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GOP war on health care back in court.

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On Friday evening, a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as “unconstitutional.” His justification? He says that Congress’ intent was to repeal the entire law when it repealed the individual mandate in last year’s tax bill.

While experts from across the political spectrum have called this ruling absurd, it underscores the lengths to which Republicans will go to rip healthcare away from Americans. They couldn’t get ACA repeal done in Congress, so they’re relying on partisan hacks masquerading as judges to do it for them. What’s even stranger is that Republicans like Josh Hawley, Scott Walker, and Rick Scott lied about wanting to keep protections for those with pre-existing conditions on the campaign trail this year, as they personally helped advance this lawsuit behind the scenes.

For now, the ACA remains the law of the land. The case is on track for an appeal. If the ruling stands, health care in America would be thrown into complete chaos. Here are a few of the things at stake:

  • Rules that prohibit insurance companies from discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions by charging them more, excluding benefits, or turning them away entirely

  • Medicaid expansion covering 12 million people

  • Dependent coverage for young adults up to 26 years old on their parents’ employer plan

  • Bans on annual and lifetime limits on coverage

  • Financial assistance for people who buy coverage on their own

  • Zero cost-sharing for preventive services, including contraception

Last month, the American people sent a clear message that they would no longer tolerate the incessant attacks on health care and this judicial overreach must not stand.

COLLUSION BECOMES CLEARER.

According to a new report submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Russia used every major social-media platform to spread disinformation and lower Democratic voter turnout in its efforts to help elect Donald Trump as president in 2016. The effects of the disinformation campaign have yet to be fully understood, but, according to this report, the reach of the campaign has been largely underestimated–primarily in how it targeted African-American voters on Facebook, Twitter, and, most effectively, Instagram.

And the Trump campaign used the same strategy. A senior Trump campaign official was quoted ahead of the election touting “three major voter suppression operations under way,” including one targeting African-American voters considering supporting Hillary Clinton. These efforts have continued since Trump has been in the White House and we can expect that they won’t stop. Brad Parscale, who headed Trump’s digital operation and was connected to the data firm being investigated for its ties to Russia, has already been named campaign manager for Trump’s re-election campaign.

While the evidence and extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election becomes clearer, we can’t lose focus on Trump’s willingness to collude with a foreign adversary whose leader he continually defends and showers with praise. We already know there was no bright line separating the Trump campaign and the Kremlin’s campaign to support Trump. We just need to know how deep the connection goes.

OFF-KILTER: FLYING WHILE DISABLED.

To kick off the holiday season right, Rebecca brings in an all-star, good trouble-causing, fire-emoji throwing panel (Rebecca Cokley, s.e. smith, and Azza Altraifi) for a far-ranging conversation about flying while disabled (spoiler: it really sucks), navigating the holidays with eating disorders and GI conditions, the insidious dangers and unintended consequences of those feel-good charity stories that blanket news outlets during the holidays (aka inspiration porn), why election day should NOT be a national holiday, and more.