Archive for March 27th, 2014

27
Mar
14

ObamaCare Means: No Longer Being Treated As Second Class

Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

****

By 57AndFemale

I’m posting a comment I made at dKos. Some of this my TOD family already knows, but here was yesterday’s experience at my doctor: “Before ACA there was no one, at any price, that would cover my asthma. I was rejected outright for all insurance. The high risk pools were ridiculous in deductibles, premiums and would have made running our small business almost impossible.

I’ve been self-employed for 30 years. I had insurance in the past – those exalted “how dare you cancel my plan” type plans that, if you tried to use them, all claims were rejected short of bleeding on the ER floor, and then cancellation after that. Living in the uninsured world of the U.S. was terrifying.

BixY694CQAESQnr.png-large

I paid for cataract surgery out of pocket. I’ve gone to my asthma doctor and thought I was receiving good care. He’s a great doctor. I’ve been paying him, and for my meds to stay out of the hospital, out of pocket all these years. That was ‘yesterday’. ‘Today’ I went to see my doctor with an insurance card through ACA and he was going to get an insurance payment for me after 30 years. I’m not destitute. I was frankly surprised and a tad alarmed and still thrilled when he said, “Now I can get the tests and numbers on you that I need to treat you properly.”

He did some lung tests on me: I’m at 50% lung capacity and the test he ran showed, in his words, “Your airwaves are on fire.” This, with expensive meds that I’ve been paying for. I’ve been under-treated and didn’t even know it. For God knows how many years.

Now, as an aside, he should have told me about the tests he needed and we would have found the money somehow. This is the shadow you live under even with a sympathetic doctor – you don’t even know what it means to be treated properly by the American health care system. He should have let me make that choice, but I’m assuming these tests were REALLY expensive (have I mentioned American health care system sucks?)

BjwXvsKCMAEWRDa.png-large

Adjustments to my meds. An entirely different regimen for my blood pressure. Full blood work next time (although we’ve done basic blood work in the past). I may need a chest x-ray to see if I have low level pneumonia since I’ve been sick three times this winter. But he wants the basic treatment first and then we’ll assess. My last bout of flu or whatever it was – I knew I was over a line. I called the doctor, got some meds prescribed over the phone, but I knew I’d gotten progressively worse through the winter (my insurance kicked in February 1). I wish I could express the alleviation of fear and the peace of mind I had that, if I needed to go to the ER, I could go.

I’ve applied and dealt with private insurance for years so none of this process was foreign to me. I’m going to be 64 in May so I am at the top of what can be charged for insurance. I took a low deductible, maximum flexibility knowing that I will be on Medicare May, 2015 (if we don’t elect RWNJ’s to the Senate and the House – VOTE, PEOPLE). I got a small subsidy. My premium is less a month than I was paying for my meds out of pocket and understand, everything else concerning my health was at risk and we would certainly face financial ruin if I needed any kind of serious medical care.

I chose a co-op plan. These plans were meant to bridge from insurance to a public option-type plan since there is no profit incentive and the overhead is similar to Medicare. Illinois grandfathered in on this grant. The GOP made Obama jettison this program in the 2012 budget deal, God damn them. Even in my doctor’s attitude, the difference between ‘yesterday’ and ‘today’ was astounding. Every one of the RWNJ’s should rot in hell for doing everything in their power to keep Americans sick and second class. Rot. In. Hell. “

BfpgghiCQAASqjQ.png-large

27
Mar
14

The President’s Day

@dougmillsnyt: President Obama meets with Pope Francis, March 27, at the Vatican

****

****

10:15 AM: The President had an audience with Pope Francis

****

****

****

11:25 AM: Met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin

****

12:15 PM: Arrived the Quirinal Palace

****

12:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, Quirinal Palace

****

1:05 PM: Attended a working lunch with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

****

2:20 PM: Arrived Villa Madama

****

2:25 PM: Participated in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, Villa Madama

****

3:35 PM: Held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Renzi

Text of remarks here

****

4:40 PM: Toured The Colosseum

@dougmillsnyt

****

6:30 PM: Met with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome

****

27
Mar
14

6 Million People!….Thank You ObamaCare

BjwSHM4CAAE1J9O.jpg-large

****

HHS.Gov: 6 Million And Counting!

