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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


President Obama Speaks on the Affordable Care Act: “We’re not going back”.

The president spoke Tuesday on the Affordable Care Act.

Transcript: Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act

The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future.  People want the financial stability of health insurance.  And we’re going to keep on working to fix whatever problems come up in any startup, any launch of a project this big that has an impact on one-sixth of our economy, whatever comes up we’re going to just fix it because we know that the ultimate goal, the ultimate aim, is to make sure that people have basic security and the foundation for the good health that they need.

Now, we may never satisfy the law’s opponents.  I think that’s fair to say.  Some of them are rooting for this law to fail — that’s not my opinion, by the way, they say it pretty explicitly.  (Laughter.)  Some have already convinced themselves that the law has failed, regardless of the evidence.  But I would advise them to check with the people who are here today and the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act.

And my main message today is:  We’re not going back.

So if you’ve already got health insurance or you’ve already taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act, you’ve got to tell your friends, you’ve got to tell your family.  Tell your coworkers.  Tell your neighbors.  Let’s help our fellow Americans get covered.

The real political scandal in the “Obamacare” rollout

There is a big political scandal surrounding the rollout of the latest phase of the Affordable Care Act. It is real and it is encapsulated in this quote:

“Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party does not stand for anything else …

– Paul Krugman, economist and author

Yes, there are web site glitches at and cancellations of sub-standard health insurance policies (and in some cases, insurance companies choosing to leave the health care market altogether). Yes, people who the media like to talk to are angry and upset. But who is giving a rats patootie about the people in the states with negligent governors who refuse to expand Medicaid? And a Congress that is so focused on their ideology that they deny their humanity?

Who cares about these people?

President Obama: “The Affordable Care Act is not about a Web site”

From Breaking News at NY Times:

President Obama declared Monday that “nobody is madder than me” about the failures of the government’s health care Web site, but said the technical problems do not indicate a broader failure of the Affordable Care Act.

“We did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a Web site. That’s not what this was about,” Mr. Obama told supporters during 25-minute remarks in the Rose Garden.

That the president even had to say this tells us more about the laziness of the main stream media than it does about the technical shortcomings of a web site.

The Department of Health and Human Services accepts blame for the glitchiness of the web site and is beefing up their technical staff to address it head on:

Over the past two and a half weeks, millions of Americans visited to look at their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act. In that time, nearly half a million applications for coverage have been submitted from across the nation. This tremendous interest – with over 19 million unique visits to date to confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online.

Unfortunately, the experience on has been frustrating for many Americans. Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better. […]

To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.

Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve We’re also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.

Translation: “We know we had problems, we worked to fix them, and we are going to apply more fixes going forward.”

Facebook was down for a short while this morning, which makes it a complete and utter failure.

But thank goodness Twitter was up:

Shutdown Wednesday: Congressional Leaders Invited to White House to Meet with the President

Obama Invites Hill Leaders To Talk Debt Limit

President Barack Obama invited Congressional leaders to the White House to discuss raising the federal debt limit on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. The meeting will take place at 5:30pm ET.

The Treasury Department announced Tuesday it was executing final emergency measures before it must raise the debt ceiling on Oct. 17. House Republicans are considering merging negotiations on the debt limit with a continuing resolution to re-open the shuttered government.

Here is what America’s Leaders look like:

People of color. Check. Women. Check. Token (ha!) old white guys. Check.

Yesterday, Eric Cantor tweeted that he was ready to negotiate and had his team in place. This is what Republican Leaders look like:

Old white guys in $4,000 suits. Check.

President Obama wants a clean debt limit increase and a clean Continuing Resolution. The only thing we know for sure is that the Affordable Care Act is not a bargaining chip.

Beyond The Shutdown, There’s A Bigger Battle Brewing

Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won’t be able to keep paying its bills.

“It’d be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is,” Obama said Tuesday. “It would be an economic shutdown.”

No one is exactly sure what would happen if the government suddenly had to make do without a credit card. But experts agree that the fallout could be scary and far-reaching.

While government shutdowns are messy and disruptive, the country has lived through them before. The U.S. government, on the other hand, has never had to go cold turkey on borrowed money.

Guess what? The Government is closed … but Obamacare is OPEN

#GOPshutdown = #GOPfail

The much ballyhooed “GOP civil war” turned out to be 6 guys with rusted flintlocks as the Republican House terrorists voted to send the Continuing Resolution bill to keep the government funded back to the Senate with more Obamacare hostage-taking amendments. The Senate rejected that bill, demanding a clean CR.

House “leadership” met to hatch a plan to send the amendment festooned CR to conference:

UPDATE September 30, 10:53 p.m. ET:

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office issued the following whip alert announcing a late-night vote on the above plan:

   The House will follow regular order and consider a rule that adopts a motion insisting on our last amendment and requesting a conference with the Senate. This will send the CR, our amendment, and our request for a conference back to the Senate.

WaPo – update 11:20 p.m. ET:

The House Rules Committee just voted to approve House GOP leaders’ plan for a conference committee, but it did so without Democratic support.

