Obamacare: The pesky issue that won’t go away for #NCsen’s @SenatorHagan

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Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

The Politico has a pretty good write-up this morning on what they call the “disconnect” between North Carolina voters and Obamacare – and how that is not good news for the re-election campaign of vulnerable Democrat Senator Kay Hagan:

The Tar Heel State signed up more than 357,000 people — one-third of those eligible for the new health insurance exchange. Yet President Barack Obama’s health law remains a major liability for Sen. Kay Hagan, who faces one of the toughest reelection races for any Senate Democrat this year, a true toss-up fight against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. He misses no chance to tie her to Obama and the Affordable Care Act, forcing her to calibrate both how to defend a law she voted for and how to distance herself from it.

The North Carolina dynamic reflects a national problem for the Obama administration in this midterm election: Despite the solid numbers — 8 million enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, and 6.7 million signed up for Medicaid — they just can’t move the dial on political support for Obamacare.

The state had the third-highest rate of enrollment among states that decided not to set up their own exchange — only Florida and Maine came out ahead of it.

[…]

Many people who enrolled in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country report mixed feelings about their new Obamacare health plans or the costs. The individual mandate, and the threat of a penalty, drove many sign-ups. A polling report by PerryUndem, an opinion research firm that specializes in health care, found that 40 percent of people in one focus group say they might not have signed up without the mandate. But neither an unpopular mandate nor worries about the expense are a political advantage.

[…]

Hagan was not available for an interview during a reporter’s recent visit here. Her campaign spokeswoman downplayed the controversy over Obamacare, and stressed its more popular benefits.

Of course she wasn’t.  The Senator has become almost infamous for sidestepping questions about a law she once bragged about having helped craft.

To make matters worse forif you like your plan you can keep it Hagan and other red state Democrats who shoved the so-called Affordable Care Act down the throats of the American people is that coming soon – very soon – are health insurance rate hikes, set to be announced for North Carolina sometime next month, which is sure to fuel the fire over Obamacare all over again at a critical time for her campaign.  

I should note that one major issue not mentioned in the Politico piece is how close to 500,000 North Carolinians lost their health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare, far more than the number that signed up for it.  That’s a number her GOP opponent/NC House Speaker Thom Tillis will hammer home from now til November – as he should, and if you’re a resident of North Carolina who is sick of Senator Hagan’s repeated attempts at avoiding responsibility for her vote on this disastrous bill, you should remind people of it, too.

Do #MoralMonday Democrats want religion in government – or not?

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Moral Monday, led by NC’s version of the Rev. Al Sharpton – NC NAACP President Bill Barber – has cranked back up again and it looks like they’re still trying to confuse the heck out of everyone with mixed signals when it comes to whether or not they want religion to play a role in government policy.

Democrats statewide and nationally are famous (in some circles “infamous”) for suggesting that religion (right along with “morality”) should play “no role whatsoever” when it comes to determining public policy, yet seem to have little problem whatsoever with taking up the “religion in government” mantle when it suits their purposes. This is the Moral Monday movement during last year’s “summer of discontent” here in NC:

Moral Monday

At left, a Moral Monday protester. At right, Moral Monday ”spiritual leader” William Barber. Um, huh? (Photo via Don Carrington/Carolina Journal)

Aaaaaaand today:


Another:


Using spiritualism to promote socialism and “social justice” – it’s what they do best. But don’t expect them to answer any questions about how their “faith-based agenda” that includes robbing Peter to pay Paul and looking the other way when an innocent unborn child is aborted not only is actually at odds with Biblical scripture but is also at odds with their stated goal of “keeping God out of government.” That would require actual thought on their part and we certainly wouldn’t want them have to do too much critical thinking – thinking that would cast doubt on their entire movement, now would we? o=>

Declassified documents show ‘fortunate missteps’ saved NC from 60s nuke wipeout

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nuclear-explosion

Quite the explosive report! In more ways than one. Via CNN:

(CNN) — On a January night in 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber broke in half while flying over North Carolina. From the belly of the B-52 fell two bombs — two nuclear bombs that hit the ground near the city of Goldsboro.

A disaster worse than the devastation wrought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have befallen the United States that night. But it didn’t, thanks to a series of fortunate missteps.

