In a gigantic gift to Obama and the Democratic party, Bill Clinton delivered a 48 minute masterpiece last night at the Democratic National Convention. Worth the full view.
- “After last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama” - Alluding to Michelle Obama’s riveting speech this Tuesday. Michelle’s Speech Link
- “Since 1961 … our private sector economy produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million - Democrats 42 million.” Puts the economic argument in clear, dumb-as-rock terms that the American public can understand and remember.
- “The Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: the numbers don’t add up.” and “Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic” These arguments throw the Republican budged straight into the fire. Further, he points out that Romney refuses to disclose his budget because they’d include cuts that nobody wants.
- “As the Senate Republican leader said, in a remarkable moment of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work. It was to put the President out of work.” Attacking the undeniably clear Republican prerogative to blindly obstruct any Democratic and especially any Obama-related movement.
- “Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, “the biggest, coldest power play,” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry [LAUGHTER] … because that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. You got to give one thing: It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.” Pointing out how insane Ryan and his arguments seem to be. Furthermore, Clinton pointed out that the $716 Billion cut is not a cut in the current budget, but in future spending.
- “Their campaign pollster said, ‘We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.’ [LAUGHTER] Now, finally I can say: That is true. [LAUGHTER] I — I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
This really seems to be the major point of discord between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats waste their time and energy supporting their logical stances with facts while Republicans blindly hate and oppose Democratic action with crusade-like commitment. Who will win? The party that can activate every possible voter to the polls.
PolitiFact.com continued their tremendous fact-checking work, supporting nearly every Clinton claim. LINK
For those of you who don’t know, interesting people frequently go on Reddit.com to host an “AMA” - or “Ask Me Anything” - where the person sits down and answers whatever questions or comments people have. Celebrities, people with interesting backgrounds or jobs, people who have experienced interesting events - a large range of people have done ama’s. Notables include Ken Jennings, Bill Nye, Louis CK, Brent Spiner, Larry King, Joss Whedon, and Stephen Colbert.
President Barack Obama today went on Reddit and did an AMA. (For those of you wondering, his username is PresidentObama.) He touched on the future of the American space program, the job market, internet freedom, Afghanistan, super-PACs and their role in politics, White House beer, and how he handles family life as the President. Like most internet links, AMA’s give us a direct connection to the host, their unfiltered responses and opinions in real time and Obama’s deserves a read more than any other. (LINK)
Without a doubt, the best part was his close, where he said
By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!
The “Obama Rage Face aka Not Bad” has been a wonderful meme floating around the internet and POTUS’ joke both delights and highlights the fact that he is in touch with today’s world. Unlike so many other out-dated, stone-age thinking politicians (TODD AKIN), President Obama understands at least what we find funny today - and isn’t that something worth noting?
BarackObama.com: During a quick stop off in Denison, IA on the first day of President Obama’s bus tour across Iowa, there was a young supporter who had to get to the bottom of something that had been puzzling him for some time.
Ohio used to allow eligible voters to vote up to 3 days before Election Day (e.g., if Election day is on a Monday, voters can vote starting the previous Friday, and over the weekend). In 2011, the GOP-led state legislature eliminated this ability, but federal law still allowed active-duty military personnel to vote three days early.
President Obama’s campaign filed a lawsuit, asking a federal court to “restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day – a right exercised by an estimated 93,000 Ohioans in the last presidential election.” You with me? Obama said that instead of allowing only active-duty military voters to vote up to three days before Election Day, Ohio should allow all eligible voters in Ohio to vote up to three days before Election Day – including active duty troops.
Romney then attacked this lawsuit, posting to Facebook:
“President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage. The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote. I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I’m entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.”
To Recap: Obama tried to make it easier for everybody in Ohio to vote; Romney said he was attacking military troops’ voting rights. According to Politico, “Romney’s spokesman, Ryan Williams, in an interview Saturday could point to no place in Obama’s lawsuit that seeks to restrict the rights of military voters.”
This is what’s absolutely maddening in today’s politics. People can just say whatever the fuck they want and it won’t matter if they have evidence or are lying through their teeth; it’s in the public eye and a good amount of people won’t educate themselves to what’s real and what’s not. Regardless of your political affiliations, can’t we all agree that flat-out lies cannot be allowed as an effective campaign tool? Am I taking fucking crazy pills over here?
Mitt Romney held three fundraisers in the Hamptons over the weekend catering to the super-rich New York mega 1%. The events raised more than $3 million, and bringing his June total to over $106.1M (compared to Barack Obama’s $71M). Even though Romney has made a the everyday American worker a focal point of his campaign, those attending these $50,000+/plate lunches and dinners weren’t exactly afraid to be vocal.
A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover and yelled, “Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P.” (There was no VIP entrance)
Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Harbor was in attendance. “He [Obama] is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Mr. Conklin said from inside a gold Mercedes, as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.
A New York City donor who would not give her name, told the LA Times “I don’t think the common person is getting it. Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. We’ve got the message, but my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact” she said from her Range Rover with East Hampton Beach Permits.
It’s frightening to think that these people are donating more for a plate than most people make as an annual salary and still have the gall to think of the poor as less intelligent citizens. What’s more frightening is that it’s been proven in American politics that you can buy votes – if you have more money, you usually win. Romney’s strength (and I know Obama feels the same way) has been his ability to raise money at a staggering rate. THe only real hope is that people can buck the trend and learn about the candidates’ policies and platforms, then make an informed vote. If you need someone to explain what’s going on, keep your eyes open for a Hamptons woman in a Range Rover.
