Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! I’m going to provide three news updates LIVE: The new healthcare bill that passed the House, LEAD-K bill in Alabama, and no charges in Alton Sterling’s shooting.
House Republicans’ second try to pass a repeal and replacement of Obamacare was successful, with enough Congressmen voting for it — it passed by four votes.
After its passage, President Donald Trump hosted a “media celebration” outside of the White House with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, VP Mike Pence, and many Congressmen and staff.
Trump said when he campaigned for two years, he met many people who suffered from Obamacare. He said our insurance premiums and deductibles will start to come down, that this is a better plan and a repeal/replacement of Obamacare. He said he was confident it’d pass Senate.
After applauding the talent of the people behind him, he looked behind him and said, “I’ve only been a politician for a short period of time, am I doing okay? Hey, I’m President. Can you believe it?” People laughed.
When it passed, Democrats chanted goodbye, because they think it will cause the Republicans to get backlash from their home areas and lose the November 2018 midterms.
That’s probably going to be dependent on what impact this bill has on Americans. But first, the bill goes to the Senate and Senators will have to deliberate on it and possibly change it bit.
What’s the repeal/replacement bill? Here are some of the key things in it:
— It will allow health insurance companies to give varying health plans with varying prices. Previously insurance companies had to provide 10 essential benefits which includes maternity care, mental health treatment, and preventive services (shots, tests). But now they aren't’ required to, so they can make costs lower, but it might make the other areas’ prices higher.
The bill will create a $15 billion fund for states to provide better mental health and maternity care, that money will be from Medicare payroll taxes on people earning more than $200,000 or households with more than $250,000. This was supposed to be eliminated in 2018, but that will be extended to 2023.
— It would no longer require all people to have insurance (the individual mandate). But people will have to pay a big penalty, up to a 30% price increase, if they do not have insurance for two months.
— It allows insurers to to charge older people five times as much as their youngest customers (current law only allows three times).
— End the subsidies (money to help people pay insurance) and replace it with tax credits based on age: 30 and under — $2,000. It increases based on age up to $4,000 for above 60.
— Larger businesses will no longer be required to offer health insurance to their employees and there will be a big reduction in ACA taxes and requirements.
— It will still require insurers to sell health plans to people with pre-existing conditions, but states now can apply for a waiver that will allow them to charge higher premiums to some people with pre-existing conditions.
In order to get this waiver, states would have to create programs to help people to get insurance.
— The annual cap for tax-free money on health savings accounts HSAs will be doubled.
— There will be changes to the Medicaid program.
— States that expanded Medicaid will still get federal funding until the end of 2019. After that, it will reduce and cover only the people who were “grandfathered” in before the deadline.
— States would get a limited amount of money a year for all of their people on Medicaid. This will save the federal government money but possibly cause more people to not have insurance.
— States would be allowed to require people on Medicaid to work if they are not disabled, pregnant, or elderly — starting on October 1, 2017.
Here’s an update with the Alabama deaf community’s efforts to pass LEAD-K. I was in touch with Susan Lambert, who is the point of contact for LEAD-K for state of Alabama, leads a team of 32 people with her.
The bill, H253, was sponsored by Representative Margie Wilcox of Mobile.
The bill was introduced to Alabama’s Educational Policy Committee — it has 13 people. This morning there was only a subcommittee with six out of the thirteen. They were assigned to look through the bill for one month and a half.
They were confused they saw that there were two groups of people, the oral groups and ASL people, they were shocked by the conflicts and said they needed more research.
Susan said the subcommittee supported the bill, and it will go to the full committee next week. Her daughter, who is a CODA — Anisa Heilman — was a co-sponsor of the bill. She is a college student at USA - U of South Alabama — in Mobile. She has a passion for advocacy and met the Mobile representative there, that’s how she was involved.
Next Tuesday or Wednesday will have full committee to look at it. If they favor it, it will go to house floor. if passed, then goes to senate floor.
Alabama’s LEAD-K has a website and uses this hashtag: #LEADK4Alabama
Remember the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana last summer? He was filmed shot in the chest while lying down and being held by two police officers — Alton was black, the officers are white. Officers said he had a gun in his pocket and was “reaching” for it. The investigation concluded Alton had a loaded gun in his pocket. The cell phone video doesn’t show if Alton was reaching for his gun with his right arm — he was lying down and held down by the two officers, and his left hand was raising upwards in a open position, as to “surrender.”
There was a federal investigation by the Department of Justice that started under the Obama administration, and now the Trump Justice Department said they have found insufficient evidence to charge either police officer.
The investigation said one of the officers pointed a gun to Alton’s head, but then shot at him three times (in front) because he was reaching for a gun in his pocket. When Alton began to sit up, the officer shot into his back three times.
Now it is up to the Louisiana Attorney General to decide if he wants the state to bring a case against the officers.
The decision not to charge the two officers was controversial with Alton’s family and many others feeling like there was no justice.
That is all for today. Check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow! Stay with the light.