2015 US Government Budget

04/01/2014

gopbudget

Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A Fantasy

Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, released the fiscal-year 2015 House Budget proposal on Tuesday, a largely political document that will help shape the partisan debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As with some of his past budget proposals, Ryan will have trouble explaining the details and the means that get to the end — a balanced budget. This year, the consensus on the most implausible parts of his plan comes on two fronts.

The first are the levels at which non-defense discretionary spending is set in the budget. Discretionary spending is comprised of  spending on programs that have to be reauthorized by Congress every year, not including entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The second is an accounting trick that is likely to be controversial, and that some call a gimmick.

The last year of the budget window, 2024, gives a good example of what Ryan does to balance the budget:

  • He ups non-defense discretionary cuts by $50 billion in 2024.
  • He assumes lower war spending by about $25 billion that same year.
  • He still needs a trick to get the budget to complete balance. Ryan uses a “dynamic” scoring method that helps balance his budget — one that could generate controversy. The “macroeconomic feedback effect” assumes the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits will lead to about $74 billion in savings in 2024.

The non-defense discretionary spending levels, especially in the last year, seem to be the most implausible part of the budget. In 2024, per the budget, the non-defense discretionary spending levels would be $467 billion — a 22 percent cut from post-sequester levels.  In raw dollars, that’s lower than it was in 2005. It’s also much lower than the 2013 level of $576 billion.

Loren Adler, a research director at the  at  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Business Insider it would “c ertainly be one of the toughest pieces to feasibly achieve.”

In inflation-adjusted terms, it amounts to about a 29 percent cut from current levels. According to a Senate Democratic aide, it’s also 28 percent below the average amount of the non-defense discretionary spending levels during the Bush administration.

By 2024, the Ryan budget adds $483 billion to defense spending beyond sequester-set spending caps. But to get overall savings, the budget cuts $791 billion from non-defense discretionary spending.

“NDD levels by end of budget window totally implausible — damage to safety net as well,” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economist and now a senior fellow at the left-leaning  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email.

Ryan also uses the accounting trick to achieve balance. It’s a method he hasn’t employed in past budgets, and one that usually isn’t used by the Congressional Budget Office when scoring legislation. Ryan says the “macroeconomic feedback effect” of the deficit-cutting provisions in his budget will amount to $175 billion in savings over the 10-year budget window. And about $74 billion of that will come in the last year — coincidentally providing the U.S. with a $5 billion surplus.

Here’s Ryan’s reasoning for doing so:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated several times over nearly 20 years that congressional action to reduce deficits will ultimately result in lower interest rates and faster economic growth by freeing up savings for use in productive investment. In addition, CBO has estimated that the positive economic effects of deficit reduction will feed back into the budget and further reduce deficits and debt over the medium and longer term.

Ryan notes the CBO used such dynamic scoring, for example, in 1998, when analyzing the 1998 bipartisan budget resolution that planned to balance the budget. But in general, the CBO says it does not usually analyze the macroeconomic effects due to several reasons (emphasis added):

Doing macroeconomic analysis of all proposed legislation would not be feasible; nearly all legislation analyzed by CBO would have negligible macroeconomic effects anyway (and thus negligible feedback to the federal budget); and estimates of macroeconomic effects are highly uncertain.

In his budget last year, Ryan included guidance about the macroeconomic effects to argue how his budget would be even better for deficits than the numbers showed. However, he did not employ the scoring method to achieve a balanced budget.

.

Republican budget proposes deep cuts in domestic programs

4/1/14 2 hours ago By David Lawder – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a new fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits in 10 years.

Ryan’s budget, called the “Path to Prosperity,” has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but is expected to serve as a campaign manifesto for Republicans in November’s congressional elections.

It proposes to kill President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reforms and revives cuts in social programs such as the popular Medicare entitlement for the elderly that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed in other recent budgets.

The plan calls for savings of $5.1 trillion over a decade, with the goal of reaching a balanced budget by 2024 with no new tax revenues but increased defense spending.

Nearly $2.1 trillion would be saved over a decade by the proposal to kill Obamacare, according to the plan.

