TPM: A lesser-known but important provision in “Obamacare” that regulates how health insurance companies spend their money is yielding benefits for consumers, a new study finds.
By this August, insurers are projected to send consumers a total of $1.3 billion in rebates, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Thursday – $541 million to large employers, $377 million to small businesses and $426 million to people with their own insurance plans.
The rebates are the result of a rule in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent or 85 percent of premium earnings on health care – as opposed to marketing and administrative activities – or otherwise provide rebates to their consumers.
Steve Benen: Joe Weisenthal published a pretty remarkable chart today noting economic growth in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe over the last nine years….
…. Once President Obama took office and the Recovery Act/stimulus began putting capital back into the economy, the U.S. economy began growing again. In the U.K., the economy started to improve, right up until British officials began implementing an austerity agenda – at which point the national economy stagnated and slipped back into a recession.
Obama rejected austerity, and as a result, American growth, while fragile and insufficient, is easily outpacing Europe’s and UK’s, where austerity measures have ruled the day.
….When David Cameron’s austerity policies began, Republicans were not only certain they would work, they pleaded with American policymakers to follow the Tories’ lead …. The remarkable thing is, Republicans aren’t the least bit chastened by the track record of failure.
ThinkProgress: …. The Romney campaign organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers to push back (against VP Biden’s foreign policy speech). During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia, albeit using geographical terms from the Cold War era:
PROSPER: ….. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia….
Aside from the fact that “Czechoslovakia” broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia nearly 20 years ago, the Obama administration never “abandoned” missile defense sites because they were never there to begin with….
Michael Tomasky: It seems clear that the main issue Mitt Romney is going to use to try to reestablish himself as a moderate is immigration …. Can Romney, who staked out an immigration position during the primaries that left him sounding like Pat Buchanan, really pull this off? My bet: He’ll be smooth, he’ll do almost everything right, he’ll say all the right things — and he’ll end up with something very much like the 31 percent of the Latino vote John McCain got, maybe two or three points more, tops. The reason is simple: Romney, like his party, is just too white.
…. There is no signal, at least yet, that Rubio would make a whit of difference. Last weekend, a poll came out in which 1,000-plus Latinos were asked about Obama-Biden matchups against Romney-Rubio, and Romney paired with various other Hispanic Republicans ….. in Florida, Obama did better among Latinos against Romney with Rubio on the ticket, suggesting that maybe to know him isn’t to love him.
NYT: The group Americans for Prosperity just went up with a $6.1 million ad buy in swing states that accuses the Obama administration of squandering American taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, asserting that some of the money actually went to foreign entities….
In making the general assertion that “billions of taxpayer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries,” the ad cites as evidence $1.2 billion that went “to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico.” In fact, the company involved in the plant, SunPower, said that the $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee was for its solar ranch in California….
The ad also says that the Obama administration sent “half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland.” …. Loans under the agency’s alternative vehicle program went to Fisker Automotive, an American electric car company based in California that has facilities in Finland, as well as China and Germany. The agency provided $169 million for engineering and tooling work, all carried out in the United States….
NY Times editorial: President Obama’s announcement on Friday that the last American soldier will leave Iraq by year’s end signals a welcome end to a war that was started under false pretenses and went on far too long – killing more than 4,400 Americans and many more thousands of Iraqis and costing $1 trillion over nearly nine years.
When Mr. Obama took office, there were about 142,000 Americans fighting in Iraq. The president deserves credit for fulfilling his campaign promise to bring the conflict to a close.
…. The announcement triggered some foolish criticism from neo-conservatives – who remain shamefully unapologetic for their role in unleashing this war – accused Mr. Obama of abandoning Iraq now. Mitt Romney said Mr. Obama “unnecessarily put at risk” hard-won victories. Like most of what Mr. Romney says about national security, that was absurd. Would he have Washington ignore the desires of Iraq’s democratic government and stay in Iraq forever?
