Health Insurance Enrollment: Open Enrollment Is November 15th, 2014 Until February 15th, 2015.


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From Nels New Day:

Health Care on the Chopping Block?

 

Just a couple of days after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) became leaders of the 114th Congress, they declared open season on health care for the poor and middle class. Their starting salvo was announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which they began with eliminating benefits for workers employed fewer than 40 hours a week. In typical GOP-speak, they said that this change would provide employees with “more hours and better pay.” In 2013, 43.8 percent of all workers, 60.9 million people, were employed at 40 hours or more. The question is whether members of Congress would lose their insurance if health care guidelines change. The people wanting the increase in hours worked to get health care, congressional legislators, work about two days each week. They seem to be saying that they would work harder if they didn’t get health care unless they worked five days a week.

 

Conservatives have been jumping with joy ever since Jonathan Gruber, self-proclaimed architect of the Affordable Care Act, proclaimedthat it was the “stupidity of the American voter” that allowed the bill to become a law. Far from being an “architect,” Gruber served as a consultant to produce cost estimates of provisions and giving technical advice based on his overseeing similar reforms in Massachusetts. According to Gruber, Democrats kept the Congressional Budget Office from scoring the mandate as a tax and hide the provision that young and healthy beneficiaries would subsidize premiums for the sick.

 

Scoring the mandate as a “tax” would not have changed the estimate of increasing revenue by $4 billion in 2016 and approximately $5 billion per year for the next eight years. There was also no lack of transparency about everyone, healthy or sick, paying into the insurance, and the media incessantly covered this fact. AP reporter Erica Werner clearly explained that premiums varied only on age, geographic area, and tobacco use. The president told AARP in 2009 before the law was passed:

 

“[Y]ou get the healthy and the young people alongside the not-so-healthy and the older people. But we’re all kind of spreading our risk, because each of us don’t know at any given time what might happen.”

 

Gruber also complained that the law does little or nothing to control health care costs. Yet four years after the act passed, projections for health care in 2019 is $500 billion less than projected at the time that it passed. As costs increase in many other areas, a study of 48 urban areas shows an average 0.2 decrease in the “silver” plans. Costs seem to be all over the place from an increase of 28 percent in Anchorage (AK) to a reduction of 24 percent in Jackson (MS). At the same time, the government paid $104 billion less in 2014 subsidies than originally predicted. The country has seven million more people than insured before ACA, the government pays less than predicted, and the rise in healthcare costs has dramatically slowed.

 

Gruber has apologized for his statements, saying that they were just “off the cuff” at academic conferences. It may not be enough to save the millions of dollars that he was scheduled to make. Eight states hired Gruber to help design their health exchanges after he banked nearly $400,000 in 2009 through contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services. He and a few colleagues had state contracts for $1.6 million over seven years from Michigan ($481,000), Minnesota ($329,000), Vermont ($400,000) and Wisconsin ($400,000). He also advised Colorado, Connecticut, Maine and West Virginia.

 

Because of ACA’s requirement that insurers must spend at least 80 percent of premium costs on medical care, 6.8 million families are getting average rebates of $80 totaling almost $2 billion. That’s one reason premiums are being lowered. Subsidies are the other reason. If the Supreme Court denies these subsidies in states without state exchanges, people can see their insurance premiums increase by about 75 percent.

 

As people line up to register for health care this week, the U.S. Supreme Court may join the conservatives in Congress to kill off the law—and many people at the same time. Paul Krugman called the lawsuit to be argued this year as death by typo. The Supreme Court is set to determine if the word “state” in one sentence of the 2200-page law means that poor people won’t receive subsidies in the states that don’t have their own government-run marketplace. Krugman wrote:

 

“Judges who support this cruel absurdity aren’t stupid; they know what they’re doing.  What they are, instead, is corrupt, willing to pervert the law to serve political masters.”

 

Over two decades ago, the conservatives supported single-payer health insurance, but that was before the Democrats accepted the idea. When Congress started working on the plan in the president’s early years, the Democrats attempted to mollify the GOP by incorporating their ideas into the law. After the GOP pushed the Democratic legislators in a corner, the law received only one GOP vote, a representative. Current problems show that single-payer health care would be the best for almost all the people in the United States.

 

Megan Rothbauer’s $50,000 bill is one example of why the U.S. needs a single-payer plan. Up-to-date on her insurance payments, the Wisconsin woman went into cardiac arrest and was unconscious when she was rushed to a hospital. The place where the ambulance took Rothbauer, 30, didn’t take her insurance although one three blocks away did. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to tell them where they should take her. Without the Affordable Care Act, she would have owed another $100,000. A single-payer plan would have kept her from the possibly of becoming destitute, but Rothbauer is now facing bankruptcy. Blue Cross Blue Shield stated that the fault is with the hospital. The hospital stated that they could have charged her more but didn’t. Medical experts indicate that this is a common situation.

