The Senate’s Health-Care Bill Is Still Unaffordable for Poor People

First, some good news: Twenty-two million more uninsured people over the next decade is at least slightly better than 23 million.

The rest of the numbers from the Congressional Budget Office aren’t so rosy for a plan Republicans hoped would score much better on coverage than its House-made predecessor. On Monday, the agency released its evaluation of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate’s take on an Obamacare replacement plan. Perhaps to Republicans’ chagrin, the CBO didn’t find much difference between the Senate’s draft and the American Health Care Act passed by the House in May.

The analysis found that the Senate’s bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than current projections under Obamacare, and that it would decrease federal deficits by over $300 billion over that time. Those are both improvements over the AHCA’s final score of 23 million people losing coverage and a decrease in the deficit of $119 billion. But those differences don’t mean much for low-income people.

The largest structural difference between the two bills is how each deals with premium tax credits for purchasing insurance on the exchanges. The AHCA, which President Trump called “mean” earlier this month, maintained a much less generous credit than the ACA does and didn’t link it as strongly to income. At the same time, it allowed older people to be charged proportionally more—a dynamic the CBO suggested could cause intense market distortions and price-outs for older people with low incomes.

The BCRA’s credits, on the other hand, are more similar to those under Obamacare, and have stronger ties to both income and the cost of insurance than the AHCA’s. The BCRA also keeps Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies for the next two years, which also would offset some of the extreme price variation. Although the BCRA keeps …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Why (Some) Historians Should Be Pundits

The election of Donald Trump, and the early days of his presidency, have driven many Americans to rummage through history in search of context and understanding. Trump himself has been compared to historical figures ranging from Ronald Reagan to Henry Ford, and from Andrew Jackson to Benito Mussolini. His steps have been condemned as unprecedented by his critics, and praised as historic by his supporters.

To place contemporary events in perspective, we turned to a pair of historians of the United States. Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author, most recently, of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society. Morton Keller is a professor emeritus of history at Brandeis University. He has written or edited more than 15 books, including Obama’s Time: A History. They’ll be exchanging views periodically on how to understand Trump, his presidency, and this moment in political time. —Yoni Appelbaum

Julian Zelizer: Harvard University’s Moshik Temkin published a provocative piece in The New York Times titled “Historians Shouldn’t Be Pundits.” Temkin offers a stern warning to those in his profession who participate in the news cycle that they should avoid the “rapid-fire, superficial way history is being presented” these days, “mostly a matter of drawing historical analogies.”

Temkin is a terrific historian but I wasn’t persuaded by the piece. To begin with, the article is somewhat odd, given that Temkin is making an argument about avoiding punditry, in an op-ed piece in the Times written by a scholar at the Kennedy School of Government (which teaches policymakers) that ends with recommendations about what kinds of conversations historians should be having in the media about the presidency. I suspect that the title—aimed at generating eyeballs—didn’t …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics