"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Tweet of the Day: Susan Montee Rips on Akin

July 18th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Susan “Margarita” Montee, “you’re out of control.” This is a funny tweet!

Related:

More Excuses From Montee After Filing Amended Campaign Finance Report

MRP: Montee “Guessing” on Nixon’s Car Scandal, but Agrees to “Audit”


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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Team Dooley Releases Sleazy Ad; Poll Shows Why

July 18th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Dooley Originally Opposed Creation of Black County Council District

Team Dooley released an  attack ad against Councilman Steve Stenger that can only be described as sleazy at worst and desperate at best. In a clumsy attempt to paint Mr. Stenger as a supporter of sex trafficking (yes, sex trafficking) because he was a court appointed attorney 14 years ago for a confessed pimp, the mud thrown at Mr. Stenger has shifted back on Mr. Dooley and his close ally County Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

It seems Mr. Zimmerman was an attorney for the pimp defendant as well but curiously, he volunteered. The ad has been roundly criticized by media outlets as wildly inaccurate and misleading. To add insult to injury, Charlie Dooley didn’t even bother to show up at the press conference announcing his sleazy ad. The Dooley campaign knew the ad was misleading but still decided to run it any way.

Dooley campaign spokesman Linda Goldstein called the decision to air the ad “difficult” but said the county executive believed it imperative for women to “know who Steve Stenger really is.” Read more…

This poll may shed some light on why Team Dooley is throwing this Hail Mary with a few weeks to go in the campaign.

Related:

Steve Stenger’s response to Dooley’s latest misleading and outlandish TV ad


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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More Obamacare Consequences: In Nevada, “Local Cancer Center Drops Obamacare Patients”

July 18th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Hardly a week goes by without some new negative, but frustratingly predictable, consequence of Obamacare coming to light.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “A billing dispute has cost enrollees in the state’s health insurance exchange access to Southern Nevada’s largest oncology practice. Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has left the provider network of Nevada Health CO-OP, a nonprofit insurer created to sell coverage through the Nevada Health Link exchange. Because Nevada Health CO-OP was the only carrier on the exchange to contract with Comprehensive Cancer Centers, patients who want to visit the practice must now buy a plan off of the exchange or pay out of pocket. . . . Comprehensive Cancer Centers has abandoned the CO-OP’s network because it was taking as long as 60 to 90 days to get reimbursed for services, said medical oncologist and practice President Dr. James Sanchez. The industry norm is 32 to 33 days, he said. ‘It was long enough that it was just not something that was conceivable for our business to survive on,’ Sanchez said. . . . The change could affect thousands. Comprehensive Cancer Centers is the city’s largest oncology practice by far, with 33 doctors. . . . What’s more, Nevada Health CO-OP enrolled 37 percent of the 38,000 Nevadans who bought coverage through Nevada Health Link. Based on those numbers, more than 14,000 people have exchange coverage with the CO-OP.”

So once again, Obamacare is resulting in narrower networks of health care providers, showing that for thousands of Nevadans, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is yet another broken Obamacare promise.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to create uncertainty in the business community with its selective enforcement of the employer mandate. According to The Hill, “The White House needs to make a decision soon on whether ObamaCare’s controversial employer mandate will take effect in 2015. With the mandate set to take effect in January, businesses are awaiting final world from the administration on whether they will be required to track and report how many of their employees are receiving coverage. Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions the mandate could once again be delayed. The mandate has been pushed back twice before, the first time in late summer. . . . Another delay to the mandate would be sure to create a political firestorm and draw charges that the administration is playing politics with ObamaCare ahead of the midterm elections. But support for the mandate on the left has begun to soften in recent months, with influential figures and former Obama administration officials questioning whether it’s needed to make the law work. . . . Almost one year ago, the Obama administration announced it would postpone enforcement of the mandate until 2015. The move was denounced as politically driven, given that businesses were warning they were likely to layoff and cut hours for workers once they were required to either provide healthcare coverage or pay a fine.”

The Hill notes, “[D]elayed or not, the mandate poses a variety of challenges for businesses. Interest groups say they’re in a holding pattern until the Treasury Department releases two more forms and a set of specific enforcement guidelines. Those materials, expected prior to July 4, are considered necessary to constructing databases that will help fulfill the mandate’s complex requirements.”