Declassified documents that the National Security Archive released this week offered new details about the incident. The blaring headline read: “Multi-Megaton Bomb Was Virtually “Armed” When It Crashed to Earth.”

Or, as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it in back then, “By the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted.”

The Goldsboro incident

The B-52 was flying over North Carolina on January 24, 1961, when it suffered a “failure of the right wing,” the report said.

As the plane broke apart, the two bombs plummeted toward the ground. The parachute opened on one; it didn’t on the other.

“The impact of the aircraft breakup initiated the fuzing sequence for both bombs,” the summary of the documents said.

In other words, both weapons came alarmingly close to detonating.

Weapon 1, the bomb whose parachute opened, landed intact. Fortunately, the safing pins that provided power from a generator to the weapon had been yanked — preventing it from going off.

Weapon 2, the second bomb with the unopened parachute, landed in a free-fall. The impact of the crash put it in the “armed” setting. Fortunately — once again — it damaged another part of the bomb needed to initiate an explosion.

[…]

The MK39 bombs weighed 10,000 pounds and their explosive yield was 3.8 megatons. Compare that to the bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: they were 0.01 and 0.02 megatons.

So, like, these bombs were much bigger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.  Gulp.  To say “thank God the catastrophe was averted” would be the understatement of the century. Whew!

Bad news for #NCSEN’s Hagan: #Obamacare hurting small biz in Charlotte

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Obamacare

Local news station WCNC files this report on one small local business the monstrosity known as “Obamacare” is hurting:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The doors open early at Fresh Salon off Providence Road in south Charlotte and when they do, the place starts buzzing.

Owner Julia Vittorio dreamed of having her own salon, and for five years she’s lived the dream.  She’s on the floor with clients, and in the back keeping the books.  With 25 employees, she feels she has done well.

“I think you want the best for your employees. We are a small business, very much like a family, so I care very much about our staff,” she said.

Vittorio cared so much she offered her employees health insurance, even though she didn’t have to as a small business with less than 50 employees.  She paid part of her employees’ premiums, but now will have to rethink that move, she fears.

“We’ve been proud to even carry it for this long, but it’s a concern for the future if we can keep doing it.”

There are many problems she and her staff are worried about.  A new study says employees are not ready for the higher premiums and deductibles they may be faced with.  In fact, the study says more than half of  employees have less than one thousand dollars to pay for unexpected medical costs.

Paging Senator Hagan, paging Senator Hagan

Former CLT Mayor Pat Cannon (D) to plead guilty to federal corruption charge

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Patrick Cannon and Anthony Foxx

Then-Charlotte City Councilman- Patrick Cannon (l) and then-Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (now Obama’s Transportation Secretary) in happier times. Image via PraiseCharlotte.com

Via The Charlotte Observer:

Patrick Cannon is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a federal public corruption charge that carries up to a 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

According to court documents released to the public early Monday, Cannon will appear in federal court at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer. At that time, he will plead to one count of honest services wire fraud, an umbrella charge commonly used in cases where public officials take kickbacks or bribes, documents say.

The charge basically means the 48-year-old Democrat used his mayoral and city council posts for illegal gain, depriving city residents of his “honest services” as their elected representative.

Cannon did not answer the door at his house Monday morning. Asked why his client had agreed to plead guilty rather than fight the charges in court, attorney James Ferguson said Monday morning that he could not comment.

Honest services fraud is one of the three corruption charges leveled against Cannon at his March 26 arrest. At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of accepting almost $50,000 in bribes. In exchange, Cannon promised to use his office to assist real estate deals pitched by undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town investors.

[…]

According to the new document, Cannon is accused of soliciting and accepting a series of bribes from a Charlotte businessman, identified as “Businessman #1,” whose adult entertainment club was in the path of the Blue Line Extension through north Charlotte.

Welcome to the culture of corruption – Charlotte, NC style.  Perhaps Cannon’s new nickname should be “Strip Club Patrick.”

Read the Twitter reaction to reports of Cannon’s expected plea here.

RIP, Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

The famed poet and author Maya Angelou was found dead today in her Winston-Salem, NC home. Via Fox News:

Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou was found dead in her Winston-Salem, N.C., home Wednesday morning. She was 86.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Jones confirmed Angelou’s death to Fox News. Police reportedly were at her home investigating. A press conference is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. ET.