 

Even knowing what hospital is in a network doesn’t always help. When probate attorney Jeffrey Craig Hopper was smashed in the face with a baseball while coaching Little League in Austin (TX), his wife made sure she took Hopper to a hospital that is part of their insurance network. The ER doctor sent the couple a bill for more than $700; he could do this because he was outside the approved network of physicians. Again, this is fairly common: in more than half of Humana’s Texas hospitals, none of the ER doctors is within Humana’s network.  The same situation goes for almost half the Texas hospitals with United Healthcare insurance and about a fifth of Blue Cross-accepting hospitals. Preparing for the next emergency, Jennifer Hopper couldn’t find even five doctors who would take their insurance at hospitals her plan uses in Austin.

 

For the fifth consecutive year, the United States, the richest nation in the world, ranked last in industrialized nation’s health care systems. The only industrialized nation without universal health care, the U.S. has the highest percentage of U.S. residents not seeking necessary medical care because they can’t afford it. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they didn’t fill a prescription, visit a doctor, or get recommended medical care because they worried about the cost compared to only four percent of people in the United Kingdom.

 

The United States has the highest infant mortality and deaths possibly preventable with access to effective health care. It’s also at the bottom of “efficiency” because of the time and money spent dealing with insurance administration, lack of communication among health care providers, and duplicative medical testing. In “equity,” the 39 percent of adults with below-average incomes in the U.S. who could not visit doctors because of costs puts the U.S. also at the bottom, compared with the less than one in ten who have the problem in the UK, Sweden, Canada, and Norway. People in the U.S spent $8,508 per person on healthcare in 2011 compared to $3,406 per person in the UK, but the higher cost of health care in the U.S. doesn’t equate to better care.

 

The data that put the United States last was collected before ACA went into effect. Even if the Supreme Court destroys “Obamacare,” the nation many have a brief shining time of health care for residents in Democratically-controlled states. Even so, six million of the poorest residents lack health care if GOP states refuse to expand Medicaid. A negative Supreme Court decision could triple or quadruple that number.

 

In Oregon, Monica Wehby, the GOP candidate who just lost to Sen. Jeff Merkley, wants to be boss of the Oregon Health Authority. The day after the election, she called newly re-elected Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber to ask for the job. The agency runs the state’s Medicaid program for 300,000 low-income Oregonians and may also administer Cover Oregon, the health insurance exchange, which Wehby wants to destroy. Her campaign slogan was “Keep Your Doctor. Change Your Senator.” Before she ran for the senate, she starred in a 2009 nationwide commercial warning about the plan’s dangers. The job would also give her a serious hit in salary: in 2013, she made $861,479 as a pediatric neurosurgeon for Legacy Health Systems, and the previous OHA director made $173,000. She says that she just wants to “stay involved.”

 

One question in the Supreme Court argument about ACA is whether the business-friendly justices will go against the money-makers in the insurance and health industries. They’re making more money, and they like it.

As in the past couple of years, the Supreme Court is addressing voting rights, health care, and possibly marriage equality. Millions of people will be waiting until their pronouncements next June.

Thank you Nels New Day.

 

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You’re invited to join open enrollment this Friday, November 14th, 2014.  Open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act is from November 14th, 2014 until February 15th, 2015.

 

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2015 Open Enrollment

 

The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

 

If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by then, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2015 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.

 

If you’re enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

 

If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee. The fee in 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 — 2% of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more.

 

Enrollment and coverage start dates

 

During Open Enrollment, if you enroll:

 

  • Between the 1st and 15th days of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the next month.
  • Between the 16th and the last day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on January 16, your coverage starts on March 1.

 

You may buy Marketplace insurance outside Open Enrollment only if you qualify for aSpecial Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Learn more about how you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

 

You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time. There is no limited enrollment period for these programs. You can apply any time. If you’re qualified, you can enroll immediately.

 

If you own or operate a small business, you can start offering coverage to your employees at any time.

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The state Health Insurance Marketplaces will open on Saturday Nov. 15 and stay open through Feb. 15, 2015. As was the case the first time around last year, if you buy insurance on your own, this will be your only chance to enroll in or change your plan until next year (with a few exceptions, such as if you lose other coverage midyear).

 

 

Here’s what you need to know to get ready.

 

You can window shop ahead of time

HealthCare.gov, which handles shopping for 37 states (look up your state on this interactive map) started a window shopping function over the weekend. We recommend you use it. Without logging into it or creating an account, you can put in info about your household size and income, get a quick estimate of your 2015 subsidy (if any), and start shopping and comparing plans. But you won’t be able to buy a plan for real until Nov. 15.

 

We played with the window shopping tool a bit and were impressed—especially in comparison to 2014. Back then, in order to see the health plans available in your state, you had to create an account, get your identity verified, and fill out an application that was 76 screens long.

