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Someone You Should Know: Ruslana Lyzhychko, Ukrainian Activist.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Why did Michelle Obama give a Ukrainian pop star the Women of Courage award?

First lady Michelle Obama with Eurovision singer Ruslana Lyzhychko of Ukranie. (Jewel Samad/ AFP/Getty Images)

First lady Michelle Obama with Eurovision singer Ruslana Lyzhychko of Ukranie. (Jewel Samad/ AFP/Getty Images)

 

On Tuesday morning, first lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom presented 10 women from around the world the Secretary of State’s Women of Courage award. They include a pioneer of the human rights movement in Tajikistan, a prominent leader in the field of maternal health and … a pop music star who won Eurovision in 2004?

 

These women are being recognized for their “exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.”

 

So how does a pop star from Ukraine make the list?

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko — her fans call her Ruslana, first name only, like Madonna — rose to fame when she won the Eurovision competition for her performance of the song “Wild Dances.”  For the uninitiated, Eurovision is a “song contest” between representative musicians and bands from European countries. Winners include many well-known names including ABBA and Celine Dion, but the competition is best-known for its often over-the-top and cheesy music. It’s been described as “kitschy, genre-bending, makes no sense” and even “a trainwreck dry ice, pleather, men in boxes, operatic vampires and unfortunate babydoll outfits

 

These days, Ruslana sings with the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.

 

She took the streets during the November protests and quickly became a voice of the protesters. Ruslana spent long, cold nights onstage, often at the iconic blue piano, singing and rallying crowds as riot police rounded in. Her longest performances on the protests stage – singing her own songs and the national anthem – lasted up to 10 hours.

 

“I think of myself as a volunteer … showing people that we need to be here because there is no other way,” she said to Reuters in December. “Russia is our past, Europe must be our future,” she explained.

 

Even though Ruslana continues to be best known for her music, this isn’t the pop star’s first foray into politics. Her career in activism and humanitarian work began long before the protests started in 2013. She was an active participant in the 2004 Orange Revolution, became the first ever UNICEF National Ambassador in Ukraine in 2005, was speaking out for renewable energy in 2008 and now acts as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

 

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Ruslana Lyzhychko (UkrainianРуслана ЛижичкоRuslana Lyžyčko; born on 24 May 1973), known mononymously as Ruslana, is a World Music Award and Eurovision Song Contest winning artist, holding the title of People’s Artist of Ukraine. She is also a former MP serving as deputy in the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) for the Our Ukraine Party. Ruslana is the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine. She is recognized as the most successful Ukrainian female solo artist internationally and was included in the top 10 most influential women of 2013 by the Forbes magazine. The U.S. Secretary of State honored her with the Woman of Courage Award in March 2014.

 

Ukrainian Pop Singer Ruslana Lyzhychko Receives Woman Of Courage Award

 

Published on Mar 4, 2014

Ukrainian pop singer Ruslana Lyzhychko received the International Women of Courage award at a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday (March 4) for her commitment to non-violence and national unity in the face of government corruption.

 

“Ruslana joined the demonstrations, spending her days on streets and her nights sleeping in cold tents, and every evening, in the face of impending police attacks and death threats, she performed the Ukrainian national anthem for the other demonstrators to reinforce the promise of a diverse and unified Ukraine,” U.S. Deputy Secretary Of State Heather Higginbottom said during the event at the State Department. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the ceremony.

 

Russell spoke about how Ruslana sang the Ukrainian national anthem night after night in Kiev, and calmed protesters one December evening, as news of a impending security sweep by Ukrainian riot police spread through the crowd.

 

“Anyone who was there that night will tell you how her rallying cries steadied the nerves of the protesters, giving them the courage they needed to successfully withstand more than two thousand riot police. They will tell you how crowds cheered as eventually the police retreated from a standoff that was intense, but ultimately peaceful. And, they will tell you how that night will go down in history as one of the EuroMaiden’s movement’s most amazing displays of unity and determination,” Higginbottom added.

 

The Ukrainian Eurovision song contest winner pushed her voice to the limit belting out songs nightly to keep up the morale of protesters camped out a snowy Kiev square, emerging as an unlikely figurehead of movement to oust President Viktor Yanukovich.

