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Everyone Gets Sick, And Everyone Deserves Quality Health Care.

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      Dealing with hospitalizations and terminal illness is tough enough without having to worry about insurance. CreditCreditKevin D. Liles for The New York Times
      .
      One of the most glaring issues/problems/concerns for many of us here in the United states, is our lack of affordable health care for everyone. Every child, every young or old person, every human in the United States should be able to access health care without going bankrupt to do so.

      The majority of us see heath care as a right, one that all other developed nations agree everyone deserves, so they are providing it; while our Republican legislators prefer to support the insurance companies, the wealthy, and THEMSELVES - since they will always be able to get the health care that they need.

      We hear excuses galore. "Our health care wouldn't be as good; or we might have to wait for procedures that are not life threatening; or taxes would be too high, etc;" but what we are constantly bombarded with is that we can't afford it - that there isn't money to pay for it, even though many leading economists have shown us that we could actually SAVE money using such plans as Medicare for All or other plans that provide needed care for everyone, no matter their status or income level.

      Most Americans want universal coverage - and it is time we did everything we can to encourage our legislators to make this issue a top priority.

      The following edited opinion is from one of my Senators, and I believe she will be one of the ones we can count on to keep this issue before the Congress front and center until we get the health care plan that every one of us has a right to have.

      .

      WHAT MY MOTHER'S DEATH TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AMERICA NEEDS
      Everyone Gets Sick. And We deserve Better
      .

      By Kamala D. Harris

      Ms. Harris is a Democratic senator from California.

      Dec. 29, 2018

      In 2008, our mother asked my sister, Maya, and me to meet her for lunch. When we arrived, our mother didn’t seem like herself. We wondered what was going on. Then she took a deep breath and reached out to us both across the table.

      “I’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer,” she told us.

      I know that many can relate to the emotions I felt in that moment. Even just reflecting back on it now fills me with dread. It was one of the worst days of my life.

      The hard truth is that every one of us will go through an experience like that sooner or later, whether it is coming to terms with a loved one’s terminal illness or experiencing our own. My mother was a breast cancer researcher. She understood, from a career of looking at cancer cells under a microscope, that no matter who we are or where we are from, our bodies are essentially the same. They work the same way — and they break down the same way, too.

      I remember thanking God she had Medicare. I am so grateful my mother had Medicare, and I will fight for it to be guaranteed to all. There should be nothing partisan about wanting a system where health coverage and care are based not on how much money you have or where you live. We need a system with the goal of good outcomes rather than the goal of high profits. It would save countless lives, and according to recent studies, could trim as much as $5 trillion in health care costs over 10 years.

      .

      Image result for pictures of Medicare

      .

      I believe that health care should be a right, but the reality is that it is still a privilege in this country. We need that to change. When someone gets sick, there is already so much else to deal with: the physical pain for the patient, the emotional pain for the family. There is often a sense of desperation — of helplessness — as we grapple with the fear of the unknown. Medical procedures already have risks. Prescription drugs already have side effects. Financial anxiety should not be one of them.

      Logistics, alone, can be overwhelming. I remember that as my mother’s condition worsened, she needed more care than we could provide. I wanted to hire a home health care aide for her. But my mother didn’t want help.

      “I’m fine. I don’t need anybody,” she would say, even though she could barely get out of bed. There was a fight to be had, but I didn’t want to have it. Her body was giving out. The medication was making it difficult for her to function, to be herself. I didn’t want to take her dignity away.

      So, we muddled through. I cooked elaborate meals for her, filling the house with the smells of childhood, which reminded us both of happier times. When I wasn’t at the office, I was most often with her, telling stories, holding hands, helping her through the misery of chemotherapy. I brought her hats after she lost her hair, and soft clothes to make her as comfortable as I could.

      The doctor asked me if I had heard of “anticipatory grief.” I hadn’t, but the term made perfect sense. So much of me was in denial. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that I was going to have to say goodbye. But underneath it, I was aware. And I had started grieving for my mother already.

      She ended up in the hospital not long after that. That was when I started to see another change. For as long as I could remember, my mother loved to watch the news and read the newspaper. When Maya and I were kids, she’d insist we sit down in front of Walter Cronkite each night before dinner. But suddenly, she had no interest. Her mighty brain decided it had had enough.

