More to follow
Hmmm...I think you want to close gap between Loans and Scholarships...Lets hope the Scholars grow up and contribute through earned taxes heck of a lot more than the Scholarships,,That I think is the intent of the such awards...IMO
Sure, they are all below poverty line and hence would pay no taxes on the Awards..
I have a real trouble with such "Scholarships" these days anyway..As the wored would imply Scholar-ship..But, we reward them to the Running backs..Etc...Anywho ...sure tax 'em...But the current poverty line is 17.5 K..so anything below that is not taxed and anything barely above that would be adjusted and deductions won't net you much...
Let 'em be..I say
That assumes a working system and believing in Obama's proclamation it is the traffic on the system..Nether is true..Knowing wee bit about systems, this seems to be a major System issues..Wish it wern't
I think you said Payback..Not Taxed, hence my apprehension..Yes, a Taxing the money can be considered...IMO....Just so..."shouldn't they be paying it back withing 2 years of leaving school and/or getting their degree?"
Conservative columnist and pundit George Will is leaving his decades-long perch at ABC News and joining Fox News, the network announced on Tuesday.
The Daily Caller was the first to report the news.
Will has been a mainstay at ABC since the early 1980s, where he has been a panelist on "This Week" since the program began.
“We are delighted to have someone of George’s stature join Fox News," Michael Clemente, the network's senior vice president for news, said in a statement. "His wisdom is enduring and his achievements are far too long to list."
Will joins fellow Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer in the Fox News stable.
Did you mean Scholarship or Student Loan ?...Answer is Scholarship is NO...Student loan YES..For repayment..IMO..
Don't forget, to lend assistance to fight these terrorists in the ex-soviet provinces and reconstitute the mighty USSR..IMO
I think it is 328 per month per person a family of four (My son) would pay 328 X 4 per month for his family..Used to be aboot 400 per month for the family...
Now on top of that, the Deductables are twice as much and out of pocket is huge...
The middle tier os nither the Platinum nor the Bronze..They didn't specify...
Bottom line is this is how the :distribution of wealth looks"...
(Reuters) - Americans will pay an average premium of $328 monthly for a mid-tier health insurance plan when the Obamacare health exchanges open for enrollment next week, and most will qualify for government subsidies to lower that price, the Obama administration said on Wednesday.
The figure, based on data for approved insurance plans in 48 states, represents the broadest national estimate for how much Americans will pay for health coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law next year. The prices of the new plans are at the heart of a political debate over whether they will be affordable enough to attract millions of uninsured Americans.
Prices were lower in states with more competition among insurers and higher in states with fewer players, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in its report. Americans will be able to sign up for the new plans via online state exchanges beginning on October 1.
"For millions of Americans these new options will finally make health insurance work within their budgets," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a briefing with reporters.
The Obama administration is counting on signing up 7 million Americans in the first full year of reform through the state exchanges, including 2.7 million younger and healthier consumers who are needed to offset the costs of sicker members.
Debate over whether Obamacare will prove affordable for millions of uninsured Americans has been sharp during the past few months, as states have announced rates. States that have supported the law said it will lead to lower prices. Others that have opposed the reform - including Georgia, Florida, and Indiana - warned of "rate shock" for consumers compared to what they could buy on the individual insurance market a year ago.
HHS said the average price was 16 percent lower than its own projections on premiums. In addition, consumers who earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $62,040 for a couple, will qualify for subsidies that will lower the price further.
TEXAS RATES BELOW AVERAGE
The data is mostly based on 36 states where the federal government will operate the insurance exchange. About 14 other states and the District of Columbia are running their own exchange.
Politics aside, states with the lowest average premium tend to have more insurance companies offering plans, the report said. It said eight issuers on average were selling plans in the states with average premiums in the lowest 25 percent, while states with average premiums in the top 25 percent had only three insurers on average.
Texas has been among the Republican-led states most fiercely opposed to Obamacare, but its monthly rates came in below the national average, HHS said. In Austin, Texas, with 76 plans to choose from, a 27-year-old would pay $169 per month for the lowest cost mid-tier plan. In Dallas-Fort Worth, with 43 plans to choose from, that price was $217 per month, the report said.
"The rates in Texas are looking good," said Gary Cohen, who is charged with overseeing the exchanges at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Enrolling enough consumers is key to making the healthcare overhaul work economically, with price considered the most important factor driving enrollment, according to insurance industry surveys.
