From the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Aug. 5:
Next round of health insurance rebate checks going out
by Christopher Snowbeck
In two years, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis has received nearly $25,000 in rebates from its health insurance company.
The rebate checks have been so large that they cover nearly all of the cost of the church's feeding ministries, said Sally Cuningham, a lay leader with the church.
"Our Sunday night supper costs us about $8,000 per year -- just for that one feeding," Cuningham said during a news conference Monday at the state Capitol. "And that's just one of the three ministries."
Cuningham joined U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., at the St. Paul news conference timed to coincide with the mailing of rebate checks, which were scheduled to be sent by Aug. 1.
The federal health care law of 2010 created the rebate rule, which requires certain insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If too much of the premium dollar goes to other things, insurers must issue consumer rebates.
The full list by state is published here at cms.gov website (pdf page)
The rebates vary by state. Here are some for individual subscribers (not in a group employer plan).
- In FLA, 300,000 covered individuals get a rebate check averaging $164 per family ($40 million to individual households in Fla.)
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On December 12, 2012, in a primary school in Henan province, China, a 30-year old man carrying a long knife and unfiltered rage inflicted a senseless attack on 22 helpless children and 1 adult at the Chenpeng village school. That fateful morning 23 victims were stabbed and wounded, and needed hospitalization.
In Henan China, 23 assault victims survived. In Newtown Connecticut, USA, 20 children and 6 adults succumbed to multiple gunshots. And lost their lives.
In the aftermath of the murders in Newtown, a convincing majority of Americans now desire curtailing assault weapons, says a recent poll from Quinnipiac University. In the April 4 poll, 59% favor a "nationwide ban" on the sale of assault weapons, and 36% are opposed.
Even in GOP-friendly regions, the support holds up. 58% in the West and 60% in the South favor the ban.
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* Obama's slight edge, which has emerged in the last 3 days, has in large part been built on a drop in independent support for Romney
On the front page of Investor's Business Daily:
"IBD/TIPP Poll: Obama Up 0.7 Point For 3rd Day"
It is a turn from what had been a 5-point lead for Romney in the IBD/TIPP poll release three days earlier, and from a 2-point lead for Romney four days earlier.
Yesterday's release of reults for IBD/TIPP was similar:
Day 5: Oct. 13, 2012
Obama 46.4% | Romney 45.7%
In a further sign of a tight presidential race, the results remained unchanged in our most recent sounding of likely voters.
The bounce that took place immediately after Romney's strong performance in the debate with Obama seems to have diminished.
You'll have trouble finding any of the 3 days of poll releases posted at the usual suspect places (the wires, politico, networks etc.).
Here is today's update.
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On Wednesday, the House of Representatives stages a dramatic – and pointless – spectacle to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. aka Obamacare.
For the GOP reps, the grounds they've claimed for reversing the law is to hold off costs for patients and keep the feds out of all things health and insurance related. Medicare excepted.
But what if a true repeal actually stopped your insurance carrier from sending a check in the mail to you? Not a future, theoretical check but an immediate, summer/2012 (due August 1) rebate.
For some Americans who hold individual policies, insurance carriers are rebating to 4 million of their subscribers excess premium collected, $390 million worth, required to be refunded Aug. 1. Across 44 states, the average family refund, if your insurer overbilled, is $152 (sorry Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont - at least in the initial published list, your carriers were efficient enough that your states are out of the running).
There's wide variation across states: $240 on average for 300,000 subscribers in FLA, $193 for 24,000 in LA, $205 for 99,000 in Michigan, $139 for 181,000 in Missouri, $651 for 15,000 in Mississippi, $203 for 16,000 in Montana, $218 for 26,000 in NC, $267 for 30,000 in Nebraska, $106 for 130,000 in Oklahoma, $360 for 13,000 in OR, $238 for 133,000 in PA, $227 for 105,000 in SC, $356 for 657,000 in TX -- a whopping $134 million for the state of Texas alone. Also $383 for 10,000 in WV, and $356 for 5,000 in Wyoming.
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"Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin' and a slidin', peepin' and a hidin', won't be your fool no more."
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The numbers, in thousands (000) and seasonally adjusted, are tallied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they show a persistent drag on the economy from repeated reductions in headcount for teachers and public sector union employees.
These are decisions made in statehouses by our elected officials.
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It should be framed in gilt. The decade of the 80s begat the RR tax-cut and job-export policies (the notorious "twin deficits" of trade and federal budgeting) that flipped the US abruptly to net debtor nation status.
This was the natural outcome of "less is more" tax optimism ideology.
The roaring 80s was the first modern time when the country wasn't at war that the U.S. turned to finance the economy by giving foreigners ownership of more assets of ours than we had a stake in theirs.
