U.S. Senators are reportedly negotiating ‘furiously’ on a plan to call witnesses for the second Donald Trump impeachment trial in the wake of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) bringing attention to a call between Donald Trump and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on the day of the Capitol Riot. NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt joins to discuss, and explain the timeline of Rep. McCarthy’s call with Trump.
- The Independent
Tucker Carlson calls QAnon supporters ‘gentle’ patriots a week after suggesting the conspiracy didn’t exist
‘Do you ever notice how all the scary internet conspiracy theorists – the radical QAnon people ... they’re all kind of gentle people now waving American flags?’
- The New York Times
Democrats spent much of the 2020 presidential primary debating the best way to expand public health insurance. They sparred over whether to enroll everyone in public coverage — the preferred policy of Sen. Bernie Sanders — or to give everyone a choice to do so, the public option plan that President Joe Biden supports. The candidates repeatedly proposed a future in which private insurers play a diminished role in the U.S. health system — or no role at all. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times But the first major legislation of the Biden administration, if it passes in the Senate, moves in the opposite direction: It proposes spending billions to expand private health insurance coverage to millions more Americans. The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that the House passed last week, would increase government subsidies to health insurers for covering recently laid-off workers and those who purchase their own coverage. The new subsidies do not preclude future legislation that could make public plans more available. Some congressional aides say they are already laying groundwork for the inclusion of a public option plan in a legislative package expected later this year. And the stimulus package does introduce an incentive for states to expand public coverage through Medicaid, though it is unclear whether any states will take it up. The decision to start with subsidizing private insurance shows how it can often be the path of least resistance when legislators want to expand coverage. The changes can slot neatly into a preexisting system and tend to garner support from the health care sector (which benefits). “The politics of expanding public coverage in a way that would shift people to public insurance gets tricky really fast,” said Karyn Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “There are very concrete losers: the providers who would see their payments go down.” Private health plans cover 176 million Americans, outnumbering the combined enrollment of Medicare and Medicaid. The stimulus plan would probably increase private insurance sign-ups by a few million people with the new subsidies it provides to those buying their plans. The American Rescue Plan spends $34 billion expanding the Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years. The changes would make upper-middle-income Americans newly eligible for financial help to buy plans on the Obamacare marketplaces and would increase the subsidies already going to lower-income enrollees. The stimulus package also subsidizes private health insurance premiums for newly unemployed workers. They typically have the opportunity to purchase their former employers’ health benefits through a federal program called COBRA, which can often be prohibitively expensive because the employer is no longer paying a share of the worker’s premium. The legislation that the House passed would cover 85% of COBRA premiums through September. The Senate plans to bump up the amount to 100%, meaning the government would pay the full cost of premiums. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the more generous Senate version will cost $35 billion. There is not yet an estimate of how many people would gain coverage under the Senate plan, but the Congressional Budget Office did estimate that the original House version would reach 2.2 million former workers. These policies have moved forward easily and with little opposition. The health care industry has generally supported the changes because private health plans typically pay higher prices to doctors and hospitals. Democrats who support expanding public coverage generally describe these changes as low-hanging fruit — the changes they could accomplish quickly to expand coverage. But some progressives have questioned the decision to route patients into private health plans, which will cost the government more because of the high prices they pay for care. “I don’t think this was the most efficient way to do this,” said Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic congresswoman from Washington state, who is the lead sponsor of the House’s Medicare for All bill. She proposed legislation that would have allowed unemployed Americans to transition to Medicare rather than staying on their former employers’ plans. This did not move forward. Nor has a plan from Sens. Tim Kaine and Michael Bennet to create a version of Medicare, which they call “Medicare X,” available to all Americans. In recent years, Democrats have increasingly embraced the idea of a large expansion of public health benefits. The public option would give all Americans the option to sign up for a Medicare-like plan, and a Medicare for All program would move everyone to a