The Obama administration is admitting that his signature law has some problems. Nice of them to finally acknowledge that. And he's got just the fix - expand Medicaid and have the federal government be responsible for even more with a public option.
President Barack Obama is "quite proud" that his signature health care law has expanded coverage to 20 million more Americans. But he admits the law could be strengthened, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
"The president does have some ideas for things that we could do to further strengthen Obamacare. The first is to find a way to ensure that every state across the country is expanding Medicaid, consistent with what was envisioned in the law."
....The law said the federal government would pay the full cost of Medicaid expansion for three years, from 2014 through the end of this year. After that, the states would have to pick up an increasing share of the cost.
As the Associated Press reported last week, the cost of expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people is increasing faster than expected. In a recent report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent higher than previously estimated.
(Democrat Hillary Clinton has promised that if she's elected president, she would work to expand Medicaid in the remaining 19 states that have not done so.)
They act as if Medicaid was a cure-all and doesn't have major problems already. So many doctors refuse to accept Medicaid because the government offers such lower reimbursements.
States facing bad news about Obamacare increases have more bad news headed their way.
States with some of the worst Obamacare news this year also have the biggest need for people to sign up, presenting a major challenge to advocates for the healthcare law.
Of the six states where insurers have proposed the steepest price increases affecting the most people, five have among the highest uninsured rates in the country, according to data compiled by independent analyst Charles Gaba.
In Tennessee, where 11 percent of residents remain uninsured, average monthly premiums could rise by 56 percent next year if insurers follow through with the prices they have proposed.
In Arizona and Oklahoma, where insurers are seeking to raise prices by more than 50 percent, 13 percent of residents lack insurance. Insurers also are seeking higher-than-average rate hikes in Montana and Alabama, states where the uninsured rate is about 10 percent.
And it's not just big price hikes that are standing in the way of enrollment efforts. Five states have confirmed that just one insurer will sell plans in their marketplace next year, forcing many consumers to find a new plan and leaving all shoppers with a single carrier option. Four of those states — Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina — have above average uninsured rates.
Advocates in those states worry that the flood of negative headlines mean consumers won't explore their options for getting coverage. And if enrollment doesn't improve in states with big rate increases and insurer exits, that could aggravate the problem as plans assess their losses from Obamacare customers and consider whether to keep selling on the marketplaces.
And Joe Wilson got in trouble for saying "You lie" when Obama said that Obamacare wouldn't cover illegal immigrants. Well, it took a few years, but it's coming true in California.
California’s health care exchange is requesting that it be allowed a waiver from ObamaCare regulations in order to allow illegal immigrants to buy insurance on the exchange – which would make California the first state to extend ObamaCare to illegal immigrants.
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Our president's approach to foreign policy and checks and balances in the government:
The Obama administration misled journalists and lawmakers for more than nine months about a secret agreement to lift international sanctions on a critical funding node of Iran’s ballistic missile program, as part of a broader “ransom” package earlier this year that involved Iran freeing several U.S. hostages, according to U.S. officials and congressional sources apprised of the situation.
The administration agreed to immediately lift global restrictions on Iran’s Bank Sepah—a bank the Treasury Department described in 2007 as the “linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement”–eight years before they were to be lifted under last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement. U.S. officials initially described the move as a “goodwill gesture” to Iran.
The United States also agreed to provide Iran $1.7 billion in cash to release or drop charges against 21 Iranians indicted for illegally assisting Tehran. Full details of this secret agreement were kept hidden from Congress and journalists for more than nine months, multiple sources told the Washington Free Beacon.
State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon now say the United States “already made” the decision to drop U.S. sanctions, but declined to address multiple questions aimed at clarifying the discrepancy between past and current explanations for dropping international sanctions.
But don't forget, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are saying that she helped to make sure Iran wouldn't have nuclear capabilities.
Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post thinks that Hillary Clinton is "WAY overcompensating for Tim Kaine's poor debate performance."
