Friday News: Trumpcare redux

VERY FEW CHANGES MADE TO SENATE'S UNPOPULAR HEALTHCARE BILL: Even with the changes, the legislation still would slash funding for Medicaid, the national insurance program for the poor and disabled, by phasing out the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and imposing spending limits that move the program from an open-ended entitlement to one with capped benefits. In addition, the legislation would allow insurers to charge older people 5 times more than younger ones, defund Planned Parenthood and impose premium and deductible increases for low-income and poor people and those with pre-existing conditions. It also would cut health insurance to pay for $400 billion in tax cuts that mainly benefit wealthy individuals and corporations, while providing little assistance to the poor.

HAWAII JUDGE RULES GRANDMOTHERS AND OTHER RELATIVES NOT TO BE INCLUDED IN TRUMP TRAVEL BAN: In another setback for President Donald Trump, a federal judge in Hawaii has further weakened his already diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the U.S. The ruling is the latest piece of pushback in the fierce fight set off by the ban Trump first attempted in January. It will culminate with arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in October. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Thursday ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

EX-GOVERNOR MCCRORY STILL WHINING ABOUT HIS LOST CAMPAIGN: On Friday, DEQ announced it would apply the higher standard that the McCrory administration had adopted for water filtration systems and connections to public supplies. McCrory said the Cooper administration’s adopting of his administration’s position was a vindication. “Gov. Cooper’s administration’s recent actions prove the point that the Cooper campaign deceived and lied to the people of North Carolina about, of all things, our drinking water in order to win an election,” McCrory said. Cooper’s spokesman Ford Porter replied in an email. “Families deserve to be confident in the safety of their drinking water,” Porter said. “This confidence was diminished when the former-Governor’s office intervened to pressure state scientists for political reasons. The executive branch should follow the advice of state scientists and professional agency staff which is exactly what this administration is doing.”

NORTH CAROLINA PROSECUTORS CHARGING DRUG DEALERS WITH MURDER IN OVERDOSE CASES: According to the state medical examiner, 479 people died in North Carolina in 2016 from overdoses related to fentanyl – nearly twice the number from 2015. Prosecutors say that people who give or sell the drug to others are murderers. "The general public, I'm confident, is clueless that this is happening," Edwards said. For the first time in his career, Edwards has charged two people with murder in connection to a drug-overdose case. Alfornia Anderson, 32, and Tiffaney Webber, 25, are charged in connection with the deaths of Gibbs and Reams. In a separate case, Dare County District Attorney Andrew Womble charged a 40-year-old Manteo man with second-degree murder after a woman was found dead of an overdose in her Dare County home.

NC GOP MOVE TO INCREASE PARTISAN RACES BLOCKS PREVIOUSLY ELECTED OFFICIAL FROM RUNNING AGAIN: The legislature’s Republican majority converted the nonpartisan school board elections in 10 counties around the state into partisan races. Republican lawmakers said this is just to put party labels on the ballots to help inform the voters. That may be so. But in the process the Republicans imposed partisan primaries on those elections. That decision prevented an incumbent Cleveland County Board of Education member from filing for re-election simply because she is neither a Republican nor a Democrat nor a Libertarian. Technically, Falls could have filed for re-election if she had gotten 2,600 voters to sign a petition saying that they want her on the ballot, WBTV’s Nick Ochsner reported. But the deadline for Falls to get those signatures was June 30. The Republicans changed the law June 29. They gave Falls one day to learn that the election law was changed, one day to get those 2,600 signatures. It was a nigh impossible task.