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Story 1: Economy Slowing Down As Consumer Confidence and Spending Decline — Videos

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Consumer confidence, home sales down thanks to hurricanes

Hurricanes to blame for slipping consumer confidence

Us consumer confidence takes a hit from hurricanes

U.S. Consumer Confidence Reading Coming – Tuesday 26/9/2017

Investopedia Video: Consumer Confidence Index

Episode 135: The Consumer Confidence Index

Consumer confidence

08: CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX

 

What is CONSUMER CONFIDENCE? What does CONSUMER CONFIDENCE mean? CONSUMER CONFIDENCE meaning

The Formula For Economic Growth

Econ 1.6- Economic Systems: Why is Communist China doing so well?

How China became the world’s second largest economy

Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Consumer Confidence Survey® reflects prevailing business conditions and likely developments for the months ahead. This monthly report details consumer attitudes and buying intentions, with data available by age, income, and region.

Please visit the Consumer Measures page to learn more about detailed consumer confidence data and CEO confidence data.

Purchase Historical Data

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Declined Slightly in September

26 Sep. 2017

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved marginally in August, declined slightly in September. The Index now stands at 119.8 (1985=100), down from 120.4 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased from 148.4 to 146.1, while the Expectations Index rose marginally from 101.7 last month to 102.2.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was September 18.

“Consumer confidence decreased slightly in September after a marginal improvement in August,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Confidence in Texas and Florida, however, decreased considerably, as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions moderated in September. Those saying business conditions are “good” decreased slightly from 34.5 percent to 33.9 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” increased from 13.2 percent to 13.8 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also somewhat less upbeat. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined from 34.4 percent to 32.6 percent, however, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased marginally from 18.4 percent to 18.1 percent.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was somewhat better in September. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months rose slightly from 19.8 percent to 20.2 percent, but those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.0 percent to 9.9 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was more favorable than in August. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 16.8 percent to 19.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs rose marginally from 13.2 percent to 13.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement increased moderately from 19.9 percent to 20.5 percent, while the proportion expecting a decline was virtually unchanged at 8.3 percent.

Source: September 2017 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index®, at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm

US consumer confidence takes a hit from hurricanes

In this Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo, pedestrians walk past a store on Miami Beach, Floridas Lincoln Road. American consumers feel a bit less confident in September 2017, their spirits pulled down by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to consThe Associated Press
In this Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo, pedestrians walk past a store on Miami Beach, Florida’s Lincoln Road. American consumers feel a bit less confident in September 2017, their spirits pulled down by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to consumer confidence index information released Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, by the Conference Board. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

American consumers feel a bit less confident this month, their spirits pulled down by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell to 119.8 in September from 120.4 in August. Conference Board economist Lynn Franco says that confidence “decreased considerably” in hurricane-hit Florida and Texas.

The reading still shows that U.S. consumers are in a mostly sunny mood, suggesting that “the economy will continue expanding at its current pace,” said Franco, the Conference Board’s director of economic indicators. The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3 percent annual rate from April through June, lifted by healthy consumer spending.

Just 18.1 percent of respondents told that Conference Board that jobs were “hard to get” in September — the lowest share since August 2001.

The index takes into account Americans’ views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months.

Their view of today’s economy slipped from August when the assessment was the sunniest in 16 years. Their outlook rose slightly in September.

The overall index hit bottom at 25.3 in February 2009 at the depths of the Great Recessionbefore rebounding as the U.S. economy recovered.

Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

Michael Pearce, U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the solid September reading “underlines just how resilient the household sector is” despite the North Korean nuclear threat, a string of natural disasters and the racial tensions arising from the violent protests last month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/us-consumer-confidence-takes-hit-hurricanes-5010104

U.S. consumer confidence slips; new home sales hit eight-month low

Reuters

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence fell in September and home sales dropped to an eight-month low in August due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, supporting the view that the storms would hurt economic growth in the third quarter.

Still, relatively high levels of consumer confidence together with continued strong gains in house prices should support consumer spending and keep the economy on solid ground. Rebuilding in the hurricane-ravaged Texas and Florida also is expected to deliver a boost in the fourth quarter.

“Though hurricane disruptions will make spending uneven geographically over the next few months, we expect consumers to remain a primary driver of U.S. economic growth in 2018,” said James Bohnaker, a U.S. economist at IHS Markit in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The Conference Board said on Tuesday its consumer confidence index declined to a reading of 119.8 this month from 120.4 in August, which was the highest reading in five months. It said confidence in Texas and Florida “decreased considerably.”

The survey’s so-called labor market differential, derived from data about respondents who think jobs are hard to get and those who think jobs are plentiful, slipped to 14.5 this month from 16.0 in August.

That measure, which closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department’s employment report, still remains consistent with more absorption of labor market slack.

The number of consumers expecting an improvement in their incomes rose marginally to 20.5 percent in September from 19.9 percent last month. The share expecting a drop in income was little changed at 8.3 percent.

Despite being near full employment, the labor market has struggled to generate strong wage growth, frustrating both consumers and policymakers. But rising home prices should continue to underpin consumer spending, even though the housing market is slowing.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting the economy to grow at a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, slowing from the April-June period’s brisk 3.0 percent pace.

A second report on Tuesday showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of house prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.8 percent in July on a year-on-year basis after increasing 5.6 percent in June.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

The dollar rose to a one-month high against the euro as investors worried that months of talks to form a coalition government in Germany could hurt the country’s economy and make closer euro zone integration difficult. Stocks on Wall street were little changed, while prices for U.S. Treasuries fell.

HOUSING SLOWING In a third report on Tuesday, the Commerce Department said new home sales decreased 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 units last month, which was the lowest level since December 2016. Sales were down 1.2 percent on a year-on-year basis in August.

New home sales, which are drawn from permits, account for 9.5 percent of overall home sales. The Commerce Department suggested Harvey and Irma likely impacted new home sales data last month.

It said “information on the sales status at the end of August was collected for only 65 percent of cases in Texas and Florida counties” affected by the hurricanes. That compared to a normal response rate of 95 percent.

Harvey weighed on retail sales and industrial production in August.

Last month, new home sales fell 4.7 percent in the South, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the new homes market. Harvey hurt sales of previously owned homes in August and held back the completion of houses under construction.

With Irma slamming Florida in September, housing market activity could remain weak. The areas in Texas and Florida affected by the storms accounted for 14 percent of single-family home permits in 2016.

The housing market was softening even before the hurricanes struck, buffeted by headwinds including shortages of homes available for sale, skilled labor and suitable land for building. Rising prices for building materials are also undercutting the market.

In August, new single-family homes sales also fell in the Northeast and West. They were unchanged in the Midwest.

“The U.S. housing market entered a strange kind of twilight zone over the summer, in which home prices kept rising steadily, but actual home sales activity largely leveled off at fairly underwhelming levels,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen says economic outlook is highly uncertain

By Don Lee

In a speech Tuesday marked by large doses of both statistics and humility, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said that the economic outlook is highly uncertain, suggesting that the central bank may move slowly in raising interest rates and scaling back easy-money policies.

The Fed has been moving to reduce monetary support for the economy based on an assessment that the labor market is strengthening and that inflation, which has been unusually low, will soon stabilize.

Last week, the Fed began unwinding the massive bond-buying effort it began after the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and signaled that another interest rate hike would come by the end of the year.

But Yellen suggested that the future policy course was uncertain.

“My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market,” she said at a conference of the National Assn. for Business Economics in Cleveland. She said the same about “the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations are consistent with our inflation objective, or even the fundamental forces driving inflation.”

Inflation has been running persistently below the Fed’s 2% target, puzzling economists and causing policymakers to be hesitant in raising rates. Yellen said that she still expected inflation to move up to the Fed’s desired goal in coming months, but she noted that the labor market, which historically has been a key factor in moving inflation, may not be as tight as the low unemployment rate suggests.

For much of this year, the jobless figure has been below 4.5%, which most Fed officials see as essentially full employment. While more employers have been reporting trouble finding workers, there’s been little indication of a pick-up in wage increases, which on average have remained relatively modest. The low rate of wage increases could indicate that the labor market has more slack than economists had believed.

Because of demographic and other structural changes, “the unemployment rate that is sustainable today may be lower than the rate that was sustainable in the past,” Yellen said.

Similarly, she said that inflation expectations, which are important in actual inflation outcomes as people make decisions on hiring and spending based on them, may also be uncertain. “There is a risk that inflation expectations may not be as well anchored as they appear and perhaps are not consistent with our 2% goal,” she said.

Several factors could be restraining inflation, Yellen said, including healthcare prices, which have not grown as fast as in the past, and the growing use of online shopping, which may be making it tough for businesses to raise prices.

“How should policy be formulated in the face of such significant uncertainties?” Yellen asked. “In my view, it strengthens the case for a gradual pace of adjustments.”

“It would be imprudent to keep monetary policy on hold until inflation is back to 2%,” she said, but, she added, “we should be wary of raising rates too gradually.”

In a question and answer session, Yellen said policymakers should be prepared for surprises and shocks.

“Nothing is set in stone,” she said.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-yellen-in-ohio-20170926-story.html

Yellen: Fed may have ‘misjudged’ inflation, keeping rates lower

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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen conceded Tuesday that inflation may be weaker than Fed officials have anticipated, a development that could lead to a more gradual rise in interest rates.

While several Fed policymakers have raised that possibility, Yellen’s remarks represent her most detailed and explicit acknowledgment that the Fed may have been too confident in its long-held view that inflation will soon pick up and move toward the Fed’s annual 2% target.

“My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market, the degree to which longer-run inflation expectations are consistent with our inflation objective, or even the fundamental forces driving inflation,” Yellen said in prepared remarks at a meeting of the National Association for Business Economics in Cleveland. She added that “downward pressures on inflation could prove to be unexpectedly persistent.”

More: Economists see slower growth for U.S. than Trump does

More: Consumer confidence takes a hit from hurricanes

If inflation remained sluggish, that “would naturally result in a policy path that is somewhat easier than that now anticipated.”

The Fed has raised its benchmark short-term interest rate three times since December to a range of 1% to1¼%. Last week, it maintained its forecast of three quarter-point rate hikes next year but cut its projection from three to two increases in 2019, lifting the rate to 2.9% by 2020.

The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation fell to 1.4% in July from nearly 2% early this year. Yellen said the Fed’s baseline outlook still calls for an acceleration and blamed the recent retreat on a drop in wireless service prices due to the rollout of unlimited data plans, among other temporary factors. But she also gave more weight to the view that wages and prices could continue to edge up slowly because of longer-term obstacles.

For example, although unemployment is at a low 4.4%, the share of Americans ages 25 to 54 who are working remains low and the portion of part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs is still above the prerecession levels, Yellen said. That could mean there’s more “slack” in the labor market, providing employers a shadow labor force that’s keeping wage growth contained.

And while Yellen acknowledged that several indicators have revealed tepid pay increases, she traced the development to meager gains in productivity, or worker output, that have curtailed profit margins. She added that the share of firms planning wage increases “has moved back up to its pre-recession level” and many employers are having trouble finding qualified workers — “possible harbingers of stronger wage gains to come.”

Yellen also said some measures of inflation expectations, such as a survey of consumers by the New York Fed, have been unusually low. Inflation expectations help determine actual wage and price increases because workers are less likely to ask for raises, for example, if they expect inflation to remain anemic.

Finally, Yellen said other longer-term trends could be suppressing inflation. Those include subdued growth in health care prices; the integration of China and other emerging markets into the global economy, which restrains both wages and prices; and the spread of low-price online shopping.

The risk that inflation stays low “strengthens the case for a gradual” increase in the Fed’s key short-term interest rate, Yellen said. If the rate rises too quickly, disrupting the recovery, the Fed “will have only limited scope” to cut the still-low rate “should the economy be hit with an adverse shock.”

At the same time, she said the Fed “should also be wary of moving too gradually.”

“Without further modest increases in the federal funds rate over time, there is a risk that the labor market could eventually become overheated, potentially creating inflationary problems down the road that might be difficult to overcome without triggering a recession,” Yellen said.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/26/yellen-fed-may-have-misjudged-inflation-keeping-rates-lower/703920001/

Consumer confidence index

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The U.S. consumer confidence index (CCI) is an indicator designed to measure consumer confidence, which is defined as the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that consumers are expressing through their activities of savings and spending. Global consumer confidence is not measured. Country by country analysis indicates huge variance around the globe. In an interconnected global economy, tracking international consumer confidence is a lead indicator of economic trends.[1]

In the United States consumer confidence is issued monthly by The Conference Board, an independent economic research organization, and is based on 5,000 households. Such measurement is indicative of consumption component level of the gross domestic productThe Federal Reserve looks at the CCI when determining interest rate changes, and it also affects stock market prices.

The consumer confidence index was started in 1967 and is benchmarked to 1985=100. This year was chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough. The Index is calculated each month on the basis of a household survey of consumers’ opinions on current conditions and future expectations of the economy. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, with expectations of future conditions comprising the remaining 60%. In the glossary on its website, The Conference Board defines the Consumer Confidence Survey as “a monthly report detailing consumer attitudes and buying intentions, with data available by age, income and region”.

Another well-established index that measures consumer confidence is the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, run by University of Michigan‘s Institute for Social Research.

Calculation

In simple terms, increased consumer confidence indicates economic growth in which consumers are spending money, indicating higher consumption. Decreasing consumer confidence implies slowing economic growth, and so consumers are likely to decrease their spending. The idea is that the more confident people feel about the economy and their jobs and incomes, the more likely they are to make purchases. Declining consumer confidence is a sign of slowing economic growth and may indicate that the economy is headed into trouble.

Each month The Conference Board surveys 5,000 US households. The survey consists of five questions that ask the respondents’ opinions about the following:[2]

  1. Current business conditions
  2. Business conditions for the next six months
  3. Current employment conditions
  4. Employment conditions for the next six months
  5. Total family income for the next six months

Survey participants are asked to answer each question as “positive”, “negative” or “neutral”. The preliminary results from the consumer confidence survey are released on the last Tuesday of each month at 10am EST.

Once the data have been gathered, a proportion known as the “relative value” is calculated for each question separately. Each question’s positive responses are divided by the sum of its positive and negative responses. The relative value for each question is then compared against each relative value from 1985. This comparison of the relative values results in an “index value” for each question.

The index values for all five questions are then averaged together to form the consumer confidence index; the average of index values for questions one and three form the present situation index, and the average of index values for questions two, four and five form the expectations index. The data are calculated for the United States as a whole and for each of the country’s nine census regions.

Usage

Manufacturers, retailers, banks and the government monitor changes in the CCI in order to factor in the data in their decision-making processes. While index changes of less than 5% are often dismissed as inconsequential, moves of 5% or more often indicate a change in the direction of the economy.

A month-on-month decreasing trend suggests consumers have a negative outlook on their ability to secure and retain good jobs. Thus, manufacturers may expect consumers to avoid retail purchases, particularly large-ticket items that require financing. Manufacturers may pare down inventories to reduce overhead and/or delay investing in new projects and facilities. Likewise, banks can anticipate a decrease in lending activity, mortgage applications and credit card use. When faced with a down-trending index, the government has a variety of options, such as issuing a tax rebate or taking other fiscal or monetary action to stimulate the economy.

