Health Care

West Wing Week 03/14/14 or “What’s Up, Captain America?”

The White House

This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Chile to attend the inauguration of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, while President Obama worked on improving access to college for students, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He also got out the word about the March 31 deadline for health insurance applications, congratulated NCAA champs, and designated a new national monument.

 

Friday, March 7th

·       The President and First Lady visited Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida to speak about the importance of signing up for Federal financial aid.

Monday, March 10th

·       The President participated in a conference call with healthcare enrollment leaders.

·       The President congratulated the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Champions at the White House.

Tuesday, March 11th

·      Funny or Die released an interview with President Obama on the web series Between Two Ferns.

·      The President added the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to existing National Monument land in California

·      Later that day, the President visited a Gap Store in New York City to highlight Gap’s choice to raise the minimum wage for their               employees.

Wednesday, March 12th

·     The President met with a group of advocates who are getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act.

·      Later that day, the President held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine.

·      Then, the President hosted a meeting with women members of Congressto discuss the 2014 women’s economic agenda.

Thursday, March 13th

·       The President spoke on the urgent need to get hardworking Americans the overtime pay they deserve.

·       Later, the President took a photo with the 52nd Annual U.S. Sentae Youth program.

 

John Roberts Refuses To Grant Obamacare Emergency Stay

Chief Justice John Roberts

The Huffington Post

The Supreme Court has refused a group of doctors’ request to block implementation of the nation’s new health care law.

Chief Justice John Roberts turned away without comment Monday an emergency stay request from the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. and the Alliance for Natural Health USA.

They asked the chief justice Friday to temporarily block the law, saying Congress had passed it incorrectly by starting it in the Senate instead of the House. Revenue-raising bills are supposed to originate in the lower chamber. They also wanted blocked doctor registration requirements they say will make it harder for independent non-Medicare physicians to treat Medicare-eligible patients.

Still pending is a decision on a temporary block on the law’s contraceptive coverage requirements, which was challenged by a group of nuns.

Fox’s Hume Details How Right Wing Media Push GOP To Extremes

Media Matters

HUME: I’m not sure they’re calling the shots but make no mistake about it, Bill. These — some of these radio talk show hosts have real influence. They have a huge following, particularly in very conservative areas where they are most popular and where the many members of congress who inhabit those areas are not worried about being reelected if they can get nominated. But they are worried about a primary challenge that could deny them the nomination.

O’REILLY: And that happened –

 

HUME: So they’ll go a long way to avoid it and keeping radio talk show hosts off their back is one way of doing that.

 

O’REILLY: That happened in Indiana to Lugar. He was a very well thought of senator, moderate. And then a more conservative guy got the nomination. He lost in the general race. So you believe that in Congress, if somebody has to run every two years as they do, and they get on the wrong side of a powerful radio voice, that’s beamed into their district, because the guys are national, they can really do them bad damage if they promote the other guy?

 

HUME:  Well, look, it’s not controlling but it’s a factor. I mean, if you’re a pragmatic politician up for reelection, you’re looking at the landscape and you don’t want to a lot of problems. And you don’t — and in many of these districts the Democrats can’t cause you any problems. There are just not enough of them. What there are enough of is conservative Republicans and conservative Republicans around the country today are very disappointed in their party and its leadership. And they think that the control of the House of Representatives should have been able to give them much more leverage than they seem to have been able to demonstrate and they should have been able to do more with it. And so if you’re sitting over in the House of Representatives and some measures of defund Obamacare comes along and you think it’s a suicide mission because it might involve a government shutdown you’re going to be hesitant to oppose it anyway because you don’t want the most conservative — you don’t want the tea party and you don’t want the conservative radio talk show hosts on your back. That doesn’t mean they can defeat you but it means you don’t want it.

See video here…

Rick Perry Seeks Obamacare Funding For Texans – While Continuing Attack On Obamacare

rick perry obamacare funding

Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues his strident attack on Obamacare as he seeks funding under the law for Texans. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

Ooops

The Huffington Post

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a longstanding Obamacare critic, is negotiating a $100 million health care deal with the Obama administration, Politico reported on Tuesday.

