in Paris, France, Trump said’ the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.’

‘This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life,’ he said. ‘You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.’

Duda for his part said he believed Trump took Poland’s security seriously.

‘We see ourselves as loyal partners who cooperate on a number of issues, among others on security,’ Duda said at the news conference.

POLAND’S FIGHTING SPIRIT THROUGHOUT HISTORY

As Donald Trump delivered his speech in Warsaw, he praised Poland’s history of fighting for survival, including against Nazi rule during the Second World War.

The President told listeners: ‘Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.’

In fact, Poland was broken – literally – for a large part of its history. From 1795 until 1918, the country did not exist at all having been partitioned by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy

Following the collapse of these empires at the end of the First World War, Poland was able to reestablish itself having kept its culture alive through 200 years of foreign governance via resistance movements and educational institutions.

While an independent Polish state with access to the sea was established as part of the Treaty of Versailles, various border disputed raged between 1919 and 1921, including one against the Soviets.

In August 1920 the Russian army was advancing on Warsaw having already claimed several victories over the Polish, and looked on the verge of crushing their army and perhaps crumbling the country once more.

But the city marked as far as the Soviets would get – the Polish stopped the advance, forcing the Russian into a messy retreat which saw their army crippled and the war won.

That would not be the last time Poland would have to fight for its survival, however, as it was invaded and occupied by both the Nazis and the Russians during the Second World War.

After Hitler broke his non-aggression pact with Stalin in September 1939, he marched his troops into Poland before the Soviets attacked back later the same month. The two sides eventually reached an impasse, and decided to partition Poland once more between Germany and Russia.

Under the two occupations, Polish citizens suffered enormous human and material losses. It is thought about 5.7 million Polish citizens died as a result of the German occupation and about 150,000 died as a result of the Soviet occupation.

Hitler began the process of hunting down Poland’s Jewish population and putting them to death in concentration camps, with an estimated 90 per cent of Polish Jews, around three million people, murdered.

Meanwhile the Soviets stirred up resentment of native Poles among the Jewish, Ukrainias, Belarusian and Lithuanian minorities and used this to repress them.

Most of those killed were Polish priosners of war who were exterminated in a ‘reign of terror’ perpetrated by the NKVD, or Soviet secret police. The most infamous instance came in 1940, when around 22,000 Polish army officers, police, and intellectuals were murdered in the Katyn Massacre – named after the Russian forest where many mass graves were found.

The country was also the staging point for Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s full-scale Blitzkrieg invasion of the Soviets which began in June 1941. The attack brought Poland wholly under Nazi control from then until 1944, when Stalin began recapturing the territory as he pushed west to Berlin.

For his speech, Trump stood in front of a monument to the Warsaw Uprising which was the largest rebellion against Nazi rule by any resistance group during the war.

The Poles fought against the Germans for 63 days, killing 16,000 Nazi soldiers and destroying hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces, in the expectation that the Red Army would imminently arrive in the city, liberating it.

But Stalin actually halted his advance several miles away, leaving the resistance to fight completely unaided against Hitler’s forces – only moving in after they were destroyed and the city had been raised to the ground.

After the war was over, a deal struck between Stalin and other Allied leaders at the end of the war left Poland under Soviet Union control and Communist rule.

This decision would prove deeply unpopular in the decades that followed, as the country suffered widespread repression by their rulers, which rebuilt themselves after the fall of the Soviet empire as Russia, and watched capitalist Europe advance rapidly while their economy languished.

Russia’s decades-long failure to acknowledge another massacre, this time in Katyn in which 20,000 Poles were killed by Stalin’s secret police, served only to heighten tensions further.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Poland signalled its desire to join both Nato and the EU, pulling rapidly away from the sphere of Kremlin influence.

In 1999 it joined Nato having earlier backed out of the Warsaw Pact, a rival alliance including Russia which collapsed in 1991. Then, in 2004, it became a member of the European Union.

Today it is one of America’s closest allies in Europe, and was supposed to play host to a missile defense installation designed to protect against Russian nukes, a move which greatly angered Moscow.

While that installation was cancelled in favour of a ship-based missile deterrent, Poland will still host an American radar array which is due to be completed next year.

It is perhaps because of this history that Trump used his speech in Warsaw to issue his biggest rebuke to Putin yet – calling for an end to aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Following his speech, Trump and Melania departed from Warsaw and headed for Germany on Air Force One ahead of the G20 Summit

It was also confirmed that Trump accepted an invitation to visit the small central European nation that is the homeland of his wife Melania following his speech

Demonstrators dressed in costumes resembling those from Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale attended a Trump protest in Warsaw on Thursday

The costumes resemble those worn in a new television series based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel in which women - dubbed 'breeders' - are forced to give birth and have no control over their bodies. Poland is currently embattled in a large debate over banning abortion

Poland has month the tightest abortion laws in Europe, and a proposal last year sought to ban all abortions unless a mother's life was at risk. Demonstrators at Thursday's protest wore pins that read 'Together' in Polish

Dozens of protesters showed up at the speech on Thursday, with some carrying signs that read 'Trump Not Welcome' and 'Dump Trump'

Trump said then that Russia ‘could have’ interfered with the 2016 US presidential election which saw him take victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

He added, however, that he’s not totally convinced that Russia was the sole meddler, contrasting claims from four U.S. intelligence agencies which said the effort was directed by Putin and emanated from Moscow.

‘I think it was Russia, and it could have been other people in other countries,’ Trump said. ‘Nobody really knows.’

He added that the U.S. Intelligence Community has made high-profile mistakes in the past, so ‘nobody really knows for sure.’

The president sought to redirect any scrutiny toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, accusing him of allowing Moscow to meddle on his watch.

President Donald Trump is set to question if the West has the 'will to survive' in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump held a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday after the pair had private talks

At a press conference following his private talks with Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea would face 'consequences' for its intercontinental ballistic missile test

He also admitted that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and vowed to work with Poland on addressing threats from the country

Though the Obama administration warned Russia publicly and privately before Election Day to stop interfering, questions have since been raised about whether he acted aggressively enough to stop the threat.

‘They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked,’ Trump said. ‘I think he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said, “Let’s not do anything about it”.’

Trump said the CIA had informed Obama about the hacking months before the election but added that ‘mistakes have been made.’.

He also took a question from DailyMail.com about a domestic tempest that developed this week over a video clip he tweeted on Sunday, depicting himself body-slamming a pro wrestling mogul whose face was superimposed with CNN’s logo.

CNN quickly condemned the tweet and assigned a reporter to find out where the viral meme originated.

At a joint press conference between Trump and Duda, the US president called on the global community to ensure there are 'consequences' for Pyongyang's belligerence and warned that he is considering a 'severe' response

Trump later said that he was working with Poland on addressing threats from Russia and reiterated his calls for NATO members to meet their financial obligations

Trump's whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes just days before he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin. He will next travel to Germany for Friday and Saturday's G20 summit

Trump and Duda shook hands for photo ops several times on Thursday, including after their joint press conference

By Thursday the network was under fire for allegedly threatening to reveal the name of a person it said created the video.

But CNN appears to have gotten it wrong, using the wrong version of the doctored footage as the basis for their interview with the unnamed man.

‘I think what CNN did is unfortunate for them,’ Trump said at the press conference. ‘As you know they have some pretty serious problems.

‘They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way.’

Trump then turned to Duda and asked, ‘Do you have that also, Mr President?’, to which Duda shrugged.

‘What CNN did – and what others did, NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with “The Apprentice,” but they forgot that,’ Trump said.

‘What I will say is that CNN has really taken it too seriously and I think they’ve hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly. And what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free, but honest press. We want to see fair press.’

‘I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news. By the way, not everybody is fake news. But we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. It’s very bad for our country,’ Trump concluded. 

Trump talks with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, center right, as they arrive for a group photo prior to the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle, in Warsaw

Trump talks to Duda as US  ambassador to Poland Paul W Jones looks on during the Three Seas Initiative Summit on Thursday 

Duda, center, speaks with Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as Trump makes a comment during the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle

The group who attended the initiative includes leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas nations and aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with the goal of reducing the region's dependence on Russian energy

While at the Royal Castle, President Trump and Duda (not pictured) attended a meeting together

Following the press conference, Trump attended a meeting of the Three Seas Initiative.

The group includes leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas nations and aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with the goal of reducing the region’s dependence on Russian energy.

While at the meeting, Trump pledged that the United States will never use energy to coerce eastern and central European nations, adding that the United States won’t allow other nations to coerce them either.

Trump said he’s proud that the region is benefiting from US energy supplies. Poland received a first shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States last month.

Trump noted the region’s special significance to him. His wife, Melania, is a native of Slovenia, which belongs to the group.

He then claimed that everyone is benefiting from the thriving US economy except for him.

He bragged of recent stock market gains, but said: ‘Personally, I’ve picked up nothing.’

President Donald Trump is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda as he visits Poland during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw on Thursday

Poland's ruling party sees itself as a Euroskeptic regime along the lines of last year's Brexit movement in the United Kingdom

The US president's unapologetic brand of nationalism is seen as its idealized complement, aligning Washington and Warsaw in a push against a Berlin-dominated Europe

Trump and Duda shook hands at the Royal Castle in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland

Trump and Duda shook hands at the Royal Castle in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland

The leaders then retreated to a room decorated with red walls for their private talks, where they also posed for photos

Asked how he felt about the trip, Trump, who is on a whirlwind 16-hour trip in Poland said 'Great'

‘That’s all right,’ he said. ‘Everyone else is getting very rich. That’s OK. I’m very happy.’

Trump gave his two adult sons and a senior executive control of his global real estate, property management and marketing empire when he took office in January. But Trump did not divest his businesses.

Instead he placed his financial assets in a trust that he can seize control of at any time.

Busloads of Trump supporters were sent to Warsaw to see Trump speak on Thursday in Krasinski Square, where a monument stands to a 1944 popular uprising against German occupation.

In every corner of Poland, citizens were offered free transportation to Warsaw if they wanted to be a part of the Trump show.

Polish President Duda gave Trump a tour of the royal castle on Thursday ahead of their joint press conference

Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump met with Poland's First Lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, visited the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw on Thursday

‘I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization,’ Trump told his fans.

The words ‘courage,’ ‘will’ and ‘civilization’ were capitalized for emphasis in the snippets the White House sent to reporters.

The United States is serious about the security of its ally Poland, Duda said on Wednesday after his meeting with Trump.

‘We see ourselves as loyal partners who cooperate on a number of issues, among others on security,’ Duda told the joint news conference. ‘I have a feeling that the United States is serious about Poland’s security.’

Trump has made a point of attacking what adviser Steve Bannon has derided as ‘the bureaucratic state,’ rolling back regulations that he says are choking free enterprise and dampening the American economy.

Trump will praise 'the triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship' in a landmark speech in Warsaw, the White House said Thursday morning

Trump will praise ‘the triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship’ in a landmark speech in Warsaw, the White House said Thursday morning

The two presidents met at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday morning head of Trump's landmark speech

The two presidents met at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday morning head of Trump’s landmark speech

Thursday's joint appearance with Duda at Warsaw's royal castle was originally billed as a press conference

Trump, like Poland's President Andrzej Duda, is aligned against the European Union's bureaucracies

‘The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies,’ Trump’s speech added.

‘Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,’ he said.

‘We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.’

Trump, like Poland’s president, is aligned against the European Union’s bureaucracies.

Flag-waving Poles lined Trump’s motorcade route on Wednesday night, but critics pointed out that the government had paid to bus in thousands from Poland’s far-flung provinces.

Duda’s government had reportedly promised his American counterpart a hero’s welcome as a condition of visiting Poland.

Like the Trump administration, Duda's government is staking its claim on a desire to limit the numbers of refugees it resettles even as European Union leaders press Warsaw to open its borders

rump will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw's Krasinski Square later in the da

The White House later described the meeting as  a 'press event', which raised concerns that Trump wouldn't be taking questions from reporters

The pair met between flags of each nation before heading into a discussion about the European Union

Poland’s ruling party sees itself as a Euroskeptic regime along the lines of last year’s Brexit movement in the United Kingdom.

The US president’s unapologetic brand of nationalism is seen as its idealized complement, aligning Washington and Warsaw in a push against a Berlin-dominated Europe.

Like the Trump administration, Duda’s government is staking its claim on a desire to limit the numbers of refugees it resettles even as European Union leaders press Warsaw to open its borders.

‘The Polish government has the same position as Americans – we want strict restrictions on refugees,’ legislator Krzysztof Mróz told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Thursday’s joint appearance with Duda at Warsaw’s royal castle was originally billed as a press conference.

By Tuesday, however, the White House began describing it in advisories to reporters as a ‘press event’, raising concerns that Trump wouldn’t take reporters’ questions.

Trump (his motorcade pictured above) will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw's Krasinski Square

Trump's whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes on the front end of a journey to Germany for Friday and Saturday's G20 summit

Trump arrives on a state visit at the Okecie Airport, Warsaw President Donald Trump visit to Poland on Wednesday

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive on a state visit at the Okecie Airport in Warsaw on Tuesday evening

Also on the trip to Warsaw were Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner

Trump’s ongoing media war has tended to overshadow talk of his domestic and foreign agendas, a condition he could ill afford as he launched his second diplomacy tour in six weeks.

Duda, too, rolled the dice by allowing American journalists to question his government’s clampdown on press freedoms in the last year.

Protesters blockaded the Polish parliament in December after the ruling Law and Justice party restricted the number of journalists allowed in the building and limited which TV networks could record proceedings there.

European Council President Donald Tusk quickly invoked the word ‘dictatorship’ to warn Duda, as his government blamed protesters for staging an ‘illegal attempt to seize power.’

Demonstrators shouted ‘Solidarity!’ – a throwback to the communist-era movement led by then-dissident trade unionist Lech Wałęsa, who later became president.

Unlike past US presidents, Trump did not meet with him in Poland. Duda’s right-wing government has sought to downplay Wałęsa’s role in Poland’s history.

