Norquist Aims to Stop Internet Sales Tax Legislation


English: Grover Norquist at a political confer...

English: Grover Norquist at a political conference in Orlando, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Christopher Hitchens at a party at th...

English: Christopher Hitchens at a party at the house of Grover Norquist following the CPAC convention in January 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Official photo cropped of United Stat...

English: Official photo cropped of United States Senator and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 02:07 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent  –

Internet sales-tax legislation racing through the Senate is likely to

face roadblocks when it moves to the House, anti-tax activist Grover

Norquist told Newsmax Tuesday.

“The reason we have a House and Senate is when you rush something

through one body, you have a chance to think it through in the other

body,” said Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.“We’re

making the case on the House side of either seriously amending it or

even stopping it.”

The Senate is likely this week to pass the bill, which would greatly

expand the ability of states to collect sales taxes across state lines

on online purchases. Under current law, states can collect sales taxes

from retailers only if they have a physical presence in the state — a

store, warehouse, or office.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect taxes even if

the retailer does not have a physical presence in the state.

That’s just wrong, according to Norquist, who describes the legislation

as a massive expansion of taxing authority over businesses that have no

recourse in the matter.

“You should only be taxing people who can vote for you or against you,” Norquist said.

The Senate voted 74 to 20 on Monday to clear the Internet sales tax bill

for consideration on the floor, but on final passage it will have at

least one high-ranking Republican dissenter.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky cited the difficulty

for businesses to comply with the different tax codes in all the areas

where their customers reside. McConnell says that creates an enormous

advantage to large retailers who can afford such costs over smaller

businesses.

“If states decide they need this revenue, they should keep in mind the

tremendous burden they’ll be placing on the little guys who do so much

to drive this economy,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.

“In my view, the federal government should be looking for ways to help,

not hurt, these folks.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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States Boost Laws, Regulations Governing Abortion


English: Histogram of abortions by gestational...

English: Histogram of abortions by gestational age for the United States in 2004. Horizontal axis is weeks and vertical axis is thousands of abortions. Data is taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5609a1.htm#tab6 Updated version of Image:US abortion by gestational age 2002 histogram.svg, but data is almost identical. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time series of induced abortions in Norway

Time series of induced abortions in Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Delivery of Care, Women’s Health, Politics, States

Apr 01, 2013

States have passed a record number of abortion bills since 2011, including curbs on clinics and chemically induced abortions, and in North Dakota, a ban on abortions as early as six weeks. On the other side, New York and Washington are weighing measures to ensure abortion rights.

The Wall Street Journal: States Harden Views Over Laws Governing Abortion
States are becoming increasingly polarized over abortion, as some legislatures pass ever-tighter restrictions on the procedure while others consider stronger legal protections for it, advocates on both sides say. … At the same time, Washington state is weighing a measure that would require all insurers doing business in new health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act to reimburse women for abortions. And New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking to update his state’s laws to clarify that women can obtain an abortion late in pregnancy if they have a medical reason (Radnofsky, 3/31).

The Associated Press: Abortion Clinics Need License, Check For Coercion
Michigan abortion clinics will need a state license and must check to make sure women are not being bullied or pressured into getting an abortion under a new law that took effect Sunday. Other regulations make clearer the proper disposal of fetal remains, after anti-abortion advocates expressed concern some were not disposed of with dignity (Eggert, 3/31).

In Montana, lawmakers are seeking to cut funding to some organizations that provide women’s health care.

The Associated Press: Women’s Health Funding Faces Cuts: House Budget Excludes $4.5M For Title X Funds
When Jennifer Strickley first learned she had ovarian cancer, it was Planned Parenthood that detected the disease. She had been going to a clinic in Billings (Montana) for about a decade, as the discounts on Pap tests, contraception and regular checkups provided an essential break for the single mom working without health insurance as a waitress to support her two kids … Strickley is one of 26,000 Montanans who rely upon clinics that receive federal family planning and preventive health funds in the form of Title X. … But the Montana House unanimously passed a state budget that excludes these funds — some $4.5 million — accounting for 30 percent of the budgets for 20 community clinics and five Planned Parenthood Clinics in the state (4/1).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Wash. Bill To Mandate Abortion Coverage Awaits State Senate Vote


Texas Medical Center

Texas Medical Center (Photo credit: slight clutter)

Topics: States, Women’s Health

Mar 25, 2013

Washington’s Reproductive Parity Act would be the first state law to require insurance plans to cover abortion.

