July 21, 2017 7:02 AM HomeMorning ReadsMorning Reads for Friday, July 21, 2017 Morning Reads for Friday, July 21, 2017 By Ginny Morning Reads 50 Comments Alton Brown. That is all. Georgian Christopher Wray – next head of the FBI. Paging Scully & Mulder. Creepy black-oil-looking worm headed toward Georgia. Gamers, rejoice! “You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is.”…. Everyone does seem to be in a better mood. My kingdom for a history book. More ancient letters found. And there was great rejoicing. Really. Drug expiration dates are a racket. You complain about my behavior so much, I thought you were from HR. DC security robot sees no future in sight. Decides to end it all. See, there really is a reason to jog. Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrRedditEmailPrint Related About Author Ginny 50 Comments zedsmith With a Georgian heading the FBI, maybe hazard county can finally get the resources it needs to finally bring those dang duke boys to justice. July 21, 2017 7:15 AM Log in to Reply Saltycracker Wray, old Atlanta, Yale law, King & Spaulding , great at what he does, that would be a Georgian we are proud of. July 21, 2017 8:07 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Speaking of Georgians in the Administration, your friendly reminder that Tom Price is awful at his job… HHS using taxpayer dollars to film anti-Obamacare propaganda: http://www.thedailybeast.com/team-trump-used-obamacare-money-to-run-ads-against-it HHS cutting over $200 million in research funding into teen pregnancy prevention: https://www.revealnews.org/article/trump-administration-suddenly-pulls-plug-on-teen-pregnancy-programs/ July 21, 2017 8:38 AM Log in to Reply The Eiger You are upset that HHS is spending money that was earmarked to sell Medicaid expansion and they are now using that money to tell real people’s stories about how they were harmed by the ACA? I would encourage everyone reading these posts to take some time to listen to the “propaganda” that has Andrew all pissy. July 21, 2017 8:49 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Video 1: Guy complains about Obamacare website not working years ago. Video 2: Mom and son exhibit lack of understanding as to how ACA and Medicaid expansion work. Interestingly, no mention is made of how the GOP plan would let insurers discriminate against her son based on his pre-existing condition or how he’d be screwed under a private insurance plan which could impose lifetime or annual limits on care. Video 3: Another mom exhibits lack of understanding as to how ACA actually works. Again, no mention of how the GOP replacement would be worse for her kid by allowing insurers to discriminate against her son in the future based on his liver condition by, for example, refusing to sell him a plan covering his required testing and appointments. Video 4: Lady says we need to be able to buy insurance across state lines, despite the fact that idea has never been successful. If my tax dollars are gonna go to propaganda, at least make it good propaganda. Also, consider me naive, but shouldn’t HHS be focused on helping people access healthcare rather than attempting to sabotage existing insurance markets? July 21, 2017 9:06 AM Log in to Reply The Eiger So all these people are liars and or just stupid? Got it. How dare they speak up about the problems they are having. They should just shut their mouths. July 21, 2017 9:20 AM Log in to Reply Dave Bearse Well yeah, it’ goes with the turf. The government needs to keep its cotton pickin’ hands off Medicare and Medicaid. July 21, 2017 10:32 AM Andrew C. Pope I don’t think they’re lying and I don’t think they’re stupid. I do, however, think they’re forgetting just how crappy the insurance system was pre-Obamacare. July 21, 2017 10:33 AM The Eiger “shouldn’t HHS be focused on helping people access healthcare” https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/empowering-patients/providing-relief-right-now-for-patients/index.html Has been in the news because it isn’t sexy, but HHS has been doing things to help patients. Just last Friday they released a new proposed change to the 340B program that would save Medicare recipients $180 million a year in prescription drug copayments. For those that aren’t familiar with the 340B program, certain hospitals are allowed to negotiate the prices for certain pharmaceuticals. They pay say 50 cents for a drug then charge Medicare $1 for that same drug. The hospital keeps the difference. But this means that a Medicare recipient pays their copay on amount on the full price. Not the lower negotiated price. They are basically over