New Mexico Receives $34 Million Grant to Create Health Care Marketplace

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman announced yesterday that New Mexico has been awarded $34.2 million to help develop a health care marketplace, known as a health care “exchange.” The exchange is one of the key provisions of the health insurance reform law, which in 2014 will expand health care access to millions of Americans who currently do not have health insurance.

The Affordable Insurance Exchange grant comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and was awarded to the New Mexico Human Services Department.

“Our state’s health care exchange will be a central location where New Mexicans can shop for the most affordable health insurance, and to find out whether they qualify for tax credits to help them pay for it,” Bingaman said.  “It is one of the most important aspects of the new health insurance reform law.”

Among other things, the grant will be used to implement a multi-year Exchange business and operational plan, including the activities, timelines, and benchmarks and the IT infrastructure and functionality necessary to fully operate in 2014.

Bingaman helped write the health insurance reform law.  As a state with one of the highest rates of uninsured residents, no state stands to benefit more than New Mexico.

November 29: News Roundup

Billionaire who compares taxes to a “Nazi invasion” signs on with Mitt Romney. There’s more at ThinkProgress.

The Washington Post fact-checks the “tax-and-spend Democrats” mantra and other false claims of Republican guru Grover Norquist and gives “the Grover” three Pinocchios. There’s more at the Washington Post.

Speaking of playing loose with the facts, the Washington Post gives “four Pinocchios” for the wild claims of Tea Party darling Michelle Bachmann. There’s more at the Washington Post.

Ghosts of Bush-Cheney foreign policy disasters return to haunt us as “Neocons” sign on with Newt. There’s more at TPM.

Senate Democrats gear up to fight for payroll tax cut. There’s more at the New York Times.

Washington corporate lobbyists launch $850,000 smear campaign against Occupy movement. There’s more at ThinkProgress.

Scandal-ridden Herman Cain faces a new round of unseemly revelations. There’s more at TPM.

Marine Gen. James F. Amos, a formerly vocal military leader who opposed lifting the ban on gays serving openly, now acknowledges his concerns were unfounded. In fact, he says, Marines have embraced the change. There’s more at the Associated Press.

Trouble in paradise? New Hampshire Tea Party receives an “over the transom” unmarked envelope smearing Newt Gingrich. There’s more at Portsmouth Patch Network.

After threatening a high school student for criticizing him on Twitter, Kansas Republican U.S. Senator Sam Brownback backs down. There’s more on ThinkProgress.

After only ten days and with over six weeks to go, Wisconsin voters are over halfway to the required signatures for Scott Walker recall. There’s more at Daily Kos.

With Thanksgiving 2012 out of the way, the right-wing media hauls out the annual fake “War of Christmas” seasonal theme. There’s more at Media Matters.

The Economist says that the GOP’s right-wing extremism is a recipe for disaster. There’s more at the Economist.

Millions of Seniors Saving Money on Prescription Drugs, Thanks to the Affordable Care Act

Over the weekend, a report by the Associated Press detailed how the Affordable Care Act is dramatically reducing drug costs for seniors who hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole. This year, seniors are benefiting from a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole. And the discount and other provisions in the law are saving money for seniors. As the AP reported:

The average beneficiary who falls into the coverage gap would have spent $1,504 this year on prescriptions. But thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, that cost fell to $901, according to Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, which handles economic estimates.

So far this year, more than 2.2 million people with Medicare have saved more than $1.2 billion on their prescriptions. The Associated Press spoke with two of them:

For retired elementary school teacher Carolyn Friedman, it meant she didn’t need a loan to pay for drugs that keep her epilepsy under control.

“What a change for the better,” said Friedman, 71, of Sunrise, Fla. “This year it was easier to pay my bills, whereas last year I had to borrow money to pay for my medications when I was in the doughnut hole.”

Joan Gibbs thought her pharmacy had made a mistake. Her total cost for a brand-name painkiller in the doughnut hole came out lower than her co-payment earlier in the year, at a time her plan was picking up most of the tab.

“I reluctantly called the insurance company,” said Gibbs, 54, who lives near Cleveland. “If they had made a mistake, I knew they would catch it sooner or later. I was very surprised that it turned out to be such a good discount.”

Gibbs is on Medicare because of an auto-immune disorder and other medical problems that left her unable to work.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, seniors will receive bigger discounts in the years ahead. By 2020, the donut hole will be closed completely.

And even if you don’t hit the donut hole, there’s still good news for beneficiaries with Medicare Part D.  Prescription drug premiums will not rise next year, and thanks to health reform, seniors can get preventive services like mammograms and other cancer screenings for free.

November 28: News Roundup

Congressional House Democrats overtake Republicans in fundraising. There’s more at the Washington Post.

Republican “supercommittee” co-chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling says the deal failed because Democrats refused to privatize Medicare. There’s more at ThinkProgress.

With the failure of the so-called “supercommittee,” the do-nothing Congress returns to bickering over Medicare and Bush-era tax breaks. There’s more at the Los Angeles Times.

Score one for Newt in the GOP Presidential chase. Gingrich gets a big endorsement in New Hampshire. There’s more at the Manchester Union-Leader.