As this historic open enrollment period enters its final days, more than 6 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces since October 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Those looking to get covered before the March 31st deadline still have time by visiting HealthCare.gov or by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-855-889-4325. You can also find help in your community at localhelp.healthcare.gov.

Many of these more than 6 million Americans are sharing their stories of finding a new way to get quality, affordable health coverage through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces. A nonprofit worker from New Jersey, a theater artist from Chicago, IL, and an opera singer from Austin, TX are all among the millions of Americans now enjoying the peace of mind and security that comes with quality, affordable health coverage.

More here

****

****

****

Think Progress: BREAKING: Obamacare Enrollment Tops 6 Million

On Thursday, President Obama announced on a call with volunteers that the number of Americans who have enrolled in health insurance plans under Obamacare has hit six million. With several days left to go before open enrollment ends on March 31, the administration has met its target. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that Obamacare enrollment would hit six million by the end of its enrollment period. Although the CBO initially projected a seven million enrollment figure, that number was revised down after technological issues plagued the insurance marketplaces’ websites this past fall.

Just ten days ago, the Obama administration announced that enrollments had hit five million — meaning that the pace of enrollment has significantly picked up recently, and a million Americans enrolled in less than two weeks. The White House has always anticipated a last-minute surge in enrollment, since previous efforts to enroll Americans in government-run health care programs have demonstrated that people typically wait until the last minute to sign up.

More here

****

****

****

Steve Benen: ACA Enrollment Tops 6 Million

The expectation all along was that health care enrollment through the Affordable Care Act would spike shortly before the March 31 deadline. As of this afternoon, those expectations are very much in line with reality. Remember, this total only refers to consumers who’ve signed up for private coverage through exchange marketplaces. It doesn’t include Americans who’ve gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. For that matter, clearing the 6-million milestone is an important threshold, but there’s still time remaining in the open-enrollment period and it’s not unrealistic to think we’ll see 6.2 million by next week.

It’s easy to forget, but this seemed like a pipe dream last fall. In October, the first month of the open-enrollment period, just 106,185 consumers signed up for insurance through an exchange – causing Republicans to not only celebrate, but to openly mock the system by noting a variety of sports venues that hold more than 106,185 attendees.It was obviously proof, we were told at the time, that the Affordable Care Act itself was “hurtling toward failure.” Oops.

More here

****

2hwpmkg.jpg

****

Jonathan Cohn: Obamacare Enrollment Surge: More Than 6 Million Have Signed Up

More than 6 million Americans have bought private insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s new marketplaces, the Administration announced on Thursday. And it appears that people are signing up at a faster pace than ever. If signups passed 6 million sometime on Tuesday, that would mean about 1.75 million had signed up for coverage in March, with several days to go. Average daily enrollment works out to about 70,000, given the method the Department of Health and Human Services uses for accounting. The average daily enrollment in December, when people were rushing to get coverage in time for January, was about 63,000.

But it also isn’t hard to find stories of people grateful to get insurance that, for the first time, is available to all Americans regardless of pre-existing conditions. Nor is it difficult to find people grateful that they can finally afford coverage, thanks either to newly expanded Medicaid programs or the financial assistance—worth, in some cases, thousands of dollars a year—through the marketplaces. And the fact that enrollment will probably be close to the original projections suggests that the law is working more or less like it’s supposed to work. Whether that’s good or bad, obviously, is a matter of opinion. Most readers are familiar with mine.

More here

****

BjwTXLBCYAAf8yR.png-large

****

Think Progress: 12 Times Republicans Claimed Nobody Would Sign Up For Obamacare

President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that six million people signed-up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act — meeting and exceeding the administration’s deadline days before the March 31st enrollment period — undermines critics who seized on the law’s troubled early rollout to predict that measure could never attract enough Americans to succeed. Below are some of the worst predictions after the administration published the first enrollment figures in

November of 2013: 1. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “Above all, this report is a symbol of the failure of the President’s health care law… It is a rolling calamity that must be scrapped. [CNN] 2. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) “Pretty stunning…Just another day in a series of mess-ups in Obamacare.”

