Democrats are running away from Obama all over the place this election cycle, and Alison Grimes (D), running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, has been one of the leaders, refusing
Frieden became director of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in 2009, his two main nemeses were
tuberculosis and smoking. Although both are commonly described as
threats to "public health," says Jacob Sullum, they differ in ways
that may help explain the CDC's stumbling, alarmingly amateurish
response to Ebola in the United States.
Andrew Fung, an adviser
to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, posted a photo to his
Facebook page of a person he claimed was a police
officer who had been beaten by pro-democracy protestors.
The person in the photo was actually an actor in makeup for a TV
show about zombie cops.
Check out my FIRST video for Right Wing News: “You don’t have Ebola!”
We now have the Medicaid and private-market health insurance enrollment data for the second quarter of 2014 needed to complete the picture of how Obamacare’s rollout affected coverage.
What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.
The second quarter data captures enrollments that occurred during the last two months of the open enrollment period, or which were otherwise delayed due to the numerous problems experienced by the exchanges, and so did not take effect until after the end of the first quarter.
Our analysis of the data is reported in more detail in our latest paper, but our key findings are that in the first half of 2014:
- Enrollment in individual-market plans (both on and off the exchanges) increased by 6,254,564 individuals.
- Enrollment in private employer-sponsored group plans declined by 3,788,978 individuals.
- In the states implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 5,716,977 individuals.
- In the states not implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 355,674 individuals.
Applying a little arithmetic to those four key data points yields the following observations:
- The drop in employment-based coverage offset 61 percent of the gains in individual-market coverage, for a net increase in private-sector coverage of 2,465,586 individuals.
- Total Medicaid enrollment increased by 6,072,651 individuals, with 94 percent of that growth occurring in the states that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.
- The total, net increase in health insurance coverage (private-market and Medicaid combined) during the first half of 2014 was 8,538,237 individuals, but 71 percent of that coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults
When it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.
Thus, while most of the attention this year focused on the new health insurance exchanges, the data indicate that a significant share of exchange enrollments were likely the result of a substitution effect—meaning that most of those who enrolled in new coverage through the exchanges already had coverage through an individual-market or employer-group plan.
Given that increased enrollment in Medicaid accounted for 71 percent of the net growth in health insurance coverage during the first half of 2014, the inescapable conclusion is that, at least when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.
The 2015 exchange open enrollment period is scheduled to start less than a month from now (on Nov. 15), while enrollment in state Medicaid programs occurs year round. When the resulting enrollment data for the next phase of Obamacare become available it will be interesting to learn:
- The share of 2015 exchange enrollments that represent new applicants, as opposed to reenrollments by individuals who obtained exchange coverage in 2014;
- Whether the number of Americans with individual market coverage continues to grow, and whether the number of those with private employer-group coverage continues to decline; and
- If expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults continues to be the principal source of coverage growth under Obamacare.
The post The Real Story on How Much Obamacare Increased Coverage appeared first on Daily Signal.
Life as a third-party candidate is far from easy.
Those battling the two-party system often juggle campaigning with a 9-to-5 job and face tough hurdles just to get their names on the ballot.
But despite working the campaign trail as best they can, third-party or independent candidates say they’re in it to win it. And in this year’s U.S. Senate races, they aim to elevate the conversation beyond the “repetitive” rhetoric of their Republican and Democratic colleagues.
In typical election cycles, the focus falls on the eventual nominees of the two major political parties. This year’s matchups in the midterm elections Nov. 4 are no different.
However, also on ballots are third-party candidates looking to give voters another option when the status quo isn’t cutting it.
“Give me the opportunity,” David Patterson, a peace officer who is the Libertarian nominee for Senate in Kentucky, tells The Daily Signal in an interview. “Republican and Democratic leadership has failed. They have failed miserably. We’re $17.5 trillion plus in debt. … They failed.”
Patterson is going up against Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican incumbent and Senate minority leader, who already is opposed by Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state.
Why? He explains:
They’ve had their opportunity and they’re really, really squandered it away. I would say, don’t feel like you have to pick the winning horse. Go and look at the issues. Look at the stances on the issues. If you still want to vote for them, there’s no hard feelings. At least give me a look.
Patterson balances campaigning with his regular job with the city of Harrodsburg, and it’s no picnic.
His shift as a peace officer begins at 4 p.m. and ends at midnight. Then he winds down and gears up for campaigning. Until daylight, Patterson answers emails and responds to inquiries from voters.
