The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label John Boehner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Boehner. Show all posts

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Was Boehner's ACA Sign-up A Sign of Surrender? Or A Ploy That Failed?

Boehner signs-up for the ACA

Freak Out Nation 

John Boehner could have enrolled in Obamacare even faster but there was one problem: John Boehner

November 23, 2013
It was about an hour after House Speaker John Boehner’s office said he couldn’t sign up for Obamacare coverage on the District of Columbia’s exchange, that his office said, he had officially enrolled on Thursday.
As it happens, it wouldn’t have taken him even that long if it weren’t for one thing standing in his way: John Boehner.
Boehner, apparently exhibiting a public display of frustration while trying to enroll on the DC site, tweeted out his dismay (or joy, however you want to look at it.)

Scott MacFarlane, a reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Washington, reports that a DC Health Care exchange representative actually tried to contact Boehner by phone during the enrollment process but was put on hold for 35 minutes, after which time the representative finally hung up, Josh Marshall of TPM reports.

DC health exchange spokesman says Speaker Boehner office kept DC representative on hold 35 minutes, "lots of patriotic hold music", hung up
Foiled again! Yes if it had not been for that new tech-invention called a ‘telephone’, which takes a lot of time to learn to navigate, John Boehner would have been able to enroll even faster. 
Big thanks to a friend of FreakOutNation’s @Mea-Mark who you can follow on Twitter here. 

Image: DKo 
Boehner's escapade was in fact a ploy, that backfired! Boehner's website, "My attempt to sign-up for health care."

While Boehner attempts a personal war 
against the ACA, the ACA moves on. The White House staff has published an informative report of Progressive and (to-date) outcomes related to trends in healthcare with a and emphasis on the impact of the ACA.

White House Dot Gov "Trends In HealthCare Report..." (full pdf report linked via title below)


White House Council Of Economic Advisers Report

Introduction and Summary 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed against a backdrop of decades of rapid growth in health care spending in the United States. While much of this historical increase reflects the development of new treatments that have greatly improved health and well-being (Cutler 2004), there is widespread agreement that the system suffered from serious inefficiencies that increased costs and reduced the quality of care that patients receive. A key goal of the ACA was to begin wringing these inefficiencies out of the health care system, simultaneously reducing the growth of health care spending – and its burden on families, employers, and state and federal budgets – while increasing the quality of the care delivered. 

This report analyzes recent trends in health care costs, the forces driving those trends, and their likely economic benefits. The report includes the following findings about recent trends: 
• Health care spending growth is the lowest on record. According to the most recent projections, real per capita health care spending has grown at an estimated average annual rate of just 1.3 percent over the three years since 2010. This is the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1965.  
• Health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. Recent years have also seen exceptionally slow growth in the growth of prices in the health care sector, in addition to total spending. Measured using personal consumption expenditure price indices, health care inflation is currently running at just 1 percent on a year-over-year basis, the lowest level since January 1962. (Health care inflation measured using the medical CPI is at levels not seen since September 1972.)  
• Recent slow growth in health care spending has substantially improved the long-term Federal budget outlook. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reduced its projections of future Medicare and Medicaid spending in 2020 by $147 billion (0.6 percent of GDP) since August 2010. This represents about a 10 percent reduction in projected spending on these programs. These revisions primarily reflect the recent slow growth in health care spending. 
While the causes of the slowdown are not yet fully understood, the evidence available to date supports several conclusions about the slowdown and the role of the ACA: 
• The slowdown in health care cost growth is more than just an artifact of the 2007-2009 recession: something has changed. The fact that the health cost slowdown has persisted so long even as the economy is recovering, the fact that it is reflected in health care prices – not just utilization or coverage, and the fact that it has also shown up in Medicare – which is more insulated from economic trends, all imply that the current slowdown is the result of more than just the recession and its aftermath. Rather, the slowdown appears to reflect “structural” changes in the United States health care system, a conclusion consistent with a substantial body of recent research. 

