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The Pronk Pops Show 867, April 4, 2017, Story 1: Russia Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack on Subway — Videos — Story 2: North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch — Videos–Story 3: Syria Chemical Nerve Gas Weapons Air Attack in Idlib Provence — Videos Story 4: Valid Use of National Security Agency (NSA) Intelligence or Abuse of Power of NSA Intelligence For Political Purposes — Big Lie Media Blackout Obamagate Surveillance/Spying Scandal with Susan Rice Unmasking American Identities For Foreign Intelligence Purpose (Legal and Legitimate) or Political Partisan Purpose (Illegal and Illegitimate) — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

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 Story 1: Russia Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack on Subway — Videos

Image result for russia subway attack Image result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackImage result for russia subway attackRussia confirms identity of St Petersburg suicide bomber

St. Petersburg Metro bomber identified as Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen

Kyrgyzstan native identified as bomber of Russian metro

Any Conspiracy Theory About the St. Petersburg Metro Blast Is OK So Long As It’s About Russia

Russian Metro Bomb Suspect a Muslim Born in Central Asia: Investigators

By | April 4, 2017 | Last Updated: April 4, 2017 3:56 pm

Emergency services direct pedestrians outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, following explosions in two train carriages at metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 3, 2017. (REUTERS/Anton Vaganov)OSH, Kyrgyzstan/ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—A Russian suicide bomber originally from mainly Muslim Kyrgyzstan detonated the explosives in a St Petersburg train carriage that killed 14 people and wounded 50, authorities said on Tuesday.

Suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov. (5th Channel Russia/via Reuters)

The suspect had radical Islamist links, Russian media cited law enforcement officials as saying, raising the possibility Monday’s attack could have been inspired by the ISIS terrorist group, which has not struck a major city in Russia before. So far, no-one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Kyrgyz officials identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995, and Russian officials confirmed his identity, saying he had also left a bomb found at another metro station before it went off.

Biographical details pieced together from social media and Russian officials suggested Jalilov was an fairly typical young St Petersburg resident with an interest in Islam as well as pop music and martial arts but no obvious links to militants.

His uncle, Eminzhon Jalilov, told Reuters by telephone that his nephew was a mosque-attending Muslim, but that he was “not a fanatic”.

The explosion in the middle of Monday afternoon occurred when the train was in a tunnel deep underground, amplifying the force of the blast. The carriage door was blown off, and witnesses described seeing injured passengers with bloodied and blackened bodies.

State investigative authorities said fragments of the body of the suspect had been found among the dead, indicating that he was a suicide bomber.

Blast victims lie near a subway train hit by a explosion at the Tekhnologichesky Institut subway station in St.Petersburg, Russia April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/www.vk.com/spb_today via AP)

“From the genetic evidence and the surveillance cameras there is reason to believe that the person behind the terrorist act in the train carriage was the same one who left a bag with an explosive device at the Ploshchad Vosstaniya station,” they said in a statement.

Russia has been on alert against attacks in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’s forces have been supporting troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad against Western-backed armed groups as well as ISIS, which grew out of the conflict.

ISIS, now under attack by all sides in Syria’s multi-faceted war, has repeatedly threatened revenge and been linked to recent bombings elsewhere in Europe.

If it is confirmed that the metro bomber was linked to radical Islamists, it could provoke anger among some Russians at Moscow’s decision to intervene in Syria, a year before an election which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win.

Previous Bombing

Officials said they were treating the blast as an act of terrorism, but there was no official confirmation of any link to Islamist radicals.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was cynical to say the bombing in St Petersburg was revenge for Russia’s role in Syria. He said the attack showed that Moscow needed to press on with its fight against global terrorism.

A page on social media site VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, belonging to someone with the same name and year of birth as Jalilov, included photos of him relaxing with friends in a bar, smoking from a hookah pipe. He was dressed in jackets and a baseball cap.

A Reuters reporter visited a house in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, which neighbors said was the family home of Jalilov. The home, a modest but well-maintained one-storey brick building, was empty.

A man leaves flowers during a memorial service for victims of a blast in St.Petersburg metro, outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 3, 2017. (REUTERS/Igor Russak)

Neighbors said Jalilov was from a family of ethnic Uzbeks, and that while they knew his parents they had not seen the young man for years. They said his father worked as a panel-beater in a car repair shop.

“They are a very good family. Always friendly, never argue. And they have good kids,” one of the neighbors, Mirkomil Akhmadaliyev, told Reuters.

Later on Tuesday, Jalilov’s mother appeared but refused to speak to reporters, saying she needed to retrieve something and hurry back to a security service office.

Russian Metro Bomb Suspect a Muslim Born in Central Asia: Investigators

Osh is part of the Fergana Valley, a fertile strip of land that straddles Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan which is mainly populated by ethnic Uzbeks. It has a tradition of Islamist radicalism and hundreds of people have set out from the area to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

A blast at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve that killed 39 people involved a suspect from the same part of central Asia. The bomber in that attack said he had been acting under the direction of ISIS militants in Syria.

A still image of suspect Akbarzhon Jalilov walking at St Petersburg's metro station. (5th Channel Russia/via Reuters)

Jalilov’s uncle said his nephew moved to Russia in 2012. He is registered at an upscale apartment in the north of St Petersburg, according to a source in the Russian authorities, and he has a Daewoo Nexia car registered in his name.

A man who said he was a representative of the apartment’s owner told Reuters that Jalilov had never actually lived there, but had given the address as his residence in official documents.

His VKontakte page included links to a site featuring sayings from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, an eighteenth century preacher on whose teaching Wahhabism, a conservative and hardline branch of Islam, is based. But there were no links to Islamist terrorists.

Putin Visit ‘Noteworthy’

Russia’s health minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Tuesday that the death toll from the blast, which hit at 2:40 p.m. (1140 GMT), had risen to 14, with 50 wounded.

St Petersburg television showed footage of the corpse of a man they said was the perpetrator. The man, with a close-cropped beard, resembled footage of a young man wearing a blue beanie hat and a jacket with a fur-lined hood captured on closed circuit television identified by Russian media as a suspect.

An injured person is helped by emergency services outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, following explosions in two train carriages at metro stations in St. Petersburg. (REUTERS/Anton Vaganov)

“It has been ascertained that an explosive device could have been detonated by a man, fragments of whose body were found in the third carriage of the train,” Russia’s state investigative committee said in a statement.

“The man has been identified but his identity will not be disclosed for now in the interests of the investigation,” the statement added.

President Putin, who was visiting St Petersburg at the time of the blast, went to the site late on Monday.

The Kremlin said it was “noteworthy” that Putin had been in the city. It did not elaborate, but said such attacks on Russia were a challenge for every citizen, including the president.

Russian president Vladimir Putin puts flowers down outside Tekhnologicheskiy Institut metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 3, 2017. (REUTERS/Grigory Duko)

Two years ago, ISIS said it had brought down a plane carrying Russian tourists home from a Red Sea resort. All 224 people on board the flight were killed.

Monday’s blast raised security fears beyond Russian frontiers. France, which has itself suffered a series of attacks, announced additional security measures in Paris.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2239155-st-petersburg-metro-blast-suspect-likely-born-in-central-asia/print/

Story 2: North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch — Videos–

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US officials: North Korean missile launch likely a failure

Breaking News – North Korea Fired Ballistic Missile Into Japan Sea

Published on Apr 4, 2017

Breaking News – North Korea Fired Ballistic Missile Into Japan Sea

April 5th, 2017 – North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning, US and South Korean officials said. The US official believes the projectile was likely a ballistic missile. North Korea’s missile test comes just a day before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits US President Donald Trump for a summit in Florida.

The projectile used in Wednesday’s test was launched at 6:42 a.m. Seoul time, from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong province, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. It flew a distance of around 60 kilometers (37 miles), South Korean officials said.

North Korean missile fired ahead of US-China summit | April 5, 2017

North Korean missile fired ahead of US-China summit | April 5, 2017

Donald Trump: ‘We have a big problem’ in North Korea

Japan issues ‘strong protest’ over N.Korea missile launch

Official: North Korea fires projectile

Trump calls on China to get tough on North Korea

Can the Trump administration get North Korea under control?

Ash Carter: US Will DESTROY North Korea

US Military sends MOST DEADLY MESSAGE to North Korean Military

Published on Mar 26, 2017

A great video of the US Military sending it’s most deadly message to the leadership of the North Korean Military in Military exercise.
WATERS SURROUNDING THE KOREAN PENINSULA, Republic of Korea
(March. 19, 2017)- U.S. Navy ships assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 30 and CTF 70 are scheduled to begin a series of exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy March 21, 2017 to strengthen maritime interoperability and tactics, techniques and procedures.

The U.S. routinely conducts CSG operations in the waters around the Republic of Korea to exercise maritime maneuvers, strengthen the U.S.-ROK alliance, and improve regional security.

“This exercise is yet another example of the strength and resolve of the combined U.S. and the ROK naval force,” said Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. “The U.S. and the Republic of Korea share one of the strongest alliances in the world and we grow stronger as an alliance because of our routine exercises here in South Korea and the close relationship and ties that we forge from operating at sea together.”

The exercises will consist of a routine bilateral training, subject matter expert exchanges, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, communication drills, air defense exercises, counter-mine planning and distinguished visitor embarkations.

“This defensive exercise focuses on enhancing the interoperability between the ROK and US navies and helps both navies maintain a combined defense posture to protect the ROK from future North Korean unprovoked acts of aggression,” said Rear Adm, Choi, Sung-Mok, the chief of staff for the Republic of Korea Fleet.

Additional surface, subsurface, and air assets joining the bilateral exercise include Carrier Air Wing 2, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Stethem (DDG 63), Los Angeles-class nuclear fast attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762), and P-3/P-8 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft from Commander, Task Force 72.

Vinson deployed to the region under U.S. 3rd Fleet command and control, including beyond the international dateline, which previously divided operational areas of responsibility for 3rd and 7th Fleets. Third Fleet operating forward offers additional options to the Pacific Fleet commander by leveraging the capabilities of 3rd and 7th Fleets. This operational concept allows both numbered fleets to complement one another and provide the foundation of stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. Navy maintains a presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific to help preserve peace and security and further our partnerships with friends and allies. Our forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, as well as furthers operational training and enables an exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge.

For a list of participating Republic of Korea assets, please contact the Republic of Korea Navy Headquarters Public Affairs.

Video Description Credit: Lt. Joshua Kelsey

Video Credit: US Military

Thumbnail Credit: US Navy

US says it has ‘spoken enough about North Korea’ after new missile launch

Rex Tillerson’s enigmatic statement comes after Trump warned US would act alone on Pyongyang provocation if China did not intervene

Kim Jong-un at a North Korean army competition in Pyongyang
Kim Jong-un at a North Korean army competition in Pyongyang on 1 April. The ballistic missile launch from the east coast follows another two weeks ago. Photograph: KCNA/Reuters 

Japan and South Korea have condemned North Korea after it launched another ballistic missile – but the US refused to be drawn in, with secretary of state Rex Tillerson saying the country “has spoken enough about North Korea”.

Japan lodged a strong protest over the “extremely problematic launch”, which landed in waters off the Korean peninsula on the eve of a summit between US and Chinese leaders that is expected to focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

The South Korean foreign ministry said it “threatens the peace and safety of the international community as well as the Korean peninsula”.

But Tillerson responded to the test with an aenigmatic statement saying only: “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”

A few hours earlier, before news of the new missile launch broke, a senior Trump administration official suggested time was running out for a diplomatic solution.

“We would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations,” the official said. “They have been given that opportunity over the course in different dialogues and offers over the course of four administrations with some of best diplomats and statesmen doing the best they could to bring about a resolution.

“The clock has now run out and all options are on the table for us.”

The missile was launched on Wednesday from Sinpo, a port city on North Korea’s east coast, and flew about 60km (37 miles), South Korea’s office of the joint chiefs of staff said in a short statement. Sinpo is the site of a North Korean submarine base.

The launch comes as the US president, Donald Trump, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, prepare for a summit this week at which adding pressure on the North to drop its arms development will take centre stage.

Abraham Denmark, a senior Asia policy official in Barack Obama’s Pentagon, said the North Korean launch was a statement of defiance ahead of the meeting, in which North Korea will top the agenda. “I would interpret the message to the United States and China from North Korea as ‘we’re going to continue to move down this path, and you cannot do anything about it,” Denmark said.

Tillerson’s reticence contrasts with Trump’s more aggressive recent comments on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

In an interview with the Financial Times this week, Trump warned that the US was prepared to take unilateral action against Pyongyang if China failed to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.

“Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” Trump said. Asked how he would tackle North Korea, he said: “I’m not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East.”

He added: “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”

North Korea’s foreign ministry criticised Trump’s comments and ongoing joint military exercises involving South Korea and the US that Pyongyang claims are a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

The “reckless actions” are driving the tense situation on the Korean peninsula “to the brink of a war”, a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency. It said the idea that the US could deprive Pyongyang of its “nuclear deterrent” through sanctions was “the wildest dream”.

Any launch of objects using the ballistic missile technology is a violation of UN security council resolutions but the North has defied the ban, claiming it is an infringement of its sovereign rights to self defence and pursuit of space exploration.

In a statement the US Pacific Command said it had detected and tracked the missile launch at 11.42am Hawaii time. “The launch of a single ballistic missile occurred at a land-based facility near Sinpo. The missile was tracked until it landed in the Sea of Japan at 11.51am. Initial assessments indicate the type of missile was a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile,” the statement said.

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, warned of the possibility of further provocations by North Korea and said Tokyo would continue to work closely with the US to counter threats from missile launches.

Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS thinktank in Honolulu, said he was expecting North Korea to draw attention to itself to coincide with the Trump-Xi summit, perhaps by conducting a nuclear test.

“I’ve joked before that they don’t mind being hated but they definitely hate to be ignored,” Cossa said.

Pyongyang has also conducted two nuclear weapons tests since January 2016 and is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could hit the US, with its leader, Kim Jong-un, vowing to test launch one at any time.

Experts and officials in the South and the US believe the North is still some time away from mastering all the technology needed for an operational ICBM system, such as re-entry of the atmosphere and subsequent missile guidance.

Topping the agenda of the US-China summit in Florida will be whether Trump will make good on his threat to use crucial trade ties with China as a means of pressuring Beijing to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

A senior White House official said Trump’s meeting with Xi was a test for the US-Chinese relationship and that Trump wants economic ties that are fair, balanced and based on reciprocity.

China has condemned North Korean nuclear and missile tests but is wary of any measures that could lead to the regime’s collapse. Beijing fears political turmoil in the North could trigger a refugee crisis and see tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops lined up along its border.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/05/north-korea-launches-ballistic-missile-into-sea-says-seoul

Story 3: Syria Chemical Nerve Gas Weapons Air Attack in Idlib Provence — Videos

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Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map idlib syriaImage result for syrian gas attack april 2017  Image result for syrian gas attack april 2017Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why?

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Aftermath of Syrian chemical attack sparks outrage

World leaders condemn the Syrian chemical attack

Syria nerve gas attack: Chemical weapons expert debunks Assad’s defense

War in Syria: Russia and West clash over Idlib gas attack (part 1)

Published on Apr 5, 2017

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On Tuesday in Idlib, a province in the Northwest of Syria, at least seventy people were killed, 20 of them children, in what appears to have been a chemical weapon attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Initial reports point to the nerve agent Sarin gas. Our panel of experts asks who was behind this attack. What explanations are being given, and do they stack up?
Click here for PART TWO.

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Children caught in Syria ‘chemical attack’- BBC News

Published on Apr 5, 2017

The UN Security Council has held an emergency session to discuss the suspected gas attack on a rebel-held town in Syria. The attack is believed to have killed more than 70 people, including children. The Syrian government has denied responsibility, while its ally Russia says the gas came from rebel weapons on the ground. But those claims have been widely rejected by western governments, as our Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet reports.

Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib kills 58 – BBC News

Published on Apr 4, 2017

At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating some of the survivors, medics and opposition activists said. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Condemns Russia, Iran After Chemical Attack In Syria | NBC News

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UNSC holds emergency meeting on Syria chemical attack

WATCH LIVE: U.N. Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting On Syria Chemical Attack | TIME

Story 4:  Valid Use of National Security Agency (NSA) Intelligence or Abuse of Power of NSA Intelligence For Political Purposes — Big Lie Media Blackout of Obamagate Surveillance/Spying Scandal with Susan Rice Unmasking American Identities For Foreign Intelligence Purpose (Legal and Legitimate) or Political Partisan Purpose (Illegal and Illegitimate) — Videos

Image result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmaskingImage result for liars bengahziImage result for cartoons susan rice unmaskingImage result for susan rice unmasking

Malzberg | Andrew McCarthy: Rice Unmasking “Extraordinarily Serious”

Chicago’s Morning Answer – Andrew McCarthy – April 5, 2017

Fmr. FBI agent defines the Susan Rice unmasking

Hannity: Exposing the Obama administration’s sabotage

Tucker Carlson Tonight Full Show 4/4/2017 – Fox News HD April 03, 2017

Judge Napolitano on if Susan Rice did anything illegal

Susan Rice: ‘I Leaked Nothing To Nobody’ About Intelligence (Exclusive) | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

The optics of the Susan Rice revelations

Ron Paul on the fallout from the Susan Rice controversy

Susan Rice Slithers Through A Maze of Mendacity, Lies and Misrepresentation With MSM Support

Did Susan Rice break any laws?

Gutfeld: Did Susan Rice break the law?

Rand Paul: Susan Rice ‘Ought to Be Under Subpoena,’ Asked If Obama Knew About Eavesdropping

Why the Susan Rice Unmasking Case Is Important and What You Need to Know

Ingraham blasts lack of media coverage on Susan Rice story

Laura Ingraham takes on the Susan Rice revelations

Where does the Susan Rice story go from here?

Krauthammer: Susan Rice appears to be contradicting herself

Bloomberg Reports Susan Rice Repeatedly Asked To Unmask Names of Trump Aides – Hugh Hewitt

Susan Rice’s White House Unmasking: A Watergate-style Scandal

by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY April 4, 2017 12:08 PM

Her interest was not in national security but to advance the political interests of the Democratic party.

The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.

Remember that.

Why is that so important in the context of explosive revelations that Susan Rice, President Obama’s national-security adviser, confidant, and chief dissembler, called for the “unmasking” of Trump campaign and transition officials whose identities and communications were captured in the collection of U.S. intelligence on foreign targets?

Because we’ve been told for weeks that any unmasking of people in Trump’s circle that may have occurred had two innocent explanations: (1) the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election and (2) the need to know, for purposes of understanding the communications of foreign intelligence targets, the identities of Americans incidentally intercepted or mentioned. The unmasking, Obama apologists insist, had nothing to do with targeting Trump or his people.

That won’t wash.

In general, it is the FBI that conducts investigations that bear on American citizens suspected of committing crimes or of acting as agents of foreign powers. In the matter of alleged Russian meddling, the investigative camp also includes the CIA and the NSA. All three agencies conducted a probe and issued a joint report in January. That was after Obama, despite having previously acknowledged that the Russian activity was inconsequential, suddenly made a great show of ordering an inquiry and issuing sanctions.

Consequently, if unmasking was relevant to the Russia investigation, it would have been done by those three agencies. And if it had been critical to know the identities of Americans caught up in other foreign intelligence efforts, the agencies that collect the information and conduct investigations would have unmasked it. Because they are the agencies that collect and refine intelligence “products” for the rest of the “intelligence community,” they are responsible for any unmasking; and they do it under “minimization” standards that FBI Director James Comey, in recent congressional testimony, described as “obsessive” in their determination to protect the identities and privacy of Americans.

Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies.

The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.

The FBI, CIA, and NSA generate or collect the intelligence in, essentially, three ways: conducting surveillance on suspected agents of foreign powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and carrying out more-sweeping collections under two other authorities — a different provision of FISA, and a Reagan-era executive order that has been amended several times over the ensuing decades, EO 12,333. As Director Comey explained, in answering questions posed by Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), those three agencies do collection, investigation, and analysis. In general, they handle any necessary unmasking — which, due to the aforementioned privacy obsessiveness, is extremely rare. Unlike Democratic-party operatives whose obsession is vanquishing Republicans, the three agencies have to be concerned about the privacy rights of Americans. If they’re not, their legal authority to collect the intelligence — a vital national-security power — could be severely curtailed when it periodically comes up for review by Congress, as it will later this year.

As Director Comey explained, in answering questions posed by Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), those three agencies do collection, investigation, and analysis. In general, they handle any necessary unmasking — which, due to the aforementioned privacy obsessiveness, is extremely rare. Unlike Democratic-party operatives whose obsession is vanquishing Republicans, the three agencies have to be concerned about the privacy rights of Americans. If they’re not, their legal authority to collect the intelligence — a vital national-security power — could be severely curtailed when it periodically comes up for review by Congress, as it will later this year.

Those three collecting agencies — FBI, CIA, and NSA — must be distinguished from other components of the government, such as the White House. Those other components, Comey elaborated, “are consumers of our products.” That is, they do not collect raw intelligence and refine it into useful reports — i.e., reports that balance informational value and required privacy protections. They read those reports and make policy recommendations based on them. White House staffers are not supposed to be in the business of controlling the content of the reports; they merely act on the reports.

Thus, Comey added, these consumers “can ask the collectors to unmask.” But the unmasking authority “resides with those who collected the information.”

Of course, the consumer doing the asking in this case was not just any government official. We’re talking about Susan Rice.

This was Obama’s right hand doing the asking. If she made an unmasking “request,” do you suppose anyone at the FBI, CIA, or NSA was going to say no? That brings us to three interesting points.

The first involves political intrusion into law enforcement — something that the White House is supposed to avoid. (You may remember that Democrats ran Bush attorney general Alberto Gonzales out of town over suspicions about it.) As I have noted repeatedly, in publishing the illegally leaked classified information about former national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the New York Times informs us that “Obama advisers” and “Obama officials” were up to their eyeballs in the investigation:

Obama advisers heard separately from the F.B.I. about Mr. Flynn’s conversation with Mr. Kislyak, whose calls were routinely monitored by American intelligence agencies that track Russian diplomats. The Obama advisers grew suspicious that perhaps there had been a secret deal between the incoming team and Moscow, which could violate the rarely enforced, two-century-old Logan Act barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the United States.

The Obama officials asked the F.B.I. if a quid pro quo had been discussed on the call, and the answer came back no, according to one of the officials, who like others asked not to be named discussing delicate communications. [Translation: “asked not to be named committing felony unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”] The topic of sanctions came up, they were told, but there was no deal. [Emphasis added.]

It appears very likely that Susan Rice was involved in the unmasking of Michael Flynn. Was she also monitoring the FBI’s investigation? Was she involved in the administration’s consideration of (bogus) criminal charges against Flynn? With the subsequent decision to have the FBI interrogate Flynn (or “grill” him, as the Times put it)?

The second point is that, while not a pillar of rectitude, Ms. Rice is not an idiot. Besides being shrewd, she was a highly involved, highly informed consumer of intelligence, and a key Obama political collaborator. Unlike the casual reader, she would have known who the Trump-team players were without needing to have their identities unmasked. Do you really think her purpose in demanding that names be revealed was to enhance her understanding of intelligence about the activities and intentions of foreign targets? Seriously? I’m betting it was so that others down the dissemination chain could see the names of Trump associates — names the investigating agencies that originally collected the information had determined not to unmask.

Third, and finally, let’s consider the dissemination chain Rice had in mind. The most telling remark that former Obama deputy defense secretary Evelyn Farkas made in her now-infamous MSNBC interview was the throw-away line at the end: “That’s why you have all the leaking.”

The most telling remark that former Obama deputy defense secretary Evelyn Farkas made in her now-infamous MSNBC interview was the throw-away line at the end: “That’s why you have all the leaking.”

To summarize: At a high level, officials like Susan Rice had names unmasked that would not ordinarily be unmasked. That information was then being pushed widely throughout the intelligence community in unmasked form . . . particularly after Obama, toward the end of his presidency, suddenly — and seemingly apropos of nothing — changed the rules so that all of the intelligence agencies (not just the collecting agencies) could have access to raw intelligence information.