Angelou, who rose from poverty as child raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Ark., to become a cultural icon, gained widespread acclaim for her first book, her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” making her one of the first African-American women to write a best-seller.

In 1998, she directed the film “Down in the Delta” about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta. She was the poet chosen to read at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993. She wrote and read an original composition, “On the Pulse of Morning,” which became a million-seller.

[…]

Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis on April 4, 1928, Angelou was raised in Stamps, Ark., and San Francisco, moving back and forth between her parents and grandmother. She was reportedly sent to California after sassing a white store clerk in Arkansas and, at other times, did not speak at all. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend at age 7 and did not speak for years afterward, instead learning by reading and listening.

“I loved the poetry that was sung in the black church: ‘Go down Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,'” Angelou told The Associated Press. “It just seemed to me the most wonderful way of talking. And ‘Deep River.’ Ooh! Even now it can catch me. And then I started reading, really reading, at about 7 1/2, because a woman in my town took me to the library, a black school library. … And I read every book, even if I didn’t understand it.”

Ms. Angelou has a fascinating history for anyone interested in reading up on both it and her.

I may not have always agreed with her politically but I found her to be dynamic, one of the classiest and most inspiring, dignified, and graceful women of not only her generation but also generations after.  May her loved ones and friends find the protection of God’s arms comforting at this difficult time.  Rest in peace, ma’am.

– “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.” – Maya Angelou

Paging #NCSEN’s Hagan: NC Obamacare premium hikes may be published in August

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Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

Another day of more worrisome news for NC’s embattled Senator Kay Hagan:

States are nailing down dates to release 2015 premium costs under ObamaCare, and their decisions will guarantee a drumbeat of news about rate hikes all the way to the November midterm elections.

Democrats are bracing for grim headlines that could put the unpopular law back at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Premiums are expected to go up in a majority of states, as they do every year, but the size of the increases could go a long way toward determining how much political damage ObamaCare inflicts on vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

A survey by The Hill of state insurance commissioners found that news about ObamaCare premiums will hit nearly every week this summer (see list below), providing ample opportunity for Republicans to attack any significant premium hikes.

A slew of states will publish proposed prices in June, including Colorado and Louisiana — where the GOP is targeting Democratic Senate incumbents.

Others will wait until later in the season, including West Virginia and Arkansas. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a fact that his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), has repeatedly raised.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), a top GOP target, will see her state publish rates on Aug. 15 or later.

I’ll be having fun watching the Senator, who has bragged on her official government website about helping to craft Obamacare – and who recently ‘fully embraced’ the bill after months of dodging and weaving on it, try to explain away why both she and our celebrity President  lied (or, er, “misspoke”) about – among other things –  lowering premium costs while promoting a bill that eventually was shoved down the throats of the American people with not a single Republican vote in the House or Senate, not even the tried and true moderates.

Republicans note that President Obama promised on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

And we won’t even go there on the whole “if you like your doctor/plan you can keep it” lie, ya know, the promise that Senator Hagan made in so many words at least 24 times, or how she had the opportunity to vote in favor of a resolution (but didn’t) that would have prevented people from not being able to keep their doctors/plans, or …

#NCPOL news: Clay Aiken’s #NC02 primary opponent Keith Crisco dies at home

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Keith Crisco

Keith Crisco

Via the Asheboro Courier Tribune:

ASHEBORO — Asheboro businessman and congressional candidate, Keith Crisco, 71, died suddenly at his home today.

Information is incomplete; however, early information indicates he suffered injuries from a fall around 1 p.m. at his home on 1263 Thayer Drive in Asheboro. He was reported dead at the scene when emergency workers arrived there.

John Ogburn, Asheboro city manager, confirmed that the Asheboro Police Department and Asheboro Fire Department responded to the scene. He said the case will go to the state medical examiner to determine an exact cause of death.

In a statement from the city, local officials said they were saddened to learn of Crisco’s death. During his time on the Asheboro City Council, from 2003-2009, officials said he consistently demonstrated the intellect and steadfastness that made him so successful.

