May 21st, 2013 by mopns ·
While Washington has rightly focused on the IRS scandal and questions about the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and the Justice Department’s inquiry into leaks to reporters, as all this was happening several important news stories on the implementation of Obamacare have come out and it’s worth noting them.
First, Reuters writes, “With the White House already reeling from three major controversies, some Republican lawmakers are zeroing in on what they perceive is another possible scandal tied to President Barack Obama’s landmark health reform law just as it nears implementation. . . . They are questioning [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] soliciting of funds on behalf of a non-profit group, called Enroll America, from two private entities, a practice which if not unprecedented is at the very least unusual. Federal law bars officials from soliciting any organization or individual with whom they do business or regulate. Enroll America is run by the president’s former campaign backers to do something Congress refused to fund: sell ‘Obamacare’ to the public. . . . Enroll America is intended to serve as the private sector flagship for a massive public outreach campaign intended to get millions of uninsured Americans to sign up for subsidized insurance coverage through new online marketplaces, or exchanges, that will begin open enrollment on October 1. . . . The Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee has launched an investigation into the fundraising to determine whether it involved regulated companies and has asked nearly a dozen healthcare firms including major insurers such as Aetna Inc, a member of Enroll America’s advisory council, to say whether they have received solicitations. Republicans in the House and Senate have also called on the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to investigate. . . . Enroll America was launched in September 2011 in part by leaders of Families USA, a key backer of the healthcare reform effort as it moved through Congress in 2009 and 2010. It is led by Anne Filipic, who worked on public engagement projects in the Obama White House. It’s managing director, Chris Wyant, directed Obama’s eastern Ohio field operation during the 2012 election campaign.”
With the added scrutiny and dubious legality of Secretary Sebelius’ actions, The New York Times reported yesterday that Enroll America is now having trouble finding donors. “The Obama administration’s efforts to raise private money to carry out the president’s health care law have provoked such a strong partisan uproar that potential donors have become skittish about contributing, according to several people involved in the fund-raising program. . . . Two House committees have begun investigating the solicitations. Five senior Republicans from the Senate and the House have asked the comptroller general of the United States, Gene L. Dodaro, to investigate the actions of Ms. Sebelius to determine if she was improperly circumventing spending limits imposed by Congress. . . . Reports emerged this month that Ms. Sebelius had urged business executives and nonprofit groups to assist Enroll America, a private nonprofit organization that will encourage millions of Americans to sign up for insurance this fall. Enroll America is led by veterans of the Obama White House and Mr. Obama’s presidential campaigns and will use campaign-style techniques to locate the uninsured. . . . Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia, both Republicans, said Ms. Sebelius appeared to be ‘shaking down’ businesses and other potential donors.”
Meanwhile, The Hill reports, “Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare. Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic. . . . The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans. Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling ‘for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.’ UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes. In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes ‘that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.’”
And then there’s a New York Times report today about a stopgap healthcare program for people with pre-existing conditions that was created by Obamacare and is supposed to run until Obamcare begins in earnest in 2014. Unsurprisingly, the program is spending more money than anticipated and is already cutting payments to doctors and hospitals. According to the NYT, “The Obama administration said Monday that it was cutting payments to doctors and hospitals after finding that cost overruns are threatening to use up the money available in a health insurance program for people with cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. The administration had predicted that up to 400,000 people would enroll in the program, created by the 2010 health care law. In fact, about 135,000 have enrolled, but the cost of their claims has far exceeded White House estimates, exhausting most of the $5 billion provided by Congress. . . . Michael T. Keough, the executive director of the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool, said the new policy was one of several steps taken recently by federal officials to control spending. ‘They are trying to stanch the hemorrhaging,’ Mr. Keough said. . . . Administration officials said that doctors and other health care providers did not have to accept the lower payment rates and could decide that they would no longer treat patients in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.”
The problems with the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan sure sound like a preview of what can be expected with Obamacare: poor planning, cost overruns, cutting payments, and patients potentially losing access to their health care providers.
