The government is paying private contractor Serco $1.2 billion over five years — and likely more, as will be seen later — to process paper Obamacare applications. In turn, according to a report by television station KMOV, Serco has hired and continues to pay a reported 1,800 workers who have virtually no work to do.
Massive waste like this should develop into a national story and create a journalistic swarm. If it does, it will be unusual, because the press has been avoiding stories which make President Barack Obama's "signature accomplishment" of state-controlled health care look bad like the plague. We'll see if it's different this time. The KMOV report follows the jump (HT Gateway Pundit's Progressives Today blog):
In early May, after the government announced that first-quarter gross domestic product growth came in at a barely perceptible annual rate of 0.1 percent — the equivalent of a business which grossed $100,000 in the previous quarter seeing its sales rise by $25 — reporters at the "essential global news network" were regaling readers with an air of assuredness that the rest of the year would be different. Specifically (both here and here), the wire service carried predictions that the economy would turn in annualized second-quarter growth of 3.5 percent, and that the entire year would end up at 3.0 percent. As seen after the jump, put a big "oops" on those figures (bolds are mine):
The topic: "Unilateral Do-Not-Attempt Resuscitation Orders In A Large Academic Hospital." These are situations where "clinicians withhold advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest despite objections of patients or their surrogates." The presenters indicate that "The ethics committee at Massachusetts General Hospital has had a unilateral DNR policy since 2006." Patients allowed to die against their or their surrogates' will is news, right? Let's see if anyone in the press cares. (So far: No.) A full description of the presentation, relevant background, and Smith's reaction follow the jump.
After ignoring a massive health care scandal at Barack Obama's Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), NBC finally offered substantial coverage on Wednesday night. But the network failed to make any mention of how this controversy would impact the President or his handling of health care. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is "trying to fix this and hang on to his job."
Ongoing revelations have exposed the fact that as many as 40 veterans died after being placed on a secret list to hide delays. Reporter Jim Miklaszewski talked to Shinseki and pressed, "Are you willing, as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to accept full responsibility?" He added, "But Shinseki indicated today he's going nowhere. They [veterans groups] want you to resign or be fired. Will you resign?" The only reference to Obama came when the Secretary noted that he "serves at the pleasure of the President." Miklaszewski never mentioned Obama.
On Wednesday’s PoliticsNation, host Al Sharpton trotted out a pair of red-framed glasses, a podium, and the image of a chapel’s interior on the green screen behind him. The reverend was pretending to preside over a funeral for what he called “another bogus GOP talking point on the Affordable Care Act.” As somber organ music played in the background, Sharpton announced, somewhat inarticulately, “We're here tonight to celebrate the life of the people are paying not their premium's talking point.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
He was referring to House Republicans’ contention last week that only 67 percent of ObamaCare enrollees had actually paid their premiums as of April 15. After a few minutes of funeral minister theatricality, the MSNBC host finally explained why he was pronouncing this particular talking point dead: “A new report shows most who signed up under health law have paid. 80 to 90 percent of enrollees paid their bills on time.” Conveniently, however, Sharpton left out another nugget from that very same report that undercut one of his own favorite ObamaCare talking points.
On the Wednesday, April 30, The Reid Report, MSNBC host Joy Reid attacked Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, claiming that it "guts" programs to help people in poverty, and ended up cracking that he, like Mitt Romney, "wants to fire Big Bird" because the budget would end federal government funding for PBS. [See video below.]
When several members of Congress set out in the early 1990s to improve fiscal reporting and internal controls in the federal government, one thing they certainly had a right to expect is that the press would report on lapses as embarrassments, and that otherwise nonchalant or reluctant bureaucrats would figure out that it would be in their best interest to tighten their ships. It hasn't happened, largely because the press quickly got bored, enabling the bureaucrats to thumb their noses at those who called them out for weak reporting or control violations.
To name just one glaring example: Concerning the Internal Revenue Service, in August of last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration happily reported "the downgrade of the information security material weakness to a significant deficiency during the Fiscal Year 2012 financial statement audit," and that "the IRS removed it from the December 31, 2012, remediation plan" (that's bureaucratese for "finally solved the problem") — 19 years after it was first identified in 1993. In that context, let's look at an outrageous situation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt has made nice with President Barack Obama on several occasions. Among other things, he chaired the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which met a grand total of four times in 2011 and 2012 before it was unceremoniously allowed to expire a year later. He fully expected that his company would benefit from its involvement in green energy and its membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. He also endeared himself to Team Obama by calling "other U.S. business leaders greedy and mean."
In more than a minor comeuppance, as well as the latest evidence that business-related news reflecting badly on the Obama administration almost never escapes the business pages and center-right blogs and outlets, Inmelt's company has seen its medical division hit hard by the onset of Obamacare. Portions of Bloomberg News's original April 17 report follow the jump.