• The ACA is contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending and is improving quality of care. ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers are contributing to the recent slow growth in health care prices and spending. In addition, ACA reforms that aim to improve the quality of care are reducing hospital readmission rates and increasing provider participation in payment models designed to promote high-quality, integrated care.  
• New economic research shows that the ACA’s Medicare reforms are likely to reduce health care spending and improve quality system-wide. Recent research implies that reforms to Medicare will have “spillover effects” that reduce costs and improve quality system-wide. In economic terms, this suggests that efforts to reform Medicare’s payment system are “public goods.”  
• Accounting for “spillovers” implies that the ACA’s effect on health care price inflation may be much larger than previously understood. The direct effect of ACA provisions that reduce Medicare overpayments to private insurers and medical providers has been to reduce health care price inflation by an estimated 0.2 percent per year since 2010. 
Accounting for the “spillover effects” discussed above raises this estimate to 0.5 percent per year, which represents a substantial fraction of the recent slowdown. 

Slow growth in health care costs, thanks in part to the ACA, is likely to have substantial benefits for the Nation’s economy in both the short-run and the long-run: 
• In the short run, slower growth in health spending is a positive for employment. The slow growth in health care costs has reduced employers’ benefit costs, increasing firms’ incentives to hire additional workers. Available estimates suggest these gains could be substantial, although the magnitude is uncertain. 

• Over the long run, slower growth in health spending translates directly into higher wages and living standards. If half the recent slowdown in spending can be sustained, health care spending a decade from now will be about $1,400 per person lower than if growth returned to its 2000-2007 trend, a benefit that workers will realize in the form of higher wages and that federal and state governments will realize as lower costs.  
 • CBO estimates that the ACA will substantially reduce long-term deficits. In large part because of the ACA’s role in slowing the growth of health care spending, CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce deficits by about $100 billion over the coming decade and by an average of 0.5 percent of GDP ($83 billion per year in today’s economy) over the following decade. These deficit savings are likely to grow over time and are separate from the revisions in CBO’s Medicare and Medicaid spending projections that were discussed on the last page (which are not directly attributable to the ACA).
If the Affordable Care Act receives a necessary boost from a properly functioning website, the GOP may lose its battle against Obama's signature legislation. The party on the right may also lose it only 2014 campaign issue.

Of course, that would mean a steady diet of " Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi." 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Speaker of the House (Tea Party Hostage)

The speaker of the House of Representatives is third in line in ascendancy to the United States Presidency. The position follows the Vice-President and is a powerful non-Executive Branch position. I should say the Speaker of the House should be a powerful position that is critical to the nation. If tragedy strikes the president and vice-president the Speaker becomes president.

The Speaker of the House has a compensation level of $223,500 per year; $50,000 more than other members of Congress ($174,000) and $30,000 more than House and Senate Majority leader positions ($193,400). While, not a matter of discussion, nor an issue we actually care to posit on in this screed,the position probably carries a wealth (excuse the pun) of opportunity for other remuneration.  It is a position the in which the current Speaker is both failing miserably and a position he may dread the thought of losing.

The framers of the Constitution, unfortunately, developed a system of federal governance that carried the right of ascendancy to the speaker position as a reward (my colloquialism)  for holding a party majority in the House of Representatives.

Of course, each speaker has a history of party lean and loyalty. However, history also has archived Speakers who did the right thing, when time came to step out of party ideology and lock-step with outside influences (money-backers).

Re-Blog from .......... Playthell  G. Benjamin


The Worst House Speaker Ever?

John Boehnoer
A Reckless Charlatan
 Boehner’s Name will live in Infamy!
Based on the most recent polls the Congress of the United States has a 10% approval rating from the public.  This is the lowest rating on record!  And that was before the Republicans shut down the federal government in a fit of rage, much like a spoiled child who throws a temper tantrum when they can’t get their way.  Only much more is at stake in this tantrum, for the fate of the nation hangs in the balance.

The path the GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – is taking could well cost lives among the population for whom government benefits are a lifeline.  People such as a mother in Utah – a white American mind you – who explained on MSNBC today that without a special formula her twin babies could die, because it would cost her $750.00 to get it otherwise….and she can’t afford it!

