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Posts tagged ‘ObamaCare’

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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Obamacare to Cover Married Gay Couples in 2015.


Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law beginning in 2015, the government said on Friday, encouraging insurers to begin offering coverage this year.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also announced it would extend for one month a temporary program that offers insurance to some of the sickest Americans, who have had trouble finding private plans in new health insurance marketplaces set up in all 50 states under Obamacare.

Friday’s announcements add to the series of delays and modifications the administration has made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, since the law was enacted in 2010 and formally launched last October.

Obamacare’s six-month enrollment period ends March 31. And with volume expected to surge in the final two weeks, officials say the website HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly after technical problems in October and November paralyzed the portal for consumers in 36 states. The remaining 14 states run their own markets.

About 4.2 million people have enrolled in private Obamacare health plans so far, and millions more have been found eligible for the Medicaid program for the poor, according to the administration.

It continues, however, to wrestle with complicated and controversial issues related to the law.

In its decision on gay couples, HHS exercised federal authority to prevent discriminatory insurance market practices on an issue that has been caught up in state marriage laws.

The move follows a February lawsuit filed by an Ohio gay couple, who were unable to obtain family coverage under Obamacare, they said, because their state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The gay community is a key constituency for Democrats, who are facing a Republican onslaught over Obamacare in this year’s midterm elections for control of Congress.

“If an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses,” Dr. Matthew Heinz, who heads HHS outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities, said in a posting to a government website.

“In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage. This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses.”

A formal clarification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the lead Obamacare agency within HHS, said the administration is encouraging insurers to voluntarily implement the non-discrimination policy for the 2014 coverage year under the Public Health Service Act.

Compliance will be required starting in 2015.

“We expect issuers to come into full compliance with the regulations as clarified in this guidance no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” CMS said.

“We also expect states to begin enforcing the regulations in accordance with this clarification no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” it said.

Administration officials said the gay marriage decision and extension of the program for people with pre-existing conditions, known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), were both intended to help Americans transition to the new healthcare era established by Obamacare.

The law requires most Americans to pay a penalty unless they are enrolled in insurance coverage by March 31, which is also when the PCIP program was set to expire.

Patient advocates welcomed the move, saying people with cancer, multiple sclerosis or other serious disorders need time to find insurance plans that meet complicated healthcare needs.

“We encourage patients in PCIP to look at other insurance options, including the health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, as soon as possible so they are assured of coverage beyond the short term,” the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a statement.

The extension came a day after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers in Congress that the enrollment deadline would not be delayed.

Administration officials said the PCIP program was being extended through April 30, under congressional authorization that has already allowed for two other extensions. PCIP was originally intended to expire at the end of 2013, but was extended first through January and later through March. (Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Karey Van Hall and Gunna Dickson)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

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

RNC Building Database of Obamacare Cancellation Victims.


Republican National Committee data scientists are building a list of the millions of Americans who lost their insurance policies through Obamacare in hopes of aiming campaigns at those people this year and in the 2016 presidential election, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

“Getting that information and having good data as to who votes, who doesn’t vote, voter registration, party affiliation, consumer characteristics, cross-referenced with that kind of information, I think, is important for us to have,” Priebus told the Washington Examiner  after participating in a Conservative Political Action Conference panel talk on Saturday.

Priebus said the RNC has not had difficulty finding tech staffers, and has brought in some top engineers from sites like LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook to work on the data projects.
The cancellations stand to play a key role in this year’s midterm elections, with many Democratic Party leaders urging candidates to talk openly about Obamacare issues while offering their own solutions to fix them.

The new approach, Democrats say, is based on polls such as a CBS News survey in January, which showed people agree the healthcare law has some good aspects, but changes are needed to make the law better.

In Colorado, where Fox News reported late last year that 250,000 people received cancellation notices, Obamacare is expected to make a huge impact on elections.

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in November, and Udall has been arguing about whether the figures are valid, The Denver Post reports.  But Jo Donlin, director of external affairs for the state insurance division, insisted the figures are right, saying many people have renewed policies, but “regardless, they received cancellation notices.”

The Obama administration also eased some election pressure on Democrats about a week ago when it announced a directive allowing insurers to keep offering health plans that did not meet minimum Obamacare coverage requirements, reports The Hill.

Without the delays, another wave of health insurance cancellations would likely have hit this fall, just before voters headed to the ballots in November.

“I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”

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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.

Story continues below video.

“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

Sarah Palin: No ‘Victory Lap’ Over Ukraine Prediction.


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that she is not doing a “victory lap” after triumphing over news reports that attacked her during the 2008 presidential campaign for predicting that Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine if Barack Obama won the White House.

“There was a lot of pooh-poohing on a lot of things I said — and that wasn’t the only thing I was right about,” she told Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News program. “No victory lap, because I’d be interrupting them.

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

“You don’t interrupt somebody when they’re in the process of destroying their own credibility,” she added. “That’s the media.”

Story continues below video.

Palin last week noted the press pounding she took for her Ukraine prediction on her Facebook page.

“Yes, I could see this one from Alaska,” Palin said on Facebook, noting that she said “told-ya-so” in the case of her “accurate prediction being derided as ‘an extremely far-fetched scenario’ by the ‘high-brow’ Foreign Policy magazine.

Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate that year, will keynote the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Washington on Saturday.

She told Van Susteren that she planned to tell attendees that Republicans had “every reason to be optimistic” about this fall’s congressional elections because “there’s been a great awakening in America.

“People are finding out that Obamacare is very bad for our economy — for our businesses and for our families. The problems of Obamacare are being manifested at their own dinner tables, in their pocketbooks — and people are saying: ‘No. Enough is enough of this.'”

But Palin cautioned: “We’d better not let the establishment — those that go along to get along, with Obama in this case — we can’t let them dictate what the issues are and what the message is, even who the candidates are.”

The former governor reiterated her longstanding call for the repeal of President Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement and praised Sen. Ted Cruz and others who continued to push for ending the healthcare law.

“It needs to be killed now,” she said. “Most of these politicians in office today had promised that they would do that.

“Yet, when they had the opportunity to defund Obamacare, using the tools that the Constitution provides them with and the power of the purse, they balked,” Palin added. “It was Ted Cruz and just a few of them who stood strong on what they had at their fingertips to defund it.”

Cruz, the first-term Texas senator who is backed by the tea party, spoke against Obamacare for 21 hours and 19 minutes on the Senate floor in September.

While noting that Cruz and Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul — who also has tea party support — are at the “top of my list” as 2016 candidates for the presidency, Palin said that she was not endorsing anyone at this point.

“I appreciate those who have fought for America,” she said in naming the senators. “It doesn’t have to be someone who has a title today, in office today.

“In fact, some would say that we need to stay clear of those who have followed a conventional political path. Maybe they’re part of the problem.

“There are businessmen and women out there,” Palin added. “There are strong family men and women who understand what it is that makes America exceptional and they want to protect that. They want to get back to that.

“Maybe someone like that will rise and be the candidate for 2016. Maybe that’s what we need.”

She declined to say whether she might join the 2016 fray, too.

“It sounds cliché, but you never say ‘never.’ At this point in time, I don’t have any of kind organization going. I’ll never say ‘never.’

“It depends on what Americans really, really want in a candidate,” Palin added. “If they want a fighter, if they want someone who can respect our exceptionalism — everything that makes America great, the promise of America — if they don’t find that, I would run.

“But I do think that there are so many Americans who feel like I feel — and they are capable. They’re willing and able to serve,” she said.

“They’re public servants. They’re willing and able to serve and to lead this country, so it doesn’t have to be me.”

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

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

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