A Perfect James Baldwin Quote And Trump’s First Acts as POTUS | Blog#42

Within two hours of taking the oath of office, President Donald J. Trump:

All of these pages created by the Obama White House now first redirect to a 404-NotFound page, and then to a Trump White House page that encourages readers to sign up for updates. While it is perfectly understandable that the new White House occupant would want to make the website his own, place holder pages could have been created to replace each of the deleted pages, signalling that the new POTUS intends on supporting the populations he’s just marginalized by deletion…

While Donald J. Trump was being inaugurated:

  • 12 legislative districts in new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions’ Alabama were ruled unconstitutional
  • The U.S. remains without any ambassadors at all of its embassies throughout the world

Thanks to excellent reporting from The Marshall Project, we now know that the incoming administration plans to do the exact opposite of what candidate Trump has said about policing, crime Victims, civil rights enforcement and legal aid for the poor:

In a proposed federal budget prepared by the president elect’s transition team, the Department of Justice and related agencies comes in for almost $1.3 billion in cuts in the first fiscal year alone. This represents less than 1 percent of the department’s $29 billion annual budget, but the targets are telling. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Violence Against Women grants would be eliminated altogether, as would the autonomous Legal Services Corporation. Funding would be reduced for the department’s Civil Rights and Environment and Natural Resources divisions. The programs and departments slated for the chopping block mirror closely (but not precisely) those in the Blueprint for Balance, a proposed federal budget that the conservative Heritage Foundation published last year.

We also know that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s longstanding plan has been to make major changes to Medicare and Medicaid. This will affect millions of Americans who are elderly, young and/or disabled:

  • 8.9 million disabled
  • 44.9 elderly citizens
  • 8.1 Part B disabled beneficiaries
  • 41.3 Part B elderly beneficiaries
  • Over 50 million Part C beneficiaries

Politico reported on Paul Ryan’s reform proposals:

“But for most of Obama’s presidency, using his perch as the top Republican on the Budget Committee, Ryan has focused on changing Medicare.

His preferred strategy, called “premium support,” would change Medicare from a single payer system in which the government pays directly for seniors’ health care to one where beneficiaries could use their government benefits to buy private insurance. Supporters say it would inject much-needed competition into the health care space, leading to lower costs and better coverage. Critics respond that this would end Medicare as we know it; instead of being able to count on basic health care after 65, seniors would be forced to navigate a maze of insurance options, like Obamacare customers today. They also argue that Medicare is less expensive than private insurance and that seniors would receive substandard care under a premium support system.

When Ryan first made premium support a priority at the beginning of the Obama administration, even his friends believed it was a doomed mission. “Everyone [thought] this is the third rail and this is going to kill him,” Peter Wehner, a former George W. Bush speechwriter and close friend of Ryan, told me last year. And at first, its outlook looked bleak.”

That outlook is bleak no more… Although this is separate from whatever the Trump administration plans on doing with Obamacare,  Medicare is an integral part of providing millions with healthcare they couldn’t otherwise obtain, or are entitled to as retirees.

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik further analyzes:

“Ryan’s plan would do nothing to rein in healthcare costs, but would likely increase them, in part because Medicare beneficiaries would be saddled with paying not only for their care, but for the shareholder dividends and executive pay of private insurance companies. The savings Ryan touts would be illusory: They would merely be shifted from government to seniors.

His plan threatens to increase seniors’ costs in another way: by severing the link between the reimbursements paid to doctors and hospitals by traditional Medicare rates and those paid by Medicare Advantage plans, which are semi-privatized plans that offer enrollees more services but narrower provider networks.

Medicare Advantage is growing in popularity, with an estimated 31% of all Medicare beneficiaries enrolled. But those private insurance  plans’ reimbursement rates are benchmarked to traditional Medicare rates, which are set by the government.”

America’s as-it-is rather austere and incomplete safety net is about to be hollowed out, taking us back to pre-1950’s levels. Stay tuned to this blog for further updates and some analyses of what’s to come on trade and fiscal policy.

“I Can’t Believe What You Say Because I see What You Do”

~ James Baldwin

Blog#42 will be watching you, President Trump.

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