Hillary Clinton wants to make one thing very, very clear: Tim Kaine was GREAT in Tuesday's vice-presidential debate. So good. The best. He might have, in fact, added his name to the list of the world's greatest debaters — right there alongside Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and Winston Churchill.
This is what's commonly known as overcompensating. Like if people say you are dumb, you try to wedge lots of big words into every sentence you write. That sort of sesquipedalianism is, of course, a tell for overcompensation....
Here's the reality: Kaine was not so good Tuesday night. (He wasn't Trump-level bad. But he wasn't great.) He spent the first 20 minutes of the debate amped up beyond belief, tripping over his words as he tried to rush them out before his allotted time expired. The next 20 minutes were relatively solid. But then Kaine decided he would interrupt Mike Pence every time the Indiana governor started to speak. And Kaine kept that up for the duration of the debate.
It wasn't a good look. I named Kaine a loser in my post-debate winners and losers column. Polling done among debate watchers seemed to confirm that Kaine had lost. Even the early spin out of the Clinton campaign was that Pence might have done some good for himself but that he hadn't helped Trump in the least. (I think that's totally right!)
But as Wednesday morning turned into Wednesday afternoon, it became clear that Kaine's performance was coming under increasing criticism. Enter Clinton to insist that Kaine was, is and always will be the greatest debater this world — and this universe — will ever see.
Don't be fatuous, Hillary.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Mike Pence's performance made Trump any better than Trump actually is. Ben Shapiro writes,
But the determination by many of Trump’s voters to whitewash the man in order to vote for him is astounding. An alternative universe has been constructed where Trump’s worst sins never happened, where anyone who refuses to back the lifelong big-government statist with a historic penchant for dishonesty is a traitor to conservatism. Some of the thinkers I most admire fall into this category — people who construct their own Fantasy Trump with whom to fall in love. These are the people who suggest that Trump must talk more about judges and Obamacare and the specifics of Clinton’s Egypt policy. That’s not who Trump is. Trump is the guy who couldn’t name the countries bordering Egypt, but once heard a rumor from a Breitbart commentator that Hillary stashes a lesbian lover there.
Playing Henry Higgins to Trump’s Eliza Doolittle is one thing if Trump learns to enunciate properly. It’s entirely another thing if Trump’s Eliza instead decides to disregard the diction lessons, speaking entirely in barroom curses — and conservative Higginses insist that everyone at the ball acknowledge Trump as a princess anyway.
Yet that self-deception has become the rule rather than the exception.
The problem is that the rest of the country isn’t deceived. They see Trump for who he is; the Democratic critiques hit home. Though pretending Trump away may be effective as self-deception, it doesn’t work at all when it comes to deceiving anyone else. But the self-deception has been so effective for many Trump advocates that they now insist that it’s everyone else who’s delusional — that those who won’t support Trump simply don’t see him clearly. They don’t know the real (read: The Fantasy) Trump. Their criticism is hurting Trump, all because they don’t understand that Fantasy Trump is real, real! He’ll appoint conservative justices (no evidence)! He’ll be stalwart on foreign policy (no evidence)! He’s just saying all those leftist things because he wants to win (no evidence)!
Hence the disconnect between conservatives who won’t support Trump and those who spend an outsized chunk of time ripping them. Many Trump supporters — those who see his flaws and will vote for him anyway — don’t bother scratching the anti–Never Trump itch. They get it; they just disagree. But the advocates for Fantasy Trump truly cannot understand why any conservative would oppose him.
Exactly. So in the vice-presidential debate, each man was trying to prop up their fantasy candidates at the head of their tickets. The Hillary who helped kill Osama Bin Laden and get rid of Iran's nukes and has the most generous and best charity out there doesn't exist. And the wonderful Donald Trump, that brilliant businessman who cares so much about everyday people and never said he thought Putin was strong or he wanted to pull out of the Middle East or have more countries in Asia get the nuclear weapon or toyed with the idea of criminalizing women who had abortions doesn't exist either.