Around 7 a.m., the Senate hopeful meets with a friend and adviser for a morning jog; he typically runs two miles, three times a week. Other days, Patterson heads to meetings with tea party organizations and does interviews with the media. He’ll meet with voters and organizations throughout Kentucky.
Then it’s to bed for several hours before the routine begins again at 4 p.m.
“It’s chaotic,” Patterson says. “There’s so much to do.”
An Uphill Road
Compared to Grimes and McConnell’s campaigns, which rely on thousands of volunteers and large staffs, Patterson is backed by a force of just four people, not including his wife and two children: a campaign manager, press secretary, one adviser and one adviser/running buddy.
The group works for free. A few unofficial volunteers also go door-to-door, doing their part to get Patterson elected.
So far this election cycle, the two major parties have spent a total of $327.7 million.
In Kentucky, McConnell and Grimes rank among the top 10 Senate candidates in fundraising: the Republican incumbent has raked in $17 million, his challenger $11 million.
According to the last campaign finance report, by contrast, Patterson hadn’t raised anything.
His wife, Ashley, is ready for the race to be over.
To win control of the Senate on Nov. 4, Republicans must net six new seats. The New York Times gives the GOP a 68 percent chance of claiming the upper chamber.
With Election Day under two weeks away, the focus is turning toward races that are tightening up. Among them: North Carolina, where the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Kay Hagan has a mere one-point lead, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
But Republicans fear the Libertarian candidate, Sean Haugh, could take votes from Republican nominee Thom Tillis, tipping the election to Hagan.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey found Haugh capturing just 5 percent. Tillis, though, trailed Kagan by three percentage points.
“I was right all along,” Haugh told The Daily Signal earlier this month. “The power of a third-party Libertarian candidate is such that if they want to win elections, Democrats and Republicans have to be more Libertarian and peaceful.”
‘Something to Say’
Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says the ability of third-party candidates to spoil elections often is exaggerated. In races where a candidate has a growing lead–as in Kentucky–a third candidate has little chance to influence the result.
However, their power can be felt in tight matchups.
“In any political candidacy, someone is going to run because they have something to say,” Skelley tells The Daily Signal. “For independent and third-party candidates, a lot of time it’s a pet issue or a group they want to focus on.”
In its latest survey on the Kentucky race, the Rasmussen polling firm asked voters to pick who they would send to represent them in the Senate–McConnell or Grimes. Patterson wasn’t listed as an option.
A Fox News poll, however, put the Libertarian at 3 percent.
In the Senate race in Arkansas, Rep. Tom Cotton, the Republican challenger, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the incumbent Democrat, face not one but two third-party competitors: Libertarian Nathan LaFrance and the Green Party’s Mark Swaney.
A Fox News poll puts both LaFrance and Swaney at 2 percent.
Swaying an Election
History, though, shows that a third-party candidate can play a crucial role in a defeat.
In the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race, Skelley says, Libertarian Robert Sarvis snagged 6.5 percent of the vote. Republicans said his candidacy hurt Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, who lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Similarly, in the 2000 presidential election, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s candidacy angered Democrats–especially when the outcome came down to the results in Florida.
There, Skelley said, votes that went to Nader likely would have gone otherwise to Democratic nominee Al Gore instead of Republican George W. Bush.
“That could have swayed a national election,” he says.
This year, the most notable Senate candidate running without major-party affiliation is Independent Greg Orman, running against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts in Kansas.
Orman emerged as a strong contender after Democrat Chad Taylor withdrew and supporters turned to Orman.
Republicans argue that Orman would side with Democrats if elected. Orman, though, has said he is disillusioned with both parties.
The Kansas race is currently tied, polls show.
‘What Happened to Representation?’
Third-party candidates must motivate a small army of grassroots support.
In Arkansas, LaFrance says he had to obtain 10,000 signatures just to get on the ballot — a costly and exhausting process. The father of six says:
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is getting people comfortable with there being a third party, understanding what the party stands for as compared to the two other parties and understanding that a vote for a third party is not a wasted vote. It’s a vote for a candidate they believe best represents what they want happening with their government.
In Kentucky, Patterson faced a similar challenge with a lower signature threshold. Leaders of the Kentucky Libertarian Party deployed professionals to gather more than 9,100 signatures. Of those, the state verified 5,700–well over the 5,000 needed to get on the ballot.