Conversely, a rising trend in consumer confidence indicates improvements in consumer buying patterns. Manufacturers can increase production and hiring. Banks can expect increased demand for credit. Builders can prepare for a rise in home construction and government can anticipate improved tax revenues based on the increase in consumer spending.

Consumer-demand surveys versus consumer-confidence and -sentiment surveys[edit]

Consumer-demand surveys are interview-based statistical surveys that measure the percentage of households that will buy a car, white goods, PCs, TVs, home furnishings, kitchenware or toys in, for example, the next three-month period. The surveys provide a percentage of those who will purchase more, less or the same amount of food and clothing in the next three months than in the corresponding period the year before. If you ask people about their purchasing behavior within the coming six or 12 months, there will be more of those who “hope to be able to buy”, than if consumers are asked about what they will purchase in the next three months. The shorter the time spans, the closer to actual behavior.

Consumer-confidence and -sentiment surveys measure how people are doing financially, how they look at the overall economy of the country or business conditions in the country, if they think that the government is doing a good or a poor job and if people think that it is a good or a bad time to buy a car or to buy or sell a house.

When the business cycle is fairly stable, consumer demand surveys and consumer confidence and sentiment indices will often correlate closely and indicate the same direction of the economy, but in times with a high degree of economic or political uncertainty or during a prolonged crisis, the two types of consumer surveys might differ significantly. In 2011 the confidence and sentiment surveys went up from March to April, while consumer demand surveys dropped significantly. In August 2011 the confidence and sentiment surveys dropped significantly and stayed low during September and October, while consumer demand surveys showed resilience, a development confirmed later by official statistics.

Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan and the Conference Board both publish a monthly consumer confidence and attitude survey. The Institute for Business Cycle Analysis publishes a monthly consumer demand survey known as US Consumer Demand Indices.

In the United States

US consumer confidence index 1966–2012

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index is the most widely accepted index among the United States media, businesspeople, and many consumers.[citation needed] The chart to the left shows the index over time from December 1966 to April 2012.

Other measures of consumer confidence in the United States

In addition to the Conference Board’s CCI, other survey-based indices attempt to track consumer confidence in the U.S.:

  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) is a consumer confidence index published monthly by the University of Michigan. It uses an ongoing, nationally representative survey based on telephonic household interviews to gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy.
  • The Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort Index is a consumer confidence index based on telephone interviews with 1,000 randomly selected adults over the previous four-week period. It asks respondents “to rate the condition of the national economy, the state of their personal finances and whether now is a good time to buy things”.

[3]

Given the potential for sampling biases of individual survey reports, researchers and investors try sometimes to average the values of different index reports into a single aggregated measure of consumer confidence.

In India

The ZyFin India Consumer Outlook Index[4] is a monthly index of consumer sentiment in India. The COI is designed to provide reliable insights into the direction of the Indian national and regional economies. Released once a month, the index is computed from the results of a monthly survey of 4,000 consumers in 18 cities across India.

In the Republic of Ireland

KBC Bank Ireland (formerly IIB Bank) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (a think-tank) have published a monthly consumer sentiment index since January 1996.[5]

In Canada

The Conference Board of Canada’s index of consumer confidence has been ongoing since 1980. It is constructed from responses to four attitudinal questions posed to a random sample of Canadian households. Those surveyed are asked to give their views about their households’ current and expected financial positions and the short-term employment outlook. They are also asked to assess whether now is a good or a bad time to make a major purchase such as a house, car or other big-ticket items.

Consumer confidence index in Indonesia

Consumer Survey-Bank Indonesia (CS-BI) is a monthly survey that has been conducted since October 1999 by Bank Indonesia.[6] The survey represents the consumer confidence about the overall economic condition, general price level, household income, and consumption plans three and six months ahead. Since January 2007, the survey is conducted with approximately 4,600 household respondents (stratified random sampling) in 18 cities: Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, Bandar Lampung, Palembang, Banjarmasin, Padang, Pontianak, Samarinda, Manado, Denpasar, Mataram, Pangkal Pinang, Ambon, and Banten. At a significance level of 99%, the survey has a sampling error of 2%. Data canvassing run through interviews by phone and direct visits in particular cities that is based on rotational system. The Balance Score Method (net balance + 100) has been adopted to construct the index, where the index above 100 points indicates optimism (positive responses) and vice versa. The consumer confidence index (CCI), is an average of the current economic condition index (CECI) and consumer expectation index (CEI).

The CECI is made up of the average of current condition of several factors compared to six months ago

  1. Household income
  2. Right time to buy durable goods
  3. Unemployment

The CEI is made up from the average of future prospects of several factors

  1. Household income
  2. Overall economic condition
  3. Unemployment rate.

Other sources

Danareksa conducts a monthly consumer survey to produce the Consumer Confidence Index. [7]

References

  1. Jump up^ Benjamin, Colin (30 October 2008). “Consumer Confidence – Global Monitor of Consumer Sentiment Index Reports and Country Update on Consumer Confidence Changes”. Marshall Place Associates. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  2. Jump up^ “Consumer Confidence: An Online NewsHour Special Report”The NewsHour with Jim LehrerPBS. May 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  3. Jump up^ Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort Index Survey”. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  4. Jump up^ ZyFin India Consumer Outlook Index
  5. Jump up^ “Consumer Sentiment”Economic and Social Research Institute. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  6. Jump up^ Nurcahyo Heru Prasetyo, Ririn Yuliatiningsih. “BANK INDONESIA – CONSUMER SURVEY” (PDF). Bank Indonesia. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  7. Jump up^ Danareksa, Research Institute. “Consumer Confidence Index”. Danareksa. Retrieved 26 February 2011.

External links

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

Story 2: Latest Senate Repeal of Obamacare Fails — Time For Replacing Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell With A New Conservative Leader — Videos

Republican push to repeal Obamacare collapses

Republicans vow to ‘press on’ with health care bill in CNN debate

19 seconds of drama: Reaction to McCain’s vote

Watch The Moment John McCain Votes Against The GOP’s Health Care Plan

Obamacare overhaul efforts are dead for now. What does that mean if you’re an Obamacare consumer?

Maureen Groppe, USA TODAYPublished 4:26 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2017 | Updated 6:27 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2017

Republicans’ last-ditch effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act collapsed Thursday after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged it lacked the votes to pass.

It’s unclear whether the bipartisan attempts to fix some of Obamacare’s problems —which were derailed by the latest repeal bill — can now be successful.

Here’s what that means for you:

Who is affected?

Despite all the attention Obamacare has gotten this year, the lack of action by lawmakers won’t affect most Americans’ health care coverage. The problems are centered in the health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA for people who don’t get coverage through an employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid. Only about 7% of the population buys insurance on the individual market. An average of 10 million a month have been getting those plans through the subsidized marketplaces this year.

Will people still be able to buy Obamacare insurance?

As insurers filed their initial coverage plans for 2018 earlier this year, there were dozens of counties without an insurer. But other providers stepped in to fill those gaps. That could still change before 2018 enrollment begins in November. Wednesday is the deadline for insurers to finalize their contracts with the federal government. (States that run their own marketplaces have their own set of rules.)

Still, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected this month that, over the next decade, fewer than half of 1% of people live in areas where no insurers will want to participate.

Will people have a choice of insurers?

Nearly half of counties could have only one insurance provider, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last week.  Because many of those counties are rural, the share of people using the exchanges would could lack choice is closer to one quarter. Still, participation by insurers has declined.

How much will the insurance cost?

Prices won’t become public until later this fall. But CBO projects the average premium for a benchmark plan — those used to determine a consumer’s subsidy — will be about 15% higher than this year. (The average benchmark premium for a 45-year-old is now about $4,800 a year.)

Most people are insulated from premium increases because of the premium subsidies available to those earning up to about $48,000.

People earning up to about $30,000 can also get help paying for deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses. But the Trump administration has not said how long it will continue to reimburse insurers for providing these discounts. That’s a main reason premiums are going up and insurers’ participation is going down.

So will the subsidies continue?

The administration has been making the payments to insurers on a month-to-month basis. This doesn’t directly affect the customer, however, because the law requires insurers to provide the assistance. What remains to be determined is how long insurers will be compensated. A challenge to the payments brought by congressional Republicans after the ACA’s passage is pending in federal court.

How could a bipartisan bill help?

Most of the focus of bipartisan efforts to improve the individual insurance markets has been on funding and flexibility. Democrats want to continue the cost-sharing reduction payments and want to provide new funds to help offset the costs of the sickest customers. Republicans want to make it easier for states to change insurance regulations and to allow more people who either can’t afford or don’t want full insurance to buy plans that cover only about half of medical costs.

Could lawmakers still agree on a bipartisan set of fixes?

Maybe. Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and GOP Rep. Tom Reed of New York, co-chairmen of a bipartisan group called the House Problem Solvers Caucus, said Monday the only way to get something passed is if both sides come together. “Now is our moment,” Gottheimer said. But there’s still plenty of opposition. Many Republicans don’t want to look like they’re “bailing out” insurance companies or shoring up Obamacare. And Democrats are worried about changes they worry could undermine patient protections.

Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, who had been working with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on a bipartisan bill, said Tuesday he’ll resume trying to find a consensus on a limited plan that could help make insurance more available and affordable in 2018 and 2019.

What else could affect the Obamacare marketplaces?

The administration has shortened the open enrollment period to less than half the time people have had to sign up. Officials also significantly reducing spending on advertising and on paying “navigators” to help people enroll.

As a result, CBO projects that while participation will increase next year, it won’t go up as much as previously expected. And because the dropoff is likely to be heaviest among the young and healthy, insurers are likely to seek higher rates for 2019.

What about Medicaid?

The failure of the GOP repeal bills means the ACA’s funding for states to expand Medicaid eligibility continues. Of the 19 states which haven’t gone along, CBO expects many could still wait for more funding predictability. But within a decade, 70% of people made newly eligible by the ACA will live in states that have expanded Medicaid, CBO predicts.

Some states could be induced to expand by the Trump administration’s eagerness to waive some Medicaid rules. But advocates for the poor could challenge any actions like work requirements that they think go beyond what’s allowed without changing the law.

Read more:

RIP, repeal and replace: Republicans’ last-ditch effort on health care is dead

Senate Republicans pull Obamacare repeal bill as support falters in their own party

House Democrats tell Graham-Cassidy bill ‘Bye Bye Bye’

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/26/what-happens-now-obamacare-consumers/705229001/

 

Conservative Review Scorecard for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Liberty Score: Solid F at 42%

Party leaders of the United States Senate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Current Leaders
McConnell
Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R)
Cornyn
Majority Whip
John Cornyn (R)
Schumer
Minority Leader
Chuck Schumer (D)
Durbin
Minority Whip
Dick Durbin (D)
Party Leaders of the U.S. Senate

The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators and members of the party leadership of the United States Senate. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for the political partiesrespectively holding the majority and the minority in the United States Senate, and manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate. They are elected to their positions in the Senate by their respective party caucuses, the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Senate Republican Conference.

By rule, the Presiding Officer gives the Majority Leader priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate. The Majority Leader customarily serves as the chief representative of their party in the Senate, and sometimes even in all of Congress if the House of Representatives and thus the office of Speaker of the House is controlled by the opposition party.

The Assistant Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate (commonly called Senate Majority and Minority Whips) are the second-ranking members of each party’s leadership. The main function of the Majority and Minority Whips is to gather votes on major issues. Because they are the second ranking members of the Senate, if there is no floor leader present, the whip may become acting floor leader. Before 1969, the official titles were Majority Whip and Minority Whip.

Contents

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Current floor leaders

The Senate is currently composed of 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and 2 independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats.

The current leaders are long-time Senators Mitch McConnell (R) from Kentucky and Chuck Schumer (D) from New York. The current Assistant Leaders/Whips are long-time Senators John Cornyn (R) from Texas and Dick Durbin(D) from Illinois.

History

The Democrats began the practice of electing floor leaders in 1920 while they were in the minority. John W. Kern was a Democratic Senator from Indiana. While the title was not official, he is considered[by whom?] to be the first Senate party leader from 1913 through 1917 (and in turn, the first Senate Democratic Leader), while serving concurrently as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In 1925 the majority (at the time) Republicans also adopted this language when Charles Curtis became the first (official) Majority Leader[citation needed], although his immediate predecessor Henry Cabot Lodge is considered the first (unofficial) Senate Majority Leader.

The Constitution designates the Vice President of the United States as President of the United States Senate. The Constitution also calls for a President pro tempore to serve as the leader of the body when the President of the Senate (the Vice President) is absent. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore—customarily the most senior (longest-serving) Senator in the majority party—actually presides over the Senate on a daily basis; that task is given to junior Senators of the majority party. Since the Vice President may be of a different party than the majority and is not a member subject to discipline, the rules of procedure of the Senate give the presiding officer very little power and none beyond the presiding role. For these reasons, it is the Majority Leader who, in practice, manages the Senate. This is in contrast to the House of Representatives where the elected Speaker of the House has a great deal of discretionary power and generally presides over votes on bills.[citation needed]

List of party leaders

The Democratic Party first selected a leader in 1920. The Republican Party first formally designated a leader in 1925.

