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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 6, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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housekeeper in a hotel. people in warehouses, janitors, their wages make it impossible for them -- i hear from them saying i can't make enough money to be a good parent. a single parent who has to take -- this isn't their own job. they do two jobs. they don't make enough money so that their kid can go to camp in the summer. and they can't be home with their kid because they're working two jobs. and that's because they're getting such low wages from these subcontractors who are being controlled by the contractor. this isn't about your business, ms. stokeland, this is about a
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different thing. and to say we're killing the american dream with this, the american dream worked pretty good before 1984. we're not trying to kill the american dream. we're trying to stir the american dream. >> thank you, senator franken. senator roberts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing. thank you all for being here today. i want to point out 96% of the businesses in kansas are small businesses nap's the answer in terms of economic development for our state. with those folks being our job creators we need to act with partners with our businesses and not against them. i think this new standard delivered by the national labor relations board seems to stand in the way of opportunity and growth. millions of franchisors,
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n subcontractors with temporary staffing firms will be harmed, in addition to those wishing to be employed by one of those industries. and i've heard from folks all around kb asking me what this means for their business. that means uncertainty. that means they can't really predict the future and that's a pretty good question. the uncertainty this brings is open ended. jed i had a chance to hear from a woman in wichita who opened her business as a franchisee, and the experience she needed to start began a lifetime ago working with our local businesses in the community. she got a lot of help. as a franchisee and a new business owner she looked for a strong brand name that would do well in her community. she enjoyed the franchise model. when asked if she would have
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still open her dream store if this standard had been in place, she sansed, you know, i'm not sure. this would have been a huge red flag. i didn't open a store to have others run it. the franchisee happens to be ms. stokeland and it's a designer outlet, an outstanding business. the standard when applied disincentivizes young entrepreneurs and would make fran ch fran chie sers liable. are you exploiting anybody. >> i am not. >> i didn't think so. you do this because you have confidence in them to use your trademark, your business model and the reputation of the built. i see that you hope to open 75 sfors by 2024 is that correct??
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>> that is correct. >> i think that's a wonderful goal and i wish you the best of luck in this opportunity. it's not a matter of luck. it's a matter of expertise. do you think the possibility of the standard applying to your franchisees impact the number of entrepreneurs who contact you? >> absolutely. it will impact the interest to take those phone calls by me. >> i appreciate that. finally, a store owner in overland park, the fastest growing community that we have in kansas, full of small business people and exactly the people that was described by the distinguished senator when we was in business u himself. he told me, said look, i bought a business model, not a business manager. and i fear that they will choose not to invest in the business or in their community and what could turn out to be a family one business. i don't know why we can't with
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all of the federal agencies involved with this regulatory overkill that makes it almost impossible to progress. i just had an old boy call me out in western kansas, i don't feel governed, afeel ruled. that's the problem. i don't care if it's energy, education, small business, farming and ranching or whatever. the regulatory overkill is just unbelievable. i just don't know why we continue down this road. ms. stokeland, thank you for your example and i hope you're able to continue with the way you want to run your business. >> thank you. >> thank you all for you time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator roberts. senator warren. >> thank you, mr. chairman. now historically if an employer violated the rights of its workers through an illegal firing, the employer would be on the hook for damages. today, though, some giant companies have figured out they
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can hide behind complex arrangements like subcontracts or franchises to dodge their legal responsibilities toward their workers. so i just want to pull this together about how this works. big parent company controls every tiny detail of what the workers do, including how much they get paid, how they're trained, when they have bathroom breaks. but when, for example, an employee didn't get paid their guaranteed overtime or when the employees want to exercise their legal right to collective bargaining, the big company steps back and dumps all of the league responsibilities and all of the costs on the subcontractors. that way the big company gets all of the benefits of having a bunch of employees with none of the responsibilities that go with it. small companies can't do that. they're still on the hook to their employees, but not the big guys. so mr. rubin, you spent a long time representing workers who
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get hurt when their legal rights are violated. and the big parent companies making the money throw up their hands saying don't look at me. the problems are for the subcontractor. how do we get to a point where little companies have a whole bunch of legal obligations to their employees but big companies can duck out on these basic obligations for their workers? >> the laws had softened, and that's one of the things that this new board decision strengthens again, to give large companies an opportunity to contract out the work and to contract out their legal responsibility when things go wrong, when the law is violated. that's what has happened with contingent workers in the modern economy. >> so what's happened is the nlrb changed the standard through a series of case by case decisions. what's been the consequence of narrowing the definition of an employer over the last 30 years?
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>> it's meant that there is far less meaningful bargaining because companies that control terms and conditions aren't brought to the bargaining table. there's far less responsibility. and what happens in practice is the first sign of complaint on the workplace floor, the larger company terminates -- all of these are at-will contracts. they terminate the subcontractor, terminate the workers. that's why in a warehouse workers' case getting an injunction to preserve the workers jobs resulted in better wages and benefits for the first time and made a huge difference for these workers getting up to middle class. >> for these giant corporations, what i'm hearing you say is this change at the rule in the nlrb has triggered a race to the bottom that has squeezed workers. >> absolutely. also squeezing the small companies that employ the workers. the only companies that benefit
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from this race to the bottom are the ones that can get the work done in the corporations without having the legal consequences. >> in comes the nlrb last august. they finally acknowledge the problem that it created baing in the 1980s and it began closing this loopholely broadening the definition of who is an employer so that workers' rights would be protected under those circumstances. my republican colleagues didn't seem to have a problem when the nlrb narrows the definition. but now that the nlrb is going back to the original approach that it had used for many decades, they want to pass legislation to stop the nlrb. how would that affect workers? >> it would be devastating to the workers. it would result in a greater race to the bottom than we're already experiencing. and with a bill that passes that makes this even more public, more large companies would be inspared to do what the other
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companies have done to the great disadvantage of the types of workers i represent. >> thank you, mr. rubin. i think this is pretty simple. the law says that an employer has certain legal obligation to its employees, like collective bargaining on responsibility when an employee gets hurt. and small employers have to abide by those rules. but some big corporations dodge the law by pretending that they're not employers. they don't fool the nlrb or much of anyone else and now the nlrb has called them out on this. it is no surprise that giant corporations that use this scheme and their republican friends don't like what the nlrb is doing. let's be clear. the nlrb is following the law and standing up for american workers which is exactly what the nlrb by law is supposed to do. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator warren.