[…]

Crisco had a long history of involvement on Asheboro’s business and local government scene. His impact reached to the state and federal level due to his involvement in industry associations, his tenure as state commerce secretary and, most recently, his run for congressional office.

[…]

Clay Aiken, Crisco’s opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives District 2 race, also sent his condolences.

“I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death,” he said in a statement. “Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor’s Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

Both men were running for the chance to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. Ellmers sent the following statement from her office in Washington.

“I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God’s blessings for Keith’s family through the coming days,” she said. “His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Condolences also poured in from other prominent state figures here in NC, including from Governor Pat McCrory as well as former Governor Bev Perdue.

As the article noted, Crisco and Aiken were battling for the Democrat nomination to take on NC-02’s Congresswoman Ellmers in the fall election. Their primary battle had been “too close to call”, which Aiken having only a very narrow lead – and at a tiny bit over 40%, just enough to win the primary outright – barring a challenge. Crisco was supposed to announce by Wednesday whether or not he would challenge the close results, but multiple media outlets reported yesterday that he had planned on conceding the race to Aiken today.

One tweet from the local media stood out to me yesterday among all the other ones about Crisco, and I think you’ll appreciate it as well:


Sounds like he was doing a lot of things right in his life, doesn’t it?

I add my sincerest condolences to Mr. Crisco’s family to the many others coming in. Death is inevitable for us all, but the “preferred” way is for it to be of natural causes. That his death apparently came from an accidental fall in his own home has to be absolutely devastating to Mr. Crisco’s family. May they be comforted by God’s loving embrace during this extraordinarily difficult time.

#NCSEN’s @SenatorHagan goes for broke, ‘fully embraces’ Obamacare

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Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

The Senator is starting the first of the tricky two-step I mentioned Wednesday she had to do here in order to try and get re-elected to a second term in the US Senate, the first part being to appeal to her base to turn out in strong numbers in November.  Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) may be in one of this year’s most competitive elections, but she signaled Thursday that she’s prepared to fully embrace the benefits of Obamacare as part of her ticket to victory.

During a Senate confirmation hearing for Health and Human Services nominee Sylvia Burwell, Hagan lamented that leaders of her home state decided to opt out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The result is about 500,000 North Carolina residents who would have qualified for Medicaid are unable to enroll.

“These are some of the most vulnerable citizens in our country who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms, and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which is detrimental not only to their health but to the economy too,” Hagan said. “It leads to higher costs for the patients, it drives up costs for hospitals and it drives up costs for the insured.”

Hagan asked Burwell to describe the experiences of states that expanded Medicaid under the health care law last year, compared with the 24 states that didn’t. Burwell said in West Virginia, for example, which expanded its Medicaid coverage, there already has been a decrease in the number of uninsured people. More broadly, she said, expanded Medicaid programs translate to increased quality of care, which boosts people’s productivity and ultimately fuels the economy.

Hagan also got Burwell to clearly state how much it would have cost North Carolina to cover newly eligible Medicaid recipients if the state had expanded its program under Obamacare: Nothing.

“That would be zero,” Burwell said. “The state doesn’t pay.”

“For three years, the states pay zero,” Hagan chimed in.

“The federal government will pay for those years,” Burwell said.

The devil, as they say, is always in the details – as the John Locke Foundation’s Becki Gray explained in this October piece at Carolina Journal Online:

North Carolina’s Medicaid costs are the highest in the Southeast and among the highest in the United States. For the past four fiscal years, Medicaid spending has exceeded its budget by 11 percent.

Total Medicaid costs have gone up 90 percent in the last 10 years. Medicaid costs crowd out spending on other public programs, including education, salary increases for teachers and other public employees, and transportation.

The proposed Medicaid expansion would cost North Carolina taxpayers an extra $3.1 billion over a 10-year period. By 2020, the state would incur net costs of nearly $100 million, jumping to $119 million one year later. 

Even though the federal government says it will pay 100 percent of the cost of new enrollees for the first three years and 90 percent by the 10th year of expansion, the expansion would not be free. The money would come from federal taxes; North Carolinians would pay for the additional coverage. 

Moreover, the federal government does not always abide by its promises. In 1982, the feds promised to cover 40 percent of the program costs for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, Washington provides only 17 percent of the funding. In addition, experts predict that states expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will have less flexibility and control over their Medicaid programs.