As we know, the community of intelligence agencies leaks like a sieve, and the more access there is to juicy information, the more leaks there are. Meanwhile, former Obama officials and Clinton-campaign advisers, like Farkas, were pushing to get the information transferred from the intelligence community to members of Congress, geometrically increasing the likelihood of intelligence leaks.

By the way, have you noticed that there have been lots of intelligence leaks in the press?

There’s an old saying in the criminal law: The best evidence of a conspiracy is success.

The criminal law also has another good rule of thumb: Consciousness of guilt is best proved by false exculpatory statements. That’s a genre in which Susan Rice has rich experience.

Two weeks ago, she was asked in an interview about allegations by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) that the Obama administration had unmasked Trump-team members. “I know nothing about this,” Rice replied. “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.” Well, at least she didn’t blame it on a video.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/446415/susan-rice-unmasking-trump-campaign-members-obama-administration-fbi-cia-nsa

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The Pronk Pops Show 865, March 31, 2017, Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos — Story 2: Obama Administration Spied On American Citizens Including Trump and Trump Team — Obama Scandal Far Worse Than Nixon’s Cover-up of Watergate Break-in — Legacy Fading Fast — Grand Jury Should Be Impaneled Now! — Videos

Posted on March 31, 2017. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Communications, Computers, Congress, Consitutional Law, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Language, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Mike Pence, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite  vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos —

 

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,”

 Image result for trump tweet freedom caususImage result for Trump on freedom caucus ring leaders

Image result for cartoons obama spyied on trump

Image result for obama spied on trump

Limbaugh on Trump’s Shots at Freedom Caucus: These Guys Are Not the Enemy — Dems Are the Enemy

Laura Ingraham: ‘Really Unhelpful’ to Trump’s Agenda for Him to Be Slamming House Freedom Caucus

Hannity 3⁄31⁄17 ¦ HANNITY Fox News March 31, 2017

Laura Ingraham: Trump’s Attacks on Freedom Caucus ‘Ridiculous’

Hannity: Freedom Caucus not to blame for health care failure

Newt Gingrich outlines why GOP health care bill failed

Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan: Ryan’s Legislation Doesn’t Lower Premiums For Americans!

Rep. Mo Brooks Files A Bill To Repeal Obamacare

Published on Mar 27, 2017

On the same day that the House of Representatives canceled its vote on Ryancare, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks filed a simple one-line bill to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.
The Huntsville Republican titled the bill ‘Obamacare Repeal Act.” It is short and to the point, AI.com reported.
“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,” the bill reads.
Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told constituents last week that he was a “no” vote on the Obamacare repeal/replace bill offered by Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Also last week, in an interview with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Brooks called the Speaker’s bill “a horrible replacement bill.”

Rep. Brooks: We need a bill that repeals Obamacare

Rep. Mo Brooks: ‘Deceptive’ to call GOP’s plan a repeal of Obamacare

Donald Trump THREATENS The Freedom Caucus, said Rush Limbaugh

SEAN SPICER ON TRUMP’S ANTI FREEDOM CAUCUS TWEET

Rand Paul: 75 Percent Chance We Repeal Obamacare

Ep. 239: Trump Needs To Lead Not Oppose The Freedom Caucus

Employers Will Cut Wages and Workers to Pay for Obamacare Premiums

News Wrap: Trump takes aim at the Freedom Caucus

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The House Freedom Caucus: What You Need To Know | TIME

Wh On Changes Of President Trump Working With House Freedom Caucus Again: It Depends – Cavuto

Mark Levin Interviews Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows

Is The House Freedom Caucus Unwilling to take “Yes” For an Answer?

Freedom Caucus’s reasonable demand on Obamacare repeal

By WASHINGTON EXAMINER 3/31/17 12:01 AM

President Trump and most of official Washington blames the House Freedom Caucus for the death of the American Health Care Act. There is some, but not complete, justification for this.

But the Freedom Caucus’s top members have since laid out a clear path to passage or repeal and replace, and are showing a willingness to compromise. They have made a perfectly reasonable and prudent bid in the negotiation.

If the White House, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Republican centrists actually want to repeal and replace Obamacare, they should accept the Freedom Caucus’s offer. If they reject it, it will demonstrate that they didn’t mean it when they campaigned for election on a platform that included killing the 2010 law.

Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows laid out his conditions in an editorial board meeting at the Washington Examiner Thursday.

The Affordable Health Care Act repealed the employer mandate and the individual mandate. That’s two of Obamacare’s 12 mandates, by Meadows’ count.

“The Freedom Caucus has asked for two [more] to be included in the repeal,” Meadows said, “which would bring us to a total of four of the twelve Obamacare mandates. That’s our ask: These Obamacare mandates repealed in exchange for Yes votes.”

The Essential Health Benefits and “Community Rating” are the two regulations the Freedom Caucus wants dead.

Meadows said that with this change the legislation could probably win over most Freedom Caucus members. “With the text that actually repeals the two mandates, the EHBs and the community rating, it would bring the vast majority of the Freedom Caucus to yes”

This is a major concession. It means the Freedom Caucus is not demanding full repeal. It’s allowing most Obamacare mandates to stay in place, in order to assuage centrists. A week ago, through an amendment that leaked out but never saw congressional action, the Freedom Caucus was asking for a repeal of the rule barring lifetime limits, among other deregulations.

“We have come from six requests down to two,” Meadows said Thursday.

Meadows also said he can swallow the AHCA’s refundable tax credits, which amount to federal spending and a new entitlement. “We got over that three weeks ago… We fully believe we’re creating a new entitlement by doing that. That being said, our main goal, our only goal, is to lower premiums.”

Axing EHB and community rating regulations are the way to lower premiums.

Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits regulation outlaws insurance plans that don’t include sufficient coverage of a long list of treatments and services. This outlaws more affordable health insurance plans and forces people to carry more insurance than they want.

Centrists may balk at repealing these because Democrats get away with gross misrepresentation of the effect of this move.

Just because EHBs require coverage for ambulance rides doesn’t mean you couldn’t buy ambulance coverage if the regulations were repealed. First, other state and federal mandates on minimum coverage already exist. But even without mandates insurers, being businesses, tend to sell people products they want to buy. And if people want maternity coverage, they can buy maternity coverage. A thing need not be mandated to be available. It’s the difference between “may” and “must.”

“Community Rating” is the name for Obamacare’s price controls on premiums. An insurer can’t raise premiums on risky individuals without also raising premiums on less risky individuals. The result is that everyone’s premiums go up.

“Every major healthcare policy expert says” those two regs “are the two that most drive healthcare premiums up,” Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan said. “So you have to get those repealed.”

These are sound requests. They would bring down insurance premiums and untangle some of the regulatory web Obamacare has woven. So the stage is set for an Obamacare replacement compromise: keep the tax credits from the first bill, keep most of Obamacare’s mandates, keep the incomplete Medicaid reform. Just kill these two costly regulations.

But Republican centrists might not accept this deal. “We’re talking about asking for a little over 15 percent of the Obamacare mandates to be repealed,” Meadows said, “and we can’t get a yes for that?”

“We’re willing to give the moderates something they want, whether it’s on Medicaid expansion or additional monies for perhaps something they say that was being pulled out. But in the end, the request is pretty simple: two of 12 Obamacare mandates.”

“The narrative is out there that we’ve moved the goalposts,” Meadows said. “Well, we have. We’ve moved them much closer so all they have to do is kick a little chip shot…”

The House Freedom Caucus has often been obstinate and sometimes wrong. This time, they’re being flexible, and they are right on the substance. The Speaker and the president should take them up on their offer. If this still doesn’t get 216 votes, then the problem isn’t the stubborn conservatives, it’s the supposedly reasonable centrists.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/freedom-caucuss-reasonable-demand-on-obamacare-repeal/article/2618961

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

904

 

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

A majority of American voters oppose the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, while very few voters support it, a new poll finds.

A poll published Thursday by Quinnipiac University found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of the GOP healthcare plan, while just 17 percent support it.

Even among Republicans, only 41 percent support the American Health Care Act, while 24 percent oppose it. And 80 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Independent voters disapprove of the plan.

Republicans are scrambling to shore up support for the repeal-and-replace bill ahead of an expected House vote later Thursday. President Trump is meeting with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who are seeking a number of changes to the bill in exchange for their support.But centrist Republicans are fleeing from the bill as it changes to fit the conservatives’ desires, complicating efforts to get the bill passed in the House.

The poll found that 46 percent of voters say they will be less likely to vote for their Congressional representative if they vote to approve the GOP health insurance plan.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from March 16 to 21 and surveyed 1,056 voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325448-poll-majority-of-voters-disapprove-of-gop-obamacare-repeal-plan

 

Community rating

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Star of Life, incorporating the rod of Asclepius, a symbol of medical care

Community rating is a concept usually associated with health insurance, which requires health insurance providers to offer health insurance policies within a given territory at the same price to all persons without medical underwriting, regardless of their health status.

Pure community rating prohibits insurance rate variations based on demographic characteristics such as age or gender, whereas adjusted or modified community rating allows insurance rate variations based on demographic characteristics such as age or gender.

Concept

Community rating, as a basis for premium calculation, is fundamentally different from the usual method of determining insurance premiums, i.e. risk rating. In a risk rated insurance market, an insurer calculates the premium payable by a potential policy holder in order to enter into an insurance contract on the basis of various factors particular to that individual, such as the risk of a claim occurring, and the value of any such claims during the term of an insurance policy. In a community rated market, the insurer may not calculate premium on the basis of the risk factors attaching to the particular person wishing to purchase an insurance contract, but rather the risk factors applying to all persons within the market as a whole. Thus, in a community rated market, the insurer evaluates the risk factors of market population, and not those of any one person when calculating premiums.[1] Some form of risk equalization also often exists in a community rated system.

  • Health insurers vary premium rates based on case characteristics, such as:
    • benefit design
    • family composition
    • demographic characteristics:
      • age
      • gender
      • geographic area
      • occupation
      • industry
    • lifestyle factors:
      • tobacco use
      • weight
    • health status and claims history
  • Community rating — prohibits insurers from varying rates based on health status or claims history
    • Pure community rating — allows insurers to vary rates based on benefit design and family composition only
      • Limited variation in rates by geographic area is sometimes included in the pure community rating category (e.g. New York City)
    • Adjusted (modified) community rating — allows insurers to also vary rates based on demographic characteristics (e.g. age and gender) and lifestyle factors (e.g. tobacco use)
  • Guaranteed issue — requires insurers to issue insurance to any eligible applicant without regard to health status or other case characteristics

Occurrence

Community rating of supplemental private health insurance:

  • Australia,[2]Ireland[3] — lifetime community rating of private hospital insurance supplemental to universal publicly financed hospital insurance

Community rating of basic private health insurance:

  • Netherlands — age and gender rating illegal = pure community rating; individual guaranteed issue
    • individual mandate with low-income government subsidies for 40% of households[4][5]
  • Switzerland — age and gender rating illegal = pure community rating; individual guaranteed issue
    • individual mandate with low-income government subsidies for 40% of households[4]
  • United States[6]
    • age rating limited to 3:1 (300 percent); gender rating illegal; individual guaranteed issue
    • individual and employer mandates with government subsidies for individuals with income up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level – those with lower incomes pay lower costs.
    • tobacco use can increase premiums up to 1.5:1, while geographic factors can also affect price.

References

  1. Jump up^ Neuhaus, Walther (November 1995). “Community rating and equalisation” (PDF). ASTIN Bulletin. 25 (2): 95–118. doi:10.2143/AST.25.2.563242.
  2. Jump up^ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (November 25, 2004). Private health insurance in OECD countries. Paris: OECD. p. 78. ISBN 92-64-00668-0.
  3. Jump up^ “Introduction of Lifetime Community Rating (LCR) to the Private Health Insurance Market: FAQ and Examples”(PDF). Irish Department of Health. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Leu, Robert E.; Rutten, Frans F. H.; Brouwer, Werner; Matter, Pius; Rütschi, Christian (January 16, 2009). “The Swiss and Dutch health insurance systems: universal coverage and regulated competitive insurance markets” (PDF). Commonwealth Fund.
  5. Jump up^ Thomson, Sarah; Mossialos, Elias (June 24, 2009). “Private health insurance in the European Union” (PDF). European Commission.
  6. Jump up^ http://www.acscan.org/pdf/healthcare/implementation/background/NewFederalRatingRules.pdf

Essential health benefits

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the context of health care in the United States, essential health benefits (EHBs) are a set of benefits that certain health insurance plans are required to cover for patients.[1]

Essential health benefits must be offered by health plans in individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace.[2][3] Large-group health plans, self-insured ERISA plans, and ERISA-governed multiemployer welfare arrangements not subject to state insurance law are exempt from the EHB requirement.[4]

Essential health benefits

The ACA sets forth the following ten categories of essential health benefits,[5][6] at Section 1302(b)(1) of the Affordable Care Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 18022(b):[7]

  1. Ambulatory patient services. [outpatient care]
  2. Emergency services.
  3. Hospitalization. [inpatient care]
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
  6. Prescription drugs.
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
  10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

The essential health benefits are a minimum standard: “Qualified health plans are not barred from offering additional benefits, and states may require that qualified health plans sold in state health insurance exchanges also cover state-mandated benefits.”[8]

The ACA’s list of essential health benefits is defined in terms of ten broad classes.[9] The act gives “considerable discretion” to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine, through regulation, what specific services within these classes are essential. However, the Act provides certain parameters for the secretary to consider. The secretary (1) must “ensure that such essential health benefits reflect an appropriate balance among the categories … so that benefits are not unduly weighted toward any category”; (2) may “not make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life”; (3) must take into account “the health care needs of diverse segments of the population, including women, children, persons with disabilities, and other groups”; and (4) must ensure that essential benefits “not be subject to denial to individuals against their wishes on the basis of the individuals’ age or expected length of life or the individuals’ present or predicted disability, degree of medical dependency, or quality of life.”[10]

According to a Commonwealth Fund report in 2011:

As it stands, federal regulations for 2014 and 2015 do not establish a single, nationally uniform package of health services. Instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave states discretion to determine the specific benefits they deem essential. This approach was well-received by many state officials, who valued the opportunity to tailor benefit standards to reflect state priorities, and by insurers, who retained more control over benefit design. Groups representing consumers and providers were less supportive, however, expressing concern that the degree of flexibility found in the rules undermines the law’s promise of consistent, meaningful coverage.[11]

History

Coverage of essential health benefits was first required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) of 2010, which was a major piece of health care reform legislation.[1] The EHB provisions of the ACA was an amendment to the Public Health Service Act.[12]

Dr. Shana Alex Lavarreda, the director of health insurance studies for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, explains that before the ACA’s passage, U.S. health insurance sector experienced “a race to the bottom, with insurers cutting benefits to lower premiums.”[1] The establishment of essential health benefits “set a standard for insurance. Anything below that is not true health insurance.”[1] The EHB requirement came into effect on January 1, 2014.[1]

Revision and repeal of essential health benefits coverage was proposed in the Republican part American Health Care Act of 2017.[13] House Freedom Caucus members lobbied during legislation discussion with House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove EHBs as a condition for approval of the AHCA bill.[14]

Comparison with minimum essential coverage

Essential health benefits should not be confused with minimum essential coverage (MEC). MEC is the minimum amount of coverage that an individual must carry to meet the individual health insurance mandate, while EHBs are a set of benefits that qualified health plans (QHPs) must offer.[15] MEC is a low threshold; many forms of coverage that do not provide essential health benefits are nevertheless considered minimum essential coverage.[15]

Notes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Frank Lalli, The Health Care Law’s 10 Essential Benefits: The Affordable Care Act ensures you’ll have access to these medical and wellness services, AARP The Magazine (August/September 2013).
  2. Jump up^ Essential Health Benefits, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  3. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  4. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  5. Jump up^ 10 health care benefits covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  6. Jump up^ Alexandra Ernst, 10 Essential Health Benefits Insurance Plans Must Cover Starting in 2014, FamiliesUSA (March 28, 2013).
  7. Jump up^ 42 U.S. Code § 18022 – Essential health benefits requirements
  8. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  9. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  10. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, pp. 3-4
  11. Jump up^ Giovannelli, Lucia & Corlette, p. 2.
  12. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  13. Jump up^ “Republicans may gut an overlooked provision of Obamacare — and disrupt health insurance”. Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  14. Jump up^ Luhby, Tami. “Essential Health Benefits and why they matter”. CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b Susan Grassli & Lisa Klinger, Understanding the Difference between Minimum Essential Coverage, Essential Health Benefits, Minimum Value, and Actuarial Value, Leavitt Group (January 27, 2014).

Sources

External links

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Acronyms(colloquial) PPACA, ACA
Nicknames Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Reform, Healthcare Reform, Obamacare
Enacted by the 111th United States Congress
Effective March 23, 2010; 7 years ago
Most major provisions phased in by January 2014; remaining provisions phased in by 2020
Citations
Public law 111–148
Statutes at Large 124 Stat.119through 124 Stat.1025(906 pages)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseasthe “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590) byCharles Rangel (DNY) on September 17, 2009
  • Committee consideration byWays and Means
  • Passed the House on October 8, 2009 (416–0)
  • Passed the Senate as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on December 24, 2009 (60–39) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on March 21, 2010 (219–212)
  • Signed into law by PresidentBarack Obamaon March 23, 2010
Major amendments
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
United States Supreme Court cases
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
King v. Burwell

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by PresidentBarack Obama on March 23, 2010. Under the act, hospitals and primary physicians would transform their practices financially, technologically, and clinically to drive better health outcomes, lower costs, and improve their methods of distribution and accessibility.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding insurance coverage and reduce the costs of healthcare. It introduced mechanisms including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges.[1][2] The law requires insurers to accept all applicants, cover a specific list of conditions and charge the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[3]

The ACA has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance, with estimates ranging from 20-24 million additional persons covered during 2016.[4][5] Increases in overall healthcare spending have slowed since the law was implemented, including premiums for employer-based insurance plans.[6] The Congressional Budget Office reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the budget deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8]

As implementation began, first opponents, then others, and finally the president himself adopted the term “Obamacare” to refer to the ACA.[9]

The law and its implementation faced challenges in Congress and federal courts, and from some state governments, conservativeadvocacy groups, labor unions, and small business organizations. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power,[10]found that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion,[11][12][13] and found that the law’s subsidies to help individuals pay for health insurance are available in all states, not just in those that have set up state exchanges.[14]

Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][18]

Contents

 [show] 

Provisions

The President and White House Staff react to the House of Representatives passing the bill on March 21, 2010.

The ACA includes provisions to take effect between 2010 and 2020, although most took effect on January 1, 2014. Few areas of the US health care system were left untouched, making it the most sweeping health care reform since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][19][18] However, some areas were more affected than others. The individual insurance market was radically overhauled, and many of the law’s regulations applied specifically to this market,[15] while the structure of Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer marketwere largely retained.[16] Most of the coverage gains were made through the expansion of Medicaid,[20] and the biggest cost savings were made in Medicare.[16] Some regulations applied to the employer market, and the law also made delivery system changes that affected most of the health care system.[16] Not all provisions took full effect. Some were made discretionary, some were deferred, and others were repealed before implementation.

Individual insurance

Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. States were required to ensure the availability of insurance for individual children who did not have coverage via their families.

States were required to expand Medicaid eligibility to include individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, including adults without disabilities or dependent children.[21] The law provides a 5% “income disregard”, making the effective income eligibility limit for Medicaid 138% of the poverty level.[22]

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment process was simplified.[21]

Dependents were permitted to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until their 26th birthday, including dependents that no longer live with their parents, are not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, are no longer a student, or are married.[23][24]

Among the groups who remained uninsured were:

  • Illegal immigrants, estimated at around 8 million—or roughly a third of the 23 million projection—are ineligible for insurance subsidies and Medicaid.[25][26] They remain eligible for emergency services.
  • Eligible citizens not enrolled in Medicaid.[27]
  • Citizens who pay the annual penalty instead of purchasing insurance, mostly younger and single.[27]
  • Citizens whose insurance coverage would cost more than 8% of household income and are exempt from the penalty.[27]
  • Citizens who live in states that opt out of the Medicaid expansion and who qualify for neither existing Medicaid coverage nor subsidized coverage through the states’ new insurance exchanges.[28]

Subsidies

Households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level were eligible to receive federal subsidies for policies purchased via an exchange.[29][30] Subsidies are provided as an advanceable, refundable tax credit[31][32] Additionally, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit provided that they enroll in the SHOP Marketplace.[33] Under the law, workers whose employers offer affordable coverage will not be eligible for subsidies via the exchanges. To be eligible the cost of employer-based health insurance must exceed 9.5% of the worker’s household income.

Subsidies (2014) for Family of 4[34][35][36][37][38]
Income % of federal poverty level Premium Cap as a Share of Income Incomea Max Annual Out-of-Pocket Premium Premium Savingsb Additional Cost-Sharing Subsidy
133% 3% of income $31,900 $992 $10,345 $5,040
150% 4% of income $33,075 $1,323 $9,918 $5,040
200% 6.3% of income $44,100 $2,778 $8,366 $4,000
250% 8.05% of income $55,125 $4,438 $6,597 $1,930
300% 9.5% of income $66,150 $6,284 $4,628 $1,480
350% 9.5% of income $77,175 $7,332 $3,512 $1,480
400% 9.5% of income $88,200 $8,379 $2,395 $1,480
a.^ Note: In 2014, the FPL was $11,800 for a single person and $24,000 for family of four.[39][40] See Subsidy Calculator for specific dollar amount.[41] b.^ DHHS and CBO estimate the average annual premium cost in 2014 would have been $11,328 for a family of 4 without the reform.[36]

Premiums were the same for everyone of a given age, regardless of preexisting conditions. Premiums were allowed to vary by enrollee age, but those for the oldest enrollees (age 45-64 average expenses $5,542) could only be three times as large as those for adults (18-24 $1,836).[42]

Mandates

Individual

The individual mandate[43] is the requirement to buy insurance or pay a penalty for everyone not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance programs (such as Tricare). Also exempt were those facing a financial hardship or who were members in a recognized religious sect exempted by the Internal Revenue Service.[44]

The mandate and the limits on open enrollment[45][46] were designed to avoid the insurance death spiral in which healthy people delay insuring themselves until they get sick. In such a situation, insurers would have to raise their premiums to cover the relatively sicker and thus more expensive policies,[43][47][48] which could create a vicious cycle in which more and more people drop their coverage.[49]

The purpose of the mandate was to prevent the healthcare system from succumbing to adverse selection, which would result in high premiums for the insured and little coverage (and thus more illness and medical bankruptcy) for the uninsured.[47][50][51] Studies by the CBO, Gruber and Rand Health concluded that a mandate was required.[52][53][54] The mandate increased the size and diversity of the insured population, including more young and healthy participants to broaden the risk pool, spreading costs.[55] Experience in New Jersey and Massachusetts offered divergent outcomes.[50][53][56]

Business

Businesses that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees pay a tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee’s healthcare through tax deductions or other means. This is commonly known as the employer mandate.[57][58] This provision was included to encourage employers to continue providing insurance once the exchanges began operating.[59] Approximately 44% of the population was covered directly or indirectly through an employer.[60][61]

Excise taxes

Excise taxes for the Affordable Care Act raised $16.3 billion in fiscal year 2015 (17% of all excise taxes collected by the Federal Government). $11.3 billion was an excise tax placed directly on health insurers based on their market share. The ACA was going to impose a 40% “Cadillac tax” on expensive employer sponsored health insurance but that was postponed until 2018. Annual excise taxes totaling $3 billion were levied on importers and manufacturers of prescription drugs. An excise tax of 2.3% on medical devices and a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services were applied as well.[62]

Insurance standards

Essential health benefits

The National Academy of Medicine defined the law’s “essential health benefits” as “ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care”[63][64][65][66][67][68][69] and others[70] rated Level A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.[71] In determining what would qualify as an essential benefit, the law required that standard benefits should offer at least that of a “typical employer plan”.[68] States may require additional services.[72]

Contraceptives

One provision in the law mandates that health insurance cover “additional preventive care and screenings” for women.[73] The guidelines mandate “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”.[74] This mandate applies to all employers and educational institutions except for religious organizations.[75][76] These regulations were included on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.[77][78]

Risk management

ACA provided three ways to control risk for insurers in the individual and business markets: temporary reinsurance, temporary risk corridors, and permanent risk adjustment.