Michael Barone notes an international trend of voters rejecting open borders. As he writes, a lot of elites are wishing for the world that John Lennon sang in "Imagine" - "Imagine there's no countries."
What both ignored is that many voters think that borders and laws should mean what they say. American citizenship should be reserved, they think, for those inclined to obey American laws. Legalizing undocumented immigrants’ status without assurance of future enforcement, they argue plausibly, would incentivize further waves of illegal immigration.
The Lennonist actions of Barack Obama and the campaign rhetoric of Hillary Clinton provide support for this view. Obama, in an executive order now blocked by federal courts, moved to legalize the presence of 5 million undocumented immigrants.
Clinton has indicated she would legalize the presence of millions of undocumented immigrants and would deport no immigrants who have not broken any laws other than immigration laws. Apparently, she has not repudiated her Ohio campaign’s tweet, in response to Donald Trump’s statement that “no one has a right to immigrate to this country”: “We disagree.” That’s pure Lennonism — no borders.
Current polling suggests she’s likely to win in November. But comprehensive immigration legislation still looks like a goner. Most Americans don’t want all borders eliminated.
Britain’s Cameron — a product, like the Clintons and the Bushes, of elite universities — staked his prime ministership on persuading British voters to go along with a status quo in which unelected European Union commissions and courts could overturn British laws and compel parliament to pass unwanted legislation.
Cameron and financial elites made dire predictions that Brexit — leaving the EU — would damage Britain’s economy. They acknowledged that EU diktats could be irritating but implicitly accepted that the EU leaders’ goal of an “ever closer union” was inevitable.
Fifty-two percent of a record turnout of British voters thought otherwise. Almost everywhere outside inner London and Scotland, majorities voted to take the economic risk — which currently looks to have been greatly overstated — and to give control of Britain’s borders back to its voters’ elected representatives. Cameron resigned and was replaced by Theresa May, who opposed leaving the EU but now says that “Brexit means Brexit.”
The British vote came against the urging of Obama and his threat that Britain would go “to the back of the queue” if it ignored his advice.
Obama believes that “the arc of history” bends in the Lennonist direction. It might be nice if it did. But continued terrorist attacks since the day after Bill Clinton spoke in Melbourne, like the bombs raining down on Britain as John Lennon was born, leave plenty of reason to doubt that the world is ready to “live as one.”
This is good news. It will be terrible news for countries like Russia and Venezuela and so many countries in the Middle East.
Alaska’s oil reserves may have just gotten 80 percent bigger after Dallas-based Caelus Energy LLC announced the discovery of 6 billion barrels under Arctic waters.
The light-oil reserves were found in the company’s Smith Bay leases between Prudhoe Bay and Barrow along the Arctic shore, according to a statement from Caelus on Tuesday. As much as 40 percent of the find, or 2.4 billion barrels, is estimated as recoverable, the company said. That compares with the state’s proved reserves of 2.86 billion barrels in 2014, almost 8 percent of the U.S. total, Energy Department data show....
Musselman, the man who engineered the $3.2 billion sale of Triton Energy Ltd. to Hess Corp. in 2001, founded Caelus in 2011 to explore and develop petroleum resources on the North Slope. In 2014, the company formed a partnership with affiliates of Apollo Global Management LLC to invest in oil and gas properties in Alaska.
The development will cost between $8 billion and $10 billion over the life of the project, which could be brought into operation by the fall of 2022, Musselman said. Located about 125 miles from any other facilities, the company will need to build pipelines and roads. An oil price of about $65 a barrel and greater certainty on state tax policy and incentives is needed to develop the field, he said.
“A lot of the investment decision is going to revolve around what happens within the state from a regulatory standpoint,” he said.
Caelus said its newly discovered field could produce as much as 200,000 barrels a day.