 

This time around, the plan preview feature is chock-full of helpful explanations that appear just when you need them. For instance, when it’s time to enter your household income, you’ll see a link to click to explain how to count that income if you’re not sure.

 

You can see the plans within a couple of screens, and then you can filter them by multiple factors, such as the name of the insurer, the size of the deductible, and the monthly premium. And if you see a plan you like, you can save or e-mail to yourself a link that will take you straight back there on your next visit.

 

Many of the state-run marketplaces also allow window shopping. As of today, they included California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Washington. We couldn’t find plan previews on the Massachusetts, Minnesota, or New York sites, and the marketplaces in Hawaii, Kentucky, and Vermont were down for maintenance.

 

Collect these documents and info

You’re going to need them to fill out your application.

  • Your most recent income tax return.
  • Social Security number and birth dates for everyone in your household who’s going to be buying insurance with you. (If you’re confused about this, just collect info for everyone who is on your household’s tax return with you.)
  • If you’re self-employed or didn’t file taxes last year, whatever information you have on your income and business expenses.
  • Log in and password for your marketplace account, if you already have one.

 

If you want your insurance to start on Jan. 1, you have to sign up for a plan by Dec. 15

You can sign up later, but if you don’t have insurance now, you’ll be waiting another month or two for it to start. And if you do have insurance now that you’d like to replace with something else, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan if you don’t change to another one by Dec. 15. You can still switch out if you do it by Feb. 15 but you’ll be stuck with your old plan until at least February or March.

 

If you want a plan that has specific doctors in it, do some advance research

Many marketplace plans have smaller doctor and hospital networks than people expected. If you found yourself in a plan that your favorite doctors didn’t take, now’s the time to fix that. The fastest way to get this done is to call the doctor’s billing office and ask what marketplace plans it accepts.

 

Tell your uninsured friends about open enrollment

Nine out of 10 uninsured Americans don’t know open enrollment is coming up, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And more than half of them have no idea that financial help with insurance is available if they have low and moderate incomes. Do them a favor and let them know.

 

To find out how to apply for, select, and use health insurance, including Medicare, visit our main health insurance page.

 

Got a question about your health insurance, retirement portfolio, or anything else finance-related? Drop us a line: YFmoneymailbag@yahoo.com. Yahoo Finance is answering your money questions on Tumblr!

More from Consumer Reports:
4 terrific electronics products you can actually afford
How to choose long lasting tires
Top mattress brands and retailers

 

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website. Copyright © 2006-2014 Consumers Union of U.S.

 

The Absurd New Supreme Court Case That Could Kill Obamacare (w/ Ian Millhiser)

 

Published on Nov 12, 2014

Ian Millhiser of the Center For American Progress and author of the forthcoming book Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, explains the insane legal reasoning behind the Halbig V King case, why even a “textualist approach”, how the insurance market works, is precedent irrelevant when it comes to Obamacare? Will Roberts go with the four far right wing Justices and the horrifying human costs of overturning Obamacare.

 

 

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Elizabeth Warren’s Op-Ed In The Washington Post


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Elizabeth Warren published an op-ed in The Washington Post, warning Democrats:

 

Before leaders in Congress and the president get caught up in proving they can pass some new laws, everyone should take a skeptical look at whom those new laws will serve. At this very minute, lobbyists and lawyers are lining up by the thousands to push for new laws — laws that will help their rich and powerful clients get richer and more powerful.

 

The American people … want a government that will stand up to the big banks when they break the law … help out students who are getting crushed by debt … [and] protect and expand Social Security.

 

Elizabeth Warren’s Op-Ed in The Washington Post:

 

Elizabeth Warren: It’s time to work on America’s agenda

 

There have been terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Election Days for Democrats before — and Republicans have had a few of those, too. Such days are always followed by plenty of pronouncements about what just changed and what’s going to be different going forward.

 

But for all the talk of change in Washington and in states where one party is taking over from another, one thing has not changed: The stock market and gross domestic product keep going up, while families are getting squeezed hard by an economy that isn’t working for them.

 

The solution to this isn’t a basket of quickly passed laws designed to prove Congress can do something — anything. The solution isn’t for the president to cut deals — any deals — just to show he can do business. The solution requires an honest recognition of the kind of changes needed if families are going to get a shot at building a secure future.

 

It’s not about big government or small government. It’s not the size of government that worries people; rather it’s deep-down concern over who government works for. People are ready to work, ready to do their part, ready to fight for their futures and their kids’ futures, but they see a government that bows and scrapes for big corporations, big banks, big oil companies and big political donors — and they know this government does not work for them.

 

The American people want a fighting chance to build better lives for their families. They want a government that will stand up to the big banks when they break the law. A government that helps out students who are getting crushed by debt. A government that will protect and expand Social Security for our seniors and raise the minimum wage.