Cong-
ress
Dates Democratic Whip Democratic Leader Majority Republican Leader Republican Whip
63rd March 4, 1913 –
March 4, 1915
J. Hamilton Lewis None Democratic
← Majority
None None
64th March 4, 1915 –
March 4, 1915
James Wadsworth, Jr.
March 4, 1915 –
March 4, 1917
Charles Curtis
65th March 4, 1917 –
March 4, 1919
66th March 4, 1919 –
March 4, 1921
Peter Gerry Oscar Underwood Republican
Majority →
Henry Cabot Lodge (unofficial)
67th March 4, 1921 –
March 4, 1923
68th March 4, 1923 –
November 9, 1924
Joseph Taylor Robinson
1925 Charles Curtis Wesley Jones
69th March 4, 1925 –
March 4, 1927
70th March 4, 1927 –
March 4, 1929
71st March 4, 1929 –
March 4, 1931
Morris Sheppard James E. Watson Simeon Fess
72nd March 4, 1931 –
March 4, 1933
73rd March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1935
J. Hamilton Lewis Democratic
← Majority
Charles L. McNary Felix Hebert
74th January 3, 1935 –
January 3, 1937
None[Note 1]
75th January 3, 1937 –
July 14, 1937
July 22, 1937 –
January 3, 1939
Alben W. Barkley
76th January 3, 1939 –
?
Sherman Minton
1940 Warren Austin (acting)
77th January 3, 1941 –
January 3, 1943
J. Lister Hill Charles L. McNary
78th January 3, 1943 –
February 25, 1944
Kenneth Wherry
February 25, 1944 –
January 3, 1945
Wallace H. White Jr. (acting)
79th January 3, 1945 –
January 3, 1947
Wallace H. White Jr.
80th January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
Scott W. Lucas Republican
Majority →
81st January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1951
Francis Myers Scott W. Lucas Democratic
← Majority
Kenneth S. Wherry Leverett Saltonstall
82nd January 3, 1951 –
January 3, 1952
Lyndon B. Johnson Ernest McFarland
January 3, 1952 –
January 3, 1953
Styles Bridges
83rd January 3, 1953 –
July 31, 1953
Earle Clements Lyndon B. Johnson Republican
Majority →
Robert A. Taft
August 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1955
William F. Knowland
84th January 3, 1955 –
January 3, 1957
Democratic
← Majority
85th January 3, 1957 –
January 3, 1959
Mike Mansfield Everett Dirksen
86th January 3, 1959 –
January 3, 1961
Everett Dirksen Thomas Kuchel
87th January 3, 1961 –
January 3, 1963
Hubert Humphrey Mike Mansfield
88th January 3, 1963 –
January 3, 1965
89th January 3, 1965 –
January 3, 1967
Russell B. Long
90th January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1969
91st January 3, 1969 –
September 7, 1969
Ted Kennedy Hugh Scott
September 24, 1969 –
January 3, 1971
Hugh Scott Robert Griffin
92nd January 3, 1971 –
January 3, 1973
Robert Byrd
93rd January 3, 1973 –
January 3, 1975
94th January 3, 1975 –
January 3, 1977
95th January 3, 1977 –
January 3, 1979
Alan Cranston Robert Byrd Howard Baker Ted Stevens
96th January 3, 1979 –
January 3, 1981
97th January 3, 1981 –
January 3, 1983
Republican
Majority →
98th January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1985
99th January 3, 1985 –
January 3, 1987
Bob Dole Alan Simpson
100th January 3, 1987 –
January 3, 1989
Democratic
← Majority
101st January 3, 1989 –
January 3, 1991
George Mitchell
102nd January 3, 1991 –
January 3, 1993
Wendell H. Ford
103rd January 3, 1993 –
January 3, 1995
104th January 3, 1995 –
June 12, 1996
Tom Daschle Republican
Majority →
Trent Lott
June 12, 1996 –
January 3, 1997
Trent Lott Don Nickles
105th January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 1999
106th January 3, 1999 –
January 3, 2001
Harry Reid
107th January 3, 2001 –
January 20, 2001
Democratic
← Majority
January 20, 2001 –
June 6, 2001
Republican
Majority →
June 6, 2001 –
January 3, 2003[Note 2]
Democratic
← Majority
108th January 3, 2003 –
January 3, 2005
Republican
Majority →
Bill Frist Mitch McConnell
109th January 3, 2005 –
January 3, 2007
Richard Durbin Harry Reid
110th January 3, 2007 –
December 18, 2007
Democratic
← Majority
Mitch McConnell Trent Lott
December 19, 2007 –
January 3, 2009
Jon Kyl
111th January 3, 2009 –
January 3, 2011
112th January 3, 2011 –
January 3, 2013
113th January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
John Cornyn
114th January 3, 2015 –
January 3, 2017
Republican
Majority →
115th January 3, 2017 –
January 3, 2019
Chuck Schumer

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ No Republican whips were appointed from 1935 to 1944 since only 17 Republicans were in the Senate following the landslide reelection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. Accordingly, the minutes of the Republican Conference for the period state: “On motion of Senator Hastings, duly seconded and carried, it was agreed that no Assistant Leader or Whip be elected but that the chairman be authorized to appoint Senators from time to time to assist him in taking charge of the interests of the minority.” A note attached to the conference minutes added: “The chairman of the conference, Senator McNary, apparently appointed Senator Austin of Vermont as assistant leader in 1943 and 1944, until the conference adopted Rules of Organization.” Source: Party Whips, via Senate.gov
  2. Jump up^ Democrats remained in control after November 25, 2002, despite a Republican majority resulting from Jim Talent‘s special election victory in Missouri. There was no reorganization as Senate was no longer in session. Party Division in the Senate, 1789–present, via Senate.gov

External links

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

Mitch McConnell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell close-up.JPG
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Assumed office
January 3, 1985
Serving with Rand Paul
Preceded by Walter Huddleston
Senate Majority Leader
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Deputy John Cornyn
Preceded by Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2015
Deputy Trent Lott
Jon Kyl
John Cornyn
Preceded by Harry Reid
Succeeded by Harry Reid
Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Leader Bill Frist
Preceded by Harry Reid
Succeeded by Dick Durbin
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
Preceded by Chris Dodd
Succeeded by Chris Dodd
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by John Warner
Succeeded by Chris Dodd
Judge-Executive of Jefferson County
In office
1977–1984
Preceded by Todd Hollenbach III
Succeeded by Bremer Ehrler
United States Assistant Attorney Generalfor the Office of Legislative Affairs
Acting
In office
1975
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Vincent Rakestraw
Succeeded by Michael Uhlmann
Personal details
Born Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr.
February 20, 1942 (age 75)
Sheffield, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sherrill Redmon (m. 1968;div. 1980)
Elaine Chao (m. 1993)
Children 3
Education University of Louisville(BA)
University of Kentucky(JD)
Net worth $22.5 million (estimate)[1]
Signature
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1967
Unit United States Army Reserve

Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. (born February 20, 1942) is an American politician and the seniorUnited States Senator from Kentucky. A member of the Republican Party, he has been the Majority Leader of the Senate since January 3, 2015. He is the 15th Republican and the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate.[2] McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history.[3]

During the administration of President Barack Obama, McConnell was known to the left as being an obstructionist,[4] while opinion on the right was sharply divided. Some on the right praised him for tenacity and courage,[5]while others criticized him for being part of the political establishment and not keeping his promises to conservatives.[6] McConnell has gained a reputation as a skilled political strategist and tactician.[7][8] However, this reputation dimmed after Republicans failed to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in 2017.[9][10]

From early 2016, McConnell refused to schedule Senate hearings for Obama’s nominee to the Supreme CourtMerrick Garland, to replace Associate JusticeAntonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. Garland’s nominationremained before the Senate for 294 days, from March 16, 2016, until it expired on January 3, 2017, more than double the time of any other Supreme Court nomination.[11] Later, McConnell used the so-called “nuclear option” to lower the threshold for overriding filibusters for Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority, with the aim of confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Court.[12]

Contents

 [show

Early life and education

McConnell is of Scots-Irish and English descent, the son of Addison Mitchell McConnell, and his wife, Julia (née Shockley). McConnell was born on February 20, 1942, in Sheffield, Alabama, and raised as a young child in nearby Athens.[13]

As a youth, McConnell overcame polio,[14] which he was struck with at age 2.[15] He received treatment at the Warm Springs Institute in Georgia, which potentially saved him from being disabled for the rest of his life.[16] In 1990, McConnell said that his family “almost went broke” because of costs related to his illness.[17]

When he was eight, McConnell’s family moved to Georgia.[18] When he was a teenager, his family moved to Louisville, where he attended duPont Manual High School. He graduated with honors from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in political science in 1964. McConnell was president of the Student Council of the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He has maintained strong ties to his alma mater and “remains a rabid fan of its sports teams.”[19] In 1967, McConnell graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was president of the Student Bar Association.

In March 1967, shortly before graduating from law school, McConnell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve at Louisville, Kentucky. In August 1967, after five weeks of military training at Fort Knox, he received an honorable discharge for medical reasons (optic neuritis).[20][21]

Early career

McConnell began interning for Senator John Sherman Cooper (R-KY) in 1964, and his time with Cooper inspired him to run for the Senate eventually himself.[22] Later, McConnell was an assistant to Senator Marlow Cook (R-KY) and was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General under PresidentGerald R. Ford, where he worked alongside future Justice Antonin Scalia.[23] In 1977, McConnell was elected the Jefferson County Judge/Executive, the former top political office in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He was re-elected in 1981.[22]

U.S. Senate

Elections

1984

In 1984, McConnell ran for the U.S. Senate against two-term Democratic incumbent Walter Dee Huddleston. The election race wasn’t decided until the last returns came in, and McConnell won by a thin margin—only 5,200 votes out of more than 1.8 million votes cast, just over 0.4%.[24] McConnell was the only Republican Senate challenger to win that year, despite Ronald Reagan‘s landslide victory in the presidential election. Part of McConnell’s success came from a series of television campaign spots called “Where’s Dee”, which featured a group of bloodhounds trying to find Huddleston,[25][26] implying that Huddleston’s attendance record in the Senate was less than stellar. His campaign bumper stickers and television ads asked voters to “Switch to Mitch”.[27]

1990

In 1990, McConnell faced a tough re-election contest against former Louisville Mayor Harvey I. Sloane, winning by 4.4%.

1996

In 1996, he defeated Steve Beshear by 12.6%, even as Bill Clintonnarrowly carried the state. In keeping with a tradition of humorous and effective television ads in his campaigns, McConnell’s campaign ran television ads that warned voters to not “Get BeSheared” and included images of sheep being sheared.[27]

2002

In 2002, he was re-elected against Lois Combs Weinberg by 29.4%, the largest majority by a statewide Republican candidate in Kentucky history.

2008

In 2008, McConnell faced his closest contest since 1990. He defeated Bruce Lunsford by 6%.[28]

2014

In 2014, McConnell faced Louisville businessman Matt Bevin in the Republican primary.[29] The 60.2% won by McConnell was the lowest voter support for a Kentucky U.S. Senator in a primary by either party since 1938.[30]He faced Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election. Although polls showed the race was very close, ultimately McConnell defeated Grimes by 56.2%–40.7%, resulting in a margin of victory of 15.5 percentage points – one of his largest margins of victory, second only to his 2002 margin.

Leadership

During the 1998 and 2000 election cycles, McConnell was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Republicans maintained control of the Senate after both elections. He was first elected as Majority Whip in the 108th Congress and unanimously re-elected on November 17, 2004. Senator Bill Frist, the Majority Leader, did not seek re-election in the 2006 elections. In November 2006, after Republicans lost control of the Senate, they elected McConnell to replace Frist as Minority Leader. After Republicans took control of the Senate following the 2014 Senate elections, McConnell became the Senate Majority Leader.

Tenure

Senator Mitch McConnell in 1992

Reputation

According to The New York Times, in his early years as a politician in Kentucky, McConnell was “something of a centrist”. In recent years, however, McConnell has veered sharply to the right. He now opposed collective-bargaining rights and minimum-wage increases that he previously supported, and abandoned pork barrel projects he once delivered to the state of Kentucky. He believed that Reagan’s popularity made conservatism much more appealing.[22]

According to a profile in Politico, “While most politicians desperately want to be liked, McConnell has relished—and cultivated—his reputation as a villain.” The Politico profile also noted “For most of Obama‘s presidency, McConnell has been the face of Republican obstructionism.”[31] According to Salon, “Despite McConnell’s reputation as the man who said his No. 1 goal was to stop President Obama from winning a second term, it’s been McConnell at the table when the big deals—be they over threatened government shutdowns, debt defaults or fiscal cliffs—have been finalized.”[32]

Reporter Alec MacGillis wrote a book about Mitch McConnell, published by Simon & Schuster on December 23, 2014, titled The Cynic, which alludes to the author’s belief that McConnell mostly acts the way he does for political gains and not out of ideology.[33]

With a 49% disapproval rate in 2016, he had the highest disapproval rate out of all senators.[34] McConnell has repeatedly been found to have the lowest home state approval rating of any sitting senator.[35][36]

Foreign policy

After winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1984, McConnell backed anti-apartheid legislation with Chris Dodd.[37] McConnell went on to engineer new IMF funding to “faithfully protect aid to Egypt and Israel,” and “promote free elections and better treatment of Muslim refugees” in Myanmar, Cambodia and Macedonia. According to a March 2014 article in Politico, “McConnell was a ‘go-to guy’ for presidents of both parties seeking foreign aid,” but he has lost some of his idealism and has evolved to be more wary of foreign assistance.[38]

McConnell stands in front and directly to the right of President Obama as he signs tax cuts and unemployment insurance legislation on December 17, 2010.

In August 2007, McConnell introduced the Protect America Act of 2007, which allowed the National Security Agency to monitor telephone and electronic communications of suspected terrorists outside the United States without obtaining a warrant.[39] McConnell was the only party leader in Congress to oppose the resolution that would authorize military strikes against Syria in September 2013, citing a lack of national security risk.[40]

On March 27, 2014, McConnell introduced the United States International Programming to Ukraine and Neighboring Regions bill, which would provide additional funding and instructions to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in response to the 2014 Crimea crisis.[41][42]

In September 2016, the Senate voted 71 to 27 against the Chris Murphy–Rand Paul resolution to block the $1.15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.[43] The Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen has been accused of war crimes.[43]Following the vote, McConnell said: “I think it’s important to the United States to maintain as good a relationship with Saudi Arabia as possible.”[44]

Campaign finance

McConnell argued that campaign finance regulations reduce participation in political campaigns and protect incumbents from competition.[45] He spearheaded the movement against the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known since 1995 as the “McCain–Feingold bill” and from 1989 to 1994 as the “Boren–Mitchell bill”), calling it “neither fair, nor balanced, nor constitutional.”[46] His opposition to the bill culminated in the 2003 Supreme Court case McConnell v. Federal Election Commission and the 2009 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. McConnell has been an advocate for free speech at least as far back as the early 1970s when he was teaching night courses at the University of Louisville. “No issue has shaped his career more than the intersection of campaign financing and free speech,” political reporter Robert Costa wrote in 2012.[47] In a recording of a 2014 fundraiser McConnell expressed his disapproval of the McCain-Feingold law, saying, “The worst day of my political life was when President George W. Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law in the early part of his first Administration.”[48]

On January 2, 2013, the Public Campaign Action Fund, a liberal nonprofit group that backs stronger campaign finance regulation, released a report highlighting eight instances from McConnell’s political career in which a vote or a blocked vote (filibuster), coincided with an influx of campaign contributions to McConnell’s campaign.[49][50]Progress Kentucky, a SuperPAC focused on defeating McConnell in 2014, hosted a press conference in front of the Senator’s Louisville office to highlight the report’s findings.[51][52]

Flag Desecration Amendment

McConnell opposed the Flag Desecration Amendment in 2000. According to McConnell: “We must curb this reflexive practice of attempting to cure each and every political and social ill of our nation by tampering with the Constitution. The Constitution of this country was not a rough draft. It was not a rough draft and we should not treat it as such.” McConnell offered an amendment to the measure that would have made flag desecration a statutory crime, illegal without amending the Constitution.[53]

Health policy

In August 2001, McConnell introduced the Common Sense Medical Malpractice Reform Act of 2001. The bill would require that a health care liability action must be initiated within two years, non-economic damages may not exceed $250,000, and punitive damages may only be awarded in specified situations.[54]

McConnell voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act) in December 2009,[55] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[56] In 2014, McConnell repeated his call for the full repeal of Obamacare and said that Kentucky should be allowed to keep the state’s health insurance exchange website, Kynect, or set up a similar system.[57] McConnell is part of the group of 13 Senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[58][59][60][61] The Senator refused over 15 patient advocacy organization’s requests to meet with his congressional staff to discuss the legislation. This included groups like the American Heart AssociationMarch of DimesAmerican Lung Association. and the American Diabetes Association.[62]

McConnell received the Kentucky Life Science Champion Awards for his work in promoting innovation in the life science sector.[63]

In 2015, both houses of Congress passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[64] It was vetoed by President Obama in January 2016.[65]

After President Trump took office in January 2017, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, began to work on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. They faced opposition from both Democrats and moderate Republicans, who claimed that the bill would leave too many people uninsured, and more conservative Republicans, who protested that the bill kept too many of the ACA’s regulation and spending increases, and was thus not a full repeal. Numerous attempts at repeal failed. On June 27, after a meeting with President Trump at the White House, McConnell signaled improvements for the repeal and replacement: “We’re not quite there. But I think we’ve got a really good chance of getting there. It’ll just take us a little bit longer.”[66] During a Rotary Club lunch on July 6, McConnell said, “If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur.”[67]