 

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award honors women who have showed courage to advocate human rights, equality and social progress, according to the State Department website.

http://www.theshortpenguin.com

 

 

 

 

Ruslana-Lyzhychko

 

She is a singer, songwriter, producer, musical conductor, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, voice actress and social activist. She writes, composes and produces her own songs and music videos. Since 28 December 1995 she has been married to Oleksandr Ksenofontov, a Ukrainian record producer. Together they have run the company Luxen Studio since 1993, producing radio and film trailers.

 

Ruslana was the first artist coming out from the former Soviet Union to officially receive a platinum disc, her Dyki tantsi album selling more than 170,000 copies in the first 100 days after its release, even without a supporting tour. This album is the best selling Ukrainian album to date, together with its English version, more than 1,000,000 copies being sold solely in Ukraine.

 

She won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Wild Dances receiving 280 points, which at that time was a record of points. Following her victory, she rose to fame in Europe and became one of the biggest pop stars from the Eastern part of the continent. Her winning songWild Dances has dominated the European charts for 97 weeks peaking at number one in Belgiumfor 10 consecutive weeks. Later that year, she received a World Music Award in Las Vegas.

 

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Also in 2004, she was among the top 15 performers in a ranking conducted in Belgium with her singles “Wild Dances” and “Dance with the Wolves“. Ruslana was named the most popular person in Belgium, the sexiest girl in Greece, the most influential public person in Ukraine and was the first foreigner who received the award of the Federation of Journalists in Turkey.

 

In 2005, Ruslana designed the cover for Jonathan Safran Foer‘s “The Unabridged Pocket Book of Lightening” which was produced as part of Penguin Books‘ 70th birthday celebrations.

 

In 2006, her song “Wild Dances” has been named the best ever Eurovision winning song by a survey arranged by the German public television broadcaster ARD. During the television program Grand Prix HitlisteWild Dances was presented as the winner, ahead of famous songs, such as Waterloo and Germany’s only winner (at the time), Ein Bißchen Frieden, which finished sixth and twelfth, respectively. The programme was viewed by a television audience of approximately six million people in Germany.

 

In 2008, she was elected by Rockstar Games to play ‘DJ Ruslana’ in the open world action-adventure video game Grand Theft Auto IV. The Ukrainian version of her song Wild Dances has been featured on the soundtrack of the game and became one of the most popular tunes among the fans. Grand Theft Auto IV broke the Guinness World Records for “Highest grossing video game in 24 hours” and “Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours”. It sold 3.6 million copies on day one, which equalled roughly $310 million in revenue. Also in 2008, she signed a major contract with Warner Music for the worldwide release of her second international album called Wild Energy.

 

In 2009, she was invited to attend the 6th Asia Song Festival which took place in SeoulKorea. Even if she was supposed to receive only an award for her contribution to the cultural exchange between Ukraine and Asia in music, in the end she also won the main award of the festival, receiving the golden statue for the best artist of the Asia Song Festival 2009.

 

In 2011, her song Wild Dances has been used by the American gymnast Jordyn Wieber as the soundtrack for her floor exercise. Wieber eventually became the 2011 World Women’s All-Around Champion and won the golden medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics performing her floor exercise on Ruslana’s song.

 

 

THE BEST NATIONAL ANTHEM OF UKRAINE, RUSLANA, LIGHTS, 11.12.2013 KIEV, THE INDEPENDENCE SQUARE

 

 

 

Ruslana reading out an official resolution of Euromaidan, 29 November 2013

Ruslana reading out an official resolution of Euromaidan, 29 November 2013

 

Political activities

 

2004: Orange Revolution

In autumn 2004 Ruslana actively supported the democratic processes in Ukraine known as the Orange Revolution, to which her song “Dance with the Wolves” was devoted. She declared her support for Viktor Yushchenko during the disputed Ukrainian presidential elections. She became one of the prominent figures that addressed the mass crowds rallying in support of Yushchenko’s demand that his original defeat be declared fraudulent. From spring 2006 to summer 2007 she was a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament for the party Our Ukraine.

 

Due to political reasons the music video supporting her second single extracted from the Wild Dances album, Dance with the Wolves was censored in Russia as it contains fragments showing Ruslana in the Independence Square.

 

Ruslana endorsed Yulia Tymoshenko during the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election and actively supported her candidature during the election campaign.

 

In December 2012 Ruslana launched the human rights campaign Не мовчи (Don’t keep silent) which challenges the juridical system of Ukraine. In particular she supports the case of Dmytro and Sergiy Pavlichenko who claim to have been forced to admit a murder they have not committed. The father and son were convicted of killing a judge of a district court in Kyiv and sentenced to life imprisonment and 13 years in prison respectively. The verdict was widely criticized mainly by football fans. Ruslana dedicated her song and video Це – Ей-форі-Я (This is Euphoria) to the case of the Pavlichenkos who according to her are victims of a misjudgement.

 

 

Ruslana with José Manuel Barroso and Henri Malosse at the Plenary Session of the EESC in Brussels

Ruslana with José Manuel Barroso and Henri Malosse at the Plenary Session of the EESC in Brussels

 

 

2013–2014: Euromaidan

In November 2013, she was one of the leading figures of Euromaidan which were a series of protests in Ukraine that began on November 22, 2013, when Ukrainian citizens started spontaneous protests in the capital of UkraineKiev. On the previous day, on November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreementwith the European Union.

 

She was one of the leading figures of the protests. Since the second week of protest she has been on the stage on Kiev‘s Maidan Nezalezhnosti virtually all night (up to ten hours a night). In an 11 December interview with The Daily Beast she explained her role in the opposition as “charging Maidan with freedom-loving energy” and insisted she “hated” politics. And has denied supporting any single leader. Ruslana also stated “if needed, I will sing every night in Maidan until next presidential election in 2015”. Two make-up artists were at her disposal during the protest.

 

As the protest leader, Ruslana noted the presence of paid provocateurs who have instigated fights in the otherwise peaceful protests.

Her involvement in the pro-European movement from Kiev has been featured on many international publications, Ruslana being regarded as a true heroine of Ukraine. While the German press regarded her as ‘Kiev’s queen of the night’, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo compared her to Jeanne d’Arc. Due to her active involvement in the EuroMaidan, Ruslana has been compared to Katniss Everdeen, the main heroine of The Hunger Games trilogy.

 

Due to active role in the protests, she was included in the top 10 most successful women of 2013 by the Forbes magazine. Also, she was named ‘person of the year’ by the Business Ukraine magazine.

 

In order to demand from the EU support for the EuroMaidan revolution Ruslana met in Brussels with key EU officials including José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Henri Malosse, President of theEuropean Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in January 2014. After her speech at the 495th Plenary Session a resolution was adopted by the EESC which supports the Ukrainian civil society and its democratic rights.

 

 

Social commitment

 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom pose for a photo with 2014 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award Winner Ruslana Lyzhychko

First Lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom pose for a photo with 2014 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award Winner Ruslana Lyzhychko

 

Ruslana was appointed Good Will Ambassador of Ukraine by the UNICEF and combats trafficking in human beings. She released two video clips which aim to make potential victims aware of the dangers of human trafficking. In February 2008 Ruslana performed at an anti-human trafficking event in Vienna, Austria, organized by UN.GIFT (The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) in front of 117 international delegations. Her song Not for Sale became the anthem of the anti-trafficking campaign.

 

Within the frames of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in Kiev she gave a charity concert for children suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl tragedy. For another charity project Ruslana joined forces with German rock star Peter Maffay. In April/May 2007 they went together with artists from 14 countries on a four weeks tour through Germany. The funds gathered benefited children in need.

 

Ruslana has also staged numerous charity concerts benefiting Children’s hospitals in KievLviv and Dnipropetrovsk.

 

With her project Wild Energy Ruslana supports the use of renewable energy. She regards the energy of the sun, the water and the wind as an energy independence. The project gradually developed into this bigger meaning. Ruslana wants to make people aware of the dangers of global climate change.

 

After large regions in Western Ukraine were hit by a flood in July 2008 Ruslana set up the co-ordinating and relief centre Carpathians. Flood. SOS! 2008. The aim of the centre is to create a database of the people in need, to provide emergency humanitarian help and to collect and distribute donations both from the public and from other Ukrainian artists and sportsmen to support the victims of the flood.

