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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, August 01, 2014

Congress Last Day Before House Recess | WaPo: "Obamacare Is More Unpopular Than Ever"

Today In Washington, D.C. - Aug 1, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM. With much on it's table, the House began consideration of H. Res. 700 — "Waiving a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules, and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules." However, nothing on the floor has been this morning and as of this article the House remains in recess subject to the call of the chair.

Yesterday, the House took up and passed 272 - 150 H. Res. 696, on Rep. Shuster motion that the House disagree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 5021 - Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. The Senate then conceded and approved the bill yesterday.
They also passed H.R. 935 (267-161) — "To amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters, and for other purposes."

Speaker Boehner did address the July 2014 Depart. of Labor Unemployment Report this morning, "“When I look at this report, I think one thing: we can do better. For example, we still have millions of Americans trapped in part-time jobs, which shows just how weak this recovery has been and how much room there is for improvement. So while some in Washington may latch on to these numbers as a cause for complacency, what they really are is a call to action. That’s why the House has passed more than 40 good jobs bills since the start of this Congress as part of our plan for economic growth and greater opportunity for all. Those bills are piled up in the United States Senate, waiting on Democrats to act and waiting on the president to lead. We’re doing our part, but we need the president and his party to do theirs. In the weeks ahead, Republicans will continue to focus on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all.” "

The Senate reconvened at 11 AM today and began a period of morning business. Senators are expected to spend the day working on unanimous consent agreements on some outstanding legislative items and nominees.

This morning, this Senate passed by unanimous consent H.J. Res. 76, cosponsored by Leader McConnell, which provides emergency funding to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

Yesterday, Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance their blank check border bill by a vote of 50-44, after they voted down a Republican motion to allow amendments to the bill by 43-52.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted 86-8 to waive a budget act point of order against the conference report on H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Affairs reform bill. Senators then voted 91-3 to approve the conference report, sending it to the president for his signature

The Senate then voted 81-13 to strip out the amendment it added to H.R. 5021, the highway trust fund extension, after the House voted to return the original bill without the Senate amendment. That vote cleared the bill to be signed into law.

Finally, Democrats used the last vote of the work period to again used the the nuclear option to break Senate rules and allowed cloture on nominees with fewer than 60 votes. Using that precedent, senators voted 58-33 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Jill Pryor to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.

The Washington Post writes today, “Obamacare just had its worst month in a key health-care poll. Kaiser Family Foundation, which has done arguably the best and most consistent polling on the health-care law in the past four-plus years, found that public opinion on the law sank to a record low in July. More people than ever (53 percent) last month said they viewed the law unfavorably, an increase of 8 percentage points since June — one of the biggest opinion swings ever. As the foundation notes, more people seemingly made up their minds about the law last month. The rate of those without an opinion on the Affordable Care Act dropped from 16 percent in June to 11 percent in July. . . . Kaiser's pollsters point out that most people still hear negative things about the law. People who said they discussed the law were about five times more likely to report that they heard mostly bad things about it, while people who said they encountered political ads about the law (53 percent) said those ads were mostly against it (19 percent versus 7 percent).”

The Post reporter, of course, doesn’t mention that the Kaiser poll has historically been the most friendly to Obamacare, consistently showing a higher level of support for the law than other polls. And yet even in Kaiser’s poll, a clear majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Democrats’ health care law.

Though The Post’s reporter expressed befuddlement at the most recent increase in opposition to Obamacare, he seems to be overlooking the steady stream of bad news for Americans’ health care due to the law, in addition to almost daily reminders of Democrats’ broken promises.

Over the summer, state after state after state has announced premium increases for 2015 health plans: companies in Indiana, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and California have all announced premium hikes. Many are double-digit percentage increases, and some states, like Indiana and Maryland, could face increases as high as 46 and 30 percent respectively. Of course, Americans remember President Obama’s promise that “This law will lower premiums.”

And then there are the watchdog reports detailing the serious flaws, failures, and mismanagement rampant in the Obama administration’s implementation of Obamacare. As NBC News reported last week, “Eleven out of 12 fake applications for government-subsidized health insurance got through a verification process and the bogus beneficiaries are still covered, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday. The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. . . . The GAO operatives made up 18 applications -– 12 applied online or by telephone, and six started out looking for in-person help. All were completely false, with fake incomes and counterfeit documentation. . . . Only one of the group of 12 was correctly told he or she could not apply. . . . The other 11 got through and received federal subsidies to help pay for their health insurance.”

Yet in January, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “I certify that the American Health Benefit Exchanges (Marketplaces) verify that applicants for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions are eligible for such payments and reductions . . . .”

This week, another GAO report on the botched Obamacare website found it “still unable to perform essential functions.” As USA Today put it, “A new report finds that the government did not plan well or properly provide oversight for the new federal health exchange launched last October. And the website faces new headaches for open enrollment in the fall if officials don't control spending, increase oversight and ensure back-end issues are properly fixed.” Reuters noted, “Ten months after the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, Obamacare's federal health insurance exchange is still dogged by cost overruns and technology delays that could hamper enrollment when it resumes in November, a U.S. watchdog said.”

Recall that just before the website launched, President Obama held a rally to proclaim that the site would be “real simple” and that it would allow Americans to use it the “same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak, same way you shop for a TV on Amazon.”

It’s hardly surprising, then, that Americans continue to be frustrated with Obamacare and it shows in the polls. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s no wonder why: ‘You can keep your plan.’ ‘You can keep your doctor.’ ‘Premiums will go down.’ ‘The law will create millions of jobs.’ We knew the promises wouldn’t hold up. . . . One even earned the dubious distinction of being declared the ‘Lie of Year.’ And that’s why it’s so hard to trust much of what the Obama Administration claims about Obamacare these days.”

This unpopular law needs to be repealed and replaced with serious health care reforms that can actually bring down costs.

Tags: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, DOL, July jobs report, bills, Obmacare, problems, funding, Iron Dome, Israel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:27 PM - Post Link

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