Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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Security and Stability under the New Obama Health Care Plan

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In another post listed on this blog, listed are the highlights of the Obama health care plan, if you have or do not have insurance. A further explanation of the highlights is listed immediately below...

For more security and stability in your health insurance, the following is what President Obama is proposing in the latest bill now being debated by the Senate.

* Ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

Insurance companies for the longest time have chosen whom they want to insure, especially when the person applying for the insurance of already has insurance with their company has a pre-existing condition. Then they reserve the right not to cover medical bills associated with that pre-existing condition. Why should you worry what is covered in your policy or not? If the company takes premiums from you so that they provide coverage, then they should cover you for your illness, no matter when you acquired it. This especially affects elderly people who have a condition suddenly that is explained to be from a pre-existing condition. All insurance companies should be liable to pay for any condition that they would normally pay for, pre-existing or not.

*Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.

Insurance companies decide on what your premium should be, depending if you are a male or female and depending on what your age is. This is discrimination to its highest, and people of the United States have been allowing insurance companies do this for decades. Now is the time for insurance companies to stop premium discrimination and charge the same amount equally across the board, no matter your age or gender. Why should a woman pay more for insurance if a man her same age can get the same insurance for less? Why should an elderly person who no longer has viable employment because of retirement have to pay more than someone who has a good job?

* Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it most.

Insurance companies for years seem to think about profits and their viability then the protection of the people that they cover. Just because you have a serious illness that may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars doesn't give them the right to drop you because you cost them too much. After all, that's why you have them insure you in the first place. It is to protect you from having to pay the outrageous premiums that the doctors charge for their services. Doctors will eventually have to stop charging ridicules prices for their services.

*Caps out-of-pocket expenses so people don't go broke when thy get sick.

People acquire insurance especially if for some gastly reason they require an illness that would bankrupt them because of the cost of their medical expenses. However, most insurance companies will provide and 80% coverage to the cost, verses 20% that you must pay. As an example, if your bills run upwards to a million dollars, then you would have to pay $200,000 out of your own pocket. How many people have that much saved for health insurance coverages? I sure don't. The cap would be to prevent insurance companies from charging this percentage due by the patient if the costs become high. A set amount most likely will be given in the health care plan.

*Eliminates extra charges for preventative care like mammograms, flu shots and diabetes tests to improve health and save money.

Recently, it was stated that women could wait another 10 years before getting yearly mammogram checkups. Why? My guess is to stop a majority of payouts for the mammogram. That is wrong. Women need to continue to get the mammogram tests, flu shots and diabetes tests, in a preventative way to eliminate the possibility of cancer and high medical bills in the future. The charges need to be fair, and the physicians should not have the right to set a ridicules charge on such services. Insurance companies should benefit from this because they would only have to pay a set amount for such services, not what the doctor would like to collect.

*Protects Medicare for seniors.

For years people have stated that medicare will not be around much longer. The Presidents bill would insure that Medicare would be around a long time. Ironically, it was the Republicans that were against Medicare from the inception. Now they are saying that this bill will hurt Medicare. It's like the conservatives are 'deaf'. The President time and time again tells the people that this bill would not hurt Medicare, that it would protect it. Why would they think that Obama would pass any bill that would hurt anyone? This is a man who has won the 'Nobel Peace Prize'. Does it sound like a person who would want to hurt anyone, for any reason?

* Eliminates the "donut-hole" gap in coverage for prescription drugs.

The legislation would eliminate the following instance.

Once the initial coverage limit is reached, the beneficiary is subject to another deductible, known officially as the Coverage Gap but referred to more commonly as the "Donut Hole," in which they must pay the full cost of medicine. When total out-of-pocket expenses on formulary drugs for the year, including the deductible and initial coinsurance, reach $4050 (now $4350 in 2009[8]), the beneficiary then reaches catastrophic coverage, in which he or she pays $2.25 for a generic or preferred drug and $5.65 for other drugs, or 5% coinsurance, whichever is greater. The $4050 amount is calculated on a yearly basis, and a beneficiary who amasses $4050 in out-of-pocket costs by December 31 of one year will start his or her deductible anew on January 1. Most low-income subsidy patients are exempt from all or part of the donut hole and the deductible.

The only out-of-pocket costs that count toward getting out of the coverage gap or into catastrophic coverage are True Out-Of-Pocket (TrOOP) expenditures. TrOOP expenditures accrue only when drugs on the enrolled-in plan's formulary are purchased in accordance with the restrictions on those drugs. Any other purchases do not count toward either the coverage gap or catastrophic coverage. Monthly premium payments do not count towards TrOOP.


 Below, President Obama in his radio address explains his experience with his travels to Asia.....


