Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Your morning jolt: Grover Norquist, hospitals battle over bed tax extension

Three months out from the January session of the Legislature, some very specific lines in the sand are already being drawn.

Last week, to little fanfare, anti-tax guru Grover Norquist, president of the Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter to Republican state lawmakers requiring them to oppose any extension of a hospital bed tax that was passed in 2010 and is set to expire next June.

The tax was used to plug a multi-million dollar hole in the state’s Medicaid budget.

Read Norquist’s letter in its entirety here.

Voting to extend the bed tax, Norquist declared, would violate the anti-tax pledge that many of those state lawmakers have signed. Norquist tied the bed tax to this summer’s transportation sales tax vote:

Voters made known their opposition to tax increases just six weeks ago when they soundly defeated the T-SPLOST at the polls. This is an affirmation of the public’s general distaste for higher taxes, and rightly so: Georgia’s tax code is currently …

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Nathan Deal on Glenn Richardson, Tampa and Medicaid

TAMPA — Blue skies hang over Tampa this morning, for the first time since Isaac threatened. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will arrive sometime today.

But at least until the 2 p.m. start of today’s first real session of the Republican National Convention, talk in the Georgia delegation has been directed homeward, where former House speaker Glenn Richardson has declared that, nearly two years after an attempted suicide followed by scandal and resignation, he intends to run for a west Georgia state Senate seat.

In an interview this morning at the delegation hotel, Gov. Nathan Deal said that Richardson came to speak with him at the state Capitol to discuss his possible return to politics. Said Deal:

”First of all, it was not my decision to make. That’s certainly something that every candidate has to decide on their own. I expressed my concern to him about his health, whether he was still fragile, and my concern about the impact on his family.”

Here’s the AP version from Monday’s …

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John Barrow says he won’t support health care repeal

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington sends this:

”U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Augusta will not be among the Democratic defectors today when House Republicans vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act – the 33rd vote this Congress in the repeal treadmill.

Barrow, who faces tough redistricting fight in a redrawn 12th District, voted against the original law in 2010, but has not backed repeal efforts, arguing that it is better to work to improve the law.

Republicans had predicted that after the Supreme Court upheld the health insurance mandate as a tax they might win a few new converts to the full repeal chorus, but Barrow is sticking where he is.

“The reason it’s tough is because each side up here is making it tough,” Barrow said of the vote. “That’s what’s wrong with this place. Both sides have the same attitude and both sides are equally wrong, that this has to be an all or nothing proposition.”

Barrow ticked off the appealing parts and noted even GOP presidential hopeful …

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Your morning jolt: Chip Rogers says he’ll vote ‘yes’ on casino gambling

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and his Republican challenger, chamber executive Brandon Beach, met in a debate up in Milton last night, sponsored by the North Fulton & Friends Tea Party.

Yours truly served as one of two moderators. For the record, the time needed to drive the 40 miles from the state Capitol was one hour, 55 minutes. My partner was former secretary of state Karen Handel, who – should she ever give up on politics – will make a fine TV news anchor.

Topics included the transportation sales tax, ethics, and a new Milton County. Both men support the latter. But stark differences showed up when it came to education and gaming.

Atlanta developer Dan O’Leary wants to harness the Georgia Lottery as the engine to drive a vast entertainment and gaming complex in Gwinnett County. We asked the candidates what they thought about the idea. Said Rogers:

”If people earn money, and they want to spend it in a way that doesn’t violate anybody else’s rights, it’s none of my …

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Your morning jolt: Splitting with governor, Chip Rogers to condemn transportation sales tax

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Your morning jolt: 80,000 jobs in June makes for a presidential contest

Republican Mitt Romney has had a tough week, but the next 24 hours will belong to President Barack Obama. From the Associated Press:

U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said in its report Friday.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That’s one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter. Through the first six months of the year, job creation is also trailing last year’s pace.

“It’s a disappointing report,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. He said the job gains are consistent with sluggish economic growth.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be at the White House on Friday when President Barack Obama signs that bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes …

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Mitt Romney: Never mind – health care mandate is a tax

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Mitt Romney camp: Barack Obama’s right — it’s not a tax

Months ago, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich spoke of health care reform as an issue that had compromised Republican Mitt Romney as much as it had President Barack Obama.

Both may be muttering an “I told you so” or two today. Via the McClatchy/Tribune wire service:

WASHINGTON — There’s a conspicuous holdout in Republican Party messaging that President Barack Obama’s landmark overhaul of the nation’s health care system represents a tax increase on middle-class Americans: the party’s presumptive nominee for president.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Mitt Romney campaign adviser, said in an interview Monday that Romney agrees with Obama that the mechanism to enforce the so-called mandate that Americans have insurance — a provision modeled after the Massachusetts law Romney had signed as governor — was a penalty and not a tax, a statement that runs counter to what the rest of the GOP has argued in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling last Thursday.

“He disagreed with the ruling. He …

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John Roberts looks for an island; Phil Gingrey advertises for another beer buddy

Because you just don’t get a chance every day to imagine U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, chugging a beer in his underwear. From Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central:

There there’s this from the Associated Press:

FARMINGTON, Pa. — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is joking that he’ll be spending some time in “an impregnable fortress” now that the Supreme Court has ended a session that featured him casting the decisive vote upholding President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Responding to a question about his summer plans, Roberts quipped that he thought his planned trip to Malta to teach a class was a “good idea.”

He delivered the joke Friday at a federal court conference at a posh Pennsylvania resort.

Roberts declined to answer a question about the landmark opinion issued Thursday. But he says he hopes the court will be remembered for “protecting equal …

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Your morning jolt: Did John Roberts just make health care an easier GOP target?

Atlanta publicist and tea party backer Randy Lewis emailed last night as he was listening to a briefing on the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care ruling by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who argued that the decision has made repeal of the measure a more achievable goal for the GOP:

[Cuccinelli] said that one additional largely unknown issue from the ruling today is that with the court declaring the law constitutional because it is a tax, that the law can now be repealed with 51 votes in the Senate — not 60. Tax votes only require simple majority. All other legislation requires 60 votes. So, Repubs picking up three seats and a VP can repeal Obamacare.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be holding onto this CNN video clip for a while – for bar bets if nothing else. It contains the mayor’s prediction on Tuesday, minutes before President Barack Obama’s plane touched down in Atlanta and 48 hours before the actual decision was made public, that the U.S. Supreme Court …

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