Trump Is Angry With Puerto Rico for Making Him Look Bad

Well, he does everything bigly. Now Trump has made Bush’s “heck of a job, Brownie” moment look like Clara Barton arriving on the battlefield.

As I posted yesterday, the Trump Administration’s tepid “response” to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico pales in comparison to what Obama did for Haiti in 2010. Even the general in charge of relief there says the Administration isn’t doing enough.

Yesterday in response to some blather from the acting head of Homeland Security about what a great job the Administration is doing in Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz responded “Dammit, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story.”

Ms. Cruz became a powerful voice of grievance on Friday when she went on television to plead for help and reject assertions by the Trump administration about how well it was responding. She was incensed by comments made by Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, who had said on Thursday that it was “really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths” from the hurricane.

“This is, dammit, this is not a good news story,” Ms. Cruz said on CNN. “This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen.”

Naturally, Trump responded by being Trump.

The president is responding by citing what he calls “such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

Trump says “they want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

He says the hurricane “totally destroyed” Puerto Rico and that “the military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an amazing job.”

And, of course, the asshole in chief is screaming about fake news.

The Washington Post has a different take:

As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

Trump did hold a meeting at his golf club that Friday with half a dozen Cabinet officials — including acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke, who oversees disaster response — but the gathering was to discuss his new travel ban, not the hurricane. Duke and Trump spoke briefly about Puerto Rico but did not talk again until Tuesday, an administration official said.


In Puerto Rico, meanwhile, the scope of the devastation was becoming clearer. Virtually the entire island was without power and much of it could be for weeks, officials estimated, and about half of the more than 3 million residents did not have access to clean water. Gas was in short supply, airports and ports were in disrepair, and telecommunications infrastructure had been destroyed.

Instead of stepping up his act, Trump has behaved like a petulant child complaining that not everybody loves him and picking a feud with the Mayor of San Juan.

See also Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico is higher than official count, experts say.

Stuff to Read

Tom Price resigned from HHS. If only that were the entire cabinet.

Ryan Grim and Aída Chávez at The Intercept write that Lindsay Graham admits he had no idea what he was doing regarding health care reform.

A reporter pointed out that such ignorance at this late stage is hard to understand. “You’ve been working to overhaul this for seven years. Why is this so hard?” she asked.

“Well, I’ve been doing it for about a month. I thought everybody else knew what the hell they were talking about, but apparently not,” Graham clarified, adding he had assumed “these really smart people will figure it out.”

From the Washington Post:

After an earthquake shattered Haiti’s capital on Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S. military mobilized as if it were going to war.

Before dawn the next morning, an Army unit was airborne, on its way to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water. …

… By contrast, eight days after Hurricane Maria ripped across neighboring Puerto Rico, just 4,400 service members were participating in federal operations to assist the devastated island, an Army general told reporters Thursday. In addition, about 1,000 Coast Guard members were aiding the efforts. About 40 U.S. military helicopters were helping to deliver food and water to the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory, along with 10 Coast Guard helicopters.

Has Trump had his “heck of a job, brownie” moment?

If not Trump, did acting Homeland Security director Elaine Duke have it?

A White House official’s praise of the government response to Hurricane Maria drew a sharp rebuke from the mayor of San Juan, as Puerto Ricans grew desperate in the aftermath of the storm, struggling to obtain basic life-sustaining supplies.

Elaine Duke, the acting head of Homeland Security, said on Thursday that she was “very satisfied” with the government’s response so far and the progress that has been made.

“I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” she said.

The Mayor of San Juan disagreed.

Big surprise, not:

The tax framework that President Trump and congressional Republicans rolled out this week would reduce federal revenues by $2.4 trillion in its first 10 years and provide the biggest tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, according to an analysis released Friday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC).

And don’t forget to get your flu shot.

When Lefties Are Their Own Worst Enemies

Last night’s segment of the Burns-Novick PBS series, among other things, told the story of how Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers and got them published. This was significant, because one of the gripes about the series that seized social media even before the first segment was shown was that Ellsberg had been left out. Between that and the fact that Bank of America and David Koch donated money to produce the series, there has been a regular anti-Burns movement on social media among self-identified lefties who badmouth the series and call it a whitewash, which is why they are refusing to watch it.

