Marking the first year of the Affordable Care Act

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act by President Obama. There was quite a bit in the press about it. I found two things of particular interest. The first was a speech in DC delivered by New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. And, the second, was a writeup by the folks at ThinkProgress. Here are both, in their entirety. If you’re interested in knowing more on the subject, I’d suggest that you read the version of the article on the ThinkProgress website, which is chock full of links. And, for those of you who count yourselves among the fans of Weiner, I’d suggest checking out the live interview that he just did on Reddit, which covers a great deal more than just health care reform…. Here to kick things off is Anthony Weiner.

And here’s that ThinkProgress piece.

Today is the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law, which when fully implemented, will cover 32 million Americans and begin to lower the rate of growth in health care spending. “The bill I’m signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for , and marched for, and hungered to see,” Obama said during last year’s signing ceremony. “That our generation is able to succeed in passing this reform is a testament to the persistence — and the character — of the American people, who championed this cause; who mobilized; who organized; who believed that people who love this country can change it,” he added. Health care advocacy groups around the nation will host educational events in 33 states today to raise awareness about the law’s benefits and the government’s efforts in implementing the measure thus far.

IMPLEMENTATION SUCCESS: As a result of the law, states received $250 million in federal funding to strengthen their ability to review, revise, or reject unreasonable premium rate hikes. Nearly four million seniors who fell into the Medicare Part D doughnut hole received federal assistance that helped them purchase medications and 150,000 seniors have undergone a free wellness exam this year. The government recovered $4 billion in fraud last year and the law provides more funds to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and has been busily implementing new regulations that are designed to keep health insurers more accountable and increase access to coverage. As of this year, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, drop coverage because of a simple mistake on an application, institute lifetime caps, limit choice of doctors, charge more for emergency services obtained out of network, or levy deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance for certain preventive benefits. More than a million young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until their 26th birthday, and everyone will have the right to appeal insurer decisions to an independent third party. Similarly, four million small businesses have access to $40 billion in tax credits and 12,400 Americans with pre-existing conditions are receiving coverage through temporary high-risk insurance pools that will provide coverage for sicker individuals until 2014. Americans can already compare available plan benefits, prices, and application denial rates at HealthCare.gov. In 2011, the website will include pricing and comparison information for small businesses.

LOOKING AHEAD: Starting in 2014, individuals and families will have even more options through state-based health care exchanges that will allow Americans to select new regulated plans that will offer a comprehensive set of benefits. Under the law, if states fail to establish their own exchange, the federal government will build one for them — something a surprisingly high number of conservative states are willing to accept. States like Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Alaska have refused to build their own unique marketplaces and have instead suggested that they would allow the federal government to step in. States that establish their own exchanges will be able to run their own markets (or partner if with other states), determine which insurance companies can offer coverage and dictate benefit rules. Americans below 133 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL) will be able to enroll in an expanded Medicaid program. In the coming year, the federal government will issue more specific regulations about how much flexibility states will have to structure their health insurance exchanges and how generous those plans have to be. This year, restaurant chains and vending machines will be required to disclose nutritional content of food and Medicaid will stop reimbursing hospitals for conditions acquired during hospitalization.

REPUBLICANS PREDICTED THE WORST: In the year since reform passed, Republicans in the House repealed the law (only to see the measure fall in the Senate) and are now attempting to defund reform. During the nearly 10-month legislative battle that preceded passage, the GOP characterized the bill as a “socialist” “government takeover” and warned Americans that the bill would destroy lives and American society, hurling apocalyptic warnings that seem downright satirical a year later. For instance, on the eve of passage now-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that passage of reform would result in “Armageddon” because the law will “ruin our country.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) predicted “there will be no insurance industry left in three years” and announced that seniors would “die soon,” while Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) stated that “no new health insurance policies can be written once this federal plan comes into effect.” Fox News pundit Sean Hannity said, “If we get nationalized health care, it’s over; this is socialism” and Glenn Beck predicted “the end of prosperity in America forever…the end of America as you know it.” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) suggested that seniors will be “put to death” by the government and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) lamented that a similar fate faced American women. Potential presidential candidate and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) warned that health reform “will destroy the country” because, “in the next year or so,” America will have to “dramatically cut the military because we can’t pay for it.”