Risk corridor program

The risk-corridor program was a temporary risk management device defined under the PPACA section 1342[79]:1 to encourage reluctant insurers into the “new and untested” ACA insurance market during the first three years that ACA was implemented (2014-2016). For those years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “would cover some of the losses for insurers whose plans performed worse than they expected. Insurers that were especially profitable, for their part, would have to return to HHS some of the money they earned on the exchanges”[80][81] According to an article in Forbes, risk corridors “had been a successful part of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the ACA’s risk corridors were modeled after Medicare’s Plan D.”[82] They operated on the principle that “more participation would mean more competition, which would drive down premiums and make health insurance more affordable” and “[w]hen insurers signed up to sell health plans on the exchanges, they did so with the expectation that the risk-corridor program would limit their downside losses.”[80] The risk corridors succeeded in attracting ACA insurers. The program did not pay for itself as planned with “accumulated losses” up to $8.3 billion for 2014 and 2015 alone. Authorization had to be given so that HHS could pay insurers from “general government revenues”. Congressional Republicans “railed against” the program as a ‘bailout’ for insurers. Then-Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), on the Appropriations Committee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department “[slipped] in a sentence” — Section 227 — in the “massive” appropriationsConsolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547) that said that no funds in the discretionary spending bill “could be used for risk-corridor payments.” This effectively “blocked the administration from obtaining the necessary funds from other programs”[83] and placed Congress in a potential breach of contract with insurers who offered qualified health plans, under the Tucker Act[79] as it did not pay the insurers.[84][84] On February 10, 2017, in the Moda Health v the US Government, Moda, one of the insurers that struggled financially because of the elimination of the risk corridor program, won a “$214-million judgment against the federal government”. Justice Thomas C. Wheeler stated, “the Government “made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, ‘to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.”[85]

Temporary reinsurance

Temporary reinsurance for insurance for insurers against unexpectedly high claims was a program that ran from 2014 through 2016. It was intended to limit insurer losses.[citation needed]

Risk adjustment

Of the three risk management programs, only risk adjustment was permanent. Risk adjustment attempts to spread risk among insurers to prevent purchasers with good knowledge of their medical needs from using insurance to cover their costs (adverse selection). Plans with low actuarial risk compensate plans with high actuarial risk.[citation needed]

Other provisions

In 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse created this summary to explain his view on the act.

The ACA has several other provisions:

  • Annual and lifetime coverage caps on essential benefits were banned.[86][87]
  • Prohibits insurers from dropping policyholders when they get sick.[88]
  • All health policies sold in the United States must provide an annual maximum out of pocket (MOOP) payment cap for an individual’s or family’s medical expenses (excluding premiums). After the MOOP payment cap is reached, all remaining costs must be paid by the insurer.[89]
  • A partial community rating requires insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).[90][91][92] Premiums for older applicants can be no more than three times those for the youngest.[93]
  • Preventive care, vaccinations and medical screenings cannot be subject to co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.[94][95][96] Specific examples of covered services include: mammograms and colonoscopies, wellness visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, STI counseling, HIV screening and counseling, contraceptive methods, breastfeeding support/supplies and domestic violence screening and counseling.[97]
  • The law established four tiers of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. All categories offer the essential health benefits. The categories vary in their division of premiums and out-of-pocket costs: bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums and highest out-of-pocket costs, while platinum plans are the reverse.[68][98] The percentages of health care costs that plans are expected to cover through premiums (as opposed to out-of-pocket costs) are, on average: 60% (bronze), 70% (silver), 80% (gold), and 90% (platinum).[99]
  • Insurers are required to implement an appeals process for coverage determination and claims on all new plans.[88]
  • Insurers must spend at least 80–85% of premium dollars on health costs; rebates must be issued to policyholders if this is violated.[100][101]

Exchanges

Established the creation of health insurance exchanges in all fifty states. The exchanges are regulated, largely online marketplaces, administered by either federal or state government, where individuals and small business can purchase private insurance plans.[102][103][104]

Setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance.[105][106] For example, states approve plans for sale, and influence (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They can impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state can cover abortion.[107] States without an exchange do not have that discretion. The responsibility for operating their exchanges moves to the federal government.[105]

State waivers

From 2017 onwards, states can apply for a “waiver for state innovation” that allows them to conduct experiments that meet certain criteria.[108] To obtain a waiver, a state must pass legislation setting up an alternative health system that provides insurance at least as comprehensive and as affordable as ACA, covers at least as many residents and does not increase the federal deficit.[109] Such states can exempt states from some of ACA’s central requirements, including the individual and employer mandates and the provision of an insurance exchange.[110] The state would receive compensation equal to the aggregate amount of any federal subsidies and tax credits for which its residents and employers would have been eligible under ACA plan, if they cannot be paid out due to the structure of the state plan.[108]

In May 2011, Vermont enacted Green Mountain Care, a state-based single-payer system for which they intended to pursue a waiver to implement.[111][112][113] In December 2014, Vermont decided not to continue due to high expected costs.[114]

Accountable Care Organizations

The Act allowed the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals and other providers that commit to give coordinated, high quality care to Medicare patients. ACOs were allowed to continue using a fee for service billing approach. They receive bonus payments from the government for minimizing costs while achieving quality benchmarks that emphasize prevention and mitigating chronic disease. If they fail to do so, they are subject to penalties.[115]

Unlike Health Maintenance Organizations, ACO patients are not required to obtain all care from the ACO. Also, unlike HMOs, ACOs must achieve quality of care goals.[115]

Others

Legislative history

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010

Background

An individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare was considered the best way to win the support of the Senate because it had been included in prior bipartisan reform proposals. The concept goes back to at least 1989, when the conservativeHeritage Foundation proposed an individual mandate as an alternative to single-payer health care.[125] It was championed for a time by conservative economists and Republican senators as a market-based approach to healthcare reform on the basis of individual responsibility and avoidance of free rider problems. Specifically, because the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires any hospital participating in Medicare (nearly all do) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, the government often indirectly bore the cost of those without the ability to pay.[126][127][128]

President Bill Clintonproposed a healthcare reform bill in 1993 that included a mandate for employers to provide health insurance to all employees through a regulated marketplace of health maintenance organizations. Republican Senators proposed an alternative that would have required individuals, but not employers, to buy insurance.[127]Ultimately the Clinton plan failed amid an unprecedented barrage of negative advertising funded by politically conservative groups and the health insurance industry and due to concerns that it was overly complex.[129] Clinton negotiated a compromise with the 105th Congress to instead enact the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997.[130]

John Chafee

The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups’.[131] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans such as Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett and Kit Bond.[132][133] Of 1993’s 43 Republican Senators, 20 supported the HEART Act.[125][134] Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision;[135] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance”.[136] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate; Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H. W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.”[125]

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts went from 90% of its residents insured to 98%, the highest rate in the nation.[137]

In 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law.[138] Romney’s implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured”. Romney said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.”[139]

In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which featured an individual mandate and state-based, regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”.[128][139] The bill initially attracted bipartisan support, but died in committee. Many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate.[140]

By 2008 many Democrats were considering this approach as the basis for healthcare reform. Experts said that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bore similarities to the 2007 bill[131] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan.[141]

Healthcare debate, 2008–10

Healthcare reform was a major topic during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. As the race narrowed, attention focused on the plans presented by the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and the eventual nominee, Barack Obama. Each candidate proposed a plan to cover the approximately 45 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance at some point each year. Clinton’s proposal would have required all Americans to obtain coverage (in effect, an individual mandate), while Obama’s proposal provided a subsidy but rejected the use of an individual mandate.[142][143]

During the general election, Obama said that fixing healthcare would be one of his top four priorities as president.[144] Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, proposed health insurance reforms though they differed greatly. Senator John McCain proposed tax credits for health insurance purchased in the individual market, which was estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by about 2 million by 2018. Obama proposed private and public group insurance, income-based subsidies, consumer protections, and expansions of Medicaid and SCHIP, which was estimated at the time to reduce the number of uninsured people by 33.9 million by 2018.[145]

President Obama addressing Congress regarding healthcare reform, September 9, 2009

After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[146][147] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives.[148] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, along with Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe — met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate healthcare reform bill.[149][150][151]

Congressional Democrats and health policy experts like MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber[152] and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”.[153] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer)Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to garner the votes necessary for passage.[154][155]

However, following the adoption of an individual mandate, Republicans came to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[125] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to prevent defections:[156]

It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[157]

Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[128] Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “the provision … requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[127][134]

Tea Party protesters at the Taxpayer March on Washington, September 12, 2009

The reform negotiations also attracted attention from lobbyists,[158] including deals between certain lobby groups and the advocates of the law to win the support of groups that had opposed past reforms, as in 1993.[159][160] The Sunlight Foundation documented many of the reported ties between “the healthcare lobbyist complex” and politicians in both parties.[161]

During the August 2009 summer congressional recess, many members went back to their districts and held town hall meetings on the proposals. The nascent Tea Party movement organized protests and many conservative groups and individuals attended the meetings to oppose the proposed reforms.[147] Many threats were made against members of Congress over the course of the debate.[162][163]

When Congress returned from recess, in September 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress supporting the ongoing Congressional negotiations.[164] He acknowledged the polarization of the debate, and quoted a letter from the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy urging on reform: “what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”[165] On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220–215 vote and forwarded it to the Senate for passage.[147]

Senate

The Senate began work on its own proposals while the House was still working. The United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House.[166] To formally comply with this requirement, the Senate used H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax changes for service members.[167] It had been passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill became the Senate’s vehicle for its healthcare reform proposal, discarding the bill’s original content.[168] The bill ultimately incorporated elements of proposals that were reported favorably by the Senate Health and Finance committees. With the Republican Senate minority vowing to filibuster, 60 votes would be necessary to pass the Senate.[169] At the start of the 111th Congress, Democrats had only 58 votes; the Senate seat in Minnesota ultimately won by Al Franken was still undergoing a recount, while Arlen Specter was still a Republican (he became a Democrat in April, 2009).

Negotiations were undertaken attempting to satisfy moderate Democrats and to bring Republican senators aboard; particular attention was given to Republicans Bennett, Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. On July 7 Franken was sworn into office, providing a potential 60th vote. On August 25 Ted Kennedy—a longtime healthcare reform advocate—died. Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

After the Finance Committee vote on October 15, negotiations turned to moderate Democrats. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying centrists. The holdouts came down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson. Lieberman’s demand that the bill not include a public option[153][170] was met,[171] although supporters won various concessions, including allowing state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[171][172]

Senate vote by state.

  Democratic yes (58)
  Independent yes (2)
  Republican no (39)
 Republican not voting (1)

The White House and Reid addressed Nelson’s concerns[173] during a 13-hour negotiation with two concessions: a compromise on abortion, modifying the language of the bill “to give states the right to prohibit coverage of abortion within their own insurance exchanges”, which would require consumers to pay for the procedure out of pocket if the state so decided; and an amendment to offer a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement for Nebraska.[147][174] The latter half of the compromise was derisively termed the “Cornhusker Kickback”[175] and was repealed in the subsequent reconciliation amendment bill.

On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[176] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[177]

On January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Kennedy, having campaigned on giving the Republican minority the 41st vote needed to sustain Republican filibusters.[147][178][179] His victory had become significant because of its effects on the legislative process. The first was psychological: the symbolic importance of losing Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat made many Congressional Democrats concerned about the political cost of passing a bill.[180][181]

House

House vote by congressional district.

  Democratic yes (219)
  Democratic no (34)
  Republican no (178)
  No representative seated (4)

Brown’s election meant Democrats could no longer break a filibuster in the Senate. In response, White House Chief of StaffRahm Emanuel argued that Democrats should scale back to a less ambitious bill; House SpeakerNancy Pelosi pushed back, dismissing Emanuel’s scaled-down approach as “Kiddie Care”.[182][183]

Obama remained insistent on comprehensive reform. The news that Anthem Blue Cross in California intended to raise premium rates for its patients by as much as 39% gave him new evidence of the need for reform.[182][183] On February 22, he laid out a “Senate-leaning” proposal to consolidate the bills.[184] He held a meeting with both parties’ leaders on February 25. The Democrats decided that the House would pass the Senate’s bill, to avoid another Senate vote.

House Democrats had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. Since any bill that emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill.[181] They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed by the reconciliation process.[182][185][186]

As per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. But reconciliation is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was not used to pass ACA in the first place; the bill had inherently non-budgetary regulations.[187][188] Although the already-passed Senate bill could not have been passed by reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well-suited for reconciliation.”[185]

The remaining obstacle was a pivotal group of pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak who were initially reluctant to support the bill. The group found the possibility of federal funding for abortion significant enough to warrant opposition. The Senate bill had not included language that satisfied their concerns, but they could not address abortion in the reconciliation bill as it would be non-budgetary. Instead, Obama issued Executive Order 13535, reaffirming the principles in the Hyde Amendment.[189] This won the support of Stupak and members of his group and assured the bill’s passage.[186][190] The House passed the Senate bill with a 219–212 vote on March 21, 2010, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it.[191] The next day, Republicans introduced legislation to repeal the bill.[192] Obama signed ACA into law on March 23, 2010.[193] Since passage, Republicans have voted to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act over sixty times; no such attempt by Republicans has been successful.[194] The amendment bill, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, cleared the House on March 21; the Senate passed it by reconciliation on March 25, and Obama signed it on March 30.

Impact

Coverage rate, employer market cost trends, budgetary impact, and income inequality aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

This chart illustrates several aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including number of persons covered, cost before and after subsidies, and public opinion.

Coverage

The law has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance. The CDC reported that the percentage of people without health insurance fell from 16.0% in 2010 to 8.9% during the January–June 2016 period.[195] From Q4-2013 to Q1-2016, a Gallup survey found that the uninsured rate among adults declined from 17.1% to 11.0%, a decline of 6.1 percentage points.[196] In a 2016 review, Obama presented data showing that the uninsured rate had declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015, mostly in 2014.[197] The uninsured rate dropped in every congressional district in the U.S. between 2013 and 2015.[198]

In March 2016, the CBO reported that there were approximately 27 million people without insurance in 2016, a figure they expected would range from 26-28 million through 2026. CBO also estimated the percentage of insured among all U.S. residents would remain at 90% through that period, 92-93% excluding unauthorized immigrants.[4]

Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200]

The Congressional Budget Office reported in March 2016 that there were approximately 12 million people covered by the exchanges (10 million of whom received subsidies to help pay for insurance) and 11 million made eligible for Medicaid by the law, a subtotal of 23 million people. An additional 1 million were covered by the ACA’s “Basic Health Program,” for a total of 24 million.[4] CBO also estimated that the ACA would reduce the net number of uninsured by 22 million in 2016, using a slightly different computation for the above figures totaling ACA coverage of 26 million, less 4 million for reductions in “employment-based coverage” and “non-group and other coverage.”[4] The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimated that 20.0 million adults (aged 18–64) gained healthcare coverage via ACA as of February 2016, a 2.4 million increase over September 2015. HHS estimated that this 20.0 million included: a) 17.7 million from the start of open enrollment in 2013-2016; and b) 2.3 million young adults aged 19–25 who initially gained insurance from 2010-2013, as they were allowed to remain on their parent’s plans until age 26. Of the 20.0 million, an estimated 6.1 million were aged 19–25.[5]

By 2017, nearly 70% of those on the exchanges could purchase insurance for less than $75/month after subsidies, which rose to offset significant pre-subsidy price increases in the exchange markets.[201] Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202]

The ACA also helps reduce income inequality measured after taxes, due to higher taxes on the top 5% of income earners and both subsidies and Medicaid expansion for lower-income persons.[203] CBO estimated that subsidies paid under the law in 2016 averaged $4,240 per person for 10 million individuals receiving them, roughly $42 billion. For scale, the subsidy for the employer market, in the form of exempting from taxation those health insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees by employers, was approximately $1,700 per person in 2016, or $266 billion total in the employer market. The employer market subsidy was not changed by the law.[4]

Insurance exchanges

As of August 2016, 15 states operated their own exchanges. Other states either used the federal exchange, or operated in partnership with or supported by the federal government.[204]

Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion by state.[205]

  Adopted the Medicaid expansion
  Medicaid expansion under discussion
  Not adopting Medicaid expansion

As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200] Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, which held that states would not lose Medicaid funding if they didn’t expand Medicaid under the ACA, several states rejected expanded Medicaid coverage. Over half of the national uninsured population lived in those states.[206] In a report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent above previous estimates. An estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[207] The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in October 2015 that 3.1 million additional people were not covered because of states that rejected the Medicaid expansion.[208]

States that rejected the Medicaid expansion could maintain their Medicaid eligibility thresholds, which in many states were significantly below 133% of the poverty line.[209]Many states did not make Medicaid available to childless adults at any income level.[210] Because subsidies on exchange insurance plans were not available to those below the poverty line, such individuals had no new options.[211][212] For example, in Kansas, where only able-bodied adults with children and with an income below 32% of the poverty line were eligible for Medicaid, those with incomes from 32% to 100% of the poverty level ($6,250 to $19,530 for a family of three) were ineligible for both Medicaid and federal subsidies to buy insurance. Absent children, able-bodied adults were not eligible for Medicaid in Kansas.[206]

Studies of the impact of state decisions to reject the Medicaid expansion calculated that up to 6.4 million people could fall into this status.[213] The federal government initially paid for 100% of the expansion (through 2016). The subsidy tapered to 90% by 2020 and continued to shrink thereafter.[214] Several states argued that they could not afford their 10% contribution.[214][215] Studies suggested that rejecting the expansion would cost more than expanding Medicaid due to increased spending on uncompensated emergency care that otherwise would have been partially paid for by Medicaid coverage,[216]

A 2016 study led by Harvard University health economics professor Benjamin Sommers found that residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, which both accepted the Medicaid expansion, were more likely to receive health care services and less likely to incur emergency room costs or have trouble paying their medical bills than before the expansion. Residents of Texas, which did not accept the Medicaid expansion, did not see a similar improvement during the same period.[217] Kentucky opted for increased managed care, while Arkansas subsidized private insurance. The new Arkansas and Kentucky governors have proposed reducing or modifying their programs. Between 2013 and 2015, the uninsured rate dropped from 42% to 14% in Arkansas and from 40% to 9% in Kentucky, compared with 39% to 32% in Texas. Specific improvements included additional primary and preventive care, fewer emergency departments visits, reported higher quality care, improved health, improved drug affordability, reduced out-of-pocket spending and increased outpatient visits, increased diabetes screening, glucose testing among diabetes patients and regular care for chronic conditions.[218]

A 2016 DHHS study found that states that expanded Medicaid had lower premiums on exchange policies, because they had fewer low-income enrollees, whose health on is worse than that of those with higher income.[219]

Healthcare insurance costs

U.S. healthcare cost information, including rate of change, per-capita, and percent of GDP. (Data source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services[220])

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[221] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[222]

Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate after the implementation of the law. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202] From 2008-2010 (prior to Obamacare) health insurance premiums rose by an average of 10% per year.[223]

Several studies found that the financial crisis and accompanying recession could not account for the entirety of the slowdown and that structural changes likely share at least partial credit.[224][225][226][227] A 2013 study estimated that changes to the health system had been responsible for about a quarter of the recent reduction in inflation.[228] Paul Krawzak claimed that even if cost controls succeed in reducing the amount spent on healthcare, such efforts on their own may be insufficient to outweigh the long-term burden placed by demographic changes, particularly the growth of the population on Medicare.[229]

In a 2016 review of the ACA published in JAMA, Barack Obama himself wrote that from 2010 through 2014 mean annual growth in real per-enrollee Medicare spending was negative, down from a mean of 4.7% per year from 2000 through 2005 and 2.4% per year from 2006 to 2010; similarly, mean real per-enrollee growth in private insurance spending was 1.1% per year over the period, compared with a mean of 6.5% from 2000 through 2005 and 3.4% from 2005 to 2010.[230]

Effect on deductibles and co-payments

While health insurance premium costs have moderated, some of this is because of insurance policies that have a higher deductible, co-payments and out-of-pocket maximums that shift costs from insurers to patients. In addition, many employees are choosing to combine a health savings account with higher deductible plans, making the impact of the ACA difficult to determine precisely.

For those who obtain their insurance through their employer (“group market”), a 2016 survey found that:

  • Deductibles grew by 63% from 2011 to 2016, while premiums increased 19% and worker earnings grew by 11%.
  • In 2016, 4 in 5 workers had an insurance deductible, which averaged $1,478. For firms with less than 200 employees, the deductible averaged $2,069.
  • The percentage of workers with a deductible of at least $1,000 grew from 10% in 2006 to 51% in 2016. The 2016 figure drops to 38% after taking employer contributions into account.[231]

For the “non-group” market, of which two-thirds are covered by the ACA exchanges, a survey of 2015 data found that:

  • 49% had individual deductibles of at least $1,500 ($3,000 for family), up from 36% in 2014.
  • Many marketplace enrollees qualify for cost-sharing subsidies that reduce their net deductible.
  • While about 75% of enrollees were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their choice of doctors and hospitals, only 50% had such satisfaction with their annual deductible.
  • While 52% of those covered by the ACA exchanges felt “well protected” by their insurance, in the group market 63% felt that way.[232]

Health outcomes

Insurance coverage helps save lives, by encouraging early detection and prevention of dangerous medical conditions. According to a 2014 study, the ACA likely prevented an estimated 50,000 preventable patient deaths from 2010 to 2013.[233]City University public health professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler wrote in January 2017 that a rollback of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion alone would cause an estimated 43,956 deaths annually.[234]

Federal deficit

CBO estimates of revenue and impact on deficit

The CBO reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8][235][236] The 2011 comprehensive CBO estimate projected a net deficit reduction of more than $200 billion during the 2012–2021 period:[8][237] it calculated the law would result in $604 billion in total outlays offset by $813 billion in total receipts, resulting in a $210 billion net deficit reduction.[8] The CBO separately predicted that while most of the spending provisions do not begin until 2014,[238][239] revenue would exceed spending in those subsequent years.[240] The CBO claimed that the bill would “substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs”[241]—ultimately extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 8 years.[242]

This estimate was made prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling that enabled states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, thereby forgoing the related federal funding. The CBO and JCT subsequently updated the budget projection, estimating the impact of the ruling would reduce the cost estimate of the insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion.[243][244][245]

The CBO in June 2015 forecasted that repeal of ACA would increase the deficit between $137 billion and $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period, depending on the impact of macroeconomic feedback effects. The CBO also forecasted that repeal of ACA would likely cause an increase in GDP by an average of 0.7% in the period from 2021 to 2015, mainly by boosting the supply of labor.[7]

Major new sources of increased tax receipts include:[95] higher Medicare taxes; annual fees on insurance providers; fees on the healthcare industry such as manufacturers and importers of brand-name pharmaceutical drugs and certain medical devices; limits on tax deductions of medical expenses and flexible spending accounts; a 40% excise tax on plans with annual insurance premiums in excess of $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family; revenue from mandate penalty payments; a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services. Predicted spending reductions included a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to insurers and drug companies for private Medicare Advantage policies that the Government Accountability Office and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found to be excessively costly relative to government Medicare;[246][247] and reductions in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that failed standards of efficiency and care.[246]

Although the CBO generally does not provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period because of the degree of uncertainty involved in the projection, it decided to do so in this case at the request of lawmakers, and estimated a second decade deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion.[241][248] CBO predicted deficit reduction around a broad range of one-half percent of GDP over the 2020s while cautioning that “a wide range of changes could occur”.[249]

Opinions on CBO projections

The CBO cost estimates were criticized because they excluded the effects of potential legislation that would increase Medicare payments by more than $200 billion from 2010 to 2019.[250][251][252] However, the so-called “doc fix” is a separate issue that would have existed whether or not ACA became law – omitting its cost from ACA was no different from omitting the cost of other tax cuts.[253][254][255]

Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health economist, wrote. “The rigid, artificial rules under which the Congressional Budget Office must score proposed legislation unfortunately cannot produce the best unbiased forecasts of the likely fiscal impact of any legislation”, but went on to say “But even if the budget office errs significantly in its conclusion that the bill would actually help reduce the future federal deficit, I doubt that the financing of this bill will be anywhere near as fiscally irresponsible as was the financing of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.”[256]Douglas Holtz-Eakin, CBO director during the George W. Bush administration, who later served as the chief economic policy adviser to U.S. Senator John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign, alleged that the bill would increase the deficit by $562 billion because, he argued, it front-loaded revenue and back-loaded benefits.[257]

Scheiber and Cohn rejected critical assessments of the law’s deficit impact, arguing that predictions were biased towards underestimating deficit reduction. They noted that for example, it is easier to account for the cost of definite levels of subsidies to specified numbers of people than account for savings from preventive healthcare, and that the CBO had a track record of overestimating costs and underestimating savings of health legislation;[258][259] stating, “innovations in the delivery of medical care, like greater use of electronic medical records[260] and financial incentives for more coordination of care among doctors, would produce substantial savings while also slowing the relentless climb of medical expenses… But the CBO would not consider such savings in its calculations, because the innovations hadn’t really been tried on such large scale or in concert with one another—and that meant there wasn’t much hard data to prove the savings would materialize.”[258]

In 2010 David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General then working for The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, stated that the CBO estimates are not likely to be accurate, because they were based on the assumption that the law would not change.[261] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities objected that Congress had a good record of implementing Medicare savings. According to their study, Congress followed through on the implementation of the vast majority of provisions enacted in the past 20 years to produce Medicare savings, although not the payment reductions addressed by the annual “doc fix”.[262][263]

Economic consequences

CBO estimated in June 2015 that repealing the ACA would:

  • Decrease aggregate demand (GDP) in the short-term, as low-income persons who tend to spend a large fraction of their additional resources would have fewer resources (e.g., ACA subsidies would be eliminated). This effect would be offset in the long-run by the labor supply factors below.
  • Increase the supply of labor and aggregate compensation by about 0.8 and 0.9 percent over the 2021-2025 period. CBO cited the ACA’s expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies and tax credits that rise with income as disincentives to work, so repealing the ACA would remove those disincentives, encouraging workers to supply more hours of labor.
  • Increase the total number of hours worked by about 1.5% over the 2021-2025 period.
  • Remove the higher tax rates on capital income, thereby encouraging additional investment, raising the capital stock and output in the long-run.[7]

In 2015 the Center for Economic and Policy Research found no evidence that companies were reducing worker hours to avoid ACA requirements[264] for employees working over 30 hours per week.[265]

The CBO estimated that the ACA would slightly reduce the size of the labor force and number of hours worked, as some would no longer be tethered to employers for their insurance. Cohn, citing CBO’s projections, claimed that ACA’s primary employment effect was to alleviate job lock: “People who are only working because they desperately need employer-sponsored health insurance will no longer do so.”[266] He concluded that the “reform’s only significant employment impact was a reduction in the labor force, primarily because people holding onto jobs just to keep insurance could finally retire”, because they have health insurance outside of their jobs.[267]

Employer mandate and part-time work

For more details on health insurance mandates, see Health insurance mandate.