It’s true that the current Ellsberg hasn’t appeared on camera (there’s one more segment to air), but the series told his story and quoted things he said in the 1970s about why he leaked the documents. The segment also reported the time the Plumbers broke into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to look for something incriminating to use against him. That part of the story, and the significance of the Pentagon Papers, was covered, in other words. Note that PBS produced a whole separate 90-minute film just on Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers that was released in 2010. I wonder if the gripers noticed.

The other aspect of the series that has put many knickers in a knot is that it hasn’t told the story of how the glorious and noble antiwar movement helped end the war. But the sad fact is, I can’t say that it did. I believed at the time, and still believe, that the only real accomplishment of the antiwar movement was to re-elect Richard Nixon in 1972. And last night’s episode underscored that point.

Most of us who participated in antiwar demonstrations — notice that I include myself — in those years were not violent. Most of us didn’t break windows or set fires or wave North Vietnamese flags. But there were enough who did do those things that it destroyed the effectiveness of the movement. The antiwar movement replaced the war itself as the big, hot-button issue of the day.

Remember, most Americans alive at the time grew up and had lived their lives believing that America never did anything wrong, and that the government knew what it was doing and wouldn’t lie to us. These were people who came of age when the New Deal was bringing the economy back to life after the Great Depression (and it did, right-wing propaganda to the contrary). They had fought World War II. They — white people, anyway — had benefited from the great economic growth of the post World War II era.  To them, the U.S. and its government was glorious and always right.

These Americans, few of whom had any clue why were in Vietnam except to “fight Communism,” may have disapproved of the handling of the war, but they hated the antiwar movement more than they disapproved of the war. And Nixon and Agnew played that like a fiddle. The broad backlash against the antiwar movement actually caused people to rally around Nixon and support whatever he was doing in Vietnam at the time.

In short, Nixon and Agnew used the antiwar movement to deflect attention from the war itself. This took pressure off of Nixon to end the war quickly.

In last night’s episode, a segment of the old David Frost show was shown in which Agnew spoke to some campus activists. Agnew kept trying to turn the discussion into students being violent, and an articulate young woman speaking to him, who clearly was not making excuses for or advocating violence herself, asked him why he was trying to make Americans afraid of their own children. That was powerful. Maybe you had to live through those days to appreciate what was going on, but that’s exactly what was done. A large part of the Greatest Generation turned on their own children.

Some people today were shocked to learn that a majority of Americans approved of the killing of students at Kent State and Jackson State. I wasn’t shocked by that at all, at the time. That’s how it was then. I’m not sure the country has changed all that much, considering the way many people still support unjustified police shootings.

By the time we got to 1971, the one segment of the antiwar movement that was having a good effect, in my opinion, was Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Last night’s segment covered the April 1971 encampment of the VVAW on the National Mall, featuring John Kerry’s testimony and the veterans who threw their medals over the fence erected to keep them off the Capitol steps. This was very powerful; I thought at the time that, just maybe, this would put a crack in people’s knee-jerk support for the war.

But no; a few days later some jerks showed up in DC to set fires and threaten national anarchy. Nixon and Agnew were delighted, the narrator said, because it took attention away from the VVAW. I don’t doubt that for a minute.

And remember Nixon’s lopsided victory over George McGovern in 1972? The one where McGovern won only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia? There were several factors working against McGovern, but IMO the biggest reason it was that lopsided is that people associated McGovern with the antiwar movement and the New Left generally.

Yes, the war actually ended, but I strongly suspect that if the antiwar movement had been more disciplined and less of a freak show, it would have ended sooner. Public opinion was actually turning against the war as early as 1966.

I acknowledge that the people who turned it into a freak show were a minority, mostly younger white men who were self-indulgent and immature. It has been widely believed (although not mentioned on PBS) that some of the jerks were on Nixon’s payroll, and I don’t rule that out. But such young men always seem to show up at big demonstrations to hog the megaphones, microphones, and attention, to which they clearly believe they are entitled. That was true during the anti-Iraq War demonstrations I attended, also. Some things don’t change.

