Saturday, October 19, 2013

An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner

Gurrforcongress ^ | 10/18/2013 | Eric Gurr

An open letter to John Boehner

Speaker Boehner,

Why did you divide the party?

Where would we be right now had you not divided the party with your purge of conservatives from key committee positions in 2012? Your rejection of the fiscal conservatives was particularly obtuse as it was a slap in the face to those who had helped the Republicans win the house in the first place. When the conservatives pushed to defund the Affordable Care Act why did our party leadership reject them? Obamacare was from the start every bit as much economic policy as it was health care policy. A law that fundamentally transforms 1/6th of the economy is fundamentally an economic policy. Had we framed the debate properly the tactics of Mr. Cruz, Mr. Lee et al would have been properly framed as one of several tactics. You told us for years that the GOP was together on its opposition to this law so the approach to defunding and overturn must have necessarily been vigorous from the start. Alas, it was not.
2. Why didn’t you explain to the American people why the ACA is a train wreck?
You more than any other representative have the forum to articulate the problem. I see you on television more than the president. As the leader of the GOP in the House it is your
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Democrats' Failures Render Victory On Shutdown Rings Hollow! ^ | October 18, 2013 | IBD Editorial

Government: "We won! We won!" cry Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, parroted by their media collaborators. The public haven't forgotten these "winners'" policies are an abject failure.

So the Democrats won on the shutdown and the champagne corks are popping all over Washington. Does their victory change the fact that the national debt is over $17 trillion — having climbed $328 billion in one day last Thursday?

Does their win change the fact that 11 million Americans are out of work and that the unemployment rate is well above 7% four years and nine months into the Obama presidency?
The resilient American economy in the past bounced back from recessions and financial crises.
When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter, for instance, the jobless rate was about what it is now, and it would rise to nearly 11% within two years.
But at the time of his re-election it was back below 7.5%, and toward the close of his second term it would drop to 5.3%. The following decade would find it below 4% under the low-tax regime Reagan established.
Thanks to spending $1 trillion on a stimulus that never stimulated, and the ObamaCare government seizure of the health insurance industry, and the new Dodd-Frank hyper-regulatory regime, the U.S. economy now operates under a "new normal" in which the pain goes on and on.
Meanwhile, our president tells us to "remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger. It's going down faster than it has in the last 50 years" — down from a trillion dollars year after year under Obama, well more than three times the deficits under Reagan, and more than twice the size of almost all of each of the deficits under George W. Bush.
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Reports raise concern about backgrounds of ObamaCare 'navigators

fox news ^ | 10/18/2013 | fox news

New concerns are being raised about so-called ObamaCare "navigators" following a string of reports about the questionable backgrounds of those selected to guide Americans through what is shaping up to be a rocky roll-out of the health care law.
The concerns come on top of the drama over the site itself, which is the main federal hub for would-be participants and has been riddled with technical problems. The "navigators" are outreach workers, funded by federal taxpayer dollars, who are supposed to help people sign up for coverage.
The Daily Caller reported earlier this week that one "enrollment assister" in Lawrence, Kan., had an outstanding warrant for her arrest as well as a troubled financial history. The Heartland Community Health Care Center, where she works, later confirmed to the Caller that she had a bench warrant for an "unpaid medical debt" -- but had been unaware of the warrant. The group said she worked with the courts to satisfy it, and the warrant is "no longer active."
Still, the incident raised questions about the background check process, and spurred Kansas state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook to push legislation increasing oversight on those assisting the public with enrolling in the exchanges. Her bill would require background checks and licensing for anybody doing that work in Kansas.
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NPS Director Defends Aggressive Action to Shut Parks

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 18 Oct 2013 | John Semmens

Called to testify before the House Natural Resources, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis stood by his actions during the shutdown.
The most serious challenge to Jarvis' actions came from Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who accused him of violating the Anti-deficiency Act. This Act prohibits agencies from undertaking additional work during a lapse in funding such as occurred during the recent shutdown.
Jarvis didn't deny that sending Park Rangers to barricade open air monuments and harass tourists violated this statute. “I will grant that the text of the statute would appear to prohibit the actions I authorized,” Jarvis admitted. “However, I discussed this matter with officials at the White House and Secretary Jewell. I was assured that the President's authority superseded a rigid adherence to the statutory text.”
“I was told that if we left the Mall or the World War II Memorial open they wouldn't really be shutdown,” Jarvis continued. “I mean, without the barricades how would the general public even know they were closed? Likewise, if we had allowed tourists to drive through our national parks and take photos it would have diluted the message that these places were closed. It's not enough to just passively lock the doors of the visitors' centers and think we've closed the parks if we let people take a peek from their vehicles while driving.”
An overlooked rationale for aggressively shutting down NPS sites according to Jarvis was the threat of terrorism. “If we left these sites open and unbarricaded they could've easily fallen into the hands of terrorists,” Jarvis contended. “As we saw, octogenarians were able to penetrate the perimeters we tried to establish. Imagine how much worse it could've been if, instead, al-Qaeda had chosen this occasion to seize these sites.”
In related news, President Obama created and awarded a Presidential Medal of Honor to Jarvis “for his heroic actions during the just concluded shutdown crisis. Without Director Jarvis' steadfast leadership in this time of peril unauthorized viewing of some of America's most treasured resources and sacred historic sites might have gone unopposed. In the full knowledge that he might face grievous criticism for actions many would classify as spiteful and vindictive, he did not waver from carrying out my orders.”

