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By JENNIFER EPSTEIN |

11/19/13 4:32 PM EST

President Obama on Tuesday dismissed critics who call him a “socialist,” suggesting they meet some real socialists if they think he’s one.

“People call me a socialist sometimes,” he said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit, addressing 100 top business leaders.

“But, no, you gotta meet real socialists. You’ll have a sense of what a socialist is,” he said to laughter from the crowd.

“I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate, my health care reform is based on the private marketplace, stock market’s looking pretty good last time I checked,” he said, listing his capitalist bona fides. “And, you know, it is true I’m concerned about growing inequality in our system, but nobody questions the efficacy of market economies in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive.”

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/11/obama-scoffs-at-people-who-call-him-a-socialist-you-177886.html?hp=l11

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Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they’d identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she’d be covered.

A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.

But that’s not what she found. Instead, she’d be paying an additional $300 a month for coverage. The letter made no mention of the health insurance marketplace that would soon open in Washington, where she could shop for competitive plans, and only an oblique reference to financial help that she might qualify for, if she made the effort to call and find out.

Otherwise, she’d be automatically rolled over to a new plan — and, as the letter said, “If you’re happy with this plan, do nothing.”

If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.

“The info that we were sent by LifeWise was totally bogus. Why the heck did they try to screw us?” Donna said. “People who are afraid of the ACA should be much more afraid of the insurance companies who will exploit their fear and end up overcharging them.”

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/insurance-companies-misleading-letters-obamacare

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Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Published: September 30 at 8:36 am

Here’s how today’s Wonkbook was supposed to start: We’re about 16 hours from open enrollment in Obamacare going live. The law, which has dominated American politics for three years even as it’s been an abstraction to most Americans, is about to become very real.

But here’s how it actually has to start: We’re about 16 hours away from a government shutdown. That’s more than enough time for the House and Senate to both pass a bill averting a shutdown. But the odds of that happening are increasingly remote — and that’s because Obamacare is set to begin in 16 hours.

On Saturday, Speaker Boehner agreed to load the continuing resolution with a one-year delay of Obamacare, a repeal of the medical-device tax, and a “conscience clause” assuring health-care providers they don’t need to offer birth control if they don’t want to. They wrote a bill, in other words, that the Senate can’t accept. His right flank was ecstatic.

“Chants of ‘Vote! Vote! Vote!’ echoed through the room,” report Robert Costa and Jonathan Strong. “Standing in the back, Boehner’s deputies watched the scene and smiled. ‘People went bonkers,’ says Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona. Representative John Culberson of Texas was so enthused that he yelled, ‘Let’s roll!’ after hearing Boehner’s remarks. Culberson later told reporters he was alluding to the cry of United 93 passenger Todd Beamer.”

All this for a bill that House Republicans know the Senate will reject.

So the federal government will probably shut down tonight. And, at about the same moment, Obamacare will go live, as the shutdown does little to impede the law.

There’s a silver lining in this for Obamacare, as well as a real danger.

The Obama administration has been a bit afraid of October 1st. After all, no major product launches without a hitch, and Obama is more major, and facing more politicized scrutiny, than almost any product the federal government has ever launched. The fear was that things would go wrong on October 1st and the press, looking for dramatic stories of Obamacare glitches, would swarm the anecdotes, giving the public the impression that the law was a failure even as most of it was working fine and the bugs were being quickly fixed.

But with a government shutdown and a looming debt-ceiling crisis obsessing the media and the country, the media simply has less bandwidth to cover the rollout of the health-care law. That gives the administration, as well as the states, a bit more breathing room to find and fix bugs in the early days without seeing the law declared a failure.

The downside for the law is that less focus on Obamacare means fewer people hearing that the insurance marketplaces have gone live, and thus fewer people knowing they should go and sign up for coverage. The Obama administration, some of the states, and a consortium of outside actors all have plans to promote the law through paid media in the coming weeks and months, but the launch could’ve earned them a lot of valuable free media.

But all of this speaks to why the Republican Party is so frightened. Until now, Obamacare has been an abstraction. You can repeal an abstraction. Tomorrow, it becomes a reality. And reality is a lot harder to repeal.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/wonkbook-obamacares-october-surprise/

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Stewart “You know, if anything, the only thing that AIG is guilty of is consistency.  That, and a series of catastrophic investments that brought the world to the brink of economic Armageddon.  But, even that was pretty consistent.  Here’s the best part of the whole thing.  You’ll never guess what the lawsuit is based on.”

Anderson Cooper 1-8-13 “The lawsuit claims the terms of the bailout, including the high interest rate it had to pay, were unfair to its shareholders.”

Reporter “The lawsuit says these terms deprive shareholders of tens of billions of dollars.”

Stewart “Get it?  So, the guy who used to run insurance giant AIG is mad because when his company was hit by a calamity they clearly weren’t prepared for, the group that stepped in to provide funds for them that they desperately needed, assessed the company and thought, well, they’ve engaged in risky behaviors and had a preexisting called Gone-o-rrhea.  And, so they charged them a higher rate for the money that they needed.  Almost to the point of taking advantage of the company.  Profiting from their misfortune, if you will.  Did that upset you AIG?  Because, it’s also known as your business model.”

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-9-2013/ingrateful-basterds—aig