Economy

In July 2003, McConnell sponsored the Small Business Liability Reform Act of 2003. The bill would protect small businesses from litigation excesses and limit the liability of non-manufacturer product sellers.[68][69]

McConnell was the sponsor of the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008. The bill, which did not pass, would have allowed states to engage in increased offshore and domestic oil exploration in an effort to curb rising gas prices.[70]

In June 2008, McConnell introduced the Alternative Minimum Tax and Extenders Tax Relief Act of 2008. The bill was intended to limit the impact of the Alternative Minimum Tax.[71]

McConnell with President Barack Obama, August 2010

In an interview with National Journal magazine published October 23, 2010, McConnell explained that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Asked whether this meant “endless, or at least frequent, confrontation with the president,” McConnell clarified that “if [Obama is] willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.”[72]

In September 2010, McConnell sponsored the Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010. The bill would have permanently extended the tax relief provisions of 2001 and 2003 and provided permanent Alternative Minimum Tax and estate tax relief.[73]

In 2010, McConnell requested earmarks for the defense contractor BAE Systems while the company was under investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged bribery of foreign officials.[74][unreliable source?][75]

In June 2011, McConnell introduced a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment. The amendment would require two-thirds votes in Congress to increase taxes or for federal spending to exceed the current year’s tax receipts or 18% of the prior year’s GDP. The amendment specifies situations when these requirements would be waived.[76][77]

In December 2012, McConnell called for a vote on giving the president unilateral authority to raise the federal debt ceiling. When Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) called for an up or down vote, McConnell objected to the vote and ended up filibustering it himself.[78] In 2014, McConnell voted to help break Ted Cruz‘s filibuster attempt against a debt limit increase and then against the bill itself.[79]

After two intersessions to get federal grants for Alltech, whose president T. Pearse Lyons made subsequent campaign contributions to McConnell, to build a plant in Kentucky for producing ethanol from algae, corncobs, and switchgrass, McConnell criticized President Obama in 2012 for twice mentioning biofuel production from algae in a speech touting his “all-of-the-above” energy policy.[80][81]

In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199; 113th Congress). It was a bill that “punishes employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information, puts the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less and allows workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.”[82] McConnell said that he opposed the legislation because it would “line the pockets of trial lawyers”, not help women.[82]

In July 2014, McConnell expressed opposition to a U.S. Senate bill that would limit the practice of corporate inversion by U.S. corporations seeking to limit U.S. tax liability.[83]

Environment

McConnell expressed skepticism that climate change is a problem, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer editorial board in 2014, “I’m not a scientist, I am interested in protecting Kentucky’s economy, I’m interested in having low cost electricity.” [84][85][86]

McConnell was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[87] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McConnell has received over $1.5 million from the oil and gas industry since 2012.[88]

Gun rights

On the weekend of January 19–21, 2013, the McConnell for Senate campaign emailed and robo-called gun-rights supporters telling them that “President Obama and his team are doing everything in their power to restrict your constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” McConnell also said, “I’m doing everything in my power to protect your 2nd Amendment rights.”[89] On April 17, 2013, McConnell voted against expanding background checks for gun purchases.[90]

Iraq War

In October 2002, McConnell voted for the Iraq Resolution, which authorized military action against Iraq.[91] McConnell supported the Iraq War troop surge of 2007.[92] In 2010, McConnell “accused the White House of being more concerned about a messaging strategy than prosecuting a war against terrorism.”[93]

In 2006, McConnell publicly criticized Senate Democrats for urging that troops be brought back from Iraq.[94] According to Bush’s Decision Points memoir, however, McConnell was privately urging the then President to “bring some troops home from Iraq” to lessen the political risks. McConnell’s hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, in an editorial titled “McConnell’s True Colors”, criticized McConnell for his actions and asked him to “explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.”[95]

Regarding the failure of the Iraqi government to make reforms, McConnell said the following on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: “The Iraqi government is a huge disappointment. Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government. I read just this week that a significant number of the Iraqi parliament want to vote to ask us to leave. I want to assure you, Wolf, if they vote to ask us to leave, we’ll be glad to comply with their request.”[96]

On April 21, 2009, McConnell delivered a speech to the Senate criticizing President Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, and questioned the additional 81 million dollar White House request for funds to transfer prisoners to the United States.[97][98]

Fundraising

From 2003 to 2008, the list of McConnell’s top 20 donors included five financial/investment firms: UBSFMR Corporation (Fidelity Investments), CitigroupBank of New York, and Merrill Lynch.[99]

In April 2010, while Congress was considering financial reform legislation, a reporter asked McConnell if he was “doing the bidding of the large banks.” McConnell has received more money in donations from the “Finance, Insurance and Real Estate” sector than any other sector according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[99][100] McConnell responded “I’d say that that’s inaccurate. You could talk to the community bankers in Kentucky.” The Democratic Party’s plan for financial reform is actually a way to institute “endless taxpayer funded bailouts for big Wall Street banks”, said McConnell. He expressed concern that the proposed $50 billion, bank-funded fund that would be used to liquidate financial firms that could collapse “would of course immediately signal to everyone that the government is ready to bail out large banks”.[99][100] In McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader ran an editorial saying: “We have read that the Republicans have a plan for financial reform, but McConnell isn’t talking up any solutions, just trashing the other side’s ideas with no respect for the truth.”[101] According to one tally, McConnell’s largest donor from the period from January 1, 2009, to September 30, 2015, was Bob McNair, contributing $1,502,500.[102]

2016 Supreme Court vacancy

In an August 2016 speech in Kentucky, McConnell, speaking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court (to fill the vacancy caused by Antonin Scalia‘s death in February 2016) said, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.'”[103][104][105]

2016 presidential election

McConnell initially endorsed fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Following Paul’s withdrawal, McConnell stayed neutral for the remainder of the primary. On May 4, 2016, McConnell endorsed then presumptive nominee Donald Trump. “I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee, is now on the verge of clinching the nomination.” [106]

On multiple occasions, McConnell criticized Trump but continued to endorse Trump’s candidacy. On May 27, 2016, after Trump suggested that a Federal Judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, was biased against Trump because of his Mexican heritage, McConnell responded, “I don’t agree with what he (Trump) had to say. This is a man who was born in Indiana. All of us came here from somewhere else.” On July 31, 2016, after Trump had criticized the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim soldier who was killed in Iraq, McConnell stated, “Captain Khan was an American hero, and like all Americans, I’m grateful for the sacrifices that selfless young men like Captain Khan and their families have made in the war on terror. All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services.” On October 7, 2016, following the Donald Trump Access Hollywood controversy, McConnell stated: “As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”[107]

With regards to the US response to intelligence findings that Russia was responsible for cyberattacks undertaken to influence the American election, after Trump won the election, Senator McConnell expressed “support for investigating American intelligence findings that Moscow intervened.”.[108] Prior to the election however, when FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and other officials met with the leadership of both parties to make the case for a bipartisan statement warning Russia that such actions would not be tolerated “McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics,” The Washington Post reported,[109]citing accounts of several unnamed officials.[110][111]

On February 7, 2017, McConnell stopped Senator Elizabeth Warren who was reading out statements opposing Jeff Sessions‘s nomination as federal judge that had been made by Ted Kennedy and Coretta Scott King, on the grounds of Senate Rule XIX. He defended his decision by saying “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,”[112] a statement which was turned into a battle cry by Warren supporters.[113]

On April 2, McConnell denied knowing anything about potential wiretapping of Trump by the Obama administration, saying there was an ongoing investigation.[114]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Elections are shown with a map depicting county-by-county information. McConnell is shown in red and Democratic opponents shown in blue.

Year  % McConnell Opponent(s) Party affiliation  % of vote County-by-county map
1984 49.9% Walter Huddleston (incumbent)Dave Welters DemocraticSocialist Workers 49.5% KY-USA 1984 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
1990 52.2% Harvey I. Sloane Democratic 47.8% KY-USA 1990 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
1996 55.5% Steve BeshearDennis Lacy

Patricia Jo Metten

Mac Elroy

DemocraticLibertarian

Natural Law

U.S. Taxpayers

42.8% KY-USA 1996 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
2002 64.7% Lois Combs Weinberg Democratic 35.3% KY-USA 2002 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
2008 53.0% Bruce Lunsford Democratic 47.0% KY-USA 2008 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
2014 56.2% Alison Lundergan GrimesDavid Patterson DemocraticLibertarian 40.7% KY-USA 2014 Senate Results by County 2-color.svg
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Kentucky, 1984
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Mitch McConnell 39,465 79.2%
Republican Roger Harker 3,798 7.6%
Republican Tommy Klein 3,352 6.7%
Republican Thurman Jerome Hamlin 3,202 6.4%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Kentucky, 1990
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Mitch McConnell (inc.) 64,063 88.5%
Republican Tommy Klein 8,310 11.5%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Kentucky, 1996
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Mitch McConnell (inc.) 88,620 88.6%
Republican Tommy Klein 11,410 11.4%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Kentucky, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Mitch McConnell (inc.) 168,127 86.1%
Republican Daniel Essek 27,170 13.9%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Kentucky, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Mitch McConnell (inc.) 213,753 60.2%
Republican Matt Bevin 125,787 35.4%
Republican Shawna Sterling 7,214 2.0%
Republican Chris Payne 5,338 1.5%
Republican Brad Copas 3,024 0.9%

Personal life

McConnell is a Southern Baptist.[115] He was married to his first wife, Sherrill Redmon, from 1968 to 1980, and had three children.[116] Following their divorce, she became a feminist scholar at Smith College and director of the Sophia Smith Collection.[117][118] His second wife, who married him in 1993, is Elaine Chao, the former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush.[119] On November 29, 2016, incoming President Donald Trump nominated Chao to serve as the Secretary of Transportation. She was confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 2017, in a 93–6 vote.[119] McConnell himself voted “present” during the confirmation roll call.[120]

McConnell is on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.[121]

In 1997, he founded the James Madison Center for Free Speech, a Washington, D.C.-based legal defense organization.[122][123] McConnell was inducted as a member of the Sons of the American Revolution on March 1, 2013.[124]

In 2010, the OpenSecrets website ranked McConnell one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. Senate, based on net household worth.[125] His personal wealth was increased after receiving a 2008 personal gift to him and his wife, given by his father-in-law James S. C. Chao after the death of McConnell’s mother-in-law, that ranged between $5 and $25 million.[126][127]

In popular culture

McConnell appears in the title sequence of seasons 1 and 2 of Alpha House making a speech with Matt Malloy‘s Senator Louis Laffer apparently standing just behind him.

Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart repeatedly mocked McConnell for his supposed resemblance to a turtle or tortoise.[128]

References

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

 

Story 3: Trump Supports Republican Establishment Candidate Luther Strange vs. Trump Supporters of Judge Roy Moore For Senator From Alabama– Who Will Win — Beats Me — The Winner Is … — Videos — Story 2: Economy Slowing Down As Consumer Confidence and Spending Decline — Videos

Image result for strange vs Moore senate race

Image result for trump supporters for roy moore

Judge Roy Moore’s Victory Speech in Alabama (Sweet Home)

Bill O’Reilly Interview and Roy Moore Wins!

O’Reilly Interview (part 2)

Judge Roy Moore Wins Big in Alabama!

Rep. Jim Jordan: Roy Moore Win Would Be Message To The Establishment | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Polls close in Alabama Senate runoff seen as test of Trump influence

Chuck Todd: Alabama Senate Runoff is “Trump vs. Trumpism”

Republican Party splintering over Luther Strange’s Senate race

[youtube4=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_d-TGB6VSw]

Steve Bannon At Roy Moore For Alabama Attorney General Rally 9/25/17

Nigel Farage speech in Alabama in support of Roy Moore

AMAZING: Judge Roy Moore Speech at Alabama will Leave you SPEECHLESS!!!

Roy Moore and Luther Strange!

Alabama’s Roy Moore Takes the Stage!

Gorka: A Roy Moore victory in Alabama strengthens Trump

Trump Admits He ‘May Have Made a Mistake Endorsing Luther Strange Over Roy Moore in Alabama

Sean Hannity Interview, Steve Bannon Rails Against McConnell and Paul Ryan (9/25/17)

Full Speeches by Sarah Palin and Sebastian Gorka for Roy Moore!

Judge Roy Moore on Yesterday’s Alabama Senate Race!

Full AL Senate Debate Between Swamp Creature Luther Strange and Judge Roy Moore

The Latest Alabama Senate Primary Runoff Results

Alabama Republicans on Tuesday voted decisively to nominate Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge, for a U.S. Senate seat, delivering a rebuke to President Donald Trump and the GOP establishment that supported his rival.

Mr. Moore was declared the victor over Sen. Luther Strange by the Associated Press in a runoff primary election to choose a successor to Attorney General jeff Sessions.

Speaking to his supporters after conceding the race, Mr. Strange said the president wasn’t responsible for his defeat. “It’s not his fault,” he said.

The vote came after a bitter primary campaign that pitted Mr. Trump against many in his own political base—including former White House strategist Steve Bannon —who supported Mr. Moore.

Mr. Trump’s inability to deliver victory to Mr. Strange suggests he won’t be able to reliably harness the antiestablishment political movement that he unleashed within the GOP and rode to the White House in the 2016 campaign.

Many Republicans believed that Mr. Moore, an anti-incumbent outsider, was more in line with the spirit of the Trump 2016 campaign than Mr. Strange, who has close ties to the party hierarchy in Washington. The Moore win elevates a firebrand who, if he prevails in the general election, could make it more difficult for President Trump to advance his agenda and for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to manage his slim Senate majority.

Mr. Moore has taken some stands at odds with Mr. Trump, including his opposition to the latest GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which he believed didn’t go far enough, and he campaigned hard against Mr. McConnell, whom he portrayed as an exemplar of an out-of-touch Washington elite.

“Mitch McConnell needs to be replaced,” Mr. Moore said at his election-eve rally in Fairhope, Ala.

Mr. Moore’s victory could encourage other outsider candidates to challenge incumbent Republicans in the 2018 midterm election, and Mr. Bannon has made plain he wants to help them.

“We’re not going to hug out our differences,” he said at the Moore rally. “We’re going to fight at the ballot box.”

Mr. Moore now faces a Dec. 12 general election against Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney best known for his prosecution of Ku Klux Klan members involved in a 1963 church bombing that killed four African-American girls. Former Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to campaign with him on Oct. 3.

A key question is how effectively the GOP will unite behind Mr. Moore for the general election campaign. A key Strange backer sounded a conciliatory note Tuesday night, conceding defeat even before the race was officially called,based on early returns skewing heavily toward Mr. Moore.

“Judge Roy Moore won this nomination fair and square and he has our support, as it is vital that we keep this seat in Republican hands.” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership, a super PAC allied with Mr. McConnell that invested heavily in supporting Mr. Strange.

In a state as Republican as Alabama—Mr. Trump won there with 62% of the vote—Democrats admit that Mr. Jones faces an uphill fight. But many believe he has more of a chance than if Mr. Strange had won because Mr. Moore is a controversial figure even among Republicans.

Mr. Moore gained notoriety as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a post he twice lost: Once because he defied a court order to take down a Ten Commandments monument in a state building and a second time, after he was re-elected, because he refused to obey the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. He has blamed many of society’s ills and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the decline of religion in public life.