Wałęsa, however, was in the crowd for Trump’s speech.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4670380/Donald-Trump-Poland-s-president-plot-against-EU.html#ixzz4m5KZezFu

Story 2: President Trump Arrives in Hamburg, Germany, Site of G-20 Summit — Key Issues To Be Discussed Are Trade, Refugees, North Korea, Interference In Elections, and Climate Change — Videos —

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What to Know About the Hamburg G20 Summit

The G20 summit comes amid tensions over trade, climate, and refugee policy and increased uncertainty over the U.S. commitment to multilateral institutions.

June 30, 2017

Introduction

The annual summit of the Group of Twenty (G20), a gathering of the world’s largest economies, has evolved into a major forum for discussing the most pressing global issues. One of the group’s most impressive achievements was its robust response to the 2008 global financial crisis, but some analysts say its cohesion has since frayed.

The July 2017 summit in Hamburg, Germany, is the first for U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who has already clashed with many of the group’s members over trade, climate, and refugee policy. While observers will watch the group’s meetings for signs of discord, bilateral meetings taking place on the summit’s sidelines are of particular interest this year, especially because Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet for the first time. There is also the potential for complications between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over North Korea, as well as between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over protectionism.

What is the G20 summit and who will be attending?

The G20 comprises the nineteen countries that have the world’s largest economies, as well as the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Every year the heads of G20 members meet to discuss a wide range of issues, with a focus on economic and financial matters, and coordinate policy when possible. Lower-level meetings among finance ministers and other policymakers take place in the run-up to the leaders’ summit. The G20 is not a permanent institution with a headquarters, offices, or staff. Instead, its leadership rotates on an annual basis among its members, its decisions are made by consensus, and implementation of its agenda depends on the political will of the individual states.

In 2017, the rotating G20 presidency belongs to Germany, which will host the two-day leaders’ summit in Hamburg starting July 7. In addition to Trump and Putin, high-profile leaders in attendance are expected to include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump’s aides said a week before the meeting that they had no specific agenda for the Putin talks. That meeting comes as Trump is under domestic political pressure for alleged ties to Russia, which, U.S. intelligence agencies say, mounted cyberattacks on American electoral systems ahead of Trump’s election.

What’s on the agenda?

The G20 initially focused largely on economic policy, but it has expanded its ambit in recent years. Ahead of Hamburg, Merkel stressed the theme of a “networked world,” and the German government laid out a broad agenda.

Topping the list is financial regulation, and in particular addressing what Germany calls “harmful tax competition” between countries—the widespread use by companies and individuals of low-tax countries as tax shelters, as was dramatized by the 2016 Panama Papers leaks. The G20 is also pursuing policies, including information-sharing initiatives, to combat corruption and money laundering.

Germany wants to reaffirm a global commitment to free trade.

Merkel has made ties with Africa a focus of the summit. Her government has presented a “Compact With Africa” initiative that would involve G20 nations bringing private investment, job growth, and new businesses to African states that have committed to economic reforms.

Other trade and economic-growth plans are also high on the agenda. Germany wants to reaffirm a global commitment to free trade and discuss how to implement the UN’s “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” a set of far-reaching goals for eliminating poverty around the world.

Beyond purely economic measures, Germany wants to recommit the G20 nations to meeting their carbon-reduction goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, although the U.S. withdrawal from the accord makes it a notable outlier. Germany also aims to expand research and development on combating infectious diseases, and coordinate responses to the migration and refugee crises in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

What are the main points of contention?

Much of the uncertainty surrounding the 2017 summit stems from President Trump’s reorientation of U.S. foreign policy, which has placed the United States at odds with much of the rest of the G20, and especially with its host, Germany.

  • On trade, the Trump administration has pushed back against the G20 consensus; during preparatory talks, it forced the group to drop its usual commitment to “resist all kinds of protectionism.” In addition to pulling out of the Asia-Pacific Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that included several G20 members, Trump is considering raising tariffs on steel and other goods, raising alarm in Europe and Canada. Merkel spoke out strongly against protectionism in a speech to her parliament just days before the summit, saying it cannot be an option because it “harms everyone concerned.”
  • On climate, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement isolated the United States from the rest of the G20. Germany has expressed displeasure with the move, with Merkel’s environmental minister publishing a “fact check”that heavily criticizes Trump’s arguments for leaving the accord.
  • Refugee policy could be another point of dispute. Merkel has spearheaded a controversial effort to distribute the many asylum seekers who have crossed into Europe across the EU. Trump, who has been a strong critic of Europe’s openness to migrants and refugees, called Merkel’s role in it “catastrophic.”
  • The United States’ and EU’s relationship with Russia has become increasingly fraught over allegations of Russian interference in their elections, Ukraine-related sanctions, and differences over the conflict in Syria.
  • North Korea is a pressing global concern after the country carried out its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on July 4. Trump used Twitter to criticize fellow G20 member China over what he sees as its support for the North Korean regime, and some observers predict Trump and Xi will clash over this issue at the summit.

Tensions have also arisen between Turkey and its German hosts, most recently over Germany’s denial of a request by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to address Turks at a rally in Hamburg. Meanwhile, embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May will face many of the European partners with whom she is negotiating her country’s exit from the EU. This comes shortly after elections that significantly weakened her position.

What is the importance of the G20?

Taken together, the nations of the G20 account for around 80 percent of global GDP, nearly 75 percent of all global trade, and about two-thirds of the world’s population.

The group was formed in 1999, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, as a new forum that would unite finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest established and emerging economies. A decade later, at the height of the global economic crisis, the G20 was elevated to the leaders’ level, to include heads of state and government. President George W. Bush hosted the first such gathering in November 2008. Many experts credit the G20 with quick action that, in the words of CFR’s Stewart Patrick, “rescued a global financial system in free fall.” In 2008 and 2009, G20 nations agreed to spending measures worth $4 trillion to revive their economies, rejected trade barriers, and implemented far-reaching reforms of the financial system.

The nations of the G20 account for around 80 percent of global GDP.

Since then, Patrick and other observers say, the G20 has struggled to achieve similar success on its goals of coordinating their monetary and fiscal policies, achieving higher growth, and rooting out corruption and tax evasion. Geopolitical analyst Ian Bremmer has argued against the G20’s utility, saying that there is instead a “G-Zero” world—one in which countries go it alone or form ad hoc coalitions to pursue their interests.

How has the Trump administration approached other summits?

In his first six months, Trump has unsettled American allies due to his sharp shift in the U.S. approach to multilateral institutions. Throughout his presidential campaign, he criticized members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for spending too little and called the alliance “obsolete.” At his first NATO summit, in May 2017, he conspicuously declined to back the organization’s Article V provision, which commits each member to the bloc’s common defense. At the same time, some experts have credited Trump with helping to spur an increase in defense spending by NATO states that the United States has long sought. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on June 28 that NATO states planned to increase their defense spending by 4.3 percent this year. (Some of the increases were in place before Trump’s election in November.)

Trump’s first G7 summit, which was also in May, further demonstrated his willingness to defy the United States’ traditional allies. There, despite heavy pressure from European leaders, he refused to commit to a common climate policy. Analysts say he also strained relations with German policymakers, and Merkel said that Europe could no longer “fully rely” on the United States.

https://www.cfr.org/blog-post/trump-warsaw-introducing-nationalist-internationalism

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Police clash with G20 protesters as Merkel seeks policy consensus

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

By Joseph Nasr and Andreas Rinke | HAMBURG

German police clashed with protesters before a G20 summit in Hamburg on Thursday, tarnishing the outset of a meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes will cement her role as a stateswoman as she seeks re-election in September.

Merkel, who is campaigning for a fourth term, can ill afford images of chaos and disharmony. The summit, which starts in full on Friday, is a chance for her to polish her diplomatic credentials but would be disastrous if marred by violence.

She met U.S. President Donald Trump for an hour on Thursday evening, but less than an hour later police clashed with anti-capitalist demonstrators near the summit venue and fired water cannon at black-clad protesters after they threw bottles.

A Reuters eyewitness saw at least one protester with blood on his face being treated. “Welcome to Hell” was the protesters’ greeting for Trump and other world leaders arriving for the two-day meeting.

Merkel has taken a high-risk gamble by choosing to hold the summit in the northern port city of Hamburg, partly to show the world that big protests are tolerated in a healthy democracy.

Before meeting Trump, she struck a consensual tone, holding out hope for agreement on the divisive issue of climate policy and pledging to broker compromises. She pledged to represent German and European interests at the summit, but added:

“On the other hand, as hosts we – and I – will do all we can to find compromises.”

Trump faces a testy confrontation at the summit with leaders of the other big Group of 20 economies after deciding last month to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate deal.

Agreement could yet be found on climate, Merkel indicated.

“There are various options, which can be discussed. We know that the United States have withdrawn. All others … or as far as I know, many many others stand by this agreement,” she said.

As the leaders began holding informal meetings, thousands of protesters from around Europe, who say the G20 has failed to solve many of the issues threatening world peace, poured into Hamburg to join the main demonstration.

Police expected around 100,000 protesters in the port city, some 8,000 of whom are deemed by security forces to be ready to commit violence. Up to 20,000 police officers are on hand.

As summit host, Merkel must seek consensus among the G20 leaders not only on the divisive issue of climate policy but also on trade – an area fraught with risk as Trump pursues his ‘America First’ agenda.

Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Merkel must be careful not to allow acrimony to undermine the summit.

“There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won’t just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation,” she told Reuters.

Merkel earlier said she was committed to an open international trading system, despite fears of U.S. protectionism under the Trump administration.

“We’re united in our will to strengthen multilateral relations at the G20 summit … We need an open society, especially open trade flows,” Merkel said in Berlin.

She and Trump discussed G20 themes, North Korea, the Middle East, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, a German government spokesman said. Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan is among other leaders Merkel was to meet.

Trump, who earlier in Poland called again on NATO partners to spend more on defense and said he would confront the threat from North Korea, is also due to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

Their meeting, scheduled for Friday, will be closely watched at a time when mutual ties remain strained by U.S. allegations of Russian election hacking, Syria, Ukraine and a U.S. row over Trump associates’ links to Moscow.

Ahead of the meeting, Putin threw his weight behind the Paris accord.

“We see the Paris Agreement as a secure basis for long-term climate regulation founded on international law and we want to make a comprehensive contribution to its implementation,” he told German business daily Handelsblatt.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt, Roberta Rampton, Noah Barkin, Andrea Shalal, Emma Thomasoon; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-trump-idUSKBN19R2C0

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The Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017, Part 1 — Story 1: Breaking BIG — Big Interventionist Government — Obamacare and Obamacare Lite — The Progressive Two-Party Tyranny of The Democratic and Republican Parties — Fake Repeal and Fake Replace Is Not Real Repeal of Obamacare and All Obamacare Regulations and Replace With Free Enterprise Individual Health Insurance Markets Not Centralized Federal Control and Regulation with Massive Subsidies Of Health Insurance Industry — Collectivists vs Individualists — Replace The C, D, F BIG Progressive Republican Senators and Representatives — The Party’s Over — Videos

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National Debt Clock 

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Part 1 — Story 1: Breaking BIG — Big Interventionist Government — Obamacare and Obamacare Lite — The Progressive Two-Party Tyranny of The Democratic and Republican Parties — Fake Repeal and Fake Replace Is Not Real Repeal of Obamacare and All Obamacare Regulations and Replace With Free Enterprise Individual Health Insurance Markets Not Centralized Federal Control and Regulation with Massive Subsidies Of Health Insurance Industry — Collectivists vs Individualists — Replace The C, D, F BIG Progressive Republican Senators, and Representatives — The Party’s Over — Videos

 

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Judy Holliday – The Party’s Over

Judy Holliday The Party’s Over Lyrics

The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away.

It’s time to wind up

The masquerade
Just make your mind up
The piper must be paid.

The party’s over
The candles flicker and dim
You danced and dreamed

Through the night
It seemed to be right
Just being with him.

Now you must wake up
All dreams must end
Take off your makeup

The party’s over
It’s all over, my friend.

Now you must wake up
All dreams must end
Take off your makeup
The party’s over
It’s all over, my friend.

President Trump Holds Meeting with GOP Senators After Delayed Healthcare Vote 6/27/17

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Milton Friedman – Tyranny of the Status Quo – Part 2 – Bureaucrats

Milton Friedman – Tyranny of the Status Quo – Part 3 – Politicians

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 1/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 2/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 3/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 3/4

Milton Friedman – Health Care Reform (1992) pt 4/4

Milton Friedman – Morality & Capitalism

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How Health Insurance Works

Senate postpones health care bill vote

Individual Health Insurance VS. Group Health Insurance

Published on Aug 14, 2009

Ok so lets contrast individual vs. group health insurance. One thing that a lot of people get wrong is individual health insurance, number one isn’t as good coverage and number two, cost more than a group coverage. Well, these two things are wrong. The first one, lets talk about cost. We find that individual health insurance is about 40% less than any group plan. You can load it up with all the features and benefits you are looking for in a group

Group vs. Individual Health Insurance: Health Insurance Facts & More

Published on Aug 16, 2012

Trump triumphs, CNN implodes, the Russian myth is destroyed and the Alt-Left Media haven’t a clue.

How Demented and Sick Our Republic Has Become By Design

‘We’re Amending Obamacare. We’re Not Killing It’

The Senate bill coming out Thursday would do many things to health care in the U.S., but it won’t get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and Mitch McConnell won’t claim that it does.

The health-care bill Senate Republicans plan to unveil on Thursday likely will make substantial changes to Medicaid and cut taxes for wealthy Americans and businesses. It will eliminate mandates and relax regulations on insurance plans, and it will reduce the federal government’s role in health care.

What it won’t do, however, is actually repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Lost in the roiling debate over health care over the last several weeks is that Republicans have all but given up on their longstanding repeal-and-replace pledge. The slogan lives on in the rhetoric used by many GOP lawmakers and the Trump White House but not in the legislation the party is advancing. That was true when House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act last month, which rolled back key parts of Obamacare but was not a full repeal. And it is even more true of the bill the Senate has drafted in secret, which reportedly will stick closer to the underlying structure of the law.

“We’re amending Obamacare. We’re not killing it,” a frustrated Jason Pye of the conservative group FreedomWorks told me earlier this month as the murky outlines of the Senate proposal were beginning to emerge.

