Chad’s Morning Brief: Rand Paul Says Republicans Must Get Past Deportation, Obamacare Hits 7.1 Million… Or Does It?, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 2, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Rand Paul on the GOP
Senator Rand Paul has been talking about GOP outreach and his mission continued on Tuesday. According FOX News, Paul told fellow Republicans that the future of the party depended on them connecting with Hispanic voters.
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul told fellow Republicans on Tuesday that the future of their party depends on them connecting with Hispanics in a more empathetic way and on getting in front of immigration reform – a message that further signals his flirtation with a 2016 presidential run.
“If we are to change people’s attitudes toward … the Republican Party, we have to show up and we have to have something to say,” Paul told a small group of conservatives gathered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “I hope to be part of that dialogue.”
This certainly was not the first time that Paul, since being elected to the Senate in 2010, has attempted to connect with Hispanics and other minorities.
However, Republicans’ interest in his policy vision and his vision for broadening the party base continues to grow as he ascends in the very, very early 2016 polls and travels the country. Recent stops have included those in Democrat-heavy Detroit and at the University of California, Berkeley.
Paul said Tuesday that Republicans need to focus on such issues as reforming the country’s work visa system and improving educational and employment opportunities for minorities.
However, the GOP must first make clear it is not “just the party of deportation,” he argued.
“The bottom line is that the Hispanic community … is not going to hear us until we get beyond that issue,” Paul told attendees at a symposium sponsored by the conservative Media Research Center and the American Principles Project. “They’re not going to care whether we go to the same church or have the same values or believe in the same kind of future of the country until we get beyond that. … We’ve got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues.”
He attempted to highlight his point, in part, by noting that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at one point touted the idea of self-deportation, and won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Paul, 51, expressed some optimism about Congress accomplishing some type of immigration reform this year, particularly one expanding the country’s work visa program.
He called the expansion of visas for high-tech workers “a no-brainer.”
Obamacare… The Numbers Game
President Obama announced yesterday that enrollment on healthcare.gov had surpassed 7 million people according to POLITICO. The President said that the Affordable Care Act has made the health care system better in the United States.
President Barack Obama celebrated the end of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period by announcing that at least 7.1 million Americans have signed up for insurance through exchanges.
“No, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t fixed our long broken health care system, but this law has made our health care system a lot better,” Obama said before a large and happy crowd Tuesday afternoon in the Rose Garden.“In these first six months we’ve taken a big step forward,” he said. “Under this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down.”
And the critics, he stressed, have been proven wrong: “There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived. Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans.”
While the president did sound like he was enjoying a victory lap for much of his speech, he made clear that some bumps still lie ahead. “I want to make sure everybody understands in the months, years ahead — I guarantee you — there will be additional challenges to implementing this law. There will be days when the website stumbles. I guarantee it,” he said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was on hand, seated in the front row of the audience, but did not get a shout-out from the president, though congressional Democrats did. Allies including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Sandy Levin and Charles Rangel were in the crowd, as were adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Economic Council director Jeff Zients, who led the “tech surge” to put HealthCare.gov back on track after its initial troubles.
For all the fanfare of the Rose Garden speech, White House officials pushed back ahead of time on the notion that the event was a victory lap, even as allies celebrated the numbers. “We are feeling good. It’s been amazing to see the consumer interest and the work that’s been done on the ground,” said Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America. She added: “Yes, I am smiling!”
Even as the enrollment numbers started ticking up, the administration still didn’t feel good about how things were going. Though the administration had anticipate a surge of interest right before the deadline, the level of traffic on HealthCare.gov in the final hours Monday took officials by surprise.
Obama first learned on Monday night that enrollment numbers had surpassed seven million, but not by hovering over a computer as midnight struck.
Taking advantage of a warm evening in Washington, Obama turned their nightly “wrap” meeting into another one of their famous walks on the South Lawn of the White House — like one they shared late last summer in planning a response to the Syria crisis — shortly after 6 Monday night, the kind that have come at several other critical moments for the president in the last six months.
The numbers were trending strongly, McDonough told Obama. Hitting seven million was looking like a safe bet. Obama headed up to the residence, and didn’t get another official update until Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., when the number had hit 7.04 million and was the rise.
While the administration is touting the 7.1 million number, questions still remain about who has paid and who is covered. The Daily Mail points to a study that shows Democrats probably shouldn’t be celebrating as very few of the 7 million people enrolled didn’t have health care plans prior to Obamacare.
The unpublished RAND study – only the Los Angeles Times has seen it – found that just 23 per cent of new enrollees had no insurance before signing up.
And of those newly insured Americans, just 53 per cent have paid their first month’s premiums.
If those numbers hold, the actual net gain of paid policies among Americans who lacked medical insurance in the pre-Obamacare days would be just 858,298.
Not much to be excited about really it seems.
Other Top Stories:
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