Monday, May 29, 2017

Trump's budget—billions for mass deportations and 'bricks and mortar,' but screw the poor

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01:  President Donald Trump (2nd R) hosts Office of Managment and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (L) and Republican Congressional leaders (2nd L-R) Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others during a working lunch in the Roosevelt Room at the White House March 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. The meeting comes the day after Trump layed out his policy priorities during a joint session of Congress.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Sure, the new 2018 budget slashes billions from food assistance, cancer research, and disability benefits, but the Trump regime has still miraculously found plenty of taxpayer money for two of his favorite, racist pet projects. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled a budget proposal asking for billions to terrorize immigrant families, expand Trump’s mass deportation force that has been targeting moms and dads with no criminal record, and to build some of that f*cking wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for: 
The budget proposed by the White House on Tuesday includes $2.6 billion for border security -- $1.6 billion of which will be for "bricks and mortar for a wall," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Monday.
In addition to the wall money, another $1 billion would cover investments at the border like aircraft, communications equipment, weapons, surveillance technology, road infrastructure and inspection equipment, according to budget documents provided by the White House.
The budget will make further requests for immigration enforcement, including $300 million to support recruiting, hiring and training for the vast increase in agents for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Trump has called for.
Esther Lee of Think Progress notes that “the request, formally submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is nearly half the $4.1 billion amount for border wall construction called for in the skinny version of a budget blueprint released in March,” but it’s the funding to expand deportations that should be the worry here. As immigrant rights group America’s Voice noted, ICE and CBP are two of the worst law enforcement agencies in the nation,” with one former official saying CBP’s corruption rate has “exceeded that of any other U.S. federal law-enforcement agency.” Among one of the agencies Trump wants to ramp up, three CBP agents were accused this month of “extreme hazing” by colleagues, including assault on something called a “rape table.” But wasn’t it Mexican immigrants who were bringing that?
"They take you in a room, and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you," said officer Vito Degironimo in an interview with NBC New York. "Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table, and one officer ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse."
Officer Diana Cifuentes says she was never forced onto this table, but did receive threats and intimidation from at least one fellow officer, with whom she describes having a previous conflict.
"He said, 'You deserve to be put on the rape table,' and that's when he started chasing after me," she said. “[Eventually] I was held down by another officer and one additional officer taped me with green customs tape to the chair."
Among ICE, only 6.5 percent of the 41,300 undocumented immigrants arrested by agents since Trump’s inauguration had violent crime convictions, while “the fastest growing category of arrests were immigrants with no convictions,” according to America’s Voice. ICE has claimed that nearly 75 percent of those arrested are “convicted criminals,” but the Trump regime has expanded the definition of “criminal” to include folks that only have traffic or immigration-related infractions.

DHS Secretary John Kelly could release more information about who is getting arrested and why, but “ICE refuses to release the full set of statistics about its enforcement operations.” It’s almost like they’re trying to hid something, right?

“Despite ICE spin, the facts are that most people being deported are not dangers to the public, they are ordinary folks who have been building their lives here and contributing,” said Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice. “And the agencies that make up Trump’s Deportation Force are unaccountable, unprofessional, and abusive.

Instead of expanding their ranks, they need oversight and reform.” Fact, because rather than taking steps to reining in these state-sanctioned thugs, House Republicans want to arm ICE with M-4s as DHS looks for ways to ease hiring standards for Border Patrol agents. Rather than throwing cold water on the fire, these guys are intent on adding gasoline.

If Trump really is looking for some of those “bad hombres,” maybe he should go check out his own employees first.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

'Time to bring Jared Kushner home. In handcuffs.'

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner (R), as his daughter Ivanka Trump, (L), stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.   (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
I have Putin on line two.