This is a big reason I get very twitchy about leftie demonstrations generally; they so easily become counter-productive. The young folks seem to use the antiwar movement as a template for how demonstrations are to be conducted, not realizing what a colossal failure the antiwar movement actually was.

I have not been critical of antifa in the recent anti-Nazi demonstrations. Charlottesville showed us that peaceful people can’t count on the police to protect them from right-wing violence. A lot of people who were there have said that, were antifa not there, the bloodshed would have been worse. But I caution them that they must be very disciplined and very cautious, and never initiate violence.

There is one more segment to be shown of the Burns/Novick documentary. If you haven’t been watching it, I strongly suggest going to and watching the whole thing from the beginning. This is especially true if you weren’t around back then. It’s all been very honest. The Vietnam War permanently changed the country. People need to know what really happened. The series, in my opinion, shows what really happened. Note that it will be available for free streaming only a few more days.

In a film format especially there are always going to be some details and perspectives left out because of time limitations. When dealing with a complex piece of history, there are always infinite variations in how to explain it. But on the whole, I have no serious criticism of how Burns and Novick told this story.

And for the critics — beside the showflakes who think the series was being mean to the antiwar movement, my favorite comment so far was from a guy on Facebook who accused Burns of red-baiting because he portrayed the government of North Vietnam as Communist.

Not enough face palms in the world.

Making the Democratic Party Democratic

This op ed is by a guy, Ronald Klain, who was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year, but with that caveat I have to say I agree with his suggestions for reforming the Democratic nomination process. They are: (1) eliminate the caucuses; (2) open the primaries to independents; (3) take away the superdelegate vote.

Suggestions #2 and #3 are the ones I agree with most strongly, but I can see the argument for #1. A primary probably is a more reliable measure of a state’s Democratic voters than a caucus, which is a confusing and time-consuming process that only the most committed people attend.

#2  Last year Clinton voters were calling for the primaries to be closed to anyone but registered Democrats, and I think that’s a huge mistake. Dems can’t win elections without the votes of left-leaning independents. “What kind of message is sent to independents about Democrats’ desire for their support in the fall by a nomination process displaying a ‘not welcome’ sign in the spring?” Klain asks. And, frankly, the Democratic Party isn’t helping itself by being more closed off and inbred than it already is. It won’t hurt for the process to reflect the broader views of the electorate. Mischief can be kept to a minimum by barring registered Republicans from voting. Seems sensible to me.

#3 The superdelegates have got to go. I disagree with Klain when he wrote “Superdelegates have never been decisive in the process; they have always ratified the choice of the primary voters.” Clinton fell short of votes to clinch the nomination last year; were it not for the superdelegates it would have been a contested convention. I’m sure she would have won anyway, since she owned the DNC. But it was galling to be reminded, all last year, that Clinton started out with a huge lead because of the superdelegates.

Emma Roller wrote last year, “Left-wing Democrats have long argued that their party’s system of superdelegates is unfair because it gives too much weight to ruling elites, disenfranchising ordinary voters.” Yeah, pretty much. And that’s the last thing Democrats need.

I would go so far as to say that if the Dems haven’t gotten rid of the superdelegates by 2020, it’s going to hurt them. People will remember 2016.

Trump, Interrupted

Trump has responded to people nagging at him about Puerto Rico by agreeing to visit it next Tuesday. That’s a week from today, right? I know he’s really busy bitching about the NFL and Republicans in Congress, but one would think he could have scheduled something a bit sooner.

Puerto Rico is in crisis

After Hurricane Maria knocked out electricity to all of Puerto Rico, residents of the U.S. territory are “gasping for air” in the relenting heat, says the mayor of the island’s capital city of San Juan.

“What’s out there is total devastation. Total annihilation. People literally gasping for air. I personally have taken people out and put them in ambulances because their generator has run out,” Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told ABC News.

Cruz said Puerto Rico has been prepared for major storms since the end of August, when Hurricane Irma was approaching. Irma slammed into the island and caused deaths and devastation, and was soon followed by the catastrophic hit of Maria. Parts of the island have now gone several weeks without running water and electricity.

