The new Brett Kavanaugh is Neomi Rao
Less than a month after Democrats — many of them running on “Medicare for All” — won back control of the House of Representatives in November, the top health policy aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Blue Cross Blue Shield executives and assured them that party leadership had strong reservations about single-payer health care and was more focused on lowering drug prices, according to sources familiar with the meeting.
Pelosi adviser Wendell Primus detailed five objections to Medicare for All and said that Democrats would be allies to the insurance industry in the fight against single-payer health care. Primus pitched the insurers on supporting Democrats on efforts to shrink drug prices, specifically by backing a number of measures that the pharmaceutical lobby is opposing.
Primus, in a slide presentation obtained by The Intercept, criticized single payer on the basis of cost (“Monies are needed for other priorities”), opposition (“Stakeholders are against; Creates winners and losers”), and “implementation challenges.” That story is here.
A lot of the stories I do of Washington are about corruption or venality, but that’s not the case with Primus, who, some of you may recall, resigned from the Clinton administration over the signing of welfare reform. He and Pelosi are both true believers in the notion that projects like Medicare for All are simply too expensive. Primus is one of the the House’s most forceful advocates of paygo, for instance. He and Pelosi just really believe this stuff, and nobody has been able to get through to them on it.
Trump’s State of the Union is tonight, and Kamala Harris is giving a pre-buttal, Stacey Abrams is doing the official response, and Bernie Sanders is doing a response after the Abrams response. That’s a lot of talking, can’t promise I’ll watch it all, so let me know if I miss anything good.
The replacement for Brett Kavanaugh is just cartoonishly bad. Her name is Neomi Rao, and she’s getting a hearing in the Judiciary Committee today. She was a right-wing newspaper columnist in college who wrote some awful stuff, and there isn’t evidence she has evolved since. She’s also wildly underqualified and inexperienced. She was asked by the committee to name three cases she had significant involvement in, and she listed three arbitration cases! She currently heads a federal agency that has been stalling sexual harassment workplace guidance nationwide. And she’s on Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court. Here’s Dave Dayen on her.
And Maryam Saleh has a fascinating piece about how Syrian refugees in Turkey are grappling with issues of empowerment and feminism.
My latest video for TYT is on the progressives’ attempt to takeover the House Financial Services Committee. In it, I forgot to mention Rep. Katie Porter of California, Elizabeth Warren’s co-author and former student. What I’m learning about video is that it’s a lot harder to go in and add something you forget than it is with a news article. Sorry!