Posts Tagged ‘care

05
May
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet guests at the Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

10:55: The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti

1:0: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

2:0: Vice President Biden Speaks to the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

5:50: The President hosts a Cinco de Mayo reception, Rose Garden

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The Week Ahead

Tuesday: The President attends meetings at the White House.

Wednesday: Travels to Los Angeles to participate in a joint DSCC/DCCC event. In the evening, the President will be honored at a dinner hosted by the USC Shoah Foundation. He will remain overnight in Los Angeles.

Thursday: Participates in a DNC roundtable in Los Angeles before traveling to San Diego to participate in a DCCC event. The President will then travel to San Jose where he will participate in two DNC events and remain overnight.

Friday: Participates in an event on energy in the San Jose area. Following the event the President will return to Washington, DC.

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@TheObamaDiary

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BBC: Boko Haram admits abducting Nigeria girls from Chibok

Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram says it carried out the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in April.

About 230 girls are still believed to be missing, prompting widespread criticism of the Nigerian government.

“I abducted your girls,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video obtained by the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile, a woman who helped organise protests over the abduction has been detained, her fellow community leaders say.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: Gallup: Number of Uninsured Lowest We’ve Ever Recorded

Obamacare is reducing the number of Americans without health insurance. And while nobody can say for sure exactly how many people are getting coverage, Gallup just provided a pretty big clue.

According to the organization, the proportion of adults without coverage last month fell to 13.4 percent. That’s lower than it was last yaer. That’s lower than it was when the Affordable Care Act became law—and when President Obama took office.

In fact, that’s lower than it’s ever been since the beginning of 2008, before the economic crisis, which is when Gallup started taking regular monthly polls on this question.

More here

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 Steve Benen: Health care frauds vs. health care facts

It probably didn’t get as much attention as it deserved, but something unusual happened last week: House Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) got caught telling a rather brazen lie.

GOP officials issued a “report” arguing that “only 67 percent” of consumers who enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges paid their first month’s premiums. In this case, Republicans were lying – they deliberately published a document that included fraudulent claims, intended to deceive the public, and once caught, the officials made no real effort to deny what they’d done.

Paul Krugman took Republicans to task in his new column, condemning them for “spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can – there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.”

But the GOP’s failed attempt at a con arguably looks even worse this morning, with new evidence of the Affordable Care Act’s success.

More here

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Eclectablog: Obamacare success stories keep coming, with a rosy forecast for 2015

Karen is just one of 272,500 Michiganders who signed up for coverage through Healthcare.gov, where a strong finish to 2014 enrollment bodes well for next year.

So much good news, it’s hard to know where to begin.

On Thursday, Obama administration officials predicted health insurance premiums would be stable in 2015, thanks to a large and varied pool of insured Americans. This is according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which reported that about 28 percent of the 8 million Americans who enrolled in private health insurance through Healthcare.gov were in the 18-34-year-old age range needed to help keep the risk pool balanced and keep premiums down — the demographic naysayers predicted would not sign up. Yet another “horror story” debunked.

In Michigan, 272,539 people signed up for coverage through Healthcare.gov, in addition to thousands more who have enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s Medicaid expansion program that launched April 1.

More here

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Paul Krugman: Inventing A Failure

Last week, House Republicans released a deliberately misleading report on the status of health reform, crudely rigging the numbers to sustain the illusion of failure in the face of unexpected success. Are you shocked?

You aren’t, but you should be. Mainstream politicians didn’t always try to advance their agenda through lies, damned lies and — in this case — bogus statistics. And the fact that this has become standard operating procedure for a major party bodes ill for America’s future.

About that report: The really big policy news of 2014, at least so far, is the spectacular recovery of the Affordable Care Act from its stumbling start, thanks to an extraordinary late surge that took enrollment beyond early projections….

This is a problem for Republicans, who have bet the ranch on the proposition that health reform is an unfixable failure … How can they respond to good news?

Well, they could graciously admit that they were wrong, and offer constructive suggestions about how to make the law work even better. Oh, sorry — I forgot that I wasn’t writing jokes for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

More here

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I assumed this ad was a parody ….. it’s not:

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Michael Hiltzik: Medicaid expansion is the final battle in war over Obamacare

The final battles of any war often are the bloodiest. They’re waged by the last holdouts, dead-enders desperate to prove to themselves and their dwindling followers that their efforts were not in vain.

The final battle of the war over the Affordable Care Act is being waged today over expanding Medicaid. As the act was originally conceived, Medicaid would provide healthcare for more than 10 million of the poorest uninsured Americans, most of them childless adults with earnings up to 138% of the federal poverty level. (This year, that income ceiling is about $16,000.)

Then the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Congress couldn’t impose the expansion on state governments, but had to make it voluntary. Republican legislators and governors in 28 states turned the expansion down. A handful later reversed themselves. These include four that, with federal permission, are temporarily trying out novel Medicaid formats.

