These are my links for July 10th through July 16th:
Obama – ‘If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen’– President Barack Obama addressed supporters in Roanoke, Virginia on Friday afternoon and took a shot at the business community. President Obama dismissed any credit business owners give themselves for their success:There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Speculation mounts on Romney VP pick – Speculation about who Mitt Romney will choose as a running-mate intensified over the weekend as a buzz around the unlikely name of Condoleezza Rice proved a welcome distraction from Democratic attacks over his Bain Capital record.
Kelly Ayotte, a Republican senator from New Hampshire who is herself mooted as a possible vice-presidential choice, said on TV that the former secretary of state under George W. Bush would be an excellent choice.
“She’s very qualified. She’s excellent. She’s tested. Yes,” Ms Ayotte told ABC’s This Week.
Welcome to California: America without Republicans – “I believe that if we’re successful in this election,” President Obama told campaign donors in Minnesota last month, “that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that.” Apparently Obama believes that if he wins this November, Republicans on Capitol Hill will all begin to act like Chief Justice John Roberts by betraying their conservative beliefs and signing on to Obama’s unprecedented expansion of the federal welfare state. But what would America look like if the Republican “fever” did break? We already know. It would look a lot like the state of California, where no non-cyborg Republican has been governor since 1996. Democrats have also enjoyed complete control of the state legislature since 1997. And they have governed exactly the way you’d expect Democrats to govern.
Sarah Palin Still Waiting for Romney Invite to Tampa – Mitt still hasn’t invited Sarah to the GOP’s nomination assembly in Tampa, and the Tea Party is livid. Peter J. Boyer on how the snub could sabotage Romney’s tenuous ties to the grassroots—and why Palin is keeping the week open, just in case.
‘Monica, Monica’ chants taunt Clinton in Egypt– US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was taunted by chants of “Monica, Monica” by tomato-throwing demonstrators as she visited the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Sunday.The chants, referring to the Monica Lewinsky scandal when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, were heard outside the US consulate as she visited for its reopening.An embarrassed Egyptian security official said they were chanting “Monica, Monica” and “Irhal, Clinton” (Get out, Clinton.)
Tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle were thrown at part of Clinton’s motorcade as it pulled up, protected by riot police, although a US official said Clinton’s own vehicle was not hit.
Medicaid’s New Tug of War – Economic View– THE new health care law’s individual mandate — the provision pushing people to buy insurance, and upheld last month by the Supreme Court — has garnered huge attention. But about half the planned expansion of insurance coverage under the new law comes from another source entirely: growth of the Medicaid program.Many Governors Are Still Unsure About Medicaid Expansion (July 15, 2012)
Yet Medicaid has never been especially popular, and when its expanded role becomes more widely understood, it is likely to become less popular still.Medicaid beneficiaries have limited means, and their low incomes usually translate into below-average political influence. The joint federal-state financing of Medicaid reflects its lack of broad support among the more affluent. Neither the federal government nor the states wish to pick up the entire tab, and many state governments — and not just Republican administrations — would prefer to spend more on education, roads and other programs. Yet the federal subsidy for Medicaid expenditures keeps many states locked in — the Feds usually pick up at least half the cost — at levels they would not have chosen on their own.
Those are signs of a program ripe for cuts, and yet the law is bringing a major Medicaid expansion. Will it stick? The additional federal subsidy is probably high enough to induce most states to expand Medicaid in the short run. (Under the Supreme Court decision, states can back out of the Medicaid expansion and lose only the new federal subsidy rather than all of their Medicaid funds.)
The greater likelihood is that, over time, American voters will rebel against Medicaid and dismantle the subsidies that keep the states locked in, and will prefer instead to spend the money on other programs.
July panic for Obama — for good reason– So the Obama team has shot its wad. Its opponent has more ammo and more money now. Romney hasn’t been mortally wounded. And there isn’t money from Obama to keep up the 4-to-1 spending barrage. In fact without it, Obama might well have fallen behind in the race. So the Obama team pleads for money and turns up the volume of the attacks. (After calling Romney a criminal in July, what’s left for September and October?)Obama is now committed to a strategy that isn’t working. He’s left to unleash his attack dogs and to pray for a miracle. Maybe the economy will rebound. Perhaps Romney will implode or pick a Sarah-Palin-type for vice president.The reason, you see, that Obama’s camp has become so frantic in July is that its ineffectiveness in the summer subjects its side to grave risks. Having to defend his record, rely on his debate prowess and be evaluated on the economy over the last three years is as risky as, well, as sending thousands across a vast, empty field as enemy fire rains down upon them.
