Rise and Shine

President Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react as they push to button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010


Today (All Times Eastern):

11:0: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia

12:05: Holds a working lunch with President Santos

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

2:30PM: President Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act

3:30: President Obama participates in ambassador credentialing ceremony




Get Covered America: Certainty For Rebecca

Certainty. That’s what Rebecca Haug of Del Norte, CO wanted most when she went to look for a new plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Since her husband passed away in 2007, she has been working as a registered nurse, gaining and losing coverage through employers who have closed up or cut back in tough times.

But now, Rebecca knows that her health insurance can’t be taken away if her job changes. Debt from her medical expenses, which have been pushing her toward bankruptcy, will finally stop piling up. Before the Marketplace opened, Rebecca was quoted a health insurance premium at nearly $1,100 a month — just for herself — from private insurers. But through the Marketplace, Rebecca found out she qualified for a $500 tax credit to purchase insurance. Because of that financial assistance, she will pay nothing for her monthly premium.

More here




TPM: Obamacare To Cost ‘Billions Of Dollars Less Than Originally Projected’

Among the GOP’s myriad criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, one of the loudest has centered around the law’s price tag. But it turns out Obamacare won’t be as costly as expected. The New York Times reported Tuesday that “the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law.” The adjusted estimate is a result of the law’s Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans proving less costly than initially anticipated.

More here




Michelle Andrews: Health Law May Offer Part-Time Workers Better Options

In January, part-time workers who have so-called “mini-med” health insurance plans with very limited benefits and annual caps on payments will begin to lose that coverage, which under the health care overhaul can’t  be renewed after the beginning of the year.  Many experts say it’s just as well, noting that part-timers likely will have better options in January. After the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, nearly all plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual dollar limits on benefits.

When Roberta Grindle was diagnosed with colon cancer in October, she blew through the $5,000 coverage limit on her mini-med plan almost immediately. Grindle, 62, worked 16 hours a week at a big box store near her home in Sebring, Fla., and paid $32 every two weeks for the store’s  plan, the only coverage available to part-time workers.

The health law requires that employers offer health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week or face penalties starting in January, but the Obama administration delayed that provision until 2015. Many part-time workers will have more options for better coverage starting in January. If their employer doesn’t offer a health plan, they can shop for insurance on the online marketplaces, and subsidies will be available to those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual in 2013).

More here



NYT: U.S. Regulator To Keep An Eye On Largest Student Loan Servicers

The U.S. consumer financial watchdog will soon start supervising the seven largest student loan servicers to ensure they treat borrowers fairly and comply with federal consumer laws, the agency said on Tuesday. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken a broad interest in the burden of student loan debt, which it says now totals $1.2 trillion and saddles many borrowers with debt that takes years to repay.

Student loan borrowers have complained about being charged late fees as a result of processing mistakes by the servicers, lost paperwork and poor communication. “Student loan borrowers should be able to rest assured that when they make a payment toward their loans, the company that takes their money is playing by the rules,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Under a new rule set to take effect on March 1, the CFPB would expand its supervision to non-bank student loan servicers that handle more than 1 million accounts, regardless of whether they include federal or private loans.

More here




Colorado Consumer Health Initiative: Strong Coverage For A Strong Family

Sara and I are also both self-employed small business owners. While Margaret and I have no health issues, Sara has a pre-existing condition. In 2008, Sara was treated for a “mild” heart issue, specifically a super ventricular tachycardia (SVT). At the time, the procedure was recommended essentially because it “couldn’t hurt” to get this issue done. It was a simple, low-risk procedure and was completed in a few hours.

However, what the doctors didn’t tell us is that treatment for this problem (which was a problem in name only – Sara had no illness or issues) would make it impossible for her to obtain healthcare later in life. Using the new Colorado Health exchange, Sara, myself, and Margaret were quoted $590.65 per month for a family plan. The individual annual deductible is lower ($1,750 per person, $3,500 per family), there is 25% coinsurance, and it’s a “silver” plan (KP CO Silver), which seems like it should be an upgrade over existing policies.

