The Obama Health Care Legacy: More Coverage and Less Spending

—by Harry Stein

ImageOn March 24, the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, published data that surprised even the staunchest advocates for health care reform: New estimates show that total federal spending in fiscal year 2016 for major health care programs will be lower than was projected back in January 2009. Why is this shocking? The January 2009 projections did not include the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, which was not signed into law until March 2010. This means that federal health programs are covering more people while spending less money.

Though the ACA coverage expansion added new costs, total spending for federal health programs is still less than what the CBO projected in January 2009 because of huge savings from Medicare. In fact, the CBO’s projections for FY 2016 Medicare spending have fallen $107 billion since January 2009. A portion of the Medicare savings can be unambiguously attributed to the ACA.

Read more about how the ACA expanded coverage while saving money at the Center for American Progress.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

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Veto Message from the President to the Republiban re: HR3762 ACA Repeal

— by Vickie Rock, Humboldt Democrats

After the 62nd vote to repeal “Obamacare” (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court TWICE, the Republiban members of Congress finally managed to pass HR 3762. Inaptly named, the bill that would have done the exact opposite of its title: “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.”  Restoring “Americans'” freedom?  Nope!  More like restoring the freedom for Insurance Corporations to give Americans the short shrift related to any hope of accessing healthcare insurance and thus health care itself.

And just so you know, each and every Nevada Republican in the House of Representatives, Rep. Mark Amodei (CD2), Rep. Joe Heck (CD3), and Rep. Cresant Hardy (CD4) voted FOR passage of HR 3762 (as well as a large number of previous bills) which would not just repeal the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans who can barely afford health insurance as it is, but would have also revoked any and all funding received by Planned Parenthood by folks who not only can’t afford health insurance, but can’t afford health care either.  Senator Dean Heller also voted FOR passage (repeal) in the Senate in December preceding the vote in the House.

Today, at the stroke of his pen, President Obama showed us exactly HOW important it is that we have a Democratic President in the oval office as he promptly and unceremoniously vetoed their wasted efforts.  Here’s his message back to Congress:

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 3762, which provides for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016, herein referred to as the Reconciliation Act.  This legislation would not only repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, but would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.  The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and stronger consumer protections that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable, and more patient centered.  And it is working.  About 17.6 million Americans have gained health care coverage as the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect.  The Nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever, and demand for Marketplace coverage during December 2015 was at an all-time high.  Health care costs are lower than expected when the law was passed, and health care quality is higher — with improvements in patient safety saving an estimated 87,000 lives.  Health care has changed for the better, setting this country on a smarter, stronger course. 

The Reconciliation Act would reverse that course.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million after 2017.  The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that this reduction in health care coverage could mean, each year, more than 900,000 fewer people getting all their needed care, more than 1.2 million additional people having trouble paying other bills due to higher medical costs, and potentially more than 10,000 additional deaths.  This legislation would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.  Reliable health care coverage  would no longer be a right for everyone:  it would return to being a privilege for a few.

The legislation’s implications extend far beyond those who would become uninsured.  For example, about 150 million Americans with employer-based insurance would be at risk of higher premiums and lower wages.  And it would cause the cost of health coverage for people buying it on their own to skyrocket.  

The Reconciliation Act would also effectively defund Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood uses both Federal and non-federal funds to provide a range of important preventive care and health services, including health screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups to millions of men and women who visit their health centers annually.  Longstanding Federal policy already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.  By eliminating Federal Medicaid funding for a major provider of health care, H.R. 3762 would limit access to health care for men, women, and families across the Nation, and would disproportionately impact low-income individuals.

Republicans in the Congress have attempted to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act over 50 times.  Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs.  Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto.

The Republiban may have used procedural shenanigans to enable them to pass HR 3762, but to override President Obama’s veto, the Republiban would need a two-thirds affirmative vote on repeal bill.  The don’t have that.  This was all for show for the rabid GOP base heading into the November election.  But more than that, it’s a serious red-flag warning to Democrats that if we don’t overwhelm the polls this November to begin taking back Congress, and instead all the Republiban to hold onto Congress plus, take the White House, you can kiss the American Dream goodbye and buy the coffin as it will truly be dead.

