As more & more news comes out concerning today’s conflicting appellate decisions in regards to the ACA insurance subsidies, I’m of two minds here…on the one hand, the D.C. Circuit’s decision hinges on nothing more than a reading error in the law’s subsidy language, which tends to make me think that when the full circuit hears this case – and its’ almost certain they will – odds are, they’ll likely reverse the 3-judge panel’s decision.
On the other hand, given that the 4th Circuit issued pretty much the exact opposite decision today, its’ an almost certain bet that the Supreme Court will, at some point down the road, hear the case. Why? Simple: whenever two or more appellate courts issue conflicting decisions on a case, the Supreme Court is all-but-honor-bound to hear the case, if not for any other reason than to put the issue to bed once and for all…and given the Court’s narrow ruling back in 2012 concerning another major piece of the ACA, I won’t even begin to speculate on what might happen until the case actually goes before the Court.
Remember back in 2000 the Brooks Brothers riot during the Florida recount effort? Well, the players may’ve changed but apparently in the eyes of the Republican Party the game stayed the same...
Administration officials said the House had told them not to expect the budget before early last week. When representatives of the House contacted the administration that Sunday, Father’s Day, House emissaries were informed that nobody would be present at the offices to receive the document. Howell had the budget delivered anyway, and an email was sent about 15 minutes later informing the administration that it had been left at the office, which is on the third floor of the Patrick Henry Building.
The administration viewed the Sunday drop of the massive document to the unoccupied office not only as a breach of security, but also as political gamesmanship designed, in part, to deprive the governor of a weekend to review the two-year, $96 billion spending plan.(Huffington Post)
Translation: In an effort to deprive Gov. McAuliffe an opportunity to review the Virginia legislature’s budget, the geniuses in the Virginia Assembly decided to wait until the governor’s people had left for the weekend before dumping the entire budget on them, thus as pointed out above, depriving the governor’s staff of at least 24-48 hours worth of review time…on top of that, it would seem as though the deliverymen broke into the governor’s office to do so. Despicably convenient, huh?
The response by the governor’s office? Epic.
This letter is to inform you that under no circumstances are you or any of your officers authorized to allow employees of the General Assembly to enter the secure areas of the governor’s office without my express permission, or the express permission of Suzette Denslow, the governor’s deputy chief of staff,” Reagan wrote last week. “What occurred here Sunday is unacceptable.”
“For good reason, it is an area that is surrounded by three security perimeters. Even on a normal business day, very few people — including members of the governor’s Cabinet — can gain access to this suite of offices,” Reagan added, citing sensitive files and materials. “We certainly do not expect to have agents and employees of the General Assembly roaming through these offices on weekends.”(Newsworks)
Sometimes I actually have to wonder whether Republicans ever grew up past junior high…anyone? Anyone?…Bueller?!?
I don’t know what’s worse here, that (a)Rep. Mark Meadows (Jackass-NC) actually had the stones to ask what he did and (b)that he’s currently the representative for the congressional district I live in at present?
A lawmaker from North Carolina spent several minutes badgering a pregnant doctor about why Obamacare requires plans to cover maternity services, telling her it’s a service that people like him will never use, during a House committee hearing this week.(Think Progress)
Yeah, he went there…here’s my question: if you want the ACA to not cover maternity services, I think it also shouldn’t cover Viagra and other such items, but what do I know? I’m just an American who believes health care’s a right, not a privilege.
You know, the more I read stories such as Ron Fournier’s over at National Journal, the more I’m beginning to agree with Booman Tribune’s view of Mr. Fournier (i.e. that Mr. Fournier is a wanker)…quoting National Journal:
It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.
For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.
Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.
