"Get Covered, Illinois!" Hearing the tag line for the new Affordable Care Act, I instinctively think that for some reason I walked out of my house half-dressed. But, instead it is an appeal to Illinoisans, urging their participation in the health insurance exchange which begins tomorrow.
The trouble is as of Friday, there was no website address to visit to begin the process of applying for the insurance. I received a call from a spokesman for the Governor on Friday about the exchange. He wanted to know if I had any questions. I allowed him to speak first about the exchanges. He essentially regurgitated the press release I had already read the day before.
I then asked him if he could guarantee that people would be able to see their same doctors. He could not answer that. He was very proud of the fact that Illinois is expected to have premium rates 25% below the average in the country. So, I asked him what you get for that rate. What are the deductibles, co-pays, and coverage? No answer.
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois is funneling millions of federal dollars to politically-correct and politically-connected organizations such as the SEIU and the Chicago Federation of Local Workers to hire in-person counselors whose jobs will be to get people enrolled in Illinois' ObamaCare before January 2014.
On July 17, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck announced over $27 million in federal grant awards to 44 organizations through IDPH’s Affordable Care Act In-Person Counselor Grant Program. The organizations and their sub-grantees have been using the funding to hire employees as In-Person Counselors to assist Illinois residents with applying for the new coverage programs made available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The list of organizations getting millions from the federal government grant include public sector union locals, as well as immigrant- and LGBT-focused groups hand-picked by Governor Quinn. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago is to get $650,000.00, the Chicago Federation of Labor Workers is to get $250,000.00, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights lists to get $1,250,000.00 and SEIU Local 4 is to receive $710,000.00.
DOWNERS GROVE — Over the weekend, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin urged Republicans not to be “irresponsible” by voting against lifting the debt ceiling once again, but when George W. Bush was president, Durbin opposed increasing America's debt three times.
Monday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate, West Point grad and Army vet Doug Truax, said Durbin was providing another example of hypocrisy and blatant political partisanship.
ST. LOUIS - At CPAC St Louis over the weekend, Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory, who switched from the Democrat to the Republican Party recently, rocked the houseful of conservatives. "I once was lost, now I'm found," Guillory said. "It's good to be home."
After being introduced by Wheeling-based Turning Point's Charlie Kirk, Guillory included Illinois Republican congressional candidate Erika Harold in a list of conservative black Republicans. Guillory opened by saying: "People ask me what kind of Republican am I?" He answered:
CHICAGO - SEIU-backed "Progress Illinois" is on hand at Monday's lunchtime protest of federal workers in Chicago's Daley Plaza.
CHICAGO - The Regional Transportation Authority’s top two executives — one of them the son-in-law of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan — are under investigation over allegations involving sexual and racial harassment of RTA employees.
The RTA has referred the matter to the state’s executive inspector general, Ricardo Meza, following an internal investigation of the allegations, which were leveled more than a year ago against the agency’s executive director, Joseph Costello, and his chief of staff, Jordan Matyas.
Matyas is the son-in-law of Madigan (D-Chicago) and the brother-in-law of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
If it’s your bridge, and not one being used by the enemy in wartime, you would want to obstruct a plan to destroy it. But what if the plan is called “healthcare reform”?
Republicans are lambasted for not having a Plan. In fact, they have had many proposals to decrease costs, improve patient care, and expand access to medical care. But the great universal Plan for healthcare reform? That’s one the Republicans, and most Americans, oppose—if “healthcare reform” means compulsory government-funded “insurance” and the destruction of private medicine, private insurance, freedom of choice, and traditional medical ethics. This used to be called “socialized medicine.”
PALATINE - Palatine insurance broker and Illinois Tea Party leader C. Steven Tucker has been traveling the Midwest for the past couple of years, warning groups small and large about the impact of ObamaCare. He's been featured on radio and television news shows, answering questions few can answer about health care insurance and America's health care insurance future.
Monday, as a guest on Fox Business at 10:30 am CST, Tucker wi'll be talking about cancellation letters that several of his clients have been receiving over the last few months, informing them of major changes in their health care policies, hikes in premiums and outright cancellations - all attributed to the January 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In his workshops,Tucker actively encourages the audience to contact their Congress members and urge them to hold firm on demands to delay and defund ObamaCare. "The President lied when he said we could keep our health care policies and our own doctors," Tucker said, as he posted an array of policy cancellation letters online Sunday afternoon. To read the details, click on the images to enlarge:
MILAN - Currently located in Milan, Illinois, the Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) is now eyeing a move across the Mississippi River to Davenport, Iowa. The new location will only be a few miles away, but crossing the state border may make a world of difference to the gun maker.
