Posts Tagged ‘good

03
Jul
13

The Good That Is ObamaCare

Information is power. ObamaCare works and is here to stay, so go out into the world and educate people. 2014 is around the corner and we have to be our own news and become even more proactive. Don’t let the media, so called progressive experts or the GOP demoralize you. Even if you only inform one person about the fantastic awesomeness that is ObamaCare, you have created a ripple effect because that person will tell another and another and another. Nobody said implementation of ObamaCare would be easy; Medicare and Social Security had a rough ride initially, but now? Try to mess with them negatively and watch the backlash explode. I will keep on providing tools that will help you disseminate facts and stop the lies. :D

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RWJF: Traditionally, individuals considering leaving their job to strike out on their own have worried that they may be denied health insurance coverage because they have preexisting conditions, fear losing access to a trusted physician, or are unable to afford the premiums without an employer sharing the costs. The result is that some U.S. workers feel “job lock,” being tethered to their jobs and unable to leave, even if their skills and talents no longer match their position.

New research estimates that the number of self-employed Americans will be 1.5 million higher in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning next year, access to high-quality, subsidized health insurance coverage will no longer be exclusively tied to employment, which could lead people to pursue their own businesses as self-employed entrepreneurs.

More here

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Denise Early: Around 900,000 people living in Arizona do not have health insurance. Over 90% of them will get help from Obamacare. 94% of uninsured people in Tucson will get help paying for their health insurance under Obamacare, according to Enroll America. Based on census data, 50%  of the uninsured in Tucson would qualify for expanded Medicaid. In Arizona, Medicaid is run by AHCCCS, pronounced “access” (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System). 44% of uninsured Tucsonans would qualify for help with their health insurance premium.

More here

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The White House Blog: The Medicare Trustees reported some good news for seniors and taxpayers: The Medicare program will be solvent through 2026, nearly a decade longer than projected at the time of passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is 2 years longer than projected last year. Their annual report also shows that the long run actuarial deficit in the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund – a measure of its long-term fiscal health – has been cut by more than 70 percent since enactment of the health care law. The long-run Medicare deficit has fallen from 3.88 percent of taxable payroll in the 2009 Trustees Report to 1.11 percent in this report.

These long-run gains are matched by short-term relief: the Trustees also project that the Part B premium will not increase between 2013 and 2014, keeping out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries down. Medicare cost growth has remained at historically low levels over the past three years even as new benefits for preventive care and prescription drugs have helped tens of millions of beneficiaries access care at lower cost. The law reduces prescription drug costs by closing the donut hole, a policy that has already saved more than 6 million seniors more than $700 each. And more than 32 million seniors have accessed a free preventive service under the law, helping them stay healthy and avoid future illness.

More here

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Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas: In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that a medium-level “silver” plan — which covers 70 percent of a beneficiary’s expected health costs — on the California health exchange would cost $5,200 annually. More recently, a report from the consulting firm Milliman predicted it would carry a $450 monthly premium. Yesterday, we got the real numbers. And they’re lower than anyone thought.

The way this competition can drive down rates is already evident in Oregon. There, one insurer came in with monthly premium costs in the $169 range, while other insurers asked to charge more than $400. But then, seeing  what their competitors were charging, two insurers came back to the state’s regulators and asked if they could refile at lower rates. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be competitive in the exchange. The Obama administration was ecstatic to see this: It’s exactly what they’re hoping will happen across the country.

More here

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USA TODAY: Market forces and an impetus to attract younger, healthier people into the insurance market will help keep health insurance premiums lower as the 2010 health care law takes effect on Jan. 1, industry analysts and insurance officials say.

“If they price too high, young people won’t buy insurance, and that’s going to hurt the companies,” said Jay Angoff, who led initial implementation of the law for HHS. “They need these people to come in. It’s an industry problem.”

