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Barack Obama

"Father of comatose student freed by North Korea sl..."



by 228 Jurors

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Obama is a member of the Democratic Party, and was the first person of African American descent to serve as president. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000. [1]

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img John Adams posted a review

The father of the American student left comatose after 18 months in a North Korean prison has criticized former President Barack Obama for not doing enough to free his son.

“The question is, ‘Do I think the past administration could have done more?’ ” Fred Warmbier, Otto Warmbier’s dad, said at a press conference in Ohio on Thursday. “I think the results speak for themselves.”

on June 17, 2017

img Sid Poduval posted a review

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have released their estimate of the effects of the House Republican's Obamacare repeal and replace plan. For the 2017-2026 period:

• It would reduce spending by $1,111 billion

• It would reduce taxes by $992 billion (including the elimination of $210 billion in penalties for people who don't have insurance).

• It would reduce the cumulative federal deficits by $119 billion

• It would not increase net spending or deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027

• Average premiums would be between 4% and 30% lower in 2026 than under current law, depending on the state of residence and the age of the insured. Young people, and people in states that apply for waivers for the law's more expensive provisions will see the largest declines.

• 23 million fewer people will carry health insurance. Note: The CBO definition of health insurance coverage does NOT include policies with limited insurance benefits (known as mini-med plans); policies that cover only specific ailments; supplemental plans; and plans that pay a certain amount per day for illness or hospitalization. People who own such policies are counted as uninsured.

• Subsidies to purchase insurance would attract a sufficient number of relatively healthy people to stabilize the market, and grants to states from the Patient and State Stability Fund would lower premiums by reducing the costs to insurers of people with high health care expenditures.

• States could apply for a waiver that would allow insurers to set premiums on the basis of an individual’s health status if the person had not demonstrated continuous coverage, and that could result in high premiums for those people. However, this only affects those who wait until they are sick to get insurance, and only in states that choose to apply for this waiver. Those who maintain coverage will be unaffected.

The main features of the law would be as follows.

REPEAL - The American Health Care Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, will dismantle most core aspects of ObamaCare, including:

• The employer mandate and penalties for not insuring employees who work more than 30 hours a week at companies with more than 50 employees are repealed.
• The individual mandate and penalties for not having insurance are repealed.
• The expansion of Medicaid will effectively end in 2020 when the federal government stops funding it. States that have not already expanded would not be allowed to do so, starting immediately.
• Obamacare's income-based subsidies are ended.
• The 3.8% tax on investment income is repealed.
• The 0.9% tax on higher income Americans is repealed.
• The tax on medical devices is eliminated.
• The tax on prescription medications is repealed.
• The tax on health insurance premiums is ended.
• The tax on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) is repealed.
• The tax on tanning salons is repealed.
• The tax on retiree prescription drug coverage is repealed.
• The tax deduction on expenses exceeding 7.5% of a family's income is reinstated (Obamacare had increased the threshold to 10%).
• Obamacare's prohibition on using Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account (HSA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines is repealed.
• The tax penalty on withdrawing money from Health Savings Account for non-qualified medical expenses is repealed.
• State Medicaid plans will no longer have to cover some Obamacare-mandated essential health benefits.
• Planned Parenthood funding is eliminated.

KEEP - The law will keep several features of Obamacare:

• People with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage. The measure would provide states with federal funds to help set up high-risk pools to provide insurance to the sickest patients and to help those with pre-existing conditions pay for insurance.
• Dependents can still stay on their parent's health insurance plan until age 26.
• Insurers are still prohibited from setting annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage.
• The "Cadillac tax" on generous healthcare plans will remain, but be postponed from 2020 to 2025.
• Current Medicaid enrollees will be grandfathered in when the federal government stops providing the extra federal funds that allow for expansion in 2020.