522

The ACA is Here to Stay —

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. This ruling means that the ACA will remain the law of the land, and millions of people will keep their health insurance. This is an extraordinary victory for all of us who fought so hard to make the ACA a reality!

Unfortunately, the GOP have made it clear that this latest legal attack on the ACA will not be the final attempt to undermine the law or other essential public health programs and services. In the coming months, you can anticipate that the GOP-led Congress will consider drastic funding cuts to Medicaid and community health centers. Congress will also likely try to undermine the ACA in other ways, such as by changing the definition of “full-time worker” from 30 to 40 hours and by repealing a tax on medical devices that provides essential funding for the law.


WhiteHouse

From the White House:

On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It’s still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it’s here to stay.

This morning, the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform — the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that’s something this law has ended for good.

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what “Obamacare” is. And that’s okay. That’s the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been — a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

That’s who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama


And what did all the 2016 Candidates have to say about today’s ruling?  Read their “repeal” themed responses over at the Huffington Post.

Meet the Funders Gunning to Kill Obamacare

obamacare03— by AuthorKiersten Marek

On November 14, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would take up the case King v. Burwell, which challenges health premium subsidies at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. While that case has received loads of attention, what’s been unexamined is private foundations helping to pay for this and other lawsuits against Obamacare. Philanthropic support for the legal attack on Obamacare is just one way that funders are channeling money into nonprofits to attack a law that has extended health coverage to millions of low-income Americans.

Who are the funders gunning to destroy Obamacare?  Read more ….

Consumers Have Saved a Total of $9B on Medical Premiums

Health care law will return to families an average refund of $80 each this year

Medical CostsHealth and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today that consumers have saved a total of $9 billion on their health insurance premiums since 2011 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Created through the law, the 80/20 rule, also known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule, requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement activities.  If insurers spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape, they owe a refund back to consumers.

“We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act continues to provide Americans better value for their premium dollars,” said Secretary Burwell.  “We are continuing our work on building a sustainable long-term system, and provisions such as the 80/20 rule are providing Americans with immediate savings and helping to bring transparency and accountability to the insurance market over the long term.”

An HHS report released today shows that last year alone, consumers nationwide saved $3.8 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently.  Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $330 million in refunds, with 6.8 million consumers due to receive an average refund benefit of $80 per family.  This standard and other Affordable Care Act standards contributed to consumers saving approximately $4.1 billion on premiums in 2013, for a total of $9 billion in savings since the MLR program’s inception.

The report shows that since the rule took effect, more insurers year over year are meeting the 80/20 standard by spending more of the premium dollars they collect on patient care and quality, and not red tape and bonuses.
If an insurer did not spend enough premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement, they must pay refunds to consumers in one of the following ways:

  • a refund check in the mail;
  • a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that was used to pay the premium;
  • a reduction in their future premiums; or
  • if the consumer bought insurance through their employer, their employer must provide one of the above options, or apply the refund in another manner that benefits its employees, such as more generous benefits.

The 80/20 rule, along with other standards such as the required review of proposed premium increases, is one of many reforms created under the health law helping to slow premium growth and moderate premium rates.  Combined with the savings consumers are receiving from tax credits on the Marketplace and the new market reforms, including the prohibition of pre-existing condition exclusions and charging women more for insurance than men, the 80/20 rule helps ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance.

To access the report released today, visit: http://www.cms.gov/cciio/Resources/Forms-Reports-and-Other-Resources/index.html#Medical Loss Ratio

For more information on MLR, visit: http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Progra
ms-and-Initiatives/Health-Insurance-Market-Reforms/Medical-Loss-Ratio.html

 

If This is What it Means to be “Conservative” — I’m Proudly a Bleeding Heart Liberal

Clearly, members of the GOP in the House are all about looking for ways to handicap ANY organization tasked with performing regulatory actions that might impede their ideological plans for the future of the United States of Republica.  A case in point is this recent  press release from Representative Amodei’s office.  My comments are in blue italics at various points throughout his release.  Some original text has been highlight in RED for emphasis.

