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Posts tagged ‘Affordable Care Act’

Mary Matalin: Nancy Pelosi, Democrats Running ‘Scared’.


Top Republican political strategist Mary Matalin says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing a “Kabuki dance” by claiming Republicans are “wasting their time” using the Affordable Care Act as a campaign issue.

“It’s all a Kabuki dance. Obviously, they are scared and they’re trying to scrounge off a strategy and they’ve come up with, let’s see Obamacare on the offense and attack Republicans,” Matalin told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“Do you think anyone is listening to Nancy Pelosi?”

Story continues below video.

Pelosi took on the GOP after Republican newcomer David Jolly beat well-known Democrat Alex Sink in a special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday. Many see the victory as a referendum on Obamacare.

“Sink — the kitchen sink had him, pun intended — [she] lost and that is not a Republican district,” Matalin said.

“I don’t see anything in the midterm elections that would portend anything but a positive outcome for Republicans.”

Matalin — who served under President Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H.W. Bush, and was an assistant to President George W. Bush — said she was impressed by this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I love when Republicans, conservatives, talk the talk. When they have open debates. When they fight, when they get into it. I love the Rand [Paul]-[Ted] Cruz different approaches,” Matalin said.

“You saw a very deep back-bench of intelligent, articulate candidates, would-be candidates or incumbents who can carry that message. I was in heaven …

“My personal opinion, the guy who’s going to end up in the top tier wasn’t there, which is [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker.”

Matalin added that she doesn’t believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ultimately be the Democrats’ choice for the 2016 presidential race.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

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Pelosi: Dems Have ‘Embraced’ Obamacare, Will Not Shy Away From It.


Image: Pelosi: Dems Have 'Embraced' Obamacare, Will Not Shy Away From It

By Cathy Burke

Republicans are “wasting their time” trash-talking Obamacare on the campaign trail — Democrats have “embraced” the law and will be “proud” of it in upcoming races, according to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Republican David Jolly’s win Tuesday in Florida over Democrat Alex Sink was a fluke, Pelosi said Thursday, pushing back at the GOP’s characterization of the victory as a harbinger of elections to come, and a reflection of voter anger over Obamacare. 

“The fact that it is an off-year election — in other words, a non-presidential year — and a special election is like a double-whammy in terms of reducing turnout,” she said, according to The Hill. 

“We feel confident about the fuller participation in November, and what that will mean for that election.”

Jolly on Tuesday had chided Pelosi for her “spin control.”

“The president’s health-care plan has hurt the people in this county, and a number of people came out to the polls today to express that concern to the president and to Congress,” he said, telling Fox News: “I think my new colleague Nancy Pelosi might be engaging in some spin control this evening,” the Daily Caller reported. 

On Thursday, Pelosi insisted the GOP is misreading Jolly’s victory.

“I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their electoral issue, and they will find that out,” she warned, adding Democrats were “absolutely not” avoiding the issue of the controversial law.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats and how they’ve not only embraced the Affordable Care Act … but how proud they are of it,” she said.

“There are many good things about the Affordable Care Act that are good for the health and well-being of the American people. There are some things that need to be fixed, let’s do that. And that is the message of our members.”

But The Hill reported the National Republican Congressional Committee contends that message “failed.”

“If you’re a Democrat in one of those crossover seats, I’d be panicked this morning, because their playbook they’ve given [Democrats] is to run on ObamaCare,” Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, head of the NRCC said Wednesday, The Hill reported.

“Go support the president and go support Obamacare, and they tried that out and it failed.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Obama Administration Drops Proposal to Limit Medicare Drugs.


The Obama administration has abandoned a proposed change in Medicare after the plan was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The plan would have given health insurance companies more freedom to limit the number of drugs covered by Medicare. Those against the proposal said it would restrict seniors’ access to drugs they need.

Under current Medicare law, the majority of drugs across six classes are covered. The proposed plan would have limited that list to three classes — drugs that treat cancer, HIV and seizures.

“We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in these areas in future years,” Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner wrote to lawmakers Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded by saying the Obama administration should not go forward with its proposed cut in Medicare Advantage, a program that helps seniors pay for select medical services — including prescription drugs, also known as Part D.

“We remain concerned about the impact of Obamacare’s looming cuts to Medicare Advantage, something that was not addressed in today’s announcement,” McConnell said in a statement. “Seniors need to know whether the president will stand by his word, and that they can keep the plans they have and like.”