And even some Democrats are beginning to question the mandate itself. “[A] growing number of Democrats have muddied the waters by questioning how much the mandate really matters to the healthcare law. Skeptics include the party’s likely 2016 standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, and former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs,” The Hill writes.

These stories follow another week’s worth of news of insurers announcing premium increases in states including Tennessee, Delaware, and Louisiana.


Tags: Healthcare

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Wash Times: Martin Accuses Mississippi GOP of Playing “Race Card Dirty Tricks”

July 16th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Probably not the best way to win friends and influence people within your own party but Missouri Republican Party Chair Ed Martin is comparing the Mississippi Republican Party to past racist “dirty tricks” that the Democrats are usually known for:

Washington Times:

When it comes to political dirty tricks, what is happening in Mississippi is not staying in Mississippi. I know, because the race card was played just as blatantly in 2000 in Missouri with one difference: Back then it was the traditional, bigoted Democratic Party that acted so badly; this time it looks like it was members of my party, the party of Lincoln, the Republicans. Read more…

Martin goes on to dig up ancient history to make his point:

The 2000 election in Missouri was extraordinary for many reasons. We had an open governor’s race with an incumbent statewide Democratic elected official facing off against popular Rep. Jim Talent and a heated U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent John Ashcroft against sitting Gov. Mel Carnahan in a swing state that drew tons of presidential attention. (Missouri went for Jimmy Carter in ‘76, Ronald Reagan in ‘80 and then George H.W. Bush in ‘88 and Bill Clinton in ‘92 and ‘96.)

The campaigning was wild and intense, with more money spent on the airwaves in Kansas City and St. Louis than ever before. A judge held the St. Louis polls open late into the evening so that more people could vote with an Al Gore-recorded robocall hitting voters’ homes just moments after the judge’s decision. (It was later discovered that dead people and at least one dog were on the voter rolls, leading Congress to enact the Help America Vote Act).

Many believe this move by Martin is an attempt to get back in the good graces of the Tea Party/Rand Paul/Libertarian wing (TRL’s) of the party who backed his candidacy for party chair. The scuttlebutt around the state is that TRL’s are upset with Martin for supporting the Eestablishment candidate over the TRL’s candidate in the recent voting to elect a new national RNC committeewoman after Catherine Hanaway resigned the position to run for governor.

Related:

Yallpolitics.com: Missouri GOP head Ed Martin trying to turn another Todd Akin trick in #mssen for Chris McDaniel


Tags: Voter Fraud

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Insurers Announce Obamacare Premium Increases In Louisiana & Delaware; Nevada Exchange Plagued With Problems

July 16th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

As the summer continues, we approach the new enrollment season for Obamacare in the fall. Leading up to that, and more states are announcing health insurance companies’ premiums for next year while the state exchanges approach a year since their debut but still struggle with serious problems.

Americans remember well that when he was pitching Obamacare, the president pledged, “Families will save on their premiums” and “This law will lower premiums.” Well, once again, states are announcing next year’s insurance rates, and once again, those rates are going up.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state’s largest provider, is proposing rate increases of between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people. The insurer said rates are not increasing for policyholders in the metro markets of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport who signed up for plans that limits health coverage to providers in a specified network of care givers. The 4,947 people who signed up with Humana Louisiana face a hike of 15.7 percent, while the 966 insured residents with Time Insurance Company face a hike of 24 percent for its Affordable Care Act compliant policy, according to the filings made public this week. . . . In a statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana said the biggest factor for proposing rate increases was the high utilization of health services used by subscribers. ‘Right now, at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, we are seeing that more people are accessing more health care services than we expected and our claims are higher than they have been in previous years. We expect this trend will continue,’ the insurer said in documents provided reporters Tuesday.”

And according to the AP, “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware’s exchange. Exact premium changes will depend on factors including which plan is selected.”

Meanwhile, several states continue to struggle with their problematic Obamacare exchanges as we approach a year since they were supposed to be operational. The Las Vegas Sun writes, “Nevada’s online health exchange is still facing bugs that make it difficult for people to sign up for insurance, a state official told a committee today. July marks nine months since the Silver State Exchange launched its online enrollment system. Nevada is one of 17 states that created its own exchange to implement President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But the exchange’s online software has been plagued with glitches that started even before its launch. Today’s meeting signals that the problems continue. ‘There are a lot of errors currently in the system,’ Laura Rich, quality assurance officer at the Silver State Exchange, told an advisory committee to the Department of Health and Human Services. Consumers have reported paying for insurance premiums without receiving coverage or having to wait months for coverage. Other consumers reported not receiving tax credits, even though they were eligible. Rich said 37,000 Nevadans enrolled and received coverage. That’s about 31 percent of the exchange’s initial goal of 118,000 by the end of March. ‘It was a guesstimate. No. We didn’t reach those numbers,’ she said.”