What’s more, the whole family will share the same policy. They can visit the same doctors (not all doctors would take Sara’s insurance via Cover Colorado), use the same online health record management system via KP.org, etc. Through Connect for Health Colorado my family can save money and have a more comprehensive health plan that meets our needs thanks to Obamacare.

More here



Pisarski: #Ukraine | 1,6 mln people gathered in #Kiev on Sunday – according to Ukr police.


Masha Gessen: A Whiter Shade Of Envy

In Russian, envy comes in two colors: black and white. The former is mean and resentful: “It should be me, not you.” The latter is aspirational: “I want to be you.” “Black envy” affirms a despondent world view; “white envy” affords a hopeful one. For a week and a half, many Russians have had a clear case of white envy watching the protests in neighboring Ukraine. After President Viktor F. Yanukovich backed out of signing a political and trade agreement with the European Union, protests broke out in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

Many competing and contradictory political forces are involved, but the way it looks from Moscow the front line is drawn clearly: Ukraine has to choose between an increasingly reactionary Russia and Western Europe. Russia is using every kind of pressure — from threatening economic sanctions to declaring tens of thousands of Ukrainians persona non grata — all in order to drag Ukraine back into the Middle Ages with it. Western Europe, which has many demands of its own, promises a future of openness and progress.

More here



@DavidNakamura: VP Biden meets with Japan’s Deputy PM Taro Aso as U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy looks on.


Nooga.Com: One Chattanoogan’s Experience With Obamacare

Chattanooga resident John VanHyning and his wife have gone without health insurance since July 2012. His wife is disabled, and the couple has two grandchildren who live with them, VanHyning said. He has a part-time job that pays a couple hundred dollars a week. Now, he has coverage that will go into effect Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Liberty Tax officials connected him with American Exchange, a local company whose leaders are helping residents nationwide connect with health insurance through the online marketplaces.

“I was even a little skeptical—how can they hook me up so easily when everybody else has [had so many problems?]” he said. Within about 40 minutes of going into Liberty Tax, where he made a phone call to American Exchange, he and his wife were signed up for health care coverage. It won’t cost the couple anything to get a silver plan through BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The monthly premium cost for that plan is $683.64. But because of federal tax credits, the couple won’t have to pay any of that.

More here




Edward Domain: My Affordable Care Act Enrollment Experience

On May 4th of this year, I was in a cab on a Saturday afternoon heading to the St. Louis Cinco de Mayo parade with two friends. My cab driver was texting and as a result rolled through a red light, we collided head-on with a van and I wound up in the hospital requiring 5 total surgeries and spent five and a half months in two hospitals and a nursing home. I have a new hip, will be in physical therapy for my shoulder for another year and without insurance I would have been doomed. My current bill for health insurance is $628.34/mo and only covers me.

This is insane.  No one I know pays this much for health insurance, so when Healthcare.Gov was announced, I was cautiously optimistic- I had also gotten a letter from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois informing me my policy was being cancelled. After I chose my plan rated ‘gold’ here is my new bill for health insurance under Obamacare: I am saving $265.85/mo under Obamacare, for a total savings of $3,190.20/year This plan is far better than what I had before. My current plan has a deductible of $3,000 and has a $20 co-pay. Under Obamacare, my new plan has a $750 deductible and $30 co-pay for doctor’s visits.

For me, I’ll happily pay an extra $10 when I visit the doctor in return for a smaller copay for the important stuff. If you look, the most I’ll ever pay in one year is $6000- after that I am 100% covered for everything. If you look at my plan details, you’ll see that if I am in-network, after the deductible is covered ($750) then almost everything gets covered 100%. The biggest point for me is that my new plan under Obamacare is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the same company that my old plan was under. That means they were happily over-charging me for insurance and now, thanks to Obamacare, I have a better plan than I had before and I am paying less for it. Also of note- I did not qualify for subsidies- I am paying the full rate.