“That’s completely unacceptable,” he says of the struggle to collect signatures, adding:
It’s wrong. It’s the establishment trying to keep the third-party candidates out. What happened to representation? What happened to us having a voice? That’s what our country was founded on. That’s the hardest thing.
Patterson encountered another obstacle in the candidate debates.
Kentucky Educational Television, public broadcasters, hosted a debate last week between Grimes and McConnell. It didn’t invite Patterson.
McConnell and Grimes “didn’t want me on stage and were trying to silence my beliefs by constantly moving the criteria [to participate],” Patterson says.
His exclusion led to a lawsuit, and a judge ultimately ruled against him.
“That whole thing was shocking because never has a third-party candidate been left out of a debate,” Patterson says.
Running on Principles
Events played out differently in Arkansas and North Carolina, where LaFrance, Swaney and Haugh were allowed to participate.
LaFrance hoped to speak with Cotton and Pryor before the forum, and was surprised to receive a phone call from Pryor the previous weekend.
The two played phone tag but finally met face-to-face before the debate began.
From Cotton, though, it was radio silence.
Reflecting on the debate, the Arkansas Libertarian says he was struck by how much the other candidates stuck to talking points and were “repetitive.”
“As a candidate trying to run on principles and ideas for reform, and get the platform out, it’s frustrating,” LaFrance said. “It doesn’t tell the voters of Arkansas much of anything.”
Haugh, though, claims he nailed his appearance with Hagan and Tillis.
“I think of course I won the debate big time,” he said the next day.
In both Arkansas and North Carolina, the Republican and Democrat candidates also went head-to-head in separate debates that excluded third-party candidates.
‘A Responsibility to Educate’
Libertarian candidates also are seen as posing a threat to the success of Republicans in Georgia and Alaska.
In Georgia, Republican David Perdue is neck-and-neck with Democrat Michelle Nunn. Libertarian Amanda Swafford remains in the race.
In Alaska, Libertarian Mike Fish could take votes from Republican Dan Sullivan, who maintains a lead over the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Mark Begich.
Tragedy struck in the Senate race in Iowa last week when Libertarian candidate Doug Butzier died in a plane crash.
Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley both noted the loss of Butzier, whose name will remain on the ballot.
In Louisiana, Libertarian Brannon Lee McMorris separates a field of eight Republicans and Democrats pursuing the Senate seat. The Bayou State will host an open primary Nov. 4 instead of a general election. If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates–regardless of political affiliation–will compete in a runoff election Dec. 6.
Third-party candidates may face challenges and skepticism, but most prefer to think their presence gives disillusioned voters hope. As LaFrance says:
I feel like we’ve gotten to a point where we’re heading in a direction so quickly that we are going to be handing our children a country that’s worse off. A country that has less opportunity economic wise, less personal freedoms and a limited Constitution than the one we’re given. I find that completely unacceptable. I feel a responsibility to go out there and try to educate and talk about the issues to try to get things on the right path.
The post ‘Something to Say’: What It’s Like to Be a Third-Party Candidate in a Two-Party System appeared first on Daily Signal.
The Obama administration boasted a few months ago that more than 8 million Americans signed up for health insurance in the first phase of Obamacare. A new report from The Heritage Foundation, though, concludes that the vast majority of those gaining health coverage qualified for Medicaid because of loosened eligibility under the Affordable Care Act—and that’s what boosted enrollment figures.
“The inescapable conclusion is that, when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is an expansion of Medicaid,” Heritage Foundation health policy experts Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski write in a research paper scheduled for release today.
Haislmaier and Gonshorowski conclude that 8.5 million Americans gained coverage through Obamacare from January to July.
However, their paper says, more than 70 percent of those signups can be traced to the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in 24 states:
Of the 8.5 million total individuals who gained health insurance coverage, 71 percent of that net coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults.
[Article continues after infographic.]
In the states that adopted and implemented Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, enrollment skyrocketed as an additional 5.7 million Americans signed up for coverage.
In 21 states opting out of Medicaid expansion, however, enrollment was strikingly lower. The Heritage report finds that 355,674 Americans signed up for Medicaid in those states.
In all, Medicaid enrollment increased by 6 million individuals for the first half of 2014.
The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.
The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, loosened eligibility requirements for Medicaid, traditionally the government’s health program for the poor. The changes made it easier for individuals with an income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line (roughly $16,000) to qualify for the taxpayer-funded health coverage.
