THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
‡ Ohioan Natoma Canfield, who had not investigated programs offered by her healthcare providers that would have offset the cost of her leukemia treatments before writing to President Barack Hussein Obama complaining about not being able to afford chemotherapy because she is uninsured:
“In recent days, she was approved for Social Security disability benefits and Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for low-income people. …
“Ms. Canfield got a break. Her local hospital, Medina General, was taken over last year by the Cleveland Clinic, a prominent hospital system with a sophisticated patient-support structure. …
“Leukemia is on Social Security’s list of “compassionate allowances” for an expedited disability ruling. Were she not disabled, Ms. Canfield could not qualify for Medicaid in Ohio under current rules even though she earned well below the federal poverty limit.
“That will change as a result of the new law, which will expand Medicaid in 2014. Between now and then, Ohio residents may benefit from the creation of a high-risk insurance pool, either at the state or national level. While other states already have such programs, Ohio does not.
“But while the bill provides $5 billion to create or expand such programs, it is not clear how they will work. Premiums are often expensive, and payment rates for providers have not been set. That makes it impossible for a hospital to know if it would be paid more by a high-risk policy or by the state’s existing Hospital Care Assurance Program, which reimburses for care of the uninsured.”
‡ Seattle mother of three Tiffany Owens, who would have been covered by Medicare in January after being turned down in 2009 because she earned too much, and who died from pulmonary hypertension at the age of 27:
“[I]t is unclear that the health care legislation would have prevented her from falling into a gap in coverage that prompted her to forgo treatment and may have contributed to her death. …
“It is not clear if the new health care law will help when a person’s employment, insurance and health status change so rapidly.
“Beginning in 2014, low-income Americans who do not qualify for Medicaid could get subsidies to help buy private insurance.”
‡ Nashville filmmaker Molly Secours, whose health insurance did not cover all her bills for uterine cancer and feared losing her home and having to declare bankruptcy, but who declined offers from her friends to hold concerts and other fundraisers to help her with her medical expenses because her beef really was with the Obama’s ineffective mortgage relief program:
Congress came to the rescue, not with legislation but in the form of Representative Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, who helped her negotiate a new mortgage. Ms. Secours joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference at the Capitol in July.
She is still paying off some bills to Baptist Hospital, but her home is secure. As someone with a pre-existing medical condition, Ms. Secours, under the new law, is assured of being able to find coverage. And as someone who buys her policy on the individual market, she may find better insurance or at least more options. …
Ms. Secours said she hoped to one day be able to take advantage of tax credits that the new health care law will give to small businesses to help them provide insurance to employees. “A couple of years from now I might be able to hire people and offer them something,” she said.
In two out of these three cases, the existing system was self-correcting because of the compassion and decency of individual Americans – including healthcare providers, bankers, friends, neighbors and elected officials. The one patient who fell though the cracks died because government bureaucrats restricted access to coverage and care under Medicaid. And even The Times admits that Obamacare is not a cure for government paper pushers who are bound by regulations to either deny or dole out healthcare without compassion or common sense.
† Look Before You Leap: Part II (second item): Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE) signed two groundbreaking bills into law that place new restrictions on abortions in the state. The first bill bans abortions at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy, not because of fetal viability outside the womb but because at that gestational age the fetus can feel the pain of being dismembered and pulled out of a woman’s body piece by piece. The second requires women to be screened for mental health issues before having an abortion. The Associated Press reports:
Set to take effect in October, it is based on the claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. The current standard in abortion restrictions is viability, or when a fetus is able to survive outside the womb - generally at 22 to 24 weeks. …
The fetal-pain bill is partially meant to shut down Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who attracted attention after his friend and fellow late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot to death by an abortion foe in Kansas last year. …
Also, it codifies a state rule that the required second opinion on whether late-term abortions are necessary come from doctors in Kansas. …
Nebraska's law barring abortions after 20 weeks is sure to be challenged in court. Carhart has suggested he might do so. In January, he told The Associated Press, "they can pass any law they want to ... and spend millions of dollars to go to court and lose."
A spokesman for Carhart said this week that he has no plans to leave Nebraska, but is exploring his options and isn't ruling out a move to Kansas.
AP notes that the laws “probably won't go into effect anytime soon - if ever” because they are likely to run into a buzz saw in the person of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf, who struck down NE’s 1997 ban on partial-birth abortion from going into effect, as well as the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. In both cases, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his decision – the Supreme Court, with Justice Antony Kennedy in the majority both times, overturned affirmed the appellate court decision on the state ban, but upheld the federal ban.
