Documents recently released by the government show that the value of hotels and local transportation contracts for the U.S. delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December were considerably higher than previous estimates. On December 19, we first reported the cost at about $11 million. However, rather than two hotels and one vehicle contractor, additional contracts have been disclosed bringing the total to five hotels and two vehicle contractors.
The CEO of AOL, Tim Armstrong, said on CNBC this morning that "Obamacare is an additional $7.1 million expense for us as a company."
"We have to look at our benefits programs very seriously," said Armstrong. "In the CEO chair, let me give you an example of the decisions we have to make as a company: Obamacare is an additional $7.1 million expense for us as a company. So we have to decide whether or not to pass that expense to employees or whether to cut other benefits."
The past two months have laid bare the emptiness of the president’s most prominent Obamacare promises. Millions are losing the plans they have and like against their wishes, contrary to the president’s oft-repeated pledge. And those being forced into Obamacare could lose access to the doctors and hospitals they trust, also contrary to assurances from the president. The evidence demonstrating that these commitments cannot be met is so overwhelming that even the administration has abandoned defense of the president’s previous statements.
At the start of last month’s government shutdown, a mostly overlooked message emanated from the Twitter account of Michelle Obama, informing her followers: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited.” The conventions of American governance typically exclude the first lady from the rough-and-tumble of politics, yet it does raise an important question: Why is America paying a staffer good money to publish Tweets under Michelle Obama’s name?
For what I think is the first time, President Obama admitted that some Americans will pay more for health care under Obamacare. He made the admission in remarks at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Because of the tax credits that we’re offering and the competition between insurers, most people are going to be able to get better, comprehensive health care plans for the same price or even cheaper than projected. You’re going to get a better deal," Obama said, boosting his signature legislation.
One Florida woman is going from paying $54 a month to $591 under Obamacare, CBS reports:
"For many, their introduction to the Affordable Care Act has been negative: A broken website, and now cancellation notices from insurance companies, followed by sticker shock over higher prices for the new plans," says a CBS reporter. "It's directly at odds from repeated assurances from the president."
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on Air Force One en route to New York for the president's education bus tour, had some strong words to say about the prospects of those who don't graduate from high school, and also about those who complete high school but do not go on to college.
The Washington Times reports that the cost of Obama's Africa trip, estimated as high as $100 million, is overshadowing President Obama's agenda. If past VIP trips are any indication, lodging and local transportation would represent only a fraction of the $100 million, yet those costs would likely still dwarf those of the average citizen traveling abroad. In late March, Vice President Joe Biden's $321,000 limo bill and $585,000 Paris hotel bill for his trip to Europe earlier this year were revealed.
Supporters of President Obama’s overhaul of American medicine are touting the early evidence from California’s Obamacare exchange (still under construction) as good news for their side. But as the Los Angeles Timesnotes, the Golden State’s version of Obamacare will mean higher insurance premiums and a lower qu