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Posts tagged ‘healthcare’

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

Portman: Senate GOP Jobs Plan Will Restore Economy.


A seven-point plan proposed by Senate Republicans will spark economic recovery in the United States, reduce unemployment rates, and help tighten the gap between wealthy and poor people, Sen. Rob Portman says in this week’s GOP address.

The Jobs for America Plan, the Ohio Republican said Saturday, “starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.”

Experts said five years ago the recession had ended, but for millions of people, the nation’s economic downturn has continued.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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“We’re living through the weakest economic recovery since World War II, and a lot of folks are struggling to make ends meet,” said Portman. “Unemployment remains stubbornly high; the number of long-term unemployed is actually at record levels.”

“The wealthy are doing just fine in the Obama economy,” said Portman. But declining paychecks and with rising costs of healthcare, college education and even a tank of gas, “this middle class squeeze is strangling the American Dream.”

He pointed out out that 11 million Americans have given up looking for work altogether, and the average family is “now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago.

The Obama administration’s policies aren’t working, said Portman, because “Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress believed we could spend our way to prosperity, and I guess they still do.”

But despite some saying that “fewer people working, smaller middle-class paychecks, bigger government, never-ending deficits and record debt piled on our kids and grandkids” is the “new normal,” Portman said it’s time to trust the American people again.

“That’s what’s at the heart of Jobs for America, a seven-point plan put forward by Senate Republicans to bring back opportunity, spark an economic recovery and restore to every American a shot at the American Dream,” said Portman. “It starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.

For example, said Portman, it’s clear to “just about everybody, maybe except the president” that Obamacare isn’t working.

“Let’s replace Obamacare with reforms that put you back in charge of your own healthcare,” said Portman. “Decisions about your health should be between you and your doctor, not a bureaucrat and an insurance company. Let’s expand choice, rather than limiting it. Let’s create jobs, instead of destroying them. And let’s bring down the costs instead of driving them up.”

Bureaucracy and red tape are also hindering businesses and making it harder for them to create jobs, and Portman said Republicans have “proposed changes that will ensure that the benefits of regulations are worth the cost – that regulations do their job, without costing you yours.”

The nation’s tax code is also a problem, said Portman. It’s not just that it’s a “complex and expensive mess” that needs to be simplified, but also that “our out-of-date and inefficient corporate tax code is driving opportunity and investment overseas, creating jobs in other places that should be right here in America. Let’s fix the code so that every company pays its fair share while bringing those dollars back to our shores to expand plant, equipment, and jobs.”

Taxes should also be spent wisely, said Portman, and lawmakers need to “pass a balanced budget amendment to rein in the runaway, big government spending that drives our deficits.”

The United States also needs to expand overseas markets, said Portman. There are some trade agreements on hold for now, but the nation needs to be sure it is competing on a level playing field. This calls for giving the president the authority to open more markets for farmers and workers.

“We want to see people around the world buying products that are stamped, ‘Made in America,’ so we can create more jobs right here at home,” said Portman.

Jobs can also be created by making the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that is often discussed come through.

“We should wage a war on inefficiency, but not a war on coal,” said Portman. “We should expand all forms of American energy, including through offshore drilling and developing our shale natural gas. And let’s finally approve the Keystone Pipeline to create jobs and speed the day when North America will truly be energy independent.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Portman also said Americans should be able to acquire the skills they need to get jobs that are available.

“The federal government now runs 47 different, often overlapping, workforce-training programs, but they aren’t closing the skills gap,” said Portman, because they have too much bureaucracy.

“America’s best days can be ahead of us, just beyond the next horizon,” said Portman. “We just have to reapply some of the principles that have made America that beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world.”


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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Ben Carson: It’s Time to Stand Up to Politically Correct Bullies.


American people are too afraid, in this time of political correctness, to stand up and speak for what they believe, says Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned neurosurgeon and conservative commentator.

“It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied,” said Carson, a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, at Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Editor’s Note: Ben Carson in 2016? See His Vision. 

Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said that most people in this country have common sense, but “the problem is, they have been beaten into submission” by the “PC police,” and are afraid to speak up for what they believe.

