Read more: Majorities of all religious groups support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in America: http://t.co/5toTwETWh6
Saturday marks the three year anniversary of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health care system since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. While some the law’s most significant provisions won’t go into full effect until next year, many of its important reforms have already taken hold — and have already changed the lives of real Americans for the better. Here are just a few ways that the Affordable Care Act has bolstered the health and financial security of Americans from all around the country:
1. Diabetic Arthur from California finally has health coverage after being uninsured for five years.
2. Connie from Arizona got a $79 rebate from her insurance company in the mail.
3. Chronically ill Jen from Illinois doesn’t have to worry about losing access to her dad’s health insurance.
Coburn filed an amendment Thursday that “creates a deficit neutral reserve fund to eliminate the special interest tax breaks for the PGA tour, the NFL, NASCAR, Hollywood, Fish Tackle Box, and whaling captains.” The amendment is part of the Senate’s budget vote-a-rama — a marathon session of votes in which dozens of amendments will come to the Senate floor Friday and most likely trickle into Saturday morning.
The NASCAR loophole was established in 2004 and extended by legislation to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. At the time, many criticized the fiscal cliff deal for slashing take-home pay for millions of American workers while retaining billions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways.
The NASCAR tax break grants a small tax benefit to owners of motorsports complexes to accelerate their depreciation expenses, or write off more in expenses, such as investments in their property, over a seven year period, reducing the taxes they must pay. Proponents argue that the break enables owners of the association to compete on a level playing field with other theme parks, typically on a similar seven-year schedule.
But the cost of helping them do so is high, especially at a time when Congress has picked apart the budget for every dollar it can save.
The NASCAR loophole will cost taxpayers an estimated $46 million in 2013 and an additional $95 million through 2017, according to The Joint Committee on Taxation. Meanwhile, the tax burden for the average worker will increase by about $1,000 in 2013 due to Congress’ willingness to let the payroll tax cut expire, a loss that affects approximately 160 million people.
Under orders to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget, the Federal Aviation Administration released a final list Friday of 149 air traffic control facilities that it will close at small airports around the country starting early next month.
The closures will not force the shutdown of any of those airports, but pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers under procedures that all pilots are trained to carry out.
The plan has raised concerns since a preliminary list of facilities was released a month ago. Those worries include the impact on safety and the potential financial effect on communities that rely on airports as key economic engines for attracting businesses and tourists.
The FAA is being forced to trim $637 million for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. The agency said it had no choice but to subject most of its 47,000 employees, including tower controllers, to periodic furloughs and to close air traffic facilities at small airports with lighter traffic. The changes are part of the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, which went into effect March 1.
All of the airports targeted for tower shutdowns have fewer than 150,000 total flight operations per year. Of those, fewer than 10,000 are commercial flights by passenger airlines.
Airport directors, pilots and others in the aviation sector have argued that stripping away an extra layer of safety during the most critical stages of flight will elevate risks and at the very least slow years of progress in making the U.S. aviation network the safest in the world.
Airlines have yet to say whether they will continue offering service to airports that lose tower staff. Any scaling back of passenger service could have major economic impact for communities.
Despite growing awareness of hate crimes, the share of those crimes reported to police has fallen in recent years as more victims of violent attacks express doubt that police can or will help.
Nearly 2 of 3 hate crimes go unreported to police, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported Thursday. For the years 2003-06, 46 percent of hate crimes were reported to police. But more recently, for 2007-11, just 35 percent were reported.