“Our foundation has been shaken,” he said in a debate with Mr. Strange. “Crime, corruption, immorality, abortion, sodomy, sexual perversion sweep our land.”

In a state where support for the president remains high, Mr. Strange built his entire campaign around the Trump endorsement. His supporters hoped his rally with the president in Huntsville last Friday would give him a burst of momentum.

But the president’s embrace wasn’t enough to help Mr. Strange, a former state attorney whose appointment as interim senator in February by Gov. Robert Bentley drew blowback after the governor was driven from office by personal and political scandal. Opponents used the connection in their attacks to portray Mr. Strange as a creature of corruption.

He was hurt, as well as helped, by the support of Mr. McConnell and other pillars of the GOP establishment. They gave Mr. Strange a huge financial advantage: His campaign and its outside supporters outspent Mr. Moore’s by about seven to one, according to an analysis by Issue One, a nonpartisan campaign finance group.

But that made it easy for Mr. Strange’s opponent to portray him as a creature of the McConnell party establishment. Mr. Bannon inveighed ominously against that establishment at the Moore rally. “Your day of reckoning is coming,” he said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/roy-moore-wins-alabamas-gop-senate-primary-1506475781

 

United States Senate special election in Alabama, 2017

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
United States Senate special election in Alabama, 2017
Alabama


← 2014 December 12, 2017 2020 →
No image.svg Doug Jones for Senate (cropped).jpg
Nominee TBD Doug Jones
Party Republican Democratic

Incumbent U.S. Senator
Luther Strange
Republican

special election for the United States Senate in Alabama is scheduled to be held on December 12, 2017, to choose SenatorJeff Sessions‘ successor for the Senate term through January 2021. Sessions was confirmed by the Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney General on February 8, 2017, and subsequently resigned from the Senate. GovernorRobert J. Bentley chose Luther Strange, the Attorney General of Alabama, to succeed Sessions, filling the seat until the special election takes place. Although he had the power to schedule an election in 2017, Bentley initially decided to align it with the 2018 general election,[1] before Kay Ivey, his successor, later moved the date up to December 12, 2017, scheduling the primary for August 15 and primary runoff for September 26.[2]

Doug Jones, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, won the Democratic primary, while Strange and Roy Moore, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, advanced to a Republican primary runoff.[3]

Background

Potential appointees

Following then-President-electDonald Trump‘s nomination of then-Senator Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General, Robert Aderholt, a member of the United States House of Representatives, had asked to be appointed to the seat.[4] Representative Mo Brooks had also expressed interest in the seat, while Strange had stated before being selected that he would run for the seat in the special election whether or not he was appointed.[5][6] Other potential choices Bentley interviewed for the appointment included Moore, Del Marsh, the President Pro Tem of the Alabama Senate, and Jim Byard, the director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.[7]

Republican primary

Candidates

Advanced to runoff

Eliminated in Primary

Withdrew

Declined

Endorsements

Polling

First round

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
James
Beretta
Joseph
Breault
Randy
Brinson
Mo
Brooks
Mary
Maxwell
Roy
Moore
Bryan
Peeples
Trip
Pittman
Luther
Strange
Undecided
Trafalgar Group[106] August 13–14, 2017 870 ± 3.3% 1% 1% 6% 17% 1% 38% 1% 6% 24% 5%
Emerson College[107] August 10–12, 2017 373 ± 5.0% 1% 0% 0% 15% 0% 29% 0% 10% 32% 11%
Trafalgar Group[108] August 8–10, 2017 1,439 ± 2.6% 1% 1% 4% 20% 2% 35% 1% 6% 23% 8%
Cygnal[109] August 8–9, 2017 502 ± 4.4% 2% 18% 31% 7% 23% 13%
Strategy Research[110] August 7, 2017 2,000 ± 2.0% 1% 1% 1% 19% 4% 35% 1% 9% 29% 0%
JMC Analytics[111] August 5–6, 2017 500 ± 4.4% 2% 19% 30% 6% 22% 17%
RRH Elections[112] July 31–August 3, 2017 426 ± 5.0% 2% 18% 31% 8% 29% 11%
Strategy Research[113] July 24, 2017 3,000 ± 2.0% 1% 1% 2% 16% 5% 33% 2% 5% 35%
Cygnal[114] July 20–21, 2017 500 ± 2.0% 16% 26% 33%

Runoff

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Roy
Moore
Luther
Strange
Undecided
Cygnal[115] September 23–24, 2017 996 ± 3.1% 52% 41% 7%
Trafalgar Group[116] September 23–24, 2017 1,073 ± 3.0% 57% 41% 2%
Optimus[117] September 22–23, 2017 1,045 ± 2.9% 55% 45%
Emerson College[118] September 21–23, 2017 367 ± 5.1% 50% 40% 10%
Gravis Marketing[119] September 21–22, 2017 559 ± 4.1% 48% 40% 12%
Strategy Research[120] September 20, 2017 2,000 ± 3.0% 54% 46%
Strategy Research[121] September 18, 2017 2,930 ± 3.0% 53% 47%
JMC Analytics[122] September 16–17, 2017 500 ± 4.4% 47% 39% 14%
Time for Choosing[123] September 9–12, 2017 700 ± 3.7% 50% 37% 13%
Voter Consumer Research[124] September 9–10, 2017 604 ± 4.0% 41% 40% 19%
Emerson College[125] September 8–9, 2017 355 ± 5.2% 40% 26% 34%
Strategic National[126] September 6–7, 2017 800 ± 3.5% 51% 35% 14%
Southeast Research[127] August 29–31, 2017 401 ± 5.0% 52% 36% 12%
Harper Polling[128] August 24–26, 2017 600 ± 4.0% 47% 45% 8%
Voter Consumer Research[129] August 21–23, 2017 601 ± 4.0% 45% 41% 14%
Opinion Savvy[130] August 22, 2017 494 ± 4.4% 50% 32% 18%
JMC Analytics[131] August 17–19, 2017 515 ± 4.3% 51% 32% 17%
Cygnal[109] August 8–9, 2017 502 ± 4.4% 45% 34% 11%
RRH Elections[112] July 31–August 3, 2017 426 ± 5.0% 34% 32% 34%

Results

August 15, 2017 Republican primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Moore 164,524 38.9%
Republican Luther Strange 138,971 32.8%
Republican Mo Brooks 83,287 19.7%
Republican Trip Pittman 29,124 6.9%
Republican Randy Brinson 2,621 0.6%
Republican Bryan Peeples 1,579 0.4%
Republican Mary Maxwell 1,543 0.4%
Republican James Beretta 1,078 0.3%
Republican Dom Gentile 303 0.1%
Republican Joseph Breault 252 0.1%
Total votes 423,282 100.0%
September 26, 2017 Republican primary runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Moore
Republican Luther Strange
Total votes

Democratic primary

Candidates

Nominated

Eliminated in Primary

Withdrew

  • Ron Crumpton, activist, nominee for the State Senate in 2014 and nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2016[139][37]
  • Brian McGee, retired teacher and Vietnam War veteran[10][140][141]

Declined

Endorsements

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Will
Boyd
Vann
Caldwell
Jason
Fisher
Michael
Hansen
Doug
Jones
Robert
Kennedy Jr.
Charles
Nana
Undecided
Emerson College[107] August 10–12, 2017 164 ± 7.6% 8% 2% 1% 0% 40% 23% 1% 25%
Strategy Research[149] August 7, 2017 2,000 ± 2.0% 9% 5% 3% 7% 30% 40% 5%
Strategy Research[150] July 24, 2017 3,000 ± 2.0% 6% 4% 4% 4% 28% 49% 5%

Results

County results for the Democratic primary. Blue represents counties won by Doug Jones, purple indicates counties won by Will Boyd.

Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doug Jones 109,105 66.1%
Democratic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 29,215 17.7%
Democratic Michael Hansen 11,105 6.7%
Democratic Will Boyd 8,010 4.9%
Democratic Jason Fisher 3,478 2.1%
Democratic Brian McGee 1,450 0.9%
Democratic Charles Nana 1,404 0.9%
Democratic Vann Caldwell 1,239 0.8%
Total votes 165,006 100.0%

Independents

Candidates

Declared

Declined

General election

Endorsements

Polling

with Roy Moore
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Roy
Moore (R)
Doug
Jones (D)
Undecided
Emerson College[118] September 21–23, 2017 519 ± 4.3% 52% 30% 18%
Emerson College[125] September 8–9, 2017 416 ± 4.8% 44% 40% 16%
with Luther Strange
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin
of error
Luther
Strange (R)
Doug
Jones (D)
Undecided
Emerson College[118] September 21–23, 2017 519 ± 4.3% 49% 36% 15%
Emerson College[125] September 8–9, 2017 416 ± 4.8% 43% 40% 17%

References

Luther Strange

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Luther Strange
Luther Strange official portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Alabama
Assumed office
February 9, 2017
Serving with Richard Shelby
Appointed by Robert Bentley
Preceded by Jeff Sessions
47th Attorney General of Alabama
In office
January 17, 2011 – February 9, 2017
Governor Robert Bentley
Preceded by Troy King
Succeeded by Steve Marshall
Personal details
Born Luther Johnson Strange III
March 1, 1953 (age 64)
Birmingham, AlabamaU.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Melissa Strange
Children 2
Education Tulane University(BAJD)
Website Senate website

Luther Johnson Strange III (born March 1, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician currently serving as the juniorUnited States Senator from Alabama. He was appointed to fill that position after it was vacated by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions upon Sessions’s confirmation.

He previously served as the 47th Attorney General of the U.S. state of Alabama from 2011 until 2017.[1] Strange was a candidate for public office in both 2006 and 2010.[2][3] In 2006, Strange ran for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama and defeated George Wallace, Jr. in the Republican primary. Strange then lost the general election to DemocratJim Folsom, Jr. In 2010, Strange defeated incumbent Attorney General Troy King in the Republican primary, before going on to win the general election against Democrat James Anderson.[4]

After President Donald Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to the office of Attorney General of the United States, then-Governor Robert J. Bentley appointed Strange to fill out the vacancy.[5] He subsequently advanced to the runoff in the 2017 special election to finish the term.

Early life and education

Luther Strange was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and lived in Sylacauga until the age of six, when his family moved to Homewood. Strange graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1971. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, where he was a scholarship reserve basketball player nicknamed “The Big Bunny” (according to a former teammate posting to social media). He then graduated from Tulane University Law School. Strange was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1981.[6]

Early career

Strange’s first job after graduating law school was at Sonat Offshore, a subsidiary of Sonat Inc., a natural gas utility based in Birmingham, Alabama; he joined the company in 1980 as a lawyer. In 1985, Strange became head of Sonat’s Washington, D.C. office. He left the company in 1994. In the 1980s and 1990s, Strange was a registered lobbyist in Washington for Sonat and Transocean Offshore Drilling Co.[7]

Prior to being elected Attorney General, Strange was the founder of the law firm Strange LLC, a Birmingham, Alabama-based law firm. Before establishing his own law firm, Strange was a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.[1]

Attorney General of Alabama

Luther Strange campaign sign, 2010

As Alabama Attorney General, Strange sued the federal government several times, over such issues as a U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education directive on the treatment of transgender students[8] and changes in the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s calculation of Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling royalties.[9] Strange also joined a suit brought by some states against the federal government that challenged the Obama administration‘s Clean Power Plan.[10] Along with other Republican state attorneys general, Strange “came to the defense of ExxonMobil when it fell under investigation by attorneys general from states seeking information about whether the oil giant failed to disclose material information about climate change” (see ExxonMobil climate change controversy).[11]

Strange is an opponent of same-sex marriage. He expressed disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court‘s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges which found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.[12][13]

His tenure in office included the conviction and removal from office of the Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard in June 2016. However, Strange recused himself from that case, appointing Van Davis as Acting Attorney General to oversee it.[14]

As attorney general, Strange was the coordinating counsel for the Gulf Coast states in the litigation on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[10]

In April 2014, Strange argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lane v. Franks. The case involved a whistleblower who reported corruption within the Alabama community college system. This was Strange’s first argument before the Court.[15][16]

In March 2014, Strange brought Alabama into a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster against California’s egg production standards as embodied in Prop 2. In October 2014, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, rejecting the states’ challenge to Proposition 2, California’s prohibition on the sale of eggs laid by caged hens kept in conditions more restrictive than those approved by California voters in a 2008 ballot initiative. Judge Kimberly Mueller ruled that Alabama and the other states lacked legal standing to sue on behalf of their residents and that the plaintiffs were representing solely the interests of egg farmers, not “a substantial statement of their populations.”[17][18][19][20][21]

Strange served as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association in 2016 and 2017.

U.S. Senate

The appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as United States Attorney General in November 2016 created an opening for a U.S. Senate seat that Governor Bentley would fill by appointment upon Sessions’ confirmation. Many aspirants publicly declared their interest in the appointive Senate seat, and in running for it even if not selected by Bentley.[22]

Appointment

Strange revealed his intention to seek the Senate seat to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard on November 22, regardless of whether he was appointed by Bentley, calling a run “the right thing for me to do.”[23] Strange filed paperwork for the potential special election one week later and made a public announcement of his candidacy on December 6. “The voters will make the ultimate decision about who will represent them, and I look forward to making my case to the people of Alabama in the months to come as to why they can trust me to keep protecting and fighting for our conservative values.”[24] In January, the new Strange for Senate federal campaign committee reported raising more than $309,000 in the few weeks leading to the December 31st filing deadline.[25]

Bentley began interviewing candidates for the Senate appointment in mid-December.[26][27] On December 22, the Montgomery Advertiser reported a complete list of Alabamians who had been interviewed over a two-week period for the Senate seat (based on information released by the Governor’s office). They included: Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville); Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston), Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), House Ways and Means Education chairman Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), Associate Justice Glenn Murdock, St. Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper), ex-St. Rep. Perry Hooper of Montgomery (also Trump 2016 Chair in Alabama).[28]

Strange was not interviewed until the following week, along with U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, U.S. Rep. Gary PalmerTim James (son of former Governor Fob James), St. Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper), St. Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City).[29] Three additional persons interviewed before January 6 were U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, Revenue Commissioner Julie P. Magee, and Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Jim Byard. The total number of interviews was 20 (which represented the limit the Governor would go).[30]

In January, Gov. Bentley announced the special election for the remainder of Sessions’ term would not take place until 2018, giving the prospective new appointee a year of incumbency.[30] On February 2, Governor Bentley named six finalists for the appointment. The list included U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, Senate President pro tempore Del Marsh, Attorney General Strange; Bentley ACEA appointee Jim Byard, St. Rep. Connie Rowe, and ex-St. Rep. Perry Hooper Jr.[31]

Selection

Following the Sessions confirmation on February 8, Bentley announced Strange’s appointment on February 9. “Let me tell you why I chose Luther Strange,” Bentley said. “I truly believe Luther has the qualifications and has the qualities that will serve our people well and serve this state well.” Speaking with his wife Melissa by his side, Strange called the appointment “the honor of my life,” while citing his efforts with other Republican attorneys general to stop environmental, educational and labor regulations put forward by former President Barack Obama’s administration. “Now we have the chance to go on the offense,” he said. “Jeff Sessions as attorney general is the first step in that process.”[32]

Reaction

Strange’s appointment was welcomed by fellow Republicans, such as Arkansas Attorney GeneralLeslie Rutledge,[33] and Karl Rove.[34] Conservative activists, such as Chris W. Cox of the NRA, also hailed the appointment.[35]NPR Southern political analyst Debbie Elliottsaid that Strange’s conservative politics are “very much in the mold of Jeff Sessions.” She noted that as state attorney general: “He’s been very active in state-led fights against federal environmental regulations, against Obamacare, against transgender bathroom directives. He’s fought for Alabama’s strict abortion laws. He defended the state’s controversial immigration law. A good bit of it was struck down by federal courts.”[36]

There was negative reaction from other Republicans who expressed concern about Strange’s appointment. In early November 2016, prior to Election Day, he had requested that impeachment proceedings against Bentley be delayed.[37] Some saw a link between this and Strange’s appointment. “There’s going to be such an air of conspiracy hanging over our state and our new senator,” said state representative Ed Henry.[38] “It’s just one of those things where it appears there could have been collusion,” said state representative Allen Farley.[39] “The whole thing stinks,” said State Auditor Jim Zeigler. “It is outrageous. We have the potential for Gov. Blagojevich situation.”[40]

This interpretation was disputed by Mike Jones Jr., House Judiciary Committee Chairman, who said he believes the appointment was done in good faith. Jones noted that the hearings were stopped before the election and before the senate seat was available. “I made it clear in November when we were asked to pause that that did not mean this would not finish, that there would come a time when we would conclude this investigation and we would have a hearing. I still say that.”[41] Jones and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said February 9 they would wait for word from the attorney general’s office before resuming the committee’s work. McCutcheon said he wanted the process to play out.[42]

Strange himself said February 10, “We have never said and I want to make this clear. We have never said in our office that we are investigating the governor. I think it’s unfair to him and unfair to the process that it’s been reported out there.[43] We have six years of a record of the highest caliber of conduct of people in our Attorney General’s office. That’s why we don’t comment on these things and why I don’t plan to comment on that anymore.”[42] Governor Bentley later resigned after being indicted on criminal charges.