Report: Thousands fled Canada for health care in 2011– A Canadian study released Wednesday found that many provinces in our neighbor to the North have seen patients fleeing the country and opting for medical treatment in the United States.The nonpartisan Fraser Institute reported that 46,159 Canadians sought medical treatment outside of Canada in 2011, as wait times increased 104 percent — more than double — compared with statistics from 1993.Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 specialties and 10 provinces reported an average total wait time of 19 weeks between the time a general practitioner refers a patient and the time a specialist provides elective treatment — the longest they have ever recorded.
In 2011, Canadians enrolled in the nation’s government-dominated health service waited long periods of time for an estimated 941,321 procedures. As many as 2.8 percent of Canadians were waiting for treatment at any given time, according to the Institute.
“In some cases, these patients needed to leave Canada due to a lack of available resources or a lack of appropriate procedure/technology,” according to the Institute. “In others, their departure will have been driven by a desire to return more quickly to their lives, to seek out superior quality care, or perhaps to save their own lives or avoid the risk of disability.”
Dem. Chair Invested in Swiss Banks, Foreign Drug Companies, and the State Bank of India– Disclosure forms reveal that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida, previously held funds with investments in Swiss banks, foreign drug companies, and the state bank of India. This revelation comes mere days after the Democratic chair attacked presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for holding money in Swiss bank accounts in the past.”Americans need to ask themselves, why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?” the DNC chair, a chief surrogate for President Obama’s reelection team, said on Fox News Sunday two days ago. “Just something, a thought, that I’d like to leave folks with.”It’s been a consistent theme of Obama’s reelection strategy: Attack Romney for foreign investments he held, especially in Swiss bank accounts, “to try to promote his wealthy, out-of-touch businessman persona.”
But disclosure forms reveal that in 2010, Wasserman Schultz invested between $1,001-$15,000 in a 401k retirement fund run by Davis Financial Fund. As the fund discloses, it is invested in the Julius Baer Group Ltd. and the State Bank of India GDR Ltd., as well as other financial, insurance, bank institutions.
A Dallas dentist has agreed to pay the state and federal government $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted false orthodontic claims under Medicaid.
Dr. Richard Malouf, former majority owner of All Smiles Dental Center, allegedly submitted false Medicaid claims between 2004 and 2007.
News 8 reported on Malouf’s lavish homes and two multimillion dollar corporate jets. Malouf did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in his settlement.
He is one of several orthodontists highlighted for multimillion dollar billings under Medicaid.
Eleven dental operations statewide have had their state funds suspended for credible allegations of fraud in billing the Texas Medicaid Orthodontics program. This follows a 10-month News 8 investigation of medicaid orthodontics in Texas, which found the state spends more on braces for poor children than the rest of the nation combined.
Watch the video embedded below for more on the story.
Of course, there will be some money paid back to the State of Texas and the federal government. Some bureaucrats will be scolded or fired. Maybe a dentist or two will have their dental license suspended for a while.
But, the total lack of oversight in this program is an example of what happens when government involves itself too much into health care. There is vast unaccountable waste, abuse and fraud.
On the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, one has to wonder what will happen in the future with the public purse should the United States Supreme Court rule the law is constitutional
Comments Off on Texas and the Feds Take Action on Orthodontic Medicaid Fraud
Thousands of kids get free dental care under Medicaid in Texas. Texas taxpayers foot the bill, including putting crowns on the teeth of toddlers who don’t yet have their permanent teeth.
A News 8 investigation finds that some dentists want that Medicaid business so badly, they hire recruiters to bring in patients.
At a Texas Health and Human Services Office on Masters Road near Dallas, a man quietly stands in the parking lot, waiting for mothers who’ve just received food stamps to emerge from the waiting room.
He is a recruiter. He’s handing out cards for Happy Teeth Dental, just two doors down in the same complex.
