Posts Tagged ‘act



17
Feb
14

Happy 5th Birthday, Stimulus!

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Jason Sattler: 5 Ways The Stimulus Saved And Remade America

It Reversed America’s Layoff Crisis. What happened in mid-2009 that suddenly boosted America out of recession and reversed the escalating trend of layoffs, which is measured here with the four-week moving average of initial unemployment claims that simply averages the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits? Was it the uptick of people buying tricorn hats or purchasing signs to call Obama a socialist/fascist/corporate cronyist?

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Or maybe it was the result of markets calmed by government intervention infused with the sudden burst of spending via the only place from which it could come in such a crisis, the federal government? It Led To The Creation Or Saving Of 9 Million Jobs. The most untold part of the untold story of the stimulus is the dramatic way it nearly conjured a vibrant green energy industry that barely existed five years ago.

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Pete Danko: More Wind Power Equals Lower Electricity Prices

The price of electricity has dropped in states that have developed extensive wind power over the past five years. It’s just a slight drop, but here’s the kicker: the other states have seen a hefty rise.  The AWEA pointed to 11 states that had produce more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind power – Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. In those states, the price of electricity fell 0.37 percent in the past five years. Meanwhile, in the rest of the states, electricity went up by 7.79 percent.

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Igor Volsky: Republicans Slam Stimulus On Fifth Anniversary – But Most Took Credit For It Back Home

Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources. Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective.

But as ThinkProgress reported throughout 2009, over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. The Wall Street Journal reported “Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a ‘wasteful spending spree’ that ‘misses the mark on all counts,’ wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, ‘intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs.’” Ryan also wrote letters to the Secretary of Energy requesting stimulus funds for a local energy company in 2009. Ryan repeatedly voted against the stimulus.

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2.17.14

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Steve Benen: The Recovery Act, Five Years Later

It seems like ages ago, but in late 2008 and early 2009, the global economic crisis had reached terrifying levels, and U.S. policymakers had to choose a direction for the nation’s future. Democrats rallied behind a stimulus package called the Recovery Act, while Republicans called for a five-year federal spending freeze. First, if the nation had followed the GOP’s preferred course at the height of the crisis – David Brooks described the Republican prescription at the time as “insane” – the Great Recession would have been far worse, making their complaints now rather laughable. Second, if GOP lawmakers are convinced the stimulus failed, why’d they take credit for its investments back home? And third, public relations notwithstanding, the Recovery Act was a great success.

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Michael Grunwald: Five Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked

Five years ago Monday, President Barack Obama visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, his $800 billion stimulus bill. At the time, the U.S. economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. In the fourth quarter of 2008, it had contracted at an 8% annual rate, a Depression-level free fall. “Today does not mark the end of our economic problems,” Obama said on Feb. 17, 2009. “But it does mark the beginning of the end.” And so it did. the Recovery Act increased U.S. GDP by roughly 2 to 2.5 percentage points from late 2009 through mid-2011, keeping us out of a double-dip recession. It added about 6 million “job years” (a full-time job for a full year) through the end of 2012. If you combine the Recovery Act with a series of follow-up measures, including unemployment-insurance extensions, small-business tax cuts and payroll tax cuts, the Administration’s fiscal stimulus produced a 2% to 3% increase in GDP in every quarter from late 2009 through 2012, and 9 million extra job years, according to the report.

 The report also estimates that the Recovery Act’s aid to victims of the Great Recession — in the form of expanded food stamps, earned-income tax credits, unemployment benefits and much more — directly prevented 5.3 million people from slipping below the poverty line. It also improved nearly 42,000 miles of roads, repaired over 2,700 bridges, funded 12,220 transit vehicles, improved more than 3,000 water projects and provided tax cuts to 160 million American workers. The Recovery Act jump-started clean energy in America, financing unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources of electricity. It advanced biofuels, electric vehicles and energy efficiency in every imaginable form. It helped fund the factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S., and research into the green technologies of tomorrow. It’s the reason U.S. wind production has increased 145% since 2008 and solar installations have increased more than 1,200%. The stimulus is also the reason the use of electronic medical records has more than doubled in doctors’ offices and almost quintupled in hospitals. It improved more than 110,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. It launched Race to the Top, the most ambitious national education reform in decades.

