Trumpcare Add-On Lets Employers Gut Coverage

A little-noticed amendment to the Obamacare repeal effort now before the House would let U.S. employers gut health coverage, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such a provision would affect about half the country, and the amendment lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act regulations, freeing insurers from a mandate stipulating that they cover 10 types of health services, including prescription drugs, mental-health treatment, hospitalization, and maternity care, and set lifetime limits. “It’s huge," said Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “They’re creating a backdoor way to gut employer plans, too." Still, other experts said the impact would be much smaller. “The real question is, would employers do this? Many wouldn’t," said Larry Levitt, who serves as a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many employers offer quality benefits to attract employees. But employers are always looking for ways to lower costs." The House is set to vote on the measure Thursday.

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The Daily Beast CHEAT SHEET
AM
EDITION
4
May
 
1. ‘HUGE’
GOP Add-On Lets Employers Gut Coverage
A little-noticed amendment to the Obamacare repeal effort now before the House would let U.S. employers gut health coverage, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such a provision would affect about half the country, and the amendment lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act regulations, freeing insurers from a mandate stipulating that they cover 10 types of health services, including prescription drugs, mental-health treatment, hospitalization, and maternity care, and set lifetime limits. “It’s huge," said Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “They’re creating a backdoor way to gut employer plans, too." Still, other experts said the impact would be much smaller. “The real question is, would employers do this? Many wouldn’t," said Larry Levitt, who serves as a senior vice president for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many employers offer quality benefits to attract employees. But employers are always looking for ways to lower costs." The House is set to vote on the measure Thursday.
READ IT AT The Wall Street Journal  
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. RETIRING
Prince Philip Stands Down
Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband on Queen Elizabeth, is to retire completely from public life, it was announced Thursday morning. Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that while Philip would attend “previously scheduled engagements" between now and August, “thereafter, the Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time." Philip is patron, president or a member of more than 780 organizations, with which he will continue to be associated, although “he will no longer play an active role by attending engagements," the palace said. Philip, Elizabeth’s husband of nearly 70 years, has a history of making politically incorrect quips in public; while on an official visit to China, he famously told a group of British exchange students living in the city of Xian: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed."  However, he has also earned a reputation as tireless working royal. As recently as Wedneday, he was doing official business, opening a new seating area at a London cricket ground and declaring: “You’re about to see the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler."
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. WOW
AL Law: Gay People Kept From Adopting
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Wednesday allowing adoption agencies in the state to follow faith-based policies, including the decision to not place children with gay couples. “The elected legislature of this state overwhelmingly approved House Bill 24. Having served as president of the Senate for more than six years, I appreciate the work of the legislature, and I agree with it on the importance of protecting religious liberty in Alabama," Ivey said. Rep. Rich Wingo, sponsor of the bill, said the purpose of the bill was to ensure that faith-based agencies are not at risk of having to close because of decisions based on their beliefs. 
READ IT AT Al.com  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. FINALLY
Report: Morning Joe and Mika Are Engaged
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, cohosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, are engaged, Page Six reports. The couple went on a romantic vacation to the south of France over the weekend to celebrate Brzezinski’s 50th birthday and, while overseas, agreed to tie the knot. The 54-year-old Scarborough proposed at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, according to the report. An unnamed source said, “Joe got down on one knee and proposed old-fashioned-style with a ring. Of course, Mika accepted. They came back from the trip on Cloud Nine." A friend of Scarborough reportedly added, “He’s been the happiest he’s ever been these last few months with Mika." The couple has not ever formally confirmed their relationship in public, and their camps did not comment on the Page Six story.
READ IT AT New York Post  
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. SEEKING JUSTICE
San Bernardino Families Sue FB, Google
Families of the victims of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, have filed a federal lawsuit against tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google. The relatives say the companies knowingly supported the Islamic State terror group and its agenda by allowing its followers to use their platforms. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured 22 others during the attack on Dec. 2, 2015, at the Inland Regional Center. Among the dead were Sierra Clayborn, Tin Nguyen, and Nicholas Thalasinos, whose family members filed the suit. “Even if Farook and Malik had never been directly in contact with ISIS, ISIS’ use of social media directly influenced their actions on the day of the San Bernardino massacre," the lawsuit states. “Without defendants Twitter, Facebook, and Google [YouTube], the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible."
READ IT AT Los Angeles Times   
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. CAREFUL, MATE
Australia MP Knocked Out Watching ‘Veep’
An Australian lawmaker knocked himself unconscious while he was laughing at an episode of Veep. He fell and hit his head on a bench in his kitchen after choking on his dinner. The politician, Graham Perrett, a Labor MP in Queensland, said the moment of pure slapstick had left him needing stitches and gave him a black eye. When his wife found him, he was covered in a pool of blood. He had been watching the Season 6 premiere. “I must have been out for only a few seconds," he said, “because, when I came to again, I was still laughing at Jonah." Showrunner David Mandel told Guardian Australia: “[I’m] very glad someone thinks the episode was as funny as we do." Veep star and Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus tweeted her doubts that a scene that could have come straight out of the show had really unfolded in an Antipodean kitchen, but Perrett assured her it was true.
READ IT AT The Independent  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. HOMELAND SECURITY
TSA: Watch for U.S. Truck Terror Attacks
An unclassified new Transportation Security Administration report is warning U.S. truck owners and rental agencies to be “vigilant" about the increasing threat of attacks from terrorists who aim to use the big vehicles for mass killings. The report, titled “Vehicle Ramming Attacks: Threat Landscape, Indicators, and Countermeasures," warns in particular for operators to protect vehicles from theft. It was sent out Tuesday to local law-enforcement agencies across the country, in addition to private companies working with the Department of Homeland Security. Over the past three years, more than 170 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded in about 17 ramming attacks around the world, according to the document. “No community, large or small, rural or urban, is immune to attacks of this kind by organized or ‘lone wolf’ terrorists," the report said, noting that locations are particularly vulnerable when “large numbers of people congregate, including parades and other celebratory gatherings, sporting events, entertainment venues, or shopping centers."
READ IT AT NBC News  
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. TRAGIC
3 Killed in Mass. Auto Auction Accident
At least three people were killed and nine injured Wednesday when a man driving a car at an indoor auto auction near Boston accidentally accelerated and plowed into a crowd. The driver has been identified as a man in his seventies, who wasn’t injured in the incident at LynnWay Auto Auction in suburban Billerica. Prosecutors say they believe it was a “tragic accident" and not a deliberate attack. One of the victims was identified late Wednesday as Leezandra Aponte, a mother of three who’d just started working at the auction center. Witnesses said the driver was lining up the Jeep Grand Cherokee on the auction block before it sped up abruptly and rammed into the crowd, only stopping after crashing through a concrete wall.
READ IT AT The Boston Globe  
 
Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. NO ESCAPE
TX Legislature OKs Sanctuary City Ban
The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that will threaten police with jail time if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities in dealing with undocumented immigrants. The legislation was passed despite harsh criticism from Democrats, who say it will lead to discrimination against certain groups. The bill has yet to be signed into law, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to sign it. The legislation also allows state authorities to withhold funding from any local governments that defy the order. Under the legislation, police will be allowed to ask about the immigration status of any person they stop, even if it’s for a minor traffic violation. Republican lawmakers touted the bill as a necessary measure to uphold the law, while Democrats were more skeptical about how it would be applied. “We don’t want walking while brown to become reasonable suspicion," Sen. Sylvia Garcia, a Houston Democrat, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
READ IT AT AP  
 
Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. GET OUT
Red Sox Fan Banned After Slur to Boy, 6
The Boston Red Sox have permanently banned a fan from Fenway Park for allegedly uttering a racial slur to a 6-year-old boy, just a day after the team and the mayor of Boston apologized for insults hurled at Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones. In a statement released Wednesday, the team said security had been notified of a fan using a racial slur in comments to another fan. The Boston Globe reports the fan was a black child at the ballpark to celebrate his birthday. The man had reportedly used the N-word in disparaging comments about a Kenyan singer who sang the national anthem before the game. Security promptly threw him out of the park and issued a permanent ban, stating that the team “will not tolerate the use of racial slurs at Fenway Park." “There is no place for racial epithets at Fenway Park, in baseball, or in our society," the team said in a statement, adding that the matter had been turned over to the Boston Police Department. The incident came just one day after Jones said he had a bag of peanuts thrown at him while being taunted with the N-word from a fan in the stands. The Red Sox warned afterward that any fan “behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark."
READ IT AT The Boston Globe  
 
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