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Posts Tagged ‘Pres. Obama’

Poll: Vote for the 2016 Hall Of Fame and Hall of Shame Candidates

Tue ,21/02/2017

  Thanks  to those of you who submitted nominations. The four top candidates in each category have been selected from the nominees. Please vote for the ones who you think have most affected the environment for good or ill.  If you will, please post a reason for your vote and a suggestion for suitable gifts for your favorite candidate. The most interesting and humorous gift suggestions will be acknowledged.

Please post your choice as a comment, or take a poll set up at this site. Voting will close and the winners announced on March 1, 2017.

Hall of Fame Nominees

1. China –for announcing an investment of $361 billion in renewable energy by 2020 (and probably taking the global lead in green tech – a sad, missed opportunity for the US, but a great achievement for our shared future). China has also just cancelled the construction of 100 coal fired power plants to be replaced with wind and solar energy.

Award : Please suggest a suitable award.

2. The Standing Rock Sioux – for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect their water quality after it was routed through their reservation due to concerns of other communities for the same reason. Facing militarized police forces and North Dakota’s most severe blizzards and sub zero winds they prevailed in efforts on the reservation and in the media capturing the support of much of the nation.

Suggested Award: A proper, nonpolitical environmental review before any more construction.

3. President Barack Obama – for coordinating and implementing a global climate pact signed by 195 countries, including the US, even in the face of a Congress that would stop at nothing to prevent it.  President Obama managed to tie the US Paris agreement to a previous treaty to avoid a possible defeat in Congress.

Prize : Clean air and water for our grandchildren as his legacy.

4. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe –  an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, she is director of the Climate Science Center. She is an evangelical Christian who believes that science and religion do not have to conflict with one another. She has been a persuasive spokesperson for action on global warming and supports a  Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal to address the issue.

Award:

 

Hall of Shame Nominees: 

Trump voters – for electing a President more than willing to undo even the modest progress the Paris Agreement would/could have accomplished – and most certainly will work to enable completion of the Keystone Pipeline, and push the Dakota Access pipeline in which he seems to have a financial interest. He has promised to remove/rollback decades of regulations designed to improve the quality of our air, water, and soil.

Suggested Award:

2. Governor Scott Walker  of Wisconsin – for appointing a real estate lady to head the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), scattered the DNR programs among five agencies making conservation more costly and less effective, halting enforcement of environmental regulations, and scrubbing anything  involving Climate Change from DNR computers.

Possible Award:

3. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop –  chairman of the powerful House Committee on Natural Resources, with sway over issues ranging from energy production to mining, fisheries, and wildlife across one-fifth of the nation’s landmass. He wants to overturn Obama’s Bear’s Ears monument, taking the land away from a coalition of native American tribes so it can be broken up and sold to mining and lumber interests. He introduced a Constitutional amendment that would take the right of the President to designate national monuments, and has fought to weaken environmental laws and neuter federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service.

Award:

4.  The  Palm Oil industry –  Palm Oil is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in US grocery stores, creating a skyrocketing demand for the oil. This demand has led to the burning of millions of acres of tropical rain forests and jungles, caused the loss of wildlife and eco-system, contributed to climate change, and spread corruption to local and national governments. It is also responsible for human rights violations as corporations often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples from their lands and it production has led to child labor violations and modern day slavery.

Suggested Award : A boycott of all conflict palm oil products.

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Please post your choice as a comment, or take a poll set up at this site.  This poll will be conducted on three internet sites and Facebook. Voting will close and the winners announced on March 1, 2017.

 

(C) 2017   – J.C. Moore

Medicare: Where Is the $716 Billion Robbery

Mon ,03/09/2012

With the heating up of campaign rhetoric, I’ve been hearing a lot about this $716 billion dollars that Romney is publicly saying President Obama “robbed” from Medicare. That is the exact word Romney uses. Well, if someone is stealing, I want to know how they are getting away with it so I did my research and discovered what the $716 billion is.

First, let me remind you that the Medicare trust fund does not have that much money and it’s not a piggy bank that can be raided. At the end of 2011 the Part A trust fund had only $244.2 billion.  The Part A, hospital insurance program, is financed through a payroll tax that goes into a trust fund similar to the Social Security trust funds. And that hospital insurance trust fund is being spent much more rapidly than the Social Security funds. No president can actually take money out of the Medicare trust fund as this money is in Treasury bonds which can only be cashed by Medicare at any time it is needed. As it is, with the continued increase in medical cost, Medicare can’t cover all the benefits without either more revenue (taxes) or reduced spending.

Ok, so where did the $716 billion come from? Actually this figure is for reductions in spending, so it really doesn’t take any money that is in the trust fund out of the trust fund. (Hum, isn’t that what Republicans are always saying—that we need to reduce spending?)