Amodei: Appropriations Financial Services bill reins in IRS, ACA and Dodd Frank

Wednesday June 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 Contact:    Brian Baluta, 202-225-6155

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee today passed its fiscal year 2015 bill, which would provide annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other agencies.

The bill totals $21.3 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $566 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the president’s request for these programs.The legislation prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.

Well now, that makes just a ton of sense.  IRS is tasked with collecting revenue necessary for the operation of various government operations … so let’s under fund them so we can then make a scapegoat of them when they can no longer effectively perform their regulatory and tax-collecting functions.

“Every day, I am asked, ‘Why don’t you do something?’ This bill ‘does something’ by removing funding from executive agencies that have become political tools of the administration,” said Amodei.   

Bill highlights:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)– Included in the bill is $10.95 billion for the IRS – a cut of $341 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $1.5 billion below the President’s budget request. This will bring the agency’s budget below the sequester level and below the level that was in place in fiscal year 2008. This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, including taxpayer services and the proper collection of funds, but will require the agency to streamline and make better use of its budget.

Interesting! They continually carp about the IRS not providing for an EMAIL BACKUP strategy as part of their business plan. Server BACKUPs are NOT FREE!  How much more will they stop BACKING UP because they no longer have sufficient funding to do their tax collection duties, let alone ancillary functions like BACKUPS, SYSTEM UPDATES, SOFTWARE IMPROVEMENTS, etc.?

In addition, due to the inappropriate actions by the IRS in targeting groups that hold certain political beliefs, as well as its previous improper use of taxpayer funds, the bill includes the following provisions:

Here we go again, perpetuating the falsehood that ONLY right-wing political groups were scrutinized, when it was actually liberal groups that were denied with some that had already been given tax-exempt status seeing that status revoked (e.g., EmergeAmerica affiliated groups).  NO politically-focused groups should be receiving TAX-EXEMPT 501(c)(4) status, PERIOD!

A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many non-profit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech, simply because they may be involved in political activity.

Sorry, but I don’t get to deduct my “freedom of speech” contributions to political endeavors.  Thus, NO politically-focused organizations should be able to have a free of tax right to free speech at the American Taxpayer’s expense!

A prohibition on funds for bonuses or awards unless employee conduct and tax compliance are given consideration.

A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs.

Congress passed a law that clearly states that to be considered 501(c)(4) organization, your activities must be EXCLUSIVELY-FOCUSED on “Social Welfare” activities.  Politically-focused activities are NOT social-welfare activities and thus, it IS the IRS’s responsibility to scrutinize and deny tax-exempt status to ANY organization (conservative, liberal or otherwise) not meeting that exclusivity provision.

A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.

More BS related to the previous proviso — the IRS is NOT prohibiting ANYONE from exercising their free speech.  The IRS is merely and rightfully determining whether a group is a group exclusively devoted to providing SOCIAL-WELFARE opportunities/activities and thus, whether that group is entitled to TAX-EXEMPT status!

A prohibition on funding for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.

Really?  Oh, please, pray tell, what “inappropriate videos” might it be that the IRS is producing?

A prohibition on funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

Again, if you want to allow any organization wanting to conduct EXCLUSIVELY politically focused activities to never have to pay taxes, well then, you need to REPEAL the law that PROHIBITS them from being tax exempt!  You cannot have a LAW on the books that says one thing and then prohibit the IRS, which is responsible for administering that section of the law, from enforcing it!

A requirement for extensive reporting on IRS spending.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) –The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.

Well, let’s see.  We elected President Obama and a Democratic Congress to get health care reform. Then, the Republican propaganda machine bought a Republican House.  Despite their efforts to gerry-rig the system, we still re-elected President Obama. Health care reform is one of the hardest things we’ve ever worked on. But no matter, they just keep trying to either LIE ABOUT REPEAL or DEFUND access to healthcare for the American People despite its need or popularity.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)– Included in the bill is $1.4 billion for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is $50 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $300 million below the President’s budget request. The increase in funds is targeted specifically toward critical information technology initiatives. The legislation also includes a prohibition on the SEC spending any money out of its “reserve fund” – essentially a slush fund for the SEC to use without any congressional oversight.

