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More from House Speaker John Boehner's appearance on Face the Nation earlier Sunday: CBS Chief White House correspondent Nora O'Donnell asked the GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, "What about pre-existing conditions? What about the millions of Americans that have pre-existing conditions and are discriminated against?"
"We believe that the way it is done within Obamacare is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high," Boehner explains. "We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to make sure that those with pre-existing have access to affordable health insurance."
"Access" to affordable health insurance," O'Donnell repeats, "You're not saying that you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination against those individuals?"
"No," states Boehner flatly, "We just believe there's a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance."
"So, when you repeal this (Affordable Care Act), what are you going to replace it with?" O'Donnell queries.
And with a twinkle in his eyes, Boehner responds "I just started pointing it out."
Okay, first issue: "Obamacare" pushing the cost of health insurance for all too high? Forbes reports:
I don?t know all the minute details of the tax penalties the government will implement against those who do not have health insurance, but I do know one thing. The health insurance companies absolutely love this law. They just got a guaranteed customer base of at least 50 million. And guess what? Premiums will come down because of it. Under ObamaCare, your monthly health insurance premiums will now be affordable. I have no idea how people can claim that health insurers will suffer.
I live in Massachusetts. And here in Massachusetts, we live under the predecessor of ObamaCare ? the Massachusetts Healthcare Reform Act, signed into law by former governor Mitt Romney in 2006. Under RomneyCare, as Rick Santorum supporters called it during the primaries, 98 percent of the state?s residents have affordable health insurance. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has not gone broke. It?s unemployment level is 6 percent this month, falling from 6.3 percent in April and better than the national average of 8.3 percent. No one is even considering overturning the 2006 law, sources from Blue Cross Blue Shield told me earlier this year. Mike Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, told me the same thing when I was covering the New Hampshire primaries for Forbes. Companies are not going belly up because of RomneyCare. Private insurers operate in the state along side the non-profit health insurers like Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield. There have not been massive layoffs in the industry because of the law.
Over the five full fiscal years since the law?s enactment, the state has spent $91 million a year, well within the budgeted expectations. RomneyCare is not a budget buster, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says.
Next issue, the state high-risk pools: Boehner claims the state high-risk pools would be more effective at dealing with patients with pre-existing conditions. Really? The Washington Post reported:
Some governors said they were unwilling to take on the task because it appears that Congress has allocated too little money.
The states that declined to administer risk pools are Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, according HHS.
Governors of 16 out of 18 states declining to provide high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions are Republicans, and they say that Congress wasn't allocating enough funds.
The Affordable Care Act that Speaker Boehner wants to "Rip out by its Roots," guarantees health insurance coverage for persons with pre-existing conditions, among other things. The House Republicans will not support a law that would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients who have pre-existing conditions, and the only other option they have for you (high-risk pools) are not supported by 18 states who say that Congress doesn't allocate enough funding.
Thirty times the Republicans have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Your tax dollars have paid them to waste time doing so, while they enjoy the finest government-run health insurance that your money can buy. Tell John Boehner it's time to stop playing politics with people's lives and leave healthcare reform alone, and ask him where the jobs are, while you're at it.
Anderson Cooper, who was socially out but professionally closeted, gave friend Andrew Sullivan permission to publish an email that kicks open the closet door. It's a thoughtful missive that is worth the read.[...]
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I'm glad there are still judges who still just want to do their jobs, and not remake society in their own ideology. This law is meant specifically to make it impossible for women to have a legal abortion in Mississippi:
(AP) JACKSON, Miss. - A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked enforcement of a Mississippi law that could shut down the only abortion clinic in the state.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan in Jackson issued a temporary restraining order the day the new law took effect.
He set a July 11 hearing to determine whether to block the law for a longer time.
"Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the court must follow," Jordan wrote.
The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state's only clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business. A clinic spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said the two physicians who do abortions there are OB-GYNs who travel from other states.
The clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, filed a lawsuit seeking to block it. The suit says the admitting privileges requirement is not medically necessary and is designed to put the clinic out of business.
If Jackson Women's Health Organization closes, Mississippi would be the only state without an abortion clinic.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said repeatedly he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free. Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock was preparing a response Sunday night to the judge's decision to issue a temporary restraining order.
In the order, Jordan wrote: "Plaintiffs have offered evidence ? including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers ? that the Act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi. They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted."
When Mitt Romney discusses education on the campaign trail, it’s usually to discuss higher education, and his belief that students should just “shop around,” borrow money from their parents, or join the military in order to obtain a college degree. When he does turn to K-12 education, it is to explain his belief that more should be done at the local level, touting his experience as governor of Massachusetts.
But as the Boston Globe profiled today, there is a “wide disconnect” between the success Romney touts and what actually occurred in Massachusetts, with one expert calling Romney’s tenure “inconsequential” when it came to education:
Running for president, Romney boasts of a record as an educational innovator, but a review of his efforts to impose changes on Massachusetts public schools reveals a wide disconnect between what he says on the stump and what he accomplished during his single term in office.
While he is widely credited for holding out for high standards and more charter schools, the high-profile initiatives proposed by the former private-equity businessman ? much of it driven by the Republican orthodoxy of the time ? suffered from a variety of practical problems. [...]
?His impact was inconsequential,? said Glen Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. ?People viewed his proposals as political talking points, and no one took Romney seriously. What he gets credit for is absolutely refusing to compromise on everything he wanted to do from the moment he took office, and some people think that?s commendable.?
Two programs in particular — one to help non-English speakers and another that provided college scholarships — did not actually live up to the hype. Here’s a chart showing that, while Massachusetts certainly did not suffer under Romney’s tenure, neither did it improve substantially:
“I know what it is like to be a Governor fighting to do things differently,” Romney said in a high-profile education speech. But it turns out that he really doesn’t.
