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MORNING MESSAGE

Mary Gerisch

Why I Got Arrested For Medicare For All

Two weeks ago I was in handcuffs, one of six People’s Action members arrested at Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington, D.C.. We engaged in a peaceful protest after we asked Mitch to step out of the way of Medicare For All, and he refused. Why was I there, willing to put my body on the line? Because I believe health care is a human right, and I don’t want to see any more lives sacrificed to health care profits. To those who say we can’t afford to offer universal health care, I say we can’t afford NOT to – because it’s not ok to let people die because they don’t have money for health care or medicine. Twenty people who die every minute in the United States for lack of health care, and there are millions more who don’t get care until they’re dying, because they can’t afford copays, or their insurance won’t cover it. Does McConnell, who proudly calls himself the “grim reaper,” really think that if people can’t afford medical care, that it’s better if they die, so they’re not a drain on the resources of the country? It makes me wonder. But I still have to believe that anyone, if they’re still a human being, can have a change of heart when they look you in the eyes, and hear what people endure because of our country’s failure on health care. That’s what I believe, and why I got arrested. Mitch, what do you believe – and what will you do?

States Sue Trump Over Health Care Discrimination

Blue states push back on Trump admin with lawsuits charging health care discrimination. CNN: “New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration, arguing that a new regulation would let health care providers discriminate and refuse care to patients based on religious or moral beliefs. James is leading a coalition of 23 states, cities and municipalities suing to block a Department of Health and Human Services rule that would allow ‘businesses, including employers, to object to providing insurance coverage for procedures they consider objectionable, and allow individual health care personnel to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options. The federal government is giving health care providers free license to openly discriminate and refuse care to patients — a gross misinterpretation of religious freedom that will have devastating consequences on communities throughout the country,’ James said. ‘When the health of our residents is at stake, and the safety of vulnerable populations hang in the balance, we cannot rest until this ‘health care refusal’ rule is stopped,’ James added.”

HUD’s Carson Doesn’t Know His Own Policy

Ben Carson misheard a housing term as ‘Oreo,’ and other tense moments at a congressional hearing. WaPo: “When a freshman congresswoman asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson at a congressional hearing Tuesday whether he knew what the housing term ‘REO’ was, Carson thought she was referencing the similar-sounding cookie. ‘An Oreo?’ the secretary asked. No, said Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), her tone firm. She spelled it back to him, twice. Carson came up with: ‘real estate e-organization.’ It’s actually ‘real estate owned.’ The term refers to property owned by a bank or a lender after it’s been foreclosed. Porter wanted to know why the rate of REOs issued by the Federal Housing Administration is higher than that for other government-owned real estate. Carson appeared before the House Financial Services Committee for more than three hours, fielding questions about housing policies. Several times he stumbled as Democrats, especially the women on the committee, tried to poke holes in his knowledge of the agency he runs. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) asked him if he was familiar with ‘OMWI.’ ‘With who?’ Carson asked. ‘OMWI,’ the congresswoman repeated. ‘Amway?’ the secretary replied. The acronym stands for Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. Beatty wanted to know whether HUD had such an office and whether he worked with its director. ‘Of course we have an office of . . .’ Carson trailed off.”

Lower Courts Push Back Against Trump Agenda

Nationwide injunctions speak to Judiciary’s growing power, AG Barr complains. NYT: “Attorney General William P. Barr said on Tuesday that district court judges who have put a stop to dozens of President Trump’s policies illustrate the extent to which the judiciary has amassed power far beyond its constitutional authority rather than how the administration has violated the law. ‘Some say this proves that the Trump administration is lawless,’ Mr. Barr said in a speech on Tuesday evening to the American Law Institute. ‘Not surprisingly, I disagree.’ Pointing to the broad use of nationwide injunctions, in which local cases are used to block nationwide policies, Mr. Barr said that the courts have undermined executive authority. The injunctions have also thrust the judicial branch into the political process and encouraged plaintiffs with strong political leanings to bring lawsuits just to frustrate the work of the president, Congress and even other district judges, he said. ‘If we consider how things ought to work, it is perverse,’ Mr. Barr said.”

NV Passes Electoral College Reform

NV Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote. The Hill: “The Nevada Senate passed a bill that would give the state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the presidential election’s national popular vote, sending the legislation to the desk of Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). The state Senate passed the measure on a 12-8 vote on Tuesday, CNN reported. If Sisolak signs the measure into law, Nevada would become the latest state to join the National Popular Vote interstate compact, an agreement among a number of states to give their Electoral College votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote. Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to join the pact, which will only take effect if a number of states holding the majority of the Electoral College’s 538 electoral votes join the agreement. The total is currently at 189, and Nevada’s six electoral votes would boost the number to 195, CNN noted.”

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