As if trying to set up a secret channel between Trump and Putin wasn’t enough, Reuters is reporting that Jared Kushner also had additional communications with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak that were previously undisclosed.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.
Those contacts included two phone calls between April and November last year, two of the sources said. By early this year, Kushner had become a focus of the FBI investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, said two other sources - one current and one former law enforcement official.
The idea that Kushner was just a “witness” to wrongdoing can be completely discarded. Kushner was an active agent who withheld the scope of his connections to Russian officials and who attempted to set up a secret communication channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin.

This is the man who Donald Trump charged with everything from Mideast peace, to creating a new trade deal with China, to overhauling government.

But there is one chore Trump assigned to Kushner that he can carry out — criminal justice reform. His actions have crossed so many lines that there are none left to cross. We’ve left Watergate somewhere way back in the rear mirror. It’s time to bring Jared Kushner home. In handcuffs.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Are Republicans evil, greedy, or just really stupid?

The Eiffel Tower lit up during the Paris climate talks, referencing the 1.5C target that governments have agreed to pursue efforts to hold temperatures to. (photo: Shun Kambe)
The Eiffel Tower lit up during the Paris climate talks, referencing the 1.5C target that governments have agreed to pursue efforts to hold temperatures to. (photo: Shun Kambe)

GOP Senators Urge Trump to Make 'Clean Exit' From Paris Climate Agreement

By Michael Walsh, Yahoo News
27 May 17
group of 22 Republican senators signed a letter urging President Trump to make a “clean break” from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The letter, dated May 25, commends Trump for signing 14 executive orders to roll back regulations established under the Obama administration. It singles out the “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” order for beginning the process of dismantling former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations.

But the many high-profile Republican leaders — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe — argue that remaining in the Paris Agreement would interfere with rolling back the country’s “regulatory burdens.”

“Because of existing provisions within the Clean Air Act and others embedded in the Paris Agreement, remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk that could upend your Administration’s ability to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to make a clean break from the Paris Agreement,” the letter reads.

More than 195 countries have signed the landmark international treaty, pledging to reduce their carbon emissions in an effort to keep the average global temperature increase to below 2°C.

The Republican senators argue that environmentalists will try to use the Paris Agreement as a “legal defense” against Trump’s efforts to rescind the Clean Power Plan. They say the international accord will only embolden those already citing Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, which is concerned with international air pollution, to advocate for greenhouse gas regulations.

Trump, who has described himself as “not a huge believer in the global warming phenomenon,” vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement while campaigning but has softened his tone since Inauguration Day.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump plans to decide after his current international trip, which includes his first meeting with leaders from the Group of Seven in Italy. In their meeting at the Vatican, Pope Francis presented Trump with a copy of his landmark encyclical calling for international cooperation to fight global warming.

In the GOP letter, the senators acknowledge that Trump’s inner circle is divided on whether the United States should exit the Paris Agreement. According to various reports, Ivanka Trump (his daughter and assistant), Jared Kushner (his son-in-law and senior adviser) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson want the U.S. to remain. On the other hand, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt have been outspoken in their opinion that the U.S. should back out of the agreement.

“We understand that some officials inside your Administration want to remain in the Paris Agreement to keep a seat at the table so that the U.S. continues to have a voice in future discussions. Fortunately, a clean exit from the Paris Agreement will not take this away,” the letter reads.

The signatories point out that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 1992 reserves a permanent spot every year at the Conferences of Parties (COP). These are annual formal meetings in which diplomats and world leaders assess progress on climate change and discuss possible solutions.

“Again, we applaud you on your ongoing efforts to reduce overregulation in America,” the letter concludes. “To continue on this path, we urge you to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement so that your Administration can follow through on its commitment to rescind the Clean Power Plan.”

On Wednesday, Democratic senators — including Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer — held a press conference urging Trump to stay in the climate accord.

Many domestic and international scientific associations have issued statements affirming that scientific evidence shows that the global climate is changing as a result of human activities and that it is a major danger to society.

The American Physical Society, for instance, released a statement saying the evidence behind climate change is “incontrovertible.”

“Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

Here is a complete list of the Republican senators who signed off on letter to Trump:

• James M. Inhofe
• John Barrasso
• Mitch McConnell
• John Cornyn
• Roy Blunt
• Roger Wicker
• Michael B. Enzi
• Michael D. Crapo
• Jim Risch
• Thad Cochran
• M. Michael Rounds
• Rand Paul
• John Boozman
• Richard C. Shelby
• Luther Strange
• Orrin G. Hatch
• Mike Lee
• Ted Cruz
• David Perdue
• Thom Tillis
• Tim Scott
• Pat Roberts

Friday, May 26, 2017

Der Spiegel: "It's Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump"

Der Spiegel, earlier this year
Der Spiegel  is responding to the reports that Donald Trump said, in his private meetings that 
"The Germans are evil, very evil.” * 
“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. We will stop that.”
*or “bad, very bad.” “Die Deutschen sind böse, sehr böse” can be translated either way. Whatever it was that Trump said, he said it in English. Our sources are German. My guess would be that Trump said the Germans were “bad.” That would fit his vocabulary. 

We won’t go into the details and numbers  of the BMW, VW, and Daimler plants across the south, or the thousands of local dealerships, providing good old American jobs. (If you buy a BMW from your local dealer, chances are that that car never set foot in Germany.) See Slate:… 

We also won’t spend time on the part of the Der Spiegel article, that said: 
the EU side was horrified at the extent of the Americans' lack of awareness of trade policy. Apparently, it was unclear to the guests that the EU countries concluded trade agreements only jointly.…  [German]

As Quartz reported:
Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, seemed to think that there were different customs tariffs between the US and Germany than between the US and Belgium, according to Der Spiegel. (In fact, all euro-zone countries abide by the same tariff policy.)…   [English]

But what is most striking to me, is an article that was written last week, before Trump came to Europe, entitled, “It’s Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump.” [Or, “How will We be Rid of Trump?”] This is an editorial, filled with words like “laughingstock,” “danger,” “not fit,” “liar,” racist,” “cheat,” “joke of a man,” “immature boy.”   And more where that came from. 

What was most striking to me was the central paragraph, which addresses “an American tragedy for which there are five theoretical solutions”:
  • 1.  Trump resigns. Won’t happen.
  • 2.  Impeachment. Won’t happen “because of the Republican thirst for power.”
  • 3.  25th Amendment. Cabinet removes Trump. Won’t happen. 
  • 4.  Democrats take over both houses of Congress and impeach. 18 months away. 
So, what is to be done? 
Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.
The perspective from Europe sees America as an unstable, unreliable partner. They need to be thinking about going it alone. Trump on one side, Putin on the other.

Trump made no firm commitment to NATO today. The Europeans need to figure out their path — without any leadership from America. That’s what the editorial sees. 
“Crises, including those in Syria and Libya, are escalating, but no longer being discussed. And who should they be discussed with? Phone calls and emails to the U.S. State Department go unanswered. Nothing is regulated, nothing is stable and the trans-Atlantic relationship hardly exists anymore.”
(Hell, they can’t even rely on the US not to shut our government down, for no good reason, later this summer.)

How does Germany’s #1 newsmagazine and #1 online magazine see us?
In real life, an immature boy sits on the throne of the most important country in the world. He could, at any time, issue a catastrophic order that would immediately be carried out. That is why the parents cannot afford to take their eyes off him even for a second. They cannot succumb to exhaustion because he is so taxing. They ultimately have to send him to his room - and return power to the grownups.
No, they can’t get rid of Trump. (Neither, at this time, can we.) So they — and we — need to make a way to go, not relying on a man who should not be where he is. 

O would some power the Giftie gie us. To see ourselves as ithers see us!”
Friday, May 26, 2017 · 8:09:24 AM USMST · BC in Illinois 

I want to highlight what “RandomGuyFrom Germany” said, way down in the comments: 
German car makers sold 1.33 million cars in the US last year, which (a) hardly qualifies as “millions” and (b) is only around 7% marketshare.
They also produced 850,000 cars in the US, which they either sold here or exported.
That makes for roughly half a million cars, or ca. 3% of the market, which Germany wields as a weapon to bring down US economy.
Trump is insulting and threatening an ally, based on nothing more than a vague notion in his head that everyone is driving a German car and that people should “Buy American.” (Like he does.)

