Blue Cross Blue Shield (Possibly) Offering Insurance on Exchanges in 2018

Recently, there was some speculation (read: outright panic) over whether or not 96 of our 159 counties would have insurance plans available on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges in 2018. Last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield submitted proposed rates for all areas of the state to the Office of Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, according to the Macon Telegraph:

The Georgia insurance department had asked insurers that want to offer exchange coverage to submit their proposed rates by May 16, while the federal deadline is June 21.

The proposed rates will be publicly available after June 21, the agency said.

Submitting rates is only the first step in the process, however, as Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has to sign off of them, and Blue Cross Blue Shield still can opt to withdraw at any time. This latter point is important, given the current state of PPACA and the plans to repeal it.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s signaled commitment to the Georgia exchanges in 2018 comes at a time when the Trump Administration and House Republicans have filed a motion in federal court to hold a case for 90 days regarding the constitutionality of cost-sharing reductions in PPACA. The purpose of the cost-sharing payments is to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of low income consumers, but Republicans in Congress have refused to fund the payments in the past, leading to the Obama Administration funding them without a specific allocation. House Republicans sued the Obama Administration in 2014 for illegally authorizing the payments, and a lower court agreed with them. Continue reading “Blue Cross Blue Shield (Possibly) Offering Insurance on Exchanges in 2018”

Sonny Confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture

You can now refer to George Ervin Perdue as Secretary Sonny.

Our former governor was confirmed as the 39th Secretary of Agriculture today.

Then-Governor Perdue makes his acting debut in the film “We Are Marshall”

With Sonny’s confirmation, Georgia now has more power in the White House than at any time since the Carter Administration, if my memory serves me right.

In addition to his lofty governmental positions, Perdue is a noted thespian, veterinarian and small business owner.

The Albany Herald predicts how Sonny may help the greatest state in the country:

It would undoubtedly mean a friendly face in Washington’s upper echelons, as well as a more direct line to the White House for many of Perdue’s Georgia allies. And while drafting policy exclusively favoring Georgia would be met with suspicion, Perdue will be stepping into a powerful bully pulpit.

Of immediate concern, farmers in the state are looking for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make low-interest emergency loans to Georgia’s blueberry farmers after freezing temperatures killed millions of dollars worth of crops in March.

Continue reading “Sonny Confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture”

Pres. Trump to Karen Handel: Oh–You’re Welcome.

President Trump is claiming credit for ensuring no Republican won in last night’s CD-6 race.

I suppose it’s a badge of honor that you can cause a ten-point swing in an election. But usually, only, you know, if your party benefits from said change.

Or maybe a loss is a win if you have the right alternative facts.

April 28. That’s When Trump Will MAGA.

MAGA of course meaning: Making Atlanta Greaterthanitalreadyiswhichisalreadyperfect At last.

April 28 is also the date President Trump will address the NRA Annual Meetings, taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center. The NRA tweeted the news on Friday. It will be the first time Trump qua President will visit the Peach State.

President Trump will also be the first sitting president to address an NRA Annual Meetings in 39 years when he speaks as part of the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. A whole host of other speakers are on the line up including our own David Perdue.

GOP unrest takes a strange turn

With the GOP nominee seemingly unable to get out of his own way, the unrest within the party is growing with some unusual declarations. The AJC’s Jim Galloway reported on a phone conversation he had with Baoky Vu one of the 16 Georgia members of the Electoral College.

Vu has just put out a statement saying that he cannot bring himself to vote for Trump in the November general election. And he might not vote for Trump as a member of the electoral college, either.

Apparently Georgia is one of 21 states that do not mandate their Electoral College members to vote in concert with the state’s popular vote making Vu’s threatened action legal.

Vu, a naturalized citizen and longtime GOP activist makes a reasonable argument for his position:

“Thus, I will not be voting for Donald Trump in the general election.  My conscience is clear but my soul is being tested.  Born in Saigon, my family knows what it is like to lose a country and my family is forever indebted to America and our allies.  I have never questioned the soul, character and goodness of the Nation by who we have chosen as our leader throughout history. 

“Until now.

“Rather than earning the American people’s respect and trust through the duration of the past year, Donald Trump’s antics and asinine behavior has cemented my belief that he lacks the judgment, temperament and gravitas to lead this Nation.

This potential action by member(s) of the Electoral College plus the latest speculation that senior GOP leaders are discussing ways to replace the nominee should he drop out of the Presidential contest before the election, only adds to the drama of this election cycle.

Disrespecting the “Will of the People”

Over the weekend, Sarah Palin announced that she would be campaigning for Paul Ryan’s opponent, Paul Nehlen, in the upcoming Wisconsin GOP Primary election.

“His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly, he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” Palin said of Ryan in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

I have noticed a number of people using the phrase “the will of the people” to make the populist case and was wondering who are these people being disrespected.

According to the latest Gallup polling information 31% of the voters identify as Democrats, 29% identifying as Republicans and 38% think of themselves as independents. Gallup further found that many independents leaned towards one of the two parties and with that data the percentages broke 45% Democrat, 45% Republican and the other 10% as truly independent or one of the 3rd parties.

At this point let’s be generous and assume that Donald Trump won 50% of all the GOP ballots cast thus far in the primaries and caucuses. So I think we are ready to name the “will of the people” – at most 22.5% of all eligible voters.

So the next time Palin, Clinton or another political “has been” talks about the “will of the people” keep in mind they are referring to a small number of voters who agree with them and not necessarily the majority of the American voters.

 

March 15 GOP Primaries – To Trump Or Not To Trump?

Republicans that are wary of Donald Trump should be very wary of the Ides of March.  Today voters in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and the Northern Marianas Islands will go to the polls.  All but North Carolina are winner take all contests on the GOP side.

Depending on how Donald Trump performs today relative to his current Real Clear Politics poll averages in each state, he could either become an almost prohibitive favorite.  If the votes post Chicago protest move anti-Trump, tonight’s contest could almost certainly guarantee a contested GOP Convention in July.  Anything in between leaves us in deep murky territory.

We’re going to look at all three scenarios, and then take a look at the remaining contests and related delegate prizes on the way to the convention.  Ready?  Let’s dive in. Continue reading “March 15 GOP Primaries – To Trump Or Not To Trump?”