The Wall Street Journal: State Weighs Mandate On Abortion Insurance
Washington state may be on the verge of passing the nation’s first mandatory abortion-insurance law, which would require all insurers to reimburse women for abortion procedures as part of their maternity-care coverage. Legislation known as the Reproductive Parity Act has passed in the state House of Representatives but still must clear the Senate (Millman, 3/24).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Wash., An Abortion Rights Trailblazer, Weighs Passing Nation’s 1st Abortion Insurance Mandate
With 21 states having adopted bans or severe restrictions on insurance companies from paying for abortions, Washington is alone in seriously considering legislation mandating the opposite (3/23).

Meanwhile in North Dakota and Texas:

Reuters: North Dakota Lawmakers Approve Measure That Could Ban Abortion
North Dakota lawmakers on Friday approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that could make the state the first to define life as beginning at conception, which would effectively outlaw all abortions. If approved by voters, North Dakota would be the first state in the United States with such a provision in its constitution. Similar measures have been put before voters in several states, including Mississippi, and rejected (Thompson, 3/22).

The Texas Tribune: Bill Could Reduce Number Of Texas Abortion Facilities
A bill advancing through the Texas Legislature could drastically decrease the number of legal abortion facilities in the state. Supporters of Senate Bill 537, which would increase regulations for abortion facilities, say it will improve women’s safety (Aaronson, 3/25).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Health Stocks Embraced Amid Market Uncertainty


English: A screengrab from President Barack Ob...

English: A screengrab from President Barack Obama’s first White House news conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Marketplace, Medicare, Medicaid

Dec 05, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports that following President Barack Obama’s re-election, health stocks are viewed as a port in the storm. Other news outlets explore how the markets have remained stable during the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations as investors count on an eleventh-hour deal.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Stocks A Port In Market Storm
Some investors believe they have found a remedy for the volatile market: health-care stocks. Money managers are embracing the group following the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential election, which ensured that the health-care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama will survive. While the overhaul of the U.S. health-care system creates winners and losers within the industry, investors say the newfound certainty heightens health care’s overall allure (Jarzemsky and Kiernan, 12/4).

The Associated Press/New York Times: As Budget Talks Continue, Markets Change Little
Stocks closed little changed Tuesday on Wall Street as budget talks continued in Washington. … Investors are waiting for developments on the budget talks, which are aimed at avoiding the government spending cuts and tax increases that would begin to arrive Jan. 1 and could eventually cause a recession. … Republicans, led by Mr. Boehner, have balked at Mr. Obama’s proposal of $1.6 trillion in additional taxes over a decade, and called on Monday for increasing the Medicare eligibility age and lowering cost-of-living increases for Social Security benefits (12/4).

The Washington Post: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Warnings Yet To Faze Wall Street
The markets’ sense of confidence — or, arguably, complacency — is rooted in two strains of thought. One is that all the tough talk from the negotiators is mere posturing, nothing more than a signal to their allies that they are taking a stand in advance of real dealmaking closer to the deadline. Investors and executives have repeatedly seen brinkmanship out of Washington — including over raising the cap on government borrowing in the summer of 2011 — conclude with an agreement at the last possible moment (Irwin, 12/4).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Overlap In Competing Budget Proposals Points Way To Deal


English: President George W. Bush and Presiden...

English: President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, November 10, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics, States

Dec 05, 2012

The Associated Press reports the White House and House Republicans have identified areas of significant overlap that could form the basis for an agreement after posturing gives way to actual bargaining.

