The Truth about ObamaCare

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The government shutdown began with cries to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The shutdown ended with a political assault on ACA’s website malfunctions. Now reports are that the President lied when he promised insurance policies would not be cancelled if you liked your current plan.

In Florida, 300,000 people are being informed they cannot keep their current insurance option. Blue Cross Blue Shield Chief Executive Patrick J. Geragthy summed it up like this, consumers may find new and better options with new benefits and government subsidies available to low- and middle- class people.

What is the truth?

Companies like Florida’s Blue Cross are letting their customers know that they cannot keep their current option because the ACA requires insurers to provide “essential benefits” in the plans they offer. Politifact, says that “while letters were going out to hundreds of thousands in the form of cancelation letters to those who buy their own coverage, that “consumers will have ‘continuous health care coverage’ and will insurers will assign them a particular plan, or gave them the option to contact Florida Blue and choose another plan.”

Here is why. Many of the plans purchased by individuals before the ACA didn’t cover essential benefits required now by law in the ACA. Now all insurance plans must cover:
1. Outpatient care without being admitted to a hospital
2. Emergency room visits
3. Hospital inpatient treatment
4. Pre- and Post-natal care
5. Mental health and substance use disorder (behavioral treatment, counseling, & psychotherapy)
6. Prescription drugs
7. Medical services and devices after suffering an injury or for a disability or chronic condition. (Includes physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, psychiatric rehabilitation, and more.)
8. Lab tests
9. Preventive services including counseling, screenings, and vaccines to keep you healthy and care for managing a chronic disease.
10. Pediatric services including dental care and vision care for kids

Experts at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute say “Under the ACA, beginning January 1, 2014, insurers must renew their policyholders into policies that cover a minimum set of essential health benefits and provide a minimum level of protection from catastrophic out-of-pocket costs. They are also no longer allowed to increase premiums based on a policyholder’s health status.

As a result, many insurers are discontinuing old policies that do not comply with these new consumer protection standards. And the underlying federal law has not changed. If they discontinue a policy, they must provide policyholders with 90 days notice and they must offer them the option to enroll in an alternative policy.

But, for the first time, most consumers have a new option – they can shop for a plan on their state’s health insurance marketplace. For most people shopping on the marketplace, the policies available there will be a better value than anything they have been able to buy on the individual market.”

So there, the President didn’t lie, he just didn’t fully explain and people didn’t learn that their plans may not be the same. They actually may in some instances provide better services that insurance companies must cover. The term “cancellation” of a policy does not mean loss of coverage.

• Many insurance companies will automatically enroll consumers in a recommended health plan.
• And consumers who lack affordable coverage can shop the Marketplace and choose from an array of health plans.

Further:
• A majority of Americans have employer-based health insurance that fit the ACA’s requirement of essential benefits;
• The ACA strengthens not weakens employer-based health insurance and provides for newer protections in your health insurance plan available in the individual marketplace;
• Prevents companies from charging more for a pre-existing condition;
• Requires insurance companies to provide 10 essential benefits;
• If your plans already had these protections when the law was passed you will keep it as it will be grandfathered out of these changes.

The letters people are receiving from insurance companies are in large part, because their plans are changing or being upgraded to include new benefits. As insurers have made clear – they aren’t dropping people.

A majority of people in the individual market today qualify for discounted or free health coverage when signing up for coverage through the Marketplace. One study found that 48 percent of people who buy insurance through the individual market will get a tax credit that averages at over $5,500. An additional 1 million in the individual market today will qualify for Medicaid in states that choose to expand it next year.

Although the law allows people to stay in plans they had when it passed with no changes “grandfathered plans” many insurance companies have started upgrading their plans to improve the quality of coverage.

Nothing in the ACA makes insurers force people out of plans that consumers were enrolled in before the law passed – but it does require insurance companies that didn’t provide the essential benefits to upgrade these plans.

Almost half of those buying in the individual marketplace will find they are eligible for tax credits that will lower their premium and should visit http://www.healthcare.gov to learn more.

The law provides millions with better coverage they choose. Most in the individual market today can get that coverage through their same insurance company.