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senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. actually, the assertion that is a return to an old standard, it isn't, is it? >> no, senate. it's quite a bit of over statement by the board majority in this decision because there was in fact no standard that the nlrb applied consistently at any time. it did not start adjudicating cases where there was a dispute about what was and what was not a joint employer until the 1960s. so this idea that somehow this standard existed is incorrect. and in fact the nlrb was so confused itself at times that it at times referred to entities as single employers when it in fact was intending to refer to a joint employer relationship. a single employer is essentially
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where one company is not truly independent of another and they operate together. it's almost an alter ego theory under the law. >> let me ask you this. in 2014 the nlrb finally issued a decision in the case that had been pending at the board for over ten years called cnn american. now the board found cnn to be a joint employer provided by a contractor tbs. despite the fact that the board certified tbs as the employer, unquote, some to years early, as the board now found that cnn was a quote joint employer, unquote, cnn then owed back pais to hundreds of highly compensated employees. if the nlrb's certification can be overturned and significant liability imposes, how can any
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employer in america feel confident that this liability isn't looming over them as well? and how, just to at add another question, how many employers have the resources to engage in ten years of lit las vegas before the nlrb? >> senator, let me take your second question first which is how many employers can afford this. i don't know but i don't think it's many. certainly not the small businesses that are the engine of growth in this economy and have been for decades now. those companies with not afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars. i's not cheap to try and litigate a case with the nlrb because the nlrb is the federal government. they do the work. the unions don't have to spend the money on this. i want to correct a comment about there being no issue if there's not an unfair labor practice violation. that's untrue. the fact is that the nlrb files
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complaints routinely against it employers if there is a dispute of fact that if they accept the employee or the union's version of the facts would constitute a ulp, not that they have concluded that it's likely that the employer actually violated the law. so let's go then to the issue that you raised with cnn. and that certainty that's provided by the nlrb in labor relations. that's why this act exists. and again with all due respect to my colleague mr. rubin, i haven't heard anything about all those other situations actually involved employees exercising their rights under the nlra. it is a different wall. it has a different standard for determine whog is an employer and that is absolutely necessary if the nlrb is to give efferesp
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to this. stability has been tossed to the wind in this last term by the nlrb and this case is one of them. the cnn case that you just mentioned is another. if employers cannot rely upon the federal government agency's determination that the employer of a group of employees, that is their obligation, the nlrb has to define the employer, not an employer. if they cannot rely upon that and ten years later the nlrb can come along and decide we're going to change our mind and now you're liable for millions of back pais -- >> not very consist. mr. martin i appreciate your testimony. i heard you made the comment that the big guys will get bigger and the small guys will go out of business.
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exposure to joint employer liability under the nlrb a new standard stifles many small business models and i know many small business owners who got their start and were able to grow their businesses with contracts from local family owned businesses. how will this new rule impact local business creation and how la this ruling stifle tunts for our nation's plumbers, electricians and tradesmen, one of which i was at the time. >> like i said -- >> i was a member of the flcio, too. >> this indirect test provides so much instability that it is hard to go forward. just to repeat, you cannot -- you don't -- companies like ours does not have the legal resources to fight the nlrb if they come to me and say, you're -- because you're in direct control, you're a joint
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employer, i can't fight that. i don't have the funds to do that which means i go out of business, as do subcontractors. they have the same problem. from thank you, mr. chairman. sorry i went over a little bit. >> thank you, senator hatch. senator baldwin. >> thank you, plrmt chairman. i want to thank the witnesses today. i think it's important to briefly mention the underlying statute that we're discussing today. in 1935 congress enacted the national relations act to protect the rights both of employees and businesses, to encourage collective bargaining and to curtail practices that harm workers, businesses and the economy at large. and congress gave the authority of the national labor relations
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board to revise administrative decisions and adjust for changing workplace realities. and the supreme court has reaffirm that authority of the nlrb. and in my view, that's exactly what the board has done in this recent decision. i have such great respect for small business owners in america. and it kind of -- this hearing, i think, gets to the heart of the very matter of what it means to be a small business owner. and more specifically, does that small business owner actually have the ability to manage their workforce or is that autonomy an illusion. the small business owners that i speak to from the state of wisconsin are a very proud and independent lot and they are risk takers and innovators. and they provide livelihoods for
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millions across the nation. now i recently met with a group of wisconsin small business owners, both franchisors and franchisees. and they have been following this decision and they're concerned about the impact of the joint employer decision and what it would -- what sort of impact it would have on their businesses. so i want to get into some of the specifics today. we've heard a lot of discussion about stability, bright line, clarity, sort of all of none. but it seems to me that one would want to have the ability to look at each of -- say, each franchise agreement as unique and look at these issues on a case-by-case basis. so, mr. rubin the new joint ruling a blanket ruling that
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says in all cases these will be considered joint owners, a franchisor or a franchisee or an independent contractor or none or is this a case by case analysis depending upon the relationship between the two? >> it's a case by case analysis which is thou board ajude cates, which is how the board accommodates the law to evolving conditions in the workplace. it's simply in responding to my colleague, because if you require every company that can meaningfully affect terms and conditions to be at the bargain tab table, you can have a meaningful collective bargaining agreement. case by case is the way the board has always done it, done anytime the past and obviously the way that courts do it as well. >> under the nlrb ruling the
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board states "moreover as a rule, a joint employer will be required to bargain only with respect to such terms and conditions which it possesses the authority to control." if i'm a franchisor and i don't possess the ability to control wages, hours, hiring, firing or discipline, can i be forced to bargain over those terms and conditions? >> no. and the freshy case decided by the general counsel's division of advice just last apriling with both under the new standard and the new standard concluded that a franchisor was not responsible for an unfair labor practice, retaliation by a franchisee, precisely senator baldwin. because the franchisor did not maintain the elements and control of those conditions. >> in look agent the freshy case that you just referred to, as
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you said, it was a determination -- or the general counsel issued a memorandum of advice. >> that's right. >> can you tell the committee a little more about how the freshy situation was different than the situation in browning fare ris? >> sure. in freshy, the franchisor had nothing to do with personnel policies. all of its guidance was entirely optional. the franchisee used its own employee handbook, did not use the freshy handbook. freshy only had input to aspects pertaining to the product itself. there was no auditing. the franchisee trained its own staff. there was no consultation before the individuals were fired by the franchisee. by contrast in browning ferris, browning ferris retained the right to hire or fire an employee, told the workers where to work, it decided when they could have breaks, decide whad
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the speed of the line was. there's a world of difference between those cases. and as you point out in case by case adjudication, every one of these differences matters and that's why you need an experienced administrative agency that is familiar with the modern workplace to evaluate the facts and decide on which side of the line a particular case falls. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you senator baldwin. senator casey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i wanted to first of all note that the title of the hearing is, i think, misleading. i won't go into the analysis of that. but stealing is a crime and i think it's a violation of the ten commandments. so we're not -- we're nowhere near that in this hearing. i wanted to go back to the fundamentals not just of the decision and the implications of it but also the reality of what we see in the real world.
