Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

“Do No Harm” Still Hurts

Promises were made.

And workers believed candidate Donald Trump when he pledged to stop corporations from exporting American factories. Workers cast votes based on Trump swearing he would end the trade cheating that kills American jobs.

This week, though, workers got bad news from Washington, D.C. President Trump proposed virtually eliminating funding for a Labor Department bureau that helps prevent U.S. workers from having to compete with forced and child labor overseas. In addition, the administration issued only vague objectives for renegotiating the job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

When NAFTA has cost at least 900,000 Americans their jobs, vague is unacceptable. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his first rule in negotiations for a new NAFTA would be to “do no harm.” That’s not good enough. That’s the status quo, and promises were made. The first rule should be to “do substantial good.”  

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The President of the United States Thinks Health Insurance Costs $12 Per Year

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

President Donald Trump continues to change his position on health care, and recent comments he made to The New York Times reveal he might not understand how health insurance even works.

In an interview Wednesday with The Times, Trump signaled that, if he could, he would strip away protections for pre-existing conditions — but he also said he is generally of the view that people should have health care.

“Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away,” Trump told reporters from the Times. “As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal.”

Times reporter Maggie Haberman then asked Trump if he was “generally of the view that people should have health care,” to which Trump responded, “Yes, yes.”

But wanting to strip people of protections for pre-existing conditions is completely contradictory to the belief that people should have health care. Without protections that keep insurers from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions, those people can be charged significantly more for insurance, which could ultimately price people with the highest need for care out of the market.

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What It’s Like to Watch the Senate Debate Whether Your Life is as Valuable as a Tax Cut for Trump

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Every other Saturday morning, I inject $2,269.61 worth of pharmaceuticals into my leg. If I don’t do so, my immune system will slowly eat holes in my small intestine. Eventually, it will start leaking digestive fluid into my abdominal cavity until I literally devour myself from the inside.

I’ve experienced an intestinal rupture before, and can assure you that the pain is unimaginable. Unless you’ve laid on a gurney screaming for morphine before, there’s nothing I can say to convey what it is like. I wouldn’t wish that pain on history’s worst tyrants. I wouldn’t wish it on Mitch McConnell.

I tell this story because the Senate is poised to vote on a bill that will plunge thousands of people similar to me into economic ruin. Many of us will not survive if Trumpcare becomes law. Unable to even afford opiates to ease the pain, some of us could die excruciating deaths.

 

See that? That’s almost $2,300 worth of medicine. Or two weeks of life for me. CREDIT: Photo courtesy of the author.

The drug that keeps me from this fate is called Humira, and it is one of capitalism’s great miracles. AbbVie, the company that makes Humira, sold $12.5 billion worth of the stuff in 2014, more than any other drug in on the market today. A box of two 40 mg Humira shots costs $4,539.21.

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The Deficits Generated by Trump’s Budget are Much Bigger than CBO’s Estimates

Jared Bernstein

Jared Bernstein Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The figure below, from Senate Budget Committee staffer Bobby Kogan, shows four different estimates of projected budget deficits as shares of GDP:

–The lowest line is the administration’s own estimate, showing how if you buy their numbers–and if you do, I’ve got a bridge to sell you–the budget balances by 2027.

–The next line up is from today’s CBO release of their analysis of President’s budget. Note that CBO must adhere to claims that tax cuts will be paid for, even if there’s no credible plan to do so.

–The next line is CBO’s baseline, or the path they believe the deficit will follow if we stick to current law.

–The top line is the most important. It’s the deficit as a share of GDP under the far more credible assumption that team Trump fails to pay for their tax cuts (using Tax Policy Center static estimates of the cost of their tax cuts, with interest costs added; ftr, TPC’s dynamic score line looks the same).

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My Broken Hip Taught Me What Republicans Don’t Understand about Health Insurance

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

The Senate votedTuesday on a motion to proceed that will bring a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act to the Senate floor. The details of that bill are still unknown to both the senators voting on it and to the public, but earlier versions of the bill proposed by Senate leadership are projected to leave between 22 and 32 million more people uninsured within 10 years.

These are staggering numbers. But it’s the persistent rhetoric surrounding those losses that is even more disturbing.

Many Republicans in Congress have become so doggedly insistent upon getting this political win — repealing the law they’ve promised, for seven years, to repeal — that the arguments for doing so have taken a dark turn.

Some lawmakers, for instance, have cited Scripture to implicitly suggest leaving tens of millions without access to health care is acceptable because the poor and sick deserve their fate.

“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS), told Stat News in March. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

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Union Matters

Is Donald Trump Keeping His Promises on Trade?

Candidate Trump made a lot of promises about what he called America's "failed trade policies." But is President Trump keeping his word? Yes, no — and maybe? Host Scott Paul and the Alliance for American Manufacturing's Scott Boos take a deep dive.

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Support for Medicare-for-All is Growing

Support for Medicare-for-All is Growing