The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—“If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan.” And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false.(National Journal)
Now, before my fellow liberals and progressives start reaching for their pitchforks, here me out…like many Americans, I’m getting a little tired and frustrated with all the delays that the administration has used to keep the ACA from falling to pieces. Yes, I supported the ACA during its’ long slog through Congress and though, I’d loved to have seen “medicare-for-all” (a/k/a single payer) implemented instead of what eventually became ObamaCare, this is a good law in my opinion…
Why do I know that? Because for the first time since 2010, I have decent, quality health insurance; even though having been on disability since mid-to-late 2010 has qualified me for Medicare coverage, it feels damn good to have a health-insurance policy that I can fall back on if need be. Yes, the law’s has its’ faults; yes, the administration screwed up royally with that statement above in Fournier’s piece and yes, I wish the administration would just quit delaying the various mandates; all it does is (a)prolong the law’s final implementation and (b)give opponents more ammunition to use in the mid-term elections.
My question to Mr. Fournier: even given all this, the Affordable Care Act is a damn sight better that what had passed for health insurance (in both legal and practical terms), so why the hell are you giving Pres. Obama’s opponents fuel to use against him? Could ya’ answer that, wanker?
Earlier today, Pres. Obama spoke in Massachusetts about healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act at the site where, back in 2006, then-Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and a bipartisan group of legislators signed a pretty similar piece of legislation to the ACA into law there.
Now, are there problems with the Healthcare Exchange website at present? Yes, there are but those problems are being fixed but the important thing to remember is that the ACA is a good deal for Americans and a damn sight better than the current system of health-care insurance at present in the U.S.
Here’s the basics of the deal announced earlier this afternoon on the Senate floor…
- Government to be re-opened and funded at current sequestration levels until Jan. 15th
- Debt ceiling to be raised and extended out to Feb. 7th subject to Congressional vote (which can be vetoed by Pres. Obama)
- Budget conference to be established between both houses of Congress to work on a long-term budget agreement by no later than Dec. 13th
- Income verification for those purchasing health insurance through the Health Exchanges
- Full backpay for furloughed workers
In case you still think this was a good deal for the Republicans, here’s the things they didn’t get to include in this package…
- Continuation of the “extraordinary measures” provision allowing the Treasury Dept. to continue stretching out the debt ceiling as needed
- No prohibition on Congressional staffers utilizing subsidies to purchase health insurance through the Exchanges
- No restrictions on birth control access through insurance policies w/in the Exchanges
- No repeal and/or delay in either the medical device tax OR the medical reinsurance tax
- No repeal or delay in any aspect of either the Health Exchanges OR the ACA’s Individual Mandate
To be fair, there was a bit of give-and-go from both sides; for instance, Democrats have all-but-accepted that government funding will continue at current sequestration levels, which means this deal could (and I emphasize could) have the potential to blow up in the Dems’ faces when Jan. 15th rolls around. That said, this is still a good deal for Democrats because it, (a)gets the government open again & keeps the government running for some time, (b)lifts the spectre of a debt ceiling default (although there may still be repercussions from even getting this close to it) and (c)it potentially gives Democrats a major political weapon to use against Republicans come election time as they can go to voters and argue that Republicans cannot be trusted with the instruments of power, as witnessed by the govt. shutdown and debt ceiling debates.
Of course, all this depends on whether this deal gets through both houses…if it snags anywhere, then to quote Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville, “We’re all just pissing in the wind.”
While there are still, as far as I can tell, no votes scheduled on any debt limit deal as of yet, word out of Washington is that senators are close to finalizing such a deal, according to Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are finalizing a deal to avert a debt default and reopen the government, capping a frantic day that had Washington bracing for an economic crisis of its own making.
The deal is essentially done, sources say, as aides for the two leaders finish drafting the legislative language Tuesday night.
Reid and McConnell are expected to brief their respective caucuses Wednesday, hours before the country could fail to pay its bills for the first time in history. Cooperation will be needed from members of both parties in order to avoid default as well as to end the first government shutdown in 17 years. And a Senate plan will need to clear the House, which has struggled to pass any bill to raise the national debt limit.
- Governments agencies would reopen & remain open until Jan. 15th
- The debt ceiling would be lifted until Feb. 7th
- the Treasury Dept. would be allowed to use “extraordinary measures” to continue paying the nation’s debt should the debt ceiling not be raised in early Feb.
- HHS would be required to verify income levels for individuals seeking health insurance through the Health Exchanges