5 things for Tuesday, March 7, 2017: Health care, immigration, North Korea

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1. Health care

Republicans have rolled out their long-awaited bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and there is a LOT to unpack. The American Health Care Act would eliminate the individual mandate, which requires most everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty. It would also make changes to things like Medicaid and health savings accounts. People who seem likely to benefit from the new plan are young people, healthy people and the country's highest earners. Older people, those with pre-existing conditions and lower-income Americans may not like it so much.
Shockingly, the plan has already invited blowback from Democrats and it is likely to be mired in controversy for the foreseeable future. You can read the full text of the bill here.

2. Immigration

In case the health care bill wasn't enough excitement, President Trump also signed a new executive order on immigration, effectively replacing his hugely controversial travel ban with ... another travel ban. This one does not include Iraq, and also exempts people from the remaining six countries who have valid US visas or permanent resident status. Even though this order is more lenient than the previous one, critics are still calling it discriminatory because it again targets Muslim-majority countries.
On a related note, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told CNN the department is considering separating children from their parents at the border. He said the plan would help combat child exploitation, since currently adults found crossing the border with children are typically allowed to stay in the US.

3. North Korea

It's a mess. Follow this: Three North Korean nationals wanted for questioning in the murder of Kim Jong Un's half brother Kim Jong Nam are said to be hiding out in the North Korean embassy in Malaysia. In response, North Korea barred all Malaysian citizens from leaving the country. Malaysia said the move means North Korea is basically holding Malaysians hostage, so its leaders in turn barred North Koreans from leaving THEIR country until the Malaysians in North Korea are guaranteed safety.
Oh, and North Korea is waving its missiles around. So, the US has sent a missile defense system to South Korea. President Trump also talked to the leaders of Japan and South Korea about North Korea's latest actions.

4. Layoffs

Bad times ahead for employees of General Motors and ESPN. GM has announced it's cutting 1,100 jobs in Michigan. That's the fourth round of layoffs the company's had since November. ESPN also announced layoffs, but these are way different: The sports giant says the cuts will affect "talent," a.k.a. people who appear on TV, radio and online. The move will apparently help trim millions of dollars from the channel's budget.

5. Monuments

Good-bye, Robert E. Lee. A statue of the Confederate general, along with monuments to two of his comrades, will finally be removed from prominent places around New Orleans. A federal appeals court rejected requests by historical groups to keep them up. Supporters wanted to add plaques to explain the statues "in the context of their time." The City Council two years ago voted to remove them after the mayor, moved by the church slayings in Charleston, South Carolina, pushed the effort.


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