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Obamacare: Playing Games, Getting Played

Brian Beutler at Salon’s take on what the media is missing with those Obamacare stories “In our haste to find human interest stories that contradict President Obama’s misleading claims about grandfathered insurance plans, the media has fallen into a lazy habit of taking insurance companies at their word. .. The transition period between the old individual market and the new, better one, provides [insurance companies] one last chance to use the power of inertia and fear of the unknown to feed their consumers into expensive plans and shunt the blame for the price hike onto Obamacare.”

House Republicans won’t allow a vote on a gay anti-discrimination bill, but they will allow a vote on this. “House Republican leaders announced Wednesday the lower chamber will vote next week on a bill that would allow people to keep their health insurance plan if they like it. … [Rep. Fred] Upton’s bill authorizes insurance companies to keep offering plans that they have said need to be canceled because of ObamaCare’s new insurance standards.

Ezra Klein said Obamacare didn’t hurt the Democrats in the Virginia governor’s race. “I don’t see it in the numbers. Barone and Politico offer the same piece of evidence to prove that Obamacare was behind McAuliffe’s slim margin. “The exit poll showed Virginia voters opposed rather than favored it by a 53 percent to 45 percent margin,” Barone writes. “Exit polls show a majority of voters — 53 percent — opposed the law,” Hohmann says. But that data point is better understood as evidence that Obamacare didn’t play an unusual role in this election. The 45-53 split on Obamacare is pretty much the same split we’ve seen since the law’s passage.”

Voters Sending a Progressive Message

Time declares labor unions “2013’s biggest winner.” “In Toledo, Ohio, councilman D. Michael Collins defeated incumbent mayor Mike Bell, riding anger over Bell’s antiunion policies. In Boston, former labor boss Martin Walsh was endorsed by national and local labor groups and is now the mayor-elect. And in New York City, Bill de Blasio is now the first Democratic mayor after two decades of Republican reign, thanks in part to early support from the health-care-workers’ union, SEIU 1199. In Cincinnati, voters rejected a pension-reform ballot initiative, while in New Jersey and Washington State they raised the minimum wage.

Koch brothers repudiated in Iowa. “Coralville, Iowa voters elected veteran City Council member John Lundell as mayor and re-elected two incumbent councilors Tuesday, rejecting an aggressive campaign by Americans for Prosperity to blame the trio for the city’s $280 million debt. Residents said the group’s mailings, phone calls, door-to-door canvassing and social media ads fueled a backlash as the upper middle-class, Democratic-leaning city of 20,000 residents rallied behind the incumbents. The outcome may strengthen the officials that AFP tried to oust, and the race has led to calls for state-level reforms to force the group to disclose its spending and donors.”

More Struggling with Poverty, Joblessness

Almost 50 million: One out of every six Americans is poor. NBC News: “The number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday. The new measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty, but does not replace the official government numbers.”

5.8 million between the agens of 18 and 24 out of school and out of work.
U.S. News and World Report: “That’s largely because of a lack of opportunity and social mobility in America, according to the national advocacy group Opportunity Nation. For those 5.8 million youths, between the ages of 16 and 24, not having a job isn’t the only thing holding them back. Some communities throughout the country struggle with access to basic needs such as affordable housing, the Internet, quality health care and good schools, says Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation.”

Deborah Weinstein “tells the truth about food stamps” in The Huffington Post. “These right-wing talking points are false, mean and unfair. False, because the facts show that SNAP overwhelmingly serves poor people. Those who receive other benefits are still poor, and education, health care and environmental programs in low-income communities don’t feed children or seniors, although they are obviously important investments. Mean, because they are designed to take away food from people who will go hungry without it. And unfair, because they suggest that cutting SNAP is the best way to balance the budget, when we have far better options available to us.”

“A very messy” jobs report Friday. ABC News: “Economists warn that the unemployment rate could surge as high as 7.5 percent from 7.2 percent in September. That would be the steepest one-month rise since 2010. … The shutdown will be mostly to blame. But its effect on the data won’t be easy to tease out. Economists have all but thrown up their hands trying to forecast Friday’s figures or to suggest what they might mean.”

Breakfast Sides


CBS won’t retract discredited “60 Minutes” Benghazi report.
Six days after coming under fire for its “60 Minutes” report on Benghazi, CBS News says it is standing by its source despite the fact that he has already admitted to lying about the events in question. … Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham has been using the report to justify blocking all of President Obama’s executive appointments.

If stop-and-frisk policies are go good, why not use them against banks? Steven Strauss muses on EconoMonitor: “It’s estimated that the 2008 financial crisis cost over $6 trillion. … Given the serious impact of financial crime, why not subject the top officers, of the largest financial institutions, to Electronic Stop and Frisk? For these 3,000 or so people, the police/FBI/regulatory agencies would have complete access (just based on suspicion, without needing a warrant) to all their e-mails (personal and corporate), all their phone calls (personal and corporate), and so on — the electronic equivalent of a physical Stop and Frisk.”

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