President Barack Obama is welcomed by US Ambassador to China Max Baucus upon his arrival at Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing, China. President Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2014 Summit
President Barack Obama meets with the leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries in Beijing
President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo
President Barack Obama meets with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
President Barack Obama speaks at the APEC CEO Summit at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) in Beijing
Delegates use their smartphones to take pictures of President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama walks to the stage with Dow Chemical Co. President, Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, at the APEC CEO Summit at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC)
President Barack Obama with China’s President Xi Jinping and Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan during the APEC Welcome Banquet at Beijing National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing
President Barack Obama is greeted by China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, as he arrives at Beijing National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, for the APEC Welcome Banquet
Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (L-R), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife Peng Liyuan and U.S. President Barack Obama arrive for a dinner hosted by the Chinese President
President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye talk as they depart the APEC Summit family photo
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations’ leaders and spouses pose for a family photo at Beijing National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, November 10, 2014. (Front row L to R) Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang, Angelica Rivera and husband Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana Widodo, U.S. President Barack Obama, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha and his wife Naraporn; (Back row L to R) Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Bronagh Key and her husband New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, Akie and her husband Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Laureen Harper and her husband Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his wife Lynda May Babao, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, Taiwanese envoy to APEC summit Vincent Siew and his wife Susan Chu
President Obama welcomed New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to the White House on Friday, and said he would like to return the favor soon by visiting New Zealand. “I hear it’s really nice,” Obama said. “We’re going to be working with my scheduler.” One opportunity for a New Zealand visit comes in November, after Obama attends a Group of 20 nations summit in Brisbane, Australia. By that time, Obama is looking for major progress on a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama and Key appear to have a good relationship. They even played a round of golf together in January while both were vacationing in Hawaii.
Jason Sattler: SHOCKER: Obamacare Is Working Best In States That Aren’t Trying To Sabotage It
Of the 106,185 people who have completed an application for health insurance, nearly 75 percent came from 14 states and the District of Columbia that both set up their own exchanges and expanded Medicaid. Unsurprisingly, California and New York combined for the bulk of the enrollments, 51,769. But the most promising news from the Golden State wasn’t even included in this report.
Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, reported Wednesday that as of Tuesday, 60,000 Californians had signed up for insurance. Signups have increased to a rate of almost 2,500 enrollees per day in November. At that pace, the state could be expected to enroll 402,500 people by March 31 but Lee says that he expects to hit a goal of 500,000 to 700,000 people by then, which means he expects the pace to pick up by at least 640 people a day to over 3,000 enrollees.
Red Kentucky is the only state in the union that voted for Mitt Romney and set up its own exchange, thanks in large part to Democratic governor Steve Beshear. The state’s site signed up a total of 32,485 Kentuckians, with 5,586 enrolling in private plans, in its first month of operation. This reduces the state’s uninsured population —estimated at 640,000 — by just over 5 percent.
President Barack Obama will visit John F. Kennedy’s gravesite and honor two of Kennedy’s lasting initiatives as the nation observes the 50th anniversary of his assassination in the coming week. Obama and his wife, Michelle, will be accompanied by former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon. Also that day, Obama will be joined by scores of prominent Americans who have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in paying tribute to Kennedy’s legacy.
Obama will present the award Wednesday to the 2013 recipients, including Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, the late astronaut Sally Ride, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, country music singer Loretta Lynn and 10 others. On Wednesday evening, Obama plans a speech on Kennedy’s legacy of service with a dinner at the Smithsonian American History Museum attended by current and past recipients of the medal, including baseball’s Hank Aaron, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, singer Aretha Franklin, economist Alan Greenspan, activist Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, is to introduce Obama at the dinner.
Tara Culp-Ressler: Hurricane Katrina, The Obamacare Rollout, And Allowing Privilege To Shape Our Politics
On Friday, the media got swept up in an unhelpful comparison between the rocky Obamacare rollout and the botched clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina …
But …. there is one obvious point of comparison. It doesn’t have anything to do with the political career of the sitting president, though. It has to do with the privilege that continues to dominate the United States’ political priorities.
