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Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden’s mental fitness for office

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician-turned-GOP congressional candidate, suggested on Tuesday that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is mentally unfit for office, citing what he called cognitive decline.



a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden's mental fitness for office


© Getty
Former Trump doctor Ronny Jackson questions Biden’s mental fitness for office

The remarks from Jackson, who has not evaluated Biden, came during a phone call organized by President Trump’s campaign and are part of a sustained effort by Trump’s allies to highlight Biden’s gaffes on the campaign trail, arguing they make him mentally incapable of serving as commander in chief.

Jackson said Tuesday that he was speaking as a “concerned citizen” and not as a Republican congressional candidate.

“As a citizen of this country, I watch Joe Biden on the campaign trail and I am concerned that he does not – am convinced that he does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability to serve as our commander in chief and head of state,” Jackson told reporters on the call.

“I really think that he needs some type of cognitive testing before he takes over the reigns as our commander in chief, if that is in the cards,” Jackson added.

Jackson later acknowledged, in response to a question from a reporter, that he has never treated or evaluated Biden and said he was not making a medical assessment of Biden’s mental health.

“I am not making a medical assessment. I actually don’t even practice medicine at this point. I am not doing that,” Jackson said. “I am not trying to remotely diagnose him with anything. I have not accused him of having Alzheimer’s or anything of that nature. I have not made that statement.”

Jackson mentioned a handful of instances from Monday when Biden, who was campaigning in Ohio, could not remember the name of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and mistakenly said he was running for the Senate, not the White House.

In a response to Jackson’s comment, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, “I refer you to the first debate.”

Trump and his campaign have been targeting Biden’s mental fitness for months, during which time Biden has built a sizable lead in national polling and an advantage in key battleground states. Trump, meanwhile, has little time to turn his campaign around as Republicans grow concerned about potentially losing the White House and Senate.

Trump’s performance in the first debate against Biden was widely panned by Republicans as a missed opportunity that put scrutiny back on the president instead of Biden. Doug Heye, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee, said the attack on Biden’s gaffes would have been more effective if Trump had executed it during the debate.

“If this is going to be a central part of your theme for your campaign, then you have to attack this tactically. There is no better opportunity for that than the first debate,” Heye told The Hill. “Doing that on a conference call is not going to move the needle.”

On Monday evening, Trump, who

Sean Hannity Attacks Joe Biden’s Mental Fitness Despite Tucker Carlson Saying Tactic Won’t Work

Sean Hannity has attacked Joe Biden’s mental fitness just two weeks after Tucker Carlson said that this tactic was a “mistake” because the Democratic nominee came across as “precise” at the presidential debate.

Hannity laid into Biden on his Monday night Fox News broadcast for briefly forgetting Sen. Mitt Romney’s name as well as for a recent incident where Biden mistakingly said he was running for senate, not president.

“Maybe somebody on the staff might want to remind the ever forgetful Joe that he is running for president. He’s not running for senator,” Hannity said. “He keeps forgetting, forgets the day of the week, forgets what office he’s running for. He is running for president, not senator. Somebody remind him!”

He went on to say: “He is obviously not capable of leading. He has been hiding the entire campaign, and the corrupt media mob is covering for him.”

However, Hannity may have not gotten the memo, as two weeks ago, Carlson said “it was a mistake to spend so much time focusing on Joe Biden’s mental decline.”

Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity is pictured at Del Frisco’s Grille on April 2, 2018 in New York City. He has said on his show that he believes some parts of the U.S. should end the lockdown in place due to the coronavirus.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Carlson said the Trump administration’s attempts to paint Biden as “senile” or suffering from dementia are the wrong tactic and even conceded that the 77-year-old Democrat came across well at the debate.

“As a political matter, the main thing we learned last night is that it was a mistake to spend so much time focusing on Joe Biden’s mental decline,” Carlson said on September 30. “Yes, it’s real. Yes, Joe Biden is fading, we’ve showed you dozens of examples of it for months now.”

“But on stage last night, Biden did not seem senile,” he continued. “If you tuned in expecting him to forget his own name—and honestly, we did expect that—you may have been surprised by how precise some of his answers were. Not all of them, but enough of them. Trump isn’t going to win this race by calling Joe Biden senile.”

Another person who seems to have not gotten the memo either is Donald Trump himself.

This morning, the President took aim at his opponent’s mental stability once again in a tweet lambasting Biden for mistakingly saying he was running for senate.

“Mitt can’t be thrilled about this!” Trump wrote: “Joe also said yesterday he’s running for the U.S. Senate (again) and totally forgot where he was (wrong State!). Joe has never been a nice or kind guy, so

Biden’s son-in-law advises campaign on pandemic while investing in Covid-19 startups

“StartUp Health is putting the full support of its platform and network behind building a post-Covid world that uses technology and entrepreneurial ingenuity to improve health outcomes,” the firm said at the time.

