clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vox Sentences: Shorter CBO: Dang, this is a bad health care bill

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

The CBO issues its Obamacare repeal score, and it's brutal; Turkey and the Netherlands' diplomatic spat heats up; Preet Bharara's stint as New York's head federal prosecutor comes to an untimely end.

CBOy vey

Uninsured rates Obamacare vs. AHCA Alvin Chang/Vox
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its analysis of the American Health Care Act (the Republican bill tweaking Obamacare), and it is extremely bad news for the GOP. The CBO estimates that under the AHCA, 24 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026 than would under current law — a way bigger coverage loss than even liberal analysts figured. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
  • The bill would save the government $334 billion over 10 years, due largely to cuts in Medicaid. (Correspondingly, Medicaid shrinkage is the biggest driver of people losing insurance; 14 million Americans would lose insurance by becoming ineligible for Medicaid and unable to afford other options.) [The Atlantic / Russell Berman]
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who is being either willfully optimistic or willfully obtuse, called the score encouraging — citing the fact that it said premiums would go down for Americans who did keep their insurance. Which is true, on average, but... [Speaker Paul Ryan]
  •'s not true for everyone. In particular, it's not true for older, poorer Americans. Their premiums would go up more than 750 percent. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • Older Americans were, of course, more likely to vote for Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress in 2016. And at least so far, Trump voters have been extremely supportive of the bill — either despite the fact that it totally obliterates promises Trump made as a candidate or (more likely) because they aren't aware that it breaks those promises. [Huffington Post / Ariel Edwards-Levy]
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is mad at the CBO for scoring the bill so aggressively. He says it's not fair to evaluate the AHCA on its own, instead of considering it in the context of the (promised but as-yet-unproduced) subsequent GOP health care bills. [Mediaite / Josh Feldman]
  • The problem (other than the fact that you can't score bills or regulations that don't exist yet) is that the GOP is only doing multiple health care bills to take advantage of the reconciliation process in the Senate, which can't be filibustered, to pass the AHCA. Subsequent bills can't be reconciliated, and therefore are extremely unlikely to pass.

Turkey's getting chippy with the EU

Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, one of the blocked ministers. Berk Ozkan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Turkey is barring the Dutch ambassador from the country as tensions escalate between the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan and the European Union. [The Guardian / Jon Henley]
  • The diplomatic row stems from Turkey's attempt to send ministers to the Netherlands to campaign among Turkish immigrants there in order to support a referendum next month to expand Erdoǧan's powers. [Reuters / Tuvan Gumrukcu and Thomas Escritt]
  • (People outside Turkey are greatly skeptical of the referendum; many people within the country, especially government officials, see it as an obvious response to a failed coup in 2016.) [NYT / Gardiner Harris]
  • When German Chancellor Angela Merkel banned Turkish campaigning in the country, Erdogan compared her government to Nazis — which, as you can imagine, did not go over well in Germany (or the rest of Europe). [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • And the Dutch government has its own reason to be cautious. They have an election of their own this week — in which the ruling party faces a strong challenge from the far-right, anti-immigrant party of Geert Wilders (which gets some money from the American right and maybe also tacit support from Russia). [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • For the past couple of years, Turkey has had an ace in the hole whenever it fights with Europe — it's been able to threaten to stop cooperating with the EU on migration (including agreeing to repatriate refugees who fled through Turkey to Europe). But at this point, Europe wouldn't necessarily be overrun with refugees if Turkey pulled out of the deal. [Patrick Kingsley via Twitter]
  • Instead, it might be Turkey that's on the back foot. The EU is reportedly examining the proposed constitutional changes the referendum would enshrine — which is to say, it might reject Turkey's still-pending bid for EU membership if it thinks Erdoǧan's gone too far. [Reuters / Robert-Jan Bartunek]

