Daily News Briefing: ObamaCare could pay doctors to push end-of-life care as soon as next year

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Published by: Clark Barrow

Clark Barrow

Death panels.

  • OBAMACARE - Five years after the political firestorm over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year, The New York Times reports.

 

  • DREAM KILLER - A majority of small business owners oppose nearly every aspect of President Obama’s second-term agenda, according to a new survey.

 

  • CHOKEHOLD - From 1997 through 2010, industries with the fewest federal regulations experienced productivity growth almost twice that of the most-regulated industries, according to a new chart released by the Mercatus Center.

 

  • ABANDONED - The White House has responded to a popular petition that demands the release of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison, explaining that the Obama administration respects the rule of law and will continue to monitor the situation to make sure the soldier is treated fairly.

 

  • CRISIS - Cities in the United States and Western Europe are being eyed as Islamic State militants' future targets and President Obama needs to take action, U.S. lawmakers say.

 

  • LEADERSHIP - Prime Minister David Cameron announced tougher measures Monday against Britons planning to fight in Iraq and Syria, and battle-hardened jihadists who could return to launch attacks on home soil.

 

 

 

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • DREAM KILLER - A majority of small business owners oppose nearly every aspect of President Obama’s second-term agenda, according to a new survey.
    • The Lucas Group, an executive search firm that conducts quarterly surveys of small and mid-sized businesses, found that American entrepreneurs disagree with Obama on everything from the minimum wage to immigration reform and Obamacare.
    • According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and employ about half of all private sector employees
    • Small firms accounted for 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 (or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs). Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60 percent of the net new jobs. Small firms in the 20-499 employee category led job creation.

 

  • CHOKEHOLD - From 1997 through 2010, industries with the fewest federal regulations experienced productivity growth almost twice that of the most-regulated industries, according to a new chart released by the Mercatus Center.
    • Economist Antony Davies reached that conclusion based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Mercatus’ RegData tool, which “counts the number of binding words that appear in the Code of Federal Regulations and cross-references those word counts with the industries to which they apply.”
    • Davies calculates that output per hour increased 64 percent in the least-regulated industries, but only 34 percent in the most-regulated ones. At the same time, unit labor costs decreased by 4 percent for the least-regulated, but rose by 20 percent in the most-regulated industries.
    • According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, federal regulations cost businesses $1.8 trillion in 2013 – more than the Gross Domestic Product of Canada.  Federal regulations cost the average American family $14,974 annually. 

 

  • GOTCHA - The United States plans to hike the fees it charges American citizens to give up their passports as the nation also tries to stem the tide of U.S. businesses moving headquarters overseas.
    • To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.
    • Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries.
    • In 2013, a total of 2,999 Americans renounced their U.S. citizenship – almost double the previous record set in 2011.

 

IN THE DISTRICT

  • FERGUSON - Many local businesses in Ferguson were vandalized, looted, and even set on fire as demonstrators took to the streets to protest the shooting. Sadly, innocent business owners have been left to foot the bills. This is where the St. Louis Tea Party realized they could help.
    • The group spread the word of the “BUYcott” event on Facebook, hoping to get at least 20 people to show up and spend their hard-earned money at local Ferguson businesses on August 21. They apparently ended up with a group of about 40 “(mostly) white people” — and something amazing happened.
    • Meanwhile, in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white Ferguson police officer, there is a new focus on promoting the power of the vote, an attempt to revive one of the keystones of the civil rights movement.

 

  • OVERWHELMED - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to allow thousands of illegal immigrant deportees to return to the U.S., so long as they have ties to Southern California. Taxpayers will additionally fund a media campaign in Mexico, alerting deportees that they may be eligible to come back to the United States.
    • Meanwhile, members of the Texas National Guard (TNG) have begun patrolling the Rio Grande Sector of the Texas-Mexico border. Guardsmen have been seen in patrol areas from McAllen to Rio Grande City. Under the control of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Governor Rick Perry, the guardsmen have begun their operation to refer and deter along this small section of the border.

 

  • ABANDONED - The White House has responded to a popular petition that demands the release of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison, explaining that the Obama administration respects the rule of law and will continue to monitor the situation to make sure the soldier is treated fairly.
    • In a personal plea to President Obama, the mother of jailed U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi asked for increased urgency in her son’s case in Mexico, where she says “one more day is one day too many” behind bars.

 

  • CONGRESS - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is singing a new tune on immigration as he eyes a possible 2016 presidential run, but it may not be enough to win over disaffected conservatives just yet.

 

  • OBAMACARE - Five years after the political firestorm over “death panels,” the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end-of-life care is making a comeback, and such sessions may be covered for the 50 million Americans on Medicare as early as next year, The New York Times reports.
    • Bypassing the political process, private insurers have begun reimbursing doctors for these “advance care planning” conversations. People are living longer with illnesses, and many want more input into how they will spend their final days, including whether they want to die at home or in the hospital, and whether they want full-fledged life-sustaining treatment, just pain relief or something in between.
    • Meanwhile, Florida’s Obamacare enrollment is now over 220,000 lower than the Obama administration’s most recent tally, according to a report from the state insurance department.

