Posts Tagged ‘drivers


Rise and Shine


Pete Souza: “The President plays with Sunny, the new Obama family pet, on the South Lawn on Sunny’s first day at the White House.”



NYT: Millions Gaining Health Coverage Under Law

Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Starting Wednesday, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and cannot charge higher premiums to women than to men for the same coverage. In most cases, insurers must provide a standard set of benefits prescribed by federal law and regulations. And they cannot set dollar limits on what they spend on “essential health benefits” for a policyholder.

“I feel a huge sense of relief,” said Katie R. Norvell, 33, a music therapist in St. Louis, who has been uninsured for three and a half years and has a pre-existing gynecological condition, endometriosis. She signed up Dec. 22 for a midlevel silver plan offered by Coventry Health Care, owned by Aetna, and has already begun making doctor’s appointments. “With coverage,” she said, “I can be my best self. Health insurance won’t control my job choices.”

More here



Baltimore Sun: Thousands Of Immigrants Seek Drivers Licenses

Thousands of immigrants living here without legal permission will start the new year demonstrating skills in parallel parking and two-point turns in hopes of becoming licensed drivers in Maryland. Maryland joins a handful of states on Jan. 1 that issue so-called “second-tier” licenses that allow immigrants who do not have full legal documentation to drive on Maryland roads, register cars and obtain insurance. The licenses will not suffice as federal identification. Nearly 13,000 immigrants have signed up to take driving tests in the coming weeks, according to state officials.

Advocacy groups hail the licensing process as a step toward self-sufficiency for many and as a means to promote safety because drivers must know the rules of the road and can get insurance. Many immigrants, though, say the ability to get a license will make their lives easier. Armando Tema, an immigrant from Guatemala who lives in Baltimore, has marked his calendar for Jan. 9, when he has his appointment with the Motor Vehicle Administration. He’s a cook at a restaurant in Catonsville and said with a license, he’ll no longer have to rely on the bus for transportation. He said he was beaten and robbed a couple of years ago while waiting for a bus.

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Washington Post: Getting Health Coverage Like ‘Light At End Of Dark Tunnel’

Adam Peterson’s life is about to change. For the first time in years, he is planning to do things he could not have imagined. He intends to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, an operation he needs to avoid another trip to the emergency room. And he’s looking forward to running a marathon in mid-January along the California coast without constant anxiety about what might happen if he gets injured. These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.

Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement. Getting Americans health insurance is at the heart of the health law, the most significant change in health-care policy since the 1965 creation of Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. Such a dramatic expansion in coverage had eluded presidents, including Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Bill Clinton, for decades.

Emily Wright has been worrying about the mole on her back. The suspicious mole is on a mental list of “little things” that Wright, 28, of Johnson City, Tenn., said she wants to get checked out. Recurring joint pain in a foot and knee are also on the list. So are her frequently swollen glands. Wright also needs surgery for endometriosis, a painful gynecological condition that has already required her to have two operations. Constant pain makes it difficult for her to work delivering pizzas and attend East Tennessee State University, where she hopes to get a history degree in May. Enrolling through the federal exchange, she qualified for a federal subsidy and picked a top-tier plan that will cost her $125 a month. The soonest appointment she could get with an obstetrics-gynecology practice, the first step before surgery, is Jan. 17. “I am excited. I am ready,” she said. “It feels like the light at the end of the long dark tunnel.”

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Brian Beutler: GOP’s 2014 Horror Strategy: Exploit American’s Misfortune, Drum Up Fake Outrage

A quick look at the House and Senate vote calendars indicates that Congress did not in fact come back into session over the holidays to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means that as of today (depending on how you count it) millions and millions of people who were previously uninsured now have comprehensive healthcare coverage. There’s the 3-or-so million young adults under 26 who have been covered under their parents plans for a couple of years now, about 4 million new Medicaid beneficiaries, and some large percentage of the 2 million who have enrolled in a private plan via or one of 14 state-based insurance exchanges and submitted their first premium payment.

Their benefits are now active, which means proponents of repealing the law have a severe entropy problem on their hands. Just like you can’t re-create an erased image by unshaking an Etch-A-Sketch, you can no longer re-create the pre-Obamacare status quo by repealing the law. After spending three months effusing sympathy for people who’ve had their insurance plans canceled, Republicans can’t really continue to support repeal while ignoring the (2 million? 6 million? 9 million?) who would lose their coverage as a result. But the GOP lacks a consensus replacement for Obamacare, and the plans that caucuses within the party do support don’t do anything for the new beneficiaries, and fall well short of Obamacare’s coverage expansion in the long run. They’ve walked into a cul-de-sac planting mines behind themselves along the way.

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Josh Marshall: As Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge, So Does Conservative Rage

It is amazing to witness the sheer depths of rage, denial and disgust many people experience as they see millions of people gaining access to affordable health care for the first time. After an expected surge of sign-ups in late December, just over 2.1 million people have purchased ACA-compliant health care policies through the federal and state health care exchanges. A bit more than half came through the now-mainly-functional website (which covers 36 states) and the rest came from the 14 states which established their own exchanges. Next there are currently rough 4.3 million people who have been enrolled in Medicaid through Medicaid expansion. Notably, we also know the number of Americans who have been prevented from getting coverage because Republican governors and/or state legislatures who refused to participate in Medicaid expansion. That’s 5 million people.

Next there’s a number that’s been in effect for a couple years now and no one seems to want to discuss: roughly 3.1 million young adults under the age of 26 who now remain covered under their parents policies under a key provision of the ACA. This went into effect in September 2010. And the number of covered young adults in that age bracket grew steadily over the next two years. So let’s do some simple math. 2.1M + 4.3M + 3.1M = 9.5 million covered. So how does it get to 10 million? What none of these tabulations take into account are people who bought ACA-compliant policies directly from insurance carriers as opposed to purchasing them from private carriers via the exchanges. A lot of people did this and there was actually an aggressive push to get people to do so while the federal exchange site remained basically dead in the water. There is no tally of this number yet and will require a survey of carriers throughout the country. But I suspect it is certainly in the hundreds of thousands. And thus the round number of 10 million.

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Think Progress: Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Could Lift Nearly 5 Million Out Of Poverty

Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could lift about 4.6 million people out of poverty directly, according to a new study from economist Arindrajit Dube. Longer-term effects could reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by 6.8 million. That wage level “would reduce the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 by as much as 1.7 percentage points,” Jillian Berman explains in the Huffington Post. Poverty increased by 3.4 percent during the recession, a rate that has not improved since, but a $10.10 wage would erase more than half of that uptick. Dube’s findings come from an analysis of 23 years of data on minimum wage increases as well as a review of previous findings.

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Pete Souza: “The President signs memorabilia in the Oval Office for an overjoyed Nina Centofanti, 8, the 2013 March of Dimes National Ambassador.”


48 meets 44

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson presents President Obama with driving gloves during an event to honor Johnson for his fifth consecutive championship in the East Room of the White House

From left to right: Jeff Burton; Kyle Busch; Jeff Gordon; Jimmie Johnson; Denny Hamlin; Matt Kenseth; Kurt Busch; and Clint Bowyer







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