* At this point, I have no idea what Trump or his supporters mean when they talk about draining the swamp. Silly me…I used to think that it had something to do with the overlap between politics and big money. But Phillip Bump shows how wrong I was with this Venn diagram of Trump’s
swamp Cabinet nominees.
* Speaking of money and politics, Darren Samuelsohn reports on how Trump will benefit from the tax policies proposed by he and Republicans.
The Republican tax code overhaul is expected to include across-the-board tax cuts, including one to the top business tax rate that would allow Trump’s companies to keep a greater share of their profits. Beyond the rate reduction, Trump could also benefit from several other provisions likely to be part of the GOP tax reform package, such as a proposed exemption on foreign income generated from overseas sales, from certain business interest deductions on debt-financed projects that are widely favored by real estate developers and from provisions allowing small-business owners to tap into a lower 15 percent rate when they file using their personal-income returns.
And Trump’s family stands to significantly benefit — an estimated savings of $4 billion or more if the president-elect’s personal wealth is “in excess of $10 billion” as he has claimed — from a repeal of the estate tax, a tax on inheritance that applies to only a small number of the country’s wealthiest families.
* You’re not likely to hear about this news from president-elect Trump.
New York City crime slid to its lowest level in decades, even as other big U.S. cities reported jumps in murders…
New York City, meanwhile, reported 335 murders in 2016, down from 352 in 2015, 673 in 2000—and 2,262 in 1990.
Overall crime in the city fell by 4.1% in 2016 from a year earlier, reaching its lowest level since the New York City Police Department began keeping track of statistics.
Three of the more serious crimes dropped this year after an increase in 2015: murders declined by 4.8%; rape by 1%; and robbery by 8.7%.
* Although he had to do it anonymously, at least one Republican Senator was willing to admit to Steven Dennis what many of us suspected about the endless votes in the past to repeal Obamacare.
A Republican senator on condition of anonymity said the details of the repeal bill remain very uncertain. Originally, Republicans were planning to simply bring back the bill they put on Obama’s desk last year for his veto.
But that bill was written knowing it wouldn’t become law, and now some Republicans want to make tweaks to soften the blow of repeal.
“Even people who voted for this before are, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, we knew that wasn’t going to happen,’” said the senator. “There were no consequences.” He said there’s a growing sense among some of his colleagues that they need to have a replacement for Obamacare ready soon “because we’re going to own this.”
* The New York Times is running a series on “The Obama Era” that is worth a look. One entry is titled: “After Obama, Some Health Reforms May Prove Lasting.”
Expanding insurance coverage to more than 20 million Americans is among Mr. Obama’s proudest accomplishments, but the changes he has pushed go deeper. They have had an impact on every level of care — from what happens during checkups and surgery to how doctors and hospitals are paid, how their results are measured and how they work together…
Changes in the delivery system already affect far more people than the law’s higher-profile coverage gains. To visit IU Health, the largest health care provider in Indiana, with 15 hospitals and 8,700 doctors, is to see those changes up close. Its leaders have started moving away from fee-for-service medicine, where every procedure, examination and prescription fetches a price. The emphasis now is on preventive care, on taking responsibility for the health of patients not only in the hospital, but also in the community.
Social work has become a larger part of the medical mission. Collaboration between doctors is becoming a necessity…
Most doctors across the United States are using electronic medical records, installed in many cases with federal money provided by the economic stimulus law of 2009. The federal government and private insurers are rewarding health care providers that work together to coordinate care and avoid unnecessary expenses.
* Finally, you many know that for the eight years he’s been in office, Obama has read 10 letters a day from the thousands that people send to him. Here is Patrick, a Republican who admits that he didn’t vote for Obama, reading the one he sent recently.