Obama Watch

By Tom Blumer | September 9, 2014 | 11:25 PM EDT

On August 22 — a Friday, of course — the Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services issued a brand-new version of the Obamacare contraception mandate supposedly "accommodating" organizations with religious belief-based objections to providing such coverage.

The new version is a facile variant of the subterfuge the Obama administration failed to slide by the Court in the recent Hobby Lobby case. It now says that organizations which oppose providing their employees abortifacient contraceptive coverage can notify the government of their objections; previously, objectors informed their insurers. The government will then tell the insurance companies to pay any claims involved. Anyone can see that nothing has substantively changed, and that affected employers are still associating themselves with practices they believe are abhorrent. Nevertheless, CNBC's Dan ("Obama-who-cares") Mangan described the administration's move as a "compromise."

By Tom Blumer | September 9, 2014 | 4:13 PM EDT

CNBC's Dan Mangan, last seen at NewsBusters claiming that the American people want politicians to just "shut up about Obamacare," is out with a column today reacting to the Kaiser Family Foundation's latest Affordable Care Act-related polling effort.

Sarah Ferris at the Hill also reviewed the poll, and has two primary messages for readers. First, "support for ObamaCare continues to fall." Second, "Healthcare remains one of the most important issues in midterm elections, ranking only behind the economy and jobs as voters’ top issue." To be clear "the economy and jobs" is considered one issue. So it's really pathetic how Mangan twisted the same poll Ferris covered (bolds are mine):

By NB Staff | September 8, 2014 | 8:07 PM EDT

"When this administration is falling apart, the media should give it the exact same coverage they gave to George Bush," Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel substitute host Stuart Varney on the September 8 Your World w/Neil Cavuto. But as a new MRC study shows, they most certainly are not.

By Tom Blumer | August 30, 2014 | 10:20 PM EDT

In a Saturday evening story to appear on Page A1 in its Sunday print edition, Pam Belluck at the New York Times tells readers that "paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year." This apparently blessed development is occurring "After Sarah Palin’s 'death panel' label killed efforts to include it in the Affordable Care Act in 2009."

Belluck seems fairly pleased that "Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these 'advance care planning' conversations as interest in them rises along with the number of aging Americans." (But of course, "private insurers" have really become inside cronies in "the political process" since Obamacare's passage; so their involvement may really prove that behind-the-scenes government pressure to reimburse those "services" is working.)

By Tim Graham | August 29, 2014 | 3:12 PM EDT

MSNBC host Alex Wagner and Sam Kass, the personal chef to the Obama family, will marry this weekend in New York with Barack and Michelle Obama in attendance. This prompted a gushing front-pager on Kass in The New York Times on Friday. The headline is “Obamas’ Foodmaster General.”

Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer wrote Kass “found himself an astounding beneficiary of luck and timing as he blazed a trail of cruciferous vegetables into the first lady’s heart.” He’s now one of “her top policy advisers.” The Times pulled one of those amazingly selective uses of the jump to keep MSNBC off the front page of this cozy story:

By Ken Shepherd | August 28, 2014 | 8:31 PM EDT

While competing newscasts on ABC and CBS led tonight with the president's stunning admission at a press briefing that he hasn't formulated a strategy to deal with ISIS yet, NBC placed the story in the third slot in the lineup, after a lead-off report regarding the NFL's "tough new policy" on domestic violence and a story by New York-based correspondent Katy Tur about comedian Joan Rivers's hospitalization.

On top of that, Nightly News substitute anchor Lester Holt completely left out both ISIS and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia from his opening-credit tease. By contrast, both ABC's Amy Robach and CBS's Maurice DuBois led off their opening-credit teases by citing the most quotable nugget from today's presidential presser [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video montage below page break]:

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2014 | 1:28 PM EDT

The Golden Age of Obamacare has apparently not led to the Golden Age of access to medical care anywhere, any time its promoters promised. Thanks to non-payments, the true enrollment numbers aren't what we've been told. The networks patients can access — approved by government regulators — are often highly restricted. Sky-high-deductibles are present in most Obamacare plans before any kind of reimbursed coverage kicks in. Finally, since this is for the time being a country where people usually can't be forced to provide money-losing service, many doctors are refusing to see Obamacare-"covered" patients.

Since things aren't working out as wonderfully as planned, the left and the Obama administration are on the prowl for scapegoats. The easiest targets are the insurance companies, some of whom foolishly thought that being on the Obamacare team would buy them immunity. According to a Wednesday Associated Press story by Tom Murphy, they're being charged with chasing sick people away — even though it appears, from a sentence eight paragraphs into the dispatch, that it's not financially advantageous for them to keep such patients out.

By Ken Shepherd | August 26, 2014 | 9:55 PM EDT

Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):

By David Limbaugh | August 25, 2014 | 9:52 PM EDT

One does not need to be Sun Tzu or George Patton to know that a nation must recognize an enemy before it can develop a strategy to defeat it. But one apparently does have to be someone other than President Barack Obama.

Since he took office, Obama has spent considerable energy trying to convince us how peaceful and magnificent the religion of Islam is and how exceptional acts of terrorism springing from it are.

By Ken Shepherd | August 20, 2014 | 10:20 PM EDT

"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]

By Tom Blumer | August 18, 2014 | 5:59 PM EDT

Recent news about Obamacare hasn't exactly been good, but the press has been pretty effective in keeping it quiet. To name just a few items, Enrollment is shrinking, because perhaps as many as 20 percent of enrollees aren't keeping up with their premiums. Rising costs have moved insurers to beg for bailouts, which appear to be forthcoming. 

Then there's this: Just last week in Massachusetts, where the state-run health insurance got its start under Republican Governor Mitt Romney eight years ago, the state's exchange announced that everyone currently enrolled in 2014 or who should have enrolled and didn't is going to have to apply for 2015 coverage this fall. Oh, and the system it plans to employ may not even be working by mid-November.

By Tom Blumer | August 13, 2014 | 1:46 PM EDT

This morning, the Census Bureau, in its advance report on retail sales, revealed that seasonally adjusted July sales were "virtually unchanged" from June. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain, supposedly with "solid upside" potential. Oops. June's result stayed at its previously reported 0.2 percent increase.

Reuters did the "U-word" honors this time out: "U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter." Someone needs to tell the wire service's Lucia Mutikani that no increase means no momentum. Over at the Associated Press, Josh Boak tried the deadpan approach.