Quick Takes: Who Knew Health Care Was Complicated?

* The excuses for ignorance and incompetence have commenced.

* Funny, I can think of at least one guy who knew health care was complicated…way back in 2009.

* The Trump administration has finally come up with the outlines of a plan about how to defeat ISIS. Apparently it sounds an awful lot like somebody else’s plan.

…U.S. analysts said they don’t expect the new plan to differ dramatically from the Obama administration’s approach, at least in Iraq.

* You know why Trump’s plan for defeating ISIS in Iraq won’t be much different from Obama’s? Because Obama’s plan is working. The big effort right now is to re-take Mosul from ISIS. The eastern part of the city has already been reclaimed by the Iraqis. Here’s the latest from Rukmini Callimachi and Michael Gordon.

Iraqi forces seized most of Mosul’s airport on Thursday, an important milestone in the broader offensive to retake the western half of the country’s second-largest city from the Islamic State, Iraqi and allied officials said.

The push to take the airport, which has been led by the Iraqi federal police, is a promising start to what is expected to be a difficult and bloody fight to completely evict the Islamic State from the city.

* What all this means is that Andrew Exum is probably right: “Donald Trump will defeat ISIS. And it will be mostly due to the work of his predecessor.

…the fall of the Islamic State is going to happen, and it’s going to happen on this president’s watch. Like the American jobs he claims to have created that were announced long before he took office, Trump will take credit for the Islamic State’s defeat…

And Americans need to be fine with that, because as much as many of us do not want this president to get the credit for the work of others, defeating the Islamic State is a national good that should be bigger than politics.

* Ever since the 9th Circuit continued the stay on Trump’s travel ban, the White House has been promising that they’ll release a new executive order soon. This is probably a big part of the reason why they’re having trouble coming up with one.

Analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.

A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.

* I’m sure that this will be a comfort to those who voted for Trump due to their economic anxiety.

The White House took its first steps Monday toward what would be a dramatic reshuffling of the $3 trillion-plus federal budget, sending guidance to agencies that calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending and corresponding reductions to most non-security agencies.

While Office of Management and Budget officials briefed reporters on the plan this morning, President Donald Trump publicly explained his proposal to focus federal spending on national security, including boosts to the military, local law enforcement and the Border Patrol, while cutting domestic programs and foreign aid.

* Finally, anyone think this is worth trying?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.