More here

****

****

Continue reading ‘6 Million People!….Thank You ObamaCare’

27
Mar
14

The Colosseum

****

****

President Obama, with Barbara Nazzaro, Technical Dir. and Architect of the Colosseum, tours the Colosseum in Rome

***

More in a while – chat on!

27
Mar
14

Chat Away

Chat on!

****

12:40 EDT: Live Streaming: President Obama Tours the Colosseum – see here

****

27
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

06767d7f1e8da20c4f0f6a706700de1b

President Barack Obama and Pope Francis laugh while exchanging gifts after their meeting at the Vatican

2014-03-27T130954Z_1521884520_GM1EA3R1MMQ01_RTRMADP_3_OBAMA-ITALY

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinal Palace in Rome

2014-03-27T103158Z_2113183398_GM1EA3R1FDW01_RTRMADP_3_POPE-OBAMA

ad7bbbbf1e64a20c4f0f6a706700f464

55ba8b64477941b88695c7491c251734-55ba8b64477941b88695c7491c251734-0

****

USA Today: Obama’s Gift To Pope Francis: A Seed Chest

President Obama presented Pope Francis with a custom-made seed chest on Thursday, containing fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden. The gift was inspired by the pope’s decision to grant public access to the gardens of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence, according to a White House statement. Obama and Pope Francis met for 52 minutes at Vatican City.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, presented the president with a plaque of some kind, and an encyclical. “I will treasure this,” Obama said. “I actually will probably read this (encyclical) in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated. I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down.” The seed chest from Obama is made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals built in the United States.

More here

****

ee546cc71eefa40c4f0f6a7067004aea

****

****

****

Jason Millman: Young Adults Signing Up At Higher Rates Off Obamacare Exchanges

A higher rate of young adults and uninsured people are signing up for coverage through a private insurance website as next week’s enrollment deadline approaches, according to information released by the company Tuesday. The enrollment data, issued by eHealthInsurance, provides a snapshot of how some customers are shopping for insurance away from Obamacare exchanges during the law’s first enrollment period. EHealth, a national online insurance broker predating the health care law, operates similar to the Obamacare exchanges, offering customers a selection of health plans from competing insurers.

However, shoppers on eHealth’s website can’t access federal subsidies to help purchase insurance, though the company says it has helped people enroll in subsidy-eligible plans by telephone. Since Jan. 1, about 45 percent of those picking new health plans through eHealth were between 18 and 34 years old, the company says. By comparison, the all-important demographic accounted for 27 percent of signups on Obamacare exchanges the past couple of months. EHealth says its rate of youth enrollment has increased from 39 percent of signups between October and December.The rate of eHealth customers who identified themselves as previously uninsured has also increased since the first three months of the enrollment, the company says. Since January, 51 percent of the website’s shoppers say they were previously uninsured, up from 34 percent between October and December.

More here

****

BjLJRQUCEAAOusK.jpg-large

****

America Blog: They Stole Her Photo, Then Claimed She Hated Obamacare. She Doesn’t

Helene isn’t having the best week. The Texas blogger was visiting Las Vegas for a bachelorette party this past weekend, and woke up on Saturday to find that she’d become the latest anti-Obamacare poster child. The thing is, Helene never signed up for the job. In fact, she told me yesterday that she’s quite happy with the Affordable Care Act (ACA),

and with the “affordable” health care it helped her find. “Not only do I not agree with what the image is portraying,” Helene wrote me, “I actually have Affordable Healthcare!” So, if anything, Helene is an Obamacare success story. But that didn’t stop over 17,000 people on Facebook from sharing an image of her face, posted just days ago, with a caption complaining about Obamacare. To add insult to injury, the people who stole her image couldn’t even spell “conspiracy” right.

More here

****

2014-03-27T110153Z_1676497204_GM1EA3R1GR401_RTRMADP_3_POPE-OBAMA

5bffed2d1e96a30c4f0f6a706700ef86

****

****

SmartyPants: President Obama’s Speech In Brussels – One Of The Most Important Of His Presidency

One of the things we know from reading about President Obama’s life story is that while he was practicing law in Chicago, he taught classes on the topic of “power.” I’ve always wished that either he or someone who attended one would outline the content of what he taught. Perhaps the President will do that once his second term is over.

