Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Despite the fact that many Republican lawmakers still have no idea what the second draft of their party’s wildly unpopular bill to replace the Affordable Care Act will actually do, House Republicans say they’re bringing it to a vote today.
“We have enough votes,” House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Wednesday night. “It’ll pass.”
But as Vox’s Sarah Kliff notes, the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t scored the American Health Care Act—a customary, nonpartisan step of the legislative process that would contain estimates of how many people are likely to lose coverage and how much the whole thing will cost. Instead, Republicans are rushing to vote on their bill–which House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has twice pulled back from a vote to avoid an embarrassing legislative failure–without any evidence of what it is likely to do.
Unfortunately, what we do know about the AHCA is pretty horrifying. It still contains deep cuts to Medicaid and equally deep tax cuts for the rich, and would still throw millions of people off of their insurance. Although a Wednesday amendment added $8 billion in funding to help subsidize costs for people with pre-existing conditions–which can qualify as anything from sexual assault to a C-section–the bill would not shield these millions of Americans being strapped with potentially high costs. That means that older and sicker Americans will again find themselves in so-called “high-risk pools,” a mechanism that allows insurers to charge sick people whatever they want without denying them coverage.
The bill has been denounced by nearly a dozen health organizations, including the American Medical Association, along with basically every other industry group you can think of that represents hospitals, insurers, and patients.
- Stephen Colbert sort-of-apologized Wednesday night for making a homophobic joke about Trump and Russian Putin Vladimir Putin, saying while he didn’t regret the punchline, he “would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be” if he had the chance to do it again.
- Prince Philip, the 95-year-old British monarch, will stand down from his duties in the fall, Buckingham Palace confirmed. Basically all of Twitter was speculating that the Duke of Edinburgh was dead as the royals gathered for an emergency meeting, but he’s just a very old, alive man.
- Texas lawmakers just approved a bill banning sanctuary cities, which Republican Gov. Greg Abbott just can’t wait to sign.
- Trump will reportedly sign an executive order on “religious liberty” later today to provide “regulatory relief” for conservative groups who don’t want to do things like pay for employee health plans that fund birth control. Great.
- The president is making his first visit back to his hometown today. Protest groups are all prepared to give him a proper New York City welcome.
WHAT FRESH HELL
- Unhappy married TV couple Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are apparently ready to become an IRL unhappy married couple!!!! Will Donald Trump be invited?? Stay tuned!