† Is Obama Already A Lame Duck?: Last week, The Washington Post made a point of stating how “comfortable” President Barack Hussein Obama was hosting the nuclear proliferation summit in Washington, D.C. – “[h]e slapped backs, kissed cheeks and met one on one with more than a dozen heads of state” (he also bowed to Chinese President Hu Jintao to welcome our new overlord) – but columnist Charles Krauthammer points out that nothing substantive was accomplished (“Canadian uranium is secured. A nonbinding summit communique has been issued. And a 'work plan' has been agreed to.”). Taking a second stab at puffing up Obama, The WaPo asserts that he “has shown leadership on his pledge to move toward a world without nuclear weapons” but in the very next sentence asks: “is anyone following?” - a sort of "if a tree falls in the forest" conundrum, because "leadership" requires that you induce or inspire people to follow:
Although many experts think the Senate will approve the new strategic-arms treaty with Russia, prospects are dim for ratifying another Obama priority: a global pact banning nuclear tests.
Internationally, there is also a mixed picture. Obama has won kudos, and a Nobel Peace Prize, for a policy that many perceive as less belligerent than that of President George W. Bush.
But George Perkovich, a prominent nuclear expert, noted in a recent report that nuclear powers such as Russia, China and France had not rallied behind the idea of moving toward global disarmament.
"The result is a talented president ready to lead a long-term campaign to remove the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons, but as yet lacking sufficient colleagues and followers to make it happen," wrote Perkovich, who is at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. …
Perkovich said the recent Nuclear Security Summit, which produced an agreement by 47 countries on better safeguarding nuclear material, provided some reason for hope on international cooperation. First, no one botched the final accord. Second, although it is nonbinding, the agreement can be used by U.S. government officials to nudge their foreign counterparts to move forward, he said. [Emphasis, The Stiletto.]
Wow, that’s even more scathing than Krauthammer’s assessment – and Perkovich was trying to be complimentary!
† Updates To Previous Posts (seventh item, Is Hasan A Crazy Terrorist, Or A Terrorist Crazy?): Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) issued a subpoena to the Pentagon and the Justice Department demanding that the “transparent” Obama administration produce secret documents relating to Maj. Nidal Hasan’s jihad against his fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood Army base in TX, and provide access to witnesses, reports The Associated Press:
[T]he chairman and ranking Republican of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have alleged that the administration is covering up critical details on the case, including whether the government had access to information that could have prevented the shooting. …
The case of Hasan has been of particular interest to lawmakers because of his suspected ties to foreign terrorists and his promotion through the military's ranks despite repeated concerns over his performance and behavior.
An internal Defense Department review concluded that several unidentified medical officers failed to use "appropriate judgment and standards of officership" when reviewing Hasan's performance as a student, internist and psychiatric resident.
Last week, Gates said the Pentagon would provide Congress with any information it could so long as the information wouldn't hurt the prosecution's case.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, A To Z Approach On Illegal Immigration In AZ): More than 800 federal agents blanketed AZ to raid businesses that engage in human trafficking, arresting 47 people who operated fleets of shuttle buses that brought illegal aliens across the border and held them at more than 50 drop houses until they got paid fees ranging from $1,600 to $75,000, reports The Wall Street Journal:
The operation, dubbed "In Plain Sight," was the largest human-smuggling enforcement action ever conducted by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, authorities said. It followed a yearlong investigation that involved collaboration between ICE and Mexican federal police, as well as the participation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement.
"We have dealt a severe blow to an alien-smuggling industry in Arizona that feeds thousands of aliens into the far reaches of the U.S., including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles," said ICE chief John Morton. …
ICE officials said they had targeted a "confederacy" of loosely linked criminal syndicates that didn't answer to a central command or a sole kingpin. The groups operated as distinct business empires that smuggled illegal immigrants from Mexico through Arizona and beyond. Authorities said there was no evidence that the syndicates also smuggled drugs. …
State Sen. Frank Antenori, a Republican who represents three Arizona counties near the border, said the ICE enforcement action doesn't solve the trafficking problem. "My constituents are fed up with traffickers coming through our communities," he said. "The federal government made a promise to secure the border … and that has not happened." …
Hitting the smuggling network, rather than the immigrants themselves, is one of the hallmarks of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's approach to border enforcement. Ms. Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, also has stepped up inspections of U.S. companies that hire unauthorized workers.