Senate Democrats get votes needed for health care debate

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21, 2009 8:20 p.m. EST
Washington (CNN) -- The Senate voted 60-39 Saturday night to proceed with a floor debate on Majority Leader Harry Reid's $849 billion health care bill.
The vote to prevent a Republican filibuster against starting debate broke down along strict party lines. All 58 Senate Democrats -- along with independent Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- supported bringing the measure to the floor. Almost all of the 40 Senate Republicans opposed the motion.
A minimum of 60 votes is required to break a filibuster in the 100-member body.
Earlier Saturday, U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln said she supported bringing the health care bill to the floor for debate. Speaking on the Senate floor hours before the 8 p.m. procedural vote, the Arkansas Democrat said she would give Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama the crucial vote required to move the Democrats' contentious health care measure forward for debate.
"Although I don't agree with everything in this bill, I believe it is important to begin this debate," Lincoln said. She added that she still opposes the public option.
"This issue is very complex. There is no easy fix," she added.
Reid says the 2,074-page bill would expand health insurance coverage to 31 million more Americans. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost of the plan at $849 billion over 10 years, though Republicans argue it's much more.
A House bill was passed nearly two weeks ago.
Also Saturday, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, became the 59th lawmaker to side with Reid, who needed the support of all 58 Senate Democrats and independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to avoid a GOP filibuster.
All 40 Republicans are expected to oppose having a debate.
"At this time of economic crisis, we need to make things easier for people struggling out there, not harder," argued Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"And make no mistake, the Democrat plan we'll vote on tonight would make life harder for the vast majority of Americans. It raises their taxes. It raises their health care premiums. It cuts their Medicare and drives millions off of the private insurance they currently have," McConnell said.
Amber Wilkerson Marchand, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, issued a statement before Lincoln even stopped talking.
"Blanche Lincoln's vote tonight is unequivocally a vote in favor of President Obama's $2.5 trillion government-run health care plan. Obviously the pressure from the left wing of her party finally got to Blanche Lincoln.
"She not only reversed her previous statements that a government-run plan was too costly, but she completely ignored the increasing unemployment rate in her state and the growing national deficit when she announced that she will cast the 60th vote in favor of President Obama's costly health care plan tonight," Marchand said.
"There's no doubt that this vote will be a critical issue for Senator Lincoln as she embarks on her uphill re-election bid, and the people of Arkansas will have an opportunity to hold her accountable when they cast their ballots next November."

Read the health care bill (PDF)

Lincoln said her commitment had nothing to do with her re-election bid.
In announcing her decision, Landrieu added a caveat: "My vote today to move forward on this important debate should in no way be construed by the supporters of this current framework as an indication of how I might vote as this debate comes to an end.
"It is a vote to move forward to continue the good and essential and important and imperative work that is under way."
"Spirited debate and good-faith negotiations in this Senate have produced a bill that contains some amazing and cutting-edge reforms," Landrieu added.
Landrieu had said she was concerned about the bill's costs to small businesses and individuals, and was opposed to a public health insurance option "that will undermine the private insurance market."
Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democratic moderate from Nebraska, was a holdout until Friday, when he said he would vote to start debate.
"Throughout my Senate career, I have consistently rejected efforts to obstruct," he said. "That's what the vote on the motion to proceed is all about."
"If you don't like a bill, why block your own opportunity to amend it?"
Nelson, who met with Reid on Thursday, said they did not discuss the specifics regarding abortion language, the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry and other issues of concern to him.
After the Saturday night vote, senators won't reconvene until after Thanksgiving. Then there will be several weeks of amendments being introduced, impassioned debates on the Senate floor and news conferences.
If the Senate manages to pass a bill, a congressional conference committee would need to merge the House and Senate proposals into a consensus version requiring final approval from each chamber before moving to Obama's desk to be signed into law.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Friday, November 20, 2009

by Cloe AxelsonThursday November 19 2009 11:56:20 AM
Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled the Senate’s version of the health insurance reform legislation – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – this afternoon at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol.
The bill achieves President Obama’s three principles of reform: more security and stability for people who have insurance; more quality, affordable options to those who don’t; and bringing down the high costs of care for American families, businesses and our government itself.
The bill would extend coverage to 31 million Americans and reduce the deficit by $127 billion in the first ten years, and by $650 billion in the second decade.  Here’s an excerpt from President Obama’s statement about the bill:
“…From day one, our goal has been to enact legislation that offers stability and security to those who have insurance and affordable coverage to those who don’t, and that lowers costs for families, businesses and governments across the country. Majority Leader Reid, Chairmen Baucus and Dodd, and countless Senators have worked tirelessly to craft legislation that meets those principles.
Just yesterday, a bipartisan group of more than 20 leading health economists released a letter urging passage of meaningful reform and praising four key provisions that are in the Senate legislation: a fee on insurance companies offering high-premium plans, the establishment of an independent Medicare commission, reforms to the health care delivery system, and overall deficit neutrality. The economists said that these provisions ‘will reduce long-term deficits, improve the quality of care, and put the nation on a firm fiscal footing.’ Those are precisely the goals we should be seeking to attain.
The challenges facing our health care system aren’t new – but if we fail to act they’ll surely get even worse, meaning higher premiums, skyrocketing costs, and deeper instability for those with coverage. Today, thanks to the Senate’s hard work, we’re closer than ever to enacting solutions to these problems. I look forward to working with the Senate and House to get a finished bill to my desk as soon as possible."
The Senate is expected to vote on a "motion to proceed" - a procedural vote in order for full debate to begin - sometime this weekend.


Highlights of the Obama Health Insurance Plan



More Security and Stability

If You Have Health Insurance, the Obama Plan:

  • Ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.
  • Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it most.
  • Caps out-of-pocket expenses so people don’t go broke when they get sick.
  • Eliminates extra charges for preventive care like mammograms, flu shots and diabetes tests to improve health and save money.
  • Protects Medicare for seniors.
  • Eliminates the “donut-hole” gap in coverage for prescription drugs. 

Quality, Affordable Choices

If You Don’t Have Insurance, the Obama Plan:

  • Creates a new insurance marketplace — the Exchange — that allows people without insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices.
  • Provides new tax credits to help people buy insurance.
  • Provides small businesses tax credits and affordable options for covering employees.
  • Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice.
  • Immediately offers new, low-cost coverage through a national “high risk” pool to protect people with preexisting conditions from financial ruin until the new Exchange is created. 

