"The product is good and people want it," President Obama said, touting his health insurance plan to an audience at DreamWorks Animation in November. Yet, for being such an illustrious product, the Obama Administration sure seems desperate for people to get on board.
Here are 20 ways the White House, state exchanges, and supporters have tried to sell Obamacare.
1. With the infamous Bro-surance ad:
2. Quickly followed by Hoe-surance:
3. With a "geek" selfie:
4. With a message from Lebron James:
5. With a kind-looking woman and her pins:
6. By explaining there just isn't enough...Bubble Wrap to go around?
7. By helping citizens to "prioritize health care" above those non-essential items, like oh, say...a cell phone and cable:
8. By lying:
9. By using celebrities to show just how cool health insurance can be:
10. By lying A LOT:
11. By using your parents:
12. By Michelle Obama warning kids they need Obamacare for when they fall off all those bars stools and cut slice their fingers with those tricky knives:
13. On a comedy show:
14. With pictures of Obamacare "pi:"
Happy Pi Day. Grab a slice. pic.twitter.com/cOJdhI2V5U— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 14, 2014
15. And one more that will just make everyone want to run right over to their computer, pick up their phone, or mail in their information:
Remember: sign up for this crappy product and #Get Covered by March 31!
It looks like Mississippi is taking the right steps to reducing fraud when it comes to government assistance. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will now require new applicants to submit a questionnaire that will evaluate the likelihood of substance abuse.
Residents who apply for this temporary assistance from the state will have to submit to drug testing if the state deems they are likely substance abusers from this questionnaire. Testing positive once would require a TANF recipient to undergo treatment for substance abuse. For testing positive a second time, the recipient would be kicked out of the program for 90 days. A third positive result would remove the recipient for up to a year.
Governor Bryant said, “The TANF program is a safety net for families in need, and adding this screening process will aid adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle so they can better provide for their children.” The state will be using federal funds earmarked for TANF to administer the questionnaires and testing. They estimate the cost of testing will be only $36,000 each year.
There are currently only 9 other states that have passed legislation requiring TANF applicants to be screened for drugs. And there are at least 24 more that are looking into this type of legislation too.
This seems like a great way for the state to spend a minimal amount in order to save the system a lot of money. What many people will think here is how Republicans hate poor people and how we don’t want to help them, but in all reality we want to help those who really need it and aren’t abusing the system. The governor of Mississippi and his legislature have figured out a way to do this, and I say “kudos” to them!
Looks like the White House will really do anything to try and hype the failing Obamacare law! After President Obama recently admitted that many in fact, will not be able to keep their doctors, a new push has come out of Hollywood to plug the health care law. And no, it’s not another appearance on the comedy show “Between Two Ferns”.
The White House is really reaching here, but there is now a video of celebrities’ moms doing a pitch for Obamacare! Mothers of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys and Jonah Hill are featured in a nearly 2 minute video praising Obamacare.
They are highlighted telling stories of their famous children and how they felt invincible. Jonah Hill’s mother says, “Trust me—us moms put up with a lot. But one thing we should never have to put up with is our kids not having health care.”
The moms are pushing a new slogan, #YourMomCares.
Clearly the White House is getting a bit desperate here. Now that they have used all of the celebrities they possibly can to try and get people excited about Obamacare, they are now moving on to their moms. How bad is it when they can’t find anyone to speak to the younger generation and get them excited about the new health law that they supposedly support.
The best part is, when Michelle closes it out by saying “We nag you because we love you.” Ugh!! Check out the full video below:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s behavior during daily briefings has changed, Mediaite’s columnist Joe Concha observed last year.
“He has become more testy, more combative, more personal with the White House Press Corps than anyone in his position prior,” Concha wrote in the March 2013 column. “It seems if any reporter questions this White House—which has arguably experienced its worst month if recent precipitous drops in the polls are any indication—they are attacked publicly and directly.”
After giving several examples, Concha concludes by letting Carney know it’s OK to step down.
Now it seems that time may have come. The Daily Caller has the details:
Insiders very close to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney indicate that he’s on his way out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, The Mirror has learned. Carney has told people he’s leaving the White House soon.
In 2008, Carney became Director of Communications for Vice President Joe Biden. In 2011, he became the nation’s 29th press secretary, President Obama’s second, replacing Robert Gibbs. […]
The Mirror sought comment from White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the man who could very well replace Carney when he makes the jump. He gave the old non-denial denial: “We routinely decline to comment on speculation about personnel matters,” Earnest told The Mirror.