A sweeping overhaul of Medicare has been slightly revised, with phased-in changes applying to workers 55 years old and younger, compared to last year’s proposal which affected workers who were 54 and younger.

The document aims to bolster Republicans’ credentials as the party of fiscal prudence, but could open them up to fresh attacks from Democrats, who are calling for steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-budget-proposes-deep-cuts-social-programs-143537137–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWVVA.TpT_kMAeebQtDMD

.

Pelosi Statement on Ryan Republican Budget

April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released this year’s version of the House Republican budget:

“Today, Republicans have laid out their vision for a less prosperous America, demonstrating, yet again, the weakness of their arithmetic and the strength of their indifference to the concerns of struggling middle class families across the country.  They are proving the lengths they will go to protect the special interests at the expense of the public interest.  They are undermining seniors, students, and the middle class, crippling our economic competitiveness, and gutting our nation’s investments in the future – all to protect loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Under this Republican budget, the wealthy and well-connected wouldn’t be asked to pay even a little more.  But seniors would be asked to pay more for preventive services and prescription drugs and see the end of the Medicare guarantee.  Families would witness devastating cuts to research, innovation, education, clean energy, and manufacturing, ceding economic leadership to other nations.  All Americans would see a budget that rejects comprehensive immigration reform, with its promise of job creation, stronger small businesses, a growing economy, and a shrinking deficit.

“Democrats have a better approach: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, investing in our infrastructure and our children’s education, closing the opportunity gap, and responsibly reducing the deficit.  Together, we can reignite the American Dream and build an economy that works for everyone.”

.

Hoyer Statement on Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2015:

“No one ought to be surprised at the budget unveiled by Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans today, which once again asks those with less to give more and those with more to give less.  This year’s Republican budget builds on the disastrous approach Republicans have followed over the past three years, embracing the painful and irrational sequestration cuts and slashing funding that supports investments in opportunity, growth, and security.

“While anyone who looks at the FY2015 Republican budget can readily see that it would do serious damage to our economy and society, Republicans do their best to hide the extent of the damage.  As in previous years, Chairman Ryan relies on gimmicks, magic asterisks, and spurious accounting assumptions to presume that his budget will achieve its anticipated deficit savings.  Additionally, his budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, turns Medicaid into a block grant, repeals the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare], fails to invest in job creation, and does not include any new revenue.  His budget simply doesn’t work – and would lead to significant harm for our country.

“Last week, I delivered a speech in which I called on both parties in Congress to maximize every opportunity to move us closer toward the long-term fiscal sustainability that our country needs.  Our budget process is just such an opportunity; unfortunately, House Republicans chose to make it a partisan messaging exercise rather than a real effort to achieve balanced deficit savings and invest in the programs that strengthen our economy, grow our middle class, and help more of our businesses and families Make It In America.”

.

Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

April 01, 2014

To build real, lasting economic security for the middle class, the President and Democrats in Congress have a plan to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down, and create more opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress do not have a plan that works for the middle class and the House Republican Budget is the same old top-down approach. Because of a stubborn unwillingness to cut the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well connected, the House Republican Budget would slow the economy, stack the deck against the middle class, and threaten the guaranteed benefits seniors have paid for and earned.

The House Republican Budget would raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million. It would force deep cuts to investments in our roads and bridges, scientific research to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and at every level of education from early childhood to community college. It would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare. Instead of ensuring that Americans earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work and lifting millions of people out of poverty, the House Republican approach undermines Americans working hard to support their families by slashing food stamps and Medicaid. And rather than expanding health coverage for all Americans and making it more affordable, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising health care costs on families and businesses and eliminating coverage for the 3 million young adults who have gained coverage by staying on their parent’s plan, the millions of people who have signed up for private insurance plans through the Marketplaces, and millions more who can continue to gain coverage through Medicaid.

The House Republican Budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which would accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President has put forward a Budget that rewards hard work with fair wages, equips all children with a high-quality education to prepare them for a good job, puts a secure retirement within reach, and ensures health care is affordable and reliable, while at the same time asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and making tough cuts to programs we can’t afford. And by paying for new investments and tackling our true fiscal challenges, the President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve already made to cut the deficit by more than half since 2009 and cuts the deficit as a share of the economy to 1.6 percent by 2024. It also stabilizes the debt as a share of the economy by 2015 and puts it on a declining path after that.

