There will be continuing efforts to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act, and we need to defend its important progress. Now is the time to discuss and begin to decide on the next steps to  improve it. California has done a remarkable job in its implememtation, but we can do even better. Here are some preliminary thoughts.

Impeachment of the President is once again on people’s lips for the third time in my lifetime. Impeachment is an extraordinarily serious undertaking requiring a strong bi-partisan consensus to be successful. It requires a majority vote in the House and a 2/3rds vote in the Senate.

The GOP is in charge of the House, the Senate, the Presidency and the Supreme Court. It has control of the governorships and the state legislatures in over 30 states. What is it doing with all this awesome power to make our nation a better place to live, work and raise a family? What is it doing to make the world a better place for all who live on this planet? 

President Trump has succeeded in many of the ways his supporters wanted. He has withdrawn from trade and climate pacts, cut corporate tax rates and regulations, nominated and elevated conservative judges and made life very hard for immigrants and people of color in this country and far better for the patrons of his golf courses and luxury hotels. He has finished his first year with a government shutdown, which he has been extolling as a necessity since last fall.

In the United States public and private financing of the nation’s health care are split 50/50. In California in 2015, a total of $292 billion was spent on personal health care services. Of that total, $104 billion was spent on private insurance), $62 billion on Medicaid, $64 billion on Medicare and $61 billion comprised all other health spending (including a range of expenditures from the Veterans Administration, Prisons, personal out of pocket, Workers Compensation and Auto insurance).

So really treason is trying to overthrow the government, aiding and abetting its enemies, or trying to kill the nation’s leaders on behalf of another power and losing. This is not a term to be casually thrown about.

The Governor’s Proposed Budget for the coming year (2018-19) will spend $190 billion from state General Funds ($135 billion) and state Special Funds ($56 billion). General Funds may be spent on any state or local programs; whereas Special Funds (e.g. the Highway Fund financed by gas taxes) must be spent on their designated purposes.

President Donald Trump’s first year is nearly in the history books. It is unclear whether he will complete his four-year term due to the Russia probe, which might lead to his impeachment. While there is a lot of circumstantial evidence, there is as yet no smoking gun on the President’s involvement in his campaign’s apparent relationship with the Russian efforts to sway the American electorate against Hillary Clinton. Let’s keep our eye on the ball, which are the 2018 mid term elections in the House and the Senate.

The House and Senate Conferees have completed their horse trading and agreed on a final package. The Tax Policy Center and the Joint Committee on Taxation completed their analyses Monday, December 18. The House and Senate are voting today and Wednesday. With this info, you can explain what they did to your holiday guests should you wish to provoke an argument and spoil an otherwise lovely family dinner.