As the administration tries to regulate the industry more under the Affordable Care Act, seniors’ access to drugs has become a hot-button issue. Several proposals have popped up, ranging from limiting certain drugs depending on where the patient lives to allowing all pharmacies to dispense medication, regardless of the patient’s plan or healthcare network.

“We plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into consideration the comments received during the public comment period,” Tavenner wrote.

The Partnership for Part D Access, a coalition based in Washington that advocates for the right of seniors to continue to receive prescription drug coverage, was pleased with Monday’s decision to ax the proposal.

“We are thrilled that [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has listened to the loud chorus of support for maintaining beneficiary access to the life-saving drugs provided under Medicare Part D,” said coalition member Chuck Ingoglia, senior vice president of the National Council for Behavioral Health.

“Although we need to remain vigilant on this issue, we commend today’s action by CMS, which will allow millions of seniors to continue to confidently rely upon Medicare to provide them the drugs they need.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Jason Devaney

GAO to Probe Flawed State Obamacare Exchanges.


Image: GAO to Probe Flawed State Obamacare ExchangesRep. Greg Walden

Spurred on by House Republicans, the investigative arm of Congress is looking into problems with state health exchange websites around the country. The U.S. Government Accountability Office will try to determine how $304 million in federal grants was spent on the Cover Oregon website, which has yet to enroll a single person online without special assistance.

The agency said due to similar requests from several members of Congress and congressional committees related to the rollout of online health care exchanges, it would broaden the investigation and issue several separate reports on its findings.

GAO spokesman Charles Young said just which states will be included with Oregon will be determined as the investigation goes forward. But 14 states and the District of Columbia opted to create their own exchanges and accepted federal funding to do so.

Republicans have been stepping up their attacks on troubled health exchanges during this election year, but Rep. Greg. Walden, R-Ore., said it was a non-partisan issue.

He noted Oregon Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley made their own requests for the GAO to investigate a day after the Republicans — Walden, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan, and Reps. Joe Pitts and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania — filed theirs last month.

“The politics will play out where they may, good or bad,” Walden said. “That doesn’t mean you don’t ask questions. We need to get answers.”

Merkley said in a statement that he looked forward to the GAO’s recommendations “about how to fix the system and avoid this happening in the future.”

Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox said, “We will participate fully with the GAO as they conduct their work.”

Walden added that the probe of state websites would “piggyback nicely” on another GAO look at the federal health exchange website, which has already begun.

Separately, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked for an inspector general’s investigation into problems with the rollout of the health care law.

Some of the state exchanges have outperformed the federal exchange website, but others have trailed behind and faced significant challenges, including expensive fixes to glitches and lower projected enrollments.

In addition to Oregon, where residents on their own still can’t sign up for coverage in one sitting, the exchanges in Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Minnesota have faced major problems.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called the investigation a political stunt.

“With House Republicans voting today for the 50th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it is disappointing but not surprising that Republicans are now using federal government resources to investigate state health exchanges instead of finding a productive way to help Americans access health care,” Schatz said in an emailed comment.

States with successful exchanges include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Kentucky and New York. Connecticut, which has far exceeded its enrollment goals for the open enrollment period, is setting up a consulting business and marketing an “exchange in a box” to other states.

Cover Oregon’s online enrollment system was supposed to launch in October, allowing individuals and small businesses to compare insurance plans and qualify for federal tax credits to subsidize the premiums. It wasn’t ready, however, forcing people to fill out a lengthy paper application that would have to be processed by hand. Pieces of the website are now working and some portions of the processing are automated, but significant problems still exist.

Republicans have contended problems were known for months before the launch. Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, has acknowledged mistakes were made but denies having prior knowledge of problems that kept the website from launching on time.

Other questions raised by the Republican request, crafted in consultation with the GAO, include:

  • What capability does the federal government have to reclaim those funds if Oregon abandons the state-run exchange and joins the federal one?
  • What other costs has Oregon incurred because of the website’s failure?
  • Did Cover Oregon’s status as a state organization play a role in its failure?
  • What steps could federal agencies have taken to assure state and federal oversight of projects like this in the future.

The Wyden-Merkley request asks more questions:

  • How were the federal funds used, including job creation, public and private contractors, software developers, and consumer education?
  • What efforts to enroll people outside the website have been successful, and what can be done to expand enrollment ahead of the March 31 deadline?
  • If taxpayer funds were mismanaged, can the federal government reclaim grant funds from contractors?
  • Was there anything in the Affordable Care Act that Cover Oregon did not respond to in its creation?
  • What can Oregon do to most quickly and efficiently overcome Cover Oregon’s problems and enroll more people?

