Hemingway: CBO estimates “notoriously bad”

Mollie Hemingway told viewers Monday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that new figures about the American Health Care Act come from an office that is “notoriously bad” when it comes to such estimates.

Earlier, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimate that the GOP health care plan would decrease the budget deficit by $337 billion over a 10 year period. It also estimated that under the plan, 14 million people would lose health care coverage next year – a number that would grow to 24 million people in the next decade.

Hemingway cited previous examples of CBO problems.

“Think back to 2010 when they said that under Obamacare you would have 23 million Americans insured. It is actually 12 million this year,” she said. “They also made a forecasting error so they dramatically underestimated the cost of Medicaid. So we need to keep these things in mind as we are talking about this scoring as well.”

 

The CBO Scores the Republican Obamacare Replacement Plan

By Jake Smith

The Congressional Budget Office released their score of the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – the Republican placement is called the American Health Care Act.

The CBO projects the AHCA will reduce the federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. The CBO writes “the largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid and from the elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance.”

The Republican replacement would increase the number of uninsured people by 14 million by 2018 and 24 million by 2026 – “an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law” – according to the new report.

Under the Republican’s American Health Care Act, by 2026 “premiums in the nongroup market would be 20 percent to 25 percent lower for a 21-year-old and 8 percent to 10 percent lower for a 40-year-old – but 20 percent to 25 percent higher for a 64-year old.”

The average premiums for single policyholders would also increase by 15 percent to 20 percent due to the elimination of the individual mandate penalties.

Additionally, the CBO estimates an 18 percent increase in premiums under the new GOP healthcare bill.

The Congressional Budget Office’s new score projects a reduction in the deficit, but this new score will be tough to sell to conservative Republicans and Democrats because of the increase in uninsured and rising premiums.

(Video above from Bret Baier's interview with House Speaker Paul Ryan following release of CBO report)

In Six Years 465,000 Killed in Syrian Civil War

By Jake Smith

The Syrian civil war began six years ago on Wednesday following the start of the Arab Spring, and since its beginning, 465,000 people have been killed or gone missing, according to a new report by The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

The war began as an uprising against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Since then, the country has been a hotspot for terrorism and regional power struggles, allowing the Islamic State to develop significant territorial control.

The conflict has caused the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II, with an estimated 4.8 million refugees who have been forced to leave their homes to seek safety.

Violence against civilians is far from over in Syria – 2016 was the worst year for children in Syria. Child injuries rose by 25 percent and death by 20 percent. The war has caused 321,000 deaths, and the Observatory estimates 96,000 of those deaths were civilians.

The Trump Administration continues to assert its committment to destroying ISIS, announcing on March 9th it will send an additional 400 troops to Syria. The additional troops would increase U.S. presence in Syria to its highest ever.  The U.S. began their intervention in Syria on September 22nd, 2014. Since then, over 5,000 US and allied airstrikes have hit ISIS positions.

 

US Economy Adds 235,000 Jobs in February

By Jake Smith

President Donald Trump received some positive news on his 50th day in office. The US economy added 235,000 jobs in February lowering the unemployment rate to 4.7%, slightly down from 4.8% in January.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the “employment gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.”

President Trump retweeted the Drudge Report saying “GREAT AGAIN: +235,000.” Press Secretary Spicer also tweeted “Great news for American workers: economy added 235,000 new jobs, unemployment rate drops to 4.7% in first report for @POTUS Trump.”

This gain in jobs is supplemented by a slight improvement in the civilian labor force participation rate to 63.0%. The average hourly earnings of Americans also increased by 0.2 percent in President Trump’s first full month in office.

President Trump’s election in November sparked a stock market rally, this coupled with the continuous decrease in unemployment, and better performing economy sets the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates as early as next week.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Laura Ingraham on Replacing Obamacare: "It's a bum's rush to push this thing through"

Conservative Author, Laura Ingraham said Thursday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that many conservatives like Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas want the Health Care Replacement to be done right.  "Tom Cotton says why the rush, you kind of get the sense it's a bum's rush to push this thing through as fast as they are."

Ingraham said most conservatives just want "get this right and really do it right."  She continued by saying "the longer this thing goes on the harder it's going to be for them to pass it."

President Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare when he got in office but Ingraham said that as it stands now many conservatives think it doesn't bring costs down and for fiscal conservatives "this doesn't do it for them."

 

Round Two: States to Challenge President Trump’s New Travel Ban in Court

By: Jake Ryan Smith

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is asking a federal judge to extend the initial freeze of Trump’s original travel ban to the new ban. Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin will join in the fight against President Trump’s travel ban calling it, “nothing more than Muslim Ban 2.0.”

