The Obama administration faces major logistical and financial challenges in creating health insurance exchanges for states that have declined to set up their own systems. The exchanges were designed as the centerpiece of President Obama’s signature law, and are intended to make buying health insurance comparable to booking a flight or finding a compatible partner on Match.com. Sixteen states — most of them governed by Republicans — have said they will not set up their own systems, forcing the federal government to come up with one instead.
Washington--Timothy Geithner joined the Obama administration during a crisis. He´s hoping not to leave during one. The White House has tapped the Treasury secretary as its lead negotiator in deficit-reduction talks with Congress, giving Mr. Geithner about a month to help cut a deal before $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts begin in January—and before his long-planned departure from the administration. It is a sharp change in role for the 51-year-old, who has been preoccupied largely with the U.S. financial crisis, banking policy and Europe´s debt crisis in the past four years.
Defenders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, can be forgiven for some post-election triumphalism. But their joy is likely to be short lived. Because the law put off implementation of most key provisions until after the 2012 election, voters cast their ballots on November 6 without knowing what Obamacare’s true effect will be on their tax bills, insurance costs, or access to care. Delaying implementation until 2014 helped the president win re-election, but now the bill is coming due. The administration can’t forestall Obamacare’s massive regulatory impact
JERUSALEM — The United Nations envoy to the Middle East acknowledged in an interview with McClatchy Sunday that he has maintained quiet contacts with the Islamist group Hamas for “years,” despite the international community’s official policy to isolate the group. Robert Serry described his office’s contacts with Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, as “quiet engagements” and said his office was working now, in the wake of a cease-fire agreement that ended eight days of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, “hoping to help the parties get to a more durable solution.” “Because we are on
The story sounds just too idiotic and outrageous to be true. A Rotherham couple, by all accounts exemplary foster parents for nearly seven years, took on two children and a baby in an emergency placement. Eight weeks later, social workers came and took the children away--despite the fact that they were thriving--on the grounds that because the couple belonged to the UK Independence Party this was not ‘the right cultural match’. Astonishingly, the official in charge is still unrepentant. Joyce Thacker, the council’s director of children and young people’s services, has said that the children, who were
The National Republican Senatorial Committee had a rotten track record in 2012. But now they’re looking to get more deeply involved in picking candidates at the state level, hoping to foreclose Tea Party primary challengers like Richard Mourdock (R-IN). “There’s always going to be fundamental dislike of the national party coming to a local or a state race and saying, ‘This is who we want to pick,” Keli Carender of Tea Party Patriots told The Hill. The NRSC pulled out of several races this cycle, dooming several candidates to less-than-full financial support. The battle for the Republican Party heart
In 1991, a Bedouin tribe delayed its annual migration across the Sahara because its elders were not prepared to miss the last episode of Dallas. Such was the grip that the lavish American soap opera had in even the most unlikely places--and no character exerted that grip more tightly than JR Ewing, the oil baron unforgettably brought to scheming, malevolent, adulterous, Machiavellian life by Larry Hagman. Here was the devil in disguise, and the disguise was a ten-gallon hat. Hagman’s death at the age of 81 comes shortly after he reprised the role that made him world-famous. The opening
Carlos Ocariz, mayor of Caracas´ Sucre Municipality, has a clear standpoint on the issue. "Means to provide the people with increased participation already exist, and nothing new needs to be developed," he categorically points out when asked about the impact of the communal State to be implemented. This politician and civil engineer believes that this measure would reduce mayor´s offices and regional governments to their simplest forms. -How do you think Venezuela would be as a communal State? -I believe we will backtrack because, ultimately, the aim is not to give more power to the people
The Hill has an interesting story reporting on Republican governors refusing to set up state exchanges under Obamacare–which could save the states money since they are on the hook for costs in excess of federal grants. That means the Feds will have to do it on a state-by-state basis, a daunting task even for this highly bureaucratic administration. Plus, it is perfectly legal under the law to engage in such passive resistance. Some liberals say that approach isn’t conservative because, in effect, it allows the Feds to run state health care. (As if they care!) I’m not buying.
Round three of the great American tax and spending debate of the early 21st century is opening. There are nine Senate Democrats who are most interested in a comprehensive "deal" between President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner: They are Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana, Al Franken of Minnesota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Udall of Colorado. These are the most vulnerable of the Senate´s majority.
The family of Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who was found dead on May 16 apparently due to suicide, has hired investigators to examine many “unanswered questions” about her death. They may also file a wrongful death lawsuit against Robert Kennedy Jr. Mary Richardson Kennedy was found hanged in a barn on the couple’s Westchester estate, and the official cause of death was “asphyxiation due to hanging.” Sources told the New York Post that Mary’s family was in the process of “pursuing a wrongful-death action” and had many “concerns” about
With the reelection of President Obama secured, Washington Post economics reporter Zachary Goldfarb finally identifies “the bedrock belief that has driven the president for decade” (or Obama’s “driving force,” per the web edition). That bedrock belief is that the power of the federal government must be used reduce income inequality in America. According to Goldfarb, Obama formed this belief as a child and young adult living abroad, where he observed, in Obama’s words, “the vast disparity in wealth between those who are part of the power structure and those who are outside of it.”