Like the House bill, the Senate plan is expected to repeal the ACA’s employer and individual insurance mandates and most if not all of the tax increases Democrats levied to pay for new programs and benefits. But the Senate bill likely will only begin a years-long phase-out of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in 2020 rather than end it as the House measure does.

The Senate also is expected to include more generous tax credits than the House bill that more closely resemble the system already in place under Obamacare. But the funding levels would still be lower than the current law. And according to Axios, the bill would allow states to opt out of some ACA insurance regulations, but it would do so by loosening existing waivers within the current law rather than follow the House in creating a new waiver system. And the Senate proposal would require that states adhere to more of Obamacare’s regulations than the House bill.Senate Majority Leader McConnell has quietly abandoned the language of “repeal-and-replace” that his office originated seven years ago in the immediate aftermath of the ACA’s enactment. In more than a dozen speeches on health care that McConnell has delivered on the Senate floor since the House passed its bill in early May, he hasn’t uttered the word “repeal” a single time, according to transcripts provided by the majority leader’s office. Nor has he repeated his own pledge to rip out Obamacare “root and branch.” “We’re going to make every effort to pass a bill that dramatically changes the current health care law,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, setting a new standard for the bill Republicans plan to release on Thursday.

When the year started, legislation leaving Obamacare substantially in place would have been dead on arrival with hardliners in the House and Senate, who demanded that party leaders expand on a bill that former President Barack Obama vetoed in 2015. That measure did not fully repeal the ACA either, bowing to Senate budget rules limiting how much of the law Republicans could scrap without a filibuster-proof 60 votes. But it eliminated the tax credits and subsidies undergirding the law’s insurance exchanges along with its tax increases and mandates. And with Republicans now in control of both Congress and the White House, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus this spring began pushing the leadership to go further by repealing Obamacare’s core consumer protections guaranteeing the coverage of essential health benefits and prohibiting insurers from charging higher rates to people with preexisting conditions.

The deal that ultimately allowed the AHCA to pass the House was an under-appreciated turning point in the health-care debate. The concession that Speaker Paul Ryan and a few key moderates made to the Freedom Caucus was to allow states to opt out of some of Obamacare’s insurance regulations, most crucially on equal treatment for pre-existing conditions. But the concession that conservative lawmakers and outside groups made in return was just as significant: They agreed to back off their demand for full repeal and endorse—or at least not fight—a bill that fell far short of that goal.“While this legislation does not fully repeal Obamacare, it’s an important step in keeping that promise to lower healthcare costs,” the Freedom Caucus said in its statement upon passage of the AHCA. It was a message echoed by outside groups like FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, and the Club for Growth, who agreed to drop their opposition to the bill, a move that gave Republicans additional cover to vote for it. Conservatives had embraced an incrementalist approach to Obamacare. The new standard they adopted for health-care legislation was not whether it eliminated the Affordable Care Act but whether it would lower premiums for most consumers.One key question for McConnell is whether the most outspoken conservatives in his caucus—Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah—will judge the Senate bill by that more modest baseline. Republicans can lose no more than two votes to secure passage, and a group of moderate senators is proving just as difficult for party leaders to nail down. To this point, Paul has been the most critical of the GOP approach and the most likely to oppose the proposal from the right. The House bill, he complained, already kept 90 percent of Obamacare’s subsidies. “If this gets any more subsidies in it, it may well be equal to what we have in Obamacare. So it really wouldn’t be repeal,” Paul said on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. Even so, the Kentucky conservative wouldn’t rule out supporting the bill until he read the text.Cruz and Lee have participated in the Senate process as members of the 13-man working group, and aides have said both have bought into McConnell’s incremental approach. But the two have each complained about the emerging draft in recent days, either on the substance or the top-down, secretive process used to write the bill. “We’re not there yet,” Cruz said Tuesday on Fox News. “The current draft doesn’t do nearly enough to lower premiums.”The Congressional Budget Office projected that in states that opted out of Obamacare’s insurance requirements under the waivers allowed in the House bill, average premiums would drop significantly. But the tradeoff is that people with preexisting conditions would face sharply higher costs or be priced out of insurance entirely. Conservatives have argued that the high cost of adhering to the ACA’s minimum coverage requirements has forced insurers to raise premiums in order to make a profit.Conservative activists briefly held out hope that the health-care bill would move further to the right in the Senate, buoyed by efforts by Cruz and Lee to have Republicans override parliamentary rulings limiting how much of Obamacare they could repeal through the budget reconciliation process. But party leaders never seriously considered that option, which moderate Republicans were likely to oppose.In recent weeks, conservatives have instead focused on demanding that the Senate preserve—or deepen—the reforms to Medicaid in the House bill while still repealing all of Obamacare’s tax hikes. “It is clear that significant portions of the Republican Party have no intention of actually repealing Obamacare despite campaigning on that objective for years,” Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Conservatives will evaluate legislative language when it becomes available, looking particularly at whether the legislation empowers states to get out of the onerous insurance mandates imposed by Obamacare, maintains and improves the House’s Medicaid reforms, and repeals Obamacare’s stifling taxes.”

Make no mistake, Republicans aren’t merely tinkering around the edges of the health-care system, or Obamacare. The Senate proposal that will come out on Thursday will significantly alter the federal funding of Medicaid and, in all likelihood, would result in millions fewer Americans having health insurance over the next decade, as projected by the CBO. And while they won’t be excited by the bill, conservative senators and activists might well come around to support it. They’d vote for the plan as a step in the right direction, a weakening of Obamacare. But like McConnell, they won’t be calling it something that it’s not: repeal.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/senate-republican-bill-obamacare-repeal/531108/

What’s in the Senate Republican Health-Care Bill

Like the House version, Mitch McConnell’s proposal would slash taxes, cut Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare’s insurance mandates for individuals and employers.

The Senate Republican health-care bill is finally out in the open.

After weeks of secretive deliberations, party leaders on Thursday released a 142-page proposal that would slash taxes on the wealthy and businesses; reduce federal funding for Medicaid and phase out its expansion under the Affordable Care Act; and limit the tax credits available to help people purchase insurance on the individual market. The legislation, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is officially labeled a “discussion draft,” but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants Republicans to debate and vote on the bill by the end of next week.

Like the American Health Care Act that passed the House in May, the Senate bill is a substantial revision to Obamacare but not a wholesale repeal. And while Senate Republicans had vowed to start over rather than work off the unpopular House proposal, their version is structured the same way. The Senate measure mirrors the House bill in eliminating the ACA’s employer and individual insurance mandates and most of the tax increases it imposed to pay for new programs. Both proposals call for an overhaul of Medicaid funding that would allow states to institute work requirements and end the program’s status as an open-ended entitlement. The Senate bill would go further than the House’s $800 billion in cuts by reducing its growth rate beginning in 2025, but unlike the House version, it would begin a three-year phase-out of the program’s expansion in 2020. The AHCA would cut off the expansion entirely that year.

As expected, Democrats assailed the proposal as a draconian measure that would strip health insurance from millions all for the goal of providing tax cuts for the rich. They seized on comments that President Trump reportedly made to Republican senators in which he called the House proposal “mean.”
“Simply put: This bill will result in higher costs, less care, and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through Medicaid,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said. “It’s every bit as bad as the House bill; in some ways, it’s even worse.”

But the McConnell was never intended to appeal to Democrats. Instead, the majority leader and the Senate policy staffers who wrote the bill were trying to strike a delicate balance between conservatives bent on ripping up Obamacare and moderate Republican senators who, though they campaigned on repeal, now want to preserve its central benefits. Whether McConnell achieved that middle ground is unclear, as few Republican senators leapt to embrace his proposal in the immediate aftermath of its release. The first official holdouts to emerge were a group of four conservatives: Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” they said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”Their statement was significant because together, their opposition alone could sink the bill given the GOP’s narrow, 52-48 majority in the Senate. But its careful wording left a lot of room for any or all of the conservatives to come around by the time the bill hits the floor next week. Paul, who has been a critic of the GOP approach for months, was more harsh in a pair of tweets he sent on his own. “The current bill does not repeal Obamacare. It does not keep our promises to the American people,” he wrote. Paul had long been considered a likely no vote, as it is unlikely McConnell could move the bill far enough to the right to get his support without losing moderates.
The draft will also face the test of whether its provisions pass muster under the Senate’s complex rules for budget reconciliation, which would allow Republican to circumvent a Democratic filibuster. Aides on Thursday acknowledged that “there will be ongoing discussions with the Parliamentarian” in the Senate about certain parts of the bill.The Senate proposal targets abortion coverage by prohibiting the use of tax credits to buy insurance plans that cover the procedure, and it would ban funds from going to Planned Parenthood. Those provisions could jeopardize the support of two moderate Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who have said they oppose restricting federal funding to Planned Parenthood. A spokeswoman for Collins, Annie Clark, said Thursday she would be reviewing the bill into the weekend. “She has a number of concerns and will be particularly interested in examining the forthcoming CBO analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums, and the changes in the Medicaid program,” Clark said.The Senate bill also allows states to opt out of some of Obamacare’s insurance regulations, but it does not allow waivers that would let insurance companies charge higher rates to people with preexisting conditions. “We’re not touching preexisting conditions,” one top GOP staffer told reporters on a Thursday conference call. While the House bill created a new waiver system aimed at allowing states to get around Obamacare requirements, the Senate expands an existing waiver in the current law to make it easier for states to apply. The provision, aides said, would allow insurance companies in states that obtain waivers to sell plans that do not provide essential health benefits, including maternity care, hospitalization, and mental-health treatment.Unlike the House bill, the Senate proposal contains funding for cost-sharing payments for insurers to help stabilize the faltering individual insurance market under Obamacare. They would continue through 2019 before being repealed entirely. The payments are the subject of a lawsuit that House Republicans filed against the Obama administration three years ago, and while the Trump administration has continued the subsidies, its refusal to guarantee them over the long term has prompted more insurers to exit the ACA exchanges.McConnell has drawn criticism from senators in both parties for writing the bill behind closed doors without public hearings, though it’s unclear if the mounting frustration among some Republican senators about the process will threaten the legislation’s passage. In a floor speech on Thursday morning, the majority leader said senators would have “ample time” to review and amend the bill before a final vote. The Congressional Budget Office said it would release its analysis of the Senate bill’s cost and impact on insurance early next week. It found that the House bill would leave 23 million more people uninsured over the next decade while reducing average premiums depending on whether states opted out of Obamacare’s insurance regulations.“We debated many policy proposals. We considered many different viewpoints,” McConnell said. “In the end, we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved and how we can achieve it. These shared policy objectives and the solutions to help achieve them are what make up the health care discussion draft that we talked through this morning.”Senate budget rules call for what’s known as a “vote-a-rama” where members of either party offer amendments in a single session. And in many ways, it appears McConnell’s draft is designed to be amended. The bill, for example, does not include funding for the opioid crisis that Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and others were demanding. Nor does it adopt their proposal for a longer, seven-year phase-out of the Medicaid expansion. But by omitting those provisions at the front end, McConnell could be inviting Portman, Capito, and other wavering senators to add them by amendment so they can claim credit for improving the bill when it comes to the floor. Similarly, the statement Paul, Cruz, Lee, and Johnson appeared to be a play for changes that could win their ultimate support.Republicans have a razor-thin majority of 52 seats, and McConnell can lose no more than two votes to pass the bill with a tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence. The majority leader will also face difficulty securing support from conservatives who feel the proposal doesn’t go far enough in dismantling Obamacare.https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/whats-in-the-senate-republican-health-care-bill/531258/
Mark Levin’s new book, “Rediscovering Americanism,” an assault on the media and progressives and a call for Americans to take back their country, debuts today at No. 1 on Amazon.

Showing the draw of the New York Times bestselling author and top syndicated radio host, his book is already on the way to becoming another big seller.

“My new book covers a lot of territory — philosophy, history, economics, law, culture, etc. And I look deeply into what is meant by Americanism, republicanism, individualism, capitalism. What do we mean by natural law, unalienable rights, liberty, and property rights? From where do these principles come? Why are they important?” he told Secrets.

It follows in the path of his other books and the nation: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto; Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America; The Liberty Amendments; and Plunder and Deceit.

Secrets reviewed “Rediscovering Americanism”last week and wrote:

In the book, Levin attacks the embrace by the media, politicians, and academia of progressive promises of a “utopia” defined by the end of personal freedom and individuality.

He has a grim name for it: “The Final Outcome.” Levin wrote, “They reject history’s lessons and instead are absorbed with their own conceit and aggrandizement in the relentless pursuit of a diabolical project, the final outcome of which is an oppression of mind and soul.”

Levin added, “the equality they envision but dare not honestly proclaim, is life on the hamster wheel, where one individual is indistinguishable from the next.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/mark-levin-book-condemning-media-progressives-debuts-no-1-amazon/article/2627178

Dems face identity crisis

Democrats are grappling with how to keep their progressive base happy while winning over white working-class voters who left the party in the 2016 elections.

Defections by blue-collar voters cost Democrat Hillary Clinton the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went to President Trump. It was the first time since 1988 that a GOP presidential candidate had won Michigan or Pennsylvania, and the first time since 1984 in Wisconsin.

The fallout has created an identity crisis for a Democratic Party seeking to find its way forward in the post-Obama era.

A string of House special election losses culminating in Democrat Jon Ossoff’s disappointing defeat in Georgia last week has only intensified the scrutiny and second-guessing of Democratic strategy, to say nothing of the hand-wringing by party activists craving a victory.

“I’m not convinced we know what the best thing is for the party right now,” said Democratic strategist Jim Manley. “I’m not convinced we have the answers.”

Democrats trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong are focused on how they’ve seemingly lost a significant part of the Democratic base all while failing to turn out enough progressives.

There are different views about what to do across the party, with some questioning whether the white working-class voters can be won back by a party that seems to be tilting leftward with the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) and other liberal voices.

“I’ve spoken to some folks who think we have to only choose one or the other,” said one former senior aide to President Barack Obama. “And after this election cycle, I think there are some who believe there may be some truth to that.”

A lot depends on whether the party can find the right candidate with the right message, particularly in 2020.