government health plan. Polling shows public support for each idea also going up, with the public option tending to rank more favorably than Medicare for All. Those types of public coverage expansions tend to be politically divisive in Washington. They often draw fierce opposition from the health care industry for the same reason supporters like the policy: They would be disruptive and significantly reduce fees paid to hospitals and doctors. A Kaiser Family Foundation report this week estimated that total health spending for those with private insurance would decline by $350 billion in a year if those private plans paid claims at Medicare rates. “You can’t take $350 billion from a system and expect it to look exactly the same,” said Schwartz, an author of the report. “Every time I drive past a hospital, I see a big construction project. You’d probably see less of that.” In coming years, Democrats will probably confront more decisions about how to expand coverage. The new Affordable Care Act subsidies expire at the end of 2022, setting up a figurative cliff in which premiums would go back up if Congress did not act. Democrats could use the moment to make those changes permanent, further solidifying the role of private health insurance. If enrollees find themselves satisfied with their increasingly subsidized plans — if they perceive the coverage as more affordable because the government pays a bigger share of the tab — the urgency to expand public coverage may lessen. “Sometimes the path of least resistance is self-reinforcing,” said Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale who helped develop the public option plan supported by Biden. But legislators could find themselves balking at the price tag. Making the subsidy permanent would most likely cost hundreds of billions. That could push the party to think about the cheaper but more politically challenging route of expanding public plans. Which way the party goes could depend on whether Democrats continue to hold a majority in both chambers of Congress and if the caucus can unite around expanding public coverage in the same way it has around increased spending on private plans. “It’s revealing that they’re sunsetting the expansion of subsidies and not dealing with the longer-term challenge of, how do you finance this?” Hacker said. “Their plan to bolster the ACA is the path of least resistance, but it’s a path that only takes you so far.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
The Tibetan spiritual leader urges others to "take this injection" as he gets the AstraZeneca jab.
- The Independent
Activist group says Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley ‘deserve most blame for firing up violent mob of Trump supporters that attacked US Capitol and killed five people’
- Reuters Videos
He had enrolled himself for vaccination when the program started and visited the zonal hospital to get the vaccine early in the morning to avoid security concerns. He was administered with AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine.The Dalai Lama, after getting the dose, appealed to everyone eligible to get vaccinated as well as to take care of their health.India allowed vaccination for general public from March 01. In the second phase, India is vaccinating those over the age of 60 years and 45 years plus with co-morbidities.In 1959 failed uprising of Tibet, which was brutally suppressed by the Chinese government, thousands of Tibetans fled to India, including their spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Since then, he has been running a parallel government from his hilly abode in Dharamsala.
- Reuters Videos
Pope Francis landed in Baghdad for what's been described as the most risky foreign trip of his time leading the Roman Catholic Church.The pontiff touched down slightly ahead of schedule at Baghdad International Airport on Friday (March 5) afternoon.He said he felt duty-bound to make the "emblematic" visit because Iraq had suffered so much for so long."It is essential to ensure the participation of all political, social, and religious groups and to guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens. May no one be considered a second-class citizen. I encourage the strides made so far on this journey and I trust that they will strengthen tranquility and concord."The first stop was to meet Iraqi President Barham Salih at the presidential palace, where a red carpet, military band, and flock of doves greeted him.Iraq has deployed thousands of additional security personnel to protect the 84-year-old. And while he usually insists on traveling in simple and small cars, this Friday saw him in a bulletproof BMW within a massive motorcade.The country has suffered a spate of rocket and suicide bomb attacks that have raised fears for the pope’s safety.Naem Faouzi was part of a selected group of Iraqi Christians permitted to make a journey to see the pope shortly after he arrived."I never thought that I would see the Pope, honestly. It was a visit we believed to be impossible. Even though the country's conditions are poor, infrastructure is poor. (We thought) it was impossible, but it was the best surprise."Francis's whirlwind tour will take him by plane, helicopter, and possibly armored car to four cities, including areas that most foreign dignitaries are unable to reach, let alone in such a short space of time.The pope will also be making a another scheduled stop, to say Mass at a Baghdad church where militants killed 50 worshippers n 2010.
