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Archive for November 15th, 2013

President Obama’s update on efforts to implement and improve the Affordable Care Act

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Says  “It’s fair to say that the rollout has been rough so far”

President Barack Obama’s statement on the ACA, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Today I want to update the American people on our efforts to implement and improve the Affordable Care Act, and I’ll take a couple of your questions.  But before I do, I just want to say a few words about the tragedy that’s unfolded in the Philippines.

Over the past few days, I think all of us have been shaken by the images of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan.  It’s a heartbreaking reminder of how fragile life is, and among the dead are several Americans.  So our prayers are with the Filipino people, and with Filipino Americans across our country who are anxious about their family and friends back home.

One of our core principles is, when friends are in trouble, America helps.  As I told President Aquino earlier this week, the United States will continue to offer whatever assistance we can.  Our military personnel and USAID team do this better than anybody in the world, and they’ve been already on the ground working tirelessly to deliver food, water, medicine, shelter, and to help with airlift.  Today, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and other ships arrived to help with search- and-rescue, as well as supplies, medical care and logistical support.  And more help is on the way.

America’s strength, of course, has always been more than just about what our government can do –- it’s also about what our citizens can do.  It’s about the big-heartedness of the American people when they see other folks in trouble.  So today, I would encourage everybody who wants to help, to visit WhiteHouse.gov/typhoon — that’s WhiteHouse.gov/typhoon — and that will offer you links to organizations that are working on the ground and ways that you can support their efforts.  Our friends in the Philippines will face a long, hard road ahead, but they’ll continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America.

Now, switching gears, it has now been six weeks since the Affordable Care Act’s new marketplace has opened for business.  I think it’s fair to say that the rollout has been rough so far.  And I think everybody understands that I’m not happy about the fact that the rollout has been wrought with a whole range of problems that I’ve been deeply concerned about.  But today I want to talk about what we know after these first few weeks and what we’re doing to implement and improve the law.

Yesterday, the White House announced that in the first month, more than 100,000 Americans successfully enrolled in new insurance plans.  Is that as high a number as we’d like?  Absolutely not.  But it does mean that people want affordable health care.  The problems of the website have prevented too many Americans from completing the enrollment process.  And that’s on us, not on them.  But there is no question that there’s real demand for quality, affordable health insurance.

In the first month, nearly a million people successfully completed an application for themselves or their families.  Those applications represent more than 1.5 million people.  Of those 1.5 million people, 106,000 of them have successfully signed up to get covered.

Another 396,000 have the ability to gain access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  That’s been less reported on, but it shouldn’t be.  Americans who are having a difficult time, who are poor, many of them working, may have a disability; they’re Americans like everybody else, and the fact that they are now able to get insurance is going to be critically important.

Later today, I’ll be in Ohio, where Governor Kasich, a Republican, has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  And as many as 275,000 Ohioans will ultimately be better off because of it.  And if every governor followed suit, another 5.4 million Americans could gain access to health care next year.

So bottom line is, in just one month, despite all the problems that we’ve seen with the website, more than 500,000 Americans could know the security of health care by January 1st — many of them for the first time in their lives.  And that’s life-changing and it’s significant.

That still leaves about 1 million Americans who successfully made it through the website, and now qualify to buy insurance, but haven’t picked a plan yet.  And there’s no question that if the website were working as it’s supposed to, that number would be much higher of people who have actually enrolled.  So that’s problem number one –- making sure that the website works the way it’s supposed to.  It’s gotten a lot better over the last few weeks than it was on the first day, but we’re working 24/7 to get it working for the vast majority of Americans in a smooth, consistent way.

The other problem that has received a lot of attention
concerns Americans who have received letters from their insurers that they may be losing the plans they bought in the old individual market, often because they no longer meet the law’s requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits.

Now, as I indicated earlier, I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it.  And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear.  I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem.  And today I’m offering an idea that will help do it.

Already, people who have plans that predate the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed.  That was already in the law.  That’s what’s called a grandfather clause.  It was included in the law.  Today, we’re going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect, and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.

