Dec. 5th, 2013
The administration’s deadline for having the ACA’s federal website working for the vast majority of visitors has come and gone and it looks as though the administration was able to meet most of its goals. Performance of the site, healthcare.gov as dramatically improved and there are some early indications that both traffic and enrollment numbers have increased as a result. In this episode we discuss the details of the improvements made as well as some additional problems with the health care law that have begun to come into focus.
We also take time to discuss the recent deal that the US and its allies have been able to forge with Iran over the country’s controversial nuclear power program. We discuss the details of the deal, how the Obama Administration was able to bring it about and possible consequences of the deal.
Nov. 26th, 2013
ITN is off this week but we’d like to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope that it is a safe and happy one for you and all your loved ones. We’ll be back with a brand new show Thursday Dec. 5th 2013. See you then!
Nov. 21st, 2013
We are into the second month of Obamacare and some states are showing surges in their enrollment numbers for health plans available through the exchanges. Is the program showing signs of life or will problems with the website as well as the cancellation of millions of existing health plans doom it?
In this episode we discuss the very latest developments surrounding the law. We also take a step back to look at the big picture of health care in this country and discuss why it is that the law was originally passed. We discuss the trouble the uninsured have in obtaining quality health care in America and how the law could be a step in the right direction to addressing those problems.
Nov. 19th, 2013
President Obama addressed the White House Press Corp last Thursday and announced a fix for the millions of individuals receiving cancellation notices from their health providers since the federal health care exchanges went live in October. He said that health insurers would be allowed to continue offering plans that Americans were enrolled in. It was meant as a fix to the promise of, “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” that the president has been unable to keep.
The promise arose from the president’s desire to reassure Americans that the new health care law would not be a disruption to the existing health care in this country, but rather an improvement. That has proved to be anything but the case. It has been enough of a disruption in fact, that the previous week the president felt the need to apologize for the botched rollout.
Nov. 14th, 2013
The Obama Administration released initial data on the enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act this week and the numbers were much lower than expected. In total 106,185 people purchased health insurance plans on the health care exchanges during the month of October. The numbers were far below the administration’s estimates of 500,000 signups for the month of October.
Additionally, political pressure has mounted on the White House over the number of cancellations in the health care market and over the president’s broken promise of “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”
How are these developments affecting the law and does the troubled rollout spell doom for the president’s signature legislative achievement? In this episode we answer some of those questions. We detail some of the numbers released in the first enrollment report and discuss the mounting pressure on the president to provide a fix to the policy cancellation issue. Join us for another great episode of In the News.
Nov. 12th, 2013
Coming out of the Government shutdown there were plenty of rumors that “establishment” Republicans were going to begin fighting back against the Tea Party wing of the Party. Fighting back against the nominations of candidates who, in their view, cannot win general elections. Fighting back against the pushing of policies (i.e. the government shutdown) that do little except damage the Republican brand.
Some establishment members saw the elections of last Tuesday as opportunities to do just that. To show that the establishment still held considerable sway over the direction of the Republican Party. The elections were supposed to go a long way toward settling the growing rift between these two wings.
In Virginia, staunch conservative and Tea Party backed... [Read More]
Nov. 7th, 2013
Our national infrastructure is a vital part of nation’s health and vitality. But what is the state of our national infrastructure? To put it bluntly, not very good. Twenty-Five percent of our nation’s bridges are obsolete. Thirty-Two percent of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The poor condition of our infrastructure costs Americans billions and also poses public safety issues.
In this rebroadcast we discuss this year’s release of the ASCE’s (the American Society of Civil Engineers) infrastructure report card, which found our nation’s infrastructure to have a grade of D+. We detail the nation’s almost failing infrastructure grade and discuss the actions that our elected leaders are taking and not taking to address the issue.
Nov. 5th, 2013
Obamacare has rolled out and by all accounts it has been one of the worst initial rollouts of a major public policy ever. The much heralded federal website, healthcare.gov, the site that was supposed to make shopping for health insurance as easy as shopping for a book on Amazon, crashed the very first day. Millions of people who were looking forward to shopping for their insurance encountered nothing but error messages, long wait times and frozen screens. It has gotten only marginally better in the time since.
