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‘Cruelty is the point’: Trump takes aim at Medicaid with plan that could harm millions

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“The president’s war on healthcare knows no bounds.”

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to intensify its assault on Medicaid by granting certain states permission to convert federal funding for the program into block grants, a move critics slammed as a cruel and likely illegal attack on vulnerable people.

Politico reported Thursday that the plan, which could be finalized as early as next week, would allow the 37 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to seek waivers to convert funding into fixed sums that could limit states’ flexibility to increase spending in response to public need.

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Block-granting Medicaid is a longtime Republican goal dating back at least to the Reagan administration. The Trump administration’s proposal has been in the works for over a year.

“In the same week President Trump said cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are on the table, we now learn that his administration is set to propose benefit-slashing block grants on Medicaid expansion.”
—Brad Woodhouse, Protect Our Care

Bruce Bartlett, an architect of former President Ronald Reagan’s right-wing economic agenda who left the GOP in 2006, tweeted Thursday that “block grants are just a Republican trick to slash spending without appearing to do so.”

“Money is fungible,” Bartlett said. “Medicaid funding will be used to pay for other programs or even to finance tax cuts.”

News of the plan, led by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, comes just days after President Donald Trump threatened to slash Medicare and Social Security funding “at some point” should he win reelection in November.

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According to Politico, the specifics of the Medicaid proposal—which the Trump administration is looking to implement without congressional approval—are “in flux, as officials work to identify an alternative to the term ‘block grant,’ which has negative connotations in the advocacy community.”

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of advocacy group Protect Our Care, said in a statement that the administration’s latest attack on Medicaid shows “the president’s war on healthcare knows no bounds.”

“In the same week President Trump said cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are on the table,” said Woodhouse, “we now learn that his administration is set to propose benefit-slashing block grants on Medicaid expansion, targeting the benefits of millions of Americans who have gained coverage through one of the Affordable Care Act’s most important, successful, and popular provisions.”

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Kim Nelson, a public health advocate and South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate, tweeted Friday that Medicaid block grants “don’t work.”

“They can’t keep pace with the rising costs of healthcare (even the ones that ‘adjust for inflation’) and lead to would-be recipients going without care,” said Nelson. “Forty-three percent of Medicaid enrollees are children. The Trump admin knows that. The cruelty is the point.”

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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