In addition, the legislation contains requirements for the Administration to report to Congress on the cost and regulatory burdens of the Dodd-Frank Act, and a prohibition on funding to require political donation information in SEC filings.

My my, lookie here — looks like an increase in funding.  But wait, isn’t this the organization that’s supposed to regulate Wall Street?  It’s a shame that the increase in funding is just for a bit of information technology so they can determine how their GOP-Donor base is affected by any sort of regulation.  It’s also despicable that they’ve included a proviso that PROHIBITS any reporting of information as to Corporate political donations.  If you and I donate, our freedom of speech is broadcast for all to see … but the Republican Donor-base has a special privileged secreted freedom of speech.  Apparently the Republicans believe their Donors are free to speak with their Dollars, but the general American public is underserving of being able to speak with their dollars in response.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)– The bill includes a provision to change the funding source for the CFPB from the Federal Reserve to the congressional appropriations process, starting in fiscal year 2016. Currently, funding for this agency is provided by mandatory spending and is not subject to annual congressional review. This change will allow for increased accountability and transparency of the agency’s activities and use of tax dollars. The legislation also requires extensive reporting on CFPB activities.

The Republicans have done EVERYTHING conceivably possible to handicap, repeal, defund and decapitate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  This is yet their latest attempt to defund and cripple any and all Consumer financial protection at the behest of their Donor-base.

Information Is Powerful Medicine: Understanding Your HIPAA Rights

Know you rights- You have the right to see or to access your medical records. HIPAA Privacy Rule.In December 2013, the Departments of  Health and Human ServicesLabor and Treasury jointly issued mental health and substance abuse parity rules that, along with the Affordable Care Act, expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and other protections to 62 million Americans.

This rulemaking is the largest expansion of behavioral health coverage in a generation and will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.

For the millions of Americans seeking treatment and recovery services, it is important to know that you have a right to your health information – and whether your health information is stored on paper or electronically, you’ve got the right to keep it private.

Those rights are protected by a law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

HIPAA gives you the right to get your personal health information, make sure it’s correct and know who has seen it.  With access to your own medical records, you can:

  • Make decisions with your health care provider;
  • Track your medications and dosages;
  • Manage your progress; and
  • Do everything you can to be healthy.

GET IT

You’ve got the right to see, or to access, your medical records. Sometimes you might not be able to see the full record, but you’ve always got the right to ask.

For instance, HIPAA does not give you the right to access a provider’s psychotherapy notes and they can’t be shared with others without your permission.

Psychotherapy notes are notes taken by a mental health professional during a conversation with the patient and kept separate from the patient’s medical and billing records.

CHECK IT

Check to make sure your medical information is correct and complete.

If you think something is wrong, or missing, you can ask your health care provider to fix it. Your health care provider might not agree, but you always have the right to ask, and to have your disagreement added to your medical record.

USE IT

Having access to your medical record can mean better communication between you and your health care providers, less paperwork and greater control over your health.

Your health care provider can be a great support system for talking about mental health. They will help you make the right decisions and assist you in taking action that will help.

KNOW WHO HAS SEEN IT

You also have the right to know how your health information is used and shared. Your health care provider is allowed to share your information for certain reasons, such as determining how to best treat your mental health problem.

But your doctors can’t give your information to an employer, for example, without your permission. If you’d like to know how your health information has been shared, you have the right to get a report. That’s called an accounting of disclosures.

SHARE IT

Under HIPAA you can request to share your health information with someone, like your spouse, domestic partner, a parent, a sister or brother or a friend.

Your health care provider may share relevant information if you give your provider or health plan permission, you are present and do not object, or if you are not present, and the provider determines based on professional judgment that it’s in your best interest.

DON’T SHARE IT

HIPAA gives you the right to ask your health care provider not to share your information with your health plan if you pay for an item or service out of pocket.

DECIDE HOW TO BE REACHED

HIPAA gives you the right to say which phone number, fax or email your providers should use and how they can leave a message.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

All these rights are spelled out in the Understanding the HIPAA Notice, which is given to you by your health care provider.