 

Americans understand that building a prosperous future isn’t free. They want us to invest carefully and prudently, sharply aware that Congress spends the people’s money. They want us to make investments that will pay off in their lives, investments in the roads and power grids that make it easier for businesses to create good jobs here in America, investments in medical and scientific research that spur new discoveries and economic growth, and investments in educating our children so they can build a future for themselves and their children.

 

Before leaders in Congress and the president get caught up in proving they can pass some new laws, everyone should take a skeptical look at whom those new laws will serve. At this very minute, lobbyists and lawyers are lining up by the thousands to push for new laws — laws that will help their rich and powerful clients get richer and more powerful. Hoping to catch a wave of dealmaking, these lobbyists and lawyers — and their well-heeled clients — are looking for the chance to rig the game just a little more.

 

But the lobbyists’ agenda is not America’s agenda. Americans are deeply suspicious of trade deals negotiated in secret, with chief executives invited into the room while the workers whose jobs are on the line are locked outside. They have been burned enough times on tax deals that carefully protect the tender fannies of billionaires and big oil and other big political donors, while working families just get hammered. They are appalled by Wall Street banks that got taxpayer bailouts and now whine that the laws are too tough, even as they rake in billions in profits. If cutting deals means helping big corporations, Wall Street banks and the already-powerful, that isn’t a victory for the American people — it’s just another round of the same old rigged game.

 

Yes, we need action. But action must be focused in the right place: on ending tax laws riddled with loopholes that favor giant corporations, on breaking up the financial institutions that continue to threaten our economy, and on giving people struggling with high-interest student loans the same chance to refinance their debt that every Wall Street corporation enjoys. There’s no shortage of work that Congress can do, but the agenda shouldn’t be drawn up by a bunch of corporate lobbyists and lawyers.

 

Change is hard, especially when the playing field is already tilted so far in favor of those with money and influence. But this government belongs to the American people, and it’s time to work on America’s agenda. America is ready — and Congress should be ready, too.

 

Click here to share Elizabeth Warren’s op-ed on Facebook, and click here to share it on Twitter.

 

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The Day After The Last 24™


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Election Results

Last updated Nov 5 at 4:14 AM

 

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From Reuters:

 

Tough road ahead for Obama after Republicans seize Senate

 

BY STEVE HOLLAND AND JOHN WHITESIDES

 

(Reuters) – Republicans rode a wave of voter discontent to seize control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, dealing a punishing blow to President Barack Obama that will limit his legislative agenda and may force him to make a course correction for his last two years in office.

 

The Republican rout was wide and deep in what was bound to be seen as a sharp rebuke to Obama, who has lurched from crisis to crisis all year and whose unpopularity made him unwelcome to Democratic candidates in many contested states.

 

The Republicans also strengthened their grip on the House of Representatives. When the new Congress takes power in January, they will be in charge of both chambers of Congress for the first time since elections in 2006.

 

The Republican takeover in the Senate will force Obama to scale back his ambitions to either executive actions that do not require legislative approval, or items that might gain bipartisan support, such as trade agreements and tax reform.

 

It will also test his ability to compromise with newly empowered political opponents who have been resisting his legislative agenda since he was first elected. And it could prompt some White House staff turnover as some exhausted members of his team consider departing in favor of fresh legs.

 

Obama, first elected in 2008 and again in 2012, called Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to the White House on Friday to take stock of the new political landscape.

 

He watched election returns from the White House, and saw little to warm his spirits.

 

Before the election results, the White House had signaled no major changes for Obama. Officials said Obama would seek common ground with Congress on areas like trade and infrastructure.

 

“The president is going to continue to look for partners on Capitol Hill, Democrats or Republicans, who are willing to work with him on policies that benefit middle-class families,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

 

Obama, a one-term senator before he became president, has often been faulted for not developing closer relations with lawmakers.

 

He will find one familiar face in a powerful new position.

 

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who won a tough re-election battle against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, will replace Democrat Harry Reid as Senate majority leader. Reid has been one of Obama’s top political allies and helped him steer the president’s signature healthcare law through the Senate in 2010.

 

“Some things don’t change after tonight. I don’t expect the president to wake up tomorrow and view the world any differently than he did when he woke up this morning. He knows I won’t either. But we do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree,” McConnell said in his victory speech in Louisville.

 

TOSS-UPS BECOME REPUBLICAN WINS

In Tuesday’s comprehensive rout, Republicans won in places where Democrats were favored, taking a Senate race in North Carolina, pulled out victories where the going was tough, like a Senate battle in Kansas, and swept a number of governors’ races in states where Democrats were favored, including Obama’s home state of Illinois.

 

Of eight to 10 Senate seats that were considered toss-ups, Republicans won nearly all of them. They needed six seats to win control of the 100-member Senate, and by late evening they had seven.

