Obama Says His Policies Are Built On ‘Kindness’

From The Daily Caller:

One day after a new poll showed that only a minority of Americans trust President Barack Obama, the president told an audience that his policies are based on kindness.

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” Obama told his audience of wealthy investors, high-tech donors, journalists and fellow Democrats Tuesday, only two months after he slashed at GOP legislators, calling them arsonists, nuclear blackmailers, economic wreckers, hostage-takers, obsessives and irresponsible extremists.

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Fix Obvious Flaws in Prison Realignment

From The Riverside Press-Enterprise:

California’s ambitious restructuring of the criminal justice system should not merely push state prison ills onto county government. The Legislature needs to make adjustments to the realignment program, including changes to jail sentences and parole violations, to ease the burdens on overstressed counties.

A new report by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford University, released last week, finds both potential for success and substantial challenges in the state’s realignment plans. The Legislature in 2011 gave counties responsibility for so-called “low-risk” felons and parolees, in an attempt to trim state spending and ease state prison crowding.

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Study: Having Daughters Makes Parents More Republican

From The Daily Caller:

Having more pink around the house could lead parents to vote red at the ballot box.

The Pew Research Center reports that a new study finds that parents of girls are more likely to support Republicans.

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Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

‘Preferred’ Pronouns Gain Traction at US Colleges

From The Sacramento Bee:

The weekly meetings of Mouthing Off!, a group for students at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, always start the same way. Members take turns going around the room saying their names and the personal pronouns they want others to use when referring to them — she, he or something else.

It’s an exercise that might seem superfluous given that Mills, a small and leafy liberal arts school historically referred to as the Vassar of the West, only admits women as undergraduates. Yet increasingly, the “shes” and “hers” that dominate the introductions are keeping third-person company with “they,” “ze” and other neutral alternatives meant to convey a more generous notion of gender.

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Congress Should End The Ethanol Sham

From The Riverside Press-Enterprise:

The nation should end a “green” policy that makes neither environmental nor economic sense. Congress should kill the federal mandate to use corn ethanol in fuel. That requirement is a handout to the agriculture industry rather than a credible ecological strategy.

An Associated Press report this week suggests that the nation’s rush toward ethanol is damaging the environment for little real benefit. Federal law mandates increasing use of renewable fuels in the nation’s gasoline and diesel supplies. But AP reports that the requirement has led to a rapid expansion of corn production that has consumed land set aside for conservation, damaged habitat and polluted water supplies. Nor is it clear that the policy has produced the environmental improvements that Congress promised.

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Top CA Hospitals Don’t Like Obamacare Either

President Obama has been claiming that people can keep their favorite doctors under the Affordable Care Act. But anyone who wants a premier hospital in California better do some homework before signing up.

A survey of the state’s top hospitals has revealed that most contract with only one or two insurance companies under Obamacare, even though the Covered California exchange has 11 companies to choose from. And one hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, has refused to participate altogether and has no contracts.

Obamacare is driven by low-cost policies. So the reimbursement rate hospitals will receive from insurance companies just isn’t worth it to them. The end result is that the blue ribbon hospitals won’t have a large presence on the exchange,Watchdog.org has learned.

“The more we are learn about the insurance plans on Covered California, the more it becomes clear that the big name hospitals are sitting on the sidelines — some by choice, other by design of the insurers,” said Josh Archambault, senior fellow for the Foundation for Government Accountability and a frequent Obamacare critic. “Consumers get the short end of the stick.”

Watchdog.org looked at the top 15 California hospitals listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-2014 annual report and contacted each one to determine their Obamacare insurance contracts.

See the full list here

We found that six hospitals only contracted with one company, another six had two companies, one hospital had none, and one hospital accepted all 12 companies at various levels. Stanford Hospital, listed as No. 2 by U.S. News, refused to respond to numerous requests for information.

For anyone keeping their old private insurance policy, most of these hospitals still will take myriad plans.

It’s about the money

The bottom line is money. And insurance companies are well aware of the costs of working with top tier hospitals, said Gail Wilensky, a board member ofUnitedHealthcare and the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the first Bush administration.

NO ONE ELSE LIKES IT EITHER: Cedars-Sinai has taken to the radio as a way to keep patients, thanks to Obamacare

NO ONE ELSE LIKES IT EITHER: Cedars-Sinai has taken to the radio as a way to keep patients, thanks to Obamacare

“Many plans … are concerned that they will be dominated by high using populations that have previously been in risk pools and wanted insurance, but couldn’t access it,” she said. “They are pressed to narrow networks to stay within the premiums.”

A Watchdog.org investigation showed that California’s hospitals were in line with the nation’s top hospitals, which had the same type of scenario. Most of the top 18 national hospitals accepted only one or two carriers.

Perhaps the biggest vote of no confidence came from No. 4-ranked Cleveland Clinic, which takes about 100 insurance plans if you have private insurance, but only Medical Mutual of Ohio under the exchange.

Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which made U.S. News & World Report’s national list as well as California’s, took myriad insurance plans before Obamacare, but now in the Covered California exchange lists just Health Net. Shortly after Watchdog.org’s story appeared, radio stations began running frequent ads saying that not all plans were created equal on the exchange.

“Choose your plan carefully. Make sure your plan includes coverage for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,” the ad intoned.

Many hospitals are in a wait-and-see mode, cautiously entering the exchange and then determining later whether more insurance companies will be added.

“It’s too early to tell what we will do in 2014 or years beyond as there has been more turmoil than expected, and we are watching the (Obama) administration consistently introduce or change the regulations along the way,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of No. 6-rated Scripps La Jolla Hospitals and Clinics. “It’s almost impossible to know what is going to happen or how many patients will subscribe — and, accordingly, what will happen to insurance premiums purchased on the exchange or to the reimbursement to providers.”