At another HHS office across town, two women also wait for new food stamp recipients. They’re handing out cards for Lancaster Dental a few miles away.
And at another HHS office just up the road, Bear Creek Family Dentistry has a small kiosk set up to recruit new patients.
Medicaid parents are regularly solicited by dentists offering free stuff — such as iPods, zoo tickets, and electric toothbrushes — if they take their kids to certain dentists.
It is a little-seen side of Medicaid dentistry, a $1.5 billion business in Texas, where, statistics show, welfare and unregulated free enterprise come together like nowhere else in the United States.
Watch the video expose which is embedded below:
All I can say is wow!
There needs to be some action on the part of the Texas Dental Board to enforce the anti-solicitation law and from the Feds to cut off the spigot of taxpayer money flowing to these dentists.
I know the United States Senate is investigating dentistry medicaid across the country. But, the abuses are rampant and this is before new federal funds will be doled out under ObamaCare’s Affordable Care Act.
As Michigan Republicans headed to the polls Tuesday morning, President Obama delivered an aggressive defense of the bailout of the auto industry and his presidency in general, harshly criticizing GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney – though he never mentioned him by name.
“I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. “The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’”
There’s no mistake who Harry Reid’s political target is as Republican voters head to the polls today in Arizona and Michigan.
On Monday, the Senate majority leader held a conference call blasting GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for touting endorsements from immigration “extremists” like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. And on the Senate floor Tuesday, Reid attacked Romney’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s bailouts that many credit for saving the Detroit auto industry.
“I’m sorry to say that life support system that the Detroit auto industry was surviving on, Republicans wanted to pull the plug. One man who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States said, ‘We should kiss the automobile industry goodbye,’” Reid said, without naming Romney.
“He called the death of American auto manufacturers ‘virtually guaranteed,’ another direct quote. And so he argued we should just let Detroit go bankrupt,” he added. “But he wasn’t alone. Republicans in this chamber agreed, many of them agreed, Democrats weren’t willing to give up on American manufacturing” and manufacturing jobs.
Voters in Michigan head to the polls today, carrying the fate of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in their hands. Win Michigan and, as expected, Arizona, and Romney almost certainly reasserts himself as the clear frontrunner in the Republican race. Lose Michigan and the calls for Romney to reconsider his candidacy will begins. It’s that simple.
Turn-out in today’s presidential primary election looks to be about the same or less than it was four years ago, according to a sampling of clerks in key precincts the Free Press is using to analyze the vote.
“The absentee voter ballot requests are pretty much the same as last time,” said Farmington Hills City Clerk Pam Smith. “We’re right on par with that and we’re planning for that kind of turnout.”
Smith said there were no reported problems at precincts this morning and she expected to get updates later in the day on how many people voted in person.
Rockwall Texas Doctor Charged In Biggest U.S. Healthcare Fraud Ever – A North Texas doctor has been arrested and charged in what’s being described as the largest healthcare fraud case in U.S. history.Between January, 2006 and November of last year, Dr. Jacques Roy is accused of cheating Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately taxpayers, nearly $380 million dollars.Top U.S. Justice department officials have flown to Dallas Tuesday to make the announcement along with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and the Special Agent in charge of the Dallas FBI, Robert Casey.
Santorum on top in second straight Ohio poll – For the second straight day, a new survey indicates Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney in Ohio.With one week to go until the Buckeye State’s Republican presidential primary, Santorum has an 11-point lead over Romney, according to the latest Ohio Poll.
VA-Sen Poll: Allen leads Kaine in potential US Senate race – Republican George Allen has opened an eight-point lead (45%-37%) on Democrat Tim Kaine in a likely November matchup for the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia according to The Roanoke College Poll. Virginians are somewhat more positive about the situation in the country, but they are not enamored with any of the Republican Presidential candidates. In potential Presidential election scenarios, President Obama leads all Republican candidates except Mitt Romney, with whom he is statistically tied.The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 607 residents of Virginia between February 13 and February 26. The Poll has a margin of error of +4 percent. Another Roanoke College Poll of likely voters in the March 6 “Super Tuesday” Virginia Republican primary will be released later this week.