charging Medicare simply because they can. This new rule doesn’t stop that, but reduces the amount hospitals can up charge. Saving Medicare receipts $180 million a year in copays. The “savings” that Medicare saves by not paying they higher drug prices has to be spent in Medicare. So HHS is looking to set up a program with the estimated $900 million in savings to help struggling hospitals in rural areas. But yeah. HHS is full of evil people that don’t care about helping people. July 21, 2017 9:39 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope I didn’t say HHS is full of evil people, I simply identified one individual who is awful at his job. HHS does good work, period. It does not need to be turned into a political attack dog against the ACA, especially when the guy running it is the so-called “brains” behind a GOP approach to healthcare reform that will kick millions of Americans off of insurance, roll back protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, bring back annual and lifetime insurance caps, and provide middle class Americans with insurance that costs more and covers less. According to the latest CBO report, the common plan under the Senate’s healthcare plan would have a $13,000 deductible. Not sure how any of that helps “real people.” Look, I get it, conservatives believe that government should not play a role in providing healthcare to individuals. In an ideal world, you’d scrap the whole thing and leave all health insurance up to the free market. But you can’t do that because, thanks to Medicaid/Medicare/ACA, the American people are coming around on the (correct) idea that access to affordable healthcare is a right. I appreciate the uphill nature of the fight you’re in, but trying to sabotage existing insurance markets by discouraging people from signing up for ACA plans or refusing to pay cost-sharing subsidies is stupid, petty, mean, and short-sighted. Also, am I pissy or are you just a tad sensative in the wake of the GOP’s ongoing failure to repeal and replace ACA? By the by, headed to DC this weekend for a strategy session on AHCA/BCRA opposition, maybe I’ll bump into you. July 21, 2017 10:10 AM The Eiger “discouraging people from signing up for ACA plans or refusing to pay cost-sharing subsidies is stupid, petty, mean, and short-sighted.” See, this is what you call the definition of a lie. HHS (under the current administration) has spent a lot of time and effort trying to stabilize the market with new market stabilization rules that encourage people to sign up and encourages insures to stay in the markets. Also, every cost sharing payment has been paid to date. I’ll be at the MGM this weekend so you will need to drive out to National Harbor to bump into me. July 21, 2017 10:56 AM Andrew C. Pope Never felt like Nat Harbor was worth the drive out there. Then again, I left before the MGM opened and was coming from Adams Morgan. I guess if you’re living in Alexandria it’s super easy. As for encouraging people to get in the markets, HHS is doing considerably less outreach than they were under the Obama Administration and is diverting funding for ACA advertising that was meant to encourage sign ups into advertising that does nothing but discourage participation in the marketplaces. More significantly (and I recognize this isn’t the fault of anyone at HHS), you’ve got a President actively talking about how he’ll “let Obamacare fail” and threatening not to fund the cost-sharing subsidies on top of a Senate majority leader openly entertaining the idea of straight “repeal” of ACA. That’s not really a message that screams “sign up for health insurance, y’all!” July 21, 2017 11:26 AM The Eiger I have not been overly impressed with National Harbor. But I’m not into over priced retail stores and chain restaurants. I’d rather go out in old town Alexandria. But I’ll be spending my time on the casino floor. July 21, 2017 11:44 AM Ellynn Here is the thing you too… You’re each are fighting over 2 different sections of the population. Every bill has a winner, ever bill have a loser. Each one wants your selected portion of the population to be the winner. The fact of the matter is that being able to cover everyone including pre existing conditions makes the price of coverage for everyone go up. Removing pre existing condition clauses or over all coverage for pregnancy makes premiums go down for the average healthy family but means people who pasted their life time limits even under employee plans (pre-Obama) will no longer have coverage or pay for it in the tens of thousands of dollars and force the births of uncovered pregnancy to be paid for by in-state