Hospitals in particular are struggling without power, supplies, and even food and water. Before this is over we’re probably going to learn that a lot of people died after the storm who could have been saved by a quicker response. They are probably dying right now.

But Trump, who was so pleased with himself because he managed to visit Texas after Harvey, seems to feel no sense of urgency about Puerto Rico. In fact, he thinks he’s doing a good job.

President Donald Trump said he plans to travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday to survey the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Maria, and boasted that his administration is getting “really good marks” for its response to the devastating storm.

“I mean I think we’re really getting really good marks for the work we’re doing,” Trump told reporters at the White House, also saying, “I grew up in New York so I know many people from Puerto Rico. I know many Puerto Ricans, and these are great people. And we have to help them.”

He added, “We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and on Florida. And we will also on Puerto Rico.”

So far, Trump has managed to figure out that Puerto Rico is an island. At least, he actually said this:

 “We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said at the White House. “But the difference is this is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean. And we’re doing a really good job.”

I can confirm that Puerto Rico is in an ocean, so we’re making progress in some ways.

He also said, “This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean, this is tough stuff.” Yes, but there is also a thing called the “Navy.” They have boats.

Earlier today it was announced that the hospital ship the USNS Comfort would be heading to Puerto Rico, but the Miami Herald just reported that the Comfort wouldn’t be going yet.

On Tuesday, Nathan Potter, of the Naval public affairs office told The Miami Herald that the vessel was currently docked in Norfolk and had “no plans to deploy.”

Possibly the White House hasn’t yet figured out that the military doesn’t respond to rumors on the Internet. You have to send them orders.

The BBC asks, “Does Trump care about Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims?” Judging by his tweets, he has more important things on his mind, such as pro sports:

When he did finally tweet about Puerto Rico, it was to complain that Puerto Rico owed millions to Wall Street and the banks.

With all the hurricane there was bound to be a Katrina in there, somewhere, and I think we found it.

Noted in Passing

The Rapture was yesterday. So far, nobody has turned up missing.

Stupid is as stupid does:

Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business.

Kushner uses his private account alongside his official White House email account, sometimes trading emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others about media coverage, event planning and other subjects, according to four people familiar with the correspondence. POLITICO has seen and verified about two dozen emails.

Some people don’t like to do what they’re told.

NFL players used the national anthem to show their defiance to President Donald Trump’s criticism, with at least 100 players kneeling or sitting in protest and one team staying in the locker room.

Most teams in the early afternoon games locked arms in solidarity. At least three team owners joined their players.

If Colin Kaepernick gets an NFL job soon, he should send Trump a thank you card.

It looks like Angela Merkel has been elected to a fourth term.

It looks like there are three definite Republican nos on the new atrocity health care bill, McCain, Paul, and now Cruz. And Susan Collins sounds like a no to me, too.

Police Brutality in St. Louis

Today the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has committed an act of journalism and reported on police activity last weekend. A bit slow, there, but better late than never.

It appears that last Sunday night, some vandals broke some windows and flower pots, and the police conducted a sweep that covered several blocks. Among those arrested were an undercover cop, who was beaten by his own “brothers.” Another was an air force lieutenant who was standing outside his home, watching. Another was a photojournalist working on assignment from Getty Images. Another was one of the stage crew for U2, scheduled to give a concert on September 16, who got caught in the sweep when he stepped out of a bar. This may have something to do with why U2 canceled the concert. The Post-Dispatch:

The police were congratulated by their acting police chief, who said they “owned tonight,” and got praise from Gov. Eric Greitens for their tactics. But as more details emerged about heavy-handed police tactics, criticism mounted. A lawyer for the Post-Dispatch condemned the “inappropriate and disturbing” arrest of one of its journalists. A lawsuit on Friday alleged that the police violated people’s civil rights. And two top city officials on different days used the word “disturbing” to describe allegations of abusive police.

On Wednesday, City Counselor Julian Bush called allegations regarding the arrest of Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk disturbing.

On Friday, Mayor Lyda Krewson asked the director of public safety to investigate how an undercover officer became bloodied during his arrest Sunday when he was mistaken for a suspect believed to be carrying chemicals that could be sprayed on officers.

It gets better.

