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Tags: Obama | May-Choose | Your | Health-Plan | ISIS Beheads Iraqi Christian Children | Jobs Report Misleading | Birth Rate in US at Record Low

Obama May Choose Your Health Plan; ISIS Beheads Iraqi Christian Children; Jobs Report Misleading

By    |   Sunday, 14 December 2014 01:10 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Feds Could Auto-Select Insurance Plans for Many
2. Jobs Report Not as Rosy as Touted
3. Birth Rate in US at Record Low
4. Iraqi Children Beheaded for Their Christian Faith
5. Illegal Immigration Rises in 7 States
6. Rasmussen Poll: US 'Likely' to Send Troops to Fight ISIS

1. Feds Could Auto-Select Insurance Plans for Many

The Obama administration is considering a regulation that would allow the government to automatically switch many people's healthcare insurance exchange plans to a different plan.

Under current law, most exchange enrollees who do not revisit the exchange website are automatically re-enrolled in their current plans when their coverage expires (although a few states don't allow automatic renewal).

The proposed regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services would give exchange enrollees a choice: They could indicate that they would like to re-enroll in their current plan, or they could give the government the ability to move them into a cheaper plan if their current plan's premiums rise.

State exchanges would be given the option to offer these choices in 2016, with the federally run exchanges to follow in 2017.

For those who choose to let the government switch their plans, "the government would be effectively choosing their insurance plan, a far cry from the 'if you like your plan you can keep it' pledge," notes the Cato Institute in a report on the proposal.

Automatic renewal does present several potential problems. Many enrollees will pay more if they renew automatically. The New York Times found that people in the most popular insurance plan would face an average premium rise of 9.5 percent, and a Gallup poll disclosed that 68 percent of respondents said they intend to renew their current plan.

But Cato points out that allowing the government to switch enrollees into cheaper plans also presents problems. People who choose this option could find that their new plan does not offer access to their current physician or provider network, and it may not offer coverage for the same prescription drugs as their previous plan.

Another consideration: At the time of the deadline for people to make their choice, they won't know how much their premiums will go up the next year under their current plan, or how the provider networks of the cheaper plans compare.

"The proposed rules would significantly increase government authority and decision-making power," the Cato report from research associate Charles Hughes concludes. "For many people, the government would actually choose and enroll them in a specific health insurance plan.

"This is the same government that oversaw the disastrous rollout of the exchange website and inflated enrollment numbers. Given its performance so far, we should be wary of giving the government an even bigger role."

Editor's Note:


2. Jobs Report Not as Rosy as Touted

In a recent radio address following the release of November's job figures, President Obama touted the jobs report as proof that his economic policies are producing positive results.

But a closer look at those figures shows that serious problems in the jobs market remain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) disclosed that the economy produced 321,000 new nonfarm jobs in November, more than many Wall Street analysts had predicted.

But the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, and there were actually just 4,000 more Americans working compared to October since job gains were offset by Americans who became unemployed last month.

It also must be noted that the jobs created "skewed heavily toward lower quality," CNBC observed, and part-time positions rose by 77,000.

The BLS report also showed that families were under pressure. There were 110,000 fewer married men at work in November, and the number of married women at work declined by 59,000.

While the overall unemployment rate held steady, the rate for adult men rose and the rate for teenagers remained high at 17.7 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was little changed at 2.8 million in November, and accounted for 30.7 percent of all unemployed Americans.

The number of persons working part-time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job stood at 6.9 million, little changed in November.

Also 2.1 million Americans were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey.

More distressing news: While the BLS report cited 314,000 new private sector jobs in November, a report from the payroll management firm ADP showed just 208,000.

"Taken in total," CNBC concludes, "a peek beneath the hood of these numbers suggests a job market that still has a ways to go."

Editor's Note:


3. Birth Rate in US at Record Low

The birth rate in the United States reached a record low last year, with just 62.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.

That's down 1 percent from 2012 and 10 percent since 2007, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new figure is the lowest since the government began tracking birth rates in 1909, when the rate was 126.8.

The number of U.S. births declined last year for the sixth straight year, to 3.932 million, down 9 percent from the 2007 peak.

The CDC report shows that women are delaying having children until later in life. Birth rates for women under age 30 reached a record low in 2013. Rates fell 10 percent to 26.5 per 1,000 among teenagers, 3 percent to 80.7 for women aged 20 to 24, and 1 percent to 105 for women aged 25 to 29.

In contrast, birth rates for women aged 30 and over rose in 2013. For women 30 to 34, the rate rose 1 percent to 98. For those aged 40 to 44, the rate was unchanged at 10.4, but the rate for women 45 to 49 rose from 0.7 to 0.8 per 1,000.

The birth rate for women 35 and over was at the highest level seen in about 50 years.

The CDC also reported:

  • 32.7 percent of babies born last year were delivered by cesarean. The rate rose 60 percent from 1996 to 2009, but was down in 2013 from the 2009 high.
  • Last year 11.39 percent of babies were "preterm" — they were delivered prior to 37 completed weeks of gestation.
  • One in every 30 babies born from 2009 to 2013 was a twin, compared to one in every 53 newborns in 1980. The number of twin births rose from 68,339 in 1980 to 132,324 last year.

