News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Affordable Care Act, Virgin Galactic, and Serena Williams

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Jul 10, 2019


The Story

There’s a major court battle happening right now over (drum roll, please) health insurance.

Oh good, I was hoping to fall right back asleep.

Stay awake: President Trump campaigned in part on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which he described as a “nightmare.” He especially didn’t like that it required people who don’t have health insurance to pay a fee. The 2017 Republican tax law got rid of those fees. That brings us to this case.

Go on…

18 Republican-led states are suing to try to get all of Obamacare scrapped. They’re saying that Obamacare is allowed to exist only because the Supreme Court greenlit it on the basis that Congress has the right to tax people. Now that the tax part of the law is gone, these states think the rest of it should be scrapped. A lower court sided with these Republican states.

And the other argument is?

That this law provides coverage for 20 million people – including some who got access to Medicaid as well as people with preexisting conditions. If this law gets overturned, they lose their coverage. Typically, the current admin is the one to defend a prior admin’s policy. But that’s not the case here. It’s siding with the Republicans. So, 20 Democratic-led states are stepping in.

What’s the latest?

Yesterday, a federal appeals court heard arguments – and seemed like it was leaning toward declaring at least part of the law unconstitutional. It’ll hand out its verdict in the next couple months. In the meantime, Obamacare is still in effect.


This case is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court. The last two times it heard a case about Obamacare it decided to keep it in place. But now there are two Trump picks sitting on the bench. So this next time could play out differently.

$: What’s money got to do with it? Here’s what repealing the Affordable Care Act could mean for your wallet


Who people are remembering…

Ross Perot. Yesterday, the 89-year-old billionaire and former presidential candidate died after a battle with leukemia. Born in Texas, he made his money in the computer industry. He served in the Navy and was known to act and advocate on behalf of American prisoners abroad. In the 1960s, he tried to send medicine and goods to POWs in North Vietnam. And in the ’70s, he organized a raid in Iran to free two of his employees being held for ransom. He ran for president twice: in ’92 and ’96. The first time, he ran against incumbent President George HW Bush and Bill Clinton as an independent. Perot didn’t have a government background and that was part of his pitch. In a debate, he once said “I don’t have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else.” He ended up nabbing 19% of the vote – the most successful third-party candidacy in almost a century. RIP.

Who has to learn to play nice with his haters…

President Trump. Yesterday, a federal appeals court said that Trump can’t block critics on Twitter. The gov had argued that Trump’s Twitter account – which has 61.8 million followers – is a private account (hint: not an official one). But the White House says Trump’s tweets should be taken as official statements. The National Archives also consider them official records. So the courts cited the First Amendment to tell Trump to stop hitting that ‘block’ button. It says the gov can’t shut out views it disagrees with.

  • Well, this is a First (Amendment): This ruling is the latest in a list of cases showcasing the courts’ attempt to figure out how to apply free speech rules to the digital age.

…Oh and speaking of the internet, Instagram is trying to make people think before they post hateful comments.

Who’s got equal pay on the mind…

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the USWNT. Yesterday, Manchin intro’d a bill that would withhold federal funds for the 2026 men’s World Cup, which will be hosted in part by the US. He says the women’s soccer team – which has sued the US Soccer Federation over alleged pay discrimination – should earn as much as the men’s, because “they are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly.” 

Who’s reading the fine print

Skimm This. Our daily podcast dives into the latest hiccup in the Trump admin’s proposed rule on drug prices, which would have made drug companies announce the prices in TV ads. But on Monday, a federal judge said ‘not so fast’ and struck it down. Americans currently pay more per year for prescription drugs than any other developed country. And some say this rule was the admin’s way of shaming these drug companies into lowering these prices. Listen in.

Who clearly loved Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story 4″…

British billionaire Richard Branson. His company, Virgin Galactic, will enter the stock market by the end of this year and become the first publicly traded space tourism company. Who’s paying attention: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – the other two billionaires with companies trying to ship people to space. Branson says the move is to help the company turn a profit and “to make sure we can enable as many people in the world as possible to become astronauts.” Leo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber are listening – they’re just two of the hundreds of people who’ve already reserved spots on flights.

When you hear Ariana is ready to open up…

So is Serena.

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