Krein simultaneously advising the campaign and venturing into Covid investing could pose conflict-of-interest concerns for a Biden administration, or simply create the awkward appearance of Krein profiting off his father-in-law’s policies. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the federal government has directed tens of billions of dollars in coronavirus medical spending in areas like testing and vaccine research to private firms. It is poised to spend billions more next year and possibly beyond.

The potential conflicts are not limited to the coronavirus for Krein, 53, a Philadelphia-based head-and-neck surgeon who got into venture investing not long after he began dating Biden’s daughter, Ashley, in 2010.

Since StartUp Health’s 2011 launch, when Krein came on as its chief medical officer, it has invested in more than 300 health care businesses, according to its website, which prominently features the term “moonshot” to describe its investment goals — language that echoes that of Joe Biden’s own signature Cancer Moonshot initiative. In its early years, the firm enjoyed close ties to the Obama administration and described Krein as a White House adviser.

“I have little doubt that the relationship to Joe Biden, particularly if he becomes president, would attract the interest of some investors,” said Avik Roy, founder of Roy Healthcare Research, an investment research firm, and a former adviser to the presidential campaigns of Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

StartUpHealth did not respond to interview requests, and the Biden campaign declined to make Krein or others tied to the company available for interviews. In response to questions, a campaign official said that Krein does not have a formal role with the campaign, but acknowledged that he had participated in calls briefing Biden on coronavirus based on his experience treating patients and coordinating his hospital’s response to the outbreak.

Even informal input or the perception of access can be valuable in health care, a heavily regulated sector that is influenced by federal policy and spending priorities.

“Sometimes the perception is all you need,” said Laura Huang, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies the early-stage investment process. “Signaling is very important for startups and investors alike, and one signal is high-profile individuals who can help provide access.”

Roy said the firm’s Biden ties could also help it land stakes in hot startups that can be choosy about the investors they take money from. “Those companies will take your calls,” he said. “People who are plugged in have an advantage, and that is a common feature of a lot of heavily regulated industries.”

The influence concerns posed by the firm are compounded by its foreign ties. One StartUp Health fund raised $31 million from investors, including the Swiss drugmaker Novartis and the Chinese insurer Ping An, in 2018. The firm’s website also lists the Chinese technology conglomerate

Biden’s claim that Trump is ‘pushing to slash Medicare benefits’

The explanation from the Biden campaign was also surprising, So let’s explore this claim in detail. It’s an interesting and complex story.

The Facts

The Biden campaign explained that this line hinged on the fact that President Trump is backing a lawsuit that would nullify the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Trump administration filed a legal brief on June 25 asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire law, joining with a group of GOP state attorneys general who argue that the ACA is unconstitutional. The court will hear arguments in the case, known as California v. Texas, on Nov. 10.

The case hinges on the fact that Trump’s 2017 tax law in effect eliminated the ACA’s individual mandate penalty by reducing it to zero. Without the mandate, the whole law should fall, rather than just individual portions, the plaintiffs argue. Trump decided to embrace that argument, rather than say that if one part of the law was unconstitutional, the other parts of the law could survive.

In an effort to reduce the number of people in the United States without health insurance, the ACA set up an insurance-market exchange and provided subsidies to help people buy individual insurance. The law also greatly expanded Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. To help pay for this, the law also made adjustments to Medicare, mostly big cuts in payments to Medicare providers and a hike in the payroll tax for wealthy taxpayers.

Separately, the law added a handful of additional benefits for people on Medicare, primarily a gradual closing of the coverage gap — “the doughnut hole” — in the Medicare Part D program when coverage ceased for prescription drugs once a limit was reached.

The law also provided some free or reduced cost-sharing for some preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as a free annual wellness visit. Private insurance plans known as Medicare Advantage also could no longer charge higher cost-sharing amounts than traditional fee-for-service Medicare for certain services, including skilled-nursing facility care, chemotherapy and kidney dialysis.

A Supreme Court amicus brief by AARP, the interest group for the elderly, cited an estimate that 40.1 million people took advantage of at least one Medicare preventive service with no co-pays or deductibles in 2016, while more than 10.3 million Medicare beneficiaries took advantage of an annual wellness visit.

The Biden campaign argues that it’s fair to say that Medicare benefits would be slashed because if the whole law fell, these benefits would disappear, as would every other part of the law.

First of all, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed by Trump, sped up closure of the doughnut hole and, as of 2020, there is no longer a coverage gap. Four experts, both inside and outside Congress, told us that even if the ACA was repealed, the doughnut-hole closure is done and cannot be reversed.