More here




Philadelphia Weekly: So I Signed Up For Obamacare And Got A Big Surprise

From 2005 to 2009, I paid $15 for all office visits after meeting my out-of-pocket deductible. But starting in 2010, that number became $30 per office visit for my family doctor and $50 for any specialists—and with a chronic illness, most of my office visits involve specialists. So, with age 40 looming on the horizon, I had resigned myself to rearranging my life still further, to the reality that I’d need to find, somehow, significantly more money to spend on my private health insurance—since it isn’t something I can live without. Then Obamacare appeared.

With the Personal Choice Platinum Plan PPO, I’ll pay $429.96 per month as a tobacco non-user at age 39. And when I turn 40 a few months later—the source of my financial dread? I’ll pay $435.41 per month. That’s not just no huge increase after all. That’s fifty bucks a month less than I’m paying now. It gets better. Instead of paying my current $30 for a family doctor visit, I’ll pay only $10. I’ll pay $40 for a specialist instead of the $50 I now pay.

With my new Platinum Plan, prescriptions are priced in three tiers. A generic drug’s copay is $5; a brand name drug purchase is a $30 copay; and a non-formulary brand is a $50 copay. That’s the pricing at retail pharmacies—but my new plan also offers a mail-order option to my door through Future Scripts that will enable me to buy a three-month supply of prescription drugs at the cost of a two-month supply’s copay. What sorcery is this? Well—it’s Obamacare. This is what Obamacare is. It’s not the flawed website the media has been dwelling on. It’s the more affordable care structure the website is supposed to point us to—and that a simple phone call did point me to.

More here




Lauren Silverman: An Obamacare Success Story: From The High Risk Pool To The Marketplace For A Lot Less

More than 20,000 people rely on the state run Texas Health Insurance Pool. The pool insures folks with pre-existing health conditions who can’t find coverage elsewhere. In a few months, that risk pool will no longer exist. And at least one North Texas family is celebrating. Right after he retired a decade ago, Bob Flood learned he had cancer and a kidney would have to be removed. Just one month after he lost his kidney, he lost his health insurance. “The only place I could get health insurance was through the Texas health risk pool. And that is 200 to 400 percent above what the average person pays,”

Flood says. Flood’s family policy was more than three thousand a month. His wife Amy says they tried to write the check once a year to avoid seeing the bill so often. “That was a sizeable chunk of change,” Amy Flood says. “And frankly I would have rather given it to other needy people rather than just to an insurance consortium.” But the Floods wanted to be responsible, so they agreed to grin and bear it. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they don’t have to anymore. “Now we have a policy which covers the three of us for less than a thousand dollars a month.”

More here


On This Day:

President Obama whistles as he and Vice President Biden wait in the holding room of the South Court Auditorium prior to the opening session of the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Dec. 3, 2009. The Vice President’s personal aide, Fran Person, is at right (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama attends a breakout session, “Creating Jobs Through the Rebuilding of America’s Infrastructure,” during the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Dec. 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, at the National Christmas Tree ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2009

On This Day: President Obama heads along the White House colonnade to the residence after leaving the Oval Office for the day, Dec. 3, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama reaches for a Purple Heart medal which he presented to a wounded soldier at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama participates in a live Twitter question and answer session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 3, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

98 Responses to “Rise and Shine”

  1. 1 desertflower
    December 3, 2013 at 9:03 am


  2. December 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

    A whole bunch of aweeeeeeeeeesome UT, thank you sooooooo much legend!!

    Mooooorning everyone!

  3. 9 desertflower
    December 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Thanks everyone:) I had to go back and read the goodness after I snuck in the door…..thanks UT!

  4. 10 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

    G’morning UT, Chips, TOD, lurkers, everyone, and congrats df on #1 🙂 Thanks UT for yet another fabulous R & S roundup with all this positive ACA news!

  5. 11 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:16 am

  6. 14 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:16 am

  7. 18 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

  8. 20 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

    • 21 LDS
      December 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

      “Meanwhile, the excluded still waiting.”

      • 22 jackiegrumbacher
        December 3, 2013 at 10:04 am

        LDS, that was a perfect statement by the pope, wasn’t it? They’ve been waiting for centuries for a fair shake.