Budgets are about choices and values. House Republicans have chosen to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class families to get ahead. The President believes that is the wrong approach and that we should instead be making smart investments necessary to create jobs, grow our economy, and expand opportunity, while still cutting the deficit in a balanced way and securing our nation’s future.

..

A State-by-State Breakdown of the Damage That Would Be Caused by the House Republican Budget

Amy Brundage April 09, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

House Republicans this week are voting on a budget that protects tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle-class families to get ahead. It is the same old top-down approach and would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.

As in previous years, the House Republican Budget proposes deep funding reductions that would result in severe cuts to critical areas that are needed to support job creation, economic growth, a strong middle class, and assistance for lower income individuals, especially when compared to the overall level of investment in the President’s budget. Since House Republicans aren’t willing to identify specifically what they actually want to cut, one way to assess the potential damaging impact is to look at what would happen to key programs if the cuts compared to the President’s budget were applied evenly across the board.

The results show the potential extent of the damage across the country. Within a few years:

  • In Florida, 290,000 seniors benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole in 2013 alone and at least that many likely would have to pay more for their needed medications in future years.
  • In California, more than 50,000 fewer students would receive Pell Grants to help them pay for college.
  • In Ohio, the proposed Medicaid block grant would cut federal Medicaid funding for the state by more than $30 billion over the next decade, likely resulting in more uninsured individuals and less care for those still covered.
  • In Texas, 12,000 fewer children would receive Head Start services.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 people would lose job search assistance.
  • In Missouri, 1,700 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

A full list of state-by-state impacts can be found here.

.

 

President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


Agricultural Act of 2014

02/07/2014

PBO Signs 2014 Farm Bill aka Agricultural Act of 2014

Agricultural Act of 2014 - Fact Sheet

Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

usda.gov

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation that provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. The new Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer.

The new Farm Bill will allow USDA to continue record accomplishments on behalf of the American people, while providing new opportunity and creating jobs across rural America. It will enable USDA to further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the biobased economy. It will provide a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It will maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.

Read Statement by Secretary Vilsack on Passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014
.

Farm Bill Conferees Come Through for Wildlife with Strong Water and Soil Protections” – National Wildlife Federation

One of the Strongest Farm Bills Ever for Conservation Passes the Senate” – The Nature Conservancy

Plains Cotton Growers Applaud House Approval of Agricultural Act of 2014

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Applauds Passage of Farm Bill, Measures to Support Access to Healthy Foods for Millions

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


USDA Climate Hubs

02/05/2014

USDA Climate Hubs

USDA’s Climate Hubs: Providing Targeted Solutions to Modern Challenges

Secretary Tom Vilsack February 05, 2014 12:51 PM EST

America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners face a complex and ever-changing threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate. The past three years alone have brought some of the most severe and devastating floods, droughts and fires our nation has experienced in recent history.

While no individual event can be linked to climate change, extreme weather conditions are increasingly impacting our farmers, ranchers and forest owners, to the detriment of their bottom lines, our food supply, and the future security of our farm economy.

We need a strategy that strengthens agriculture’s response to the impacts of a changing and shifting climate. Our farmers and ranchers need new and better tools to respond and prepare for the challenges of drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons and changes in pest pressure.

USDA has answered the call from our nation’s producers and land managers and launched seven regionally-located Climate Hubs to act as repositories of data and offer the practical, science-based tools and strategies our producers need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate.

Recognizing that regions face different climate challenges, the Hubs are housed in USDA facilities spread across the country. Each Hub will focus on developing research and solutions tailored to the specific vulnerabilities of its region, such as drought-tolerant seed varieties, strategies to maintain soil health, and ways to monitor and respond to fires and pest outbreaks.

We won’t work alone. Climate Hubs support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put us on track to a cleaner environment. Through Climate Hubs, we will further strengthen our partnerships with a wide range of organizations working on climate issues, including the Department of Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, land-grant universities, Native Nations and organizations, state departments of environment and agriculture, research centers, and farm groups.

