“To deny health care to families and sick people is morally obscene. But to do that to give tax cuts to Americans earning more than $250,000 per year is almost beyond human comprehension. I doubt cancer patients who won’t be able to afford chemotherapy will be comforted to know that Donald Trump is getting a tax cut. We are all in this together – why is that so hard for the Republicans to understand?”
Toomey Led the Push for the Senate Bill’s Deep Medicaid Cuts
Senate Republicans unveiled their version of a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act today—and behind that legislation is Pennsylvania’s own Sen. Pat Toomey. The bill includes cuts to Medicaid that are more severe than the health care legislation passed by House Republicans last month. Compared to the ACA, the House bill would leave 5 million more people who rely on Medicaid uninsured next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. As the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health Care, Toomey helped spearhead the bill’s drafting process and the push for deep Medicaid cuts, which Democrats and some Republicans fear will force states to either eliminate coverage for many needy patients or assume a much more sizable chunk of the cost. Toomey defended the bill in an interview with Bloomberg today, calling the Medicaid cuts “necessary to make [Medicaid] a sustainable program.” He said the bill had “gotten lots of outside input” during the draft process—but it was drafted without a single public hearing. Here’s how the bill would work: Under current law, Medicaid is an open-ended entitlement program, meaning the government is required to match state expenditures for the costs of covered services to those deemed eligible (primarily low-income and disabled people). The Senate legislation would replace that program with a system of capped federal payments that would drastically reduce federal spending over time. That means states would be forced to decide whether to scale back on coverage or raise a significant amount of funding, likely through taxes or budget cuts, to make up the difference.
Pat Toomey is a Republican U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.
The School Reform Commission voted earlier this week to approve a contract between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The deal, which will cost $395 billion over five years, ends a tense four-year stalemate between the teachers’ union and the district. For the first time in five years, teachers will receive raises and, in some cases, retroactive pay. The contract will last through August of 2020. Teachers and city officials who have long awaited an end to the standoff praise the contract. But there’s major uncertainty as to how the district will afford a deal it simply hasn’t budgeted for. According to Philly.com, the recent deal accounts for $245 million more than is budgeted by the district, which already faces an increasingly intimidating deficit. With the contract, the projected deficit reportedly balloons from $700 million to almost $1 billion over five years. The Notebook reports that SRC member Bill Green said the district will likely fund the contract through one of two options: either 3,800 teachers layoffs by September of 2019 or an increase in city property taxes. District Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson said that if the city were to finance the contract and balance the district’s deficit on its own, the increase in property taxes would be about 16 percent.
Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals. The Senate proposal is broadly similar to the bill passed by House Republicans last month, with a few notable differences. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been criticized for drafting the bill in secret with just a dozen Republican Senate colleagues, says the proposal — which he calls a discussion draft — will stabilize insurance markets, strengthen Medicaid and cut costs to consumers. "We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandates. And policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandates so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford," McConnell said.
Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement
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