A few simple but important things to know about the ACA:
• 43% of Americans in the individual insurance marketplace can no longer be discriminated for having a pre-existing condition.
• Children can stay on their parents plans now until they are 26 years of age.
• 8.7 million women who buy insurance in the individual marketplace can no longer be charged nearly double for the same plan as men;
• No annual dollar limits on benefits or dropping folks when they get sick;
• 34% of enrollees lacked mental health coverage, 9 % lacked prescription drug coverage, and 625 lacked maternity coverage, these basic benefits like mental health, prescription drug, and maternity coverage are now covered.

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A Punch in The Face!

Yesterday FB friends responded to my post about the singer Chris Brown’s arrest in DC.   I didn’t weigh in because I wanted to see how his arraignment would go.   Now that’s done, and his parole may be revoked thus sending him to jail, we can hit first on celebrity “entitlement!”

The entitlement issue in our country leads to way too much sensitivity.  Last night talking to two friends born outside the US, I smiled when one of said, something I’ve believed a long time.  Whether it’s race, culture or sexual orientation, we are awful as a nation to rules on political correctness.  Unwritten rules that you cannot say this or that because it hurts my feelings or someone else’s.  Grow up! 

How does this relate to Chris Brown?  In his version of what happed, he says two guys jumped into a photo he was taking with two women.  “I ain’t into no gay shit! I feel like boxing.”  And?

Celebrities get a bad wrap sometimes for their celebrity.  If you cannot deal with it, don’t be famous!  That is why, I have no sympathy for Chris.  He’s been in these situations far too often.  After Rihanna, no matter what she did to invoke his anger, she didn’t deserve to get a “fruit punch” ie. beat down.

Chris your celebrity status doesn’t give you the right to break someone’s nose.  Instead, it should heighten your awareness of your surroundings making you keenly responsibility of your job to keep your fans happy.  They want a picture?  No matter who they are, take the picture.  Remember your fans make it possible for you to buy your home, clothes, the bus you were protecting and the attorneys you will now have to re-hire.  

Should the gentlemen in question have tried to get on your bus?  If that is what happened, then you should have let your bodyguard do his job.  That’s what you pay him for!  Your job is to make the people happy.  Bodyguards job, protect you from people who overstep the boundaries.

On FB some of you said, Chris has some sort of mental illness.  It appears he has anger issues.  That is his problem.  I want to know when will fans get angry enough to stop putting money in his pockets?  Better yet, why are fans so angry with Jay-z for not ending his Christmas partnership with Barneys? 

Millions of fans that have put money in Jay-Z’s pocket should have been angry with him years ago for using the word “nigga” in just about everyone of his songs.  Instead they are angry with his partnership because they heard through the media that the store is accused of profiling African Americans buying expensive items in their stores.  Don’t get mad with Jay-Z stop going to Barneys!

The mental illness and entitlement we see in celebrities is just as much the fans fault.  So what Jay-Z doesn’t want to end his partnership!  He wants to know the whole story before he cuts his ties to a company that will give 25% of the money raised through their partnership to his charity.  A charity that provides scholarships to low income disadvantaged children.  His argument not a dime goes directly to him.  Hmmm…..okie dokie then does that mean you also don’t get the tax write off for the donation on the income you make from the fans?  Why get mad at Jay-Z?  Get even, stop buying his music!!

Jay-Z is rich and “entitled” to do what he wants with his money.  Just like Chris Brown is “entitled” to do what he wants with his anger issues.  I’ve downloaded only one Jay-Z CD ever and never one by Chris Brown.   My issue with Chris is that he beat down a woman!  My issue with Jay-Z is he’s made over a billion dollars using the word “nigga” in his songs. 

Yes, that is my sensitivity and until now I haven’t shared it publicly, just to my friends.  I have an issue with the word not because it makes me crazy.  You see my mother repeatedly told her children when we called each other names, “sticks and stones…words don’t hurt me none!” 

My issue with the word is I understand the psychological impact it has had on generations of people.  It is why I loved the movie “12 Years a Slave: The Solomon Northrup Story” and why I encourage all who haven’t to see it. 

My last question, which really is the real question is this, “When will the public hold the artists we support and make rich accountable?”   

