Fox News host laughs off millions losing health insurance because were all gonna die

A Fox News host this week dismissed concerns over millions of people losing healthcare under the Republican plan because were all gonna die.

Lisa Kennedy Montgomery made the cheap quip on air following a segment that featured statements by Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, framed by a chyron that blasted Democratic politicians for their outrageous rhetoric on healthcare.

Thousands of people, Bernie Sanders says, Pelosi says hundreds of thousands. Kennedy, Schumer say one to two thousand…, host Eric Bolling said of the lawmakers varied statistics during a panel discussion on Senate GOP leaders decision to delay avote on theirhealthcare bill.

You know what, at least they are not employing any hyperbole at all. No exaggeration, no hysteria, she responded. You know what the crazy thing is? Were all going to die. And they cant predicttheres no way unless they are absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they dont know whos going to die or when or how many people.

Over recent decades, multiple studies have pointed to the fact that better access to healthcare and treatment has been reflected in a decline in death rates. An academicanalysis offered by the New England Journal of Medicine found that the largest decreases were for deaths from health-care-amenable conditions such as heart disease, infections, and cancer, which are more plausibly affected by access to medical care.

A study released this week concluded that expanded access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (known as ACA or Obamacare) led to an extraordinary reduction in deaths caused by cardiac arrest in Oregon.

Dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Republican bill will repeal and replace select portions of the ACA. One of the most notable changes involves large gradual cuts to Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of people across the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 22 million fewer people will have health insurance as a result of the Republican plan.

Sensational commentary such as Montgomerys, however, drags debate and conversation to a new low.

H/T Think Progress

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Noisy Nightimes Might Be Making Men Infertile

It sounds like something from the spurious correlations website, but there is an association between how noisy a man’s sleeping environment is, and the chances of him being fertile. Moreover, the authors of a paper in Environmental Pollution think the association is real, and a contributor to rising rates of male infertility.

Living in a noisy environment contributes to interrupted sleep, which in turn can have negative consequences from heart disease to loss of concentration. Nighttime noise exposure for pregnant women appears to contribute to premature birth and spontaneous abortion, and the same issue can make it difficult for women to get pregnant in the first place.

Male infertility is much less studied than its female equivalent, however, and that extends to the influence of noise. Kyoung-Bok Min of Seoul National University addressed this with a sample of more than 200,000 men aged 20-59 from a long-running Korean health study.

Among these men,1.6 percent were diagnosed as infertile. The raw data showed no relationship between noise levels and infertility over a four-year period. Once Min accounted for other relevant factors, however, such as smoking, blood sugar, age and particulate pollution exposure there was a statistically significant increase in infertility for men who experienced noise above 55 decibels (similar to light traffic) at night.

The association Min found was non-linear small increases in sound levels below the 55 dB threshold did not appear to have any effect on sperm production or quality, perhaps because people get used to noises up to a certain level.

An association was also seen between infertility and exposure to slightly louder noises (60 dB) during the daytime, but this may reflect the fact that neighborhoods that are noisy at night are also likely to have more sound during the day.

“Infertility is becoming a significant public health issue because of unexpected adverse effects on the health and quality of life and heavy expenditures on the health system,” said co-author Dr. Jin-Young Min. “We know noise exposure has an effect on male fertility in animals, but our study is the first to show the risk of exposure to environmental noise on male infertility in humans.”

Many studies have reported declines, sometimes quite drastic ones, in human sperm counts from around the world. Other research has challenged these claims, but even among those scientists who accept that male infertility is rising, there has been extensive debate about the causes.

The work of the two Min’s does not suggest that noise is the only, or even primary, factor making it harder for couples to get pregnant. However, it does indicate that for couples trying to conceive, sex is not the only bedroom activity that matters.

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Children With Higher IQs Live Longer And Have Lower Risk Of Dementia, Heart Disease, And Stroke

There have been many studies linking intelligence levels (IQ) recorded in childhood with living longer, showing that those with slightly higher IQs appear to live longer than those with slightly lower IQs, though the longest follow-up study has only previously gone up to middle age.