If you haven’t seen the Notice, be sure to ask for a copy and read it carefully. It lets you know exactly how your rights are being protected.

Read more helpful information and resources on HIPAA.

POPVOX’s Countdown of the Top Bills in 2013


I frequently use POPVOX to explore information about a bill — what’s in the text of a bill, who introduced it, what other’s are saying about, who those others are (individuals and corporations/organizations) — and to write a letter of opposition or support to my elected representatives.  My observation is that the right-wing nut jobs have more of a propensity to support/oppose legislation than do reasonable folks.  Those of us who oppose the right-wing agenda need to become more active and vocal so our elected representatives in Congress understand they need to support us too — not just the very loud and radical right wing base.

Here’s a copy of an email I received today from POPVOX itemizing the top 50 bills that garnered the most activity on POPVOX during the first half of the 113th Congress:

by RACHNA on DECEMBER 31, 2013

Members of Congress introduced more than 6,600 bills and resolutions in 2013. The Second Amendment and gun control legislation dominated the top bills list, the majority of which were introduced in the beginning of the year. Not surprisingly, the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” was also a top priority among POPVOX users, and also the House has voted to repeal some or all of it nearly 50 times.  

The Countdown of the Top 50 Bills

Together, POPVOX users from every state and Congressional district sent more than 900,000 messages to their lawmakers in Washington. These are the top 50 bills and proposals that POPVOX users weighed in on with Congress in 2013, ranked by the aggregate number of combined support and opposition.

  • HR 321
    #50 Firearm Safety and Public Health Research Act

    Would allow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct crucial scientific research into firearm safety, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). 

    146 Support | 3,076 Oppose

  • HR 1369
    #49 Firearm Risk Protection Act

    Would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon and imposes a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have the required coverage; service members and law enforcement officers are exempt from this insurance requirement, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

    99 Support | 3,157 Oppose

  • HR 965
    #48 Banning Saturday Night Specials

    Would prohibit the possession or transfer of junk guns, also known as Saturday Night Specials.

    152 Support | 3,133 Oppose

  • HR 900
    #47 Cancel the Sequester Act

    A one-sentence bill that would cancel the sequester, or across-the-board federal spending cuts that were implemented in 2013.

    2,406 Support | 899 Oppose

  • HR 890
    #46 Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act

    Extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through December 2013 and overturns President Obama’s efforts to waive welfare work requirements, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). This bill passed in the House on March 13, 2013, and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

    3,208 Support | 120 Oppose

  • HR 1005
    #45 Defund Obamacare Act

    To deauthorize appropriation of funds, and to rescind unobligated appropriations, to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

    2,905 Support | 478 Oppose

  • HR 1094
    #44 Safeguard American Food Exports Act

    To prohibit the sale or transport of equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.

    2,727 Support | 707 Oppose

  • HR 61
    #43 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act

    Would stop the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from providing federal family planning assistance under Title X to abortion businesses until they certify they won’t provide and refer for abortions, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

    934 Support | 2,513 Oppose

  • HR 431
    #42 Gun Transparency and Accountability (Gun TRAC) Act

    Would once again allow ATF to use information on guns traced to crimes; it would remove the requirement that background checks be destroyed within 24 hours; and it would eliminate the ban on federally required inventory audits of gun dealerships, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Jackie Speier(D-CA).   

    102 Support | 3,348 Oppose

  • HR 793
    #41 Firearm Safety and Buyback Grant Act

    Would establish a grant program within the Department of Justice in which grants would be eligible to state, tribal, and local units of government and law enforcement agencies to carry out anti-violence campaigns, gun safety campaigns, and firearms buyback programs, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA).

    98 Support | 3,370 Oppose

  • HR 2959
    #40 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act

    To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State. This bill was passed by the House in the 112th Congress, but hasn’t been voted on in this Congress.

    3,106 Support | 385 Oppose

  • HR 236
    #39 Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act

    Would increase the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to: Inspect federal firearms licensees (FFLs) for compliance with recordkeeping requirements by increasing the allowable inspections per year from one to three; Increase the penalties for knowingly misrepresenting any facts about a firearms sale; and Authorize the Attorney General to suspend a dealer’s license and assess civil penalties for firearms violations, including failure to have secure gun storage or safety devices, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI).