Reins in the Cost of Health Care

For All Americans, the Obama Plan:

  • Won’t add a dime to the deficit and is paid for upfront.
  • Requires additional cuts if savings are not realized.
  • Implements a number of delivery system reforms that begin to rein in health care costs and align incentives for hospitals, physicians, and others to improve quality.
  • Creates an independent commission of doctors and medical experts to identify waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system.
  • Orders immediate medical malpractice reform projects that could help doctors focus on putting their patients first, not on practicing defensive medicine.
  • Requires large employers to cover their employees and individuals who can afford it to buy insurance so everyone shares in the responsibility of reform


Senate Bill, 2,074 pages - $849 Billion arrives

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An unprecedented cost of $849 billion would expand heath coverage to 30 million more people over the next 10 years. This sounds like allot of money spent, and it cannot be denied, because it is. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that it will reduce the federal deficit by at least $130 billion during the same time frame. Small budget deficits would be seen, but it is uncertain how it may affect the general population.
Passing the health reform bill no doubt is the number one priority for President Obama in 2009, and no matter how much he wants it to be a done deal this year, most likely a joint bill will not be devised to be sent to the President's desk for his signature until possibly January or February of 2010. Regardless, President Obama will have accomplished something that no other modern President in history has done, and that is to enact a new health insurance plan to affect the citizens of this country. The only other most recent issue that affected so many people and is a tool that so many senior citizens use is Medicare.
The bill not only helps the 30 million people that do not have or cannot afford health insurance, but it also is designed to lower the costs of people that already have health insurance. According to President Obama, the Senate proposal "meets those principles."
Actually, there were two separate Senate bills created, but the Senate committees condensed there bills into one and will now go to the full Senate. Without a doubt, the Republicans will try to shoot it down, as they have vowed to block the Senate bill. The blockage, known as a filibuster, will be presented to try to stop the chamber's from debating the bill. The debate still most likely will take place, and only 60 more votes would be needed to close the debate. To pass the Senate version, just a simple majority of votes would be all that is needed at the end to pass it in the Senate.
The above statement is a summary of what needs to happen in a nutshell. But also to be considered is that the bill would prohibit illegal immigrants from participating in a health insurance exchange created for those unable to afford health coverage and would prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion coverage in the exchange.
Tax increases would be seen for people earning over $200,000 a year, or $250,000 a year for couples.


Obama and Medvedev - Talks to reduce Nuclear Weapons

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

President Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday, and the talk was all about reducing nuclear stockpiles.  They met after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which wrapped up on Sunday in Singapore. The goal is to reduce stockpiles by year's end. Also the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires on December 5th, 2009, so both Presidents will come to another agreement on a renewed treaty. Both claim that they would love to have a nuclear free world, but with terrorism prominent in the world news today, no one expects a nuclear free world actually happen soon. But the goal is to reduce the warheads between the two countries of Russia and the United States. Both agree that this is a step in the right direction.
The Presidents topics of discussion not only was about nuclear weapons and warheads. They discussed the START treaty, along with Iran and Afghanistan, just to mention a few topics that were discussed.


President Obama bows to Emperor Akihito of Japan

Monday, November 16, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, not pictured, as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Saturday, Nov. 14 2009


                                            OBAMA      OR     NIXON

Richard M. Nixon's bow to  Hirohito, the master mind in the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii attack in 1941 In a meeting in Alaska.

As a gesture that would surely catch the eyes of the conservative leaders in the United States, President Obama greeted the son of the father who ruled  Japan when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. President Nixon actually bowed to Emperor Hirohito (top picture above), in a prominent photo from Life magazine in 1971.  With a deep bow, President Obama showed his respect to the current emperor, along with a hand shake. Criticism can be found all over the internet, and most of it is negative.  Back in 1994, President Clinton was criticized for almost bowing to Akihito. The gesture of respect by Obama will be echoed in the news for weeks after he returns back to the United States after the APEC summit.
President Obama does what he feels is right, and is looking to go beyond the sights of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in an attempt to continue to spread peace throughout the world.
But the gesture goes with notice that other leaders, again on the Republican side as former President Bush bows to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in 2005 (shown below)......


US county declares 'Barack Obama Day' as new November holiday

A small central Alabama county whose mainly black residents gave the president-elect more than 70 per cent of the vote on Election Day has declared the second Monday in November Barack Obama Day. 

The Perry County Commission voted four to one to observe the holiday. County offices will close and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid holiday.

The sponsoring commissioner, Albert Turner junior, said the holiday is intended to highlight the Democratic president-elect's Nov 4 victory as a way to give the county's 12,000 residents, the majority of whom are black, faith that difficult goals can be achieved.
Mr Obama will become the country's first black president when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Commissioner Brett Harrison said Wednesday he voted against the resolution because of the holiday costs to the county, which has a $2.2 million (£1.5 million) annual payroll and is one of the poorest in the state. He said closing the courthouse would also idle some state employees.
"I'm a Democrat, but just in these financial times, it's not using the county's money wisely," Mr Harrison told The Associated Press. "The recognition is certainly well-founded."
An AP exit poll found black voters in Alabama almost universally supported Mr Obama, while more than 80 per cent of whites in the state backed Republican John McCain. Mr McCain carried the Southern state with 60 per cent of the vote.


Obama to discuss Job Creation when he Returns from Asia

What's on President Obama's agenda when he comes back from the economic conference? Starting on December 3rd, 2009, President Obama will hold a forum on job creation with U.S. business leaders and then embark on a cross-country tour to discuss economic recovery.  So now double digit unemployment is regaining his sights, and in the forum, President Obama wants to devise ways to fight unemployment.
This forum or conference would be held at the White House and the goal would be to exchange ideas on putting unemployed Americans back to work.  The economic stimulus package was designed to put people back to work, but the President plans to do everything in his power to help it on its way.
With unemployment at 10.2% in October, Obama feels that he is under lots of pressure and must act. January 2010 will be a very busy month for Obama, as it is expected that Congress toss around a few Health care plans around both the House and Senate.
A plus so far is that the economy appears to be growing once again, but it looks like it will be at the cost of a package that has never been surpassed in cost in history.  The economic turnaround will be extremely slow, but is seems to be already happening.