I’m sure if asked though, Carney would refer you to someone else anyway.
A report out last week from the center-left Brookings Institution highlights that, although a little bit of progress has been made on budget deficits in recent years, a massive challenge remains - one that President Obama is intent on ignoring with his "anti-austerity" budget requests.
"Forgotten But Not Gone" is the report out from Alan Auerbach and William Gale, two fellows at the Brookings Institution. They write:
Several recent changes have helped improve the nation’s medium-term and long-term budget picture. But the country started with a substantial fiscal gap, and so while the recent improvements have helped shave part of the problem away, there is still a long way to go. Moreover, even as current-period deficits fall to more typical historical levels from the enormous levels that persisted in 2009-11, the nation now must carry a debt load that is twice as large as its historical average and that makes budget outcomes much more sensitive to interest rates.
Under even the most optimistic scenario, the necessary adjustments will be large relative to those adopted under the recent legislation. Moreover, the most optimistic long-run projections already incorporate the effects of success at “bending the curve” of health care cost growth, so further measures will clearly be needed. Also, the changes needed relate much more to medium- and long-term deficits, not short-term deficits. They thus are to a large extent unrelated to and unaffected by the recent fiscal drama in Washington.
If anything, they understate it. There are massive changes that will be necessary to America's entitlement programs in the coming years if we are to continue to have a manageable long-term debt. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security largely escaped the budget scalpel that our legislators took to bring the medium-term deficit under control. But the charts of the Brookings report should bring some clarity to the situation:
So while there has been a case for some optimism when it comes to our medium-term deficit, the true drivers of increasing government spending have remained untouched. President Obama wants to continue to ignore the problem, and some of his Democratic cohorts like Liz Warren actually want to increase our entitlement spending.
The future right now still looks like a tidal wave of red ink.
The editors at Lenta.ru were reminded that free speech is not all that welcome in Russia when last week the state pressured the site’s editor, Galina Timchenko, to resign.
On Tuesday morning, the country’s media watchdog formally cautioned the website after it published an interview with the leader of a Ukrainian nationalist organization that Russia has denounced as fascist. By afternoon, the site’s editor for the last decade was ousted and replaced by another editor viewed as more loyal to the Kremlin.
But, contrary to the Kremlin’s wishes, the independent online news organization is not staying silent. The 69 staff members promptly posted a scathing statement on their website’s front page, condemning the government’s bully tactics.
“The dismissal of an independent chief editor and the appointment of a person who can be controlled from outside, including directly from offices in the Kremlin - that is already a violation of the media law."
Timchenko’s successor, Alexei Goreslavsky, unsurprisingly, is much more sympathetic to the Kremlin. Until recently, he oversaw a pro-Kremlin website and even helped an ally of President Putin’s become the mayor of Moscow last September.
The ever bold Lenta.ru employees summed up their country’s freedom-crushing authority best:
"The problem is not that there is nowhere left for us to work. The problem is that there is nothing left, it seems, for you to read.”
Just how functional is the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)? Not very -- if there’s even a kernel of truth to David Wright’s blistering resignation letter from the federal agency:
A Health and Human Services official is having a very public take-this-job-and-shove-it moment.
David Wright, the director of the federal agency's Office of Research Integrity, sent a scathing resignation letter to his boss late last month detailing -- with the precision of a seasoned researcher -- all his reasons for quitting the federal government. The letter catalogued the frustrations of getting minor expenses approved, of navigating department politics and of spinning his wheels on producing "repetitive and often meaningless data and reports to make our precinct of the bureaucracy look productive."
"I'm offended as an American taxpayer that the federal bureaucracy -- at least the part I've labored in -- is so profoundly dysfunctional," Wright wrote to Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) Howard Koh.
Reading excerpts from Mr. Wright’s letter one wonders how the federal government ever thought they could possibly manage the task of successfully signing Americans up for health insurance on October 1, 2013. That was an unrealistic launch date. The botched roll-out of Healthcare.gov, then, was a foregone conclusion and not an after-the-fact disaster. And Mr. Wright's spirited letter, perhaps, provides some clues as to why that's the case:
The transition from university life to the government was apparently too much.
"This has been at once the best and worst job I've ever had," he wrote, reflecting fondly on his research work before launching into a tirade over everything else he did -- namely "navigating the remarkably dysfunctional HHS bureaucracy to secure resources and, yes, get permission for ORI to serve the research community."
