“The 113th (Congress) hasn’t passed the bills every Congress does like a highway bill, or a defense bill, or a farm bill, or a budget. But what do we need a budget for? Clearly not for highways, defense or food! Besides, Congress did pass a bill insuring that people can fish near dams on the Cumberland River, AND (House Republicans) also passed deep cuts in food stamps for the poor. Which is good solid governing, because the poor don’t need food stamps anymore now that they can fish near dams on the Cumberland River.”
– STEPHEN COLBERT, on what is now officially the least productive Congress — only 55 bills passed this year, with only a week left in their session — in American history, on The Colbert Report
“I think Kathleen Sebelius, under tremendously difficult circumstances over the last four and a half years, has done a great job in setting up the insurance markets so that there is a good product out there for people to get.”
– Barack Obama, Obama on health plan cancellations: ‘I am sorry’ (via msnbc)
CNN projects Democrat Terry McAuliffe wins Virginia governor’s race.
The election of Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate, amounted to a forceful rejection of the hard-nosed, business-minded style of governance that reigned at City Hall for the past two decades.
The first Democrat elected mayor of New York City in 20 years.
Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, took a lot of grief this morning from Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who were outraged that some people’s individual insurance policies had been “cancelled” because of health care reform.
Some of the rants bordered on the comical. Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, brandished his “cancellation” letter and demanded that Ms. Sebelius nullify the health law for all residents of his congressional district.
Most lawmakers mentioned President Obama’s unfortunate blanket statement that all Americans would be allowed to keep their insurance policies if they liked them. He failed to make an exception for inadequate policies that don’t meet the new minimum standards.
But in between lashings, Ms. Sebelius managed to make an important point. Yes, some people will be forced to upgrade their policies, she said. But that’s preferable to the status quo before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, when insurers could cancel policies on a whim.
“The individual market in Kansas and anywhere in the country has never had consumer protections,” she testified at the hearing. “People are on their own. They could be locked out, priced out, dumped out. And that happened each and every day. So this will finally provide the kind of protections that we all enjoy in our health care plans.”
A true cancellation is when someone gets a letter saying that she’s losing her insurance and cannot renew. That was common practice in the individual market for people with expensive conditions. Under the new law, no one will ever get a letter like that again. They cannot be turned down for insurance.
The so-called cancellation letters waved around at yesterday’s hearing were simply notices that policies would have to be upgraded or changed. Some of those old policies were so full of holes that they didn’t include hospitalization, or maternity care, or coverage of other serious conditions.”
The New York Times, "The Uproar Over Insurance ‘Cancellation’ Letters."
Oops. Republicans got got again.
“I know we’re not in Kansas, but I do believe we’re in Oz, based on everything that’s been said.”
Rep. FRANK PALLONE (D - NJ), during House hearings into the Healthcare.gov website, in response to Republican Joe Barton of Texas comparing Obamacare to the Wizard of Oz.
Frank Pallone, who went on to call out the GOP for “raising red herrings” about the Affordable Care Act, is fast becoming my favorite member of Congress.
“Hold me responsible for the ‘debacle.’ I am responsible.”
Health and Human Services Secretary KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, taking full responsibility for the glitches on the Healthcare.gov website during a contentious House committee hearing.
Unfortunately, this is the soundbite Republicans have been waiting for
State Sen. Wendy Davis went to the polls to vote early Monday and found herself facing a situation that many Texans may encounter:
The name on her driver’s license and voter registration card were slightly different, so she had to sign an affidavit at the Southside Community Center stating that she is the person registered to vote.
“It was a simple procedure,” said Davis, D-Fort Worth, who is running for governor in next year’s election. “I signed the affidavit and was able to vote with no problem.”
But she’s worried that won’t be the case for other Texans — particularly women who have had a name change because of marriage or divorce.
“There’s a tremendous concern it will create a problem for women who have been legally voting for years to be able to vote … and that they may be surprised by it,” she said. “I hope the word will get out.
“I hope we will continue to see women vote as they have in Texas.”
This Nov. 5 election — with constitutional amendments and proposals such as school and park bond packages on the ballot — is the first statewide election in which Texans must show a photo ID to vote, the result of a law passed by the Republican-led legislature in 2011.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "State Sen. Wendy Davis Has to Sign Affidavit to Vote."
This is not an article from the Onion.
It looks as though the “super PAC” era is coming to New York.
A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that a conservative group supporting Joseph J. Lhota, the Republican nominee for mayor of New York City, can immediately begin accepting contributions of any size because New York State’s limit on donations to independent political committees is probably unconstitutional.
The ruling, 12 days before the mayoral election, is not likely to change the dynamics of the race, given the wide lead of the Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio, and a presumed reluctance by many potential big donors to donate to an underdog candidate this late in the game.
But an end to limits on contributions to independent political groups could have a much bigger impact next year, when voters will decide whether to re-elect Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and will determine which party controls the State Senate — a long-running battle in which independent spending could make a significant difference.
“This could usher in an era where super PACs call the shots in campaigns all over the state, not just in the city,” said David Donnelly, the executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, which advocates public financing of elections.”
– The New York Times, "Court Upends New York Cap on Donations"