Posts Tagged ‘administration


Lowered Healthcare Costs? Thanks, ObamaCare



Tara Culp-Ressler: How The Obama Administration Is Getting Serious About Lowering Health Costs

The Obama administration unveiled an ambitious plan on Monday that will make historic changes to the way that doctors get paid. The ultimate goal is to tie more of doctors’ payments to the quality of care they provide, hopefully driving down the trillions of dollars that the U.S. currently spends on health services every year. The reforms are targeted at Medicare, the government program that provides coverage for Americans over the age of 64. Most Medicare providers currently get paid through what’s called a “fee for service” system. They’re paid a flat free for every test or procedure they perform, regardless of whether those services actually improve their patients’ health. Now, the administration wants to shift the program so that more of its payments are tied to health outcomes.

Essentially, that means providers will be rewarded for keeping their patients healthy, and penalized for unnecessary services that don’t advance that goal. Proponents of payment reform are encouraged by the move — which they see as a serious step toward creating a health care system that’s based on the value, rather than the sheer volume, of services. The Affordable Care Act has been slowly moving in this direction over the past few years. The health law created alternative payment models — called “Accountable Care Organizations,” or ACOs — to incentivize providers to work together to improve patient care and cut down on costs. So far, there’s been some evidence that ACOs are successfully improving the quality of health care for Medicare patients. Some are also starting to generate cost savings. If ACOs save enough money, the participating providers earn bonuses, a goal that about a fourth of of them hit last year.

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The President’s Day


President Barack Obama smiles after signing an executive order to improve security measures for government credit and debit cards during an event at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau






President Barack Obama signs an executive order to strengthen credit card security after explaining his administration’s plan on safeguarding American consumers and their financial security




President Barack Obama shakes hands with the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray




A Meeting Of Education And Business


President Barack Obama introduces Maria Contreras-Sweet as his choice to be the new administrator of the Small Business Administration during an announcement ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.





Jim Kuhnhenn: Obama to nominate Calif. businesswoman to lead SBA

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the founder of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, has a history of working with small businesses and has been an advocate for Hispanics. As California’s secretary of the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003, she was the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in the state and oversaw 40,000 state employees and a $12 billion budget.

In 2006, she founded ProAmérica Bank, a financial institution that aimed to assist small and mid-size businesses. Before that, she was president and co-founder of a private equity firm that provided capital to small California businesses. Contreras-Sweet would become the second Hispanic in Obama’s second term Cabinet. The other is Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. She would also become the eighth woman in Obama’s current Cabinet.

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First Lady Michelle Obama gestures while speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House where she hosted a screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” a coming of age story about two inner-city youth who are left to fend for themselves in the Bronx.



Lesley Clark: First Lady Joins With Alicia Keys To Talk Education

First Lady Michelle Obama has earned accolades — and few brickbats — for her campaigns to improve the American diet and get people off the couch. She’s also championed hiring opportunities for returning veterans. And now, the first lady says, she’s adding another initiative to her roster: helping achieve President Obama’s goal that the U.S. by 2020 will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. (It once was No. 1 but has fallen to 12th, she said.) Still, Obama, who turns 50 on Friday, says she’s not giving up her “Let’s Move,” food and exercise program or her “Joining Forces” campaign to help military veterans and their families.

“Nothing is going away, we’re just adding more on,” Obama said Wednesday, talking to a room full of educators at the White House. “I’m going to be doing my very best to promote these efforts by talking directly with young people. That’s my focus. Everybody else is going to be talking about resources, but the one thing I can bring to this is the message that we can give directly to young people.” Obama’s remarks came after a White House screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” produced by the singer, Alicia Keys, who preceded Obama at the lectern in the State Dining Room.

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In other news:


Smithsonian political history curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy, left, and museum specialist Bethanee Bemis, show off First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown in a storage area at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The White House is lending Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s first ladies exhibition. It will be paired with Obama’s shoes designed by Jimmy Choo.




Smithsonian political history curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy shows off First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown in a storage area at the Smithsonian Museum of American History




Chat away…profiles of the team pt.2

Rob Nabors





“He’s our Congress whisperer,” Obama adviser David Plouffe said of Nabors in a recent article in the Washington Post. “Rob’s got a great instinct for where the deal lies, what Democrats are willing to do, what Republicans are willing to do. He’ll say, ‘Here’s what’s going on, here are what the odds are of success.’ He doesn’t ever paint a rosier picture than exists.”

“He is very methodical and takes you through things point by point,” added David Krone, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid’s chief of staff in the same piece. “And if it is a point that is a priority [for the president], he makes that clear.”


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Rise and Shine…profiles of the team pt.1


Pete Rouse






Inside the administration, he operates as Mr. Obama’s fixer.

“He puts fires out,” said Tom Daschle, who employed Mr. Rouse as a chief of staff when he was the Senate Democratic leader. “He’s the primary personnel negotiator. There’s constant friction, and he reduces the friction. There’s a constant need for somebody to do something for which there is no job description. He is that person.”….When Republicans rose up against the appointment of Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor, to oversee a new consumer protection agency, Mr. Rouse helped devise a strategy that ended with the president appointing Ms. Warren as a top-level adviser — a position that needed no Senate confirmation.