However, a new study published in the British Medical Journalhas expanded on this with the first uniquely comprehensive follow-up 68 years in this case of childhood IQ in relation to not just longer living, but major causes of death.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh looked at the IQ test scores of more than 65,000 people who were born in Scotland in 1936 and had their IQ tested aged 11, and whose cause of death data was available in 2015, when the men and women had reached 79 years.

From the data available, they looked at cause-specific mortality, including from coronary heart disease, stroke, specific cancer types, respiratory disease, digestive disease, external causes, and dementia.

Their results corroborated previous studies, finding that those with a higher IQ recorded at age 11 were more likely to live until they were 79. More specifically, they found thathigher childhood intelligence was associated with a lower risk of death from particular causes.

A higher test score meant a28 percent lower risk of dying from respiratory disease, 25 percent reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, and a 24 percent lower risk of death from stroke.

Higher IQ was also linked to lower risk of death from injury, dementia, digestive diseases, and cancer particularly smoking-related ones such as lung and stomach. Their findings still stood after they had controlled for sex and socio-economic status.

Interestingly, the hazard ratio for most causes of death was similar for both men and women, with the notable exception of higher IQ males having a 10 percent lower risk of death from dementia, compared to women who had a 24 percent lower risk.

The authors discuss their results and possible reasons for their findings in the study and an accompanying editorial also published in the BMJ. Theories include that those with higher IQs were more likely to know how to look after themselves, more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke, and more likely to visit a doctor if not well.

However, they do suggest that genetics plays a part as well and further investigation into the association between genes and IQ levels in relation to longevity of life need to be explored further.

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How exercise can improve your love life

(CNN)You’ve likely heard that regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis.

But a growing body of research shows it may have another, more surprising effect: improving your sex life.
In men, regular exercise appears to be a natural Viagra: It’s associated with a lower risk of erectile problems.
    In one small study, sedentary middle-aged men assigned to participate in a vigorous exercise program for nine months reported more frequent sexual activity, improved sexual function and greater satisfaction. Those whose fitness levels increased most saw the biggest improvements in their sex lives.
    Research in women has found that those who are physically active report greater sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction than women who are sedentary.
    In one unusual experiment, young women who did intense cycling for 20 minutes and watched an erotic film showed greater physiological sexual arousal (as measured by a device that assesses vaginal blood flow) than subjects who did not exercise before seeing the film.
    Increased blood flow helps explain why exercise leads to better sexual function in men, as well.
    An enhanced self-image from exercise may play a role, too. Men and women who exercise may be more likely to feel sexually desirable, which can lead to better sex. So can greater strength, flexibility and stamina that result from exercise.
    In addition, physical activity — especially strength training — can increase levels of testosterone, which may boost sex drive in men and women. However, overtraining can have the opposite effect.
    A recent study found that that men who do very vigorous exercise on a regular basis tend to have lower libidos. While this is a potential concern for elite athletes or others who push themselves to the max without adequate recovery, it’s not something that most of us need to worry about.
    As for the effect of sex on exercise, the conventional wisdom has long been that pre-competition sexual activity reduces aggression and strength. As Rocky Balboa’s trainer put it in the movie “Rocky”: “Women weaken legs.”
    But research has yielded little support for the belief. One study, which involved former male athletes, measured grip strength the morning after they’d had sex with their wives and then repeated the test after the men had abstained for at least six days. There were no differences in test results.
    Similarly, another study in male athletes found that sexual activity didn’t affect performance on a cycle stress test. However, subjects who’d had sex two hours before the test had higher heart rates during post-exercise recovery.
    Overall, the research suggests that sex before physical activity doesn’t have negative effects as long as there’s a lag of at least two hours and the sexual activity doesn’t also involve alcohol, drugs or sleep loss. In fact, it’s possible that sex may even enhance athletic performance by helping people relax.
    It’s likely that the impact of sex on physical activity varies from person to person. But much remains unknown, including whether women are affected differently than men.
    If you’re wondering whether sex counts as exercise, it depends on the length and intensity of your lovemaking. A study of young adults found that sexual activity burned, on average, three or four calories per minute. (Men burned more than women.) The level of intensity was considered moderate, comparable to that of walking or doubles tennis.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    For most people, however, sex doesn’t last as long as those other activities, which means it burns fewer calories overall. In the aforementioned study, when sexual activity was compared to a 30-minute, moderately intense workout on a treadmill, the treadmill burned about three times more calories.
    But sexual activity did come out ahead in one measure: Nearly 100% of participants rated it as more enjoyable.