I guarantee you, if John Boehner used the word “nigga” in a public speech, or, if Ted Cruz punched someone in the nose, the masses would come together and make sure neither of them ever won another election, or made a dime at the public’s expense.  Just sayin’

 

Tea and Sympathy

Ted-Cruz-Wrecking-Ball Thousands of  federal employees returned to work this morning as the 2013 #GovernmentShutdown ended.  With the damage left by The Tea Party, a small faction of the Republican Party being assessed.

Perhaps they intended to create waves and ripples of destruction.  Or perhaps, they were just immature and didn’t realize their actions would take $24 billion dollars from our sluggish economy.   Perhaps, they believed seventeen days of bickering over a continuing resolution and raising the debt ceiling would strengthen our economy.

What I realize is that the resolution passed by Congress only provides, a short term solution.  There still is no resolution of the bigger problem, we don’t have a budget.  So the continuing resolution creates more uncertainty as we creep closer to another potential shutdown in 90 days.

The President in his statement today summed up the shutdown and damage from it with this, “we don’t know how much damage this has caused….we do know it has caused unnecessary damage to our economy.”

And though we don’t know how much, we do know this. Everyday working Americans and the poor were hurt by the shutdown.  We know our economy didn’t create jobs during the shutdown.  We know consumer and business confidence was impacted.  And we know that in the days to come it translates to slower future job growth and less money for consumers during the Christmas season.

That is why it is WE the People’s turn to focus on ways to create broad based prosperity.  It is our turn to rewrite history, by never forgetting the past seventeen days.  By collectively pointing the finger at ourselves.  By looking in the mirror and figuring out how to send responsible elected officials to Washington, that unite, not divide.

In the aftermath of this, it is our turn to remember that government is not the problem.  Not this government, that seeks to play a vital role in taking care of our elderly and our poor?  Not this government that protects our food supply, guards our waterways, expands our technologies, secures our national parks and protects us after a natural disaster.  This government is not the problem!

The Tea Party, that extremist faction of the Republican Party that is spewing hate, waving Confederate flags and trying to return  America back to the ideological age of slavery and segregation, is the problem.  They are a dying breed that is unpatriotic and un-American.  Who instead of passing a budget, immigration reform, gun control legislation, a jobs and farm bill, use tactics to manufacture a crisis that weakens our economy, instead of strengthening it. This government is not the problem, irresponsible governance is the problem.

If we want a resolution that solves the problem, we must take hold.  We must have hope.  We must move FORWARD.  That is why it is time for us to go Back to the FUTURE.

WE, the People must move out of the way those who wish to obstruct us from progress.

WE, the People must take responsibility in removing those who seek to destroy opportunities for upward mobility in wealth and education.

WE, the People must replace them with elected officials who wish to construct the bridges of opportunity that open the gateways for prosperity.

WE,the People must send to Washington, men and women who promote the founding fathers fundamental principle of “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

So let us not forget in 2014, what irresponsible stewards of our American democracy on Capitol Hill sought to do in 2013.  If we do that.  If we vote our conscious in 2014, we will find a responsible resolution to the problems that cause the dysfunction in Washington.

Time Out!

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Politics has become a childish blame game. Right now led by Republicans pointing fingers at everyone but yourselves, in the US Congress. So We The People want YOU to go to the Time Out corner.

My great-grandmother Georgiana used to recite us portions of Edgar Guest’s poem “Myself”.

I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I’ve done.

Republicans what are you doing for the country, workers and the economy? Can you look yourself in the eye and say you are doing all you can for the American people.   Go to Time Out until you get through this temper tantrum.

Your tantrum hurts America. You have cut wages to federal workers and defeated gun reform with valid mental health guidelines in it.  Now you fight a budget and debt ceiling deal.

You need to stop whining and get Americans working.  We need you to pass a Jobs Bill to get millions of Americans working again.

Stop whining and attacking President Obama.  Senator McConnell you smirked years ago saying your number one priority is making sure the President wasn’t reelected.  Well he was reelected, you lost, move on.

Your whining, pettiness and bitterness hurt the country.  Going after one person while holding millions of Americans hostage in an attempt to do what?