      My mother died on Feb. 11, 2009, two months after her 70th birthday. One of the last questions she asked the hospice nurse was, “Are my daughters going to be O.K.?” She was focused on being our mother until the very end.

      And though I miss her every day, I carry her with me wherever I go. I think of the battles she fought, the values she taught me, her commitment to improve health care for us all. There is no title or honor on earth I’ll treasure more than to say I am Shyamala Gopalan Harris’s daughter. As I continue the battle for a better health care system, I do so in her name.

      Kamala D. Harris is a Democratic senator from California and the author of the forthcoming book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” from which this essay is adapted.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/29/opinion/sunday/...

      I have edited this essay for length, but the entire adapted essay can be read by clicking the link above.

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      Pundit Post

      Fact Checking Steel Slats

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          Fact Checking "Steel Slats"

          Trump's efforts at re-branding his wall hit a speed-bump

          (of his own making)


          Jose Luis Gonzalez | Reuters

          Trump's tariffs make his "transparent" barrier much more expensive


          By Ray Cunneff

          December 21, 2018

          The Trump White House efforts to win broader support for a border wall by describing the project as “border security” with “steel slats” serve as a reminder that the president’s steep tariffs on steel and aluminum would make such a project much more expensive.

          So far this year, the price of milled steel products is up roughly 25 percent, which matches the level of import duties Trump applied in March to all steel products made outside the U.S., according to a CNBC analysis by John Schoen:

          "Despite congressional Democrats’ opposition to Trump’s demands of $5 billion for a border wall, the president Friday seemed determined to force a government shutdown."

          But, should Trump actually get his $5 billion, it would merely be a down-payment on an estimated (average) overall cost of between $20 billion and $40 billion. (The high-end estimate by the Brookings Institution came to over $60 billion.) And all of these estimates were made before Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum increased their cost by 25 percent.

          The "steel slats" design is a response to Trump’s call for “transparency” and the need for “openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall,” in remarks he made to reporters in July 2017.

          “I’ll give you an example,” he said. “As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall.”

          He actually imagines drug smugglers throwing sacks of drugs over his wall as he demands a 7th Century technology to solve a 21st Century problem while, as Nicolle Wallace said on MSNBC's "Dateline:White House" yesterday, "Taking six sides of a two-sided issue".


          Why the DHS believes that a 30–foot tall wall cannot be scaled or overflown

          and that a tunnel cannot be built deeper than six feet below ground is unclear.


          His wall, or as he now tries to re-brand it "steel slats", is preposterous in virtually every respect, not just fleets of drones able to fly over it carrying drugs or other contraband, but that it would need to be at least as deep as it is high to limit tunneling. (The deepest tunnel dug by the drug cartels found thus far was 70 feet below the ground level.)

          But all of that aside, a wall, any wall, would only impede a tiny fraction of illegal entries. As Mick Mulvaney, Trump's incoming "acting" Chief of Staff, once described Trump's wall a "simplistic" solution and Trump's grasp of the situation on the ground "absurd and almost childish" in a 2015 interview.

          He added, "And by the way, the bottom line is the fence doesn't stop anybody who really wants to get across. You go under, you go around, you go through it. And that's what the ranchers tell us, is that they don't need a fence".


          The keys to real border security are technology and manpower. A wall is the least effective and most expensive reflexive action and one that fails to address the underlying issues. Such a wall would indeed be a symbol, an enduring monument to hubris and to Trump's real motto, "Strength Through Stupidity".

          https://www.brookings.edu/essay/the-wall-the-real-...

          BROOKINGS INSTITUTION FINDINGS:

          The wall would not stop smuggling

          The wall would hurt the U.S. economy

          The wall would not reduce crime in the U.S.

          The wall would create severe societal and environmental impacts

          The wall could prevent the renegotiation of water-sharing agreements critical to water and food security as well as to farming

          LINK TO FULL REPORT:

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          Pundit Post

          Mattis Resigns, Says Views Aren't In Line With Trump's

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              Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Thursday he would resign at the end of February, sending a note to President Trump saying he deserved a secretary "whose views are better aligned with yours."