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    Bernie Said Thousands Will Die With GOP Health Care, And Research Agrees

    Senator Bernie Sanders has made it no secret how he feels abouthow Republicans in Congress are currently approaching health care.

    Republicans in the House and Senate haveeach introducedhealth care bills, neither of which are very different from one another (in spite of having different names).

    For context, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Republican health care bill that passed in the House in early May.

    Subsequently, Senate Republicans drafted their own version (in secret), known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, which was released on June 22.

    Sanders is vehemently opposed to either version.

    Herecently tweeted: Let us be clear and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.

    Sandersreiterated this argument Sunday on NBC’s , when he stated,

    When you throw 23 million people off of health insurance people with cancer, people with heart disease, people with diabetes thousands of people will die This is study after study making this point.

    Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact reviewed Sanders’ claims, and ultimately found them to be mostly true.

    There is plenty of academic literature, which Jacobson reviewed, to back up the notion that legislation such as that pushed by Republicans in the House and Senate would lead to thousands of additional deaths.

    In other words, there are studies that back up what Sanders has said about the Republican approach to health care.

    But it’s hard to provide an exact number in terms of how many people could die.

    The studies Jacobson reviewed provided estimates, and each one found a slightly different result.

    Jacobson reached out to Sanders’ office about his remarks, and it cited twosources.

    One of the studies, published by the Center for American Progress on June 22 projected there would be one excess death for every 830 people who lose coverage as a result of the AHCA.

    Overall, the authors estimated an additional 217,000 deaths over the next decade, starting at 16,900 deaths in 2018 and increasing each year through 2026.

    The study was co-authored by a Harvard professor of social epidemiology, two medical students who graduated from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and two policy specialists at the Center for American Progress.

    The Congressional Budget Office projected both the House and Senate Republican health care bills would lead millions to lose health care over the course of the next decade.

    The House version of the bill, the AHCA, was deemed too extreme by its critics for the number of people who would lose health insurance, as well as the massive cuts to Medicaid, the federal health care program forlow-income individuals.

    Even President Donald Trump referred to AHCA as mean.

    Then came the Senate version, which some hoped would be less harsh on low-income and sick Americans.

    But on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that projected22 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2026 under the Senate GOP health care bill.

    The CBO also projected Medicaid would be cut by $772 billion over the course of 10 years under the Republican health care plan.

    In addition to the sources provided by Sanders, Jacobsonhighlighted seven additional academic studies thatshowed a link between securing health insurance and a decline in deaths.

    Long story short, health care really is a life or death issue, and helping people gain access to health insurance saves lives.

    It’s not unreasonable or overdramatic for Sanders to say thousands will dieif millions were to lose health insurance. It’s the frightening reality.

    So perhaps Republicans shouldn’t be surprised a new poll shows only 17 percent of Americans support the Senate health care bill, presumably because they’d like to keep living.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped to push for a vote on the health care bill this week, but due to concerns over its impact and its unpopularity, the vote has been delayed until after the July 4 recess.

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    Do We Need To Worry About Our Coconut Water Having Saturated Fat?

    Last week, the American Heart Associationreleased a report that warned ofcoconut oils high saturated fat content. The report riled many people up about the actual link between saturated fat and heart disease, while others were left wondering: what does this mean for coconut water and its health claims? Were going to clear it all up, right here, right now.

    Theres a lot going on inside a simple coconut. Not only does a coconut provide coconut water, but it also gives us coconut oil (among other things). Even though both of these popular products are produced from the same fruit (which is technically a one-seeded drupe, according to botanists), their nutritional content is vastly different.

    What is coconut water?

    Coconut water is the liquid found inside of the coconut.Young coconuts (about seven months old) are full of coconut water. In parts of the world where coconuts grow, it is not uncommon to see people drinking the water of a young coconut straight from the fruit with a straw.