These kinds of stories abound.  There are, for instance, nearly a million civil service workers, people who provide vital services to the American people, that have been locked out of their jobs.  And what is worse several Republican members of the House, the scoundrels who caused this crisis, are now saying that they are not sure whether they will vote to pay these workers for their forced layoff!   This is not only reckless and stupid, it is amoral and evil.   The path the Republicans have chosen is a classic example of folly…in fact it is not too much to say it is criminal folly.

In this instance I am not employing the term “folly” in the usual sense, which the dictionary defines as “a thoughtless or reckless act,” although it certainly meets this definition, but in the seas passing a budget to fund the lawful activities of the of the federal government, and raising the debt ceiling, to re-litigate policy issues that they failed to achieve through the normal process.  In other words, since they were not able to achieve their policy objectives by electing like-minded people they are now trying to force their will on the nation by shutting down our national government altogether.

As is often the case when governments engage in folly it eventually leads to tragedy.  And that is where we are presently headed at break neck speed.  Already poor children who depend upon food stamps, surplus government foods, hot meals at school, and community food pantry’s are going hungry as I write.  And needless to say, while this crisis affects millions of Americans of all races the victims of this Republican folly are disproportionately black…especially women and children.

It is critically important that working and middle class Americans understand what is happening here, because the Tea Party Republicans who are driving the GOP’s legislative agenda are full blown anti-government fanatics who feel that they are on a mission to drastically reduce the federal budget by any means necessary, and they are supported by the voters in their specially designed right-wing Congressional Districts.  There is nothing more dangerous than a group of self-righteous fanatics on a mission.

The extent of their fanaticism is such that these people not only refuse to compromise, they are so reckless they cannot even accept partial victories.   Like all fanatics, whether motivated by sacred or secular ideologies, they want all or nothing and appear quite willing to cut off their nose to spite their face.

President’s original budget request for 2014 was over one trillion dollars, but the Senate Democrats, with the President’s consent have reduced it to almost half that sum in the present budget to a little over 900 billion dollars in an attempt to compromise with the House Republicans in order to pass a budget and fund the government.  The figure they agreed to is actually close to the numbers in the budget proposed by Paul Ryan, which President Obama ran against and won!

Yet although President Obama was reelected on his platform the Republicans in the House, most of whom represent gerrymandered districts – which is to say “safe” Republican districts created by election commissions appointed by the Republican governors in those states, many of whom were elected because they pledged to fight President Obama’s policies.   So they are insulated from the wrath of the national electorate.

This bit of political chicanery has resulted in a situation where the radical far right-wing minority in the Grand Obstructionists Party can blow up the federal government and plunge the nation into one crisis after another without fear of retribution at the polls.   But as their folly in shutting down the Federal government begins to inconvenience citizens who are on holiday in Washington and find national monuments – like the World War II veterans who made a pilgrimage to that sacred shrine honoring their sacrifice and found it closed.

This is why the Republican iconoclasts are attempting to restore funding to select parts of the government to avoid enraging the public; but President Obama will not play that game, he knows that it is folly to try and finance government operations on an ala carte basis.  The Republicans – shameless charlatans that they are – are now running around posing for pictures with the vets and declaring themselves the true friends of the armed forces, although they have recently cut millions in funding for veteran’s benefits from the federal budget.

With all of the chaos the government shutdown is causing, which is damaging to the nation and might fatally injure the Republican Party’s chances at winning the Presidency, the question all thoughtful people are asking is: Why doesn’t Boehner just pit the budget resolution on the floor for a vote by the entire House and end the crisis the members of his caucus created.

The answer alas, is that Boehner is a man who privileges personal ambition over the stability of the nation, because he knows that should he put the bill up and it

er: Johnny and Nancy
John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi
Contemplating their place in History?

Playthell  G. Benjamin
October 3, 2013
Harlem, New York

Friday, October 4, 2013

Open Secrets: The Dissident 20 Part II...GOP House Is Not Showing So Well!

