The Alarming Consolidation of Health Care under Obamacare-Hospitals Merge, Doctors Merge, and Patients Pay More for Less By Scott W. Atlas

Years after the initial rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the American people, the health-care industry, and the courts still struggle to navigate the law. Its heavy regulations and new tax burdens have generated numerous consequences, many of which are harmful to patients and families. Although supporters point to the millions of newly insured under the law, the truth is, that as many as 90 percent of those are estimated to have enrolled into Medicaid, second-class coverage that, according to a 2014 Merritt Hawkins report, most doctors do not even accept.

Even worse, the government’s Department of Health and Human Services reported in December 2014 that 51 percent of doctors on official Medicaid state lists are not available to new beneficiaries. Meanwhile, millions of other families have lost their previous private insurance directly because of ACA decrees. For new private coverage, insurance premiums have continued to skyrocket. Most alarmingly, the premiums of what were low-cost high-deductible plans are accelerating faster than any other coverage after the passage of the ACA, directly countering the promise of more affordability when the bill was passed. Choice of doctors and hospitals through the government’s exchange-based coverage has also narrowed compared with pre-ACA individual market plans.

Obama’s New Counter-Terrorism Guru Caroline Glick

All anti-Western movements – including jihadist movements – are legitimate responses to what Obama perceives as the crime of Western power.Since the Islamic State attacks in Paris on November 13, we have seen the development of a new, and strange justification for the Obama administration’s insistent refusal to jettison its manifestly failed strategy of contending with IS specifically and with Islamic terrorism generally.

In broad terms, Obama’s strategy for dealing with radical Islamic terrorism and jihadist movements is to ignore their motivating ideologies, take minimal action to combat them, criticize other governments for failing to destroy IS and its jihadist brethren on their own, and attack Republicans for criticizing Obama’s strategy for defeating radical Islamic terrorism.

The new justification for Obama’s refusal to revise his strategy was first uttered by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton at the Democratic presidential debate on November 14. Five days later, the Democratic National Committee produced an ad attacking Republican presidential candidates based on this new rhetorical theme.

Obama himself resonated the new message during his press conference in Malaysia on Sunday.

According to the new taking points, Republicans have no right to criticize Obama, or Clinton, for their failure to contend with the nature of the enemy because in ignoring the enemy’s doctrine, ideology and strategic goals, they are merely following in president George W. Bush’s footsteps.

Massachusetts Deals a Bruising Blow to the Common Core By Frederick M. Hess & Jenn Hatfield

Massachusetts has announced the intention to abandon its steadfast commitment to the Common Core K–12 curriculum standards. Last week, on the recommendation of state education commissioner Mitchell Chester, the state’s education board decided to revamp its famed Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and drop plans to retire MCAS for the Common Core–aligned PARCC test. Massachusetts will retain the MCAS but will tinker with the test by adding elements from the PARCC exam.

This reversal is a bruising blow to the Common Core, given Massachusetts’ iconic status as the nation’s longtime K–12 leader on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In fact, even though Common Core advocates conceded that Massachusetts’ standards were at least as good as those of the Common Core, they mounted a furious (and successful) push in 2009 and 2010 to get Massachusetts to adopt the Common Core — precisely because of the state’s symbolic importance. So even though plenty of states have abandoned the two Common Core–aligned tests (PARCC and Smarter Balanced), Massachusetts’ announcement drew national notice.

With the board’s decision, New York Times reporter Kate Zernike told PBS that the Common Core loses its “gold, Good Housekeeping seal of approval.” Adding insult to injury, Chester is the chair of the PARCC governing board — meaning that one of the two federally funded Common Core test providers has just been thrown over by one of its own.

Princeton Student Group: We Stand for Academic Freedom and Open Dialogue

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Editor’s Note: The Princeton Open Campus Coalition is a student group at Princeton University formed to push back against the recent wave of politically correct suppression of open academic discourse on campus. The following letter was originally published at the Coalition’s Facebook page.

Dear President Eisgruber,

We write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition to request a meeting with you so that we may present our perspectives on the events of recent weeks. We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse. Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates.

Academic discourse consists of reasoned arguments. We simply wish to present our own reasoned arguments and engage you and other senior administrators in dialogue. We will not occupy your office, and, though we respectfully request a minimum of an hour of your time, we will only stay for as long as you wish. We will conduct ourselves in the civil manner that is our hope to maintain and reinforce as the norm at Princeton.

Key Obama Supporters Turn on His Troubled ISIS Strategy By David Adesnik

Ahead of President François Hollande’s visit to the White House this morning, a French diplomat told CBS News that the French leader will deliver a clear message to the American president: “The imminent threat from ISIS is an emergency that requires urgent action.” So far, Obama has refused to acknowledge that the Islamic State’s bloody assault on Paris demands a change in his approach to the threat. “We have the right strategy, and we’re going to see it through,” the president told reporters just three days after the massacre. Yet now, some of the administration’s closest supporters are challenging the weakness of the president’s effort to degrade and destroy ISIS (also known as ISIL or Daesh).