The employer mandate requires employers meeting certain criteria to provide health insurance to their workers. The mandate applies to employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers.[268] Critics claimed that the mandate created a perverse incentive for business to keep their full-time headcount below 50 and to hire part-time workers instead.[269][270] Between March 2010 and 2014 the number of part-time jobs declined by 230,000, while the number of full-time jobs increased by 2 million.[271][272] In the public sector full-time jobs turned into part-time jobs much more than in the private sector.[271][273] A 2016 study found only limited evidence that ACA had increased part-time employment.[274]

Several businesses and the state of Virginia added a 29-hour-a-week cap for their part-time employees,[275][unreliable source?][276][unreliable source?] to reflect the 30-hour-or-more definition for full-time worker.[268] As of yet, however, only a small percent of companies have shifted their workforce towards more part-time hours (4% in a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).[270] Trends in working hours[277] and the effects of the Great Recession correlate with part-time working hour patterns.[278][279] The impact of this provision may have been offset by other factors, including that health insurance helps attract and retain employees, increases productivity and reduces absenteeism; and the lower training and administration costs of a smaller full-time workforce over a larger part-time work force.[270][277][280] Relatively few firms employ over 50 employees[270] and more than 90% of them offered insurance.[281] Workers without employer insurance could purchase insurance on the exchanges.[282]

Most policy analysts (on both right and left) were critical of the employer mandate provision.[269][281] They argued that the perverse incentives regarding part-time hours, even if they did not change existing plans, were real and harmful;[283][284] that the raised marginal cost of the 50th worker for businesses could limit companies’ growth;[285] that the costs of reporting and administration were not worth the costs of maintaining employer plans;[283][284] and noted that the employer mandate was not essential to maintain adequate risk pools.[286][287] The effects of the provision generated vocal opposition from business interests and some unions not granted exemptions.[284][288]

A 2013/4 survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that about 75 percent of those surveyed said ACA hadn’t influenced their planning or expectations for 2014, and 85 percent said the law wouldn’t prompt a change in their hiring practices. Some 21 percent of 64 businesses surveyed said that the act would have a harmful effect and 5 percent said it would be beneficial.[289]

Hospitals

From the start of 2010 to November 2014, 43 hospitals in rural areas closed. Critics claimed that the new law caused these hospitals to close. Many of these rural hospitals were built using funds from the 1946 Hill–Burton Act, to increase access to medical care in rural areas. Some of these hospitals reopened as other medical facilities, but only a small number operated emergency rooms (ER) or urgent care centers.[290]

Between January 2010 and 2015, a quarter of emergency room doctors said they had seen a major surge in patients, while nearly half had seen a smaller increase. Seven in ten ER doctors claimed that they lacked the resources to deal with large increases in the number of patients. The biggest factor in the increased number of ER patients was insufficient primary care providers to handle the larger number of insured patients.[291]

Insurers claimed that because they have access to and collect patient data that allow evaluations of interventions, they are essential to ACO success. Large insurers formed their own ACOs. Many hospitals merged and purchased physician practices. The increased market share gave them more leverage in negotiations with insurers over costs and reduced patient care options.[115]

Public opinion

Prior to the law’s passage, polling indicated the public’s views became increasingly negative in reaction to specific plans discussed during the legislative debate over 2009 and 2010. Polling statistics showed a general negative opinion of the law; with those in favor at approximately 40% and those against at 51%, as of October 2013.[292][293] About 29% of whites approve of the law, compared with 61% of Hispanics and 91% of African Americans.[294]Opinions were divided by age of the person at the law’s inception, with a solid majority of seniors opposing the bill and a solid majority of those younger than forty years old in favor.[295]

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Specific elements were popular across the political spectrum, while others, such as the mandate to purchase insurance, were widely disliked. In a 2012 poll 44% supported the law, with 56% against. By party affiliation, 75% of Democrats, 27% of Independents and 14% of Republicans favored the law overall. 82% favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, 61% favored allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, 72% supported requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employees, and 39% supported the individual mandate to own insurance or pay a penalty. By party affiliation, 19% of Republicans, 27% of Independents, and 59% of Democrats favored the mandate.[296] Other polls showed additional provisions receiving majority support, including the creation of insurance exchanges, pooling small businesses and the uninsured with other consumers so that more people can take advantage of large group pricing benefits and providing subsidies to individuals and families to make health insurance more affordable.[297][298]

In a 2010 poll, 62% of respondents said they thought ACA would “increase the amount of money they personally spend on health care”, 56% said the bill “gives the government too much involvement in health care”, and 19% said they thought they and their families would be better off with the legislation.[299] Other polls found that people were concerned that the law would cost more than projected and would not do enough to control costs.[300]

Some opponents believed that the reform did not go far enough: a 2012 poll indicated that 71% of Republican opponents rejected it overall, while 29% believed it did not go far enough; independent opponents were divided 67% to 33%; and among the much smaller group of Democratic opponents, 49% rejected it overall and 51% wanted more.[296] In June 2013, a majority of the public (52–34%) indicated a desire for “Congress to implement or tinker with the law rather than repeal it”.[301] After the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, a 2012 poll held that “most Americans (56%) want to see critics of President Obama’s health care law drop efforts to block it and move on to other national issues”.[302]A 2014 poll reported that 48.9% of respondents had an unfavorable view of ACA vs. 38.3% who had a favorable view (of more than 5,500 individuals).[303]

A 2014 poll reported that 26% of Americans support ACA.[304] Another held that 8% of respondents say that the Affordable Care Act “is working well the way it is”.[305] In late 2014, a Rasmussen poll reported Repeal: 30%, Leave as is: 13%, Improve: 52%, i.e., 65% wanted to leave ACA alone or improve upon it.[306]

In 2015, a CBS News / New York Times poll reported that 47% of Americans approved the health care law. This was the first time that a major poll indicated that more respondents approved ACA than disapproved of it.[307] The recurring Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from December 2016 reported that: a) 30% wanted to expand what the law does; b) 26% wanted to repeal the entire law; c) 19% wanted to move forward with implementing the law as it is; and d) 17% wanted to scale back what the law does, with the remainder undecided.[308]

Separate polls from Fox News and NBC/WSJ both taken during January 2017 indicated more people viewed the law favorably than did not for the first time. One of the reasons for the improving popularity of the law is that Democrats who opposed it in the past (many prefer a “Medicare for All” approach) have shifted their positions since the ACA is under threat of repeal.[309]

A January 2017 Morning Consult poll showed that 35% of respondents either believed that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different or did not know.[310] Approximately 45% were unsure whether the repeal of Obamacare also meant the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.[310] 39% did not know that “many people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the A.C.A. were repealed and no replacement enacted,” with Democrats far more likely (79%) to know that fact than Republicans (47%).[310]

A 2017 study found that personal experience with public health insurance programs leads to greater support for the Affordable Care Act, and the effects appear to be most pronounced among Republicans and low-information voters.[311]

Political aspects

“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was originally coined by opponents as a pejorative. The term emerged in March 2007 when healthcare lobbyist Jeanne Schulte Scott used it in a health industry journal, writing “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care’, ‘Edwards-care’, and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care‘ from the 1990s”.[9][312] According to research by Elspeth Reeve, the expression was used in early 2007, generally by writers describing the candidate’s proposal for expanding coverage for the uninsured.[313] It first appeared in a political campaign by Mitt Romney in May 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romney said, “In my state, I worked on healthcare for some time. We had half a million people without insurance, and I said, ‘How can we get those people insured without raising taxes and without having government take over healthcare?’ And let me tell you, if we don’t do it, the Democrats will. If the Democrats do it, it will be socialized medicine; it’ll be government-managed care. It’ll be what’s known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare, or whatever you want to call it.”[9]

By mid-2012, Obamacare had become the colloquial term used by both supporters and opponents. In contrast, the use of “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or “Affordable Care Act” became limited to more formal and official use.[313] Use of the term in a positive sense was suggested by Democrat John Conyers.[314] Obama endorsed the nickname, saying, “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care.”[315]

In March 2012, the Obama reelection campaign embraced the term “Obamacare”, urging Obama’s supporters to post Twitter messages that begin, “I like #Obamacare because…”.[316]

In October 2013 the Associated Press and NPR began cutting back on use of the term.[317] Stuart Seidel, NPR’s managing editor, said that the term “seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular”.[318]

Common misconceptions

“Death panels”

Main article: Death panel

On August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin pioneered the term “death panels” to describe groups that would decide whether sick patients were “worthy” of medical care.[319] “Death panel” referred to two claims about early drafts.

One was that under the law, seniors could be denied care due to their age[320] and the other that the government would advise seniors to end their lives instead of receiving care. The ostensible basis of these claims was the provision for an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).[321] IPAB was given the authority to recommend cost-saving changes to Medicare by facilitating the adoption of cost-effective treatments and cost-recovering measures when the statutory levels set for Medicare were exceeded within any given 3-year period. In fact, the Board was prohibited from recommending changes that would reduce payments to certain providers before 2020, and was prohibited from recommending changes in premiums, benefits, eligibility and taxes, or other changes that would result in rationing.[322][323]

The other related issue concerned advance-care planning consultation: a section of the House reform proposal would have reimbursed physicians for providing patient-requested consultations for Medicare recipients on end-of-life health planning (which is covered by many private plans), enabling patients to specify, on request, the kind of care they wished to receive.[324] The provision was not included in ACA.[325]

In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that 85% of Americans were familiar with the claim, and 30% believed it was true, backed by three contemporaneous polls.[326] A poll in August 2012 found that 39% of Americans believed the claim.[327] The allegation was named PolitiFact‘s “Lie of the Year”,[319][328] one of FactCheck.org‘s “whoppers”[329][330] and the most outrageous term by the American Dialect Society.[331]AARP described such rumors as “rife with gross—and even cruel—distortions”.[332]

Members of Congress

ACA requires members of Congress and their staffs to obtain health insurance either through an exchange or some other program approved by the law (such as Medicare), instead of using the insurance offered to federal employees (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program).[333][334][335][336][337]

Illegal immigrants

ACA does not provide benefits to illegal immigrants.[338] It explicitly denies insurance subsidies to “unauthorized (illegal) aliens”.[25][26][339]

Exchange “death spiral”

One argument against the ACA is that the insurers are leaving the marketplaces, as they cannot profitably cover the available pool of customers, which contains too many unhealthy participants relative to healthy participants. A scenario where prices rise, due to an unfavorable mix of customers from the insurer’s perspective, resulting in fewer customers and fewer insurers in the marketplace, further raising prices, has been called a “Death Spiral.”[340]During 2017, the median number of insurers offering plans on the ACA exchanges in each state was 3.0, meaning half the states had more and half had fewer insurers. There were five states with one insurer in 2017; 13 states with two; 11 states with three; and the remainder had four insurers or more. Wisconsin had the most, with 15 insurers in the marketplace. The median number of insurers was 4.0 in 2016, 5.0 in 2015, and 4.0 in 2014.[341]

Further, the CBO reported in January 2017 that it expected enrollment in the exchanges to rise from 10 million during 2017 to 13 million by 2027, assuming laws in place at the end of the Obama administration were continued.[342] Following a 2015 CBO report that reached a similar conclusion, Paul Krugman wrote: “But the truth is that this report is much, much closer to what supporters of reform have said than it is to the scare stories of the critics–no death spirals, no job-killing, major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”[343]

Opposition

Opposition and efforts to repeal the legislation have drawn support from sources that include labor unions,[344][345]conservative advocacy groups,[346][347] Republicans, small business organizations and the Tea Party movement.[348] These groups claimed that the law would disrupt existing health plans, increase costs from new insurance standards, and increase the deficit.[349] Some opposed the idea of universal healthcare, viewing insurance as similar to other unsubsidized goods.[350][351] President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “repeal and replace” it.[352][353]

As of 2013 unions that expressed concerns about ACA included the AFL-CIO,[354] which called ACA “highly disruptive” to union health care plans, claiming it would drive up costs of union-sponsored plans; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE-HERE, whose leaders sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi arguing, ” ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”[345] In January 2014, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and D. Taylor, president of Unite Here sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi stating, “ACA, as implemented, undermines fair marketplace competition in the health care industry.”[344]

In October 2016, Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, said that the ACA had “many good features” but that it was “no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people” and called on the Minnesota legislature to provide emergency relief to policyholders.[355] Dayton later said he regretted his remarks after they were seized on by Republicans seeking to repeal the law.[356]

Legal challenges

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Opponents challenged ACA’s constitutionality in multiple lawsuits on multiple grounds.[357][358][not in citation given] In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5–4 vote that the individual mandate was constitutional when viewed as a tax, although not under the Commerce Clause.

The Court further determined that states could not be forced to participate in the Medicaid expansion. ACA withheld all Medicaid funding from states declining to participate in the expansion. The Court ruled that this withdrawal of funding was unconstitutionally coercive and that individual states had the right to opt out without losing preexisting Medicaid funding.[359]

Contraception mandate

In March 2012 the Roman Catholic Church, while supportive of ACA’s objectives, voiced concern through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that aspects of the mandate covering contraception and sterilization and HHS‘s narrow definition of a religious organization violated the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and conscience. Various lawsuits addressed these concerns.[360][361]

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that federal subsidies for health insurance premiums could be used in the 34 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.[362]

House v. Burwell

In United States House of Representatives v. Burwell the House sued the administration alleging that the money for premium subsidy payments to insurers had not been appropriated, as required for any federal government spending. The Obamacare subsidy that helps customers pay premiums was not part of the suit. Without the cost-sharing subsidies, the government estimated that premiums would increase by 20 percent to 30 percent for silver plans.[363]

Non-cooperation

Officials in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri opposed those elements of ACA over which they had discretion.[364][365] For example, Missouri declined to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance marketplace engaging in active non-cooperation, enacting a statute forbidding any state or local official to render any aid not specifically required by federal law.[366] Other Republican politicians discouraged efforts to advertise the benefits of the law. Some conservative political groups launched ad campaigns to discourage enrollment.[367][368]

Repeal efforts

ACA was the subject of unsuccessful repeal efforts by Republicans in the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses: Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced bills in the House to repeal ACA the day after it was signed, as did Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the Senate.[369] In 2011, after Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, one of the first votes held was on a bill titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” (H.R. 2), which the House passed 245–189.[370] All Republicans and 3 Democrats voted for repeal.[371] House Democrats proposed an amendment that repeal not take effect until a majority of the Senators and Representatives had opted out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Republicans voted down the measure.[372] In the Senate, the bill was offered as an amendment to an unrelated bill, but was voted down.[373] President Obama had stated that he would have vetoed the bill even if it had passed both chambers of Congress.[374]

2017 House Budget

Following the 2012 Supreme Court ruling upholding ACA as constitutional, Republicans held another vote to repeal the law on July 11;[375] the House of Representatives voted with all 244 Republicans and 5 Democrats in favor of repeal, which marked the 33rd, partial or whole, repeal attempt.[376][377] On February 3, 2015, the House of Representatives added its 67th repeal vote to the record (239 to 186). This attempt also failed.[378]

2013 federal government shutdown

Strong partisan disagreement in Congress prevented adjustments to the Act’s provisions.[379] However, at least one change, a proposed repeal of a tax on medical devices, has received bipartisan support.[380] Some Congressional Republicans argued against improvements to the law on the grounds they would weaken the arguments for repeal.[284][381]

Republicans attempted to defund its implementation,[365][382] and in October 2013, House Republicans refused to fund the federal government unless accompanied with a delay in ACA implementation, after the President unilaterally deferred the employer mandate by one year, which critics claimed he had no power to do. The House passed three versions of a bill funding the government while submitting various versions that would repeal or delay ACA, with the last version delaying enforcement of the individual mandate. The Democratic Senate leadership stated the Senate would only pass a “clean” funding bill without any restrictions on ACA. The government shutdown began on October 1.[383][384][385] Senate Republicans threatened to block appointments to relevant agencies, such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board[386] and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.[387][388]

2017 repeal effort

During a midnight congressional session starting January 11, 2017, the Senate of the 115th Congress of the United States voted to approve a “budget blueprint” which would allow Republicans to repeal parts of the law “without threat of a Democraticfilibuster.”[389][390] The plan, which passed 51-48 is a budget blueprint named by Senate Republicans the “Obamacare ‘repeal resolution.'”[391] Democrats opposing the resolution staged a protest during the vote.[392]

House Republicans announced their replacement for the ACA, the American Health Care Act, on March 6, 2017.[393] On March 24, 2017 the effort, led by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, to repeal and replace the ACA failed amid a revolt among Republican representatives.[394]

Implementation history

Once the law was signed, provisions began taking effect, in a process that continued for years. Some provisions never took effect, while others were deferred for various periods.

Existing individual health plans

Plans purchased after the date of enactment, March 23, 2010, or old plans that changed in specified ways would eventually have to be replaced by ACA-compliant plans.[citation needed]

At various times during and after the ACA debate, Obama stated that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan”.[395][396] However, in fall 2013 millions of Americans with individual policies received notices that their insurance plans were terminated,[397] and several million more risked seeing their current plans cancelled.[398][399][400]

Obama’s previous unambiguous assurance that consumers’ could keep their own plans became a focal point for critics, who challenged his truthfulness.[401][402] On November 7, 2013, President Obama stated: “I am sorry that [people losing their plans] are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”[403] Various bills were introduced in Congress to allow people to keep their plans.[404]

In the fall of 2013, the Obama Administration announced a transitional relief program that would let states and carriers allow non-compliant individual and small group policies to renew at the end of 2013. In March 2014, HHS allowed renewals as late as October 1, 2016. In February 2016, these plans were allowed to renew up until October 1, 2017, but with a termination date no later than December 31, 2017.[citation needed]

2010

In June small business tax credits took effect. For certain small businesses, the credits reached up to 35% of premiums. At the same time uninsured people with pre-existing conditions could access the federal high-risk pool. Also, participating employment-based plans could obtain reimbursement for a portion of the cost of providing health insurance to early retirees.[405]

In July the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) took effect to offer insurance to those that had been denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. Despite estimates of up to 700,000 enrollees, at a cost of approximately $13,000/enrollee, only 56,257 enrolled at a $28,994 cost per enrollee.[405]

2011

As of September 23, 2010, pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage for children’s policies. HHS interpreted this rule as a mandate for “guaranteed issue“, requiring insurers to issue policies to such children.[citation needed] By 2011, insurers had stopped marketing child-only policies in 17 states, as they sought to escape this requirement.[406]

The average beneficiary in the prior coverage gap would have spent $1,504 in 2011 on prescriptions. Such recipients saved an average $603. The 50 percent discount on brand name drugs provided $581 and the increased Medicare share of generic drug costs provided the balance. Beneficiaries numbered 2 million[407]

2012

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius decided on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional when the associated penalties were construed as a tax. The decision allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Several did so,[408] although some later accepted the expansion.[409]

2013

In January 2013 the Internal Revenue Service ruled that the cost of covering only the individual employee would be considered in determining whether the cost of coverage exceeded 9.5% of income. Family plans would not be considered even if the cost was above the 9.5% income threshold. This was estimated to leave 2–4 million Americans unable to afford family coverage under their employers’ plans and ineligible for subsidies.[410][411]

A June 2013 study found that the MLR provision had saved individual insurance consumers $1.2 billion in 2011 and $2.1 billion in 2012, reducing their 2012 costs by 7.5%.[412] The bulk of the savings were in reduced premiums, but some came from MLR rebates.

