by Bloomberg News
January 13, 2013
While no final decision has been made about when the Democratic White House’s proposal will be formally introduced, administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said they will oppose efforts by Republicans to break immigration legislation into smaller bills.
In his first news conference after winning re-election, Obama promised to begin working on a major immigration bill soon after the formal start of his second term.
“I am very confident that we can get immigration reform done,” the president told reporters on Nov. 14. “My expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration.”
Even as much of Washington has focused on fiscal issues and curbing gun control, the administration has been working on a plan for several months. Their proposal will include a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, according to officials -- an idea opposed as amnesty by Republican critics.
Separately from the White House, a bipartisan group of senators, headed by Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have been working on a parallel bill.
Read more: http://goo.gl/EzbqO
ObamaCare's Health-Insurance Sticker Shock
by Merrill Matthews and Mark E. Litow
January 13, 2013
Health-insurance premiums have been rising—and consumers will experience another series of price shocks later this year when some see their premiums skyrocket thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.
The reason: The congressional Democrats who crafted the legislation ignored virtually every actuarial principle governing rational insurance pricing. Premiums will soon reflect that disregard—indeed, premiums are already reflecting it.
Central to ObamaCare are requirements that health insurers (1) accept everyone who applies (guaranteed issue), (2) cannot charge more based on serious medical conditions (modified community rating), and (3) include numerous coverage mandates that force insurance to pay for many often uncovered medical conditions.
Guaranteed issue incentivizes people to forgo buying a policy until they get sick and need coverage (and then drop the policy after they get well). While ObamaCare imposes a financial penalty—or is it a tax?—to discourage people from gaming the system, it is too low to be a real disincentive. The result will be insurance pools that are smaller and sicker, and therefore more expensive.
How do we know these requirements will have such a negative impact on premiums? Eight states—New Jersey, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, Kentucky, Vermont and Massachusetts—enacted guaranteed issue and community rating in the mid-1990s and wrecked their individual (i.e., non-group) health-insurance markets. Premiums increased so much that Kentucky largely repealed its law in 2000 and some of the other states eventually modified their community-rating provisions.
States won't experience equal increases in their premiums under ObamaCare. Ironically, citizens in states that have acted responsibly over the years by adhering to standard actuarial principles and limiting the (often politically motivated) mandates will see the biggest increases, because their premiums have typically been the lowest.
Many actuaries, such as those in the international consulting firm Oliver Wyman, are now predicting an average increase of roughly 50% in premiums for some in the individual market for the same coverage. But that is an average. Large employer groups will be less affected, at least initially, because the law grandfathers in employers that self-insure. Small employers will likely see a significant increase, though not as large as the individual market, which will be the hardest hit.
We compared the average premiums in states that already have ObamaCare-like provisions in their laws and found that consumers in New Jersey, New York and Vermont already pay well over twice what citizens in many other states pay. Consumers in Maine and Massachusetts aren't far behind. Those states will likely see a small increase.
By contrast, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and Virginia will likely see the largest increases—somewhere between 65% and 100%. Another 18 states, including Texas and Michigan, could see their rates rise between 35% and 65%.
Read more: http://goo.gl/jrCXq
Armed Good Samaritans Rescue Man After Gunpoint Robbery: They ‘Protected Me When I Couldn’t Protect Myself’
by Jason Howerton
January 14, 2013
A Houston man was robbed at gunpoint as he made his way to his car after leaving a bar on Thursday. But in addition to the man’s wallet and phone, the robber ended up with bullet wounds and bite marks from a German Shepherd, thanks to a pair of quick-thinking good Samaritans.
Police say the armed thug was canvassing a local neighborhood when he thought he had found an easy mark. The victim, Kevin Dorsey, told KHOU that he hadn’t even closed his car door before a man, dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask, put a gun to his chest and demanded his wallet, cell phone and car keys.
Dorsey took off on foot after being robbed, prompting two men in a Mercedes to ask him what had happened.
“As soon as they pass me, they see the guy has a gun to me,” Dorsey told KPRC. “They stopped right there. The guys in the gray Mercedes asked me, ‘Did you just get jacked?’ I said yes.”
The two unidentified vigilantes went after the suspect and reportedly exchanged fire with the criminal. The good guys eventually won the gun fight and wounded the thief.
In a twist of irony, the robber jumped a fence after being shot in an attempt to escape — only to find a German Shepherd waiting for him on the other side. The dog attacked him and prevented him from escaping before police arrived.
“I don’t own a gun. I’m totally at the mercy of my saviors. They obviously sent two angels to help me. These people protected me when I couldn’t protect myself.”
The robbery suspect, later identified by police as Christopher Hutchins, was being treated at Ben Taub Hospital for a gunshot to his abdomen. He is expected to recover.
It’s unclear whether the two men who came to Dorsey’s rescue were concealed carry permit holders, however, reports do not indicate that police took any action against the men.
Read more: http://goo.gl/P7KRp