Health insurance marketplace launch excites Louisianans
Kimberlee Lauer is a 45-year old laundromat owner who earns about $35,000 a year and pays $250 a month for a catastrophic health insurance plan with a $10,000 deductible. She also spends roughly $8,000 a year out of pocket to treat her diagnosed case of Cogan’s syndrome, a rare inflammatory disease that can cause vision problems and hearing loss. Laurer told Nola.com that she was excited about yesterday’s launch of the new online health insurance marketplace, because it means she can now purchase quality, affordable health care. Laurer isn’t alone; nearly 400,000 Louisianans will benefit from the insurance options offered through the new website. Federal and state officials are asking people to be patient with the website after a combination of high demand and technical glitches overwhelmed the system yesterday. The Advocate reports that federal and state officials were working to address the problems, which led to long waits on government websites and a federal call center.
“What kind of world do these people live in?”
Rod Dreher is a conservative commentator and Louisiana native who recently moved back home to St. Francisville with his family after spending decades based in the northeast. That means the special race underway in the 5th Congressional District is taking place in his backyard. And Dreher is alarmed by the rhetoric coming from the candidates vying to replace Rep. Rodney Alexander, who are supporting the ongoing efforts to “defund” the Affordable Care Act. “The GOP candidates in this local race are hot and heavy to overthrow Obamacare. I think about how poor this district is — 26 percent of the district lives in poverty, making it one of the poorest Congressional districts in America — and how badly we need jobs and economic growth, and I think: What kind of world do these people live in?”
Terminally ill “Angola Three” inmate released
A Baton Rouge district court judge ruled on Tuesday that the state must release a terminally ill Angola 3 inmate immediately or face contempt of court charges. The ruling came after Middle District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson overturned a murder conviction against Herman Wallace, 71, because there were no women in the jury. “The record in this case makes clear that Mr. Wallace’s grand jury was improperly chosen in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws… and that the Louisiana courts, when presented with the opportunity to correct this error, failed to do so” Jackson’s ruling read. Wallace was convicted as a member of the Angola 3 in 1972 for allegedly stabbing and murdering an Angola prison guard. He was placed in solitary confinement for over four decades, and he has been living with advanced liver cancer at Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility since his diagnosis in June 2013.
Gov. Jindal struggles over Common Core: John Maginnis
Gov. Bobby Jindal finds himself in a political pickle as he tries to balance his administration’s support for rigorous Common Core education standards against the criticism of the program from Tea Party conservatives. John Maginnis highlights this struggle in his latest column, saying the governor has never fully embraced the Tea Party but has never directly opposed it either. Instead, Gov. Jindal has responded to Common Core critics by saying that he shares their concerns for keeping a federal curriculum out of Louisiana schools but does support higher standards for education. Common Core is a set of education standards developed through the National Governors Association and the national council of state school superintendents to better enable American students to both compete with each other and with those in the rest of the world. In Louisiana, local school districts work within a broad outline to tailor instruction to their classrooms. The only federal involvement is to offer financial incentives to participate.