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February, 2013.  Photo by joanneleon.

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February, 2013.  Photo by joanneleon.




Yes - America



News and Opinion


A year or two ago there was a big Op-ed in the NYT about replacing Medicare with a system of private insurance and "premium supports" or "premium assistance" which is basically just funneling business to private insurance companies and subsidizing it.  A wet dream for health insurance companies.  Based on the comment section, where the idea was savaged, it did not look like it went over that well. But a negative outcry from the public has never stopped the Obama administration before from undermining critically needed social programs.  I don't know how people on Medicaid are supposed to afford health care premiums, subsidized or not.   So much for the one thing about the Obamacare bill that was laudable.  Are they going to wreck that too?  The Medicaid expansion was, for some people, the main reason they found to support the Obamacare bill.   Taking Medicaid money and using it like a voucher system is an outrage and could undermine the whole system, another Republican wet dream made possible by Barack Obama.

States Urged to Expand Medicaid With Private Insurance

WASHINGTON — The White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income people, even though that approach might be somewhat more expensive, federal and state officials say.

Ohio and Arkansas are negotiating with the Obama administration over plans to use federal Medicaid money to pay premiums for commercial insurance that will be sold to the public in regulated markets known as insurance exchanges.

Republicans in other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas, have expressed interest [...] Valerie Jarrett, a top White House aide, has been a catalyst in talks with Ohio and other states.

The idea of using “premium assistance” to buy private insurance for new Medicaid beneficiaries is a sharp departure from the 2010 health care law, in which Congress expanded Medicaid to cover the poorest Americans and assumed that people with higher incomes would obtain private coverage through the exchanges.

In many states, Republicans are trying to create a hybrid of the two alternatives, taking federal money for the expansion of Medicaid but using it to help people buy commercial insurance instead.

[Emphasis added]

Guardian liveblog for yesterday
Cyprus crisis: MPs approve bank restructuring and solidarity fund - as it happened

• Closing summary: what now for Cyprus and the eurozone?
• Voting highlights
• Wealthy savers to be taxed
• Britain sends top civil servants to help
• Eurogroup meeting on Sunday

Closing summary
Cyprus has taken a significant step towards securing its desperately needed bailout.

The bills approved in the last couple of hours will allow Nicosia to implement a much-deed restructure its banking sector, impose capital controls to prevent a run at its banks, and set up a solidarity fund that might attract new capital.

But it's only part of the battle. Cyprus still needs to meet the demands of international lenders, in time for the eurogroup meeting on Sunday.

It is going to be a tense, dramatic weekend for Cyprus. On Saturday, MPs are expected to reconvene at parliament to discuss and vote on the deposit levy -- back on the agenda, as other options run out.

The details of that tax will be fascinating, amid rumours that big depositors will lose 15% of their wealth.

Cyprus's president Nicos Anastasiades will then travel to Brussels to start the task of persuading eurozone officials to unlock its bailout before the European Central Bank can pull the liquidity plug on Monday.

Sunday's meeting of the eurogroup, complete with Christine Lagarde, will be a crucial event -- determining Cyprus's fate, and the long-term future of the eurozone.


Senate Passes Budget After Late-Night 'Vote-A-Rama'

It took until the wee hours of this morning, but the United States Senate has passed a budget for the first time in four years.





Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Evening Blues
Contrasts in Equality
You See Where This is Headed, Right?






Yes - Roundabout
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