Navigating Trump's America: While Tom Price changes Obamacare, Trump will tweet
This is Mic's guide to Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you.
— 6/15, the number of cabinet nominations Trump has made.
Today: Rep. Tom Price has been tapped to run Health and Human Services. Expect major changes to Obamacare, health insurance and more. And Elaine Chao, former Labor secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell, has been named secretary of transportation.
More: Mike Pence told reporters Monday night to expect "a number of very important announcements."
Even More: Jill Stein successfully filed for a recount in Pennsylvania.
Where's Trump? Holding transition meetings in Manhattan's Trump Tower.
Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.3 million votes, 1.8 percentage points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)
Trump's claims of substantial voter fraud continue
The president-elect can't stop, won't stop tweeting. As the news leaked that he would name Price to oversee American health care, and along with it Medicaid and Medicare, Trump took to Twitter to express continued frustration about voting fraud that did not happen. Trump quoted his supporters in tweets late Monday night, targeting a journalist at CNN. He blasted the network as "embarrassed" by his victory. (Mic) Here's the truth behind rumors of widespread voter fraud in the election. (Mic)
Just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, Trump pivoted the conversation to flag burning, proposing that anyone who burns the flag should lose their citizenship or go to jail. It's not clear why Trump had flag burning on his mind. The Supreme Court has ruled burning flags as free speech protected under the First Amendment. (Mic)
How Trump's latest cabinet pick will impact your health insurance
Trump has sent the first solid signal the 6-year-old law may be nearing its end.
The long battle that culminated in the Affordable Care Act's 2010 passage foreshadowed a political split that slowly came to benefit Republicans. The law is credited with helping more than 20 million Americans gain health insurance. But many also blame it for insurance premiums that have increased each year by large percentages. Those costs helped push Trump into the White House, which we explore in A View From Trump Country below.
Trump's selection of Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services signals the president-elect will follow through on his promise to change, if not repeal, Obamacare. Price is one of the staunchest critics of the health care law, arguing premium increases show it has not worked to make health care more affordable for most Americans. The Republican from Georgia wants to repeal the law and instead give Americans tax credits to help them cover the cost of insurance premiums. Price, an orthopedic surgeon, is one of few ACA critics who has a specific proposal to replace the law. (Mic)
Can Republicans really repeal Obamacare?
Yes. The Republican House has successfully voted to, many times. A straight repeal could strip millions of Americans of their health insurance. The option long favored by Republicans — "repeal and replace" — would keep some elements of the ACA, like no coverage denial for preexisting conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plans until age 26, alongside a conservative alternative, perhaps the tax credit plan Price has pushed in the past.
How will Price affect my health insurance?
If Trump pursues Price's vision, Americans would see a smaller governmental role in their selection of health insurance. Exchanges would disappear, and there would be fewer regulations over employer-offered plans. Consumers would buy health insurance and receive a tax credit toward the cost of their premium. And the federal government would give states grants to cover people that health insurance companies see as too risky to insure.
Price's plan is likely to put more onus on the consumer to find and pay for their plan. The ACA provides substantial subsidies to younger and lower income Americans. Price's plan, though it could be altered, uses age to determine annual tax credits, with the most money going to older Americans.
On the issues: The Georgian has voted against funding for abortions. He also sponsored state legislation — later vetoed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal — allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people, raising questions about how he would treat the health needs of those communities.
Mitch McConnell's wife may return to the cabinet
Trump's expected pick of Elaine Chao, former labor secretary under George W. Bush, to lead the Department of Transportation checks two boxes: diversity and conservative credentials. As the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao is not a Trump campaign insider like Michael Flynn or Jeff Sessions. She is also the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position. (Politico)
Another election recount update
Jill Stein filed for a recount in Pennsylvania just hours before the state's Monday deadline. Stein's filing comes after she launched a recount in Wisconsin that will cost a reported $3.5 million, more than her crowdfunding campaign initially budgeted for the effort in that state. Stein says she wants to ensure voting in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin occurred fairly.