              The announcement came a day after the White House said the U.S. would be withdrawing its troops from Syria, as well as reports it was also considering a drawdown in Afghanistan. Both moves have been met with opposition by Pentagon officials and members of the foreign policy establishment.

              In a striking resignation letter to Trump notable as much for what it did not say as what was included, Mattis signaled his concern with the way Trump treated allies in NATO as well as rivals such as China and Russia.

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              Trump Christmas At Mar-a-Lago 16 Days 'Unsupervised'​

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                  Trump Christmas At Mar-a-Lago

                  Aides Fear 16 Days 'Unsupervised'


                  What could possibly go wrong?


                  By Ray Cunneff

                  December 19, 2018

                  President Donald Trump plans a 16-day Christmas getaway starting Friday at his Mar-a-Lago Florida retreat and several reports claim that White House staffers and "West Wing officials" are worried, based upon previous experience, about what the president might do for over two weeks "unsupervised".

                  Reports describe a White House in "chaos" as the selections for Chief of Staff, embarrassingly in the case of Nick Ayres, politely decline the position. Then there are the sudden policy shifts, as the president did earlier today by declaring ISIS defeated and announcing to the surprise of his Defense Department the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a State Department described as a "shambles" as Trump's mood swings wildly from "jovial" to "white-hot fury".

                  What's now been slowly revealed about the Robert Mueller inquiry into Russian collusion has moved beyond investigative reporting to court filings made by both Mueller and the Southern District of New York that the President of the United States has committed felonies. Add to that the mounting evidence that every aspect of the Trump organization has operated as a criminal enterprise.

                  Writing in Vanity Fair yesterday, "Trump’s West Wing Braces for Christmas Madness, More Departures—And Mueller", Gabriel Sherman quoted a former White House official about the rising alarm among senior staff concerning Trump's increasingly erratic behavior. “The staff is fed up he’s acting like a nut. They can’t get him to stop tweeting”. And many of his tweets in the last few days are truly unhinged.

                  Never in the history of our Country has the “press” been more dishonest than
                  it is today. Stories that should be good, are bad. Stories that should be bad,
                  are horrible. Many stories, like with the REAL story on Russia, Clinton
                  & the DNC, seldom get reported. Too bad!


                  Wow, 19,000 Texts between Lisa Page and her lover,
                  Peter S of the FBI, in charge of the Russia Hoax, were just
                  reported as being wiped clean and gone. Such a big story that
                  will never be covered by the Fake News. Witch Hunt!
                  A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of
                  networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live.
                  It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials.
                  Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?


                  Things have become so chaotic in the White House now that new Communications Director Bill Shine, formerly of Fox News, reportedly told friends he’s thinking of renting his Washington D.C. apartment month-to-month.


                  So where are all the missing Text messages between fired FBI agents
                  Peter S and the lovely Lisa Page, his lover. Just reported that they
                  have been erased and wiped clean. What an outrage as the totally
                  compromised and conflicted Witch Hunt moves ever so slowly forward.
                  Want them!

                  Remember, Michael Cohen only became a “Rat” after the FBI did
                  something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the
                  Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!
                  Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?


                  ....The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, started as the “insurance policy” long before
                  I even got elected, is very bad for our Country. They are Entrapping people
                  for misstatements, lies or unrelated things that took place many years ago.
                  Nothing to do with Collusion. A Democrat Scam!


                  It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation,
                  the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down,
                  the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike. Take the Victory!
                  Biggest outrage yet in the long, winding and highly conflicted
                  Mueller Witch Hunt is the fact that 19,000 demanded Text messages between
                  Peter Strzok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, were purposely & illegally deleted.
                  Would have explained whole Hoax, which is now under protest!


                  Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to
                  see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him,
                  about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful
                  political campaign. There was no Collusion!

                  We know how completely off-the-rails Michael Flynn's court appearance went yesterday. The sound we heard was a million conspiracy theories exploding. And the president's comments prior look a lot like attempts at undue influence or witness tampering.

                  I hope the people over at the Fed will read today’s Wall Street Journal
                  Editorial before they make yet another mistake. Also, don’t let the market
                  become any more illiquid than it already is. Stop with the 50 B’s.
                  Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!