On July 2, 2013, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.[281][413][414]

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act) was enacted as Title VIII of Obamacare. It would have created a voluntary and public long-term care insurance option for employees.[121][123] In October 2011 the administration announced it was unworkable and would be dropped.[415] The CLASS Act was repealed January 1, 2013.[416]

The launch for both the state and federal exchanges was troubled due to management and technical failings. HealthCare.gov, the website that offers insurance through the exchanges operated by the federal government, crashed on opening and suffered endless problems.[417] Operations stabilized in 2014, although not all planned features were complete.[418][419]

CMS reported in 2013 that, while costs per capita continued to rise, the rate of increase in annual healthcare costs had fallen since 2002. Per capita cost increases averaged 5.4% annually between 2000 and 2013. Costs relative to GDP, which had been rising, had stagnated since 2009.[420] Several studies attempted to explain the reductions. Reasons included:

  • Higher unemployment due to the 2008-2010 recession, which limited the ability of consumers to purchase healthcare;
  • Out-of-pocket costs rose, reducing demand for healthcare services.[421] The proportion of workers with employer-sponsored health insurance requiring a deductible climbed to about three-quarters in 2012 from about half in 2006.[224]
  • ACA changes[224] that aim to shift the healthcare system from paying-for-quantity to paying-for-quality. Some changes occurred due to healthcare providers acting in anticipation of future implementation of reforms.[120][225]

2014

On July 30, 2014, the Government Accountability Office released a non-partisan study that concluded that the administration did not provide “effective planning or oversight practices” in developing the website.[422]

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby the Supreme Court exempted closely held corporations with religious convictions from the contraception rule.[423] In Wheaton College vs Burwell the Court issued an injunction allowing the evangelical college and other religiously affiliated nonprofit groups to completely ignore the contraceptive mandate.[424]

A study found that average premiums for the second-cheapest silver plan were 10-21% less than average individual market premiums in 2013, while covering many more conditions. Credit for the reduced premiums was attributed to increased competition stimulated by the larger market, greater authority to review premium increases, the MLR and risk corridors.[citation needed]

Many of the initial plans featured narrow networks of doctors and hospitals.[425][not in citation given]

A 2016 analysis found that health care spending by the middle class was 8.9% of household spending in 2014.[426]

2015

By the beginning of the year, 11.7 million had signed up (ex-Medicaid).[427] On December 31, 2015, about 8.8 million consumers had stayed in the program. Some 84 percent, or about 7.4 million, were subsidized.[428]

Bronze plans were the second most popular in 2015, making up 22% of marketplace plan selections. Silver plans were the most popular, accounting for 67% of marketplace selections. Gold plans were 7%. Platinum plans accounted for 3%. On average across the four metal tiers, premiums were up 20% for HMOs and 18% for EPOs. Premiums for POS plans were up 15% from 2015 to 2016, while PPO premiums were up just 8%.[citation needed]

A 2015 study found 14% of privately insured consumers received a medical bill in the past two years from an out-of-network provider in the context of an overall in-network treatment event. Such out-of-network care is not subject to the lower negotiated rates of in-network care, increasing out-of-pocket costs. Another 2015 study found that the average out-of-network charges for the majority of 97 medical procedures examined “were 300% or higher compared to the corresponding Medicare fees” for those services.[citation needed]

Some 47% of the 2015 ACA plans sold on the Healthcare.gov exchange lacked standard out-of-network coverage. Enrollees in such plans, typically received no coverage for out-of-network costs (except for emergencies or with prior authorization). A 2016 study on Healthcare.gov health plans found a 24 percent increase in the percentage of ACA plans that lacked standard out-of-network coverage.[citation needed]

The December spending bill delayed the onset of the “Cadillac tax” on expensive insurance plans by two years, until 2020.[429]

The average price of non-generic drugs rose 16.2% in 2015 and 98.2% since 2011.[426]

2016

As of March 2016 11.1 million people had purchased exchange plans,[citation needed] while an estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[207] 11.1 million were still covered, a decline of nearly 13 percent.[430] 6.1 million uninsured 19-25 year olds gained coverage.[431]

Employers

A survey of New York businesses found an increase of 8.5 percent in health care costs, less than the prior year’s survey had expected. A 10 percent increase was expected for 2017. Factors included increased premiums, higher drug costs, ACA and aging workers. Some firms lowered costs by increasing cost-sharing (for higher employee contributions, deductibles and co-payments). 60% planned to further increase cost-sharing. Coverage and benefits were not expected to change. Approximately one fifth said ACA had pushed them to reduce their workforce. A larger number said they were raising prices.[432]

Insurers

The five major national insurers expected to lose money on ACA policies in 2016.[433] UnitedHealth withdrew from the Georgia and Arkansas exchanges for 2017, citing heavy losses.[204] Humana exited other markets, leaving it operating in 156 counties in 11 states for 2017.[434] 225 counties across the country had access to only a single ACA insurer. A study released in May estimated that 664 counties would have one insurer in 2017.[435][not in citation given]

Aetna cancelled planned expansion of its offerings and following an expected $300 million loss in 2016 and then withdrew from 11 of its 15 states.[436] In August 2016 Anthem said that its offerings were losing money, but also that it would expand its participation if a pending merger with Cigna was approved.[437] Aetna and Humana’s exit for 2017 left 8 rural Arizona counties with only Blue Cross/Blue Shield.[438]

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Minnesota announced that it would exit individual and family markets in Minnesota in 2017, due to financial losses of $500 million over three years.[439]

Another analysis found that 17 percent of eligibles may have a single insurer option in 2017. North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina and Wyoming were expected to have a single insurer,[440] while only 2 percent of 2016 eligibles had only one choice.[441]

Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group also exited various individual markets. Many local Blue Cross plans sharply narrowed their networks. In 2016 two thirds of individual plans were narrow-network HMO plans.[425]

One of the causes of insurer losses is the lower income, older and sicker enrollee population. One 2016 analysis reported that while 81% of the population with incomes from 100-150% of the federal poverty level signed up, only 45% of those from 150-200% did so. The percentage continued to decline as income rose: 2% of those above 400% enrolled.[442]

Costs

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[221] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[222]

Cooperatives

The number of ACA nonprofit insurance cooperatives for 2017 fell from 23 originally to 7 for 2017. The remaining 7 posted annual losses in 2015. A General Accountability Report found that co-ops’ 2015 premiums were generally below average. At the end of 2014, money co-ops and other ACA insurers had counted on risk corridor payments that didn’t materialize. Maryland’s Evergreen Health claims that ACA’s risk-adjustment system does not adequately measure risk.[citation needed]

Medicaid

Newly elected Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order to accept the expansion, becoming the 32nd state to do so. The program was expected to enroll an additional 300,000 Louisianans.[443]

2017

More than 9.2 million people signed up for care on the national exchange (healthcare.gov) for 2017, down some 400,000 from 2016. This decline was due primarily to the election of President Trump, who pulled advertising encouraging people to signup for coverage, issued an executive order that attempts to eliminate the mandate, and has created significant uncertainty about the future of the ACA. Enrollments had been running ahead of 2016 prior to President Obama leaving office, with 9.8 million expected to sign-up, so President Trump’s actions potentially cost about 600,000 national enrollments (i.e., 9.8 million expected – 9.2 million actual = 0.6 million impact).[444]Of the 9.2 million, 3.0 million were new customers and 6.2 million were returning. The 9.2 million excludes the 11 states that run their own exchanges, which have signed up around 3 million additional people.[444] These figures also exclude the additional coverage due to the Medicaid expansion, which covers another approximately 10 million persons, as described in the impact section above.

In February, Humana announced that it would withdraw from the individual insurance market in 2018, citing “further signs of an unbalanced risk pool.”[445] That month the IRS announced that it would not require that tax returns indicate that a person has health insurance, reducing the effectiveness of the individual mandate, in response to an executive order from President Donald Trump.[446]

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini stated that ACA was in a “death spiral” of escalating premiums and shrinking, skewed enrollment.[447] However, a U.S. judge found that the Aetna CEO misrepresented why his company was leaving the exchanges; an important part of the reason was the Justice Department’s opposition to the intended merger between Aetna and Humana. Aetna actually pulled out of states where it was making money on the exchanges, while remaining in some states where it was not.[448] Further, the CBO reported in March 2017 that the healthcare exchanges were expected to be stable; i.e., they were not in a “death spiral.”[449]

Molina Healthcare, a major Medicaid provider, said that it was considering exiting some markets in 2018, citing “too many unknowns with the marketplace program.” Molina lost $110 million in 2016 due to having to contribute $325 million more than expected to the ACA “risk transfer” fund that compensated insurers with unprofitable risk pools. These pools were establish to help prevent insurers from artificially selecting lower-risk pools.[450]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

 

Story 2: Obama Administration Spied On American Citizens Including Trump and Trump Team — Obama Scandal Far Worse Than Nixon’s Cover-up of Watergate Break-in — Legacy Fading Fast — Grand Jury Should Be Impaneled Now! — Videos

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BREAKING: Obama SCREAMS LIKE A BABY After Being Refused A Meeting With Trump At The White House

Four Secret Service agents and two United States Marines had a good laugh earlier today when Barack Obama showed up unannounced at the White House, demanding a meeting with President Trump. At first, the former president just nodded and waved and started walking through the door at the ellipse like he owned the place until he came face to face with Agent Brock Neidemeir, who used to serve on his detail.

After a short discussion, Neidemyer agreed to call down to the Oval Office and was told by Trump’s secretary Rosalita that he wasn’t welcome and that Trump had no time for him. Obama, being the sore loser that he is, started stomping around like a baby and demanding he be allowed in. People as far away as the south gate could hear him whining.

There’s no telling why Obama felt the need to show up at the White House or why he thought he could just waltz right in like he owned the place. One thing is for sure: Trump isn’t going to allow someone who knows how to do his job that much better than him come down the halls of the West Wing to show him up. He has real issues to deal with.

http://thelastlineofdefense.org/breaking-obama-screams-like-a-baby-after-being-refused-a-meeting-with-trump-at-the-white-house/

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The Pronk, 2017, March 30, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Trump White House To Provide Documents of Unmasking of Americans Citizens (Trump and Trump Team) By Obama Administration National Security Agency Foreign Intelligence Surveillance — The Smoking Gun — NSA Documents with Dr. Evelyn Farkas Lets The Cat Out of The Bag — Exploding Obamagate Scandal — Videos — Story 2: Real Republicans Support Real Repeal & Replacement of Obamacare vs. Fake Republicans Support Fake Repeal & Replacement — Republican Voters Expect And Vote For Real Republicans Not Fake Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) or Liberal/Progressive Democrats — Videos — Story 3: Independence Party Coming Soon — Videos —

Posted on March 30, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Law, Media, Mike Pence, National Security Agency, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Radio, Rand Paul, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Breaking News — Story 1: Trump White House To Provide Documents of Unmasking of Americans Citizens (Trump and Trump Team) By Obama Administration National Security Agency Foreign  Intelligence Surveillance — The Smoking Gun — NSA Documents with Dr. Evelyn Farkas Lets The Cat Out of The Bag — Exploding Obamagate Scandal  —  Videos — 

Image result for obama warrantless searches poster spying on trumpImage result for Evelyn FarkasImage result for trump tweet house freedom caucus

Who Is Evelyn Farkas? – Worked In Obama Admin; Was Advisor To Hillary R. Clinton – Fox & Friends

Evelyn Farkas on MSNBC, 3/2/17

MARK LEVIN: Interview Between Mika And Evelyn Farkas On Trump Spying Is A SMOKING GUN

LIMBAUGH: ‘Tunnel Visioned Ideologue’ Evelyn Farkas May Have Outed Herself As Source Of Leaks

Obama Aide Evelyn Farkas Confessed “Barack Ordered Us To SPY On Trump For Political Purposes(VIDEO)!

Smoking Gun That Obama Administration Wiretapped On Trump?

Yes, Obama was spying on Trump. 2nd Intelligence Committee member comes forward. “shameful”

Tucker Carlson Tonight || Devin Nunes RESPONDS & EXPOSED Democrats – James Comey Wiretapping RUSSIA

Rep. Devin Nunes explains White House visit (Entire CNN interview)

Rep. Peter King On Trump Team Swept Up In Surveillance Of Foreigners

White House invites Congress investigation leaders to view documents March, 30,2017

Priebus: WH Will Look Into Evelyn Farkas Story; Almost Too Incredible To Be True

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus joins Hugh Hewitt for a Thursday morning interview.

One of the subjects touched on is the story of Evelyn Farkas, formerly the Defense Department’s top Russia expert under President Obama who is now calling for an independent investigation of the president’s ties to Moscow.

This week, conservative media has noticed an interview she did on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on March 2nd, 2017 where Farkas appears to happily admit that she was repsonsible for leaking sensitive information about what parts of the government might have spied on President-elect Trump and his Trump Tower. Fox News ran a story on this titled: Former Obama official discloses rush to get intelligence on Trump team

The Farkas statement in question: “I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy … that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.”

Note: The Farkas clip originally aired on March 2. President Trump’s infamous ‘wiretap’ tweet came two days later:

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus responded Thursday morning: “That’s incredible.”

“It certainly is an incredible comment, although I don’t want to add too much into it right now until I have an opportunity to sort of dig into it and figure out the scope of such a statement… It’s just an incredible statement, you know, and how, what it means and what she meant by that, and whether that has anything to do with the issues in regard to surveillance of Trump transition team members is something that we need to figure out this morning and throughout the day.”

“I hope that the intelligence committees and agencies are interested,” he also said.

Radio hosts Sean Hannity…

…and Mark Levin both mentioned the story Wednesday afternoon…

The original clip from MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’:

“That’s why you have the leaking!” Farkas says in the clip.

“A personal reaction is it’s, it’s almost, it’s so cavalier and unbelievable that I just wonder whether this person knows what the heck she’s talking about. I mean, you know what I’m saying?” Priebus added.

Transcript of the Priebus interview, courtesy of the Hugh Hewitt Show:

HUGH HEWITT: A news story came up last night, Mr. Priebus. Evelyn Farkas, former assistant deputy secretary of Defense a few days ago was on with Morning Joe, and talking to Mika about the end game during the Obama years. She said this, the 30 second clip:

EVELYN FARKAS: …that the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.

HH: So Mr. Priebus, I put two clips together.

REINCE PRIEBUS, TRUMP ADMIN: That’s incredible.

HH: React to that for me, would you?

RP: Well, I mean, I heard it late last night, so I mean I honestly, I talked to Sean a little bit about it late last night, Spicer, and then we’re going to be meeting on it this morning. It’s just an incredible statement, you know, and how, what it means and what she meant by that, and whether that has anything to do with the issues in regard to surveillance of Trump transition team members is something that we need to figure out this morning and throughout the day. But it certainly is an incredible comment, although I don’t want to add too much into it right now until I have an opportunity to sort of dig into it and figure out the scope of such a statement.

HH: Now I want to ask you about a personal reaction to it, though. It suggests that incidental collection of American conversation in intelligence, perhaps even in Russian to Russian conversation, was pushed out by Team Obama for the purposes of cornering you guys? I don’t know what, but…

RP: Yeah, I mean, a personal reaction is it’s, it’s almost, it’s so cavalier and unbelievable that I just wonder whether this person knows what the heck she’s talking about. I mean, you know what I’m saying?

HH: Yeah.

RP: It’s sort of like one of these things it’s so much in your face that it makes you wonder what she means.

HH: Now do you think Director Comey will be interested in that statement?

RP: (laughing) Well, I hope that the intelligence committees and agencies are interested in all of these things. And the one thing I will tell you is that we want, we want this thing done thoroughly, and I will tell you that because we have got nothing to hide. I mean, there’s just nothing there. I’ve said it many times on television and elsewhere. There is no collusion. The issues in regard to contacts with Russia as outlined in the New York Times article about a month ago is total garbage, and we just, we would rather this move forward and be thorough and get on with it, because we’ve got nothing to hide. It’s ridiculous.

HH: Okay, to a substantive question.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/03/30/priebus_wh_will_respond_to_evelyn_farkas_story_incredible_raises_many_questions.html

White House Invites Lawmakers to View Surveillance Documents

March 30, 2017, 2:23 PM CDT March 30, 2017, 3:34 PM CD
President Donald Trump walks with Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, right, in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan. 22, 2017.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Trump administration invited leaders of congressional intelligence panels to review documents it said raise questions about whether government spy agencies improperly identified President Donald Trump’s campaign officials and associates in the course of routine foreign surveillance.

In a letter signed by White House Counsel Donald McGahn, the administration said Thursday it was responding to a March 15 request from intelligence committees for “documents necessary to determine whether information collected on U.S. persons was mishandled and leaked.” It asks the committees to probe whether the intelligence was properly gathered, whether names were improperly revealed and “to the extent that U.S. citizens were subject to such surveillance, were civil liberties violated?”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the invitation during a briefing with reporters in Washington Thursday, shortly after the New York Times reported that two White House officials had provided House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes with reports showing that Trump and his associates were named incidentally by U.S. spy agencies monitoring foreign officials.

Schiff during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on March 30.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff, said he’s willing to review the material but questioned the administration’s motives, saying officials may be trying to disseminate information that helps Trump’s case. “I hope they’ll have some kind of explanation for why they chose this path,” Schiff told reporters at the Capitol.

Deflecting Questions

The administration has been deflecting questions about Russian meddling in the presidential election by focusing on leaks of classified materials and, more recently, Trump’s allegations that his predecessor may have spied on him and his aides before and after the election. The spying claims and the leaks have become prominent sidelights to a broader investigation by the FBI and congressional intelligence committees into Russia’s campaign to disrupt U.S. politics and whether anyone close to Trump colluded with Russia.

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday, several experts testified that Russia’s efforts began as early as 2008 and peaked during last year’s election. The moves included propagation of false news stories and the hacking of Democratic Party computer systems followed by the release of emails. Clint Watts, former FBI agent who is now a national security expert at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said other targets were prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the intelligence panel.

Rubio of Florida said Thursday that staff members on his presidential campaign were unsuccessfully targeted in July 2016 by hackers using an address in Russia and that former campaign aides were again targeted on Wednesday.

Inquiry in Turmoil

The House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry was thrown into turmoil when Nunes, a California Republican, last week held a news conference to outline material he said suggested some names of Trump associates were incidentally revealed during legal surveillance of foreign sources. He then went to the White House to brief Trump while refusing to share the information with other members of the committee. After repeated questions about how he got the material, Nunes said on March 27 that he met a source on the White House grounds.

Democrat Schiff, also of California, has called for Nunes to step aside from the investigation and accused him of doing the president’s bidding. Schiff said Thursday he is “more than willing” to go to the White House to review the material being offered but that the committee’s broader investigation must continue.

“This is not going to distract us from doing our Russia investigation,” Schiff said, adding that the White House action “raises profound questions.”

He said he didn’t know whether the material being offered is the same as the documents that were viewed by Nunes.

Nunes has refused to say who showed him the material, and Spicer has said he didn’t know the identity of Nunes’ source. The New York Times, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported Thursday that Nunes was shown the material by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, who works at the White House Counsel’s Office and previously worked on the House Intelligence Committee staff.

Cohen-Watnick was an aide brought into the White House by Michael Flynn, who was fired as national security adviser in February after Trump concluded Flynn had given misleading information about contacts with Russian officials.

‘Smart Move’

“Our view was that the smart move was to make all the materials available to the chairman and the ranking member of the relevant committees,” Spicer said Thursday. “We want them to look into this, as we have maintained all along — that I think there’s a belief that the president has maintained — that there was surveillance that occurred during the 2016 election that was improper.”

Nunes has said, and the Times said it confirmed, that the material isn’t related to the investigation into Russian attempts to influence the election, nor did it necessarily show any illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.

While the House investigation has been stymied by the dispute over the material shown to Nunes, the Senate Intelligence Committee is proceeding with its own investigation. Panel Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, vowed that the probe won’t be politicized.

“The public deserves to hear the truth about possible Russian involvement in our elections,” Burr said.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s top Democrat, echoed that sentiment, but also expressed concern about what he called Trump’s “wild and uncorroborated accusations” that then-President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower wiretapped and about Trumps intermittent attacks on intelligence agencies.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-30/white-house-says-intelligence-panels-can-see-surveillance-data

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“FISA” redirects here. For other uses, see FISA (disambiguation).
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.
Acronyms(colloquial) FISA
Enacted by the 95th United States Congress
Effective October 25, 1978
Citations
Public law 95-511
Statutes at Large 92 Stat. 1783
Codification
Titles amended 50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections created 50 U.S.C. ch. 36 § 1801 et seq.
Legislative history
Major amendments

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (“FISAPub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36) is a United States federal law which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism).[1] The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It has been repeatedly amended since the September 11 attacks.

Contents

 [show] 

History

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter in 1978. The bill was cosponsored by nine Senators: Birch Bayh, James O. Eastland, Jake Garn, Walter Huddleston, Daniel Inouye, Charles Mathias, John L. McClellan, Gaylord Nelson, and Strom Thurmond.

The FISA resulted from extensive investigations by Senate Committees into the legality of domestic intelligence activities. These investigations were led separately by Sam Ervin and Frank Church in 1978 as a response to President Richard Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political and activist groups.[2] The act was created to provide judicial and congressional oversight of the government’s covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the United States, while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security.

Warrantless domestic wiretapping program

The Act came into public prominence in December 2005 following publication by the New York Times of an article[3] that described a program of warrantless domestic wiretapping ordered by the Bush administration and carried out by the National Security Agency since 2002; a subsequent Bloomberg article[4] suggested that this may have already begun by June 2000.

Provisions

The subchapters of FISA provide for:

Electronic surveillance

Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two different scenarios.

Without a court order

The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year, provided that it is only to acquire foreign intelligence information,[5] that it is solely directed at communications or property controlled exclusively by foreign powers,[6] that there is no substantial likelihood that it will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party, and that it be conducted only in accordance with defined minimization procedures.[7]

The code defines “foreign intelligence information” to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.[5]

“Foreign powers” means a foreign government, any faction of a foreign nation not substantially composed of U.S. persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government.[8]The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations.[9] The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism.[10]

A “U.S. person” includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the United States.

“Minimization procedures” is defined to mean procedures that minimize the acquisition of information concerning United States persons, allow the retention of information that is evidence of a crime, and require a court order be obtained in order to retain communication involving a United States person for longer than 72 hours.

The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,[11] and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.[12]

Since 50 U.S.C. § 1802(a)(1)(A) of this Act specifically limits warrantless surveillance to foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (1),(2), (3) and omits the definitions contained in 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (4),(5),(6) the act does not authorize the use of warrantless surveillance on: groups engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore; foreign-based political organizations, not substantially composed of United States persons; or entities that are directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments.[13] Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties[14] and civil liabilities.[15]

Under 50 U.S.C. § 1811, the President may also authorize warrantless surveillance at the beginning of a war. Specifically, he may authorize such surveillance “for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress”.[16]

With a court order

Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[17] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent.[2][18] In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons.[19] Depending on the type of surveillance, approved orders or extensions of orders may be active for 90 days, 120 days, or a year.[20]

FISA court

The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies (primarily the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven-year terms.

Proceedings before the FISA court are ex parte and non-adversarial. The court hears evidence presented solely by the Department of Justice. There is no provision for a release of information regarding such hearings, or for the record of information actually collected.

Denials of FISA applications by the FISC may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review is a three judge panel. Since its creation, the court has come into session twice: in 2002 and 2008.

FISC meets in secret, and approves or denies requests for search warrants. Only the number of warrants applied for, issued and denied, is reported. In 1980 (the first full year after its inception), it approved 322 warrants.[21]This number has steadily grown to 2,224 warrants in 2006.[22] In the period 1979–2006, a total of 22,990 applications for warrants were made to the Court of which 22,985 were approved (sometimes with modifications; or with the splitting up, or combining together, of warrants for legal purposes), and only 5 were definitively rejected.[23]

Physical searches

In addition to electronic surveillance, FISA permits the “physical search” of the “premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by” a foreign power. The requirements and procedures are nearly identical to those for electronic surveillance.

Remedies for violations

Both the subchapters covering physical searches and electronic surveillance provide for criminal and civil liability for violations of FISA.

Criminal sanctions follows violations of electronic surveillance by intentionally engaging in electronic surveillance under the color of law or through disclosing information known to have been obtained through unauthorized surveillance. The penalties for either act are fines up to US$10,000, up to five years in jail, or both.[14]

In addition, the statute creates a cause of action for private individuals whose communications were unlawfully monitored. The statute permits actual damages of not less than $1,000 or $100 per day. In addition, that statute authorizes punitive damages and an award of attorney’s fees.[15] Similar liability is found under the subchapter pertaining to physical searches. In both cases, the statute creates an affirmative defense for law enforcement personnel acting within their official duties and pursuant to a valid court order. Presumably, such a defense is not available to those operating exclusively under presidential authorization.

Lone wolf amendment

In 2004, FISA was amended to include a “lone wolf” provision. 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(C). A “lone wolf” is a non-U.S. person who engages in or prepares for international terrorism. The provision amended the definition of “foreign power” to permit the FISA courts to issue surveillance and physical search orders without having to find a connection between the “lone wolf” and a foreign government or terrorist group. However, “if the court authorizes such a surveillance or physical search using this new definition of ‘agent of a foreign power’, the FISC judge has to find, in pertinent part, that, based upon the information provided by the applicant for the order, the target had engaged in or was engaging in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor”.[24]

Constitutionality

Before FISA

In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirements of the Fourth Amendment applied equally to electronic surveillance and to physical searches. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). The Court did not address whether such requirements apply to issues of national security. Shortly after, in 1972, the Court took up the issue again in United States v. United States District Court, Plamondon, where the court held that court approval was required in order for the domestic surveillance to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. 407 U.S. 297 (1972). Justice Powell wrote that the decision did not address this issue that “may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents”.