Medicaid programs. The irony is neither one of you is wrong but your both not completely righter. Your both like congress – refusing to bend. I posted this last week. And when the two of you are done fighting over who ays what and how many get what type of coverage, argue about ways to lower what my doctor charges me for care, and why one of my prescriptions cost thousands of dollars in this country (which I pay a $100 copay under my insurance) but the same pill from the same manufacturer (from the same production batch in some cases) is 1/12th the price in Europe, and South America? Solve those issues ( and with out the use of the terms like the ‘next phase’). Although you two do crack me up… And your are both being pissy today. HAHAHA https://www.axios.com/health-care-aca-in-context-2455036139.html?utm_medium=linkshare&utm_campaign=organic July 21, 2017 12:08 PM The Eiger Ellyn, I honestly believe if Andrew and I were put into a room and told to come up with a solution to health care we could. In a bubble, things are always easier. I wish we were the ones in charge and there wasn’t a Congress, news media with an agenda or Trump to deal with. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the political reality along with everything else. That makes a somewhat difficult task nearly impossible. I don’t have the answer to that. July 21, 2017 12:20 PM Andrew C. Pope Of course we could come up with a solution, I’d just be the one doing all the intellectual heavy lifting. (kidding (or am I?)) As for lowering the cost of medications, this was an issue I spent most of my time working on in DC and here are my quick thoughts: Banning CMS from developing its own formulary and pricing structure for prescription drugs is one of the biggest impediments to lowering prescription drug costs. Back in 2016, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 93% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans supported the idea of letting CMS negotiate prescription drug prices. Outside of allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, there are end-arounds that are achievable provided Congress has sufficient political will. In 2001, the threat that the US government would issue a compulsory license for Cipro led Bayer to significantly reduce the price of the drug. Allowing for the importation of generics from places like India would also significantly reduce drug prices. Ending the practice of “evergreening” wherein manufacturers extend patent life by finding “novel” uses for existing medication. Further streamlining the FDA’s ANDA process. Government prize pools that encourage drug inventors to cede patent protection in exchange for up-front cash rewards (this has actually been shown to reduce government expenditures on prescription drugs). There are a wealth of ideas out there, but the prescription drug lobby spends a heck of a lot of money every year to make sure those ideas never see the light of day. July 21, 2017 12:55 PM The Eiger Couple of things on drug pricing. 1) Thank you for not opposing the changes to 340B just because I mentioned it. 2) Importation of drugs from India, Canada or anywhere is a non-starter. I think it was reported that 5 out of the last 5 FDA heads have opposed this because the FDA would not have the oversight to make sure the drugs you are buying are actually the drugs they say they are. We should probably not even debate the merits pro and con because it ain’t happening. 3) CMS negotiating prices isn’t a non-starter, but I have serious reservations because that can quickly turn into drug price fixing under a democrat administration. That would not be good. 4) Generic Drugs are extremely important to the market. Getting them to market faster is certainly a priority of the FDA. Streamlining the process is something I think you will see soon. 5) You are right that the drug lobby has had a firm grip on the testicle region of FDA and Washington, DC in general for years. I think if you were to go ask PHARMA if their grip is still tight they would tell you no. July 21, 2017 2:03 PM Andrew C. Pope Generic importation and Medicare negotiation will not happen so long as Phrma has money in their bank account. I get the FDA’s oversight argument, but I also think it’s overblown. The “middle ground” would clearly be some sort of FDA and CBP-approved list of importing countries with regular testing to make sure what’s being imported is properly labeled and marketed or some sort of international certification for drug manufacturing facilities operated by either WIPO or an NGO. The challenge there is that you’re basically creating another