More here

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Ezra Klein: Last week, California released early information on the rates insurers intend to charge on the new insurance marketplaces — known as “exchanges” — that the state is setting up under Obamacare. They were far lower than anyone expected. “This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” crowed Peter Lee, director of the state’s exchanges. The Affordable Care Act’s critics saw it differently. Avik Roy, a conservative health writer at Forbes, said Lee was being “misleading” and that “Obamacare, in fact, will increase individual-market premiums in California by as much as 146 percent.” Obamacare, he said, would trigger “rate shock,” the jolt people feel when they see higher rates.  Roy got his 146 percent by heading to eHealthInsurance.com, running a search for insurance plans in California and comparing the cost of the cheapest plans to the cost of the plans being offered in the exchanges. That’s not just comparing apples to oranges. It’s comparing apples to oranges that the fruit guy may not even let you buy.

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Click to buy the plan and eventually you’ll have to answer pages and pages of questions about your health history. Ever had cancer? How about an ulcer? How about a headache? Do you feel sad when it rains?  Is there a history of cardiovascular disease in your family? Have you ever known anyone who had the flu? The actual cost of the plan will depend on how you answer those questions. According to HealthCare.gov, 14 percent of people who try to buy that plan are turned away outright. Another 12 percent are told they’ll have to pay more than $109.

Comparing the pre-underwriting price of this plan to those in Obamacare’s exchanges is ridiculous. The plans in Obamacare’s exchanges have to include those people. They can’t turn anyone away or jack up rates because of a history of arthritis or heart disease. They also have to offer insurance that meets a certain minimum standard. Under Obamacare, for instance, the out-of-pocket limit for someone making 100 to 200 percent of the poverty line is $1,983. Under the Value 4500, you could spend up to $9,500 before the out-of-pocket limit kicked in. Obamacare also has subsidies for people making up to four times the poverty line. The poor pay next to nothing. The rich pay full freight.

More here

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Sy Mukherjee: Golden State small businesses and their employees got some great news: two of the state’s largest insurers will have to give them over $36 million in insurance rebates because of an Obamacare consumer protection.

The health law forces insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they charge on paying for actual medical services, rather than administrative overhead or profits. That means more money for ordinary consumers — and less for profitable insurance companies.

The so-called “80/20 rule” put $1.5 billion back into Americans’ pockets in 2011 alone. The average rebate was $151 per family across all insurance markets, and in states where insurers blatantly gouged prices, average rebates topped a whopping $500 per family.

Now, the benefits for Californians with small business health plans are beginning to materialize. Blue Shield of California will be forced to pay back $24.5 million in rebates. Anthem Blue Cross will have to pay back another $12 million.

More here

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Tara Culp-Ressler: A new study focusing on low-income women in St. Louis, MO concludes that expanding access to free contraception — just as the health care reform law does through its provision to provide birth control without a co-pay — leads to significantly lower rates of unintended teen pregnancy and abortion. Researchers found that when women weren’t prohibited by cost, they chose more effective, long-lasting forms of birth control and experienced many fewer unintended pregnancies as a result.

More here

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ThinkProgress: Americans who bought individual health plans in 2012 saved $2.1 billion thanks to Obamacare consumer protections that limit how much insurers can profit off of Americans’ premiums, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The vast majority of those savings stem from individual health plan providers lowering the premiums they charge Americans in an effort to comply with the reform law.

The Kaiser study comes shortly after several major California insurers announced that they would have to pay back $36 million to small businesses and their employees after charging them too much. Obamacare mandates that insurers on the individual market spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they charge on actual medical services, or reimburse the amount they overspent to their customers.

But insurers can avoid writing those checks after-the-fact if they just lower their premiums to begin with — and KFF’s study concludes that’s what many individual plan providers have been doing.

More here

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President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23rd, 2010.

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07
Apr
13

Rise and Shine; It’s Sunday…And There’s News

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Obama Compliment Sexist? I Call It A Compliment

Roxanne Jones: “Thank you, Mr. President, you’re not such a bad-looking guy yourself.”

 That would have been my response if I were California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who finds herself in the middle of a media dustup after President Obama introduced her as: “by far the best-looking attorney general in the country,” at a fundraiser earlier this week. Harris is a beautiful woman. She’s also super intelligent and accomplished, which the president also noted. In fact, he lauded her professional merits first. So, I say take the compliment and move on. Or, if you’re slightly embarrassed by the comment, give it back and move on. President Obama’s observation is not a major offense to women around the globe. Ridiculous flaps such as this one have always made me uncomfortable with calling myself a feminist, especially if that means I have to fly into a fit each time a man makes an awkward comment about a woman.

