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National news has been dominated today by President Obama’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue  to offer plans that would have been canceled by Affordable Care Act.

But the problem with the cancellation of plans is not as cut and dried as you think. Economist Dean Baker addressed that very topic earlier this week in a column that is worth your time to put the current debate in some needed context. Here is the crux of Baker’s point.

First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA.

The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA.

However if the insurers didn’t tell their clients that the new plans would only be available for a short period of time, the blame would seem to rest with the insurance companies, not the ACA. After all, President Obama did not promise people that he would keep insurers from developing new plans that will not comply with the provisions of the ACA.

 

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Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to appoint the controversial A.L. “Buddy” Collins of Forsyth County to a two-year term on the state Task Force on Safer Schools continues to draw criticism from across the state.

Collins was appointed to the State Board of Education by McCrory earlier this year over the objection of Equality NC and other human rights groups because of his anti-gay reputation and homophobic statements.

The decision to appoint Collins to a safe schools task force only adds insult to injury. Equality NC today called on McCrory to reconsider that decision and John Grooms with Creative Loafing in Charlotte also weighed in to oppose the offensive appointment.

Last week, McCrory announced the appointment of John Locke Foundation staffer Dr. Troy Kicker to the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. The Lockers have repeatedly called for the abolition of the commission.

If you have any doubts about McCrory agreement with, or at least unwillingness to challenge the far-right, his recent appointments ought to dispel them.

 

 

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One of the most interesting columns over the weekend was the piece in Charlotte Observer by a doctor, who along with his wife—also a physician, took the course that is required to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Both are gun owners and recreational shooters and their take on the class is fascinating, especially the advice from the instructor on how and where to store their weapons.

Perhaps most shocking, though, was the advice we received from a practicing law enforcement officer regarding the storage of firearms: under the bed, preferably loaded. I’m not kidding. Fifty or so families, many of whom we must presume have children in the home, walked out of that classroom with the understanding that the proper way to store your guns was in a location that is within reach of a child, and loaded. No gun safe. No trigger lock. Across the United States in 2008-09, according to the FBI, we lost more preschoolers to guns (173) than officers in the line of duty (89).

Yikes.

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Here is today’s guess who said it quiz.

I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”

Guess who said that.  Senator Elizabeth Warren? State Senator Martin Nesbitt? Rev. William Barber? Nope, none of them.

It was Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican who was a conservative stalwart when he was a member of Congress, as Paul Krugman recounts in today’s column.

 

 

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vegan lunch for linksHere are your Wednesday lunch links, a little health care polling, a little health care history, a note for you foodies out there, and as always a musical selection for your viewing and listening pleasure–this time one that sort of fits into the lunch theme.

First, some polling that is probably not making the rabid opponents of the Affordable Care Act too happy. Steven Benen has the details about how four major polls all show that public support for Obamacare is growing.

Crooks and Liars has a fascinating history of what happened when the Bush Administration rolled out the Medicare Part D program in 2006 over the objections of Democrats in Congress. The program began with massive computer glitches—sound familiar?—but its former opponents helped make it work because it was the law of the land that could actually help people. Read More