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‘I don’t know’: GOP rep. falls apart on CNN and admits he has no idea how health care bill actually works

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Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) admitted to CNN on Thursday that he doesn’t “know everything” about the Republican health care bill, but he said he would vote for it because there is a “probability” that it will work.

CNN host John Berman pointed out to Barton that the GOP bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare would allow states to obtain a waiver to eliminate rights for people with pre-existing conditions.

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“I think Texas will lead the parade [on requesting waivers,” Barton said. “But when you opt out of the federal mandates, that doesn’t mean you’re opting out of providing quality care for those that cannot get it through their workplace. So, you know, you either believe in government or you believe in markets.”

CNN co-host Poppy Harlow noted that there was gap between availability and affordability when it comes to health care. And although the Republican bill includes funds for so-called high risk pools, “it is not nearly enough money to make it affordable for folks who have pre-existing conditions,” she said.

Barton asserted that that states could lower the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions by following the example of the state of Maine.

“Actually what the state of Maine did,” Harlow replied, “is they assessed everyone. They put a tax on everyone of $4 a month to pay for that. That was their funding mechanism. Are you willing to support a tax to do that, to put more money in these pools for high risk individuals, those with pre-existing conditions?”

“You’re saying Maine works so this will work,” she continued. “And I’m telling our viewers, Maine worked because of the tax. Are you willing to support a tax?”

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“I don’t know all there is to know about the Maine plan,” Barton chuckled. “But I do know that markets will work.”

“How do you know it will be better?” Berman wondered. “How do you know their rates won’t go up? And how do you know how much it will cost if there’s no [Congressional Budget Office] score?”

“I know that Obamacare is failing,” Barton insisted.

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“But that’s a different question,” the CNN host observed. “How do you know this will work or what the predictions can be without a CBO score?”

Barton promised that the CBO would “eventually” score the bill after it was passed.

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“The evidence, sir, is that it didn’t work before,” Harlow said. “Obamacare is far from perfect. But are you saying essentially you hope that it works this time?”

“I’m not saying ‘I hope’,” Barton disagreed. “I’m thinking there is a reasonable expectation, there is a probability that this will be better than all the mandates that we had under Obamacare.”

Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast May 4, 2017.

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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.

The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings

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The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.

So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.

Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.

"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.

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Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump

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There’s something interesting in today’s news:

A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.

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