        • 23 LDS
          December 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

          Yes, Jackie.
          Pope just b—-slap them(no disrespect intended). And finally buried that old meme,”Let Them Eat Cake”
          The modern version of Ann Romney’s “Start Packing” which she is still bitch slapping herself of five years for saying that. It was the sneering and snickering that really got me. But yesterday’s posting of Ronald Reagan and his WH press corp. finding amusement of the AIDS crisis back in the ’80’s was so mean. Especially, when you are in a position to do something good, you chose to laugh. I wonder if his son had come out as being gay, then? So GOP of them to think they are above the rest of us.
          While the excluded wait, the Pope just showed them who they really are. The excluded waiting is not in vain.
          #Yes We Can.

  9. 24 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

    kaboom. ezra klein’s head essplodes.

  10. 30 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

  11. 31 africa
    December 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Ezra is grasping, ya’ll!

  12. 33 Allison
    December 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

    • 34 LDS
      December 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

      In all honesty, how can this man cash his paycheck? He must have direct deposit because he should feel guilty as hell.
      This is a journalist? He wakes up to do absolutely nothing!

  13. 35 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

  14. 37 africa
    December 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

    R&S supreme!! Thanks, UT!!

  15. 38 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:29 am

  16. 39 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:29 am

  17. 40 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:31 am

    UT, as usual, a great R&S. There is little doubt that there is more accurate reporting of the news right here than on all the major news outlets combined.

  18. 41 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:33 am

  19. 42 No Child Left Behind
    December 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Good Morning TODVille,

    I can’t help but add my two cents about what Danny has subjected the poor plastic chicken to. What a riot! Every time I look at the picture of the now dead plastic and headless chicken, I have a good laugh. Danny has no patience for lifeless creatures. The way to go, Danny Boy!

  20. 45 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

  21. 47 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:39 am

    This is great messaging

  22. 48 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

  23. 49 japa21
    December 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

  24. 50 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

    • 51 LDS
      December 3, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hot damn!(as my father would say)…..this guy is just naturally good at slapping them down.
      “We’re focused on the care.”
      They made this a joke when Romney thinking he was going to be president and now they have a problem with the name.
      POB said they would change the name when it starts to work. It IS working. They want to drop the term.
      Proceed, Mr. President.

    • 53 Nena20409
      December 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Heard that Yesterday and said Wow……Jay has a way of keeping it Real.

  25. 54 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Brace yourselves, folks!! This one might be a doozy. On the other hand, we may be surprised – pleasantly so.

    • 55 dotster3
      December 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Will watch for the answers, not the questions, although the good Tweety has been in evidence lately, maybe campaigning for this interview. The pendulum swings back and forth, back and forth.

    • 57 donna dem 4 obama
      December 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I expect the same nonsense we got from Chuck Todd. I’d rather he did local news and went on late night tv. I have become extremely cynical of network and cable tv.

      • 58 hopefruit2
        December 3, 2013 at 10:11 am

        Same here. Don’t have a lot of expectations for this interview. But hopefully, like the Chuck Toad interview, if Matthews pulls any BS, the President will come out looking even better and the people will come down heavily on Matthews. I notice that Chuck Toad (and his friends at MSNBC) didn’t have a whole lot to say after that interview when it was obvious that Chuck was the one who looked like a complete idiot.

      • 59 nathkatun7
        December 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        I am with you Donna! Thankfully, I stopped watching tv propaganda.

    • December 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

      ohhhhh myyyy starssssss…can’t be worse than the BW interview…

    • 61 Lovepolitics2008
      December 3, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Tweety just wants to feel important. He’s in awe of the OFFICE of the presidency, so he may be pretty respectful. On the other hand, he’s not a good journalist and doesn’t inform himself so he could ask stupid questions. And I would bet his questions will be much more about the political process than on the policies itself. Because the guy is OBSESSED with the political game.

      In any case, it will be interesting to watch.

  26. 62 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    There comes a point at which screaming “bad news for Obama” 24/7 just rings hollow….

    • 63 Linda
      December 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Both of those are now broadcasting infomercials ……

    • 64 amk for obama
      December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Excellent news. I want all types cable noise dead for lack of audience.

