• Senate Votes to Proceed With Something or Other

    While I was out to lunch, I guess the Senate voted to proceed with debate on the Republican health care bill. They still don’t know which bill they’re going to debate, but they’re going to debate anyway. Welcome the world’s greatest deliberative body.

  • Lunchtime Photo

    The local tomato crop is coming in, so today I present “Rhapsody in Red and Green.” I am willing to sell it to MOMA for $5 million, and I think that’s quite a bargain.

  • Quote of the Day: “I’m Worried”

    The best kind of mic is a hot mic. Senators Susan Collins and Jack Reed confided in a hot mic yesterday, and the Washington Post has the transcript:

    “I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out,” Collins says. “With no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”

    “Yes,” Reed replies. “I think — I think he’s crazy,” apparently referring to the president. “I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.”

    “I’m worried,” Collins replies.

    Collins later claimed that she was “worried” about the budget, not Trump’s sanity. Sure, whatever. But it’s certainly true that she was also worried about the budget:

    “You know, this thing — if we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed.”

    “I know,” Collins replies….“I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,” Collins says, referring to a 2011 law that defines the budget process.

    “He was down at the Ford commissioning,” Reed says, referring to President Trump’s weekend event launching a new aircraft carrier, “saying, ‘I want them to pass my budget.’ Okay, so we give him $54 billion and then we take it away across the board which would cause chaos.”

    “Right,” Collins replies.

    “It’s just — and he hasn’t — not one word about the budget. Not one word about the debt ceiling,” Reed says.

    “Good point,” Collins replies.

    “You’ve got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we’re going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you’ve got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it’s got to be clean,” Reed continues. “We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.”

    There are already crazy people in the House, so I’m not sure why Reed thinks September is going to be any different than July. Also crazy people in the White House. And on House of Cards. There are just crazy people everywhere.

  • Can Mitch McConnell Teach a Horse to Sing?

    Chris Kleponis/CNP via ZUMA

    Which health care bill will the Senate vote on today? Apparently the answer is “all of them.” According to reporters on Capitol Hill, there might be three votes today:

    • A vote on the 2015 “repeal only” bill. It’s expected to fail, as well it should since it’s insane.
    • The full BCRA magilla, complete with Cruz Amendment. However, that can’t pass under reconciliation, so it will need 60 votes. Obviously it’s expected to fail.
    • A “skinny repeal” bill with just a few minor provisions. It’s not a serious piece of legislation, just a placeholder to allow negotiations with the House to begin.

    In other words, give up and punt the whole thing to a House-Senate negotiating team. Maybe they can come up with something that the Senate couldn’t figure out on its own.

    That’s not likely. But you know the story: I might die, the king might die, or the horse could learn to sing.¹ You never know what might happen when you buy yourself some time, even in a hopeless cause.

    ¹You’ve never heard this story? Seriously? Fine, here it is: A thief was on trial before the King and sentenced to death. The thief asked the King to spare his life. “You don’t know it, but I am the greatest teacher in your land. If you spare my life, I promise to teach your horse to sing.” The King smirked but accepted the offer. You have a year, and if the horse cannot sing, you will be killed.

    Daily, after that, the thief spent his entire day singing hymns to the horse. His friends laughed as they saw him and asked what he hoped to accomplish. “Many things can happen in a year,” the thief told them. “The King may die, the horse may die, I may even die. Or … maybe the horse will learn to sing.”

  • Trump’s Twitter War Against Jeff Sessions Continues

    The president’s Twitter war against his own attorney general is now going into its fifth day:

    Sarah Sanders, our shiny new press secretary, says we should look forward to more of this:

    Look, I know that he is certainly frustrated and disappointed in the attorney general for recusing himself, but as we’ve said, I think that’s a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will. And, he’s continuing to move forward and focus on other things, but that frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will.

    Come on, Donald, you’re not a waffler like that Obama guy. You’re a man of action. So order Jeff Sessions to start investigating this stuff. Or just fire the guy. The American people want Rudy Giuliani as attorney general and it’s up to you to give them what they want.

  • Here’s What Donald Trump Told the Boy Scouts

    Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via ZUMA

    By now you’ve heard about President Trump’s address to the Boy Scout Jamboree yesterday. But to really get a feel for it, you need to read a few excerpts. He treated it like a campaign rally, full stop. After all, some of these kids will be old enough to vote in 2020, amirite?

    So here it is. Your president addressing a bunch of boy scouts.


    Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. — you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. We’re going to put that aside


    Secretary Tom Price is also here. Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us, folks.

    AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

    THE PRESIDENT: By the way, you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better — otherwise, I’ll say, Tom, you’re fired. I’ll get somebody.

    He better get Senator Capito to vote for it. You got to get the other senators to vote for it. It’s time. After seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare, we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully they’ll do it.


    THE PRESIDENT: I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible. By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?

    The fake media will say: President Trump — and you know what this is — President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

    That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news. Thank you. And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can’t even see you. So thank you. I hope you can hear.


    AUDIENCE: We love Trump! We love Trump! We love Trump!

    THE PRESIDENT: By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?

    AUDIENCE: No!


    I have to tell you our economy is doing great. Our stock market has picked up — since the election November 8th. Do we remember that date? Was that a beautiful date? What a date. Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th, where they said — these dishonest people — where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump? They forgot about the forgotten people. By the way, they’re not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They’re going crazy trying to figure it out. But I told them, far too late. It’s far too late.

    But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn’t know what to say?

    And you know we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College — popular vote is much easier. Because New York, California, Illinois — you have to practically run the East Coast. And we did. We won Florida. We won South Carolina. We won North Carolina. We won Pennsylvania.

    We won and won. So when they said, there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270. I went to Maine four times because it’s one vote, and we won. But we won — one vote. I went there because I kept hearing we’re at 269. But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years — Michigan came in.


    THE PRESIDENT: And I’ll tell you what, we are, indeed, making America great again. What’s going on is incredible.

    We had the best jobs report in 16 years. The stock market on a daily basis is hitting an all-time high. We’re going to be bringing back very soon trillions of dollars from companies that can’t get their money back into this country, and that money is going to be used to help rebuild America. We’re doing things that nobody ever thought was possible.


    And by the way, under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying, merry Christmas again when you go shopping. Believe me. Merry Christmas. They’ve been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase. You’re going to be saying, merry Christmas again, folks.


    But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn’t know what to say?…We won Florida. We won South Carolina. We won North Carolina. We won Pennsylvania. We won and won….And we worked hard there. My opponent didn’t work hard there because she was told —

    AUDIENCE: Booo!

    THE PRESIDENT: She was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, well, wait a minute, the car industry is moving to Mexico. Why is she going to move — she’s there. Why are they allowing it to move?


    THE PRESIDENT: And I’ll tell you what, we are, indeed, making America great again. What’s going on is incredible.

    We had the best jobs report in 16 years. The stock market on a daily basis is hitting an all-time high. We’re going to be bringing back very soon trillions of dollars from companies that can’t get their money back into this country, and that money is going to be used to help rebuild America. We’re doing things that nobody ever thought was possible.

  • Market Volatility Is Low, But It Doesn’t Really Mean Anything

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the VIX volatility measure is near its all-time low:

    A key measure of market volatility is on pace to set a new all-time low for the first time since 1993….The VIX tends to rise when investors are anxious and stocks are falling. The opposite is happening Tuesday, as equities are rising around the world thanks to a positive reading of business sentiment in Europe and some good corporate earnings results from companies including Caterpillar Inc. and McDonald’s Corp.

    With a close under 10 on Tuesday, the VIX will have closed in single digits in nine straight sessions—by far its longest streak ever….Many investors and analysts say markets are eerily calm this year and that a surge in volatility could be on the horizon if stocks slip from their recently-set record highs.

    So what does it all mean? Beats me:

    The VIX was low in 1994 and nothing happened. It spiked in 1998 and nothing happened. It was low again in 2006, and nothing happened. It spiked in late 2008, long after the Great Recession had already started. Now it’s low again.

    My gut tells me that a low VIX spells complacency and leads to a greater tolerance for stupid risks, which eventually produces a recession. But the data doesn’t really suggest that it means much of anything.

  • Republicans Prepare to Vote on Something or Other

    It’s Tuesday. Mitch McConnell has promised to vote on repealing Obamacare today, so that means senators will finally be told exactly what they’re voting on. Right? Politico has the deets:

    At stake is not just the seven-year-old campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare, but also demonstrating that Republicans — when given full control of Washington — can govern….The vote count was unclear as of Tuesday morning. About a half-dozen senators were publicly undecided about whether to allow debate to start on rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

    ….It is still unclear what policy the Senate is going to vote on. To get their members on board, Republican leaders are being as vague as possible about what the final bill to replace Obamacare would include, after two recent drafts met fatal opposition.