That is the question, What is your end game?  It isn’t ObamaCare.  That’s the smoke screen.  Is it to expose the Cruz/Tea Party element to get moderate, traditional Republicans into office?  There are better ways to do that.

Is it to destroy the President’s legacy?  That’s not good for America?

As elected officials, leaders of your political party, you are failing the American people.  That’s not good for America. You have focused on repealing laws rather than offering ideas to strengthen them.   You haven’t introduced or passed anything to promote strengthening our economy. That’s not good for America.

Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, where is the legislation that puts Republicans at the forefront of pulling the poor from the depths of poverty?  Moves the middle class into the upper middle class?  Makes small businesses stronger and lowers the unemployment rate?

Your attention is so focused on defeating Obama, you forgot to position the Party to win in 2014 and 2016.  Instead you pulled the victim card.  You scream, lie and cheat the American people.  Crying foul and painting yourself as the victim.

It is sickening to watch grown men cry foul, sounding like crybabies.  So you go to “Time Out.”

Sit and reflect on what you are doing that is hurting the country.  You can’t come out until you tell us how you are going to help Americans get back to work.

Stop whining!  American families need to know when this #governmentshutdown will stop.  We need you working for the American people not against them working.

As we wait and you sit in the Time Out corner, I leave you with this portion of Guest’s poem.  Wondering at the end of the day at the setting sun, one day will you hate yourself for the things you have done.

 I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to think as I come and go
That I’m for bluster and bluff and empty show.

Republicans YOU Are To Blame! Get Over It

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As a Republican, I say, YOU are too blame! Get over it and stop keeping the nation from moving FORWARD! I am disenchanted with the words coming from the Party. To hold American salaries hostage is immoral. To shut down the government and hold the debt ceiling as a negotiation ploy is immoral. To blame the President for wanting 100% of the Affordable Care Act is immoral. To keep 40,000,000 Americans from having affordable access to healthcare is immoral!!

I agree with you on some things. One is we have too many entitlement programs. Like the ones that provide billions in corporate tax breaks. And the ones that provide subsidies to oil companies and farmers.

What I believe and what others in the Party used to believe is, we have a moral obligation to help all those in need. That means we are obligated to help the every day working American who was affected during The Great Recession. YOU use terms like, we need to do this and that to cut programs that help the poor and disadvantaged. Is that American exceptionalism?

I don’t know what your brand of American exceptionalism is? Is it American exceptionalism to take food out of the mouths of hungry children by cutting food lunch programs and SNAP. Is it American exceptionalism to cut funding for Meals on Wheels programs that feed the elderly who are stuck in their homes?

Is it American exceptionalism to forget more than 8,000,000 Americans who lost their homes during the Great Recession? The unemployment rate increased dramatically! Is it exceptionalism when you don’t vote or pass a Jobs Bill?

It was exceptional that our nation saved the auto, banking and housing industries. Further that it also bailed out Wall Street after its irresponsible reckless behavior came close to crippling ours and the global economy.

In the process, everyday working Americans lost their jobs. Five years later, many are still trying to get back on their feet! Yet you want to cut funding to programs that are helping them stay at the water line, not even afloat?

You want to cut funding to small children, small businesses and many others who have served this nation. You want to take the food out of their mouths, the roof from over their heads? Is this your brand of American exceptionalism?

This argument about healthcare is sad! It shouldn’t be part of the discussion. The Individual Mandate that YOU want to extend for a year, is a smoke screen!! In order for the ACA to work the uninsured must be on the insurance roll! But YOU wont say that YOU are in bed with the insurance companies. This is deeper than wanting to extend the mandate. Say what it is! It is about fighting progress.

The Party lost its way a long time ago. I hope this self inflicted implosion makes the Party refocus and move it to the center. If it doesn’t, it will be the minority party, not just in the Senate or in the House of Reps, but also in the Presidency.

Your action is a play from yesterday, that no longer works!! YOU see, when President Obama was elected, CHANGE happened. Those who voted for the President did it again in 2012. They reaffirmed what many in this nation want to deny. We the People, moved FORWARD! It is time for YOU, the Republican Party to do the same, or be left further BEHIND!

Do The Right Thing!