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David Danelski: MOJAVE DESERT: High-Profile Solar Plant Dedicated With Fanfare

Amid the glow of 173,000 mirrors capturing the sun’s power, more than 100 government officials and energy executives Thursday celebrated the opening of the Ivanpah solar plant in northeast San Bernardino County and declared their intention to build more of them to combat global warming. “We will continue to work across the board to advance these projects. So bring them on,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in his keynote. His address, given in a large tent next to the mirror fields, came during a luncheon that offered squash ravioli and a salad of baby greens. Moniz said Ivanpah is the world’s largest thermal solar project and part of a strategy to expand carbon-free sources of energy.

The Obama administration is looking to provide as much as $40 billion in additional loan guarantees for energy projects, Moniz said. The plant is expected to provide enough electricity for as many as 140,000 homes through contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. It has been hailed by President Barack Obama, who said in his State of the Union address that America is a global leader in solar development. The government has backed such projects with investment tax credits that run through 2016, though it is not clear how much the Ivanpah investors have benefited. The tax breaks were part of Obama’s first-term economic stimulus package. Ivanpah is one of the first commercial-scale solar developments initiated during Obama’s recession-fighting stimulus effort. It is the first large-scale plant to use power-tower technology — at Ivanpah, the mirrors focus solar energy onto boilers mounted on three, 460-foot towers. Heat in the boilers creates steam, which powers turbines that generate electricity.

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18
Dec
13

Remarks by the President and First Lady on Obamacare

@FLOTUS: Today, the First Lady joined President Obama to meet with moms who are doing great work to help kids #GetCovered

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Remarks by the President and First Lady after Meeting with Moms on the Affordable Care Act

THE PRESIDENT: Michelle and I just had a wonderful conversation with this group of moms and one aunt who have been working tirelessly out there on behalf of our mission, which is to make sure that everybody in America, regardless of where they live, their background, that they are able to get high-quality health care coverage that provides them with financial protection and looks after them when they get sick.

And obviously, over the last couple of months, we had a rocky start with the website and all this. Despite that, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people signing up, more and more every single day, in part because we’ve got these wonderful folks like the people we met with today who are out there telling their personal stories — what it’s like when a son gets sick and you have to make sure that not only are you providing the care that they need now, but also making sure that in the future they’re going to be able to get health care because they’ve got a preexisting condition; knowing what it’s like to be in a position where your child is transitioning from college to the workplace and maybe their first job is part-time or they’re working two part-time jobs, so they’re doing everything they can to be responsible but they still can’t get health care on the job.

And I think this conversation really drove home in a very personal way why this is important. Sometimes here in Washington, this is a very abstract conversation or an entirely political conversation. But when you boil it down to stories and people hear what it means to have the security of solid health insurance at an affordable price when you need it, it reminds me at least of why we’ve been fighting so hard to get this done.

And we anticipate that there’s still going to be challenges over the coming months and we’re going to continue to find ways to smooth out this transition and make sure that people know what the Affordable Care Act is actually about. But we’re absolutely confident that the demand is there, the need is there, and the more people learn about the fact that we’ve got 3 million young people who are able to stay on their parents’ plan until they’re 26, or the more they learn about the free preventive care that can avoid illness in the first place, or the more that they hear about the fact that there are no lifetime limits so if you end up having a really severe illness you’re not going to be hurt with a bunch of fine print — the more information they get I think the more satisfied they’re going to be that this was the right thing to do and that it’s been worth the fight.

And the last point I would just make — and I know, Michelle, you want to say a little bit — is what we communicated to the women here is there’s something about moms — (laughter) — that, number one, they’ve got credibility generally; number two, women oftentimes are the ones who are making the health care decisions of the family; number three, moms can tell young people who think they’re invincible that they’re not and prod them to at least get information.

So as much as here in the White House we’re going to continue to promote the Affordable Care Act, as much as we’re going to be working hard with other organizations like AARP and others around the country to make sure people are signing up, nothing can replace the story that Mary Todd is telling in the grocery store to somebody who may be skeptical. And that kind of face-to-face interaction makes this concrete and it describes exactly why this is so important.

So I just want to say to all the women here who have been telling their stories and working with others to make sure that people get good information, we are grateful. It’s a great gift, what you’re doing, and we’re really, really appreciative.

MRS. OBAMA: The words that come to mind for me are peace of mind. And what the Affordable Care Act provides and can provide for so many families out there is peace of mind. This isn’t about politics; it’s about making sure that every family has the peace of mind to know that if a child gets sick, or someone loses a job, or someone has an illness that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage, that they’re going to have the safety net that they need to make sure that they don’t lose their home, that they aren’t spending the rest of their lives paying off medical fees.