In order to address climate change, we have to get ahead of it, and no one innovates in the face of challenge better than rural America. This will not be an easy task, but I am confident that working together, USDA and its partners can effectively manage the risks from a shifting climate and build a stronger, more secure future for our farm and forest resources.

Hub Leadership Contact

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


Affordable Care Act: Focus on Addictions

10/20/2013

Addiction

Affordable Care Act 2010

Substance Abuse and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will make health insurance available to many more people, lower health care costs, guarantee more health care choices, and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans.

The ACA includes substance use disorders as one of the ten elements of essential health benefits. This means that all health insurance sold on Health Insurance Exchanges or provided by Medicaid to certain newly eligible adults starting in 2014 must include services for substance use disorders.

By including these benefits in health insurance packages, more health care providers can offer and be reimbursed for these services, resulting in more individuals having access to treatment. The specific substance abuse services that will be covered are currently being determined by the Department of Health and Human Services, and will take into account evidence on what services allow individuals to get the treatment they need and help them with recovery.

Additional Resources:

ObamaCare Toll Free Number

October 23, 2013
The Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health

Fifty years ago President Kennedy signed the “Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act of 1963″, Public Law 88-164, 77 STAT 282, “to provide assistance in combating mental retardation through grants for construction of research centers and grants for facilities for the mentally retarded and assitance in improving mental health through grants for construction of community mental health centers, and for other purposes.”

7:50 PM ET
Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health Gala; former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Chelsea Clinton also attend

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Boston, Massachusetts
Obama_Biden_thumbnail


ObamaCare #GetCovered

09/29/2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a federal statute that was signed into United States law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. This Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (signed into law on March 30, 2010) made up the health care reform of 2010. The laws focus on reform of the private health insurance market, provide better coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, improve prescription drug coverage in Medicare and extend the life of the Medicare Trust fund by at least 12 years.

PPACA passed the Senate on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60–39 with all Democrats and Independents voting for, and all Republicans voting against. It passed the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010, by a vote of 219–212, with all 178 Republicans and 34 Democrats voting against the bill.

On June 28, 2012 Supreme Court Decision: Health Care Law Constitutional

April 17, 2014

 

FACT SHEET: Affordable Care Act by the Numbers

 

The Affordable Care Act is working. It is giving millions of middle class Americans the health care security they deserve, it is slowing the growth of health care costs and it has brought transparency and competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace.

 

HEALTH CARE BY THE NUMBERS

 

* 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace. For states that have Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces, 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old, virtually the same youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in their first year of health reform.
* 3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan.
* 3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of February, compared to before the Marketplaces opened. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year-round.
* 5 million people are enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards outside the Marketplace, according to a CBO estimate. When insurers set premiums for next year, they are required to look at everyone who enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards, both on and off the Marketplace.
* 5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016 because 24 States have not expanded Medicaid.

 

HEALTH CARE COST GROWTH IS LOWEST IN DECADES

 

* Health care costs are growing at the slowest level on record: Since the law passed, real per capita health care spending is estimated to have grown at the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1960. This slower growth in spending is reflected in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.
* CBO projects the deficit will shrink more and premiums will be lower than expected: CBO previously estimated that the ACA will reduce the deficit by $1.7 trillion over two decades, and, just this week, CBO concluded that lower-than-expected Marketplace premiums and other recent developments will cut $104 billion from our deficit over the next ten years. The CBO report also projects that lower-than-expected premiums will help to save $5 billion this year, and that lower premiums will persist in the years ahead, remaining 15 percent below projections by 2016 (the only year in which CBO provides a precise estimate).
* Medicare spending growth is down: Medicare per capita spending is growing at historically low rates. This week, for the fifth straight year, the CBO reduced its projections for Medicare spending over the next 10 years – this time by $106 billion. CBO projects that Medicare and Medicaid costs in 2020 will be $180 billion below its 2010 estimates. Recent economic research suggests that the ACA’s reforms to Medicare may have “spillover effects” that reduce costs and improve quality across the health care system, not just in Medicare.

 
aca_cbo_numbers_april_2014
THE SECURITY OF HEALTH INSURANCE FOR MILLIONS OF MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES

 

* Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – including up to 17 million children – no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.
* 71 million Americans with private insurance have gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service such as mammograms, birth control, or immunizations in 2011 and 2012.
* In 2013, 37 million people with Medicare received at least one preventive service at no out of pocket cost.
* Approximately 60 million Americans have gained expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or federal parity protections.
* Since the health care law was enacted, almost 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs as the health care law closes Medicare’s “donut hole.”
* 105 million Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach a lifetime limit.