- Business Insider
Trump sued for 'incitement to riot' and terrorism over Capitol attack by House Democrat who served as impeachment manager
"Trump directly incited the violence at the Capitol ... and then watched approvingly as the building was overrun," the suit states.
'Lesson fully received': An 18-year-old charged in the Capitol riot says he was 'wrong' and begged a judge to release him
A Georgia teenager who boasted on Instagram about storming the Capitol in January begged a federal judge to release him ahead of his trial.
President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month. Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe big picture: As part of the legislation, individuals who make less than $75,000 or heads of households who make up to $112,500 will qualify for the $1,400 payments. Couples who make less than $150,000 will get $2,800.Individuals who make between $75,000 and $80,000 and couples who earn between $150,000 and $160,000 will receive a reduced payment.Parents who qualify will get an additional $1,400 for every child claimed on their most recent tax returns.What he's saying: "Everything that is in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail," Biden said following the Saturday passage of the bill. "This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month to the American people who so desperately need the help," he added. "The resources in this plan will be used to expand and speed up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines so we can get every single American vaccinated sooner rather than later.""I promised the American people that help is on the way. Today, I can say we've taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise." The bottom line: "This plan puts us on a path to beating the virus. This plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and breathing room to get through this moment. This plan gives small businesses in this country a fighting chance to survive," Biden said. More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
A Missouri pastor is reportedly seeking 'professional counseling' after he told women to lose weight and strive to be like Melania Trump for their husbands
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of Missouri's Malden First General Baptist Church gushed over an "epic trophy wife" and warned, "don't let yourself go."
Former NBA star Deron Williams says he tried to recruit star players to the Jazz but no one wanted to play in Utah
Deron Williams said he knew he needed help to make the Jazz contenders, but he couldn't find other stars that wanted to join him in Utah.
Past US presidents have left a legacy of untruths ranging from the bizarre to the horrifying.
- The Telegraph
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex 'called all the PR shots', say royal sources despite Oprah interview claims she was gagged
The Duchess of Sussex “called all the shots” when it came to managing her own media, royal sources have said, casting doubt on her claim she could not be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey three years ago. Multiple royal sources have told The Telegraph the 39-year-old former actress “had full control” over her media interviews and had personally forged relationships not only with Ms Winfrey, but other powerful industry figures including Vogue editor Edward Enninful. In a teaser clip released from the Sussexes’s interview with the US chat show host, due to be aired in the US on Sunday, the Duchess said it felt “liberating” to be able to speak and accused the Royal family of effectively gagging her and taking away that choice. “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk, to be able to make a choice on your own and be able to speak for yourself,” the Duchess said. In the clip, the Duchess and Ms Winfrey reference the fact that a royal aide was listening in to their first phone call in February 2018, although it is understood the pair had spoken privately before then.
Even with all the compromises—and the agita on the left—the Covid relief bill may be just what the Democrats needed to deliver.
Kim Kardashian will reportedly stay in family's $60 million mansion as part of divorce from Kanye West
Kim Kardashian West will stay in the minimalist, beige-filled Hidden Hills, California, home she and Kanye West bought in 2014, TMZ reported.
A Texas middle school student said he was forced to drink urine by teammates at a sleepover. His mom called the bullying racially motivated.
Summer Smith, SeMarion Humphrey's mom, says she has reported multiple incidents of her son being abused by other students for months, CBS 21 reported.
- Business Insider
MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough says there's 'no doubt' that the GOP is 'unsavable'
"You know, my friends and my family members, they all voted for him, and it's been hard for me to process it," Scarborough said of support for Trump.
Miley Cyrus said playing her alter ego Hannah Montana on her hit Disney show led to an 'identity crisis'
Miley Cyrus appeared on the "Rock This with Allison Hagendorf" podcast on Friday and spoke about her hit TV show where she starred as Hannah Montana.
A Texas high school removed an assignment on chivalry where female students were directed to cater to men like in medieval times
A list of tasks showed female students were asked to "dress in a feminine manner to please the men" and lower their heads when curtsying for men.
The "Leaving Las Vegas" star fittingly tied the knot in the marriage capital of the world last month.