Of course, I have no confidence in either the state or federal government to allow such exploration and construction to go forward.
The American Interest comments on the news,
As good as this is for both Alaska and the United States, it’s a bad sign for other major producers, and more specifically it’s unwelcome news for petrostates like Saudi Arabia and Russia. OPEC intends to cut production at its semiannual meeting in November, but even as it works to constrain the world’s oil supply to set off a price rebound, new discoveries are being made and new projects are coming online. You can find the latest example of this massive global glut off the coast of the United Kingdom, where roughly a dozen tankers are waiting their turn to offload their crude cargoes. The world is awash in oil, and despite the protestations of the delusional “peak oil” movement, that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
Just what the city of Chicago needs - a teacher strike.
Chicago’s public school teachers are the highest paid of any in the 50 largest districts in the country. And yet they are on the verge of striking once again — this time because their pay raise requires them to contribute to their own pensions. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has voted to authorize a strike as soon as October 11, despite Chicago’s budgetary shortfall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s insistence that this is the best deal financially possible for the teachers.
What kind of squalor is the city forcing on these teachers? The kind with a $78,000 median salary and $27,000 in benefits, and an 8.7% pay increase over the next four years if they agree to the deal that’s on the table.
Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) faces a $300 million shortfall next year, which the city is planning to deal with not by cutting teacher salaries, but by raising taxes.
Even those who support unionized teachers are seeing this potential strike as the irresponsible and selfish cash-grab that it is. Alderman Howard Brookins, chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee said, “Some of the most fervent supporters of the CTU in the City Council believe the best deal they can get is on the table.”
As a teacher, I totally reject the idea of striking. Students' education should never be held hostage to battles between teachers and politicians. But these Chicago teachers are especially despicable. Their city and state are going broke because of the pension promises already in effect. Children are dying on the streets of the city and the teachers want to squeeze even more money from a budget already stretched beyond its limits.
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Jim Geraghty wonders if the Clinton campaign has any other plan than attacking Trump.
Some Democrats, such as Paul Begala on CNN, suggested Kaine’s aggressive, badgering assaults represented Kaine putting his campaign mission – attack Trump – ahead of his self-interest in coming across as a likeable, respectful human being. Perhaps that’s the case, but if that’s true, that means the Clinton campaign felt that the most important task they could achieve tonight was… attack Trump. (As if they hadn’t attacked him, nearly 24-7, since he won the nomination.)
Do you think there are many Americans out there, watching a vice-presidential debate, who haven’t heard the criticisms against Trump? Do you think that Trump’s supporters are backing him because they think he’s polite? Do you think the race is close because Hillary and the Democrats haven’t attacked Trump enough, or do you think it’s because not enough Americans think she’ll actually improve their lives in any meaningful ways?
Jim Geraghty has a suggestion for Mike Pence's political future if he is not sworn in as vice president in January.
[I]t’s worth noting that Indiana’s Democratic senator, Joe Donnelly, will be up for reelection in 2018, and he’s likely to be vulnerable given the state’s reddish tint. In a Republican-leaning state in a midterm election year, Pence would begin as the favorite.
Don't be deceived Tim Kaine's defense of how wonderful the Clinton Foundation is.
Kaine is not the first Clinton defender to paint the foundation as something sacred for all the good it does, which only the mean-spirited would dare attack. But the average voter needs to understand how misleading this is. The Clinton Foundation is not the Red Cross, or is it the Missionaries of Charity or the Salvation Army.
Whatever charity work it does, the foundation's more relevant purpose right now pertains to its $30 million annual payroll. This is how it has served as a vehicle for keeping the Clinton political machine together and running at a time when there was no other obvious way.
It isn't necessarily easy for someone serving in a cabinet department, let alone someone outside government for good (Bill Clinton), to keep a standing army of loyalists well-paid. The foundation meant, among other things, that donors could pay for the Clintons to keep one. And in many notable cases, those donors were people or nation-states with known interests before Clinton's State Department.