Clearly, the president realized in hindsight that his comment didn’t go over very well, and he has apologized. But I don’t believe an apology was necessary. It’s impossible to believe that anyone could seriously call President Obama a chauvinist over this banter between friends. No matter your politics, you will have a hard time finding a president who has included women more in his agenda. What has he done for us lately? Let me recall just a few things: Appointed two female Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored worker protections against pay discrimination. The bill had failed in the Senate in 2007.

Read more here

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Reid Epstein: President Barack Obama’s got a volunteer army — and all their marching orders come from carefully organized paid generals back at headquarters.

Obama won two terms by harnessing a grassroots movement through a tightly controlled, top-down campaign organization. Now the group formed out of Organizing for America is now bringing that approach to Organizing for Action.

It’s what differentiates OFA from other grassroots groups, and even the Democratic National Committee: they’re combining large-dollar donations and unpaid local leaders for a carefully built, lasting structure that they believe will be just as effective in supporting the president as it was in electing him.

So far, OFA has alternated its agenda – a week on gun control, then a week on immigration, with some connection to Obama’s White House schedule. Starting next week, OFA will for the first time run concurrent national campaigns on gun control and immigration, blasting emails to supporters and holding local events

Read more here

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Surrounded by members of Congress, signing the Lilly Ledbetter Bill, Jan, 2009

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In Defense Of Barack Obama’s Kamala Harris ‘Best Looking’ Comment

Angela Rye: I have never labeled myself as a feminist, but I wholeheartedly support the parity of the sexes particularly as it relates to justice, and fairness. The values listed are those shared very clearly by President Barack Obama—as evidenced by his words and more importantly, his actions. Let’s start with the very first piece of legislation ever signed into law by the 44th president—the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. He went on to establish the White House Council on Women and Girls.  Most recently, the president signed a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And remember, the president’s two appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States were also women.

The president was inspired to ensure parity in the health care system because of the challenges his motherfaced with ovarian cancer. The president lovingly called his wife the “closer” during the 2008 campaign because of the critical role she played and now, as first lady, she continues to address some of the most important policy issues of our time.  The president has openly stated that his daughters have everything to do with his evolution on gay marriage. The president has a cabinet full (not just binders, but actual appointments) of women and one of his closest advisors is Valerie Jarrett, among many other key White House personnel. Needless to say, the president is influenced by women personally, professionally and politically.

Read more here

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Ambassador Susan Rice conducted an interview with Andrea Mitchell and she was great. She discussed North Korea, the Middle East, and Women’s Rights. She was wonderful in pushing back against Mitchell’s erroneous claims about President Obama and his white house being hostile towards women. This is a must watch interview.

It can be viewed here

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For  The Ideologue Left, Social Security Concern Trolling Is A Racket

The People’s View: Dejavu. Once again, both the Republican right and the inconsolable whiny Left have found common ground over just how much they hate President Obama. Neither like the president’s upcoming budget – or at least the reporting on the upcoming budget. Why not? Well, because it looks like the President is going to propose a compromise that neither side’s ideologues are going to like (surprise!).

The president’s budget, it’s being reported, will include both revenue increases by closing tax loopholes for the rich and the use of Chained CPI to calculate the cost of living adjustments under Social Security. John Boehner seems to be grasping for a drink and complaining loudly that the president is being a meanie by asking the super rich and the corporate behemoths to pay their fair share. And the Left? They can barely contain the traitor-drum:

I have explained this before. The President’s proposal would create a minimum baseline for Social Security benefits so that no one who works their whole life has to live in poverty in retirement. The minimum benefit would be above the poverty line, for the first time fulfilling the promise of Social Security to end elderly poverty and actually boosting benefits for the lowest wage workers, which the protectors of the Entitlement Status Quo are effectively against. The president’s proposal would also boost benefits at age 85, making sure the people most at risk of running out of their savings are taken care of. Let me say that again: for those in the greatest need, the president’s proposal would increase benefits.