    184 Support | 3,319 Oppose

  • Guns
    #38 Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment

    A bipartisan group of senators — Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen.Joe Manchin (D-WV) — introduced a compromise proposal to expand background checks. The proposal would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales. The Senate rejected the proposal in a 54 to 46 vote on April 17, 2013 — six votes short of the 60 needed.

    197 Support | 3,343 Oppose

  • S 47
    #37 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

    To reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and includes measures on campus safety, tools to reduce domestic violence homicides, and protections for at-risk groups such as immigrants, tribal victims and members of the LGBT community, according to bill sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy(D-VT) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). This bill was enacted into law after being signed by the President on March 7, 2013.

    573 Support | 3,008 Oppose

  • S 374
    #36 Fix Gun Checks Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.Reported by Committee on Mar 12, 2013, and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

    218 Support | 3,532 Oppose

  • HR 45
    #35 Repeal “Obamacare”

    To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This bill passed in the House on May 16, 2013 by a 229-195 vote, and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

    2,970 Support | 899 Oppose

  • HR 238
    #34 Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act

    Would prohibit gun dealers whose licenses are revoked to convert their inventory to personal collections, to be sold without conducting background checks on purchasers, under current law, according to bill sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

    178 Support | 3,714 Oppose

  • HR 35
    #33 Safe Schools Act

    Would repeal federal laws mandating “gun free zones” around schools, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX).

    3,970 Support | 185 Oppose

  • HR 538
    #32 PLEA Act

    To protect the Nation’s law enforcement officers by banning the Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS190, SS192, SS195LF, SS196, and SS197 cartridges, testing handguns and ammunition for capability to penetrate body armor, and prohibiting the manufacture, importation, sale, or purchase of such handguns or ammunition by civilians.

    143 Support | 4,051 Oppose

  • HR 575
    #31 Second Amendment Protection Act

    Would prohibit funding to the United Nations unless the President can certify that a United Nations treaty does not infringe on individual rights protected by the Constitution, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX). 

    4,083 Support | 145 Oppose

  • HR 437
    #30 Assault Weapons Ban

    Would ban the future sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of 157 specific kinds of semi-automatic guns and impose the same restrictions on ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds. Excludes 2,258 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

    160 Support | 4,227 Oppose

  • S 815
    #29 Employment Non-Discrimination Act

    To prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill passed in the Senate on November 7, 2013 by a 64 to 32 vote, and is awaiting consideration by the House.

    233 Support | 4,178 Oppose

  • HR 227
    #28 Buyback Our Safety Act

    To establish a gun buyback grant program.

    134 Support | 4,292 Oppose

  • S 2
    #27 Sandy Hook Elementary School Violence Reduction Act

    To reduce violence and protect the citizens of the United States.

    169 Support | 4,357 Oppose

  • HR 25
    #26 Fair Tax Act

    Would repeal all Federal corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, the death tax, and gift taxes – and replace them with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax, according to bill sponsor, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA). 

    4,219 Support | 333 Oppose

  • HR 226
    #25 Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act

    To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for surrendering to authorities certain assault weapons.

    143 Support | 4,488 Oppose

  • S 174
    #24 Ammunition Background Check Act

    To appropriately restrict sales of ammunition.

    187 Support | 4,769 Oppose

  • S 336
    #23 Marketplace Fairness Act

    Would give states the option to require the collection of sales and use taxes already owed under State law by out-of-state businesses, rather than rely on consumers to remit those taxes to the States—the method of tax collection to which they are now restricted, according to bill sponsor, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

    205 Support | 4,861 Oppose

  • HR 137
    #22 Fix Gun Checks Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.

    522 Support | 4,595 Oppose

  • S 147
    #21 Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit Act

    To establish minimum standards for States that allow the carrying of concealed firearms.

    215 Support | 5,017 Oppose

  • S 34
    #20 Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act

    To increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.

