The long GOP-led effort in the Senate and House attempting to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has ended (or maybe only paused). President Trump has repeated his desire today to have the ACA “implode”. Now the task to kill Obamacare will fall more heavily to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price — already hard at work doing his best to sabotage Obamacare implementation.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services run by HHS recently canceled contracts in 18 cities that funded programs providing ACA enrollment services. Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow of health policy at the Urban Institute explained to the AP why the canceled contracts matter : The two companies with terminated contracts only signed up 14,500 people for the individual market — a fraction of a percent of the 9.2 million who enrolled overall — but they reportedly sought out younger, healthier people. Health policy experts say getting more young people to sign up is key to bringing premiums down and stabilizing the market.
“When you take away funding for training and provisions for assistance, you’re more likely to lose healthier people, and so you’re working against the soundness of the markets,” says Blumberg. “These are the people who won’t move heaven and earth to get enrolled on their own.”
By design the HHS Secretary was given wide latitude to implement Obamacare. And Secretary Price, Trump’s man at HHS, is using this well meant flexibility to ruin the law. It’s probably worth recalling, too, that Vermont’s homegrown Republican Obamacare-hater Darcie Johnston was rewarded for her campaign work for Trump with a job helping Tom Price at HHS praise the Lord and pass the cancel-contract stamps.
ProPublica has compiled an online directory of 400 political hires Donald Trump has quietly made across the federal government. And as we know, Vermonter Darcie Johnston made the cut. The anti-Obama healthcare advocate and former Trump for President Campaign leader got herself a real job in the Federal Government. She’ll be working at Health and Human Services as a Special Assistant. The job is rated GS-14 which pays from $88,136.00 – $114,578.00 yearly.
The list assembled by ProPublica is a complete accounting of names that would normally just have dribbled out to the press. It shows the appointees to Trump’s so-called beachhead team. These are Donald loyalists named to federal jobs that need no senate confirmation: Trump’s true believers or just berserkers ready on day one, they said, to to begin laying the groundwork for the president-elect’s agenda.
Several of Donald’s more noteworthy best and brightest are spotlighted. Here are three likely worth keeping an eye on: A Trump campaign aide who argues that Democrats committed “ethnic cleansing” in a plot to “liquidate” the white working class found a home as Special Assistant to the Secretary, Department of Labor.
At the Department of the Treasury a former reality show contestant whose study of societal collapse inspired him to invent a bow-and-arrow-cum-survivalist multi-tool will test his mettle as a special assistant. And finally, hailing from New Hampshire a Trump supporter who has only recently graduated from high school.
Maybe Darcie and this kid will carpool back home to New England on holidays.
Darcie Johnston, Trump’s rough and ready GOP campaign leader for Vermont, is The woman that knew Trump would win according to an interview done with her by VtDigger.com’s Mark Johnson.
Johnston explains that she has no qualms about the divisive methods Donald unleashed from the start and believes “there had to be some shock and awe to get through the process.” She was likewise impressed by Trump’s powerful triumph of will: “He knew what he had to do to become the nominee and he was going to do it.” If he reached the general election she knew he would say and do whatever was needed in order to win. Note to Darcie: ugly election campaign rhetoric does have consequences in the real world.
As a longtime VTGOP operative and an opponent of single payer healthcare plans here in Vermont (she started Vermonters for Health Care Freedom) Johnston was encouraged by Trump’s emphatic promise to repeal Obama-care. So, she dismissed Trump’s harsh racist and sexist rhetoric — talk of a Mexican border wall as “shock and awe” campaign rhetoric. Yet, Donald’s promises to push to repeal the Affordable Care Act she took seriously.
Her anti-Obamacare heart must have positively fluttered with joy each time during the campaign when Trump promised:“On Day 1 of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare”. Johnston happily went to battle in the trenches for the Donald — mostly in New Hampshire where he finished second by a very small margin to Clinton.
Since Trump’s win Johnston told VtDigger she hopes to seek a job with the new administration, on health care reform. That dream may have taken an unexpected turn when, just days after becoming president-elect, Trump quickly backed away from his promise of “total repeal [of] Obamacare on day one.”
It now seems likely “full repeal of the Affordable Care Act on day one” could actually mean keep Obama care in Trump-speak. So … surprise,Trump did what he had to do to win — shock, awe and say anything. And now he’ll ignore his promises and do whatever he wants.
So the sad fact for anyone like Johnston who bought-in to his campaign and actually believed Trump, there may be little to no time to gloat publically before President-elect Donald tosses your favorite campaign promise over his own wall at Trump Tower.