So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states.  But the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.

We’re also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things.  One, that protections — what protections these renewed plans don’t include.  And number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost.

So if you’ve received one of these letters, I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace.  Even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse costs for new plans near you is working just fine.

Now, this fix won’t solve every problem for every person.  But it’s going to help a lot of people.  Doing more will require work with Congress.  And I’ve said from the beginning, I’m willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to fix problems as they arise.  This is an example of what I was talking about.  We can always make this law work better.

It is important to understand, though, that the old individual market was not working well.  And it’s important that we don’t pretend that somehow that’s a place worth going back to.  Too often, it works fine as long as you stay healthy; it doesn’t work well when you’re sick.  So year after year, Americans were routinely exposed to financial ruin, or denied coverage due to minor preexisting conditions, or dropped from coverage altogether — even if they paid their premiums on time.

That’s one of the reasons we pursued this reform in the first place.  And that’s why I will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the overall law and drag us back into a broken system.  We will continue to make the case, even to folks who choose to keep their own plans, that they should shop around in the new marketplace because there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to buy better insurance at lower cost.

So we’re going to do everything we can to help the Americans who have received these cancellation notices.  But I also want everybody to remember there are still 40 million Americans who don’t have health insurance at all.  I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time.  And I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years.

So we’re at the opening weeks of the project to build a better health care system for everybody — a system that will offer real financial security and peace of mind to millions of Americans.  It is a complex process.  There are all kinds of challenges.  I’m sure there will be additional challenges that come up.  And it’s important that we’re honest and straightforward in terms of when we come up with a problem with these reforms and these laws, that we address them.  But we’ve got to move forward on this.

It took 100 years for us to even get to the point where we could start talking about and implementing a law to make sure everybody has got health insurance.  And my pledge to the American people is, is that we’re going to solve the problems that are there, we’re going to get it right, and the Affordable Care Act is going to work for the American people.

Safety Net for those not covered by ACA may not be there

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

 Safety Net for Those Not Covered by ACA May Not Be There

New America Media

By Viji Sundaram

Even though the Affordable Care Act will significantly reduce California’s uninsured population, unless county-run health programs are well funded, those who don’t enroll, or cannot enroll because of their income level or their undocumented status, will be left with an “uneven safety net,” according to a study released last week by the Health Access Foundation.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) should encompass everyone” evenly, asserted Maria Luna, an uninsured and undocumented resident, who had to move out of Yolo County to Los Angeles County so she could get treatment for the tuberculosis she was diagnosed with. Health care in Los Angeles County, she asserted during the teleconference when the study results were released, was more “immigrant friendly.”

The ACA bars the undocumented from accessing any federally funded programs.

The report comes at a time when counties are making crucial decisions in the coming weeks on the scope of their safety net programs for indigent care after the full implementation of the ACA on Jan. 1, 2014.
Because California has expanded its Medi-Cal program, known as Medicaid in the rest of the nation, under the ACA, an estimated additional 635,000 low-income individuals are expected to enroll in the program in the first year. The state has allocated $1.4 billion in its 2013- 2014 budget for the expansion.

But because there will be fewer uninsured people, the budget reduces funding for county indigent care programs by $300 million. And that amount is expected to shrink further as the ACA becomes fully implemented in the coming years and more uninsured residents secure health insurance.

Counties have traditionally been the provider of last resort for those who are uninsured and who cannot access health care through other means.
The state budget reallocation requires counties to submit funding plans to the state by January 2014, with initial decisions in November 2014.
“California is at a pivotal moment when counties have to decide about the future of our safety net,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the Health Access Foundation.
Alex Briscoe, director of Alameda County’s Health Care Services Agency, said he is worried that a cut in funding to Alameda County is sure to “destabilize its safety net” and “adversely impact its most vulnerable population, those who are least likely to access health care in traditional settings.”
The county has been at the forefront of providing health care to all of its residents, regardless of their immigrant status. With an anticipated cut from its current funding of $51 million from the state to $15 million, Alameda County’s health program will not be able to meet the needs of the 100,000 residents expected to remain uninsured in the county after the ACA is fully implemented , Briscoe said.
Wright said that there is talk in some counties about reducing services for those who will remain uninsured, something that could lead to dire consequences.

Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina, said that the Health Access report clearly points out one thing – that California has a two-tiered health care system — one tier that caters to those who can afford health care, and another that denies it to the poor and undocumented.

Vanessa Aramayo, with California Partnership, a statewide coalition focused on poverty issues, pointed out that there “are millions of Marias out there” who have a hard time accessing health care and end up using hospital emergency rooms as primary care centers.

“Disease does not discriminate between legal and (undocumented) status,” she warned.

Prosecutors secure 50-year sentence in 2009 road rage incident

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A South Holland man was sentenced to 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the shooting death of a man following a road rage incident in 2009, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Mikel Pernell, 34, of the 400 block of East 162nd Street, South Holland, was convicted in September of First Degree Murder in the death of 30-year-old George Cruz of Burbank.

According to prosecutors, on September 18, 2009, Cruz was driving northbound on Torrence Avenue near 108th Street when he realized he needed to make a left hand turn at 105th Street. Cruz changed lanes, accidentally cutting off Pernell’s vehicle. Pernell then drove alongside the passenger side of Cruz’s vehicle, yelling at Cruz. After Cruz apologized and said he needed to turn at 105th Street, Pernell drove off and pulled over near 105th and Hoxie. Cruz also stopped near 105th and Hoxie. Pernell then reached out of the window of his car with a gun and shot at Cruz, hitting Cruz in the left eye. Pernell then drove off. Cruz died as a result of his injury.

Based on a witness’ description of Pernell’s vehicle, Pernell was located and arrested a short time later. The witness also identified Pernell in a line up.

Cook County Judge Carol Howard sentenced Pernell to 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections yesterday during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Mercedes Luque-Rosales and Sheri Bennet and the Chicago Police Department for their work on this case.

Distinguished Kaskaskia College Leader to be named Illinois Veteran of the Month

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Dr. James C. Underwood, the President of Kaskaskia College, a U.S. Army veteran, distinguished veteran leader, and an accomplished educator will be honored as the Illinois Veteran of the Month for November 2013, at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Main Campus of Kaskaskia College, Centralia, IL, Friday, Nov. 15, at 11:00 a.

Dr. Underwood’s 25-year military career began with service in Vietnam in the late 1960’s and concluded following the first Gulf War in 1993, having commanded from the platoon to the battalion-level. He and his wife Roxie, a retired educator, reside in Centralia, Marion County, IL. He was nominated by Earl White, Veterans Service Officer, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Southern District.

Dr. Underwood became the President of Kaskaskia College in 2001 and has championed veteran- and military-friendly programs and services at the school during his tenure. Under his leadership Kaskaskia College has been named “GI-Friendly” for the past 5 years, created an on-campus Veterans Service Office, and hosted the Enduring Freedom Celebration each year since 2001. He is also a distinguished academic leader with awards and published works.

The IDVA will be represented at this event by Rodrigo Garcia, the IDVA Assistant Director. He will present the award on behalf of Governor Pat Quinn, which includes a framed proclamation as well as a State Flag.

NAACP announces Search Committee Members for new President and CEO

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, MD – The NAACP has announced the members of its search committee for the Association’s new president and CEO.  The members are a distinguished group of leaders from a variety of fields. The committee includes both members of the national board and key stakeholders.

“I am confident that this diverse group of established leaders will help us find a talented new president and CEO that will continue to successfully execute the mission of the NAACP,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors.