He doesn’t tend to speak directly about the topic, but from listening to him refer to it in other contexts, what I’ve deduced is that he embraces the power of partnership as the alternative to our more traditional concept of the power of domination. Today the President began his speech in Brussels with a history lesson on the power of partnership vs the power of domination.

More here

****

****

****

Paul Krugman: Data As Slogan. Data As Substance

Noah Smith has the definitive piece on what’s wrong, so far, with the new FiveThirtyEight. For all the big talk about data-driven analysis,what it actually delivers is sloppy and casual opining with a bit of data used, as the old saying goes, the way a drunkard uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination.So what would real data-driven reporting look like (beyond what goes on at the sites Noah mentions, and also at the Times)? Well, here’s an example: Charles Gaba’s ACASignups.net.

Gaba, a website developer, realized that nobody was systematically keeping track of enrollment data for Obamacare, and has turned himself into one-stop shopping on the law’s progress. And he really fills a need: when you read news reports on Obamacare, you can tell right away which reporters have been reading Gaba and know what’s happening and which reporters are relying solely on official announcements — or, worse, dueling political spin.

More here

****

6d30c12fd7ff7a0b4f0f6a706700d849

****

NYT: Obama Juggles Itinerary In Bid To Ease Tensions Between Two Allies

When President Obama brings together the estranged leaders of Japan and South Korea for a peacemaking session in The Hague on Tuesday evening, it will be the culmination of three months of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy. The unusual effort included a phone call from Mr. Obama to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; a follow-up lunch that the American ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, had with Mr. Abe; a decision to put both Tokyo and Seoul on Mr. Obama’s itinerary when he visits Asia next month; and a plan to resolve this neighborhood quarrel on the ultimate neutral ground: a stately Dutch city accustomed to litigating international disputes.

cc1313e5f847800b4f0f6a7067005ef6

In this case, Mr. Abe and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea have barely been on speaking terms since coming to power just over a year ago. Their antagonism is complex and deeply personal, rooted in World War II history as well as their own conservative and nationalist political leanings, which make old animosities even harder to overcome. Convinced the two were not going to mend relations on their own, the White House proposed a “trilateral” meeting with Mr. Obama at the nuclear security summit in the Netherlands. The European locale and nonproliferation theme made sense. “It’s a multilateral meeting not in Asia,” said a senior administration official, “and a multilateral meeting about the one thing Japan and South Korea are in agreement on.” Mr. Obama’s participation was critical: In a call on March 6, the president told Mr. Abe he wanted to bring his two allies together. At a lunch that day, Ambassador Kennedy fleshed out the idea.

More here

****

****

****

Sy Mukherjee: Anti-Obamacare Governor Now Encouraging Residents To Enroll Under Health Law

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), an ardent Affordable Care Act critic, is now encouraging residents to transition into new health plans under the very reform law that he once refused to help implement. Walker told the Washington Examiner’s Philip A. Klein that he has instructed state agencies to work with individuals who are transitioning into plans offered on Wisconsin’s Obamacare marketplace. That includes both the previously uninsured and poor residents just above the poverty level who are being siphoned out of the state’s Medicaid program, BadgerCare,

and into private ACA plans under Walker’s conservative alternative to Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.  Just two years ago, Walker was singing a very different tune. He had refused to create a statewide ACA marketplace — thereby also forgoing significant federal funding for Obamacare outreach efforts — and said he wouldn’t lift a finger to help implement the law until the Supreme Court decided the law’s fate. In fact, Wisconsin’s spending on ACA outreach is the lowest in the nation at just 46 cents per capita.

More here

****

423701aeff6147458796d9df950cb0be-423701aeff6147458796d9df950cb0be-0

cc1295b37dfd4f2ea194af8509692fa5-cc1295b37dfd4f2ea194af8509692fa5-0

****

****

****

Bloomberg: WTO Panel Sides With U.S. In Dispute Over China Minerals

The World Trade Organization backed the U.S. in a dispute with China, agreeing that limits on exports of rare-earth elements used in hybrid-car batteries and wind turbines violate trade rules. A Chinese industry group said it regrets the ruling against China. A dispute-settlement panel at the Geneva-based trade arbiter yesterday determined that China, the world’s largest producer of the minerals, didn’t adequately justify imposing export duties and quotas on the goods, as well as the elements tungsten and molybdenum. China’s export limits “have been putting American manufacturers at a disadvantage and preventing full and fair competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters yesterday on a conference call.