REPLACE - The replacement part of the bill includes several major changes to existing law:

• Obamacare's income-based subsidies are replaced by age-based tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 per person per year, increasing with someone’s age. The credits would start to phase out for individuals earning $75,000 and households earning $150,000, and would be unavailable for individuals who earn more than $215,000.
• Although the annual penalty for not having insurance is repealed, people who wait until they become sick or let their coverage lapse for more than 63 days can be charged a 30% surcharge on premiums for one year when they do finally sign up.
• The amount people and employers can contribute to tax-free health savings accounts will double.
• Private plans are still required to offer ten essential health benefits, but states can now opt out of the requirement.
• States will now be able to opt out of Obamacare's mandate that insurers charge the same rates to sick and healthy people.
• Under Obamacare, insurers could only charge seniors up to 3 times more than they charged young people. The new law changes that restriction to 5 times more.

MEDICAID REFORM - The GOP bill would also significantly overhaul the Medicaid program.

• The bill would end Medicaid as an open-ended entitlement and would put the program on a budget.
• States would receive an allotment of federal money for each beneficiary, or, as an alternative, they could take the money in a lump sum as a block grant, with fewer federal requirements.
• States will also be able to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work, participate in job training programs, or do community service.
• The Congressional Budget Office projects that bill would cut the federal government's spending on Medicaid by 25% by 2026 as compared to current law.

on May 26, 2017

img Sohail Ahmed posted a review

THE MISLEADING NARRATIVE: Obamacare needs to stay in place! It literally saves people’s lives, and because of that, we should be willing to pay higher taxes and insurance premiums.

THE REALITY: Obamacare, on the whole, did NOT save lives.

This is merely an appeal to emotion, and it’s largely untrue. Proponents of the ACA commonly cite two estimates; Rep. Bill Pascrell of NJ claimed that 22,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health insurance and former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada claimed that the number was much higher – 45,000 a year. [a]

Before we examine the research, we need to note a fundamental fact: the vast majority of newly covered people under the ACA did NOT actually purchase insurance. Rather, they were simply rolled onto Medicaid. Out of 20 million people newly insured, estimates are that 14.5 million were put on Medicaid/CHIP. [b] This has significant implications for examining the “Obamacare saved lives” narrative, as Medicaid expansion was one of the ACA’s core components.

Studies show that mortality rates and other health outcomes are not necessarily positively affected by Medicaid, and in fact, are sometimes negatively impacted. Research shows the following:

• Studies linking positive health benefits to PRIVATE health insurance certainly exist, but since Obamacare is largely just an expansion of Medicaid/CHIP, such studies shouldn't be cited to bolster Obamacare's credibility. In addition, where studies do find that Medicaid has a positive effect, it is for pregnant women and young children — groups whose coverage was NOT expanded by the ACA. [c] Again, the results, even when positive, aren't causally connected to Obamacare.

• Several studies failed to conclude that Medicaid improved health outcomes. [c] For instance, an opportunity for a natural experiment arose in Oregon when the state had limited funds for Medicaid so it instituted a lottery whereby some applicants were randomly gifted medicaid and others were randomly denied. This created a control group to test the health outcomes of two similarly characterized groups of people. The study found nearly no direct improvement to health as a result of Medicaid. Interestingly, what it found was mostly just that Medicaid acted as a financial crutch easing the burden of expenses. [e] If one wishes to argue that giving benefits to poorer individuals saves them money, that should be obvious, but it doesn't appear to "save lives." It's important to note here that there IS one popularly cited paper published by Harvard University researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine [g] which looked for improvements in mortality when several states expanded Medicaid in the 2000s. Many cite this study as evidence that access to Medicaid lowered mortality rates, but it actually showed, at best, mixed results. First, it only studied 3 states. Second, their results essentially cancelled each other out. New York showed a statistically significant reduction in deaths, Arizona showed a statistically insignificant reduction (meaning they couldn't establish that it was anything more than random chance), and Maine showed a statistically insignificant increase. This is one of their strongest arguments, and yet, it's extremely weak. [c]

