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Vox Sentences: It took 5 allegations of child sex abuse for Seattle’s mayor to resign

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Two very different visions of health care are introduced in the US Senate; Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after multiple people accuse him of sexual abuse; protests continue over Togo's authoritarian government.


A health care bill bonanza

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  • After a fairly quiet few months on the health care front, two new and dramatically different health care bills have emerged from the ashes of Obamacare repeal and replace, which was defeated in late July. [NYT / Robert Pear]
  • One bill, known as Cassidy-Graham, is essentially a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace all over again. Named for two Republican senators, the bill was introduced today, but it’s facing a very steep climb as other Republicans have already come out opposing it. [The Hill / Peter Sullivan]
  • It proposes a spending cap on Medicaid, in favor of a block grant program that would allot a fixed amount of money to each state. In theory, this would give states more leeway to spend federal dollars on health care as they see fit. But it also means less money overall. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • The other bill introduced today comes from the left: It’s a proposal for a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care system from Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. [Washington Post / David Weigel]
  • Sanders’s proposal would be a radical shift away from the current US health care system; it would get rid of private insurance plans in favor of a single government-run plan for all Americans. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
  • In its current form, the bill is far more generous than the current Medicare program, or other single-payer plans in Europe and Canada. Sanders is proposing to pay for all of this by raising taxes. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
  • Republicans will certainly oppose the plan, but there’s an important shift happening on the Democratic side, where 18 Senate Democrats and counting have signed on to the idea. This is huge; for many years, Sanders was the lone senator who supported single-payer. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • Beyond the upcoming work in the Senate, the increasing Democratic support for single-payer shows that it could become a big issue in upcoming presidential elections. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • For more health care coverage, don't miss Vox's daily health care newsletter, edited by Sarah Kliff. [Click here to subscribe automatically for this email address.]

Seattle’s mayor resigns after a family member accuses him of sexual assault

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  • Democratic Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has resigned after a fifth man came forward with allegations that Murray sexually abused him as a child. Murray is Seattle’s first openly gay mayor and has served since 2013. [Washington Post / Andrew deGrandpre]
  • Murray’s resignation concludes a five-month scandal since his first accuser went public, filing a lawsuit that detailed the alleged abuse. The men are all adults now but say Murray abused them when they were young teens. [Seattle Times / Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner]
  • The fifth accuser, Joseph Dyer, is a cousin of Murray’s, and another one of Murray’s alleged victims was under his care as a foster child. [KUOW / John Ryan]
  • Some in Seattle politics have speculated that it was a family member of Murray’s coming forward that motivated him to finally resign. [Hayat Norimine via Twitter]
  • Murray has vehemently denied the allegations from the beginning, and his reaction to the latest reporting was no different. He tried to pass off Dyer’s story as part of a family feud and continued to maintain his innocence. [Seattle Times / Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner]
  • There was already an ongoing mayoral race to replace Murray before the latest scandal broke. He had endorsed candidate Jenny Durkan, who didn’t call for his resignation until recently. (Her opposing candidate, Cary Moon, called on Murray to resign months ago.) Until that’s decided, the Seattle city council president will serve as interim mayor. [The EverGrey / Anika Anand]

Should I stay or should I Togo?

Alphonse Logo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Intense protests are entering their second week in the small African nation of Togo, as residents there are calling for President Faure Gnassingbé to step down and democratic reforms to be instituted. [Agence France-Presse / Sophie Bouillon]
  • People are protesting Gnassingbé and his father’s longstanding rule, during which the country has failed to tackle persistent social problems, including corruption, as well a lack of basic necessities like hospitals and running water. [Washington Post / Max Bearak]
  • Government forces have been cracking down in response to the protests, cutting off internet access and text messaging services in some parts of the country. Clashes with police have resulted in two deaths and injuries. [Al Jazeera / Azad Essa and Linah Alsaafin]
  • Togo has been ruled by the same family for decades. President Gnassingbé has been in power since 2005, but his family has been in power for much longer than that. His father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, ruled for nearly 40 years before his death, and abolished presidential term limits. [BBC]
  • Togo is the only West African nation to have been so far untouched by Democratic reforms, but that may change if protesters get their way. [The Vanguard]
  • The Togolese opposition, which has been calling for democratic elections and term limits for years, says it's emboldened by the protests but is finding it difficult to publicize them due to the internet shutdown. [Washington Post / Max Bearak]

Miscellaneous

  • LaCroix’s wide array of sparkling water flavors come from “natural essence oils.” But no one really knows — or just won’t say — what exactly “essence oil” is. [WSJ / Rob Copeland]
  • Sister Margaret Ann is a nun wielding a chainsaw as part of the cleanup efforts after Hurricane Irma. And she means business. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • The iPhone X has no home button, uses wireless charging, will recognize your facial features and turn them into animal emoji, and costs almost $1,000. [The Verge / Vlad Savov]
  • Researchers are starting to look at how climate change and rising levels of CO2 are impacting the nutrients in our food. They’re finding that it’s literally causing plants to produce more sugar, a worrying trend. [Politico / Helena Bottemiller Evich]
  • Russian government officials are recruiting small-time criminals including cigarette smugglers to start spying for them, in a broader attempt to destabilize the small Eastern European country of Estonia. [BuzzFeed / Holger Roonemaa]

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