It’s about who is worth rescuing.
…. Intent on resisting Obamacare at every turn, Republican legislators in over 20 states have refused to expand Medicaid, leaving many of their low-income residents with no good options…. But the current discussion is centered on a relatively small group of people who do currently have insurance, but whose plans don’t meet the minimum standard for benefit requirements put forth by the health reform law.
…. If we must draw comparisons between Obamacare and previous national disasters, consider this one. As a collective society, we still haven’t really learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina – but not because of a broken website or a broken promise about keeping your plan. We haven’t figured out how to prioritize that Louisiana mother’s life.
Sherilyn Horrocks’ body is under siege. Her immune system is attacking her tissues and organs, causing her esophagus, stomach and liver to harden. “I’ll die of [systemic sclerosis] like my brother did,” she said. “It’s just a matter of time.” Hoping to buy more time, and quality of life, the 61-year-old career homemaker is dropping by Gov. Gary Herbert’s annual health summit on Thursday to try to persuade him to expand Medicaid.
She’s among 123,000 uninsured Utahns who would qualify for Medicaid under an optional expansion of the low-income health program through the Affordable Care Act. There is no cure for her autoimmune disease. “But there are medicines and procedures that would prolong my life if I could afford them,” she said. “I have a feeling I’m going to be one of those who falls through the cracks.”
Utah has yet to opt into an expansion, despite analyses showing it would bring billions in federal funding to the state during the next 10 years, create jobs and reduce the charity-care burden on hospitals. Republican legislators remain adamantly opposed, and Herbert is weighing the pros and cons of partial expansion scenarios to be discussed at Thursday’s summit.
US negotiators say they feel they are close to finalizing a nuclear agreement with Iran for the first time in a decade. “For the first time in nearly a decade we are getting close to [reaching agreement on] the first step towards a comprehensive agreement that would stop Iran’s nuclear program from advancing, and put time on the clock to reach a negotiated agreement that addresses all of our concerns,” a senior U.S. administration official told journalists at a background briefing at the State Department Friday.
“I don’t know if we will get agreement,” in Geneva next week, the U.S. official said. “It’s quite possible we can. But there are tough issues to negotiate.” The reason the last meeting ended in Geneva at 1am last weekend was that Iran, after receiving the consensus P5+1 draft proposal only late in the evening of November 9th, “felt it needed to look at the document and come back to the negotiations.”
In an interview with the BBC this week, Oprah Winfrey said of President Obama: “There is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs, in some cases, and maybe even many cases, because he’s African-American.” With that remark, Winfrey touched on an issue that many Americans have wrestled with: To what extent does this president’s race animate those loyal to him and those opposed? Is race a primary motivator or a subordinate, more elusive one, tainting motivations but not driving them?
To some degree, the answers lie with the questioners. There are different perceptions of racial realities. What some see as slights, others see as innocent opposition. But there are some objective truths here. Racism is a virus that is growing clever at avoiding detection. Race consciousness is real. Racial assumptions and prejudices are real. And racism is real.
Jennifer Herrera and her family are always on the move. She and her husband, Fredy, enjoy hiking in the mountains near their Southern California home and cheering on their children in one of their many sports — golf, football, volleyball or basketball. She was glad she had insurance recently when her son badly cut his face during a basketball game. “It was off to the emergency room we go,” she recalls. “Obviously, I had to pay for some of it, but thank God I didn’t have to come up with that $3,000 [for the full cost of the visit].”
Her family has always had health insurance, mainly because of hearing the story of Jennifer’s grandmother and the effect that not having insurance had on the family. It was the late 1940s, and Ethel and Chuck Meyer were proud parents of their first child, Bill (Jennifer’s father). “[Ethel] was hanging the laundry one day and just all of a sudden collapsed,” Jennifer says. “She didn’t know why. She had been kind of tired but chalked it up to having an active child.” Ethel eventually learned she had polio, a debilitating virus that reached epidemic levels in the United States prior to the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.