                  The Fed raises rates a quarter-point, the stock market takes a dive, and Trump blames Democrats and investigations.

                  Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!
                  Twitter, in fact, has made it much more difficult for people to join
                  @realDonaldTrump. They have removed many names & greatly slowed
                  the level and speed of increase. They have acknowledged-done NOTHING!


                  ....WILL NEVER BE PROVEN AND ARE LIKELY FALSE.” Thank you
                  to Michael Isikoff, Yahoo, for honesty. What this means is that
                  the FISA WARRANTS and the whole Russian Witch Hunt is a Fraud
                  and a Hoax which should be ended immediately. Also, it was paid for
                  by Crooked Hillary & DNC!

                  So as Trump heads off to Mar-a-Lago for 16 days "unsupervised", as new investigations begin into his inaugural "slush fund" and his bogus charity foundation "piggy bank", as Rudy Giuliani tests out new arguments that "crimes are not really crimes" and "truth is not truth", there is every indication that the impulsive, psychologically fragile and volcanic president could put us all in "The Nightmare Before Christmas".

                  https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/12/west-wing-...

                  "Trump’s freewheeling search to replace John Kelly as chief of staff unnerved Ivanka and Jared Kushner, three sources briefed on the discussions said. Trump, who was annoyed at Kushner after Kushner’s pick, Nick Ayers, turned down the job, told people he was seriously considering Citizens United president David Bossie. Kushner told people that giving Bossie the job would empower Bossie’s friend and co-author Corey Lewandowski, a longtime Kushner nemesis. (Last week, Bossie and Lewandowski met with Trump at the White House, a source said.) Bossie is also an ally of Steve Bannon, another Kushner enemy. “Jared got Steve Mnuchin and his buddies to tell Trump no way,” a source briefed on the discussions said. With few candidates available or willing to take the job, Kushner pushed Trump to name budget director Mick Mulvaney chief of staff. “They announced it as ‘acting’ but he’s chief. They only did that so if he and Trump hate each other they have an off-ramp,” the source said."

                  - Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair

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                  Pundit Post

                  Treason?

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                      Some people are saying Judge Sullivan should have apologized for threatening to charge Flynn with treason, and the judge actually did apologize for it. From what I have seen, Trump and others SHOULD be charged with treason, IF they worked with Russia to subvert the democratic process in the USA by way of cyber warfare. Many people take the position that the word "war" means a shooting war, or I suppose at least a cold war. I take the position that "war" means "war".

                      The framers of the Constitution did not envision cyber war, but it is just as dangerous as any other kind of war, if not more so.

                      In 1807 the Supreme Court ruled that "there must be an actual assembling of men, for the treasonable purpose, to constitute a levying of war." Even this requirement is met with the use of cyber warfare in that "men/people" assemble in cyberspace. Further, we are openly engaged in cyber warfare with Russia, which makes Russia our enemy. The mere fact that we attempt to engage in a diplomatic relationship with Russia does not mean that they are not our enemy.

                      Russia is NOT OUR FRIEND!. Even Mitch McConnell agrees with this.

                      18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason

                      Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.


                      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flynn-treason-sentence-trump-isis-russia_us_5c1954b5e4b02d2cae8e0b57

                      At former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan asked federal prosecutors if they had considered charging Flynn with treason for advocating sanctions relief for Russia after failing to disclose his meetings with the Kremlin’s ambassador.

                      Sullivan, who made the comments while expressing outrage at Flynn’s crime of lying to the FBI, clarified soon after that he didn’t intend to accuse Flynn of treason and apologized. Sullivan walking back his remarks makes sense, since there isn’t really any legal grounds to charge Flynn with treason.

                      Although treason has become a common epithet ― which President Donald Trump has repeatedly used ― the legal definition in the Constitution is much more precise: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

                      Flynn’s connections with Russia wouldn’t fall under treason law simply because Russia is not technically an enemy of the United States, which the law narrowly defines as anyone that the U.S. is openly or declaratively at war with. A person can aid Russia to the detriment of the U.S. practically all they want, and though their actions may violate other laws, it would not be treason.