avenue for the prescription drug makers to wield influence on the regulatory process. July 21, 2017 2:17 PM The Eiger “The challenge there is that you’re basically creating another avenue for the prescription drug makers to wield influence on the regulatory process.” That is correct and I believe this problem can be fixed at home and by broadening the issue to outside our borders you are making it that more complicated to solve. July 21, 2017 2:24 PM The Eiger Here are a few other propaganda videos. https://youtu.be/ktn6eGKfTkQ?list=PLrl7E8KABz1EifD5BWCrauFUNqrMEKAQ0 https://youtu.be/h-p-mNkOgPM?list=PLrl7E8KABz1EifD5BWCrauFUNqrMEKAQ0 July 21, 2017 8:51 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope 538 finds Braves 4th most popular baseball team in the country… most popular in the South. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/america-has-spoken-the-yankees-are-the-worst/ July 21, 2017 8:54 AM Log in to Reply The Eiger How dare HHS share the story of this child. https://youtu.be/oBItUJ8Q_HE?list=PLrl7E8KABz1EifD5BWCrauFUNqrMEKAQ0 July 21, 2017 8:55 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Aren’t you busy trying to figure out the best way to kick 23 million Americans off of insurance? Quit watching YouTube and get back to work. July 21, 2017 9:09 AM Log in to Reply The Eiger You really are pissy this morning. I’m at work trying to help real people like those in the videos above. The ones you called liars and stupid. I feel good about what I do daily. July 21, 2017 9:25 AM Log in to Reply Dave Bearse From Trump’s interview with the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/trump-interview-transcript.html . TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away. . HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back. . TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of. . . Does POTUS even know what health insurance is? His response seems to be a word salad description of whole life insurance (that for a very young, healthy person could have a low $12/year premium) or Social Security. Nothing else in the world of insurance is in the ballpark of what he’s talking about. The embarrassing and shameful conclusion is POTUS does not actually know what health insurance is, except for Republicans, for which ignorance is a source of pride and power. July 21, 2017 10:37 AM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope It makes me think of Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development: “I mean it’s one banana Michael, what could it cost? Ten dollars?” This is a guy who was born wealthy and stayed that way. He likely has never shopped for health insurance or looked at his own policy. Remember, he mistook deductibles and premiums earlier this year. The guy simply has no clue how health insurance works or what it does. That would be fine if he was just a reality television star. It’s not fine when he’s the President of the United States. July 21, 2017 10:46 AM Log in to Reply Dave Bearse From the NYT: “Things are starting to feel incoherent,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, reflecting on the health care efforts. “There’s just not a lot of progress happening.” . Damn, the elected GOP establishment is perceptive—we can rest easy. July 22, 2017 5:01 PM Log in to Reply The Eiger HURRY! Everyone working on a campaign or government agency that needs to get a bad news story out of the way now is the time to drop it. Spicey is out and the news media are losing their minds. July 21, 2017 12:34 PM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Is this the part where Trump pardons his entire family and campaign staff while no one is looking? July 21, 2017 12:35 PM Log in to Reply The Eiger I think he may have googled if he can pardon himself as well. July 21, 2017 12:37 PM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Is it sad that I’m not sure if that’s a joke or if it’s coming from a WaPo article supported by 14 White House sources? July 21, 2017 1:00 PM Log in to Reply Ellynn He asked Barron to Google it for him… the Tweeter app doen’t not have that feature. July 21, 2017 1:33 PM The Eiger I’m pretty sure a leak said that he asked his attorney to google it. July 21, 2017 2:06 PM Andrew C. Pope This is entirely believable as Trump does not use a computer and, for years, has had assistants print out e-mails for him. July 21, 2017 2:18 PM Benevolus That is what is bizarre to me. How many people would know that he is looking into pardons? You would think only his most trusted people. And they are leaking? July 21, 2017 4:54 PM Ellynn He had a shake up in his legal time