scharrison's blog

The other health care battle

Suffering from free market flu:

Aetna and the UNC Health Care System are fighting over how much the insurer will pay for services. About 8,000 Aetna members are caught in the middle.

Unless there's a last-minute settlement, the dispute will force Aetna members to switch to a non-UNC doctor or facility, or pay much higher "out-of-network" costs.

As you can imagine, several of the commenters blame this on Obamacare, even though this kind of thing has been going on for years. But I see at least two facets of the new law that would help patients in this situation: The removal of pre-existing conditions and exchange shopping. What say you?

Convention funding restricted by DNC

In search of the unconventional convention:

Next year's Democratic convention in Charlotte will have to be financed without corporate money.

The Democratic Party has issued guidelines saying the $37 million to be raised by the host committee can not come from corporations, from lobbyists or from individuals in amounts of more than $100,000.

I wonder what Mayor Foxx thinks of this?

Koch brothers flex their muscles

What's the use in being rich if you can't intimidate people?

The resort grounds were “closed for a private function,” the resort’s head of security, James Foster told POLITICO, ushering the reporter outside, where private security guards, wearing gold lapel pins bearing Koch’s “K” logo, threatened “a citizen’s arrest” and a “night in the Riverside County jail” if the reporter continued asking questions and taking photographs.

Hat tip to JW at Watauga Watch for the link. This kind of stuff is just downright spooky. If you've got enough money, you can become a country unto yourself.

NC guns cross the Atlantic

Why should England's gun violence be less than ours?

Greenloe is accused of smuggling more than 60 guns into Great Britain in July 2010, moving Glock and Ruger 9 mm handguns through a weapons black market in England.

Late last month, according to the London Times, one of the guns that Greenloe is suspected of purchasing in North Carolina was linked to a drive-by shooting in Manchester, England.

I don't want to turn this into another bash-the-N&O diary, but there's enough missing from this article to make it almost pointless.

Lawsuit filed against Republican Executive Committee

Yes, who paid for the ads really does matter:

Dickson's lawsuit says the Republicans illegally lied about who paid for their television advertising, and as a result, they received price discounts they weren't entitled to and the voters were deceived.

The Executive Committee reported its purchases for the Meredith ads as "in-kind" contributions to Meredith's campaign, the lawsuit says. But when the ads were broadcast, they had disclaimers saying that Meredith paid for them.

Deceive the voters, deceive the tv stations; it's all in a day's work for the snake oil salesmen.

Civitas propagandists contradict themselves, again

Via e-mail from the Puppetshow:

One idea the new leadership should give serious consideration is some version of tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools. Tax credits are an effective way of expanding educational opportunities for middle and low income students. In addition, tax credits can help to reduce overcrowding in public schools and reduce the student/teacher ratio.

This is (at least) the third time they've flipped on the issue of class size to promote their agenda to cripple the public school system. Here's what they said in June of 2009:

Racial Justice Act to be tested in court

And possibly in the Legislature, as well:

Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill will challenge the Racial Justice Act on behalf of the state as unconstitutionally broad and vague. O'Neill has said he thinks the law was created to do away with the death penalty.

The new Republican-led legislature also opposes the Racial Justice Act, and GOP leaders have said they might attempt to repeal it during this year's session.

Etheridge chosen to guide recovery efforts

You can't retire just yet, Bob:

Former Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge will take office today as director of the state Office of Economic Recovery and Investment, overseeing the spending of federal stimulus money.

The state has received more than $10.5 billion so far in federal stimulus money. Nearly 80 percent had been dispersed and the money will continue to flow through at least 2012.

Here's a link to the Office's site, where you can find (among other things) a county by county listing of Stimulus-related job opportunities.

Crippled by CWIP: The fleecing of ratepayers

Shouldering the financial burden for new nuke plants:

Due to controversial state legislation in 2007, the utilities can already force consumers to pre-pay for new plants. But Duke and Progress executives have signaled to key lawmakers and reporters that they still cannot attempt nuclear projects without additional legislation. It appears they want an automatic pass-through of rate increases without having to justify them in traditional legal proceedings before the state Utilities Commission.

Note to the new leadership in the GA: After all your rhetoric about easing the tax burden on citizens, if you help the utilities pick billions out of our pockets to finance something no bank would touch with a ten foot pole, you can kiss that majority goodbye.

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