    For the past few years, coconut water has been touted as an all-natural answer to sports drinks. Thats why it is being sold commercially on such a large scale. Its reputation might be inflated, but overall it is generally accepted as a healthy choice. An eight-ounce servingof plain Zico coconut water has zero fat in it (that means zero saturated fat, too), just 40 calories, 9 grams of sugar and 13 percent of your daily recommended intake of potassium.

    What is coconut oil?

    Coconut oil is made from the meat of a mature coconut. A young coconut, like the one full of coconut water we mentioned above, has hardly any meat in it. But as the coconut continues to mature, it uses the water to make its meat. This happens over a period of about five months. Coconut meat has a lot of fat in it one cup boasts over 28 grams which is why we can turn it into oil.

    Because coconut oil is made from the high-fat coconut meat, it is also high in fat and not just any fat, but saturated fat. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains almost12 grams of saturated fat. Thats why coconut oils relationship with the public is a tumultuous one, with regard to health. At times it has been feared for its high saturated-fat content, other times its been loved for its medium-chain fatty acids.

    So, how can the oil and water have such different fat contents?

    The answer is simply that they are derived from different parts of the coconut. Even though they are both housed underneath the same husk of the fruit, they arent the same thing at all. So treat your coconut water and coconut oil differently, just like you would your bunch of grapes and a glass of wine.

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    GOP healthcare bill may send pregnant women back to days without coverage

    Few benefits are more vulnerable than maternity coverage under the proposed bill, in a country where giving birth usually costs $10,000 if paid out of pocket

    In 2011, when Corey Miller was getting ready to get married, she knew it wouldnt be too long before she and her new husband would be ready to start a family. She made an offhand inquiry to her insurance company and was floored to learn that her policy which she purchased as an individual wouldnt offer her any maternity coverage.

    So Miller shopped around. And in the entire state of Missouri, she found just one policy for individuals that offered maternity coverage via a rider she could buy for an extra $100 a month. Miller would have to pay for the rider for 18 months before her maternity coverage kicked in, and then keep paying for as long as she wanted to maintain the extra coverage.

    I was shocked, said Miller. There were not options in the state of Missouri. And if you wanted to have maternity coverage, you were paying a serious amount of money.

    Six years later, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has transformed maternity coverage and made expensive add-ons like these a thing of the past.

    The law, popularly known as Obamacare, required all health insurance plans sold to individuals to cover maternity care as one of 10 essential health benefits. Another category, preventive care, covers a wealth of pre- and postnatal services, such as prenatal check-ups and breastfeeding support. The law also eliminated lifetime and annual caps on healthcare spending, giving a financial reprieve to thousands of women with expensive pregnancies.

    But those benefits are on the chopping block now that Republicans in Congress are racing to repeal major portions of the ACA. Both the Senate bill revealed last week and the measure that passed House in May would allow states to seek waivers letting insurers drop the essential benefits to keep down costs.

    Few benefits seem more vulnerable than maternity coverage. In a nonpartisan evaluation of the House bill, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that maternity coverage, along with mental healthcare, would be the first benefit many insurers would eliminate in their individual market plans. (Twelve states require the coverage independent of the ACA.)

    That would leave an untold number of women without coverage in a country where the price of giving birth usually exceeds $10,000 if paid out of pocket.

    Youre looking at women suddenly facing soaring costs for extra coverage, if they can even get it, said Usha Ranji, the associate director for womens health policy at the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Big picture, having a baby is the most common reason for hospitalization in this country. This is a very common event were talking about not covering.

    The maternity care requirement was meant to address an alarming disparity affecting women who purchase their own healthcare.

    Poor women have increased eligibility for Medicaid while they are pregnant, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires maternity coverage in most employer-provided healthcare plans. But until 2014, healthcare plans sold to individuals werent required to offer maternity coverage.

    That left thousands upon thousands of women without coverage for a pregnancy. In 2013, three-quarters of all insurance policies available to individuals didnt offer any coverage of delivery and inpatient maternity care. Women with these plans would either have to purchase a rider if they got pregnant at a cost of up to $1,000 a month or pay many times that out-of-pocket.