The Community First Choice Program, aimed at improving the quality of health services for the elderly and disabled, was approved by the Texas legislature earlier this year. Perry health aides are now looking to the Obama administration for funding.

Perry has been a strident Obamacare critic from the beginning, but his spokesman explained that the funding pitch is about aiding people with disabilities, independent of a health insurance mandate.

“Long before Obamacare was forced on the American people, Texas was implementing policies to provide those with intellectual disabilities more community options to enable them to live more independent lives, at a lower cost to taxpayers,” Havens said in a statement. “The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will continue to move forward with these policies because they are right for our citizens and our state, regardless of whatever funding schemes may be found in Obamacare.”

According to Politico, 12,000 Texans are expected to benefit from the program in its first year, beginning in September 2014.

 

Romney lied about pre-existing conditions during debate

John Aravosis of America Blog nails it:

Mitt Romney’s camp is already flip-flipping over Romney’s promises during last night’s presidential debate.  Starting with health care reform and pre-existing conditions, a topic Romney already flip-flopped on four times in a single 24-hour period a month ago.

Which is a pretty amazing record, considering that Romney has never really given anyone any details as to just what his health care plan is.

Here’s Romney during last night’s debate, lying:

OBAMA: But the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he’s offered, like letting you buy insurance across state lines, there’s no indication that that somehow is going to help somebody who’s got a pre-existing condition be able to finally buy insurance. In fact, it’s estimated that by repealing Obamacare, you’re looking at 50 million people losing health insurance…

LEHRER: Let’s…

OBAMA: … at a time when it’s vitally important.

LEHRER: Let’s let the governor explain what you would do…

ROMNEY: Well…

LEHRER: … if Obamacare is repealed. How would you replace it?

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Well, actually it’s — it’s — it’s a lengthy description. But, number one,preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.

And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That’s part of my health care plan. And what we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. And I said that at that time.

What they did in Massachusetts is ban discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. The same thing that happens in Obamacare. Mitt Romney plans on repealing that, and leaving it up to the states if they want to ban pre-existing conditions.

Brian Beutler of TPMDC:

After the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Colorado on Wednesday night, one of Mitt Romney’s top advisers acknowledged that, as a result Romney’s plan to repeal Obamacare, people with pre-existing medical conditions would likely be unable to purchase insurance.

“With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to existing laws which require insurance companies to sell coverage to people who already have insurance, or within 90 days of losing their employer coverage.

Pressed by TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

Oops.

The practical import of this is that 89m people would lose the pre-existing condition protection they have under Obamacare. That ain’t nothing.

Related articles

Perry ‘proudly’ refuses health care to 1.2 million low-income Texans

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Photo: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com.

Between Governor Rick Scott of Florida and Governor Rick Perry of Texas, their governing is quite questionable to any reasonable person.

The Raw Story

In a statement published Monday morning, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) “proudly” declared that he will decline to implement key tenets of the Affordable Care Act — a move that will see his state forgo an estimated $164 billion dollars in federal aid and leave over 1.2 million low-income Texans, who would have finally been eligible for health care, helpless and uninsured.

“This is a fiscally stupid decision on the part of Rick Perry,” Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Rebecca Acuña told Raw Story. “Texas would be one of the states that gets the most money from the federal government and the Medicaid expansion would have provided health care to more than a million Texans. It’s… It’s very sad that Rick Perry is willing to play politics with the health of Texans, and that’s exactly what this decision is.”

WATCH: Perry says Medicaid expansion like ‘adding 1,000 people to the Titanic’

With his announcement, Perry becomes the sixth governor to refuse implementing a key aspect of the Affordable Care Act: the Medicaid expansion and the state-based health care exchanges. Republican governors in Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Wisconsin have made similar decisions, but Texas is by far the biggest.

Perry would seem to be inviting a political free-for-all thanks to the relative size and power of the Texas hospital industry, which absorbed more than $4.6 billion in unpaid emergency medical costs in 2010. While not seeing it as a cure-all, Texas hospitals largely praised the Affordable Care Act for dramatically expanding health care options for poor people, who are ultimately paid for by others who carry their own insurance. Nearly 25 percent of Texans — 6.5 million people — do not have health insurance, including more than 1.2 million children, and the state’s health care system ranks last in the nation overall.