Our preferred internet site, Open Secrets, The Center for Responsive Politics, garnered serious attention over the past 24 hours with an article related to how 20 dissident GOP legislators are receiving disparate treatment from GOP House leadership.

Here is how we reported the Open Secrets piece. 

Open Secrets....
Facebook Open Secrets 
We've been asked many times in the past 24 hours (since we published this story:, "who actually funds the 20 House dissidents?" We were curious too, so we ran the numbers, and discovered some interesting answers.
Who Does Fund the Dissidents? - OpenSecrets
Yesterday we showed that the biggest thorns in the Republican leadership's side weren't getting leadership donations. So who is funding them? Don't look to Wall Street.


Who Does Fund the Dissidents?

Yesterday, we established that the 20 dissident Republican House members that the New York Times has branded as being some of the loudest rabble-rousers -- on the shutdown and other issues -- have little financial reason to heed the demands of their party's leadership; they don't receive much campaign money from top GOP House members or from the party's fundraising arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In a town where money handed out to other members helps create alliances and builds a party leader's machine, these 20 owe Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his No. 2 Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) very little. 

So if it's not the party leadership in Washington keeping the dissidents' campaign coffers full, who is it? 

A top source of campaign cash for Republicans overall in recent years has been the securities and investment industry -- Wall Street. In 2012, this industry gave more to candidates than any other except one, and 69 percent of its money went to Republicans. 

And Wall Street is, by far and away, the top source of campaign cash for the Republican House leadership. In 2012, Boehner's campaign and leadership PAC received $1.6 million from the industry; the industry that came in second (oil and gas) only gave about half that. (This excludes the catch-all industry of "retired.") 

In the first half of 2014, securities and investment gave Boehner's campaign and leadership PAC about $530,000 and continues to lead his top industries list. Like Boehner, Cantor also received more from that industry than any other -- about $466,000 sent to his campaign committee and leadership PAC. 

In 2012, the industry gave 239 House Republican candidates about $16 million, or, on average $67,175 apiece. 

So, what about our dissidents? Nineteen of the 20 received money from the industry in 2012 -- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) is the only one who's come up dry, according to our data -- but on average only received $20,618. That's less than a third of the House GOP average from Wall Street. 

Similarly, so far in 2014, the industry has helped fund 182 Republican House candidates; the average, per recipient, is $17,078. Seventeen of the 20 dissidents have received contributions from Wall Street, but they're averaging only $2,985. Not only is that far below the industry's average to their peers, it's even well behind the average amount given to Democratic recipients -- about $11,963. 

So, if it's not leadership funding these 20 dissidents and it's not the House Republicans' biggest source of campaign cash, who is it? 
According to a CRP analysis, the top donors industries for these 20 don't vary widely from the list of top industries giving to Republicans in general. But the average amount given does seem to. The oil and gas industry has given 192 House Republicans campaign cash in 2013, on average about $17,500 apiece. Most of the 20 dissidents have gotten money from the industry as well, but, on average, only about $11,500 each. 

The trend appears to be that, by and large, these 20 dissidents are simply raising less money than their colleagues. 

According to CRP data, Republican House members have raised an average of $331,000 in campaign funds so far this year. A review of these 20 dissidents shows that, on average, they have raised $301,000. The group includes Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who is running for Senate in 2014; he's raised about $1.1 million so far this year. Excluding Gingrey from the pool, because fundraising levels for Senate candidates are often much higher than for their House colleagues, the remaining 19 have brought in, on average, $259,000. 

It may be months before data showing whatever funds members of Congress are raising this week is available, but -- at least through the first six months of the year -- these 20 dissidents seem to be lagging behind when it comes to fundraising. 

Follow Russ on Twitter: @russchoma
Images: Boehner and Cantor on Capitol Hill this week. Evan Vucci/Associated Press.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Dissident 20...An Anomaly? (Look At Dissident Politics GOP Style)

Re-Blog from Open Secrets Dot Org.   

It appears Cantor and company spend far more time parsing out the loot than legislating!

Dissidents Haven't Seen the $ Love from Boehner, Cantor

A new Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows that the House Republican leadership has raised an extraordinary amount of money so far this year and given it out to other House members at record rates. 

