While the Obamacare debate has so far focused on who’s paid their first premium, a better question may be who can afford to keep paying for health insurance month after month.
Christine Wagner, the executive director of a Catholic health care community center in New York called the St. Joseph Neighborhood Center, warns that many low-income people that have signed up won’t be able to keep up paying for their health insurance.
“We’ve waited the 90 days, 120 days, and we’re seeing the reproductions of people who bought new policies, but haven’t been able to maintain them,” Wagner told WXXI News. “So, we’re seeing the unfolding of some of the consequences of some of these new policies that people actually weren’t able to maintain.”
WXXI notes that Wagner supports Obamacare but is looking for improvements to the current law.
Wagner told WXXI that around 200 clients of St. Joseph enrolled in the exchange, but some can’t afford to keep paying the premiums. Others, Wagner said, opted not to sign up because even with federal subsidies, health plans were too expensive.
The complaint is not exclusive to Wagner’s clinic: an April tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that the top reason that people are remaining uninsured is the cost. Thirty-nine percent of uninsured respondents told Kaiser that they couldn’t afford health insurance.
The current set-up of the health care law means that St. Joseph’s and doctors across the country will have to take on the cost of caring for those who stop paying their premiums themselves.
Obamacare grants all enrollees a 90-day grace period after a premium payment is missed before their insurer is allowed to cancel the coverage. For the first 30 days, the insurance company is required to cover any care the customer receives; but for the final 6o days before the policy is canceled, doctors will be required to eat the cost of any health care services they provide.
At a Wednesday congressional hearing, several top insurers participating in the federal Obamacare exchanges told the House Energy and Commerce committee that doctors may call the insurance company to determine whether a person is currently insured.
May 9, 2014
Nigeria’s armed forces had more than four hours warning of the attack on the school by hardline Islamist group Boko Haram in which 270 girls were kidnapped, but failed to take any action, says Amnesty International.
The rights group Amnesty International has said that it has been told by several credible sources that the Nigerian military was given more than four hours warning of the raid by Boko Haram on the school but failed to do anything about it.
Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, has said that it captured the girls in the April 14 raid because they should be married and not in school. In a video released earlier this week Abubakar Sekau, Boko Haram’s leader, threatened to sell the students.
Fifty three of the girls managed to escape just after they were captured.
According to a number of sources interviewed by Amnesty local civilian patrols in Gagilam, a village neighboring Chibok where the girls were abducted, were the first to alert the authorities.The patrols are known as vigilantes and were set up by military and local authorities to counter Boko Haram.
A vigilante patrol in Gaiglam raised the alarm when a group of armed men entered the village on motorbikes and said they were on their way to Chibok. Locals immediately phoned a number of officials to warn them including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in the regional capital Maiduguri.
“At around 10:00 PM on the 14 April, I called several security officers to inform them about earlier information I had received from the vigilantes in Gagilam village. They had told us that strange people had arrived in their village on motorbikes and they said they were heading to Chibok. I made several other calls including to Maiduguri. I was promised by the security people that reinforcements were on their way,” one local official told Amnesty.
Another official said he was phoned up by herdsmen who said armed men had asked him where the Government Girls Secondary School was in Chibok.
At about 11:45 the convoy of Boko Harem fighters which by this time consisted of about 200 men on motorbikes and in trucks entered Chibok and a gunfight broke out with the small garrison of 17 police and soldiers who were based in the town.
Outnumbered and outgunned the small security force eventually fled the town in the small hours leaving the Boko Haram fighters free to proceed to the girl’s secondary school where they abducted 270 school girls.
Two senior officers in the Nigerian military confirmed to Amnesty that they were aware of the attack even before the phone calls from local officials but were unable to mobilize reinforcements.
One officer told the rights group that his soldiers were fearful of engaging the militants who were often better equipped.
“There’s a lot of frustration, exhaustion and fatigue among officers and [troops] based in the hotspots. Many soldiers are afraid to go to the battle fronts,” he said.
Amnesty’s requests for a reaction from military headquarters in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, have not been answered.
“The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about Boko Haram’s impending raid, but failed to take the immediate action needed to stop it, will only amplify the national and international outcry at this horrific crime,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa director.
Amnesty was also critical of efforts to try and secure the girls’ release, which have been hampered by an atmosphere of confusion and suspicion.
“The climate of suspicion and lack of transparency about the rescue effort has been unhelpful – all authorities must work together to ensure the girls are brought home safely and more must be done to protect civilians in the future,” said Belay.