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May 20th, 2013 by mopns ·
As more details of the IRS scandal involving improper scrutiny of tea party groups come out, ever more questions about the Obama administration are being raised.
The Wall Street Journal reported last night, “The White House’s chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official said Sunday. That disclosure has prompted a debate over whether the president should have been notified at that time. In the week of April 22, the Office of the White House Counsel and its head, Kathryn Ruemmler, were told by Treasury Department attorneys that an inspector general’s report was nearing completion, the White House official said. In that conversation, Ms. Ruemmler learned that ‘a small number of line IRS employees had improperly scrutinized certain…organizations by using words like “tea party” and “patriot,”’ the official said. President Barack Obama said last week he learned about the controversy at the same time as the public, on May 10, when an IRS official revealed it to a conference of lawyers. The president’s statement drew criticism, focusing attention on his management style and whether he has kept himself sufficiently informed about the agencies under his authority.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker goes through statements by the director of the IRS division responsible for granting tax-exempt status and finds her earning “a bushel of Pinocchios.” Glenn Kessler writes, “In the days since the Internal Revenue Service first disclosed that it had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, new information has emerged from both the Treasury Inspector General’s report and congressional testimony Friday that calls into question key statements made by Lois G. Lerner, the IRS’s director of the exempt organizations division.” Kessler dings her claims that 501(c)(4) applications rose dramatically prior to the IRS targeting, that she only learned about targeting of tea party groups from news reports last year, and saying that no one had asked her about such targeting prior to the conversation that broke the news initially. Kessler concludes, “In some ways, this is just scratching the surface of Lerner’s misstatements and weasely wording when the revelations about the IRS’s activities first came to light on May 10. But, taken together, it’s certainly enough to earn her four Pinocchios.”
Yesterday, White House communications advisor Dan Pfeiffer made the rounds on Sunday shows giving the Obama administration’s spin on the swirling scandals, but when he got to Face the Nation and CBS’ Bob Schieffer, Schieffer had apparently run out of patience with Pfeiffer’s answers. Describing the interview, Mediaite writes, “Cutting to the chase, Schieffer questioned whether the White House is approaching the issues in earnest (‘Does that mean you don’t take any of this seriously?’), which Pfeiffer quickly denied. . . . It’s ‘very difficult,’ Schieffer argued, to understand how the White House would have been ignorant to the goings-on within the agency. Pfeiffer claimed it was so, as Schieffer continued to express skepticism. ‘Is this president out of touch?’ the CBS host asked, addressing the talk about Obama often appearing to be a bystander. . . . Schieffer pressed on though: Later in the interview, he denied any desire to be ‘argumentative,’ but pointed out that when the executive branch does something right (e.g. killing Osama bin Laden), the White House has no ‘hesitancy’ in taking credit. ‘But with all of these things, when these things happen, you seem to send out officials many times who don’t even seem to know what has happened,’ he added, as contrast.”
Gateway Pundit: SMOKING GUN: Obama Met With IRS Union Chief the Day Before Agency Started Targeting Conservatives
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May 17th, 2013 by mopns ·
Here we go again!
“Stenger says he won’t go so far as to say he’ll vote against the request, but he says he does think its fishy that Alberici Construction, one of three construction companies bidding for the project, made a campaign contribution just before the funding request came to the council.” Read more…
Here are a few more examples of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s “fishy” dealings: (Click title to read)
Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley
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May 17th, 2013 by mopns ·
We gave you our take last week on this little episode. This week, the state’s largest African American Paper gives their view:
St. Louis American:
Now we have a threat of what you might call black-on-black political violence, made on the floor of the Missouri House so loudly that bystanders and journalists remarked upon it. The threat was made by former state Rep. now rookie state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) to rookie state Rep. Michael Butler, both African-American Democrats from St. Louis. But only one of these two junior legislators acted like a know-nothing beginner – and only one acted like a Democrat.
