According to The Associated Press, more than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the White House said Tuesday.
The 10.2 million consumers enrolled in a plan and followed through by paying their first month’s premiums, states The Associated Press.
The report comes from the Department of Health and Human Services as insurers are reportedly proposing premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about affordability. Also, the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states. That decision is A decision is due around the end of the month.
By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in King v. Burwell, the case that centers on whether the Internal Revenue Service can allow payment of Affordable Care Act subsidies to individuals enrolled in the federal exchange.
The lawsuit is widely considered to be based on a technicality. The actual law reads “state exchanges” as opposed to “federal exchange.”
Should the Court rule against the Obama administration, subsidies no longer would be available to individuals who purchased coverage through HealthCare.gov, the federal website, in the 34 states that chose not to establish their own state-based exchanges, writes The Daily Signal.
It also would mean the Obamacare employer mandate would be effectively unenforceable, according to The Daily Signal.
Things would probably get ugly if that happens. Democrats would probably go on the offensive, blaming Republicans for “every case of a person who lost coverage just before giving birth, or having another round of chemo,” according to nhpr.org.
Currently, the 10 million sign-ups exceed the target of 9.1 million set last year by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.
However, “(e)nrollment has been lower and slower than what most people projected,” said Caroline Pearson of the data analysis firm Avalere Health.
Still, the combination of subsidized private coverage sold through online insurance exchanges in every state, along with Medicaid expansion in most states, has resulted in large coverage gains.
Nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance, writes The Associated Press. It is about the same proportion of Americans who buckle their seatbelts.
President Obama sent his inaugural Twitter post from the Oval Office on Monday, writes The New York Times.
The White House heralded the event with fanfare, and displayed a photograph of him perched on his desk tapping out his message on an iPhone.
The account is @POTUS — named for the in-house acronym derived from “President Of The United States.”
A White House aide wrote that it would “serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.”
According to The New York Times, however, it took only a few minutes for Mr. Obama’s account to attract racist, hate-filled posts and replies.
“They addressed him with racial slurs and called him a monkey,” wrote the Times.
One post had an image of the president with his neck in a noose.
Racial hostility toward the nation’s first black president has long been expressed in stark terms on the Internet, where conspiracy theories thrive and prejudices find ready outlets, writes The New York Times.
“But the racist Twitter posts are different because now that Mr. Obama has his own account, the slurs are addressed directly to him, for all to see,” writes the Times.
On Tuesday afternoon three weeks ago – April 21st – MSNBC led a roundtable discussion with President Barack Obama that primarily concerned his administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
This interview got a lot of attention among liberal pundits, many of whom feel that Massachusetts Senator Warren (D) was right and the deal could lead to the export of jobs and lowering of wages.
During Obama’s two terms in office, the U.S. has experienced slow, steady economic growth and economic indicators are up. Is it appropriate to risk a downturn or negative impact on the economy?
In the MSNBC Hardball interview, the host gave the president a platform to fire back against criticism the plan has been getting from opponents like Senator Warren. In it, the president said she was “wrong.”
Cenk Uygur, host of TYT Network, discusses a deal being moved through the U.S. Senate that might allow Congress to vote to approve or disapprove of the Iran Nuclear Deal that the Obama Administration plans to sign at the end of June, 2015.
The U.S. has already attempted to sabotage the nuclear deal between the U.S. and five other countries on one side, and Iran on the other. Those attempts include inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold a “State of the Union address” about the deal, a letter by 47 Senators to the leadership of Iran, and a trip by Speaker of the House John Boehner to Benjamin Netanyahu on the day the framework of the deal was to be approved (March 31st).
Is this latest bill, designed to inject the Congress into the Iran deal, another attempt at sabotaging it?
OK, Fine will make a series of posts trying to get to the bottom of the “deal” in Congress regarding the nuclear treaty with Iran.
There is a bill currently in the U.S. Senate meant to “inject” the House of Congress into the treaty with Iran.
The controversial bill to increase Congress’ involvement in the Iran nuclear negotiations passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday on a unanimous vote of 19-0, states The Huffington Post.
The bill was hammered out by the Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and the committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), on Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The negotiations are between Iran on the one side, and the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany (P5+1) on the other side.
According to Sen. Corker, the revised text was posted just minutes before the committee “markup.” www.senate.gove states that “markup” is yet another process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.
Only hours before the vote, the White House indicated that the president would not veto the legislation.
These new efforts may have rescued the bill, which previously faced a veto threat from President Obama and looked to be several votes short of the 67 needed from the full Senate to override a veto, according to The Huffington Post. Previously, Bob Corker had stated he believed the legislation had enough votes to override a veto, but that seems not to be the case.
What would the legislation do?
The legislation requires the president to submit the final nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the U.S. and its negotiating partners for congressional review.
The bill also maintains the prohibition on the president’s waiving congressionally-enacted sanctions against Iran during the “review period.”
The review period in the measure has been shortened from 60 days to an initial 30 days.