“As I understand it, they need more space, and there is also a concern with the Illinois gun laws,” Milan Mayor Duane Dawson told Quad-Cities Online. “There’s only so much we can do with where they are.”
Illinois has a reputation for being tough on guns, but recent events saw the state reverse its stanceon concealed carry. Notoriously gun-restrictive Chicago also made headlines recently with the abolishment of its citywide gun registry. According to LMT owner Karl Lewis, however, the move has been in the works since 2007.
As he allows himself to be duped by an Iranian charm offensive designed to reduce the pain of economic sanctions and buy time to finish up that nuclear weapon they’ve been working on, and toting his TelePrompTer to another college campaign speech, King Barack has declared that he will not even talk to the Republicans in the House of Representatives.
In fact, as he cozies up to one of the world’s number one sponsors of terrorism, Iran, a country which has suffered very few consequences for many of its murderous acts, including its involvement in 1998 Embassy bombings, his dimwitted mouthpieces refer to Republicans as “terrorists,” “anarchists,” and “suicide bombers.” Yet, which party is the one that refuses to compromise? Which is the one that demands “purity,” on a par with Breaking Bad’s Walter White’s crystal blue meth?
Among Illinois Review contributors is sassy, smart lady Teri O'Brien, who recently released her new e-book with a tongue-in-cheek title, "The ABC's of Barack Obama: Understanding God's Great Gift to America."
Teri is an educated attorney with a biting wit and conservative slant that shines as she starts with "A" and ends with "Z", alphabetically listing all the frustrating and irritating things Barack Obama has done and continues to do as president. By condensing the most egregious examples down to 26 different sub-headings, Teri performs a service for conservatives continually overwhelmed by the newest scandal or latest unconstitutional outrage the Administration has unloaded on the Republic.
The left-leaning Pew Research/USA Today released findings of a new poll that shows the "Tea Party anarchists" (as Harry Reid called them on the Senate floor this week) are having an effect on Republican Party voters' attitudes towards ObamaCare.
The poll showed the Tea Party is having an impact on GOP primary voters of which half say they "agree with the Tea Party." Also 85% of average GOP voters say they disapprove of Obamacare:
CHICAGO - This week, the Illinois Policy Institute released a report entitled, "Part-time Illinois: Work hours have dropped since ObamaCare signed into law," showing how full-time employment has decreased in Illinois since ObamaCare was signed into law. From the report's Executive Summary:
Illinois is in the midst of a decadeslong struggle to overcome numerous challenges ranging from corruption, high unemployment, underfunded pensions and high taxes. At a time when the state can’t afford any additional obstacles, recent data provide support to the claim that employers have been cutting employee hours to avoid the costliest aspects of ObamaCare since it was signed into law in 2011.
To examine how the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare, is affecting employment in the state, this report examines average hours of labor in three sectors where average hours are closest to 30 hours per week – the threshold under the law for determining full-time employment status.
WASHINGTON - Saturday night, Illinois' congressional delegation divided along party lines on a measure to delay Obamacare for one year, repeal the medical-device tax and fund the government. In a 231 to 192 vote, all Illinois Republicans supported the effort and all Illinois Democrats opposed it.
But again, the Democrat-led U.S. Senate is expected to reject the House's resolution, leaving the budget at an impasse, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown Tuesday.
GOP Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (IL-06) said House members are listening to what their constituents are telling them.
In any school district superintendents come and go. Some stay longer in a position than do others; however, the position often offers a very generous salary plus a sizable compensation package.
Consider Superintendent Dr. Harry Griffith (at right) who retired on June 30, 2012, as superintendent of Lake Forest Districts 67 and 115. Hired by Lake Forest District 67 in 1994 from a school district in Texas to become superintendent, Griffith's shared service superintendency arrangement began in 2004. A year before retirement Dr. Griffith was already the highest paid superintendent in Illinois with a total compensation package amounting to $430,000, more than that of the Chicago and Milwaukee school chiefs and the governor of Illinois.
SCHAUMBURG - Jim Moynihan, a former candidate for U.S. Congress and current precinct captain in the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization, announced Saturday that he would run for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 56th District, challenging incumbent State Representative Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg).
Moynihan, a 25-year resident of Schaumburg, announced his candidacy Saturday at a breakfast meeting of the Schaumburg Township Republican Organization.