Not an Ordinary Town Hall - Report

Not an ordinary Obama town hall

By Ed Henry, CNN Senior White House Correspondent
November 16, 2009 8:55 a.m. EST
President Obama answers questions during a town hall meeting with future Chinese leaders.
President Obama answers questions during a town hall meeting with future Chinese leaders.
Shanghai, China (CNN) -- It was the sound of Springsteen in Shanghai that clinched it for me: This was not your ordinary town hall meeting with President Obama.
Don't get me wrong, Bruce Springsteen is usually a staple at Democratic events in America, so I'm used to hearing the strands of songs like "Born to Run" blaring out of speakers at campaign events or health care forums back home.
But when I showed up a little early for Obama's town hall meeting Monday with Chinese college students at the extraordinary Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the lyrics about New Jersey guys in muscle cars sweating it out "in the streets of a runaway American dream" seemed a little out of place:
"Sprung from cages out on Highway 9/Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line."
Strange because the audience this time did not include eager college students in Sarasota, Florida, shouting "Yes we can" in the Democratic presidential primaries. It was subdued Chinese students in Shanghai getting ready for their close-up with the leader of the free world, and they were too nervous to sing along with Springsteen because they were getting their questions ready for Obama.
American flags had been carefully placed alongside the distinctive red flags for communist China throughout the small amphitheater in the museum. The presidential podium and teleprompter were all set on the stage awaiting the arrival of Obama, who was still a few minutes away because he was wrapping up lunch nearby with local leaders.
So I started chatting up people in the audience, beginning with a 24-year-old female business student working on a Ph.D. who told me she was excited about the possibility that Obama would call on her. She had carefully prepared an economic question and jotted it down on an index card. Her hand was shaking as she showed me the card with a smile: "I'm really nervous."
Right behind her was a 22-year-old male student who told me that he and many of his colleagues were trying hard to practice their questions in English because they wanted to "prove themselves" to the international television audience.
This male student started telling me how he wanted to ask Obama about why China's higher education system is not doing as well as expected. The student said sincerely, in strong English, that he wanted to know if the president thinks the failures are caused by the education system or if the students should be working harder.
It was hardly a question that the Chinese government would want asked, so I was thinking about how interesting it was that these students living under Communist rule were getting a taste of freedom. As if on cue, a Chinese government official stepped between me and the CNN camera to inform me the interview was over and I should move away from the students. I pushed back, but it was clear that pushing on with the interview was going to get the students in trouble. So we moved on temporarily and the town hall started.
Obama ended up getting about eight questions, and they were mostly softballs from students who didn't really challenge their own government on important issues such as human rights. But the president used the forum to push for China to open up the Internet for freedom of expression. There were also some light moments, such as when Obama was twice asked about winning the Nobel Peace Prize and joked: "Let me tell you that I don't know if there's a curriculum or course of study that leads you to win the Nobel Peace Prize."
After the event ended I checked in with the two students. They were both favorably impressed even though neither got called on. The male student said he appreciated the president's humor but also felt that serious subjects were discussed and would help begin a better dialogue between the two countries.
"I didn't get a chance, but it's OK," the female student said. "I think it's very good."
Meanwhile, Obama was working a rope line and shaking hands with students on his way out the door. Suddenly another female student rushed up to him and recited his campaign mantra from last year.
"Yes we can," Obama repeated, turning to aides with an astonished look. "Did you hear that? She said, 'Yes we can."
Between that and Springsteen, maybe this was not that different from an Obama town hall event in America after all.


A Climate Deal Unlikely to happen by Copenhagen next Month

On Sunday, the top economic powers met with President Obama at the APEC summit. The leaders acknowledged that most likely there would be no chance of a major developement concerning climate change by the end of this year.  Next month, there will be another conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and issues over global warming have almost no chance of producing a climate-change deal by the end of December, 2009.
But everyone agrees that they must start somewhere, and Copenhagen, Denmark is the most likely place. So now it's a two step deal, as the leaders will use Copenhagen as a stepping stone to get talks going. That would mean all 191 countries involved would begin the framework of ideas that also includes a plan on how to battle climate change, funded in a coordinated effort. One of the ultimate goals that would be spelled out in step two, would be to come to an agreement on carbon emissions. The two step process is most popular amongst everyone involved, because it is agreed that only 22 days before Copenhagen would be too short a time to make difficult decisions.
The issue still may be whether President Obama will attend the Copenhagen conference, as others such as former Vice-President Al Gore is lobbying for Obama to attend,  as Gore believes the Presidents presence would send a strong signal to the world about the United States commitment to battle climate change.