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i think, mr. rubin, you made maybe the best summation of what the reality is for workers, looking at page two of your testimony, you say, and i'm quoting, in the low wage economy in which many of my clients are employed, wage and hour violations, discrimination and other unlawful conduct is rampant. yet, the workers whose rights are violated rarely complain or adjoin together to enforce their rights, unquote. then you go on to say later, in terms of the advantage that the prior, the prior cases allowed, that -- and i'm quoting here, that the employer was able to kind of have it both ways. they were able to have the
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advantage of dictating the terms and conditions while avoiding the bargaining about those same, those same terms and conditions. so that's just the way i see it. i also think it's not this traditional standard that we're going back to now made a lot of sense. i mean, it spoke directly to this question of the control you have of the work and how much control you have. and then the conditions that were -- the three conditions set forth that had to be met, direct or indirect control over a significant and conditions. that's a reasonable inquiry when you're doing a fact-based analysis, number two, the join employer would have the ability to control, you have to make a determination about that. and then thirdly, that joint employer was necessary for meaningful collective bargaining. i think that it makes sense in
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terms of the reality of the workplace today, the reality of the economy today with, gosh, i guess it's doubled in terms of the number of temp workers. but also it's not such a -- it's not a test that is so con training that it doesn't reflect some flexibility that comes with making a fact based determination. so i think it makes a lot of sense. but i wanted to ask you, mr. rubin, one particular question on the question of control. it's always difficult to pose a hypothetical, but could you kind of walk through the length which a company like browning ferris or companies like the would go to control subcontractors? >> sure. first of all, under the old standard it's so easy for a
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company to circumvent the direct actual immediate standard. all you have to do is set up a company, hire a company, and instruct that company to tell the workers what to do. but browning ferris did far more than that. browning ferris was so involved -- there were 240 workers inside this plant sorting, cleaning the recycling line. they were working on a conveyer belt. they controlled them by setting the speed, the productivity levels, deciding when to stop the line so they could take breaks. the hand 2013 terms and subjects of bargaining were almost all controlled directly and indirectly by browning ferris. and the reality of the situation was that if browning ferris was dissatisfied with the worker, even if they passed the screening criteria, browning ferris could get rid of them. and in the workers began to organize, browning ferris could
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get rid of the contractor all together. the old standard was susceptible to manipulation and abuse. and the once that were hurt were the contractors squeezed in the middle and certainly the workers. >> my time is up. thank you very much. >> senator isakson has questions, so i would say to senator baldwin and senator casey, we'll go to a second round if any of you have further questions. senator isakson. >> thank you. i wanted to engage senator warren with regard to her statements regarding big businesses. i looked at senator baldwin who has tv in tennessee and coca-cola in georgia. big business is not a bad thing in america. rather we caught to call out
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people because they actually violated the law. i'll submit that statement for the record rather than take advantage of her absence. but my question is this. you every heard of a lady named >> do you do any business in texas in. >> i do. >> probably the most famous woman real estate brokers in the united states of america. she's 93 years old. started out as an independent contractor in texas and built one of the biggest independent businesses. and if you take one of the things i have concern about, if you construe the indirect responsibility, indirect control too liberally to business, you'll do away with almost all small business. would you agree with that in. >> yes, sir. >> and if you do away with all small businesses, the title of this hearing comes into play because stealing the american dream of small business ownership is a an accurate title
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because abby could not do what she did at that time if this law was not no practice today. i wanted for the record, there is an application about stealing the opportunity for ownership that pays exactly attention to exactly what we talked about today. i appreciate the time, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. i'll go to senator murray and then senator baldwin then senator casey. >> i'll make a remark that i think all of us understand that big businesses, there are good big businesses and no one is denigrating them. there are great small businesses. we all want them to survive. what i think is the important point about this ruling is that we do have some corporations who are completely disconnected from the workers that they control. they don't have to hold any liability before this hearing on any kind of poor working conditions or poor standards or
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anything, because they have a franchise owner that was carrying the liability. this is not fair to franchise owners themselves because they can can't control their market because somebody is telling them how to do it and they're taking all of the liability for it. ie wanted to make that point because u think it' important to this ruling. i want to thank all of our witnesses today for your testimony and i appreciate you being here. >> thank you senator murray. senator baldwin, do you have any more questions? >> one more. and i appreciate the opportunity to get to it. i indicated they met with a group of franchisors and franchisees recently specifically about this case. one of the concerns i heard from them was in regard to the ability of the franchisor to provide training to help their franchisees be successful but also to protect their brand.
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there was a concern that new standard might limit this ability. now, we had a back and forth about the freshy case and the memorandum of advice on freshy. we see in that case that the franchisor provided an operations manual with mandatory and some suggested specifications, standards, operating procedures and rules that were prescript tif. in addition, all owners and managers, required to go through an four-week training fear idea. the agreement also stated that freshy could terminate the franchise agreement for 20 different it rated reasons, including franchisee's failure to comply with the operations manual.
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now based on this information, do you believe that the franchisors that i met with in the state of wisconsin should be concerned that their training programs could lead to being held as joint employers in and of themselves? >> i don't think that should be a concern, no, i don't think that that would be a problem, the training by itself. and in my experience in dealing with employees of franchisees, the only time we get into a joint employer issue is when the franchisor exercises far more control than in the freshy exam. or the example that we heard from my fellow witness this morning. many franchisors control every detail of what goes on in the workplace, including, not only how the product is presented to the customer but what the employees do, how they do it, when they do it and a range of activeities that they closely
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monitor. >> senator baldwin, may i speak? >> please feel free. >> thank you. i'm new to this. i just want to say that there's been some discussion about how i feel senator franken brought up myself, i think senator murray also that you are applauding small business owners and are excited open don't feel this applies to me. i would say that what mr. rubin just said is case in point. he said that he doesn't think an operations manual, you know, would -- excuse me, i'm nervous. he said that he doesn't think that they should have concern over that anden that's just the point. there's in definition here. and so who decides if a franchisor is big or small, where does that line come, who decides that and when is that decided. and that uncertainty is which gives me cause to pause and look at further expanding my business because i don't want the liability of having to run and
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operate employees and those labor standards across the franchise systems that i have. thank you very much. >> inl the senator asked for any opinion so i prefaced it with i think. but the way we analyze issues as they arise on a case-by-case basis is we look to precedent and we look to things like advice memos. so where we have an analysis in a case like freshy, that guides us. i can say with confident that would not be a problem for you and your franchisees. >> senator casey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one point on this question of franchis franchises. i don't think this decision is directed that way -- directed at franchises in any way. if you look at the nlrb majority decision, even explicitly speaks to this question when it says the decision is not con
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franchises. and i'm reading now, this is page 20, footnote 120 of the decision, quote, none of those situations, meaning franchise situations are before us today and we decline the implied invitation to address the facts in every hypothetical situation which the board might be called on to make a joint employer determination, unquote. so i think even the decision itself is explicit on the question of franchises. >> well, thanks to all of you. i'll just make a -- i don't have a question. i'll just make a closing comment. i thank all four of you for coming. we appreciate your comments. and if you have anything you would like further to say, we'd be glad to receive it if you'll give it to us in the next few days. my thought about this is i think
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stealing the american dream is pretty accurate. and this is why i think so. there are 780,000 franchise operations in the country. the new joint employer standard, which according to observers like mr. navarro of the ucla labor center who i quoted earlier, he said, you no longer have to show direct control over operations. if you have a franchise agreement or a contractual agreement depending on the industry, that's enough to show you have influence over working conditions. the language in this new decision is if you have unexercised to tenl to control, or if you have indirect control, it's hard for any to see how there could be any franchise in the country over which the franchisor would not have some unexercised potential to control
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or some indirect control. and if that is the case, the inevitable consequence of a decision like this is to greatly reduce the number of franchise opportunities in america. people like ms. stokeland will think twice before opening a new franchise. that will reduce the growth of new jobs in america, the gr growth of opportunities to lead up the ladder. we have some strong differences of opinion on this committee. but we have 44 senators who would like to restore the law before the browning ferris decision and i hope other senators will join. i thank the witnesses once more. the hearing record will remain open for 10 days. members may submit additional information and questions for the record within that time if they would like. the committee will stand adjourned.
