To Harm of Millions, Obama Wants to Raise Medicare Age Requirement

By: Monday July 11, 2011 1:51 pm

It seems President Obama as expected grabbed hold of the Joe Lieberman’s trial balloon and is now also pushing to raise the Medicare retirement age to 67. From Huffington Post: According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age [...]

Obama Won’t Speak Out about Debt, Too Concerned What “Markets” Will Think

By: Friday June 3, 2011 8:19 am

At a recent meeting with House Democrats, President Obama shot down the members’ hopes that he might step up his rhetoric against the Republicans. He’s concerned how the markets would react to his statements. From Huffington Post: Obama also told the assembled Democrats not to count on more fiery rhetoric from the Oval Office. “He [...]

HHS Moves to Make High Risk Pool Slightly More Accessible

By: Tuesday May 31, 2011 1:42 pm

Administration of High Risk Pools
Administration of High Risk Pools

In a move that should provide some help to relatively few additional Americans the HHS is making changes to the high risk pools created by the Affordable Care Act. The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will have its premiums reduced and eligibility restrictions loosened. From the Huffington Post:

To boost enrollment, Sebelius said monthly premiums, which vary by age and region, will drop in 17 of the states where HHS runs the program starting in July. In Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, premiums will plummet by 40 percent. Come July, people older than 55 who enroll in the Virginia PCIP’s standard plan will have to pay $297 a month, a steep drop from the current $498 monthly premium.

Sebelius also said PCIP applicants will no longer have to brandish rejection letters from insurance companies to prove they have pre-existing conditions. Instead, a doctor’s note will suffice.

Currently PCIP only provides insurance to roughly 18,000 people. This move should help modestly boast the number getting insurance through the program but the HHS will probably still need to maintain a difficult balancing act to prevent too many more people from signing up.

The ACA only provide $5 billion in funding for the high risk pools, which according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would be insufficient to keep the program going until 2014, if total national enrollment reaches even the low six figures (PDF). Given the both the current anti-spending and anti-Obamacare mood in the House of Representatives, it is safe to assume Congress is unlikely to appropriated any more money to the program if it ran out of funds early.

Largest Mortgage Firms Profit from Crime, Kill Moral Hazard for All of Wall Street

By: Tuesday March 29, 2011 9:14 am

I truly fear the next financial collapse, which indeed will happen, because over the past three years, both Republican and Democratic administrations haven’t just killed moral hazard for the larger financial sector, they have dragged its corpse down Wall Street in an elaborate funeral procession for all to see. The latest example of comes from [...]

Too Big to Jail: America’s Theft Inflection Point

By: Thursday March 17, 2011 7:33 am

This article in the Huffington Post about how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is pushing the state attorneys general to quickly as possible “bring to bed” their investigations of the wide-scale systematic violations of law by the nation’s largest financial institutions is a great reminder that, in America, there is a very important theft-to-punishment inflection point [...]

Our Political Insanity in Three Headlines: Tax Breaks for the Rich, More War, and Cuts to Social Security

By: Thursday November 11, 2010 1:25 pm

To understand how ridiculous the “serious” people are in Washington, and how broken our political debate is, let me draw your attention to the three biggest political stories of the day. Together, they make the clear case that all this so-called concern about the “deficit” is simply a justification the powerful use to attack the [...]

Too Politically Toxic? Even Ron Wyden Distances Himself from Individual Mandate

By: Wednesday September 1, 2010 12:10 pm

We can only hope that Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden’s recent shift away from the individual mandate is a sign that the Democratic Party is beginning to acknowledge what a massive political and policy mistake they made.

Facebook Banned Marijuana Leaf of Libertarian Party Logo, Too

By: Tuesday August 24, 2010 10:24 am

The Libertarian Party contacted us this morning following the launch of our campaign to get Facebook to relent on their decision to ban the Just Say Now logo with a marijuana leaf from advertising. Libertarian Party spokesman Kyle Hartz said Facebook had also censored their logo, which likewise contained a marijuana leaf: Here at the [...]

Don’t Know Much About History: Chris Dodd Defends Filibuster with Fiction

By: Thursday August 5, 2010 6:30 am

It is intolerable to hear senators go on about the importance and traditions of their chamber when they seem to not understand or to willfully ignore both. The latest example is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) defending the 60-vote threshold for cloture (put in place roughly 40 years ago) by essentially citing made-up history about Congress. [...]

Michael Bennet Calls For Mild Filibuster Reform

By: Friday March 5, 2010 10:01 am

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has a new article in the Huffington Post calling for reforming the filibuster. I’m always glad to hear that more senators realize the Senate rules are broken and need to be changed. At the same time, I’m a little disappointed that Bennet does not just call for restoring the Senate to [...]