2017 election

Strange finished second to Roy Moore, 38.87% to 32.83%, in the Republican primary on August 15, 2017. The primary run-off is scheduled to be held on September 26, 2017.[44] The general election date is December 12, 2017.

Tenure

In 2017, Strange was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[45] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Committee assignments

Source:[46]

Electoral history

Alabama Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luther Strange 208,558 48.13
Republican George Wallace, Jr. 144,619 33.37
Republican Mo Brooks 67,773 15.64
Republican Hilbun “HA” Adams 12,413 2.86
Alabama Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luther Strange 108,904 54.81
Republican George Wallace, Jr. 89,788 45.19
Alabama Lieutenant Governor Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Folsom, Jr. 629,268 50.61
Republican Luther Strange 610,982 49.14
Write-ins 3,029 0.24
Democratichold
Alabama Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luther Strange 284,853 60.13
Republican Troy King (incumbent) 188,874 39.87
Alabama Attorney General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luther Strange 868,520 58.84
Democratic James Anderson 606,270 41.07
Write-ins 1,285 0.09
Republicanhold
Alabama Attorney General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Luther Strange (incumbent) 681,973 58.39
Democratic Joe Hubbard 483,771 41.42
Write-ins 2,157 0.18
Republicanhold
United States Senate special election in Alabama, 2017 Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Roy Moore 164,524 38.87%
Republican Luther Strange (incumbent) 138,971 32.83%
Republican Mo Brooks 83,287 19.68%
Republican Trip Pittman 29,124 6.88%
Republican Randy Brinson 2,621 0.62%
Republican Bryan Peeples 1,579 0.37%
Republican Mary Maxwell 1,543 0.36%
Republican James Beretta 1,078 0.25%
Republican Dom Gentile 303 0.07%
Republican Joseph Breault 252 0.06%
Total votes 423,282 100.00%

Political positions

Strange has associated himself with Donald Trump, saying that he wants “his agenda passed” and that “couldn’t be more honored” to be given Trump’s endorsement.[47] As of August 2017, Strange voted in line with Trump’s position 91.7% of the time.[48][49]

Personal life

Strange is married to Melissa Strange[50] and resides in Homewood, Alabama.[51]

At 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m) tall, Strange is the tallest U.S. Senator in history and is currently the tallest member of Congress.[52]

Strange is a member of the Episcopal Church.

Strange holds a 16% share of Sunbelt EB-5 Regional Center, LLC, which helps broker deals between investors and U.S. projects that need capital. The company uses the EB-5 visa program which allows foreigners to earn permanent residency for themselves and their children, if they invest $500,000 or $1 million in an American business venture that creates at least 10 jobs. Strange earned over $150,000 for his role in helping a Birmingham Baptist hospital expansion.[53]

Awards and honors

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

Roy Moore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Roy Moore
Chief Justice Roy Moore Official Portrait.png
30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama
In office
January 15, 2013 – April 26, 2017
Suspended: May 6, 2016 – April 26, 2017
Preceded by Chuck Malone
Succeeded by Lyn Stuart
In office
January 15, 2001 – November 13, 2003
Preceded by Perry O. Hooper Sr.
Succeeded by Gorman Houston (Acting)
Judge for the Sixteenth Circuit Court of Alabama
In office
1992–2000
Appointed by H. Guy Hunt
Preceded by Julius Swann
Succeeded by William Millican
Personal details
Born Roy Stewart Moore
February 11, 1947 (age 70)
Gadsden, AlabamaU.S.
Political party Democratic(Before 1992)
Republican(1992–present)
Spouse(s) Kayla Kisor
Children (1 adopted)
Education United States Military Academy(BS)
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa(JD)
Website Campaign website

Roy Stewart Moore (born February 11, 1947) is an American lawyer, politician, and former judge. Moore is running for the United States Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions upon Sessions’s confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.

Moore was elected to the position of Chief Justice of the AlabamaSupreme Court in 2001, but removed from his position in November 2003 by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments commissioned by him from the Alabama Judicial Building, despite orders to do so by a federal court. Moore sought the Republican nomination for the governorship of Alabama in 2006, but lost to incumbentBob Riley in the June primary by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. He sought the Republican nomination for the office again in 2010,[1] but placed fourth in the Republican primary.

Moore was again elected Chief Justice in 2013, but was suspended in May 2016, for directing probate judges to continue to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite the fact that it had been overturned. Following an unsuccessful appeal, Moore resigned in April 2017, and announced that he would be running for the United States Senate seat which was vacated by Jeff Sessions, upon his confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.[2][3] He qualified for the runoff in the Republican primary, which is set on September 26.

In the years preceding his first election to the state Supreme Court, Moore successfully resisted attempts to have a display of the Ten Commandments removed from the courtroom. The controversy around Moore generated national attention. Moore’s supporters regard his stand as a defense of “judicial rights” and the Constitution of Alabama. Moore contended that federal judges who ruled against his actions consider “obedience of a court order superior to all other concerns, even the suppression of belief in the sovereignty of God.”[4]

Early life

Education and military service

Moore was born in Gadsden, the seat of Etowah County, to Roy Baxter Moore (died 1967) and the former Evelyn Stewart. They had met and married after his discharge from the United States Army during World War II. Roy was the oldest of five children, three boys and two girls. Moore describes his father, a construction worker, as “a hardworking man who earned barely enough to make ends meet, but he taught me more than money could ever buy. From him I learned about honesty, integrity, perseverance, and never to be ashamed of who you are or what you believe in. Early on my dad shared with me the truth about God’s love and the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus.” Moore described his mother as a “homemaker who was always there to help me with my schoolwork, to care for me when I was sick, and to encourage me to do the best I could.”[4]

In 1954, the Moores relocated to Houston, Texas, site of a postwar building boom. After about four years, they returned to Alabama, next moved to Pennsylvania, and returned permanently to Alabama. Moore’s father worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, first building dams and later the Anniston Army Depot. Roy Moore attended high school his freshman year at Gallant near Gadsden, but he transferred to Etowah County High School for his final three years, graduating in 1965.[4]

On the recommendation of outgoing DemocraticU.S. RepresentativeAlbert Rains, after confirmation by incoming Republican Representative James D. Martin of Gadsden, Moore was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree. With the Vietnam War underway, Moore served in several posts as a military police officer, including Fort BenningGeorgia, and Illesheim, Germany before being sent to the Republic of Vietnam. Serving as company commander, Moore was known to be very strict. Some of his soldiers gave him the derogatory nickname “Captain America,” due to his attitude toward discipline. This role earned him enemies, and in his autobiography he recalls sleeping on sandbags to avoid a grenadeor bomb being tossed under his cot, as many of his men had threatened fragging.

Moore was discgarged from the United States Army as a captain in 1974, and was admitted to the University of Alabama School of Law that same year. He graduated in 1977 with a Juris Doctor degree and returned to Gadsden to begin private practice with a focus on personal injury and insurance cases.

Elections and travels

Moore soon moved to the district attorney’s office, working as the first full-time prosecutor in Etowah County. During his tenure there, Moore was investigated by the state bar for “suspect conduct” after convening a grand jury to discuss what he perceived to have been funding shortages in the sheriff‘s office. Several weeks after the state bar investigation was dismissed as unfounded, Moore quit his prosecuting position to run as a Democrat for the county’s circuit-court judge seat in 1982. The election was bitter, with Moore alleging that cases were being delayed in exchange for payoffs. The allegations were never substantiated, and Moore overwhelmingly lost the Democratic runoff primary to fellow attorney Donald Stewart, whom Moore described as “an honorable man for whom I have much respect, and he eventually became a close friend.”[4] A second bar complaint against Moore followed, and though this too was dismissed as unfounded, Moore left Gadsden shortly thereafter in great disappointment.

Moore’s travels eventually took him to Texas, where he spent a year training and fighting professionally as a kickboxer. After a brief return to Gadsden, Moore next travelled to the Australian Outback and, after meeting fellow Christian Colin Rolfe, worked for almost a year as a cowboy on Rolfe’s 42,000-acre (170 km2) cattle ranch. He remembered both careers fondly in his autobiography and subsequent interviews and was particularly proud of a kickboxing victory in the Greater Gadsden Tournament of Champions, a triumph he attributed to divine will.

Moore returned to Gadsden again in 1985. He ran in 1986 for Etowah County’s district attorney position against fellow Democrat Jimmy Hedgspeth. He lost that election as well, and Moore returned to private practice in the city. During this period, he married his wife Kayla, switched his affiliation to the GOP, and added to his office a wooden Ten Commandments plaque that he had personally carved in 1980.

Circuit Judge

Appointment

In 1992, Etowah County Circuit Judge Julius Swann died in office. Republican GovernorH. Guy Hunt was charged with making a temporary appointment until the next election. Moore’s name was floated by some of his associates, and a background check was initiated with several state and county agencies, including the Etowah County district attorney’s office. Moore’s former political opponent Jimmy Hedgspeth, who still helmed the D.A.’s office, recommended Moore despite personal reservations, and Moore was installed in the position he had failed to win in 1982. “The impossible had happened!” Moore wrote afterward. “God had given me something that I had not been able to obtain through my own efforts.”[5] Judge Moore ran as a Republican in the 1994 Etowah County election and was elected to the circuit judge seat (6 year term) with 62% of the vote. He was the first county-wide Republican to win since the Reconstruction.

Early prayer/Ten Commandments controversy

When Moore’s tenure as circuit judge began, he brought his wooden Ten Commandments plaque with him, hanging it on the walls of his courtroom behind his bench. Moore told the Montgomery Advertiser that his intention in hanging the plaque was to fill up the bare space on the courtroom walls and to indicate the importance of the Ten Commandments. He states that it was not his intention to generate controversy; still, as he told the Atlantic, he understood that the potential for controversy was there, but “I wanted to establish the moral foundation of our law.”

Soon after his appointment, when Moore presided over a case where two male strippers (known professionally as “Silk” and “Satin”) were charged with murdering a drug addict, the attorney for the defendants objected to the display. This drew the attention of critics, who also objected to Moore’s practice of opening court sessions with a prayer beseeching Divine Guidance for jurors in their deliberations. In at least one instance, Moore asked a clergyman to lead the court’s jury pool in prayer. Though such pre-session prayers were not uncommon in Alabama, having begun many years earlier by Democrat George C. Wallace, Jr. when he was a circuit judge, the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter in June 1993 with the threat of a lawsuit if such prayers did not cease.

On June 20, 1994, the ACLU sent a representative to Moore’s courtroom to observe and record the pre-session prayer. Though the organization did not immediately file suit, Moore decried the action as an “act of intimidation” in a post-trial press conference. The incident drew additional attention to Moore just as he was campaigning to hold onto his circuit court seat. In that year’s election, Moore won the seat in a landslide victory over local attorney Keith Pitts, who had unsuccessfully prosecuted the “Silk and Satin” murder case.

Lawsuit

In March 1995, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Moore, stating that the pre-session prayers and the Ten Commandments display were both unconstitutional. This original lawsuit was eventually dismissed for technical reasons, but Governor Fob James instructed state Attorney General Bill Pryor to file suit in Montgomery County in support of Moore. The case ended up before state Circuit Judge Charles Price, who in 1996 declared the prayers unconstitutional but initially allowed the Ten Commandments plaque to remain on the courtroom walls.

Immediately after the ruling, Moore held a press conference vowing to defy the ruling against pre-session prayers and affirming a religious intent in displaying the plaque. Critics responded by asking Price to reconsider his previous ruling, and the judge issued a new ruling requiring the Ten Commandments plaque to be removed in ten days. Moore appealed Price’s decision and kept the plaque up; ten days later the Alabama Supreme Court issued a temporary stay against the ruling. The Court never ruled in the case, throwing it out for technical reasons in 1998.

On the day that the circuit court ruling was stayed, Moore appeared on the national morning program Today, praising the ruling and vowing to continue his practices. A poll released soon after found that 88 percent of Alabamians supported Moore. Though Moore was later investigated by the state Judicial Ethics Committee regarding the use of money raised by Coral Ridge Ministries in his defense, the investigation eventually ended with no charges being brought.

Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court

Campaign and election

In late 1999, the Christian Family Association began working to draft Moore into the race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, when incumbent Republican Perry O. Hooper, Sr., of Montgomery announced that he would not seek reelection. Moore said that he was hesitant to make the statewide race because he had “absolutely no funds” and three other candidates, particularly Associate Justice Harold See, were well-financed.[4]

Nevertheless, on December 7, 1999, Moore announced from his Etowah County courtroom that he would enter the race with hope of returning “God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law.” His campaign, centered on religious issues, arguing that Christianity’s declining influence “corresponded directly with school violence, homosexuality, and crime.”[5]

Associate Justice Harold See was the heavy favorite to win the Republican nomination because of his support from the state business community and the party hierarchy, including Chief Justice Hooper. However, as Moore made headway in state polls, See elicited the help of Republican strategistKarl Rove, advisor to Texas Governor and future PresidentGeorge W. Bush. Despite Rove’s support and significantly more campaign funding, See lost the primary to Moore. Judge Moore also beat two other opponents, Criminal Appeals Judge Pam Baschab, and Jefferson County Presiding Circuit Judge Wayne Thorn, in the Republican Primary—without a runoff—garnering over 50% of the statewide primary vote. Judge Moore then easily defeated Democratic contender Sharon Yates in November’s general election with over 60% of the vote. Judge Moore won his election to Chief Justice with just over $200,000, compared to the over $2 million spent by his opponents.