Last week, conservatives responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act by issuing flamboyant denunciations of the the justices and the court. Glenn Beck labeled Chief Justice John Roberts a “coward,” a New Hampshire Tea Party leader said he hopes the justices in the majority contract cancer, and prominent GOP-aligned websites claimed that Roberts’ epilepsy medication drove him to endorse the individual requirement.
But Fox News’ resident psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow may win the prize for the most outrageous reaction. In a column posted on FoxNews.com and during an interview Monday afternoon on the network, Ablow claimed that the court’s decision will “iInfantilize” Americans:
ABLOW: [T]oday it could be healthcare, tomorrow it could be a hybrid vehicle that you are penalized financially for not buying. It takes control of your behavior in the way that a parent would of a child, and it diminishes us in terms of our autonomy and ability to achieve things even for liberty on the world stage, quite literally.
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): You say it’s making Americans believe that they are weak. How?
ABLOW: It absolutely infantilizes Americans, because listen, even adolescents or younger kids, they dream of the day when they are in charge of their own money…. What it does is deposits us back as children, when economically more than ever we need to be adults.
Ablow went on to argue that requiring people to take personal responsibility for their own health care spending “can make citizens see themselves as serfs who actually have no right at all to the money they earn, and keep it only when it suits the federal government.” “With Egypt in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, with Iran building nuclear weapons and with Europe facing economic calamity, the last thing we need are lessons from Washington in how to be weak individuals,” he warned.
by Susannah Marshall
It turns out a lot of people support the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon dioxide from power plants.
Recently, 2.1 million comments were submitted to the EPA in support of its proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for new power plants. The 2.1 million comments collected over the past ten weeks have more than doubled the previous record for comments to EPA. The groups collecting the comments say it’s the largest number submitted for any federal regulation in U.S. history.
This proposed regulation would reduce carbon pollution from new power plants by 123 billion pounds annually ? roughly equal to the amount of pollution from 11 million cars.
Coal-fired power plants are the single largest emitters of carbon dioxide, spewing 2 billion tons of global warming pollution into our air each year — helping to accelerate heat waves, droughts, floods, and leading to more asthma attacks, heat induced mortality, and other serious ailments.
Throughout June, wildfires, floods, record-setting high temperatures and other extreme weather events were in full force, acting as a painful reminder that it?s time to seriously address carbon pollution.
A broad coalition of clean air organizations including the Center for American Progress Action Fund issued this statement last week, commending the incredible response to the new standards:
?[O]ur expectations have been exceeded by the unprecedented support demonstrated by the more than 2 million comments from Americans who support EPA?s historic standard to curb dangerous industrial carbon pollution from new power plants while urging EPA to move forward with a strong standard for existing power plants. The message is clear: Americans want cleaner air and less industrial carbon pollution and they want EPA to protect their kids, their families and their communities from the dangerous effects of climate change.?
EPA stated that the proposed carbon pollution standard is ?in line with current industry investment patterns,? and therefore ?is not expected to have notable costs and is not projected to impact electricity prices or reliability.?
Nonetheless, big coal and utility companies have spent millions of dollars to block reductions of smog, acid rain, mercury, toxic, and carbon pollution from power plants.
On Tuesday June 26th, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld EPA?s ?endangerment finding? and carbon pollution limits for passenger vehicles. It also rejected suits by the American Petroleum Institute and other major polluters that challenged EPA?s ability to first limit carbon pollution from the very largest polluters.
In response to this legal victory, congressional allies of big coal and utility companies will attempt to pass legislation to block the proposed carbon pollution standard for new power plants. There is such an amendment in the FY 2013 Interior and Environment spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee on June 28th. The Hill reports:
?The agency?s big court victory Tuesday against industry challenges to its climate rules will likely intensify ongoing Capitol Hill attacks against greenhouse gas regulations and other EPA policies.
[The House spending bill] also targets specific EPA policies with provisions ? draft report language would prevent use of funds for greenhouse gas permitting.
But that?s just one venue Republicans will use to attack the agency over various policies.?
While big coal and its political allies fight climate protection efforts, Americans can continue to express their support to EPA via comments in favor of the carbon pollution standard. Public comments on proposed rules are an essential part of the regulatory process. It provides a forum for the public to demonstrate its support for clean air. It can also overwhelm or offset comments from big coal and utility companies who want to eliminate or eviscerate the proposed safeguards.
The official comment period ended on Monday June 25th, but you can still show your support by sending in comments today. Do it here!
Susannah Marshall is an intern with the Energy Opportunity team at the Center for American Progress.
Equality Matters continues to track the anti-gay donations made by Christian-run Chick-fil-A, finding that in 2010 the fast food chain gave nearly $2 million to groups like the Marriage & Family Foundation, Exodus International, and the Family Research Council. Chick-fil-A gave a similar amount in 2009, and an additional $1.1 million over the six preceding years, so in total, the company gave over $5 million to anti-gay organizations between 2003 and 2010. Groups like the National Organization for Marriage and One Million Moms continue to be unsurprisingly silent about whether Chick-fil-A should instead ?remain neutral in the culture war.”
A new Kaiser health tracking poll reveals that the American people are sick of Republicans dwelling on their hatred of the Affordable Care Act, and want the law’s opponents to give up and move on now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law:
Mitt Romney's campaign adviser agreed that the mandate enforcement in the ACA -- and MA's RomneyCare -- is a "penalty," not a "tax," thus agreeing with the Obama position. Rick Santorum once said Romney would be constrained in how he attacked ObamaCare.[...]
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