    Credit where it’s due: this is a very creative strategy. Just keep everyone in the dark and don’t tell them what they’re voting for. This kind of fuzziness worked great on the campaign trail for the past seven years, so why not try it on an actual floor vote? And who knows? Maybe there’s a last-minute provision in the bill that names Mitch McConnell king of the world. Who would ever know?

  • Blame Hospitals for the Big Spike in Out-of-Network ER Charges

    I finished reading Elisabeth Rosenthal’s An American Sickness a few days ago, so the depradations of the American health care system are even fresher on my mind than usual right now. Unsurprisingly, one of the things she talks about is the surge in hospitals surreptitiously employing doctors who are out-of-network and therefore not covered by a patient’s insurance. The result is gigantic bills for people who thought—quite reasonably—that if they went to an in-network hospital they had nothing to worry about.

    It turns out this scam is especially common in emergency rooms, precisely the place where patients are least likely to be thinking clearly. Today, the New York Times writes about what happens when ER services are outsourced to a company called EmCare. A chart is worth a thousand words, so here’s 8,000 words on the subject:

    When EmCare takes over, out-of-network billing jumps almost instantly from about zero to about 100 percent. But is EmCare really the culprit? Here’s an excerpt from the Times piece:

    Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Wash., started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room….Although the hospital had negotiated rates for its fees with many major health insurers, the EmCare physicians were not part of those networks and were sending high bills directly to the patients.

    ….“Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at the Yale School of Management and a co-author of the paper, described the strategy as a “kind of ambushing of patients.” A patient who goes to the emergency room can look for a hospital that takes her insurance, but she almost never gets to choose the doctor who treats her.

    ….When emergency room doctors work for a company that has not made a deal with an insurer, they are free to bill whatever they want, insurers say. “The more they bill, the more they get paid,” said Shara McClure, an executive with Blue Cross of Texas.

    Hospitals know perfectly well that patients expect doctors at in-network hospitals to also be in-network. That’s why hospitals negotiate with insurers in the first place: to get a place in the insurer’s network so they can attract the insurer’s customers.

    Likewise, if they contract with a third-party firm to run a part of their hospital, they know perfectly well what will happen if the third-party hasn’t negotiated with the same set of insurers: their patients will get outrageous out-of-network bills.

    Unlike patients, hospitals are sophisticated actors. They know enough to ask whether or not EmCare’s doctors belong to their networks. Obviously they did ask, and just as obviously the answer was no. But they signed up with EmCare anyway.

    So whose fault is it that ERs are increasingly turned over to outfits like EmCare and that EmCare charges sky-high rates? It’s the fault of the hospitals who knowingly do this because it helps them run more profitably.

    EmCare is hardly blameless here. Scams like this depend on everyone buying into a clever new idea. But if hospitals refused to deal with EmCare unless EmCare signed up for the same networks the hospital advertises itself belonging to, none of this would happen.

  • Lunchtime Photo

    This is a great blue heron down at Dana Point. It flew right by my ear and then settled down on the rocks long enough for me to get surprisingly close. I guess they get used to human company down there.

  • Productivity Growth Has Been Declining For a Long Time

    Speaking of cherry-picked statistics, Brad DeLong is unhappy with John Cogan, Glenn Hubbard, John Taylor, and Kevin Warsh, who insist that Donald Trump might very well produce sustained economic growth of 3 percent. They back up their view with this chart of labor productivity:

    Aside from looking like something a first-grader would put together, real economists don’t just draw miscellaneous arrows through data. DeLong shows how it’s done correctly, drawing a nonparametric smoothed lowess trend through a scatterplot. However, he admits that us amateurs could show the same thing using a standard-issue curve fitted by Excel. Here it is:

    Hmmm. When it’s plotted with no particular bias to produce a specific result, it looks like productivity has been on a steady downward trend for the past 65 years, with a brief and modest uptick during the 90s.

    Is it possible that tax cuts for the rich will produce a sudden, gigantic surge in productivity and therefore a sudden, gigantic surge in economic growth? Sure. Tax cuts for the rich have never produced this before, but anything is possible. Should you bet on it based on a crude chart drawn by folks who have an axe to grind? Well, it’s your money.

  • Today in Trump Whining: Dobbs, Clinton, Schiff, and More

    Today’s news: Lou Dobbs is great; Hillary Clinton is a criminal; Jeff Sessions is “beleaguered“; Adam Schiff is sleazy; Republicans are cowards; and anyone who suggests that Russia affected the election is insulting the white working class.

    Got it?

  • The Economy Is Collapsing Under Donald Trump!

