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Tags: Obamacare | Hiking | Consumer | Prices | ICE Releasing Killer Illegals | Md. Gov. OMalley Eyeing Hillary Challenge | Nurse Practitioners Can Alleviate Doctor Shortage

Obamacare Hiking Consumer Prices; ICE Releasing Killer Illegals; Md. Gov. O'Malley Eyeing Hillary Challenge

By    |   Monday, 08 September 2014 03:00 AM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Fed Report: Obamacare Already Raising Consumer Prices
2. Maryland Gov. O'Malley Said to Challenge Hillary in '16
3. Nurse Practitioners Can Alleviate Doctor Shortage
4. Israel Says Training Manual Incriminates Hamas
5. ICE Released 169 Illegals Convicted of 'Homicide-Related' Crimes
6. Recession Permanently Changed America: Poll

1. Fed Report: Obamacare Already Raising Consumer Prices

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals that the Affordable Care Act is already having a significant impact on employers' healthcare coverage, employment, and even on consumer prices.

The report is based on the Fed's August 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey and its Business Leaders Survey of service firms, and ascertains "how the ACA is affecting businesses and how businesses are responding to the new legislation," the Fed states.

The manufacturing firms reported a median increase of 10 percent in their healthcare coverage costs from 2013 to 2014, and the service firms reported a 9 percent increase. Both surveys predicted a 10 percent increase in 2015.

Nearly four in 10 manufacturing firms said Obamacare has increased their per-worker health benefit costs "a little" this year, and 34.9 percent said "a lot." Among service firms, 38.4 percent said "a little" and 20 percent said "a lot."

Given the increased costs, companies are responding in a number of ways that negatively impact workers — 60.5 percent of manufacturing firms and 54 percent of service companies said they are making modifications to their health plans.

Among manufacturing firms that are making modifications, 73 percent are increasing employee contributions, as are 69 percent of service firms.

More than 84 percent of manufacturing companies making modifications report that they are raising deductibles, and 78.8 percent are increasing co-pays.

The survey of service firms that are making modifications found that 76.5 percent are raising deductibles, and 79.4 percent are increasing co-pays.

Equally troubling, 21.6 percent of manufacturing firms said they are reducing the number of workers they employ, 19.3 percent are raising their proportion of part-time workers, 19.3 percent are increasing outsourcing, and 36.4 percent are raising the prices they charge customers.

For service firms, 25 percent are raising prices, and 20.2 percent are increasing their proportion of part-time workers.

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed similar results, with many firms increasing their part-time workers and outsourcing, raising employee contributions to healthcare coverage, deductibles, and co-pays, and 28.8 percent are raising the prices they charge customers.

Editor's Note:


2. Maryland Gov. O'Malley Said to Challenge Hillary in '16

Democratic fundraisers say Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has told them he would enter the presidential race in 2016 even if Hillary Clinton is a candidate for the party's nomination.

O'Malley had previously indicated that he would likely not run for the Democratic nomination if Clinton was in the race.

But Doug Goldman, an Obama fundraiser, told The Wall Street Journal that he met with O'Malley in the spring and the governor "is making it pretty clear that his ultimate goal is president." He said O'Malley indicated "that he is running."

Another fundraiser said he asked O'Malley what he would do if Clinton entered the race, and O'Malley "told me flat out he's going to run either way," the fundraiser disclosed.

A third Democratic fundraiser "said Mr. O'Malley told supporters at an event last year in California without qualification that he was running for president," the Journal reported.

O'Malley is already making moves suggesting he is planning to run. He will be the keynote speaker at a Sept. 26 Democratic fundraising dinner in New Hampshire, site of the nation's first primary, and his PAC has given $5,000 to the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

He has sent campaign staffers to states with competitive races in the midterms, and he is planning a trip to California this month to raise money for a PAC that has donated funds to candidates in states that play major roles in presidential races.

O'Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore, is leaving office in January due to term limits following two terms as governor.

His liberal credentials are impeccable. He signed a law raising the state's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2018, signed legislation banning various kinds of assault weapons, and signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland.