That I myself had no idea how many German cars were made and sold in America, is not a problem for anyone. That someone occupying the office of President doesn’t know what he is talking about — to the leaders of the European Union! — backs up why Der Spiegel says he has to go:
Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.
Until he goes, we must resist.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

'Simplicity is not a solution for complex challenges'


By George Templeton
Gazette Columnist
Transactional Times
When the gas pump at the self-service filling station told me it wanted to be my friend, I remembered the way things were, when filling stations were not self-service, before markets had changed our lives. 
A filling station attendant taught me how to service my first car.  It had a stick shift, arm-strong steering, foot-strong brakes, and was air conditioned by rolling the windows down.  The radio used vacuum tubes and had a vibrator.  Things could be fixed instead of replaced.  It was a less complicated world.
I worked at a filling station while going through college.  We had no cash register.  All the transactions were done in our head using cash in our pockets.  There was no such thing as credit cards.  We kept a record of those who owed us for gas that they could not pay for, but we did not consider these connections as friendship.  That required sharing at a more intimate personal level.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
James Burke argued that we are what we know.  A few simple natural laws, having broad consequences, create a web of truth.  But we don’t see things as what they are.  We see them from what we are.
The Bible writers thought that the sun circled the earth.  When this silly thinking was pointed out to the philosopher Wittgensten, he replied, “I wonder what it would look like if the sun did circle the earth.”  Silly did not become until Galileo looked through his telescope.
But the world is not just out there.  It grows inside us by experience.  Our consciousness has a broad awareness.  We are separate, yet together, sharing the same reality.  We are all connected.  Fragmentation divides us, but our future depends on the patterns of nature and humanity.  We are our greatest threat and biggest hope.  How will we make the decisions needed to help people to connect?  Our investments are not just in stocks and bonds, they are in others.
America Growing Up 
A big tree grows from a tiny seed.  It contains only its unseen plan for the future.  It has none of the things needed to realize that.  It needs nourishment from the soil, water, sunshine, and appropriate temperatures.  To flourish, the seed needs to coexist within its environment.  So it is with us.
The American way did not come from a retreat to yesterday.  It came from ingenuity and the belief that we could help all humanity.  It is much easier to destroy than to create and to be capricious instead of mindful.  A single individual can throw a wrench into the clockwork.  It takes many people to create the clock.  Simplicity is not a solution for complex challenges.  Our problems are more with unquestioned answers than with unanswered questions.
The Field of the Future
The field of the future does not come from anger or getting even.  It cannot be commanded.  It is not a rerun of yesterday’s success or a copy of what others have done.  Diffuse and tenuous, it has an inexact value at every place and time, but it knows what we want before we do.  It has a purpose that is greater than self-interest.  All of us can feel it, though we often ignore it.  It can be tapped into by having an open mind.  It lacks security, but its authenticity is obvious.
The TV preacher explained that the Holy Spirit was a real supernatural person, who would protect you from heretical thinking.  The field of the future is human and creative.  It frees us from our prison of habitual thinking.  It comes not only from how things are, but why.  Reality is always growing, spreading like a wave, focusing to a particle, and never complete.  We can never fully comprehend it, but we know how to learn about it.  That comes from the scientific method and our experiences.   
Scientifically Speaking
Economics is a science.  Some people think that it is all that matters and that, one way or another, it can explain everything.  Science likes to take things apart, to get to the building blocks.  But particles and waves are mutually exclusive explanations for relationships.  Relationships are more fundamental than the things used to model them.
The waves we see and hear are disturbances in a medium, like a violin string or clap of thunder, but light requires no medium, no ether to propagate in.  The field of the future is like the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is the unexpected consequence of interacting relationships.  Its medium is reality.
I’ve engineered in places where there was no electricity at night, street lights, signs, home lamps, or paved roads.  Cows freely roamed midst clouds of dust thrown up by big trucks.  It was dark and hard to see.  The Bible writers told of Jesus as the light of the world.  They knew that it would create history.  They expected more than short-term goals.
The past changes the future.  That is why it never repeats.  The future depends on multi-disciplinary education, not just the math and science that is so essential for manufacturing.  We are never objective passive observers, seeing things from the outside.  We are always implicated in the process of becoming by our human subjectivity, but that should be tempered by a liberal education.
Free Markets
Economics is for everyone.  That makes it human, but it becomes difficult when it concerns life and death.  The market creates moral relativity.  When people make price the measure of value, they can be bought and sold.  Sometimes we make money just for the sake of making money.  The market seems to be changing us more than we influence it.