“During the final vote for SB 125, Nasheed attempted to intimidate me to change my vote; it didn’t work,” Butler said. “She repeatedly retorted, ‘You do this and you ain’t coming back.’ Throughout her entire tirade I constantly reminded the senator that I would like to work with her on other issues, but this particular bill I cannot support.” Nasheed may be losing track of whom she was sent to Jefferson City to serve, but Butler’s priorities are clear.
“I was elected to serve the people of the City of St. Louis and not the state senator,” Butler said. “I am in no way threatened by Sen. Nasheed. She cannot elect me as she does not live in my district, nor her own for that matter. The citizens of the 79th District voted overwhelmingly in support of the education solutions that I campaigned on, and I will continue to support them.” Read more…
Tags: MO Legislature
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May 17th, 2013 by mopns ·
We also learned that the very same IRS office that admitted to harassing conservative groups also released nine pending applications for tax-exempt status to the liberal investigative group ProPublica. How did we find out? ProPublica revealed it.” – Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
USA Today reports, “In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked. That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months. In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows. As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like ‘Progress’ or ‘Progressive,’ the ‘liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.”
According to ABC News, “Cincinnati was far from the only IRS office where agents put conservative groups seeking tax exempt status under heightened scrutiny, according to documents obtained by ABC News. David French, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice representing 27 groups that say they were unfairly scrutinized by the IRS, provided letters from two different agents in Washington, D.C., to tea party groups seeking tax exempt status. Other groups received demands for information from agents in two separate IRS offices in California.”
And The Wall Street Journal adds, “Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday the Justice Department has opened a criminal probe of the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of tea-party groups, while an investigative report blamed the agency’s managers for allowing the practices to continue for more than 18 months. . . . The inspector general’s report left unanswered a key question—how exactly IRS workers came to focus excessively on conservative groups. ‘We could not specifically determine who had been involved in creating the criteria’ that led to selection of so many applications from conservative groups for extra review, the report said in a footnote. The report called on the IRS to better document the reasons for choosing groups for extra review, request better guidance on rules by the Treasury Department, and quickly resolve cases—some of which ‘have been in process for three years.’”
Gateway Pundit: Epic! Dana Loesch Slams Leftie Leslie Marshall on Massive IRS Scandal (Must See Video!)
Rasmussen Reports: 57% Want IRS Offenders Jailed or Fired
Missouri Watchdog: Strange bedfellows: McCaskill, Durbin side with tea party on IRS scrutiny
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May 9th, 2013 by mopns ·
Jamilah, “Lil’ Niecey” Nasheed tried to do her best Frank Underwood impersonation last night at the state legislature. For those of you who are not aware, Frank Underwood is the ruthless fictional House majority whip in the wildly successful Netflix series “House of Cards.”
Tensions came to a head on the bill when Senate sponsor Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, confronted Democrats on the floor. Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, yelled at Nasheed on the floor to “stop threatening people,” before Nasheed was removed from the chamber as the two came close to a physical confrontation.
“She was telling [Representative Michael] Butler that if he didn’t’ vote her way, he wouldn’t be coming back,” English told The Missouri Times. “Whether you support this bill or oppose it, it’s not right for someone to lobby on the floor and threaten a fellow member of the general assembly. That’s not how you do business.” Read more…
Maybe after this monumental failure by the Black Caucus chairwoman to “whip” her members into line for the Rex Sinquefield inspired education reform bill, Republican leaders will realize Nasheed has no influence with her fellow Black legislators, and more importantly, with the African American community.
We’re still trying to determine if Lil Niecey is a terrible leader or if she’s just that stupid to think that Rep. Michael Butler would support this bill. First off, Rep. Butler substitute teaches in the St. Louis Public School District. And two, Nashhed gave his Hispanic or White opponent – depending on his audience – $200 last election!
Political Fix: House speaker loses again in bid to overhaul educator evaluations
STL Alderman Calls for Black Unity on Tuesday; Supports White State Rep. Candidate Over Black Candidate
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