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger has pretty much proven that he's been on some kind of workout regimen. If he wasn't, he couldn't possibly have carried so much Obama administration water in his 1:45 p.m. report on the state of the economy (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) as he did.
Crutsinger's message: Pay no attention to that lousy GDP report we expect to see tomorrow morning (there's some reason to believe that it may get artificially juiced, which I'll explain later). Starting this month, the economy has been smokin', and this year's going to be just great. Too bad the evidence for his optimism mostly doesn't exist — and to the extent it does, it's not rip-roaring great. Excerpts from Crutsinger's latest crummy creation follow the jump.
On the Monday, April 28, The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz devoted the first segment of nearly 15 minutes of his show to trying to link prominent conservatives like Paul Ryan to the racist views of people like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, whom the MSNBC host failed to label as a Democratic donor.
Schultz charged that Ryan and other GOPers "support policies that attack minorities" and later reiterated that conservatives "fuel racism by their policies that attack minorities." [See video below.]
Former "Daily Show" comedian John Oliver launched his new program on HBO last night and hilariously eviscerated a commercial that once touted Cover Oregon, the state's now-defunct health insurance exchange.
The ad was such insipid treacle that many people seeing it for the first time are certain to wonder if it's a parody. (Video after the jump, vulgarity alert)
Friday's CBS Evening News was the lone Big Three evening newscast to spotlight how the State of Oregon decision to scrap its multimillion dollar health exchange website, and join the federal government's HealthCare.gov. ABC's World News was too busy covering violence over spots at mall parking lots to notice, while NBC Nightly News zeroed in on baby Prince George's first trip to Australia.
Scott Pelley underlined how "the State of Oregon said that after months of trying, it cannot get its state health insurance website to work. It hasn't signed a single customer, and it is pulling the plug. It is the first state to do that." Nancy Cordes pointed out the "$248 million failure," but didn't mention President Obama by name or ObamaCare as a term during her report. She merely made a vague references to the "federal" role in providing relief to the debacle: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the Wednesday, April 23, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, guest host Ari Melber ignored concerns expressed for some time by conservatives that ObamaCare regulations would cause Americans to lose private health insurance plans they already had as the MSNBC host suggested that Tea Party Republicans do not care about people being uninsured and claimed that the goal of repealing ObamaCare is to "make sure more people are uninsured."
After MSNBC's Krystal Ball complained about Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicaid, Melber turned to recent claims by Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp that fewer people in Kansas are insured now than before ObamaCare. [See video below.]
A month ago, the UK Telegraph reported that "The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as 'clinical waste' by hospitals in Britain with some used in 'waste to energy' plants."
Prolife news sites and blogs as well as many other center-right outlets covered the story. The establishment press almost completely ignored it. Matt Balan of NewsBusters noted on March 26 that the story "got picked up by newspapers across much of the Anglosphere – including The Vancouver Sun and The Ottawa Citizen in Canada," but that it did not "receive wide coverage in the United States." More like barely any, with the only TV broadcast exception at the time being a segment on Fox News's The Five. Perhaps the non-coverage excuse was "Well, that's the UK. It could never happen here." That excuse was lame anyway, and now it's no longer operative (go to Page 3 at the B.C. Catholic link; story by Steve Weatherbe):
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls. Excerpts follow the jump.
Apart from gutting America's military, our standing in the world, our fiscal stability, the economy, the office of the presidency, conventional energy sources, the free market and religious liberty, Obama has little to boast about other than Obamacare, so let him go for it.
Yes, let him gloat, because the more he bloviates in defense of the indefensible — the more he spins the unspinnable — the more damage he'll do to the cause he's trying to promote: the election of Democratic congressmen in November.
Some liberals refuse to believe any bad news about ObamaCare, and MSNBC contributor Angela Rye is clearly one of those people. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Rye got into a heated argument with Republican strategist Joe Watkins about the nature of Watkins’ own health insurance coverage, which he says is worse under ObamaCare than prior to the law going into effect. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It all started after Watkins commented that some people have to “pay more money a month for less coverage” under ObamaCare. When Rye got her turn to speak, she ripped into Watkins:
On the Sunday, April 20, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, as host Harris-Perry chastised Democrats for not bragging about ObamaCare for the year's midterm elections, she at one point mocked Americans angry about having their health insurance plans cancelled, which she referred to as "crappy plans," as she lamented that Democrats are not boasting about ObamaCare or declaring, "Yeah, you can't keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!" [See video below.]
Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will mocked President Obama’s claim last week that the debate over ObamaCare is over and that Republicans need to stop trying to repeal the law.