The Trump administration consulted numerous departments within the federal government and revised the order to adhere to the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court. Although, Ferguson argues the constitutionally of the new travel ban and says the new executive order applies the same harms as the original ban.

The new order removes Iraq from the list of banned countries, will no longer bar Syrian refugees indefinitely, and all visa holders will be allowed into the country. The new order also removed language that would give preferential treatment to religious minorities over Muslims.

A Federal Court has agreed to hear the case on March 15th, President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is set to take effect on March 16th.

Health Care Hurdles?

Senior White House officials say the health care bill is open for negotiation and could possibly be changed along the way to passage.  And when the final bill is presented, the administration and the congressional leadership will make it a binary choice if you vote for it or you watch Obamacare collapse and insurance companies flee this year.

The question now is does President Trump have any leverage on skeptical Republicans or even some Democrats to push the health care bill across the finish line?  Senior officials say the President will make a number of trips to push the healthcare bill.  The White House is not yet confirming a trip Saturday but the "Louisville Courier Journal" is reporting officials there are preparing for a presidential visit to Kentucky.

Kentucky is, of course, home to Senator Rand Paul, one of the most vocal critics of the American Health Care Act as it stands today.  Worth noting that candidate Donald Trump won 118 of Kentucky's 120 counties in November, six more counties than sitting Senator Rand Paul won in his reelection bid.

That election math may play out with House members too.  For the Conservative Freedom Caucus, candidate Trump overwhelmingly won each member's district and their state as well.  And Trump actually got more votes than several of the representatives in the caucus.

In Freedom Caucus Chairman Congressman Mark Meadows district--North Carolina's 11th congressional district-- President Trump won 16 of the 16 counties , 76 of 100 counties in North Carolina, and he came just shy of the congressman's vote total in that district.

In Florida's sixth district, candidate Trump got more votes than Freedom Caucus Congressman Ron DeSantis, winning all four of the four counties in that district, 58 of 67 in Florida.

In West Virginia's second district, candidate Trump got almost 20,000 more votes than Freedom Caucus Congressman Alex Mooney, overwhelmingly winning all 17 counties in that district in West Virginia.

It is not just the leverage on health care, but also on the Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court.  The pressure will be on 11 Senate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2018 in states where candidate Donald Trump won more than 80 percent of the counties.



In Missouri candidate Trump won 111 out of 114 counties in the state where Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill is running for reelection.

In Montana, Democrat Jon Tester runs in a state where candidate Trump won 50 out of 56 counties.

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin is running for reelection in the state where all 55 counties voted for the Republican Donald Trump.

And finally in Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly is running in a state where 88 of 92 Hoosier counties went to Donald Trump.

There are seven other states just like that which is why outside groups supporting the Trump administration are already running issue ads in many of these 11 states.  One can be seen at the top of this post.

 

Secretary Tillerson to Make First Trip to Asia

By Jake Smith

Former Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson, will make his first trip to Asia as Secretary of State next week. He will meet with senior leaders to discuss U.S. economic and security interest. His journey will begin in Japan on March 15th; he will then travel to South Korea on March 18th and end his tour in China from March 18th-19th.

Secretary Tillerson will arrive in South Korea with a new acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn. South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, has been removed from office on Friday after the rulings by the highest Constitutional Court. The citizens of South Korea will elect their new president in a snap election on May 9th.

Tillerson is traveling to Asia on the heels of North Korea’s recent UN-resolution violating ballistic missile test and the assassination of Kim-Jong Nam in Malaysia, Nam being the half-brother of North Korean’s Dictator Kim-Jong Un.

The United States began its deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to South Korea on Tuesday to fulfill its security obligations to the Korean Peninsula. The implementation of THAAD quickly provoked outrage from leaders in China and North Korea. The system is expected to be fully operational as early as June.

The Trump administration is likely to continue seeing security complications in the Asian theater with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and an aggressive China, eagerly seeking regional superiority. 

SR in 60: American Women On Strike

Krauthammer: Defense spending increase ‘may not be enough’

On “Special Report with Bret Baier” Monday, Syndicated Columnist Charles Krauthammer told viewers the boost in defense spending as part of President Trump’s budget proposal “may not be enough.”

“Eight years ago, defense spending was at 4.6 percent of GDP. Today it's 3.2 percent,” said Krauthammer. “That is a catastrophic collapse.”

The Administration announced the Defense Department would receive an additional $54 billion dollars. During a National Governors Association meeting at the White House, Trump said the increase would be offset by other savings across the federal government.

Krauthammer called this proposal just a beginning of what is needed to rebuild military spending.

“We are in dire need with Russia, China and Iran rising of correcting that. This is a beginning of a down payment on what's really needed,” said Krauthammer.

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President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan continue their last-minute push on Thursday to inch the American Health Care Act over the finish line.

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