Obamacare Staff Signup, President Barack Obama’s apology to Americans whose health insurance plans are being canceled because of the Affordable Care Act opens the door to the question of how the problem will be fixed — even as his administration tries to overcome the dysfunctional rollout of the website where people are supposed to be able to choose new coverage.
As the president’s apology was being aired in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Tuesday, talk was in the air of new legislation in Congress and unspecified steps the president might take on his own.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ office promised “an important announcement related to the Affordable Care Act” during a visit to Atlanta on Friday.
Insurers are sending cancellation notices to some of the 12 million Americans whose individual policies don’t meet Obamacare requirements for more comprehensive care.
The law does not require cancellation of policies that were issued before the new law passed Congress in 2010. But people whose policies have changed since then must get polices that conform to the new requirements. In 2010, the Health and Human Services Department estimated that 40% to 67% of individual plans would eventually lose their “grandfathered” status.
Some insurance companies also appear to be canceling policies for other reasons, such as withdrawing from states where they have fewer subscribers.
The president contends many of the people who have received cancellation notices actually will wind up with better coverage at lower cost. But he acknowledged that’s a hard sell when people are still having trouble logging onto the Obamacare website to enroll.
“Even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them,” Obama told NBC. “And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this. … Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. And, you know, that’s something that I regret. That’s something that we’re going to do everything we can to get fixed.”
Obama Obamacare Apology, President Obama said Thursday he was “sorry” Americans are losing health insurance plans he repeatedly said they could keep, and vowed to work with those who are finding themselves in a “tough situation” as a result.
His remarks came as a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate to delay the implementation of the individual mandate of ObamaCare by one year, meaning Americans would avoid a $95 penalty for not having health insurance that is scheduled to kick in next year.
Referring to those who are losing their health insurance plans, Obama told NBC News, “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”
The White House, while defending the health care law and vowing to fix the problems with the website, has not explicitly ruled out the possibility of delaying the individual mandate.
House Speaker John Boehner responded to Obama’s apology late Thursday, saying “an apology is certainly in order, but what Americans want to hear is that the president is going to keep his promise.”
Thursday’s bill was introduced by Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who said since the Affordable Care Act was passed, there have been “many identifiable problems exposed in the law that need to be addressed.”
“We need to start working together to fix this law and make it work so that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage,” Manchin said in a statement. “We can start with a one-year delay of the individual mandate to eliminate penalty fees if individuals choose to not enroll for a health care plan in 2014.
Mitt Romney For President, The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Thursday to uphold the country’s sweeping health care overhaul affected the presidential race almost immediately, with President Obama praising the decision as a landmark boon that will help all Americans and Mitt Romney pledging to make repeal his first priority as president.
How voters respond to those contradictory*n*lyses could determine who wins the election.
“They have reaffirmed a fundamental principle,” Obama said of the high court. “Here in America, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.”
In the brief remarks at the White House, Obama also touched on the decision’s electoral implications.
“Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country,” the president said. “Thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue.”
Obama added, “What the country cannot afford to do is re-fight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were.”
Minutes earlier, Romney renewed his pledge to repeal the law.
“What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States,” Romney said from a rooftop on Constitution Avenue in Washington, with the US Capitol in the background. “And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”
Romney’s campaign said it raised $1.1 million from more than 9,500 donors within hours of the ruling. (Boston)
Federal Prosecutors Drop John Edwards Charges, Federal prosecutors dropped all charges Wednesday against John Edwards after his corruption trial ended last month in a deadlocked jury.Jurors in North Carolina acquitted the former presidential candidate on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and deadlocked on five other felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial.
Prosecutors will not seek to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who oversees the agency’s criminal division, said prosecutors knew the case, like all campaign finance cases, would be challenging. But he said it is “our duty to bring hard cases” when warranted.
“Last month, the government put forward its best case against Mr. Edwards, and I am proud of the skilled and professional way in which our prosecutors…. conducted this trial,” he said.
Edwards was accused of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. He would have faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.