“Democrats need a reason for showing up. Give them a reason to believe, and we won’t be having this discussion,” the former Obama aide said.

Democrats say there is a way to appeal to both progressives and white working-class voters.

“Everybody is being too simplistic,” Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said. “Voters are much more complex.”

Simmons said it’s not a matter of choosing to talk about police violence and climate change or the minimum wage and creating jobs.

Progressives, he said, want Democrats to talk about all of that.

They “want politicians to say something about Black Lives Matter and equality — they also want to know how they’re going to get their kids through college, pay off their house and get a better job,” he said. “The thing that’s most frustrating to me is this either-or dichotomy.”

Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 show Democrats can win over both groups, say some Democrats.

“This crisis is Democrats not realizing their own strengths, or being scared of articulating their core principles, rather than a crisis of having no agenda,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

He said a focus on economics, climate change and being anti-Trump would animate the party.

“These are the places that 2018 candidates need to focus on, because they are ways to distinguish themselves from the GOP and its agenda,” he added. “Then they should continue to use Trump as a unifying theme. Often experts downplay this, but Republicans were very effective at using Obama that way.”

In recent days, particularly since the Ossoff loss, Democrats have been doing a lot of finger-pointing.

There’s been a movement to stop blaming the 2016 presidential election loss on Russia. And there have been calls to cut ties with current Democratic leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Some of those calls, within the House, come from lawmakers such as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is worried about losing the white working class.

On the other end of the spectrum, some say Sanders’s bashing of Democrats has only deepened wounds.

“A lot of people are sick of it,” said Manley, a former adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “The mainstream part of the party has had it up to here with what he’s been saying.”

Some Democrats are seeking to build a bridge between the two groups.

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the party will unveil a “strong, bold, sharp-edged and commonsense economic agenda” in the coming weeks.

Addressing both wings of his party, he added, “I’m talking to Bernie Sanders. I’m talking to Joe Manchin. This is going to be really something that Democrats can be proud of, and I’m excited about it.”

Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, is among the most centrist members of Schumer’s conference.

Michael Tyler, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said Democrats will look to expand their support across the party.

He acknowledged in an email to The Hill that in order to win elections, Democrats “have to focus on broadening and turning out our base and on reaching out to Americans who cast ballots for Donald Trump or didn’t vote at all.”

Tyler said Democrats are in the process of rebuilding a party “from an organization whose mission was solely to elect the president of the United States to one that organizes to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, from school board to Senate.”

But it may not be as easy as that, some strategists say.

Asked how the party rebounds and lures both working-class and progressive Democrats, Manley admitted: “I don’t have the faintest idea in this point in time. I’m still trying to digest what happened.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/339577-dems-face-identity-crisis

Replacing Obamacare is a make-or-break moment for Republicans

 June 25

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) threw himself off a political cliff last week when he declared full-throated opposition to the Senate version of the Obamacare repeal bill, and it remains to be seen if Heller is hanging by a limb out of sight and can climb back to electoral sanity or has hit rock bottom in his public career.Individual Senate Republicans face different political realities, but the caucus must somehow get the votes necessary to return the revised Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill to the House. To fail to do so is to condemn not only Heller and Arizona’s Sen. Jeff Flake to certain doom but probably others among the eight GOP senators up for reelection. The grass roots’ disgust with this betrayal will be so deep as to endanger every senator, even in deep red states such as Mississippi, Texas and Utah.The political crosswinds and upheavals in the country are already beyond predicting anything, so to add even more cause for grievance by betraying the central promise of the congressional GOP is beyond irresponsible. It is political insanity. Shut the door to the consultants, and throw out the polling senators. If the GOP defaults on its core promise, it is doomed as a party to minority status, probably as early as 2018 and certainly in 2020.

To fail this week almost certainly forfeits the House majority in next year’s midterm elections but perhaps also the Senate’s, and with the latter, the ability to confirm Supreme Court justices and lower court judges, pass budgets under reconciliation, have any chance at serious tax reform and of course approve the crucial repeal of the Defense Department sequestration.

This is of course an imperative vote on saving American health care. Next year, for example, there potentially will be at least 18 counties in Ohio without even a single option for an individuals seeking coverage. The swaths of America where there is only one provider are large and growing. “Choice for consumers” is a delusion, and soaring deductibles have made health care an illusion to millions more.

Obamacare is a catastrophe on its own terms, but the consequences of not passing its repeal are worse even beyond those awful health-care outcomes. It will forfeit every other Republican goal because failing to deliver on the central promise of eight years of debates and campaigns will shatter the credibility every Republican, not just those who block the bill. The party as a whole will be gravely wounded, perhaps beyond healing for a generation or more.

I don’t have to guess about this. I have been talking to the center-right of the country for three hours a day Monday through Friday for the past 17 years. I know the central argument of the conservative activists everywhere in the United States is that Beltway Republicans cannot be trusted to do anything hard. That argument was dented by the discipline with which the GOP put up with the mainstream media and Democrats’ slings and arrows in the fight over replacing Justice Antonin Scalia. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) rightly calculated that to surrender that hill would be to lose not just a political battle but the political war stretching long into the future. It was that big of a deal to the base.

The same is true of Obamacare. To vote “no” on whatever compromise arrives is to express contempt for the Republican Party as a whole – and its grass-roots activists and base voters — and for those ideas it stands for on all major matters, from a strong defense to low taxes to an originalist Supreme Court.

Thus Heller seemed to declare himself a hollow man when he said he could not vote for it, a man without any core beliefs because with his rambling statement he endangered all alleged core GOP beliefs, and thus the GOP will not support him. It isn’t about primaries; primary opponents need not materialize. It is about millions of conservatives who will simply give up on politics.

This is a make-or-break moment for Senate Republicans and the party itself. Sadly, for this conservative, the tone-deafness of Heller may not be unique. It may not even turn out to be particularly rare. We will know in a week. And not one GOP senator will be able to say he or she wasn’t warned.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/replacing-obamacare-is-a-make-or-break-moment-for-republicans/2017/06/25/c5f7775a-59c9-11e7-9fc6-c7ef4bc58d13_story.html?utm_term=.602544feab43

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Acronyms(colloquial) PPACA, ACA
Nicknames Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Reform, Healthcare Reform, Obamacare
Enacted by the 111th United States Congress
Effective March 23, 2010; 7 years ago
Most major provisions phased in by January 2014; remaining provisions phased in by 2020
Citations
Public law 111–148
Statutes at Large 124 Stat. 119 through 124 Stat. 1025(906 pages)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590byCharles Rangel (DNYon September 17, 2009
  • Committee consideration by Ways and Means
  • Passed the House on October 8, 2009 (416–0)
  • Passed the Senate as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on December 24, 2009 (60–39with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on March 21, 2010 (219–212)
  • Signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010
Major amendments
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
United States Supreme Court cases
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
King v. Burwell

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Under the act, hospitals and primary physicians would transform their practices financially, technologically, and clinically to drive better health outcomes, lower costs, and improve their methods of distribution and accessibility.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding insurance coverage and reduce the costs of healthcare. It introduced mechanisms including mandates, subsidies, and insurance exchanges.[1][2] The law requires insurers to accept all applicants, cover a specific list of conditions and charge the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[3]

The ACA has caused a significant reduction in the number of people without health insurance, with estimates ranging from 20–24 million additional people covered during 2016.[4][5] Increases in overall healthcare spending have slowed since the law was implemented, including premiums for employer-based insurance plans.[6] The Congressional Budget Office reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the budget deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8]

As implementation began, first opponents, then others, and finally the president himself adopted the term “Obamacare” to refer to the ACA.[9]

The law and its implementation faced challenges in Congress and federal courts, and from some state governmentsconservative advocacy groupslabor unions, and small business organizations. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power,[10] found that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion,[11][12][13] and found that the law’s subsidies to help individuals pay for health insurance are available in all states, not just in those that have set up state exchanges.[14]

Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][18]

Provisions

The President and White House Staff react to the House of Representatives passing the bill on March 21, 2010.

The ACA includes provisions to take effect between 2010 and 2020, although most took effect on January 1, 2014. Few areas of the US health care system were left untouched, making it the most sweeping health care reform since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][19][18] However, some areas were more affected than others. The individual insurance market was radically overhauled, and many of the law’s regulations applied specifically to this market,[15] while the structure of Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer market were largely retained.[16] Most of the coverage gains were made through the expansion of Medicaid,[20] and the biggest cost savings were made in Medicare.[16] Some regulations applied to the employer market, and the law also made delivery system changes that affected most of the health care system.[16] Not all provisions took full effect. Some were made discretionary, some were deferred, and others were repealed before implementation.

Individual insurance

Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. States were required to ensure the availability of insurance for individual children who did not have coverage via their families.

States were required to expand Medicaid eligibility to include individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, including adults without disabilities or dependent children.[21] The law provides a 5% “income disregard”, making the effective income eligibility limit for Medicaid 138% of the poverty level.[22]

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment process was simplified.[21]

Dependents were permitted to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until their 26th birthday, including dependents that no longer live with their parents, are not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, are no longer a student, or are married.[23][24]

Among the groups who remained uninsured were:

  • Illegal immigrants, estimated at around 8 million—or roughly a third of the 23 million projection—are ineligible for insurance subsidies and Medicaid.[25][26] They remain eligible for emergency services.
  • Eligible citizens not enrolled in Medicaid.[27]
  • Citizens who pay the annual penalty instead of purchasing insurance, mostly younger and single.[27]
  • Citizens whose insurance coverage would cost more than 8% of household income and are exempt from the penalty.[27]
  • Citizens who live in states that opt out of the Medicaid expansion and who qualify for neither existing Medicaid coverage nor subsidized coverage through the states’ new insurance exchanges.[28]

Subsidies

Households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level were eligible to receive federal subsidies for policies purchased via an exchange.[29][30] Subsidies are provided as an advanceable, refundable tax credits.[31][32] Additionally, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit provided that they enroll in the SHOP Marketplace.[33] Under the law, workers whose employers offer affordable coverage will not be eligible for subsidies via the exchanges. To be eligible the cost of employer-based health insurance must exceed 9.5% of the worker’s household income.

Subsidies (2014) for Family of 4[34][35][36][37][38]
Income % of federal poverty level Premium Cap as a Share of Income Incomea Max Annual Out-of-Pocket Premium Premium Savingsb Additional Cost-Sharing Subsidy
133% 3% of income $31,900 $992 $10,345 $5,040
150% 4% of income $33,075 $1,323 $9,918 $5,040
200% 6.3% of income $44,100 $2,778 $8,366 $4,000
250% 8.05% of income $55,125 $4,438 $6,597 $1,930
300% 9.5% of income $66,150 $6,284 $4,628 $1,480
350% 9.5% of income $77,175 $7,332 $3,512 $1,480
400% 9.5% of income $88,200 $8,379 $2,395 $1,480
a.^ Note: In 2014, the FPL was $11,800 for a single person and $24,000 for family of four.[39][40] See Subsidy Calculator for specific dollar amount.[41] b.^ DHHS and CBO estimate the average annual premium cost in 2014 would have been $11,328 for a family of 4 without the reform.[36]

Premiums were the same for everyone of a given age, regardless of preexisting conditions. Premiums were allowed to vary by enrollee age, but those for the oldest enrollees (age 45-64 average expenses $5,542) could only be three times as large as those for adults (18-24 $1,836).[42]

Mandates

Individual

The individual mandate[43] is the requirement to buy insurance or pay a penalty for everyone not covered by an employer sponsored health planMedicaidMedicare or other public insurance programs (such as Tricare). Also exempt were those facing a financial hardship or who were members in a recognized religious sect exempted by the Internal Revenue Service.[44]

The mandate and the limits on open enrollment[45][46] were designed to avoid the insurance death spiral in which healthy people delay insuring themselves until they get sick. In such a situation, insurers would have to raise their premiums to cover the relatively sicker and thus more expensive policies,[43][47][48] which could create a vicious cycle in which more and more people drop their coverage.[49]

The purpose of the mandate was to prevent the healthcare system from succumbing to adverse selection, which would result in high premiums for the insured and little coverage (and thus more illness and medical bankruptcy) for the uninsured.[47][50][51] Studies by the CBOGruber and Rand Health concluded that a mandate was required.[52][53][54] The mandate increased the size and diversity of the insured population, including more young and healthy participants to broaden the risk pool, spreading costs.[55] Experience in New Jersey and Massachusetts offered divergent outcomes.[50][53][56]

Business

Businesses that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees pay a tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee’s healthcare through tax deductions or other means. This is commonly known as the employer mandate.[57][58] This provision was included to encourage employers to continue providing insurance once the exchanges began operating.[59] Approximately 44% of the population was covered directly or indirectly through an employer.[60][61]

Excise taxes

Excise taxes for the Affordable Care Act raised $16.3 billion in fiscal year 2015 (17% of all excise taxes collected by the Federal Government). $11.3 billion was an excise tax placed directly on health insurers based on their market share. The ACA was going to impose a 40% “Cadillac tax” on expensive employer sponsored health insurance but that was postponed until 2018. Annual excise taxes totaling $3 billion were levied on importers and manufacturers of prescription drugs. An excise tax of 2.3% on medical devices and a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services were applied as well.[62]

Insurance standards

Essential health benefits

The National Academy of Medicine defined the law’s “essential health benefits” as “ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care”[63][64][65][66][67][68][69] and others[70] rated Level A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.[71] In determining what would qualify as an essential benefit, the law required that standard benefits should offer at least that of a “typical employer plan”.[68] States may require additional services.[72]

Contraceptives

One provision in the law mandates that health insurance cover “additional preventive care and screenings” for women.[73] The guidelines issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration to implement this provision mandate “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”.[74] This mandate applies to all employers and educational institutions except for religious organizations.[75][76] These regulations were included on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.[77][78]

Risk management

ACA provided three ways to control risk for insurers in the individual and business markets: temporary reinsurance, temporary risk corridors, and permanent risk adjustment.

