WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on health care while standing with "victims of Obamacare" at The White House on July 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has not been able to make good on his campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But he’s determined to take health care away from Americans in other ways. After multiple attempts to repeal or replace the ACA, widely known as ObamaCare, failed in Congress amid massive public objection, no current plans to advance another bill are being considered. Instead, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has called for “incremental” health-care reform, which means the GOP will quietly erode the individual protections that collectively make up the ACA.

A provision hidden in the 2017 GOP tax bill repealed the individual mandate, a requirement that Americans who do not have coverage through an employer or government program buy insurance on a health care exchange or face a financial penalty. The individual mandate served two purposes: to bring younger, healthier people into health care pools to add financial stability to the program, and to reduce the number of uninsured people seeking care in emergency rooms at taxpayer expense. The repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate will cause 13 million fewer Americans to be insured in 2027, says the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

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Screenshot via KIRO 7.

A Seattle-based news station has purchased $1,000,000 in medical debt, in an effort to secure medical debt forgiveness for individuals within their coverage area.

According to The Hill, KIRO spent approximately $12,000 to purchase $1,000,000 in medical debt owed to Seattle-based providers. The station collaborated with a charity named “RIP Medical Debt, which locates, buys and forgives medical debt across America.”

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Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, and Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase (@JeffBezos, @WarrenBuffett and @jpmorgan/Twitter)

In a move rumored for years, Amazon announced plans to delve into the healthcare market. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, teams up with financier Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, to create a company to help their U.S. employees obtain quality care "at a reasonable cost."

The ballooning costs of (health care) act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy. Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable."

"Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country's best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes," Buffett said in a prepared statement.

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Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) December 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says 2018 should be a year of bipartisanship, even if that means giving up GOP goals of cutting social services to the poor and elderly or repealing the Affordable Care Act. That sentiment is not shared by all of his colleagues, including Wisconsin Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who vowed to gut both programs.

On Thursday, McConnell broke ranks with House leadership on the GOP aim to cut programs that serve America's poor and elderly, like Medicaid and food stamps. McConnell said he is "not interested" in using Senate budget rules, which require a simple majority, to allow Republicans to cut social programs without consulting Democrats.

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President Donald Trump has regularly come under fire for seeming to explicitly target and try to dismantle former president Barack Obama’s legacy. Now Trump reportedly has two more Obama era policies on his chopping block: the birth control coverage mandate and the Iran nuclear deal.

THE ATTACK ON BIRTH CONTROL

The Trump administration says the Affordable Care Act does not explicitly require coverage of contraceptives, and will reverse the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. The move vastly expands exemptions for employers that cite moral or religious objections. The new rules could be issued as soon as today and would go into effect as soon as they are on display at the office of the Federal Register. They could cause hundreds of thousands of women nationwide to lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

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In the spring, Jimmy Kimmel made the case for the Affordable Care Act, detailing his son’s recent birth and heart surgery and urging Congress not to gut health care access. Kimmel's emotional monologue quickly went viral.

Now the late-night television host is in the spotlight again, this time weighing in on the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill––named for Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA)––currently barreling through the Senate. The bill would strip the ACA's federal funding, and allow the states to run individual health care programs. It would also axe the "individual mandate" that requires people to buy insurance and roll back funding for Medicaid.

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A report released yesterday by the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior concluded that National Park Service (NPS) officials did not alter records on crowd sizes at President Donald Trump's inauguration. The report also found that NPS officials did not leak unauthorized information to the press about a phone call between Trump and Acting NPS Director Michael Reynolds:

We did not find evidence to substantiate any of these allegations. All of the witnesses we interviewed denied that the NAMA official instructed staff to alter records for the inauguration or to remove crowd size information. We also found no evidence that the public affairs employees released any information to the media about the President’s phone call, or that the employee who responded to Reynolds’ request was required to go through the chain of command.

Trump, often through embattled White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, has quibbled over the size of the crowd that attended his inauguration ever since the National Park Service retweeted a post comparing the crowd size at Trump's inauguration to the larger crowd at former President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. Two aerial photographs of the National Mall (seen below) reveal large patches of empty space during Trump's swearing-in, spaces the crowds filled at Obama's ceremony. Photographers captured the respective ceremonies around the same time of day, Trump's at 11:04 AM and Obama's at 11:30 AM.

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