Another concern has been that insurance companies will limit access to doctors in order to keep prices low. Cohen said that these so-called "narrow networks" were a trend before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
The law was adopted in 2010 but two of its main pillars, the health exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, take effect in 2014. Household names like UnitedHealth Group Inc, Aetna Inc, WellPoint Inc and Humana Inc will sell plans on at least some exchanges. Newcomers such as Medicaid specialist Molina Healthcare Inc will also play a role.
Cruz relents in early Senate skirmish
Associated Press DAVID ESPO 12 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz' battle to eradicate the nation's three-year-old health law got off to a shaky start in the Senate on Monday when the Texas lawmaker first blocked action on unrelated items on the agenda, then quickly backed off.
"There will be time" later in the week to debate the health care issue, he told reporters as he left the Senate floor.
At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., arranged for an initial test vote Wednesday on House passed-legislation that would avoid a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1 while simultaneously cancelling funding for the health care law.
A second key vote is set for later in the week as Democrats seek to keep the health care law intact and Cruz and other Republicans resist.
It was unclear why Cruz objected when Reid sought confirmation for four presidential appointees during the day, the kind that are routinely approved without votes in the Senate. Nor did he say why he changed his mind less than an hour later to permit confirmation. The four included two appointments to the Federal Election Commission, one Democrat and one Republican, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and a State Department nominee.
In between, Reid said he has the votes to prevail on the health care issue.
"Any bill that defunds Obama and his health care law is dead on arrival in the Senate," he said.
For its part, the Obama administration spent the day warning of dire consequences unless Congress approves funding beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Medicare beneficiaries could lose their fully-paid annual wellness doctor's visit if funding is cut off, prescription drug costs could rise, and millions of seniors who are enrolled in private Medicare coverage might be required to switch to the traditional fee-for-service coverage to continue receiving healt
I was more surprised to see this NYTimes article saying like it is....May be the Main Stream Media hs soured on the Chosen one...
Lower Health Insurance Premiums to Come at Cost of Fewer Choices
By ROBERT PEAR
WASHINGTON — Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.
From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.
When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.
Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.
Consumers should be prepared for “much tighter, narrower networks” of doctors and hospitals, said Adam M. Linker, a health policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide advocacy group.
“That can be positive for consumers if it holds down premiums and drives people to higher-quality providers,” Mr. Linker said. “But there is also a risk because, under some health plans, consumers can end up with astronomical costs if they go to providers outside the network.”
Insurers say that with a smaller array of doctors and hospitals, they can offer lower-cost policies and have more control over the quality of health care providers. They also say that having insurance with a limited network of providers is better than having no coverage at all.
Cigna illustrates the strategy of many insurers. It intends to participate next year in the insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.
“The networks will be narrower than the networks typically offered to large groups of employees in the commercial market,” said Joseph Mondy, a spokesman for Cigna.
The current concerns echo some of the criticism that sank the Clinton administration’s plan for universal coverage in 1993-94. Republicans said the Clinton proposals threatened to limit patients’ options, their access to care and their choice of doctors.
At the same time, House Republicans are continuing to attack the new health law and are threatening to hold up a spending bill unless money is taken away from the health care program.
In a new study, the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, says that “insurers passed over major medical centers” when selecting providers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among other states.
“Doing so enables health plans to offer lower premiums,” the study said. “But the use of narrow networks may also lead to higher out-of-pocket expenses, especially if a patient has a complex medical problem that’s being treated at a hospital that has been excluded from their health plan.”
In California, the statewide Blue Shield plan has developed a network specifically for consumers shopping in the insurance exchange.
Juan Carlos Davila, an executive vice president of Blue Shield of California, said the network for its exchange plans had 30,000 doctors, or 53 percent of the 57,000 doctors in its broadest commercial network, and 235 hospitals, or 78 percent of the 302 hospitals in its broadest network.
Mr. Davila said the new network did not include the five medical centers of the University of California or the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills.
“We expect to have the broadest and deepest network of any plan in California,” Mr. Davila said. “But not many folks who are uninsured or near the poverty line live in wealthy communities like Beverly Hills.”