The Republican civil war is just getting started

Yahoo! News / The Week ^ | October 18, 2013 | Jon Terbush

The future of the GOP?

With the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight in the rearview mirror, Republicans can move on to more important matters — like determining which of the party's warring factions will control the GOP going forward.
The recent fiscal fist-fighting ostensibly pit Republicans against Democrats, but the real power struggle was between Tea Partiers and the GOP establishment. The conflict, bubbling beneath the surface for some time, finally boiled over into a messy public spat that, even as the shutdown came to a close, showed no signs of stopping.
The fissure has been growing since 2010, when the Tea Party ousted establishment candidates in favor of their own contenders. What was then a populist revolt has since rocketed congressional neophytes like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to the forefront of the party's ideological and tactical debates, giving the hard right newfound legislative muscle. Just look at how Cruz and company dragged the party into a shutdown strategy that even Karl Rove said "no sentient being" believed would ever work.
As the shutdown came to a close Wednesday night, Cruz seized the microphone to mourn his failed strategy — and to once again lash out at his colleagues. In a bold display of hubris, he accused his fellow Republican senators of spoiling his gambit by "bombing our own troops."
Moderate establishment types struck back. Perhaps the oldest of the old guard, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — who called Cruz and his cohorts "wacko birds" earlier this year, and who criticized the shutdown tactic from the start — took a victory lap on Twitter.....
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5 Scandalous Obamacare Horror Stories: Obamacare "has raped my future"! ^ | October 19, 2013 | John Hawkins 
Posted on 10/19/2013 5:51:29 AM by Kaslin

Obamacare is hurting people. A lot of people -- and not just the ones who are wasting all day trying and failing to sign up for the dysfunctional 600 million dollar website. Millions of Americans are losing their insurance, losing their doctors, and taking huge hits to their wallets because of Obamacare. Here are some of their stories...

1) Man with leukemia loses his health insurance: Michael Cerpok is a high school drop-out, one of six kids born to a school teacher, and doesn't come from a wealthy family. He has run two businesses for more than 25 years and says he may have to do more to literally stay alive.

"I've worked hard because I've had to, and I've had to, because cancer runs in my family, says Cerpok, who picked his current health insurance based on that family history. His monthly premium is just about half of his monthly take-home pay.

Back in 2006, he found out he had an incurable form of leukemia that requires ongoing treatment until he dies.

In 2012, his treatment bill was more than $350,000. But because of his insurance, his out-of-pocket was only $4,500.

That is about to change because Michael just got a letter from his insurance carrier saying as of January 1, he would be dropped from coverage because of new regulations under Obamacare. His doctor at the Mayo Clinic may be gone as well.

"Now it doesn't mean I can't go see my current doctor, but my $4,500 out-of-pocket, is going to turn into a minimum of $26,000 out-of-pocket to see the doctor that I've been seeing the last seven years," he said.

2) I was laughing at Boehner until the mail came: Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

"I was laughing at Boehner, until the mail came today," Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

3) Premiums will cost 25% of their after tax income:: Take, for example, Jacqueline Proctor of San Francisco. She and her husband are in their early 60s. They have been paying $7,200 a year for a bare-bones Kaiser Permanente health plan with a $5,000 per person annual deductible. "Kaiser told us the plan does not comply with Obamacare and the substitute will cost more than twice as much," about $15,000 per year, she says.

This new plan, Kaiser's cheapest offering for 2014, would consume about 25 percent of their after-tax income. The new plan still has a $5,000 deductible but provides coverage for things her current policy does not, such as maternity care, healthy child visits and coverage for dependents up to age 26. Proctor has no use for such coverage, since her son is 30.

4) Liberal blogger at the Daily Kos: Hey, Obamacare's doubling my monthly premium: My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don't go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife's rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f*cking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

5) ) Obamacare "has raped my future" My name is Ashley Dionne and I'm a 26-year-old recent graduate from Michigan.

...I went back to school and got a second degree and finally found work at a gym. I work nights and only get 32 hours a week for eight dollars an hour. I'm unable to find a second job at this time.

I have asthma, ulcers, and mild cerebral palsy. Obamacare takes my monthly rate from $75 a month for full coverage on my "Young Adult Plan," to $319 a month. After $6,000 in deductibles, of course.

Liberals claimed this law would help the poor. I am the poor, the working poor, and I can't afford to support myself, let alone older generations and people not willing to work at all. This law has raped my future.

It will keep me and kids my age from having a future at all.

This is the real face of Obamacare and it isn't pretty.

California universities pitch health care reform with deejays, pizza and peace of mind

Sacramento Bee ^ | October 18, 2013 | Christopher Cadelago

Young, healthy people are the targets, crucial to the success of the nation’s new federal health care law. They rarely see a doctor and would pay premiums for years to come. Their money would help cover the care of older and sicker customers.

And one of the largest experiments to educate and ultimately enroll them is underway in California.

California State University, with more than 437,000 students across 23 campuses, is applying a $1.25 million federal grant to reach students, their families, part-time staff and even those who apply to universities but don’t enroll. Plying them with pizza and luring them with hip-hop, campus leaders and student ambassadors are dangling subsidies for signing up and warning that even a simple sports injury could spell financial ruin.....

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