Ernest Moniz




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‘The 100th Day of the Romney Administration’


Coming up:

3:0: Bill Clinton at the Harborside Convention Center in Florida (listed by CNN)

3:20: President Obama at Lima Senior High School in Lima, Ohio (C-Span)

4:0: VP Biden in Wisconsin (listed by CNN)

5:0: VP Biden at Superior Middle School (listed by CNN)

5:25: Michelle Obama at Virginia State University (C-Span)

5:45: Bill Clinton at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida (listed by CNN)



ThinkProgress: It’s often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was “rushed through” by the Obama Administration for political reasons. In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush Administration launched in 2007.

You’d never know from the media coverage that the Bush team tried to conditionally approve the Solyndra loan just before President Obama took office…..

Because one of the Solyndra investors is funded by George Kaiser – a man who donated money to the Obama campaign – the loan guarantee has been attacked as being political in nature.

What critics don’t mention is that one of the earliest and largest investors, Madrone Capital Partners, is funded by the family that started Wal-Mart, the Waltons. The Waltons have donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates over the years.

…. the media has decided on a narrative that matches right-wing talking points but not the facts….

… To set the record straight, Climate Progress is publishing this timeline – verified by Department of Energy officials – that shows how the loan guarantee came together under both administrations. In fact, rather than rushing the loan for Solyndra through, the Obama Administration restructured the original Bush-era deal to further protect the taxpayers’ investment (See timeline at the link)

What critics fail to mention is that the Solyndra deal is more than three years old, started under the Bush Administration, which tried to conditionally approve the loan right before Obama took office. Rather than “pushing funds out the door too quickly,” the Obama Administration restructured the original loan when it came into office to further protect the taxpayers’ investment.

Full post here


‘antitrust action, at last’

The Guardian: Antitrust enforcement is back in America, perhaps in a serious way. If so, it’s long overdue.

But even though the US justice department is suing to block AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile’s US wireless operations, competition in America’s telecommunications industry is fading…..

Still, Wednesday’s legal action, filed by the department’s antitrust division, is welcome. The George W Bush administration was easily the most lax in antitrust enforcement in recent history, and the Obama administration hadn’t been significantly more ardent to protect competition…..

…. (but) the government’s complaint in this case says what most people – apart from those who stood to gain directly – already knew: The deal would reduce competition in a marketplace that is already an oligopoly.

The deal could still happen, in one of several ways …. the act of going to court, however, suggests that either AT&T wasn’t interested in dealing or that the government simply found this buyout unacceptable on its face.

…. AT&T’s lobbying efforts on behalf of this deal, and its brazen lack of regard for reality, have been epic …. the primary motive for the buyout was to reduce competition, contrary to countless statements about how this would be great for customers…

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fighting fraud

Peter Budetti (LA Times): ….. Medicare is a success story, providing high-quality benefits and a strong safety net for seniors and people with disabilities. But as costs have grown … so have the opportunities for criminals to commit fraud.

In his Aug. 21 Times Op-Ed article, Malcolm Sparrow focused on one part of this problem, explaining how criminals take advantage of Medicare’s electronic payment system to make false claims. But what Sparrow does not mention is that over the last two years the Obama administration has undertaken an ambitious effort to rid Medicare of criminals, and we are turning the electronic payment system to our advantage in that fight.

Since President Obama took office, we have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on those who steal from Medicare, giving law enforcement greater resources, putting more boots on the ground and increasing penalties. In 2010, these efforts recovered a record $4 billion in taxpayer money.

But we’re not just prosecuting fraud. We’re also taking steps to prevent it…. (see article for details)

In the past our response to fraud was often so fragmented because different jurisdictions didn’t have easy ways to share information …. Today, not only do we have all our claims data visible in one place in real time, we’re also adding other sources of information such as the many tips that come in to our 1-800-MEDICARE hotline….

…. For criminals looking to get rich, Medicare’s electronic payment system was once an easy target. In the fight against fraud today, it’s quickly becoming one of our own greatest weapons.

Full article here

Peter Budetti is the deputy administrator and director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Program Integrity

Thanks Tally ;-)


he’ll never stand up to big oil!

The Hill: The Obama administration said Friday that a massive pipeline carrying oil across much of the United States must remain shut down until federal regulators are satisfied that it can operate without future leaks. TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline leaked twice last month, fueling opposition to a pending expansion of the project, which is undergoing a wide-ranging federal review.

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a “corrective action order” Friday informing TransCanada that it must take a series of steps before resuming normal operations at the pipeline, which runs from Canada to Oklahoma.

“After evaluating the foregoing preliminary findings of fact, I find that the continued operation of the pipeline without corrective measures would be hazardous to life, property and the environment,” Jeffrey Wiese, PHMSA’s associate administrator for pipeline safety, said in the order.

…The order comes at a politically sensitive time for TransCanada. The company is seeking federal approval to expand its Keystone pipeline to carry Canadian oil sands from Alberta to Texas … Environmental groups have mounted a campaign against the Keystone XL project, arguing that it puts the country at risk of major oil spills ….the oil industry and some Republicans have been strong advocates for the approval Keystone XL…..

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Thank you Jovie







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