Last week, Salwa Shabazz arrived at the office of a public health network here with a bag full of paperwork about her new health insurance — and an unhappy look on her face. She had chosen her plan by phone in March, speaking to a customer service representative at the federal insurance marketplace. Now she had problems and questions, so many questions.
“I’ve had one doctor appointment since I got this insurance, and I had to pay $60,” Ms. Shabazz told Daniel Flynn, a counselor with the health network, the Health Federation of Philadelphia. “I don’t have $60.”
Mr. Flynn spent almost two hours going over her Independence Blue Cross plan, which he explained had a “very complicated” network that grouped doctors and hospitals into three tiers. Ms. Shabazz, who has epilepsy, had not understood when she chose the plan that her doctors were in the most expensive tier.
“None of that was explained when I signed up,” she said. “This is the first I’m hearing it.”
Many people who signed up for private coverage through the new marketplaces had never had health insurance, and even the basics — like what a premium is and why getting a primary care doctor is better than relying on the emergency room — are beyond their experience. Others have a sense of how insurance works but find the details of the marketplace plans confusing, especially if they signed up without the help of someone who understood them.
When it comes times to renew, do you thjink most people in this situation will do their homework, or just let their policies lapse, knowing they can pay a fine, and get coverage when they truly need it?
Ms. Shabazz’s mother, Waheedah Shabazz-El, who had accompanied her to the appointment, shook her head as her daughter wiped away tears. “There are so many layers to this,” Ms. Shabazz-El said.
Not quite the way it was sold to you by the President, Ms. Shabazz?
A huge majority of Americans, 81 percent, believe the new immigration crisis of unaccompanied children streaming over the U.S.-Mexico border is serious, and almost as many want them gone -- some even if it's not safe to return, according to a new poll.
In an Economist/YouGov.com survey, however, the public isn't heartless in how they view the plight of the children, with 66 percent expressing sympathy for their situation that drove them north, where U.S. Border Control officers are catching the new arrivals for immigration processing.
But while there is an understanding among many Americans that some of the children are fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, a majority, 57 percent, believe the illegal immigrants are coming to America because they believe “that the U.S. government is or will be granting amnesty to undocumented immigrant children,” said the new poll.
The poll is the latest to show that the nation doesn’t believe the president’s immigration policies are working. And it is proof that most want the flow of illegals into the United States slowed or shut off.
Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they'd overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor's bid. That's just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That's an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.
Two years ago, Obama won re-election with about 51 percent of the vote.
Republican Congressional hopeful Andrew Walter throws a fundraiser with a bang.
He held an event called Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms at the Scottsdale Gun Club Friday night.
Walter is a former Arizona State University quarterback now running for District 9 in the United States Congress.
"This fundraiser is definitely unique and that's kind of what we were going for," Walter said. "Politics don't always have to be bland or dry."
For a donation to the campaign of $250 to $1,000, supporters can shoot anything from a Glock to an automatic weapon.
"What's more all-American than guns, cigars," said supporter Allison Quinn. "What a great way to get people together, shoot some guns, smoke some cigars, and support the man that we want in Congress."
Walter only took a quick break from the shooting to discuss politics.
"The price for food, the price for gas, college, health care -- these are all going in the wrong direction," he said. "And wages are either stagnant or down, so we need economic freedom and that's really what my campaign is all about."
The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday declared a "significant milestone" for President Obama's health care law by claiming that 4 million Americans had now signed up for coverage. But a closer examination of the numbers suggests that the pace of sign-ups is slowing.
In a similar blog post on Jan. 24, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, praised the "milestone" of 3 million sign-ups. That represented a gain of 800,000 individuals since the end of December, when HHS had put the number at 2.2 million.
But the Tuesday claim of 4 million sign-ups represents a smaller 700,000 gain from the 3.3 million total the administration reported as of Feb. 1.
Those paying attention also recognize that the definition of an enrollee is somewhat broad, and neglects to point out how many signed up only because they lost their old coverage:
The HHS numbers include only those who have selected a plan through one of the exchanges, rather than the number who have paid -- which is typically how insurers measure enrollment. As a gauge, last week California reported that 20 percent of those who signed up in the state as of Jan. 31 hadn't paid first month's premiums.
Additionally, HHS does not reveal how many of those signing up for insurance through the exchanges were previously covered. Millions of Americans received insurance cancellation letters last fall, as insurers were forced to discontinue policies that didn't live up to Obamacare's guidelines.
Consider that for a second. Obamacare needs 7 million uninsured people to sign up, to kep the boat afloat. They can't even muster half of that by cancelling people's plans, forcing them to become "members".
Failure at every turn with this crew. If only the American Voter had been warned.
On the surface, one might think that a black eye on the UAW for getting beat in Tennessee was the big story. It's not. The big story is what happens next:
No wonder they wanted card check: I remember, toward the end of the last Bush administration, whippersnappers all the confident young Dem policy warriors repeating labor’s talking points about the need to allow the secret ballot in union recognition elections to be replaced by “card check,” a system in which workers sign cards in the presence of union organizers. Without card check, management would “coerce” workers by pointing out the downside of unionization in mandatory propaganda meetings.
Wasn’t it possible that workers who turned down unions simply looked at what Wagner Act unionism had done, say, to Detroit, and decided for themselves that this wasn’t what they wanted to happen to their company? Nah.
Now we know different: At Vokswagen’s Chattanooga factory, the UAW was actually welcomed by the employer. No union-busting propganada sessions. VW, which already has a powerful union back home in Europe, wanted to set up German-style “works councils,” where rank and file employees could have a say in production decisions. But, according to many U.S. labor lawyers, it needed a union partner — otherwise, under the Wagner Act the works councils would be considered an illegal “company union.” The UAW seemed ready to be that partner. UAW organizers were allowed in the plant to make their case. Management didn’t argue back.**
The most interesting part comes next: If Volkswagen now goes ahead and starts its works councils anyway, without the UAW, will organized labor sue to have them declared illegal? That would give the Roberts Court a precious opportunity to interpret the Wagner Act in a way that actually allows non-legalistic, non-adversarial forms of worker participation in management (despite the “company union” prohibition). In effect, the courts could help VW create what those on the left have been (correctly) demanding of the right: a reasonable alternative to traditional unionism, giving workers a voice without subjecting every management decision to a war of bargainers and lawyers and (ultimately) the formalized pitched battle of a strike.
Now that would be a threat to Big Labor. Which is why they might not sue.
**–Though local politicians, like Sen. Bob Corker, did. President Obama sided with the UAW, at least behind closed doors.
***–The cards apparently contained distracting language about wanting to join VW’s works council. If the union did have a majority of cards, of course, it has now provided us with a near-textbook example of the difference between a) a secret ballot and b) signing a piece of paper in the presence of union representatives.
So if VW moves forward, and sets up the Works Councils, the UAW has a choice to make: Do nothing, and appear weak to your members (and other organizations that have UAW members working there), or sue, and quite possibly lose.
More than 1 million cancellation notices have been sent to Californians as the Affordable Care Act begins allowing individuals to buy insurance through exchanges, Jones said. The federal law requires policies to offer minimum levels of coverage, forcing companies to terminate many existing plans. But Jones said that under the law, insurers have another year to do so.