The committee members are:

From the NAACP National Board

Rev. Theresa Dear (Committee Chair) – Founder, HR4 Non-Profits

Lamell McMorris (Committee Vice Chair) – Founder and CEO Perennial Strategy Group

Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown – Pastor, Third Baptist Church, San Francisco, California

Rabbi David Saperstein – Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Derrick Johnson – President, NAACP Mississippi State Conference

Dr. Dwayne Proctor – Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Outside Stakeholders

Mary Kay Henry – International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Stephen L. Hightower – President & CEO, Hightower Petroleum Co.

Laura Murphy – Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Elaine R. Jones, Esq., – Former President & Director Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Rosemary Harris Lytle – President Colorado, Montana, Wyoming NAACP Area Conference

Michael Coleman – Youth & College Division President, University of Texas, Austin

Peter Rose – Senior Managing Director, Public Affairs Group, Blackstone

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Some People Lack Old Fashioned Manners…If you’re one of them, it’s time you got some…

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Soap Box Rants

A Weekly Column to CopyLine Magazine

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

You can tell a lot about a person from their hand shake. And believe me, you hear that same rhetoric a lot coming from speakers and attendees at various seminars and workshops. And admittedly, I attend a lot of business seminars and workshops.

A handshake is something that many concentrate on to try and perfect, because guess what folks? That limp handshake or the one where you press your fingers in the palm of someone’s hand to avoid palm contact can be your deal killer. One comes across as I’m barely interested and the other says, I need to keep some distance. Let’s start with the limp handshake. Maybe you are interested, but just tired. How about a light squeeze and smile to remedy that? The fingers in the palm…not very nice at all. I am more concerned with a person’s fingertips coming in contact with my palm, than their palm. It’s probably more likely there are germs being transmitted there than with a palm shake.

Secondly, what’s with the restaurant royalty syndrome? I can tell a lot about a person while dining with them as I observe (and I am observing) how they treat the wait staff. They are not your personal help staff. They are there to serve and satisfy many while serving up the food and drinks. They are not drones. They are people with feelings, too. When they serve you with a smile, they should receive one back from you. As for the waiters and waitresses, you should do the same. If you don’t, there shouldn’t be a surprise when you don’t see a tip on the table. Right. It is not law that you have to be tipped. Don’t assume teenagers or young people will not tip you and give them substandard service. Why ruin their lunch or dinner?

Oh, and to the retail clerk or grocery checkout person, it wouldn’t hurt you to smile while you are folding those clothes and placing them in a shopping bag. That person standing there that you may be wondering how they found the money to make that purchase is keeping you in a job. That’s right. Their money counts too…so give them a smile.

Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

This article was first published on 6/14/13.

While we are politicking, whooping and hollering, jumping and shouting, our black youth without an educational clue are supplying their bodies to the Illinois Jails and prisons!

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 1 COMMENT

By Rev. Harold E. Bailey

President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network

There has been an awesome inmate population explosion with the Illinois Department of Corrections, and with little said, DOC is bursting at the seams! We should take serious note that this rapid incarceration of black men and now women is an increase which will empty the taxpayers’ pocket.

It has been reported that the Cook County jail housed 8,900 inmates in 2011. The daily count now reports more than 10,000. We have reason to distrust these figures stated by the Cook County Department of Corrections. I sat on the Cook County Board of Corrections as member and chairman of the board for 15-years. My distrust of incarcerated inmates’ figures is based on my years of experience in that department.

It is reported that the state’s prison system is bursting at the seams with a record high of nearly 49,000 inmates, some 3,000 more than a year ago. The surge, combined with the state’s multibillion-dollar budget crisis, has led to conditions that watchdog groups and veteran correctional officers say they haven’t seen since a population crisis in the 1980s prompted the state to build three new prisons.

This year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn suspended a program called Meritorious Good Time Push after some news media reports stated that some prisoners sentenced to short terms of incarceration were freed after as little as a few days in state prisons under the program. At the same time, Quinn also suspended the state’s regular Meritorious Good Time program, which had been in place for three decades and reduced the prison time of nearly two-thirds of the state’s inmates by an average of a few months.

As a result, the prison population began rising immediately and has gone up every month since, reaching a peak of 48,731 last week.