It’s also worth noting that, yesterday, House members in the great state of Vermont voted to transition toward a single-payer system. Assuming the Vermont Senate follows suit, it will become the first state to do so, and it will also make Vermont about one million times more attractive to the young college grads leaving Michigan as though they’d just pulled back a shower curtain to find Carrot Top’s face staring back at them.

On the subject of the Affordable Care Act, I’m still not happy about it. I still think that Obama should have pushed harder for a public option. I think it would have been the right thing to do fiscally, morally and politically… The fact that the Republicans, and their corporate overlords hate it so much, though, tells me that, despite what I might think, there’s actually something good in it, beneath all the corporate give-aways.

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23 Comments

  1. Edward
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found that, as a general rule, it makes sense to support whatever the Republicans are trying the hardest to do.

  2. GT
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    We should import all of our Emergency Financial Managers from Vermont.

  3. imatuckytoo
    Posted March 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I had an outpatient procedure, surgery was 1 and 1/2 hour – surgeon’s bill $12,000. Was in the hospital as an outpatient for 6 hours – hospital bill $23,500. Haven’t received the anestesia bill yet or the other “minor” bills. SO, $35,500 and counting, for vericose veins…..REALLY???? Our second house didn’t cost that much. Something is so very, very wrong. I apologize to my granddaughter for leaving her future in this utter mess! It makes me sick.

  4. EOS
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Anthony Weiner is quite the weiner. He wrote the bill and said “he was one with the bill.” Now he says he wants the people of New York to save money and have control over their own destiny and to do that they should “opt out” of Obamacare. What a hypocrite. “Good for for thee but not for me.” If only we could all opt out, but it looks like Obama will only give waivers to unions and Democrats and large corporations.

  5. Stephen
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I may be mistaken, but I believe Weiner requested that provision so that, if the state of New York were able to come up with a better system, that they would be able to implement it, like what we’re presently seeing in Vermont. I don’t think he did it so that the people of New York would just be able to opt out.

  6. Stephen
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Here’s the quote from Weiner:

    “I’m taking a look at all of the money we spend in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a better plan.”

  7. Stephen
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    See also:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51840.html

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201103240025

  8. Buena Lalk
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    The world did not end. The country did not devolve into socialism.

  9. Vernon
    Posted March 28, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Yeah. Absolutley nothing changed. Let’s celebrate.

  10. Knox
    Posted March 28, 2011 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    It’s my understanding that the waivers that are being granted are temporary, and would expire in 2014, when, according to the law, the insurance exchanges come on line.

  11. TaterSalad
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The President Without A Country

    “We’re no longer a Christian nation.” – President barack obama, June 2009

    ” America has been arrogant.” – President barack obama

    “After 9/11, America didn’t always live up to her ideals.”- President barack obama

    “You might say that America is a Muslim nation.”- President barack obama, Egypt 2009

    Thinking about these and other statements made by the man who wears the title of president. I keep wondering what country he believes he’s president of.

    In one of my very favorite stories, Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man without a Country,” a young Army lieutenant named Philip Nolan stands condemned for treason during the Revolutionary War, having come under the influence of Aaron Burr. When the judge asks him if he wishes to say anything before sentence is passed, young Nolan defiantly exclaims, “Damn the United States ! I wish I might never hear of the United States again!”

    The stunned silence in the courtroom is palpable, pulsing. After a long pause, the judge soberly says to the angry lieutenant: “You have just pronounced your own sentence. You will never hear of the United States again.. I sentence you to spend the rest of your life at sea, on one or another of this country’s naval vessels – under strict orders that no one will ever speak to you again about the country you have just cursed.”

    And so it was. Philip Nolan was taken away and spent the next 40 years at sea, never hearing anything but an occasional slip of the tongue about America. The last few pages of the story, recounting Nolan’s dying hours in his small stateroom – now turned into a shrine to the country he fore swore – never fail to bring me to tears. And I find my own love for this dream, this miracle called America , refreshed and renewed. I know how blessed and unique we are.

    But reading and hearing the audacious, shocking statements of the man who was recently elected our president – a young black man living the impossible dream of millions of young Americans, past and present, black and white – I want to ask him, “Just what country do you think you’re president of?”