Moore was sworn in as Chief Justice on January 15, 2001. Republican former U.S. Representative James D. Martin, who had appointed Moore to West Point years earlier, was among the dignitaries in attendance. On taking the position, Moore said that he had “come to realize the real meaning of the First Amendment and its relationship to the God on whom the oath was based. My mind had been opened to the spiritual war occurring in our state and our nation that was slowly removing the knowledge of that relationship between God and law.

I pledged to support not only the U.S. Constitution, but the Alabama Constitution as well, which provided in its preamble that the state ‘established justice’ by ‘invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God.’ The connection between God and our law could not be more clear …[4]

Case of D.H. vs. H.H.

In February 2002, as Alabama Chief Justice, Moore issued a controversial opinion that expressed his belief that the State should use its powers to punish “homosexual behavior”. The case, D.H. vs. H.H., was a custody dispute where a lesbian was petitioning for custody of her children, alleging abuse by her ex-husband. A circuit court in Alabama had ruled in favor of the father, but the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals overturned that verdict 4–1, saying that substantial evidence existed of abusive behavior by the father.[6]

The state Supreme Court overruled the appeals court because the appeals court ignored evidence disputing abusive behavior by the father; however, Moore issued a concurring opinion concluding that a parent’s sexual orientation (in this case, homosexuality) should be a deciding factor in refusing custody:

To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters is not invidious discrimination, nor is it legislating personal morality. On the contrary, disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants…

The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle…

Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child. To declare that homosexuality is harmful is not to make new law but to reaffirm the old; to say that it is not harmful is to experiment with people’s lives, particularly the lives of children.[7]

Moore’s comments led to protests in front of the state judicial building and drew nationwide criticism from civil rights groups such as GLAAD, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Human Rights Campaign. An official complaint with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission was also filed by the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund.[8] A year following the case, the United States Supreme Court struck down statutes such as and including the one Moore referred to (prohibiting same-gender sexual relations) as being unconstitutional in the landmark civil rights case Lawrence v. Texas.

Ten Commandments monument controversy

The Ten Commandments monument

Construction and installationing plans for a larger monument to the Ten Commandments, reasoning that the Alabama Supreme Court building required something grander than a wooden plaque. His final design involved a 5,280 pound (2,400 kg) granite block, three feet wide by three feet deep by four feet tall, covered with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, the national anthem, and various founding fathers.[9] The crowning element would be two large carved tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. High-grade granite from Vermont was ordered and shipped, and Moore found benefactors and a sculptor to complete the job.

On the evening of July 31, 2001, despite some initial installation difficulties and concerns regarding structural support for the monument’s weight, Moore had the completed monument transported to the state judicial building and installed in the central rotunda. The installation was filmed, and videotapes of the event were sold by Coral Ridge Ministries, an evangelical media outlet in Fort LauderdaleFlorida, which later used proceeds from the sales of the film to underwrite Moore’s ensuing legal expenses. Coral Ridge was the operation of the late Reverend D. James Kennedy, a staunch Moore supporter.[10]

The next morning, Moore held a press conference in the central rotunda to officially unveil the monument. In a speech following the unveiling, Moore declared, “Today a cry has gone out across our land for the acknowledgment of that God upon whom this nation and our laws were founded. … May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land.”

Federal lawsuit

On October 30, 2001, the ACLU of AlabamaAmericans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center were among groups which filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, asking that the monument be removed because it “sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular.”

The trial, titled Glassroth v. Moore, began on October 15, 2002. Evidence for the plaintiffs included testimony that lawyers of different religious beliefs had changed their work practices, including routinely avoiding visiting the court building to avoid passing by the monument, and testimony that the monument created a religious atmosphere, with many people using the area for prayer.

Moore argued that he would not remove the monument, as doing so would violate his oath of office:

[The monument] serves to remind the Appellate Courts and judges of the Circuit and District Court of this State and members of the bar who appear before them, as well as the people of Alabama who visit the Alabama Judicial Building, of the truth stated in the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution that in order to establish justice we must invoke ‘the favor and guidance of almighty God.’[9]

On this note, Moore said that the Ten Commandments are the “moral foundation” of U.S. law, stating that in order to restore this foundation, “we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs…[by] recogniz[ing] the sovereignty of God.” He added that the addition of the monument to the state judiciary building marked “the beginning of the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people” and “a return to the knowledge of God in our land.”[9]

Additionally, Moore acknowledged an explicit religious intent in placing the monument, agreeing that the monument “reflects the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men” and “acknowledge[s] God’s overruling power over the affairs of men.”[11] However, in Moore’s view this did not violate the doctrine of separation of church and state; as the presiding judge later summarized it, Moore argued that “the Judeo-Christian God reigned over both the church and the state in this country, and that both owed allegiance to that God”, although they must keep their affairs separate.[9]

Judgment and appeal

On November 18, 2002, federal U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued his ruling declaring that the monument violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and was thus unconstitutional:

If all Chief Justice Moore had done were to emphasize the Ten Commandments’ historical and educational importance… or their importance as a model code for good citizenship… this court would have a much different case before it. But the Chief Justice did not limit himself to this; he went far, far beyond. He installed a two-and-a-half ton monument in the most prominent place in a government building, managed with dollars from all state taxpayers, with the specific purpose and effect of establishing a permanent recognition of the ‘sovereignty of God,’ the Judeo-Christian God, over all citizens in this country, regardless of each taxpaying citizen’s individual personal beliefs or lack thereof. To this, the Establishment Clause says no.”[9]

Judge Thompson’s decision mandated that Moore remove the monument from the state judicial building by January 3, 2003, but stayed this order on December 23, 2002, after Moore appealed the decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This appeal was argued on June 4, 2003, before a three-judge panel in AtlantaGeorgia. On July 1, 2003, the panel issued a ruling upholding the lower court’s decision, agreeing that “the monument fails two of Lemon’s three prongs. It violates the Establishment Clause.” Additionally, the court noted that different religious traditions assign different wordings of the Ten Commandments, meaning that “choosing which version of the Ten Commandments to display can have religious endorsement implications.”[11]

In response to the appeals court’s decision, Judge Thompson lifted his earlier stay on August 5, 2003, requiring Moore to have the monument removed from public areas of the state judicial building by August 20.[12]

Protests and monument removal

Rally before the Alabama State Capitol, August 16, 2003.

On August 14, Moore announced his intention to disobey Judge Thompson’s order to have the monument removed. Two days later, large rallies in support of Moore and the Ten Commandments monument began forming in front of the judicial building, featuring speakers such as Alan Keyes, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, and Moore himself. The crowd peaked at an estimated count of 4,000 that day,[13] and anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand protesters remained through the end of August.

The time limit for removal expired on August 20, with the monument still in place in the building’s rotunda. As specified in Judge Thompson’s order, the state of Alabama faced fines of $5,000 a day until the monument was removed. In response, the eight other members of the Alabama Supreme Court intervened on August 21, unanimously overruled Moore, and ordered the removal of the monument.[14]

Moore said that Thompson, “fearing that I would not obey his order, decided to threaten other state officials and force them to remove the monument if I did not do so. A threat of heavy fines was his way of coercing obedience to that order,” an action that Moore sees as a violation of the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.[4]

On August 27, the monument was moved to a non-public side room in the judicial building.[15] The monument was not immediately removed from the building for several reasons—pending legal hearings, the monument’s weight, worries that the monument could break through the floor if it was taken outside intact, and a desire to avoid confrontation with protesters massed outside the structure. The monument was not actually removed from the state judicial building until July 19, 2004.[16]

Removal from office

On August 22, 2003, two days after the deadline for the Ten Commandments monument’s removal had passed, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) filed a complaint with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ), a panel of judges, lawyers and others appointed variously by judges, legal leaders, the governor and the lieutenant governor. The complaint effectively suspended Moore from the Chief Justice position pending a hearing by the COJ.[17]

The COJ ethics hearing was held on November 12, 2003. Moore repeated his earlier sentiment that “to acknowledge God cannot be a violation of the Canons of Ethics. Without God there can be no ethics.” He also acknowledged that he would repeat his defiance of the court order if given another opportunity to do so, and that if he returned to office, “I certainly wouldn’t leave [the monument] in a closet, shrouded from the public.” In closing arguments, the Assistant Attorney General said Moore’s defiance, left unchecked, “undercuts the entire workings of the judicial system…. What message does that send to the public, to other litigants? The message it sends is: If you don’t like a court order, you don’t have to follow it.”[18] Moore had previously stated his belief that the order was unlawful, and that compliance with such an order was not an enforceable mandate.

The next day, the COJ issued a unanimous opinion ruling that “Chief Justice Moore has violated the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics as alleged by the JIC in its complaint.” The COJ had several disciplinary options, including censure or suspension without pay, but because Moore’s responses had indicated he would defy any similar court orders in the future, the COJ concluded that “under these circumstances, there is no penalty short of removal from office that would resolve this issue.”[19] Moore was immediately removed from his post.

Moore appealed the COJ’s ruling to the Supreme Court of Alabama on December 10, 2003. A special panel of retired judges and justices was randomly selected to hear the case. Moore argued that the COJ did not consider the underlying legality of the federal courts’ order that the monument be removed from the courthouse. The Alabama Supreme Court rejected this argument, saying that the COJ did not have the authority to overrule the federal courts, only to determine whether Moore violated the Canons of Judicial Ethics. Therefore, the Court reasoned, it was enough to show that a procedurally-valid order was in place against Moore. Moore also argued that the COJ had imposed a religious test on him to hold his office, and that the COJ’s actions had violated his own rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.[20]

The Supreme Court of Alabama rejected each of these arguments as well, and ruled on April 30, 2004 that the COJ had acted properly. The court also upheld the sanction of removal as appropriate.[20]

Return to the bench

In 2011, Moore initially considered a bid for the Presidency, but instead Moore chose to enter the race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court once again. He ran in the March 12, 2012 Republican Primary against two candidates. They were the sitting chief justice, Chuck Malone, who had been appointed to the office seven months earlier and former Democratic Attorney General Charles Graddick, who had become a Republican in 1994. Moore unexpectedly defeated both without a runoff (as he had done in 2000) despite being heavily outspent ($225,000 to $1.5 million).

Surprised Democrats had expected Chief Justice Malone to win and did not run a serious candidate and only had a perennial gadfly nominee. Democrats quickly disqualified him and hand-picked Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bob Vance as his replacement.

On November 6, 2012, Moore defeated Vance (who had outspent him). Vance raised and spent $1.8 million compared to Chief Justice Moore’s $275,000 during the General Election.[21][22]

In January 2012, the Montgomery Advertiser reported that the single-biggest donor to his campaign (having contributed $50,000 of the total $78,000 received by Moore until December 31, 2011) is Michael Peroutka, a longtime acquaintance of Moore’s who is associated with organizations such as the Constitution Party and the League of the South and is a frequent guest on The Political Cesspool. In response, Moore said he did not share the ideas of those organizations.[23]

This was the second time that Moore had beat out his opponents in the Republican Primary without a runoff, along with Democratic challengers in the General Election, all of whom were significantly more funded.

Same-sex marriage

On January 28, 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial ethics complaint against Moore, stating that he had publicly commented on pending same-sex marriage cases and encouraged state officials and judges to ignore federal court rulings overturning bans on same-sex marriage.[24][25]

Moore issued an order to probate judges and their employees on February 8, the day before a federal court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Alabama was set to take effect, ordering them to disregard the ruling and enforce the state’s ban under threat of legal action by the governor.[26] On February 9, after the United States Supreme Court allowed the federal court ruling to take effect, probate judges in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Huntsville disobeyed Moore and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[27]

On January 6, 2016, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges the previous June, Moore issued an administrative order to lower court judges stating that “until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”[28]

2016 charges in Alabama Court of the Judiciary

On May 6, 2016, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded a list of six charges of ethical violations by Moore to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.[29] Moore was suspended from the Alabama Supreme Court pending trial and ruling. Moore faced removal from office over the charges, which were more serious than those which removed him from office in 2003.[30][31]

The list of charges included:[32]

  1. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for disregarding a federal injunction.
  2. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for demonstrated unwillingness to follow clear law.
  3. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for abuse of administrative authority.
  4. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for substituting his judgement for the judgement of the entire Alabama Supreme Court, including failure to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court.
  5. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for interference with legal process and remedies in the United States District Court and/or Alabama Supreme Court related to proceedings in which Alabama probate judges were involved.
  6. Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for failure to recuse himself from pending proceedings in the Alabama Supreme Court after making public comment and placing his impartiality into question.

Moore vs. Judicial Inquiry Commission (US District Court)

On May 27, Moore filed a federal lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, alleging that his automatic suspension was unconstitutional.[33][34] On August 4, the federal district court dismissed Moore’s suit, ruling that under the abstention doctrine, federal courts generally do not interfere with ongoing state court proceedings.[35][36][37]

JIC vs. Moore (Court of the Judiciary)

On June 22, Moore filed a motion to dismiss the JIC proceedings arguing, among other things, that the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission and the Alabama Court of the Judiciary did not have jurisdiction over review of Administrative Orders of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and that the JIC had failed to adhere to its own rules regarding confidentiality of the proceedings. Moore also continued to assert in his motion to dismiss that the orders of the Alabama Supreme Court were still in effect from the Alabama Policy Institute proceedings prohibiting the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses by probate judges in Alabama, despite the rulings in Obergefell v. Hodges issued by the US Supreme CourtSearcy v. StrangeStrawser v. Strange, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which held that the orders were “abrogated” by Obergefell.[29][38][39][40][41]

The Human Rights Campaign responded “It is clear that Roy Moore not only believes he is above the law, he believes he is above judicial ethics. … Moore was tasked with upholding the law of the land when marriage equality was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and he defied that task, in the process harming loving, committed same-sex couples across Alabama for his own personal, discriminatory reasons. We remain optimistic that the sanctions against Moore will be upheld”.[42]

On June 27, the Court of the Judiciary issued on order setting a hearing date on Moore’s Motion to Dismiss for August 8, and stated in their order that Moore’s Motion to Dismiss would be treated as a Motion for Summary judgment pertaining to the charges filed by the JIC.[43][44]

On July 15, the Judicial Inquiry Commission filed a response to Roy Moore’s motion to dismiss asking the Court of the Judiciary to issue summary judgment removing Moore from the bench. Attorneys for the JIC wrote in their response “Because the chief justice has proven—and promised—that he will not change his behavior, he has left this Court with no choice but to remove him from office to preserve the integrity, independence, impartiality of Alabama’s judiciary and the citizens who depend on it for justice”.[45][46][47][48]

On July 22, Alabama Court of the Judiciary member John V. Denson II recused himself from the proceedings, citing his prior involvement in the 2003 JIC case which removed Justice Roy Moore from the bench over the Ten Commandments Monument Controversy. Denson stated his reason for recusing himself was “to promote public confidence in the court and avoid the appearance of impropriety”.[49][50][51] On July 23, Chief Judge Michael Joiner of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary issued an order appointing Attorney W. N. “Rocky” Watson to replace John Denson on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary during the Moore case.[52]