But if you are an opponent of the health care law and are banking on the website’s malfunctions to bring the law down, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. You see, the website will eventually be fixed. This administration will... [Read More]
Oct. 31st, 2013
Obamacare, the health care law of the land, is nearing the end of its first full month if implementation. It has been a rocky start to say the least. Glitches with the website, low enrollment numbers, and large numbers of people who are insured losing their health coverage in order to comply with the law, are just some of the problems that have plagued the rollout so far. Are they normal problems such as would be associated with the rollout of any major new public initiative, or are they signs of longer term problems and cause for concern?
In this episode we explore the problems associated with Obamacare’s rollout. We detail the conditions that are leading to some of these problems and attempt to discern between minor glitches and trouble signs that could possibly lead to long term issues.
Oct. 29th, 2013
Howard Berman was in the fight of his political life. The 15 term Congressman was locked in an increasingly tough battle with his Democratic opponent, Brad Sherman. The fight for California’s 28thdistrict seat was turning into one of the hardest fought, and costliest, congressional contests of 2012.
He thought endorsements from some powerful political allies might do the trick. He sought out support from senior Republican Senators like John McCain and Lindsay Graham, both of whom gave Berman ringing endorsements. John McCain’s statement read, in part, “Howard Berman is a man of determination and honor. He works to keep America safe, and our country is stronger with him in Congress."
Sadly for Howard Berman, though, these endorsements turned... [Read More]
Oct. 24th, 2013
The government shutdown is over. A deal was reached just a day before the US was expected to default on its obligations for the first time in history. That deal funded the government as well raised the debt ceiling and set up the next showdown in the government for early next year, 2014. Meanwhile the original reason for the shutdown, Obamacare, the President’s signature legislative achievement, marches on with some bright spots and just as many, if not more, trouble signs.
Join us as we discuss the details of the deal that reopened the government and how the two sides were able to come together at the last moment. We also discuss Obamacare’s troubled rollout, the problems with the federal website healthcare.gov, and the administration’s responses to them.
Oct. 22nd, 2013
The government shutdown has ended and the debate over who the “winners” and “losers” are has begun. Democrats claim that Republicans will suffer the most in terms of public opinion. Republicans argue that any negative effects on the nation will reflect, ultimately, on the president. Polls show that most Americans blame (albeit not equally), all involved.
The broader debate that has emerged though is over why it is that Congress is so dysfunctional. A closer look at the circumstances surrounding this shutdown leads to a surprising revelation about how Congress now works. A minority of House Republicans (30-40 in number) forced their will on the rest of their party and the rest of the House, even though their leader, Speaker John Boehner, warned for months against a government shutdown. One Senator, Ted Cruz (two if you also count Sen. Mike Lee)... [Read More]
Oct. 17th, 2013
Earlier this year Detroit, one of the nation’s largest cities, declared bankruptcy. It is, so far the largest bankruptcy every declared by a city or state in our nation’s history. Is it a sign of things to come? A sort of canary in the coal mine?
Municipal debt, debt held by local, city and state governments, has ballooned over the last several decades. In 1945 there was a total of $20 billion in outstanding municipal debt. Today there is about $3.7 trillion worth of outstanding municipal debt. Is this the next bubble waiting to burst? Is it the next financial crisis waiting to happen? In this episode we discuss the current state of municipal debt in this country and the possible ramifications of a municipal debt crisis.
Oct. 15th, 2013
Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas has been making quite a bit of news in recent weeks. He is the person most closely associated with, and responsible for, the government shutdown in Washington. It’s no surprise that there is a huge gap in his favorability ratings between voters in the two parties. What is surprising though is the gap in his favorability ratings between voters within his own party. Among Republican voters in general Ted Cruz’s approval rating is a paltry 4%. His approval with Tea Party voters? 52%. More than any other single stat, this one seems to crystallize the current state of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has traditionally enjoyed the support of big business in this country. But many business organizations and many of the nation’s top CEOs have quietly (and some not so quietly), come out against the shutdown. Many more have... [Read More]