Continue reading here…

10 Things You Would Have Missed About Obamacare

FYI…

Think Progress

1) Access to health insurance for 30 million Americans and lower premiums. More than 30 million uninsured Americans will find coverage under the law. Middle-class families who buy health care coverage through the exchanges will be eligible for refundable and advanceable premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies to ensure that the coverage they have is affordable.

2) The ability of businesses and individuals to purchase comprehensive coverage from a regulated marketplace. The law creates new marketplaces for individuals and small businesses to compare and purchase comprehensive coverage. Insurers will have to meet quality measures to ensure that Americans can access comprehensive coverage when they need it.

3) Insurers’ inability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer deny insurance to families or individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurers are also prohibited from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and rescinding insurers except in cases of fraud. Insurers are already prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.

4) Tax credits for small businesses that offer insurance. Small employers that purchase health insurance for employees are already receiving tax credits to encourage them to continue providing coverage.

5) Assistance for businesses that provide health benefits to early retirees.The law created a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing health insurance coverage to retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare, reimbursing employers or insurers for 80% of retiree claims. The program has offered at least $4.73 billion in reinsurance payments to more than 2,800 employers and other sponsors of retiree plans, with an average cumulative reimbursement per plan sponsor of approximately $189,700.

6) Affordable health care for lower-income Americans. Obamacare extends Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line, guaranteeing that the nation’ most vulnerable population has access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.

7) Investments in women’s health. Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging women substantially more than men and requires insurers to offer preventive services — including contraception — at no additional cost.

8) Young adults’ ability to stay on their parents’ health care plans. More than 3.1 million young people have already benefited from dependent coverage, which allows children up to age 26 to remain insured on their parents’ plans.

9) Discounts for seniors on brand-name drugs. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to provide a 50% discount on prescriptions filled in the Medicare Part D coverage gap. Seniors have already saved $3.5 billion on prescription drug costs thanks to the Affordable Care Act provision.

10) Temporary coverage for the sickest Americans. The law established temporary national high-risk pools that are providing health coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions who cannot find insurance on the individual market. In 2014, they will be able to enroll in insurance through the exchanges. 67,482 individuals have already benefited from the program.

David Gregory on “Obamacare”: “Nobody’s really been given anything yet.” Oh really?

In my opinion David Gregory still has a lot to learn about “Obamacare”…

The Political Carnival

I was barely awake when the news was blasted loud and clear about the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate. That woke me up pretty quickly. But you know what really opened my eyes? This quote by MSNBC’s David Gregory (host of NBC’s Meet the Press”) when he was asked to comment about how Republicans would respond to the president’s victory:

“Nobody’s really been given anything yet.”

He said that to buttress the idea that the voting public wouldn’t be swayed by the decision because, see, they haven’t “benefited yet,” so they still won’t support the plan.

Yes, he said that. Yes he’s uninformed and unqualified to work in the news media.

So none of this happened, David?

  • Providing Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits Effective Jan. 1, 2010
  • Allowing States to Cover More People on Medicaid Effective April 1, 2010
  • Relief for Four Million Seniors Who Hit the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole” Program applied only on 2010.
  • Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud Many provisions effective now
  • Expanding Coverage for Early Retirees Applications for employers to participate in the program available June 1, 2010.
  • Providing Access to Insurance for Uninsured Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions National program established July 1, 2010
  • Putting Information Online Effective July 1, 2010
  • Extending Coverage for Young Adults Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 Under the new law, young adults are allowed to stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26 years old.
  • Providing Free Preventive Care Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010
  • Prohibiting Insurance Companies from Rescinding Coverage  Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010
  • Appealing Insurance Company Decisions  Effective for new plans beginning on or after September 23, 2010
  • Eliminating Lifetime Limits on Insurance Coverage Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010
  • Regulating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010
  • Prohibiting Denying Coverage of Children Based on Pre-Existing Conditions Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 for new plans and existing group plans
  • Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for Unreasonable Rate Hikes Grants will be awarded beginning in 2010
  • Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for Unreasonable Rate Hikes Grants will be awarded beginning in 2010
  • Prescription Drug Discounts Effective January 1, 2011
  • Free Preventive Care for Seniors Effective January 1, 2011
  • Improving Care for Seniors after They Leave the Hospital Effective January 1, 2011

Oh, and there was this: Damn that “Obamacare” and its $1.1 billion in rebates!