 

The winning margin came when Iowa Republican Joni Ernst was declared the winner over Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina.

 

The Iowa race was particularly indicative of Republican fortunes. Ernst came from behind and surged in recent weeks despite herculean efforts by powerful Democratic figures to save Braley, including a campaign visit by Obama’s wife, Michelle.

 

Republican Senate candidates also picked up Democratic seats in Montana, Colorado, West Virginia, South Dakota and Arkansas.

 

‘RESPONSIBILITY … TO LEAD’

Once the euphoria of their victory ebbs, Republicans will be under pressure to show Americans they are capable of governing after drawing scorn a year ago for shutting down the government in a budget fight. That will be a factor in their ambitions to take back the White House in 2016.

 

Republican Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand who may run in 2016, told CNN: “The American people, they’re frustrated with what’s happening in Washington, but now the responsibility falls on us to lead.”

 

While there was talk of conciliation, no major breakthrough in Washington’s chilly climate is expected soon.

 

Partisan battles could erupt over immigration reform, with Obama poised to issue executive actions by year’s end to defer deportations of some undocumented immigrants, and over energy policy, as Republican press the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline carrying oil from Canada.

 

Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, said he expects Obama to make an “all-out push” on his priorities regardless of the makeup of Congress.

 

Whatever the case, Obama will face pressure to make changes at the White House. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 75 percent of respondents believe the administration needs to “rethink” how it approaches major issues facing the United States (bit.ly/1ph8sLs). Sixty-four percent said Obama should replace some of his senior staff after the election.

 

The Republican victory had been widely predicted ahead of Tuesday’s voting to elect 36 senators, 36 state governors and all 435 members of the House of Representatives.

 

Obama and other White House officials blamed the electoral map – noting that many key Senate races took place in conservative states that Obama lost in 2012.

 

Election Day polling by Reuters/Ipsos found a dour mood among the electorate with less than one-third of voters believing the country is headed in the right direction.

 

Roughly 40 percent of voters said they approved of the job Obama is doing as president, though they were split over whether they expected the economy to improve or worsen in the coming year.

 

In a consolation for Democrats, Jeanne Shaheen won re-election over Republican Scott Brown in New Hampshire in what polls had forecast as a tight race.

 

In Virginia, heavily favored Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Warner found himself in a surprisingly close fight against Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, with much of the vote counted. By late evening, he claimed victory but Gillespie had not yet conceded.

 

In the most closely watched governors’ races, Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott edged out Democrat Charlie Crist, and Republican Scott Walker survived a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke in Wisconsin.

 

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Susan Heavey, Tim Ryan and Ian Simpson in Washington; Marti Maguire in Raleigh, North Carolina; David Beasley in Atlanta; Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Barbara Liston in Orlando, Bill Cotterell in Tallahassee and Zachary Fagenson in Miami Beach; Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Frances Kerry)

 

Thank you Reuters & STEVE HOLLAND AND JOHN WHITESIDES.

 

Joni Ernst makes history in Iowa

 

Published on Nov 5, 2014

Joni Ernst addresses supporters after becoming the first female senator in Iowa state history.

 

 

 

Why Democrats Lost

 

Published on Nov 4, 2014

“Resurgent Republicans captured Democratic seats in Arkansas and West Virginia and bid for control of the U.S. Senate and a tighter grip on the House Tuesday in elections shaped by deep voter discontent with President Barack Obama.

 

 

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From POLITICO:

 

4 indicted N.Y. pols win reelection

 

Takeaways from the GOP romp

 

Big win for conservative big money

 

LePage survives Maine 3-way race

 

After drubbing, all eyes on Clinton

 

Minimum wage hikes win

 

Filibuster-proof majority for Keystone

 

Upsets of the night

 

Kansas Gov. Brownback edges Democratic foe

 

No Obama pivot after midterms

 

Walker victory humiliates labor

 

Coakley falls short again in Mass.

 

How Clintons’ candidates did

 

How Mitch did it

 

Cruz won’t commit to McConnell

 

Senate flips, GOP ready to rule

 

Election results: 2014 takeaways

 

D.C. approves pot legalization

 

Personhood movement loses twice

 

Reid to run for minority leader

 

Ernst beats Braley in Iowa

 

Election results 2014: Gubernatorial analysis

 

Tillis clinches GOP Senate majority

 

Rauner ousts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

 

 

Thank you POLITICO.

 

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Mediaite FULL LIST: 2014 Midterm Election Senate Results

 

The 2014 midterm elections have finally arrived and voting is underway in all 50 states. There are plenty of major gubernatorial and congressional races — not to mention some crucial ballot referendums — all across the country, but all anyone in the political media really seems to care about is one thing: the Senate.