Read more here

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The Left’s Math Problem: The Truth About “Cumulative” Social Security Benefits

The People’s View: Yes, yes, this will be another post on Chained CPI. But a little more dry. This is about the math. Previously, we have discussed why Chained CPI isn’t actually a cut in benefits, what different it makes in the calculations of the cost of living adjustments, and why in the context of broader reforms and progressive social investments, it’s worth doing. But what we haven’t talked about in very explicit terms is what the minor reductions in COLA will end up adding up to. The scaremongerers are  very interested in exploiting this. They arevery interested in scaring people with numbers about how much they will lose.

Take the AARP’s “How much you will lose calculator,” for example. Did you know that if you are a retiree with an average $15,190 in benefit today, over the next 30 years you will lose $20,000 in benefits? Wow. Talk about catfood, right? Somebody stop that conniving bastard Obama! I mean, right?

Giving context to scary numbers: Actually, there’s a lot of funny math going on here. First, the 30-year math completely ignores that President Obama is proposing to boost benefits for the oldest beneficiaries, at age 85. But let’s play along. $20,000 out of how much? The context is to define this “cut” they are talking about with respect to currently scheduled benefits. We can use total benefits in nominal dollars under current methods of COLA. So let’s work out those numbers. Let’s use AARP’s own calculations

Read more here 

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It’s Sunday….let the Crooner-In-Chief serenade you.

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05
Apr
13

This and That

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Greg Sargent: Liberals who oppose Chained CPI need to start thinking right now about how to answer this question: Which is worse, a Grand Bargain, or continued sequestration? It’s unclear to me that there is any other likely outcome. Either Republicans will decide to weather sequestration or they will agree to some kind of a deal to replace it. So liberals need a good policy answer to that question…..

Michael Tomasky: I Think Obama Is Bluffing

Steve Benen: The President, for good or ill, is once again returning to the negotiating table with pre-emptive concessions, offering cuts to Medicare and Social Security. In exchange, Obama expects Republicans to scrap the sequestration cuts and accept about $600 billion in new revenue through closed loopholes, limits on deductions, and ending tax breaks for industries like Big Oil.

Business Insider: Barack Obama’s Budget Will Contain A Massive ‘Screw You’ To Mitt Romney

Steve Benen: Sequestration takes a toll on cancer patients, Medicare… Sequestration cuts are affecting Medicare – though not as much as some other programs — and cancer clinics really are turning away thousands of patients as a result of the Republican spending cuts….

Greg Sargent: The economy added only 88,000 non-farm jobs in March. Could that be the beginning of sequestration? Or, alternatively, it could be wrong and could end up getting revised upwards. Indeed, January was revised upward to 148,000 jobs, and February up to 268,000. Of course, we may soon find out whether the sequester will undermine whatever recovery is underway

Steve Benen: Jobs totals stumble to 10-month low

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Washington Post: Maryland’s already-strong gun laws will become among the strictest in the nation with a measure passed by the General Assembly Thursday, sending the bill to the Democratic governor who proposed the legislation in the aftermath of December’s massacre at a Newtown….

Business Insider: Actually, Obama Really Does Have The Support Of Gun Owners

Ronald Brownstein: Why the Culture Wars Now Favor Democrats – Gay marriage, gun control, immigration – the wedge issues now divide Republicans…

Steve Benen: And then there were four …. This morning, freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) of North Dakota issued a statement endorsing marriage equality …. almost immediately after, freshman Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) of Indiana published a statement saying he, too, supports equal marriage rights for all….

Charles Pierce: Former freakishly elected senator Scott Brown has been listening to those consultants again, and is spoiling to get his leather-shorted ass kicked by another woman in another New England state….

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President Obama bows his head in prayer during the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, April 5

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Next week, there’s a major push by the White House on gun violence reform – on Monday, President Obama will speak on the issue in Hartford, CT; on Tuesday, VP Biden will host law enforcement officials at the White House; on Wednesday the First Lady will speak in Chicago on gun violence, and on Thursday VP Biden will appear on Morning Joe for a roundtable discussion on the issue. More details soon.

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Good-looking-gate:

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What am I missing from today?