Daniel R. Hawkins Jr., a senior vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers, which represents 9,000 clinics around the country, said: “We serve the very population that will gain coverage — low-income, working class uninsured people. But insurers have shown little interest in including us in their provider networks.”
Dr. Bruce Siegel, the president of America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly known as the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said insurers were telling his members: “We don’t want you in our network. We are worried about having your patients, who are sick and have complicated conditions.”
In some cases, Dr. Siegel said, “health plans will cover only selected services at our hospitals, like trauma care, or they offer rock-bottom payment rates.”
In New Hampshire, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a unit of WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest insurers, has touched off a furor by excluding 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from the health plans that it will sell through the insurance exchange.
Christopher R. Dugan, a spokesman for Anthem, said that premiums for this “select provider network” were about 25 percent lower than they would have been for a product using a broad network of doctors and hospitals.
Anthem is the only commercial carrier offering health plans in the New Hampshire exchange.
Peter L. Gosline, the chief executive of Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, N.H., said his hospital had been excluded from the network without any discussions or negotiations.
“Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals,” Mr. Gosline said. “It’s very inconvenient for patients, and at times it’s a hardship.”
State Senator Andy Sanborn, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said, “The people of New Hampshire are really upset about this.”
Many physician groups in New Hampshire are owned by hospitals, so when an insurer excludes a hospital from its network, it often excludes the doctors as well.
David Sandor, a vice president of the Health Care Service Corporation, which offers Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, said: “In the health insurance exchange, most individuals will be making choices based on costs. Our exchange products will have smaller provider networks that cost less than bigger plans with a larger selection of doctors and hospitals.”
Premiums will vary across the country, but federal officials said that consumers in many states would be able to buy insurance on the exchange for less than $300 a month — and less than $100 a month per person after taking account of federal subsidies.
“Competition and consumer choice are actually making insurance affordable,” Mr. Obama said recently.
Many insurers are cutting costs by slicing doctors’ fees.
Dr. Barbara L. McAneny, a cancer specialist in Albuquerque, said that insurers in the New Mexico exchange were generally paying doctors at Medicare levels, which she said were “often below our cost of doing business, and definitely below commercial rates.”
Outsiders might expect insurance companies to expand their networks to treat additional patients next year. But many insurers see advantages in narrow networks, saying they can steer patients to less expensive doctors and hospitals that provide high-quality care.
Even though insurers will be forbidden to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, they could subtly discourage the enrollment of sicker patients by limiting the size of their provider networks.
“If a health plan has a narrow network that excludes many doctors, that may shoo away patients with expensive pre-existing conditions who have established relationships with doctors,” said Mark E. Rust, the chairman of the national health care practice at Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm. “Some insurers do not want those patients who, for medical reasons, require a broad network of providers.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stung by public unease about new details of spying by the National Security Agency, President Barack Obama selected a panel of advisers he described as independent experts to scrutinize the NSA's surveillance programs to be sure they weren't violating civil liberties and to restore Americans' trust.
But with just weeks remaining before its first deadline to report back to the White House, the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts.
The panel's advisers work in offices on loan from the DNI. Interview requests and press statements from the review panel are carefully coordinated through the DNI's press office. James Clapper, the intelligence director, exempted the panel from U.S. rules that require federal committees to conduct their business and their meetings in ways the public can observe. Its final report, when it's issued, will be submitted for White House approval before the public can read it.
Even the panel's official name suggests it's run by Clapper's office: "Director of National Intelligence Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies."
Its meetings in recent weeks with technology industry and privacy groups have been closed to the public even though no classified information was discussed, according to participants. Attendees told The Associated Press they raised concerns about the NSA's spying programs. During one session, two participants said, panel members said the group might hold a separate classified meeting soon with technology executives to discuss details of secret surveillance programs.
"No one can look at this group and say it's completely independent," said one attendee, Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute and vice president at the New America Foundation. Meinrath said the closed meetings "leave the public out of the loop."
Obama described the panel an Aug. 9 speech as an "independent group" and said its members would "consider how we can maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used."
The formal White House memorandum days later — effectively the legal charter for the group — does not specify anything about its role being independent of the Obama administration. It directed the panel to emphasize in its review whether U.S. spying programs protect national security, advance foreign policy and are protected against the types of leaks that led to the national debate in the first place. The final consideration in the White House memo told the panel to examine "our need to maintain the public trust." There was no mention of the panel investigating surveillance abuses.