On July 26, attorneys for Liberty Counsel, who represent Roy Moore in the JIC proceedings, filed a reply to the JIC Motion for Summary Judgment denying that Chief Justice Roy Moore had directed Alabama’s Probate Judges to disobey an injunction issued by the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Moore’s attorneys continued to assert that the orders of the Alabama Supreme Court, which required Alabama’s probate judges to deny same sex couples marriage licenses, were still in effect, and that Moore’s January 6 Administrative Order was mischaracterized by the JIC, despite the fact that Moore stated in his January 6 order, “… Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.” [53][54][55][56]

On August 8, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary held a hearing on Moore’s Motion to Dismiss and the JIC Motion for Summary Judgment related to the charges pending against Chief Justice Moore. Moore’s attorneys continued to assert in their arguments that Justice Moore did not order probate judges to disobey an injunction issued by the US District Court, or to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding same-sex marriage. John Carroll, who represented the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, responded that this defense argument “defies common sense” based upon Justice Moore’s actions. Carroll argued that Moore was removed from office in 2003 for defying a federal court order and said Moore is again defying federal courts and their rulings supporting same-sex marriage, and should be immediately removed from office.[57][58] The Alabama Court of the Judiciary subsequently denied both Justice Moore’s motion for dismissal and the JIC motion for summary judgment and ordered the matter set for a trial scheduled for September 28, 2016 at 9:00 am in the Alabama Supreme Courtroom.[59]

On September 30, 2016, Moore was found guilty of all six charges against him and suspended for the remainder of his term, slated to end in 2019.[60] In its 50-page order, the Court of the Judiciary stated it did not find credible Moore’s claim that the purpose for the Jan. 6 order was “merely to provide a ‘status update’ to the state’s probate judges.”[60] He will not be paid for the remainder of his term, must pay court costs and the ruling effectively ends Moore’s Supreme Court career, as he will not be eligible for reelection in 2018.[61][62][63]

JIC vs. Moore Appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court

On October 3, 2016, Moore filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of the Judiciary appealing his suspension and the final judgment to the Alabama Supreme Court, contending that neither the JIC nor the COJ had jurisdiction to investigate and punish Chief Justice Moore for issuing his Administrative Order of January 6, 2016. Moore contended that the JIC failed to prove any of its six charges with clear and convincing evidence, that the JIC violated its own rules and Alabama law by breaching confidentiality during its investigation, and that it prosecuted a charge (charge number 6) that was never included in a sworn complaint. Moore also contended that, by “suspending him” without pay for the remainder of his term, the COJ essentially removed him from office without unanimous agreement by the entire the COJ, as required under Alabama law.[64][65][66][67] Pending the appeal, Moore refused to clean out his office.[68]

On October 27, the Alabama Supreme Court randomly selected seven retired judges to review the appeal of Moore’s suspension.[69][70][71] On October 31, 2016, Robert Bentley, the Governor of Alabama, issued an executive order confirming the appointment of the seven retired justices to hear Moore’s appeal from the decision of the COJ that suspended him from the bench for the remainder of his term.[72]

On December 13, Moore filed his appeal brief with the special Alabama Supreme Court that had been appointed to hear his appeal. He argued, among other things, that the COJ did not have jurisdiction or authority to review administrative orders of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and that the JIC had failed to prove by convincing evidence that he violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct. Moore also argued that his suspension from the bench for the remainder of his term was de facto removal from office, which required unanimous agreement of the members of the COJ, and therefore was improper under Alabama law.[73][74][75][76][77]

On December 14, eight current and retired Alabama Justices filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Moore, asserting in their filings that Moore’s suspension was, in fact, a removal from office and contrary to Alabama law since it required unanimous agreement of the COJ, despite the fact the COJ did unanimously agree in their final judgment to suspend Moore for the remainder of his term.[78][79]

On February 22, 2017, Moore filed a motion with the special Alabama Supreme Court, asking that it dispose of the appeal based on the merits contained in the parties’ briefs and cancel oral argument set for April 2017. Moore’s motion claimed he was suffering financially from the continued proceedings and the lengthy wait for scheduled oral arguments, as he was no longer being paid.[80]

On March 6, the special Alabama Supreme Court hearing Justice Roy Moore’s appeal granted his motion to cancel oral arguments originally scheduled for April and stated they would rule on the case based on the written briefs and motions submitted by the parties to the action.[81] The order was signed by James Harvey Reid, Jr., Special Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice. Special Justices Harris Edward McFerrin, Robert George Cahill, William Reddoch King, Lynn Clardy Bright, Ralph Alton Ferguson, Jr., and John David Coggin entered a concurring opinion granting the motion to cancel oral arguments in April.[82][83]

On April 20, the special Alabama Supreme Court upheld Moore’s suspension.[84] In its opinion, the special Alabama Supreme Court ruled that all of the Judicial Inquiry Commission charges against Moore were supported by clear and convincing evidence. Moore had argued that it required unanimous agreement of all the members of the JIC to remove a judge from the bench, but the special Alabama Supreme Court ruled that it did not have authority to rescind the sanctions imposed on Moore because the charges were amply supported by clear and convincing evidence, and that the JIC was unanimous in their decision to suspend Moore for the remainder of his term.[85]

On April 26, 2017 Roy Moore resigned from the Alabama Supreme Court and announced he would be running for the United States Senate.[86][2][3]

2017 Senate special election in Alabama

On April 26, 2017, Moore resigned from his judicial seat in order to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated earlier by U.S. Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions and currently occupied by Luther Strange who was appointed to fill the vacancy and is also running in the special election to be held in 2017.[87]

Moore and Strange advanced to the primary runoff after Moore finished first with 38.87% of the vote to Strange’s 32.83%.[88] The primary runoff is to be held on September 26, 2017.

Campaign speech racial controversy

During a campaign speech, Moore made comments about racial division that have widely been regarded as controversial. Moore decried racial divisions plaguing the United States, and paraphrased children’s Sunday School Song “Jesus Loves the Little Children[89], stating: “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.” Moore’s campaign responded to a request for comment about his remarks stating that the candidate was referencing a children’s song appealing for racial healing.[90][91][92]

Election issues and campaigns

2004

Moore considered running for the nomination of the Constitution Party in the 2004 presidential election.[93] Despite encouragement from several corners, Moore did not pursue the nomination.[94]

Moore was also a notable opponent of a proposed amendment to the Alabama constitution in 2004. Known as Amendment 2, the proposed legislation would have removed wording from the state constitution that referred to poll taxes and required separate schools for “white and colored children,” a practice already outlawed due to civil rights-era legislation during the Civil Rights Movement. Moore and other opponents of the measure argued that the amendment’s wording would have allowed federal judges to force the state to fund public school improvements with increased taxes. Voters in Alabama narrowly defeated the proposed amendment, with a margin of 1,850 votes out of 1.38 million cast.[95]

In 2004, along with Herb Titus, Moore was an original drafter of the Constitution Restoration Act[96] which sought to remove federal courts’ jurisdiction over a government official or entity’s “acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government,” and provided for the impeachment of judges who failed to do so. The bill was introduced in both houses of Congress in 2004 and then reintroduced in 2005, but languished in committee both times.

2006

On October 3, 2005, Moore announced that he would run against Governor Riley in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary in Alabama. On the campaign trail, Moore referred to what he believed was the stand that the American founding fathers made for the biblical basis for law, including statements that he felt extolled the supremacy of God as the basis for successful government.

As with the 2000 Supreme Court election, Moore’s opponent maintained steady advantages over the Moore campaign, including almost four times as much funding and the support of the state Republican establishment. However, intra-party politics proved trickier this time around. Moore accused the chair of the state’s Republican Party of bias towards Riley and called on her to resign; he also criticized President Bush for his support of Riley in the race. His criticism of the state Republican machine was so harsh that he eventually had to call a press conference to quell rumors that he would run as an independent if he lost the Republican primary.[97]

Despite Moore’s predictions that his initial low polling numbers were inaccurate, Riley won the primary, 306,665 (66.6 percent) to 153,354 (33.34 percent). In his concession speech, Moore told supporters that “God’s will has been done.” Moore did not call Riley to concede and refused to support Riley in the general election because of Riley’s acceptance of campaign contributions from political action committees.[97] Despite losing the Republican primary Moore was endorsed as a write-in candidate in the general election by the Alabama Constitution Party.

2010

On June 1, 2009, Moore announced his campaign for the 2010 election for Governor of Alabama.[1] On April 17, 2010, former NASCAR driver Bobby Allison endorsed Moore for governor.[98][99] In the June 1, 2010 Republican primary election, Moore came in fourth place behind Bradley ByrneRobert J. Bentley, and Tim James (son of former Governor Fob James). Moore garnered 19 percent of the vote, behind Tim James with 25.11 percent, Robert Bentley with 25.15 percent, and Bradley Byrne with 27.89 percent.

2014

In a speech in Mississippi, Moore said that the Framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers attributed our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as coming from a specific “Creator” God, stating “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures.”[100] When he was accused of implying the First Amendment only protected Christians, he rejected that and stated his belief that the First Amendment protects all faiths: “It applies to the rights God gave us to be free in our modes of thinking, and as far as religious liberty to all people, regardless of what they believe.”[101]

2016

On May 6, 2016, Moore was again suspended by the state’s Court of the Judiciary.[30] On September 30, 2016. Moore was found guilty of all six charges against him and was suspended for the remainder of his term, which was to end in 2019.[60]

Columnist

Moore wrote weekly columns for the conservative conspiracy website WorldNetDailyfrom 2006 to 2009.[102][103] Speaking with WorldNetDaily, Moore promoted the debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen.[104] In his debut column, Moore argued that God is the “sovereign source of our law”, echoing his language and reasoning used in the failed Constitution Restoration Act.[105]

In a column dated December 13, 2006, Moore wrote that Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim to have been elected to the United States House of Representatives in the 2006 election should be barred from sitting in Congress because in his view, a Muslim could not honestly take the oath of office. Moore said that the Qur’an did not allow for religions other than Islam to exist, and added that “common sense alone dictates that in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists we should not place someone in a position of great power who shares their doctrine”.[106] Moore was criticized for his position because it suggested he believes in a “Christians only theocracy.”[107]

Birther controversy

Moore does not believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.[104] He has repeatedly promoted the debunked conspiracy that Obama is not a U.S. citizen since 2008 and through at least December 2016.[104][108] Asked if he still questioned Obama’s citizenship in August 2017, the Moore campaign declined to answer questions from the media.[104][108] As a justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, he even opined that Alabama’s Secretary of State should “investigate the qualifications of those candidates who appeared on the 2012 general-election ballot.”[104]

Britain First party video controversy

In a Facebook post from 2015, the Foundation for Moral Law posted a video titled “Obama the Muslim, His Own Words,” which was created by the British far-right[109]Britain First party, which states its goal is to “restore Christianity as the bedrock and foundation of our national life,” citing “the rapid growth of militant Islam.”[110]

Family life

Moore’s wife, Kayla, is the President of the Foundation for Moral Law, which Roy founded. His son Caleb works there as well, and was identified in 2012 tax returns as its Executive Director. Arrested for possession of Xanax and marijuana on March 15, 2015, Caleb paid a $900 fine and was granted pretrial diversion after promising to enter drug rehab, despite three prior drug convictions, and three Driving Under the Influence arrests since 2011, in Alabama and Florida. “I must admit, the things people are saying about me on social media are for the most part true. I do have a past that I’m not proud of. Thank God for salvation and changing my life,” he posted on Facebook. Blaming others after his arrest, Caleb wrote, “the media and crooked police officers and critics of my dad try to not only destroy his career for what he stands for but will go as far as trying to destroy his family.”[111][112][113] On November 25, 2016, he was arrested for the eighth time in five years, for hunting over bait and hunting without permission of the property owner.[114]

See also

References

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The Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017: Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean — Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos — Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in the Pacific Ocean

What could happen if NKorea tests hydrogen bomb over ocean?

Kim Jong-un makes unprecedented statement at Trump as N. Korea suggests future …

Panel on Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘Dotard’ and ‘Frightened Dog’ #DonaldTrump #NorthKorea

“Rocket Man” : North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘a Frightened Dog’ and ‘Dotard’

Putin warns US, North Korea on verge of conflict

Hydrogen Bomb vs. Atomic Bomb: What’s The Difference?

North Korea nuclear test: Hydrogen bomb ‘missile-ready’ – BBC News

Fareed Zakaria on North Korea hints at detonating H-Bomb in Pacific. #Breaking #FareedZakaria

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM?

Why North Korea Can’t Build An ICBM (yet)

 

People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

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Rand Paul Goes Off On Obamacare “Repeal”

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Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) On Latest Obamacare Effort: This Is Not Repeal – The Five

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEIL CAVUTO (9/14/2017)

 

Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

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The Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017, Part 2 — 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

Posted on June 28, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Trade Policy, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Image result for repeal and replace obamacareImage result for branco cartoon repeal and replace obamacare

Image result for repeal and replace obamacareImage result for american on group plans, individual plans, Medicare, MedicaidImage result for repeal and replace obamacare

Image result for cartoons on repeal and replace of obamacare

Image result for Progressive republicans and democrats the two party tyrannyImage result for cartoons on repeal and replace of obamacareImage result for Progressive republicans and democrats the two party tyranny

National Debt Clock 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Image result for Progressive republicans and democrats the two party tyranny

Part 2 — 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

 

Image result for Per capita health care expenditures by country 2015

Image result for Per capita health care expenditures by country 2015

 

Image result for Per capita health care expenditures by country 2015

Image result for Per capita health care expenditures by country 2015

Image result for Per capita health care expenditures by country 2015

Image result for how many americans are in employer paid health insurance v. individual health insurance

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.

Should Republicans Punt On Health Care Reform?

Poll: Only 17% approve of Senate health care bill | Trump polls 6/28/2017

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

I won’t vote to keep ObamaCare: Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul: Our Bill May Cost More In First 2 Years Than Obamacare Did | TODAY

Republicans delay Senate health care vote

Heller says he will not support the GOP Senate health-care bill

Senator Ron Johnson: ‘We Should Not Be Voting’ on Healthcare This Week | Meet The Press | MSNBC

Milton Friedman – Collectivism

Milton Friedman on universal health care

Milton Friedman – The Social Security Myth

Milton Friedman – The Welfare Establishment

Milton Friedman – Tyranny of the Status Quo – Part 1 – Beneficiaries

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

Lacking enough GOP votes, Senate pushes back health bill

Sen. Rand Paul: Senate health care bill needs more Obamacare ‘repeal’

Hardball with Chris Matthews 6/27/17 Republicans can’t repeal and replace Obamacare

Hume on GOP Health Care Fight: Either Way, Republicans Have a ‘Problem’

Rand Paul: Let’s Repeal Obamacare And Don’t Replace It

Rush Limbaugh Talks Obamacare With VP Mike Pence: “We Take The Teeth Out Of The Tiger”

Republicans have one major problem on Obamacare

Why Can’t America Have a Grown-Up Healthcare Conversation?

Is Obamacare Working? The Affordable Care Act Five Years Later

Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?

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

‘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.119through 124 Stat.1025(906 pages)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseasthe “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590byCharles Rangel (DNYon September 17, 2009
  • Committee consideration byWays 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 PresidentBarack Obamaon 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 PresidentBarack 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 governmentsconservativeadvocacy 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” appropriationsConsolidated 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 conservativeThe 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 Clintonproposed 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 leaderHarry 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 StaffRahm Emanuel argued that Democrats should scale back to a less ambitious bill; House SpeakerNancy 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 Democraticfilibuster.”[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

Party Affiliation