Posts Tagged ‘successful

15
Sep
11

‘gosh, could obamacare be working?’

Jonathan Cohn (TNR): Republicans made a lot of arguments against the Affordable Care Act. But perhaps none were as effective, or as seemingly plausible, as their contention that their new law would cripple Medicare Advantage.

New evidence suggests – surprise! – that the argument was wrong.

…. The policy rationale for Medicare Advantage is two-fold: To give seniors more options and to introduce some private-sector competition. The idea is that private insurers might be able to be more innovative or offer certain combinations of services that some seniors would prefer. But, for much of its history, the program (formerly known as Medicare-plus-choice) was also a form of corporate welfare. Non-partisan studies, by the likes of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, suggested that the government was paying the insurers too much.

The architects of the Affordable Care Act decided, quite sensibly, to reduce those extra subsidies and use the money to offset part of the law’s cost. That’s when the Republicans, and their allies, pounced. Taking money away from the insurers, they claimed, would force insurers to charge more, limit their offerings, or pull out of the market altogether.

…. new information, just released from the administration, suggests those predictions haven’t come true.

On the contrary, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that premiums for the plans are down and enrollment is up, well above the official projections……

More here

Thank you ‘africa’

20
May
11

‘chrysler lines up $7.5 billion to repay loans’

ABC: Chrysler Group LLC could repay most of its government loans as early as next week after raising $7.5 billion from bank loans and bond sales.

The company said last month that it intended repay the U.S. and Canadian governments during the second quarter. It announced the financial details on Thursday. Chrysler could repay the government as early as Tuesday if the deals close as expected.

…Chrysler took $10.5 billion from the U.S. government to survive two years ago, and it has repaid some of the money. The refinancing will allow it to retire a $5.9 billion balance on the U.S. loans and $1.6 billion to the governments of Canada and Ontario.

…Chrysler’s action is the latest in the long comeback of the Detroit auto industry after the recession put its future in doubt … Earlier this month Chrysler announced first-quarter net income of $116 million, its first profitable quarter since 2006. Its sales are up nearly 23 percent this year….

More here

25
Feb
11

a predictable disaster!

Jonathan Cohn (The New Republic): The federal government’s rescue of Chrysler and General Motors was highly unpopular at the time … most experts on the right and quite a few on the left predicted it would end badly. As the argument went, the companies were in a hopeless situation …. if the government got involved, surely it’d mess things up.

But the news out of Detroit has been good for a while. And it just got even better. From the New York Times:

General Motors, which nearly collapsed from the weight of its debts two years ago before reorganizing in a government-sponsored bankruptcy, said Thursday that it earned $4.7 billion in 2010, the most in more than a decade ….. It was the first profitable year since 2004 for G.M., which became publicly traded in November, ending a streak of losses totaling about $90 billion …. In addition, G.M. said 45,000 union workers would receive profit-sharing checks averaging $4,300, the most in the company’s history ….

….the usual caveats apply: The two companies could still stumble …. Still, it looks increasingly like the rescue of the auto industry was an overall success, saving hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of jobs and bolstering the country’s manufacturing base for years (if not decades) to come. Maybe it’s time to start giving President Obama some credit for it – and recognizing that, when properly managed, the federal government can do a lot of good.

Full article here

Steve Benen (Washington Monthly): Nearly two years ago, NBC News established a tough benchmark: “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.” I don’t imagine White House officials mind that standard at all.

What I find amazing about this … is that Republicans still consider this a failure – it was, for example, a common area of complaint at CPAC a few weeks ago. As far as the right is concerned, the Obama administration’s rescue of the American automotive industry wasn’t just wrong, it was one of the president’s most dreadful mistakes. Confront conservatives with reports like the latest from GM, and the response tends to be that the success of the policy doesn’t change anything.

The thesis about the right valuing ideology over practical results needs no better example ….Conservative activists got this wrong, and so did their Republican friends in Congress, many of whom literally predicted “disaster.”

These same folks are now insisting the economy will improve just as soon as the House GOP plan – take money out of the economy, lay off hundreds of thousands of American workers – is approved. Given their track record, perhaps now’s a good time to question their credibility.

Full article here

Remember?

Here are two more experts forecasting failure:

(The first guy in the video is Peter Morici whose latest media contribution is an article entitled ‘In Wisconsin, the governor is right, Obama is wrong’ – and Morici sure knows about getting it wrong. The second guy, Carl Horowitz, is from the National Legal and Policy Center which, like lots of conservative groups, is funded by billionaire right-winger Richard Mellon Scaife – see here)

Meanwhile, let’s look back:

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): “Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multi-national corporation to economic viability?” [6/1/09]

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): “Now the government has forced taxpayers to buy these failing companies without any plausible plan for profitability. Does anyone think the same government that plans to double the national debt in five years will turn GM around in the same time?” [6/2/09]

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ): When government gets involved in a company, “the disaster that follows is predictable.” [7/22/09]

As soon as I find a video showing all these fools admitting they got it hopelessly wrong and apologizing to the President, I’ll post it – promise. 😉

07
Jan
11

‘this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs’

Rick Ungar (Forbes): The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.

Why? Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

….United Health Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees ….. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010 – one month after the health care reform legislation became law.

“One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.” Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.

Whatever your particular ideology, there is simply no denying that these statistics are incredibly heartening. However, for those of you who cannot get past your opposition, even for a moment of universal good news, let’s break it down.

The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business: Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.

The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer: If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so…

Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism: Let it go, folks.

Private market insurance companies are experiencing significant growth because of a tax break provided by the PPACA. I may have missed the day this was discussed in economics class, but I’m pretty sure this is not a socialistic result of federal legislation.

When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers …  if you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.

If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.

This is seriously wonderful news: Full article here

06
Jan
11

‘the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades’

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Our analysis of data that the Census Bureau released this week shows that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was one of the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades. In 2009, the Recovery Act’s temporary expansion of the safety net kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.

Last September, the Census Bureau reported that, under its official measure of poverty, which counts only a household’s cash income (not tax credits or non-cash government assistance such as food stamps), the poverty rate rose from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released several new poverty figures for 2009 that rely on alternative, broader poverty measures — ones that include tax credits and non-cash benefits. Under almost all of these alternative measures, the safety net as a whole, including the Recovery Act expansions, prevented any rise in poverty in 2009, despite the deep recession and very high unemployment….

We examined the Census data to see how much of that poverty-reducing impact came from the Recovery Act expansions. We found that they kept more than 4.5 million people out of poverty in 2009 (see graph):

* 1.3 million people through extensions and expansions of federal unemployment benefits;
* 1.5 million people through improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit;
* nearly 1 million people through the law’s new Making Work Pay tax credit; and
* 700,000 people through an increase in benefit levels for the SNAP program (previously called food stamps).




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