The vote was 7-4 along party lines, according to committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to entertain the conference committee plan:

“We will not go to conference with a gun to our head,” Reid said late Monday night on the Senate floor. “The first thing the House has to do is pass a clean six-week C.R. They have that before them they can do that right now.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Budget Committee Chair, via TPM:

After blocking Senate Democrats’ attempts to start a budget conference 18 times over the past six months, Republicans are now scrambling to start a conference committee with mere minutes to go before a government shutdown. This is just the latest absurd and desperate attempt by Speaker Boehner to delay the inevitable–bringing a clean continuing resolution to the floor for Democrats and Republicans to vote on–and to continue pushing the country toward a completely unnecessary government shutdown. If Republicans were truly serious about avoiding a crisis they would pass the Senate’s short-term funding bill to remove the threat of a government shutdown immediately. We won’t negotiate while Republicans are threatening families and the economy with a crisis.

The Senate will be adjourned until 9:30am Tuesday.

President Obama: “I love you back”

When President Obama speaks to friendly crowds, especially crowds of students, there is usually one point in the speech where someone in the crowd shouts out “I love you!”. The president answers with “I love you back!”.

Yesterday he was speaking to a crowd at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland and the speech started with that exchange. His main topic was the Affordable Care Act, gearing up for the next phase on January 1, 2014 where millions of Americans will be covered under new insurance policies purchased on exchanges. The sign-up period for the new coverage starts next Tuesday, October 1 and runs through March 31, 2014. The Health Insurance Marketplace will be open for business here:

The president’s speech (51 minutes and 32 seconds … and worth every second):

(Full transcript below the fold)

The president said to expect glitches. Lots of people say to expect glitches … it is a big program, it is a new program, and it is, unfortunately one that the administration has had to tweak on its own since the Republican House of Representatives has been unwilling to make any improvements to it. From Bloomberg News: Don’t be alarmed by Obamacare failures:

If things don’t run smoothly from the get-go, it won’t mean that this piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has failed. Three months will remain before coverage from insurance plans sold on the exchanges even kicks in. And there will be many months and years beyond that to smooth the wrinkles. Obamacare supporters often point to how much ironing out Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program, needed when it came into effect in 2006. Even Medicare and Medicaid have been tweaked more than 20 times since they were enacted in 1965.

President Obama made a point of mentioning that the “Republicans’ biggest fear at this point is not that the Affordable Care Act will fail. What they’re worried about is it’s going to succeed“. Indeed.

Here’s what the president said we can expect:

… Medicare and Social Security faced the same kind of criticism.  Before Medicare came into law, one Republican warned that “one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”  That was Ronald Reagan.  And eventually, Ronald Reagan came around to Medicare and thought it was pretty good, and actually helped make it better.

So that’s what’s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act.  And once it’s working really well, I guarantee you they will not call it Obamacare. (Laughter and applause.)

Here is a prediction for you:  A few years from now, when people are using this to get coverage and everybody is feeling pretty good about all the choices and competition that they’ve got, there are going to be a whole bunch of folks who say, yes, I always thought this provision was excellent.  I voted for that thing.  You watch.  

Oh, and we can also expect this … from President Obama: “I love you back”. The Affordable Care Act, dedicated to his mother who died while fighting insurance companies and worrying about paying the bills, is about caring … and it is one of the things he does best.


(Links to the White House Web Site on the Affordable Care Act are below the fold.)

Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

Earlier this week, economist Paul Krugman called the “G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive” the “wonk gap” and pointed to the Republican’s weekly address as evidence:

On Saturday, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming delivered the weekly Republican address. […] he demanded repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “The health care law,” he declared, “has proven to be unpopular, unworkable and unaffordable,” and he predicted “sticker shock” in the months ahead.

Instead of “wonk gap”, I prefer to call it “the final nail in the coffin of the modern Republican party”.  

Weekly Address: President Obama – Working to Implement the Affordable Care Act

From the White House – Weekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama said we are on the way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and helping millions of Americans.  Unfortunately, a group of Republicans in Congress are working to confuse people and are even suggesting they will shut down the government if they cannot shut down the health care law.  Health insurance isn’t something to play politics with, and the President will keep working to make sure the law works as it’s supposed to, and he encourages everyone to visit to find out more about the law and how to sign up.

How rejecting Obamacare advances the Gay Agenda

The title is, of course, ironic, but after reading about Chris Cristie’s rejection of Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare for New Jersey, and considering that in light of his position opposing marriage equality in New Jersey, I began to think about the linkage between these two seemingly distinct issues.

While watching the NewsHour’s excellent coverageof the SCOTUS decision in US v. Windsor to throw out Section 3 of DOMA,  I found this quote from Kathleen Sibelius :

Today’™s Supreme Court decision finding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional is a victory for equality, which is a core belief of this administration. It is also a victory for families, especially those children whose parents’ legal same sex marriages can now be recognized under federal law.

As a result of today’s ruling, the federal government is no longer forced to discriminate against legally married same sex couples. The Supreme Court’™s decision on DOMA reaffirms the core belief that we are all created equal and must be treated as equal. The Department of Health and Human Services will work with the Department of Justice to review all relevant federal statutes and ensure this decision is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

Parroting NRA Paranoia


“Doctors have no business inquiring of patients

whether they are choosing to exercise their

constitutional rights,” NRA spokeswoman

Jacqueline Otto said in a statement Friday.

“When a child is brought to a doctor, it is to seek

their expertise in pediatrics, not firearms ownership.”


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