At times, complicated issues are most clearly understood in simple terms. Speaking before the Knesset in 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu captured, in two brief sentences, that which lies at the heart of the ongoing, centuries-old Arab-Israeli conflict: “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms, there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms, there would be no more war.” Indeed, how does one peacefully co-exist with those whose singular obsession is that one should not exist at all? Can a Jewish people who simply wish to live in peace ever do so
Two Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders shaved their heads during today´s game against the Buffalo Bills. But the curious hairstyle wasn´t a new fashion trend - the pair were raising money for leukemia research after the team´s head coach was struck down with cancer in September. Attending his second straight home game since he was diagnosed, Chuck Pagano received a standing ovation from the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd with 11:23 left in the fourth quarter. Team owner Jim Irsay walked outside his box with Mr Pagano and the two waved to Colts fans who have supported the coach in his battle.
Republicans toned down criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice on Sunday, shifting the focus of their inquiries into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to the State Department’s inaction on security requests in the days leading up to the terrorist assault and the Obama administration’s handling of the aftermath. Two departing Republican senators, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, said they have concerns about a White House “cover-up” about the incident, which left four Americans dead. “There are three questions that have to be
If Gov. Sam Brownback were a poker player, his opening bid likely would be all-in on every hand. (Snip) So which strategy would the governor take when it came down to the final hand on Kansas’ role in the new health care environment? One option is that states can establish their own exchanges. However, Brownback already rejected more than $30 million in federal money to build the technological backbone for the exchange. Option two is for the state and the federal government to split the responsibilities. While states are on the hook for any money beyond the federal grant to the partnership,the state
An old house with "charm" on Central Road in Rye was torn down earlier this month to make way for a new $1.8 million, five-bedroom home with a carriage house. The home, purchased by former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu in 2010 for $1 million, is the latest in a torrent of demolitions in Rye this year. According to the building inspector´s office, there have been 14 permits issued for tear-downs and rebuilds in 2012. "That's a lot of demolitions in one town," said Selectman Joe Mills, who plans to prepare a warrant article for next year's town meeting that would place limits on how many demolitions
WASHINGTON- Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose "Team of Rivals" is the basis for the film "Lincoln," says President Obama must try harder to connect with Republicans. "I think the most important lesson that the ["Lincoln"] movie illustrates by getting the passage of the 13th Amendment through a really fractious Congress, is you do everything you can, every means within your control," Goodwin said Sunday on CBS News´ "Face the Nation." Goodwin said past presidents, such as President Lyndon Johnson, were much better than Obama at using the White House as a political asset.
In 1996, Kathryn Lehman was a soon-to-be married lawyer working for Republicans in the House of Representatives. One of her major accomplishments: helping to write the law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Sarah Longwell, the secretary of the Log Cabin Republicans, at the group´s Spirit of Lincoln awards dinner in September. Today, Ms. Lehman, 53, is no longer married, or straight. And she is a lobbyist for Freedom to Marry, which is devoted to overturning the very law she helped write, the Defense of Marriage Act. But Ms. Lehman is still a fervent Republican.
WASHINGTON — After two decades in which gay rights moved from the margin to capture the support of most Americans, the Supreme Court justices will go behind closed doors this week to decide whether now is the time to rule on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. For justices, the issue is not just what to decide, but when to decide it. (Snip) Now, the justices must decide whether to hear an appeal from the defenders of California´s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman. At the same session Friday, the court will sift through several
CAIRO -- Supporters and opponents of Egypt´s president on Sunday grew more entrenched in their potentially destabilizing battle over the Islamist leader´s move to assume near absolute powers, with neither side appearing willing to back down as the stock market plunged amid the fresh turmoil. The standoff poses one of the hardest tests for the nation´s liberal and secular opposition since Hosni Mubarak´s ouster nearly two years ago. Failure to sustain protests and eventually force Mohammed Morsi to loosen control could consign it to long-term irrelevance. Clashes between the two sides spilled
WASHINGTON -- When the next Congress cranks up in January, there will be more women, many new faces and 11 fewer tea party-backed House Republicans from the class of 2010 who sought a second term. Overriding those changes, though, is a thinning of pragmatic, centrist veterans in both parties. Among those leaving are some of the Senate´s most pragmatic lawmakers, nearly half the House´s centrist Blue Dog Democrats and several moderate House Republicans. That could leave the parties more polarized even as President Barack Obama and congressional leaders talk up the
In its fight to survive, Israel has a new weapon in its arsenal, a missile defense shield designated the Iron Dome interceptor system. Hamas fired approximately 1,500 short-to-medium range rockets on Israel from Gaza. They were intercepted with an 84% success rate, resulting in an astoundingly low level of Israeli civilian casualties. This new missile defense system provides confidence in Israel´s ability to combat anything Iran might throw at them, while heightening despair among the rest of Israel´s enemies. It required the Israeli firms Elta, mPrest Systems, and Rafael only five years to develop Iron Dome.
With unusual candor, the Washington Post declares in its top headline that “Hamas’ tactics garner support” and that “Palestinians see path to victory through fighting.” This strengthening of Hamas is the entirely predictable consequence of the cease fire that the Obama administration worked to impose on Israel. Because Hamas waged war against Israel and the Israelis backed down, it is (to quote) the Post “the commonly held view in both territories (the West Bank and Gaza) that the Islamist militants of Hamas — who refuse to recognize Israel — defeated their enemy, and that they did it with weapons
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has had quite a week. He helped broker a cease-fire between his Hamas ally and Israel to the acclaim of the international community as well as the United States and his new friend President Obama. He followed that triumph up by issuing new decrees that effectively give him dictatorial powers over Egypt. In less than year in office, Morsi has amassed as much power as Hosni Mubarak had in his time in office as the country’s strongman and he has done it while getting closer to the United States rather than having his Islamist regime being condemned or isolated by