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agriculture secretary and health and hugh hand services secretary will testify today about new nutrition guidelines the obama administration is proposing. we'll have live coverage at 9:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. on thursday, michael horn on volkswagen faces questions on capitol hill. a house energy and commerce committee is investigating the
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company. watch live coverage 10:00 a.m. eastern on thursday also here on c-span3. ♪ staunt cam is c-span's annual documentary competitions for students in grades 6 through 12. it's an opportunity for students to think critically of issues of national importance by creating a five to seven-minute documentary in which they can express those views. it's important for the statutes to get involved because it gives them an opportunity to have their voices heard on issues important to them. they can express those views by creating a documentary. we get a wide range of entries. the most important aspect for every documentary that we get is going to be the content. we have had winners in the past created by just using a cell phone and we have others created using more high-tech equipment. but it's really the content that
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matters and shines through in these documentaries. the response from students in the past has been great. we've had many different issues that they have created videos on that are important to them. we have topics ranging from education, the economy and the environment, really showing a wide variety of issues that are important for statutes. >> having more water in the river would have positive impact to better serve the tulsa community. >> a car cannot run without oil, we've come to the consensus that humans cannot run without food. >> prior to the individuals with education act, children with disabilities were not given the opportunity of an education. >> this year's theme is road to the white house. what's the most important issue that u you want the candidates to discuss in the 2016 presidential campaign. it is full on into the campaign season. there are many different candidates discussing several issues. one of the key requirement in creating documentary is to
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include some c-span footage. this footage should compliment and further their point of view and not just dominate the video. it's a great way to for them to include more information on the video that furthers their points. >> the first bill i'll sign today is the water resources reform development act. >> you know, we've all heard the jokes about school meals and the burns fish sticks and mystery meat tacos. >> tles 0 a vital role that the federal government plays. it's vital for students with disabilities -- >> students and teachers can go to our website and on that website they'll find more information about the rules and requirements but they'll also find teacher tips, rubrics to help them include it in their classroom, more information about prizes and ways to contact us if they have any further questions. the deadline for this year's computation is january 20, 2016
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which is one year away from the next presidential inauguration. california congresswoman loretta sanchez talks about some of the military challenges facing the u.s. from washington journal, this is 40 minutes., a >> joining us now is representative loretta sanchez, democrat from california, a member of the armed services committee. cst: also a member of the task force on combatting terrorists and foreign travel. good morning. >> good morning. >> thank you for joining us.at e the papers this morning all have stories about the bombing in afghanistan that happened in kunduz. can you give a picture of what went on, what do you think about the role of u.s. military in that operation?guns >> well, it seems that there waa a u.s. gunship going into one ot the main areas where the taliban has overrun. t
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and initially the u.s. the department of defense has said u that it was to protect our american troops who were in then fight there. but the reality -- it's turnings out that the -- or they have confirmed that the gunship was actually in there because it was called in by the afghan army forces h.ite severa and it hit, consistently, a hospital run by doctors without borders. and there were several deaths and many casualties.init so everybody's trying to figure? out what the heck happened here. >> what do you think, first of all, about the change in story of what we initially heard to li what we're now hearing? what does that suggest to you? >> of course, not good. >> not good. dec this is always the difficult , part, especially for a
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policymaker, like myself.o we someone who's, you know, trying to decide, do we stay in can afghanistan, do we put our military there, who do we back s there, how do we do that, what h types of moneys are the american taxpayer going to put towards that? we don't have a good sense sometimes of what's going on. and worse, for a policymaker, it's not like i could fly in any take a look at what happened and come back and say guys, this asp this and this. we're always subject to the fac. that it's in a combat zone. and so in some ways, we're y relying on our military to tell us what happened, and yet it was, in particular, our own military who made this mistake. it's the difficulty.in get the >> what's the best way forward, what we know and what we have to find out about this situation? >> well, it's preliminary. again, our own military is the one, in some sense, making the' investigation. and we're trying to get the reas facts on the ground before -- really it's the president's call
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in this. he's the commander of those forces to decide what to do. obviously the congress wants to interject itself in this, but this is a very tactical mistaken versus an overall policy mistake. what it reflects back to a lawmaker is what the heck is going on in afghanistan?tthos >> as far as looking into it e being a member of the committee, do you expect hearings? will we hear testimony from those involved? what do yo you imagine will happen? >> well, general campbell, who commands our forces out there in afghanistan, i believe will be here in washington, d.c. before a committee. ul i believe it's thursday. so certainly i would anticipate this would be number one on the list of what both democrats and republicans on the armed services committee will be ific asking about. happe >> so as questions specifically, what are you asking? what are you going to be searching for? >> what's going on in afghanistan?ly what we really doing at this bm
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point?n the how could something like this k happen? was there not any -- especially because it seems -- again, i th don't have all the details. everything is hearsay at this point because i'm not on the ground being able to ask out questions.top but it seems from the hospital came the call saying you're bombing the hospital, this is doctors without borders.in please stop this.s a majo i mean, in the fog of being shot at, or bombed.possibil and yet it continued.ding 500 so it's a major problem for us.r >> you mentioned afghanistan. there's a story in the papers n. today about the possibility of the obama administration leavina 5,000 or so troops in gues afghanistan currently from the n 9800 or so that we have that remain. first of all, what do you think about that prospect and is it a. necessary one? >> i haven't spoken to either our department of defense or to our administration to see what i it is that they're contemplatint here. i will tell you the minute that obama came into office, i sent a
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message to him to say, listen, afghanistan is a major problem,s and you've either got to get out or you've got to get in.on but this whole lingering of what's been going on with respect to the corruption of the governments that are in there, that election that went on with karzai, inability for the afghan army, and the types of monies we've put in there, making deals with the taliban, i mean, this is a totally -- it's just a bad situation in afghanistan. >> the post says that there's no final decision. 3,000 to 5,000 troops envisioned under general dempsey's proposal would be part of an emerging plan for a global counterterrorism footprint developed after the islamic state's rampage through iraq anh syria. >> well, certainly, you know, we have put the pressure on os afghanistan to remember why we're there. there were the training camps, and building up under osama bin
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laden. financial tutelage to be able to do the terrorist attacks, for example, that happened to us on 9/11.cothe. there's the direct correlation to that. but to be in this country now 13 years later, or however long ant it's been, 14, i guess. really begs the question, what is our role there and what's really happening. us >> loretta sanchez, ons representative loretta sanchez, our guest joining us to talk but about military operations, not only in iraq or afghanistan, but other areas of the world as well. you can call and ask her ns questions. 202-748-8001 for republicans.8-2 202-748-8000 for democrats.ts, o for independents, 202-748-8002.s if you want to tweet us comments or questions for our guest, you can do so @cspanwj. i want to get your thoughts on syria.he rhow ha currently, not only what's going on there as far as u.s. operation, but the russian d? involvement now. how has that complicated the situation in your mind? >> it's completely complicated