.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

What if I have job-based insurance?

How can I get coverage at lower costs?

What do small businesses need to know?

Am I eligible for Medicaid?

What if I’m self-employed?

What if I have a pre-existing condition?

How the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your State

Health Resources and Services Administration app Find a Health Center

.

Learn more: https://www.healthcare.gov

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


Back To School Event with FLOTUS

09/05/2013

Lets Move Active Schools

Let's Move Active Schools

Why Active Schools?

Regular physical activity helps students succeed in school – and in life!

In addition to keeping kids healthy and strong, being active for 60 minutes each day has been shown to:

  • Increase concentration and focus
  • Improve classroom attendance and behavior
  • Boost academic performance

As the places where kids spend a majority of their time, schools are important places for kids to experience and enjoy being active.  That’s why, in collaboration with the groups below, the First Lady kicked off the Let’s Move! Active Schools program to help schools across the country make quality physical activity a part of every kid’s day.

Let’s Move! Active Schools is a comprehensive program that empowers school champions – P.E. teachers, classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and parents – to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential.

A Let’s Move! Active School provides opportunities in 5 key areas:

  1. Physical Education
  2. Physical Activity During School
  3. Physical Activity Before and After School
  4. Family & Community Involvement
  5. Staff Involvement

Let’s Move! Active Schools provides individual champions with a clear roadmap to meet their goals in the 5 key areas above. Learn more: www.letsmoveschools.org

.

Let’s Move!

Friday, September 6th at 1:00 PM ET
First Lady Michelle Obama will be joined by Shaquille O’Neal, Allyson Felix, and Dominique Dawes for a Back to School Event
Orr Elementary in Washington, DC

.

Let’s Move!

Websitehttp://www.letsmove.gov/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/letsmove
Tweet: http://www.twitter.com/letsmove
.

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


GOP Mantra: Save The Egg BUT Abandon The Living

07/11/2013

Scrooge aka GOP Congress

.

Farm Bill passes in House, without food stamp funding

July 11 at 3:40 pm By Ed O’Keefe – washingtonpost

House Republicans successfully passed a Farm Bill Thursday by splitting apart funding for food stamps from federal agricultural policy, a move that infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats who spent most of the day trying to delay a final vote.

Lawmakers voted 216 to 208 make changes to federal agricultural policy and conservation programs and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. But the measure says nothing about funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which historically constitutes about 80 percent of the funding in a Farm Bill.

No House Democrat voted for the measure. Twelve Republicans also opposed it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted in favor of it, even though speakers traditionally don’t vote.

The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/11/house-republicans-drop-food-stamps-from-new-farm-bill/

.

Obama threatens veto on farm bill

7/11/13 6:48 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO44

The White House late Wednesday night responded to a new farm bill posted by House Republicans, threatening to veto it in part over it not including food stamps.

The House Rules Committee held a hearing on the new version of the so-called farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and posted the more-than 600 page bill not long thereafter, with a vote expected Thursday.

The White House statement decried the last-minute move in its veto threat late Wednesday, saying “because the 608 page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill. It is apparent, though, that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy, an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country.”

The veto threat was widely expected because of the bill’s lack of renewal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, an amendment on which was a major sticking point in the failure of the House’s last attempt to pass the bill.

.

In the 2012 fiscal year, $74.6 billion in food assistance was distributed. As of September 2012, 47.7 million Americans were receiving on average $134.29 per month in food assistance. In Washington, D.C., and Mississippi, more than one-fifth of residents receive food assistance.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supplemental_Nutrition_Assistance_Program

People don’t go on Social Services for the fun of it; it usually is the last thing that they resort to.

VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


ACA (aka ObamaCare) Hospital Cost Comparison & Peace Officers Memorial Day

05/14/2013

obamacare hospital charges comparison

9/17/13 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces in the Daily White House Briefing that 6 in 10 Americans without health insurance may get coverage for $100 or less per month in 2014.

9/17/13 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces in the Daily White House Briefing that 6 in 10 Americans without health insurance may get coverage for $100 or less per month in 2014.

Administration offers consumers an unprecedented look at hospital charges

May 8, 2013 hhs.gov

Today, as part of the Obama administration’s work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a three-part initiative that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge. New data released today show significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. Also today, HHS made approximately $87 million available to states to enhance their rate review programs and further health care pricing transparency. In an example of how these data might be used, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is planning a data visualization challenge which will further the dissemination of these data to larger audiences.

“Currently, consumers don’t know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This data and new data centers will help fill that gap.”

The data posted today on CMS’s website include information comparing the charges for services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays. Hospitals determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills for an item or service.

“Transformation of the health care delivery system cannot occur without greater price transparency,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., RWJF president and CEO. “While more work lies ahead, the release of these hospital price data will allow us to shine a light on the often vast variations in hospital charges.” These amounts can vary widely. For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.

Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

To make these data useful to consumers, HHS is also providing funding to data centers to collect, analyze, and publish health pricing and medical claims reimbursement data. The data centers’ work helps consumers better understand the comparative price of procedures in a given region or for a specific health insurer or service setting. Businesses and consumers alike can use these data to drive decision-making and reward cost-effective provision of care.

The Affordable Care Act also makes available many tools to help ensure consumers, Medicare, and other payers get the best value for their health care dollar. Medicare is beginning to pay providers based on the quality they provide rather than just the quantity of services they furnish by implementing new programs such as value-based purchasing and readmissions reductions. HHS awarded $170 million to states to enhance their rate review programs, and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the proportion of insurance company requests for double-digit rate increases fell from 75 percent in 2010 to 14 percent so far in 2013.

The Health Care Law and You 

.

How the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your State

Hospital Dataset  http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/index.html

Funding Opportunity announcement http://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA # 93.511 .

.

” Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurers now have to justify double-digit rate increases publicly, for everybody to see.  And most states have new authority thanks to incentives under this law to reject unjustifiable rate increases.  Insurers are now required to spend at least 80 percent of the money you pay in premiums on actual health care -– not on profits, not on overhead, but on you.  And if they fail to meet that target, they actually have to reimburse you — either with a rebate or lower premiums.  Millions of Americans discovered this last year — they opened an envelope from their insurance company that wasn’t a bill, it was a check.  That’s already happened.  A lot of people don’t know it, but that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.

Beginning this week, as part of the law’s price transparency tools, we made public the prices that different hospitals charge you for most common services, so you can see if you’re getting what you pay for.  And soon, bad actors in the insurance industry will never again be able to discriminate against you just because you’ve gotten sick in the past.   They can’t discriminate against you because you’ve got a preexisting condition.  And, by the way, they can’t charge you more just for being a woman.  Pregnancy will no longer be considered a preexisting condition.

And finally, beginning this fall, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance, you’ll finally have the chance to buy quality, affordable care just like everybody else.

So here’s how this is going to work.  We’re setting up a new online marketplace where, beginning October 1st, you can go online, or talk to organizations in every state that are going to have this set up, and you can then comparison shop an array of private health insurance plans.  You can look at them side-by-side, just like you’d go online and compare cars.  And because you’ll now be part of a new pool of millions of other Americans, part of this exchange, insurance companies will actually want to compete for your business the same way they compete for the business of a big company with a lot of employees.

So once these marketplaces are up and running, no one can be turned away from private insurance plans.  Period.  If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to buy quality, affordable health care as everybody else.  If you can’t afford to buy private insurance, if it’s still too expensive — even though you’re getting much better prices through these exchanges than you would in the individual market, going out there by yourself, or if you work for just a small company that doesn’t have a lot of leverage with insurance companies you’re going to have a better deal through these exchanges — but if you still can’t afford it, then you’re going to get help reducing your out-of-pocket premiums with the largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in our history.