The WTO decision follows a 2011 ruling in which the trade arbiter sided with the U.S. in determining that China’s export limits on raw materials for steel and chemical production, such as bauxite, magnesium and zinc, broke trade law. The U.S., the 28-nation EU and Japan in 2012 filed complaints with the WTO, saying that China’s restrictions on exports of rare-earth minerals — a group of 17 chemically similar elements used in electronics, autos, helicopter blades and other goods — disrupted trade flows and caused global prices to jump, in some cases as much as three times as much as what Chinese companies pay.

More here

****

Bjncxm0IUAETQ5f.jpg-large

****

Tara Culp-Ressler: Hobby Lobby Inspired New York Lawmakers To Fight To Protect Birth Control In Their State

If the craft chain Hobby Lobby and the furniture company Conestoga Wood Specialties successfully win their Supreme Court challenges, it could open the door to allow businesses across the country to compromise their workers’ access to reproductive health care. In response to that potential future, New York lawmakers are taking the opportunity to reaffirm their state’s commitment to providing insurance coverage for essential preventative health services like birth control.

Earlier this month, New York Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D) introduced the so-called “Boss Bill,” which would close a loophole in the state’s existing workplace anti-discrimination laws to protect women’s access to birth control. Under the legislation — which was written in direct response to the multiple lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive provision — New York’s labor law would be amended to prevent employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their reproductive health care decisions, even if those employers are trying to cite their religious beliefs.

More here

****

f48fe9981ef1a40c4f0f6a70670085d2

****

****

****

Owen Matthews: Sanctions Will Work, All Right. Just Ask The Oligarchs

President Barack Obama, who has supposedly taken the toughest line in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “aggression,” has merely declared banking sanctions on a dozen Russian businessmen personally close to Putin. But in truth, there’s some deep thinking behind Washington’s sanctions regime, and they could ultimately prove deadly to Putin’s future. The key to the sanctions strategy is to drive a wedge between Putin’s shrinking inner circle and the wider Russian elite. “People aren’t ready to sacrifice their holidays in the Alps and in Antalya for the sake of an idea of a Great State,” says Nina Khrushcheva, a historian at New York City’s New School and a granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader who ceded Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. “That was fine in Stalin’s time, but it’s not fine in Putin’s time.”

In other words, the sanctions are smart because they so precisely target Kremlin insiders and personal friends of Putin—men such as such as billionaire Gennady Timchenko, whose Gunvor company trades most of Russia’s oil and who has major interests in gas pipe-building companies, and Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s former judo partner, whose construction company hugely benefited from the $50 billion Sochi Olympics. The share prices of companies associated with the sanctioned billionaires have been badly hit, and Visa and Mastercard suspended operations with two banks linked to those on Washington’s list. In other words, Putin has become a liability for Russia’s rich—and they’re getting nervous.It’s easy to see why Putin’s moves worry them. Even without direct personal sanctions, all of Russia’s businesspeople will pay a price for the Crimea annexation in the form of steeply higher borrowing costs. Most international ratings agencies have downgraded Russia’s outlook from stable to negative. The ruble has slid further; capital is fleeing Russia fast.

More here

****

BiirN_7IUAEUFn4.jpg-large

****

Brian Beutler: Republicans Losing It Over New Obamacare Data: Why Their Position Is Collapsing

It’s a complete accident of legislative and administrative history that the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act should fall the week before the end of the law’s first ever, six-month-long open-enrollment period. But it’s a great coincidence for those of us in the business of cutting through all the hyperbole that accompanies each ACA anniversary, because, for the first time since the law passed, there are real data, and real beneficiaries, to hold up against the spin.