    You surely can’t be referring to the United States of America , can you? America is emphatically a Christian nation, and has been from its inception! Seventy percent of her citizens identify themselves as Christian. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were framed, written and ratified by Christians. It’s because this was, and is, a nation built on and guided by Judeo-Christian biblical principles that you, sir, have had the inestimable privilege of being elected her president.

    You studied law at Harvard, didn’t you, sir? You taught constitutional law in Chicago ? Did you not ever read the statement of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and an author of the landmark “Federalist Papers”: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers – and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation – to select and prefer Christians for their rulers”?

    In your studies, you surely must have read the decision of the Supreme Court in 1892: “Our lives and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

    Did your professors have you skip over all the high-court decisions right up till the mid 1900’s that echoed and reinforced these views and intentions? Did you pick up the history of American jurisprudence only in 1947, when for the first time a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson about a “wall of separation between church and state” was used to deny some specific religious expression – contrary to Jefferson ‘ s intent with that statement?

    Or, wait a minute . were your ideas about America ‘s Christianity formed during the 20 years you were a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ under your pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Is that where you got the idea that ” America is no longer a Christian nation”? Is this where you, even as you came to call yourself a Christian, formed the belief that ” America has been arrogant”?

    Even if that’s the understandable explanation of your damning of your country and accusing the whole nation (not just a few military officials trying their best to keep more Americans from being murdered by jihadists) of “not always living up to her ideals,” how did you come up with the ridiculous, alarming notion that we might be “considered a Muslim nation”?

    Is it because there are some 2 million or more Muslims living here, trying to be good Americans? Out of a current population of over 300 million, 70 percent of whom are Christians? Does that make us, by any rational definition, a “Muslim nation”?

    Why are we not, then, a “Chinese nation”? A “Korean nation”? Even a “Vietnamese nation”? There are even more of these distinct groups in America than Muslims. And if the distinction you’re trying to make is a religious one, why is America not “a Jewish nation”? There’s actually a case to be made for the latter, because our Constitution – and the success of our Revolution and founding – owe a deep debt to our Jewish brothers.

    Have you stopped to think what an actual Muslim America would be like? Have you ever really spent much time in Iran ? Even in Egypt ? You, having been instructed in Islam as a kid at a Muslim school in Indonesia and saying you still love the call to evening prayers, can surely picture our nation founded on the Quran, not the Judeo-Christian Bible, and living under Shariah law. Can’t you? You do recall Muhammad’s directives [Surah 9:5,73] to “break the cross” and “kill the infidel”?

    It seems increasingly and painfully obvious that you are more influenced by your upbringing and questionable education than most suspected. If you consider yourself the president of a people who are “no longer Christian,” who have “failed to live up to our ideals,” who “have been arrogant,” and might even be “considered Muslim” – you are president of a country most Americans don’t recognize.

    Could it be you are a president without a country?

  12. Posted March 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Do you cut and paste the same posts to every “liberal” blog you can find?

  13. Elf
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I think I’m going to start cutting and pasting recipes here.

  14. Elf
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a relevant recipe for chicken tetrazzini. Doesn’t it sound yummy?

    Ingredients:

    * 8 ounces spaghetti
    * 2 (8 ounce) cans mushrooms, drained
    * 1/2 cup butter
    * 4 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked
    * 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
    * 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
    * 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    1. Break spaghettini into 1 inch pieces. Cook according to package directions. Drain.
    2. Saute mushrooms in butter or margarine. Cut chicken into large pieces, and mix with mushrooms. Stir in sour cream and condensed soup. Fold in noodles. Turn into a buttered casserole dish, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
    3. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 40 minutes.

  15. Kim
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Weiner answered the top 5 questions submitted on Reddit on video.

    http://blog.reddit.com/2011/03/rep-anthony-weiner-answers-your-top.html

  16. Ricky
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Is TaterSalad really serious with that crap? Oh my God, he really believes it. I think it can be said that he is a man without a rational thinking brain.

    Why is it so hard for these people to understand the importance of keeping our government secular and that we in fact are not a “Christian nation”?
    If you keep your church out of my government, I’ll keep my government out of your church.