    Miller credits the ACA with allowing her to get pregnant and give birth to her daughter without bankrupting my family.

    The maternity coverage provision is not all thats at stake. The Senate bill to repeal the ACA would also permit states to seek waivers for lifetime and annual caps on health insurance spending, something Obamacare eliminated. With childbirth being so expensive in the US, some women and families will easily blow through a cap on their coverage.

    Congress is also weighing waivers for preventive services, which provided prenatal screenings and postnatal care without a copay.

    Eliminating some of the essential health benefits, Republicans argue, would allow insurers to sell insurance at a lower cost and with greater flexibility. And they have repeatedly pointed to maternity care as something not everyone should have to purchase.

    [A] single male, age 32, does not need maternity coverage, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers fumed in a 2013 hearing in the House. Congressman Rod Blum echoed her this year, saying the ACA had created crazy situations, like a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance.

    But the effect of singling out maternity coverage is that the cost of childbirth is shifted entirely onto individual pregnant women and their families something lawmakers are not openly advocating for conditions such as cancer or heart disease.

    It is singled out, and I dont get it, said Ranji. Everyone is born. But it is part of a set of womens health services that get singled out more than other forms of health care, such as contraception coverage. She noted that a majority of the US public is in favor of requiring insurers to cover maternity care, even after hearing Republicans arguments.

    These outside forces were deciding when we would have kids

    Natalie Burg and her daughter. Photograph: Handout

    Maternity coverage wasnt perfect under the ACA. The law never explicitly stated which services insurance policies were obligated to cover, or prevented insurance companies from imposing expensive out-of-pocket costs. And many insurers refused to extend maternity care to adult children who stayed on their parents plan.

    But it made sure there werent surprises like this one: when Natalie Burg, of Michigan, was newly married, she discovered that adding a rider for maternity coverage would more than double the cost of her health insurance, from $120 a month to more than $300.

    She and her husband werent planning on having children right away. But they planned on starting a family before too long, and an accidental pregnancy was always a possibility.

    We really went back and forth, Burg said. Do we rearrange our budget? Do we have $200 a month to spend as a what-if cost?

    Burg never added the rider. It turned out her insurance company only permitted her to purchase one rider a year another method of keeping costs down and she had already added a rider for dental coverage.

    Instead, she and her husband did everything in their power to keep her from getting pregnant. It became frustrating once they became ready to start a family.

    These outside forces were deciding when we would have kids, Burg recalled. We probably would have started trying earlier than we did if it hadnt been so completely off the table for us.

    Eventually, Burg and her husband got a new insurance plan, this one designed to meet the requirements of the ACA. It offered maternity coverage without any extra hoops. Burg got pregnant two weeks into the start of her coverage.

    It would have been financially disastrous for us to have gotten pregnant any sooner, Burg said. [The] ACA took that restriction away.

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    A Busy Sex Life Linked To Lower Heart Disease Risk

    A new study suggeststhat a busy sex life could be beneficial for a mans heart. Although the team note that other studies have also found a link between sex and lower cardiovascular risk, this time they found a chemical association in their blood.

    The researchers from the National Defence Medical Centre in Taiwan found that individuals, especially men, who had sex more often had significantly lower levels of the serum homocysteine in their blood. Homocysteine is a common sulfur-containing amino acid that’s beena long-established risk factorfor cardiovascular disease. In fact, high levels of it have even been shown to indicate the early development of heart disease.

    Decreased sexual frequency correlated with higher homocysteine levels in a nationally representative sample of US adults, especially men; this might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or other atherothrombotic events, the study explains.

    The team gathered data on 2,267 participants from the US between the ages of 20 to 59 years old, who had their homocysteine levels on record and had filled out a questionnaire on their sexual behavior and cardiovascular health. They focused their study on thisquestion: In the past 12 months, about how many times have you had vaginal or anal sex? Their findings were published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

    The study was shared on a Reddit r/Science thread, where the burning question was: Does sex with yourself count? Posed a little more scientifically, the question really is whether it works by ejaculating or whetherit is the physical act of sexual intercourse that does the trick? Thats hard to say, however, since the study only looked at sex between two people.