 

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko
Ruslana in Kiev.JPG

Ruslana speaking during a press conference in
Kiev, Ukraine in May 2012
Background information
Native name Руслана Лижичко
Birth name Ruslana Stepanivna Lyzhychko

(Руслана Степанівна Лижичко)

Also known as Ruslana (Руслана)
Born 24 May 1973 (age 40)
LvivUkrainian SSR
Origin Ukraine Ukrainian
Genres Pop, ethno-pop
Occupations Singer, dancer, producer, composer,

conductor, pianist, lyricst, voice actress,

former politician, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

, activist

Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, drums, keyboards,

trembita, tambourine

Years active 1996–present
Labels EMIWarner Music Group
Associated acts T-PainMissy ElliottGoran Bregović,

Slavi Trifonov,Varvara, Harem,

Helmut Lotti,Peter Maffay, “Zhittya” Ballet

Website www.ruslana.ua

 

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko Facebook Page.

 

 

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How Many Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollees Were Uninsured? 5.4 Million.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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From The L.A. Times:

 

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A look at how many Obamacare enrollees were uninsured: 5.4 million

 

By Michael Hiltzik

 

Reason to smile again? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House ceremony this week announcing the Obamacare enrollment numbers. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

Reason to smile again? HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House ceremony this week announcing the Obamacare enrollment numbers. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

As we observed earlier this week, one of the obsessions of opponents of the Affordable Care Act is the question of how many enrollees in Obamacare health plans already had insurance. The goal is to knock down the latest enrollment numbers by suggesting that most of the 7.1 million people enrolled through the individual insurance exchanges just moved from one insurance plan to another in a waste of time and effort.

 

The real figure probably won’t be known for weeks, even months. But researchers at the Urban Institute‘s Health Policy Center have weighed in with their own estimate. They’re figuring that the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 5.4 million from the first quarter of 2013 through early March this year.

 

Their estimate is based on data from their March 2014 Health Reform Marketing Survey, which consists of public polling. Their finding is that the uninsurance rate for adults ages 18–64 was 15.2% for the nation in early March, a decline of 2.7 percentage points since September 2013, just before open enrollment on the exchanges began Oct. 1.

 

“This represents a gain in coverage for about 5.4 million adults,” they write.

 

Although the Urban Institute figures aren’t keyed to the enrollment figures, it’s worth observing that if all those newly insureds were among those who signed up on the individual exchanges, that would mean that of the 7.1 million enrollees, 77% were previously uninsured.

 

The researchers say, however, that their figures include people who will receive their insurance from Medicaid, which was expanded in about half the states. (The others refused to take up the federal government’s offer to pick up 90% to 100% of the tab.)

 

In Medicaid-expanding states, the uninsured rate fell by an average of 4% and is now an average 12.4%, according to the survey; in the others, it fell by an average of only 1.5% and is stuck at an average 18%. Thus does ideological opposition to the ACA by Republican office-holders in non-expanding states make suckers of their citizens.

 

The Urban Institute says its figures probably understate the decline in the uninsured ratio for two reasons. First, it doesn’t count the late-March surge of enrollments that brought the exchange total to 7.1 million; second, it doesn’t measure the effect of other ACA provisions, including one allowing adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parent’s health plans.

 

That said, it’s proper to observe that the debate over how many people were previously insured is something of a red herring. The ACA had several goals — to impose national consumer protection standards on the health insurance industry by eliminating exclusions for preexisting conditions, among other things; slow the growth of healthcare costs; reduce the number of underinsureds (those who were forced because of costs to buy plans with limited coverage); and finally to reduce the number of uninsured people.

 

All those goals, not just the last, have been advanced by the ACA. In addition, it has always been clear that the act is a multi-year project. Judging its success or failure by this one metric of how many uninsured people were signed up in year one doesn’t tell us anything about how it will change healthcare coverage in the U.S. over time.

 

Thank you MICHAEL HILTZIK & The L.A. Times.

 

 

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President Obama: “7.1 Million Americans”

 

 

President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 1, 2014.President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a statement on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 1, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

 

The President sent the message below to the White House email list this afternoon following his remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 

Didn’t get the email? Make sure you’re signed up for White House updates.

 

 

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Affordable Care Act

April 01, 2014 | 18:13 |Public Domain

 

Following the closing of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, the President delivers remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private health coverage.