So, if money is the great pacifier on Capitol Hill, why can't Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his No. 2, Majority Leader Eric Cantor(R-Va.) snap their caucus in line, on the government shutdown or on other matters?

Maybe because the hardcore dissidents in the Republican caucus get almost no money from the leadership. Boehner can't pull strings he hasn't tied.

Yesterday, the New York Times identified 20 Republican House members "standing their ground" against Boehner, dissidents who have been a consistent thorn in Boehner's side and who seem to be pushing the current shutdown. 

We analyzed how much money those 20 have received from the leadership PACs of top Republicans in the House and how much assistance they were given in the 2012 election by the National Republican Congressional Conference. 

According to data, there's been almost no money going to these 20 from top party leaders, and most were elected without any help from the NRCC. In other words, they don't owe party leadership much.

That fact is particularly striking because in the first six months of 2013, Cantor gave away $875,000 to other candidates through his leadership PAC, ERIC PAC. That's a record: No leadership PAC has ever given as much to candidates in the first six months of an election cycle. So far in the 2014 cycle, ERIC PAC has given money to 122 other House Republicans, but only eight members of the group of dissidents have received any cash from Cantor this cycle. Altogether those eight received $55,000 from Cantor's PAC. (A full list of donations from Cantor and other members of the leadership to the 20 is below.)

Boehner, whose leadership PAC, the Freedom Project, has given out $213,000 to 39 candidates this cycle, gave to just one member of this group of 20: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who received $5,000. 

The other top members of the House Republican leadership follow the same pattern. House Majority Whip Kevin McCartthy (R-Calif.) has given just $7,500 combined to two of the 20 (his leadership PAC has given a total of $155,000 to 38 members). Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has given $71,000 to other candidates this cycle, but no money to these 20.

No Help From the Party

Leadership PACs aren't the only tool for creating financial ties that help ensure a member's loyalty. The GOP party committee for the House plays a major role, and while Cantor gives an unprecedented amount of money directly to other candidates, Boehner gives far more -- at least $2.3 million in the first six months of the year -- to the NRCC, which then uses it to help candidates directly.

But there are even fewer ties between the NRCC and these 20 Republicans. NRCC contributions to candidates in the 2012 and 2014 cycles combined come to roughly $460,000 combined, so far. The amount that went to any of these 20 Republicans? $5,300. 

The NRCC's current chairman, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has not given any of the 20 a dime from his leadership PAC in either the 2012 cycle or the current one.

Nor did the NRCC knock itself out making independent expenditures on behalf of the 20 in the 2012 cycle. While it spent $62.7 million in 59 races, it helped just one member of the dissident faction, according to data: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who benefited from about $521,000 in NRCC-paid ads, mostly attacking his Democratic opponent. 

In his bid last fall, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), received some very minor assistance from YG Network, a politically active nonprofit associated with Cantor, which spent $12,966 supporting him. 

Donations from NRCC & Republican House Leadership

Graves, Tom$5,000$0$0$0$5,000$0$0
Labrador, Raul$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Amash, Justin$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Duncan, Jeff$7,500$0$0$5,000$2,500$0$0
Mulvaney, Mick$5,000$0$0$5,000$0$0$0
Culberson, John$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
DeSantis, Ron$5,000$0$0$5,000$0$0$0
Yoho, Ted$10,000$0$0$10,000$0$0$0
King, Steven A$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Massie, Thomas$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Bridenstine, James$10,000$0$0$10,000$0$0$0
Salmon, Matt$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Schweikert, David$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Gohmert, Louis B Jr$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Huelskamp, Tim$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Bachmann, Michele$5,000$0$0$5,000$0$0$0
Jordan, Jim$5,000$0$5,000$0$0$0$0
Stockman, Steve$5,000$0$0$5,000$0$0$0
Fleming, John$10,000$0$0$10,000$0$0$0
Gingrey, Phil$0$0$0$0$0$0$0

Follow Russ on Twitter: @russchoma

Images: Boehner on Capitol Hill today. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.