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the situation. you have two major powers, military powers, not coordinating with each other. in a very limited air space, and area.bi could r basically in the possibility of combat mode, and they could run into each other at any point, and it could really escalate completely out of control. so it is a bad situation. remember what's happening here.o russia's gone in and said listen, we're trying to get to isis. has what the united states is trying to do is go after isis.namic wi the united states has said assad has got to go. russia has propped up assad. in fact, in the dynamic with him. you have syrian rebels. we don't know how many and who and how anymore, who have been fighting for their "democracy" " across assad, wanting to take down assad. you just have a series of
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players in there in a confined space, where some really bad se things could happen when they'r running into each other.e wash >> richard cohen today in "the washington post" lays syria at the feet of the president. one of the statements he makes is this saying the war that the president has avoided in syria has cost many lives. the war he has avoided has swamped europe with migrants. it has made a muddle of the u.s. policy, providing for an opening of the russians exhibiting americans in resoluteness and cause much pain. is that a fair characterization? >> no, i would not say that at all. >> why not?hat >> people think it's so easy for us to just go into any country e any time that something is going on in that country and interjecr ourselves. remember, the president also ha to follow laws. the governing law around the world is the united nations charter, which gives specific
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reasons of how and why we go to war. we go to war, someone attacks us, right? we have that possibility to go to war if someone attacks us. if we think they're about to attack us. and we go if we're invited in by the government to help them. ie, allies. and the fourth is, if we have ae u.n. resolution from the security council that says go h in. we have none of those in order to be able to go to syria. so it begs the question, all those people run in, oh, my goodness, we've got go to syria, we've got to get rid of assad. you just don't march into a't country to get rid of somebody. that's not the law, that's not the international law that we tt live under.ian >> but the training of syrian o rebels by the united states, spending lots of money to do so. >> four or five trainees? >> what do you do with that kint number? >> well, you are looking at somebody who has always that questioned that that strategy.
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and i will tell you why.fill in i saw it fail in iraq.raq we're not talking about even government troops. let's go in and equip in iraq.re a complete failure from our ls standpoint. we see it in afghanistan.ilure we have those air strikes on a . hospital that has nothing to do with anything of the combat going on. now we're doing it with syrians. some of them very well-intentioned, some of them who want their homeland, some who want democracy, etc. but it's very difficult to thes figure out who these people are how to vet them when the whole country is falling apart. whether we're vetting them to go after assad or in the long run equipping and training and they'll go after assad, versus what we want, which is to eliminate the threat of isis or
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isil or whatever you want to call them.rk, d i have not seen this strategy l: work very well. >> our first call for you comes from new york. this is david for our guest. go ahead. >> caller: good morning, congresswoman. >> good morning. >> caller: could you please share with us, why is it that s congress is not decisively going after the main cause and the root of social terrorism, which is through the arabias, sponsoring isil, daesh, al of te qaeda, taliban, and tell them point-blank they should stop once and for all their them t ideological and military supports, which incidentally our government in the '70s gave them the blessing to go ahead with ic because we were fighting the russians in afghanistan. if we do that, we don't even have to get involved and they can sort it out themselves.yo >> well, certainly, you know, you reap what you sew.
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we have definitely in this, whether it was the cold war, the russians, the united states and axis of what's happening in the middle east after the fall of the cold war.he mid the continuation or the up rise of iran having gone into iraq. by the way, i voted not to go be into iraq because i believed that it would destabilize the area and we didn't have a good f game plan for what happened n after we got rid of saddam. the rise of iran as an influential player sitting in there. and so i believe that there are some in the policymaking world that see saudi arabia and other, sort of in this -- if you will, counterbalance to iran and its terrorism going on there.iran you know, there's a lot of with complications with that. and who knows?ow i mean, i don't know, and believe me, i ask a lot of questions on the committees thae
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nistrati and with respect to the administration, about, you know, who's what and what is it that we're working with saudi arabia and others that would make us not put our foot down and say okay, this has all got to stop, guys. you're also destabilizing what's happening there.ca >> here is anthony from new yorf for our guest.repres democrats line. hi. y >> caller: hi, thank you for the opportunity. representative sanchez, do you foresee any hearings or anything in the way of accountability for the invasion of iraq? or are there any policy changesa or anything being implemented to safeguard the united states ol military from being infiltrated by people who came to office, be it george bush, rumsfeld, condoleezza rice, for the conflict of interest?
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because it seems as though there was an ulterior agenda that dragged us into iraq and there really was no justification.e wa as well, it was a war crime. and should there not be accountability of those people? because they have created a disaster in the middle east.thee the amount of misery we've caused these people. none of it makes sense to me as an american citizen.ghborhoo the iraqs, the afghanis, they don't use drones to drop bombs s on my head. they're not causing me any inc grief. so i don't understand why we have destroyed a civilization. the world is tough enough on als of us. not to mention, we can't afford what we've done, these incursions is beyond the pale of anything. we can't even take care of
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detroit or our own cities in pea this country. >> okay.day, i d we'll let our guest respond, s anthony.rson >> well, first of all, thank you for asking that question. i think that question has been asked over and over, and to you. first point, do i see congress opening investigations into i te that? honestly, the way the congress is working today, i don't see an ability in a very bipartisan manner for us to really take accountability to what happened in previous administrations or e the continuation of some of this.ve leg and i take that to heart. i take what you said to heart very seriously, because ystem remember, that in order for america to work, for our systemo of government, you have to have a real counterbalance.e you have legislative. you have the administration. you have the judicial is. and it is the responsibility of the congress as the representatives of the people to take to task and to investigate the administrative -- the executive powers. some of which it completely, in, my opinion, went the wrong way. again, i'll reiterate. i wil i voted against the iraq war.
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i was one of the strongest people on the committee to o question rumsfeld, his actions, our strategies, what was going g on. the type of money that we spent. everything with the syria issue, we've got libya falling apart.fl we don't know where egypt is going. it seems to be stable right now, but we don't know. iraq, of course, we know is falling apart. a lot of people here in the in e congress rushed to use our military as the only tool that we have whenever a problem arises somewhere. use t a no fly zone.hetool w bomb these people. put troops on the ground. send in the special forces.zone guys, that is just -- that's one tool that we have to use, and it's been used and overused, and it's an expensive way to do business. and it's not necessarily the usa right way to do business. so i sit on armed services committee.xpensive i'm married to a former colonel
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out of the u.s. army. i have a son that's going into the u.s. army.i sit so we consider ourselves a mmit, military family. and i'm going to tell you, we cannot continue as the solution with everything to send our troops in to do business. there are other means in which . we have to do that.rselves diplomatic means. we have to have actionable intelligence. we have to use the economics of the situation. so i believe, in particular the bush administration used the military far too much and to our detriment in many cases. and sometimes i wonder if the ma obama administration doesn't understand that. it feels compelled to understand the situation and doesn't understand that somehow we've got to extricate ourselves south of some of these situations. >> you mean compelled the use iy military as an option? >> exactly.any ca they may feel compelled.