 

 

 

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Hello everybody,

 

Last night, the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act came to an end.

 

And this afternoon, we announced that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 

7.1 million.

 

That doesn’t count the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their families’ plans. It doesn’t count the millions more who have gotten covered through the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It doesn’t include the more than 100 million folks who now have better care — who are receiving additional benefits, like mammograms and contraceptive care, at no extra cost.

 

Now, millions of our fellow Americans have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re no longer leaving their health and well-being to chance. For many of them, quality health insurance wasn’t an option until this year — maybe because they couldn’t afford it, or because a pre-existing condition kept them locked out of a discriminatory system.

 

Today, that’s changed. And while our long-broken health care system may not be completely fixed, it’s without question a lot better. That’s something to be proud of — and there’s no good reason to go back.

 

Regardless of your politics, or your feelings about the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans with health coverage is something that’s good for our economy and our country.

 

At the end of the day, that is what this law — and the other reforms we’re fighting for, from a 21st-century immigration system to a fairer wage for every American who’s willing to work for it — are all about:

 

Making sure our country lives up to our highest ideals.

 

I am thankful to be your President today, and every day. And I am proud that this law will continue to make life better for millions of Americans in the years to come.

 

Thank you.

President Barack Obama

 

 

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President Obama Speaks About The Success Of The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES).


 

By Jueseppi B.

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More Than 7 Million Americans Have Enrolled in Private Health Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

 

 

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Today, the White House announced that more than 7 million Americans signed up for affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment, which ended on March 31.

The number, announced during Press Secretary Jay Carney‘s briefing, means that millions of Americans across the country now have access to quality, affordable care. And as numbers continue to come in from states that run their own Marketplaces, that number will continue to rise.

Later today, President Obama will deliver a statement on the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden — you can watch on WhiteHouse.gov/Live at 4:15 p.m. ET.

obamacares

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Affordable Care Act

 

Published on Apr 1, 2014

Following the closing of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, the President delivers remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private health coverage. April 1, 2014.

 

 

 

President Barack Obama: 7.1 million Americans.

 

Last night, the first open enrollment period under theAffordable Care Act came to an end.

 

And this afternoon, we announced that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 

7.1 million.

 

That doesn’t count the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their families’ plans. It doesn’t count the millions more who have gotten covered through the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It doesn’t include the more than 100 million folks who now have better care — who are receiving additional benefits, like mammograms and contraceptive care, at no extra cost.

 

Now, millions of our fellow Americans have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re no longer leaving their health and well-being to chance. For many of them, quality health insurance wasn’t an option until this year — maybe because they couldn’t afford it, or because a pre-existing condition kept them locked out of a discriminatory system.

 

Today, that’s changed. And while our long-broken health care system may not be completely fixed, it’s without question a lot better. That’s something to be proud of — and there’s no good reason to go back.

 

Regardless of your politics, or your feelings about the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans with health coverage is something that’s good for our economy and our country.

 

At the end of the day, that is what this law — and the other reforms we’re fighting for, from a 21st-century immigration system to a fairer wage for every American who’s willing to work for it — are all about:

 

Making sure our country lives up to our highest ideals.

 

I am thankful to be your President today, and every day. And I am proud that this law will continue to make life better for millions of Americans in the years to come.

 

Thank you.

President Barack Obama

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Though HealthCare.gov got off to a rocky start in October, the open enrollment period ended with soaring interest — including a record-breaking 4.8 million visits to HealthCare.gov, and around 2 million calls to CMS call centers. Throughout this weekend, Americans across the country were literally lined up around the block at local enrollment centers.

It’s important to remember that 7 million represents only part of the total number of people who have received coverage under the Affordable Care Act: millions more have been covered by state Medicaid expansions, and around 3 million Americans under 26 are now covered under their parents’ plans.

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Using Facebook To Attack ObamaCARES Backfired For Sen Ted “CruiseControl” Cruz. Dumbass.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Oops. Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz asked people on facebook if they’re better off, since the ACA took effect. He got the answer – not the one he wanted.

Oops. Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz asked people on facebook if they’re better off, since the ACA took effect. He got the answer – not the one he wanted.