We lose value when everything has a price.  We should be concerned about the seeds that we are planting.  It is freedom and choice when we choose what we will buy and sell.  It makes jobs and grows the economy.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  But free enterprise does not work in uniquely personal situations that are secret or too complicated to understand.
Consider the prostitute who sells her body.  The man who buys can afford it.  The woman makes a living and does not have to be on welfare.  It is a win – win proposition, free market determined, economically efficient, and behind closed doors.   But something seems wrong with this.
Their lives may not be so free depending on the situation they find themselves in.  It can include poverty, drug addiction, and violent coercion.  They create inequality in the power of the participants.  The market may not be so fair.  We know that selling sex dehumanizes, devalues, and demeans women.  Both parties in the deal incur guilt by corrupting life itself.
Is a person formed at the instant when the egg and sperm meet?  That makes a lawyer necessary for criminal defense of the woman who experiences a miscarriage.  Religion would have the state intervene in difficult, complex, personal situations that cannot be encompassed by any uninformed law.    They want everything to have a compact explanation that is palatable to a little child.
It is a fact that the crime rate dropped precipitately following the Roe vs. Wade abortion legalization.  Society benefited, yet this is not the whole story.  Birth control reduces abortion, but religious freedom would restrict its availability to you even though you would never be required to use it.
How do you feel about strangers gambling on your life expectancy?  You bought a life insurance policy because you were concerned about the welfare of loved ones that depended on you.  The TV advertised that you can sell your policy if you need cash now.  That market is betting that you will die sooner instead of later.  They will collect the proceeds of your policy.  It is profitable to both parties in the deal, but the security of those left behind suffers.  When you hear about hackers stealing personal information, you might have reason for concern about someone who has no interest in you profiting from your death.
Healthy Markets
How will the Republicans deal with mental illness, the demented, and long term care?  What if you discover that you have an incurable disease that renders you unable to work and perform the activities of daily living for fifty years?  Once that fact is known, you won’t be able to afford long-term care insurance.  There are people like that who are alone in the world.  What happens to them?      
We hear a lot about market oriented health insurance, but is it really customer driven?  The government does not provide custodial care, but isn’t its purpose to help the least and most needy of us?  What is the relationship between life, health, and the market?
High-risk insurance pools lower costs for the typical well person.  The elderly, sick, people with pre-existing conditions, and those who let their insurance lapse will pay more.  If you don’t need insurance, the market will make it easier to buy.  If you are sick, it could be your own fault, caused by diet, obesity, lack of exercise, drugs, and smoking.  Why should others pay for your irresponsibility?
The funding of the insurance pools will be a state’s right subject to miserliness.  It drags down a state’s competitiveness when it has to help those who are chronically ill.  Don’t you think that something as universal and important as health care legislation should describe what happens to Medicaid?  It doesn’t seem right for Congress to leave the dirty work to the states.  Insurance companies can waive requirements and regulations if it is beneficial to their market.  The market is more important than life!
There are more than 70,000 medical codes that classify procedures and billing, but there is only you!  Between you, the insurance company, Medicare, and Medicaid the billing takes months, the charges are obscure, and the procedure is full of errors.  The desire for more efficient and effective health care motivates the idea of payment incentives for results.  But profit is higher when you don’t get well and where there are no concrete results.
The monetization of conscience has many subtle effects on motives, attitudes, and relationships.  Payment discourages turn-out.  The gift of obligation goes away.  Incentives work backwards from what is expected when they counter conscience.  They fail when they do not consider values that come from the heart instead of the wallet.  They fail to reconnect us. 
Deep inside, all of us know what we long for.  The philosopher, Thoreau, understood this and wrote about it in the 19th century.  Thoreau went to the woods to live modestly and deliberately, connected to nature and acting within it instead of upon it.  He did not want to die, discovering that he had not lived.  He could see that we are God’s gift to nature and that nature is not there for us to do with as we please.
The artist, Thomas Kinkade, tried to communicate this in his paintings.  He wrote, “Picture a place you’re yearning to be.  A place where work, home, and play are properly balanced, where people exist peaceably, where relationships flourish, where there’s time for what’s really important.  Picture life the way you’re hungry to live it, in your deepest heart of hearts.  There you will find happiness.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CBO scores Zombie Trumpcare: 23 million uninsured in ten years