Boko Haram, which in the Hausa Language means ‘western education is forbidden’, began their insurgency in Borno state in north east Nigeria in 2009. At least 1,200 people are estimated to have been killed in the violence so-far this year.
This article was posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm
May 9, 2014
If the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts then millions of U.S. citizens could end up in Brazil, Australia, or Argentina.
That’s according to the South African news website Praag, which said that the African National Congress was offered $10 billion a year for 10 years if it would build temporary housing for Americans in case of an eruption.
The potential eruption of the supervolcano, one of the biggest in the world, has been a hot topic ever since videos of animals allegedly fleeing the area before an earthquake were posted online. Although the veracity of the claims haven’t been backed up, dozens of bloggers and others have been trying to figure out what, if anything, is going on.
One of the latest theories is that the U.S. Geological Service and its partners, which keep an eye on the caldera, are hiding data from the public.
The Praag article says that the South African government fears that placing so many Americans in South Africa could dramatically change the country.
“South Africa will not be part of the plan, because there is a risk that millions of white Americans could be sent to South Africa in an emergency situation and that this would pose a risk to black national culture identity,” Dr. Siph Matwetwe, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, is quoted as saying.
“We have our own challenges, even if there is enough housing and infrastructure available, it will destabilize the country and may even bring back apartheid.”
The gigantic volcano in Yellowstone has erupted three times over the last two million years, covering a huge area of surrounding land. Maps from educational institutions and government officials project that up to 17 states could be fully or partially impacted if the volcano erupted again. The far south of Canada could also get hit, as well as the far north of Mexico.
Scientists aren’t sure when it will erupt next, although many have sought to assure the public that it probably won’t for a while. In reality, the volcano could erupt at any time, though officials would in theory be able to detect an impending eruption and alert Americans to the threat.
This article was posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm
May 9, 2014
Tbilisi: U.S. Navy frigate USS Taylor arrived in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on May 8 for a three-day port visit.
“Taylor’s presence in Georgia reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region,” the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said at a government session on May 8 that the visit of the U.S. warship underlines once again “friendship” between the U.S. and Georgia. He expressed “regret” that won’t be able to visit the warship because of tight schedule.
It is USS Taylor’s second visit to Georgia; the first time when the frigate made a port visit in Georgia was in December, 2008, when it arrived in the port of Poti.
The last time when U.S. warship visited Georgia was in November, 2013, when the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney, made a three-day port call in Batumi and conducted combined training exercises with the Georgian coast guard.
USS Taylor, which returned in the Black Sea late last month, completed on May 6 joint live-fire exercise and an anti-submarine warfare scenario along with four Romanian ships.
The French intelligence-gathering ship Dupuy de Lôme made a port visit in Batumi in late April.
The U.S. 6th Fleet said in press release that USS Taylor’s joint exercises with the Romanian warships “aimed at improving maritime capabilities and reassuring our NATO allies and partners of our commitment to the alliance and to their security.”
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, tweeted on May 7: “Allied ships, planes, exercises show vigilance & resolve from Baltic to the Black Sea. We’ll keep reinforcing NATO security.”
May 8, 2014
U.S. Defense Secretary Meets Georgian Defense Ministe
Tbilisi : U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania at the Pentagon on May 7.
“Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and he encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability,” Pentagon readout of the meeting says.
“The two leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce our international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow.”
“Secretary Hagel reaffirmed the importance of the U.S. partnership with Georgia, and pledged to continue our strong defense cooperation,” a Pentagon spokesman said.
Irakli Alasania said after the meeting that he had “very productive” talks with the U.S. Defense Secretary.
“We continue dialogue what steps the U.S. and Georgia should take in order to enhance Georgia’s security and defence capability. I’d like to outline that we have progress in this direction and this meeting once more confirms that strategic partnership in defence and security sphere between Georgia and USA is strengthening,” Alasania said.
The Georgian Ministry of Defense said that during the meeting Alasania “overviewed progress in Georgia’s defence transformation.”
“He emphasized on the reforms made in transparency, accountability, NATO BI [Building Integrity] program, as well as in parliamentary oversight and cooperation with NGOs, procurement transparency and internal audit. Secretary Hagel encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability. He thanked Minister Alasania for Georgia’s contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan,” the Georgian MoD said.
This is the second meeting of Alasania and Hagel at the Pentagon; the first one was held in August, 2013.
This article was posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm