Bill Cassidy

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cassidy still undecided on health care bill, he tells Face the Nation

Posted By on Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 2:39 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy on Face the Nation.
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy on Face the Nation.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the Senate Republicans who's been openly hesitant about the health care bill released this week by the Senate, told Face the Nation's John Dickerson this morning he was still undecided about whether he could support it.

"There are things in this bill which adversely affect my state that are peculiar to my state, a couple of things I'm concerned about," Cassidy said. "But if those can be addressed, I will. And if they can't be addressed, I won't. So, right now, I'm undecided."

Cassidy didn't elaborate, and Dickerson didn't follow up on what those things might be.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

As Senate quietly drafts health care bill, Louisiana senators remain mum on its contents

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a February town hall, where constituents peppered him with questions on health care.

In March, a group of doctors and nurses — some in scrubs and lab coats — second-lined their way down Basin Street, rallying behind the imperiled Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. There were demonstrations at congressional offices and die-ins; many citizens came forward to tell their personal health stories and explain their opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the legislation meant to repeal Obamacare that passed the House May 4.

In recent weeks, and as the bill has passed to the Senate for revision and consideration, the ruckus has died down somewhat. But it's not because lawmakers have crafted a bill that appeases the public. Rather, the Senate has offered an unusual lack of information about the drafting of the bill, in a process some observers think was designed to chill public outcry. To date, no public hearings on the bill have been held or scheduled, and as reported by The New York Times, CNN and Vox, even some Republican senators aren't sure what's in it.

Speaking to CNN, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed her confusion — and frustration.

"I have no idea if we even have a bill," she said. "I learned more from you all in this conversation that there may have, in fact, have been [a draft bill] submitted to CBO (Congressional Budget Office), but if that's the case, I don't know what it is nor what it says."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Reactions to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 1:07 PM

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.
  • U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.

This morning's shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others at a Congressional baseball game in Virginia drew quick responses from Louisiana and national lawmakers, as well as representatives of Republican and Democratic groups:

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy:
As we wait for facts to be learned, Louisiana lifts up in prayer Congressman Steve Scalise and his family. Reports say he is in stable condition. Please continue to keep him and all those injured in your prayers.

U. S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy
:
“Steve is a good friend, and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Hating people because you disagree with them is wrong. It is un-Christian, it is un-American, and it has gotten worse. My thoughts right now are with Steve, his family, the aide who was shot, and the Capitol Police officers. It is just a bad day for America.”

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond:
I am saddened by the horrific news from GOP baseball practice. My prayers are with my colleague Congressman Steve Scalise, the Capitol police officers, and staff.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Editorial: Anybody here seen our old friend John (Kennedy)?

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Sen. John Neely Kennedy. - CREATIVE COMMONS/TAMMY ANTHONY BAKER
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/TAMMY ANTHONY BAKER
  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Shortly after taking office in January, U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy told The New York Times, “There’s this feeling among many in America that it’s harder than ever to get ahead in our country, that it’s easier than ever to do nothing. There’s a feeling that the people in Washington don’t listen and they don’t care. ... And they want something done about it. They’re entitled to be listened to and heard.”

We agree, which is why we’re puzzled that it’s so difficult for constituents to catch Kennedy’s ear these days. Consider this:
During Senate recesses in February and April, Kennedy held no town hall meetings in Louisiana — unlike Sen. Bill Cassidy, who met constituents (and braved some fury) in Metairie in February. Unhappy with Kennedy’s seeming unwillingness to meet the public, constituents held a protest on the steps of the Hale Boggs Federal Building in March (with Kennedy’s face on a “missing” milk carton) and another in April at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, where voters asked questions of an effigy of the senator. A similar gathering was held in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus that month.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 1:33 PM

At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.
  • At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.

Bill Cassidy, Louisiana's senior senator and a physician, will appear on tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss health care in America. The show airs at 10:35 p.m. on WGNO-TV.

After Kimmel's emotional monologue last week about the recent birth of his child Billy — who was born with heart disease — Cassidy on Friday coined the term "Kimmel Test" to describe what his standard would be to vote for a new health plan:
The Louisiana Republican cited Kimmel's passionate monologue on health care when responding to a question from CNN's John Berman on whether he could "support a bill that allows insurance companies to cap their payouts to customers."

"I ask does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test," said Cassidy, who is also a physician. "Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life ... even if they go over a certain amount?"
While the House of Representatives last week voted for the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act, the plan is considered DOA in the Senate in its current form. Cassidy has created his own Patient Freedom Act.

Other guests tonight on the Kimmel show: Zach Galifianaikis, Tracee Ellis Ross and Logic.


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

How Louisiana's members of Congress voted on GOP health care plan

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 3:30 PM

In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act.

Five of six Louisiana members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the American Health Care Act, which rolls back Medicaid benefits by nearly $900 billion over the next decade, allows companies to raise premiums for people with "pre-existing conditions" and ditch certain essential health benefits, blocks funding for Planned Parenthood and generally guts most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Republicans failed to push through a repeal of the ACA in March, a bill the Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in the loss of coverage for 24 million people, a report that crippled the bill's chance of successful passage. The office didn't have enough time to score the latest bill before a vote.

All 193 House Democrats voted against the latest bill, including New Orleans Rep. Cedric Richmond, the only Louisiana Democrat in the House.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Editorial: These Louisiana politicians just sold out your online privacy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:28 PM

CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR

While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama’s administration. On March 28, the House of Representatives voted 215-205 to follow the Senate’s lead, and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, your internet service provider now may legally track your every online move, collect the data, and sell it — including financial and health information, location and other data.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

With vigil to save the Affordable Care Act, protesters send message to Sen. Bill Cassidy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 5:15 PM

Gambit editor Kevin Allman last photographed this 6-year-old at Cassidy's recent, disastrous town hall. His family wants answers from the senator on prospective health care cuts.
  • Gambit editor Kevin Allman last photographed this 6-year-old at Cassidy's recent, disastrous town hall. His family wants answers from the senator on prospective health care cuts.

The Causeway Boulevard building that houses Senator Bill Cassidy's office is private property. Or it's private property, unless you have an appointment. Or it's only people with appointments who can park in the parking lot. Or the problem is a small pile of signs, which needed to be moved from the sidewalk.

With increasing irritation that erupted into a testy exchange with protestors, a blue-shirted representative who seemed to work for building management company Select Properties tried out these potential deterrents. He was doing his best to shoo off a small group of activists attending a two-day "vigil" outside Cassidy's office in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Apparently, his efforts had been repeated throughout the day, to limited success.)

Around 2 p.m. Friday, about 10 people stood outside the Metairie high rise as traffic sped past them, making their signs whip in the wind. There was retired educator Mary Ryan and 12-year-old Journey Wills, who had come on a field trip of sorts; in a recent homeschool unit on the Constitution, Wills became a big fan of the First Amendment. There was the actor and artist Todd d'Amour, who rattled off a startling number of objections to individual Trump cabinet officials while praising the way "Obamacare" has helped him pursue his art; and Anne Davis, whose attendance at today's protest was her first appearance at a demonstration since protesting the Vietnam War at age 12.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Editorial: 'Obamacare sucks'? No, what really sucks is ...

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 12:01 PM

At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year.


“I don’t mean any disrespect, but Obamacare sucks,” said U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy last fall, back when he was making folksy commercials to promote his Senate candidacy.

Of course, not having health insurance sucks, too. Receiving health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicaid expansion, only to have it snatched away? Sucks. Massive premium hikes for the elderly? Sucks. Not getting the health care you need, being forced to use emergency rooms for basic treatment, and having to choose bankruptcy if you want to stay alive? Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

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