In the time immediately preceding FISA, a number of courts squarely addressed the issue of “warrantless wiretaps”. In both United States v. Brown, 484 F.2d 418 (5th Cir. 1973), and United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3rd Cir. 1974), the courts upheld warrantless wiretaps. In Brown, a U.S. citizen’s conversation was captured by a wiretap authorized by the Attorney General for foreign intelligence purposes. In Butenko, the court held a wiretap valid if the primary purpose was for gathering foreign intelligence information.

A plurality opinion in Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594 (D.C. Cir. 1975), held that a warrant was required for the domestic surveillance of a domestic organization. In this case, the court found that the domestic organization was not a “foreign power or their agent”, and “absent exigent circumstances, all warrantless electronic surveillance is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional.”

Post-FISA

There have been very few cases involving the constitutionality of FISA. Two lower court decisions found FISA constitutional. In United States v. Duggan, the defendants were members of the Irish Republican Army. 743 F.2d 59 (2nd Cir., 1984). They were convicted for various violations regarding the shipment of explosives and firearms. The court held that there were compelling considerations of national security in the distinction between the treatment of U.S. citizens and non-resident aliens.

In the United States v. Nicholson, the defendant moved to suppress all evidence gathered under a FISA order. 955 F.Supp. 588 (Va. 1997). The court affirmed the denial of the motion. There the court flatly rejected claims that FISA violated Due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, Equal protection, Separation of powers, nor the Right to counsel provided by the Sixth Amendment.

However, in a third case, the special review court for FISA, the equivalent of a Circuit Court of Appeals, opined differently should FISA limit the President’s inherent authority for warrantless searches in the foreign intelligence area. In In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717, 742 (Foreign Intel. Surv. Ct. of Rev. 2002) the special court stated “[A]ll the other courts to have decided the issue [have] held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information . … We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.”

Criticism

K. A. Taipale of the World Policy Institute, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation,[25] and Philip Bobbitt of Columbia Law School,[26] among others,[27] have argued that FISA may need to be amended to include, among other things, procedures for programmatic approvals, as it may no longer be adequate to address certain foreign intelligence needs and technology developments, including: the transition from circuit-based communications to packet-based communications; the globalization of telecommunication infrastructure; and the development of automated monitoring techniques, including data mining and traffic analysis.[28]

John R. Schmidt, associate attorney general (1994–1997) in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton, expressed a need for programmatic approval of technology-enabled surveillance programs.[29] He recalled early arguments made by then-Attorney General Edward Levi to the Church Committee that foreign intelligence surveillance legislation should include provisions for programmatically authorizing surveillance programs because of the particular needs of foreign intelligence where “virtually continuous surveillance, which by its nature does not have specifically predetermined targets” may be required. In these situations, “the efficiency of a warrant requirement would be minimal.”

In a 2006 opinion, Judge Richard Posner wrote that FISA “retains value as a framework for monitoring the communications of known terrorists, but it is hopeless as a framework for detecting terrorists. [FISA] requires that surveillance be conducted pursuant to warrants based on probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a terrorist, when the desperate need is to find out who is a terrorist.”[30]

Subsequent amendments

The Act was amended in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act, primarily to include terrorism on behalf of groups that are not specifically backed by a foreign government.

An overhaul of the bill, the Protect America Act of 2007 was signed into law on August 5, 2007.[31] It expired on February 17, 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 passed by the United States Congress on July 9, 2008.[32]

Amendments

Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006

On March 16, 2006, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455),[33][34] under which the President would be given certain additional limited statutory authority to conduct electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States subject to enhanced Congressional oversight. Also on March 16, 2006, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S. 2453),[35][36] which would amend FISA to grant retroactive amnesty[37] for warrantless surveillance conducted under presidential authority and provide FISA court (FISC) jurisdiction to review, authorize, and oversight “electronic surveillance programs”. On May 24, 2006, Senator Specter and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S. 3001) asserting FISA as the exclusive means to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance.

All three competing bills were the subject of Judiciary Committee hearings throughout the summer.[38] On September 13, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve all three mutually exclusive bills, thus, leaving it to the full Senate to resolve.[39]

On July 18, 2006, U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) introduced the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825). Wilson’s bill would give the President the authority to authorize electronic surveillance of international phone calls and e-mail linked specifically to identified terrorist groups immediately following or in anticipation of an armed or terrorist attack on the United States. Surveillance beyond the initial authorized period would require a FISA warrant or a presidential certification to Congress. On September 28, 2006, the House of Representatives passed Wilson’s bill and it was referred to the Senate.[40]

Protect America Act of 2007

Main article: Protect America Act

On July 28, 2007, President Bush called on Congress to pass legislation to reform the FISA in order to ease restrictions on surveillance of terrorist suspects where one party (or both parties) to the communication are located overseas. He asked that Congress pass the legislation before its August 2007 recess. On August 3, 2007, the Senate passed a Republican-sponsored version of FISA (S. 1927) in a vote of 60 to 28. The House followed by passing the bill, 227–183. The Protect America Act of 2007 (Pub.L. 110–55, S. 1927) was then signed into law by George W. Bush on 2007-08-05.[41]

Under the Protect America Act of 2007, communications that begin or end in a foreign country may be wiretapped by the U.S. government without supervision by the FISA Court. The Act removes from the definition of “electronic surveillance” in FISA any surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. As such, surveillance of these communications no longer requires a government application to, and order issuing from, the FISA Court.

The Act provides procedures for the government to “certify” the legality of an acquisition program, for the government to issue directives to providers to provide data or assistance under a particular program, and for the government and recipient of a directive to seek from the FISA Court, respectively, an order to compel provider compliance or relief from an unlawful directive. Providers receive costs and full immunity from civil suits for compliance with any directives issued pursuant to the Act.

A summary of key provisions follows. The Act empowers the Attorney General or Director of National Intelligence (“DNI”) to authorize, for up to one year, the acquisition of communications concerning “persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States” if the Attorney General and DNI determine that each of five criteria has been met:

  • There are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition concerns persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States;
  • The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance (meaning it does not involve solely domestic communications);
  • The acquisition involves obtaining the communications data from or with the assistance of a communications service provider who has access to communications;
  • A significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and
  • Minimization procedures outlined in the FISA will be used.

This determination by the Attorney General and DNI must be certified in writing, under oath, and supported by appropriate affidavit(s). If immediate action by the government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification, the Attorney General or DNI can direct the acquisition orally, with a certification to follow within 72 hours. The certification is then filed with the FISA Court.

Once the certification is filed with the FISA Court, the Attorney General or DNI can direct a provider to undertake or assist in the undertaking of the acquisition.

If a provider fails to comply with a directive issued by the Attorney General or DNI, the Attorney General may seek an order from the FISA Court compelling compliance with the directive. Failure to obey an order of the FISA Court may be punished as a contempt of court.

Likewise, a person receiving a directive may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the FISA Court. An initial review must be conducted within 48 hours of the filing to determine whether the petition is frivolous, and a final determination concerning any non-frivolous petitions must be made – in writing – within 72 hours of receipt of the petition.

Determinations of the FISA Court may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Court of Appeals, and a petition for a writ of certiorari of a decision from the FICA can be made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All petitions must be filed under seal.

The Act allows providers to be compensated, at the prevailing rate, for providing assistance as directed by the Attorney General or DNI.

The Act provides explicit immunity from civil suit in any federal or state court for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under the Act.

Within 120 days, the Attorney General must submit to the FISA Court for its approval the procedures by which the government will determine that acquisitions authorized by the Act conform with the Act and do not involve purely domestic communications. The FISA Court then will determine whether the procedures comply with the Act. The FISA Court thereafter will enter an order either approving the procedures or directing the government to submit new procedures within 30 days or cease any acquisitions under the government procedures. The government may appeal a ruling of the FISA Court to the FICA and ultimately the Supreme Court.

On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall inform the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate of incidents of noncompliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General or the DNI, incidents of noncompliance with FISA Court-approved procedures by the Intelligence Community, and the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.

The amendments to FISA made by the Act expire 180 days after enactment, except that any order in effect on the date of enactment remains in effect until the date of expiration of such order and such orders can be reauthorized by the FISA Court.[42] The Act expired on February 17, 2008.

Subsequent developments

Legal experts experienced in national security issues are divided on how broadly the new law could be interpreted or applied. Some believe that due to subtle changes in the definitions of terms such as “electronic surveillance”, it could empower the government to conduct warrantless physical searches and even seizures of communications and computer devices and their data which belong to U.S. citizens while they are in the United States, if the government contended that those searches and potential seizures were related to its surveillance of parties outside the United States. Intelligence officials, while declining to comment directly on such possibilities, respond that such interpretations are overly broad readings of the act, and unlikely to actually occur.

In a September 10, 2007 address at a symposium on modernizing FISA held at Georgetown University Law Center‘s National Security Center, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, argued against the current six-month sunset provision in the Protect America Act of 2007, saying that the broadened surveillance powers the act provides for should be made permanent. Wainstein proposed that internal audits by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Division of the Justice Department, with reporting to select groups of Congressmen, would ensure that the expanded capability would not be abused.[43]

Also on September 10, DNI Mike McConnell testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the Protect America Act had helped foil a major terror plot in Germany. U.S. intelligence-community officials questioned the accuracy of McConnell’s testimony and urged his office to correct it, which he did in a statement issued September 12, 2007. Critics cited the incident as an example of the Bush administration’s exaggerated claims and contradictory statements about surveillance activities. Counterterrorism officials familiar with the background of McConnell’s testimony said they did not believe he made inaccurate statements intentionally as part of any strategy by the administration to persuade Congress to make the new eavesdropping law permanent. Those officials said they believed McConnell gave the wrong answer because he was overwhelmed with information and merely mixed up his facts.[44]

Speaking at National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland on September 19, 2007, President George W. Bush urged Congress to make the provisions of the Protect America Act permanent. Bush also called for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who had cooperated with government surveillance efforts, saying, “It’s particularly important for Congress to provide meaningful liability protection to those companies now facing multibillion-dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our nation, following the 9/11 attacks”.[45]

On October 4, 2007, the bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee of the Constitution Project, co-chaired by David Keene and David D. Cole, issued its “Statement on the Protect America Act”.[46] The Statement urged Congress not to reauthorize the PAA, saying the language of the bill “runs contrary to the tripartite balance of power the Framers envisioned for our constitutional democracy, and poses a serious threat to the very notion of government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Some in the legal community have questioned the constitutionality of any legislation that would retroactively immunize telecommunications firms alleged to have cooperated with the government from civil liability for having potentially violated their customers’ privacy rights.[47]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry found significant flaws in the technical implementation of the Protect America Act which they said created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by the government.[48]

On October 7, 2007, the Washington Post reported that House Democrats planned to introduce alternative legislation which would provide for one-year “umbrella” warrants, and would require the Justice Department inspector general to audit the use of those warrants and issue quarterly reports to a special FISA court and to Congress. The proposed bill would not include immunity for telecommunications firms facing lawsuits in connection with the administration’s NSA warrantless surveillance program. House Democrats said that as long as the administration withholds requested documents explaining the basis for the program that they cannot consider immunity for firms alleged to have facilitated it.[49] On October 10, 2007 comments on the White House South Lawn, President Bush said he would not sign any bill that did not provide retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations.[50]

On October 18, 2007, the House Democratic leadership put off a vote on the proposed legislation by the full chamber to avoid consideration of a Republican measure that made specific references to Osama bin Laden. At the same time, the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly reached a compromise with the White House on a different proposal that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.[51]

On November 15, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10–9 along party lines to send an alternative measure to the full Senate other than the one the intelligence committee had crafted with the White House. The proposal would leave to the full Senate whether or not to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications firms that cooperated with the NSA. Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said that granting such immunity would give the Bush administration a “blank check” to do what it wants without regard to the law. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the committee, said that court cases may be the only way Congress can learn exactly how far outside the law the administration has gone in eavesdropping in the United States. When the full Senate takes up the bill, Specter is expected to offer a compromise that would shield the companies from financial ruin but allow lawsuits to go forward by having the federal government stand in for the companies at trial.[52][needs update]

On the same day, the House of Representatives voted 227–189 to approve a Democratic bill that would expand court oversight of government surveillance inside the United States while denying immunity to telecom companies. House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers left the door open to an immunity deal in the future, but said that the White House must first give Congress access to classified documents specifying what the companies did that requires legal immunity.[53]

In February 2008, the Senate passed the version of the new FISA that would allow telecom companies immunity. On March 13, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives held a secret session to discuss related information. On March 14, the House voted 213–197 to approve a bill that would not grant telecom immunity – far short of the 2/3 majority required to override a Presidential veto.[54] The Senate and House bills are compared and contrasted in a June 12, 2008 report from the Congressional Research Service.[55]

On March 13, 2008, the House of Representatives held a secret, closed door meeting to debate changes to the FISA bill.[56]

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008

The 2008 amendment of FISA gave telecoms immunity, increased the time allotted for warrantless surveillance, and adds provisions for emergency eavesdropping. On June 20, 2008, the House of Representatives passed the amendment with a vote of 293 to 129.[57][58] It passed in the Senate 69 to 28 on July 9, 2008[59] after a failed attempt to strike Title II from the bill by Senator Dodd.[60] On July 10, 2008, President Bush signed it into law.

2015 USA Freedom Act

On June 2, 2015, many provisions of the 1978 with the passage of the USA Freedom Act.[61] The 2015 law overhauled the powerful United States National Security Agency and required the US government to undergo standard court procedures in order to gather data regarding suspicious activities.[61] However, the law did not completely repeal the controversial Patriot Act and allowed some provisions to expire in later time.[61]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

Story 2: Real Republican Support Real Repeal & Replacement of Obamacare vs. Fake Republicans Support Fake Repeal & Replacement — Republican Voters Expect Real Repeal and Replacement of Obamacare And Vote For Real Republican Not Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) and Liberal/Progressive Democrats — Videos

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,”

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Freedom Caucus’ Justin Amash FIRES BACK After Trump’s Twitter Attack

Sen. Rand Paul Used Tips From ‘the Art of the Deal’ to Defeat Replacement Bill

Sen. Rand Paul on Fox News’ “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto” – March 28, 2017

Trump declares war on Republican conservatives ‘We must fight them’

Rep. Brooks: We need a bill that repeals Obamacare

Rep. Mo Brooks: ‘Deceptive’ to call GOP’s plan a repeal of Obamacare

Top Republican Just Defeated Obamacare With One Single Sentence!

How much do conservatives dislike Trump? We put them to the test.

Victor Davis Hanson – The Mythologies of the 2016 Election

Donald Trump and Conservative Intellectuals

‘We share a strong mutual admiration’: Rand Paul praises Matt Drudge after meeting in Washington

matt drudge

Matt Drudge. http://www.drudgereport.com

The conservative internet-news mogul Matt Drudge met with Republican Sen. Rand Paul in Washington, DC, earlier this week and praised him as “bold” and “brave.”

“Intriguing lunch in hill office of America’s best senator, Rand Paul,” Drudge tweeted on Thursday. “He’s bold, brave and has somehow kept his heart in such a corrupt city.”

Paul’s spokesman returned the compliment.

“Matt Drudge has a phenomenal take on the news and is a leader who others in the business can only hope to emulate,” Sergio Gor told Business Insider in a statement. “We enjoyed visiting with him, and we share a strong mutual admiration!”

Drudge has been taking what some have interpreted as subtle shots at President Donald Trump’s administration recently through his website and Twitter account.

Drudge is the founder and editor of the Drudge Report, a popular and influential conservative news-aggregation website visited by millions of readers each month.

He has also ripped the Republican establishment as of late, true to what was his form during the presidential election.

In a recent tweet, Drudge contended the GOP “lied about wanting tax cuts.”

“Can we get our votes back?” he asked.

http://www.businessinsider.com/rand-paul-matt-drudge-meeting-2017-3

Gohmert suspects Priebus authored Trump anti-Freedom Caucus tweet

By SUSAN FERRECHIO (@SUSANFERRECHIO) 3/30/17 1:01 PM 

President Trump Threatens War on House Freedom Caucus

House Freedom Caucus member Louie Gohmert said he suspects White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus authored President Trump’s Thursday tweet threatening the HFC with 2018 political repercussions, and he warned that wiping out the faction could hurt Trump eventually.

Gohmert, R-Texas, said Trump may regret the tweet, since many of the same lawmakers came to his defense when others attacked him.

“I hope the president will realize the friends his tweet condemns are actually the ones that stood by him and were very vociferous in defending him in October when all of the Republican elected leaders in the House were abandoning him,” Gohmert said.

“So, I hope he’ll remember and realize if he weakens and hurts those who stood with him when our leadership was coming after him, we may not be around to help him during future assaults, which I think could be at the bottom of some of the demonizing of conservatives in the House.”

Trump on Thursday tweeted “we must fight,” the Freedom Caucus in the 2018 elections, “if they don’t get on the team & fast.”

The HFC comprised the majority of “no” votes that last week sunk a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, a major campaign promise made by Republicans and Trump.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gohmert-suspects-priebus-authored-trump-anti-freedom-caucus-tweet/article/2618890

Trump: We ‘must fight’ Freedom Caucus in 2018 midterm elections

By CAITLIN YILEK, KEITH KOFFLER 3/30/17 9:22 AM

President Trump is taking a stunningly harsh tone with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, calling Thursday for their defeat in the 2018 midterm election if they don’t get on board with the Republican agenda.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

It’s the third time in less than a week that Trump has attacked the group on Twitter, creating the extraordinary spectacle of a sitting president eviscerating members of his own party and even suggesting they should be removed from office.

Trump, who is popular in Freedom Caucus districts, may have some ability to generate messy primary challenges against caucus members.

But some caucus members say that Trump is going back on his campaign promises to “drain the swamp,” implying he is part of the GOP establishment the caucus has fought.

“It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. “No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of the caucus’ founders, that the caucus is “trying to change Washington. The [American Health Care Act] doesn’t change D.C. and doesn’t do what we told voters we’d do.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-we-must-fight-freedom-caucus-in-2018-midterm-elections/article/2618850

If Republicans are going to try to repeal Obamacare, they should go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.

By ADAM BRANDON, KEN CUCCINELLI, MIKE NEEDHAM AND DAVID MCINTOSH 3/22/17 5:10 PM

Poet and novelist Charles Bukowski once said, “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Republican leaders could have learned from this pearl of wisdom. Unfortunately, they are trying to ram through the House a bill — the so-called American Health Care Act that falls far short of their frequent and many campaign promises to repeal Obamacare and create free-market reforms that would lead to greater competition and choice, with lower costs. Those were campaign promises that, by the way, helped Republicans win the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016.

In January 2016, after President Obama vetoed an Obamacare repeal bill that had overwhelming Republican support, Ryan made it clear that the baseline for repeal had been drawn. “We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate,” he declared. “So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law.”

Conservative activists — who have been fighting for years to repeal Obamacare and supporting conservative candidates who got elected on pledges to scrap the 2010 law — will accept nothing less than a bill that follows through on these promises. Just as important are Americans who have seen their premiums skyrocket because of Obamacare. They are looking for relief.

House Republicans now have that opportunity to produce a strong repeal of Obamacare and its onerous regulations, and institute free-market reforms. They shouldn’t let themselves be bound by narrow interpretations of Senate rules.

Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act fails to follow through on Republican promises. The bill effectively preserves Obamacare, leaving the cost-driving provisions in place. As one conservative member of the House put it, the American Health Care Act “is an amendment — and not a clean repeal — to Obamacare.”

While the American Health Care Act includes various reforms, including the per capita funding of Medicaid funds, the repeal of Obamacare taxes, and the expansion of Health Savings Accounts, the bill replaces Obamacare’s market-distorting subsidies with a Republican version, all while leaving the law’s costly, market-destroying regulatory architecture in place. The bill also creates a “doc fix”-style scenario in which repeal of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will never actually happen.

Conservatives inside and outside of Congress are told that Obamacare’s regulations and the establishment of free-market healthcare policies will be addressed in a second and third “phase,” but history tells us otherwise.

Obamacare may have given the Department of Health and Human Services tremendous regulatory power, but HHS Secretary Tom Price, who now serves in this crucial role and is tasked with carrying out the elimination of Obamacare’s regulations, will almost certainly face legal challenges. That means any break in the burden of skyrocketing health insurance costs will be delayed even further. Another obvious concern is that any administrative actions can be undone by the next administration, making the relief only temporary if Congress doesn’t eliminate the federal government’s power over these aspects of our healthcare system.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/if-republicans-are-going-to-try-to-repeal-obamacare-they-should-go-all-the-way.-otherwise-dont-even-start./article/2618151

 

Real Republicans

Member Name Party State Liberty Score Years in DC Next Election

.Gary Palmer

Rep.

Gary Palmer R AL-6 A 100% 2 2018

David Brat

Rep.

Dave Brat R VA-7 A 100% 2 2018

Sen.

Mike Lee R UT A 100% 6 2022

Rep.

Louie Gohmert R TX-1 A 98% 12 2018

Sen.

Ted Cruz R TX A 97% 4 2018

Rep.

Jim Bridenstine R OK-1 A 97% 4 2018

Rep.

Jeff Duncan R SC-3 A 96% 6 2018

Rep.

Jim Jordan R OH-4 A 96% 10 2018

Justin Amash

Rep.

Justin Amash R MI-3 A 96% 6 2018

Rep.

Thomas Massie R KY-4 A 94% 4 2018

Benjamin Sasse

Sen.

Benjamin Sasse R NE A 94% 2 2020

Rep.

Mark Meadows R NC-11 A 94% 4 2018

Ken Buck

Rep.

Ken Buck R CO-4 A 94% 2 2018

Rep.

Raul Labrador R ID-1 A 93% 6 2018

Sen.

Rand Paul R KY A 92% 6 2022

Trent Franks

Rep.

Trent Franks R AZ-8 A 90% 14 2018

Rep.

David Schweikert R AZ-6 A 90% 6 2018

Rep.

Mark Sanford R SC-1 A 90% 3 2018

Sen.

Tim Scott R SC B 89% 4 2022

Rep.

Ron DeSantis R FL-6 B 87% 4 2018

Rep.

Tom McClintock R CA-4 B 86% 8 2018

Rep.

Scott DesJarlais R TN-4 B 85% 6 2018

Rep.

Trey Gowdy R SC-4 B 85% 6 2018

Rep.

Doug Lamborn R CO-5 B 85% 10 2018

Rep.

Randy Weber R TX-14 B 84% 4 2018

Rep.

Paul Gosar R AZ-4 B 84% 6 2018

Rep.

Mo Brooks R AL-5 B 84% 6 2018

Rep.

Kenny Marchant R TX-24 B 84% 12 2018

Rep.

Sam Johnson R TX-3 B 82% 25 2018

Rep.

Steve King R IA-4 B 81% 14 2018

John Ratcliffe

Rep.

John Ratcliffe R TX-4 B 81% 2 2018

Jody Hice

Rep.

Jody Hice R GA-10 B 81% 2 2018

Rep.

Dana Rohrabacher R CA-48 B 80% 28 2018

Rep.

Andy Harris R MD-1 B 80% 6 2018

Rep.

Bill Posey R FL-8 B 80% 8 2018

Rep.

John J. Duncan Jr. R TN-2 B 80% 28 2018

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard

Fake Republicans

Rep.

Richard Hudson R NC-8 F 59% 4 2018

Sen.

Pat J. Toomey R PA F 59% 6 2022

Joni Ernst

Sen.

Joni Ernst R IA F 59% 2 2020

Rep.

Todd Rokita R IN-4 F 58% 6 2018

Rep.

Tom Rice R SC-7 F 58% 4 2018

Rep.

Pete Olson R TX-22 F 58% 8 2018

Rep.

Virginia Foxx R NC-5 F 58% 12 2018

Sen.

Dean Heller R NV F 58% 5 2018

Rep.

Chris Stewart R UT-2 F 58% 4 2018

Rep.

Lamar Smith R TX-21 F 58% 30 2018

Sen.

Michael B. Enzi R WY F 58% 20 2020

Rep.

Pete Sessions R TX-32 F 57% 20 2018

Steve Russell

Rep.

Steve Russell R OK-5 F 56% 2 2018

Rep.

Scott Tipton R CO-3 F 56% 6 2018

Sen.

Ron Johnson R WI F 56% 6 2022

Ralph Abraham

Rep.