Trouble and turmoil

And if government funding for indigent patients is reduced, that would create further financial turmoil for hospitals.

“Two of our five hospital facilities have historically received (Medicare) funding to help offset the number of indigent and government patients they care for,” Van Gorder added. “(Medicare) is supposed to be significantly reduced starting this year in exchange for more insured patients.”

So while Covered California is ahead of most states in that it lists the insurance companies on its site, the doctors and hospitals are still lacking. Prospective policy holders can check out our chart or call the medical provider to make sure they are getting what they want.

“Not having well known hospitals in-network on Covered California plans could come back to bite consumers in two ways: first, they cannot access those doctors and second, if they do, they will be stuck with a massively expensive out-of-network charge,” Archambault said.

(Tori Richards contributes to CalWatchdog.com. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)

Is This Paul Krugman’s California?

What is it about California that inspires such insistently cheerful happy talk from New York Times columnist/Princeton professor Paul Krugman?

This spring he claimed that California was in the middle of a roaring comeback. Has he ever been here? Read coverage of our Legislature? Read the Census Bureau’s declaration that the Golden State has the worst effective poverty rate of any state?

His blathering led to a harshly funny response from a professor who actually does know California because he lives here, Victor Davis Hanson, writing for National Review Online.

Now Krugman is at it again, suggesting Covered California is doing so well that it’s a confirmation of the glory that is Obamacare. And once again his blathering has inspired lots of sharp responses, this time including from other East Coast folks.

D.C.-based health-policy blogger Robert Laszewski, for example, notes that the Golden State is on track to have far fewer people covered by insurance than it did before Covered California began accepting applications.

“So, let’s summarize:

“–California has 5.3 million uninsured eligible to buy in the exchange with half estimated to be subsidy eligible.

“–California is cancelling another 1 million people of which Covered California has estimated hundreds of thousands will qualify for a subsidy they can only get if they go to Covered California. At least 80% need to act by December 23 to avoid losing their coverage.

“–The state is spending $250 million in federal money to get people signed up––dramatically more than any other state.

“–The Covered California goal is to sign-up 500,000 to 700,000 subsidy eligible people by March 31.

“Why should we be so impressed with Covered California because they have signed-up 80,000 people so far? Or, even that their goal is to sign-up 500,000 to 700,000 of the state’s 6.3 million people––half subsidy eligible––who are uninsured or having their insurance canceled?”

Two very good questions.

And here’s a funny point: California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, can’t think things are going well with the Obamacare rollout in her home state or she wouldn’t have endorsed this bill.

Obamacare and the Orwellian gap between promises and reality

Krug.ABCKrugman declaring success for a state health insurance exchange that will lead to fewer Californians having health coverage isn’t the only example of the amazing rhetorical baloney-fest surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

We were told if you like your policy, you can keep it. Then we’re told if the president likes your policy, you can keep it, and if it was canceled, that’s because it was “crappy.”

We were told that it would sharply cut health-care costs for the average family of four. Now as reality demolishes this promise, the MSM rarely even bring it up.

We were told there wouldn’t be de facto “death panels” deciding what medical procedures would be denied to the very sick. Now even the MSM treats this as a given.

I could go on and on in this vein. But the larger point that needs to be made is this is Orwellian manipulation of the American public. The most profound policy change in the United States in decades was imposed by the narrowest of margins only after a sophisticated concert of lies.

And as for the people who compare this with George W. Bush/Iraq/weapons of mass destruction, the ACA Deceptathon is even worse. Bush 43 was a disaster in many ways, but at least he had foreign and U.S. intelligence agencies backing him up on WMDs.

Obama had his own administration telling him in 2010 that “if you like your policy, you can keep it” was just not true. But he kept peddling the lie until the cancellation notices made it impossible to keep asserting.

(Chris Reed contributes to CalWatchdog. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)

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Hollywood’s State Tax Credit Tarnished By Scandal

From The Sacramento Bee:

The term “rent-seeking” entered the economic lexicon in the mid-1970s, meaning the employment of political pull to obtain a monopoly or some other unearned economic benefit.

The term rarely arises in the Capitol, being a little too abstract for its denizens, but the practice permeates California politics.

Aerial_Hollywood_Sign

Obama’s America: No Longer in Theaters, Now a Reality

From The Daily Caller:

In the film “2016: Obama’s America” I advanced what seemed to be a kind of outlandish theory about President Obama – that Obama had imbibed the anticolonial philosophy of his dad, Barack Obama Sr. This anticolonialism shapes Obama’s worldview and helps us to predict what Obama is going to do. It not only explains what he is doing but it allows us to foretell and anticipate things that he is going to do. In the film we made some fairly specific predictions about Obama. This is not a bad time to review those predictions and see if they have in fact come true.

One of the predictions is that Obama would spend money promiscuously to raise the debt in virtual indifference to its impact on American citizens. In fact Obama has been racking up debt at a rate of 1 trillion dollars a year. The debt has doubled in Obama’s term in office. Bush was a big spender, but even in his most profligate days Bush was deficit-spending 500 billion dollars a year. Obama has doubled that. The country is now almost 17 trillion dollars in debt. That’s bigger than our gross domestic product. That’s an awful burden to saddle our children and grandchildren with. It’s also a burden that drags the economy down and redistributes wealth away from America to the rest of the world. Why? Because in the past much of our debt was owed to other Americans, but now a significant portion of our debt, about a third, is owed to foreigners. Our debt is owed to Kuwaitis and Saudis and Chinese. When we incur debt we have to pay it back. At some point you have to pay. This is a transfer of hundreds of billions, in fact trillions of dollars out of the United States into other countries. My theory about Obama was that he wanted and wants global redistribution and debt is a weapon of global redistribution.

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