Ejector Preet

Former US Attorney Preet Bharara Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
  • On Friday, the Trump administration asked all remaining US attorneys appointed by Barack Obama to submit resignation letters. That wasn't weird in itself — both Obama and George W. Bush did similar things early in their administrations, though they tended to stagger it a bit rather than pushing everyone out at once. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • What was weird was that Southern District of New York attorney Preet Bharara — whom President Trump had met with after the election and explicitly promised to keep on at the time — was among those fired. It took Bharara himself until Saturday to figure out that he was, in fact, being asked to leave — though Trump had reportedly tried to call him Thursday. [Reuters / Mark Hosenball and Ayesha Rascoe]
  • Why did Trump change his mind? It might have been that he originally promised to keep on Bharara as an olive branch to Senate Minority Leader (and Bharara's former boss) Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Since Schumer has been less than accommodating to Trump, though, the president might have been inclined to seek revenge. [CNN / Laura Jarrett and Jake Tapper]
  • Conversely, it's possible that it wasn't Trump's decision to make — that chief strategist Steve Bannon (who's complained about former Obama staffers in government) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted to clean house and start over with their own people. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz, and Robert Costa]
  • The Bharara firing has prompted a bunch of speculation about whether Trump has something to hide or someone he's trying to protect — for example, there's been some attention paid to the fact that Bharara was leading an investigation into sexual harassment at Fox News when fired, and his rumored replacement is currently representing Roger Ailes. [Huffington Post / Mary Papenfuss]
  • These takes tend to present Bharara as some sort of untrammeled progressive hero, which is really not the case at all. (Slams on him include: soft on Wall Street, tough on public housing residents and drug cases.) [Huffington Post / Josmar Trujillo]
  • The truth about Bharara is this: Like Southern District attorneys before him (cough Rudy Giuliani cough), he's a savvy and aggressive self-promoter. He's certainly milking his firing for all it's worth, and it's entirely possible that it will help him in what most assume will be a campaign for elected office. [New Yorker / Jeffrey Toobin]


Amy O'Connor asked every Irish member of parliament if they like Beyoncé and what their favorite song is, and the result is quite possibly the finest article I (Dylan) have ever read. [The Daily Edge / Amy O'Connor]

  • The Stanford Law Review comprehensively examines Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's record on everything from administrative law to the First Amendment to immigration. [Stanford Law Review]
  • The media does underreport some terrorist attacks: those committed by non-Muslims. [Washington Post / Erin M. Kearns, Allison Betus, and Anthony Lemieux]
  • Today I learned that "The Way" by Fastball was based on the real-life disappearance of an elderly Texas couple. [Signature Reads / Matt Staggs]
  • A new paper, looking at voter registration data in Florida, finds that political differences between towns can't be explained by people "sorting" to live near people they agree with. Instead, it seems like living in a liberal place makes you more liberal, and living in a conservative place makes you more conservative. [Emory / Gregory J. Martin and Steven Webster]


"It’s a trap laid by a narcissist for another narcissist. Who among us can say we wouldn’t ever fall for one of those?" [New Yorker / Emily Nussbaum]

  • "Sweet suffering Jesus on a pogo-stick, what in the name of Mosley is this?" [Phil Edwards]
  • "I shook the hand that held the knife that killed the girls." [Boston Globe / Mark Arsenault]
  • "Dissenting, Rep. Betty McCollum (a one-time winner herself) lamented the trend toward gratuitous cheese and the use of tater tots as the base for nearly every entry." [MinnPost / Sam Brodey]
  • "When I put out a call for 'woke misogynist' stories, I received tales of behavior all across the spectrum: The college guy who bought his girlfriend feminist zines and also slapped her so hard she reeled backwards. The boss who was an enemy of the patriarchy on the internet but regularly intimidated and talked down to his female employees. The outspoken women’s rights advocate who went out of his way to call Kellyanne Conway ugly." [Fusion / Nona Willis Aronowitz]

Watch this: Meet the designer cats with wild blood

Bengals, Savannahs, and Toygers, explained. [YouTube / Dion Lee and Mac Schneider]

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.