    Unfortunately, its harder to dig deeper into this question as the reason for the decrease in homocysteine levels was not examined in their research. Instead, they only found a correlation between high homocysteine levels and not having regular sex. Equally, it doesnt explainwhy this phenomenon is not significantly seen in women.

    “A relationship does exist between sex and heart disease risk, said Dr Mike Knapton from the British Heart Foundation, according to the Telegraph.Nevertheless, although the study put forward an “interesting result, he saidit doesnot prove that regular sex lowers homocysteine levels.

    A separate study in 2010, publishedin The American Journal of Cardiology, alsodiscovered that men who had sex twice a week or more had a lower risk of heart disease than those who only had it once a month or less. Once again, this did not strictly apply for women.

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    Jimmy Kimmel Pleads With Senator To Put Trumpcare to Kind ‘Kimmel Test’

    Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is pleading with a Republican senator to put the latest version of Trumpcare to the Kimmel test before voting for it.

    Kimmel, whose baby son Billy required surgery shortly after birth to repair a congenital heart problem, tweeted to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Sunday: No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they cant afford it.

    Cassidy himself first coined what he called theJimmy Kimmel test in early May during a CNN interview when asked about caps on insurance coverage in Trumpcare.

    I ask, Does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test? said the senator, who is also a doctor. Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life, even if they go over a certain amount? I want to make sure folks get the care they need.

    Cassidy said in his latest interview Sunday on CBS that he hasnt yet decided how he will vote on the Senates version of Trumpcare, which will eject some 23 million people from health insurance and will carve $800 billion out of Medicaid.

    Right now I am undecided, Cassidy said on Face The Nation. There are things in this bill that adversely affect my state, that are peculiar to my state. A couple of the things I am concerned about, but if those can be addressed I will [vote for the bill]. And if they cant be addressed, I wont.

    On Friday, Cassidy said in response to a question from a Washington Post reporter that the Senate bill begins to address the Jimmy Kimmel test.

    Just days before Cassidys CNN interview in May, Kimmel had tearfully recounted the story of his newborn sons open-heart surgery on his program in April. It was the longest three hours of my life, said Kimmel, who reassured the audience that the story had a happy ending for baby Billy.

    Kimmel used his own horrifying ordeal to make a plea for access to health care for every American. He said his sons situation was a classic case of a pre-existing condition because it happened at birth.

    If your baby is going to die and it doesnt have to, it shouldnt matter how much money you make … whether youre a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? he asked to wild audience applause. Politicians need to understand that very clearly, he added.

    Lets stop with the nonsense. This isnt football. There are no teams. We are the team. Its the United States. Dont let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.

    Crying again, Kimmel talked about other families at his sons hospital. No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their childs life, he said. It just shouldnt happen. Not here.

    Kimmel also retweeted a message Sunday from Child Health USA saying that the Senates Trumpcare bill doesnt pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, not even close.

    In addition, Kimmel retweeted a Jake Tapper tweet about a CNN interview Sunday with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who refused to say if his taxes would be cut with Trumpcare.

    Kimmel had Cassidy on his program on May 8 via satellite to discuss the House version of Trumpcare, and Cassidy talked then about how the Senate would address some of the holes in that bill. Thats when Kimmel clarified the Jimmy Kimmel test that he repeated in his tweet Sunday to Cassidy. Hey, man, youre on the right track, Cassidy said on the program.

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    Senate healthcare bill would cut insurance for 22 million Americans, CBO says

    Republicans draft bill improves slightly on projections over next decade compared to similar legislation passed by House counterparts

    Twenty-two million Americans will lose health insurance coverage over the next 10 years under the draft Senate healthcare bill, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    The bill is the Senates version of a healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, which the CBO found would cost 23 million people healthcare coverage and decrease the federal budget deficit by $119bn over a 10-year period.

    The Senate legislation would reduce the federal deficit by $321bn over a decade, the CBO found, largely due to the bills steep cuts to the Medicaid health program for the poor and the scaling back of federal assistance for those individuals purchasing their own private coverage.