Santorum robocall makes appeal to Michigan’s Democrats for votes – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes Michigan Democrats can help him earn a victory in Tuesday’s primary.That’s right. The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign paid for a robocall asking Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday’s primary.Recent polls show chief rival and Michigan native Mitt Romney and Santorum virtually even heading into the primary.”We know that if we can get a Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the fall,” said Hogan Gidley, communications director for Santorum. He confirmed the campaign paid for the call.
Political observers say the move is just another sign of how close the GOP race is — and a “logical ploy.”
As Santorum has done during numerous Michigan visits the past two weeks, the call attacked Romney’s stance on the auto bailouts, saying the former Massachusetts governor’s opposition “was a slap in the face” to Michigan workers, according to audio obtained by online political news outlet Talking Points Memo.
Santorum also opposed the auto bailout, but said his consistent stance against all bailouts, including the Wall Street bailout, sets him above Romney.
Innovate or Legislate – Reihan Salam & Patrick Ruffini – National Review Online – In 2012, a number of institutions that long defined how Americans communicated are teetering near the brink of collapse. Major newspapers in cities across the country have stopped publishing. Strip-mall anchors from Circuit City to Blockbuster to Borders have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The U.S. Postal Service struggles under the weight of crushing pension obligations, as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype render it all but obsolete. In politics, traditional modes of wielding power are also being disrupted. One prominent example is the recent battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in which grassroots activists defeated once-powerful Hollywood lobbyists.What’s toppling these formerly invincible companies and institutions? In almost every case, the proximate cause is the Internet, and the disruption it has wrought on inefficient businesses in every corner of the economy. And so we are now engaged in a war over its future.
Newt Gingrich’s super PAC receives another ‘substantial’ contribution from Sheldon Adelson – An independent group supporting Newt Gingrich has received another “substantial” contribution from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and will launch TV ads in seven states this week, a source close to the group confirmed Monday.The source, who requested anonymity to speak freely, did not confirm the amount of the contribution but called it substantial and at least on par with two $5 million donations Adelson and his family have given previously. The group, known as Winning Our Future, will launch TV ads Tuesday in Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee, with more to come Wednesday in Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.The cash infusion comes at a critical moment for Gingrich, whose campaign has flagged as conservative rival Rick Santorum’s has flourished. While much of the political world has been trained on Santorum’s battle to beat former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Michigan and Arizona, two states that hold their primaries Tuesday, Gingrich has focused on trying to revive his fortunes by winning a series of Southern states next week, on Super Tuesday and beyond.All four of the states where the group will begin advertising Tuesday vote on Super Tuesday; the others follow.
These are my links for February 8th through February 9th:
Where’s the Rest of Them? – The biggest problem with the GOP Presidential field is that each of the candidates seems to be running to represent only part of the Republican coalition. Mr. Romney sounds like he thinks conservatives can be won over with a few poll-tested lines like “I’ll repeal ObamaCare,” while Mr. Santorum sounds like he only needs conservative votes to become President. To adapt Ronald Reagan’s famous line, Where’s the rest of them?
Path to a Brokered GOP Convention Emerges – For many conservative Republicans, the dream outcome of the primary season is a brokered convention. Disappointed in the four remaining choices, they hope to change horses in August, and draft their preferred candidate, be it Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan.
I’ve been adamant that such an outcome is extremely unlikely. For a brokered convention to occur, there has to be an almost perfect storm of events; the GOP elites can’t just declare shenanigans on the primary season and select a new nominee. Instead, something has to prevent any of the current candidates from clinching a majority of the delegates; if one of them amasses that majority, he will be the nominee on the first ballot at the convention in Tampa.
My assumption — and the assumption of many — was that the GOP fight would eventually degenerate into an ideological battle between the very conservative and somewhat conservative/moderate wings of the party, with Romney on one side and a single alternative on the other. Unless there was a late entrant or Ron Paul caught fire in the caucus states, someone was virtually assured of claiming the requisite number of delegates in that scenario. But for the first time, the two way faceoff doesn’t seem inevitable, and a viable path to a brokered convention is beginning to emerge. Let’s start with something else I overlooked. The GOP does have super-delegates of a sort, in the form of the 63 RNC members. They aren’t as numerous as they are in the Democratic Party, but they are still there. While many of them have already declared allegiance to one candidate or another, those commitments can evaporate quickly, as Hillary Clinton learned to her sorrow in 2008.