He also pushed through a gasoline tax increase to improve the state's transportation infrastructure, signed legislation making certain undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state college tuition, and signed a bill eliminating the death penalty for future offenders.

But O'Malley faces an uphill climb in seeking the presidential nomination in light of his lack of national recognition. A Gallup Poll in July found that 69 percent of respondents had never heard of him, and 15 percent had no opinion of the governor.

In contrast, 84 percent rated Hillary Clinton favorably, just 9 percent rated her unfavorably, and only 5 percent had no opinion.

Editor's Note:


3. Nurse Practitioners Can Alleviate Doctor Shortage

With a doctor shortage looming and Americans in many areas already facing limited access to a physician, nurse practitioners can help fill the gap — if they are allowed to practice freely.

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that the United States will face a shortfall of more than 90,000 doctors by 2020, due in part to an increase of insured Americans seeking care under the Affordable Care Act.

The shortage is also being driven by "the cumulative effect of the [mounting] increase in regulations, decreased reimbursements, and cost of living that keeps going up," Michael Murphy, co-founder of the medical information group ScribeAmerica, told Newsmax.

Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute, said: "Patients and families won't get the care they need if we don't take steps to maximize the use of all qualified healthcare providers."

And that includes nurse practitioners, Reinhard said.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have a master's or doctoral degree and are trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, give physicals, prescribe medicine, and refer patients to specialists.

Presently 19 states allow nurse practitioners to perform these tasks, most of them in the West or New England.

But 31 states, including California, New York, Texas, and Florida, impose restrictions, such as requiring nurses to have a doctor's oversight, AARP The Magazine reported.

"That means extra layers of paperwork and longer travel to get primary healthcare, because the nurse practitioners who could open a practice in underserved areas instead are tied to existing doctor practices," said Reinhard.

The American Medical Association maintains that doctors have more training and experience than nurses and "increasing the responsibility of nurses is not the answer to the physician shortage."

AARP states: "For the more than 180,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, it is."

Editor's Note:


4. Israel Says Training Manual Incriminates Hamas

The Israeli army has seized a training manual that appears to confirm Israel's contention that Hamas has used civilians as human shields by storing and firing weapons from residential areas.

The manual was found in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun while Israeli troops were operating inside the enclave during the recent Israeli-Hamas conflict. The manual contains 102 pages, but the army released only one page.

Written in Arabic, it appears to set guidelines on how to hide weapons and ammunition in civilian areas and how to conceal explosives, the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

"The process of hiding ammunition inside buildings is intended for ambushes in residential areas and to move the campaign from open areas into built-up and closed areas," according to a translation of the document.

"Residents of the area should be used to bring in the equipment. For jihad fighters, it is easy to operate inside buildings and take advantage of this to avoid spy planes and attack drones."

Israel has been criticized for shelling densely populated areas in Gaza and several U.N. schools, but Israel maintains that they were being used for cover, the Forward observed.

Hamas dismissed the document as a forgery used to justify Israeli attacks. But an Israeli army spokesman said the army was "extremely confident it is a Hamas training manual."

Two recent polls on the Israeli-Hamas conflict showed interesting results.

A survey by the Pew Research Center found that despite global condemnation of some Israeli tactics during the conflict, more Americans sympathize with the Israelis than the Palestinians. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they sympathize with Israel "a lot," and 32 percent sympathize "some," while just 11 percent sympathize "a lot" with the Palestinians, and 35 percent sympathize "some."

Another 37 percent sympathize with both sides, and 18 percent sympathize with neither, according to the survey conducted before the two sides agreed to a cease-fire.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research conducted after the cease-fire was implemented found that 79 percent of Palestinians said Hamas won the confrontation, and 86 percent said they would support a renewal of rocket fire on Israel if a blockade on Gaza is not lifted, the Forward reported.

But 25 percent said armed groups in the Gaza Strip should give up their weapons after the blockade ends and elections are held.

Editor's Note:


5. ICE Released 169 Illegals Convicted of 'Homicide-Related' Crimes

Sen. Chuck Grassley has finally gotten an answer to his letter demanding to know why Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 169 illegal aliens convicted of "homicide-related" crimes. And he’s not satisfied with that answer.

