Monthly Archives: February 2017

Trump urges insurers to work together to ‘save Americans from Obamacare’

By Carolyn Y. Johnson and Juliet Eilperin

This story has been updated.

President Trump met with major health insurers Monday morning, in the midst of intensifying public pressure to preserve the law and political divisions over how to best dismantle and replace President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

The meeting included leaders from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Anthem, Kaiser Permanente and the industry lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“We must work together to save Americans from Obamacare,” Trump said in his public remarks before the meeting began. He criticized the Affordable Care Act for creating minimal health coverage requirements that restricted the types of plans insurers could sell.

“Obamacare forced providers to limit the plan options they offered to patients and caused them to drive prices way up,” Trump said. “Now a third of U.S. counties are down to one insurer, and the insurers are fleeing. You people know that better than anybody.”

Trump gave few details about the new plan, which he promised would increase competition and decrease costs. He said that the replacement would allow insurers to sell plans across state lines and include increased flexibility for states. He also called for expanded health savings accounts, tax-exempt financial accounts used to pay for medical expenses. He said there would be a smooth transition.

In remarks to the National Governors Association before the meeting with insurers, Trump said that the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would give states the flexibility they need to make health care work. He also said the politically wise thing for Republicans would …read more


Independent and art-house movie theaters double down on anti-Netflix vision

Independent theaters, including those that show mostly first runs like the Davis Theater in Chicago, and those that bring a knowledgeable audience to independently made titles and foreign films, many of which are in small, often historic, theaters, believe they offer entertainment exclusivity, curate an education-meets-entertainment mix and still anchor neighborhoods.

…read more


Warren Buffett praises ‘talented and ambitious immigrants’ in shareholder letter

By Avi Selk

Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive Warren Buffett. (John Peterson/AP)

It’s become an American tradition to parse billionaire Warren Buffett’s annual letters to his shareholders for nuggets of plain-spoken insight, wit and sometimes a dash of politics.

In this year’s letter, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman brought up a familiar subject under Donald Trump’s presidency: immigrants.

“Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers,” Buffett wrote — ostensibly as reason to be optimistic about the company’s future earnings.

[Warren Buffett, cheerleader for the American economy]

The billionaire’s praise of immigrants contrasts actions by the new presidency. Trump’s travel ban and large-scale raids of undocumented immigrants have left some chief executives ‘deeply concerned,’ while the technology industry has joined in opposition.

Buffett vocally supported Hillary Clinton during the general election, offered to release his tax returns if Trump did the same and compared Trump’s business skills to that of a monkey’s.

After the election, he told CNN that Trump “deserves everybody’s respect.”

Buffett also glanced off a couple other Trump talking points in his letter — offering a much more optimistic take than the president.

Where Trump has railed about foreigners subsuming American debt and assets — “they suck the blood right out of out country” he once said of China — Buffett was sanguine.

“Foreigners, of course, own or have claims on a modest portion of our wealth. Those holdings, however, are of little importance to our national balance sheet,” he wrote.

And those worried about the course of the next four years might glean some hidden hope in this passage:

“Yes, the build-up of wealth will be interrupted for short …read more