Moderate Democrats to determine if health care bill reaches the Senate floor

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Health Care has no doubt been the biggest topic so far in Barack Obama's short career as President. Also, no doubt that this topic will ring in the New Year on Capital Hill. Now the ominous task is left up to the moderate Democrats, and it now appears that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants his chamber to start debating the health care bill as early as next week. For President Obama, that's not soon enough. The President would love to get this bill behind him as he then can move on to other issues the country is facing.
President Obama never stops. At the present time, he is traveling throughout Asia, meeting the leaders in several countries, but also lingering in his mind is the bill of his life just waiting out there for his own Democrats to mow over. The issue of health care reform has long been a difficult path to cover, but the President has vowed since early in his run for President still as a Senator of Illinois that he would tackle the issue if he were elected President.
Since the House pushed out its version of health care reform, President Obama is now putting pressure on the other half of Congress, the U.S. Senate. He still expects that the Senate can pass their version very soon, so that a combined version of the bill between the House and the Senate can be finalized, approved by Congress and signed by him before the end of the year.
But again, it's now in the hands of the moderate Democrats. The President knows that he cannot depend on any of the votes from Republicans, as they are united in opposition to Reid's plan. Reid needs 60 votes to start the debate on the legislation. That means that he needs all the Democrats, a total of 58 in the Senate, and at least two independents who usual caucus with them to start the debates.
Again, this goal before the end of the year is getting more unlikely to happen as the days go by, especially since the Senate begins the traditional Thanksgiving break in about a week. After that, the first part of December is all that is left next month as the Senators will break again for Christmas and New Years.
In an attempt to secure votes of anti-abortion Democrats, Democrats in the house passed a bill that prohibits abortion coverage in a government-sponsored plan and in private plans that accept anyone using government subsidies to buy insurance coverage. Because of the abortion part of the bill, the Senate bill passed, but still with a very narrow margin.
At this point, noone has seen the Senate legislation because Reid won't release it until he knows the cost of the bill. Reid has been waiting three weeks for a response from the Congressional Budget Office that can supply the cost.
In early speculation before the vote, most likely the President can get at least 57 votes, but he needs 60. So most likely he will come to the Hill again and do some work trying to convince the teetering Democrats to go with his plan. All he may need it 3 votes, but if he only gets 2, then all bets are off.
Since the President is now in the middle of his Asian trip, any more shore-ups with the Senators will have to wait until he gets back. No doubt when he does get back, the President will be hot on the trail to the Hill


Obama vows renewed ties with Asia

November 13, 2009 10:11 p.m. EST

Click to play
Obama reaches out to Asia

  • In speech, Obama renews U.S. ties with Japan, reaches out to China
  • Obama: Rise "of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength"
  • U.S. president urges North Korea to return to Six-Party denuclearization talks
  • Obama's Asia tour includes Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea
Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Touting himself as America's "first Pacific president," Barack Obama called on his own connections with Asia Saturday as he pledged a renewed engagement with Asia Pacific nations based on "an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States and Japan."
The U.S. president, in his first Asia trip since taking office in January, told a packed house at Tokyo's Suntory Hall that all Americans should know that what happens in Asia "has a direct effect on our lives at home."
"This is where we engage in much of our commerce and buy many of our goods," he said. "And this is where we can export more of our own products and create jobs back home in the process.
"This is a place where the risk of a nuclear arms race threatens the security of the wider world, and where extremists who defile a great religion plan attacks on both our continents. And there can be no solution to our energy security and our climate challenge without the rising powers and developing nations of the Asia Pacific."
Obama met with new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Friday after his arrival in Tokyo as well as with the Japanese emperor and empress.
Obama touched on nearly every part of the Asia Pacific region during his speech, and talked about a boyhood visit to Japan with his mother, his birth in Hawaii, a childhood spent partly in Indonesia and the United States' position as a Pacific nation.
"There must be no doubt: as America's first Pacific president, I promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain our leadership in this vitally important part of the world," he said.
He stressed that the United States was not interested in containing the emerging economic growth in China.
"The rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations," he said. "And so, in Beijing and beyond, we will work to deepen our strategic and economic dialogue."
Obama also called on Myanmar to make more definitive moves toward democracy, including releasing all political prisoners; urged North Korea to return to the Six-Party Talks so that the reclusive nation could be reintegrated into the world stage and pledged America's support for eliminating nuclear weapons and efforts to reduce the global effects of climate change.
His trip is to include stops in Singapore, China and South Korea, during which Obama will hold formal talks with Asian leaders as a group and individually.
The president plans to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Russia President Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and will take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
APEC's 21 member nations represent more than half of the world's economic output. The forum sees its goal as "facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region."
During a busy day in Singapore, Obama also will become the first U.S. president to take part in a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic alliance.


Romney builds political capital while biding time on 2012 run

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

By Kevin Bohn, CNN
November 9, 2009 3:59 p.m. EST

Mitt Romney ran for president during the 2008 election season.
Mitt Romney ran for president during the 2008 election season.
  • Mitt Romney has spent much of 2009 helping GOP candidates
  • Romney: "I will be working to help conservatives across the country"
  • He is considered one of the top candidates for 2012 race
  • Romney's interview appeared on CNN's "American Morning"
Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) -- For a moment, you might think Mitt Romney was still running for office if you look at his travel schedule crisscrossing the country.
Since February, he has attended nine events for senatorial candidates, appeared at more than a dozen rallies or fundraisers for those running for governor this year or next, and spoken at almost two dozen meetings of Republican Party groups or conservative organizations. And he has finished a new book.
"This is a pivotal time in the history of our country," Romney said at his political action committee's office.
As the Republican Party searches for ways to rebound from its recent losses and leaders who can be turned to, Romney clearly is trying to position himself to be one of them.
"I am just one force among many. But a time like this, I think the party is looking for voices that lay out a positive ... vision for the future of this country and for our party. If I can be part of that, so much the better, and there are a lot of good voices out there," Romney said. "I appreciate the fact that others disagree with me on some issues, but that kind of debate at a critical time like this is good for the country."
Romney campaigned for both of the recent successful GOP gubernatorial candidates -- Virginia's Bob McDonnell and New Jersey's Chris Christie -- and said he plans to stay on the stump through next year's midterm elections.
"From now until November of 2010, I will be working to help conservatives across the country," the 2008 presidential candidate said. "The country, in my view, is being taken a direction that is very damaging, and I think people want to see a strong return of fundamental American principles."
As to the current state of the GOP, he maintains that the party is seeing new blood and has been rejuvenated by President Obama.