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DC streets are empty as the #GovernmentShutdown enters Week 2.  If you ever saw the movie S.W.A.T., you may remember Samuel L. Jackson saying,”Sometimes doing the right thing, ain’t doing the right thing.” With that in mind, what if federal employees after the shutdown ends refused for days to go back to work? Would elected officials think two or three times before ever considering shutting government down again?

The President and the Democrats are right to stand firm on their position. What I offer here is a personal assessment. That is that Democrats should call out Republicans and in particular Speaker John Boehner. They should paint Republicans refusing to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to get the government running, as “unpatriotic” and “un-American.”

Instead of going through the litany of accusations, Dems should say over and over, that keeping the government closed, weakens our national security. That it morally fails to protect poor children. That shutting down the government impacts good American families and is un-American.

This would raise the volume in the Republican echo chamber. We would hear people like Senator Rand Paul crying with statements like this one he made yesterday, on Meet the Press.  “President Obama is unwilling to negotiate.  He wants 100% of ObamaCare. He doesn’t want to give up on anything. It is his way or the highway.”

Senator Paul stop whining, stop crying! You’re as responsible as anyone for this #governmentshutdown. You want more than 100% of a number of things. That isn’t negotiation. You are holding the American economy, American worker and country hostage.

Dems should ask Senator Paul, how keeping health care to 40 million uninsured Americans is unpatriotic. How pushing reforms for preventive care that positively impacts all Americans is un-American.

Dems should ask questions like Vanessa Guthrie did hosting Meet the Press yesterday to Senator Paul, “if you think the Dems want to keep the government shutdown whey would you fall into their trap?”  Paul’s response was weak, because there isn’t a good answer.  Just like there isn’t a good answer supporting keeping the #governmentshutdown.

FEMA employees were called in over the weekend because of a storm hitting the east coast.  After the danger subsides they will be furloughed again. These are additional and unnecessary costs that impact the economy?

Employees at FEMA are an example of how good American people strengthen not weaken our nation. The budget sequester and the shutdown should never have happened. Both weaken our economy, strain American families directly and indirectly.  Where is the patriotism in this? How does it promote American values.

That is why Speaker Boehner, you can demonstrate your patriotism by putting a clean CR to a vote. Even if it means losing your position as Speaker of the House.  Sometimes doing the right thing ain’t doing the right thing. Because doing the right thing for one or some, isn’t the doing the right thing for all.

Have the courage! Do the right thing!  Call for a vote and let Congress vote it’s conscious. Hold a vote on the debt ceiling and stop tying this to a law that’s already been passed. Do the right thing!

Frederick Douglass a Republican said “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, it never will.  Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Speaker Boehner you are losing power. The course you are on, will lead to losses now and in 2014.

You can no longer secure power protecting just a few.  The right thing to do, is the right for the country. There is nothing to negotiate Mr. Speaker. Let none of us forget that “arguing with a fool, only means there are two.” Stop arguing with the Tea Party. Stop letting this small faction of the Party try to govern the country. Mr. Speaker, “Do the right thing!” for America.

Day 4: The Rules Of Washington

It is Day 4 of the “Dysfunction in Washington,” so let’s go over the “Rules of Washington.”  It may help us understand why the government is shutdown and why we will go late into next week before an agreement is reached! 

If it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth fighting dirty for.

Don’t lie, cheat or steal…unnecessarily.

There is always one more son of a bitch than you counted on.

An honest answer can get you into a lot of trouble.

The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.

Chicken little only has to be right once.

“NO” is only an interim response.

You can’t kill a bad idea.

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you ever tried.

The truth is a variable.

Fight implementation every step of the way.

A promise is not a guarantee.

If you can’t counter the argument, leave the meeting.

By Monday, unless there is an agreement, and I will be very surprised if there is one, we will be on Day 7.  This is getting closer to Oct 17th when a debt ceiling agreement must be reached.  Next week, we will be watching the Stock Market ever so closely because although Speaker John Boehner says he will not let the government default let’s remember the Rules of Washington “a promise is not a guarantee.”

So Now We Wait……

Rules of Washington come from http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/jokes/bljokerulesofwashington.htm