Ralph Abraham R LA-5 F 56% 2 2018

Rick Allen

Rep.

Rick Allen R GA-12 F 56% 2 2018

Rep.

Phil Roe R TN-1 F 56% 8 2018

David Rouzer

Rep.

David Rouzer R NC-7 F 56% 2 2018

Barry Loudermilk

Rep.

Barry Loudermilk R GA-11 F 56% 2 2018

Rep.

Mike Coffman R CO-6 F 56% 8 2018

Rep.

Michael McCaul R TX-10 F 56% 12 2018

Sen.

John Boozman R AR F 56% 6 2022

Rep.

Rob Woodall R GA-7 F 55% 6 2018

Sen.

Deb Fischer R NE F 55% 4 2018

Rep.

Doug Collins R GA-9 F 55% 4 2018

Rep.

Darrell Issa R CA-49 F 55% 16 2018

Rep.

Jim Renacci R OH-16 F 55% 6 2018

Rep.

Peter Roskam R IL-6 F 54% 10 2018

Rep.

Lynn Jenkins R KS-2 F 54% 8 2018

Rep.

Mike D. Rogers R AL-3 F 54% 14 2018

Rep.

Robert B. Aderholt R AL-4 F 53% 20 2018

Rep.

Patrick T. McHenry R NC-10 F 53% 12 2018

Rep.

Vicky Hartzler R MO-4 F 53% 6 2018

Dan Sullivan

Sen.

Dan Sullivan R AK F 53% 2 2020

Rep.

John Culberson R TX-7 F 53% 16 2018

Rep.

Rick Crawford R AR-1 F 52% 6 2018

Rep.

Ed Royce R CA-39 F 52% 24 2018

Rep.

Gus Bilirakis R FL-12 F 52% 10 2018

Rep.

Adrian Smith R NE-3 F 52% 10 2018

Rep.

Steven Palazzo R MS-4 F 51% 6 2018

Rep.

Tom Marino R PA-10 F 51% 6 2018

Sen.

Pat Roberts R KS F 51% 20 2020

Rep.

Paul D. Ryan R WI-1 F 51% 18 2018

Rep.

Kevin Brady R TX-8 F 51% 20 2018

Tom Emmer

Rep.

Tom Emmer R MN-6 F 50% 2 2018

Sen.

Todd Young R IN-9 F 50% 6 2022

Rep.

Bob Gibbs R OH-7 F 50% 6 2018

Bruce Westerman

Rep.

Bruce Westerman R AR-4 F 50% 2 2018

missing-bio

Rep.

Lee Zeldin R NY-1 F 50% 2 2018

Rep.

Martha Roby R AL-2 F 50% 6 2018

Sen.

Jeff Flake R AZ F 50% 4 2018

Sen.

John Barrasso R WY F 50% 9 2018

Rep.

Sam Graves R MO-6 F 49% 16 2018

 

Member Name Party State Liberty Score Years in DC Next Election Track
Rep.

Sean Duffy

R WI-7 F 49% 6 2018
Rep.

Mike Kelly

R PA-3 F 49% 6 2018
Rep.

Mac M. Thornberry

R TX-13 F 48% 22 2018
Rep.

Tim Murphy

R PA-18 F 47% 14 2018
Sen.

Rob Portman

R OH F 47% 6 2022
Rep.

Bill Shuster

R PA-9 F 47% 15 2018
Rep.

Bill Johnson

R OH-6 F 47% 6 2018
Sen.

Bill Cassidy

R LA F 47% 8 2020
Rep.

Larry Bucshon

R IN-8 F 47% 6 2018
Rep.

John Carter

R TX-31 F 46% 14 2018
Rep.

Ann Wagner

R MO-2 F 45% 4 2018
Rep.

Brett Guthrie

R KY-2 F 45% 8 2018
Sen.

Bob Corker

R TN F 45% 10 2018
Rep.

Vern Buchanan

R FL-16 F 44% 10 2018
Rep.

Erik Paulsen

R MN-3 F 44% 8 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Evan Jenkins

R WV-3 F 44% 2 2018
Glenn Grothman
Rep.

Glenn Grothman

R WI-6 F 44% 2 2018
Rep.

Gregg Harper

R MS-3 F 44% 8 2018
Mia Love
Rep.

Mia Love

R UT-4 F 44% 2 2018
Sen.

John Thune

R SD F 44% 12 2022
Rep.

Tom Reed

R NY-23 F 43% 6 2018
Rep.

Robert Pittenger

R NC-9 F 43% 4 2018
Rep.

David McKinley

R WV-1 F 43% 6 2018
Rep.

Blaine Luetkemeyer

R MO-3 F 43% 8 2018
Rep.

Kristi Noem

R SD-0 F 43% 6 2018
Rep.

Paul Cook

R CA-8 F 42% 4 2018
Rep.

Luke Messer

R IN-6 F 42% 4 2018
Rep.

Leonard Lance

R NJ-7 F 42% 8 2018
Rep.

Michael R. Turner

R OH-10 F 42% 14 2018
Sen.

John Cornyn

R TX F 42% 14 2020
Rep.

Jackie Walorski

R IN-2 F 42% 4 2018
Rep.

Christopher H. Smith

R NJ-4 F 41% 36 2018
Sen.

Cory Gardner

R CO F 41% 6 2020
Rep.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

R WA-5 F 41% 12 2018
Rep.

Mark Amodei

R NV-2 F 41% 5 2018
Rep.

Jeff Fortenberry

R NE-1 F 41% 12 2018
Rep.

Pat Tiberi

R OH-12 F 40% 16 2018
Sen.

Mitch McConnell

R KY F 40% 32 2020
Rep.

Kay Granger

R TX-12 F 40% 20 2018
Rep.

Jaime Herrera Beutler

R WA-3 F 40% 6 2018
Sen.

Roy Blunt

R MO F 39% 6 2022
Sen.

Richard M. Burr

R NC F 39% 12 2022
Rep.

Devin Nunes

R CA-22 F 39% 14 2018
Rep.

Andy Barr

R KY-6 F 39% 4 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

French Hill

R AR-2 F 38% 2 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

David Young

R IA-3 F 38% 2 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Dan Newhouse

R WA-4 F 38% 2 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Buddy Carter

R GA-1 F 38% 2 2018
Rep.

Lou Barletta

R PA-11 F 38% 6 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

John Moolenaar

R MI-4 F 38% 2 2018
Member Name Party State Liberty Score Years in DC Next Election Track
Rep.

Frank D. Lucas

R OK-3 F 36% 22 2018
Rep.

Glenn Thompson

R PA-5 F 36% 8 2018
Rep.

Greg Walden

R OR-2 F 36% 18 2018
Thom Tillis
Sen.

Thom Tillis

R NC F 35% 2 2020
Rep.

Dave Joyce

R OH-14 F 35% 4 2018
Rep.

Mike Michael Conaway

R TX-11 F 35% 12 2018
Rep.

Kevin McCarthy

R CA-23 F 35% 10 2018
Rep.

Tom Cole

R OK-4 F 34% 14 2018
Rep.

Fred Upton

R MI-6 F 34% 30 2018
Rep.

Steve Womack

R AR-3 F 33% 6 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Ryan Zinke

R MT-0 F 33% 2 2018
Sen.

Orrin G. Hatch

R UT F 33% 40 2018
Rep.

Adam Kinzinger

R IL-16 F 33% 6 2018
Rep.

Mike Simpson

R ID-2 F 33% 18 2018
Rep.

John Shimkus

R IL-15 F 33% 20 2018
Rep.

Jeffrey Denham

R CA-10 F 33% 6 2018
Rep.

Frank A. LoBiondo

R NJ-2 F 32% 22 2018
Rep.

Don Young

R AK-0 F 32% 43 2018
Sen.

John McCain

R AZ F 32% 30 2022
Rep.

Jim Cooper

D TN-5 F 32% 14 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Steve Knight

R CA-25 F 31% 2 2018
Rep.

Steve Stivers

R OH-15 F 31% 6 2018
Rep.

Pat Meehan

R PA-7 F 31% 6 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Dave Trott

R MI-11 F 31% 2 2018
Rep.

Collin C. Peterson

D MN-7 F 31% 26 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Mike Bishop

R MI-8 F 31% 2 2018
Rep.

Rodney Davis

R IL-13 F 30% 4 2018
Sen.

Lindsey Graham

R SC F 30% 14 2020
Rep.

Harold Rogers

R KY-5 F 30% 36 2018
Sen.

Johnny Isakson

R GA F 30% 12 2022
Sen.

Shelley Moore Capito

R WV F 29% 16 2020
Rep.

Rodney Frelinghuysen

R NJ-11 F 29% 22 2018
Rep.

Peter A. DeFazio

D OR-4 F 29% 30 2018
Rep. Darin LaHood
Rep.

Darin LaHood

R IL-18 F 29% 1 2018
Rep.

Dave Reichert

R WA-8 F 29% 12 2018
Mike Rounds
Sen.

Mike Rounds

R SD F 29% 2 2020
Rep.

Ken Calvert

R CA-42 F 29% 24 2018
Sen.

Roger Wicker

R MS F 28% 9 2018
Rep.

Raúl M. Grijalva

D AZ-3 F 28% 14 2018
Rep.

Charlie Dent

R PA-15 F 28% 12 2018
Rep.

Maxine Waters

D CA-43 F 28% 26 2018
Rep.

Peter T. King

R NY-2 F 27% 24 2018
Rep.

Kevin Cramer

R ND-0 F 27% 4 2018
Rep.

Susan Brooks

R IN-5 F 26% 4 2018
Rep.

Mark Pocan

D WI-2 F 26% 4 2018
Rep.

Mario Diaz-Balart

R FL-25 F 26% 14 2018
Rep.

Keith Ellison

D MN-5 F 26% 10 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Tom MacArthur

R NJ-3 F 25% 2 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Will Hurd

R TX-23 F 25% 2 2018
missing-bio
Rep.

Bruce Poliquin

R ME-2 F 25% 2 2018

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard

 

Story 3: Independence Party Coming Soon — Videos

 

Image result for trends in party affiliation in usa

The Meaning of Independence Day

Ayn Rand – Liberty vs Socialism

Why Can’t Third Parties Take Off?

How Did The U.S. End Up With A Two-Party System?

Third parties are the underpants gnomes of American politics

Ron Paul on voting Libertarian if Trump is GOP Nominee: Certainly!

The Libertarian Chick on Government Gone Wild!

Yaron Brook: Ayn Rand vs. Big Government

Trump and the Decline of America, a talk by Yaron Brook

Trump’s Comments on Ayn Rand

John Stossel – A Libertarian for Trump

Stossel – Ann Coulter Threatens Libertarians and John Stossel with Drowning Them – 10-23-2014

Libertarians for Trump? A Debate

Donald Trump on Libertarianism: ‘I like it. A lot of good things.’

Why I Was Wrong About Libertarians

Lew Rockwell: The Truth About Trump

Lew Rockwell Why Libertarians Are Wrong About Open Borders

Ron Paul and the six kinds of libertarianism

 

 

 

In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?
Trend since 2004

 

Republicans Independents Democrats
% % %
2017 Mar 1-5 26 42 30
2017 Feb 1-5 31 37 31
2017 Jan 4-8 28 44 25
2016 Dec 7-11 28 39 29
2016 Nov 9-13 27 40 30
2016 Nov 1-6 27 36 31
2016 Oct 5-9 27 36 32
2016 Sep 14-18 27 40 32
2016 Sep 7-11 29 38 31
2016 Aug 3-7 27 38 31
2016 Jul 13-17 28 42 28
2016 Jun 14-23 28 39 31
2016 Jun 1-5 27 41 30
2016 May 18-22 27 45 28
2016 May 4-8 31 37 30
2016 Apr 6-10 25 44 31
2016 Mar 2-6 26 38 32
2016 Feb 3-7 30 37 30
2016 Jan 21-25 29 39 31
2016 Jan 6-10 26 44 29
2015 Dec 2-6 27 40 30
2015 Nov 4-8 28 39 30
2015 Oct 7-11 25 42 29
2015 Sep 9-13 27 43 27
2015 Aug 5-9 27 41 31
2015 Jul 8-12 23 46 28
2015 Jun 2-7 25 41 31
2015 May 6-10 26 41 30
2015 Apr 9-12 24 42 31
2015 Mar 6-9 27 44 28
2015 Feb 8-11 25 43 29
2015 Jan 5-8 29 42 28
2014 Dec 8-11 27 40 31
2014 Nov 6-9 28 41 28
2014 Oct 29-Nov 2 26 39 32
2014 Oct 12-15 33 35 29
2014 Sep 25-30 26 42 30
2014 Sep 4-7 25 47 26
2014 Aug 7-10 26 40 31
2014 Jul 7-10 23 45 29
2014 Jun 5-8 24 46 28
2014 May 8-11 24 43 31
2014 Apr 24-30 23 43 32
2014 Apr 3-6 25 42 29
2014 Mar 6-9 25 42 30
2014 Feb 6-9 23 45 30
2014 Jan 5-8 24 45 29
2013 Dec 5-8 24 44 30
2013 Nov 7-10 23 46 28
2013 Oct 3-6 20 47 30
2013 Sep 5-8 22 45 31
2013 Aug 7-11 24 43 31
2013 Jul 10-14 25 42 31
2013 Jun 20-24 26 41 31
2013 Jun 1-4 26 41 31
2013 May 2-7 28 39 32
2013 Apr 4-14 26 40 33
2013 Mar 7-10 27 36 35
2013 Feb 7-10 28 38 32
2013 Jan 7-10 27 38 33
2012 Dec 27-30 27 36 34
2012 Dec 19-22 25 35 38
2012 Dec 14-17 25 39 34
2012 Nov 26-29 29 37 31
2012 Nov 15-18 27 38 32
2012 Nov 9-12 28 38 33
2012 Nov 1-4 30 33 35
2012 Sep 24-27 28 38 32
2012 Sep 6-9 27 36 35
2012 Aug 20-22 28 41 31
2012 Aug 9-12 26 42 29
2012 Jul 19-22 28 41 30
2012 Jul 9-12 27 41 30
2012 Jun 7-10 30 39 30
2012 May 10-13 27 44 29
2012 May 3-5 28 38 32
2012 Apr 9-12 29 41 29
2012 Mar 8-11 27 42 30
2012 Feb 16-19 27 43 29
2012 Feb 2-5 27 43 29
2012 Jan 5-8 27 42 30
2011 Dec 15-18 30 42 27
2011 Nov 28-Dec 1 25 45 28
2011 Nov 3-6 27 35 36
2011 Oct 6-9 26 41 31
2011 Sep 15-18 21 46 32
2011 Sep 8-11 25 44 30
2011 Aug 11-14 28 44 26
2011 Aug 4-7 24 42 34
2011 Jul 12-15 25 42 30
2011 Jul 7-10 29 39 30
2011 Jun 9-12 30 38 29
2011 May 5-8 29 37 32
2011 Apr 20-23 31 36 32
2011 Apr 7-11 26 42 30
2011 Mar 25-27 25 40 32
2011 Mar 3-6 29 39 29
2011 Feb 2-5 28 40 31
2011 Jan 14-16 28 42 28
2011 Jan 7-9 29 37 31
2010 Dec 10-12 33 34 32
2010 Nov 19-21 29 40 29
2010 Nov 4-7 26 41 31
2010 Oct 28-31 29 36 32
2010 Oct 21-24 29 34 33
2010 Oct 14-17 30 36 30
2010 Oct 7-10 30 34 33
2010 Sep 30-Oct 3 29 37 30
2010 Sep 23-26 30 34 32
2010 Sep 13-16 30 41 28
2010 Aug 27-30 28 41 30
2010 Aug 5-8 29 40 30
2010 Jul 27-Aug 1 30 37 31
2010 Jul 8-11 26 40 30
2010 Jun 11-13 28 33 36
2010 May 24-25 28 40 30
2010 May 3-6 30 36 32
2010 Apr 8-11 26 42 29
2010 Mar 26-28 28 40 31
2010 Mar 4-7 29 39 30
2010 Feb 1-3 27 40 33
2010 Jan 8-10 28 36 34
2009 Dec 11-13 29 36 33
2009 Oct 16-19 25 41 32
2009 Oct 1-4 27 38 33
2009 Sep 11-13 26 40 33
2009 Aug 31-Sep 2 28 36 35
2009 Aug 6-9 28 35 35
2009 Jul 17-19 26 39 33
2009 Jul 10-12 29 33 37
2009 Jun 14-17 29 37 32
2009 May 29-31 26 37 35
2009 May 7-10 32 34 32
2009 Apr 20-21 27 36 36
2009 Apr 6-9 24 40 35
2009 Mar 27-29 28 35 35
2009 Mar 5-8 25 35 38
2009 Feb 20-22 27 36 34
2009 Feb 9-12 29 36 33
2009 Jan 30-Feb 1 27 35 36
2009 Jan 9-11 30 33 36
2008 Dec 12-14 26 35 37
2008 Dec 4-7 27 33 37
2008 Nov 13-16 26 35 39
2008 Nov 7-9 28 37 33
2008 Oct 23-26 33 32 34
2008 Oct 10-12 30 33 35
2008 Oct 3-5 27 38 33
2008 Sep 26-27 28 35 35
2008 Sep 8-11 32 31 35
2008 Sep 5-7 30 34 35
2008 Aug 21-23 27 37 36
2008 Aug 7-10 31 32 35
2008 Jul 25-27 29 33 36
2008 Jul 10-13 27 35 35
2008 Jun 15-19 30 35 34
2008 Jun 9-12 29 36 33
2008 May 30-Jun1 26 36 37
2008 May 8-11 27 35 37
2008 May 1-3 27 37 36
2008 Apr 18-20 25 38 36
2008 Apr 6-9 26 35 37
2008 Mar 14-16 29 33 38
2008 Mar 6-9 28 37 34
2008 Feb 21-24 29 34 36
2008 Feb 11-14 26 34 40
2008 Feb 8-10 28 34 37
2008 Jan 30-Feb 2 29 36 35
2008 Jan 10-13 28 38 34
2008 Jan 4-6 30 35 34
2007 Dec 14-16 27 39 33
2007 Dec 6-9 30 36 32
2007 Nov 30-Dec 2 28 41 31
2007 Nov 11-14 27 38 33
2007 Nov 2-4 25 41 34
2007 Oct 12-14 24 43 31
2007 Oct 4-7 28 38 32
2007 Sep 14-16 28 38 33
2007 Sep 7-8 26 41 32
2007 Aug 13-16 28 40 30
2007 Aug 3-5 27 43 30
2007 Jul 12-15 29 37 32
2007 Jul 6-8 25 43 31
2007 Jun 11-14 27 38 34
2007 Jun 1-3 31 36 31
2007 May 10-13 27 38 34
2007 May 4-6 27 40 33
2007 Apr 13-15 29 36 34
2007 Apr 2-5 30 36 34
2007 Mar 23-25 29 36 33
2007 Mar 11-14 31 35 32
2007 Mar 2-4 27 37 35
2007 Feb 9-11 26 41 32
2007 Feb 1-4 26 37 35
2007 Jan 15-18 30 32 36
2007 Jan 12-14 28 40 32
2007 Jan 5-7 27 42 31
2006 Dec 11-14 30 34 35
2006 Dec 8-10 29 36 34
2006 Nov 9-12 24 40 35
2006 Nov 2-5 31 32 34
2006 Oct 20-22 29 34 35
2006 Oct 9-12 28 35 34
2006 Oct 6-8 29 31 38
2006 Sep 15-17 31 34 34
2006 Sep 7-10 30 33 35
2006 Aug 18-20 33 32 34
2006 Aug 7-10 31 31 36
2006 Jul 28-30 32 29 38
2006 Jul 21-23 29 37 33
2006 Jul 6-9 31 33 34
2006 Jun 23-26 26 36 37
2006 Jun 9-11 35 27 37
2006 Jun 1-4 30 35 34
2006 May 12-13 30 36 34
2006 May 8-11 29 35 34
2006 May 5-7 29 37 32
2006 Apr 28-30 30 35 34
2006 Apr 10-13 31 33 35
2006 Apr 7-9 31 33 35
2006 Mar 13-16 28 36 33
2006 Mar 10-12 32 33 34
2006 Feb 28-Mar 1 32 31 35
2006 Feb 9-12 30 39 31
2006 Feb 6-9 33 34 30
2006 Jan 20-22 32 32 34
2006 Jan 9-12 34 34 31
2006 Jan 6-8 34 33 32
2005 Dec 19-22 29 36 32
2005 Dec 16-18 31 36 32
2005 Dec 9-11 30 38 31
2005 Dec 5-8 36 31 31
2005 Nov 17-20 33 30 34
2005 Nov 11-13 31 34 34
2005 Nov 7-10 32 33 33
2005 Oct 28-30 32 37 30
2005 Oct 24-26 33 30 35
2005 Oct 21-23 34 33 33
2005 Oct 13-16 30 33 36
2005 Sep 26-28 32 34 33
2005 Sep 16-18 30 33 36
2005 Sep 12-15 30 37 31
2005 Sep 8-11 33 34 32
2005 Aug 28-30 32 32 35
2005 Aug 22-25 29 34 35
2005 Aug 8-11 33 30 35
2005 Aug 5-7 33 35 31
2005 Jul 25-28 28 37 33
2005 Jul 22-24 32 31 36
2005 Jul 7-10 30 33 35
2005 Jun 29-30 29 31 38
2005 Jun 24-26 33 32 34
2005 Jun 16-19 33 31 34
2005 Jun 6-8 33 34 31
2005 May 23-26 33 34 31
2005 May 20-22 29 33 36
2005 May 2-5 35 30 34
2005 Apr 29-May 1 34 34 31
2005 Apr 18-21 35 29 35
2005 Apr 1-2 35 33 31
2005 Mar 21-23 32 29 37
2005 Mar 18-20 35 31 32
2005 Mar 7-10 35 31 32
2005 Feb 25-27 38 27 34
2005 Feb 21-24 37 31 29
2005 Feb 7-10 34 30 35
2005 Feb 4-6 37 35 28
2005 Jan 14-16 33 36 30
2005 Jan 7-9 35 29 36
2005 Jan 3-5 37 27 35
2004 Dec 17-19 33 30 35
2004 Dec 5-8 37 29 32
2004 Nov 19-21 38 31 30
2004 Nov 7-10 38 27 35
2004 Oct 29-31 34 27 37
2004 Oct 22-24 35 29 36
2004 Oct 14-16 38 29 33
2004 Oct 11-14 33 32 35
2004 Oct 9-10 35 30 34
2004 Oct 1-3 36 27 37
2004 Sep 24-26 39 28 31
2004 Sep 13-15 37 29 33
2004 Sep 3-5 37 29 34
2004 Aug 23-25 35 32 32
2004 Aug 9-11 36 29 34
2004 Jul 30-Aug 1 35 28 36
2004 Jul 19-21 37 28 34
2004 Jul 8-11 35 27 36
2004 Jun 21-23 32 33 34
2004 Jun 3-6 33 31 35
2004 May 21-23 33 31 34
2004 May 7-9 32 32 33
2004 May 2-4 32 31 36
2004 Apr 16-18 32 32 34
2004 Apr 5-8 34 30 34
2004 Mar 26-28 36 30 32
2004 Mar 8-11 31 35 33
2004 Mar 5-7 33 31 35
2004 Feb 16-17 30 39 31
2004 Feb 9-12 32 35 32
2004 Feb 6-8 33 36 30
2004 Jan 29-Feb 1 31 35 33
2004 Jan 12-15 32 33 34
2004 Jan 9-11 33 35 31
2004 Jan 2-5 32 40 28
GALLUP

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 863, March 29, 2017, Story 1: Obama Administration Requested The Unmasking of American Citizens Names From National Security Agency Documents –Big Brother Is Spying On You — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Focus On Republican Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes Instead of Invasion of Privacy of American People By Former Democratic President Barack Obama — Obamagate — Videos

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Story 1: Obama Administration Requested The Unmasking of American Citizens Names From National Security Agency Documents –Big Brother Barack Was Spying On You — Videos — 

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Obama’s rule changes opened door for NSA intercepts of Americans to reach political hands

by John Solomon and Sara Carter

As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.