Editor's Note:


4. Iraqi Children Beheaded for Their Christian Faith

Another horrific scene unfolded in Iraq when militants with the Islamic State (ISIS) slaughtered four Christian children for refusing to convert to Islam.

The Rev. Andrew White, vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, told the Orthodox Christian Network that the ISIS militants gave the children, all under age 15, the choice of converting to Islam or death by beheading.

"Islamic State turned up and said to the children, 'You say the words that you will follow Mohammed,'" White said. "The children said, 'No, we love Yesua [the Iraqi name for Jesus]. We have always loved Yesua. We have always followed Yesua. Yesua has always been with us.'

"Once again the ISIS militants told the children to convert and again they refused. The terrorists then beheaded all four children."

White currently resides in Israel, and has said it is impossible for Christians to live in Iraq due to relentless persecution, the Jerusalem Post reported.

More than 250,000 Christians have fled northern Iraq since ISIS moved into the country.

"ISIS came in and hounded all [the Christians] out," White said. "They killed huge numbers. They chopped their children in half, they chopped their heads off. It was so terrible what happened."

In October, the Insider Report quoted White saying that Christians in northern areas of Iraq "are literally homeless. They've no longer got their homes or their security, and they're living in camps. Things are really bad."

He also said: "For the first time, I've had to consider the very real fact that Christianity may be at an end [in Iraq]."

Editor's Note:


5. Illegal Immigration Rises in 7 States

The population of undocumented immigrants in the United States leveled off after the Great Recession, but the illegal alien population actually rose in seven states from 2009 to 2012, a new survey reveals.

Nationally, the population of unauthorized immigrants in 2012 was 11.2 million, unchanged from 2009. The number had peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 before declining during the recession.

Five East Coast states showed an increase in illegal immigrants during the three-year period, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center — Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Numbers also increased in Nebraska and Idaho.

New Jersey showed the largest increase in the number of illegal immigrants, from 450,000 in 2009 to 525,000 in 2012, while in Florida the number rose from 875,000 to 925,000.

In six of the seven states where the illegal immigrant population rose, the increase was attributable to non-Mexican immigrants from Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, and the rest of the world, while the number of Mexicans declined or did not change. The exception was Nebraska, which had a small increase in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico.

The number of illegal immigrants declined in 14 states from 2009 to 2012, including six Western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon), three in the South (Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky), and three in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas), plus New York and Massachusetts.

The largest declines were in California, Arizona, and New York — the illegal-immigrant population fell 50,000 in all three states.

Pew attributes the decline in 13 of those states to a drop in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. The exception is Massachusetts, where the decline was due to a decrease in illegal immigrants from other countries.

More than half of the illegal immigrants in the country in 2012, 60 percent, lived in just six states — California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois. Six states had fewer than 5,000 illegal immigrants in 2012 — Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Unauthorized immigrants comprised 3.5 percent of the nation's 2012 population, down from 4 percent in 2009, and 26 percent of the nation's foreign-born residents, Pew also found.

Slightly more than 8 million illegal immigrants were working or looking for work in 2012, a sharp increase from 3.6 million in 1995 and 5.6 million in 2000.

Editor's Note:


6. Rasmussen Poll: US 'Likely' to Send Troops to Fight ISIS

Nearly 80 percent of Americans believe the United States will likely be forced to send combat troops back into Iraq to fight ISIS, including 36 percent who say it is "very likely," according to a new poll.

The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 43 percent believe it is "somewhat likely," while just 13 percent of respondents say it is "not very likely" and 2 percent say "not at all likely." The rest aren't sure.

Half of Republicans surveyed believe sending Americans troops to fight the radical Islamic State (ISIS) is very likely, compared to only 22 percent of Democrats.

Asked how likely it is that the U.S. and its allies will be able to defeat ISIS, 33 percent said "very likely," with Republicans and Democrats more or less in agreement, while 37 percent said "somewhat likely," and 19 percent said "not very likely."

However, only 36 percent of Americans believe the United States should declare war on ISIS. The same number say America should not declare war, and 27 percent are not sure.

Furthermore, 65 percent of respondents believe that the approval of Congress should be required before the president sends American troops into combat, compared to 22 percent who said it should not. A full 80 percent of Republicans say the president needs congressional approval, compared to 53 percent of Democrats.

Americans generally appear to be following recent news stories about America's anti-terrorism campaign in Iraq and Syria — 36 percent are following "very closely" and 42 percent are following "somewhat closely." Just 3 percent say they are following the stories "not at all."

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Feds Could Auto-Select Insurance Plans for Many 2. Jobs Report Not as Rosy as Touted 3. Birth Rate in US at Record Low 4. Iraqi Children Beheaded for Their Christian Faith 5. Illegal Immigration Rises in 7...
Obama, May-Choose, Your, Health-Plan, ISIS Beheads Iraqi Christian Children, Jobs Report Misleading, Birth Rate in US at Record Low, Illegal Immigration Rises in 7 States, Rasmussen Poll US Likely to Send Troops to Fight ISIS
Sunday, 14 December 2014 01:10 PM
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