In other words, “free” is not really “free” when it comes to anything connected to government programs or services – and absolutely NOTHING is “guaranteed.” There is always a cost, and someone has to pay for it – and those “someones” ALWAYS end up being you and me.  Funny how the left always fails to mention that inconvenient truth.

Senator Hagan can offer up all the “stunningly strong” defenses of Obamacare that she wants to, but these facts will never change, no matter how often she wants to apply a fresh coat of paint on the old “Affordable Care Act” barn:

1) 476,000 North Carolinians lost health insurance plans they liked as a result of Obamacare.  Millions more across the country lost theirs as well as a result of her vote.

2) Many more of those same North Carolinians saw their premiums go up and/or saw their deductibles go up – for less care and less choices than they had before.

3) Obamacare has cost North Carolinians jobs – including ones that have bumped down from full time to part time as a result of the hours mandate employers face that forces them to provide  health care insurance coverage.  Not to mention businesses holding off on investing further due to the massive, expensive health insurance regulations under the ACA.

4) Hagan lied and said in more ways than one at least 24 times, “If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.”

5) Senator Hagan had the opportunity in 2010 to sign on to a Republican bill that would have kept people from losing their plans on Obamacare. She voted against it.

I could go on but you get the picture.  There are other ways our health insurance system could have been changed that wouldn’t have resulted in so many hundreds of thousands in this state losing plans, having to sign on to more expensive plans, losing their jobs or full time status, etc.   But Obamacare was crafted by liberal Democrats like Senator Hagan who would rather remain true to her party leaders than loyal to her state.   She chose DC Democrats over her own constituency here in the state of North Carolina on this issue. There’s simply no other way to spin it, no matter how stirring her defenses of the bill might be.

Bad news for #NCSEN’s @KayHagan: Younger voters could lean less Democratic this year

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Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) faces a tough re-election battle this year.

FiveThirtyEight has some worrisome news for NC’s Senator Kay Hagan (D) this morning (via Memeorandum):

In the past six months, eight generic ballot polls have been released with an 18- to 29-year-old cross tab. Together, they add up to well over 1,000 respondents.

Youth polls

Democrats clearly hold a lead among young voters. Across the eight surveys from Marist, the Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac, Democrats hold an average lead of 14.3 percentage points and a median lead of 12.5 points. The median may be a better indicator because of the outlier Marist poll from February, though both results are close to each other. A 14.3-point win among 18- to 29-year-olds for Democrats would match their 2010 election performance, while 12.5 points would be a little worse.

But keep in mind, these polls show Democrats — among all voters — up by an average of 0.1 percentage points and down by median 0.5 points. In other words, young voters are less Democratic in comparison to the rest of the electorate than they were in the prior two elections. In fact, they’re about a third less Democratically inclined in comparison. Voters ages 18 to 29 were 22 points more Democratic-leaning than all voters in 2012, and 21 points more Democratic-leaning in 2010. These polls show young voters just 14 points, on average, more Democratic-leaning.

This news comes on top of a recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll that indicated that younger voters were losing interest in the political process – but that those who were still interested are more likely to vote for the GOP. While a declining enthusiasm for voting among younger voters – and perhaps less of them identifying as “Democratic” – is bad enough news for Democrats in general in a critical election year, it’s especially bad news for NC”s Kay Hagan, who owes credit for her 2008 victory here entirely to the youth vote.  As I noted recently on Twitter, Hagan will have to perform a tricky two step here in North Carolina: Convincing her core base of staunch leftists to support her while at the same time attempting to pass off a “moderate” facade to middle of the road voters who could swing either way.  She’s already having trouble with the former, and the latter will be a tough sell considering she votes with the President 96% of the time.

Waning youth interest has not been lost on our celebrity President, who noted yesterday at glitzy $10,000 to $30,000 plate fundraisers in California, “When they get discouraged they don’t vote…We have to break out of that cycle, and that is what this election is about.”  That might sell well in reliably blue states like California where trust in Uncle Sam is sacrosanct, but here in North Carolina where voters are understandably more cynical about government, making a convincing argument to the contrary will be a tall order indeed.