So what does all this mean?  It means that if you lose your job, or you change your job, or you start that new business, you’ll still be able to purchase quality, affordable care that’s yours — and you’ll have the security and peace of mind that comes with it.  If you’re a young person expecting to try many different jobs and careers until you find one that suits you, you’ll be able to buy insurance that goes with you, travels with you, that gives you the freedom to pursue whatever you want without the fear that illness or accident somehow derails your dreams.

So there’s a lot that this law is already doing for Americans with insurance, and there is a lot more that is going to happen for folks who don’t have insurance.  But we’ve still got a lot of work to do in the coming months to make sure more Americans can buy affordable coverage. “

President Obama 5/10/13

ObamaCare Toll Free Number

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Natl Peace Officers Memorial Service 5:15:13

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and Federal peace officers. The Memorial takes place on May 15, and Police Week is the calendar week in which the Memorial falls.

 John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962. Amended in 1994, Bill Clinton, through Public Law 103-322, directed that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on May 15.

“Day after day, police officers in every corner of America suit up, put on the badge, and carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve. They step out the door every morning without considering bravery or heroics. They stay focused on meeting their responsibilities. They concentrate on keeping their neighborhoods safe and doing right by their fellow officers. And with quiet courage, they help fulfill the demanding yet vital task of shielding our people from harm. It is work that deserves our deepest respect — because when darkness and danger would threaten the peace, our police officers are there to step in, ready to lay down their lives to protect our own.

This week, we pay solemn tribute to men and women who did. Setting aside fear and doubt, these officers made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the rule of law and the communities they loved. They heard the call to serve and answered it; braved the line of fire; charged toward the danger. Our hearts are heavy with their loss, and on Peace Officers Memorial Day, our Nation comes together to reflect on the legacy they left us.

As we mark this occasion, let us remember that we can do no greater service to those who perished than by upholding what they fought to protect. That means doing everything we can to make our communities safer. It means putting cops back on the beat and supporting them with the tools and training they need. It means getting weapons of war off our streets and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals — common-sense measures that would reduce gun violence and help officers do their job safely and effectively.”

5/10/13 President Barack Obama 

.

Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) – Donate

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


21st Century Drug Policy

04/25/2013

21st Century Drug Policy

Drug Policy Reform In Action: A 21st Century Approach

Posted by Cameron Hardesty on April 24, 2013 at 10:16 AM EDT

The President has outlined his vision of an America built to last—where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet–for far too many Americans–that vision is limited by drug use, which not only diminishes the potential of the individual, but jeopardizes families, communities and neighborhoods.

The economic costs of drug use are enormous: In 2007 alone, illicit drug use cost taxpayers more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs. But the human costs are worse. Nationwide, drug-induced overdose deaths now surpass homicides and car crashes as the leading cause of injury death in America.

We are not powerless to address these challenges. And as recent data has shown, we are not unable to reverse these trends. Prescription drug abuse is beginning to decline. Cocaine use and related overdoses are dropping. And recent data show the nation’s prison and jail population dropping for the third straight year.

Today we are releasing a science-driven plan for drug policy reform in America to build upon this progress. This 21st century drug policy outlines a series of evidence-based reforms that treat our Nation’s drug problem as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. This policy underscores what we all know to be true: we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/04/24/drug-policy-reform-action-21st-century-approach

PBO Drug Policy Reform Plan

Office of National Drug Control Policy 
Policy and Research
Issues
Prevention
Prescription Drug Abuse
Enforcement
Treatment and Recovery
President Obama’s Plan
Sign Up to Learn More

.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-TALK

Subustance Abuse & Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov


Fiscal Year 2014 WH Budget & Ch. Capt. E.J. Kapaun, Medal of Honor

04/10/2013


Fiscal Year 2014 WH Budget Proposal of the US Government

April 10, 2013

Remarks by the President Announcing the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please, please have a seat.  Well, as President, my top priority is to do everything I can to reignite what I consider to be the true engine of the American economy:  a rising, thriving middle class.  That’s what I think about every day.  That’s the driving force behind every decision that I make.