    And so it goes, all of us free to practice what ever religion we please. If I recall my history, a big reason a lot of our ancestors came to the good old USA was to escape religious persecution. Seems terribly obvious to me how important it is to stop these crazies and whackos before they really f things up and we’re governed by a bunch of Pat Robertson types.

    Oh wait, Walker, Snyder….I guess I’m too late.

  17. TaterSalad
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    http://www.theobamafile.com/BarackObama.htm

    Obama has lived for almost 50 years without leaving any footprints — none! There is no Obama documentation — no bona fides — no paper trail — nothing.

    Original, vault copy birth certificate — Not released (lawyers’ fees greater than $2,000,000 ~ birth certificate is $15)
    Certification of Live Birth — Released — Counterfeit
    Amended Certification of Live Birth — Released — Counterfeit
    Obama/Dunham marriage license — Not released (if one exists)
    Obama/Dunham divorce — Released (by independent investigators)

    Noelani Kindergarten records — Records lost (this is a big one — read two frames)
    Soetoro/Dunham marriage license — Not released
    Soetoro adoption records — Not released

    Fransiskus Assisi School School application — Released (by independent investigators)

    Punahou School application — Missing
    Punahou School records — Not released

    Noelani 3rd Grade records — Not released
    Soetoro/Dunham divorce — Released (by independent investigators)

    Selective Service Registration — Released — Under suspicion

    Social Security Number — Released (by independent investigators) — Under suspicion
    Occidental College records — Not released

    Financial Aid Records — Not released
    Passport — Not released and records scrubbed clean by Obama’s terrorism and intelligence adviser
    Columbia College records — Not released
    Columbia thesis — “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament” — Not released
    Harvard College records — Not released
    Harvard Law Review articles — None

    Illinois Bar Records — Not released
    Baptism certificate — None
    Medical records — Not released — nor is the source of this nasty scar
    Illinois State Senate records — None
    Illinois State Senate schedule — Lost
    Law practice client list — Not released
    University of Chicago scholarly articles — None

    White House Visitors list — The complete list

    The Blagojevich Interview — judge denies access to the FBI report

    The Illinois State Archives told Judicial Watch that they never received any request from Senator Obama to archive any records in his possession. In 2007, Obama told Tim Russert that his records were “not kept.”

    And there’s less on the web every day. In time, the entire Obama body of knowledge will consist of 3 documents — “Dreams From My Father” — “The Audacity of Hope” — and the latest — “Change We Can Believe In” — all written by Barack Hussein Obama or his “ghost-writers.”

    Just an accident? I don’t think so.

    And this is the original list — it has been copied all over the Internet — but this is the original source.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/34972

    The Fraud has been committed and now it has been revealed:

    1. Click on this video that you probably have seen before.

    2. Run/drag the cursor plug up to the 3:30 mark and stop

    3. Right click the mouse and hold and run the video up to 3:40 and then back to 3:30 doing this numerous times.

    4. This proves the picture was photo-shopped and Obama was inserted into the picture

    http://noiri.blogspot.com/2011/03/is-anything-about-obamas-past-real-even.html

  18. Posted March 31, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    THERE WERE NO COMMERCIAL PLANES ON 9/11.

    Tater, are those disability checks coming in on time?

  19. Ricky
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    That would make a great movie!! You raise an interesting point though. Seems like whichever party is in office lately, the little guy is getting duped. Time for us little guys to stand up and demand some accountability. Gonna figure out exactly what actions to take. Kinda fun, like being back in the 60s again. Sit ins and demonstrations. can’t wait.

  20. Kim
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Tater, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain on one hand that Obama wrote papers on his love for communism while in college, and, at the same time, argue that he didn’t go to college. Do you get that? It’s a simple concept, really.

  21. Posted March 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m not trying to add any validity to his internet conspiracy theory nonsense, but looking at this list of documents, I don’t even think I could come up with most of them.

  22. Posted March 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Does he actually ever respond?

    Or does he just copy whatever he gets in his email that day?

  23. Mr. X
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    It takes him all day to type one of those, Pete. He types with his toes, as his hands are busy clutching his copy of the Old Testament for Children and his gun.

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