In Maryland, the Democrat-dominated government spent over a hundred million dollars to set up a state exchange, which imploded and never worked properly, so the state decided to ditch its own expensive exchange and use the one built by Connecticut. However, WBAL in Baltimore reports, “Maryland just purchased new health exchange software from the highly-touted Connecticut program, but that technology has issues. Legislators are being assured that the computer glitch discovered in the Connecticut technology will be corrected in Maryland’s new system later this month, but other related issues are drawing concern. The highly-touted Access Health CT exchange has a programming flaw that is causing problems for several thousand of its customers. It’s the same software system that was recently purchased to rescue the failed Maryland health benefits exchange. . . . The Connecticut exchange is still getting in touch with nearly 6,000 people impacted by the glitch. The problem, which was first reported by the Connecticut Mirror newspaper, left 903 people without coverage. Others were either inaccurately enrolled in Medicaid or received erroneous bills from their insurance companies because the firms got bad information from the exchange. . . . Although Maryland health exchange officials are confident they will have corrections made by July 25, they can’t do any live testing before the fall open enrollment, and there is no timetable yet on when it will become self-sufficient.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: Favorables for Obamacare Tie Low for the Year


Tags: Healthcare

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Lawsuit Filed to Uncover True Cost to Taxpayer of Renewable Energy Scheme in Missouri

July 15th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Fred Sauer filed a legal action (Case No. 14AC-CC00293) against the Missouri Public Service Commission on June 6, 2014, in the Cole County Circuit Court alleging that the Public Service Commission violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law for failing to comply with Mr. Sauer’s March 31, 2014 Sunshine request for public records that show the amount and price of wind and solar energy Ameren Missouri purchased from Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm in 2012.  All of these values were redacted from the required yearly Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Report by Ameren.

Specifically, the Declaratory Judgment Petition alleges that the Public Service Commission failed to provide Mr. Sauer with (1) the total kilowatt hours of energy purchased by Ameren from Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm in 2012; (2) the total purchase price paid by Ameren for energy produced by Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm in 2012; (3) the total generational output from Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm supplied to Ameren Missouri customers in 2012; and (4) the value of solar renewable energy credits Ameren Missouri received as a result of the production of solar energy at Ameren’s headquarters in St. Louis.

Here is a schedule that approximates the huge amount of money that is going to be transferred from all Missouri electricity users to the renewable energy suppliers that Ameren will use.  If these amounts of money are not a matter of public interest, the Public Service Commission is being derelict in its duties.  In the base year, 2011, relevant electricity revenues were $5.032 billion, and, if electricity would grow 3% per year into the future, here are the mandated annual and cumulative expenditures for renewable energy for the following 10 year intervals in billions of dollars:

Year
Annual Amount

(in billions)

Cumulative Amount
(in billions)
2011 0.101 0.101
2020 0.657 3.374
2030 1.324 15.003
2040 1.779
30.631
2050 2.390
51.634

As stated on the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Energy website, “The RES requires Missouri’s regulated electric utilities to meet defined percentages of total retail electrical sales by renewable resources starting in 2011. Compliance can be by means of self-generated or purchased electricity generated from renewable energy sources or by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs).”

However, the Public Service Commission has allowed Ameren to hide the true cost that Ameren pays, and subsequently passes onto Missouri consumers, to comply with the RES.  A search of every  Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Report submitted by Ameren shows large amounts of blacked-out sections that prevent anyone from finding out how Ameren is complying with Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard.

“This lawsuit gets to the heart of the issue of the enrichment of a few select individuals and companies under the guise of producing renewable energy and renewable energy credits at the expense of Missouri electricity consumers,” said Fred N. Sauer.  “Missourians deserve better and have a right to know how much money the few are making at the expense of the many.”

Related:

Fred Sauer Examines “The Carnahan Wind Deal”

Carnahan Wind Farm Sued By Native Americans

One Percenter Tom Carnahan One of Obama’s $500,000 Bundlers

Picture of the Day: What $100 Million Earmark?


Tags: MO Economy · MO Legislature

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