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Deficit Plan Irks Conservatives
The conservatives’ attitude could nonetheless complicate Mr. Boehner’s mission as he strives to negotiate with a re-elected Democratic president without losing so many Republican votes that his leadership would be in peril. GOP leaders said the criticism underscores how much Mr. Boehner’s proposal was an attempt at compromise, while Mr. Obama’s proposal, which would raise $1.6 trillion in new taxes, was not (Bendavid and Lee, 12/4).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Hot Rhetoric Aside, There’s Overlap In Competing Fiscal Offers That Could Form Basis Of A Deal
Both sides now concede that tax revenue and reductions in entitlement spending are essential elements of any deal. If the talks succeed, it probably will be because House Speaker John Boehner yields on raising tax rates for top earners and the White House bends on how to reduce spending on Medicare and accepts some changes in Social Security (12/4).

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Drop Ryan Budget Plan In ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations
The austere federal budget plan drafted by Rep. Paul D. Ryan and embraced by Republicans as a sweeping reimagining of government has hit a roadblock on the way to the so-called fiscal cliff. Top Republicans, including Ryan, insisted this was not the end of the plan and pledged to “support and advance” its principles. But by sidestepping the plan, the House leadership sidelined the push for a transformative overhaul of federal entitlements — a move that quickly sparked dissent from the party’s conservative wing (Mason and Mascaro, 12/5).

The Washington Post: Governors Urge Obama, Lawmakers To Avoid ‘Fiscal Cliff’
Although some federal programs especially key for states — notably Medicaid — are exempt, many other federal grants to states would be cut. The Pew report said 18 percent of federal grant money would be subjected to the automatic hit. That includes Title I funding, which covers education programs for the poor and the disabled, medical research money, and health and human resource programs (Fletcher and Helderman, 12/4).

Stateline: In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Governors Get White House Seat
A bipartisan group of governors has called on Washington to find a solution — any solution — to the nation’s budget woes as the federal government nears its so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ “It’s not acceptable to have failure when it comes to the fiscal cliff,” said Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert, following a meeting Tuesday (December 4) with President Obama and five other governors. “We need the good people on both sides of the aisle to come together.” The governors — three Republicans and three Democrats — said they left the White House meeting feeling “encouraged” that Obama would strike a deal with Congressional Republicans before December 31, the date that would trigger a series of spending cuts and tax hikes to deal with the federal deficit but that economists say would plunge the nation back into recession (Clark and Malewitz, 12/5).

CQ HealthBeat: Governors Want To Be Heard In Fiscal Cliff Fight
Democratic and Republican governors who met Tuesday with the president and congressional leaders said they want a seat at the table when negotiations occur on spending cuts and major changes in health programs that could upend their state budgets. The bipartisan National Governors Association gave few specifics in a conference call with reporters after their meeting with President Barack Obama. The governors were equally vague when they spoke to reporters at the White House after their meeting with the president. But the state leaders said they want to be sure they’re not shut out from the deal-making among the White House and congressional Republicans and Democrats (Norman, 12/4).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

With Votes Counted, The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms Large


President Barack Obama with Regina Benjamin, A...

President Barack Obama with Regina Benjamin, Alabama physician nominated for the position of Surgeon General of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics

Nov 07, 2012

News outlets report that with the election in the rear-view mirror, President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers must pivot to high-stakes negotiations over expiring income tax rates, massive scheduled cuts to Pentagon spending and entitlement reform. Also on the to-do list: the Medicare doc fix.

The Washington Post: Fresh From Reelection, President Finds Himself On Edge Of ‘Fiscal Cliff’
The president, who won reelection late Tuesday, must now confront the “fiscal cliff,” nearly $500 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January that could throw the nation back into recession. … Obama has threatened to veto legislation to avert the cliff that extends the Bush tax rates for the wealthy. After a campaign focused heavily on that pledge, Democrats say the president is prepared to draw a firm line in the sand, even if it means letting one of the largest tax hikes in U.S. history take effect on Jan. 1 (Montgomery and Goldfarb, 11/6).

Politico: Up Next: The Fiscal Cliff
Obama’s convincing reelection, the Republicans’ sustained majority in the House and Democrats’ hold on the Senate only further complicate the prospects of cutting any kind of deal on expiring income tax rates, massive pending cuts to Pentagon spending and entitlement reform. A clarifying election this was not. Instead, it’s the beginning of a stare-down that will almost certainly last months (Sherman and Raju, 11/7).

