Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Canadian Mounties to the Rescue of American Workers

The Canadian Royal Mounties have offered to ride to the rescue of beleaguered American workers.

It doesn’t sound right. Americans perceive themselves to be the heroes. They are, after all, the country whose intervention won World War II, the country whose symbol, the Statue of Liberty, lifts her lamp to light the way, as the poem at the statue’s base says, for the yearning masses and wretched refuse, for the homeless and tempest-tossed.

America loves the underdog and champions the little guy. The United States is doing that, for example, by demanding in the negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Mexico raise its miserable work standards and wages. Now, though, here comes Canada, the third party in the NAFTA triad, insisting that the United States fortify its workers’ collective bargaining rights. That’s the Mounties to the rescue of downtrodden U.S. workers.    

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Caught in a lie, Sen. Bill Cassidy lashes out at Jimmy Kimmel

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, ThinkProgress

During his show on Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel called Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) a liar.

“A few months ago after my son had open heart surgery, which was something I spoke about on the air, a politician, a Senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana was on my show and he wasn’t very honest,” Kimmel said, going on to describe how Cassidy, during the interview on his show, came up with the concept of the “Jimmy Kimmel test” — which holds that “[n]o family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”

“He agreed to that,” Kimmel said on Tuesday in reference to Cassidy. “He said he would only support a health care bill that made sure a child like mine would get the health coverage he needs, no matter how much money his parents make.”

But now, Cassidy is a cosponsor of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare — the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill. And Graham-Cassidy fails the Kimmel test. As ThinkProgress previously detailed, the bill allows states to allow insurers to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, charging them more and possibly pricing them out of the market. A child like Jimmy Kimmel’s son who needs surgery could hit his lifetime cap before he even makes it out of the hospital.

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Why is Sen. Cassidy Obsessed with Obamacare Repeal-and-Replace When People Who Voted for Him Aren’t?

Amanda Michelle Gomez

Amanda Michelle Gomez Health Reporter, ThinkProgress

The Cassidy-Graham bill — the last Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement bill left standing — has a dubious chance of passing. It currently has the same problem past iterations of Republican Senate health bills had: it can’t get 50 votes.

The bill — authored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — starting in 2020, would repeal ACA subsidies and the Medicaid expansion. Instead, states would be given temporary block grants. By the end of implementation, every state could create a whole new health system.

According to David Anderson, research associate at Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy, state flexibility could come at a cost to some states:

Credit: David Anderson, Research associate at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

The block grants end entirely by 2027. Additionally, the bill eventually makes cuts to the overall Medicaid program — which provides insurance to low-income adults, seniors, and people with disabilities — by imposing a per-capita cap, which its drafters argue help maintain costs.

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The Senate Is in a Hurry to Cut Our Health Care

Shaun O'Brien AFL-CIO

Do you remember "Repeal and Replace," "Repeal and Run" and "Skinny Repeal"? Those were all plans pushed by the Senate Republican leaders at the end of July in a frantic, failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make massive cuts in our health care. Millions of working people stood up and spoke out to stop those cuts. Now, however, Republican leaders are back, just as desperate but hopeful they can sneak something through.

The media are calling the new Senate Republican proposal the Graham-Cassidy plan because two of its lead authors are Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). A more accurate way to think of it is as "Repeal, Replace and Run."

This plan wipes out major parts of the ACA. There are no more federal tax credits to help the middle class pay health insurance premiums. No more Medicaid expansion for low-income working people. No airtight ban on discriminatory premiums for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies can impose an age tax by charging older Americans up to five times what they charge young adults. Employers are let off the hook completely: No employer would be required to contribute toward any worker’s health care; but the 40% tax on middle-class worker health benefits would be made permanent.

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Union Matters

Obamacare Repeal Bills, Like GoT White Walkers, are Very Difficult to Kill

Michele and Igor speak with Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under former President Obama (and twitter hero) about the latest efforts in Congress to repeal the ACA in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill. He reminds us why health care is far more personal and significant than partisan politics, and how we can work towards universal coverage.

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The Irony

The Irony