Jamelle Bouie: No, The Rollout Of HealthCare.gov Is Nothing Like Hurricane Katrina
Right now, the problem with the website is that it can’t accommodate everyone who wants to buy health insurance. That is a serious issue, but not the worst mistake ever made by a president.By contrast, George W. Bush’s response to Katrina comes close. Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the United States. It killed more than 1,800 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes, caused billions of dollars in property damage, and nearly sank a major American city.
And the Bush administration’s response was criminally negligent, a basic failure of duty that should haunt everyone involved. Despite several days of memos and warnings to administration officials that Katrina would be a major storm, that the levees had been breached, that flooding had began, it took two days for President Bush—who was on vacation, spawning a series of photo-ops that would look awful in retrospect—to begin to organize the federal response.
Joshua DuBois: Anyone Who Counts Obama Out Hasn’t Reckoned On His Survival Skills
It’s been a week of football metaphors in politics. President Obama said this week that the administration “fumbled” the health care rollout. A lot of folks believe that this turnover is decisive, handing the ball to Republicans in Congress and opponents of health reform with the second half well underway. And now we’re starting to see frightened Democrats on the sidelines hovering over Obama like uneasy linemen, wondering if their QB has enough left in him to turn the game around.
Not me. I’ve seen this game–and this particular quarterback–far too many times before. And as sure as I know never to count out Peyton Manning when he’s down by a couple scores heading into the fourth quarter, I never bet against Obama when the press and pundits have declared game-over. It rarely, if ever, is–this guy knows how to win.
This is a president, and a country, who have been counted out more times than we remember, and bounced back in ways we quickly forget. The reality is, if we take the long view, we’ll see that our country has been on an upward trajectory over the last 5 years. The ball may have been fumbled, and momentum may be in the other direction. But if history tells us anything, it’s this: the smart money’s on the gray-haired, steady-handed guy in the White House, who has been down this field a few times before.
Embassy staff members listen to President Obama at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, Nov.17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama tours the Forbidden City in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama is reflected in a window while touring the Forbidden City in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama watches a performance at a state dinner with President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
One of the most beautiful moments:
President Obama meets survivor Mary Lee after laying a wreath at the memorial of the USS Peary in Darwin, Nov 17, 2011. Mary was 9 at the time of the bombing by Japanese aircraft which resulted in the sinking of the Peary on February 19, 1942
People react as President Obama walks by on his way to address the Australian Parliament at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Nov.17, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard greet members of the Royal Australian Air Force after delivering remarks on the U.S. and Australian Alliance, in Darwin, Australia, Nov.17, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
…. The failed Katrina response was the result of Bush taking an well-functioning government agency and deliberating degrading it: taking it from disaster managmement professionals, giving it to political cronies and beginning a process of reckless privatization.
With the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is not tearing down an existing agency, but trying to build up a new government program from scratch. As I’ve written before, new government programs typically suffer bumpy beginnings, but by facing up to new challenges, our government innovates and advances to better address problems the public wants solved.
In other words, Bush made government dumber. Obama, and Obamacare, is making government smarter.
Dean Baker: No, Obama Didn’t Lie To You About Your Health Care Plan
President Obama has been getting a lot of grief in the last few weeks over his pledge that with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, people would be able to keep their insurance if they like it. First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.
The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.
Ed Kilgore: Re The Collapse In Obama’s Approval Ratings
After reading Jonathan Bernstein’s essay on the massive over-reaction to the president’s sag in approval ratings—some of it based, no doubt, on media cherry-picking of whichever polls had the lowest numbers—I went back and looked at Gallup’s weekly approval rating averages over the last few weeks.
