Posted tagged ‘Obama administration’

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True…

August 17, 2009

Silly me. I almost dared to, ahem, hope yesterday that the Obama administration might really be backing away from a government-run health insurance option. It was a guarded hope at best because as Edmund Haislmaier pointed out a few weeks ago at The Foundry:

If by health care “co-op,” Congress means allowing private associations to collectively buy health insurance for their members or operate a health insurance exchange, or allowing people to buy health insurance from a non-profit, member-owned private insurer, then those would be positive, pro-consumer developments.

However, simply slapping the word “cooperative” onto a new “insurer,” but then specifying that the government — not the policyholders — picks the board of directors (as Sen. Schumer wants), or that taxpayers will subsidize it, or that it has to pay doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates, would just be an exercise in trying to disguise a “public plan.”

But today it appears to have been nothing but a mis-statement or a trial balloon. It figures. Washington hasn’t been listening to we the people for a long time. Why start now?

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Paint Your Roof White to Save the Planet!

May 26, 2009

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs an energy-reflecting white, as he took part in a climate change symposium in London.

The Nobel laureate in physics called for a “new revolution” in energy generation to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But he warned there was no silver bullet for tackling climate change, and said a range of measures should be introduced, including painting flat roofs white.

Making roads and roofs a paler colour could have the equivalent effect of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years, Chu said.

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What a brilliant idea! I use much less air conditioning in the winter when my roof is white with snow. I think these guys are on to something!

Watching the Stimulus

March 1, 2009

So much for helping people in real need.

Uncertainty over new health safety net for jobless

The Obama administration rushed to include a health care safety net for laid-off workers in the recently signed stimulus bill, but has not told employers exactly how to make it work.

As a result, tens of thousands of jobless people could wait months before getting help paying for health insurance that their employers previously had covered.

“Too many people are still trying to figure this out,” said Heath Weems, director of human resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “There is a lot of confusion.”

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So much for transparency and accountability.

Stimulus Provision May Inhibit Watchdog Investigations, Critics Warn

The Obama administration pushed through a provision in the $787 billion stimulus package that gives an oversight panel headed by a White House nominee powers to ask that independent watchdogs call off their investigations.

While the law still allows these inspectors general to refuse such requests, some lawmakers and the investigators have warned that the new arrangement could hamper the probes.

The written explanations that the watchdogs must file if they insist on proceeding could divert valuable resources needed for investigation and be so time-consuming that they might decide to acquiesce, critics said. They added that a requirement to provide this explanation could compromise criminal investigations by publicizing confidential information.

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The Obama administration put up the official Recovery.gov website “that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going”. 

But I think I’ll be keeping a closer eye on StimulusWatch.org, that lets “citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed “shovel-ready” projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects”, to get a more accurate view of what’s happening on the ground.