The Gist: In some ways, the conundrum surrounding crucial Obamacare subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, are a microcosm of the challenges facing Republicans. The years of their anti-Obamacare jihad are coming back to haunt them. Making the whole situation more treacherous is that they’re being led by a President known for throwing around bombastic threats with little concern about their effect. In this case, President Trump has only exacerbated anxiety that he would seek to sabotage the health insurance market in the name of political hard ball.
The Gist: Fox News host Sean Hannity closed his show on Monday night by saying that the “lies” about him are “not true” in an apparent attempt to push back on reports that he is planning to leave the network.
From The Reporter’s Notebook
Julie Kirchner, former director of anti-immigration group FAIR, will serve as ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security, where she’ll be tasked with providing assistance to immigrants who run into difficulties with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The appointment of individuals who have crusaded against the group or industry they’re now representing is a trend in the Trump administration, according to TPM reporter Allegra Kirkland. Current EPA head Scott Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA; Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been an outspoken critic of public schools; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been criticized for his record on civil rights.
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: “Trump presented himself as the consummate alpha-male ball buster, someone who speaks and embodies the ethos of domination his most ardent supporters instinctively crave and believe in. In practice, he’s repeatedly adopted what might be termed the preemptive fail, not only talking tough but failing to achieve his aims but actually jumping ahead of the process and unilaterally backing down or saying a metaphorical ‘nevermind’ before the supposed confrontation even arrives. As the Mexicans seem to have concluded Trump is less a threat than a bullshit artist who caves easily and is best either ignored or treated with a stern, disciplined and unafraid response.”
“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy.”
– Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said Monday that an amendment to the GOP’s American Health Care Act would require sicker people to pay more in insurance costs than people “who lead good lives.”
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: “Whether he likes it or not, Trump appears to have deep financial ties to Russia and the surrounding areas. Many of those ties involve the corrupt oligarchs who emerged from the Soviet turmoil. Too many of Trumps campaign staff also received income from these same folks. Too much smoke, too much money, and too much greed for it to be clean. Someone is always skimming or angling for their cut. Add to that volatile mix the fact that Trump can never be second. He always needs to win, win big, and completely vanquish who he’s going against. No win-win scenarios allowed. It always Trump wins-you lose, unless you settle because it was a distraction. Everyone knows the drill by now – we would have won and won big! And when that doesn’t happen, it eats at him and he can’t let it go. Ever.”