He described asking, to no avail, to free up $35 at one point to convert tapes to CDs for a presentation. He ended up having to do it himself at a university.
Wright recalled how, when he needed to "urgently" fill a vacancy, he was told there was a "secret" priority list. But after 16 months, the position was never filled anyway.
And he lamented how he was told by superiors to "make my bosses look good" and "lower my expectations" in government service.
Dear gosh. If this is how the agency is run, it's unsurprising the Obamacare roll-out was an abject disaster. Still, there are many competent people who work for the federal government, many of whom do so out of a profound sense of patriotism. But resignation letters such as these don’t exactly inspire confidence in government institutions -- or government leaders, for that matter. Keep up the good work, Secretary Sebelius.
We're all counting on you.
In light of President Obama's dramatic goalpost shifting on his ironclad "keep your doctor" pledge, we decided to highlight what's become of three core promises made by Democrats during their frenetic Obamacare sales pitch: (1) If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. (2) If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. (3) Everyone's premiums will go down, with the average family saving $2,500. Americans were also assured that the law wouldn't add to deficits, would bend the government's healthcare spending "cost curve" down, and wouldn't negatively impact Medicare -- none of which have been borne out by reality. But for most people, the central question was "is this law going to hurt or help me and my family?" The vast majority of Americans were satisfied with their existing healthcare arrangements, but were hoping for lower rates. That's why Democrats vowed to preserve the popular elements of the status quo, explaining that the only significant change people would experience was the desirable outcome of substantially lower costs. All three prongs of that idealized vision are now officially dead. This is not a Republican claim. The president and his team have made it explicit in their own words. Be sure to pay attention to the definitive and airtight assertions they made prior to the law's passage and implementation, which makes their current revisionism all the more galling:
The new paradigm, with which the American people are understandably displeased: (1) You might be able to keep your doctor, but you might not. Although you may be able to maintain your preferred providers if you're willing to pay more. (2) Millions of your plans have been and will continue to be cancelled -- but we're not at fault because of the fine print that we didn't mention in public appeals. (3) Your premiums won't go down after all -- let alone by $2,500 -- but they might go up less than they hypothetically would have. This law is an empirical failure by any reasonable standard, and one political party is exclusively responsible for it.
Editor's Note: Many thanks to my colleague Sarah Jean Seman for her help in editing the above video.
A lingerie store in Louisiana applied for and was approved to accept EBT cards as a form of payment. The store, Kiss My Lingerie, is located in Gonzales, LA, and sells lingerie and sex toys. EBT cards, which in Louisiana are referred to as "Louisiana Purchase Cards", carry both food and cash benefits.
To paraphrase a line from The Hangover, while it isn't illegal for Kiss My Lingerie to accept EBT cards as payment for its line of corsets and bustiers, it's certainly being frowned upon.
From WAFB News (emphasis added):
A woman who works near the store and asked not to be identified said in the last few weeks, she's noticed more people going inside the adult shop. She added that's when she saw the message on the front door of the store that the EBT card is listed as an acceptable form of payment.
"We were told anything could be purchased there, with the food stamp card," she said. "No child I know eats edible underwear."
Although this case skirts the line, state officials stated there's no violation of the law with the store accepting the card for lingerie and other adult items. They added because the cash benefits are part of a federal program, Louisiana does not dictate how families spend the money of those cards, which could be less than $200 a month or up to $400 a month.
"It's still the taxpayers dollars that are being used in a store like that and that really upsets me," the unidentified woman said.
Under the SNAP (food stamp) program, any non-prepared item that is edible that does not contain alcohol or medicine is considered to be "food," and can be purchased with SNAP funds at eligible retailers. This umbrella apparently includes edible underwear and candy shaped like pieces of the male anatomy.
I'd say "ridiculous," but honestly, it's hard to even faze me any more. How else are the poor going to purchase bustiers without taxpayer dollars?
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Michael Medved talks Ukraine with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. PETERS: "The comparison between President Obama and Neville Chamberlain is grossly unfair...to Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain was trying to buy time while Britain desperately and frantically rearmed. Obama is shilly-shallying while America disarms." Bill Bennett and K.T. McFarland provide historical context regarding Russia and Ukraine. Mike Gallagher on David Jolly's special election victory in Florida. Bill Bennett spoke with Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who broke the Obamacare enrollment number news on his Forbes.com blog. Medved spoke with Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on voter ID. Bennett discussed the topic of "Millennials" with Brad Wilcox, associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of Virginia. Medved spoke with Gov. Rick Perry at CPAC.