As the Heritage experts note, many Medicaid-eligible Americans under the new requirements also don’t have dependent children.
States got an incentive–federal dollars–to adopt the requirements.
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia opted to expand Medicaid. By July, however, 24 states had implemented the program.
The Affordable Care Act went into effect in October. Its implementation included the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the online marketplace where consumers can peruse and purchase insurance plans.
HealthCare.gov’s advent was accompanied by well-publicized malfunctions, glitches and failures. White House officials scrambled to fix the website as consumers experienced long delays. As a result, the Obama administration extended the close of open enrollment from March 30 until April 15.
Despite the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, President Obama and then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted that enrollment in Obamacare insurance plans topped the original goal of 7 million.
According to reports from the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment likely hovered around 7.3 million, as original estimates took into account those who selected a plan, but did not pay their first month’s premiums.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who in June replaced Sebelius as HHS secretary, said in a speech last month at the Brookings Institute:
Four years after President Obama signed the law, middle class families have more security, and many who already had insurance have better coverage. Fewer Americans are uninsured, and at the same time, we’re spending our health care dollars more wisely, and we’re starting to receive higher quality care.
The post 71% of Obamacare Signups Traced to Government’s Expansion of Medicaid appeared first on Daily Signal.
The Hunter Biden Chronicles
by Michelle Malkin
Everything you need to know about Beltway nepotism, corporate cronyism and corruption can be found in the biography of Robert Hunter Biden. Where are the Occupy Wall Street rabble-rousers and enemies of elitist privilege when you need them? Straining their neck muscles to look the other way.
The youngest son of Vice President Joe Biden made news last week after The Wall Street Journal revealed he had been booted from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use. His drug abuse was certainly no surprise to the Navy, which issued him a waiver for a previous drug offense before commissioning him as a public affairs officer at the age of 43. The Navy also bent over backward a second time with an age waiver so he could secure the cushy part-time job.
Papa Biden loves to tout his middle-class, “Average Joe” credentials. But rest assured, if his son had been “Hunter Smith” or “Hunter Jones” or “Hunter Brown,” the Navy’s extraordinary dispensations would be all but unattainable. Oh, and if he had been “Hunter Palin,” The New York Times would be on its 50th front-page investigative report by now.
Despite the disgraceful ejection from our military, Hunter’s Connecticut law license won’t be subject to automatic review. Because, well, Biden.
Biden’s bennies are not just one-offs. Skating by, flouting rules and extracting favors are the story of Hunter’s life.
Hunter’s first job, acquired after Joe Biden won his 1996 Senate re-election bid in Delaware, was with MBNA. That’s the credit card conglomerate and top campaign finance donor that forked over nearly $63,000 in bundled primary and general contributions from its employees to then Sen. Biden. As I’ve reported previously, Daddy Biden secured his custom-built, multimillion-dollar house in Delaware’s ritziest Chateau Country neighborhood with the help of a leading MBNA corporate executive. Average Joe went on to carry legislative water for MBNA in the Senate for years.
Hunter zoomed up to senior vice president by early 1998 and then scored a plum position in the Clinton administration’s Commerce Department, specializing in “electronic commerce” before returning to MBNA three years later as a high-priced “consultant.” While he collected those “consulting” (translation: nepotistic access-trading) fees, Hunter became a “founding partner” in the lobbying firm of Oldaker, Biden and Belair in 2002.
William Oldaker was Papa Biden’s former fundraiser, campaign treasurer and general counsel — a Beltway barnacle whose Democratic machine days dated back to Teddy Kennedy’s 1980 presidential bid. Under Oldaker’s tutelage, Hunter lobbied for drug companies, universities and other deep-pocketed clients to the tune of nearly $4 million billed to the company by 2007.
Coincidentally, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama personally requested and secured cozy taxpayer-subsidized earmarks for several of Hunter’s clients.
Hunter got himself appointed to multiple corporate board positions, including a directorship with Eudora Global. It’s an investment firm founded by one Jeffrey Cooper, head of one of the biggest asbestos-litigation firms in the country. SimmonsCooper, based in Madison County, Ill., donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Biden the Elder’s various political campaigns over the past decade — all while the firm poured $6.5 million into lobbying against a key tort-reform bill, which former Sen. Biden worked hard to defeat. Cooper also contributed to the Delaware attorney-general campaign of Hunter’s older brother, Beau, and paid Beau for legal work on lucrative asbestos-litigation cases.
