Obamacare May Doom Employer-Provided Insurance

Tuesday, 01 Jun 2010 03:36 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obamacare Could Doom Employer-Provided Insurance
2. Jeb Bush: Crist Will Finish Third in Florida
3. Newsmax Poll: Sarah Palin for President in 2012
4. Climate Change Skepticism Rising in Britain
5. Media Are Cutting Presidential Coverage
6. Roger Stone: Obama ‘Undermined’ Specter
7. Newsmax Grows on Twitter, Facebook
8. We Heard: Larry King, Chris Matthews, Wall Street Journal
 

1. Obamacare Could Doom Employer-Provided Insurance

Millions of American workers could lose their employer-provided health insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform.

That’s because employers are finding that it may be cheaper to pay fines to the government for not providing insurance than it is to insure employees, notes John C. Goodman, president, CEO and Kellye Wright fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

AT&T, Caterpillar, and Verizon are among the companies that have already made internal calculations to determine how much could be saved by dropping employer-provided insurance, Goodman writes in an editorial in The Wall Street Journal.

AT&T, for example, paid $2.4 billion last year in medical costs for its 283,000 workers. If the firm dropped its health insurance plan and instead paid an annual penalty of $2,000 for each uninsured employee, the fines would total less than $600 million — meaning AT&T would save about   $1.8 billion a year.

“Economists say employee benefits ultimately substitute for cash wages, which means that AT&T employees would get higher take-home pay,” Goodman writes, adding, “But considering that they will be required by federal law to buy their own insurance in an exchange, will they be winners or losers?”

Editor's Note:



2. Jeb Bush: Crist Will Finish Third in Florida

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush predicts that current Gov. Charlie Crist will finish behind both of his opponents in the race for the Senate seat from the Sunshine State.

In an interview with Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, Bush said that former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate, will win in November “going away,” and likely Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek will finish second ahead of Crist, who left the Republican Party to run as an independent.

About Crist, Bush said, “It’s all about him. It’s not about anything else.

“Governor Crist organizes his life around his personal ambitions . . . He doesn’t have a set of guiding principles to share with people.

“This is a year where people want you to say what your core beliefs are, and painting in brighter, bolder colors instead of pastels is the way to go.”

Bush said Rubio is his ideal candidate.

“He’s unique in the sense that he’s very eloquent and he’s cheerful and joyful,” he told Barnes.

“He has a wonderful attitude, and people are depressed, and he lifts people’s spirits up.”

Bush also said: “People seek my advice out, which is really flattering. The fact that I’m not running for something puts me in a position where I might be listened to more.”

Editor's Note:



3. Newsmax Poll: Sarah Palin for President in 2012

An Internet poll sponsored by Newsmax.com reveals that respondents by a large margin would support Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for president in 2012.

Respondents in the poll, which drew nearly 400,000 participants, also overwhelmingly believe that Palin was right in resigning as Alaska’s governor.

Newsmax will provide the results of this poll to major media outlets. Additionally, Newsmax's results will be shared with popular radio talk-show hosts across America.

Newsmax reports have been cited by major media outlets, including CNN, ABC News, Fox News, CBS, MSNBC, and other major networks.

Here are the poll questions and results:

1) What is your opinion of Sarah Palin?

Favorable: 69 percent
Unfavorable: 31 percent

2) Do you believe Sarah Palin was right in resigning as Alaska’s governor?

Right: 66 percent
Wrong decision: 34 percent

3) Would you support Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for president in 2012?

Yes: 63 percent
No: 37 percent

Editor's Note:



4. Climate Change Skepticism Rising in Britain

Concern about man-made global warming has been plummeting in Britain among politicians and the general population as well.

Nowhere has the shift in public opinion from concern to skepticism “been more striking than in Britain, where climate change was until this year such a popular priority that in 2008, Parliament enshrined targets for emissions cuts as national law,” The New York Times observed.

A February survey by the BBC showed that only 26 percent of Britons believe that “climate change is happening and is now established as largely man-made” — down from 41 percent as recently as last November.

A poll in January of 141 Conservative Party candidates found that “reducing Britain’s carbon footprint” was the least important of 19 issues they considered.

London’s Science Museum has decided to change the name of what it had planned to call the Climate Change Gallery to the Climate Science Gallery.

David Cameron, Britain’s new prime minister, was “strangely muted” on the climate change issue in pre-election debates, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

And former Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged that the science supporting man-made global warming may not be “as certain as its proponents allege.”

The change in attitude can be traced at least in part to the so-called “climategate” controversy that arose in November — the leaking of e-mail messages from British climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that global warming skeptics pointed to as evidence that researchers were exaggerating the evidence for global warming.

An article in The Telegraph after the scandal erupted stated that the global warming “myth” has been “suddenly, brutally, and quite deliciously exposed.”

Then in January, The Times of London criticized a report from a United Nations climate panel for an erroneous claim that glaciers in the Himalayas could disappear by 2035. The U.N. apologized for the error.

Other media sources said the report also claimed that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when in fact it’s half that amount.

“Legitimacy has shifted to the side of the climate skeptics, and that is a big, big problem,” Ben Stewart, a spokesman for Greenpeace, acknowledged.

