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Progressive Briefing for Monday, July 9, 2018

Trump freezes Obamacare payment program, Starbucks says goodbye to plastic straws, Colorado schools are arming teachers with no state oversight, and more.

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Trump freezes Obamacare payment program, leaving insurers scrambling

The Trump administration is freezing a critical Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance payment program that discourages insurers from cherry picking healthier enrollees by compensating them for sicker ones.

The move could rattle insurance companies at the very moment when they’re deciding whether to continue selling ACA plans and setting premiums for 2019.

Trump administration attempts to punish countries that support breastfeeding in order to push corporate profits

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said the administration’s attempt to undercut the World Health Assembly resolution that called on nations to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” also further displays the White House’s “contempt for the health and well-being of Americans and people throughout the world.”

Starbucks says goodbye to plastic straws

Mega coffee corporation Starbucks will phase out any use of plastic straws by 2020, opting for a more environmentally-friendly sip cup. The move will take plastic straws from Starbucks’ 28,000 stores and could mean a billion fewer plastic straws across its stores each year. The decision is a part of Starbucks’ $10 million investment in creating recyclable and compostable cups around the world.

Colorado schools are arming teachers with no state oversight and few training standards

There are now at least nine states that allow teachers to arm themselves with guns. One of those states, Colorado, now has 30 school districts and charter schools that have given teachers the okay to bring firearms into classroom.

However, there is no statewide gun safety training standard for educators and no standard use-of-force policies, and such policies are left entirely to decisions of the individual school district.

Violent white supremacist loses job with major US defense contractor

Shortly after being exposed as a violent white supremacist who brutally attacked counter-protesters during racially-charged rallies in Charlottesville and Berkeley last year, a Northrup Grumman aerospace engineer with U.S. government security clearance recently lost his job when ProPublica and Frontline published photographs of the racist assaulting a black man and throwing a weapon into a crowd of people.

Pruitt’s parting attack on America’s air could cost 1,600 lives

In his last day at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday, ousted Administrator Scott Pruitt left a parting gift for polluters, and took a parting shot at America’s lungs. Pruitt acted to remove a cap on the number of glider trucks – new truck bodies built without engines or transmission that produce 55 times the air pollution of trucks with new engines using up-to-date pollution controls – through December 2019, the New York Times reported.

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