The review panel, in a statement released through the DNI's press office, confirmed to the AP that Clapper had exempted it from the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires such committees to conduct open meetings and notify the public about their activities. It said Clapper made the decision because of the "highly classified nature of their review," but added: "We are conducting this review as openly and transparently as possible." In private meetings so far, several attendees said their discussions did not mention any classified activities and that the panel members steered them away from doing so.
Four of the five review panel members previously worked for Democratic administrations: Peter Swire, former Office of Management and Budget privacy director under President Bill Clinton; Michael Morell, Obama's former deputy CIA director; Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism coordinator under Clinton and later for President George W. Bush; and Cass Sunstein, Obama's former regulatory czar. A fifth panel member, Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago, leads a university committee looking to build Obama's presidential library in Chicago and was an informal adviser to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Stone wrote in a July op-ed that the NSA surveillance program that collects the phone records of every American every day is constitutional.
"We would have liked a more diverse group," said Michelle Richardson, an ACLU legislative counsel who attended one meeting for civil liberties groups.
The review panel overlaps with a similar effort by a second advisory group. In July, Obama asked the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to report on the NSA programs and their effects on civil liberties. While PCLOB's work is expected to take months and has no deadline, Obama ordered the review group to report interim findings within 60 days and provide a final report by Dec. 15.
PCLOB chairman David Medine said recently that his group's purview was different because it was not subject to review by the White House. PCLOB's hearings so far have been conducted in public, although the group has been given classified briefings by national security officials.
"We're proceeding regardless of other groups' timelines," Medine said.
A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, Caitlin Hayden, said the review group and civil liberties board have separate mandates. She said the review panel is looking at spy programs authorized under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the USA Patriot Act, and references to the NSA collecting phone-records and obtaining copies of Internet messages from U.S. technology companies. The civil liberties board, however, is focusing on the same surveillance programs, according to a June 2013 Congressional authorization letter.
Obama has said in recent comments that he might be open to setting up public advocates who could oppose government lawyers at secret federal surveillance court proceedings — similar to a proposal by Swire in 2004. But the administration has otherwise backed the surveillance programs as essential for national security.
Participants in one session held for the technology industry included lawyers and other figures from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and Apple — firms that reportedly have worked with the NSA in surveillance operations. No phone company executives attended, participants said. Technology executives pressed for more authority to tell computer users their private data is not being abused by the government, said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Neither session, according to participants, gave any hint of changes under consideration.
"Any time someone brought up what was at the heart of these issues," Meinrath said, "we were told to put that into record on the website, or else we were told it was classified."
Russia ready to send observers to Syria
Associated Press JIM HEINTZ 13 minutes ago
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is ready to send military observers to Syria to ensure security for efforts to eliminate its chemical weapons, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
But the Russian official said his country is not considering sending a full military contingent.
Under a U.S.-Russian plan, Syria is to give up its chemical weapons. Security is one of the plan's major challenges, including how to prevent theft of the weapons.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on state TV's Channel One, Lavrov said Russia has proposed that there be an international presence on the perimeter of all areas where chemical weapons experts will work in Syria. "We are ready to share our servicemen and military police to participate in these forces," but "it seems to me that military observers will be sufficient," he said.
Although Russia and the U.S. worked together on the chemical weapons plan, Washington and Moscow remain at odds over several aspects of the Syrian crisis. The United States, along with France, have sought a U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of force, if Syria reneges on the chemical weapons agreement, but Russia opposes invoking the U.N. Charter's Chapter 7 which would allow force.
Lavrov criticized what he called "impudent" attempts by the West to include that chapter in the resolution.
The minister said the West is unable to admit that previous military interventions, such as in Iraq and Libya, led to severe problems.
"They are primarily interested in the evidence of their own superiority . And is not the task that drives us - to solve the problem of chemical weapons in Syria," he said.
Also Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a mortar round fired by rebels in the Syrian capital exploded on the grounds of the Russian embassy, injuring three workers. The ministry said the injuries were not life-threatening, but gave no further details
AQ consolidating in the North Africa and Syrian borders...Russia heavy inflence in middle east..Iran has made Iraq it's #$%$...
Obama playing the fiddle...
You know this will all land on our doorstep in 4 years.IMO