• A claim that the ACA saves large numbers of lives should be supported by statistically significant evidence showing decreasing mortality rates; yet the opposite occurred. Per CDC data, the rates of age-adjusted mortality and life expectancy had fallen every year since 1993. However, in 2015, the mortality rate increased from 725 per 100,000 to 733 per 100,000. This means that 30,000 MORE deaths occurred in 2015 than if the mortality rate had remained at 2014 levels. To be fair, it is important to note that this statistic, while correlated with the timeframe when the ACA started, does not establish that the ACA was the whole or even part of the cause of increased mortality. What it DOES show, however, is that the ACA did NOT save lives, as claimed by its proponents. [c]

Additionally, claims of people dying due to lack of insurance were called into question by the healthcare researcher Richard Kronick. [d] Kronick examined existing data and found no difference in mortality between those with employer-sponsored insurance and those who were uninsured. To be clear, this isn't to suggest that medical care doesn't usually improve one's life, but it IS to suggest that - in this country - people aren't generally left to die from a treatable disease or injury. Care might be expensive, it may be difficult to attain if you weren't responsible enough to maintain insurance before becoming ill and thus avoid the pitfall of a "pre-existing condition," it may even put you into temporary debt, just as anything else valuable in this world, but you wouldn't be left to rot and die. As Kronick states: “It is not possible to draw firm causal inferences from the results of observational analyses, but there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the United States.” It’s important to note at this stage that Kronick is an academic and former Clinton administration official. At the time the ACA was passed, Kronick was serving in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary of HHS. [a] And he's not the only one who acknowledges this. Even the far left publication "Mother Jones," in an article otherwise supporting Obamacare, started their argument with the following firm acknowledgement:

"People in the US don't die much before age 65, so health insurance for working-age folks has never been likely to have much effect on death rates. Below age 55, it's even less likely: the death rate is so minuscule that it would take a miracle to invent ANY kind of health-related practice that had a measurable effect on life expectancy." [f]

This is, of course, the end of their critique, as the rest of their article was strongly in favor of the ACA. In the interests of full disclosure, note that their article argued mortality rates shouldn't be used to judge Obamacare, since healthcare is more about improving life than it is about preventing death. That's a point people should be perfectly willingly to accept, but if that's the goal, then supporters of Obamacare shouldn't routinely imply that opponents of the ACA are essentially killing people.

In summary, it's expected that many will take issue with the above research, as healthcare is a highly debated issue. ACA proponents are often able to cite anecdotal evidence and name a few individuals whose lives might have been greatly improved by Obamacare, but let us remember; anecdotes do not override the aggregated data, they exist within it. Political policies should not be judged by their intentions but instead by their RESULTS. As the results show, the ACA does not, on the net, save lives.

on May 15, 2017

img Dev Achmed posted a review

THE REALITY: As we'll demonstrate, this narrative comes merely as a failure to fact-check and relies heavily on misleading anecdotes.

This controversy arose from the AHCA's option for individual states to seek waivers and opt out of certain Obamacare provisions. Among them was the ability, under limited circumstances, to charge higher premiums to some customers based on their medical history. States which utilize this federal waiver would be required to set up high-risk insurance pools, however, helping to mitigate the cost for those who would otherwise be unable to afford healthcare. One can debate how effective these high risk pools would be, but the fact is, those with preexisting conditions would NOT be "denied" coverage, despite the popular narrative.

