Monthly Archives: July 2017

White House sanctions Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

By Heather Long

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro celebrates election results after a national vote on his proposed Constituent Assembly at Plaza Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 31. (Nathalie Sayago/European Pressphoto Agency).

The White House on Monday issued sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, freezing his U.S. assets and prohibiting Americans from dealing with him.

The sanctions come after Maduro’s regime on Sunday went through with a controversial vote to replace Venezuela’s current legislature with a new body more loyal to Maduro. President Trump and other world leaders had warned Maduro of “swift” consequences if he held the election, which many observers saw as an illegitimate bid by the embattled regime to consolidate power over a country in crisis.

“Yesterday’s illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday. “By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime.”

The sanctions on Maduro come mere days after the United States placed similar sanctions on 13 top Venezuelan government officials.

“This is a really big escalation in pressure,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former U.S. Treasury official under President Obama.

The Trump administration stopped short of imposing any sanctions on Venezuela’s critical oil industry. Venezuela accounts for 10 percent of U.S. oil imports.

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Insurers just stepped in to avoid an Obamacare disaster

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

Protesters carry signs during a health care rally in front of Trump Tower in New York. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)

As President Trump urges politicians to “let Obamacare implode,” suggesting that the law will unravel on its own and leave people across the country with no health-insurance options, states are finding their own ways to fill in the gaps in coverage for next year.

3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017

Ohio’s insurance director announced Monday that by working together with five companies, all but one of its counties would have insurance options next year on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Twenty Ohio counties had been at risk of being bare in 2018, with no insurers selling plans on the exchanges where people can buy health coverage with the aid of federal subsidies. That void was created in June when the major insurer, Anthem, announced that it would pull out of the state.

“Ohio has long had a strong insurance system, and once again our insurers stepped up at an important time for thousands of Ohioans, taking unprecedented action to provide access to health insurance for Ohioans who otherwise were without options,” insurance director Jillian Froment said in a statement.

[It’s not impossible: Four ways Republicans could still take action on Obamacare]

A single Ohio county, Paulding County, still has no insurer expected to offer plans on the exchange. Froment said that regulators are searching for coverage options for that county.

State insurance commissioners have been working with companies to plug potential gaps over the past few months. After quite a bit of suspense over whether Iowa …read more

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