"I think you are seeing Republicans from both sides of the spectrum becoming more and more enthusiastic, more excited about the future and more anxious to see change in Washington."
Romney stayed neutral while several Republican leaders, such as former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, endorsed third-party conservative candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd Congressional District race over moderate Republican Party candidate Dede Scozzafava.
Although some in the party believe that it should be tilting right in whom to support in future elections, he said, "I will be by and large supporting conservative Republicans" but would not rule out backing some moderates, referencing former President Reagan.
"He was the one who coined the term 'the big tent.' He also said that you don't build something by subtraction. So we welcome people who agree with us on most issues. Some will be very conservative on some issues. Some will be less so on others. We welcome you into the party."
Romney said those within the party of different ideological stripes can agree on core principles, including strong national security, small government and fiscal responsibility.
"They want to distance themselves from the mistakes [that] were made by certain Republicans in the past," he said without elaborating.
Whether he is hoping to lead the party into the 2012 presidential race is an open question. He insisted that he would decide whether to make another run only after the midterms.
In an October 16-18 CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, Romney ranked third in Republicans' choice for a 2012 nominee behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Palin; 36 percent had a favorable view of him, while 26 percent had a negative view and 37 percent weren't sure.
If Romney does decide to make another presidential run, he will have accumulated a lot of political capital that can be a crucial asset.
His political action committee, Free and Strong America, has raised more than $2.6 million this year and given out more than $118,000 in contributions, according to financial records and the PAC.
The country, in my view, is being taken a direction that is very damaging.
--Mitt Romney

He is also trying to shore up his conservative credentials in the wake of criticism during last year's campaign that he was inauthentic for his embrace of conservative positions on issues such as abortion, which he was more moderate on as governor of Massachusetts.
The entrepreneur has criticized the $787 billion economic stimulus plan as emphasizing too much spending and not including enough tax cuts.
"Don't waste any more money. Stop using the stimulus to grow government. Instead, restructure what's left to encourage the permanent acquisition of jobs," he said.
Several of his potential challengers in a possible Republican nomination fight, including Huckabee and Pawlenty, have criticized the Massachusetts universal health care plan Romney helped create as governor. Although the state has greatly expanded the number of residents receiving insurance coverage, the costs have exceeded estimates.
"Seventy-five percent of those in Massachusetts said they don't think it is a success," Huckabee said at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in September.
Romney has not backed away.
"We have a plan in Massachusetts that is working pretty well. It has flaws. It's not perfect, but it is making a difference here," he said. "We found a way to get everybody insured in the state, and we did that without a public option -- no government insurance and without the need of raising taxes."
At the same time, he is trying to use his experience on the issue as a way to attack the Obama administration.
There has been "no interest in [the] part of the administration to speak with me or come and really analyze what is really good about this system or what is really bad. Instead they have their own plan without input from Republicans, and I think that is very different from what people expected from this president."
Romney called Obama a nice guy and said there are some areas they agree on, such as the president's trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to lobby for the Olympics to come to Chicago, Illinois. But "he's just wrong on most big issues," the former head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics said of the president.
Some of Romney's toughest criticism of the president has come over foreign policy.
"I think he has made America less safe in that our friends are more concerned about the reliability of the United States," he said.
He pointed to such moves by the administration as pushing Israel to freeze settlements, the redesign of the missile shield program in Europe and the review of the Afghanistan war strategy.
"This president says he needs some time. Four months? Nine months? We have men and women dying in Afghanistan. They need to know if they're going to get reinforcements and the support they need, or is this president going to take a different course?"
CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Obama to Begin His Asian Trip

President Obama is set to travel to Asia on a 9-day trip and plans to visit Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea. The President will stipulate to these countries how important these nations must act as partners in major issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, economic growth, climate change and the war in Afghanistan.
President Obama is sparing no time talking to these leaders as a group and individually. He has planned a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and will be the first U.S. president to participate in a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic alliance.
In a reflection to the country he called home while living in Asia as a young boy, President Obama will participate in a bilateral meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia. He lived there from 1967 to 1971.
Besides the business side of the trip, President Obama plans to include a "town hall" meeting in China and a sightseeing tour in Beijing, and a very formal non business meeting with the emperor and empress of Japan.
The president will meet with new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Medvedev and Yudhoyono, and will take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and ASEAN summits.
Further details on the happenings of this trip will be reported each day.  Before leaving, President Obama met several times with his war council in an attempt to determine how many troops he may plan to send to Afghanistan.  President Obama has been deliberating on sending troops to Afghanistan for the last three months, in an attempt to come up with the correct plan and strategy for the deployment. His strategy will most likely be to send troops to the southern part of the country of Afghanistan, but he also will consider advisement by the president of Afghanistan before sending troops.


Health Care Reform - Most likely will not become law until 2010 If At All

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As reported in an earlier article, it does appear as if President Obama's deadline for enactment of health care reform most likely will not take place by the end of the year, as reported by Illinois' Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate. Even if the Senate manages to pass a bill, then there must be a congressional conference committee that would take in consideration passed proposals from both the House and the Senate, and a final vote would take place for approval from each chamber. After this has been completed, the bill will reach President Obama's desk to be signed into law.
In the past, President Clinton tried to overhaul health care in the early 1990's, and that is considered one of the reasons the GOP takeover in Congress happened during the 1994 midterm elections. So now guess what. It looks as if it may be a repeat, as midterm elections will be taking place, and many governorships will be on the line in that year, 2010. There should be allot of debates in order before a combined bill that can be presented to the President will surface. This is very unfortunate for President Obama, as he still vows to fight for the Health Reform plan that has already passed the House, and hopefully soon in the Senate.
To show his dedication and support for President Obama and the need to pass a Health Care Reform bill, President Clinton is actively pushing for health care reform and has recently arrived on Capitol Hill, trying to convince Senators to not stall and prepare to vote.
The time line of events concerning the road the health care bill is taking is playing right into the hands of the conservative movement. The longer the bill gets stalled and the more people think about health care reform, the better chance the bill has to fail. It is already known that most Republicans would never vote for such a bill, especially if it may put their future jobs on the line. The failure of such a bill would help revive the conservative movement, and possibly give Republicans a chance to regain the White House as soon as 2012.
No doubt this vote on health care is crucial, but President Obama is putting his future as President on the line, as he sticks up for his beliefs regarding health care.  President Obama's popularity has been noticeably down, but that doesn't stop him in making the decisions he must make.