Even if preexisting conditions were not protected by repeal, 44 states ALREADY have laws which prohibit health insurers from treating rape, any other form of sexual abuse, or any form of domestic violence, as a preexisting condition. This was apparently not the case before 1980, but as of 2014, this prohibition is the law in 44 states. [a] Some might muse that the other 6 states might allow sexual or domestic violence to be treated as a pre-existing condition since they don't have laws prohibiting it, but again, the facts show this to be a non-existent worry. A 2009 Politifact investigation turned up NO evidence that such practices were occurring. As their report noted, "Just because it's legal in some states [...] doesn't mean that insurance companies are actually taking advantage of the loophole." [b] In other words, it is true that some states allowed the practice, but there was no evidence that insurers implemented it. Furthermore, the Americans Health Insurance Plans organization, a
health insurer trade association, said "of course survivors of domestic abuse and rape should be covered." [c] AHIP's spokeswoman Kristine Grow also noted that the insurance industry generally follows the guidelines laid out by the National Association of Insurance Companies, which includes recommendations against denying coverage to abuse and assault victims. [a]

How then, did this narrative get started? The media has relied on a few anecdotes:

• One from CNN, for instance, centers on a woman who, having been a victim of domestic violence, had her insurance application rejected. The insurance company did not provide a reason, nor are they required to, but the woman believed that it was due to her history of domestic abuse. However, there was never any evidence to prove that assumption, and the woman was able to obtain insurance shortly thereafter from a different provider.

• The second story centers around a woman who was sexually assaulted and was then prescribed anti-HIV medication as a precaution. When she applied for a health insurance policy, she was turned down. The reason? The insurance company had a policy of refusing coverage to anyone who had been on HIV medication recently. They did NOT decline her because she was a rape victim, however, as they were not even aware of that information initially (the woman said she informed them of it later on). It's perfectly legitimate to say that the company should have made an exception to their HIV medication policy for this woman, but THAT'S the issue which should be discussed, not the misleading narrative that she was supposedly denied coverage due to sexual assault.

Plenty of complaints can be had with the proposed repeal of the ACA, but the allegation that it would make sexual or domestic abuse a pre-existing condition is simply not true. Media outlets need to do a better job with their fact checking.

on May 10, 2017

img Sohail Ahmed posted a review

However, the costs of this rule are considerable and are borne by all workers. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, "workers at firms with employer-based coverage – whether or not they have dependent children – experience an annual reduction in wages of approximately $1,200" as a result of this rule.

That means that all workers (including those without children) are experiencing a substantial decline in wages in order to pay for this provision which benefits some people.


on May 8, 2017

img Ian Da Silva posted a review

The Affordable Care Act. To begin with, it never gave anyone healthcare but health-insurance. This is an important distinction because supporters of the law generally don’t like “evil” health insurance companies. The reality is this law forces everyone to purchase insurance from these companies. It’s nothing like the healthcare system you see in Canada or Europe.

Democrats are so compassionate, that they had the IRS fine and target (poor) people who couldn't afford health insurance. Two years ago I had to pay this fine while I was in between jobs.

Some other facts that Democrats like to forget.

*The Affordable Care Act has caused millions of people to lose their doctors, despite the President’s promise.

*The Affordable Care Act has caused millions of people to lose their current health insurance. You could argue this was by design to push more people through this crony-capitalism insurance exchange.

*The Affordable Care Act has raised the price of insurance and premiums for millions of people. Obama allowed businesses to be exempt from the law until 2015(after congressional election) as well as gave waivers to his politically connected friends.

on May 6, 2017

img Jawad Khan posted a review

That Assad is not the real danger but Erdogan? That they knew from the first moment that they have been fueling the Islamist armed groups who have destroyed Syria. Hypocrites. Cowards. History will judge them for their hypocrisy.

on April 26, 2017

img Frank Zetta posted a review

They've spent the last month quietly recuperating in French Polynesia since leaving the White House earlier this year.

But Barack and Michelle Obama interrupted the quiet island life they've become accustomed to this weekend with a star-studded jaunt out to sea. 

The former First Couple joined Bruce Springsteen Tom Hanks and their wives on music mogul David Geffen's superyacht Rising Sun on Friday, making quite the splash as they arrived at the vessel off the island of Mo'orea in a spruced up speedboat.

Once on board, the Obama's played tourists, posing romantically on the upper deck while they had their photograph taken.  

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on April 17, 2017
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Father of comatose student freed by North Korea slams Obama
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