 Sorry Romney, there is no “robbery”. These reductions do not take any money out of Medicare, they are necessary adjustments to vendors who receive Medicare payments, and do not affect payments to beneficiaries.  They are aimed at insurance companies, hospitals, nursing homes and most of all, the Medicare Advantage companies. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, with the idea that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to these private insurers. Medicare Advantage plans currently receive higher payments from the government on average than traditional Medicare – 9% higher than it was in 2010. The government pays Advantage companies 14-20% to manage patients health care. The Affordable Care Act cuts this fee to private companies. Romney and Ryan have a countdown clock showing how many days until Medicare (part A) is broke. The truth is that there would be even fewer days until the fund’s exhaustion if Obama’s health care law hadn’t included those $700 billion in spending reductions.

Romney’s campaign ad incorrectly claims that the “money you paid” for Medicare is being used to pay for Obama’s health care law. It is incorrect because the law doesn’t take money out of the existing hospital insurance trust fund. It cuts the future growth of spending. And in the future, seniors will still receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Sources: Politifact.com, Factcheck.org

This is a guest post from Barbara Moore.

© 2012 Barbara Moore

Healthcare Reform: The Affordable Care Act

Mon ,02/07/2012

 “Your family’s health and prosperity depends on that of everyone.”

The United States has just been through a recession that has left many Americans without jobs, financial security, and adequate healthcare. What could be a better time to see that every American has adequate healthcare? President Obama promised during his campaign to reform healthcare. His goals were to protect citizens from insurance company abuses, see that every citizen had adequate healthcare, and ensure that healthcare was affordable. It was up to Congress to write the details of the law.

For those who claim making law is like making sausages, the Affordable Care Act is more than an apt example. In the 1990’s, Hillary Clinton tried to reform healthcare – but attempts at reform stalled when Republicans came up with an alternate bill and the opportunity passed with no decision being made. In 2010, Congress used many of the ideas of the Republican bill to create the Affordable Care Act. Many of those ideas formed the basis of the Massachusetts health care bill that Governor Romney signed into law in 2006. The Affordable Care Act is certainly not ideal, but it came about as a series of compromises necessary to get it through Congress and avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

Controversies: Much of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act was about things that didn’t really exist in the law. It did not create death panels, provide public funds for abortions, provide payments to undocumented immigrants, take away fundamental rights, or threaten to bankrupt the country. Although there were many claims that the affordable care act will greatly increase the deficit, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the affordable care act would decrease the projected deficit by $138 billion over the first 10 years and by approximately $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. However, the laws constitutionality was a serious question – and several states filed suit claiming that the federal government could not require citizens to purchase health insurance. The lawsuits reached the Supreme Court and in  National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 6/28/2012, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. It ruled that the penalty for not purchasing insurance was a tax, and that Congress had a right to impose taxes.

Benefits: Now that the Affordable Care Act has been declared constitutional and will become law , below is a checklist from Whitehouse.gov  that summarizes what the affordable care act might mean for you:

  

 

The Future: There is still concern that the Affordable Care Act does not do enough to control the insurance costs or reduce the cost of care. The healthcare exchanges should provide more competition, and the 80/20 rule means that at least 80% of the premiums must be paid out in healthcare services.  There are also some intangible benefits to health care reform that may materialize in the future: 

  • It would cut the unpaid bills for emergency services. Currently, emergency rooms are required by law to treat everyone, and those without medical insurance often use them for medical care when they cannot pay. Emergency room care is expensive and those costs must be passed on to paying customers.
  • It would improve the competitiveness of American companies. Most working Americans obtain health insurance through their employers; however, this puts U.S.businesses at a disadvantage with foreign competitors who do not provide health insurance for their workers. Small companies have the added disadvantage that they cannot negotiate as low rates as larger companies.
  • It would reduce bankruptcies. A Harvard study found that about 50% of all bankruptcies in the United States are caused by illness and unpaid medical bills. Bankruptcies affect everyone because the health providers, banks, businesses, and credit card companies who lose money in the bankruptcy pass the cost on to the rest of us.
  • It would improve everyone’s health. Your family’s health depends on the health of everyone. You and your family will likely come into contact with thousands of people during this next year. People without health insurance are less likely to receive immunizations and are much more likely to have untreated communicable diseases.

 More information:  Here is some additional information from Whitehouse.gov with links to the topic: ”

A major impact of the Court’s decision is the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions and millions of middle class families who will have the security of affordable health coverage. 

We should also remember that under today’s ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice. If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable. But if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.” 

 

Research Credit: Barbara Moore

(C) 2012 J.C. Moore