The White House is facing growing pressure from both sides to find a solution to the plan cancellations being sent as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama’s claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” has come under a great deal of fire lately, as individuals receive cancellation letters from insurers that have changed their plans because they don’t meet the law’s standards. Officials are attempting to find a solution to uphold the president’s promise without undermining the law or adding unrealistic costs, The New York Times reports.
Yet this is easier said than done, and a number of lawmakers under political pressure are turning to legislation that would require canceled plans to continue. On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the fifth Senate Democrat to formally support a change to the health care law so that those who like their plan can keep it, The Hill reports. The senator said she would support the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. A similar bill, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., would prevent the cancellation of policies that don’t meet the heath law’s standards. The House is set to vote on the bill Friday, and some Democrats are expected to support it. House Democratic leaders remain united in opposition.
The White House says that the Upton bill would undermine the health care law. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan policy think tank, released a report Tuesday saying that the bill would have severe adverse effects on the ACA. According to CBPP, Upton’s bill would undermine insurance-market reforms under the law and encourage healthier individuals to remain outside the exchanges, thereby raising premium rates.
The issue isn’t that simple. There’s no easy fix to the cancellations, and these trade-offs are necessary to making health reform work, The New Republic explains. Yet the frustration will likely continue building until some kind of solution is found. The White House has not yet announced what an administrative fix might look like, and it remains unclear what one could be.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."