Texas Governor Rick Perry picks up backing for his floundering campaign from a GOP extremist, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There’s more at Politico.

Unsurprisingly, scandal and gaffe-ridden Herman Cain blames his downward spiral on the media. There’s more at the New York Times.

Legal questions loom over Rick Perry’s use of SuperPAC funds. There’s more at Politico.

New polling indicates demographic shifts nationally strongly favor President Obama and other Democrats. There’s more at the Washington Post.

After wasting tax dollars chasing non-existent vote fraud in New New Mexico, it’s time for Secretary of State Deanna Duran and Republicans to give up chasing their “folk tale” of widespread fraud and move on, says the Santa Fe New Mexican. Read more at the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The best justice system money can buy: Lobbyists shamelessly move to shape the Supreme Court on health reform. There’s more at The Hill.

The Republican National Committee leaves former Governor Gary Johnson standing on the ski slopes. There’s more at the Steve Terrell’s Blog.

Sounds like a good start-up opportunity for a legitimate business in Georgia after a Pro-Confederate business owner in western Georgia declares a new company policy: “We are not hiring until Obama is gone.” There’s more at ThinkProgress.

The extremist right-wing gadfly Ann Coulter suggests that shooting Occupy protesters might be in order. There’s more at Media Matters.

Ana Marie Cox of the British daily, the Guardian cracks out the popcorn and recaps Thanksgiving week over in “the States.” There’s more at the Guardian.

Romney: Deceive America

Mitt Romney took his “by any means necessary” approach to running for president to an all-new low in his first ad of the 2012 campaign cycle, an intentionally false attack ad that takes words President Obama used in 2008 out of context. Romney’s dishonest and purposely deceptive ad was universally panned across cable and print news yesterday, but you’d never know that if you only listened to Romney’s press shop, which sent out a missive titled “What They’re Saying,” quoting only news stories that posted Monday night before the ad’s blatant dishonesty was picked up.

What they’re actually saying is that Mitt Romney and his campaign sought to intentionally deceive the American people. Watch and share the Democratic National Committee’s new web video holding Mitt Romney accountable for his deceit and dishonesty—and take a close look at the campaign’s new logo at the end of the video.

What They’re Saying: Mitt Romney’s Ad is Dishonest, Deceitful

New York Daily News: “Mitt Romney’s greatest potential vulnerability, fair or fable, is the suspicion he’ll do or say anything to get himself elected President. Which is why his new ad in New Hampshire is such a boneheaded strategic move. It feeds that dangerous perception that has dogged Romney since the 2008 campaign. The new ad is a gross distortion of the truth.” (New York Daily News, 11/22/11)
Ames Tribune: “Meanwhile, GOP contender Mitt Romney has just debuted a television ad that also deceives viewers about something the president said during the 2008 presidential campaign…This is dishonest, and it does not reflect the integrity that Romney is seeking to cultivate on the campaign trail.” (The Ames Tribune, 11/23/11)

Washington Post: “This is a truly remarkable response. The Romney camp is explicitly saying it’s totally fair game to take an opponent’s words out of context in a way that completely changes their meaning, simply because the actual words in question did come out of the speaker’s mouth. As many have noted today, the Romney ad’s decontextualizing of Obama’s words is so egregious that it amounts to a lie. Yet here a Romney adviser is claiming that this is fair game, because he said those words.” (Washington Post, 11/22/11)

New Yorker—Why Didn’t Reporters Call Romney a Liar? “While it’s always interesting and useful to report on how a campaign believes something is going to play out, it seems to me in this case the news that the quote in the ad is falsely attributed to Obama outweighs the news of the Romney campaign’s predictable spin.” (The New Yorker, 11/22/11)

Esquire: “The ad is utterly dishonest but, luckily, the campaign already had in place a defense strategy for when the campaign got called on the ad’s dishonesty, a campaign that musters all the self-pity and poor-widdle-rich-boy disdain that has made Willard so popular with 22 percent of the people who might actually vote for him.” (Esquire, 11/22/11)

Think Progress: “The Romney campaign’s very first television ad, released this evening, dishonestly presents a 2008 McCain campaign quote as the words of President Obama. The ad features a voice-over of Obama saying ‘if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ Then-candidate Obama indeed said those words, perhaps dozens of times during the closing month of the 2008 campaign. The only problem? Obama was actually quoting the words of a strategist from Sen. John McCain’s campaign.” (Think Progress, 11/21/11)

Washington Monthly: ““[H]ow much more deception can Romney try to get away with before he develops a reputation as a candidate with an honesty problem? Last week, an MIT economist who worked with Romney said the former governor is ‘just lying’ about health care policy. The same week, Romney was caught lying about the makeup of the last Congress, and also got caught lying about a quote from the president… Three weeks ago, the former governor got caught lying about his tax plan, and several times over the last few months, Romney has also been caught lying about economic conditions and whether the president ‘apologized for America’ (he didn’t).” (Washington Monthly, 11/22/11)

Associated Press: “Adwatch: Romney takes Obama out of context again:” “Romney’s first ad of the presidential campaign takes Obama out of context and gives the impression that the president is talking about his time in office, not that of his predecessor.” (AP, 11/22/11)