yesterday… July 21, 2017 5:50 PM Ellynn Meanwhile down in the hostess city… http://www.wtoc.com/story/35938033/savannah-city-council-to-hold-special-called-meeting-to-discuss-citycounty-police-agreement This is going to be a messy divorce. July 21, 2017 1:44 PM Log in to Reply Ellynn A dog would be too average. He would want a tiger or a something rare and ‘huge’… https://www.axios.com/maybe-trump-needs-a-dog-2463033259.html July 21, 2017 2:24 PM Log in to Reply Benevolus But he wouldn’t take care of it. And it would probably growl at him when he came around it. July 21, 2017 4:49 PM Log in to Reply Ellynn Silly moppet, he PAYS people to be nice to it and make sure he never sees or hears a thing unless he needs a photo op. July 21, 2017 5:48 PM Log in to Reply Benevolus And his dog handler would leak embarrassing details. July 21, 2017 6:31 PM Log in to Reply Andrew C. Pope Silly moppet, he PAYS people to be nice to it and make sure he never sees or hears a thing unless he needs a photo op. I think you’re describing Melania and Barron. July 22, 2017 7:16 AM Log in to Reply Ellynn I thought about that as I was writing that reply, then lectured myself for being too cynical. July 22, 2017 11:49 AM Noway2016 So, by whatever mechanism it takes, does Trump fire Mueller? Does he preemptively pardon himself and family? July 22, 2017 12:11 PM Log in to Reply Ellynn Currently, he would have to get DAG Rosenstein to fire him. OR… He gets a new AG who can do it for him. The chances of him getting a new AG through the Senate…Piff, OR… he fires Rosenstein, which leaves him DAG Brand, was I have read is more a rule of law person the Rosenstein… If he fires Mueller himself, he loses some key senators for any future legislation (or other Senate hearings) and the huge SCOTUS battle. July 22, 2017 1:20 PM Log in to Reply Noway2016 I agree. If he does the preemptive pardoning, his presidency’s hope of any congressional cooperation is over on anything and it will operate on executive orders only until ’20. July 22, 2017 3:30 PM Log in to Reply bethebalance Haven’t researched it, but “preemptive” pardoning doesn’t seem like it would make sense. Even blanket absolution for any criminal conduct in the past wouldn’t logically extend into the future. I’m sure not one S.Ct. justice would go for that. So, if he pardoned now, the door to the future would remain open. If he waits, the door to the past remains open. Prosecutors could have a long memory, and if public opinion is such, they could wait until he’s a private citizen and chargeif/when he were to mess up. The Pres. may have gotten into politics to boost his brand name, but I think he killed it for his whole family. July 23, 2017 11:04 AM Log in to Reply Sally Forth Serious question: If Washington is spending millions of our tax dollars investigating any possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, why are they only looking at one of the two campaigns that were part of the election? There’s plenty of smoke coming from the Clinton fire, but it’s as if she wasn’t even running as the Democrat candidate. Unless they investigate both campaigns, we can never know more than half of the picture. The public deserves full disclosure on the whole shebang. July 22, 2017 10:45 PM Log in to Reply bethebalance I bet John Podesta intentionally allowed his emails to get hacked. He did consent when he clicked the link. July 23, 2017 11:06 AM Log in to Reply Ellynn Who is to say they are not. Glenn Simpson was just slapped with a subpoena, which his lawyer is objecting to and saying he will plead the 5th. Susan Rice and a few other ranking NSA people spoke to the senate committee in closed secession (not under oath) from Wednesday thru Friday. That media nugget was lost because some one had to invite 3 NYT reports to the Oval Office to say some really dumb things (healthcare at $12 a month…) and hire a Mini- Me for his comms director, leading to the resignation of Spicer. While all this was going on, the Primetime lineup at FOX on Thursday focused one… O.J. for the A block lead. Seriously. Keep in mind what most of ‘know’ about the investigation are from leaks originating from White House sources or by Trump’s own words and actions. Almost everything Trump complained over about Clinton in that last few weeks has been investigated a number of times by the house special commission, FBI investigations, the Departments of Defense, State, and the IRS in the case of the foundation. Again, congress can reopen a lot of this. Ask yourself why they have not. July 23, 2017 7:01 PM Log in to Reply Add a Comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.