The Iowa legislator, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent the letter to Jeh Johnson, secretary of ICE's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security.

"According to multiple news reports, in 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released from its custody 36,007 immigrants who had been convicted of a crime and were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings," Grassley wrote.

"This included 116 individuals who had been convicted of homicide, with a total of 193 homicide convictions between them.

"For each discretionary release, please explain why the convicted criminal alien in question was released. For each homicide convict released, please indicate what conditions were imposed upon the release in order to protect public safety. If none, then please explain why precautionary conditions were not imposed."

ICE responded to Grassley's letter (using the number 169 rather than 116): "Of the 169 ICE detainees with a homicide-related conviction who were released from ICE custody in FY 2013, 131 have been issued a final order of removal. Of the remaining 38 aliens who have not been issued a final order of removal, one was granted voluntary departure by an immigration judge and subsequently deported within the permitted timeframe. Further, 154 of the 169 were released pursuant to court order due to Zadvydas.”

ICE referred to the Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis in 2001, interpreted to mean that the government must release aliens if they are not accepted for deportation by their home countries within six months.

Grassley is an original co-sponsor of legislation that would close the legal loophole created by the court decision, he noted in a press release taking issue with ICE’s explanation.

The senator stated: "The public needs to know when a person in the country illegally, and who has been convicted of a homicide, is released into their communities. We've introduced legislation that would reverse the court case that the Obama administration is relying on to excuse its irresponsible release of thousands of criminally convicted aliens."

Editor's Note:


6. Poll: Recession Permanently Changed America

A large majority of Americans believe that the recent recession has brought permanent changes to the nation, a new poll reveals — and more than a third think the economy will never fully recover.

It's true that the economy has added almost 10 million private-sector jobs in the past four years, and the unemployment rate declined from 8.2 percent in March 2013 to 6.2 percent this past July.

But a report from Rutgers University researchers, "Unhappy, Worried, and Pessimistic Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession," concludes that job growth "has been insufficient to produce enough full-time jobs for everyone who wants one."

The report points out that much of the recent employment growth has been in low-wage occupations, while many of the jobs lost during the recession were high- and middle-wage positions.

In July, 9.7 million Americans were unemployed, the labor force participation was at its lowest level in 30 years, and long-term unemployment rates remained at "unprecedented levels."

In light of these grim statistics, 71 percent of Americans polled for the Rutgers report said the recession has left the nation with permanent change, up from 60 percent in January 2013, and 29 percent said it has left us with temporary change.

Asked how long they believe it will take for the economy to fully recover from the recession, 36 percent said it will not fully recover, while 24 percent said it will take from six to 10 years and 30 percent said three to five years. Just 1 percent believe it will take less than a year.

More than a quarter of respondents, 27 percent, said the economy will get worse in the next year, while 26 percent believe it will get better, and 46 percent said it will remain the same, according to the report from Rutgers' John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 35 percent said the unemployment rate will not return to pre-recession levels, and 49 percent said it will take many years before it does return.
  • Four in 10 respondents believe the availability of good jobs with good pay will not return to pre-recession levels, and 48 percent said it will take many years.
  • Only 9 percent believe workers will feel as secure in their jobs as they did before the recession.
  • 60 percent said the ability of young people to afford college will not return to pre-recession levels, and just 7 percent believe older workers will be as free to retire when they want to as they were before the recession.

Back in January 2013, 42 percent of Americans believed the government could help the country deal with its economic situation, but now just 22 percent think that way — and 78 percent believe the government can do little, if anything.

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Fed Report: Obamacare Already Raising Consumer Prices 2. Maryland Gov. O'Malley Said to Challenge Hillary in '16 3. Nurse Practitioners Can Alleviate Doctor Shortage 4. Israel Says Training Manual Incriminates...
Obamacare, Hiking, Consumer, Prices, ICE Releasing Killer Illegals, Md. Gov. OMalley Eyeing Hillary Challenge, Nurse Practitioners Can Alleviate Doctor Shortage, Recession Permanently Changed America Poll
Monday, 08 September 2014 03:00 AM
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