What We're Reading

Daily Reads: GOP Health Care Plan Would Kick Even More People Off Insurance Than Wonks Thought; Rex Tillerson’s Secret Alias

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

CBO: 24 Million Will Lose Health Coverage Under GOP Plan

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer walk out of the West Wing before talking to reporters following the release of the Congressional Budget Office report on the proposed American Health Care Act at the White House March 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. Price said "We disagree strenuously" with the findings of the CBO report about the Republican's attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Worse than they thought –> Economists and policy wonks expected the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of the Republican health care plan to be bad — but not this bad. Parsing the “devastating” report for Vox, Sarah Kliff writes that the independent office found that 14 million people would lose their health care by 2018; Medicaid cuts starting in 2020 would kick 10 million more poor Americans off, resulting in 24 million fewer Americans insured by 2026.

Over at the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik summarizes the findings this way: “This is the essence of saving money for the wealthy, whose taxes pay for most of the federal budget, by soaking the middle class and the poor. The reduction in insurance coverage would be especially severe among lower-income families, the CBO says.”

At Talking Points Memo, Tierney Sneed writes that Republicans first line of attack will be to frame the CBO as partisan and inaccurate, and to distance itself from the report. But an internal analysis by the White House saw even steeper cuts: 26 million fewer Americans insured over the next decade.

Is the CBO actually inaccurate? At FactCheck.org, Brooks Jackson looks at the CBO’s assessment of the Affordable Care Act and finds that the agency did a better job than most in predicting the costs and benefits of Obama’s health care law.

Border Patrol can and will search cell phones –> A report by NBC finds that the agency has increasingly been looking through travelers’ personal devices in recent months. Muslims, especially, are targets.

News from the fringes –> Iowa’s Rep. Steve King recently tweeted his support for right-wing Dutch candidate Geert Wilders in tomorrow’s racially charged Dutch elections. “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the Republican wrote. In America, we have a term for Wilders and his ideas, John Nichols writes at The Nation: “White Nationalism.”

Also: Adherents of White Nationalism, fortunately, cannot take advantage of the tax code to spread their ideas. Matt Pearce reports for the Los Angeles Times that Richard Spencer, the white nationalist who famously lead the post-election rally in which young white nationalist cheerfully did the Nazi salute to celebrate Trump’s victory, has had tax exempt status for a group he leads stripped by the IRS. The IRS has, in the past, dragged its feet about addressing politically active groups that exploit the tax code — so this is an interesting and welcome exception.

Fossil fuel lobby wins big –> Following up on ProPublica’s analysis last week of a list detailing Trump’s hundreds of recently appointed “eyes and ears” in federal agencies, Steve Horn reports for DeSmogBlog that the list “includes former operatives allied with Koch Industries, oil and coal industry employees, a former employee of a prominent climate denial group, and an advocate for a pro-trophy hunting organization funded by oil and gas.”

Right-wing media influence in 2016 election coverage –> A study of over 1.25 million stories published during the election finds that the “pro-Trump media sphere” — and, specifically, Breitbart — “appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton,” the authors write in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Not normal –> We’re snowed in here in New York. The storm hasn’t passed yet, but, Rafi Letzter reports for Business Insider, it could turn out to be the largest March storm to hit the East Coast since 1888. While we’re reluctant to look a gift snow day in the mouth, meteorologist-journalist Eric Holthaus explains at Grist that this storm is likely linked to climate change — “in an atmosphere that is being fundamentally changed by human activity, every weather event is influenced in some way by climate change, and this week’s storm is no exception,” he writes.

Ask Wayne –> When he was chief executive at ExxonMobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent and received emails using the alias “Wayne Tracker” when discussing the risks climate change posed to Exxon’s business. That detail came to light as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigates the company for potentially misleading investors on climate change. Schneiderman believes Exxon has not turned over all of the shadow account emails, David Hasemyer reports for InsideClimate News.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley.



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