Hunter also was previously a top official at Paradigm Global Advisors, a hedge fund holding company founded with Vice President Biden’s brother, James, and marketed by convicted finance fraudster Allen Stanford. As Paradigm chairman, Hunter oversaw half a billion dollars of client money invested in hedge funds while remaining a lobbyist at Oldaker, Biden and Belair. Cooper chipped in $2 million for the ill-fated venture, which went bust amid nasty fraud lawsuits.
Continually failing upward, Hunter snagged a seat on the board of directors of taxpayer-subsidized, stimulus-inflated Amtrak, where he pretended not to be a lobbyist, but rather an “effective advocate” for the government railroad system serving the 1 percenters’ D.C.-NYC corridor.
So, where does a coke-abusing influence peddler go after raking in gobs of Daddy-enabled dough and abusing the U.S. Navy’s ill-considered generosity? Back to Cronyland! Hunter joined Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings — owned by a powerful Russian government sympathizer who fled to Russia in February — this spring. The hypocritical lobbyist-bashers at the White House deny he will be lobbying and deny any conflict of interest.
Meanwhile, Just Like You Joe was whipping up class envy in South Carolina last week. “Corporate profits have soared,” he railed, thanks to “these guys running hedge funds in New York,” who are to blame for “income inequality.” You know, like his son and brother and their Beltway back-scratching patrons.
The Bidens: They’re not like us.
The public has tired of Barack Obama. More and more polling is beginning to reflect that and, given the latest Associated Press and Reuters polling, I wonder if some pollsters showing very close races are actually overcompensating because of 2012.
That point is worth considering first. Having talked to a number of pollsters, both Democrat and Republican, there are a few good, credible pollsters who called 2012 right who wonder if some pollsters are overcompensating. In 2012, a number of polling companies, including Gallup and Rasmussen, got the results very wrong. They overestimated Romney’s strength and underestimated a host of demographics turning out for President Obama.
Several pollsters I have talked to, who do not see the closeness some pollsters are seeing and who called 2012 right, think other pollsters may be over-correcting to try to avoid their own 2012. In the process, these pollsters may be getting 2014 wrong. It does seem, at the state by state level, there are a few races that look a lot closer than they should be — particularly now that we know Democrats have missed their voter registration targets significantly in a number of states.
That leads us back to the President.
Two of the polls that got 2012 right were the Associated Press/GfK poll and the Reuters/Ipsos poll. According to Reuters, the President is at 61% disapproval among likely voters. In the Associated Press poll, 60% of likely voters disapprove of the President. Further, the AP poll has the GOP ahead by eight percentage points in the generic ballot. For perspective, the AP had the GOP ahead by +7 in 2010. Even female voters are moving toward the GOP.
Most interestingly, while the GOP is not well liked by voters, the party leads the Democrats on most every issue. Whether national security or the economy, voters want the GOP over the Democrats.
These are startlingly terrible numbers for the President just as early voting kicks off pretty much everywhere. With the President’s numbers so bad and the GOP’s numbers so good, it makes you wonder what is going on in the state level polling that shows so many races so close. That national polling trickles down to states.
Perhaps there is some over-compensation and over-correction that is, ironically, going to cause a lot of pollsters to repeat the mistakes of 2012. There is no evidence that the voters who vote for Barack Obama are the Democrats’ voters. They are Barack Obama’s voters.
They did not show up for him in 2010 and the hysteria and race baiting the Democrats have stooped to in these final weeks suggests they know these voters will not show up for him in 2014 either.
The end of Barack Obama’s Presidency approaches.
Everything you need to know about Beltway nepotism, corporate cronyism and corruption can be found in the biography of Robert Hunter Biden. Where are the Occupy Wall Street rabble-rousers and
A group of Washington overlords — federal prosecutors — sometimes break rules and wreck people’s lives. President Obama may soon appoint one of them to be America’s next Attorney General.
So as to give some perspective, I’m going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists. Suppose the prices
The Republican Party simply doesn’t get it. A new poll this week shows 2012 presidential nominee and 2008 primary candidate Mitt Romney leading the field of potential 2016 Republican candidates.
Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy recently made international news by erecting a giant green sex toy in Paris’ Place Vendome and calling it “Tree.” Before the installation could officially open