Greg Kaufmann is a journalist-in-residence at the Roosevelt Institute and a contributing writer for The Nation. Previously, he was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the founder and editor of TalkPoverty.org. He has appeared on numerous national and local programs on networks including PBS, MSNBC, and NPR, and his work has been featured on CBS News, The Washington Post, and Business Insider, among others.
Taken at face value, Senator John Ensign's amendment which was included in the final Senate healthcare bill sounds pretty decent: by meeting "wellness" standards people can receive discounts on their employer-based healthcare premiums. Stop smoking--pay less. Hit a certain weight--pay less. Meet a cholesterol target--you get the idea.
Dems probably should have stopped and realized since the amendment was offered by Ensign it probably wasn't motivated by "wellness" at heart.
In fact, it allows premiums to be raised from current levels, and then "discounts" would reduce the premiums to current rates. People who don't meet the insurance companies' targets could pay up to 30 percent more for coverage, roughly $4000 based on the average cost of family coverage. The amount could increase to 50 percent which is over $6,600 for a family.
The Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus in Congress with 82 members--it dwarfs the often-hyped Blue Dog Democrats with its 52 yapping pups.
Yet the CPC has struggled to get the respect and attention it has strived for--prior to this Congress, it seemed like the mainstream media wouldn't even refer to it by name, instead using vague descriptions like "the liberal wing of the party."
That's because getting the talented but diverse Caucus to unite and show its legislative muscle has often been described--even by its own members--as herding cats.
Donald Gates spent the last 28 years in prison, convicted of a rape and murder he said he didn't commit.
Yesterday, he was released from jail by the same judge who originally sentenced him to 20 years to life, as new DNA evidence pointed to a different man.
Gates is now 58 years old, and for his three lost decades the government gave him some winter clothes, $75, and a bus ticket to Ohio. He had to pay his $35 cab fare to get from jail to the bus station.
"Obama says he does not have the money for the plan many of his liberal supporters say packs the biggest employment punch--direct federal investment in job creation," the Post writes.
And a New York Times headline declares: "Obama Turns to Job Creation, but Warns of Limited Funds."