20% of Republicans leaning to Obama! – For critics of Barack Obama, 2012 has been portrayed as a do-or-die year for the country – an election that will determine whether America stays on the road to European-style socialism or veers right to reclaim its positions as the most vibrant economy in the world and the home of individual liberty.
But the 2012 election is looking more like a replay of 2008 than a do-over.
The latest WND/Wenzel Poll shows none of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has solidified the base of the party, with one in five GOP voters leaning toward support of Obama in November.
The results are from the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 1-3, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.
News from The Associated Press – RT @AP: U.S. Justice Department plans to announce a settlement between states, top mortgage lenders in 15 minutes: -EF
Keep an Eye on Ryan – Tomorrow night, Paul Ryan will speak at CPAC. National Review Online has obtained an embargoed copy of the speech. It’s powerful stuff. He’ll talk about how Republicans share responsibility for the fiscal crisis. And he’ll detail President Obama’s dismal record. But the big theme is that Republicans need to make 2012 more than a “referendum.” He wants it to be a “choice.”
“The easy way is always tempting,” he’ll tell conservatives, urging them to avoid a victory “by default.” Bold ideas, he’ll say, are the only way to win a mandate:
Missile Defense Program Weakened under the Obama Administration – Abstract: In passing the FY 2012 defense authorization and appropriations bills, Congress missed an ideal opportunity to reverse the damage that the Obama Administration inflicted on U.S. missile defense programs in 2010. Congress specifically failed to move the U.S. toward a more defensive nuclear posture, protect U.S. missile defense options against the President’s arms control agenda, or prepare layered U.S. missile defenses against potential threats, including an EMP attack or an Iranian attack on the East Coast. To properly defend against the missile threat, the U.S. needs to build on the Navy’s proven Aegis missile defense system, integrate other vital components into the missile defense system, and develop and deploy space-based missile defenses.
Thoughts on the Ninth Circuit’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision – 1. This is going up to the Supreme Court. I suspect that the backers of Prop. 8 won’t even ask for en banc review by the Ninth Circuit, since they’re unlikely to win there. Depending on how quickly they file their petition for certiorari, the Court will either decide in late September to hear the case, or will decide this late this Spring. Either way, the Court will hear the case next Term, though probably not before the election. Though, for reasons I describe below, the decision only applies to states, like California, that recognized civil unions but not same-sex marriages, it’s still a conclusion of national importance, one on which the Supreme Court is likely want to speak. And even if, as described below, the decision is limited just to California, I think the Court will still think it’s important for it to resolve the question.
2. The Ninth Circuit did not decide that all opposite-sex-only marriage recognition rules are unconstitutional. Rather, it concluded that when a state has already recognized same-sex civil unions that are functionally equivalent or nearly equivalent to marriage, denying the symbolic recognition provided by the label “marriage” is no longer rationally related to a legitimate government interest. The court did not decide whether the general constitutional right to marry that applies to same-sex couples, or whether opposite-sex-only recognition rules are generally unconstitutional on the grounds that discrimination based on sexual orientation requires “strict scrutiny” or “intermediate scrutiny” and fails that scrutiny. It only applied the rational basis test, and held that the regime of civil unions but not same-sex marriage lacks a rational basis.
(1) Some of the analysis seems limited to high-level “policymaking” employees, such as a university Associate Vice President.
(2) But some of the argument suggests that any time any government manager with hiring and firing authority — or even with substantial input into hiring and firing decisions — speaks out in opposition to civil rights laws protecting gays, the government may fire the manager on the grounds that the speech (a) “could disrupt the … [d]epartment by making homosexual employees uncomfortable or disgruntled,” (b) might lead “homosexual prospective employees [to] reconsider applications,” and (c) might “lead to challenges to her personnel decisions.”
(3) This in turn highlights the danger to government managerial employees who want to participate in, for instance, campaigns opposing same-sex marriage or proposed laws banning sexual orientation discrimination. If you’re such an employee, you’d be wise to keep your mouth shut on such matters, whether it comes to letters to the editor, to blog posts, to yard signs, to campaign donations, or to signatures on initiative or referendum petitions (in states that disclose such signatures). After all, any of these might be noticed by people who will publicize what you said or did, and who will directly or indirectly inform your supervisors about it.