This is international organized crime on a grand scale," Mr. Morton said.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore conducted a similar two-day multi-agency operation, arresting more than 280 gangbangers, drug smugglers and coyotes, as well as illegals wanted on outstanding warrants, parole violations, probation violations, suspected drunken driving and other offenses. About 165 pounds of marijuana, 21 pounds of methamphetamine, six pounds of cocaine, heroin and weapons were also seized, AP reports.
†Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Garbage In, Garbage Out: Part II): NYC has been paying hundreds of teachers and administrators to play Scrabble, read or surf the Internet while they await disciplinary hearings, reports The Associated Press, and now Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) has reached an agreement with the teachers union to shutter these reassignment centers (AKA "rubber rooms"):
The deal will close the centers, where hundreds of educators spend months or years in bureauratic [sic] limbo, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year.
"It's an absurd abuse of tenure," Bloomberg said.
Under the agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, most of the teachers will be given administrative or nonclassroom work while their cases are pending. Teachers accused of serious charges including violent felonies will be suspended without pay.
"We're going to put teachers to work instead of having them sit in rubber rooms while their cases are being resolved," Bloomberg said.
Under the pact, the Department of Education will have 10 days to file incompetence charges or 60 days to file misconduct charges, depending on the nature of the case. If no charges are filed by the deadline, the teacher will be sent back to the classroom.
The city has paid roughly 650 Board of Education employees $30 million in salaries to kill time in the rubber rooms.
† Updates To Previous Posts (seventh item, Is Obama’s Birth Certificate Fake?): Another "birther" lawsuit aborted by the courts, reports The National Law Journal, this one a "quo warranto" complaint by CA dentist and lawyer Orly Taitz:
The case landed with Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who, suffice it to say, was having none of it.
"This is one of several such suits filed by Ms. Taitz in her quixotic attempt to prove that President Obama is not a natural born citizen as required by [the] Constitution," Lamberth wrote in a decision published on Wednesday. "This Court is not willing to go tilting at windmills with her."
Lamberth wrote that only the U.S. attorney general or a U.S. Attorney's Office can ask a court to file a writ of quo warranto, which according to Black's Law Dictionary is a "common-law writ used to inquire the authority by which a public office is held."
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): In addition to 18-year-old Tyki Nelworth, a “crack baby” who earned a full scholarship to West Point, The Washington Post reports that many babies born to women who used crack cocaine throughout pregnancy have entered young adulthood and are, for the most part, successful and purposeful young adults – thanks, in part, to foster and adoptive parents who took them in at a time when they were being written off as “a biological underclass, super-predators who would cause the crime rate to surge, a lost generation.” This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on these resilient kids and their resolute parents:
Many of the crack-exposed infants ended up as boarder babies, abandoned at the hospital by parents who couldn't care for them. Some have been troubled throughout their lives. But national crime rates, predicted to soar when the children came of age, have instead dropped to record lows. …
After 5 1/2 months of life, the only home Jeffrey had known was the boarder baby nursery at D.C. General, and that's where Debbie Anzelone first saw him in 1990. As director of the hospital's infant development program, she was assessing the children's needs when a nurse made a joke.
"She said, 'Oh, Jeff, you should smile real pretty for this lady - she'd make a great mama for you,' " Anzelone recalled.
Within weeks, she would tell her husband, Mike, that she was in love with this child she'd seen only 10 times. Not long after, they brought Jeff home. In 1993, they officially adopted him and he took their last name. …
Jeff first learned his history when he was in middle school. After Debbie read studies finding that children exposed to drugs early in life were more likely to fall into addiction, she decided to tell Jeff before he experimented with drugs. "I was kind of waiting for a time when I felt like he had developed enough self-confidence that he wouldn't say, 'I'm this drug baby,' " she said.
Jeff said it never occurred to him to think that way. "I was part of this family," he said. "We've always been a Christian family, and so I realized God had a plan." …
"Honestly, I had the perception that crack babies were born messed up, that they went through their life having problems," said Jeff, who was a B student in high school, played sports and has worked part time since he was 14. He works at Starbucks and attends Howard Community College, aiming for a degree in accounting. "I don't see other kids doing things that I don't see myself capable of doing."