Risk corridor program

The risk-corridor program was a temporary risk management device defined under the PPACA section 1342[79]:1 to encourage reluctant insurers into the “new and untested” ACA insurance market during the first three years that ACA was implemented (2014–2016). For those years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “would cover some of the losses for insurers whose plans performed worse than they expected. Insurers that were especially profitable, for their part, would have to return to HHS some of the money they earned on the exchanges”[80][81]

According to an article in Forbes, risk corridors “had been a successful part of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the ACA’s risk corridors were modeled after Medicare’s Plan D.”[82] They operated on the principle that “more participation would mean more competition, which would drive down premiums and make health insurance more affordable” and “[w]hen insurers signed up to sell health plans on the exchanges, they did so with the expectation that the risk-corridor program would limit their downside losses.”[80] The risk corridors succeeded in attracting ACA insurers. The program did not pay for itself as planned with “accumulated losses” up to $8.3 billion for 2014 and 2015 alone. Authorization had to be given so that HHS could pay insurers from “general government revenues”. Congressional Republicans “railed against” the program as a ‘bailout’ for insurers. Then-Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), on the Appropriations Committee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department “[slipped] in a sentence” — Section 227 — in the “massive” appropriations Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547) that said that no funds in the discretionary spending bill “could be used for risk-corridor payments.” This effectively “blocked the administration from obtaining the necessary funds from other programs”[83] and placed Congress in a potential breach of contract with insurers who offered qualified health plans, under the Tucker Act[79] as it did not pay the insurers.[84][84]

On February 10, 2017, in the Moda Health v the US Government, Moda, one of the insurers that struggled financially because of the elimination of the risk corridor program, won a “$214-million judgment against the federal government”. Justice Thomas C. Wheeler stated, “the Government “made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, ‘to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.”[85]

Temporary reinsurance

Temporary reinsurance for insurance for insurers against unexpectedly high claims was a program that ran from 2014 through 2016. It was intended to limit insurer losses.[citation needed]

Risk adjustment

Of the three risk management programs, only risk adjustment was permanent. Risk adjustment attempts to spread risk among insurers to prevent purchasers with good knowledge of their medical needs from using insurance to cover their costs (adverse selection). Plans with low actuarial risk compensate plans with high actuarial risk.[citation needed]

Other provisions

In 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse created this summary to explain his view on the act.

The ACA has several other provisions:

  • Annual and lifetime coverage caps on essential benefits were banned.[86][87]
  • Prohibits insurers from dropping policyholders when they get sick.[88]
  • All health policies sold in the United States must provide an annual maximum out of pocket (MOOP) payment cap for an individual’s or family’s medical expenses (excluding premiums). After the MOOP payment cap is reached, all remaining costs must be paid by the insurer.[89]
  • A partial community rating requires insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).[90][91][92] Premiums for older applicants can be no more than three times those for the youngest.[93]
  • Preventive care, vaccinations and medical screenings cannot be subject to co-paymentsco-insurance or deductibles.[94][95][96] Specific examples of covered services include: mammograms and colonoscopies, wellness visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, STI counseling, HIV screening and counseling, contraceptive methods, breastfeeding support/supplies and domestic violence screening and counseling.[97]
  • The law established four tiers of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. All categories offer the essential health benefits. The categories vary in their division of premiums and out-of-pocket costs: bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums and highest out-of-pocket costs, while platinum plans are the reverse.[68][98] The percentages of health care costs that plans are expected to cover through premiums (as opposed to out-of-pocket costs) are, on average: 60% (bronze), 70% (silver), 80% (gold), and 90% (platinum).[99]
  • Insurers are required to implement an appeals process for coverage determination and claims on all new plans.[88]
  • Insurers must spend at least 80–85% of premium dollars on health costs; rebates must be issued to policyholders if this is violated.[100][101]

Exchanges

Established the creation of health insurance exchanges in all fifty states. The exchanges are regulated, largely online marketplaces, administered by either federal or state government, where individuals and small business can purchase private insurance plans.[102][103][104]

Setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance.[105][106] For example, states approve plans for sale, and influence (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They can impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state can cover abortion.[107] States without an exchange do not have that discretion. The responsibility for operating their exchanges moves to the federal government.[105]

State waivers

From 2017 onwards, states can apply for a “waiver for state innovation” that allows them to conduct experiments that meet certain criteria.[108] To obtain a waiver, a state must pass legislation setting up an alternative health system that provides insurance at least as comprehensive and as affordable as ACA, covers at least as many residents and does not increase the federal deficit.[109] These states can be exempt from some of ACA’s central requirements, including the individual and employer mandates and the provision of an insurance exchange.[110] The state would receive compensation equal to the aggregate amount of any federal subsidies and tax credits for which its residents and employers would have been eligible under ACA plan, if they cannot be paid under the state plan.[108]

In May 2011, Vermont enacted Green Mountain Care, a state-based single-payer system for which they intended to pursue a waiver to implement.[111][112][113] In December 2014, Vermont decided not to continue due to high expected costs.[114]

Accountable Care Organizations

The Act allowed the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals and other providers that commit to give coordinated, high quality care to Medicare patients. ACOs were allowed to continue using a fee for service billing approach. They receive bonus payments from the government for minimizing costs while achieving quality benchmarks that emphasize prevention and mitigation of chronic disease. If they fail to do so, they are subject to penalties.[115]

Unlike Health Maintenance Organizations, ACO patients are not required to obtain all care from the ACO. Also, unlike HMOs, ACOs must achieve quality of care goals.[115]

Others

Legislative history

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010

Background

An individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare was considered the best way to win the support of the Senate because it had been included in prior bipartisan reform proposals. The concept goes back to at least 1989, when the conservative The Heritage Foundation proposed an individual mandate as an alternative to single-payer health care.[125] It was championed for a time by conservative economists and Republican senators as a market-based approach to healthcare reform on the basis of individual responsibility and avoidance of free rider problems. Specifically, because the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires any hospital participating in Medicare (nearly all do) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, the government often indirectly bore the cost of those without the ability to pay.[126][127][128]

President Bill Clinton proposed a healthcare reform bill in 1993 that included a mandate for employers to provide health insurance to all employees through a regulated marketplace of health maintenance organizations. Republican Senators proposed an alternative that would have required individuals, but not employers, to buy insurance.[127]Ultimately the Clinton plan failed amid an unprecedented barrage of negative advertising funded by politically conservative groups and the health insurance industry and due to concerns that it was overly complex.[129] Clinton negotiated a compromise with the 105th Congress to instead enact the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997.[130]

John Chafee

The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups’.[131] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans such as Senators Orrin HatchChuck GrassleyBob Bennett and Kit Bond.[132][133] Of 1993’s 43 Republican Senators, 20 supported the HEART Act.[125][134] Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision;[135] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance”.[136] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate; Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H. W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.”[125]

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts went from 90% of its residents insured to 98%, the highest rate in the nation.[137]

In 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law.[138] Romney’s implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured”. Romney said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.”[139]

In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which featured an individual mandate and state-based, regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”.[128][139] The bill initially attracted bipartisan support, but died in committee. Many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate.[140]

By 2008 many Democrats were considering this approach as the basis for healthcare reform. Experts said that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bore similarities to the 2007 bill[131] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan.[141]

Healthcare debate, 2008–10

Healthcare reform was a major topic during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. As the race narrowed, attention focused on the plans presented by the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and the eventual nominee, Barack Obama. Each candidate proposed a plan to cover the approximately 45 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance at some point each year. Clinton’s proposal would have required all Americans to obtain coverage (in effect, an individual mandate), while Obama’s proposal provided a subsidy but rejected the use of an individual mandate.[142][143]

During the general election, Obama said that fixing healthcare would be one of his top four priorities as president.[144] Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, proposed health insurance reforms though they differed greatly. Senator John McCain proposed tax credits for health insurance purchased in the individual market, which was estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by about 2 million by 2018. Obama proposed private and public group insurance, income-based subsidies, consumer protections, and expansions of Medicaid and SCHIP, which was estimated at the time to reduce the number of uninsured people by 33.9 million by 2018.[145]

President Obama addressing Congress regarding healthcare reform, September 9, 2009

After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[146][147] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives.[148] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max BaucusJeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, along with Republicans Mike EnziChuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe— met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate healthcare reform bill.[149][150][151]

Congressional Democrats and health policy experts like MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber[152] and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community ratingand an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”.[153] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer) Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard BakerBob DoleTom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to garner the votes necessary for passage.[154][155]

However, following the adoption of an individual mandate, Republicans came to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[125] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to prevent defections:[156]

It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[157]

Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[128] Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “the provision … requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[127][134]

Tea Party protesters at the Taxpayer March on Washington, September 12, 2009

The reform negotiations also attracted attention from lobbyists,[158] including deals between certain lobby groups and the advocates of the law to win the support of groups that had opposed past reforms, as in 1993.[159][160] The Sunlight Foundation documented many of the reported ties between “the healthcare lobbyist complex” and politicians in both parties.[161]

During the August 2009 summer congressional recess, many members went back to their districts and held town hall meetings on the proposals. The nascent Tea Party movement organized protests and many conservative groups and individuals attended the meetings to oppose the proposed reforms.[147] Many threats were made against members of Congress over the course of the debate.[162][163]

When Congress returned from recess, in September 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress supporting the ongoing Congressional negotiations.[164] He acknowledged the polarization of the debate, and quoted a letter from the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy urging on reform: “what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”[165] On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220–215 vote and forwarded it to the Senate for passage.[147]

Senate

The Senate began work on its own proposals while the House was still working. The United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House.[166] To formally comply with this requirement, the Senate used H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax changes for service members.[167] It had been passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill became the Senate’s vehicle for its healthcare reform proposal, discarding the bill’s original content.[168] The bill ultimately incorporated elements of proposals that were reported favorably by the Senate Health and Financecommittees. With the Republican Senate minority vowing to filibuster, 60 votes would be necessary to pass the Senate.[169] At the start of the 111th Congress, Democrats had only 58 votes; the Senate seat in Minnesota ultimately won by Al Franken was still undergoing a recount, while Arlen Specter was still a Republican (he became a Democrat in April, 2009).

Negotiations were undertaken attempting to satisfy moderate Democrats and to bring Republican senators aboard; particular attention was given to Republicans Bennett, Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. On July 7 Franken was sworn into office, providing a potential 60th vote. On August 25 Ted Kennedy—a longtime healthcare reform advocate—died. Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

After the Finance Committee vote on October 15, negotiations turned to moderate Democrats. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying centrists. The holdouts came down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson. Lieberman’s demand that the bill not include a public option[153][170] was met,[171] although supporters won various concessions, including allowing state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[171][172]

Senate vote by state.

  Democratic yes (58)
  Independent yes (2)
  Republican no (39)
  Republican not voting (1)

The White House and Reid addressed Nelson’s concerns[173] during a 13-hour negotiation with two concessions: a compromise on abortion, modifying the language of the bill “to give states the right to prohibit coverage of abortion within their own insurance exchanges”, which would require consumers to pay for the procedure out of pocket if the state so decided; and an amendment to offer a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement for Nebraska.[147][174] The latter half of the compromise was derisively termed the “Cornhusker Kickback”[175] and was repealed in the subsequent reconciliation amendment bill.

On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[176] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[177]

On January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Kennedy, having campaigned on giving the Republican minority the 41st vote needed to sustain Republican filibusters.[147][178][179] His victory had become significant because of its effects on the legislative process. The first was psychological: the symbolic importance of losing Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat made many Congressional Democrats concerned about the political cost of passing a bill.[180][181]

House

House vote by congressional district.

  Democratic yes (219)
  Democratic no (34)
  Republican no (178)
  No representative seated (4)

Brown’s election meant Democrats could no longer break a filibuster in the Senate. In response, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel argued that Democrats should scale back to a less ambitious bill; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back, dismissing Emanuel’s scaled-down approach as “Kiddie Care”.[182][183]

Obama remained insistent on comprehensive reform. The news that Anthem Blue Cross in California intended to raise premium rates for its patients by as much as 39% gave him new evidence of the need for reform.[182][183] On February 22, he laid out a “Senate-leaning” proposal to consolidate the bills.[184] He held a meeting with both parties’ leaders on February 25. The Democrats decided that the House would pass the Senate’s bill, to avoid another Senate vote.

House Democrats had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. Since any bill that emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill.[181] They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed by the reconciliation process.[182][185][186]

As per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. But reconciliation is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was not used to pass ACA in the first place; the bill had inherently non-budgetary regulations.[187][188] Although the already-passed Senate bill could not have been passed by reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well-suited for reconciliation.”[185]

Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi celebrating after the House passes the amended bill on March 21

The remaining obstacle was a pivotal group of pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak who were initially reluctant to support the bill. The group found the possibility of federal funding for abortion significant enough to warrant opposition. The Senate bill had not included language that satisfied their concerns, but they could not address abortion in the reconciliation bill as it would be non-budgetary. Instead, Obama issued Executive Order 13535, reaffirming the principles in the Hyde Amendment.[189] This won the support of Stupak and members of his group and assured the bill’s passage.[186][190] The House passed the Senate bill with a 219–212 vote on March 21, 2010, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it.[191] The next day, Republicans introduced legislation to repeal the bill.[192] Obama signed ACA into law on March 23, 2010.[193] Since passage, Republicans have voted to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act over sixty times; no such attempt by Republicans has been successful.[194] The amendment bill, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, cleared the House on March 21; the Senate passed it by reconciliation on March 25, and Obama signed it on March 30.

Impact

Coverage rate, employer market cost trends, budgetary impact, and income inequality aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

This chart illustrates several aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including number of persons covered, cost before and after subsidies, and public opinion.

Coverage

Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). County By County Projected Insurer Participation in Health Insurance Exchanges.