If, at the end of the 30 days, Congress were to pass a bill on “sanctions relief” and send it to the president, an additional 12 days would be automatically added to the review period. This could be another 10 days of review if the president vetoed the resulting sanctions bill.
“Under the new bill, the congressional review period would automatically return to 60 days if the negotiators ran late and concluded an agreement after June 9,” states the Huffington Post.
One of the key results of Corker and Cardin’s bill was the abandonment of a clause that would have required the White House to certify to Congress that Iran was not supporting terror in order to provide sanctions relief, states The Huffington Post. While the president must still provide a series of reports to Congress detailing Iran’s support for terror globally, that would no longer be tied to implementation of aspects of the nuclear agreement.
Removal of the certification clause was a major requirement for Democrats, although Republicans accepted it grudgingly.
During the committee markup, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the terrorism certification language as his own amendment to the modified bill, which was not supported by Sen. Corker.
Corker did, however, convince other members of his party to hold off on presenting amendments that would have almost certainly removed Democratic support for the bill.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) agreed to hold off on his proposed amendment to treat any nuclear agreement with Iran as a “treaty,” which would require a two-thirds vote of approval from the Senate before it could be implemented.
Wikipedia states there are three kinds of treaties recognized by international law:
“In the United States, the term ‘treaty’ is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively.”
Johnson made his disappointment with his party’s concessions clear. “It is a very limited role, it is a role with very little teeth,” he said of the modified oversight bill. “It is a far cry from advice and consent.”
While some Republicans were disappointed with the watered-down bill, Democrats on the committee were resoundingly impressed with the outcome of Tuesday’s markup.
“I believe this bill has been changed from a point in which I do not support it to a point in which I can,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who was one of the most steadfast opponents to the original bill.
“I believe the former bill would have disrupted and upended the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. I believe that this bill will not do this,” Boxer said, voicing her support for the new text.
The unanimous bipartisan support for the legislation in the Committee came as a surprise even to Ranking Committee Democrat Cardin, who was constantly in touch with other committee Democrats in the days leading up to the vote, states the Huffington Post. “No, I did not expect a 19-0 vote. I feel thrilled by that,” he told reporters.
According to Corker, Secretary of State John Kerry had pushed back against the legislation as late as 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he presented a classified briefing on the Iran nuclear talks to members of the Senate.
With Obama evidently easing his opposition, Corker’s bill is almost certain to become law.
Several Republicans took the White House’s reversal as recognition of the weakness of its stance, as opposed to open-mindedness and a spirit of compromise.
“The White House came to the deal when they saw the numbers of people, the growing support that was here,” Corker said.
Senator Ben Cardin, who has been in close contact with the White House over the past 10 days, declined to comment on Corker’s assertion. “I was always trying to get them to the position where they would feel comfortable and allow this bill to go forward. That was my goal from day one,” he said.
To House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), it was the Senate Republicans, not the White House, who capitulated under pressure. “We told the Senate this is going nowhere, that we are going to sustain the president’s veto,” she said on Tuesday. “I don’t know if that had an impact on what the Senate had to do. But they certainly produced a bill that would be more palatable to our members.”
After it is approved in the Senate the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives.
Sam Stein and Laura Barron-Lopez contributed this Huffington Post report. (Updated report)
Former Republican Representative of Minnesota Michele Bachmann took to social media and her Facebook wall to compare Barack Obama to Andreas Lubitz, the suicidal co-pilot of the crashed Germanwings flight 9525 that resulted in the needless deaths of 150 people.
Bachmann actually made a run for president in 2012.
Does the GOP tolerate this kind of speech from its members? Is Bachmann good for the GOP? Does this kind of speech make the GOP look dumb?
Majority Report contributor Michael Brooks looks at the people who are criticizing the nuclear arms deal / peace treaty with Iran.
He discusses Speaker of the House John Boehner, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, and former CIA director Michael Hayden.
According to Wikipedia, Michael Hayden (born March 17, 1945) is a retired United States Air Force four-star general and former Director of the National Security Agency, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“He was Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1999 to 2005. During his tenure as director, he oversaw the controversial NSA surveillance of technological communications between persons in the United States and alleged foreign terrorist groups, which resulted in the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.”
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat down on Saturday afternoon for talks in a meeting that made history as the first between the leaders of the two old Cold War adversaries for more than half a century.
On Friday evening, the two leaders shook hands. They met at The Summit of the Americas in Panama.
It was their first formal meeting in more than half a century, states the New York Times. The meeting cleared the way for a normalization of relations that had seemed unthinkable to both Cubans and Americans for generations.
In a small conference room in a Panama City convention center on Saturday, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat side by side. Obama said he wanted to “turn the page” on old divisions, although he acknowledged that significant differences between the governments would remain.
“This is obviously a historic meeting,” Obama said shortly after the two sat down. “It was my belief it was time to try something new, that it was important for us to engage more directly with the Cuban government,” quoted the New York Times.
“Over time it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries,” Mr Obama told Mr Castro as they sat next to each other. “We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future,” quoted The Telegraph.