 

From Addicting Info:

 

Ted Cruz Tries To Use Facebook To Prove No One Likes Obamacare And It Blows Up In His Face

 

By  

The Tea Party crusade against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) hit a huge snag this week. On March 24, 2014, Texas Tea Party Senator, Ted Cruz, decided to put up a ‘quick poll,’ about the ACA on his facebook page. Problem? The Koch brothers don’t control the conversation on social media, the people do.

Ask a question, get an answer.

The question Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz asked on facebook was simple. Are you better off now than you were before the ACA, also called Obamacare, was signed into law, four years ago?

Nearly 40,000 comments later, the resounding answer from people all across the country was YES.

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People love the ACA.

People who responded to the question cited different reasons for saying that they’re better off since the ACA went into effect. Some pointed out that the ACA has saved them money, reduced their monthly premiums, and lowered deductibles and co-pays.

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A large number of those who responded to Cruz’s ‘quick poll,’ said cited the ACA that prevents insurance companies from dropping people with a preexisting condition.

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Others pointed to the laws requirement that young people be allowed to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26.

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Some pointed out that the law prevents insurance companies from putting lifetime limits on healthcare spending.

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People pointed to the overall benefits of the ACA, including keeping the rising cost of medical care under control, which benefits everyone.

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Many of those who responded cited the most important benefit one can imagine. ‘It saved my life.’

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Not everyone said that Obamacare had helped them. There were intermittent responses from the tea party crowd. When called out, it quickly became apparent that the ‘no’ respondents had not signed up for the ACA or even reviewed their options, under the law.

There were people like this woman, who claims she doesn’t want insurance and won’t pay for it.

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In spite of her professed ideology, she clearly has no problem shifting the burden of her healthcare onto the public. If she gets hurt in an accident or becomes sick, her options will be to file for bankruptcy, unless she has hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay her own medical expenses.

Not surprisingly, statistics show that red states have the highest rate of bankruptcy in the nation. Four out of the states with the highest number of personal bankruptcies are red. Medical debt accounts for more than 60 percentof all bankruptcies. What the tea party doesn’t get is that everyone in the country has been covering their medical expenses for years. Obamacare means no more free riders. Everyone who can afford to, has to contribute to the system. Maybe that’s what they’re so mad about, underneath the surface of all that patriotic, flag waving showmanship.

There’s nothing patriotic about driving healthcare costs up for everyone else in the country, because you falsely believe that being asked to pay taxes is unconstitutional. There’s nothing patriotic about bankrupting the medical system, because you take a ‘moral position’ against buying health insurance. There’s certainly nothing patriotic about using it as a weapon in order to try andshut down the government.

Besides the ‘I’m not gonna and you can’t make me’ crowd, there were those who were clearly just lying, like this guy:

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For every ‘no’ answer Cruz received, there were dozens of yes answers. As of March 27, more than 6 million people had signed up for the ACA, exceeding the CBO’s estimate for the initial enrollment period. Millions more are reaping the benefits through expanded Medicaid, lower costs, free annual check-ups and preventative care and the assurance of knowing they can’t be dropped if they become sick.

 

GOP Throws In The Towel, Quietly Backs Away From ‘ACA Alternative

 

The Party Of No Hates Obamacare So Much That They Make Their Point By Rejecting Medicaid Expansion

 

 

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Lizelle’s Covered. You Can #GetCovered Too! Enroll by March 31

 

Published on Mar 12, 2014

Lizelle was uninsured and hadn’t been to the doctor in years. She visited HealthCare.gov, answered a few questions, and now she’s covered. It’s easy to apply now. Enroll by March 31. Find out how much you can save:https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premi…

 

 

 

 

Insurance Card? Check! #GetCovered Today!

 

Published on Mar 28, 2014

Having just turned 27, Jeremi Mattern and Tyler Dagger of the Texas based band, Driver Friendly, knew it was important to get health coverage. Watch their story and learn more about your health insurance options at HealthCare.gov.

 

 

 

 

Visit our YouTube channel to see all HealthCare.gov videos and subscribe.

 

 

Survivors Of Domestic Violence Now Have Better Access To Obamacare Benefits

 

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Survivors of domestic violence who are living separately from an abusive spouse will now be able to claim tax credits to help them afford an Obamacare plan, thanks to new rules being developed by the federal government. Before the change, these individuals were locked out of federal assistance for health care unless they filed joint taxes with their abuser.