 

  • RUSSIA - Ukraine is shifting the focus of its military operation from rooting out pro-Russian rebels in the east to defending against a broader incursion by Moscow, following major setbacks for Kiev's forces in fighting in recent days, a top official said Monday.
    • Ukraine's defence minister warned on Monday that a "great war" had broken out with Russia over his country's future that could claim tens of thousands of lives.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for the first time for statehood to be discussed for the restive east of the former Soviet state.
    • Having failed to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Obama heads to Europe this week to reassure NATO members that he won’t let Russian President Vladimir Putin crash any gates elsewhere in Eastern Europe, even as Mr. Putin continued to do exactly that over the weekend.

 

 

  • LEADERSHIP - Prime Minister David Cameron announced tougher measures Monday against Britons planning to fight in Iraq and Syria, and battle-hardened jihadists who could return to launch attacks on home soil.
    • While rejecting calls for "sweeping and blanket" new laws in response, he said a "forensic focus" was needed to prevent people from travelling abroad in the first place and to deal with British jihadists returning to the UK from conflict zones.

 

  • LIBYA - An Islamic militant group said Sunday it has “secured” a U.S. Embassy compound in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli. American personnel evacuated the area roughly a month ago amid ongoing fighting in the country.
    • Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry was spotted kiteboarding Monday morning in Nantucket in a photograph obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller. Kerry spent Labor Day enjoying himself while the Obama administration still admittedly has no strategy for dealing with the threat of ISIS in Iraq. Kerry was last seen kiteboarding in mid-August in Nantucket.

 

  • HELP WANTED - North Korea gave foreign media access on Monday to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and -- watched by officials as they spoke -- called for Washington to send a high-ranking representative to negotiate for their freedom.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - President Obama’s “hesitation” to make a decision about American reporter James Foley’s rescue mission delayed the failed operation, according to a report.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - In an election that Republicans want to make all about President Barack Obama, the White House is determined to make him all but disappear in the battleground states that matter.
    • The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week.
    • But in the red states that will determine control of the Senate, Obama will remain scarce. That means no personal campaign visits to states like Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina. He may do some targeted outreach through robocalls, digital ads and conference calls, but the campaign plan is clear: Stay away from candidates he’s already hurting.

 

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - President Obama on Friday blamed dysfunction in Congress on a Republican Party he said is captive to an ideologically rigid, unproductive and cynical faction, urging like-minded Democrats to show up for November's midterm elections.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - President Obama used a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee to tout his administration's economic policies and progress, warning that Republicans would roll back gains if given a chance by the midterms election.
    • “I want everybody to understand — because you wouldn’t always know it from watching the news — by almost every measure the American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office,” Obama said at the 55th annual Laborfest, where he first appeared as a candidate in 2008.
    • The president ticked off a list of accomplishments that he said reversed the country's fortunes, including businesses adding nearly 10 million jobs over 53 straight months, investing more in the U.S. energy and technology sectors, the controversial financial bailout of the auto industry, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
    • Meanwhile, 11.4 million Americans age 16 and over have left the workforce since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At very best, roughly 9.9 million private sector jobs have been created since his inauguration.
    • U.S. economic growth under President Obama is the worst at least since the tenure of Franklin Roosevelt, and by some measures may be even bleaker, The Washington Times reported.
    • Meanwhile, according to the latest Fox News poll, voters continue to oppose President Obama's health care law by a 52-41 percent margin. As in the past, the new poll shows that most Democrats favor Obamacare (74 percent), while most Republicans (84 percent) and independents (61 percent) are against it.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - Vice President Joe Biden told hundreds of Detroit-area union members that they deserve a "fair share" of any improvement in corporate profits.
    • Biden spoke Monday on the grounds of the former Tiger Stadium ahead of organized labor's annual parade Monday. He stuck with populist themes, criticizing corporate pay and companies that leave the U. S. for lower taxes.
    • Meanwhile, with Labor Day marking the traditional time for Americans to take stock in the successes and failures of the country’s centuries-long labor movement, union membership remains steady -- but only a fraction of what it was during its peak in the 1950s.

 

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • BLOATED - The federal government is still seeking answers as to why the majority of lesbians are obese and U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, which now totals $2.87 million.

 

  • NANNY STATE - The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day.

 

EDUCATION

  • SKINNED - A Southern California high school has retired a controversial Arab mascot. The bearded, snarling mascot with a large hooked nose who wears a head scarf did not appear at Coachella Valley High School’s season opening football game on Friday. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot during halftime was also retired.

 

ENVIRONMENT

  • HOT AIR - Despite Al Gore's prediction seven years ago that the polar ice cap would be completely melted by now, it is actually larger than it was in 2012, Mail Online reports. 
    • But, the Mail Online reports, the ice cap has actually expanded by between 43 and 63 percent. An area the size of Alaska that was navigable water two years ago now is covered by ice.

 

 

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