Mic has compiled a history of recounts and how they work to offer perspective into Stein's effort. And though there's no evidence to suggest these recounts will change the outcome of the election, more security experts have cosigned Stein's digging into voting results. (Guardian)
News and insight you cannot miss:
— When Trump moves into the White House, he will be breaking his own contract if he continues to have a stake in his Washington DC hotel. (Government Executive)
— Trump has officially won Michigan's 16 electors by a margin of 10,704 votes. (ABC News)
— Republicans are planning to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood and consider banning any abortions after 20-weeks. (Politico)
— Despite unprecedented public opposition from his closest advisors, Trump is still considering Mitt Romney for secretary of state. Trump and Romney will grab dinner Tuesday night. (Washington Post)
A view from Trump country: How Obamacare helped Trump
In the final weeks before the election, Trump received a gift that may have helped put him over the top: News that in 2017, health insurance premiums will increase by double digits in many states. Trump played up this news to full effect, repeatedly rallying his supporters with a closing argument that included his promise to reform health care.
Earlier this year, Americans disapproved of the Affordable Care Act by a 10-point margin. That unpopularity was compounded by headlines and Trump alike screaming that 2017 would bring hundreds-of-dollars-per-month increases in health insurance bills. According to exit polls, nearly half of voters nationally said the ACA went too far, and 82% of the disapprovers voted for Trump. In Ohio, a swing state Trump won by nine percentage points, a larger percentage of the electorate said they disapproved of the law, and the disapprovers split for Trump 82% to 11%.
With many Americans feeling poorer as premiums increase, Trump, Price and the GOP face a challenge: Help consumers find better health insurance while paying less.
Same subject, two views: The conservative and liberal views on Obamacare
Why Obamacare failed, by the Chicago Tribune editorial board: "Obamacare failed because it flunked Economics 101 and Human Nature 101. It straitjacketed insurers into providing overly expensive, soup-to-nuts policies. It wasn't flexible enough so that people could buy as much coverage as they wanted and could afford — not what the government dictated." (Chicago Tribune)
Higher health insurance premiums don't mean the Affordable Care Act is a disaster, write Ezekiel Emanuel and Bob Kocher: "While health care costs and premiums are rising — the recent announcement notwithstanding — they are rising much more slowly than they did during the George W. Bush administration and, indeed, over the past 50 years." (Washington Post)
The loyal opposition: Democrats have few options to stop Obamacare repeal
Some Americans accustomed to gridlock in Congress may hold out hope that the Republicans will be unable to marshal enough votes to repeal the ACA. But if the GOP ranks stand together, they can wield the narrow majority necessary to dramatically change American health care. Here is their game plan, via Politico.
The only hope for preservation of the law or its core components may be a long filibuster — and Democrats might be willing to give it a try. Here is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's Tuesday morning comment: "Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house."
There was one prominent D.C. Democrat who sounded the alarm about white and rural Americans fleeing the Democratic party long before the election: Tom Vilsack. The secretary of agriculture, most recently tasked with fighting the country's epidemic of opioid addiction, now says Democrats can win back working class voters who flipped to Trump. And the stakes are high, with Vilsack comparing his party to a tree that "looks healthy on the outside but is in the throes of slow and long-term demise." (Washington Post)
— "I've had conversations with local officials about it and so far their biggest new concern about the election is drunken expats trying to deface Trump signs." Security at Trump buildings around the world ramps up — at great cost. (BuzzFeed)
— The knife-wielding attacker at Ohio State University was a Somali refugee studying legally in the U.S. (Mic)
— Showdown looming: After federal authorities said they had no plans to forcibly remove Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, the governor of North Dakota said he would do just that. (Mic)
— Protests are about more than #NotMyPresident. Across the country, workers are striking to demand a $15 minimum wage. (Mic)
— On Thursday, Trump will reportedly launch a "Thank America" tour. The president-elect will begin in Cincinnati. (CNN)
— A Texas elector has resigned to avoid voting for Trump. (Mic)
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