ST. LOUIS - This weekend the American Conservative Union met in a regional conference in St. Louis. Saturday morning they featured a panel "Can Social Conservatives and Libertarians Ever Get Along?"
LONGVIEW Washington - Victoria Taft says the frustration her brother-in-law Dr. Philip Henderson III endured as he worked to adjust his 37-year obstetrics and gynecological practice to changes ObamaCare is making in the medical business led to the fourth generation physician committing suicide four months ago.
Taft's dramatic story lines up with a DailyNewsOnline.com account describing Dr. Henderson's suicide. Comments published from the families of the over 6000 babies he had delivered over the years confirms he was a committed, beloved practitioner in Longview, Washington. The 63 year old was married with two daughters, one of which is in medical residency in Illinois.
Ms. Taft wrote the following letter to Congress, after they posted a request for ObamaCare stories at Obamacare@mail.house.gov:
Schimpf told supporters, "I am running because we need an Attorney General who is not beholden to the insiders or special interest groups from either political party," a reference to the current Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan's daughter.
CHICAGO – Tuesday, just a week away from the planned date that health care exchanges are to launch in Illinois, the state of Illinois unveiled “Get Covered Illinois” as the official brand name for its new health insurance marketplace. The online site, where residents are being told they will be able learn about the Federal Affordable Care Act's health care provisions, is not open for examination yet.
In a carefully-worded press release, Governor Quinn's office says the program's name is both a call-to-action and a description of the service this marketplace expects to provide through web, phone and personal interactions with customers beginning October 1.
SUGAR GROVE - Despite there being at least two Republicans passing petitions to be the party's nominee to challenge U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in 2014, a friendly discussion emerged this week between two other Republicans - State Senator Jim Oberweis and former Congressman Joe Walsh. The two are contemplating if either should get in the race with the perennial conservative candidate Chad Koppie or first-time candidate Wheaton businessman Doug Truax, both already passing nomination petitions.
Word is 2014 down-ballot candidates are worried that primary voter turnout could be depressed if a name and a competitive race are not at the top of the ticket next March.
Earlier this week, a We Ask America poll revealed Oberweis as within 11 points of incumbent Democrat Durbin and Walsh as behind 18 points. Walsh has been looking at a possible Congressional challenge of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Oswego) as well as a bid against Durbin.
Oberweis suggested to the Daily Herald that he and Walsh should play a hand of poker, and the "loser would run against Durbin" in 2014.
CHICAGO - Illinois would be the only state that requires publicly-held businesses to post their tax records online for public viewing if HB 3627, now under consideration, were to become law. At a hearing of the House Revenue & Finance Committee Friday, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association voiced opposition.
"Illinois faces overwhelming deficits, unemployment far higher than the national average, plus the highest income tax rates we have ever paid. The first way to climb out of this hole is to create additional jobs by attracting more companies and engendering opportunities for those who are already here to expand," said Mark Denzler, vice president and COO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "This proposed Tax Disclosure Act does the exact opposite-it gives any job creator pause before doing business in our state."
But it's what corporations in Illinois may be hiding that's the problem, opponents said. Despite the Internal Revenue Service having restrictions protecting taxpayer privacy, publicly-held corporations should be transparent so state lawmakers can determine whether businesses are paying their fair share of taxes.
ELGIN - Thursday, after once-Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers' speech at Elgin Community College, he answered Champion News' Lennie Jarratt's question about Ayers' take on the Common Core Curriulum.
Ayers expressed the same negative views about Common Core that he had previously, "but he opposed it for different reasons than conservatives do," Jarratt said.
As legislators now debate the implementation of Obama care, let’s remember one thing: Congress’ waiver to exempt themselves from ObamaCare is another example of the hypocrisy in government with which Americans are disgusted. Our Congressional leaders are supposed to be the representatives of the people. They are supposed to protect the rights of the American citizen. They are not supposed to legislate the citizenry one set of laws, and for themselves, another. If you voted for ObamaCare, then you should have ObamaCare for yourselves and your families.
Is it any wonder Congress has such a poor approval rating? Right now approval ratings hover around 15%. Current 11th District Congressman Bill Foster (D) was quoted as saying after his ObamaCare vote, “I am proud of my vote and I would be proud to do it again.”
CHICAGO - While gay marriage activists are celebrating the judge's decision to allow their suit demanding same sex marriage licenses in Cook County to continue, the victory they claim isn't as clear as they are letting on, according to the Thomas More Society. Indeed, the attorneys defending Illinois' current definition of marriage say they are confident their arguments will eventually prevail.