If you dont have time to read this then i cant do nothing for you.
Thanks to CaspianX2 http://www.reddit.com/user/CaspianX2
“Okay, explained like you’re a five year-old (well, okay, maybe a bit older), without too much oversimplification, and (hopefully) without sounding too biased:
What people call “Obamacare” is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, people were calling it “Obamacare” before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It’s a term mostly used by people who don’t like the PPACA, and it’s become popularized in part because PPACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that.
Anyway, the PPACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn’t have to.
So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):
(Note: Page numbers listed in citations are the page numbers within the actual document, not the page numbers of the PDF file)
Already in effect:
It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices) ( Citation: An entire section of the bill, called Title VII, is devoted to this, starting on page 747 )
It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less) ( Citation: Page 216, sec. 2501 )
It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn’t directly control, PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money. ( Citation: Page 665, sec. 1181 )
It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. ( Citation: Page 499, sec. 4205 )
It makes a “high-risk pool” for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of “pre-existing conditions” altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered “pre-existing conditions” can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them. ( Citation: Page 30, sec. 1101, Page 45, sec. 2704, and Page 46, sec. 2702 )
It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that) ( Citation: Page 47, sec. 2705 )
It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. ( Citation: Page 923, sec. 5000B )
It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2711 )
Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26. ( Citation: Page 15, sec. 2714 )
No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19. ( Citation: Page 45, sec. 2704 and Page 57, sec. 1255 )
Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans. ( Citation: Page 47, sec. 2794 )
People in a “Medicare Gap” get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend. ( Citation: Page 379, sec. 3301 )
Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2712 )
Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee”, they have to be more specific).
Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down. ( Citation: Page 42, sec. 2719 )
Anti-fraud funding is increased and new ways to stop fraud are created. ( Citation: Page 699, sec. 6402 )
Medicare extends to smaller hospitals. ( Citation: Starting on page 344, the entire section “Part II” seems to deal with this )
Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly. ( Citation: Page 492, sec. 4202 )
A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it: http://www.healthcare.gov/ ). ( Citation: Page 36, sec. 1103 )
A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness by paying half the cost of the investment. (Note - this program was temporary. It already ended) ( Citation: Page 830, sec. 9023 )
A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers. ( Citation: Page 22, sec. 1101 )
A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn’t paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover. ( Citation: Page 800, sec. 9003 )
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms. ( Citation: Page 800, sec. 9002 )
Any new health plans must provide preventative care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2713 )
If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%). Edit: To address those who take issue with the word “tiny”, a change of 0.9% is relatively tiny. Any look at how taxes have fluctuated over the years will reveal that a change of less than one percent is miniscule, especially when we’re talking about people in the top 5% of earners. ( Citation: Page 818, sec. 9015 )
This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.
No more “pre-existing conditions”. At all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history. ( Citation: Page 45, sec. 2704, Page 46, sec. 2701, and Page 57, sec. 1255 )
If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it. (Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutional, as long as it’s considered a tax on the uninsured and not a penalty for not buying insurance… nitpicking about wording, mostly, but the long and short of it is, it looks like this is accepted by the courts) ( Citation: Page 145, sec. 5000A, and here is the actual court ruling for those who wish to read it. )
Question: What determines whether or not I can afford the mandate? Will I be forced to pay for insurance I can’t afford?
Answer: There are all kinds of checks in place to keep you from getting screwed. Kaiser actually has a webpage with a pretty good rundown on it, if you’re worried about it. You can see it here.
Okay, have we got that settled? Okay, moving on…
Small businesses get some tax credits for two years. (It looks like this is specifically for businesses with 25 or fewer employees) ( Citation: Page 138, sec. 1421 )
Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty.
Insurers now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2711 )
Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers. ( Citation: Page 62, sec. 1302 )
Cut some Medicare spending
Place a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them. ( Citation: Page 801, sec. 9005 )
Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower and middle-class, basically making it so they have an easier time getting affordable medical coverage. ( Citation: Page 88, sec. 1311 )
Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won’t be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen. ( Citation: Page 81, sec. 1312 )
A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.
A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.
A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they’ll get taxed.
The amount you can deduct from your taxes for medical expenses increases.
Doctors’ pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat. Edit: a_real_MD addresses questions regarding this one in far more detail and with far more expertise than I can offer in this post. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of this one (as many of you are), I highly recommend you give his post a read.
If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers). ( Citation: Page 98, sec. 1332 )
All health care plans must now cover preventive care (not just the new ones).
A new tax on “Cadillac” health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).
The elimination of the “Medicare gap”
Aaaaand that’s it right there.
The biggest thing opponents of the bill have against it is the mandate. They claim that it forces people to buy insurance, and forcing people to buy something is unconstitutional. Personally, I take the opposite view, as it’s not telling people to buy a specific thing, just to have a specific type of thing, just like a part of the money we pay in taxes pays for the police and firemen who protect us, this would have us paying to ensure doctors can treat us for illness and injury.
Plus, as previously mentioned, it’s necessary if you’re doing away with “pre-existing conditions” because otherwise no one would get insurance until they needed to use it, which defeats the purpose of insurance.
Whew! Hope that answers the question!”