Obamacare is doing better at a lot of things than anyone seriously expected. The law’s initial premiums came in cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office projected when the law first passed. In April 2014, the Congressional Budget Office said the unexpectedly low premiums meant Obamacare would cost $104 billion less than they previously thought. If Kaiser’s estimates hold nationally, Obamacare’s cost will have to be revised downward yet again.
The fear about government programs in general, and government health-insurance programs in particular, is that they are overly generous because they spend other people’s money. But Obamacare’s competitive insurance marketplaces are actually doing what they promised to do: forcing insurers to compete for customers by cutting costs. The Congressional Budget Office explains that Obamacare’s premiums are cheaper than expected because its insurance features “lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans do.”
That is something of an extraordinary statement: Obamacare is forcing insurers to run leaner than employers are.
The first year of the Affordable Care Act was, by almost every measure, an unmitigated disaster in Mississippi. In a state stricken by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the highest mortality rate in the nation, President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law has barely registered, leaving the country’s poorest and most segregated state trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis.
In fact, it’s hard to find a list where Mississippi doesn’t rank last: Life expectancy. Per capita income. Children’s literacy. “Mississippi’s people do not fare well,” wrote Willie Morris, a seventh-generation native son who grew up in Yazoo City, once a bustling trading center perched on the southern edge of the cotton-rich Delta. Today, nearly half of Yazoo City’s residents live in poverty; its people, like the Delta’s vast swamps, have largely been drained away, along with the farming and factory jobs that used to support them. In a state with a population that is still half rural, signs of impoverishment are everywhere: irrepressible kudzu vines pressing into the glass door of an abandoned building; tipsy wooden shacks that look neglected and forlorn are instead occupied with life. “The Depression, in fact, was not a noticeable phenomenon in the poorest state in the Union,” Eudora Welty wrote of Mississippi in the 1930s. It remains the poorest state today.
None of which bodes well for health coverage in Mississippi. Small businesses that dominate the economy typically don’t offer health insurance, and Mississippi’s public health program for the poor is one of the most restrictive in the nation. Able-bodied adults without dependent children can’t sign up for Medicaid in Mississippi, no matter how little they earn, and only parents who earn less than 23 percent of the federal poverty level—some $384 a month for a family of three—can enroll. As a result, one in four adult Mississippians goes without health coverage. For African-Americans, the numbers are even worse: One in three adults is uninsured.
Mississippi has the highest rate of leg amputations in America and one of the lowest rates of hemoglobin H1c testing, used to monitor and prevent diabetes complications. Amputations on African-Americans are even more startling: 4.41 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees versus 0.92 for non-blacks. The state also has high breast cancer death rates, even though it has low breast cancer incidence rates. The cancer often isn’t detected until it’s too late.
Tens of Thousands of Walmart Workers Are About to Lose Their Health Insurance — and It’s Good News! - Vox
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, announced Tuesday that it would no longer offer health insurance benefits to its 26,000 part-time workers.
Nobody likes losing any kind of benefit at work. But for the particular Walmart workers in this case, the end of employer-sponsored insurance could actually turn out to be a great thing.
Should I wonder if the Waltons have spent any money on the effort to have the ACA repealed?
Mike Littwin flags a TV interview in which Congressman and Senate candidate Cory Gardner shows off his obfuscation skills.
Cory Gardner has mastered the art of not answering a question. But he ran into a reporter, in FOX 31’s Eli Stokols, who refused to take a dodge for an answer.
It was early Sunday morning on Stokols’ #COpolitics interview show, which became the strangest 22 minutes you’re likely to see on TV. Stokols asked the two questions — on Gardner’s co-sponsorship of federal personhood bill and on Gardner’s claims on his canceled health insurance policy — for which Gardner has no apparent answer. Stokols didn’t just ask them. He asked them over and over, vainly hoping for an answer.
And so the back-and-forth would go something like this:
Stokols asks a question. Gardner dodges. Stokols corners Gardner. Gardner feints. Stokols interrupts. Gardner interrupts back. Stokols quotes authorities. Gardner apparently doesn’t hear him. Stokols quotes facts. Gardner blames [U.S. Senator Mark] Udall. And on and on.
Check out the NRA’s latest anti control proposal. In a Think Progress Video, I originally saw over at Wonkette ( where we had a lot of fun making fun of it ), Billy Johnson, proposed for lack of a better term “Gun Socialism.”