The NSA is expected to turn over logs as early as this week to congressional committees detailing who consumed reports with unmasked Americans’ identities from their intercepts since the summer of 2016.

This information is likely to become a primary focus of the Russia counterintelligence probe of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Circa confirmed the unmasking procedures through interviews with intelligence professionals and by reviewing previously classified documents it obtained that described the loosening of privacy requirements.

To intelligence professionals, the public revelations affirm an undeniable reality.

Over the last decade, the assumption of civil liberty and privacy protections for Americans incidentally intercepted by the NSA overseas has been eroded in the name of national security.

Today, the power to unmask an American’s name inside an NSA intercept — once considered a rare event in the intelligence and civil liberty communities — now resides with about 20 different officials inside the NSA alone. The FBI also has the ability to unmask Americans’ names to other intelligence professionals and policymakers.

And the justification for requesting such unmasking can be as simple as claiming “the identity of the United States person is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance,” according to a once-classified document that the Obama administration submitted in October 2011 for approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It laid out specifically how and when the NSA could unmask an American’s identity.

A U.S. intelligence official directly familiar with the procedures told Circa that while the unmasking requirements have been eased and the availability of intercepts widened, the NSA still regards protecting Americans’ privacy as essential.

“When [the NSA] uses their authority to unmask them we have very stringent rules,” the official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity due to secret nature of the NSA’s work. “We have very strict oversight from all three branches of government — the executive, judicial and legislative.

Spokesmen for Obama, Brennan, Lynch and Rice did not immediately return calls Tuesday seeking comment. However, when questioned recently about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ allegations that Obama administration officials had access to unmasked American intercepts of Trump associates at the end of the Obama presidency, Rice said she knew of no reason for concern.

“I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today,” Rice told PBS.

“There may be very good reasons for some political appointees to need access to a non-minimized intelligence reporting but we don’t know and given the breadth of unmasked sharing that went on, there is the strong possibility of abusive or excessive access that harmed Americans’ privacy,” said an intel source familiar with the data. Added another: “Wholesale access to unmasked incidental NSA intercepts essentially created the potential for spying on Americans overseas after the fact, which is exactly what our foreign intelligence arms are not supposed to be doing.”

The ACLU, an ally of Obama on many issues, issued a statement a few months ago warning that the president’s loosened procedures governing who could request or see unmasked American intercepts by the NSA were “grossly inadequate” and lacked “appropriate safeguards.”

Nunes, the House intelligence panel chairman who was not interviewed for this story, alleged in the last week he has received evidence that Obama administration political figures gained access to unmasked American identities through foreign intercepts involving the Trump transition team between November and January.

The FBI and House and Senate intelligence committee will also try to determine if that access led to the leaking of sensitive intelligence, such as the media reports that Trump National Security adviser Mike Flynn was intercepted last December by the FBI having contact with the Russian ambassador.

The NSA is strictly forbidden from targeting Americans for surveillance while carrying out is perfectly legal and essential mission to spy on foreign powers, encoded in FISA’s Section 702.

The NSA, however, was granted dispensation from any penalty if it wiretaps or collects information of an American accidentally, an event known as an incidental collection.

The number of senior government officials who could approve unmasking had been limited to just a few, like the NSA director himself.

One of those relaxations came in 2011 when Attorney General Eric Holder sent a memo to the FISA court laying out the rules for sharing unmasked intercepts of Americans captured incidentally by the NSA. The court approved the approach.

In 2015, those rules were adapted to determine not only how the FBI got access to unmasked intelligence from NSA or FISA intercepts but also other agencies. One of the requirements, the NSA and FBI had to keep good records of who requested and gained access to the unredacted information.

And in his final days in office, Obama created the largest ever expansion of access to non-minimized NSA intercepts, creating a path for all U.S. intelligence to gain access to unmasked reports by changes encoded in a Reagan-era Executive Order 12333.

The government officials who could request or approve an exception to unmask a U.S. citizen’s identity has grown substantially. The NSA now has 20 executives who can approve the unmasking of American information inside intercepts, and the FBI has similar numbers.

And executives in 16 agencies — not just the FBI, CIA and NSA — have the right to request unmasked information.

Even when an American’s name isn’t included in a report, the NSA’s intercept information could be so specific that it identifies them.

In one hypothetical example offered by an intelligence professional, “if NSA included a day-after-the-election intercept of foreign leaders congratulating an American on his election to the presidency, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out the intercepted person was Donald Trump in 2016 or Barack Obama back in 2008.”

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Executive Order 12333

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Executive Order 12333 was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981.

On December 4, 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, an Executive Order intended to extend powers and responsibilities of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information.[1] This executive order was entitled United States Intelligence Activities.

It was amended by Executive Order 13355: Strengthened Management of the Intelligence Community, on August 27, 2004. On July 30, 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13470[2] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI.[3][4]

Part 1

“Goals, Direction, Duties and Responsibilities with Respect to the National Intelligence Effort” lays out roles for various intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury.

Part 2

“Conduct of Intelligence Activities” provides guidelines for actions of intelligence agencies.

Collection of Information

Part 2.3 permits collection, retention and dissemination of the following types of information along with several others.

“(c) Information obtained in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, international narcotics or international terrorism investigation”[1]

“(i) Incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local or foreign laws”[1]

Proscription on assassination

Part 2.11 of this executive order reiterates a proscription on US intelligence agencies sponsoring or carrying out an assassination. It reads:[5]

No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

Previously, EO 11905 (Gerald Ford) had banned political assassinations and EO 12036 (Jimmy Carter) had further banned indirect U.S. involvement in assassinations.[6] As early as 1998, this proscription against assassination was reinterpreted, and relaxed, for targets who are classified by the United States as connected to terrorism.[7][8]

Impact

Executive Order 12333 has been regarded by the American intelligence community as a fundamental document authorizing the expansion of data collection activities.[9] The document has been employed by the National Security Agency as legal authorization for its collection of unencrypted information flowing through the data centers of internet communications giants Google and Yahoo!.[9]

In July 2014 chairman David Medine and two other members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government oversight agency, indicated a desire to review Executive Order 12333 in the near future, according to a report by journalist Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian.[9]

In July 2014, former State Department official John Tye published an editorial in The Washington Post, citing his prior access to classified material on intelligence-gathering activities under Executive Order 12333, and arguing that the order represented a significant threat to Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.[10]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Ronald Reagan, “Executive Order 12333—United States Intelligence Activities,” US Federal Register, Dec. 4, 1981.
  2. Jump up^ “Executive Order 13470”. Fas.org. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul”, by Associated Press, July 31, 2008
  4. Jump up^ Executive Order: Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, White House, July 31, 2008
  5. Jump up^ “Executive Orders”. Archives.gov. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  6. Jump up^ CRS Report for Congress Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333: A Brief Summary January 4, 2002
  7. Jump up^ Walter Pincus (February 15, 1998). “Saddam Hussein’s Death Is a Goal, Says Ex-CIA Chief”. The Washington Post. p. A36. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  8. Jump up^ Barton Gellman (October 21, 2001). “CIA Weighs ‘Targeted Killing’ Missions: Administration Believes Restraints Do Not Bar Singling Out Individual Terrorists”. The Washington Post. p. A01. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c Spencer Ackerman, “NSA Reformers Dismayed after Privacy Board Vindicates Surveillance Dragnet: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Endorses Agency’s So-called ‘702’ Powers, Plus Backdoor Searches of Americans’ Information”, ‘The Guardian (London), July 2, 2014.
  10. Jump up^ Farivar, Cyrus (August 20, 2014). “Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower”. Ars Technica.

Further reading

Full text

External links

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Security Advisor Susan Rice and President Barack Obama speaking on secure phones in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility after the 2016 Brussels bombings

A Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced “skiff”) in United States military, national security/national defense and intelligence parlance, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information.

SCI is usually only briefed, discussed, and stored in an accredited SCIF.[citation needed]

Access

Access to SCIFs is normally limited to those individuals with appropriate security clearances.[1] Non-cleared personnel in SCIF must be under the constant oversight of cleared personnel and all classified information and material removed from view in order to prevent unauthorized access to said information and material;[2] as part of this process, non-cleared personnel are also typically required to surrender all recording, photographic and other electronic media devices.[3] All of the activity and conversation inside is presumed restricted from public disclosure.

Construction

Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is secure. A SCIF can also be located in an air, ground or maritime vehicle, or can be established on a temporary basis at a specific site. The physical construction, access control, and alarming of the facility has been defined by various directives, including Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs) 1/21 and 6/9, and most recently (2011) by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 705, signed by the Director of National Intelligence. ICD 705 is a three-page capstone document that implements Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) 705-1, ICS 705-2 and the TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT OF SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION FACILITIES or “Tech Specs.” The latest version of the Tech Specs was published in September 2015 (Version 1.3).

Computers operating within such a facility must conform to rules established by ICD 503. Computers and telecommunication equipment within must conform to TEMPEST emanations specification as directed by a Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA).

See also

References

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_Compartmented_Information_Facility

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The Pronk Pops Show 856, March 20, 2017, Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More — Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency (NSA) Collects And Stores All Communications Over The Internet Including Trump’s and Advisers — No Need For Warrants — Who Was The National Security Target? — Who Leaked The Content and Transcript of General Mike Flynn’s Conversations With Russian Ambassador? Time To Release The Full Transcripts of All Conversations — Videos

Posted on March 20, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Impeachment, Independence, Law, Life, Media, National Security Agency, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Security, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Story 1: National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey Confirm There Is No Evidence That Russians Changed The Votes or Results of Presidential Election And No Collusion Between Russians and Trump Campaign –But FBI Is Still Investigating and Cannot Say More —  Big Lie Media Lied Again — Videos — 

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FBI Director James Comey’s Testifies at House Intelligence Committee Hearing – Opening Statement

Comey: Putin hated Hillary Clinton | Comey, Rogers testify on Russia, wiretapping

Comey confirms FBI is investigating possible Russia/Trump camp collusion

James Comey Testifies On Trump Wiretapping Claims and Russian Interference 3/20/2017

Comey and Rogers Congressional Hearing: No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Stealing the 2016 Election

FBI and NSA give ONE Shocking Evidence about Russia Hacking Election

FBI COMEY: WE WIRE TAPPED THE PRESIDENT

Limbaugh on Comey Hearing: Message to Trump Is Stop the ‘Drain-the-Swamp Stuff’ or Face Impeachment

“It’s Okay For You To Cite Sources But Not Trump?” Sean Spicer Slams CBS Reporter

FBI Director On Trump’s Wiretap Allegations: No Info To Support That – Full Comments

Rep. Schiff previews FBI director’s House hearing on Russia probe

Sean Spicer HEATED press briefing on James Comey Trump Wiretap Claims Russian Interference 3/20/2017

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

FULL: James Comey Testifies On President Trump Wiretapping Claims & Russian Interference (3/20/2017)

While many Democrats frequently say Russia “hacked” the presidential election, National Security Administration Director Adm. Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey both confirmed today that Russian activities had no impact on tallying votes in states.

“On January 6, 2017, the intelligence community assessment assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent US elections stated that the types of systems Russians actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said.

Going to Adm. Rogers, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that Russian actors changed vote tallies in the state of Michigan?” referring to a battleground state Hillary Clinton lost.

“No, I do not,” Rogers responded, before emphasizing the NSA is a foreign intelligence agency, and does not focus domestically.

“How about the state of Pennsylvania?” Nunes asked.

“No, sir,” Rogers responded.

“The state of Wisconsin?”

“No, sir,” Rogers said.

He gave similar answers when asked about vote tallying in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Turning to Comey, Nunes said, “Do you have any evidence that the FBI that any votes were changed in the states I mentioned to Adm. Rogers?”

“No,” Comey responded

 

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/fbi-nsa-no-evidence-russia-manipulated-us-vote-tallying/

 

The Democrats’ Trump-Russia Conspiracy Campaign Collapses

Is sanity finally returning? After weeks of ranting and raving about Russian “interference” and Putin-Trump conspiracies, so-called ‘intelligence’ agencies and high-ranking Democrats are quietly walking back their rhetoric and managing their base’s expectations – simply put: there’s no ‘there’, there.

‘Moon of Alabama’ reminds us that a while ago Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone warned: Why the Russia Story Is a Minefield for Democrats and the Media:

If we engage in Times-style gilding of every lily the leakers throw our way, and in doing so build up a fever of expectations for a bombshell reveal, but there turns out to be no conspiracy – Trump will be pre-inoculated against all criticism for the foreseeable future.

And now, as The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald writes, key Democratic officials are now warning their base not to expect

From MSNBC politics shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-17/democrats-trump-russia-conspiracy-campaign-collapses

FROM MSNBC POLITICS shows to town hall meetings across the country, the overarching issue for the Democratic Party’s base since Trump’s victory has been Russia, often suffocating attention for other issues. This fixation has persisted even though it has no chance to sink the Trump presidency unless it is proven that high levels of the Trump campaign actively colluded with the Kremlin to manipulate the outcome of the U.S. election — a claim for which absolutely no evidence has thus far been presented.

The principal problem for Democrats is that so many media figures and online charlatans are personally benefiting from feeding the base increasingly unhinged, fact-free conspiracies — just as right-wing media polemicists did after both Bill Clinton and Obama were elected — that there are now millions of partisan soldiers absolutely convinced of a Trump/Russia conspiracy for which, at least as of now, there is no evidence. And they are all waiting for the day, which they regard as inevitable and imminent, when this theory will be proven and Trump will be removed.

Key Democratic officials are clearly worried about the expectations that have been purposely stoked and are now trying to tamp them down. Many of them have tried to signal that the beliefs the base has been led to adopt have no basis in reason or evidence.

The latest official to throw cold water on the MSNBC-led circus is President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell. What makes him particularly notable in this context is that Morell was one of Clinton’s most vocal CIA surrogates. In August, he not only endorsed Clinton in the pages of the New York Times but also became the first high official to explicitly accuse Trump of disloyalty, claiming, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But on Wednesday night, Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum to “cast doubt” on “allegations that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all,” he said, adding, “There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Obama’s former CIA chief also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the infamous, explosive “dossier” originally published by BuzzFeed, saying that its author, Christopher Steele, paid intermediaries to talk to the sources for it. The dossier, he said, “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

Morell’s comments echo the categorical remarks by Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, who told Meet the Press last week that during the time he was Obama’s DNI, he saw no evidence to support claims of a Trump/Russia conspiracy. “We had no evidence of such collusion,” Clapper stated unequivocally. Unlike Morell, who left his official CIA position in 2013 but remains very integrated into the intelligence community, Clapper was Obama’s DNI until just seven weeks ago, leaving on January 20.

Perhaps most revealing of all are the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee — charged with investigating these matters — who recently told BuzzFeed how petrified they are of what the Democratic base will do if they do not find evidence of collusion, as they now suspect will likely be the case. “There’s a tangible frustration over what one official called ‘wildly inflated’ expectations surrounding the panel’s fledgling investigation,” BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins wrote.

Moreover, “several committee sources grudgingly say, it feels as though the investigation will be seen as a sham if the Senate doesn’t find a silver bullet connecting Trump and Russian intelligence operatives.” One member told Watkins: “I don’t think the conclusions are going to meet people’s expectations.”

What makes all of this most significant is that officials like Clapper and Morell are trained disinformation agents; Clapper in particular has proven he will lie to advance his interests. Yet even with all the incentive to do so, they are refusing to claim there is evidence of such collusion; in fact, they are expressly urging people to stop thinking it exists. As even the law recognizes, statements that otherwise lack credibility become more believable when they are ones made “against interest.”

Media figures have similarly begun trying to tamp down expectations. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, which published the Steele dossier, published an article yesterday warning that the Democratic base’s expectation of a smoking gun “is so strong that Twitter and cable news are full of the theories of what my colleague Charlie Warzel calls the Blue Detectives — the left’s new version of Glenn Beck, digital blackboards full of lines and arrows.” Smith added: “It is also a simple fact that while news of Russian actions on Trump’s behalf is clear, hard details of coordination between his aides and Putin’s haven’t emerged.” And Smith’s core warning is this:

Trump’s critics last year were horrified at the rise of “fake news” and the specter of a politics shaped by alternative facts, predominantly on the right. They need to be careful now not to succumb to the same delusional temptations as their political adversaries, and not to sink into a filter bubble which, after all, draws its strength not from conservative or progressive politics but from human nature.

And those of us covering the story and the stew of real information, fantasy, and — now — forgery around it need to continue to report and think clearly about what we know and what we don’t, and to resist the sugar high that comes with telling people exactly what they want to hear.

For so long, Democrats demonized and smeared anyone trying to inject basic reason, rationality, and skepticism into this Trump/Russia discourse by labeling them all Kremlin agents and Putin lovers. Just this week, the Center for American Progress released a report using the language of treason to announce the existence of a “Fifth Column” in the U.S. that serves Russia (similar to Andrew Sullivan’s notorious 2001 decree that anyone opposing the war on terror composed an anti-American “Fifth Column”), while John McCain listened to Rand Paul express doubts about the wisdom of NATO further expanding to include Montenegro and then promptly announced: “Paul is working for Vladimir Putin.”

But with serious doubts — and fears — now emerging about what the Democratic base has been led to believe by self-interested carnival barkers and partisan hacks, there is a sudden, concerted effort to rein in the excesses of this story. With so many people now doing this, it will be increasingly difficult to smear them all as traitors and Russian loyalists, but it may be far too little, too late, given the pitched hysteria that has been deliberately cultivated around these issues for months. Many Democrats have reached the classic stage of deranged conspiracists where evidence that disproves the theory is viewed as further proof of its existence, and those pointing to it are instantly deemed suspect.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/16/key-democratic-officials-now-warning-base-not-to-expect-evidence-of-trumprussia-collusion/

ONE OF THE most bizarre aspects of the all-consuming Russia frenzy is the Democrats’ fixation on changes to the RNC platform concerning U.S. arming of Ukraine. The controversy began in July when the Washington Post reported that “the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces.”

Ever since then, Democrats have used this language change as evidence that Trump and his key advisers have sinister connections to Russians and corruptly do their bidding at the expense of American interests. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke for many in his party when he lambasted the RNC change in a July letter to the New York Times, castigating it as “dangerous thinking” that shows Trump is controlled, or at least manipulated, by the Kremlin. Democrats resurrected this line of attack this weekend when Trump advisers acknowledged that campaign officials were behind the platform change.

This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies. The original Post article that reported the RNC platform change noted this explicitly:

Of course, Trump is not the only politician to oppose sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. President Obama decided not to authorize it, despite recommendations to do so from his top Europe officials in the State Department and the military.

Early media reports about this controversy from outlets such as NPR also noted the irony at the heart of this debate: namely, that arming Ukraine was the long-time desire of hawks in the GOP such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, but the Obama White House categorically resisted those pressures:

Republicans in Congress have approved providing arms to the Ukrainian government but the White House has resisted, saying that it would only encourage more bloodshed.

It’s a rare Obama administration policy that the Trump campaign seems to agree with.

Indeed, the GOP ultimately joined with the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party to demand that Obama provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russia, but Obama steadfastly refused. As the New York Times reported in March, 2015, “President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help.” When Obama kept refusing, leaders of the two parties threatened to enact legislation forcing Obama to arm Ukraine.

The general Russia approach that Democrats now routinely depict as treasonous – avoiding confrontation with and even accommodating Russian interests, not just in Ukraine but also in Syria – was one of the defining traits of Obama’s foreign policy. This fact shouldn’t be overstated: Obama engaged in provocative acts such as moves to further expand NATO, non-lethal aid to Ukraine, and deploying “missile defense” weaponry in Romania. But he rejected most calls to confront Russia. That is one of the primary reasons the “foreign policy elite” – which, recall, Obama came into office denouncing and vowing to repudiate – was so dissatisfied with his presidency.

A new, long article by Politico foreign affairs correspondent Susan Glasser – on the war being waged against Trump by Washington’s “foreign policy elite” – makes this point very potently. Say what you will about Politico, but one thing they are very adept at doing is giving voice to cowardly Washington insiders by accommodating their cowardice and thus routinely granting them anonymity to express themselves. As journalistically dubious as it is to shield the world’s most powerful people with anonymity, this practice sometimes ends up revealing what careerist denizens of Washington power really think but are too scared to say. Glasser’s article, which largely consists of conveying the views of anonymous high-level Obama officials, contains this remarkable passage:

In other words, Democrats are now waging war on, and are depicting as treasonous, one of Barack Obama’s central and most steadfastly held foreign policy positions, one that he clung to despite attacks from leading members of both parties as well as the DC National Security Community. That’s not Noam Chomsky drawing that comparison; it’s an Obama appointee.

The destructive bipartisan Foreign Policy Community was furious with Obama for not confronting Russia more, and is now furious with Trump for the same reason (though they certainly loath and fear Trump for other reasons, including the threat they believe he poses to U.S. imperial management through a combination of ineptitude, instability, toxic PR, naked rather than prettified savagery, and ideology; Glasser writes: “‘Everything I’ve worked for for two decades is being destroyed,’ a senior Republican told me”).

 

ALL OF THIS demonstrates how fundamental a shift has taken place as a result of the Democrats’ election-related fixation on The Grave Russian Threat. To see how severe the shift is, just look at this new polling data from CNN this morning that shows Republicans and Democrats doing a complete reversal on Russia in the span of eight months:

The Democrats’ obsession with Russia has not just led them to want investigations into allegations of hacking and (thus far evidence-free) suspicions of Trump campaign collusion – investigations which everyone should want. It’s done far more than that: it’s turned them into increasingly maniacal and militaristic hawks – dangerous ones – when it comes to confronting the only nation with a larger nuclear stockpile than the U.S., an arsenal accompanied by a sense of fear, if not outright encirclement, from NATO expansion.

Put another way, establishment Democrats – with a largely political impetus but now as a matter of conviction – have completely abandoned Obama’s accommodationist approach to Russia and have fully embraced the belligerent, hawkish mentality of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, the CIA and Evan McMullin. It should thus come as no surprise that a bill proposed by supreme warmonger Lindsey Graham to bar Trump from removing sanctions against Russia has more Democratic co-sponsors than Republican ones.

This is why it’s so notable that Democrats, in the name of “resistance,” have aligned with neocons, CIA operatives and former Bush officials: not because coalitions should be avoided with the ideologically impure, but because it reveals much about the political and policy mindset they’ve adopted in the name of stopping Trump. They’re not “resisting” Trump from the left or with populist appeals – by, for instance, devoting themselves to protection of Wall Street and environmental regulations under attack, or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred.

Instead, they’re attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors). This is why they’re finding such common cause with the nation’s most bloodthirsty militarists – not because it’s an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). And the most ironic – and over-looked – aspect of this whole volatile spectacle is how much Democrats have to repudiate and demonize one of Obama’s core foreign policy legacies while pretending that they’re not doing that.

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/06/democrats-now-demonize-the-same-russia-policies-that-obama-long-championed/

Trump claims Democrats ‘made up’ reports about Russia’s election interference

President Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election as “FAKE NEWS.” In a series of tweets, Trump alleged Democrats “made up and pushed the Russian story,” seemingly referring to the FBI- and CIA-backed reports that Russia interfered in the election to dash Hillary Clinton’s chances, thus helping Trump.

Trump claimed Democrats fabricated the story “as an excuse for running a terrible campaign”:

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Trump then noted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s remark earlier this month that a paper compiled by the DNI, NSA, FBI, and CIA included “no evidence” of Trump associates’ collusion with Russia. Clapper said neither he nor the agencies had uncovered any “evidence of such collusion.”

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

Top House Intelligence Committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) later said he was “surprised” by Clapper’s comment because he did not think that claim could be made “categorically.” “I would characterize it this way: At the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion,” Schiff said. “There was direct evidence, I think, of deception.”

Later Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers will testify before Congress about possible connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Becca Stanek

http://theweek.com/speedreads/687068/trump-claims-democrats-made-reports-about-russias-election-interference

Story 2: National Security Agency (NSA) Collects And Stores All Communications Over The Internet Including Trump and Advisers — No Need For Warrants — Who Was The National Security Target? — Who Leaked The Content and Transcript of General Mike Flynn’s Conservations With Russian Ambassador? — Time To Release The Full Transcripts of All Conservations — Videos

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