Archive for October, 2017

Memo from Sevier County Chair Barbara Wagner “Lawmakers face fallout from Trump’s ObamaCare moves”

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Call Senator Alexander and remind him of the thousands of Tennesseans that will be harmed if his committee can’t fix the ACA and continue the subsidy payments to help people find affordable health insurance coverage. Senator Alexander:  DC: 202-224-4944, Knoxville  (865) 545-4253

Lawmakers face Fallout from Trump’s ObamaCare moves

 All eyes are on Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the leaders of the Senate Health Committee who have been working to craft a bipartisan deal to stabilize the insurance markets.

Their efforts grew more urgent late Thursday night when President Trump announced he was halting key payments to insurers.

Before the Senate’s weeklong recess, Alexander said he had agreed to fund the payments for two years, but there hasn’t been a bipartisan agreement on an overall package.

Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, these funds compensate insurers for discounting the out-of-pocket costs of some lower-income ObamaCare enrollees. The administration has been making the payments on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, insurers have been pleading for certainty that the payments will continue on a long-term basis.

At issue is the fact that insurers still have to offer these discounts. In their premiums, some insurers accounted for the fact the payments might not continue — but not all did. It remains to be seen if rates can be changed and also if insurers will exit the marketplaces.

“Many insurers anticipated that [cost-sharing reduction] payments might end and set their premiums accordingly,” Larry Levitt, a Kaiser Family Foundation senior vice president, wrote in an email. “Some insurers were less pessimistic, and some states did not let insurers assume that [cost-sharing reduction] payments would end and hike their premiums. So, the fallout over the next few weeks will vary from state by state.”

Open enrollment for people to sign up for plans on is looming, beginning Nov. 1.

But it’s also unclear if Alexander and Murray can reach a deal that could reach Trump’s desk. Democrats are pushing to restore the payments. But conservative lawmakers, including GOP leaders, oppose what they see as a subsidy to insurers.

The fight over Trump’s move, though, could drag on. More than 15 states are also suing to stop Trump from halting the payments.

ObamaCare isn’t the only big issue on the health care front.

Lawmakers are scrambling after funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers and a few other health programs expired at the end of September.

The Senate Finance Committee passed a bipartisan five-year extension of CHIP but has yet to release how it will pay for the bill.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a partisan bill to fund CHIP and community health centers. But Democrats slammed the legislation’s offsets, which would have cut funds to an ObamaCare public health fund and required older, wealthier Americans to pay higher Medicare premiums. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) agreed Tuesday to delay a vote on the bill, so the parties could renegotiate how to pay for the programs.

However, that effort did not appear to have yielded any changes.

“It’s clear that House Republicans want to use reauthorization of children’s health insurance and Community Health Centers as a way to further undermine the Affordable Care Act and weaken Medicare,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J), said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Sevier County Democrats Meet to Celebrate Medicare’s 52nd Birthday July 30, 2017

Monday, October 16th, 2017


On July 30, the Sevier County Democrats met to celebrate Medicare turning fifty two years old. It was signed into law , made possible by a Democratic controlled House and Senate, by Democrat President, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. We can all agree that it is one of the most popular pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress, with the main goal of providing medical security for the elderly upon retirement. Medicare, a federal program, and Medicaid, a state and federal program, were both signed into law in 1965, with Medicaid being a program for people with very low income. Democrats held the majority in all three branches of government in 1965,thus enabling the passage of H.R. 6675.

Today Medicare covers over 55 million Americans, and has become a much loved safety net for people who would otherwise go without healthcare.It took fifty three years from the time of the idea of a national health insurance plan in 1912, to the final outcome in 1965. It had not gained much momentum until 1945, when Democrat President Harry S. Truman, called on Congress to create a national health insurance fund for all Americans. Though Truman fought hard to get a bill passed during his term, he did not succeed. It would be another twenty years before some form of national health insurance, Medicare for Americans 65 and older, and Medicaid for very low income persons, would become a reality. The very first person to receive their Medicare Card was none other than the champion who fought hard for it, President Harry S. Truman.

Today it is being threatened by the majority controlled Republican House, Senate and Presidency in order to further their agenda, which is detrimental to millions of hard working Americans.

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  medicare Birthday 1

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Sevier County Democrats hard at work to save The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Sunday, October 15th, 2017


We must all work together to save the healthcare for millions of Americans who are put in danger of losing their coverage under the false narrative that the ACA is failing. It is being sabotaged in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%.

Not on our watch!