December 21, 2013

Years Late, NYT Discovers Obamacare Premiums Are Whacking the Upper-Middle Class

In January 2010, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation studied the draft language in what ultimately turned into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what came to be known as Obamacare. His two most important findings: 1) Obamacare would encourage divorce while discouraging marriage; 2) Individuals and couples earning what most would consider to be nice but certainly not opulent incomes — especially those aged 50 and above — would pay disproportionately high premiums, while those making just a few thousand dollars less per year would, after subsidies, pay far less. Yours truly has made these points subsequently on several occassions (examples here, here, and here).

Well glory be, almost four years later, acting as if they’re breaking some kind of new ground, Katie Thomas, Reed Abelson and Jo Craven McGinty at the New York Times have discovered that “the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s.” Imagine that. Even then, the Times trio pegged the suffering Obamacare is inflicting to gross income and not net — and the difference is stark. Excerpts, beginning with a weak headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

AP, NYT, and Politico Ignore ‘Serious High-risk Findings’ at HealthCare.gov, Security Officer’s No-Go Recommendation

Friday morning, CBS News’s Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), “told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch.” Further, Fryer “told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)” in late September, “but was overruled by her superiors.” Fryer’s statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that “no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay” at best difficult to believe.

While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer’s name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson’s startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122113)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Pope Francis sends Christmas presents to 2,000 poor immigrants

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Dec 18, 2013 / 11:33 am

Two thousand immigrants at a shelter near the Vatican received simple Christmas presents from Pope Francis on the evening of Dec. 14.

“The guests were very happy,” said Sister Michelle, the superior of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Rome.

Each practical gift package consisted of a small envelope containing a Christmas card signed by Pope Francis, postal stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for Rome’s metro.

The gift packages were distributed at the Dono di Maria, the shelter operated by the Missionaries of Charity just a few steps from the Vatican.

In a Dec. 16 interview with CNA, Sr. Michelle said the immigrants received the presents with love and were thankful for the opportunity to call and write their loved ones during the Christmas season.

The Holy Father brought joy to their hearts, she said, as many have little or no education and no knowledge of Italian. They survive in Rome with the help of the Missionaries of Charity.

The city of Rome sees the arrival every day of new immigrants. Many come in total poverty, fleeing from regions in Africa plagued by armed conflict or from the scourge of poverty and human trafficking in Asia and Eastern Europe.

Sr. Michelle noted that concern for the poor is characteristic of this papacy. “The Pope is very familiar with our work here and understands the realities that people face,” she said.

She added that Benedict XVI had also reached out to those in need through various initiatives, in ways that were never publicized by the Holy See’s Press Office.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski – who holds the office of papal almoner and is responsible for sending modest donations to those in need on behalf of the Holy Fahter – helped the sisters hand out the gifts. They were joined by other volunteers at the shelter. …

Go here for the rest of the story.