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 04:  (L-R) U.S. President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) participate in a Rose Garden event May 4, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. The House has passed the American Health Care Act that will replace the Obama eraÕs Affordable Healthcare Act with a vote of 217-213.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Hey, could we squeeze in a few more million uninsured? How about more tax cuts?
The Congressional Budget Office has released its score of Zombie Trumpcare, slightly revising the number the bill would make uninsured by 2026 as compared to current law—Obamacare—from 24 million to 23 million, which adds up to 51 million total uninsured by that year including those who would remain uninsured even under current law.

They estimate it would reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years by $119 billion, $32 billion less than the savings estimated for the original Trumpcare bill. That savings means that the House won't have to revote and can send the bill on to the Senate, which is doing its own thing anyway.

As far as the stability of the insurance markets and premium increases, they predict prices would come down for healthy people because the sick people would be driven out of the individual market.
CBO and JCT expect that, as a consequence, the waivers in those states would have another effect: Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all—despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs. That instability would cause some people who would have been insured in the nongroup market under current law to be uninsured. Others would obtain coverage through a family member’s employer or through their own employer.
Those state waivers could reduce premiums compared to the original Trumpcare: a 64-year-old making $26500 in a waiver state could see the annual go from $16100 to $13600. Which would seem like a lot of money saved, unless you looked at current law—Obamacare—where the annual premium is $1,700. So, yeah.

And more not so good news about those waivers. They estimate that about one-sixth of the population lives in states where markets would start to become unstable in just three years, in 2020, because those states "would obtain waivers involving both the EHBs and community rating and that would allow premiums to be set on the basis of an individual’s health status in a substantial portion of the nongroup market."

Meaning, again, those with pre-existing conditions could be out of luck.

The CBO also points out that it's not just the individual market or Obamacare customers who could see the quality of their coverage reduced, or be subject once again to annual and lifetime benefit caps: having employer-based insurance will not spare you if you live in a state that waives essential health benefit requirements.

Services or benefits likely to be excluded from the EHBs in some states include maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits. In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services. Moreover, the ACA’s ban on annual and lifetime limits on covered benefits would no longer apply to health benefits not defined as essential in a state. As a result, for some benefits that might be removed from a state’s definition of EHBs but that might not be excluded from insurance coverage altogether, some enrollees could see large increases in out-of-pocket spending because annual or lifetime limits would be allowed. That could happen, for example, to some people who use expensive prescription drugs. Out-of-pocket payments for people who have relatively high health care spending would increase most in the states that obtained waivers from the requirements for both the EHBs and community rating.
The Joint Tax Commission also released its assessment today: this is a $663 billion tax cut over the next 10 years. That's a good reminder that this isn't a healthcare bill. It's a tax cut bill.