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again, i'll be very honest. when he first came in, i said look, we can't continue this. we just cannot continue this. it's not even about -- i mean, yes, taxpayers, it's the financial situation for the united states. when we spend in wars and issuew of this sort, it's money that we're not spending here. i remember secretary gates at ll some point before my committee saying, you know, if we're not investing in education or the economy is not going, and our ii people aren't getting an we c education, if we're not doing this, then it doesn't matter what kind of military we have, because we will start to, you un know, fall below and not be a world leader.issues so there has to be a balance, and i don't believe that there has been a balance in the last r decade or so in the united states.be >> representative loretta sanchez joining us for this discussion. tom from maryland, go ahead.we a >> caller: good morning. can you hear me?matter >> you're on. w go ahead.
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>> caller: i think the model of the republican party is that might makes right.: it doesn't work so much anymorec many years ago, when the united states was the power, but because people have time just like we do. they have the ability to die for what they believe. doesn' so even though we have the atomic bomb and many weapons, people will fight us until they can't see it.h the republican party was destroyed in the middle east yc with the war in iran -- i mean,d iraq and whatnot. now they're angry with themselves, but they're doubling down on it with somebody like trump who tells them what they l want to hear. they want to hear the united states can do whatever it want'' whenever it feels like it. thi but he's not going to go e midde anywhere. people are just laughing at him
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and the united states. they think we're so stupid thatd we can go around and tell people what to do. that people are just going to rt take it.nts when people are not going to do that anymore. this is a new world and we have to adjust to it.think we thank you. >> well, certainly the rise of e thismetrical warfare, the rise of terrorism, the rise of the internet communication, the you. agility and the timeframe has come down so much on people being able to communicate and move around. they can move around the world faster. communicate around the world with the touch of a push on an iphone. communicate on the internet, to even channels that you and i aren't aware of or don't know how to get on to.comm the ability to move arms has always been there. but, you know, it's so easy nowo
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to make bones out of nothing, w basically. and to create this asymmetricalm warfare, this terrorism going on, that it's a different type h of war that we're fighting. a conventional military into a situation isn't going to get us the enemy, necessarily. the enemy can lay low and choose to attack at the time and convenience that they have, and we're reacting to that versus t being in front of this situation. so i think again, using our traditional military over and over to try to solve some of these problems isn't necessarily the best way to do it. >> chris, republican line. good morning. >> caller: good morning, representative sanchez. refreshing to hear your viewpoint on this.
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i am going to break the mold here and shock you. i'm a republican, been a our republican my entire life. and i am going to tell you right now that the george bush administration was very -- i would say instrumental in either creating what happened on 9/11 or they knew about it and didn't stop it.ental in okay.and di i think it's very -- the huge population in this country is now coming around to the idea.or that what we were told about these 19 hijackers was total hogwash. i don't know exactly what i do happened.the ar there are many theories out 9/1h there. the architects and engineers for 9/11 have their theory. dr. judy wood has her theory pen that some type of an energy weapons system was used on thate day. if you look at all the building.
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that were decimated, it wasn't just the two towers. it was world trade center 6. itke a look at it from a satellite map. look at the pictures. big free fall.o it was more than those twin towers. the american people are not aware of that. getting back to syria. of course the project for the mn is new american century is something that was put into motion before 9/11.bert kag and robert kagan was one of the instrumental people involved ine that. and we have president obama in 2012 -- union >> you can watch the rest of this discussion with congresswoman sanchez as well as all of today's "washington journal" on our website, cspan.org.n we're going to take you live to a hearing of the senate veterans' affairs committee. pra we'll be hearing from officialsc with the v.a. and representatives from veterans groups as well during the hearing.
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you're watching live coverage here on c-span 3. >> i'd like to give a little pre-announcement. in the interest of everybody onf the panel, all three distinguished senators as well as our audience and our committee, as soon as we have eight members, we're going to go into special session so we can act on the nomination. so if owe don't mind, i'll interrupt you for a brief time,o once we get to eight, if we get to eight during your testimony. we're pleased tie have three members of the senate to discussion legislation that thet have proposed to the senate.. we also have two distinguished panels who will comment on their legislation as well as other legislation. we're delighted that you are here. we're going use this meeting
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also for a mark-up. we'll have our vote to send that to the floor. and i appreciate the ranking member and all the members' cooperation in moving as quickly as we have on mike. it's important that we get him forward. the bills we have there are i t about land use in west los on, n angeles. about our veterans' benefits ino terms of mental health. about access to mental health and many other provisions that t are important to our veterans. t i look forward to the testimony of our senators and members. i'll now recognize senator blumenthal for the remark he -s. >> i just want to thank you foro being here.
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pushed by some people who may have been -- with the goodness of heart wanting to think we're great as america, let's put this some place else, but the reality isun america's very unique country. and we have been fortunate and n use what we have over the yearsl and bel able to be constructiv with it but doesn't necessarily translate into other countries.o >> accepting up to 100,000 to p? the united states, what do you think of that number and the proposal?llion
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>> let's say 4 million or so have been displaced or maybe 6 million.rby coun either internally or they've gone out into c nearby countrie lebanon, jordan, into the kurdish area of iraq into turkey, et cetera. and some have had refugee camps. some are out on the lam trying o to make it on whatever they can out there. now we have this exodus going into europe.my, you know, if you're smart, you'd say, well, where's the strongest economy? where's a place to get a job? people might help me to start m? life again while i'm waiting for something positive to happen in syria. you see an increasing, you know, a europe whose leadership is saying it's a humanitarian crisis. realize that we have 300 millioe
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people in the united s.states. so this initial thing that we nn were going to take an extra 10,000 refugees. 100,000, probably a good number for us, to take in, quite alifoi frankly. i come from an area, orange county, california where our network of churches. we have such a strong network of churches.esl asylum and they have been some of the primary resettlers of political asylum and war torn area asylum refugees. we to a large extent have been very accepting, and we, i have -- i represent the largest vietnamese population outside of vietnam in the world. of course, that was from the vietnam exodus, right? they're incredible. hey're becoming political. leaders, they're economic, they're an engine.untry. i view that as them being very positive. to my area of the country.