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                      Another Facebook Day, Another Set Of Trump Trolls Sent To The Showers

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                          The best month has seen an increase in both the evil and the good weighing in. One mistake the Good seems to not be making again is that during the 2016 campaign, whenever Evil was knocked on its ass, Good stopped kicking.

                          Not this time.

                          The target of much of our internet fighting has been some variation of the above, some more talented than others, but all with the intent of acting as a buffer against the battering ram that the rising ire of the nation has become. Many of those who have seen themselves as moderates - and in many cases still do - have removed their support from an Executive Branch that has shown itself to be at the very least, morally bankrupt, and at its worst, the corrupt figurehead elected to support foreign interests.

                          The previous Administration's leader offered this observation:


                          Our collective moral outrage must be acted upon at every opportunity, for any slight passing over of an attack from the ill-spirited is to provide the tiniest of footholds. Any act of injustice from the Presidency must be challenged head-on, and we must be on guard for all of them. My personal role has become that of the lead watchman, providing information to those who have a specific area of expertise. From there the onslaught of revelation is performed by a coalition of forces from different online posters. Some tackle immigration, some political corruption, some handle voting issues and more. Our group specifically deals with the continued rising of White Nationalism and it's equally evil cousins Supremacy and Nativists.

                          https://ricochet.media/en/2385/canadas-largest-sub...

                          Over the last year the SANE60 has witnessed the rise of what we have termed "The Great White North", as Canada has seen an increase in the number of evil racist acts, especially in the Prairies and eastern British Columbia. This increased activity on the USA's northern border has been motivated by the successes that are perceived to have been acquired across America. These groups are supporting each other's goals. As the political situation deteriorates at 1600 Pennsylvania we can expect even more villainous acts from the Deplorables. More arrests of those who plan acts of domestic terrorism that fail to arrive at their intended conclusion, but not all such crimes against the citizenry will be stopped.

                          Vigilance is required, never taking a break, for the moment our guard is let down we have had yet another despicable act. The unspeakable murders of innocents who do not desire to do more than to live well, to prosper in the promise of a free and open society, is likely to increase as the Trump Administration collapses.

                          Even if Donald Trump serves all four years, the powers behind him will be rendered less impotent. As the legal threats against their "leader" increases, the more vicious the hardcore support will act.

                          It is not time to relax, but to continue to increase the pressures on the House of Trump, political, legal, social and fiscal, never letting up until the structure of cards has imploded upon itself.

                          GS Jade Barrett, Chairman SANE60

                          #TheResistance #indivisible #resist

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                          Pundit Post

                          Here's Why Nonvoters Say They Stayed Home In The Midterms

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                              Always wondered why people can't seem to make it to their voting places every election. Did they have good reason as to why they couldn't cast their vote? Let's just see.

                              Have you ever seen such lame excuses not to vote? A non voter saying "I didn't think my vote would make a difference" is correct. Your vote won't make a difference you idiot because you didn't cast it. How about " I don't like politics?" Is that a good reason not to vote? I mean, what does that even mean? Now here is the best reason of all, "I forgot to vote." Seriously, short of suffering from Alzheimers or living in a cave, how in the hell can someone forget to vote.

                              One of the few things which really does make America great is the opportunity for all to participate in our political system and have a right to cast a vote. Not just a vote but a vote which is equal to that of anyone else voting. Wake up America, there are people, our very own law makers, who are desperately trying to keep people from voting and thwarting them every step of the way. Don't complain if you don't vote and one day find yourself unable to vote due to some corrupt measure put in place preventing you to vote. It's already happening.

                              https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-non-voter...

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                              Senate Investigators Scrutinize Another Presidential Candidate: Jill Stein

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                                  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/us/politics/jil...

                                  It was obvious to me and others that Stein's and Sander's campaigns were intentionally divisive. We should be keeping a very close eye on those in the house trying to undermine Pelosi. Sorry Bernie supporters, but his platform was never different enough to warrant his assault on the Democratic party. It did not and still does not make any sense. Divide and conquer. We can't allow ourselves to be duped again.

