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Health insurance companies could hike premiums by 40 percent amid pandemic: analysis

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“Corporate-run health insurance isn’t about saving lives. It’s about making as much money as possible. With Medicare for All we can finally put an end to this international disgrace,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

A new analysis warning that U.S. health insurance companies could hike already exorbitant premiums by 40 percent or more next year amid the coronavirus pandemic was received by Medicare for All advocates as further confirmation that America’s healthcare system—driven first and foremost by the profit motive—is ill-equipped to provide necessary care for all, particularly in a time of nationwide crisis.

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The research conducted by Covered California, the state insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, found (pdf) that “if carriers must recoup 2020 costs, price for the same level of costs next year, and protect their solvency, 2021 premium increases to individuals and employers from COVID-19 alone could range from 4 percent to more than 40 percent.”

They’re doing healthcare to make money, not to take care of people.”
—Dr. Judd Hollander, Thomas Jefferson University

The health and economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak are “potentially staggering,” the analysis states, and could result in even more “consumers and employers no longer being able to afford coverage, leading to employer groups dropping coverage or individuals deciding to go uninsured.”

More than 80 million people in the U.S. are currently uninsured or underinsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and millions more are losing their employer-provided insurance as the jobless rate spikes due to the coronavirus crisis.

“The impact of COVID-19 will be significant, and… absent federal action, consumers, employers, and our entire healthcare system may be facing unforeseen costs that could exceed $251 billion,” Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California said in a statement. “Consumers will feel these costs through higher out-of-pocket expenses and premiums, as well as the potential of employers dropping coverage or shifting more costs to employees.”

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“These increased costs could mean that many of the 170 million Americans in the commercial market may lose their coverage and go without needed care as we battle a global health crisis,” Lee added. “These are not ‘insurer’ costs—these are costs directly borne by individual Americans.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Medicare for All proposal would virtually eliminate private insurance in the U.S., tweeted in response to the Covered California study that “America’s for-profit insurance industry is not compatible with healthcare as a human right.”

“Now is not the time for greed,” said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “Now is the time for Medicare for All.”

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The new research comes as the coronavirus crisis continues to expose systemic flaws in America’s fragmented and dysfunctional healthcare system. The Guardian reported last Thursday that as the virus has spread rapidly across the U.S., “private health insurance companies have lagged behind: making incremental changes to plans even as health providers seek to change course.”

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“They’re doing healthcare to make money, not to take care of people,” Dr. Judd Hollander, emergency medicine physician and associate dean at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, told The Guardian.

Last week, a 17-year-old boy in Los Angeles County died from complications believed to have been caused by COVID-19 after he was denied treatment at an urgent care center. The reason: he was uninsured.

“He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” said R. Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, California.

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The problem isn’t the campaign manager — it’s Trump: Republican analyst

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Switching up the campaign manager four months before the election when the latest poll shows you 12 points down has nothing to do with the campaign's leadership, Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter explained on CNN Wednesday.

"The problem isn't that Donald Trump has a bad campaigner," said Carpenter in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "They're raising tons of money. They have a boatload of surrogates. The problem is that he has a bad presidency. And no one -- no one, no spin master, not Kellyanne Conway, not Brad Parscale can spin the most important number of this election, and that's -- at present, 137,000 dead and rising. And so what we need to see if Donald Trump wants to turn this around is to turn around his white house. And I have four words of advice: More Fauci, less Kayleigh."

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Here’s what you need to know about Bill Stepien — the man who just took over Trump’s fledgling campaign

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President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.

In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.

If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren't reopened until Friday.

The court case quoted Bill Stepien's name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian." The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn't Serbian, it's actually Croatian.

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Anti-corruption group files motion in Roger Stone case saying pardon is void due to ‘self dealing’

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The anti-corruption group Free Speech for the People filed a motion with Judge Amy Berman Jackson opposing the pardon of President Donald Trump's pal, Roger Stone.

According to the organization's president, John Bonifaz, there are "limits to the pardon power" that the president holds, "including when the power is abused for self-dealing purposes." He said that Stone's "commutation violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution," and thus, should be declared void.

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