And over the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6.5 million new jobs.  But we know we can help them create more.  Corporate profits are at an all-time high.  But we have to get wages and incomes rising, as well.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in years.  But we can do more to bring them down in a balanced and responsible way.

The point is, our economy is poised for progress — as long as Washington doesn’t get in the way.  Frankly, the American people deserve better than what we’ve been seeing:  a shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making, like the reckless, across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting a lot of communities out there — cuts that economists predict will cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs during the course of this year.

If we want to keep rebuilding our economy on a stronger, more stable foundation, then we’ve got to get smarter about our priorities as a nation.  And that’s what the budget I’m sending to Congress today represents — a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth.

For years, the debate in this town has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs, and making the investments necessary to grow our economy.  And this budget answers that argument, because we can do both.  We can grow our economy and shrink our deficits.  In fact, as we saw in the 1990s, nothing shrinks deficits faster than a growing economy.  That’s been my goal since I took office.  And that should be our goal going forward.

At a time when too many Americans are still looking for work, my budget begins by making targeted investments in areas that will create jobs right now, and prime our economy to keep generating good jobs down the road.  As I said in my State of the Union address, we should ask ourselves three questions every day:  How do we make America a magnet for new jobs?  How do we give our workers the skills they need to do those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

To make America a magnet for good jobs, this budget invests in new manufacturing hubs to help turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.  We’ll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain and cure disease.  We’ll continue our march towards energy independence and address the threat of climate change.  And our Rebuild America Partnership will attract private investment to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools, in turn attracting even more new business to communities across the country.

To help workers earn the skills they need to fill those jobs, we’ll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  And we’re going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

For the entire speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/10/remarks-president-announcing-fiscal-year-2014-budget

PBO economy quote

Mid-Session Review

The Budget

Analytical Perspectives

Historical Tables

Supplemental Materials

Appendix

Past Budgets

US Budget Deficit By Year 2008-2013

Deficit reduction picks up speed

May 14, 2013 4:05 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

This is just astounding.

If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, CBO estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year — at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP.

Thanks in large part to higher taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans said would not reduce the deficit, deficit reduction is picking up speed at a pace few could have predicted. We’re now looking at over $400 billion in deficit reduction in just one year, and about $800 billion in deficit reduction since President Obama took office.

Let’s say this plainly: for those who saw the federal budget deficit as a “problem,” it’s fair to say this problem has been largely fixed.

And while we’re at it, let’s also not forget that Republican talking points on fiscal policy have effectively been left in tatters, and every conservative political figure who’s declared “Socialist Obama is turning America into Greece!” looks incredibly foolish right now.

The president took some heat for failing to cut the deficit in half in his first term, and the criticisms had merit, at least insofar as he didn’t reach his original goal. That said, Obama’s on track to cut it by well over half — both in real terms and as a percentage of GDP — in five years.

It’s time to stop worrying a shrinking deficit and start worrying about creating a more robust economic recovery.

.

White House Press Secretary Annoucement on the CBO’s Deficit Report:

“the CBO report yesterday, the so-called baseline reestimate. And the improvements in the CBO’s report show that the President’s policies of cutting the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion in a balanced way are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II. The most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.

While there is still more work to be done to cut the deficit, this is important progress because we strengthen America by growing the economy from the middle out. Working with leaders from both parties, President Obama has cut the deficit by more than half when measured as a share of GDP. This is a balanced deficit reduction that cuts waste, asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes, and preserves investments we need in energy, education, and manufacturing to grow the economy and create jobs.

The administration is committed to continuing to work with Congress to create jobs, reduce the deficit, and replace the sequester in a balanced way.

Later this week, we understand that CBO will be putting out a reestimate of the President’s budget, which includes, as you know, his plan to replace the economically damaging sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would help drive stronger economic growth in the short.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at the 5/15/13 White House Press Conference

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.

Medal of Honor

On April 11, President Barack Obama will award Chaplain (Captain) Emil J. Kapaun, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

Chaplain Kapaun will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his extraordinary heroism while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea and as a prisoner of war from November 1-2, 1950.

Obama_Biden_thumbnail


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 221 other followers