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                                  Alarming CNN Graphic Shows Just How Many Investigations Relate To Donald Trump

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                                      No deal. Trump should not be given any sort of plea deal. This man is so corrupt and these many investigations, those that we know of so far, will show the extent of his corruption. We don't need to give Trump any sort of deal because he is the person being investigated for all these crimes so there's no point at all in giving Trump a deal. Trump has disgraced the office of the presidency and he should pay for all of his crimes.

                                      Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!

                                      Why just settle for Donald. Let's throw all those corrupt (beep) in a federal penitentiary.

                                      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/alarming-cnn-...

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                                          This could be a blessing in disguise. Since Democrats have regained control of the House, they can pass a universal single payer health insurance program to replace the ACA.

                                          I have maintained every since the ACA was enacted that it was unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court actually ruled that the main part of it was unconstitutional in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, when the majority ruled that the government violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by requiring individuals to purchase a product from a private market. It was a strange ruling because the court upheld the individual mandate because it was a tax, and Congress has the constitutional power to impose taxes.

                                          The inconsistency of the ruling is that the court essentially said that the government had the power to impose a tax on something that the same court ruled was unconstitutional.

                                          I think Roberts' intent was to send the law back to Congress to pass as a tax, which the only way to do so is to enact a universal single payer plan. It appears that no one in Washington D.C., Democrat or republican, understood what Roberts was trying to do.

                                          Now, we are left with no other option. Yes, we can challenge the current ruling of the lower court in Texas, but the safe thing to do is for a Democratic House to pass a universal single payer law, and challenge Mitch McConnell to kill it in the Senate, which would make 2020 even more likely that Democrats will take control of the Senate and the White House.

                                          https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/judge-rules-obamacare-unconstitutional-endangering-coverage-for-20-million/ar-BBQYzbj?ocid=spartandhp

                                          A federal judge in Texas threw the health coverage of some 20 million Americans in limbo by ruling Obamacare must be scrapped because Congress struck the penalty for failing to obtain insurance coverage.

                                          The invalidation of the landmark 2010 law is certain to send shock waves through the U.S. health system and Washington after a midterm election seen in part as a rebuke to Republican efforts to tear down Obamacare.

                                          “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas,” President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet celebrating the verdict. “Great news for America!”

                                          The decision will be immediately appealed, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led several blue states in intervening to defend the ACA. It could ultimately become the third major Obamacare case to be taken up by the Supreme Court, which has twice voted to uphold the law.

                                          U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee in Fort Worth, Texas, issued the decision gutting the law in response to a lawsuit from 20 conservative-led states that sought to have the Affordable Care Act tossed out. They successfully argued that the mandate penalty was a critical linchpin of the law and that without it, the entire frameworks is rendered unconstitutional.

                                          “In sum, the Individual Mandate ‘is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand,’” O’Connor wrote.

                                          The decision came a little more than 24 hours before the sign-up period for 2019 Obamacare coverage is set to close — and roughly a month after voters upset over Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the ACA swept House Democrats back into the majority. O’Connor did not issue an injunction, leaving it unclear whether the Trump administration can continue to enforce the ACA in the near term. Obamacare enrollment will continue up to the Saturday deadline, administration officials said.

                                          "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

                                          Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who oversees Obamacare's insurance marketplaces, tweeted late Friday that Obamacare exchanges are still open for business and that open enrollment will continue. "There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan," she wrote.

                                          Democrats late Friday decried the decision as reckless and urged an appeals court to overturn it, while also tying it to the GOP’s broader efforts to eliminate the ACA.

                                          “Republicans want to gut healthcare. It’s not a talking point, it’s not an exaggeration,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted on Friday. “For ideological reasons, and because many can’t stand that it’s named Obamacare, they are causing millions to feel anxiety and possibly suffer. Shame on them.”

                                          Republicans zeroed out the mandate penalty as part of their 2017 overhaul of the tax code, after failing throughout last year to repeal and replace the ACA in full. The penalty is slated to disappear next year.

                                          The ruling puts the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers in a bind. They've promised to save the health law's pre-existing condition protections if the court threw them out, but for years they've been unable to agree on an alternative that would maintain the law's stringent safeguards.

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                                                  Last Heard: a minute ago
                                                  Joined: Mar 4' 15
                                                  Followers: 100
                                                  Points: 100,000