President Trump has signed several executive orders and pursued policy changes in conjunction with Congress that are either already being felt or could be soon.
The I-Team looked at four issues where the President has already left a mark: the Affordable Care Act, immigration, the U.S. Supreme Court, and infrastructure.
We got a liberal take (courtesy of Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch) and a conservative take (thanks to Mitch Kokai from the John Locke Foundation); needless to say, they see things very differently.
Watch the related videos to hear full takes from both Schofield and Kokai.
THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Trump made repealing and replacing "Obamacare" a centerpiece of his candidacy and Congress is working unusually quickly to do just that. The new bill, referred to by some both as Trumpcare and Ryancare (for House Speaker Paul Ryan), would keep many of the popular parts of the ACA but would do away with the individual mandate, or the requirement to have health insurance, which is largely the mechanism that pays for the subsidies that have made the program popular with millions.
Critics of the plan to dismantle the ACA and replace it with the GOP health care bill have several major areas of concern.
1) Tax credits may not be enough to pay for individual insurance. Up to 10 million people could end up losing their coverage under this plan, according Standard & Poor's estimate. Some put the number twice as high.
2) There may be a bigger gap in premium prices between younger and older adults. The House bill reverses the part of the Affordable Care Act that prohibited insurance companies from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people. With that part of the law gone, critics worry, premiums could go up for some of the country's sickest people. The AARP wrote a statement opposing the bill.
3) The changes could result in fewer choices. Without the mandate, healthy people may choose to opt out which experts say could further erode the market and lead to providers dropping out, potentially beginning the so-called "death spiral" critics of Obamacare have warned of for years.
4) The impact on Medicaid could result in poorer Americans losing care. The Republican bill overturns rules allowing more people to be eligible as of 2020 and says states will be allowed to offer Medicaid plans that don't cover essential health benefits, such as maternity care and preventative services. The national Children's Hospital Association has spoken out against this part of the bill.
Liberal take: "They're talking about repeal and replace but it's really just repeal. For hundreds of thousands of people, there isn't really a viable replacement. They're going to lose assistance, they're going to find that health insurance is dramatically more expensive and probably unaffordable."
Conservative take: "I think at this point it's still too early to say. Even those supporting the plan say it by itself is not going to be the be-all and end-all."
The President has taken steps toward building more of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and has tried twice at a travel ban on people coming from a half-dozen Muslim-majority countries. His policy initiatives have largely reflected campaign promises but have resulted in an extraordinary amount of backlash around the country.
Liberal take: "We're at a time now in America when people will just disappear. When we won't know where people are, that they'll just disappear; they'll be gone. And that's why there's a tremendous amount of fear and worry and even terror in a lot of immigrant communities."
Conservative take: "I don't see that anyone has a great sense for where things stand with immigration in general. Anytime you've got a complex system of immigration, you're going to have people caught up in it. I don't know if there's more of that under Donald trump. I think it's getting more attention just because he was so vocal on the campaign trail."
U.S. SUPREME COURT
President Trump has named and is awaiting final word on is his pick of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Republicans have roundly praised the nomination and defended it as a return to "what was" under his predecessor, Justice Antonin Scalia. Progressives, still fuming over the fact President Obama's selection was tabled, are outraged over the notion that the confirmation of Gorsuch will effectively prolong the tenure of one of the sharpest conservatives on the Court in generations.
Liberal take: "The linchpin of all of (Trump's) conservative policies to roll back the progress of the last several decades is Neil Gorsuch. A lot of these arguably unconstitutional positions that President Trump has taken, Neil Gorsuch could be the linchpin to making them stay in place for decades."
Conservative take: "The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch basically puts us back into the status quo prior to the death of Antonin Scalia."
Details on the President's infrastructure plan are few and far between but he has called for a $1 trillion investment in rebuilding our nation's aging roads, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure. Conservatives and liberals agree on this, the devil will be in the details.
Liberal take: "As for whether that will ultimately find its way to the projects that matter in North Carolina, still a big question. Maybe it's a hopeful ray of light in the Trump Administration's first few days, but it's a pretty weak one so far."
Conservative take: "You're basically saying that this is going to be stimulus 2.0 or 3.0 you have to worry about how much of this money is actually going to go to infrastructure and how much is going to be piddled away on things that have nothing to do with building roads or other transportation issues."
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