January 31, 2020

Oh look, even as he’s being impeached for cheating in his upcoming election campaign, Trump’s minions are hard at work destroying health care:

The Trump administration is back with a new initiative that could make it harder for some low-income Americans to get health care.

Officials on Thursday told states that they can request major changes in the operation and funding of their Medicaid programs. Under the new arrangement, the outlines of which were first reported by Politico over the weekend, states would have more leeway to modify benefits and eligibility standards for some parts of the population.

In return, states would have to accept a more limited commitment of funds from the federal government.

In other words, if a state agrees to take less money they will have the right to punish their own citizens more freely. You’d think no state would want to do that. But, of course, many of them are run by Republicans so yes, they will likely be thrilled at the prospect of denying health care to people. Ever since Medicare was first enacted they’ve been hysterical on the subject.

This new financing option is a variation on what’s known as a “block grant,” which would end the federal government’s open-ended promise to finance Medicaid coverage for whoever needs it, however much it costs. Republicans have historically promoted block grants as a way to limit or reduce Medicaid spending, and many experts believe such proposals would lead to cuts in enrollment or benefits that would harm beneficiaries.

That potential has stirred up opposition and helps explain why Medicaid block grants have never gotten the support they needed to get through Congress.

With this new initiative, the Trump administration is trying to get around that political problem by using its executive authority to let states change Medicaid financing on their own. It’s the same approach that the administration has used to limit or scale back other politically sensitive programs, like food assistance, that serve low-income Americans.

Oh, and here’s another one:

The Trump administration on Thursday moved to drop the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds “incidentally,” arguing that businesses that accidentally kill birds ought to be able to operate without fear of prosecution.

Conservation groups said the proposed new regulation from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates under the Department of Interior, would substantially weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and put millions of birds in danger. The threat of fines and prosecution has, for decades, helped prod industries to take steps to protect birds, like affixing red lights on communication towers, they say.

This is the same president who claims to be against wind power because it kills birds.

They are working overtime now to destroy as much government protection for humans and animals as they possibly can. And it’s picking up speed.

Published with permission of Hullabaloo

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