Lt. Alex Nelson, 27, who works in cyberoperations at Scott Air Force Base, was walking around his neighborhood with his wife when they became trapped between quickly closing police lines. He said he was kicked in the face, blinded by pepper spray and dragged away.

“It’s our street,” he said. “I hear the police say it was their street, but it’s literally my street. I have coffee on that street, and I own property on that street. We were not active protesters. We were looking into the neighborhood to observe events that were unfolding.

“I’m very sad how they treated me and my wife through the escalation of violence they used on me. It was incredibly unnecessary. I’ve had training on how to arrest and be arrested, and I capitulated to every demand that was made of me, even before I was on the ground. We were told to move back, and we moved back. We were told to move this way, we moved this way. We obeyed every command that we heard. We were never given an order to disperse. Not once.”

He said while waiting to be loaded into a police vehicle, he said he was an officer in the military. He said the police officer replied, “Shut up. Stop. I don’t care.”

William Waldron, part of the U2 crew: “They threw me on the ground and told me I was being arrested,” he said. “The guys inside were trying to come out and tell them I was a part of their crew, and police told them if they opened up the door they were going to arrest them.”

Several people who said they were complying with police orders were pepper sprayed anyway. A number of people — some were taking part in the demonstration, some just happened to be in the area — suffered injuries from being slammed to the ground and dragged around by police. One observer suffered nerve damage from having his hands bound too tightly.

Another observer said, “As they told people to disperse, they wouldn’t let people leave. We were there for about 30 minutes, and then the police gave the final warning to disperse, but wouldn’t let people leave. That’s when the police started rushing and macing.”


Fareed Alston of East St. Louis was filming the protests for his company City-Productions and Publishing when he was arrested.

“It was like imminent danger, a wall of police circling around us,” Alston said. “They told us to get on the ground and everyone complied. Even as we did that they started pepper spraying us and kicking us to the ground with their foot and taking people’s phones.”

Alston, 28, said as he was being taken to the police van he saw officers giving high fives, taking selfies and smoking cigars.

It has been widely reported that when the sweep was over, police were chanting “Whose streets? Our streets.”

There is an acting chief of police now because the former one resigned in April of this year when the newly elected mayor, Lyda Krewson, was sworn into office. Krewson had no role in the Stockley verdict that touched off the recent protests. However, she does need to step up and take charge of the police department, and fast.

More on the New Republican Atrocity

The most important thing to understand is if this new “repeal and replace” bill becomes law, it won’t just screw up Obamacare. It will impact how most of us access health care, directly or indirectly. It’s actually worse than the last bill they tried to pass.

Will Bunch wrote at

The stated motive of its sponsors — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — is to return power and flexibility to the states. But the states — even those run by Republican governors like Trump ally Chris Christie in New Jersey — do not want this. Neither do doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, or anyone else who knows one whit about how health care in America actually works. One particularly harsh critic urged defeat of the Senate bill because it “reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.” What pot-brownie-addled BernieBro said that? The association of Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers, that’s who.

Margot Sanger-Katz writes at the New York Times that the bill would force states to build entire health care systems from scratch.

The bill, proposed by Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, would eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of state Medicaid programs to cover poor adults and its system of subsidies to help middle-income Americans buy their own insurance in state marketplaces. Instead, it would allow states to apply for big block grants of money once they have developed a plan to use the money to provide health care or health insurance coverage. …

…States could use the money in any number of ways: state insurance programs, subsidies for private insurance, direct payments to health providers, high-risk pools or more. They would be free to preserve the central consumer protections created by Obamacare, or to decide to allow insurers to limit benefits or charge higher prices to sicker customers than healthier ones.

The challenges would fall into two major categories. First, states would need to make political choices about what they want their system to look like. Next, they would need to submit applications, hire contractors and build new systems to run them. Neither would be easy.

Oh, and the states have two years to accomplish this.

The bill would make health care an active, high-stakes political debate in all 50 states. Under Obamacare, states had limited, rather binary policy choices, and even those were hard for state governments to make quickly.

