By now most Americans are familiar with the broad outline of ObamaCare: Everyone is required by law to purchase health insurance, with a tax penalty assessed upon those who fail to comply. Insurers may not refuse to cover those with pre-existing conditions nor charge them higher rates. The federal government is expanding its role in providing health insurance. And did I mention that all of this is supposedly going to reduce both healthcare costs and the federal deficit?
The full Senate voted 63-37 on Thursday, August 5, to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the support of nearly all Democrats, as well as five Republicans, there was very little surprise over the final outcome.
A $26 billion Senate bill, which includes $16.1 billion to help states pay for Medicaid and $10 billion for school districts, cleared a procedural hurdle on August 5 and is expected to come up for a final vote on August 6. The procedural vote passed the Senate by a vote of 61 to 38, with Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe voting with all 59 Democrats to end debate on the measure.
"Maybe I'm breathing the same pixie dust, but there's real momentum for this," says Esther Dyson, in a June 25 online article for Foreign Policy magazine reporting on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to California's Silicon Valley. Dyson, a globally celebrated technology guru, is a major promoter of Skolkovo, the ambitious project near Moscow that Kremlin leaders intend to make into a high-tech research and production center. (See Obama's Russia Adviser Michael McFaul and the Russian Spies.)