And as Barack said, your stories are powerful. And it’s our job as mothers to make sure that our young people are informed about their “invincibility,” to make sure that other moms and families out there really understand what this law provides and that they can take advantage of it. This is the beauty of it. People have choices. They can go on to the website; they can talk to a navigator; they can learn for themselves what the law means and what it doesn’t mean. And that’s really, really what we want people to do, is educate yourselves. Get that education. Make the choice that’s best for your family, because the options are there.

So we are, again, very grateful to you all. And we urge everyone out there who has a story to share it. And we urge people to reach out. And if they’ve signed up their child, then sign up their friends. If you’ve got grandkids, make it a Christmas treat around the table to talk about a little health care. (Laughter.) Ring in the New Year with new coverage. (Laughter.)

But we can really change the face of health care in this country. We can be a country that focuses on prevention. We can be a country where no one goes bankrupt because they get sick. And that is a worthwhile goal. So thank you all for being a part of this.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you guys.

Q Mrs. Obama, why did you want to be involved in the health care push?

MRS. OBAMA: Because I’m a mom.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you guys. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

WH.gov

15
Nov
13

A Democrat with a backbone: Gov Deval Patrick

Letter From Governor Patrick to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on the Affordable Care Act

Friday, November 15, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today sent the following letter regarding the Affordable Care Act to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation:

As you consider current proposals to change the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I write to remind you about what we have learned from health care reform in Massachusetts, and to inform you of some of our experiences so far with implementing it.

We have seen firsthand the positive changes brought about by a strong individual insurance market with protections that ensure a basic level of care. Individuals are protected from being dropped from insurance when they need it most, or being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Benefits must meet minimum standards, and there are limits on individuals’ exposure to out-of-pocket costs for needed health care. And the rest of us are protected against having our premiums inflated or our taxes tapped to pick up the tab for the uninsured or underinsured. With these basic features in place, we have achieved near universal coverage, better health and slower growth in health costs. With the ACA, the same can and will happen for the country.

Much has been made of the fact that some Americans have had their current policies canceled by their insurers. Some of that, we know, is in the normal course of annual insurance renewals. Some is because the existing policies do not provide the minimum level of coverage required by the ACA. So long as the means for individuals to learn about and enroll in affordable alternatives is available, through an improved website, a call center or otherwise, the transition of people from non-compliant policies to compliant ones should proceed.

Nonetheless, the public has been poorly informed about this transition, and too many consumers are unable to enroll conveniently in compliant plans. For some, the temporary delay proposed yesterday by the President may be appropriate. Our experience in Massachusetts tells us that our health plans and their customers have prepared for the transition and are unlikely to need or to use the additional time.

However, any delay in requiring plans to meet the basic standards of the ACA must only be temporary. Leaving non-compliant plans to remain permanently in place means we revert to the status quo: a broken health care system where many people carry policies that don’t cover them when they get seriously ill, and where those with comprehensive coverage pay for those uninsured or underinsured in higher premiums and taxes. Permitting plans to be permanently non-compliant means the pool of individuals who do purchase plans through the marketplaces will likely be sicker on average, and their options will be more expensive and constrained. And it will disrupt the market-based model on which premiums and policy options hinge.

We benefit in Massachusetts from broad, bipartisan support for health reform and the willingness of our legislature — encouraged by business, labor, industry, patient advocates and others — to make refinements to our plan as we go. The President does not enjoy that collaboration with the Congress, and the American people suffer as a result. If you wish to take further legislative action to ensure the successful extension of the benefits of the ACA to all our citizens, I would humbly propose that you consider granting the administration broader authority to make adjustments to the ACA by regulation so long as such regulations advance the fundamental goal. That way any administration can make changes in the details of implementation quickly in response to lessons learned along the way.

The fundamental goal of the Affordable Care Act is to give all Americans access to reliable, quality health insurance at a reasonable cost. Guaranteeing a basic level of coverage for everyone is the first step towards fixing our broken health care system and promoting a healthier population. We have seen in Massachusetts how well it works and how important it is. While the transition is challenging for some, I urge you not to lose sight of the long-term good for all as you consider any changes or adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.

For these reasons, I urge you to oppose any bill that extends access to non-compliant plans beyond a short transition period.

With continued thanks for your partnership, I am

Respectfully yours,

Governor Deval L. Patrick

25
Sep
13

Obamacare: A Fact or Fifty

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1. Starting now and on October 1st you can go to healthcare.gov or call (1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to compare options and select health coverage.

2. Thanks to ObamaCare, insurance companies must cover mental health, substance-use disorder, alcohol misuse screening, domestic violence screening, depression screening, etc. under “essential health benefits.”

3. ObamaCare will increase the need for doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, health information specialists, medical billers, medical sonography, home-care aides, lab technicians, etc. Now, that’s job creation!