    The American economy has been collapsing ever since Donald Trump took office. Our trade deficit with Mexico has ballooned. Consumer confidence has cratered. Auto sales are plummeting. And job growth is slowing down. Check out the numbers:

    This is, of course, ridiculous. I cherry-picked these statistics; plotted them in a way that made their decline look enormous; and provided no context about what any of them looked like in the year before Trump took office. It’s an easy game to play, and it’s all meaningless.

    So why bother? Just to make a point. Right now the economy is doing about as well as it’s been doing for the past few years. Nothing great, nothing terrible. You should pay no more attention to anyone who says the economy is booming under Trump than you should to anyone who says it’s collapsing. Right now, it’s just puttering along.

  • Medicare for All About to Get a Democratic Test

    How far has the Democratic Party shifted in its support for truly universal health care? Jeff Stein reports:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is about to put Democrats’ newfound embrace of single-payer health care to the test….Despite the rise of “Medicare-for-all” as a political slogan in the party, Democrats don’t have a clear plan to translate that aspiration into policy, and their efforts to implement single-payer at the state level have been rebuffed — including in blue states like Vermont and California.

    ….Sanders will soon change that. The Vermont senator is expected to release his own revised Medicare-for-all bill, the path to single-payer health care. When he does so, Senate Democrats will have to make a choice they’ve thus far avoided: Are they for Medicare-for-all in practice, or just in theory?

    Is this a good idea? On the one hand, Republicans never bothered with this during seven years of their “repeal and replace” campaign against Obamacare, and it worked great. Until they actually took power, that is.

    On the other hand—well, I’m not sure I see the other hand. An actual bill gives Republicans a concrete target to rail against. It would include a bunch of new taxes. If its sums don’t add up, liberal analysts will say so because, for better or worse, that’s how liberal analysts roll. Its tradeoffs will all be front and center. It will make divisions within the Democratic Party sharper and more visible. From a purely political view, there’s not a lot of upside here to introducing actual legislative text.

    If this bill came from anyone else, I’d assume there might be some give and take before it was made public. With Sanders, who knows? Stay tuned.

  • If You’ve Ever Had Lyme Disease, Blame the Anti-Vaxxers

    Lyme disease has been spreading for years, and thanks to global warming it’s poised to explode over the next few years. This map is from New Scientist:

    That’s bad. But it turns out there’s a vaccine for Lyme disease. Or I guess I should say, there used to be a vaccine for Lyme disease. In 1998 the FDA approved a a drug called Lymerix, and it was pretty effective until the chronic Lyme crowd and the anti-vaxxers started ranting:

    Influenced by now-discredited research purporting to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, activists raised the question of whether the Lyme disease vaccine could cause arthritis. Media coverage and the anti-Lyme-vaccination groups gave a voice to those who believed their pain was due to the vaccine, and public support for the vaccine declined.

    “The chronic arthritis was not associated with Lyme,” says Stanley Plotkin, an adviser to pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur. “When you’re dealing with adults, all kinds of things happen to them. They get arthritis, they get strokes, heart attacks. So unless you have a control group, you’re in la-la land.”

    But there was a control group – the rest of the US population. And when the FDA reviewed the vaccine’s adverse event reports in a retrospective study, they found only 905 reports for 1.4 million doses. Still, the damage was done, and the vaccine was benched.

    All of you who have had Lyme disease should know this. You could have avoided it if not for the ravings of the anti-vax nitwits and the gullibility of the mainstream TV talkers who give them a platform. It’s long past time to put an end to this idiocy.

    But I won’t leave you without some good news. First, although you can’t vaccinate yourself, you can vaccinate your dog. So there’s that. Second, a French company has developed an even better Lyme vaccination, and it should be ready in 2023. That’s a mere six years. Just be patient, OK?

  • Oklahoma Sure Has a Lot of Earthquakes These Days

    You should watch this. But you need to watch it all the way to the end. It’s only a minute long.

  • Medicaid Expansion Had a Huge Impact on the Finances of the Poor

    It often slips people’s minds that the point of insurance is fundamentally financial. Auto insurance doesn’t prevent accidents, but it keeps you from going bankrupt over one. Ditto for homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, etc.

    Health coverage is a little different because, in addition to being traditional insurance, it also pays for lots of routine medical care. Nevertheless, it’s still insurance. You can get medical care without it,¹ but it will cost you a fortune. So when you take a look at, say, Medicaid expansion, it’s at least as important to look at financial outcomes as it is to look at health outcomes.