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Obama to Delay Obamacare Again to Help Democrats in Midterms.


Image: Obama to Delay Obamacare Again to Help Democrats in Midterms

By Melanie Batley

The Obama administration is expected to announce another delay to the implementation of Affordable Care Act to allow insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet Obamacare’s minimum coverage requirements.

The move would prolong the one-year “keep your plan fix” so as to avoid another wave of health policy cancellations which could hurt Democrats just weeks before the November midterm elections,The Hill reports.

“The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day,” The Hill said. “The White House is intent on protecting its allies in the Senate, where Democrats face a battle to keep control of the chamber.”

The fix had been put in place late last year after an uproar erupted when millions of people discovered their existing plans were being cancelled under Obamacare despite the president’s repeated assurances otherwise.

The administration has yet to confirm the policy change, but insurance sources told The Hill that a public announcement would be “imminent.” The newspaper reports that it is unclear how long the extension would be, but one source believed it could last until the end of Obama’s second term and possibly beyond.

This latest move would follow numerous other delays unilaterally decided by the president.

In July, the president announced a one-year delay until 2015 of the employer mandate which would have required businesses to provide health insurance to employees by Jan. 2014 or face a tax penalty.

In February, Obama changed the deadline again, moving it to 2016. The move provoked widespread criticism among Republicans who renewed their criticism that the healthcare law is a “train wreck.” 

Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove commented at the time that the decision was a politically calculated strategy to save Democrats in the run-up to the elections.

“The president didn’t want another avalanche of cancellations before this fall’s midterm election,” Rove said, adding that if millions lose their insurance plans shortly before the election, “the consequences would be disastrous for the president’s popularity, and that of the congressional Democrats who loyally voted for the Affordable Care Act, sight and text unread.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rasmussen Poll: 33 Percent of Americans Hurt by Obamacare.


One in every three Americans has been hurt by Obamacare, according to a new poll.

The Rasmussen Reports survey says that 33 percent of likely U.S. voters have suffered a “negative personal impact” due to President Barack Obama’s healthcare law. The figure has increased by 4 percentage points from 29 percent earlier this year.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

The same percentage, 33 percent, have seen changes in their coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a survey of 1,000 voters conducted Feb. 28 to March 1. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Rasmussen says that 56 percent of Americans regard the new law unfavorably, including 16 percent who view it “very unfavorably.”

Only 40 percent have a “somewhat favorable” opinion of Obamacare, while just 14 percent of Americans feel that they have been helped in some form by the law.

Forty-seven percent of Republican voters say they have been personally hurt by Obamacare, compared to 19 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Restaurants Across US Now Charging Diners An Obamacare Tax Surcharge.


RELATED STORY: BOMBSHELL! IRS Warns Obamacare Tax Will Be Forcibly Taken From Your Tax Return

Some restaurants have made the decision to charge customers for Obamacare: Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Florida have added a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their diners’ tabs, while at least one popular restaurant in Los Angeles has added a 3% charge to bills. –

obamacare-tax-now-being-added-to-restaurant-checks

In Florida, The Gator Group told CNN Money that the company had to implement “the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015.” So even though their employees won’t get health insurance coverage until December, customers are feeling the pinch now.

The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign [in the restaurant] reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.

The Gator Group employs 500 people, half of whom work part-time. Right now, they only offer health benefits to management. Instead of cutting their full-time employees to part-time to avoid the mandate as so many restaurants have chosen, the Gator Group decided to simply charge customers the added costs.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations told CNN Money:

In addition to the costs of providing health care, the company hired one additional staffer and a consulting firm to make sure it is complying with the law and to assist in the additional tracking of workers’ hours and wages required by Obamacare.

In Los Angeles at the upscale restaurant Republique, customers have not always reacted positively to the ACA surcharge appearing on their bills.

One customer wrote: “1 star for the 3% healthcare surcharge. An employer who really cares about their employees’ health pays for this themselves. But because you and I both know that I’m finically [sic] well off your [sic] going to mandate me to pay for what YOU think if a great idea? You might fool other customers into believing that you truly care about your employees health but your [sic] not fooling this customer.”

So, companies are passing the costs of Obamacare on to the consumer. Economists totally did not see this comingsource – CNS News

by NTEB News Desk

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