Today is the second, and final, Friday the 13th of 2017. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► President Trump is destroying healthcare in America. Trump signed an Executive Order on Thursday that encourages the creation of cheap and largely worthless health insurance plans for healthier Americans — the result of which will likely drive up costs significantly for everyone else.
As the Denver Post reports, Colorado’s top insurance regulator is concerned about what comes next:
Colorado’s top insurance regulator responded on Thursday to President Donald Trump’s health care executive order with concern, saying the policies endorsed could lead to flimsier coverage in the state and much higher costs for the sick.
“The limited benefits, the focus on the healthy at the expense of those with pre-existing conditions, and lack of regulatory oversight will cause problems for the health insurance market as a whole,” said Marguerite Salazar, the state’s insurance commissioner…
…In her statement, Salazar said expanding the use of these plans — and loosening the requirements around them — could pull healthy people into skimpier plans, while heaping unbearable costs on the sick.
“Premiums may end up being lower for people buying these plans, but for many, paying for services not covered by the plans will be much more costly in the long run,” she said.
► Thursday’s Executive Order was just the first blow in a one-two combination thrown by Trump to bury the Affordable Care Act. As Politico reports:
President Donald Trump plans to cut off subsidy payments to insurers selling Obamacare coverage in his most aggressive move yet to undermine his predecessor’s health care law.
The subsidies, which are worth an estimated $7 billion this year and are paid out in monthly installments, may stop almost immediately since Congress hasn’t appropriated funding for the program.
The decision — which leaked out only hours after Trump signed an executive order calling for new regulations to encourage cheap, loosely regulated health plans — delivered a double whammy to Obamacare after months of failed GOP efforts to repeal the law. With open enrollment for the 2018 plan year set to launch in two weeks, the moves seem aimed at dismantling the law through executive actions.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the decision in a statement emailed to reporters Thursday night.
How is Trump able to just cancel these subsidies? You can draw a straight line between this pending E.O. and legislation passed by Congress in 2014 with the support of Republicans Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.
Vox.com has more on how and why Trump’s actions on Obamacare create a lose-lose situation for Americans.
► President Trump’s decision to use Executive Orders to cripple the Affordable Care Act puts the results — which aren’t likely to be good — squarely on his shoulders. As the Washington Post explains:
This is not “letting” Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces.
The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.
As Barack Obama learned after the Great Recession, with heavy Democratic losses in the 2010 midterms, it’s hard to blame your predecessor for problems two years after you take office. Especially when your party has unified control of the federal government. No matter how much it might be the previous guy’s fault, many voters won’t buy it. People have very short attention spans.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls Trump’s healthcare decisions “cruel and irresponsible.” The editorial board at the New York Times calls on Congress to prevent Trump from destroying the healthcare marketplace.
► In non-healthcare news, President Trump has apparently made a decision on how to proceed with the Iran nuclear deal: He’s going to punt. Instead of scuttling the deal altogether, Trump is asking Congress to fix “flaws” in the agreement that was sealed by the Obama administration. Why Trump thinks Congress can fix anything is another question altogether.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Two members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted against relief funds for Puerto Rico on Thursday. From Blair Miller at Denver7:
Two of Colorado’s Republican congressmen voted Thursday against a disaster relief bill that will send $36 billion in aid to Puerto Rico and other places ravaged by recent hurricanes, as well as to programs aiding the firefighting efforts in the U.S. West.
The House of Representatives approved the aid package Thursday in a 353-69 vote. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn both voted against the package, as did 67 of their Republican colleagues.
But the rest of Colorado’s House delegation—including Republicans Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton—voted to pass the measure for the much-needed aid package on to the Senate, which is expected to vote on it next week.
► Colorado Lieutenant Gov. Donna Lynne has had a bit of a rough start to her 2018 campaign for Governor, but apparently fundraising has not been much of an issue. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, a Democratic candidate for governor, plans to report bringing in $384,335 during the most recent fundraising quarter, her first since jumping in the crowded primary, her campaign said Thursday.
The former Kaiser Permanente executive plans to report her campaign had 792 individual donors and had $321,558 cash on hand at the end of September. Her campaign said 81 percent of her contributors are from Colorado. Campaign finance reports are due to the Colorado secretary of state Oct. 16.
Lynne, a first-time candidate, entered the race in September — she started fundraising Aug. 1, when she established an exploratory committee — with term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper’s blessing, if not his formal endorsement.
► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, one of nearly a dozen Republican candidates running for Governor in 2018, seeded his campaign committee with $250,000 of his own money. Since Stapleton formally announced his gubernatorial campaign earlier this month, he has consistently attacked Democratic candidate Jared Polis over his willingness to…wait for it…spend his own money on his campaign.
► Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens is taking part in a campaign to stop Broomfield citizens from trying to regulate oil and gas drilling in their neighborhoods.
► Some conservative columnists have been citing an outlier poll supposedly showing that “free speech” is in danger on college campuses.
► Maine Sen. Susan Collins, one of the few “moderate” Republicans still occupying the upper chamber, will not run for Governor in 2018 and will likely run for re-election in 2020.
► Recent poll results suggest that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has a relatively-narrow lead on potential Democratic opponent Jason Crow should the latter win his party’s nomination for the 2018 election.
► House Republicans are trying to restrict the power of the President to designate protections for “National Monuments,” because…um, because…
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said presidents of both parties have misused the 1906 Antiquities Act to create oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses. Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced a bill that would prevent presidents from designating monuments larger than 85,000 acres and grant veto power to states and local officials for monuments larger than 10,000 acres.
The GOP-controlled resources panel approved the bill Wednesday, 23-17, sending it to the House floor…
…The bill comes as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that four large national monuments in the West be reduced in size, potentially opening hundreds of thousands of acres to mining and logging.
► Denver’s VA Hospital can’t accommodate the number of patients needing surgery because they can’t find enough doctors.
► Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronda Romney McDaniel demonstrates “whistling past the graveyard.” Speaking at an event in Denver, Romney McDaniel said of the GOP, “I think we’re in the best place we’ve ever been as a party.”
► The light rail line between Denver and Arvada — called the “G Line” — took a step closer to actually working when the Federal Railroad Administration approved a request for “final testing.” The “G Line” was supposed to begin service in 2016 but has been plagued by problems related to safety at road crossings.
► Voters in the Colorado Springs area will make decisions next month on several measures that would increase taxes. The Colorado Springs Independent wonders what will happen if the answer is “No.”
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Who is “spiking the political football” now, Sen. Cory Gardner?
► Donald Trump is the first sitting President to address the “Values Voter Summit,” an organization that is known for its anti-LGBTQ positions. Trump told the gathering that his Presidency is “substantially ahead of schedule.” Whatever that means.
► State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Broomfield) talked to a group of fifth-grade Cub Scouts on Monday, and there was a considerably amount of crazy involved.