U.S. Senate offers a painful dose of ‘health’ legislation

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Jack Ohman notes that there would be no Donald Trump cabinet without some non-billionaires. Read the cartoon here.

Taking health care

The Sacramento Bee: And you thought the Republican health care bill couldn’t get worse. The bill unveiled by Senate GOP leaders would eventually make deeper cuts to the Medicaid program for the poor. Millions of Americans will lose their health insurance so that the richest Americans can get a huge tax cut they don’t need.

Charlotte Observer: The Senate’s plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, is an awful bill.

Raleigh News & Observer: Mitch McConnell, the blustery leader of the U.S. Senate’s majority Republicans, brought out the frightening Senate health care bill, the ultimate “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act, with typical clumsiness and of course, anger.

Kansas City Star: Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas endorsed the Senate bill while promising to protect rural health care. It can’t be done. A vote for the Senate bill is a vote to devastate rural health care.

San Francisco Chronicle: In both its essentials and purpose, the Senate health care demolition job is a stunner. It falls in line with an earlier version from the GOP-dominated House and sends the same message: Republicans don’t think health care is worth the trouble or cost. The Senate bill, cooked up in secret by a subgroup of GOP senators, amounts to a politically contrived way to erase the Obama administration’s signature feat.


Dan Walters, CalMatters: Nancy Pelosi is already under fire for losing the House in 2010 and for failing to make gains in this year’s special elections. If Democrats fall short next year, she may join the growing list of California’s older Democratic leaders put out to pasture.


Stephen Green: Sacramento County supervisors blew it on parkway safety. A majority of the five-member board recently rejected Supervisor Phil Serna’s proposal to deal with crime, violence and fires caused by homeless people camping along the parkway.

Brian Maas: You can sign electronically at banks. Why not car dealerships? Assembly Bill 380 would remove language that excludes electronic transactions in auto sales and leasing.

Ellen O. Tauscher and Katie Merrill: The former congresswoman and Democratic strategist have a PAC, and it’s aiming to unseat for the “California Seven.” Want to take back Congress? Flip California’s Republican seats.

Jennifer Molidor: The pristine Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on the California-Oregon border is up for review under a Trump executive order. The White House says it’s no big deal. Don’t be fooled. And don’t let Trump hand this treasure to industry.

Kate Karpilow: NASA plans to have humans orbiting Mars before California is expected to pay women as much as men, writes the former head of the California Center for Research on Women & Families in the last part of a series. Some suggestions to speed fairness.

Take a number: 3 percent

Vehicle collisions have increased slightly overall in Colorado, Oregon and Washington since those states legalized recreational marijuana, according to a new analysis from the Highway Loss Data Institute. The Governors Highway Safety Program cited the study on Thursday to highlight its research on the increasingly important issue of drug-impaired driving. The association says that the most recent national data found that 12 percent of drivers tested after fatal crashes had marijuana in their bodies. Stoned driving is only one of the many issues that have to be sorted out in California after voters decided last November to legalize recreational pot. But it’s one that opponents of legalization focused on in their campaign and that anyone who drives on California’s highways surely cares about. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

The Fresno Bee: We’d like to believe that state Democrats would not dig into their bag of dirty tricks to pass budgets and maintain power. But they’ve clearly established that the rules don’t apply to them. Frankly, we are not surprised.

San Diego Union-Tribune: America needs a party more devoted to getting things done than to hating President Trump. Until that happens, Democrats will remain as unpopular as the president they loathe.

Orange County Register: When your car’s tail light fades from red to black, and a cop pulls you over and writes you a ticket, it’s certainly something that, for safety’s sake, you ought to get fixed – but is it really a criminal offense? Right now in California, it is. But a panel of our state’s top judges, led by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, correctly says that it ought not to be, for a variety of reasons, and they are proposing decriminalizing such infractions by handling them in civil courts instead.

The Mercury News: California has an obligation to take a lead in establishing the basic privacy rights of consumers using the internet. Assemblyman Ed Chau understands this. After Congressional Republicans erased Americans’ internet broadband privacy protections in March, Chau crafted AB 375 to at least provide these rights to Californians. Beyond being the right thing to do for the whole country, building trust in tech products is an essential long-term business strategy for the industry that was born here.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: New projections from the UCLA Anderson Forecast show rents continuing to climb, especially for low- and middle-income residents in the state’s major metropolitan areas. The outlook isn’t any better for prospective buyers, especially younger people trying to purchase a home for the first time.

Syndicates’ take

Charles Krauthammer: Centered in Syria, the great Muslim civil war is approaching its post-Islamic State phase. The Iranian-Russian strategy is a nightmare for the entire Sunni Middle East. And for us too.

Eugene Robinson: The Republican health care bill is the first step in a massive redistribution of wealth from struggling wage-earners to the rich.

Michael Gerson: Some of Donald Trump’s warmth for strongmen is surely due to his personal fascination with authoritarianism. But this is also proposed as a strategy – as a way to maximize American interests in a dangerous world. And here it is less realistic than simplistic.

David Brooks: Childhood is more structured than it has ever been. But then the great engine of the meritocracy spits people out into a young adulthood that is less structured than it has ever been.

Gail Collins: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wins the reader poll for worst cabinet member. Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency and Attorney General Jeff Sessions nearly tie for second worst.

Nicholas Kristof: Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, yet our efforts to address this scourge are pathetic.

Trudy Rubin: Will there ever be justice for Otto Warmbier? And will there ever be punishment for North Korea’s human-rights crimes against its own people, which may rival those of the Nazis or Khmer Rouge in their horror and scope?


Tom McClintock’s “disdain for the concerns of constituents with whom he disagrees was evident in the tone of his answers and his repeated failure to specifically answer the question he was asked.” – Barbara Smith, Auburn