 

 

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Don’t miss the latest updates about the Health Insurance Marketplace. Follow HealthCare.gov on our social media channels to connect and tell us what you think!

 

 

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Hobby Lobby In YOUR Bedroom: The Birth Control Statistic Nobody Is Talking About.


 

By Jueseppi B.

HobbyLobbyStowOhio

 

Right now, the Supreme Court is deciding a case that could let right-wing bosses deny birth control to women. If craft retailer Hobby Lobby–a company headed by evangelical activists–wins, the precedent this case could set is frightening. We’re talking about HIV treatment, vaccines, blood transfusions, and more.

 

Today, a lot of people will be talking about the case, but not a lot of people know why it’s so important. We need to spread the word so Americans everywhere understand that birth control is a vital health care need for millions of women and that 1 in 3 women have a hard time paying for it.

 

That’s why we put together this timely infographic. Can you take a second to share it with your friends?

 

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Birth Control Rally at Hobby Lobby Case

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

Defenders and protesters rally outside the Supreme Court as Justices tackle a case that allows businesses to object to health law’s birth control coverage. (March 25)

 

 

 

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Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

 

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, is a United States Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act‘s requirement for large businesses to offer insurance for contraception and other reproductive healthcare to their female employees. It was consolidated with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

 

 

Background

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) that neutral laws of general applicability are not violations of religious freedom that would have required a strict scrutiny assessment of whether they are the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest. The court wrote that “the right of free exercise [of religion] does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability…” The meaning of neutral law of general applicability was elaborated by the court in 1993. The US Congress responded by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring strict scrutiny when a neutral law of general applicability “substantially burden[s] a person’s exercise of religion”. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal RFRA as applied to federal statutes in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal in 2006.

 

 

Conestoga Wood Specialties is a furniture company founded by the Mennonite Hahn family. It has about 1,000 employees.

 

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts company owned by the Evangelical Christian Green family with about 13,000 employees.

 

 

State of the law

The Affordable Care Act fines $100 per employee per day for companies that refuse to offer coverage for birth control.

 

 

Lower court history

Three federal appeals courts ruled against the contraception coverage rule, while two have upheld it.

 

 

U.S. Supreme Court consideration

 

Acceptance and briefs

On November 26, the Supreme Court accepted and consolidated the two cases. Two dozen amicus briefs support the government, and five dozen support the companies. Two of the briefs oppose each other on the constitutionality of the RFRA. Two briefs that do not formally take sides oppose each other on whether the right to religion applies to corporations.

 

 

Argument and deliberation

Oral arguments were scheduled for March 25, 2014 for 30 minutes more than the usual one hour.

 

 

Decision

A ruling is expected in late June, 2014.

 

 

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Supreme Court Weighs Birth Control Mandate

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday over whether employers’ religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge. (March 25)

 

 

 

 

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From CBS News:

 

Some of the most politically divisive themes and issues of the 2012 election –Obamacare, the left’s “war on religion,” the right’s “war on women,” and the notion of corporate personhood – all come into play in two cases that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

 

Two privately-held, for-profit companies — Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. — are suing the United States government over a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires large employers to offer their workers comprehensive health coverage, including contraception, or pay a fine. Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green of Oklahoma, say they have strong objections based in their Christian faith to providing health care coverage for certain types of contraception. The Pennsylvania-based Hahn family, the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties, have the same complaint.

 

For Christian conservatives, the cases represent the threat of government overreach.

 

“This case will decide whether a family gives up their religious freedom when they open a family business,” Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which is representing Hobby Lobby, told CBS News. “The question here is whether the Green family can be forced to do something that violates their deeply held religious conviction as a consequence of the new health care law.”

 

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

 

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

 

The two cases, however, have implications that go well beyond the so-called “wars” on women or religion. If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga prevail, it would prompt “a fundamental shift in the understanding of the First Amendment,” David Gans, the civil rights director for the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CBS News.

 

That shift in thinking could open the floodgates for unprecedented protections for corporations that some say amount to a license to discriminate. The ramifications could be felt nationwide, in states that are enacting laws to shield businesses from regulations that may violate their “religious beliefs.” Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., last month vetoed one such bill, which would have allowed Arizona businesses to refuse to serve gays on religious grounds. A number of other states across the country have been considering similar legislation.