(A discordant note was offered by Juliette Cubanski, deputy director of the Program on Medicare Policy at

Investors eye discounted U.S. healthcare sector as Biden’s lead in polls grows

By Lewis Krauskopf



FILE PHOTO: Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules are arranged on a table in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana


© Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic
FILE PHOTO: Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules are arranged on a table in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors are looking for bargains among healthcare stocks, even as prospect of a Democratic “Blue Sweep” in next month’s elections threatens more volatility for a sector already trading near a historical discount to the broader market.

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A victory by former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump on Nov. 3 and a potential Democratic takeover of the Senate could clear the way for prescription drug price and healthcare coverage reforms, generally seen as potential negatives for companies in the sector.

Some investors are betting these factors have already been priced into healthcare shares or may not be as detrimental as feared, while the companies stand to benefit from relatively stable earnings prospects and their medical innovations.

“For high-quality companies that are trading at reasonable valuations … there is a strong argument to be made for adding some healthcare exposure to portfolios,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson.

Biden’s improving election prospects have weighed on healthcare stocks for much of 2020, according to investors, with the S&P 500 healthcare sector <.spxhc> climbing just 7% since the end of April, against a 17% gain for the overall S&P 500 <.spx>.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Sunday showed Biden opened his widest lead in a month after Trump contracted COVID-19.

The healthcare sector now trades at a 26% discount to the S&P 500 on a price-to-earnings basis, according to Refinitiv Datastream. The sector’s 15.8 P/E ratio is well below the S&P 500’s 21.3 ratio, which last month rose to its highest valuation since 2000.

The gap between the sector’s P/E ratio and that of the S&P stood at its widest in at least 25 years last month, though it has narrowed in recent weeks.

“As Biden started to do better in the polls, you saw healthcare start to underperform a bit as the rest of the market recovered,” said Ashtyn Evans, a healthcare analyst with Edward Jones.

While Biden may shake up insurance coverage by offering a “public option” government plan, he is also expected to seek to strengthen the Affordable Care Act – the signature healthcare law enacted when he was vice president – under which companies are used to operating.

Any significant drug pricing legislation may need to wait until the pandemic is more contained, as the government relies on the pharmaceutical industry to develop COVID-19 therapies and vaccines. Trump has also vowed to lower drug prices, making the issue arguably less partisan.

“We think there remains a reasonably good probability that the next Congress will institute moderate health policy changes that will create long-term clarity for the sector and investors,” Eric Potoker, an analyst at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note last month.

Healthcare stocks have been prone to volatility around elections.

Ahead of the 2016 vote, which pitted Trump against former Secretary of

Trump says he wears masks “when needed” and mocks Biden’s masks

President Trump touted his response to the coronavirus pandemic in his first debate with former Vice President Joe Biden and defended his decision to often appear in public without a facial covering, explaining that he wears a mask “when needed.”

“I think masks are okay,” Mr. Trump said, when asked why moderator Chris Wallace why he typically appears in public without wearing a mask. He pulled out a mask from his suit jacket to show that he carried it with him.

“I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight is an example, everybody has had a test,” Mr. Trump said. “I wear a mask when needed. When needed, I wear masks.”

The president also mocked Biden for wearing a mask every time he appears in public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear masks in public to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

“I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Biden “could be speaking 200 feet away” and then “shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Trump also defended his decision to hold large campaign rallies where there is limited social distancing and wearing a mask is not enforced. He noted that many of the rallies are held outside, which is considered to be safer than holding indoor events.

“People want to hear what I have to say,” Mr. Trump said, claiming that more people want to see him than Biden.

Biden also criticized Mr. Trump’s general response to the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans.

“The president has no plan. He hasn’t laid out anything. He knew all the way back in February how serious this crisis was,” Biden said, seemingly referring to when Mr. Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in February that the virus was “deadly stuff” while downplaying the risks in public.

Biden said that if he were president, he would ensure that hospitals had the equipment necessary to treat patients and protect health care workers, and that schools were properly funded.

Mr. Trump touted his decision to restrict travel from China at the end of January, claiming that it saved millions of lives.

“It’s China’s fault, it should have never happened,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he had received praise from governors as doing a “phenomenal job.”

“Many of your Democrat governors said President Trump did a phenomenal job,” Mr. Trump claimed. He also claimed that  “we’re weeks away from a vaccine,” and said that “far fewer people are dying.”

He praised his administration’s response to the coronavirus, claiming that the press was trying to undermine him.

“It’s just fake news. They give you good press, and give me bad press,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Biden. “I’ll tell you, Joe, you could’ve never done the job that we did.”

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