    Roughly 15 million more people would be uninsured next year compared with the figure under the current healthcare law, according to the CBO, a number that would increase to 19 million in 2020.

    The highest impact would fall on low-income and elderly Americans, with those between the ages of 55 and 64 bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.
    Those who rely on Planned Parenthood for womens health services would also take a substantial hit, since the Senate bill would defund the organization for a year. The funding prohibition would cause the number of births in the Medicaid program to increase by several thousand, the CBO said, affecting predominantly those areas that lack other health clinics or medical practitioners. The CBO projected that about 15% of those people would lose access to care.

    The CBO score comes after Republicans amended the draft Senate bill they released last week to require those who have gone without health coverage for more than two months to wait an additional six months if they want health insurance coverage. Advocates have pointed out that the waiting period could be fatal for those suffering from acute illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease.

    The intent of the proposal is to provide an incentive for healthy people to purchase health insurance coverage, in lieu of the individual mandate required by the Affordable Care Act.

    Top Senate Republicans have insisted on holding a vote this weekthrough a process known as budget reconciliation, which would require a simple majority of 51 votes in the 100-member Senate in order for the legislation to pass.

    On Twitter, the Senate majority whip, John Cornyn of Texas, stated of the impending vote: I am closing the door. We need to do it this week before double-digit premium increases are announced for next year. In order for the bill to be passed by the end of the week, Republicans need to hold a procedural vote on the bill in the next two days on a motion to proceed.

    Republicans can afford to lose only two senators in the vote, and the leaderships strategy of applying pressure by scheduling a vote in haste has beenmet with skepticism from rank-and-file lawmakers.

    Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a conservative who is opposed to the current draft bill but hopes to support a final version, said Senate GOP leadership was trying to jam this thing through on Monday. In an interview with the conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt, Johnson insisted: You dont have to do it this week.

    White House allies are taking steps to pressure skeptics like Johnson. America First Policies, a Super Pac that supports Trump and includes former top White House staffer Katie Walsh in its leadership, announced a $1m ad campaign against the Nevada Republican Dean Heller.

    Heller, who announced his opposition to the current draft bill, is facing re-election in 2018 in his Democratic-leaning home state and is considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican in the midterm elections.

    The CBO estimates are unlikely to pacify moderates, who had already voiced doubts about the draconian cuts to Medicaid and potential gutting of coverage for maternity, mental health and addiction.

    One moderate Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, came out in opposition to the bill on Monday evening and cited her concerns about the CBO score in doing so. In a tweet, Collins said: I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill wont do it. I will vote no on [the motion to proceed].

    Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins)

    I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on mtp. 1/3

    June 26, 2017

    The deficit savings projected in Mondays score do provide at least some leeway for leadership to add additional measures designed to alleviate those concerns such as separate funding to combat Americas opioid epidemic, which has increasingly become a bipartisan priority.

    But such a move could risk angering the conservatives who are not only spending hawks but have already argued that the Senate bill does not go far enough in dismantling Obamas healthcare law.

    One prominent conservative, Rand Paul of Kentucky, told reporters on Monday that he would oppose the motion to proceed as well as the underlying bill itself.

    Other Republicans were gung-ho about the bill. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters that it was essential to repeal Obamacare. It may have done some good for some people, even for 10 million or whatever, said the Alabama Republican. But I think what were trying to do is put healthcare on the right path, financially and otherwise.

    Other Senate Republicans were skeptical about the CBOs numbers. Tim Scott of South Carolina said that the CBOs assumption that 14 million Americans would lose coverage because of the end of the individual mandate was unrealistic.

    Marco Rubio of Florida was more forgiving, saying: I understand that they have to conservatively assume that because they are accountants at the end of the day and accountants always live in the realm of the worst-case scenario and they have to account for it.

    The White House issued an unsigned statement bashing the nonpartisan office, saying the CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage.

    The Senate bill also faced new opposition from the American Medical Association, the trade group of American doctors. The letter stated that the current proposal violates the Hippocratic oath taken by all doctors to first, do no harm.

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