Analysis: Trump punishes blue states to reward red ones

By John Wagner | Washington Post WASHINGTON – Political fights from health care to climate change in the Trump era increasingly look like the election itself: a raw battle for resources and advantage between red and blue states. Since gaining control of Washington, President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have pushed an array of policies that tend to punish states that voted Democratic in last year’s presidential election. California and other traditionally blue states are scrambling to fight back however they can, pushing state-level legislation and turning to the courts to try to halt policies that Democratic leaders see as hostile to their constituents. Like our Facebook page for… Read More

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Rand Paul opposes new GOP health bill

By Alan Fram | Associated Press WASHINGTON — Conservative Sen. Rand Paul remained opposed Monday to the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law despite fresh revisions, darkening White House and GOP leaders’ fading hopes of staving off defeat in a Senate showdown this week. Angry, yelling demonstrators forced the Republican-led Senate Finance Committee to briefly delay the chamber’s first and only hearing on the controversial issue. Police carried some protesters out of the hearing room and rolled out others in wheelchairs as scores chanted, “No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty.” “If you want a hearing, you better shut up,” panel Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as the noise… Read More

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Anthem cites soaring drugs costs to justify 35% rate hike in California

Health insurance giant Anthem predicts Californians will pop a lot more pills next year. To make the case for a hefty premium hike in the state’s individual insurance market, Anthem Blue Cross has forecast a 30 percent jump in prescription drug costs for 2018. Such a sharp increase is nearly double the estimates of two other big insurers, and it runs counter to industry trends nationally. Prescription drug spending in the U.S. grew 6.1 percent over the 12 months ending in July, according to Altarum, a nonprofit think tank. That’s down from 12.9 percent in 2014, when expensive new hepatitis C drugs sharply lifted overall pharmaceutical spending. “I can’t understand… Read More

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With health care repeal on edge of defeat, GOP adds money to woo dissidents

WASHINGTON — Top Republicans are adding money to their staggering effort to repeal the Obama health care law and say they’re pushing toward a climactic Senate faceoff this week. Yet their path to succeeding in their last-gasp effort has grown narrower, perhaps impossible. GOP senators’ opposition to their party’s drive to scrap President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the teetering bill and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it. RELATED LINKSWhat’s next for health care after McCain rejects GOP’s Graham-Cassidy plan? Kaine: Putting health care ideas on the table… Read More

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Don’t forget about Flint

If you want to understand what some of us mean when we say that Washington, D.C., doesn’t care about the post-industrial America of poverty, drug abuse, and spiritual despair, what even President Trump means when he talks about “American carnage,” get off exit 7 on I-475 in Michigan and head down Court Street until you get to the Flint Children’s Museum on the campus of Kettering University. In many ways, the museum — with its cheerful twin yellow towers popping out from either side of the large brick structure in a kind of invitation to exuberance — resembles many other institutions of its kind. Just about every medium-sized city has… Read More

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Tainted: Can California solve pot’s pesticide problem

California consumers will soon have two choices in cannabis: clean, legal and pricey — or dirty, illicit and cheap. Think Whole Foods vs. El Chapo. The big difference will be the amount of pesticides in your weed. That’s because starting Jan. 2, when California’s vast legal marijuana market opens, all cannabis must be tested — and most chemicals will be banned. Much of California’s cannabis is tainted, including the “medicinal” stuff. But soon state-sanctioned weed may become the greenest in the nation. But here’s the catch: Most growers — particularly the get-rich-quick newbies and industrial-scale Big Weed wannabes — aren’t ready to grow marijuana without pesticides. And then there are… Read More

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