Archbishop of San Francisco says Obama ruling strikes at religious freedom – Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has written a letter that will be distributed at all Masses this weekend about the Obama administration’s decision to require Catholic institutions to administration would require Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities to provide contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. See Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ statement here.
The ruling has raised a huge row with many Catholics, who make up 27 percent of the electorate and constitute a large share of independents. They are also concentrated in the battleground states that will decide the presidential election. Catholic hospitals serve an estimated one sixth of the population. The Archdiocese of San Francisco includes San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties and includes, according to the Archdiocese, more than 550,000 Catholics.
Babs Boxer Comes up with the Dumbest Defense (So Far) of the ObamaCare Abortifacient Mandate – This policy is among the most illiberal ever foisted on the American public by its elected officials. They literally lied, even to members of their own party, to get this policy passed along purely partisan lines. Their own leadership told us that we have to pass the bill even to find out what’s in it. One must be a fellow traveling liar, or simply intolerant to the core, to defend this affront.
Liberals claim the mantle of tolerance, but this policy is deeply intolerant. It forces aactions on a sizable number of Americans who disagree with undertaking those actions for reasons explicitly protected in the Constitution. The numerous ObamaCare waivers, granted mainly to unions that have supported Democrats with campaign cash, open up equal protection issues and expose the politics at the core of what was sold as a “health care” bill. It was a government power bill, from the start. And this mandate has placed the administration in a very awkward political spot. Continue the abortifacient policy to appease Boxer et al, but risk losing millions of votes that went Obama’s way in 2008. Or, scuttle it, and dispirit the illiberal, intolerant progressive mob.
Barbara Boxer weighs in on Catholic contraception controversy – Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., probably the Senate’s leading pro-choice voice, stepped into the debate over the Obama administration’s rule requiring Catholic institutions to provide birth-control coverage. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has called the rule an assault on religious freedom and the Obama administration is in damage-control mode with a critical voting bloc. Obama reportedly weighed the politics before approving the decision.
One analysis of these politics calculates that Obama’s decision will help him with young, secular women, Catholic or not, and that’s why the White House is standing firm while making noises about a compromise. Obama is touting the decision on his campaign website.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, where the lead editorial lambasts the rule, Boxer and Democratic colleagues Patty Murray of Washington and Jeanne Shaheen, defend the decision and accuse its critics (led by the Catholic bishops and joined by GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich) of mounting “an aggressive and misleading campaign to deny this benefit to women,” that is “being waged in the name of religious liberty.”
A state Health Care Authority rule putting a three-visit limit on unnecessary ER use by poor patients was blocked in court on procedural grounds. The agency has replaced it with a new policy planned to take effect April 1 that would reduce the number of conditions deemed non-emergencies but would forbid even a single unnecessary visit.
The doctors and hospitals who sued over the old rule blasted the new plan Tuesday, saying it would leave it up to a “faceless bureaucrat” to decide what’s an emergency. They weren’t ready to say they’ll go to court again over it.
Medical providers would foot the bill if they treat patients and the state doesn’t pay. They couldn’t bill the patients, as was possible under the old rule, the Health Care Authority says.
“The client is not at risk anymore for the ER bills,” said Dr. Jeffery Thompson, chief of the state’s Medicaid program. “This is invisible to the client. The client’s going to get treatment regardless.”
The move is part of an ongoing attempt by state government to crack down on excessive ER use. Other kinds of treatment have such limits, Thompson says.
He points to patients seeking ER treatment for diaper rash and other ailments better treated by a primary-care doctor, and to hospital frequent fliers who show up twice a day, as he said one patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder did recently. The hope is to divert such patients to other providers.
The conservative think tank’s annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks money spent on housing, health, welfare, education subsidies and other federal programs that were “traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families.”
The increase under Obama is the biggest two-year jump since Jimmy Carter was president, the data show.
The rise was driven mainly by increases in housing subsidies, an expansion in Medicaid and changes to the welfare system, along with a sharp rise in food stamps, the study found.