We have noted previously how the foundation became a source of leverage for donors. Emails obtained through Freedom of Information requests have shown that at times the foundation served as a much more effective channel for donors to reach Clinton for official government business than simply going through the State Department like everyone else.
But another part of this picture is the question of where the donors' money was going. For example, it offered Clinton a way to have wealthy friends provide the money to pay loyalist Sidney Blumenthal $10,000 a month for six years, for doing ... well, no one seems to know. Blumenthal had been barred from the State Department for spreading rumors among journalists that President Obama had been born in Kenya....
And of course, the donors often got something out of it themselves. Sometimes it was just face-time with the secretary that couldn't be obtained through normal State Department channels. Other times, it was something more involved, such as having the U.S. government intervene to prevent a takeover of their Congolese mining operations, or getting the administration's sign-off on the sale of 20 percent of U.S. uranium deposits to Vladimir Putin's Russia.
The bottom line here is that no one should be fooled into thinking that an outfit that pays Sidney Blumenthal that kind of money has been established out of purely disinterested altruism. There's a good reason why people gave to the Clinton Foundation instead of other charities, which is why there's a good reason the Clinton Foundation has become an albatross for Clinton's candidacy.
Yes, Trump's foundation was phony and served to allow him to pretend that he was generous by using other people's money. But Clinton's foundation
Oh, and forget Hillary's pretense that her server wasn't a security vulnerability.
A cybersecurity firm responsible for protecting Hillary Clinton's private server received more than 50 incident reports triggered by unusual activity logged by her network's firewall, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
Some, though probably not all, of the 53 incidents are likely to have been triggered by foreign IP addresses representing hackers. Those addresses originated in countries that already been suspected of trying to hack into Clinton's network, including China, Germany and South Korea. What has not been known is the number of times Clinton's network was targeted.
The incident reports, which range from October 2013 through December 2014, were provided to congressional investigators by SECNAP Network Security Corporation and obtained by the Examiner. The illuminate the cybersecurity issues Clinton's server faced, and indicate anomalous cybersecurity events may have become nearly routine for the firms contracted to maintain the private system.
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The Washington Post's Monkey Cage looks at how partisans are quick to argue that polls are biased if the polls go against their favored candidates. They did a study and found that people are more likely to think a poll is accurate if it shows their candidate winning.
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The delicate snowflakes at American University demand "trigger warnings" on every class syllabus. The faculty had passed a resolution supporting freedom of speech, but the students aren't interested in such an Enlightenment idea.
American University’s student government is pushing back against a faculty resolution that embraces freedom of speech, launching a #LetUsLearn campaign that demands mandatory trigger warnings at the top of each syllabus.
“The fact of the matter is, trigger warnings are necessary in order to make our academic spaces accessible to all students, especially those who have experienced trauma,” said the student government president, Devontae Torriente, in a video. “In doing so, we uphold AU’s commitment to academic freedom and allow all students to participate in the exchange of ideas and discussion.”
The faculty resolution, which was passed in 2015, reads: “American University is committed to protecting and championing the right to freely communicate ideas—without censorship—and to study material as it is written, produced, or stated, even material that some members of our community may find disturbing or that provokes uncomfortable feelings. … As laws and individual sensitivities may seek to restrict, label, warn or exclude specific content, the academy must stand firm as a place that is open to diverse ideas and free speech.”
I wonder how these students think the world is going to operate once they leave the ivory tower. Do they think that their future bosses are going to cater to their tender feelings?
Rajshree Agarwal writes in the Washington Post about how, even as a tenured professor, she is afraid to speak her mind.
Now I have tenure, which assures even greater academic freedom. But in the current campus climate of safe spaces, trigger warnings and outrage over anything politically incorrect, I find myself increasingly holding back and second-guessing myself.
I’m not the only one. A 2010 study from the American Association of Colleges and Universities shows that only 30 percent of college seniors and 17 percent of professors strongly agree it’s safe to hold unpopular points of view on campus.