26
Feb
13

Rise and Shine

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Today:

10:50: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews

11:50: Arrives in Newport News, Va.

1:05: Delivers remarks on the sequester

2:05: Departs Newport News

3:05: Arrives at the White House

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See more here – thanks UT

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Michael Tomasky: How the credulousness of mainstream media figures like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier enables Republican extremism …. On Saturday, I wrote about what I called the conservative Republican “rage machine” and its poisonous impact on our politics. I argued that a number of prominent conservative thinkers and pundits …. were and are partly responsible for this problem as long as they sit there pretending it doesn’t exist.

But there’s another responsible group here, too: Just as today’s Republican extremists benefit from the silence of conservative pundits, they also gain from the credulousness of mainstream figures who keep pretending that today’s GOP is a responsible party …. So that when the GOP takes a radical position on the sequester and Barack Obama a reasonable one, both are accorded equal seriousness, even when facts have to be ignored to do so.

Bob Woodward is Exhibit A here…..

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: …. the sequestration issue has been one of those rare items that frustrate me to the point of being incapable of spending time on it. When I read about sequestration, my brain seizes. The stupidity of it all simply confounds me to the point of being speechless. For me, this is a shocking and rare predicament.

It’s not even the chronic brinksmanship — the reoccurring doomsday countdowns and the Republican-manifested economic sabotage that’s behind it all. It’s not the Keynesian in me who opposes the very notion of deficit reduction during a sluggish recovery. Granted, these are both points of irritation, but the characteristic of the sequester that ought to force us all into complete apoplexy and subsequent outrage-induced catatonia is the epidemic of ignorance regarding the status of the federal budget deficit.

More here

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Charles Pierce: The administration made a sharp play, releasing a list of how the upcoming Sequester Plague is going to affect each individual state. (You will note the predominance of red states with Republican governors in the Top 20. Here’s Kansas, the most enthusiastic lab rat in the Republican experiment, and it will lose $5.5 million in school funding and have around 8000 defense-related employees furloughed….) There’s some not unexpected bleating coming from John Boehner’s office, as they duck phone calls from the district and hide behind either the curtains, or behind Bob Woodward’s reputation, whatever’s handiest.

…..You wanted the White House to play tough. This is Ronnie Lott stuff right here.

Full post here

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Jonathan Bernstein: House Republicans held a quick session with the press to mainly make one point: They have no responsibility for sequestration….

…. This standoff isn’t going to be resolved by rhetoric. But it’s worth noting the extent to which Republican spin simply ignores that there was an election in November.

….. whether Boehner and the Republicans like it or not, Barack Obama was in fact re-elected on a platform of “balanced” deficit reduction — that is, new revenue and new spending cuts. Republicans have of course every right to oppose that, but it’s a little strange hearing them talk as if that campaign and election never happened.

More here

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Steve Benen: Did you happen to catch yesterday’s Capitol Hill press conference with the entirety of the House Republican leadership? House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and House Republican Conference Cathy McMorris Rodgers wanted to talk about this week’s sequestration cuts, but in the process, they offered a case study in how to insult Americans’ intelligence.

More here

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Dana Milbank: …. With just four days left to stop automatic spending cuts House Republicans had but one item on their agenda Monday: renaming a NASA facility in California.

You’d have to be on another planet to think that renaming NASA operations is Congress’s most pressing order of business this week. But for Republicans …. the naming proposal was taken up at a time when House Republicans are pursuing a considered strategy of deliberate idleness.

After months of fretting over the harmful effects of sequestration, as the automatic cuts are called, House Republicans have belatedly embraced the realization that if they do nothing at all, they will be rewarded on Friday with a 2.5 percent cut in all federal spending without coughing up a single dollar in tax increases. They have learned to stop worrying and love the sequester.

More here

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MoooOOooorning!

16
Feb
13

A Good Sport (February 2013 edition)

Left-leaning (a popular sport in Communistic Europe):

Rodeo:

Synchronized-putting:

NASCAR:

Sky-gazing:

High-leg-thrusting:

Extreme-hugging:

Tour de Hawaii:

Weight-lifting:

Inaugural Ballroom Dancing:

Click here to see gazillions (ish) more photos




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