 

Conventional wisdom seems to be that Republicans will win the six seats needed to take over the Senate from Democrats, giving them control of both house of Congress for PresidentBarack Obama’s final two years in office. But if you ask Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats are going to maintain a two-seat lead in the Senate, so you never know until polls have closed. And even then, potential run-offs in Georgia and Louisiana have some pundits predicting we won’t know which party really controls the Senate until January 2015.

 

Below are the 11 12 most competitive races of the cycle — the ones that will determine which way the Senate falls. We will be updating the winners throughout the evening as they are called so keep checking back here for the most complete picture of where things stand.

 

Alaska

Mark Begich* (Democrat)
Dan Sullivan (Republican)
Mark Fish (Libertarian)
Ted Gianoutsos (No Party Affiliation)

 

Arkansas

Mark Pryor* (Democrat)
Tom Cotton (Republican)
Nathan LaFrance (Libertarian)
Mark Swaney (Green)

 

Colorado

Mark Udall* (Democrat)
Cory Gardner (Republican)
Raul Acosta (Unaffiliated)
Bill Hammons (Unity)

 

Georgia

Michelle Nunn (Democrat)
David A. Perdue (Republican)
Amanda Swafford (Libertarian)

 

Iowa

Bruce Braley (Democrat)
Joni Ernst (Republican)
Douglas Butzier (Libertarian)
Bob Quast (Other)

 

Kansas

Pat Roberts* (Republican)
Greg Orman (Independent)
Randall Batson (Libertarian)

 

Kentucky

Mitch McConnell* (Republican)
Alison Lundergan Grimes (Democrat)
David Patterson (Libertarian)

 

Louisiana

Mary Landrieu* (Democrat)
Bill Cassidy (Republican)
Rob Maness (Republican)

Run-off projected, scheduled for December 6th.

 

New Hampshire

Jeanne Shaheen* (Democrat)
Scott Brown (Republican)

 

North Carolina

Kay Hagan* (Democrat)
Thom Tillis (Republican)
Sean Haugh (Libertarian)

 

South Dakota

Rick Weiland (Democrat)
Mike Rounds (Republican)
Larry Pressler (Independent)
Gordon Howie (Independent)

 

Virginia

Mark Warner* (Democrat)
Ed Gillespie (Republican)

*Incumbent

Bold = Projected winner

Current Senate Breakdown:

Democrats: 45
Republicans: 52

51 seats needed for a majority; Republicans must pick up 6 seats.

 

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From The Grio:

 

What last night’s election results mean for Obama’s final 2 years

 

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by

 

The 2014 midterm election results are in.  And in keeping with the expectations and conventional wisdom, the Republicans have taken control of the U.S. Senate from Harry Reid and the Democrats.  For the President, the results lay the groundwork for a very interesting final two years in office.  With no possibility of common ground with a GOP-controlled Congress, expect Obama to use his veto pen often, and go it alone through the use of executive orders.

 

With 36 Senate seats in play, mostly in red states, the deck was stacked against the Democrats from the outset.  Sen. Mary Landrieu—who faces a runoff election because no candidate broke through the required 50 percent threshold–created controversy when she suggested the obvious, which is that the South has a problem with Obama because of his race.

 

“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu said. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”

 

Meanwhile, with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) winning his race against challenger Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the GOP lawmaker is poised to become majority leader of the upper chamber of Congress.  Grimes—who attempted to distance herself from the president in a state where he is unpopular— was faulted for refusing to say whether she voted for Obama.

 

Compounding the problem for Democrats this election cycle was the issue of lower turnout by the base in midterms, when President Obama was not on the ballot, and the specter of voter suppression efforts such as voter ID, purges and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act making an impact in key races.

 

Among the more high profile races, North Carolina incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina) lost to Republican Thom Tillis.  In Georgia, Republican David Purdue beat Democrat Michelle Nunn, and Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) held on to his seat, while incumbent Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) lost his reelection bid to Tom Cotton. In the New Hampshire race, incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) defeated challenger Scott Brown, while Cory Gardner, a Republican, bested incumbent Mark Udall in Colorado.

 

The two African-American U.S. senators, Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) will return to the legislative body.  Booker is the first black senator elected in New Jersey.  Scott, who had been appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley in 2012 to finish the term of resigning Senator Jim DeMint, is the first black senator elected to the South since Reconstruction.

 

Republicans also maintained control of the House of Representatives, with its 435 seats at stake.  Looking at races for governors, a number of Republican incumbents, such as Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Rick Snyder (R-Michigan) won reelection, while the unpopular Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett lost as expected to Tom Wolf.  In Maryland, Anthony Brown, the African-American lieutenant governor, lost in his gubernatorial bid to Republican Larry Hogan.