....German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann first wrote about the “spiral of silence” in 1974. She recognized the human fear of isolation and people’s willingness to keep unpopular opinions to themselves to avoid backlash. Even majority opinions can be stifled when the media amplify minority voices and makes them seem dominant.
People often discuss academic freedom in the context of the First Amendment, which prohibits prior restraint imposed by heavy-handed governments. The spiral of silence is something different, and perhaps an even greater threat to the human spirit that drives innovation.
College administrators might enforce free-speech zones, disinvite controversial speakers, send warning letters about cultural appropriation and remove segregation-era names from campus buildings. But external forces can never chill entrepreneurship like the self-doubt that comes from within.
....The threat is more than imaginary and more than just about questionable performances that may offend. During one recent exchange in an academic conference, I was asked what businesses can do to create social value. “They can do good business,” I replied.
My research supports this defense of profit, and I was ready to engage in civil discourse. Instead, two colleagues turned on me. “Milton Friedman, are we?” the first person said. “Didn’t you take money from the evil Koch brothers?” the other added, in reference to Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, who are known for their free-market activism. (The Koch Foundation contributed to the creation of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets in 2014.)
This was not the first time. I have been frontally attacked as a Koch “stooge” by a professor in philosophy who did not even know me, when I chose to become the founding director at the Ed Snider Center. Such comments can take a toll on anyone, including tenured professors. Students and assistant professors who “think different” are even more vulnerable because of the imbalance of power in academia.
At least two faculty members who have aligned interests do not want to publicly associate with the Snider Center, for fear of retribution from colleagues.
Greg Lukianoff, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, highlighted the dangers of shutting people up under the guise of political correctness during a Snider Center free speech forum last week. “It’s really hard to innovate if you’re afraid to open your mouth,” he said.
People need filters. Self-regulation is part of emotional intelligence and necessary for reasoned and respectful discourse. But the distinction between self-regulation and self-censorship becomes blurry when a culture of fear silences opposing viewpoints in higher education.
Such fears are not a bug, but a feature of the leftist agenda on college campuses.
Apparently, one school district in Ontario is confiscating food from student lunches because they're not sufficiently healthy.
More than 30 parents in Durham, Ontario, shared stories about teachers telling their kids what items they could and could not eat, and even confiscating food, the Toronto Star reported last Thursday. Teachers reportedly told children their parent-given foods were "too unhealthy" to eat.
Tami DeVries said that when her son took his lunch to kindergarten, it was confiscated. A teacher took away his kielbasa, cheese, and Wheat Thins crackers, replacing them with Cheerios. Alicia Nesbitt reported that her stepdaughter, in first grade, had chips removed from her lunch during the first week of school.
“She came home and told me they weren’t a ‘healthy choice,’” Nesbitt said. “That may be true, but the rest of her lunch and snacks were very healthy and it’s up to parents if they want to put a little treat in for their kids. Unless the school wants to provide lunches, I don’t really think it’s their business.”
Janae Brangman recalled several times when her daughter, then in first grade, had her entire lunch sent home because it contained pizza. The school didn't have a problem with pizza per se -- after all it has designated pizza days. Her daughter just needed to eat her pizza on the right day.
"It's not like he had chips or a chocolate bar," explained Elaina Daoust, a mother of two. The offending piece of food? A snack-size banana bread. Her son was told not to eat a small piece of banana bread for his morning snack because it contained chocolate chips.
"He came home with a chart (listing healthy snack ideas) and told me he and the teacher talked about it and healthy choices," Daoust said. "She also sent a note to me. I was really, really, really mad for several reasons."
This mother had hand-picked those banana bread pieces for good reasons, and the teacher was effectively telling her how to feed her child. Daoust explained that her son is a picky eater, and she bought the snack-size banana bread because teachers discourage home-baked treats.
The nanny state never seems to stop expanding.