The refusal of more than half the states to cover so many of their neediest citizens — the number who have fallen into the “coverage gap” is estimated at 5 million — amazes and frustrates health experts. That’s especially so because the federal government covers 100% of the cost of expansion through 2016. After that, the federal share will slowly decline to 90% in 2020 and beyond.

More here

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BBC: Ukraine crisis: Rebels ‘retreating’ in Sloviansk

Pro-Russian militants just outside Sloviansk have retreated amid attacks by Ukrainian troops, reports say.

Government forces took control of a TV tower in the suburbs and rebels were pulled back deeper into the city, the Russian Interfax news agency said.

Earlier reports told of heavy gunfire, apparently closer to the centre than in recent days.

But a BBC team which has recently reached the centre of Sloviansk says the city is currently quiet.

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 30 injured in an incident in Sloviansk, the interior ministry said.

Fears of an impending offensive by Ukrainian forces on the pro-Russian stronghold had been growing overnight, sources inside the city said earlier.

More here

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Salon: Diagnosing Paul Ryan’s psychopathy: Arrogant, manipulative, deceitful, remorseless

Paul Krugman revealed Ryan’s big con years ago. It’s gotten worse. Why does anyone take him seriously on policy?

If the GOP as a whole has pretty much given up on the whole “rebranding” thing, their 2012 vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, most definitely has not. In fact, rebranding is pretty much his thing, regardless of how credible — or incredible, actually — his efforts may be.

For years, Ryan touted himself as an avid Ayn Rand disciple, until he didn’t in early 2012, even calling it “an urban legend” that he had anything serious to do with Rand at all. He then tried to present the latest iteration of his draconian soak-the-poor/shower the rich budget proposal as grounded in Catholic social teaching, rather than Rand’s fiercely anti-Christian philosophy, a claim that the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops soundly rejected, writing that his proposed budget failed to meet certain “moral criteria” by disproportionately cutting programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”

Now, seeking to put all memory of the “47 percent” campaign behind him, Ryan’s trying to take that reinvention to a whole new level.

More here

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On This Day

Senator Obama walks out to address supporters at a campaign stop at the American Legion Mall in Indianapolis, May 5, 2008

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President Obama and Vice President Biden wait in line to place their orders during an unannounced lunch-time visit to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., May 5, 2009

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President Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Members of Congress and guests, signs the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 5, 2010 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

May 5, 2010: “After doing a series of posed photos, the President started joking around with the First Lady in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House before a Cinco de Mayo event.” (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama walks along the South Lawn Drive of the White House with Sen. John Kerry, May 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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May 5, 2011: “A few days after the mission against bin Laden, the President traveled to New York City to meet with families of the 9/11 victims. He also visited at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 Firehouse. The firehouse, known as the “Pride of Midtown,” lost 15 firefighters on 9/11 — an entire shift and more than any other New York firehouse. Here, the firefighters offer an impromptu toast to the President in honor of their fallen comrades during a lunch at the station house.” (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama meets with firefighters and first responders at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, before visiting the National Sept. 11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York, May 5, 2011

President Obama speaks with New York City Police Sergeant Stephanie Moses after laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan May 5, 2011

President Obama greets family members after laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial in New York on May 5, 2011

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at a Cinco de Mayo reception in the White House, May 5, 2011

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Leaving the White House, May 5, 2012

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama embrace at Schottenstein Center, Columbus, May 5, 2012

Schottenstein Center, Columbus

First Lady Michelle Obama at Virginia Commonwealth University May 5, 2012 in Richmond

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President Obama steps down from Air Force One with Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, en route to speak at the Ohio State University spring commencement, May 5, 2013

President Obama delivers the address during The Ohio State University commencement at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, May 5, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

02
Apr
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama talks with Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, before the “42” movie screening with Robinson family members, cast, and crew in the Family Theater at the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today

EDT

11:15: The President departs the White House

12:55: Arrives Michigan, Willow Run Airport

3:0: Delivers remarks, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3:30: First Lady Michelle Obama, School Children, and Foodcorps Leaders Plant the Sixth Annual White House Kitchen Garden

4:0: The President departs Michigan

CDT

4:0: Arrives Chicago, O’Hare International Airport

4:45: Attends a DNC event, Chicago Cut Steakhouse (Closed Press)

6:55: Delivers remarks and answers questions at a DNC dinner, Private Residence

8:30: Departs Chicago

EDT

11:25: Arrives the White House

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Tom Toles: Obamacare a Huge Success

Let’s introduce a new category into the discussion. So far we’ve had two. The first is that Obamacare may make it by the skin of its teeth. The second is that’s it’s a total failure and the worst thing since unsliced bread. Time for a third: It’s a huge success and a triumph and a historic achievement and an immeasurable benefit to the American people.

