Republicans Take Another Swipe at Obamacare
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Republicans Take Another Swipe at Obamacare

Senate Version of the Tax-Cut Scheme Abolishes Health Insurance Mandate, Weakens the Affordable Care Act

Backdoor repeal. Senate Republican leaders are adding a provision to their tax bill that would repeal the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that almost everyone have insurance. About 13 million fewer people would have insurance in the next decade with that change, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Repealing the mandate would free up more than $300 billion in government funding.

Repealing the mandate would undermine other key parts of the Affordable Care Act. The law forbids insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions but imposes financial penalties on people who do not maintain health insurance coverage.

Health experts say eliminating the mandate would destabilize the individual insurance markets set up by the Affordable Care Act.

Keystone. Nebraska regulators will announce their decision on the Keystone XL pipeline next week. The five members of the Nebraska Public Service Commission will vote Nov. 20 on a proposed order for the pipeline which would deliver oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Trump granted a presidential permit for the $8 billion pipeline in March. Keystone developers have to decide if the project is economically viable. TransCanada officials told investors it might not build the project.

Moore

Heck of a dilemma. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is talking up the possibility of Attorney General Jeff Sessions running as a write-in candidate for his old Senate seat in Alabama. “I’d like to save the seat, and it’s a heck of a dilemma when you’ve got a completely unacceptable candidate bearing the label of your party within a month of the election,” McConnell said.

The winner of the special election on Dec. 12 will serve the remaining three-plus years of the term.

The Republican National Committee filed paperwork Tuesday night with the Federal Election Commission to sever fundraising ties with the GOP nominee, Roy Moore. Five women have publicly accused Moore of making unwanted sexual advances, but Moore has denied the accusations and refused to remove himself from the campaign.

Speaking at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday morning, Sessions said he had “no reason to doubt” the women who have made the allegations against Moore. On an unrelated matter, Sessions also told the committee that his “story has never changed” about his and other Trump campaign officials’ connections to Russia.

Wilbur Ross. Six Senate Democrats requested an investigation of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after reports that he apparently lied about his net worth and held onto investments in a shipping company that does business with a Russian enterprise partially owned by associates of Vladimir Putin. The senators’ letter also raised questions about whether Ross had complied with agreements he made to sell off his holdings and step back from decisions that would impact investment he still owns.

November 15, 2017