    390 Support | 4,842 Oppose

  • S 22
    #19 Gun Show Background Check Act

    To establish background check procedures for gun shows.

    442 Support | 5,049 Oppose

  • S 82
    #18 Separation of Powers Restoration & Second Amendment Protection Act

    To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.

    5,728 Support | 243 Oppose

  • HR 410
    #17 Restore the Constitution Act

    To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.

    5,914 Support | 263 Oppose

  • HR 499
    #16 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act

    To decriminalize marijuana at the Federal level, to leave to the States a power to regulate marijuana that is similar to the power they have to regulate alcohol.

    5,824 Support | 420 Oppose

  • S 35
    #15 Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act

    To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.

    308 Support | 6,558 Oppose

  • S 33
    #14 Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

    To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

    324 Support | 6,863 Oppose

  • HR 65
    #13 Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act

    Raising the age of legal handgun ownership to 21.

    514 Support | 7,193 Oppose

  • HR 21
    #12 NRA Members Gun Safety Act

    To provide for greater safety in the use of firearms.

    536 Support | 7,770 Oppose

  • HR 34
    #11 Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act

    To provide for the implementation of a system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms and for a record of sale system for those firearms.

    362 Support | 8,402 Oppose

  • HR 141
    #10 Gun Show Loophole Closing Act

    To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.

    1,406 Support | 7,591 Oppose

  • HR 2682
    #9 Defund Obamacare Act

    To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    9,365 Support | 307 Oppose

  • S 150
    #8 Assault Weapons Ban

    To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited.

    633 Support | 9,409 Oppose

  • HR 142
    #7 Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act

    To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.

    617 Support | 9,508 Oppose

  • HR 117
    #6 Handgun Licensing and Registration Act

    To provide for the mandatory licensing and registration of handguns.

    553 Support | 9,619 Oppose

  • HR 133
    #5 Citizens Protection Act

    To repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and amendments to that Act.

    9,671 Support | 651 Oppose

  • HR 138
    #4 Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

    To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

    756 Support | 10,828 Oppose

  • S 744
    #3 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act

    To provide for comprehensive immigration reform. This bill passed in the Senate on June 27, 2013 and is awaiting consideration by the House.

    1,385 Support | 10,212 Oppose

  • HJRes 15
    #2 Repealing the 22nd Amendment

    Proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

    151 Support | 12,984 Oppose

  • S 649
    #1 Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act

    To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.

    304 Support | 14,110 Oppose

HHS strengthens community living options for older Americans and people with disabilities

 

imagesThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule today to ensure that Medicaid’s home and community-based services programs provide full access to the benefits of community living and offer services in the most integrated settings. The rule, as part of the Affordable Care Act, supports the Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Living Initiative. The initiative was launched in 2009 to develop and implement innovative strategies to increase opportunities for Americans with disabilities and older adults to enjoy meaningful community living.

Under the final rule, Medicaid programs will support home and community-based settings that serve as an alternative to institutional care and that take into account the quality of individuals’ experiences.  The final rule includes a transitional period for states to ensure that their programs meet the home and community-based services settings requirements.  Technical assistance will also be available for states.

“People with disabilities and older adults have a right to live, work, and participate in the greater community.  HHS, through its Community Living Initiative, has been expanding and improving the community services necessary to make this a reality,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today’s announcement will help ensure that all people participating in Medicaid home and community-based services programs have full access to the benefits of community living.”

In addition to defining home and community-based settings, the final rule implements the Section 1915(i) home and community-based services State Plan option. This includes new flexibility provided by the Affordable Care Act that gives states additional options for expanding home and community-based services and to target services to specific populations.  It also amends the 1915(c) home and community-based services waiver program to add new person-centered planning requirements, allow states to combine multiple target populations in one waiver, and streamlines waiver administration.

For more information about the final rule, please visit:  http://cms.gov/Newsroom/Search-Results/index.html?q=&filter=Press%20Releases+Fact%20Sheets&date-from=&date-to=

For more information regarding the Home and Community-Based Services available under Medicaid, please visit:http://www.medicaid.gov/HCBS

For more information regarding the Community Living Initiative, please visit:http://www.hhs.gov/od/community/index.html

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