“Big Oil Gets a Huge Role in Trump’s Administration”
All across the oil patch, they’re figuratively uncorking the champagne bottles as Tillerson and other well-placed leaders and friends are proposed for top jobs. Rick Perry, former governor of oil-rich Texas, has been picked to run the Energy Department, which he once famously threatened to do away with and whose name he forgot in a 2012 Republican presidential primary debate. Scott Pruitt, a friend to Oklahoma’s homegrown shale industry and confirmed climate-change skeptic, would take over the Environmental Protection Agency. And U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, a Republican from Montana and former CEO of an oil and gas consulting firm, is poised to become head of the Interior Department.
It’s a breathtaking turn of events for an industry that has battled the federal government for decades on tax issues, antitrust challenges, environmental regulations and ethics oversight under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Now, after eight years of especially antagonistic face-offs with the Obama administration, Big Oil is going from Washington outsider to running the show.
The industry is poised to wield previously unimaginable influence on a global scale in a Trump administration. Tillerson has legitimately honed his leadership skills as head of the largest publicly traded oil company in the world. He is equal parts diplomat and executive, having spent much of his career negotiating complex and controversial business transactions in countries with which the U.S. government has strained relations. In 2011, he famously went into business with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, signing a joint-venture agreement to partner with state oil company Rosneft on Arctic oil exploration.
But Tillerson’s oil-industry positions also could pose problems for implementing U.S. foreign policy. Tillerson has said he opposes international sanctions; as secretary of state he could push for easing sanctions against Russia, which would have obvious benefits for Exxon Mobil’s partnership with Rosneft.
“This is why Obamacare matters, Democrats say”
Democrats are making sure everyone knows just what Obamacare means to Americans nationwide, not just the 20 million who’ve received coverage directly because of the law. The administration released a 100-page report Tuesday highlighting how the health reform law has improved medical care and saved people money over the six years since it was passed.
Based on the results of the universal coverage effort in Massachusetts that preceded Obamacare, expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act is preventing 24,000 deaths a years. This is largely because more people are going to the doctor and getting treatment, said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which released the report. The share of Americans reporting that they have forgone medical care due to cost has fallen by a third since 2010.
Obamacare has helped slow the increase in health care costs, which has benefited those with work-based coverage. The average family insured through their job is paying $4,400 less in premiums and out-of-pocket costs than they would have been without Obamacare. Medicare enrollees are spending $700 less in premiums and out-of-pocket due to slower growth.
Republicans have promised to protect people with pre-existing conditions and allow children to stay on their parents’ plans. But they have yet to release a detailed replacement plan, leaving many advocates concerned the consumer protections won’t be as robust as they were under Obamacare.