The law has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance. The CDC reported that the percentage of people without health insurance fell from 16.0% in 2010 to 8.9% during the January–June 2016 period.[195] The uninsured rate dropped in every congressional district in the U.S. between 2013 and 2015.[196] The Congressional Budget Office reported in March 2016 that there were approximately 12 million people covered by the exchanges (10 million of whom received subsidies to help pay for insurance) and 11 million made eligible for Medicaid by the law, a subtotal of 23 million people. An additional 1 million were covered by the ACA’s “Basic Health Program,” for a total of 24 million.[4] CBO also estimated that the ACA would reduce the net number of uninsured by 22 million in 2016, using a slightly different computation for the above figures totaling ACA coverage of 26 million, less 4 million for reductions in “employment-based coverage” and “non-group and other coverage.”[4]

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimated that 20.0 million adults (aged 18–64) gained healthcare coverage via ACA as of February 2016, a 2.4 million increase over September 2015. HHS estimated that this 20.0 million included: a) 17.7 million from the start of open enrollment in 2013-2016; and b) 2.3 million young adults aged 19–25 who initially gained insurance from 2010-2013, as they were allowed to remain on their parent’s plans until age 26. Of the 20.0 million, an estimated 6.1 million were aged 19–25.[5] Similarly, the Urban Institute issued a report in in December 2016 that said that about 19.2 million non-elderly Americans had gained health insurance coverage from 2010 to 2015.[197] In March 2016, the CBO reported that there were approximately 27 million people without insurance in 2016, a figure they expected would range from 26-28 million through 2026. CBO also estimated the percentage of insured among all U.S. residents would remain at 90% through that period, 92-93% excluding unauthorized immigrants.[4]

Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[198] As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[199]

By 2017, nearly 70% of those on the exchanges could purchase insurance for less than $75/month after subsidies, which rose to offset significant pre-subsidy price increases in the exchange markets.[200] Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[201]

The ACA also helps reduce income inequality measured after taxes, due to higher taxes on the top 5% of income earners and both subsidies and Medicaid expansion for lower-income persons.[202] CBO estimated that subsidies paid under the law in 2016 averaged $4,240 per person for 10 million individuals receiving them, roughly $42 billion. For scale, the subsidy for the employer market, in the form of exempting from taxation those health insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees by employers, was approximately $1,700 per person in 2016, or $266 billion total in the employer market. The employer market subsidy was not changed by the law.[4]

Insurance exchanges

As of August 2016, 15 states operated their own exchanges. Other states either used the federal exchange, or operated in partnership with or supported by the federal government.[203]

Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion by state, as of September 1, 2015.[204]

  Adopted the Medicaid expansion
  Medicaid expansion under discussion
  Not adopting Medicaid expansion

As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[199] Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[198] Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, which held that states would not lose Medicaid funding if they didn’t expand Medicaid under the ACA, several states rejected expanded Medicaid coverage. Over half of the national uninsured population lived in those states.[205] In a report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent above previous estimates. An estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[206] The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in October 2015 that 3.1 million additional people were not covered because of states that rejected the Medicaid expansion.[207]

States that rejected the Medicaid expansion could maintain their Medicaid eligibility thresholds, which in many states were significantly below 133% of the poverty line.[208] Many states did not make Medicaid available to childless adults at any income level.[209] Because subsidies on exchange insurance plans were not available to those below the poverty line, such individuals had no new options.[210][211] For example, in Kansas, where only able-bodied adults with children and with an income below 32% of the poverty line were eligible for Medicaid, those with incomes from 32% to 100% of the poverty level ($6,250 to $19,530 for a family of three) were ineligible for both Medicaid and federal subsidies to buy insurance. Absent children, able-bodied adults were not eligible for Medicaid in Kansas.[205]

Studies of the impact of state decisions to reject the Medicaid expansion calculated that up to 6.4 million people could fall into this status.[212] The federal government initially paid for 100% of the expansion (through 2016). The subsidy tapered to 90% by 2020 and continued to shrink thereafter.[213] Several states argued that they could not afford their 10% contribution.[213][214] Studies suggested that rejecting the expansion would cost more than expanding Medicaid due to increased spending on uncompensated emergency care that otherwise would have been partially paid for by Medicaid coverage,[215]

A 2016 study led by Harvard University health economics professor Benjamin Sommers found that residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, which both accepted the Medicaid expansion, were more likely to receive health care services and less likely to incur emergency room costs or have trouble paying their medical bills than before the expansion. Residents of Texas, which did not accept the Medicaid expansion, did not see a similar improvement during the same period.[216] Kentucky opted for increased managed care, while Arkansas subsidized private insurance. The new Arkansas and Kentucky governors have proposed reducing or modifying their programs. Between 2013 and 2015, the uninsured rate dropped from 42% to 14% in Arkansas and from 40% to 9% in Kentucky, compared with 39% to 32% in Texas. Specific improvements included additional primary and preventive care, fewer emergency departments visits, reported higher quality care, improved health, improved drug affordability, reduced out-of-pocket spending and increased outpatient visits, increased diabetes screening, glucose testing among diabetes patients and regular care for chronic conditions.[217]

A 2016 DHHS study found that states that expanded Medicaid had lower premiums on exchange policies, because they had fewer low-income enrollees, whose health on is worse than that of those with higher income.[218]

Healthcare insurance costs

U.S. healthcare cost information, including rate of change, per-capita, and percent of GDP. (Data source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services[219])

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[220] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[221]

Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate after the implementation of the law. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[201] From 2008-2010 (before passage of the ACA) health insurance premiums rose by an average of 10% per year.[222]

Several studies found that the financial crisis and accompanying recession could not account for the entirety of the slowdown and that structural changes likely share at least partial credit.[223][224][225][226] A 2013 study estimated that changes to the health system had been responsible for about a quarter of the recent reduction in inflation.[227] Paul Krawzak claimed that even if cost controls succeed in reducing the amount spent on healthcare, such efforts on their own may be insufficient to outweigh the long-term burden placed by demographic changes, particularly the growth of the population on Medicare.[228]

In a 2016 review of the ACA published in JAMA, Barack Obama himself wrote that from 2010 through 2014 mean annual growth in real per-enrollee Medicare spending was negative, down from a mean of 4.7% per year from 2000 through 2005 and 2.4% per year from 2006 to 2010; similarly, mean real per-enrollee growth in private insurance spending was 1.1% per year over the period, compared with a mean of 6.5% from 2000 through 2005 and 3.4% from 2005 to 2010.[229]

Effect on deductibles and co-payments

While health insurance premium costs have moderated, some of this is because of insurance policies that have a higher deductibleco-payments and out-of-pocket maximums that shift costs from insurers to patients. In addition, many employees are choosing to combine a health savings account with higher deductible plans, making the impact of the ACA difficult to determine precisely.

For those who obtain their insurance through their employer (“group market”), a 2016 survey found that:

  • Deductibles grew by 63% from 2011 to 2016, while premiums increased 19% and worker earnings grew by 11%.
  • In 2016, 4 in 5 workers had an insurance deductible, which averaged $1,478. For firms with less than 200 employees, the deductible averaged $2,069.
  • The percentage of workers with a deductible of at least $1,000 grew from 10% in 2006 to 51% in 2016. The 2016 figure drops to 38% after taking employer contributions into account.[230]

For the “non-group” market, of which two-thirds are covered by the ACA exchanges, a survey of 2015 data found that:

  • 49% had individual deductibles of at least $1,500 ($3,000 for family), up from 36% in 2014.
  • Many marketplace enrollees qualify for cost-sharing subsidies that reduce their net deductible.
  • While about 75% of enrollees were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their choice of doctors and hospitals, only 50% had such satisfaction with their annual deductible.
  • While 52% of those covered by the ACA exchanges felt “well protected” by their insurance, in the group market 63% felt that way.[231]

Health outcomes

Insurance coverage helps save lives, by encouraging early detection and prevention of dangerous medical conditions. According to a 2014 study, the ACA likely prevented an estimated 50,000 preventable patient deaths from 2010 to 2013.[232] City University public health professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler wrote in January 2017 that a rollback of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion alone would cause an estimated 43,956 deaths annually.[233]

Federal deficit

CBO estimates of revenue and impact on deficit

The CBO reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8][234][235] The 2011 comprehensive CBO estimate projected a net deficit reduction of more than $200 billion during the 2012–2021 period:[8][236] it calculated the law would result in $604 billion in total outlays offset by $813 billion in total receipts, resulting in a $210 billion net deficit reduction.[8] The CBO separately predicted that while most of the spending provisions do not begin until 2014,[237][238] revenue would exceed spending in those subsequent years.[239] The CBO claimed that the bill would “substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs”[240]—ultimately extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 8 years.[241]

This estimate was made prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling that enabled states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, thereby forgoing the related federal funding. The CBO and JCT subsequently updated the budget projection, estimating the impact of the ruling would reduce the cost estimate of the insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion.[242][243][244]

The CBO in June 2015 forecasted that repeal of ACA would increase the deficit between $137 billion and $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period, depending on the impact of macroeconomic feedback effects. The CBO also forecasted that repeal of ACA would likely cause an increase in GDP by an average of 0.7% in the period from 2021 to 2015, mainly by boosting the supply of labor.[7]

Major new sources of increased tax receipts include:[95] higher Medicare taxes; annual fees on insurance providers; fees on the healthcare industry such as manufacturers and importers of brand-name pharmaceutical drugs and certain medical devices; limits on tax deductions of medical expenses and flexible spending accounts; a 40% excise tax on plans with annual insurance premiums in excess of $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family; revenue from mandate penalty payments; a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services. Predicted spending reductions included a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to insurers and drug companies for private Medicare Advantagepolicies that the Government Accountability Office and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found to be excessively costly relative to government Medicare;[245][246] and reductions in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that failed standards of efficiency and care.[245]

Although the CBO generally does not provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period because of the degree of uncertainty involved in the projection, it decided to do so in this case at the request of lawmakers, and estimated a second decade deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion.[240][247] CBO predicted deficit reduction around a broad range of one-half percent of GDP over the 2020s while cautioning that “a wide range of changes could occur”.[248]

Opinions on CBO projections

The CBO cost estimates were criticized because they excluded the effects of potential legislation that would increase Medicare payments by more than $200 billion from 2010 to 2019.[249][250][251] However, the so-called “doc fix” is a separate issue that would have existed whether or not ACA became law – omitting its cost from ACA was no different from omitting the cost of other tax cuts.[252][253][254]

Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health economist, wrote. “The rigid, artificial rules under which the Congressional Budget Office must score proposed legislation unfortunately cannot produce the best unbiased forecasts of the likely fiscal impact of any legislation”, but went on to say “But even if the budget office errs significantly in its conclusion that the bill would actually help reduce the future federal deficit, I doubt that the financing of this bill will be anywhere near as fiscally irresponsible as was the financing of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.”[255] Douglas Holtz-Eakin, CBO director during the George W. Bush administration, who later served as the chief economic policy adviser to U.S. Senator John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign, alleged that the bill would increase the deficit by $562 billion because, he argued, it front-loaded revenue and back-loaded benefits.[256]

Scheiber and Cohn rejected critical assessments of the law’s deficit impact, arguing that predictions were biased towards underestimating deficit reduction. They noted that for example, it is easier to account for the cost of definite levels of subsidies to specified numbers of people than account for savings from preventive healthcare, and that the CBO had a track record of overestimating costs and underestimating savings of health legislation;[257][258] stating, “innovations in the delivery of medical care, like greater use of electronic medical records[259] and financial incentives for more coordination of care among doctors, would produce substantial savings while also slowing the relentless climb of medical expenses… But the CBO would not consider such savings in its calculations, because the innovations hadn’t really been tried on such large scale or in concert with one another—and that meant there wasn’t much hard data to prove the savings would materialize.”[257]

In 2010 David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General then working for The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, stated that the CBO estimates are not likely to be accurate, because they were based on the assumption that the law would not change.[260] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities objected that Congress had a good record of implementing Medicare savings. According to their study, Congress followed through on the implementation of the vast majority of provisions enacted in the past 20 years to produce Medicare savings, although not the payment reductions addressed by the annual “doc fix”.[261][262]

Economic consequences

CBO estimated in June 2015 that repealing the ACA would:

  • Decrease aggregate demand (GDP) in the short-term, as low-income persons who tend to spend a large fraction of their additional resources would have fewer resources (e.g., ACA subsidies would be eliminated). This effect would be offset in the long-run by the labor supply factors below.
  • Increase the supply of labor and aggregate compensation by about 0.8 and 0.9 percent over the 2021-2025 period. CBO cited the ACA’s expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies and tax credits that rise with income as disincentives to work, so repealing the ACA would remove those disincentives, encouraging workers to supply more hours of labor.
  • Increase the total number of hours worked by about 1.5% over the 2021-2025 period.
  • Remove the higher tax rates on capital income, thereby encouraging additional investment, raising the capital stock and output in the long-run.[7]

In 2015 the Center for Economic and Policy Research found no evidence that companies were reducing worker hours to avoid ACA requirements[263] for employees working over 30 hours per week.[264]

The CBO estimated that the ACA would slightly reduce the size of the labor force and number of hours worked, as some would no longer be tethered to employers for their insurance. Cohn, citing CBO’s projections, claimed that ACA’s primary employment effect was to alleviate job lock: “People who are only working because they desperately need employer-sponsored health insurance will no longer do so.”[265] He concluded that the “reform’s only significant employment impact was a reduction in the labor force, primarily because people holding onto jobs just to keep insurance could finally retire”, because they have health insurance outside of their jobs.[266]

Employer mandate and part-time work

The employer mandate requires employers meeting certain criteria to provide health insurance to their workers. The mandate applies to employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers.[267] Critics claimed that the mandate created a perverse incentive for business to keep their full-time headcount below 50 and to hire part-time workers instead.[268][269] Between March 2010 and 2014 the number of part-time jobs declined by 230,000, while the number of full-time jobs increased by 2 million.[270][271] In the public sector full-time jobs turned into part-time jobs much more than in the private sector.[270][272] A 2016 study found only limited evidence that ACA had increased part-time employment.[273]

Several businesses and the state of Virginia added a 29-hour-a-week cap for their part-time employees,[274][unreliable source?][275][unreliable source?] to reflect the 30-hour-or-more definition for full-time worker.[267] As of yet, however, only a small percent of companies have shifted their workforce towards more part-time hours (4% in a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).[269] Trends in working hours[276] and the effects of the Great Recessioncorrelate with part-time working hour patterns.[277][278] The impact of this provision may have been offset by other factors, including that health insurance helps attract and retain employees, increases productivity and reduces absenteeism; and the lower training and administration costs of a smaller full-time workforce over a larger part-time work force.[269][276][279] Relatively few firms employ over 50 employees[269] and more than 90% of them offered insurance.[280] Workers without employer insurance could purchase insurance on the exchanges.[281]