The Top 15 Most Dangerous Conservative Politicians And Government Officials To Watch In 2012

I’ve only listed the first six here.  The rest can be found on the resource website:

Addicting Info

From the Supreme Court to the halls of Congress to governor’s mansions across the country, conservatives have ruthlessly pushed an agenda that has torn America asunder since 1980. As 2011 comes to a close, conservatives are still trying to push failed policies. This is a list of 15 individual conservatives that pose a significant threat to American society as we move into 2012 and beyond.

1. John Roberts) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court leads four other conservative judges on the bench. Placed on the high court by President Bush, John Roberts has been influential in changing campaign finance laws (Citizens United) and has since ruled in favor of big corporations. And the conservative court isn’t through yet. Conservatives desire to overturn abortion, environmental laws, President Obama’s health care law, and voting rights laws, and you can bet that they are aiming to use the Supreme Court to do it.

2. Eric Cantor) The House Majority Leader has been very busy since his party took over the House in 2010. Cantor has proven that he has more power than John Boehner does, hence the fact that Boehner isn’t even on the list. Cantor is willing to do whatever it takes to slam every right-wing bill through Congress. He also has the backing of Tea Party House members. Cantor is still young, which means he could be a major player on the right for decades to come. It’s also likely that he could be the next Speaker of the House if the GOP keeps control after the 2012 Election.

3. Clarence Thomas) The second Supreme Court Justice to make the list has deep ties to the conservative movement. He has ties to Koch Industries and has received money from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations. He has refused to recuse himself from cases that he has ties to and that is what makes him dangerous. Thomas ruled with the other conservatives in Citizens United even though he had a conflict of interest in that case as well. As long as he is on the bench with Roberts, outside influences can dictate how the conservative wing rules.

4. Mitch McConnell) He may be the Senate Minority Leader but that doesn’t make McConnell any less poisonous to America. He has led the effort to block and stall many important pieces of legislation in the Senate and has blocked Presidential nominees from taking their posts, leaving many departments leaderless. We’ll see more of the same thing in 2012.

5. Paul Ryan) The second member of the U.S. House of Representatives to make the list, Ryan is a major threat because he introduced legislation that would kill Medicare by privatizing it. Essentially, Ryan’s plan throws all American senior citizens under a speeding bus. Ryan isn’t an old man either. He could remain active in politics for decades, which means his ideas will still be around as well. Even if the people of Wisconsin don’t re-elect him to Congress, Ryan could still join any conservative think tank or organization, or become a lobbyist. They would love to have him too. Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are in danger as long as Ryan is around.

6. Scott Walker) The first of two governors on the list has been busy since he took office. The Governor of Wisconsin is on this list because he is an example of just how involved the Koch brothers are in shaping public policy. Under Walker’s “leadership” he has severely weakened labor unions and worker’s rights, weakened environmental laws, weakened pubic education, weakened voter rights, and has put public lands and facilities up for grabs as a way to increase privatization. Some of these facilities are of deep interest to the Koch brothers. As further evidence that Walker is basically a Koch slave, he took a fake call from a person pretending to be David Koch at the height of the collective bargaining debate. Walker could very well be recalled by the people of Wisconsin but Walker intends to sabotage that effort. Walker’s career in Wisconsin may not last beyond this year, but that doesn’t make him any less of a threat, as governors around the country are following his lead and he could always run for federal office later on.

Continue here…

One Woman’s Story On How ‘ObamaCares’ Is Saving Her Life

I wonder how many similar stories are out there?

Mario Piperni

Spike Dolomite Ward tells her story  in an LA Times op-ed.

I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.

I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. We’re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids’ schools and church.

We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.

[...]

Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”

Continued…