Posted by DrJohn on 12 November, 2017 at 11:55 am. 2 comments already!



It was another wild political week, as Democrats racked up electoral wins across the country on Tuesday and The Washington Post published allegations that Judge Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama, had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl. In Congress, the Senate released its counterpart to the House tax plan, and President Donald Trump met with the leaders of South Korea, China and Japan on his first trip to Asia.

Did those change any real policies? Not yet. But behind the headlines, the Trump administration did — pushing through some major changes to Obama-era policies on everything from the protection of organically raised livestock to the rules for state Medicaid programs. And three departments reversed a major legacy of the Obama era: the opening to Cuba. Here’s how Trump changed policy this week.

1. Big changes coming for Medicaid
Buried in almost every version of the Republican health care legislation this year was a little provision that would have enabled states to make a major change to their Medicaid programs, by requiring people to work if they’re going to get coverage. When those bills died, it appeared that Medicaid work requirements died with them.

But this week, Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services and a longtime supporter of work requirements, sent a strong message that work requirements are back on the table. In a speech to the country’s Medicaid directors, Verma lambasted the Obama administration’s approach to Medicaid, calling it a “tragic example of the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and argued that requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to work would improve the program.

The speech doesn’t result in any immediate policy changes, but CMS is reviewing at least seven waiver proposals from GOP-led states that would impose work requirements on their Medicaid populations. The details around each waiver vary and it’s unclear whether Verma, who helped design a work requirement policy in Indiana that was rejected by the Obama administration, will ask states to tweak their submissions or when she will approve the first waiver. But her speech this week was a clear sign that big changes are coming to Medicaid — even without any help from Congress.

2. USDA delays organic livestock welfare rule
The day before Obama left office, the Department of Agriculture made one last attempt to improve conditions for organically raised animals, publishing new requirements on everything from that ensuring animals have daily access to the outdoors to acceptable euthanasia methods to bedding material during transport.

Conservation groups, animal welfare groups and many organic farmers cheered the news and USDA officials made a public case for the rule. But this week, those arguments came up short when the agency announced that it was delaying the rule until May 2018—the third delay since Trump took office—and said it found both legal and policy issues with the Obama-era rule, including errors in USDA’s original cost-benefit analysis of it. The move is a victory for many large egg producers, who had sharply criticized the rule as unnecessary and argued that it would raise costs for consumers.

But it’s also likely to disappoint a lot of people: The USDA also revealed that the vast majority of the 47,000 commenters on the proposed delay supported the rule. Just a few dozen wanted it withdrawn or suspended. And just a single person supported delaying the rule — the action ultimately chosen by the agency.

The rest is here

And they wonder why Trump thrives in chaos.


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