Judge Sophia H. Hall dismissed three of the five claims brought by same-sex couples challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
CHICAGO - An effort to allow Cook County Clerk David Orr to distribute marriage licenses to same sex couples passed a hurdle Friday when a judge allowed two of five challenges to move forward. If marriage licenses are allowed to be distributed in Cook County, the redefinition of marriage is expected to apply to all Illinois counties. However, marriage defenders believe the current definition will ultimately prevail.
Clerk Orr spoke with reporters after judge's decree at Chicago's Daley Center:
LISLE - Benedictine University, a Catholic University with campuses in Lisle, Springfield and Mesa, set into action Thursday an immediate ban on alcohol for all campus housing areas. After two females complained earlier this week of alleged sexual assault in one of the residence halls, the 126-year old school set a deadline of Friday at 10:00 PM to clear residential housing of alcoholic beverages.
Following the scandal that broke in the spring of 2012, the city of Dixon looked to sue its bank and its auditors for not detecting Crundwell's theft of city funds. Earlier this week the city reached a settlement agreement with its bank and auditors for $40 million.
In the great Rob Reiner costumer, “The Princess Bride,” the hired criminal Vizzini disdainfully objects to the hero Wesley’s efforts to free Princess Buttercup, charging “You're trying to kidnap what I've rightfully stolen!”
Back home in Chicago, we have a related saying about ethics in politics: “An honest politician is one who stays bought.”
In either case, the perpetrator of the first crime is offended by the very notion that anyone might dare try to reverse that crime. The first crime is fine; having once turned the tables on the laws of God and man, none may challenge the new status quo. In this world, there may be no honor among thieves, but there certainly is a sense of seniority…
UPDATE 4x: 12:51 CST: With a 54 to 44 vote - Senator Durbin voting "yes", Senator Kirk voting "no" - H.J.Res. 59 passed with Obamacare funding re-instated and budget provisions through November 15. The legislation will return to the U.S. House for consideration.
UPDATE 3x 12:00 Noon CST: Continuing Resolution Cloture vote passes 79 to 19, with both Kirk and Durbin voting "Yes."
UPDATE 2x: Senator Kirk's office says that although he is voting "Yes" on the cloture vote, he will vote "no" on the final version if Senator Reid strips out the defunding of Obamacare.
However, because the cloture vote will allow a simple majority to amend the resolution, the Democrats will be able to pass amendments to strip the defunding of Obamacare and will have enough Democrat votes to pass the final bill without Republican votes. Kirk can still tell voters he was against defunding Obamacare by voting 'no' on the final bill. The key Senate vote on H.J. Res. 59 is the cloture vote.
UPDATE: Senator Kirk's office has just notified IR that he is voting "Yes" on the Continuing Resolution cloture vote, breaking the anti-Obamacare GOP caucus and assuring the Democrats will have the votes needed to strip the Obamacare delay from the Continuing Resolution.
WASHINGTON - This morning, U.S. Senator Kirk's office would not confirm how the senator plans to side in the all-important cloture vote Friday. Illinois Review asked if he would be voting "yes" or "no," and Kirk's spokesperson Nicole Barrett said "We'll have to get back to you on that."
Breitbart.com reports Friday morning the number of Republican "No" votes on the Continuing Resolution cloture vote is nearing 30. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are leading the effort to secure 41 votes to stop the Democrats from amending the proposal to strip out the part of the bill that defunds Obamacare. From Breitbart.com:
According to sources on the Hill, there is growing support among Senate Republicans to support Sens. Cruz and Lee's efforts to scuttle Sen. Harry Reid's attempt to reinstate ObamaCare funding in the House Continuing Resolution. On Friday, the Senate is set to vote for cloture on the CR, which, if successful, will then allow Reid to resurrect ObamaCare funding with a simple majority. The effort by Cruz and Lee will most likely fail, but each additional GOP Senator that joins their block is another vote against Senate GOP Leadership.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago began a leave of absence from Congress on Sept. 12 because his wife, Carolyn, is ill, a Rush spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune Thursday.
In mid-August, Rep. Rush attended a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and had planned to take his wife, travel disclosure reports show. “Due to illness, my wife did not attend,” he wrote in a disclosure submitted to the House on Aug. 30.
Rush’s spokeswoman, Debra Johnson, said the lawmaker took the leave “to be with his wife Carolyn as she undergoes major surgery.”
On September 24th The Heartland Institute held its final conference call in a series of exclusive Tuesday noon (CT) calls previewing Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science. This Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report resulted from a collaboration among three organizations -- Science & Environmental Policy Project, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute.