I’ll stake out this lonely ground, because the allowed media narratives have other things to do….

More here

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The People’s View: President Obama Opens Can of Whoop-Ass on Opponents of Health Care as Exchanges Enroll 7.1 Million

Hours ago, a triumphant President Obama opened a can of whoop-ass on opponents of the Affordable Care Act as he announced 7.1 million Americans have already signed up for health insurance through the exchanges – beating even the best estimates of 7 million. The number is likely to inch even higher as individuals who began their application before yesterday’s deadline are allowed to finish their sign-ups. Just months ago, pundits were Very Seriously (TM) postulating that it won’t even cross 5 million.

The president openly called out Republican governors for obstructing the health care law and keeping millions more who could get health insurance today from getting it (5 million, to be exact, is the number of people GOP governors are denying health care to by refusing a fully federally funded expansion of Medicaid).

More here

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TPM: Obamacare Enrollment Is Far From Over

With the recent closure of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is enormous jockeying around interpreting the number of enrollees in state and federal exchanges. Proponents and opponents of the law are interpreting the preliminary numbers in the way that best makes their case. But what neither side is emphasizing enough is that enrollment in the ACA is far from over now that March 31st has passed. This is because millions of individuals will lose their insurance during 2014 – and Obamacare will be there to catch them.

More here

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Steve Benen: In search of ‘any plausible alternative’

When President Obama took a brief victory lap on the South Lawn yesterday afternoon, he included a specific taunt that, by my ear, seemed ad-libbed.

“[T]his law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working. It’s helping people from coast to coast, all of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law, or try to repeal the law without offering any plausible alternative so hard to understand. I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?”

Note how this turns the Republican line against them. Indeed, Obama’s questions need not be rhetorical — why are so many on the right working so hard to deny Americans access to affordable medical care? Why haven’t the ACA’s critics bothered to present a plausible alternative?

More here

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TPM: Conservatives Discover That Obamacare Will Help A Lot Of People

Obamacare crossed the 7 million sign-ups milestone before the midnight deadline Monday, sparking angst and introspection among conservative policy wonks about the future of their quest to wipe the health care law off the books.

Central to their dilemma is the emerging discovery that many people will end up benefiting from Obamacare. Despite the health care law’s problems, unanswered questions and unknown costs, it can hardly be denied that millions of American are slated to reap the benefits of its insurance subsidies, the Medicaid expansion and beefed-up consumer protections.

More here

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Politicususa: Stephen Colbert Flawlessly Mocks Republican Heartbreak In Wake Of Obamacare Success

On Tuesday night’s episode of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert began the show with a bang. The mock conservative host lampooned Republicans by lamenting the fact that millions of Americans now have health insurance. He then showed clips from earlier in the day revealing that due to Obamacare, 7.1 million people have been able to obtain a private health insurance plan in the marketplace.

After playing those clips, Colbert complained about how crowded his doctor’s office will be now that there will be 7.1 million other patients in line before him. He then pointed out that in recent weeks, conservatives had assured him that there was no way that the ACA would meet its goal. This was followed by clips from right-wing pundits, mostly on Fox News, stating with absolute certainty that Obamacare would fall far short of its intended target.

The clips Colbert played included some priceless statements from notable conservatives…

More here

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Greg Sargent: Obamacare is a disaster. But KyNect is awesome!

The office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear just announced that more than 370,000 people have now signed up for Obamacare on KyNect, the state exchange. More than one out of every dozen Kentuckians — 8.6 percent of the state population — now has obtained coverage through the exchange, Beshear’s office said, claiming that a preliminary analysis has established that three out of four enrollees has reported that they were uninsured before signing up.

Beshear’s office adds that more than 21,000 signed up in the last three days alone.

But as recently as three days ago, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was denouncing Obamacare as “disastrous,” lamenting the “catastrophic effects” the law has had on Kentucky families, and insisting that “the pain caused by this terrible law is easy to see.”

More here

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Ugh, hate linking to anything by Zeke Miller, but this is a good read:

Time: All The President’s Celebrities: How The White House Used Stars To Sell Obamacare

The Obama administration turned to a powerful source to help persuade 7 million uninsured Americans to enroll in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act — a veritable army of celebrities

In the summer of 2013, when the White House was gearing up to sell the Affordable Care Act, senior aide Valerie Jarrett convened a meeting of some of the nation’s biggest celebrities to secure their advice and help sell the law to the American public.

The meeting brought together singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, actor and on-off White House staffer Kal Penn and comedienne Amy Poehler, as well as Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and YouTube Comedy’s Daniel Kellison, and representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi. Nine months and hundreds of videos, tweets and media appearances later, the White House believes the meeting paid dividends, with the celebrities helping the administration enroll more than 7.04 million people in Obamacare through Monday night, the end of the open enrollment period in the healthcare exchanges.

