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Paul Ryan offers Obamacare alternative that raises Medicare eligibility age and caps liability damages

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U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled a Republican healthcare agenda on Wednesday that would repeal Obamacare but keep some of its more popular provisions.

The proposal is part of Ryan’s blueprint, titled “A Better Way,” which offers a Republican alternative to the Democratic Party on policy issues ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

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Earlier this month, Ryan, the country’s highest-ranking elected Republican, released initiatives on national security and combating poverty. Proposals on regulation, tax reform and constitutional authority are expected in the coming weeks.

Republicans have challenged President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, since it was enacted in 2010 after a bitter fight in Congress.

“Obamacare has limited choices for patients, driven up costs for consumers, and buried employers and health care providers under thousands of new regulations,” a draft of the Ryan plan said. “This law cannot be fixed.”

But Ryan’s proposal would keep some popular aspects of the law, including not allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be denied coverage and permitting children to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26.

The Obama administration says some 20 million Americans have become insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

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The Ryan plan recycles long-held Republican proposals like allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines, expanding the use of health savings accounts and giving states block grants to run the Medicaid program for the poor.

For people who do not get insurance through their jobs, the Republican plan would establish a refundable tax credit. Obamacare, by contrast, provides subsidies to some lower-income people to buy insurance if they do not qualify for Medicaid.

The Republican proposal would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age, which currently is 65, to match that of the Social Security pension plan, which is 67 for people born in 1960 or later.

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Like Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac tax on expensive healthcare plans offered by employers, the Republican proposal would cap the tax deductibility of employer-based plans.

The Republican plan includes medical liability reform that would put a cap on non-economic damages awarded in lawsuits, a measure aimed at cutting overall healthcare costs.

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Under Obamacare, many states expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid. The Republican plan would allow states that decided to expand Medicaid before this year to keep the expansion, while preventing any new states from doing so.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

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With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

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Elections 2016

As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

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As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

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Elections 2016

‘A profound emoluments clause violation’: Andrew Napolitano slams Trump’s hosting the G7 at Doral

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In the wake of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's announcement this Thursday that next year's G7 summit will be hosted at President Trump's Doral golf club, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out that Trump would be violating the emoluments clause if he were to go through with the move.

At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."

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