WASHINGTON - While the U.S. Senate Republicans decide Friday whether they will work together against cloture on the Continuing Resolution to stop Obamacare, House Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans insist the President and the U.S. Senate Democrats cut spending and put economy-growing measures into effect. Republican staffers are referring to the 15-points as their "debt limit package."
"In light of today's Court ruling, I have instructed my staff to begin processing salary payments for Illinois lawmakers. I have consistently said action was required by the General Assembly or the Court to authorize restoration of those payments. That has now occurred, and the Comptroller's Office will comply. Processing of paychecks for August, September and October begins today."
WASHINGTON - Illinois Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-14) sent out a warning about ill-prepared Obamacare exchanges in his home state: "Buyer Beware!" he said during Wednesday 1-minute House floor speeches. (Video below fold)
Congressman Peter Roskam / Sun-Times photo
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Republicans aren't waiting for the U.S. Senate's "clean Continuing Resolution" legislation to make its way back to them. In an effort to keep the Democrats on the defense, House Republicans are preparing to send to the Senate a debt limit package they're calling The Spending Control and Economic Growth Act which, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) says, will result in significant economic growth and deficit reduction.
UPDATE 4:10 PM - Governor Quinn says he will appeal Judge Neil Cohen's order to reinstate lawmakers pay and will file for a stay to stop Comptroller from issuing paychecks.
CHICAGO - Members of the General Assembly will get paid, despite the continuing pension deadlock. A Cook County judge decided Thursday that Gov. Pat Quinn’s move to stop paying lawmakers was unconstitutional and ordered Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to pay them immediately plus interest.
Quinn ordered state lawmakers' paychecks be withheld until the state’s pension crisis was solved. Lawmakers sued to get their salaries.
In the meantime, progress continues to be slow and little news has come from the pension committee over the past month. The General Assembly will return for a weeklong session on October 22.
SPRINGFIELD - Even though Illinois jumped feet first into the Obama Administration's national Common Core curriculum plan in return for $100 million from a federal stimulus plan, parents and teachers are resisting the demands Common Core is making on the state's districts. Taxpayers may soon join the resistance.
WASHINGTON - Thursday, Democrat U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with his party and agreed that it would make sense to delay implementing Obamacare until 2015. According to a report, Manchin has come out in favor of delaying the mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin told the attendees of a Bloomberg Government breakfast when asked if he would support a mandate delay. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”
Republicans are saying if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to avoid shutting down the government, Senate Democrats and the President will need to consider delaying Obamacare a year.
WASHINGTON - Illinois' senior Senator Dick Durbin conveyed on his Facebook page this week that he is all flustered about the traction Senator Ted Cruz' efforts to stop or delay Obamacare is getting throughout America.
Cruz' 21-hour speech on the Senate floor allowed him to get the message directly to the America public - circumventing the Democrat-controlled filter of the Washington elitist media. Here's what Durbin is saying on his Facebook page: Tell the Republicans to "turn off their "Cruz" control, stand up to the Tea Party, and stop threatening to shut down the government over Obamacare!"
WASHINGTON - IRS officials continue colleague finger-pointing while congressional inquiries probe deeper into the agency's inner workings. Most voters believe the Internal Revenue Service broke the law when it targeted conservative groups, but very few think any government employees will be charged with criminal activity.
“When Pat Quinn suspended legislators pay I called it ‘just another political stunt.’ More than two months later, the pension system is still broken.
"We don’t need any more political stunts. We need a leader who is willing to take on the government union bosses and special interests that control Springfield, and the crowd in charge now refuses to do it. I’ll get the job done.”
By Ulysses Arn -
Rock Island attorney Jeff McKinley is seeking the Republican nomination to represent the 71st district, which includes parts of Rock Island and Whiteside counties. In 2012, Democrat Mike Smiddy defeated incumbent Republican Rich Morthland following redistricting.
At Wednesday night's meeting of the Sauk Valley Tea Party McKinley introduced himself to those in attendance and explained what he would like to do as a state Representative in Springfield such as property tax reform. (Video below the fold)
A Sept. 24 press release from Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced with excitement that Illinois' health insurance premiums under the state's ObamaCare health insurance exchange would be lower than previous government estimates.
This statement implies that Illinoisans won't see their insurance premiums go up despite the massive health insurance expansion about to unfold under ObamaCare. But what Quinn is not telling you is how much more insurance will cost compared to today's existing market rates.