    Via Paul G-P on Twitter, here’s a CFPB study of how Medicaid expansion under Obamacare affected the finances of the poor. The authors take advantage of the fact that some states accepted the Medicaid expansion and some didn’t. They also have access to extremely detailed tradeline data in credit records. Here’s their basic result:

    In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, nothing much happened. In states that did expand Medicaid, medical debt fell nearly 40 percent by the end of 2015. As a check, they also examined overall debt, and found that it varied by only a small amount between expansion and non-expansion states.

    Note that this is a 40 percent reduction in total medical debt. Since Medicaid is available only to the poor, it’s a good bet that it’s reduced the medical debt of the poor by considerably more than 40 percent.

    So: Does Medicaid work? Yes indeed. It has moderate but positive effects on health, and very large effects on medical debt.

    ¹Sometimes, anyway.

  • Here’s the Real Reason Trump Fired Comey

    Just a quick observation here. Donald Trump demonstrated again this morning that he remains obsessed with Hillary Clinton:

    Trump is preoccupied with Hillary because she ruined his victory: he still can’t stand the thought that she got several million more votes than he did. I suspect the same is true of James Comey. Sure, he wanted Comey to help him out with the Michael Flynn investigation, but Comey’s real sin was being a living, breathing, daily reminder that Trump won only because Comey helped him out with his last-minute letter about the email investigation. This gnawed endlessly at Trump, so Comey had to go.

  • Did Jeff Sessions Lie Again About Campaign Contacts With Russia?

    Ting Shen/Xinhua/Xinhua via ZUMA

    Does the volume of crap raining down on us ever let up anymore? Here’s the latest from the Washington Post:

    Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race.

    ….One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he has no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

    Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. senator that he met with Kislyak.

    ….Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.

    Where is this stuff coming from? If it’s coming from the intelligence community, color me disturbed. I don’t like the idea that the CIA and NSA are basically at war with the Trump administration. But if, instead, it’s coming from folks inside the White House, I’m astonished that anyone there would be interested in bringing down a hammer this colossal on Sessions. Do they want him to resign that badly? Or is it coming from former Obama officials who are just now getting around to leaking it?

    Is there a single person in the Trump administration with any better morals than your average Mafia hood?

    POSTSCRIPT: Here’s another thought. In his interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Trump didn’t just gripe about Sessions recusing himself. He also remarked—without being asked—that Sessions had provided some “bad answers” to the Senate during his confirmation hearings. That struck me as an odd thing to say. Is it possible that Trump (a) knew about this intel, (b) knew it was going to get leaked soon, and (c) was deliberately distancing himself from Sessions before it happened?

  • Parliamentarian Deals Yet Another Killing Blow to Trumpcare

    Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA

    I’ve been wondering when the Senate parliamentarian will rule on various provisions of the Senate health care bill, and apparently she already has. Today, Bernie Sanders released a summary of what’s in and what’s out. As you read this, keep in mind that the Byrd Rule allows a reconciliation bill to contain only provisions that directly affect the budget. If a provision only “incidentally” affects the budget, it needs to pass via regular order, which means it needs 60 votes—which means it’s dead. Here are the main provisions that are dead:

    Abortion. The GOP bill contains two separate provisions that ban the purchase of health care policies that cover abortion. Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows says that killing these provisions makes passage “almost impossible.”

    Planned Parenthood. This is a provision that prevents Medicaid from covering services provided by Planned Parenthood. Presumably this doesn’t pass muster because it doesn’t affect total spending, only where money can be spent.

    Essential benefits. A provision in the Senate bill allows states to propose Medicaid alternatives that don’t cover essential benefits. However, this is merely a regulatory change, not something that changes overall spending.

    CSR funding. This one is kind of ironic. The House has sued to stop the payment of CSR subsidies under Obamacare, and President Trump has deliberately refused to say if he’ll continue them. However, Republicans recognize how important they are, so they included them in their own health care bill. The parliamentarian struck down this provision because it duplicates something that already exists, which means it doesn’t affect the budget.

    6-Month Lockout. This is the Republican replacement for the hated individual mandate. Instead of legally requiring everyone to buy insurance, they encourage everyone to buy insurance by mandating a waiting period if you fail to maintain continuous coverage. With this gone, there’s no longer any incentive to buy insurance. You might as well just wait until you’re sick and then buy it.

    Medical Loss Ratio. This is a provision that does away with Obamacare’s mandate that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on medical care.

    This stuff is deadly. Conservatives will hate the abortion and Planned Parenthood decisions. Insurers will hate the CSR and lockout decisions. Medicaid reformers will hate the essential benefits decision. And the end of the 6-month lockout provision will almost certainly have a big negative impact on the next version of the CBO score.