Ellmers: Bill Causes CMS to Reverse Attacks on Medicare Part D

ReneeEllmers2WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) released the following statement this afternoon after Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced the Obama administration will no longer proceed with their plan to fundamentally change Medicare Part D:

“Today, CMS Administrator Tavenner announced that the Obama administration will no longer continue their plans to make catastrophic changes to Medicare Part D. They have heard the calls of millions of seniors who raised the alarm over this deeply misguided rule. While this is welcome news, there remain over 500,000 North Carolina seniors – and millions more nationwide – whose plans are still in jeopardy.”

Hagan Urges CMS to Protect Access to Prescription Drugs and Plans Under Medicare Part D

Hagan, Kay 010809-18418-rb 0014WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC) led 11 of her colleagues in sending a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging CMS to reconsider a proposed rule that would limit Medicare beneficiaries’ access to prescription drugs through private prescription drug plans under Medicare Part D. The proposed rule would make significant changes to the program that will affect seniors’ access to a broad choice of plans and a wide variety of drugs. Hagan was joined by Senators Mark Begich (AK), Cory Booker (NJ), Chris Coons (DE), Joe Donnelly (IN), Al Franken (MN), Ed Markey (MA),Mark Pryor (AR), Brian Schatz (HI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Udall (CO) and John Walsh (MT).

Opinion: Same Whine, Different Squabbles

John Hood

John Hood

by John Hood

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again,” wrote the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes. “There is nothing new under the sun.” More than two millennia later, Karl Marx, wrote that history repeated itself “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

Few ideas can boast of more diverse adherents. For more confirmation of it, you need look no further than North Carolina politics.

Eden Councilman Jerry Ellis Endorses Phil Berger for Congress

EDEN, N.C. –Eden City Councilman Jerry Ellis announced his endorsement of Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger for Congress.

“Phil was a leader then and he is a leader now. He keeps his promises and will work for the people of North Carolina,” said Ellis.

Ellis was appointed to the Eden City Council in 2007; He represents District 7.

Phil Berger said, “As an Eden resident, I’m especially proud to have Jerry’s support for my campaign. I know he stands with me in my fight to end Obamacare and stand up for conservative values.”

Critics: New Medicaid Plan Fails To Fix Cost Overruns

Dan Way Carolina Journalby Dan Way

RALEIGH — Skeptics of the Medicaid reform plan announced in February by the McCrory administration are wary of using a relatively untested framework of what are known as accountable care organizations to administer and deliver Medicaid services.

Unlike the managed-care model McCrory officials rolled out last year, the new proposal maintains the fee-for-service payment method to providers that critics have said drives up Medicaid costs. The new plan does not require providers to compete among one another or to offer a variety of coverage options to recipients. Nor would the plan force providers to assume financial risk if spending goes over budget.

North Carolina’s Driver License Will Offer “VETERAN” Label

RALEIGH, N.C. — Beginning this week, qualified North Carolina military veterans will be able to carry the designation “VETERAN” on their driver licenses and identification cards.

Thanks to a law passed by the General Assembly, veterans who have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces who present their DD-214 discharge form can apply at a driver license office for the new designation.

“We are happy to have this new program underway,” said state Motor Vehicles Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “If you’re a vet, we hope you’ll take advantage of this new opportunity to carry your record of service and your state’s appreciation with you anywhere you go.”

Robert Anderson Jr. Named to Lead FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch

FBIWASHINGTON, D.C. — FBI Director James B. Comey named Robert Anderson, Jr. as the executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch at FBI Headquarters. In this role, he will be responsible for all criminal and cyber investigations worldwide, as well as international operations, critical incident response, and victim assistance. He succeeds Richard A. McFeely, who is retiring from the FBI in April.

“Bob has the leadership qualities I believe are essential. He is smart and dedicated and cares about the agents and professional staff who fulfill the FBI’s mission,” said Director Comey. “He has the depth and breadth of casework that will help lead CCRSB and achieve strategic results that benefit the FBI and the American public.”

Governor McCrory Nominates Charlton Allen to Industrial Commission

CharltonAllenRALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Pat McCrory has nominated Charlton L. Allen of Iredell County as a commissioner with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

Allen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his juris doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He was admitted by the North Carolina State Bar in 1997. He practices with the Law Offices of Charlton Allen, PLLC in Mooresville, North Carolina and has previously practiced law in the communities of Statesville, Concord and Wilmington. Allen has prior experience in the field of workers’ compensation law, among other areas of law.

Opinion: Par for the 2014 Course

John Hood

John Hood

by John Hood

If North Carolina Democrats were to gain some legislative seats this year, state and national pundits would probably spill gobs of ink — or at least fill gobs of pixels — with elaborate explanations of how the party began to recover its footing in a state it once dominated.

Based on North Carolina’s modern political history, however, what would really be surprising is if Republicans didn’t lose seats in the General Assembly in 2014. Since Republican Jim Holhouser’s breakout victory in the 1972 gubernatorial race, which signaled the arrival of true two-party competition in state-level politics, every newly elected governor has seen his or her party lose legislative seats in the next midterm election cycle.

Opinion: Broken Economic Development Promises

MichaelLowreyby Michael Lowrey

There comes a moment in every economic development bubble when reality hits a community like a two-by-four smack to the head. That happened Feb. 3 in Charlotte, when the Charlotte Observer reported that the merger between US Airways and American Airlines will result in US Airways early next year dropping its flight between Charlotte and Rio De Janeiro.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Charlotte Douglas International Airport wasn’t supposed to lose a prestigious international route when the two major carriers merged. No sir, the airlines’ management had said that Charlotte would see more flights after the merger.