Today, our topic is the state of the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re recording this podcast just after Congress has come back to Washington from the Fourth of July recess.

The Senate Republican health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is on thin ice, with about ten Republican Senators expressing reservations about the bill. Can Mitch McConnell get 50 senators to yes? What are the implications for the future of health care in America if he can—or can’t?

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On this month’s episode of American Wonk, our topic is: What the heck is going on between Donald Trump, James Comey, and Russia? Is there fire underneath all that smoke? Is the President in any kind of legal jeopardy?

To answer these questions, we needed to go to someone who could wonk out with us on both foreign policy and constitutional questions, and so we’re very fortunate to have John Yoo join the program.

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In our last episode, taped in March of 2017, we spoke to Zeke Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. Today, we’re going to talk to one of the guys who has played a leading role in thinking about how to replace Obamacare: Lanhee Chen.

Lanhee is best known for his role in Mitt Romney’s two presidential campaigns—he was Romney’s director of domestic policy in 2008, and director of all policy in 2012. In 2016, he was a policy advisor to Marco Rubio.

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A lot of you have been waiting for us to talk health care at American Wonk. But we wanted to save it for a really special guest. And today, we have him. Zeke Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us. Zeke, as you know, was one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act. You may also know that he has two famous brothers: Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, and Ari Emanuel, the super-agent inspiration for “Entourage.”

Every day brings fresh news about developments on Capitol Hill with the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare. And we want this podcast to be useful for listeners even if they get to it a few days or weeks from now. So in this podcast, we focus on the big picture. Zeke has first-hand knowledge of how hard health care reform actually is. While you’ll find many things Zeke says to disagree with, he helps us think through the challenges Republicans face as they try their hand at health reform.

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Well, Month One of the Trump Presidency hasn’t been boring. There are so many things we could talk about, but on this episode of American Wonk, we focus on one story in particular: the appointment and subsequent ouster of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as U.S. National Security Advisor.

President Trump has a conspicuously more favorable view of Vladimir Putin than do most conservatives. And in a pro-Putin White House, Michael Flynn was perhaps the most pro-Putin guy of all.

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Presidential elections happen every four years. But presidential transitions don’t. The last time we had a Republican president replace a Democratic one was in 2001. To give us some historical context on presidential transitions, and to evaluate how Donald Trump’s transition is going, Avik Roy turns to Tevi Troy, who was the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential transition effort in 2012.

Tevi is the author of several books about the presidency, most recently Shall We Wake The President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management From The Oval Office, and also the CEO of the American Health Policy Institute.

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In this episode of American Wonk, Avik Roy returns to the topic of the 2016 election with the guy who had it all figured out before anyone else: Sean Trende the Senior Elections Analyst at RealClearPolitics and author of The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government is Up for Grabs and Who Will Take It. Sean also co-authored the 2014 edition of the Almanac of American Politics.

Sean discusses his controversial articles from four and three years ago: “The Case of the Missing White Voters,” and “The Case of the Missing White Voters, Revisited,” in which Sean noted that 6 to 7 million white voters who voted in 2008 didn’t show up in 2012. Most notably, those voters weren’t classic conservative voters, but rather blue-collar whites without college degrees in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

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On Tuesday, Donald Trump shocked the world and defied the polls by beating Hillary Clinton and winning the presidential election. What can we learn from his victory, and what does it bode for the future of the GOP?

Emily Ekins, research fellow at the Cato Institute and member of the Board of Advisors of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, joins Avik Roy to dissect the 2016 exit polls. They discuss Hillary Clinton’s underperformance with Millennials and minorities, Donald Trump’s success in the upper Midwest, and the durability of the Trump electoral coalition driven by whites without college degrees.

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WONK_001bWhat’s the difference between believing a lie and being blinded by ideology? AEI’s Christina Hoff Summers joins Avik this week to dismantle the male-demonizing environment of academia that was the intellectual foundation of Rolling Stone‘s discredited report on rape at the University of Virginia.

We also learn the truth behind the big lie that one-in-five women have been sexually assaulted at universities across the country. There may be a lot of awful things taking place on American campuses, but according to Sommers, an epidemic of sexual assault is not one of them.

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WinshipWONK_001bIn the latest installment of American Wonk, Avik Roy sits down with Scott Winship—an expert on income equality at the Manhattan Institute and Forbes—to discuss the latest intellectual frenzy on the left: Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Piketty argues that argues that capitalism “automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities” in times like ours because “the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income.” Furthermore, as this purported gap between the rich and the poor widens over time, there will be a populist rebellion against capitalism.

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Fifty years ago, in January 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared “unconditional war” on poverty. Five decades later, it’s time to take stock. How have Johnson’s policies fared? To what degree ought conservatives focus on the questions of poverty and social mobility? And what would a conservative agenda on these issues look like?

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With the economy still struggling to get going, and Obamacare stumbling, the President and his progressive allies are trying to change the subject by focusing on “income inequality.” Specifically, Dems are pushing for another extension of unemployment benefits, and an increase in the minimum wage. Are these efforts economically wise or unwise? And do the Republicans have an adequate agenda to address the problems facing low-income Americans? In the latest episode of American Wonk, Avik Roy discusses these issues with National Review associate editor Patrick Brennan.

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Should the Republicans propose their own health care plan? Avik Roy and The Federalist’s Ben Domenech debate that question on this edition of American Wonk. Also, what to do about Medicare and how can the GOP make the argument for bringing more competition to the health care market?

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This week, Avik Roy gets wonky with Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative at the Brookings Institution, who was previously the adminstrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services when the prescription drug benefit was rolled out in the mid 2000s. What lessons could and should have been learned from that roll out? Tune in and find out.

Wonk out constantly by subscribing to this podcast here

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