Dec 27, 2016

Trump’s Medicaid chief wants poor to pay for health care

It’s pretty clear from this NPR profile of Seema Verma, Trump’s pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, how she sees the future of Medicaid. She wants low-income people to pay at least something for their health care. That’s how she designed the Indiana program that revised and expanded Medicaid under Mike Pence. Key quote from Cindy Mann, former Medicaid official under President Obama: Verma was “very committed to extending coverage to low-income families,” and also “very committed to a particular ideology” — personal responsibility.

What it means: Not every state is going to do what Indiana did, but there are other Republican governors who would like to make poor people contribute to their health care — and Verma will have the power to grant waivers to let them do it. The story shows how the idea can cause problems for people who are barely getting by, but it never really grapples with the debate that lies ahead: Is it fair or unfair to expect them to make monthly payments like people with private health insurance? That’s where this story is headed, especially during Verma’s confirmation hearings.

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.

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