And as I’ve been arguing for months now, the GOP’s position on the law can’t actually withstand on-the-ground realities. Case in point: Terri Lynn Land — Michigan’s one-time Republican secretary of state, turned Senate candidate — held a first-ever conference call with reporters to trash the ACA on its fourth birthday. But confronted with the question of what happens to people with preexisting medical conditions if the GOP repeals the law (and thus eliminates the individual mandate) — Land’s press aide, Heather Swift, commandeered the call, and tried to take the whole thing off the record.

More here

****

****

Coral Davenport: Obama Turns To Web To Illustrate The Effects Of A Changing Climate

President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change could deluge or destroy their own backyards — and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of an effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible and immediate problem, the White House on Wednesday inaugurated a website, climate.data.gov, aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using simple software apps. The project is the brainchild of Mr. Obama’s counselor, John D. Podesta, and the White House science adviser, John P. Holdren.

The effort comes as Mr. Obama prepares to announce a set of aggressive climate change regulations aimed at limiting emissions from coal-fired plants.“Localizing this information gives a sense of how this affects people and spurs action,” Mr. Podesta told a small group of reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “If you’re thinking about this from the perspective of how your local community will be affected, it’s likely to change that question of salience.”

More here

****

140325-women-voters-employers-should-not-be-able-to-limit-birth-control-coverage

****

Sahil Kapur: Kagan Throws Scalia’s Own Religious Liberty Arguments Back In His Face

During oral arguments Tuesday about the validity of Obamacare’s birth control mandate, Justice Elena Kagan cleverly echoed Justice Antonin Scalia’s past warning that religious-based exceptions to neutral laws could lead to “anarchy.” “Your understanding of this law, your interpretation of it, would essentially subject the entire U.S. Code to the highest test in constitutional law, to a compelling interest standard,” she told Paul Clement, the lawyer arguing against the mandate for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. “So another employer comes in and that employer says, I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws;

and then another employer comes in, I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws; and then another, family leave; and then another, child labor laws. And all of that is subject to the exact same test which you say is this unbelievably high test, the compelling interest standard with the least restrictive alternative.” Kagan’s remarks might sound familiar to the legally-trained ear. In a 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, Scalia alluded to the same examples of what might happen if religious entities are permitted to claim exemptions from generally applicable laws. He warned that “[a]ny society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy.”

More here

****

5-101

****

The Bump: A Message From Michelle Obama For The Bump Moms (Really!)

Back when Barack and I were expecting our first daughter, we were overwhelmed with so many emotions: excitement, wonder, hope… and occasional moments of panic at the prospect of bringing this little person into the world. We had all the usual first-time parent worries: How would we balance the needs of our growing family with the demands of our jobs? How would the stresses of caring for a new baby affect our marriage? Would our little girl be able to tell that we had no idea what we were doing? But there was one thing we never worried about: ensuring that I would have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. That’s because, while we were still struggling to pay off our student loans and pay down our mortgage, we both had jobs that provided health insurance.

So while our finances weren’t perfect, we had the security of knowing that I could get the maternity care I needed. Every mother and every father in this country deserves this kind of peace of mind – and that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.Every plan on HealthCare.gov covers maternity care, pediatrician’s visits, preventive care (things like flu shots, mammograms and vaccines for kids), birth control and more. And these plans are affordable – the majority of people without insurance today will be able to get covered for $100 a month or less, and many young adults will be able to get covered for as little as $50 a month. Also, if you’re pregnant now, and you get signed up by March 31st, when your baby is born, you’ll both be covered.

More here

****

BjuUurqIgAAJcZh.png-large

****

Greg Sargent: Is Obamacare Repeal Fatigue Setting In?

Views of the ACA remain unfavorable, but the gap is narrowing. The new poll finds that in March, 38 percent viewed the law favorably, versus 46 percent who saw it unfavorably. That’s a substantial narrowing from the 34-50 spread during the dark days of January, and a return almost to where opinion was in September (39-43), before the rollout disaster began. – Support for repeal continues to shrink. Only 18 percent want to repeal the law and not replace it, while all of 11 percent want to repeal and replace it with a GOP alternative — a grand total of 29 percent. Meanwhile, 49 percent want to keep the law and improve it, and another 10 percent want to keep it as is — a total of 59 percent.