There has been a shift in opinions about climate change in the U.S. as well. A Gallup poll in March found that 48 percent of Americans believe that the threat of global warming was “generally exaggerated,” up from 41 percent a year ago.

Editor's Note:



5. Media Are Cutting Presidential Coverage

News organizations seeking to cut costs have been reducing their live coverage of a prominent member of the administration — the president of the United States.

For many years it has been customary for members of the press to charter a plane to follow the president when he traveled.

“But the press flights have been sharply curtailed in recent months, a victim of cost-cutting by news organizations that are struggling to stay profitable,” The New York Times reports.

News outlets vote on whether to charter a plane for a presidential trip. The major TV networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and Fox News — have five of the seven votes. The other two are cast by Edwin Chen, a Bloomberg News correspondent who is president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, on behalf of other correspondents.

When there is no majority vote and no charter plane, coverage comes only from the pool of a dozen reporters who fly with the president on Air Force One, and from reporters who buy tickets on commercial flights.

“The sole reason is money,” Chen said.

A seat on a charter plane can cost more than $2,000 for a domestic trip and tens of thousands for an overseas journey, and presidential trips cost the press about $18 million last year, according to The Times.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressed his concerns about the reduced presidential coverage in a recent meeting with Chen. And Bill Burton, deputy press secretary, said: “You could certainly make the argument that if fewer reporters travel, fewer will have firsthand knowledge and insight to cover the president and his policies.”

The use of chartered planes, Chen conceded, is in a “downward spiral.”

He said: “The fewer organizations that travel, the higher the costs of those that do travel. The higher the costs, the more that drop out.”

Editor's Note:


6. Roger Stone: Obama ‘Undermined’ Specter

Sen. Arlen Specter might not have been defeated in the Pennsylvania primary “if he had not been undermined by the Obama White House,” according to veteran political consultant Roger Stone.

“The president declined to visit the City of Brotherly Love where a maximum African-American turnout was key to Specter’s survival, the final weekend,” Stone, who has played a role in the election of Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, writes on his StoneZone website.

Longtime Republican Specter, facing a difficult challenge in the GOP primary, switched to the Democratic Party in April 2009 but lost the party’s primary to Joe Sestak on May 18.

“Even worse,” Stone notes, “White House aides undermined the veteran senator by telling the media that they were braced for a Specter loss and were expecting him to lose while the polls were still open in Pennsylvania.

“This is the Chicago-style political treachery of the Obama White House. With friends like this, who needs enemies?”

Stone echoed sentiments expressed by veteran public opinion pollster Patrick Caddell, who told Newsmax in an interview that “the Obama administration threw Specter under the bus."

“They think Sestak is a stronger candidate.”

But Specter may have “the last word,” Stone added. “I would not be surprised if Specter votes against Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Specter opposed her nomination for the lower courts and it would demonstrate that Arlen Specter was an independent to the end.”

Editor's Note:


7. Newsmax Grows on Twitter, Facebook

Visitors to Newsmax’s website are linking to the social networking services Twitter and Facebook in increasing numbers.

Newsmax’s Twitter account now has more than 1,670 followers. Twitter enables its users to send and read messages known as “tweets,” text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to subscribers known as “followers.”

On Twitter, Newsmax posts links to stories on politics, health, money, and other topics, to be shared by followers and spread to other Twitter users.

The Newsmax Facebook account now has more than 1,530 fans. Facebook is a social networking website that can be accessed by anyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address. Newsmax allows its Facebook “fans” to link to stories and offers them a chance to comment.

Visitors can find links to Facebook and Twitter at the bottom of Newsmax’s home page.

Editor's Note:


8. We Heard . . .

THAT Larry King’s CNN show has plunged so drastically in the ratings that it now lags behind even Rachel Maddow’s 9 p.m. program on MSNBC.

“Larry King Live” has lost half of its audience since the last presidential election, to an average of just 725,000 viewers a night.

Maddow drew around 1 million viewers a night during the first quarter of the year, while Sean Hannity’s 9 p.m. show on Fox News leads with 2.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Joy Behar’s new talk show on CNN’s sister network HLN, is closing in on King, with 530,000 viewers, and it sometimes beats King’s show, The New York Times reports.

The Times also reports that “CNN executives will not say whether they will renew Mr. King’s contract when it ends next year.”

THAT President Obama “scares” MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews.

Matthews was such a staunch Obama supporter during the campaign that he admitted that one of the candidate’s speeches sent a thrill up his leg. But during a recent appearance on Jay Leno’s NBC show, the “Hardball” host discussed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and declared: “The president scares me. When is he actually going to do something?

“And I worry. I know he doesn’t want to take ownership of it. I know politics. He said the minute he says, ‘I’m in charge,’ he takes the blame, but somebody has to. It’s in our interest.”

THAT readership of The Wall Street Journal has risen 20 percent since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquired the paper in 2007, according to a new study by The Media Audit research firm.

The Journal is now read by more than 4.3 million adults in the 80-plus markets the firm monitors. That amounts to 3 percent of all adults in those markets.

Media Audit attributes the gain to the Journal’s increased coverage of politics and general news, Editor & Publisher reported.

The New York Times’ readership has remained flat during the same three-year period — 4.4 percent of U.S. adults read The Times, the same as in 2007.


Editor's Notes:

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