Much has been made of the Hobby Lobby case only applying to specific facts and the specific methods that the owners objected to such as Plan B and IUDs. Well, according to Scotusblog, the Court has issued 6 rulings on other pending cases where various owner objection were upheld. These appear to reach much farther than the particular products in the Hobby Lobby case to include all aspects of the mandate and perhaps other preventative services such as vaccines and physical exams, pap smears, mammograms, etc.
The Supreme Court sent a fairly strong signal on Tuesday that its ruling giving some for-profit businesses a right not to provide birth control services to their female workers goes beyond the specific methods at issue in that decision. It issued a series of orders on six cases, each of which involved owners who objected to all of the pregnancy-related services mandated under the new federal health care law.
Look below the orange IUD for details
As you are reading Dailykos because you are tired of working on your tax return with only 5 days to go before you give up and send in the extension, I would recommend an outrageous (and long story) in the Washington Post about a program now on the radar where the feds are seizing Federal and State tax refunds to satisfy old social security overpayments sometimes made to the deceased parents of the targets. The Post reports that " The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years.... " Apparently the farm bill, in addition to cutting SNAP benefits, also relaxed the 10 year Statue of Limitations on going after government debts. SSA referred 400,000 cases to Treasury. Seizing refunds
In the main case discussed in the article. The Treasury seized $2,996 dollars from a woman for survivor benefits paid to her mother more than 30 years ago for an alleged overpayment in 1977. She is suing to recover the funds. Social Security claims they have no records to document the alleged overpayment that Treasury seized.
The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”
Out here in Washington State, we have our own exchange with about 35 different options from 7 insurers. The site had problems its first day but seems to have got things under control. The couple of times I was on the site, it proceeded fairly smoothly. According to an October 4th email, the site had already had about 185,000 visits.
Key numbers since the Oct. 1 (as of Oct 4) launch include:
Unique Visitors: 43,629
Total Site Visits: 184,810
Page Views: 850,284
Unique Page Views: 61,263
Accounts Created: 28,374
Call Center Volume: 20,363
Call Center Wait Time Average: 14 minutes
Seven insurers are selling individual policies through the Washington Healthplanfinder:
Community Health Plan of Washington
Group Health Cooperative
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
Molina Healthcare of Washington
Premera Blue Cross
The insurers will offer 35 individual policy options, but not all options are available in all counties.
I have not made it far enough through the site yet to see what options are and how the rates look but will update this diary when I do so. I encourage other Kossacks to let us know how their states are doing.
Data from Oct 7 email below the squiggly.
Where do we stand?
The current round of gun violence is just a road too far. The progressive community needs to adopt a program of first identifying all guns and equipment with no valid hunting or defense purpose such as assault weapons, high capacity magazines, .50 cal rifles, etc.; second , requiring that these weapons be turned in for appropriate compensation and then destroyed. Furthermore, manufacture or importation of such weapons or equipment would be banned. Third, we need to require registration, training and securing.
Politically we need to not support any politician who does not endorse some measure of reasonable gun control. No current democratic candidates stand up for gun restrictions for fear of NRA. They are a paper tiger in any districts where a progressive candidate has a prayer of winning. If the constituents are “gun nuts” then they are probably also fervent right to life, 6000 year old earth types and we will never win anyway.
The final step is to blame the politicians when the violence happens. How many congressmen want to have their town halls and facebook pages covered with people calling them “baby killers?”
I thought I would draft up a short diary for you interested big city folk. I attended the local eastern Washington caucus at the local high school cafeteria today to support operation hysteria. The caucus is only for the Presidential nomination process--other offices are handled with a "top two" primary. Our Franklin County caucus brought out about 500 people for most of a strongly republican county with about 100k residents. Our precinct had 14 voters--7 Santorum, 4 Paul, 2 uncommitted, and 1 Romney. Statewide totals are supposed to be reported tonight but it is essentially meaningless--as explained below, it is really a straw poll. My guesstimate from applause lines is we will have 300 Santorum, 100 Paul, 80 Romney, and 20 Gingrich.
The caucus selected delegates to a county convention on March 24, our precinct will send 4. The county convention selects state delegates and they decide the 50 delegates for Tampa. The delegates that we selected are not bound to vote according to the precinct results.
Big push at the caucus to circulate petitions to get blocking same sex marriage initiative on the ballot. Lot of support for the initiative in the mostly 50 to 80 crowd. We also got to express views on how strongly we wanted the state republican platform to reflect typical wingnut provisions.