The CW is that Obama and the Democrats were riding high—on the brink, perhaps, of a history-defying 2014 sweep of Congress—when the government shutdown ended. That week Gallup had Obama’s approval ratio at a 43/51 average. The latest Gallup weekly average of Obama’s approval ratio is at 41/52, a booming one-and-a-half point deterioration since the shutdown ended.
What does it all mean? Probably that most people aren’t breathlessly following events in Washington other than to register their heat and noise. And there’s not much indication just yet that America sees itself as represented by the worried holders of existing individual health insurance policies. So yeah, once again, everyone should chill.
Yup. The entire family just ditched my husband’s employer provided health insurance* and as of January 1, 2014 we’ll be on a plan with a different insurance company. One that, unlike Aetna, decided to go after our business and compete in the marketplace. Our old plan had deductibles, and the out-of-pocket costs were 6k for individuals and 12k per family. This new plan from Blue Shield of California? No deductibles. Lower out-of-pocket maximums. Lower copays. Lower drug costs.
All of our doctors are in-network minus one. But that’s why I got the PPO. It’s also a 90/10 which means we pay 10% of things normally not totally covered like hospital stays and MRIs and what not. Our old plan? 80/20 in network and 60/40 out of network. Keeping in mind just about EVERYTHING for me was out of network. After doing all the math, just to start, we’ll be saving $18,900 per year. That is without knowing if I will be hospitalized in 2014, or need surgery or any of those things. In 2013 I was hospitalized once in July and the bill is still sitting on my desk. I’ve been making payments.
If the judge from my Social Security Disability case rules in my favor, that means I’ll be eligible for Medicare as well. IF that happens, that will mean we may not have much out of pocket at all. This makes me shake and cry. We are one of those families who have been buried in medical debt since I got sick. We’re one of those families the President talks about…the ones who are so close to losing everything because Mom got sick. We’ve re-financed our mortgage using the HARP/HAMP plans with JP Morgan Chase. It wasn’t easy or pretty, but we managed to save some money per month to keep our home. Now we are utilizing Obamacare. And yeah, go ahead and call it Obamacare, because without the President we wouldn’t have this opportunity.
The House voted Friday to approve a measure allowing Americans to keep current health-care plans, even if they don’t meet requirements established by the new Affordable Care Act. Passage of the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” was never in doubt — the only question was how many Democrats might defect and support the legislation. The Democratic defectors were: Rep. Ron Barber (Ariz.) Rep. John Barrow (Ga.) Rep. Ami Bera (Calif.) Rep. Tim Bishop (N.Y.) Rep. Bruce Braley (Iowa) Rep. Julia Brownley (Calif.) Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.) Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.) Rep. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.)
Rep. William Enyart (Ill.) Rep. Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.) Rep. Pete Gallego (Texas) Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.) Rep. Joe Garcia (Fla.) Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.) Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa) Rep. Dan Maffei (N.Y.) Rep. Sean Maloney (N.Y.) Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.) Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.) Rep. Rick Nolan (Minn.) Rep. Bill Owens (N.Y.) Rep. Scott Peters (Calif.) Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.) Rep. Colin Peterson (Minn.) Rep. Nick Rahall (W. Va.) Rep. Raul Ruiz (Calif.) Rep. Bill Schneider (Ill.) Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) Rep. Filemon Vela (Texas) Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.).
In a country discouraged by last month’s health care rollout and corresponding widespread problems, Erin Kotecki Vest and her family are rejoicing. Obamacare will save them almost $19,000 each year. “When the president says no family should lose their home because someone got sick, no family should go bankrupt because somebody got sick, that is us. That is absolutely us,” she told msnbc.
In 2010 doctors diagnosed Kotecki Vest with Lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. Three days every other week she undergoes intravenous therapy, which lasts three to five hours each visit. And that, she said, is when “everything is going well.”
Additionally, she takes Rituxin, which is also administered to her intravenously every four months in two different six-hour sessions. Doctors have prescribed her Prednisone for the past three years. Complications from her diagnosis caused her to suffer from a stroke, lose her gall bladder and the majority of her colon, and undergo a hysterectomy.