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With Florida regarded as the crucial state that would provide the election winner and keys to the White House in 2000, the Republican team had a trump card in place with Bush's younger brother Jeb serving as Florida's governor. By scrubbing numerous minorities legitimately qualified to vote from voters' lists on grounds that they were felons, the Bush clan felt it was in good shape where the Sunshine State was concerned.
As the Bush brothers and father sat in their hotel suite election night, shock waves emerged when it was announced that Florida had been projected into Gore's column. Shortly thereafter a first in presidential election politics occurred. The three Bushes were shown in their suite. An obviously pre-arranged script was followed and it was simple enough that even George W. was able to follow it.
The snippet began with candidate George W. warning that their best evidence, meaning the calculations of brother Jeb, revealed that they would win Florida.
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There was the same rush to war in Iraq as there would be to instill George W. Bush in office and keep him there by hook or crook, using such unsubtle means in 2004 as to have commentators that Bill O'Reilly assured us operated objectively count down the number of days to Bush's re-election.
To use the term re-election was a falsehood since it has been fully documented that Bush was never actually elected in 2000.
Murdoch's Fox News operation received a break. It came when New York Times reporter Judith Miller's revealed in print and in a PBS series that Iraq's ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein, who was brought to power with ample CIA assistance, possessed weapons of mass destruction including deadly chemical weapons.
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Australian Murdoch set his sights on Britain in the early seventies. It was not long before his sensation seeking tabloids masquerading as newspapers had played a key role in installing a personal favorite as prime minister with Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party victory in 1979 over a badly divided Labour Party led by James Callaghan.
Thatcher had served longer during a continuous period than any British prime minister since Lord Liverpool's 14-year run commenced in 1812. Storm clouds hovered by 1990, however, after Thatcher's Conservatives trailed Labour consistently over a year and a half period.
Thatcher's scolding nanny manner began rankling many voters. Many saw Thatcher as harsh and heartless, as evidenced by the manner that she used oppressive taxation to wring inflation out of the British economy, drawing even the opposition of Milton Friedman, the American economist she idolized. During this period British homelessness began dramatically increasing.
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Did those jurors decide the case in a manner more expectant of 12 heads of cabbage? One expects no thoughtful deliberation from 12 heads of cabbage. One expects no analysis. This from all available evidence reveals what happened.
The result harkens back to a comment made by the late Dominick Dunne in a television appearance following the not guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. When an angry Dunne, whose own daughter had been slain followed by a miscarriage of justice, called the jury "stupid" he was criticized by a defense attorney who asserted that Dunne's statement was unduly harsh.
Dunne stood his ground, coolly replying, "The jury was asked to examine the DNA evidence (against Simpson). It refused to do so. That's stupid."
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This nation riveting trial is being called the first of the social media age. Many more people get a say than was the case in the earlier technological age in which the trial of O.J. Simpson occurred in Los Angeles almost two decades ago.
The speedy advancement of computer technology alongside that of cable television has made photo images and words more acceptable as well as graphically feasible than any other period of world history.
Burdick put images and recorded words to work in her favor today, at the same time taking advantages of opportunities handed to the prosecution by the vitriolic and highly accusatory summation by lead defense counsel Jose Biaz.
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To watch the coquettish 25-year-old engaged in conversation generated a comparison to her real life demeanor and case history alongside the femmes fatale of film noir. The unfolding pattern of Ms. Anthony and the staggering number of lives she has led in the course of her first quarter century makes her in some ways appear more event-filled, and in many instances far more dramatic, than the life of a busy centenarian.
A snippet from the testimony of former Anthony fiancé Jesse Grund reveals the lock she held on his emotions. Grund revealed being told by Anthony that her older brother Lee had made sexual advances toward her.
Grund explained that he never had anything to do with Lee Anthony after that. At that point in his life, Grund explained, he believed everything that Casey Anthony told him. His explanatory manner left no doubt about the powerful emotional grip Casey held over him.
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The major reason being advanced as to why Ms. Anthony should take the stand is that she is seen as the logical party to shed light on points raised in lead defense counsel Jose Baez's opening statement. Comments were raised about her having been the recipient of sexual attention by her father.
The assertion was also made by Baez that Caylee Anthony was the victim of an accidental drowning.
There was also the tearful testimony of brother Lee Anthony on Friday which indicated that there might be a dark secret in the family that has not theretofore been learned.
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Women are society's child bearers and nurturers. Hence there is a natural sensitivity within most women regarding children and the necessity of caring for their welfare.
Men are not excluded from such sensitivity. Fathers of young girls or those who have been in that position in the past or had friends or relatives who were can readily identify with the Anthony case and its underpinnings.
Nancy Grace, television commentator, mother, and former prosecutor, has been intensely covering the Casey Anthony case from the outset. She recently pinpointed what makes it such an attention riveter. Grace stated that all it takes is one look at Caylee Anthony and she grabs your heart.
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