Some have said that a master diversion came into play from some quarters as the nation took its eyes off of substance matters regarding incarceration, and placed them on their plantation politics along with other planned subjects.

We should also take note that an increase of warehousing blacks is put into place as the nation shifts in its vicious attacks on President Obama’s health care issue. This radical transitional is taking place as citizens are concerned about their health care issues… and rightly so! Ah, but watch the hidden hand of the enemy. The racial political hand can’t be hidden long…as it seeks to hide its evil bag to deprive a struggling people.

We must not forget that there are new ways of doing things in this country, but are done in new clothing.

The chapter of black-on-black violence suffered in the black community and continues with almost daily killings or our youth and elders alike. And with a virtual no response by way of Chicago City Hall and its administration, persons have turned to the church rather than the streets for solutions. In answer to the mass influx of praying people to what should be considered the ark of safety … ministers are in many quarters extremely silent on the issues. Many churches have closed their doors for the evening service. In conversation with some ministers, they say they had to close-down midweek prayer service for the fear of gangbangers. Fear has taken a hold on many of our prominent pulpits as confusion has set-in to rob, steal and destroy!

To the many problems confronting the city, there is a deft-silence on the political scene as some political folk are scattered, some don’t have a clue as to what is going on, while others are retiring early! Well, others are taking leave-of-absence offering unbelievable excuses! The question becomes who is at the helm of political sanity, or is the city of Chicago about to be derailed?

Well, once again how can our youth do better than what they see. Youth, in fact, emulate what they see from adults!

Written by: Rev. Harold E. Bailey for CopyLineMagazine.com

President of Probation Challenge and the PCC Network

WWW.ProbationChallenge.org – The Truth Network

Wayward Productions’ Richard III nominated for Four Awards! – Best Director, Best Actress, Best Ensemble and Best Revival of a Play

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Wayward Productions Richard III was nominated for four awards in the 2013 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards.

Artistic Director Brittany Ellis is nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Margaret and Director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia is honored with a nomination for his direction. The nominations also include Best Ensemble and Best Revival of a Play, all in the Non-Equity category.

You can Vote here until December 31, 2013.

The BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards Celebration will take place at The Call Bar in the Andersonville neighborhood on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 8:00 P.M. till Midnight.

You can visit their website and “like” us on Facebook!

Day Care Centers and Schools could face fines if Indoor Pest Forms are not filed

Posted by Admin On November - 15 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – To protect children in day care centers and schools from pests such as cockroaches, spiders and rodents, as well as from unnecessary applications of pesticides, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding schools and day care centers they could be fined if they do not comply with the state’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) regulations. State law requires public schools and licensed day care centers to file an IPM form with the Department to document how they plan to implement IPM. IPM uses a variety of non-chemical methods as well as pesticides, when needed, to reduce pest infestations and to minimize children’s exposure to pesticides.

“Integrated Pest Management is a means of managing pests that doesn’t rely on a single method, such as the routine and often unnecessary application of pesticides,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “It combines methods such as improved sanitation, monitoring, physical barriers and maintenance to reduce the likelihood of pest infestations. Facilities that practice IPM often see a reduction in the number of pests and pesticides applied, as well as a reduction in pest control costs.”

More than 200 day care centers and schools have failed to comply with the most basic of the state’s IPM regulations and may face fines for the first time. IDPH has been working to ensure schools and day care centers comply by sending mass mailings, holding seminars and working with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which licenses Illinois day cares.

More information about IPM and the IPM regulations can be found at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/ipm/index.htm.

Implementing an IPM program greatly reduces the chance of accidental exposure of pesticides to children and staff. This proactive, rather than reactive, approach to managing pests can be more effective in the long term than relying on pesticides alone. Over time, an IPM program can cost less than conventional pest management practices by reducing the school’s or day care center’s dependency on pesticides.

This integrated pest management reminder is inline with IDPH’s strategic plan to effectively and efficiently improve regulatory functions to ensure the health, safety and wellness of the public.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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