At trial, the case against Edwards rested largely on the testimony of his former right-hand man, Andrew Young, who initially claimed paternity of his boss’s baby and deposited most of the money at issue in the case into his family’s personal accounts. But upon cross examination, Edwards’ lawyers used inconsistencies from Young’s past statements to undermine his credibility and showed the aide and his wife siphoned off much of the money to help build their $1.6 million dream home.
A former trial lawyer, Edwards elected not testify at his six-week trial. His mistress, Rielle Hunter, also didn’t take the stand. (AP)
Democrat Wins Special Election In Arizona, Ron Barber, a former aide to Gabby Giffords, will finish her term in the House.Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ hand-picked Democratic candidate won a special election Tuesday in southern Arizona to finish her term, defeating a Republican who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010.The race was a hard-fought preview of the broader fall campaign as the two political parties used the contest to hone and test their political arguments for the November elections, when everything from the White House on down will be on the ballot.
Giffords had stepped down earlier this year to focus on her recovery from the gunshot wound she suffered in 2011 during a shooting rampage at a Tucson, Ariz., parking lot that killed six people and wounded 13. One of the wounded was Ron Barber, an aide to the congresswoman who will now serve the remainder of her term.
Republicans, sensing a chance to capture the seat, sought to make the special election a referendum on President Barack Obama and his handling of the economy. They argued that Barber, who was asked by the lawmaker to pursue the seat, would fall in line behind the White House.
Democrats, in turn, played to the senior vote by contending that Republican Jesse Kelly would not protect Medicare and Social Security.
With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Barber was winning about 52 percent of the vote while Kelly had 45 percent.
Both candidates have promised to run for a full term in the fall, setting up a possible November rematch in a redrawn district that is friendlier to Democrats. Republican voters outnumber Democratic voters by about 26,000 under the current map. That edge will narrow to about 2,000 under redistricting.
Elsewhere Tuesday, Virginia, Maine, Nevada, Arkansas and South Carolina held primary elections — with most of those states choosing Senate nominees — as did North Dakota, where voters decided to let the University of North Dakota scrap its controversial nickname, the Fighting Sioux. (AP)
Mitt Romney News, Accusing his rival of a failure of “tragic proportion,” Republican Mitt Romney charged Thursday that the nation under President Barack Obama has failed to keep its “moral commitment to help every American help himself.”
Casting the need to fix the U.S. economy as a moral imperative – but without offering any new proposals – Romney said free enterprise ideas and less government intrusion would help spur a rebound.
“It has become clear that this president simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our economic system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or just disappeared from the workforce or could only find part-time jobs,” Romney said, reading from a teleprompter. “Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million people in this country, living below the poverty line.”
That, he said, was unacceptable.
“This is not just a failure of policy. It is a moral failure of tragic proportion. Our government has a moral commitment to help every American help himself,” the likely Republican presidential nominee said to applause at a Missouri business that builds military tents. “And that that commitment has been broken.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said Romney delivered a “dishonest” speech that offered no new ideas to help the economy.
“Mitt Romney has promised to use his experience to turn around the economy, but all he has offered to date are negative and dishonest speeches tearing down President Obama,” Smith said.
At an evening fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton, Romney again questioned the morality of the president’s priorities.
“It’s just not moral for a president of the United States to put his political agenda ahead of the well-being of the working men and women of America,” he said.
Romney is correct when he refers to the absolute number of 46 million people living in poverty. The Census Bureau reported last September that the ranks of the nation’s poor had swelled to a record 46.2 million, or nearly 1 in 6 Americans, as a result of the economic downturn that left millions of people struggling or without jobs and turning to the government for assistance.
Many of the job losses, however, occurred before Obama took office or in the early months of his administration and before his economic policies could be put into place.
Romney also didn’t lay out any proposals to help those in poverty. Instead, he said an economy with fewer regulations would add jobs more quickly than the mere 69,000 that were added in May. Since averaging a healthy 252,000 jobs a month from December through February, job growth has slowed to a lackluster average of 96,000 a month. Romney blamed the man he expects to face in the Nov. 6 election. (AP)