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“I thought last year when I retired that I would learn to play the organ, and learn some new languages and play golf,” said Carson. “I think the good Lord had a different plan. I’m not sure what the culmination of that plan is, but I am having a good time as I go all all over the country. Enormous crowds coming out, like they’re saying ‘finally, there is someone with common sense.’ But I’m not the only one.”

He said he’s often asked if he misses practicing medicine, but he said he does not miss what it has become.

“The most important thing people have is their healthcare,” Carson said. “We need to fight to see that that stays in their hands and not in the hands of the government.”

But being a doctor did prepare him for “out-of-the-box” thinking and controversy.

“The difference in medicine was, we talked about it,” said Carson. “When the facts were shown, people made adjustments. That does not happen in the political world because you are dealing with ideologues.”

But Carson told the enthusiastic audience members — some of whom were waving “Run Ben Run” signs — that he hates political correctness and he will continue to defy the “PC police” who try to shut him up, saying he finds them “pretty amusing.”

“I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Carson. “They said ‘Carson said gay marriage and bestiality are the same thing.’ That’s preposterous, and anybody who says that is a dummy, and anybody who believes someone who said someone said that is a dummy.”

“Of course gay people should have the same rights as everybody else,” he said. “But they shouldn’t get extra rights.”

Carson also took offense to reports that claimed he said Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery.

“Of course they’re not the same thing. Slavery was much worse. But bear in mind, what happens with Obamacare is that we the people have shifted the power of the government,” said Carson. “This is the most massive shift of power that has ever occurred. We need to put the power back in the hands of the people and make sure it stays there.”

Carson said that it’s important for the American people to understand where such accusations come from, “the rule book for radicals, to never have a conversation with your enemies because it humanizes them.”

The retired doctor noted that he’s been invited by another physician, Dr. Melanie Cooper, to speak at her banquet in Atlanta, and organizations are calling for a boycott because Carson is coming to it, and “they say they don’t want him spreading his poison.

“Would that be the poison of self reliance and self respect that people should have?” said Carson. “Would that be the poison of telling people in minority communities that they need to learn how to turn over the dollar a few times, and they should reach back and pull others up with you … they won’t have to depend on anybody else?”

Or, “would that be the poison of talking about how education is the key, and you don’t have to be the victim. And that the most important person in your future is you.”

Maybe, though, Carson said, it could be the “poison of putting what God says in front of what any man says.”

In addition to fighting political correctness, people need to fight against the constantly rising national debt.

“We have a $17.5 trillion national debt,” said Carson, noting that even if the debt was paid off at $10 million a day, it would take 4,700 yeas to pay it off.

“We are killing the next generation,” said Carson. “We have to know who our reps are and the ones who are voting to keep raising that debt ceiling vote and keep them out of office.”

Editor’s Note: Ben Carson in 2016? See His Vision. 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Poll: Democrats Trail in Senate Races.


Republicans are in a better position than Democrats in the 34 states with Senate races in this year’s midterm elections even though Democrats poll better on some key issues, a new poll finds.

In those states, 50 percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Republican candidate versus 42 who would vote for the Democratic candidate, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey was taken Feb. 27 through March 2 of 1,002 adults, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Voters favor Republicans even though 68 percent of Americans say that the Republican Party is “out of touch with the concerns of most” Americans, according to the poll.

They also trust Democrats more on handling middle class issues, healthcare, immigration, and energy, while the two parties are fairly evenly divided on taxes, the economy, and the federal budget deficit.

However, neither President Barack Obama nor his party could get a majority of Americans saying that they were concerned with the problems that face average Americans, a sign that they are not happy with elected officials.

Obama still has a negative approval rating at 46 percent. And a majority of Americans are still not happy with how Obama has handled the economy and the rollout of Obamacare.

According to the poll, 36 percent of respondents say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Obamacare and 34 percent say they are more likely to vote candidates who favor the law.

Seventy-two percent say the economy is “not so good” or “poor.” While a majority of Americans say that the economic recovery has begun, only 18 percent say it’s a strong recovery, and 40 percent say it is weak.

When it comes to immigration, the survey found that 38 percent of Americans were less likely to support a candidate who favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and 30 percent were more likely to vote for candidates who do.

Americans are split on which party they favor in the House, with 46 percent of registered voters saying they plan to support the Democrat and 45 percent saying they would vote for the Republican.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Courtney Coren

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