Kaiser Health News: Federal Deficit Talks Could Impact Obama’s Moves On Health Law
President Barack Obama’s victory preserves the federal health overhaul that he championed. The law, which withstood a challenge at the Supreme Court last summer and was bitterly assailed by Republicans during the campaign, is slated to move forward with Democratic control of the White House and Senate.
But some analysts predict the mounting pressures to reduce federal spending will complicate efforts to implement the law, known as the Affordable Care Act (Carey, 11/7).

National Journal: It’s B-a-a-ck!
Elections can change everything on Capitol Hill. In the next few weeks, the process of members and their staffs packing up and moving out, or moving into better (or worse) offices, begins. But for all the adjustments ahead, there’s one health policy issue that will neither change nor go away easily: the so-called doc fix, a multibillion-dollar Medicare headache that has been around for the past six election cycles. …Thankfully, when it comes to the doc fix, Democrats and Republicans actually agree on something: Congress should get rid of this flawed payment system. If only it were that easy. The challenge? How to pay for it. The 1997 formula was originally intended to constrain health care costs: If spending for a given year exceeded the ceiling, doctors’ reimbursements under Medicare were automatically cut. But Congress regularly overrides the pay reduction. And as doctors get further and further away from the goal each year, it gets more and more expensive to delay the cut (McCarthy, 11/7).

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington’s 1789 inauguration. VIRIN: 090120-F-3961R-919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Big Picture: Obama Claims Victory – But What Comes Next?


Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics, Health Reform

Nov 07, 2012

Even before President Barack Obama’s second term officially begins it is clear that he will be facing significant challenges and a very divided Congress. The challenges ahead include the fiscal cliff and efforts to trim back the nation’s entitlement programs.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Seizes Another Chance
The Barack Obama who won a second term Tuesday was a different candidate from the one swept into power four years ago on promises of hope and change. Instead, he has envisioned a second term that would bring a handful of solid victories … He wants to protect and implement laws from his first term, particularly his health-care reform and new financial regulations. Most urgent will be deficit talks that will begin almost immediately in hopes of keeping the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff (Meckler, 11/7).

The New York Times: News Analysis: Electorate Reverts To A Partisan Divide As Obama’s Support Narrows
With voters worn by hard times yet many of them hopeful of better times ahead, Americans reverted to more traditional lines compared with the broader-based coalition that made Barack Obama president four years ago. He was seen generally as more empathetic and better able to handle Medicare and an international crisis. The two were about even when it came to who was better able to handle the economy and the federal budget deficit. … Mr. Obama won most voters who named foreign policy or health care as their top concern (Calmes and Thee-Brenan, 11/6).

The New York Times: News Analysis: Question For The Victor: How Far Do You Push?
The champagne bottles from victory celebrations in Chicago will barely be emptied before Mr. Obama has to begin answering that question. The coming end-of-the-year fiscal cliff prompted by trillions of dollars of automatic tax increases and spending cuts could force Mr. Obama to define priorities that will shape the rest of his presidency … Mr. Obama seemed to address this tension in the closing speeches of his campaign. “I want to see more cooperation in Washington,” he said in Mentor, Ohio. “But if the price of peace in Washington” means slashing student aid, reversing his health care program or cutting people from Medicaid, he added, “that’s not a price I’ll pay” (Baker, 11/7).

Los Angeles Times: New Analysis: Maybe Stalemate’s Latest Victory Means Voters Will Finally Win
Obama offered mixed signals in his final weeks of campaigning. He voiced support for compromise, but also pledged toughness … “I’ll work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward,” he said in his final campaign speech, Monday night in Des Moines. But, he added, there are “some principles you got to fight for. If the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals to kick students off of financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or let insurance companies discriminate against kids with preexisting conditions, or eliminate healthcare for millions on Medicaid who are poor, or elderly, or disabled — I won’t pay that price” (Lauter, 11/7).

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.