Only 6 able to sign up on healthcare.gov’s first day, documents show

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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Only six people were able to enroll for health insurance through the Obamacare website on the first day, according to documents released Thursday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.The documents also show that by the end of the day Oct.



Reminder for people getting those letters from their insurers: You’re not their captive anymore

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (R) and other Americans the White House says will benefit from the opening of health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden

In an excellent post on the Republican attacks on Obamacare “rate shock,” Brian Beutler makes a point that hasn’t been talked about enough.

[I]t’s important to distinguish complaints about cancellation notices from complaints about rate shock. Critics of the law have done their level best to create the impression that everyone who’s received a cancellation notice has experienced, or will soon experience, rate shock. But it’s not true.

Some people who receive these notices will be pleasantly surprised to find that the most similar new plan offered by their current provider is actually cheaper than their old one. Others will be told that a similar plan will cost more. What they won’t be told, because insurers don’t want to downsell or advertise for their competitors, is that they’re likely to find a different plan available through their state exchange that’s closer to the same price or cheaper. If they can’t find a cheaper one, then there’s a decent chance that federal subsidies will reduce their out-of-pocket costs. It’s only the remainder—and it’s likely to be a small remainder — that genuinely will have no choice but to either pay more money (in some cases significantly more) or pay a fine and go without coverage.

Insurers are sending out these letters, telling people they’ll be automatically enrolled in other, more expensive plans. They’re not telling people they can shop around for a better deal. Which is precisely the point of the health insurance exchanges. These insurers are betting that people will go the route of least resistance, and just fork up the money for the plan they’re being pushed toward. Of course insurers are doing that! They’re going to squeeze whatever extra money they can get out of people because that’s what they do.

No one is actually losing their health insurance, a fact that Republicans in hearings and conservative commenters (and bad reporters) aren’t talking about. They’re also not talking about the fact that people now have options, in lots of states, lots of options, and they don’t have to take what their current health insurer is selling.

Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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People walk outside the International Monetary Fund headquarters at the start of the annual IMF-World Bank fall meetings in WashingtonBy Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as part of a review of intelligence gathering activities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The order is the latest move by the White House to demonstrate that it is willing to curb at least some surveillance in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of programs that collect huge quantities of data on U.S. allies and adversaries, and American citizens.

Biden urges U.S. lawmakers to hold off on any new Iran sanctions

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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U.S. Vice President Biden speaks after a meeting with Mexico's President Pena Nieto in Mexico CityBy Patricia Zengerle and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden led a high-powered delegation to Capitol Hill on Thursday to try to persuade U.S. lawmakers to hold off on any more sanctions against Iran and let delicate diplomatic talks over Tehran's nuclear program unfold. President Barack Obama is convinced that there is the potential for an international deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon but worries that congressional pressure for additional sanctions could complicate negotiations. Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew held a closed-door session with Senate Democratic leaders and Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee to update them on major power talks with Iran. An official in Biden's office said the administration's message was that there may come a point when more sanctions are needed, but now may not be the best time for Congress to act.

Senate Republicans block key Obama court nominee

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit in WashingtonBy Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked President Barack Obama's nominee to a key federal appeals court, charging that he was trying to "pack the court" to win favorable rulings. On a nearly party-line vote of 55-38, five short of the needed 60, Obama's Democrats failed to end a Republican procedural roadblock against Patricia Millett, a Harvard-trained lawyer who worked for both Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican President George W. Bush. Republicans hailed the vote as a victory in their bid to stop Obama from turning the court into a rubber stamp for his administration. Obama picked Millett for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which is considered the country's second most important court, behind only the U.S. Supreme Court.

Obamacare website gets new tech experts; oversight pressure grows

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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Janet Perez oversees specialists help callers with health insurance, at a customer care center in Providence, Rhode IslandBy Susan Cornwell and David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration said it has brought in experts from top technology companies including Google Inc and Oracle Corp to fix the HealthCare.gov website, as Republicans press for details about the botched October 1 launch that prevented millions of Americans from signing up for new insurance plans. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it had added dozens of technology experts and engineers to its round-the-clock effort to fix the technical glitches on the site that is key to the implementation of President Barack Obama's healthcare restructuring law. Giving some of the first details of who might be leading the tech fix, HHS officials identified two experts by name: Michael Dickerson, a website reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, a Baltimore-based innovation director with the firm Mobomo and who previously worked for the White House and the General Services Administration. "We are doing everything we can to assist those contractors to make HealthCare.gov a highly performant, highly reliable, highly secure system." Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told shareholders at the company's annual meeting on Thursday in Redwood City, California.

Coddling those immigrants

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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Matt Wuerker
(Click for larger image)

Quiz: Are you a member of the new American center?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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Republican cautions against blocking Yellen’s Fed nomination

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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Yellen, nominee to be the next chairperson of the U.S. Federal Reserve, sits down to a meeting with Senate Banking Committee member Senator Shelby in his office on Capitol Hill in WashingtonA senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday he would oppose efforts to block the nomination of Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chairwoman with a filibuster unless some disturbing disclosure emerged. "I don't think I would filibuster a Fed nominee unless something came up that was just horrible," Alabama Senator Richard Shelby told Reuters Insider. "But that doesn't mean I won't speak against them, vote against them, work against them." Shelby's sentiments are important because Democrats would need to pick up only five Republican votes to clear procedural hurdles to bring Yellen's nomination to a vote in the Senate where confirmation needs only a simple majority. "I don't believe we have ever filibustered a Fed chairman," Shelby said shortly after meeting with Yellen for about 40 minutes.

Debt looms over conference committee and over future taxpayers

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-10-2013-05-2008

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The opening session of the House-Senate budget conference Wednesday had none of the theatrics of the Obamacare hearing going on across the street where House members grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.