 

With a Republican controlled Senate and Congress, Americans can expect more gridlock.  It is all but certain that the GOP—emboldened and full of hubris—will interpret their victory as a mandate to jam through all types of Tea Party-anointed pieces of legislation.  In the short term, conservative lawmakers are likely to pursue matters such as corporate tax reform, Keystone XL Pipeline and gutting the Affordable Care Act.

 

President Obama is expected to use his veto pen frequently, with continued, futile attempts by Republicans to repeal Obamacare.  Further, we should expect some intra-party strife within the GOP, as presidential aspirants such as Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul position themselves for the 2016 contest, and Cruz expected to make things difficult for Mitch McConnell with calls to investigate the president.

 

Further, a Republican takeover of the Senate could result in a constitutional crisis over the president’s future appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.  If there is a vacancy on the high court during Obama’s lame duck presidency, it is conceivable that the Senate simply will not hold hearings on a judicial candidate that fails to meet the GOP ultraconservative litmus test.  In addition, whether the Senate will stall on a replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder remains to be seen.

 

In the midst of partisan gridlock and a perpetually broken Senate that refuses to act on important matters, President Obama has the option to use executive orders on issues such as comprehensive immigration reform and amnesty for undocumented immigrants.  One could argue that the president should have pursued such an effort on immigration before the election—as he had promised—as a means to further energize Latinos and the rest of the Democratic base.  Certainly, such an executive move today would anger Obama’s opponents and may be interpreted as overreach.  But he is still the president, and the legislature does not pass legislation these days, mostly to make a black president look bad.

 

And in light of his GOP detractors who have sabotaged the government for political gain, maintaining a legislative logjam only to blame him for the mess, it would seem Obama has little choice.

 

Thank you The Grio & 

 

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It’s Mid Term Election Day, “NO”vember 4th, 2014.


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United States Mid Term Elections, 2014

 

Elections in the United States are being held throughout 2014, with the general elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 4th, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

 

2014 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election day November 4
Senate elections
Seats contested 33 seats of Class II
and various mid-term vacancies
Color coded map of 2014 Senate races
Map of the 2014 Senate races
Light red: Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Gray: no election
House elections
Seats contested All 435 seats to the 114th Congress
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested 38
Color coded map of 2014 Gubernatorial races
Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
Light red: Term-limited or Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Term-limited or Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Green: Incumbent Independent
Gray: no election

 

Issues

Unlike some other elections, the 2014 election has lacked a “dominant national theme,” with no one issue standing above the others. Some of the major issues of the election include income inequality, net neutrality, the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”), and immigration.

 

The environment is also a major issue in the election. Although it generated much debate in early 2014, the Keystone Pipeline ultimately received little attention in the election, with environmentalists instead focused on fighting climate change and supporting the EPA’s proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

 

According to the political commentator Stuart Rothenberg, foreign policy crises in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia are likely to hurt the Democratic Party’s chances in 2014.

 

Federal elections

 

Congressional elections

Senate elections

All seats in Senate Class II will be up for election. Additionally, special elections will be held to fill vacancies in the other two Senate Classes.

 

House of Representatives elections

All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for election. Additionally, elections will be held to select the delegates for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election will be the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term.

 

On March 11, there was a special election for Florida’s 13th congressional district.

 

State elections

 

Gubernatorial elections

Elections will be held for the governorships of 36 of the 50 U.S. states and three U.S. territories.

 

Local elections

 

Numerous elections will be held for officeholders in numerous cities, counties, school boards, special districts and others around the country.

 

Mayoral elections

 

Various major American cities will hold mayoral elections in 2014, including the following:

 

  • San Jose, California: Incumbent Chuck Reed is term-limited out of office. A primary election was held on June 3, and a run-off will be held on November 4.

 

 

Did You Miss These:

 

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What About These:

 

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More Election Day Images:

 

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Your Vote, Your Voice Has Never Been More Important. The Best Thing About Today Is NO More Election Ads.

 

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Heartbreaking Final Letter Of Hanged Young Iranian Woman Reyhaneh Jabbari.


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Reihaneh Jabbari

Iranian Reihaneh Jabbari on trial in Teheran

 

Heartbreaking Final Letter Of Hanged Young Iranian Woman Reyhaneh Jabbari

 

Dear Sholeh, today I learned that it is now my turn to face Qisas [the law of retribution in the Iranian legal system]. I am hurt as to why you did not let me know yourself that I have reached the last page of the book of my life. Don’t you think that I should know? You know how ashamed I am that you are sad. Why did you not take the chance for me to kiss your hand and that of dad?

 

The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died of this suffering and that would have been that.

 

However, with that cursed blow the story changed. My body was not thrown aside, but into the grave of Evin Prison and its solitary wards, and now the grave-like prison of Shahr-e Ray. But give in to the fate and don’t complain. You know better that death is not the end of life.