Of all the things conservatives have done to sabotage and derail the Affordable Care Act – and good lord, is this a long list – nothing seems quite as offensive as the right’s campaign to encourage those without coverage to stay uninsured, on purpose, to advance an ideological cause.
Regular readers may recall that we covered this quite a bit over the summer. Conservatives launched organized efforts to convince the uninsured to voluntarily “refuse to enroll” – because if fewer people participate in the system, costs would soar, and in theory the system could become unsustainable. Struggling families will of course be completely screwed in this scenario, but for the right, that’s a small price to pay – and a sacrifice they’re willing to see others make.
Eric Lach, referencing a report from the Alaska Dispatch, noted yesterday that the campaign is still very much underway. Indeed, it appears far-right Floridians are now lobbying Alaskans to stay uninsured on purpose.
Think Progress: Obama Will Halt Deportation And Grant Legal Status To Some Relatives Of Military Personnel
Federal immigration authorities will no longer deport non-criminal immigrant family members of former and active duty members of immigrants serving in the U.S. military, according to a new Department of Homeland Security memoreleased on Friday. Most notably, some undocumented family members of military personnel would also have a chance to adjust to permanent legal status.
The memo in part states that relatives without criminal records and who aren’t national security risks could apply for a “parole in place” status, thereby having their deportations suspended. The parole status is authorized in one-year increments and allows relatives who are legally here to adjust for permanent legal status. Others who can adjust their status include undocumented immediate relatives and employment-based immigrants who fell out of status for less than six months.
Paul Waldman: Memo To Democratic Chicken Littles: The Sky Is Not Falling
Ah, now this is what politics is supposed to be like: Ruthless Republicans, gleeful at the prospect that they might increase the net total of human suffering. Timorous Democrats, panicking at the first hint of political difficulty and rushing to assemble a circular firing squad. And the news media bringing out the “Dems In Disarray!” headlines they keep in storage for just this purpose.
The problems of the last couple weeks “could threaten Democratic priorities for years,” says Ron Brownstein. It’s just like Hurricane Katrina, says TheNew York Times (minus the 1,500 dead people, I guess they mean, though they don’t say so). “On the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle,” says Dana Milbank, “it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.” Ruth Marcus also declares this presidency all but dead: “Can he recover? I’m sorry to say: I’m not at all confident.” Oh please. Everyone just chill out.
Arthur Delaney: Obama Pushes To Save The Holiday Season For A Million Unemployed People
The Obama administration on Friday came out strongly in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance past its current expiration date. Top economic adviser Gene Sperling said in a statement to The Huffington Post there is “no question” that Congress should extend emergency unemployment insurance for the more than 1 million workers who could be affected when benefits expire between Christmas and the New Year.
“We have always done so when unemployment is this high and would make little sense to fail to do so now when we are still facing the burdens of the worst downturn since the Great Recession,” Sperling said. “It is high bang for the buck for the economy, reduces poverty and helps workers who lost jobs due to no fault of their own get back on their feet.”
Netanyahu seems to think that if sanctions have brought Iran to the table and gained concessions, then more sanctions will force Tehran to give up its nuclear program altogether. But administration officials fear that imposing more sanctions at this delicate moment (as Netanyahu is pushing Congress to do) will just blow up the negotiations.
My sense is that Israel and Saudi Arabia would love to scuttle an American rapprochement with an Iran they regard as a deadly adversary. But if Obama presses ahead, Netanyahu is bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo, including the security of the Gulf Arabs.
Strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel. The Obama administration would counter (correctly, I think) that embracing the Saudi strategy of an ever-deepening Sunni-Shiite divide is unwise. The schism will fuel permanent sectarian war in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Better to seek a turn in relations with Iran through diplomacy that can limit its nuclear program, Obama reasons. He’s right.