Appearing as a guest on Fox News Sunday on April 20, Will argued that “The debate is over is something of a mantra. The debate is over about climate change, everyone be quiet. The debate is over about early childhood education, everyone be quiet. Lots of things are supposedly over. And you hear that from people who are finding the evidence inconvenient." [See video below.]
On the Saturday, April 19, Disrupt, as MSNBC's Karen Finney hosted a discussion of ObamaCare noting that President Obama has started encouraging Democrats to brag about the program, guest Dana Milbank of the Washington Post blamed Republican governors for hurting Democratic Senators in red states as he charged that in some states "ObamaCare isn't going very well because of those Republican governors."
A bit later, Zerlina Maxwell of The Grio asserted that 10,000 people a year will die because of Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicare.
After Finney played a clip of President Obama boasting about ObamaCare, Milbank responded:
On the Friday, April 18, PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton hyped President Obama's dubious claims about the Affordable Care Act's alleged success as the MSNBC host asserted that the program has "exceeded expectations," and that Republicans are suffering from a "hangover" in denying its success.
Sharpton claimed to see "lies, fearmongering and paranoia" from the GOP, and brought up questionable claims dating back to 2010 that Tea Party members spat on Democratic members of Congress during a protest. Sharpton began:
David Nather at the Politico apparently wanted to make sure that those who don't follow the news closely see a triumphant headline ("Obama Spikes the Football") and a congratulatory opening paragraph at their computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Sure, the Politico reporter gradually threw in all kinds of qualifications after that, but his mission is largely accomplished: Cause those who don't click through to believe that Obamacare is functioning as intended, and — especially in the headline — communicate the message that the debate about the statist health regime's existence is really over. He can say that he did his job while at the same time keeping most people away from the more complicated reality. In that sense, Nather is right there with reporters at ABC and CBS who claim without verifiable evidence, as Rich Noyes at NewsBusters noted earlier this afternoon, that the program has achieved "a major milestone." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday, MSNBC's Al Sharpton scoffed at the latest allegations that the White House is trying to cook the books on ObamaCare numbers by changing the census questions.
"I mean, who else is in this latest conspiracy, the Easter Bunny?" he quipped, in an interview with former Democratic Ohio governor Ted Strickland. He said those disputing the current ObamaCare enrollment figures were like "birthers" and "truthers." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau "is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall."
It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that "the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report." That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall's elections. Everyone together now, say "How convenient."
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's John King hyped the Congressional Budget Office's projection about ObamaCare – that "yes, ObamaCare is expensive, but less expensive than they thought – by about $104 billion over 10 years. That's a decent junk of change." King asserted that the health care issue is "the big domestic challenge for the President and for Democrats this election year: that is...trying to defend it – you could say now, maybe, bragging – about ObamaCare."
The journalist then expressed his bewilderment that Democrats weren't playing up this CBO projection: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The federal tax filing deadline has arrived. Tax season, when H&R Block commercials are as inescapable as news how-to segments about filing taxes, is nearly over.
But there’s one big tax story the broadcast networks practically ignored this year: the Obamacare taxes that just took effect. The network evening news shows have aired 40 stories or news briefs that mentioned “Obamacare” or the “Affordable Care Act” between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 13, 2014. But 87.5 percent (35 of 40) of those ignored the taxes associated with the legislation by failing to mention any taxes or penalties related to Obamacare. (Video is available after the break)
MSNBC personalities frequently turn to race to explain away society’s ills, and on Thursday’s All In, host Chris Hayes cried racism on the topic of state Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. Hayes started by admitting what many people have probably guessed about him and many of his fellow MSNBC hosts – that he sees American politics through a racial lens. He proclaimed:
“The racial prism I use to analyze American politics has grown sharper and I think in some ways more pessimistic in the Obama era. I will cop to that, unquestionably. Like, I do think, see things more thoroughly through the prism of race.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
New numbers from a report on ObamaCare estimate that only just over a third of enrollees were previously uninsured, and that 5.2 million have lost their health coverage since it began. Although Fox News has covered the report, the networks have ignored it so far.
"A report by the RAND corporation this week said 5.2 million people have lost health coverage since ObamaCare started," said Fox News host Bret Baier on Thursday's Special Report. Fox Business host Neil Cavuto reported the night before that "RAND estimates that most of those who did join newly established exchanges were not insured before." [Video coming soon. Audio here.]
On Friday's New Day, the Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson said outgoing HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius would be "coach of the year" if she were a basketball coach.
"I do think if she were a basketball coach, right, she would probably be coach of the year, right? Because she was able to turn this thing around, had good news yesterday that 7.5 million people, you know, signed up for this thing," Henderson stated on CNN. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.