    • 65 jackiegrumbacher
      December 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

      HF, this is good news. It’s brain draining to watch Republican propaganda all day long. It tells me that Americans are getting smarter. If they’re not getting real news, they’re not interested.

  27. 67 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

  28. 69 JER
    December 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

  29. 70 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

    HEADLINE: An underhanded, despicable anti-Obamacare stunt by the California GOP, which taxpayers are likely paying for.

    // In the past two weeks, GOP Assembly members sent mailings out which appear to be on the state’s dime to their constituents about health insurance. The problem is, it’s not a healthcare site. It does not direct you to CoveredCA.com. The area for postage on the mailing reads: Paid. State of California Assembly. Instead, it takes visitors to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, which offers nothing, except more Obamacare bashing.

    Crooks and Liars reports, “On their version, there are links to negative articles and twisted messages intended to sour people on signing up for health insurance before they ever land at the official health exchange site.” //


    • 71 Judith Fardig
      December 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Paging California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, – can you prosecute these people for fraud?

    • December 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I was thinking about how it is a criminal offense to tamper with the US mail and since ACA is a federal program too wouldn’t all the cyber attacks, and false sites be a federal prosecutable offense also?

  30. December 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Good morning, TODville.

    WOWIE, ut, I think you’ve outdone even your own spectacular self with this amazing R & S. There’s the memories, the history, the ACA updates and wonderful stories, the revolution, on and on. THANK YOU so much! I hope you really know how much you are appreciated and loved.

  31. 74 JER
    December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

  32. 76 jackiegrumbacher
    December 3, 2013 at 10:14 am

    UT, I love, love, love your positive ObamaCare stories which appear no where else as far as I can tell. You are the antidote to the daily poison people ingest in the media. I would love to be able to direct everyone in the US to this site, if only to get straight information about the health care exchanges, not to mention all the other “real” news you and Chips provide. I always get caught up in the stories, so end up being way down in the pile of comments. Still, didn’t want another day to go by without letting you know how much this information means to me.

  33. 77 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

  34. 78 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

  35. 80 Gazelle
    December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

    [Good morning all!]

    A Hollywood actor and musician is performing for employees of the Washington Navy Yard.

    Gary Sinise and his musical group, the Lt. Dan Band, are playing Tuesday night at DAR Constitution Hall. The band is named after Sinise’s character in the Oscar-winning 1994 film, “Forrest Gump.”

    The concert comes more than two months after former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis killed 12 people inside a Navy Yard building before shooting himself.

    The performance is open to service members in the region, civilian employees of the Department of the Navy, contractors and their families.

    Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is among those officials scheduled to attend.

    A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m.

    Copyright Associated Press


  36. 81 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

  37. 82 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

  38. December 3, 2013 at 10:59 am
  39. 84 amk for obama
    December 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

  40. 87 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

  41. 88 Nena20409
    December 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

    GM TODable TODers.

    THis Thursday POTUS is being interviewed by Chris Matthews?
    At a College?

    This is an effort to get the so called Invincibles to sign up for ACA.

    Hopefully, there will be questions by some from the audience. Matthews is often too much into himself.

    R&S is fantastic.

    Cost of ACA is even going to be much lower. Great News, indeed.

  42. 89 hopefruit2
    December 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

    • 90 Nena20409
      December 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Notice how the National media ignores this story?

      The fast has been going on since Nov 12th. What happens when these brave activists starts to get sick, God Forbid? The Media in DC/NY are ONLY concerned with issues the right raise and want to drive 24/7.

      • 91 symmetry11
        December 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

        Yes, the media is completely ignoring this story. The tea party is apparently the only group that can gather and get coverage.

      • 92 hopefruit2
        December 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

        Yes. Any story that potentially is negative for John Boehner & the GOP, and positive for PBO and the Dems will be largely ignored in the corporate media.

  43. 93 Nena20409
    December 3, 2013 at 11:31 am

    The Pope is apparently sneaking out at nights going to town to comfort the poor. I LOVE Pope Francis 🙂

    There was a twitpic about Putting Christ back in to Christianity. With this Pope, I see that already.

  44. 98 Bill R.
    December 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

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