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when we saw somalia, we started taking in refugees from there where we saw on the west coast of africa, we started taking in that. when we saw the iraqi work go on, you know, we took on the or iraqis. a lotre of syrians. helping to bring some of these p refugees. but it really has been my churches. so, you're probably talking to someone who is very pro to get. these refugees in until we figure out what the heck is really happening not onlyof in syria, by the way.the like i said, you have a series of countries there, and the tha pressurest that syria and liby and other places are causing on
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those other countries around who tend to be our allies, for example, like jordan or -- and i say this kind of half heartedl'' or turkey.th sometimes they're with us, and sometimes they're not with us. >> that goes to the question who we let in. >> of course there are security issues. it's not an easy issue to get ne through the whole political refugee resettlement issue. so we in orange county have done it quite a bit.e one of the problems in particular on this is our ability to have information on who these are considering a government is collapsing over there in syria. can call and yertal say we have the birth certificate, can we have the political party affiliation. can we, you know, call the police and say he does he have a rap sheet? it's difficult to know. >> from massachusetts, this is carol. go aheadud.
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>> hi, i'm so proud of you and . the questions you're asking need to be asked urgently. i like the way you dig in to get into the details and pull back and look at the perspective. now, when you say we have to le these people without their cultures. i have to agree with you and go a little farther.m i'm 70-something years old, so i've got -- well, i could be a grandmother. and i think you're astonishingla mature and a great woman. please don't be discouraged.
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i'll go a little farther and say that w we cannot evolve for the people.ng. they have to do their own contang. if they're people who live on fantasies of world domination, our effort should be to contain them rather than to go and try to force them to do -- >> let's let our guest respond. >> well, certainly, there's been this push and pull about what do we do? honestly, it's pretty mind boggling. it can be overwhelming.en it can be overwhelming.hi it's a big machinery of ve one different countries, of different cultures, of different histories. and you move one piece and the other piece, you know, moves in a different direction. so -- but it requires more than just military presence.
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when we have an embassy, we'll e call it the mission. the mission. you have your ambassador and your embassy and, of course, what is it there for? it's there for good will, it's there to show coordination with another country. it's there to help americans who are in that country.co it's there to coordinate other things.is t things we do in a very positive manner. peace corps, et incetera, it's there to coordinate economic te interests when we bring up the economy of another country. we believe it's going to bring m up our economy. it's going to overall be good.y economists and peace corps guysg and et cetera.s beco what has happened over the 0 years i've been in the congressw more and more it's become a security issue. not only security issue for people at the mission, but a security issue with respect to now the ambassador and instead
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of having, you know, a military atache, i mean, what ambassadors now seeing, they may have 50 or 60 military people. and maybe, you know, maybe theya have 50 or 60 economic and peact corps and usaid people and foure or five military, now it's equal or now even the military component has become larger tha? the actual mission component. what does that mean?e seei well, sends a message to the countries that we're in. is you know, what they're seeing is more of ma united states and i military presence rather than united states in a friend capacity, economic, let's, you know, work together on some of the issues that you have. so the world has changed dramatically, and i think we have to, again, it's a balance s of what is happening in the world. and we need to pull back and y say, what is our bestor foot
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forward with the limited resourcese be we have, what is best foot forward with the e countries that we're working withli. >> from richard on our independent line in massachusetts, go ahead. >> good morning. thank you for c-span. and representative sanchez, i rm know i'm 76 years old. and this whole problem that we're facing now in the middle east, we started it ourselves in the 1950s whenever we took it upon ourselves that we were going to go in and depose the ayatollah of iran and start implementing democracy in the middle east. cultur and we cannot seem to get it through our heads that they are a different culture than us. they do not want, the people do not want a democracy. they want their religious leaders, tribal leaders to be t the leaders. they are not going to change, and we can be in there for
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another 100 years and it's goinl to be like iraq. if we think we've got it under t control when we pull out, see what happens, and it's going to be the same. everywhere we go, and the onlye way to stop it is get out of the middle east and let, the peoplet the way they b want to be governed. there wouldn't be the terrorists today because that was the onlyt way they knew to fight back. >> well, certainly, you know, don't we live in a great ople country? for all thl e problems that peoa bring up and all the screaming and yelling and all the nastiness i hear from somebody because i'm in politics, don't i we live in a great country? because first and foremost, this is about freedom. so much freedom in this country. i believe, my personal philosophy is that people want that freedom, wherever it is they are.re g they want the freedom of choicet they want the freedom to decideo you know, where they're going to live. what kind of a life they're going to have.
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i believe one of the things that has happened is, again, i go back to, you know, they have a different history, different ist culture, a pride culture, by the way. one culture's not better over another culture. it's different. this is what i believe.r am and thank god for america et because we get all those cultures and get to see them al and pick and choose. and again, we have the freedom. but i believe one of the things that has happened in the middleu east is this advent of communication.s in a very instantaneous way. and so, when you have this th communication, people see the lifestyle that we have. the good and the bad. the good and the bad. they see our choices, our kids. they see my family. coming here with nothing, with no real education, and being the only parents in the nation to send two daughters to the united states congress.
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right? they see the possibilities of -e than what they have in their own country. so they see that and also see the decadence, right?doing th the out of control people doing whatever they want, snorting coke, doing this, doing that. you know, crazy lifestyle, whatever. we've seen all.the you can see anything you want and so people in these countries are seeing this.free relig people just want to be dictated to by a government that would be religious. i don't believe is correct. i think that's the struggle that we see.gle l there's a struggle people saying can we be more like america?go and there's the others who say,a
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you know, we've got to be muslim country or catholic country or h what have you. it's this information everywhere any time, any place. the poorest of the poor, believe me, have an iphone these days that they see. and sohat , expectations of wha life is change. and i think this is what we're seeing, especially inflicted on the middle east. >> our guest is a member of the armed services committee as representative sanchez of ade de california. before we let you go, an international matter on another matter that trade deal approved earlier this week. the tpp.the appr your initial impressions of the approval and what it means for you as a legislator?t >> i haven't seen the document and it's been, as you know, different pieces all over.s.reen i'm for trade if trade is fair. i don't see too many that come here that are fair.bi -
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i told you it- represents the -rgest vietnamese population outside vietnam. vietnam is this trade agreement. they have lack of human rights like you cannot believe. collec lack of freedom of religion. lack of collective bargaining. lack of freedom of the press. lack of freedom of assembly. lack of freedom of speech, you know, kangaroo trials going on k against political dissidents who are asking for democracy. so, you know, i have said that countries like that, i don't believe we keep rewarding them with respect to economic trade. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> on the next washington journal, tim ryan on ohio with his concerns of the transpacific partnership agreement and the upcoming debate in congress.