More here

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Charles Pierce: Mr. Ryan’s Opus

Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, and most recent First Runner-Up in our national vice-presidential pageant, has released another “budget,” this one a sham even by his remarkable standards because this is an election year and nobody is going to vote for a budget, even a fake one, unless it includes free money, doughnuts, and oral sex for everyone in the country. Anyway, it’s pretty much what we have come to expect from Ryan. More money for the military, more granny-starving for the rest of us.

More here

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On This Day

First Lady Michelle Obama poses with G-20 Summit Spouses at the Royal Opera House in London, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama is seen through an oval window as he meets with senior staff members Robert Gibbs, left, and David Axelrod following a press conference at the G-20 Summit at the ExCel Centre in London, England, April 2, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama walks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, left, and President Felipe Calderón of Mexico following their joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 2, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama looks out over the Rose Garden as he walks along the Colonnade of the White House, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with, from left, Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, April 2, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama, alongside Harrison Ford and Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, welcomes high school and college students from across the country for a workshop with the cast and crew of the film 42, April 2, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning!

17
Mar
14

“I’m One Grateful Old Lady”

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A Word from ’57 and Female’ (comment here)

I am going to be 64 years old in a few months and being self-employed for the last 33 years I have never had one of my medications covered by insurance. Never. Just to stay minimally healthy, my asthma, blood pressure meds and a few others are around $600/month.

We had awful insurance that never covered my asthma until there was no insurance at all for the last decade. I lived in constant fear.

I chose a Gold plan – for my last year and half until Medicare I wanted maximum flexibility and a low deductible: $500 and $3,500 out-of-pocket cap with a large network. I chose a co-op plan. These plans, with no profit incentive, were supposed to be a bridge to something akin to a public option. In the 2012 budget fight, the Republicans won the elimination of these plans from ACA but anyone who had a grant before then was grandfathered in. IL was able to establish an insurance plan/company that will run on overhead similar to Medicare and we all ‘own’ the company.

My premium, after some subsidy, is $558/month. Your age can still be a factor in premium cost, but with a cap. I do have co-pays on my medications – it will be about $140/month. But I’m still only out a little more for truly comprehensive health care than what I was paying retail for my meds before ACA.

To walk up to the CVS Pharmacy counter and give them my card was overwhelming. My $320 asthma med: $70 co-pay. My $160 nasal spray: $30. And so on.

I need to get my first mammogram. I need to go to the gynecologist for the first time in 10 years. When I was sick last week and even the meds from the doctor weren’t working, I knew if – God forbid – I needed the ER because I couldn’t breathe, I could go. I have insurance. I will not be denied, as I was in 1983 because ‘no one develops asthma as an adult’ sayeth BCBS and they wouldn’t pay for my hospital stay.

I’m one grateful old lady.

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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!

21
Sep
13

ObamaCare: Spreading The Good News

by Africa (@lawalazu)

Chuck Todd inspired me to contact all my local media about presenting the facts on Obamacare. I sent this to my local paper yesterday. The executive editor replied me.

This is my letter:

I wish to make a suggestion to the News Journal. Please bear me out and read this to the end.

On October 1, the Affordable Care Act will go into effect. This law will impact the lives of millions of Americans. However there is a lot that many residents may not know about the law. Once implemented, the law is expected to help some 30 million Americans.

Already it is making an impact:

- Medicare’s preventive benefits now come with a free visit with your primary care doctor every year to plan out your prevention services. And there are no more co-pays for preventative services in Medicare.

- Small businesses get big tax credits—up to 50 percent of premium costs—for offering health insurance to their workers.

- Insurers with unusually high administrative costs have to offer rebates to their customers, and every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends on overhead.

- Free birth control and other preventative services for women, unless you work for a faith based organization that opposes birth control.

- Seniors get $250 towards closing the “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage.

(Mother Jones)

And there is much, much more to come once the law is implemented.

I wonder if your newspaper would consider doing a town hall and inviting Pensacolans to hear about what the law offers. Many people do not know some of the simple, but major benefits in the law. For example, that no longer will people be denied service because of pre-existing conditions. Parents who wish to keep their children on their health insurance will be able to do so until the children turns 26. People suffering with substance abuse and mental health issues will no longer go uncovered. Under ACA, they will have insurance.

Just Wednesday, I was able to share this fact with the mother of a 22-year-old, who has a heart condition. While his condition is stable now, she wanted to make sure he had health insurance, in case he ever got sick again. I informed her about the pre-existing component. I also told her that her child could remain on her insurance until 26, if she so desired.

No longer will pregnancies be considered a pre-existing condition.

There are hundreds of thousands like this mom out there. A little bit of information will help residents. The goal is not to convince anyone, but present the facts about the law.

Continue reading ‘ObamaCare: Spreading The Good News’




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