A considerable percentage of state governments are even more dysfunctional and corrupt than the U.S. Congress. People in those states can pretty much kiss their access to health care goodbye. Insurers have come out against it, because the amount of uncertainty this bill would create would pretty much blow their business model out of the water. And, whether people want to admit it or not, what happens with federal funding, including Medicaid, deeply impacts hospitals and sets off ripple effects that impact everyone.

So far, the most effective voice speaking out against this atrocity is Jimmy Kimmel.

“Oh, I get it. I don’t understand because I’m a talk-show host, right? Well then, help me out. Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I’m not understanding the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?”

“Or the part where the American Medical Association, The American College of Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Hospital Association, The American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association, The American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and The March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill?” he continued. “Which part of that am I not understanding? Or could it be, Senator Cassidy, that the problem is that I do understand, and that you got caught with your G-O-Penis out? Is that possible? Because it feels like it is.”

I assume Senate Democrats are speaking out against this also, but media are ignoring them. See also Greg Sargent, Cassidy-Graham could still blow up in the GOP’s face. Here’s how.

Republicans Are Still Trying to Take Away Your Health Care

The continents are getting slammed. Hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes. I don’t really want to talk about politics. But duty calls.

The Senate is trying to pass another repeal-and-replace bill, and it’s a doozy. It’s safe to say that if this goes through, whatever health care plan you have now would be screwed, sooner or later.  See Sarah Kliff, I’ve covered the GOP repeal plans since day one. Graham-Cassidy is the most radical. See also Obamacare 101: What would the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill do?

Mitch McConnell is pushing this bill as hard as he can push it.

The pressure is on because Republicans are attempting to use a procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass the bill. The process allows them to avoid a Democratic filibuster and pass the bill with only a simple majority. Republicans currently hold 52 seats in the Senate.

But the rules that allow Republicans to use reconciliation will run out at the end of September, per a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian. This has spurred intense urgency to pass the legislation.

The intention to introduce the bill to the floor likely means that the GOP is close to the necessary votes — and that McConnell may be pressuring some wavering members. Cassidy told reporters that the bill is supported by 48 or 49 Republicans.

So it’s going to be another close vote on absolutely devastating legislation. The Washington Post has an analysis of which votes are likely and which are still up for grabs. It’s going to be another nail-biter, I’m afraid.

Greg Sargent had some positive news today.

Unfortunately for the bill’s supporters, a new study just came out that will enable Republicans to make a somewhat more informed decision about this legislation, after all. And it could deal a blow to the bill’s chances. It should, anyway.

The study, which was released this morning by Avalere Health, a consulting firm, finds that many states will see sizable cuts to the federal money that would flow to their states, relative to current law. Some of those states are represented by the GOP senators who are currently deciding whether to back the bill, including Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio) and John McCain (Ariz.).

This graphic shows which states would lose and which would gain, funding wise. Blue is lose, green is gain. Texas makes out nicely, for some reason. California is the most screwed.

This is the Graham-Cassidy bill; I see Graham’s South Carolina gains funds, but Cassidy’s Louisiana loses. Weird. Anyway, I hope these results will keep senators Murkowski, McCain and Collins on the right side.

Speaking of Cassidy, last night Jimmy Kimmel ripped Cassidy a new one on the teevee:

On his show on Tuesday night, Kimmel attacked Cassidy as a “liar” for coming on his show earlier this year and saying that he would not back any legislation that does not protect people with pre-existing conditions, or does not cover families who face healthcare emergencies. Kimmel drew attention earlier this year for delivering a monologue in which he talked about his infant son’s heart surgery, and made the case for affordable health care for families who have less means in such emergencies.

But Cassidy insisted that his healthcare legislation would pass what he has dubbed the “Kimmel test,” or ensuring that all families have affordable care.

“It was a personal attack, and I cannot help that, but all I can say is if you are in Texas, or if you are Maine, or Virginia, or Missouri, there will be resources in your state that you have not had that can provide you coverage, and we have protections for pre-existing conditions,” he told NBC News.

Texas, Virginia and Missouri maybe; not so much Maine. California, definitely not. Actually, Sarah Kliff says Graham-Cassidy brings back the preexisting conditions problem and allows insurers to deny coverage or charge higher rates for them.

In short, contact your senator, now. If you have a Republican senator, contact them multiple times.