Among indys, that keep/improve versus repeal/replace spread is 52-31. Republicans are all alone here, with their spread at 31-58. That overall keep-versus-repeal spread has improved for the law since February (when it was 56-31), and even more so since December and October, suggesting a clear trend. – Crucially, a majority, 53 percent, say they are tired about hearing about the law and want to move on to other issues. Only 42 percent think the Obamacare debate should continue. A majority of independents has had enough (51-45). Even 47 percent of Republicans are done with it. – Most of the ACA’s individual provisions are wildly popular. Virtually every one of them — the Medicaid expansion; the preexisting conditions piece; subsidies for low income people’s coverage – has overwhelming majority support, and all of those are even backed by a majority of Republicans.

More here

****

2014-03-27T105955Z_1847377228_GM1EA3R1GN901_RTRMADP_3_POPE-OBAMA

0cd789f11e99a30c4f0f6a7067006892

Pope Francis takes a picture with President Barack Obama and his delegation after his meeting at the Vatican with the President

****

****

****

Jonathan Cohn: John Bohener’s Hypocritical Griping About The Obamacare Deadline Delay. Conservatives’ Real Beef: That People Want To Sign Up

The Obama Administration has made another adjustment to the Affordable Care Act and the critics are making another fuss. The adjustment, first reported (I think) by Amy Lotven for Inside Health Policy, is an extension of the open enrollment period for buying private insurance through the new Obamacare marketplaces. Officially, most people have until March 31 to sign up for a plan. (The exception are people who lose a job or have some other, similar life-altering experience. They can sign up throughout the year.) But on Wednesday, the administration announced that it will be offering some extra time to consumers who don’t finish their applications in time. They’ll be able to use the websites, just like they can now, only they’ll have to check a box attesting to the fact that they started the application process before April 1.

“What the hell is this? A joke?” House Speaker John Boehner said at a press conference. “Another deadline made meaningless. If he hasn’t put enough loopholes in the law already, the administration is now resorting to an honor system to enforce it.”For each one of these extensions or delays, the ultimate question is whether they change the law’s ability to realize its basic goals—which, in this case, means encouraging people to buy new private health plans while maintaining a stable insurance market. Giving people a little extra time to enroll wouldn’t seem to impede this kind of progress. If anything, it would seem to enhance it. And maybe that’s what really bothers some of the law’s fiercer critics.

More here

****

****

****

Market Watch: Jobless Claims Fall To 4-Month Low Of 311,000

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 311,000 last week to mark the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 320,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended March 22. The average of new claims over the past month declined by 9,500 to 317,750. That was the lowest level since last September, when claims fell sharply because of a major errors related to a computer upgrade in California’s system for processing claims. The four-week average is the lowest since 2007 if the reports distorted by California’s computer problems are excluded. The monthly figure smooths out the jumpiness in the weekly report and offers a better look at the underlying trend.

More here

****

****

****

On This Day:

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, listens to testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about the health care needs of returning service members on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 27, 2007

****

President Obama makes a point during an interview in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama preps with staff in the Cabinet Room of the White House before interviews, March 27, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama laughs as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder jokes about his basketball skills during his ceremonial installation at George Washington University on March 27, 2009

****

President Obama travels aboard Air Force One en route to Afghanistan, March 27, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 ****

 First Lady Michelle Obama helps to plant a cherry blossom tree during an event celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gifts of cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan, in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 2012

President Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan during the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 President Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon during a break in the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine during a pull aside at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 27, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 ****

 President Obama watches as Vice President Biden administers the oath of office to Julia Pierson, as she is sworn-in as the new director of the U.S. Secret Service, March. 27, 2013, in the Oval Office

****




@BarackObama

@WhiteHouse

@FLOTUS

@blog44

@PeteSouza

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

@TheObamaDiary

@NerdyWonka

@DaRiverZkind

@Lib_Librarian

@amk4obama

@zizii2

Categories

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 27,815,861 hits

WH Flickr

P093014PS-0758

P080414PS-0073

P080414PS-0299

P080514LJ-0109

P080514PS-0515

P080514PS-0621

P080514CK-0099

P080514PS-1046

P080514PS-1173

P080514PS-1205

More Photos