Morning Action: Putin Mocks Obama, Again
Putin. Despite verbal protestations from the West, including President Obama, Russia is moving ahead with its plan to take formally annex Crimea:
Russia’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a treaty Thursday to annex the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine, prompting tougher sanctions from the United States.
Russia responded with its own sanctions against a list of U.S. officials and lawmakers.
After Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had presented the treaty and urged lawmakers to accept the region as a part of the Russian Federation, the document was approved on a vote of 443 to 1.
ExIm Bank. Even so, there is no indication U.S. taxpayer-backed activity in Russia will slow down:
Even as Americans sour on Russia their financial activity in the country has soared through a little known credit export agency called the U.S. Export-Import (ExIm) Bank. According to the Bank’s 2013 annual report, it guaranteed more than $580 million in export funding during the last fiscal year — up 177-percent from fiscal year 2012.
As is typical with the ExIm Bank, the bulk of fiscal year 2013 activity centers around Boeing — 85-percent of the Russian guarantees, to be precise. As we’ve written before, even though Boeing can arrange its own financing, the $93 billion company “receives upwards of 80-percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s taxpayer-backed loan guarantees.”
Obamacare. Signed up for Obamacare? People are learning the coverage isn’t exactly what they thought it would be:
Last fall, when his plan was discontinued because it didn’t meet standards set by the Affordable Care Act, Rosenthal bought the best insurance coverage he could find, a top-tier “platinum” policy from Blue Shield of California that costs $792 a month. He figured it would provide access to top hospitals. Then in February he learned the plan wouldn’t cover the hospitals where he was used to being treated.
Rosenthal is one of millions of Americans who have purchased insurance under the Affordable Care Act and are discovering that many of the new plans offer a narrow network of doctors and facilities. “If I had anything happen, I wouldn’t want to go to a hospital that I’m not familiar with and with doctors I don’t know,” he says.
Glitch. All the news reports say the Obamacare website is working just fine. It’s not:
Nearly six months after the disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov, with the website running smoothly and more than five million people signed up as open enrollment heads to a close, a new glitch has come to light: Incorrect poverty-level guidelines are automatically telling what could be tens of thousands of eligible people they do not qualify for subsidized insurance.
The error in the federal marketplace primarily affects households with incomes just above the poverty line in states like Pennsylvania that have not expanded Medicaid. The mistake raises the price of their insurance by thousands of dollars, making insurance so unaffordable many may just give up and go without.