Oil-producing Iraq is a major regional actor. The United States, which has an embassy with thousands of employees in Baghdad, must remain actively engaged diplomatically, through development and economic cooperation. But Iraq will be in the hands of Iraqis, as it should be.
It was completely brilliant to see BWD post at The Only Adult In The Room yesterday, on what was a very special day. Looking forward, so much, to see her coming back in the months ahead – meanwhile, make sure you follow her on Twitter
Good to see Firebagger fraud Uygur being challenged when trying to use OWS for his own promotion. It’ll be interesting to see how much he’ll profit personally from his new PAC. As much as Hamsher and Greenwald did from theirs?
Steve Benen: …. Keep in mind, the GOP’s filibuster last night was on the motion to proceed – they blocked the Senate’s ability to even discuss the jobs bill.
How many Republicans broke ranks and agreed that the proposal deserved an up-or-down vote? Zero. Not even one alleged “moderate” mustered the courage to give a wildly popular jobs bill a chance to get a vote.
Three conservative members of the Democratic caucus – Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and Mark Pryor – sided with Republicans.
The outcome didn’t come as a surprise, which is probably why it isn’t a bigger story in the media, but that shouldn’t make the developments any less scandalous….
Statement from President Obama on the Senate vote on teacher and first responder jobs:
“For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again. That’s unacceptable. We must do what’s right for the country and pass the common-sense proposals in the American Jobs Act.
Every Senate Republican voted to block a bill that would help middle class families and keep hundreds of thousands of firefighters on the job, police officers on the streets, and teachers in the classroom when our kids need them most.
Those Americans deserve an explanation as to why they don’t deserve those jobs – and every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now.
We must rebuild the economy the American way and restore security for the middle class, based on the values of balance and fairness. Independent economists have said the American Jobs Act could create up to two million jobs next year. So the choice is clear.
Our fight isn’t over. We will keep working with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece, and give Republicans another chance to put country before party and help us put the American people back to work.”
9:30 AM President Obama signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers
10:30 The President attends a reception in the Rose Garden
2:30 The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Did you all get that email from Jim Messina the other day titled ‘2,644 people named Joyce’?
Well, very oddly, when I’ve logged in to barackobama.com recently my name has come up as Joyce Daniels – and I’m not Joyce Daniels! I’m not any kind of Joyce at all!
This happened me before, a couple of months back, when the site told me I was Barbara (can’t remember surname) – I emailed them about it, but never heard back.
Is any one else having these problems?? I’m mystified!
miliawahoo76: When two esteemed and respected journalists members of the Professional Left decided to make a fashion statement foray amongst the protesters on Wall Street recently, they were surprised at the reception they received. They were served with a healthy helping of hot home truths, and – like all of their ilk – they turned and fled.
You don’t get two bigger mouths (or asses) than Dylan Ratigan and Cenk Uygur…..
…. notice former corporate lawyer and recent Republican convert Cenk Uygur – you know, the one who calls the President a moron. Cenk just “happens” to be there, decked out in his Young Turks teeshirt, obviously advertising his new show on Current. Cenk’s the one, who – when the gentleman’s protest was getting too loud – condescendingly pursed his lips and shushed him, in such a way as an adult might shush a child or a pet…..
I had a link to the Washington Post’s story on Marco Rubio in last night’s wrap-up, but here’s more from Steve Benen:
… Even this morning, more than 12 hours after the Washington Post first broke the news that Rubio’s family history is not what he says it is, the senator’s office hasn’t bothered to correct his online biography. The second sentence, as I type, reads, “In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”
Unless Rubio believes 1956 follows 1959, that’s plainly not true. To publish a falsehood is a problem. To leave the falsehood uncorrected after it’s been exposed is brazen….
Bob Dylan shakes President Barack Obama’s hand following his performance at the “In Performance At The White House: A Celebration Of Music From The Civil Rights Movement” concert in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)