On Sunday, former secretary of defense Leon Panetta told NBC’s Meet the Press, “I think we have got to be much more aggressive and much more unified in the effort to take on ISIS.” “I think that the resources applied to that mission, frankly, have not been sufficient,” observed Panetta. “We need to increase the tempo of our air strikes, we need to organize ground forces, particularly the Sunnis and the Kurds, and arm them so that they can take territory back from ISIS.” Doing more to stop ISIS is urgent, Panetta explained, because “they are a clear and present danger, not only to Europe, but to this country as well.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed a similar sense of urgency, saying “we have to be prepared” for an ISIS attack on the U.S. homeland. “I’ve never been more concerned,” Feinstein said. “I read the intelligence faithfully,” she added. “ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.” Her comments served as a direct rebuttal to the president’s statement, just hours before the Paris massacre, that “from the start our goal has been first to contain [ISIS], and we have contained them.”

Kentucky Governor-Elect Bevin Tells EPA To ‘Pound Sand’ By Debra Heine

On the Glenn Beck show, Friday, incoming Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin explained in two words how he will push back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate the coal mining in his state: “pound sand.”

The governor elect’s plan to use the 10th amendment to thwart President Obama’s goal of destroying the coal industry is beautiful in its simplicity.

“The powers not given to the federal government are the responsibility of the states and of the people. Every time this has been adjudicated in the past 150 + years – it has been tested in the courts – it has come down on the side of the states,” Bevin explained.

“Never in the history of the world has there been more consumption of coal than there is right now,” he noted, adding that Kentucky, with its rich coal resources, should be allowed to get in on that.

“To my way of thinking, we will tell the EPA and other elected officials who have no legal authority over us as a state – to pound sand.”

Army Can Get Troops Turkey not Tanks By James Jay Carafano

From Afghanistan to Iraq and around the world, the military manages to always get Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to all the force. That’s admirable. Not nearly as cheery is the state of the American armed forces and Washington’s lackluster effort to deliver the troops, equipment, and maintenance the military needs.

The annual edition of the Heritage Foundation Index of U.S. Military Strength rated the state of the armed forces as marginal. Meanwhile, Washington’s treatment of its responsibilities for providing for the common defense has been anything but stellar. “The best thing that could happen for all the services, at least in my view, would be for us to have predictable, on-time budgets,” complained the outgoing Secretary of the Army John McHugh last month before he fled the Pentagon. He continued: “The challenges that all the departments face are significant, but we would be better postured to meet them, even with declining resources, were we assured that we would have a budget on time. That it would be a figure that is known, that we could plan for, and that our industrial partners can plan for as well.” It has been years since Congress and the president passed a defense budget—let alone got one done on time.

Jersey Sure by Mark Steyn

“There are two competing narratives here. If you loathe Trump, the story is: Trump’s suggestion of terrorist sympathizers among American Muslims is outrageous. But, if you’re minded to support Trump, the story is: Obama’s and Hillary’s and Kerry’s assertion that there are no terrorist sympathizers among Muslims is not only ludicrous but mendacious and deeply weird in its relentless insistence. Glenn Kessler’s “fact-check” confirms the latter.”

I have a strong dislike of the current fashion among American’s decrepit and unreadable newspapers for “fact-checker” columns, because the practice attempts to cloak run-of-the-mill hacks in an aura of dispassionate authority that they do not, in fact, possess. Case in point: The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who has awarded “four Pinocchios” to Donald Trump, for claiming to recall seeing “thousands” of Jersey City Muslims celebrating on September 11th 2001. Mr Kessler wrote:

Trump says that he saw this with his own eyes on television and that it was well covered. But an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing. There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey.

Kessler has spent the day re-writing and re-re-writing that confident assertion. As of now, that last sentence currently reads:

There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey except for unconfirmed reports.

When Kessler says “nothing that we can find”, he didn’t have to search very hard. After a two-minute Google search, Powerline’s John Hinderaker turned up the following:

In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.

Meet the Americans Who Are Beheading on ISIS Videos By Bridget Johnson

With the death of Jihadi John less than two weeks ago in a Raqqa airstrike, the Islamic State lost one of the most recognizable masked men of their P.R. jihad: an executioner who would introduce the West to murder ISIS-style, an English-speaking killer eager to behead Americans and Brits.

But even before the passing of Kuwait-born, London-raised Mohammed Emwazi, ISIS had incorporated other English-speakers into their videos — with American or Canadian accents.

And unlike some of the Jihadi John videos where the knife-wielding Emwazi isn’t shown actually beheading his victims, a recent ISIS video shows a masked American beheading a Kurdish prisoner.

An ISIS member with an American accent tells President Obama they’re beheading Peshmerga prisoners in revenge for airstrikes.
The Peshmerga Killer

This fair-skinned jihadi appeared at the end of a late October video that was mostly in Arabic, spoken by a narrator walking through the decimated compound near Hawija, Iraq, where Kurdish and U.S. forces rescued dozens of Iraqi prisoners facing imminent death.

Then the 15-minute video cut to four Peshmerga prisoners in orange jumpsuits kneeling before the rubble, and the black-clad killers wielding knives behind each Kurd.

The Dreadful Lessons of ISIS’s Paris Massacre — on The Glazov Gang

This special edition of The Glazov Gang was joined by Stephen Coughlin, the co-founder of and the author of the new book, Catastrophic Failure.

He came on the show to discuss The Dreadful Lessons of ISIS’s Paris Massacre, shedding troubling light on Jihadists’ dire warning to America.

[See also Stephen on the Glazov Gang special: How “Rules of Engagement” Get U.S. Soldiers Killed.]

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