Kyle Kulinski ( Secular Talk ) Created an excellent response video to Billy Johnson’s “Gun Socialism”
I have to agree with Kulinski.
How would putting guns into the hands of children stop school shootings? We’re supposed to trust little kids now, who are barely mature enough to survive on their own to use dangerous weapons?
Also I’ll bet, Johnson expects us to believe the old myth that more guns equals less crime, sorry but it doesn’t exactly work that way.
His idea may fall in line with the most extreme interpretations of the second amendment, but how is he supposed to squire with the wingnut opposition to anything even perceived to be socialist?
Now how is it that Obamacare, which is supposedly socialism and therefor bad, but this isn’t socialism and this is good? I mean he’s advocating the government spend our tax dollars on giving people guns? Not to mention government funded shooting ranges, and “free” ammo? How is it that wingnuts wouldn’t call him a socialist if he was proposing something like this for anything else?
Also the reason why even the most extreme anti gun control advocates in general can’t perceive guns as a need, in the way he says we should, probably has something to do with this fact. Human beings have literally survived for over a million years without guns.
The whole kerfuffle comes down to poorly worded phrasing in the section of the ACA that is under dispute. But really, as Ezra points out, the fundamental purpose of the ACA - the reason it was passed - was to provide assistance to people to buy health insurance if they can’t afford it on their own. That’s the intent of the law. And intent, whether it be of a state legislature, Congress, or the framers of the Constitution, has been a guiding principal in Supreme Court decisions since the dawn of the Republic.
For what it’s worth, if the SCOTUS does take this case (and some have suggested they may not), while the ideologically driven/insane justices like Scalia would probably uphold the appeals court panel decision, the others would clearly see what the intent of the law is, and rule accordingly.
So once again, all the right wing end zone dances - like the ones we’ve seen over Benghazi, the IRS “scandal,” Fast & Furious…even the birther stuff - will have been premature.
The right is failing to turn the American people against “Obama care.” Mark Strauss reports on their failed ad campaign featuring the man in the odd “Uncle Sam” costume.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have spent an estimated $450 million on political ads attacking the law, outspending supporters of Obamacare 15-to-1. But a state-by-state comparison of negative ads and enrollment figures suggests the attacks ads actually increased public awareness of the healthcare program.
Josh Israel over at Think Progress on the biggest, most power organization of the religious right, and the weapons they use to fight against liberty in the guise of defending liberty. “The Alliance Defending Freedom” is anything but what its name suggests it is.
The Alliance Defending Freedom wants to take America back to the 3rd century. Literally. On the website for its legal fellowship program, the organization explains that it “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.”
“This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal,” the explanation goes on. “Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.”
While the Arizona-based organization has not made much progress in its mission of restoring the religious sentiments of the Byzantine Era, it has built a massive “legal ministry,” relying on 21st century attorneys and an eight-figure annual budget to reshape American law and society.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in 2012 and ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages in 2013, dozens of legal challenges have been filed around the country over questions of whether insurance plans must provide contraception, whether states must allow equal access to marriage, and whether people with religious objections to birth control and homosexuality can opt-out of complying with those laws. In case after case, one organization has been at the helm of defending the Christian conservative position.
A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama’s health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults.
Nonetheless, Obama’s announcement Thursday that 8 million have signed up for subsidized private insurance, and that 35 percent of them are younger than 35, is just a peek at what might be going on with the nation’s newest social program.
Still to be announced is what share of those enrolled were previously uninsured — the true test of Obama’s Affordable Care Act — and how many actually secured coverage by paying their first month’s premiums.
“This thing is working,” a confident Obama said of his signature domestic achievement. The days of website woes and canceled policies seemed far behind.
Clearly Obama is the most ineffective anti-colonial tyrant in the history of humanity: what a measly income for being the Dictator of America! I bet he doesn’t have even any lifesize gold statues, or a private zoo, or a full-size boat sitting in his garden.
President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported adjusted gross income of $481,098 for 2013, down 21 percent from last year, according to tax returns released today by the White House.
The Obamas paid $98,169 in federal taxes, including $2,310 imposed by the 2010 Affordable Care Act that he signed. That’s an effective income tax rate of 20.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Smokin’ Joe Biden and his wife Jill pulled in a little over $407,000 and paid out 23.7% in taxes. That’ll slow down those muscle car renovations Biden is alleged to enjoy. Jay Leno is quietly laughing in his garage.
[NOTE: Some sarcasm is contained in this report. Read and retweet with caution.]