 

You taught me that one comes to this world to gain an experience and learn a lesson and with each birth a responsibility is put on one’s shoulder. I learned that sometimes one has to fight. I do remember when you told me that the carriage man protested the man who was flogging me, but the flogger hit the lash on his head and face that ultimately led to his death. You told me that for creating a value one should persevere even if one dies.

 

You taught us that as we go to school one should be a lady in face of the quarrels and complaints. Do you remember how much you underlined the way we behave? Your experience was incorrect. When this incident happened, my teachings did not help me. Being presented in court made me appear as a cold-blooded murderer and a ruthless criminal. I shed no tears. I did not beg. I did not cry my head off since I trusted the law.

 

But I was charged with being indifferent in face of a crime. You see, I didn’t even kill the mosquitoes and I threw away the cockroaches by taking them by their antennas. Now I have become a premeditated murderer. My treatment of the animals was interpreted as being inclined to be a boy and the judge didn’t even trouble himself to look at the fact that at the time of the incident I had long and polished nails.

 

How optimistic was he who expected justice from the judges! He never questioned the fact that my hands are not coarse like those of a sportswoman, especially a boxer. And this country that you planted its love in me never wanted me and no one supported me when under the blows of the interrogator I was crying out and I was hearing the most vulgar terms. When I shed the last sign of beauty from myself by shaving my hair I was rewarded: 11 days in solitary.

 

Dear Sholeh, don’t cry for what you are hearing. On the first day that in the police office an old unmarried agent hurt me for my nails I understood that beauty is not looked for in this era. The beauty of looks, beauty of thoughts and wishes, a beautiful handwriting, beauty of the eyes and vision, and even beauty of a nice voice.

 

My dear mother, my ideology has changed and you are not responsible for it. My words are unending and I gave it all to someone so that when I am executed without your presence and knowledge, it would be given to you. I left you much handwritten material as my heritage.

 

However, before my death I want something from you, that you have to provide for me with all your might and in any way that you can. In fact this is the only thing I want from this world, this country and you. I know you need time for this.

 

Therefore, I am telling you part of my will sooner. Please don’t cry and listen. I want you to go to the court and tell them my request. I cannot write such a letter from inside the prison that would be approved by the head of prison; so once again you have to suffer because of me. It is the only thing that if even you beg for it I would not become upset although I have told you many times not to beg to save me from being executed.

 

My kind mother, dear Sholeh, the one more dear to me than my life, I don’t want to rot under the soil. I don’t want my eye or my young heart to turn into dust. Beg so that it is arranged that as soon as I am hanged my heart, kidney, eye, bones and anything that can be transplanted be taken away from my body and given to someone who needs them as a gift. I don’t want the recipient know my name, buy me a bouquet, or even pray for me.

 

I am telling you from the bottom of my heart that I don’t want to have a grave for you to come and mourn there and suffer. I don’t want you to wear black clothing for me. Do your best to forget my difficult days. Give me to the wind to take away.

 

The world did not love us. It did not want my fate. And now I am giving in to it and embrace the death. Because in the court of God I will charge the inspectors, I will charge inspector Shamlou, I will charge judge, and the judges of country’s Supreme Court that beat me up when I was awake and did not refrain from harassing me.

 

In the court of the creator I will charge Dr. Farvandi, I will charge Qassem Shabani and all those that out of ignorance or with their lies wronged me and trampled on my rights and didn’t pay heed to the fact that sometimes what appears as reality is different from it.

 

Dear soft-hearted Sholeh, in the other world it is you and me who are the accusers and others who are the accused. Let’s see what God wants. I wanted to embrace you until I die. I love you.

 

From   | By

 

The young interior designer hanged yesterday in Iran for killing the man she claimed was trying to rape her sent a moving final letter to her mother, asking her to make sure she had her organs donated after her death.

 

The heartbreaking letter, written in April but circulated today by Iranian peace activists, was from 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari to her mother Sholeh Pakravan, who had called on the judges to hang her instead of her daughter, for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence agent.

 

Activists said that Pakravan was only allowed one final hour with her daughter earlier in the week, and had only been informed of her imminent death with a few hours notice.

 

 

According to the court ruling Jabbari stabbed Sarbandi in the back in 2007 after purchasing a knife two days earlier.

 

Jabbari was found guilty of premeditated murder in 2009 but the sentence was only carried out after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Justice Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi had hinted in early October that a “good ending” was in sight, and the victim’s family could have saved Jabbari’s life by accepting blood money but they refused to do so.

 

Amnesty said the verdict was legally flawed, with Jabbari claiming Sarbandi had tried to rape her, and that she had stabbed him, but another man in the house had actually killed him.

 

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There really are no words for this. I am at a lost to comprehend how human beings treat other human beings the way 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari was treated. 26 years on this earth and she was murdered for killing her attempted rapist. I just don’t have the words.

 

deathmikebrown !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!fight !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11bottom peace5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!000000000000000000obama-forward3

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