Tag Archives: Senate

What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

More @

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Aging, Barack Obama, Childhood Obesity, Children, Congress, Government, Health, Health Care Reform, History, Medicine, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Senate, Seniors, United States, US, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

Nuns Show Support for Healthcare Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

Nuns show support for the hotly-debated healthcare reform bill.

AP ~ In a rare public disagreement that will reverberate among the nation’s 70 million Catholics, leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 nuns sent lawmakers a letter urging lawmakers to pass the Senate health care bill. Expected to come before the House by this weekend, the measure contains abortion funding restrictions that the bishops say don’t go far enough.

“Despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions,” said the letter signed by 60 leaders of women’s religious orders. “It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments … in support of pregnant women. This is the real pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee have denounced the bill as a backdoor subsidy for abortion. But the nuns and the Catholic Health Association – representing some 600 hospitals – say restrictions in the Senate bill would still prevent taxpayer funding for abortion, although the legal mechanism for doing so is different from what the bishops prefer.

“This is politics; this isn’t a question of faith and morals,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social activism lobby. “We are the ones who work every day with people who are suffering because they don’t have health care. We cannot turn our backs on them, so for us, health care reform is a faith-based response to human need.”

More @

5 Comments

Filed under Abortion, Health Care Reform, Religion, Senate, United States, Women's Issues

Republican Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension for 1.2 Million Americans, Tells Dem ‘Tough Shit’

Posted by: Audiegrl

Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: “Tough shit.”

Bunning says he doesn’t oppose extending benefits — he just doesn’t want the money that’s required added to the deficit. He proposes paying for the 30-day extension with stimulus funds. The Senate’s GOP leadership did not support him in his objections.

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he said, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.”

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos produced a video of Bunning’s obstruction:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made a last-minute attempt on Friday morning to get Bunning to let the Senate move forward with extending benefits.

We talk a lot in the Senate about procedure. Our debate sometimes relates only to procedure. And often that’s appropriate,” Reid said. “And, as we know, sometimes these procedural rules we have in the Senate are complex. But the issue before us today is not something that’s arcane, very ritualistic or complex. It’s very simple. And it’s clear — clear that it’s going to be a lot more noticeable by people Monday morning, because it’s going to affect the lives of thousands of Americans and their livelihoods.”

By Monday morning tens of thousands of Nevadans and more than one million Americans who rely on unemployment insurance and health benefits will simply lose them.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) took the floor after Reid to stick up for Bunning. He noted that there is broad bipartisan support for extending benefits, but said Bunning was right to take a stand against adding $10 billion to the deficit. He also pointed out that the jobs bill that Reid scrapped two weeks ago, crafted by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), contained an extension of UI and COBRA.

I admire the courage of the junior senator from Kentucky,” he said. “Somebody has to stand up finally and say, ‘No more inter-generational theft!‘”

And with that, the Senate adjourned for the weekend.

More @

Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky

3 Comments

Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, Democrats, Jobs, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Video/YouTube

GOP Blinks: 27 Obama Nominees Confirmed After White House Threat

Posted by: Audiegrl

HP~The Senate confirmed 27 high-level Obama nominees Thursday evening just days after President Obama threatened to use recess appoints. The Senate is scheduled to begin their break on Monday, Feb. 15.

On Tuesday, Obama met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a bipartisan meeting and warned that he would use the upcoming Senate recess to appoint his nominees. At the beginning of the week, more than 63 nominees had holds on their confirmation.

Obama made a surprise appearance before the White House press corps on Tuesday, announcing that he would consider making recess appointments if congress did not act.

In a statement released Thursday after his nominees were confirmed, Obama said that he might still make recess appointments if the Senate does not act after it comes back from recess. The Senate’s next recess after President’s Day will begin March 29.

From the White House:

white house gov logoToday, the United States Senate confirmed 27 of my high-level nominees, many of whom had been awaiting a vote for months.

At the beginning of the week, a staggering 63 nominees had been stalled in the Senate because one or more senators placed a hold on their nomination. In most cases, these holds have had nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications or even political views, and these nominees have already received broad, bipartisan support in the committee process.

Instead, many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator’s state or simply to frustrate progress. It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people.

And so on Tuesday, I told Senator McConnell that if Republican senators did not release these holds, I would exercise my authority to fill critically-needed positions in the federal government temporarily through the use of recess appointments. This is a rare but not unprecedented step that many other presidents have taken. Since that meeting, I am gratified that Republican senators have responded by releasing many of these holds and allowing 29 nominees to receive a vote in the Senate.

While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.

1 Comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Cabinet, Change, Congress, Conservative, Creepy right-wing antics, Democrats, Media and Entertainment, Obama Administration, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Republicans, RNC

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 01/30/10

white house gov logo
WhiteHouse.govReining in Budget Deficits~~The President pledges to rein the deficit, citing three specific steps to this end. He praises the Senate for restoring the pay-as-you-go law, discusses his proposal for a freeze in discretionary spending, and calls for a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to hammer out further concrete deficit reduction proposals.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

3 Comments

Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Economics, Economy, Jobs, Law, Money, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Senate, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Weekly YouTube Address

Bernanke confirmed for 2nd term in 70-30 Senate vote

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke won confirmation Thursday to a second term as the US central banker, despite sharp attacks on his role before the 2008 financial meltdown and in its aftermath.

After a bitter debate that roiled global stock markets, the US Senate voted 70-30 to approve Bernanke after easily dispatching an effort to block the nomination days before his term was to expire on Sunday.

President Barack Obama declared himself “gratified” by the vote and said Bernanke was needed because “while the worst of the storm has passed, its devastation remains and we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our economy.”

Opposition to Bernanke — who drew a historic number of “no” votes — had led Obama and top aides to work the phones to court wavering Senators gripped by election-year populist pressures over the battered US economy.

Read more:

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Filmmaker Who Broke ACORN Story Arrested For Attempted Bugging Of Landrieu’s Office

Posted by: Audiegrl

James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe


A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.

In the reception area, Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport, and Basel asked for access to the main phone at the reception desk.

After handling the phone, Letten’s office said, they asked for access to a phone closet so they could work on the main phone system. The men were directed to another office in the building, where they are accused of again misrepresenting themselves as telephone repairmen.

They were arrested later by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Details of the arrest were not available. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested, but Letten’s office said only that he assisted the others in planning, coordinating and preparing the operation.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Federal officials did not say why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones or whether they were successful. Landrieu, a moderate Democrat, declined comment Tuesday. She has been in the news recently because she negotiated an increase in Medicaid funds for her state before announcing her support for Senate health care legislation.

Bill Flanagan’s office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined further comment.

An FBI criminal complaint charging the men was unsealed Tuesday, and a magistrate set bond at $10,000 each after they made their initial court appearances wearing red prison jumpsuits.

Much more on the breaking story @ TPM

UPDATE: What Is The Pelican Institute?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Hat tip Media Matters

With O’Keefe arrest, Breitbart develops new-found appreciation for “facts”

14 Comments

Filed under Bad Journalism, Creepy right-wing antics, Crime, Democrats, Law, Media and Entertainment, New Orleans, LA, Partisan Politics, Police, Politics, Republicans, Technology, United States