Most policy analysts (on both right and left) were critical of the employer mandate provision.[268][280] They argued that the perverse incentives regarding part-time hours, even if they did not change existing plans, were real and harmful;[282][283] that the raised marginal cost of the 50th worker for businesses could limit companies’ growth;[284] that the costs of reporting and administration were not worth the costs of maintaining employer plans;[282][283] and noted that the employer mandate was not essential to maintain adequate risk pools.[285][286] The effects of the provision generated vocal opposition from business interests and some unions not granted exemptions.[283][287]

A 2013/4 survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that about 75 percent of those surveyed said ACA hadn’t influenced their planning or expectations for 2014, and 85 percent said the law wouldn’t prompt a change in their hiring practices. Some 21 percent of 64 businesses surveyed said that the act would have a harmful effect and 5 percent said it would be beneficial.[288]

Hospitals

From the start of 2010 to November 2014, 43 hospitals in rural areas closed. Critics claimed that the new law caused these hospitals to close. Many of these rural hospitals were built using funds from the 1946 Hill–Burton Act, to increase access to medical care in rural areas. Some of these hospitals reopened as other medical facilities, but only a small number operated emergency rooms (ER) or urgent care centers.[289]

Between January 2010 and 2015, a quarter of emergency room doctors said they had seen a major surge in patients, while nearly half had seen a smaller increase. Seven in ten ER doctors claimed that they lacked the resources to deal with large increases in the number of patients. The biggest factor in the increased number of ER patients was insufficient primary care providers to handle the larger number of insured patients.[290]

Insurers claimed that because they have access to and collect patient data that allow evaluations of interventions, they are essential to ACO success. Large insurers formed their own ACOs. Many hospitals merged and purchased physician practices. The increased market share gave them more leverage in negotiations with insurers over costs and reduced patient care options.[115]

Public opinion

Prior to the law’s passage, polling indicated the public’s views became increasingly negative in reaction to specific plans discussed during the legislative debate over 2009 and 2010. Polling statistics showed a general negative opinion of the law; with those in favor at approximately 40% and those against at 51%, as of October 2013.[291][292] About 29% of whites approve of the law, compared with 61% of Hispanics and 91% of African Americans.[293]Opinions were divided by age of the person at the law’s inception, with a solid majority of seniors opposing the bill and a solid majority of those younger than forty years old in favor.[294]

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Specific elements were popular across the political spectrum, while others, such as the mandate to purchase insurance, were widely disliked. In a 2012 poll 44% supported the law, with 56% against. By party affiliation, 75% of Democrats, 27% of Independents and 14% of Republicans favored the law overall. 82% favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, 61% favored allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, 72% supported requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employees, and 39% supported the individual mandate to own insurance or pay a penalty. By party affiliation, 19% of Republicans, 27% of Independents, and 59% of Democrats favored the mandate.[295] Other polls showed additional provisions receiving majority support, including the creation of insurance exchanges, pooling small businesses and the uninsured with other consumers so that more people can take advantage of large group pricing benefits and providing subsidies to individuals and families to make health insurance more affordable.[296][297]

In a 2010 poll, 62% of respondents said they thought ACA would “increase the amount of money they personally spend on health care”, 56% said the bill “gives the government too much involvement in health care”, and 19% said they thought they and their families would be better off with the legislation.[298] Other polls found that people were concerned that the law would cost more than projected and would not do enough to control costs.[299]

Some opponents believed that the reform did not go far enough: a 2012 poll indicated that 71% of Republican opponents rejected it overall, while 29% believed it did not go far enough; independent opponents were divided 67% to 33%; and among the much smaller group of Democratic opponents, 49% rejected it overall and 51% wanted more.[295] In June 2013, a majority of the public (52–34%) indicated a desire for “Congress to implement or tinker with the law rather than repeal it”.[300] After the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, a 2012 poll held that “most Americans (56%) want to see critics of President Obama’s health care law drop efforts to block it and move on to other national issues”.[301]A 2014 poll reported that 48.9% of respondents had an unfavorable view of ACA vs. 38.3% who had a favorable view (of more than 5,500 individuals).[302]

A 2014 poll reported that 26% of Americans support ACA.[303] Another held that 8% of respondents say that the Affordable Care Act “is working well the way it is”.[304] In late 2014, a Rasmussen poll reported Repeal: 30%, Leave as is: 13%, Improve: 52%.[305]

In 2015, a CBS News / New York Times poll reported that 47% of Americans approved the health care law. This was the first time that a major poll indicated that more respondents approved ACA than disapproved of it.[306] The recurring Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from December 2016 reported that: a) 30% wanted to expand what the law does; b) 26% wanted to repeal the entire law; c) 19% wanted to move forward with implementing the law as it is; and d) 17% wanted to scale back what the law does, with the remainder undecided.[307]

Separate polls from Fox News and NBC/WSJ both taken during January 2017 indicated more people viewed the law favorably than did not for the first time. One of the reasons for the improving popularity of the law is that Democrats who opposed it in the past (many prefer a “Medicare for All” approach) have shifted their positions since the ACA is under threat of repeal.[308]

A January 2017 Morning Consult poll showed that 35% of respondents either believed that “Obamacare” and the “Affordable Care Act” were different or did not know.[309] Approximately 45% were unsure whether the “repeal of Obamacare” also meant the “repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”[309] 39% did not know that “many people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the A.C.A. were repealed and no replacement enacted,” with Democrats far more likely (79%) to know that fact than Republicans (47%).[309]

A 2017 study found that personal experience with public health insurance programs leads to greater support for the Affordable Care Act, and the effects appear to be most pronounced among Republicans and low-information voters.[310]

Political aspects

“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was originally coined by opponents as a pejorative. The term emerged in March 2007 when healthcare lobbyist Jeanne Schulte Scott used it in a health industry journal, writing “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care’, ‘Edwards-care’, and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care‘ from the 1990s”.[9][311] According to research by Elspeth Reeve, the expression was used in early 2007, generally by writers describing the candidate’s proposal for expanding coverage for the uninsured.[312] It first appeared in a political campaign by Mitt Romney in May 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romney said, “In my state, I worked on healthcare for some time. We had half a million people without insurance, and I said, ‘How can we get those people insured without raising taxes and without having government take over healthcare?’ And let me tell you, if we don’t do it, the Democrats will. If the Democrats do it, it will be socialized medicine; it’ll be government-managed care. It’ll be what’s known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare, or whatever you want to call it.”[9]

By mid-2012, Obamacare had become the colloquial term used by both supporters and opponents. In contrast, the use of “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or “Affordable Care Act” became limited to more formal and official use.[312] Use of the term in a positive sense was suggested by Democrat John Conyers.[313] Obama endorsed the nickname, saying, “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care.”[314]

In March 2012, the Obama reelection campaign embraced the term “Obamacare”, urging Obama’s supporters to post Twitter messages that begin, “I like #Obamacare because…”.[315]

In October 2013 the Associated Press and NPR began cutting back on use of the term.[316] Stuart Seidel, NPR’s managing editor, said that the term “seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular”.[317]

Common misconceptions

“Death panels”

On August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin pioneered the term “death panels” to describe groups that would decide whether sick patients were “worthy” of medical care.[318] “Death panel” referred to two claims about early drafts.

One was that under the law, seniors could be denied care due to their age[319] and the other that the government would advise seniors to end their lives instead of receiving care. The ostensible basis of these claims was the provision for an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).[320] IPAB was given the authority to recommend cost-saving changes to Medicare by facilitating the adoption of cost-effective treatments and cost-recovering measures when the statutory levels set for Medicare were exceeded within any given 3-year period. In fact, the Board was prohibited from recommending changes that would reduce payments to certain providers before 2020, and was prohibited from recommending changes in premiums, benefits, eligibility and taxes, or other changes that would result in rationing.[321][322]

The other related issue concerned advance-care planning consultation: a section of the House reform proposal would have reimbursed physicians for providing patient-requested consultations for Medicare recipients on end-of-life health planning (which is covered by many private plans), enabling patients to specify, on request, the kind of care they wished to receive.[323] The provision was not included in ACA.[324]

In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that 85% of Americans were familiar with the claim, and 30% believed it was true, backed by three contemporaneous polls.[325] A poll in August 2012 found that 39% of Americans believed the claim.[326] The allegation was named PolitiFact‘s “Lie of the Year”,[318][327] one of FactCheck.org‘s “whoppers”[328][329] and the most outrageous term by the American Dialect Society.[330] AARP described such rumors as “rife with gross—and even cruel—distortions”.[331]

Members of Congress

ACA requires members of Congress and their staffs to obtain health insurance either through an exchange or some other program approved by the law (such as Medicare), instead of using the insurance offered to federal employees (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program).[332][333][334][335][336]

Illegal immigrants

ACA does not provide benefits to illegal immigrants.[337] It explicitly denies insurance subsidies to “unauthorized (illegal) aliens”.[25][26][338]

Exchange “death spiral”

One argument against the ACA is that the insurers are leaving the marketplaces, as they cannot profitably cover the available pool of customers, which contains too many unhealthy participants relative to healthy participants. A scenario where prices rise, due to an unfavorable mix of customers from the insurer’s perspective, resulting in fewer customers and fewer insurers in the marketplace, further raising prices, has been called a “Death Spiral.”[339]During 2017, the median number of insurers offering plans on the ACA exchanges in each state was 3.0, meaning half the states had more and half had fewer insurers. There were five states with one insurer in 2017; 13 states with two; 11 states with three; and the remainder had four insurers or more. Wisconsin had the most, with 15 insurers in the marketplace. The median number of insurers was 4.0 in 2016, 5.0 in 2015, and 4.0 in 2014.[340]

Further, the CBO reported in January 2017 that it expected enrollment in the exchanges to rise from 10 million during 2017 to 13 million by 2027, assuming laws in place at the end of the Obama administration were continued.[341]Following a 2015 CBO report that reached a similar conclusion, Paul Krugman wrote: “But the truth is that this report is much, much closer to what supporters of reform have said than it is to the scare stories of the critics–no death spirals, no job-killing, major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”[342]

Opposition

Opposition and efforts to repeal the legislation have drawn support from sources that include labor unions,[343][344] conservative advocacy groups,[345][346] Republicans, small business organizations and the Tea Party movement.[347]These groups claimed that the law would disrupt existing health plans, increase costs from new insurance standards, and increase the deficit.[348] Some opposed the idea of universal healthcare, viewing insurance as similar to other unsubsidized goods.[349][350] President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “repeal and replace” it.[351][352]

As of 2013 unions that expressed concerns about ACA included the AFL-CIO,[353] which called ACA “highly disruptive” to union health care plans, claiming it would drive up costs of union-sponsored plans; the International Brotherhood of TeamstersUnited Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE-HERE, whose leaders sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi arguing, ” ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”[344] In January 2014, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and D. Taylor, president of Unite Here sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi stating, “ACA, as implemented, undermines fair marketplace competition in the health care industry.”[343]

In October 2016, Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, said that the ACA had “many good features” but that it was “no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people” and called on the Minnesota legislature to provide emergency relief to policyholders.[354] Dayton later said he regretted his remarks after they were seized on by Republicans seeking to repeal the law.[355]

Legal challenges

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Opponents challenged ACA’s constitutionality in multiple lawsuits on multiple grounds.[356][357][not in citation given] In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5–4 vote that the individual mandate was constitutional when viewed as a tax, although not under the Commerce Clause.

The Court further determined that states could not be forced to participate in the Medicaid expansion. ACA withheld all Medicaid funding from states declining to participate in the expansion. The Court ruled that this withdrawal of funding was unconstitutionally coercive and that individual states had the right to opt out without losing preexisting Medicaid funding.[358]

Contraception mandate

In March 2012 the Roman Catholic Church, while supportive of ACA’s objectives, voiced concern through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that aspects of the mandate covering contraception and sterilization and HHS‘s narrow definition of a religious organization violated the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and conscience. Various lawsuits addressed these concerns.[359][360]

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that federal subsidies for health insurance premiums could be used in the 34 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.[361]

House v. Price

In United States House of Representatives v. Price (previously United States House of Representatives v. Burwell) the House sued the administration alleging that the money for premium subsidy payments to insurers had not been appropriated, as required for any federal government spending. The ACA subsidy that helps customers pay premiums was not part of the suit.

