Politics 2017 May 20

Trump administration destabilizing health insurance markets possibly by accident

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Trump administration may be (intentionally or not) destabilizing the individual health insurance marketplace. That's based on complaints from the companies and from state regulators of both parties. "The growing frustration with the Trump administration's management -- reflected in letters to state regulators and in interviews with more than two dozen senior industry and government officials nationwide -- undercuts a key White House claim that Obamacare insurance marketplaces are collapsing on their own. Instead, according to many officials, it is the Trump administration that is driving much of the current instability by refusing to commit to steps to keep markets running, such as funding aid for low-income consumers or enforcing penalties for people who go without insurance."

Kevin Drum has some excellent (and rather pissed-off) commentary on that LA Times article here.

More negative polling news for Trump

Meanwhile, as previously noted, a recent Public Policy Polling survey found that nearly 2/3 of U.S. voters favor keeping and fixing Obamacare rather than repealing and replacing it. In keeping with other parts of PPP's survey, the latest poll from Monmouth University finds President Trump's job approval rating at 39-53 approve-disapprove, down from 43-46 two months before. Among residents of "swing counties," those where Trump and Clinton were within single digits of each other, Trump's approval rating plummeted to 34-54 last week from 41-46 in March. Meanwhile, 73 percent of those surveyed want the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the election to continue.

Trump expected to name non-scientist to top USDA science post

According to a May 12 article at ProPublica, President Trump's likely pick for undersecretary of agriculture for research, education and economics is likely to be Sam Clovis. By statute the position is supposed to be filled "from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics." Clovis has a doctorate in public administration and is a professor of business and public policy at Morningside College, but he appears to have no credentials or publications as a scientist, doesn't accept the scientific consensus on climate change, and is probably best known as a political activist and conservative talk radio host in Iowa.

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