Are you on the Sequester cut list ?

ThinkProgress War Room

Cuts Across America: The Impact of the Sequester on Communities Across America

Budgets are statements of values and priorities. What the GOP is preparing to do in less than a week says a lot about their priorities. Instead of closing tax loopholes and making smart spending cuts, the GOP is going to let damaging across the board spending cuts kick in next Friday. These cuts will not only damage the economy, they’ll hurt individual families and communities across the country.

Check out what eliminating just two giveaways to the wealthy and corporation could pay for. For example, we could avoid painful cuts to investments in jobs and education just by ending a giveaway to corporate jet owners”

And we could stop harmful cuts to children and families with disabilities if we just stopped letting the wealthiest Americans get tax breaks for the vacation homes and yachts:

Instead of asking the wealthiest Americans and special interests like Big Oil and Wall Street to pay their fair share, Republicans are insisting that families, including the most vulnerable among us, shoulder the burden of reducing our deficit and debt.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s still a week left to avert the damaging and painful sequester cuts. All Republicans have to do is agree to a balanced approach that replaces the indiscriminate cuts with both new revenues and smarter, targeted spending cuts.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

Flying will be even more unpleasant thanks to the sequester (if you’re local airport isn’t simply closed).

House Republicans quietly introduce watered-down Violence Against Women Act.

Ted Cruz goes full Joe McCarthy.

5 important stories in Africa that don’t involve Oscar Pistorious.

Maryland is on the verge of repealing the death penalty.

Here’s 5 ways the sequester might make you sick.

New abortion bill in Indiana mandates two transvaginal probes.

Why taxes must go up.

How Republican activists are trying to use the courts to dismantle decades of progressive victories.


Today, exactly two months before Earth Day, Earth Day Network has announced the global theme for Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change.

Why? Climate change can seem like a remote problem for many, but the fact is that it’s already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places all over the world. These Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day. Fortunately, others are too: those stepping up to do something about it. For Earth Day 2013, we’ll tell the world these stories. We’ll tell the world your stories.

Between now and Earth Day, we’ll collect and display images that show The Face of Climate Change – and we need your help.

On and around Earth Day – April 22 – an interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of events around the world, including next to federal government buildings in the countries that produce the most carbon pollution. The display will also be made available online to anyone who wants to view or show it.

You can upload your photos and stories here.  If possible, include a face in the picture and hold up a sign that says “The Face of Climate Change.” You can also post photos to Twitter and Instagram using this hashtag:

The Face of Climate Change will not only personalize and make real the massive challenge that climate change presents, it will unite Earth Day activities around the world into one call to action at a critical time. Join the movement!

– The Earth Day Network Team

Beware: The Scooter Store

David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013, 3:01 AM

In TV ads, the Scooter Store suggests to seniors and others needing motorized scooters and wheelchairs that they can be had for almost no cost because the company will handle all the messy paperwork with insurers, particularly Medicare.

Wednesday and Thursday brought another example that nothing is free. Somebody – often taxpayers – has to pay.

About 150 state and federal law enforcement officers raided the company’s headquarters in a San Antonio suburb. The action was another phase in an ongoing health-care fraud investigation of the Scooter Store, which has an outlet in the Philadelphia region.

A spokesman for the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare and Medicaid, would say only that the agency “executed a search warrant at several locations of the Scooter Store and that we were part of a multiagency task force.”

The San Antonio Express-News reported that OIG was joined by the FBI and the Texas Attorney General‘s Medicaid fraud unit.

The Scooter Store’s Philadelphia outlet is in Trainer, Delaware County. The manager declined to give his name and referred a reporter to the national office, which did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

“This raid is a welcome step toward cracking down on waste and fraud in Medicare payments for motorized wheelchairs involving the Scooter Store,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) said in a statement. “I have urged action to stop abusive overpayments for such devices – costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and preying on seniors with deceptive sales pitches.”

The cost of health care is a huge component in local, state, and national debates about how to solve budget challenges. In recent years, the federal government has increased efforts to scrutinize billing practices and thwart fraud, with durable medical devices being one area of particular concern.

Blumenthal is among the congressional leaders who have urged federal authorities to crack down on what they view as deceptive advertising that results in some angry seniors and bills for all taxpayers.

As Blumenthal noted, this is not the first time the Scooter Store has faced allegations of fraud.

In 2007, the company settled a civil suit with the Justice Department by paying $4 million and forgoing $13 million in Medicare claims after the government alleged the company submitted false claims for power wheelchairs that, among other things, beneficiaries did not want, did not need, or could not use.

The company’s five-year corporate integrity agreement with the government was due to expire in 2012 but remains open. The company was also supposed to reimburse the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) $19.5 million for overpayments between 2009 and 2011, according to the San Antonio newspaper. However, senators criticized the CMS for not pushing for more reimbursements, based on an outside audit of the company’s operations.

The company’s website has a specific category of products called “Medicare-Reimbursable Power Chairs,” with several listed for $3,699. It posed the question many seniors would ask: Is the power chair or scooter entirely covered by my insurance?

The answer had a few caveats, including the Medicare requirement to meet with a doctor to determine mobility needs. It also said: “If you qualify, Medicare may cover up to 80 percent of the cost of your power chair. Your supplemental insurance may pay the remaining 20 percent. In most cases, our customers pay little to nothing for their power chairs.”

Read more:
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere elseDavid Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer


Get your fav snack … it’s Oscar weekend

About the Show

The Oscars2013, known for being one of a few Award Shows that people actually schedule their day and or lives around is finally here. Quick get your fav snacks, drinks and oooh girl look on.  It offers up winners and losers in film, costume, writers,music, actors, and directors, but most of us seem to tune in for the fashion, makeup or latest cutie pie.  The night is about the best of in or all things good looking, ugly and maybe a malfunction of some kind. There might be some dancing possibly people you won’t  see in person …unless you live in the NYC go to Aspen a lot or live in Cali; and reports are some look different … well, fantasy is just better than reality.

This year the Oscars offer us more than just family fun or fantasy but films about slavery, politics, autism or being bi-polar and what impact each has on lives and legacies  … tune in Feb.24th 7ET/4PT

Oscar enthusiasts watch to find out the latest info on who might be pregnant, divorced, who is wearing what ,why and in the end all of us have an opinion on all the fashions worn during the event, as a star or model walks down the Red Carpet, and the big question?  Wha, your family, friend’s agent or date let you leave out the house with that on. I said it.  Last few Oscars have been amusing because due to the state of our economy  …entertainment folks were telling us … money doesn’t buy you happiness etc. blah blah blah; I agree, but it doesn’t buy taste either, so …let the judging begin.

There are a lot of us couch potatoes stylists wondering about the credentials needed and being claimed by some of these so-called pros … don’t get me started

My observation is that dressing in labels is great – love labels, but maybe it’s time to switch it up People …the economy is making brand names have two lines …the upscale and what you can get at a “Regular” store or off the rack.  Yes, we all know that it is important not to be seen wearing something, us civilians would wear and most try to avoid being caught with the same dress on at any given event. We can also forge’bout actors slash designers wearing their own clothing lines to a high-end event or seeing anyone who makes a living in front of the camera wearing a Vera done for Kohl’s clothing store. I could be wrong. However, it seems like a great idea, a change of pace and given the times would probably bring more interest and sales to the clothes at the “Regular” store. I know … the FLOTUS has the corner on that and most women love it!

Anyway, like i said … no one sits at home without voicing an opinion on what these folks are wearing on Oscar night … lets help change fashion don’t into fashion do …a body good by tweeting some advice and enjoy !