Without the cost-sharing subsidies, the government estimated that premiums would increase by 20 percent to 30 percent for silver plans.[362] In 2017, the uncertainty about whether the payments would continue caused Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to try to raise premiums by 22.9 percent the next year, as opposed to an increase of only 8.8 percent that it would have sought if the payments were assured.[363]

Non-cooperation

Officials in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri opposed those elements of ACA over which they had discretion.[364][365] For example, Missouri declined to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance marketplace engaging in active non-cooperation, enacting a statute forbidding any state or local official to render any aid not specifically required by federal law.[366] Other Republican politicians discouraged efforts to advertise the benefits of the law. Some conservative political groups launched ad campaigns to discourage enrollment.[367][368]

Repeal efforts

ACA was the subject of unsuccessful repeal efforts by Republicans in the 111th112th, and 113th Congresses: Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced bills in the House to repeal ACA the day after it was signed, as did Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the Senate.[369] In 2011, after Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, one of the first votes held was on a bill titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” (H.R. 2), which the House passed 245–189.[370] All Republicans and 3 Democrats voted for repeal.[371] House Democrats proposed an amendment that repeal not take effect until a majority of the Senators and Representatives had opted out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Republicans voted down the measure.[372] In the Senate, the bill was offered as an amendment to an unrelated bill, but was voted down.[373]President Obama had stated that he would have vetoed the bill even if it had passed both chambers of Congress.[374]

2017 House Budget

Following the 2012 Supreme Court ruling upholding ACA as constitutional, Republicans held another vote to repeal the law on July 11;[375] the House of Representatives voted with all 244 Republicans and 5 Democrats in favor of repeal, which marked the 33rd, partial or whole, repeal attempt.[376][377] On February 3, 2015, the House of Representatives added its 67th repeal vote to the record (239 to 186). This attempt also failed.[378]

2013 federal government shutdown

Strong partisan disagreement in Congress prevented adjustments to the Act’s provisions.[379] However, at least one change, a proposed repeal of a tax on medical devices, has received bipartisan support.[380] Some Congressional Republicans argued against improvements to the law on the grounds they would weaken the arguments for repeal.[283][381]

Republicans attempted to defund its implementation,[365][382] and in October 2013, House Republicans refused to fund the federal government unless accompanied with a delay in ACA implementation, after the President unilaterally deferred the employer mandate by one year, which critics claimed he had no power to do. The House passed three versions of a bill funding the government while submitting various versions that would repeal or delay ACA, with the last version delaying enforcement of the individual mandate. The Democratic Senate leadership stated the Senate would only pass a “clean” funding bill without any restrictions on ACA. The government shutdown began on October 1.[383][384][385] Senate Republicans threatened to block appointments to relevant agencies, such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board[386] and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.[387][388]

2017 repeal effort

During a midnight congressional session starting January 11, 2017, the Senate of the 115th Congress of the United States voted to approve a “budget blueprint” which would allow Republicansto repeal parts of the law “without threat of a Democratic filibuster.”[389][390] The plan, which passed 51-48, is a budget blueprint named by Senate Republicans the “Obamacare ‘repeal resolution.'”[391] Democrats opposing the resolution staged a protest during the vote.[392]

House Republicans announced their replacement for the ACA, the American Health Care Act, on March 6, 2017.[393] On March 24, 2017 the effort, led by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, to repeal and replace the ACA failed amid a revolt among Republican representatives.[394]

On May 4, 2017, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (and thereby repeal most of the Affordable Care Act) by a narrow margin of 217 to 213, sending the bill to the Senate for deliberation.[395] The Senate has indicated they will write their own version of the bill, instead of voting on the House version.[396]

Implementation history

Once the law was signed, provisions began taking effect, in a process that continued for years. Some provisions never took effect, while others were deferred for various periods.

Existing individual health plans

Plans purchased after the date of enactment, March 23, 2010, or old plans that changed in specified ways would eventually have to be replaced by ACA-compliant plans.[citation needed]

At various times during and after the ACA debate, Obama stated that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan”.[397][398] However, in fall 2013 millions of Americans with individual policies received notices that their insurance plans were terminated,[399] and several million more risked seeing their current plans cancelled.[400][401][402]

Obama’s previous unambiguous assurance that consumers’ could keep their own plans became a focal point for critics, who challenged his truthfulness.[403][404] On November 7, 2013, President Obama stated: “I am sorry that [people losing their plans] are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”[405] Various bills were introduced in Congress to allow people to keep their plans.[406]

In the fall of 2013, the Obama Administration announced a transitional relief program that would let states and carriers allow non-compliant individual and small group policies to renew at the end of 2013. In March 2014, HHS allowed renewals as late as October 1, 2016. In February 2016, these plans were allowed to renew up until October 1, 2017, but with a termination date no later than December 31, 2017.[citation needed]

2010

In June small business tax credits took effect. For certain small businesses, the credits reached up to 35% of premiums. At the same time uninsured people with pre-existing conditions could access the federal high-risk pool. Also, participating employment-based plans could obtain reimbursement for a portion of the cost of providing health insurance to early retirees.[407]

In July the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) took effect to offer insurance to those that had been denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. Despite estimates of up to 700,000 enrollees, at a cost of approximately $13,000/enrollee, only 56,257 enrolled at a $28,994 cost per enrollee.[407]

2011

As of September 23, 2010, pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage for children’s policies. HHS interpreted this rule as a mandate for “guaranteed issue“, requiring insurers to issue policies to such children.[citation needed] By 2011, insurers had stopped marketing child-only policies in 17 states, as they sought to escape this requirement.[408]

The average beneficiary in the prior coverage gap would have spent $1,504 in 2011 on prescriptions. Such recipients saved an average $603. The 50 percent discount on brand name drugs provided $581 and the increased Medicare share of generic drug costs provided the balance. Beneficiaries numbered 2 million[409]

2012

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius decided on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional when the associated penalties were construed as a tax. The decision allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Several did so,[410] although some later accepted the expansion.[411][412]

2013

In January 2013 the Internal Revenue Service ruled that the cost of covering only the individual employee would be considered in determining whether the cost of coverage exceeded 9.5% of income. Family plans would not be considered even if the cost was above the 9.5% income threshold. This was estimated to leave 2–4 million Americans unable to afford family coverage under their employers’ plans and ineligible for subsidies.[413][414]

A June 2013 study found that the MLR provision had saved individual insurance consumers $1.2 billion in 2011 and $2.1 billion in 2012, reducing their 2012 costs by 7.5%.[415] The bulk of the savings were in reduced premiums, but some came from MLR rebates.

On July 2, 2013, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.[280][416][417]

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act) was enacted as Title VIII of the ACA. It would have created a voluntary and public long-term care insurance option for employees.[121][123] In October 2011 the administration announced it was unworkable and would be dropped.[418] The CLASS Act was repealed January 1, 2013.[419]

The launch for both the state and federal exchanges was troubled due to management and technical failings. HealthCare.gov, the website that offers insurance through the exchanges operated by the federal government, crashed on opening and suffered endless problems.[420] Operations stabilized in 2014, although not all planned features were complete.[421][422]

CMS reported in 2013 that, while costs per capita continued to rise, the rate of increase in annual healthcare costs had fallen since 2002. Per capita cost increases averaged 5.4% annually between 2000 and 2013. Costs relative to GDP, which had been rising, had stagnated since 2009.[423] Several studies attempted to explain the reductions. Reasons included:

  • Higher unemployment due to the 2008-2010 recession, which limited the ability of consumers to purchase healthcare;
  • Out-of-pocket costs rose, reducing demand for healthcare services.[424] The proportion of workers with employer-sponsored health insurance requiring a deductible climbed to about three-quarters in 2012 from about half in 2006.[223]
  • ACA changes[223] that aim to shift the healthcare system from paying-for-quantity to paying-for-quality. Some changes occurred due to healthcare providers acting in anticipation of future implementation of reforms.[120][224]

2014

On July 30, 2014, the Government Accountability Office released a non-partisan study that concluded that the administration did not provide “effective planning or oversight practices” in developing the ACA website.[425]

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby the Supreme Court exempted closely held corporations with religious convictions from the contraception rule.[426] In Wheaton College vs Burwell the Court issued an injunction allowing the evangelical college and other religiously affiliated nonprofit groups to completely ignore the contraceptive mandate.[427]

A study found that average premiums for the second-cheapest ( silver) plan were 10-21% less than average individual market premiums in 2013, while covering many more conditions. Credit for the reduced premiums was attributed to increased competition stimulated by the larger market, greater authority to review premium increases, the MLR and risk corridors.[citation needed]

Many of the initial plans featured narrow networks of doctors and hospitals.[428][not in citation given]

A 2016 analysis found that health care spending by the middle class was 8.9% of household spending in 2014.[429]

2015

By the beginning of the year, 11.7 million had signed up (ex-Medicaid).[430] On December 31, 2015, about 8.8 million consumers had stayed in the program. Some 84 percent, or about 7.4 million, were subsidized.[431]

Bronze plans were the second most popular in 2015, making up 22% of marketplace plan selections. Silver plans were the most popular, accounting for 67% of marketplace selections. Gold plans were 7%. Platinum plans accounted for 3%. On average across the four metal tiers, premiums were up 20% for HMOs and 18% for EPOs. Premiums for POS plans were up 15% from 2015 to 2016, while PPO premiums were up just 8%.[citation needed]

A 2015 study found 14% of privately insured consumers received a medical bill in the past two years from an out-of-network provider in the context of an overall in-network treatment event. Such out-of-network care is not subject to the lower negotiated rates of in-network care, increasing out-of-pocket costs. Another 2015 study found that the average out-of-network charges for the majority of 97 medical procedures examined “were 300% or higher compared to the corresponding Medicare fees” for those services.[citation needed]

Some 47% of the 2015 ACA plans sold on the Healthcare.gov exchange lacked standard out-of-network coverage. Enrollees in such plans, typically received no coverage for out-of-network costs (except for emergencies or with prior authorization). A 2016 study on Healthcare.gov health plans found a 24 percent increase in the percentage of ACA plans that lacked standard out-of-network coverage.[citation needed]

The December spending bill delayed the onset of the “Cadillac tax” on expensive insurance plans by two years, until 2020.[432]

The average price of non-generic drugs rose 16.2% in 2015 and 98.2% since 2011.[429]

2016

As of March 2016 11.1 million people had purchased exchange plans,[citation needed] while an estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[206] 11.1 million were still covered, a decline of nearly 13 percent.[433] 6.1 million uninsured 19-25 year olds gained coverage.[434]

Employers

A survey of New York businesses found an increase of 8.5 percent in health care costs, less than the prior year’s survey had expected. A 10 percent increase was expected for 2017. Factors included increased premiums, higher drug costs, ACA and aging workers. Some firms lowered costs by increasing cost-sharing (for higher employee contributions, deductibles and co-payments). 60% planned to further increase cost-sharing. Coverage and benefits were not expected to change. Approximately one fifth said ACA had pushed them to reduce their workforce. A larger number said they were raising prices.[435]

Insurers

The five major national insurers expected to lose money on ACA policies in 2016.[436] UnitedHealth withdrew from the Georgia and Arkansas exchanges for 2017, citing heavy losses.[203] Humana exited other markets, leaving it operating in 156 counties in 11 states for 2017.[437] 225 counties across the country had access to only a single ACA insurer. A study released in May estimated that 664 counties would have one insurer in 2017.[438][not in citation given]

Aetna cancelled planned expansion of its offerings and following an expected $300 million loss in 2016 and then withdrew from 11 of its 15 states.[439] In August 2016 Anthem said that its offerings were losing money, but also that it would expand its participation if a pending merger with Cigna was approved.[440] Aetna and Humana’s exit for 2017 left 8 rural Arizona counties with only Blue Cross/Blue Shield.[441]

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Minnesota announced that it would exit individual and family markets in Minnesota in 2017, due to financial losses of $500 million over three years.[442]

Another analysis found that 17 percent of eligibles may have a single insurer option in 2017. North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina and Wyoming were expected to have a single insurer,[443] while only 2 percent of 2016 eligibles had only one choice.[444]

Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group also exited various individual markets. Many local Blue Cross plans sharply narrowed their networks. In 2016 two thirds of individual plans were narrow-network HMO plans.[428]

One of the causes of insurer losses is the lower income, older and sicker enrollee population. One 2016 analysis reported that while 81% of the population with incomes from 100-150% of the federal poverty level signed up, only 45% of those from 150-200% did so. The percentage continued to decline as income rose: 2% of those above 400% enrolled.[445]

Costs

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[220] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[221]

Cooperatives

The number of ACA nonprofit insurance cooperatives for 2017 fell from 23 originally to 7 for 2017. The remaining 7 posted annual losses in 2015. A General Accountability Report found that co-ops’ 2015 premiums were generally below average. At the end of 2014, money co-ops and other ACA insurers had counted on risk corridor payments that didn’t materialize. Maryland’s Evergreen Health claims that ACA’s risk-adjustment system does not adequately measure risk.[citation needed]

Medicaid

Newly elected Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order to accept the expansion, becoming the 32nd state to do so. The program was expected to enroll an additional 300,000 Louisianans.[446]

2017

More than 9.2 million people signed up for care on the national exchange (healthcare.gov) for 2017, down some 400,000 from 2016. This decline was due primarily to the election of President Trump, who pulled advertising encouraging people to sign up for coverage, issued an executive order that attempts to eliminate the mandate, and has created significant uncertainty about the future of the ACA. Enrollments had been running ahead of 2016 prior to President Obama leaving office, with 9.8 million expected to sign-up, so President Trump’s actions potentially cost about 600,000 national enrollments (i.e., 9.8 million expected − 9.2 million actual = 0.6 million impact).[447] Of the 9.2 million, 3.0 million were new customers and 6.2 million were returning. The 9.2 million excludes the 11 states that run their own exchanges, which have signed up around 3 million additional people.[447] These figures also exclude the additional coverage due to the Medicaid expansion, which covers another approximately 10 million persons, as described in the impact section above.

In February, Humana announced that it would withdraw from the individual insurance market in 2018, citing “further signs of an unbalanced risk pool.”[448] That month the IRS announced that it would not require that tax returns indicate that a person has health insurance, reducing the effectiveness of the individual mandate, in response to an executive order from President Donald Trump.[449]

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini stated that ACA was in a “death spiral” of escalating premiums and shrinking, skewed enrollment.[450] However, a U.S. judge found that the Aetna CEO misrepresented why his company was leaving the exchanges; an important part of the reason was the Justice Department’s opposition to the intended merger between Aetna and Humana. Aetna announced that it would exit the exchange market in all remaining states.[451] It stated that its losses had grown from $100M in 2014 to $450M in 2016.[452] Wellmark withdrew from Iowa in April.[453] As of May, no insurer had indicated its intention to offer ACA insurance in Nebraska.[451] Also in May Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced it would withdraw from Missouri and Kansas’s individual markets in 2018, potentially leaving nearly 19,000 residents in Western Missouri without a coverage option.[454] Anthem announced plans to withdraw from Ohio[455] and later Wisconsin[456] and Indiana,[457] describing the market as “volatile” and referring to the difficulty in pricing its plans “due to the shrinking individual market as well as continual changes in federal operations, rules and guidance.”[455]

The CBO reported in March 2017 that the healthcare exchanges were expected to be stable; i.e., they were not in a “death spiral.”[458] In June, Centene announced that it intended to initiate coverage in Nevada, Kanasa and Missouri and expand coverage in Ohio and Florida.[459]

Molina Healthcare, a major Medicaid provider, said that it was considering exiting some markets in 2018, citing “too many unknowns with the marketplace program.” Molina lost $110 million in 2016 due to having to contribute $325 million more than expected to the ACA “risk transfer” fund that compensated insurers with unprofitable risk pools. These pools were established to help prevent insurers from artificially selecting lower-risk pools.[460]

In May the United States House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA.[461][462]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

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