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House Democrats put more pressure on Bill Barr over his controversial Obamacare decision

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In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, a group of Democrats in the House of Representatives are demanding that he give them documents pertaining to the Trump Administration’s recent decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, in court. The Democrats are also asking Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to sit with them for an interview and discuss his role in the decision.

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In the lawsuit Texas v. Azar — which has been making its way through the courts — a group of Republicans assert that the ACA is unconstitutional and must be throw out entirely. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who represents the Northern District of Texas, upheld the lawsuit on December 30, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Barr subsequently agreed that the entire law should be invalidated. Previously, the DOJ favored invalidating only portions of the ACA.

In a letter sent to Barr on Monday, five Democrats in the House asserted, “It is Congress’ responsibility as an independent and coequal branch of government to understand how this decision was made, including whether the president or anyone in the White House instructed the department to override its legal conclusions and take a position that would result in the loss of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans.”

How the courts will ultimately rule on Texas v. Azar remains to be seen. The case could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And if the High Court were to agree with the lawsuit and strike down the ACA in its entirety, all of the law’s protections would be eliminated — including the rule that health insurance companies could not deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Critics of President Donald Trump’s anti-ACA efforts are warning that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance if Texas v. Azar is successful and Obamacare is eliminated without some type of replacement.

When Republicans in Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and Trump signed the tax bill into law, the individual mandate portion of the ACA was eliminated—and Americans were no longer required to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. However, most of Obamacare remained. And in Texas v. Azar, Republicans are arguing that because the individual mandate was ended, the entire law is invalid and unconstitutional.


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The loneliness of social isolation can affect your brain and raise dementia risk in older adults

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Physical pain is unpleasant, yet it’s vital for survival because it’s a warning that your body is in danger. It tells you to take your hand off a hot burner or to see a doctor about discomfort in your chest. Pain reminds us all that we need to take care of ourselves.

Feeling lonely is the social equivalent to feeling physical pain. It even triggers the same pathways in the brain that are involved in processing emotional responses to physical pain.

Just like feeling physical pain, feeling lonely and disconnected from others is also a signal that we need to take care of ourselves by seeking the safety and comfort of companionship. But what happens when we are unable to find companionship and the loneliness persists?

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Trump donor revealed as a secret funder of the conservative outlet The Federalist: NYT

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For years, there has been speculation about the funding behind the right-wing publication The Federalist, which has turned into one of President Donald Trump's most reliable backers.

However, a new report from The New York Times appears to have partially solved this mystery.

Two sources with knowledge of The Federalist's finances tell the Times that packing supply magnate Dick Uihlein is one of the people who gives generously to the publication.

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‘Would be comical if it didn’t involve real lives’: Trump interview spotlights deadly failure of His COVID-19 response

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"If you wrote this as grotesque farce" for a movie script, wrote actor and progressive activist John Cusack, "no one would believe it."

In an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios that aired late Monday, President Donald Trump sputtered, declared "You can't do that," and continued trying to downplay the massive and rising coronavirus death toll when confronted with the fact the U.S. has a higher mortality rate by percentage of population than major countries like South Korea and Germany.

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