Opinion of the Editor - Mitt Romney will run against Barack Obama in 2012

Opinion of James, the Editor of 'Obama in the White House' BLOG

At this point in time, many people would say that it is too early to call who may be running as an opponent of Barack Obama in the 2012 general election. But before the race heats up, I would like to throw my pick into the hat now. I strongly believe that Mitt Romney will run for President and will challenge President Obama after his first term in office.
It's like Romney is already stumping for President of the United States. Lately he has attended at least 9 events for senatorial candidates, appeared at many different rallies and fundraisers and spoke at a few dozen meetings of Republican party groups or conservative organizations. He is way too active to denounce the claim that he is running for President. The mere fact that he hasn't mentioned that he will not run is testament that he still may run.


Senate Bill narrowly passed. Final Passage may take Months

The $1 trillion Senate bill that passed last weekend for the health care overhaul passed by one of the narrowest margins, as it passed with two votes to spare. Only one other such significant legislation passed in the past, and that was the Congressional passage of Medicare in 1965.
One lone republican voted for the bill, Republican Joseph Cao of Louisiana. Unlike him, 39 Senate conservative Democrats voted against the bill. It passed mainly because of one specific reason, and that was to give abortion opponents a vote on an amendment preventing any of the subsidies in the bill from paying for abortion. The abortion issue, is another topic in itself. Anti-abortion Democrats, but upset abortion-rights supporters. Despite the significant and historic step that Democrats were able to take on Saturday, it could be months before a bill goes to the president's desk. And the bill that House and Senate negotiators ultimately produce could be vastly different than the one agreed to by a bare majority of the House. Watch immediately below the announcement of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announce the passage of the bill.


Senate must Vote on Health Care Plan - Needed 60 votes to pass

Last weekend, the House of Representatives passed Obama's Health Care Plan, and that in itself was a big victory. But that is only the beginning. Now the Senate gets to take a turn at voting on it, and it will definitely prove more difficult. The Senate must get 60 votes to pass the measure, then a congressional conference committee will need to merge the House and Senate proposals into a consensus version requiring final approval from each chamber, before moving to President Obama's desk to be signed into law. I believe that this will not happen until at least January or possibly not until the beginning of spring. The bill that passed in the House a few days ago is much more expansive, and costs more that $1 trillion for a period of over the next 10 years. This was reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.


Health Care Reform Bill - passes in the House - Senate to follow

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In a sweeping victory, the House of Representatives voted on the health care reform bill just moments ago with a vote of 220-215, giving President Obama a crucial victory. This bill represents the largest health policy change in four decades. It truely is a victory, but at the same time, you must be cautious, as the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives rejected an alternate Republican health plan. Now there will be mounds and mounds of debates on the issue, as this is the most talked about issue for the last 30+ years. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi compared the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later. President Obama stated "I look forward to signing it into law by the end of the year"

According to Rep. John Dingell who heavily favors national health insurance mentioned "It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it."

The bill passed in the house because both Democratic conservatives and Republican conservatives voted for and passed an amendment in a tally of 240-194 votes that would impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. Because of this amendment Democratic conservatives voted for the bill. The amendment basically states that there will be no federal funds would be used for abortion, but in cases of rape, incest and the case of a mother in danger would be the exceptions to the rule.

The new law, once in effect would require that most Americans would be required to carry insurance, and provide federal subsidies to people would could not afford it any other way. Insurance industries could no longer deny coverage with the reason being a preexisting medical condition. Higher insurance premiums for people by insurance companies based on gender or medical history will be a thing of the past.

The health care plan would create a federal marketplace that would allow consumers to shop for their own coverage. The federal government could sell the insurance, but most agree that such a move would make the costs go higher.

President Obama praised the House and said "now the united States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will."


Obama visits Capital Hill to Help Push Health Care Bill

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The time has come, as the House of Representatives are beginning their debate on the issue that's been at the top of everyone's mind lately, health care. It is unknown as to how long the debates will take, but already the Representatives are mowing over one very sensitive issue, abortion funding. The legislation put forth from the House Democrats apparently is heading towards being amended, as restriction on abortion funding seems to be a path that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are considering.

President Obama visited Capital Hill as he met with the Democratic caucus, in an attempt to push forward the health care plan. He is hoping that this legislation will become law by before the end of the year, but there just seems to be so much to talk about. The health care legislation is now towering over 2000 pages, but the representatives in the house may have to postpone the vote on the bill from Saturday to Sunday. But there is a very significant development here. Democrats not favoring abortion convinced Democratic leaders to enter in an amendment that would ban most abortion coverage from the public option and within "the exchange". The only exceptions here would be with cases of rape, incest or if the mothers life is in danger. As long as taxpayer spending is not allowed, it looks as if anti-abortion Democrats will support the bill.  With elections of State Representatives coming up next year, President Obama would love to get his health care legislation off of the table, so that he could concentrate on other issues.
President Obama does not plan to rest. It is without a doubt that he will be the one President in U.S. history that has attempted to accomplish, or has accomplished more things in office than any other President in U.S. history.