4. 360,000 Small Businesses have taken advantage of the Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit to insure 2 million workers.

5. ObamaCare will change work and retirement by tilting power from employers to employees.

6. Young Americans (18-34) are eager to purchase health insurance through ObamaCare.

7. ObamaCare saved 6.8 million consumers $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums in 2012.

8. An easy and informative Twitter list of ObamaCare health insurance exchanges.

9. 63% of young adults who identify as Republicans enrolled in their parents health plans under ObamaCare.

10. Health insurance premiums will cost dramatically less under the ObamaCare exchange marketplace.

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White House – Health Reform

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11. 8.5 million Americans from the 19 states already operating health insurance exchanges will use ObamaCare to purchase insurance. It far outstrips the government’s estimate of 7 million new customers in all 50 states.

12. CDC predicts that 200,000 heart disease related deaths per year could be prevented because of ObamaCare.

13. Thanks to ObamaCare, 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for $100 a month or less.

14. A fun quiz that tests your ObamaCare knowledge and helps correct confusions and lies.

15. Five great ways ObamaCare helps small businesses.

16. Eight ways ObamaCare benefits Americans.

17. A typical average family buying insurance on their own will save thousands of dollars thanks to ObamaCare.

18. Thanks to ObamaCare, you can use a subsidy calculator to calculate health insurance premiums.

19. Questions about ObamaCare? There are answers.

20. Annual checkups, colonoscopies, contraception, vaccinations, mammograms, HIV counseling, prescription services, ObamaCare covers all of that.

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White House – Health Reform

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21. Confused about the health insurance exchanges? ObamaCare has a breakdown.

22. You own a business or know someone who does? ObamaCare has a website for you.

23. Thanks to ObamaCare, healthcare costs rose at the slowest rate in 50 years.

24. ObamaCare is not abstract. It helps people.

25. 2014 is around the corner and thanks to ObamaCare, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition.

26. Major drops in hospital infections? New Jersey credits ObamaCare for that great news.

27. Thanks to ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, 1.3 million uninsured veterans and their families will have health insurance.

28. Doctors are excited about ObamaCare and here’s why.

29. Insurance companies don’t see ObamaCare as a threat. Sorry, GOP!

30. ObamaCare makes it easy for low income Americans to purchase insurance by making sure insurance companies accept cashier’s checks, re-loadable pre-paid debit cards, and money orders.

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Healthcare.gov

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31. ObamaCare helps doctors improve patient quality while saving $1.9B on the cost of care.

32. Seniors concerned about Medicare? ObamaCare has an answer for that.

33. Thanks to ObamaCare, if insurance companies don’t spend 80% of your premiums on your medical services, they owe you a rebate check.

34. Since the ObamaCare “80/20 Rule” for insurance companies went into effect in 2011, Americans have received over $1.5B in insurance rebates.

35. Dealing with mental health issues? ObamaCare has you covered.

36. Thanks to ObamaCare, 3.1M young Americans have health coverage and saved $147M in high medical bills in 2011.

37. Thanks to ObamaCare, 17 million children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage or charged more.

38. ObamaCare’s insurance application form is simpler than others currently on the marketplace.

39. Thanks to ObamaCare, the average premium increase in 2012, was 30% lower than in 2010.

40. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that $200B will be saved on federal spending for healthcare.

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Health Reform Map

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41. Thanks to ObamaCare, businesses with 50 or more employees will be fined for not providing health insurance.

42. Republican Governors in Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico, and North Dakota will expand Medicaid.

43. Thanks to ObamaCare, 6.1M Older Americans have saved more than $5.7B on their prescription drugs.

44. ObamaCare could eliminate cost barriers for 40 million people seeking addiction treatment.

45. Thanks to ObamaCare, primary care providers in Medicaid will get a 73% raise.

46. ObamaCare makes sure insurance companies offer a four page summary of your benefits and coverages in easy to understand terms.

47. You’re a woman? ObamaCare has your back.

48. ObamaCare strengthened and lengthened Medicare’s lifespan.

49. Want a fact sheet on healthcare? ObamaCare has that.

50. Thanks to ObamaCare, community health centers received $728M to expand services and provide for more patients.

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Essential Links:

HeathCare.gov

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ObamacareFacts.com

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ObamacareByZipCode.com

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KFF.org

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GetCoveredAmerica.org

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FamiliesUSA.org

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DrsForAmerica.org

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WebMD.com

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What has Obamacare done for me lately?

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Walgreens.com

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CVS.com

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Get Covered!




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