 

The ramifications could theoretically go further than that. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in a brief to the court that siding with Hobby Lobby “would entitle commercial employers with religious objections to opt out of virtually every statute protecting their employees” — such as laws that ban gender discrimination, minimum wage and overtime laws, the collection of Social Security taxes, or mandated health coverage for vaccinations.

 

 

Corporate personhood

The basis for Hobby Lobby’s case is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which dictates that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a “compelling government interest.”

 

The court must first decide whether this law even applies to for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby — in other words, whether corporations have the freedom to exercise religion that’s granted to individuals under the First Amendment. In this sense, the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases are the next iteration of Citizens United, the case 2010 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same freedom of speech guarantees afforded under the First Amendment as individuals.

 

“I do think the question of corporate personhood is at the heart of the case,” Gans told CBS. “Do corporations have these fundamental rights of human dignity and conscience that they’ve never tried to claim in the past?”

 

There are, however, noteworthy differences between these cases and Citizens United. Before Citizens United, there was a body of precedent granting corporations freedom of speech in advertising, Gans said.

 

“The theory was when corporations were selling a product — or as in the case of Citizens United, trying to influence the outcome of elections — that sort of act of expression helped shape public debate, helped shape consumers’ understanding of products,” Gans said.

 

By contrast, there’s no precedent that the Supreme Court can rely on to find a freedom of religion right for corporations. “The fundamental idea of the religious right is one of conscience, human dignity — human attributions that don’t really apply well to corporations.”

 

The Supreme Court took up a similar case in the early 1980s, after an Amish farmer argued that paying Social Security taxes on his employees’ wages violated his beliefs. The court unanimously ruled against the farmer in United States v. Lee. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote for the court, “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”

 

On the other hand, Windham of the Becket Fund points out since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court has recognized the religious rights of religious corporations. For instance, the court ruled unanimously in 2006 that the federal government could not confiscate a hallucinogenic tea from a New Mexico religious corporation (which considered the tea a sacrament), even though the tea was barred under federal drug laws.

 

The key difference between that case and those before the court on Tuesday is that the court is now dealing with for-profit corporations — not nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits with religious affiliations, such as Catholic universities, arealready exempt from the Obamacare contraception rule.

 

“The government says that nonprofit versus for-profit is the dividing line — that is a really bad dividing line,” Windham said. “That would mean the NFL, which is a nonprofit, has religious rights but Mardel Christian Bookstores does not.” (Mardel, a bookstore chain that the Greens own along with Hobby Lobby, is also challenging the Obamacare mandate.)

 

 

Is full contraception coverage a “compelling interest”?

If the court buys that Hobby Lobby has rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Hobby Lobby would then have to prove that it has been “substantially burdened” by a law for which there is no “compelling government interest.”

 

The court could cite a number of reasons why the Obamacare rule doesn’t amount to a substantial burden. For one thing, the court could point out that in lieu of providing insufficient health care coverage to its employees, Hobby Lobby could simply pay a fine to the government.

That fine would, in fact, cost less than the expense of providing health coverage to Hobby Lobby’s employees. The government would then use that money to support the new Obamacare marketplaces, where Hobby Lobby employees could then find comprehensive coverage.

 

This rationale would be similar to the logic the Supreme Court put forward when it upheld the Obamacare individual mandate in 2012 – in that case, the court ruled that the rule requiring all Americans to obtain insurance or pay a fine did not amount to a “mandate” but to a tax.

 

Windham said it’s illogical that “a company that complies with 99 percent of the Affordable Care Act — just because it doesn’t comply with 1 percent — should drop their coverage altogether.”

 

Hobby Lobby’s owners would feel compelled to compensate its employees for those lost benefits, which would be an additional burden on top of the fine, Windham said.

 

Even if there is a substantial burden on Hobby Lobby, compelling government interests could overrule that.

 

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said there’s a clear government interest in ensuring that women have full contraception coverage.

 

“Studies show what common sense tells us,” she said. “Access to birth control increases women’s participation in the workforce and contributes to an increase in women’s wages.”

 

The Supreme Court said as much in 1992 in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

 

Thank you CBS News.

 

 

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