AARP and the AMA Now Support the Health Care Bill

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The House health care bill received a major boost today as it received support from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the AARP. They support legislation drafted by House Democrats. So how really significant is the support by these organizations? The AARP happens to be the nation's largest organization for older Americans, is known to be nonpartisan and represents primarily people over the age of 50 years of age. The real shocker here is the support now being received from the ARA who is widely known to be against health care reform. Today, President Obama urged lawmakers to listen the the AARP and AMA and go forward with the passage of health care legislation. As far as President Obama is concerned, he would rather get this bill passed and move on as soon as possible to other issues that he would like to address. So it now appears to that this bill may come to a final vote on Saturday, November 7th, 2009.
Still, the bill continues to receive technical changes , this time a 42-page manager's amendment which was drafted from three different proposals passed by three House committees. So allot of work appears to be going into the latest version which hopefully will be the one that becomes law.
The most recent changes which were made public about 48 hours ago will allow the measure reach the full chamber by Friday, which fulfills their requirement of a 72 hour review before the full vote.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House is confident that the bill has the votes to pass. President Obama is taking no chances as he is fully prepared to work with congressional Democrats on Friday to review the legislation.
Republicans on the other hand seem to be totally convinced that the health care reform bill would translate into a full-blown government takeover of the health care system. It does appear that regardless of what may be in the bill, hard nosed conservatives will just never support or pass any health care reform bill. Some are calling it a form of socialism.
The Republicans in good will did come up with their own plan, but House Democrats rejected the conservative $60 billion health care bill, calling the bill inadequate to meet necessary goals.
So what does the bill cover? First, it would extend insurance to approximately 36 million of Americans that do not have any form of health insurance. Only a very small percentage, possibly 4% would then not have coverage. Second, poor Americans will received subsidized insurance, along with the creation of health insurance exchanges. Third, smaller groups and individuals could now purchase health insurance, without all of the red tape that these groups must go through now. Fourth, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a direct claim that the bill would cut the federal deficit by $30 billion over the next ten years. Fifth, the bill as it stands today include the public option.
One of the issues still being tossed around by the House Democrats is the language   surrounding abortion. Some are adamant that they want stronger language which would prohibit the use of federal money to pay for such things as abortions.
It appears that there is a very good chance that a bill would be supported by the majority  of  the House and Senate soon.


Two Gubernatorial races go to Republicans McDonnell and Christie

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One year ago today, Senator Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. His election as President feels as if it were held yesterday, but instead today there were several gubernatorial races that took place. Two states, Virginia and New Jersey that voted for Barack Obama just a year ago, elected Republican Governors today. The democratic candidates were supported campaigned by President Obama, but that didn't seem to make a difference.
President Obama needs all the support he can get, especially now as he seems to be struggleing with the overhaul of health care, passage of climate change legislation, and winning political support for handling the war in Afghanistan.
The elections today may be just a peek of what is to come, as 2010 will be the year for midterm elections, when the House of Representatives, most governorships and a third of the U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs. Republicans must be very excited, as this win will help them recruit candidates in preparation for next year's election, along with helping them raise money.
Virginia did not seem to be much of a surprise as Bob McDonnell defeated Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. Even though he happens to be the first GOP (Republican) governor in eight years, a majority of Democrats conceeded even before the race that most likely Bob McDonnell would win. He is a very popular figure in the state of Virginia. Usually the state votes Republican, but last years election of President Obama was the first time since 1964 the state voted for a Democrat.
In the state of New Jersey, the winner was Republican Chris Christie, who was previously a federal prosecutor. He just narrowly defeated the incumbunt Governor, Democrat Jon Corzine, by just 4 percentage points, 49 to 45 percent. he third party in the race was Independent candidate Chris Daggett, and he only took about 6 percent of the vote.
One important point with the elections in these two states, the independent votes overwhelmingly voted for the Republican candidate. It was the same independent voters that helped President Obama gain election as President of the United States just one year ago.
Even before the election, there were indications that lawmakers may not complete legislation on Obama's health care proposal this year. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid gave that revelation, but that most likely would be another obstacle for President Obama, as he was hoping the health care proposal would be law by the end of this year. Now it appears that the soonest the legislation may get voted upon will be in 2010, the midterm elections year.
So it looks like smooth sailing for the Republicans so far. Are they really on the road to recovery? The answer is still up in the air, because Tuesday's election results should be a warning to the Republican base. In the state of New York, the Republican nominee Dierdre Scozzafava left the race after loosing Conservative support. Ex-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claimed that Dierdre Scozzafala was too moderate as she supported a third-party candidate Doug Hoffman. But the candidate herself, Dierdre Scozzafava endorsed the Democratic candidate Bill Owens, and all votes from voters that voted for Dierdre Scozzafava went to the Democratic candidate.


A Readers point of view..... Write your opinion and watch it published RIGHT HERE!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On this blog, I do from time to time become fairly critical about the issues, and do compare the likings of Barack Obama to our ex-President George Bush. For the most part, it is not favorable for George Bush. Of course, you must understand that this is an Obama blog as I truly am not a conservative person, and this is not a Bush blog. However, I have no problem reporting the facts as they happen. I will criticize President Barack Obama on this blog if it is necessary to do so. Anyone has that right to do so, as long as it doesn't express outward harm to the President or his predecessors for that matter.
So I am again asking anyone that has any solid opinions or criticisms about President Obama to send me that opinion or criticism to and I would consider re-publishing it here on this blog. Just be sure to note that as the editor of this blog, I have the right to rebut anything you might say.


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