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and dennis ross of florida about the republican leadership elections on thursday. later, our spotlight on magazines features emile simpson. he'll talk about the impact on afghanistan operations. "washington journal" live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. join the conversation with your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. >> this sunday night on q & a, former senator and presidential candidate gary hart on his new book, the republic of conscience comparing our current government to the republic, he says our founders intended. >> the founders use the language of the ancient republic greece and rome and warned against corruption. and their definition of corruption was not bribery or
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prid pro quo, money under the table, it was putting special interests ahead of the common good. and by that definition, washington today is a massively corrupt place. >> sunday night on c-span's q & a. >> the third annual open enrollment period for federal and state health exchanges created as part of the health care law begins november 1st. >> next, a look at the costs across the u.s. hosted by the alliance for health reform. >> okay. we're going to go ahead and get started. welcome to today's briefing on the third open enrollment
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period, which is, i'm sure as everybody in the room knows begins november 1st. we're going to be talking today about what to expect. premiums, deductibles. trends in the kinds of insurance products that we'll be offered. challenges in signing up the remaining uninsured population. and a whole lot more. on behalf of ben carden and roy blunt, i'd like to thank you for being our partners in this event. moderating me today is sarah collins to my right and vice president of the health care coverage and access program. to my far left is john gable at norc at the university of chicago. and on the other side of sarah is carrie banahan coming from kentucky responsible for the
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implementation and operation of the kentucky exchange. a little shorter commute. she's the executive director of the d.c. exchange. if you're watching us live today on c-span 2, we welcome you and encourage you to tweet your questions to us. we'll try to get them to our speakers to answer today. you can use the #oe3. and you can be live tweeting today. the hashtag is oe3. i'm going to turn it over to sarah collins with the commonwealth fund. >> thank you, marilyn, and on behalf of the commonwealth fund, i want to thank the alliance and the panelists for coming today and to extend a warm welcome to the audience. and looking ahead to the 2016 open enrollment.
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29 million people remain uninsured. hhs estimates about 10.5 million people are eligible for coverage through the marketplaces. in addition about 9 million people currently have coverage through the marketplaces. and most if not all are likely going to reenroll. to gain some insights into what both current and perspective enrollees might be thinking about as they consider their options this year, i'm going to share some recent findings from the commonwealth funds affordable care act tracking survey. at the end of the 2015 open enrollment period in the spring. i'm going to focus in particular on the issue of affordability. and i'll highlight data about the costs that people faced by people who are currently enrolled in the plans and how they compare to costs in employer-based plans.yex when they shopped in the marketplaces all over.
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>> analysis of the survey data, we find premium costs are comparable to employment plans. said it was easy to afford the premiums compared to those in employer plans. with regard to deductibles, people in marketplace plans had higher deductibles on average compared to those in employer plans. again, differences were narrow among adults with low and moderate incomes. among marketplace enrollees, premium costs were the most important factor in their choice of a plan in affordability was the top reason given by adults who shopped in the marketplaces
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but didn't end up enrolling in a plan. about 60% of adults with health plans that they purchased through the marketplaces paid about $125 a month or nothing for single policies. a similar percentage of people enrolled in employer plans reported they had paid that much. the similarity is due to the fact that most marketplace enrollees were eligible for a subsidy and didn't pay the full premium. likewise, most employers pay part of their employee's premiums. the people with higher incomes paid more and more than people in employer plans. the amount of the premium subsidy phases out at higher incomes. people pay increasing amounts as income rises.
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consider their health insurance to be less affordable than people who have employer coverage. but just differences in perceptions of affordability between adults and marketplace and employer plans were wider among higher income adults than they were among lower income adults. higher deductibles than those in employer plans. 43% of adults in the marketplace plans had deductibles of $1,000 or more compared to 34% of adults in employer plans. differences in del ductables between those and marketplace plans and employer plans were wider among higher income adults. likely because those who enroll in silver level plans in the marketplaces are eligible for cost-sharing subsidies that lower their deductibles, copays and out of pocket limits.
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in the most recent open enrollment period, costs on average mattered more to people while they were choosing a plan and whether the doctor was in the plan's network. we found more than half of enrollees who had the option chose a plan with the limited or narrow network of providers in exchange for a lower premium. among people who visited the marketplaces but didn't enroll in the plan, affordability was a key factor. 57% of adults who visited the marketplaces but did not enroll said they could not find a plan they could afford. looking more closely at this group of adults who told us they couldn't afford a plan and also excludeing people who gain coverage some place else. 26% were living in a state that hadn't expanded medicaid and had
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incomes under 100% of poverty. more than half of those had incomes in the range that made them eligible for the subsidies. people who shopped in the marketplaces but did not enroll had greater difficulty comparing features of health plans like premium and out of pocket costs compared to people who did enroll. 50% said it was difficult to compare the premiums of different plans. 60% of those who didn't enroll said it was difficult to compare plans with potential out of pocket costs might be. receiving personal assistance appears to make a difference. was found that 78% of adults said they received some kind of assistance ended up enrolling in a marketplace plan or medicaid. in contrast, only 56% of those who did not receive assistance enrolled.
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just to recap the major findings of the analysis, the affordable care act's subsidies have been effective in making premiums for marketplace plans similar to those in employer plans. the people in marketplace plans have high deductibles. cost v was the most important factor and it's a primary reason many adults didn't enroll. suggests that many people who shop for insurance may not have the information they needed to help them buy coverage. many had difficulty comparing different features of plans. personal assistance does appear to help people enroll. but the lack medicaid expansion in 20 states is clearly an insurmountable barrier for the poorest residents in those states. and i'll stop there and look forward to your questions. >> great. so if you were in the room with us, you have the results of these tracking surveys that sara's discussing in the folder on the left side.
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if you're not in the room with us, you can still access these materials on our website. i'll turn it over to john. for those of you standing, there are seats on the other side of the room. >> thank you, marilyn, i'd also like to thank sara in the commonwealth fund. >> would also like to thank sara and the commonwealth fund for making for making this possible. i'd also like to thank ed howard for his many years of service. bringing the work of the research community to the policy community. did i just go? let's go back.
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this is a history of employer based health insurance since 1988. i show it to provide context for the historic record. now, you may be asking right now why are you showing employer-based insurance? why not individual insurance? and the answer is simple. because we are incapable of showing that record for individual insurance. but i want to emphasize three points. number one, there's a history of volatility. take 1989. increased 18% that year. increases in the workers wages
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and the overall consumer price index. this is early information, very early information. it is limited to five northeastern states. most of them are very small states. it is also why these five states because these are the states which had posted all the information. so far on their websites. i'm talking cost-sharing information in addition to premiums. currently on these five states, we note that the average increase is 4.5% and the median is 2.1%. now, i would also add mackenzie says that the number of carriers
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were coming into the marketplace in this current year will be up and looks like it's up at least 10%. for last year and that may have a dampening effect on premium increases. if we look at the benchmark plan and the benchmark plan is so important because it is the basis for what the federal government will pay and also the basis for what enrollees will pay. we see the average increase at 6.7%. and we see that the median is 5.8%. recently posted increase in benchmark plans for 14 states. and their numbers are lower. their average is 4.4% for the benchmark plans.
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what is happening to cost-sharing? we know an employer-based health insurance that deductibles are today about 7 times as great as they were in the early 2000s. and these -- this increase in deductibles has held down premium increases. on the exchanges, we are not seeing much change. we're seeing on average a drop of about 5.9%, and the proceedian is 3.3%. another important point of cost-sharing is the out of pocket max. and here we're seeing the max increase 5.8%, but it's almost entirely due to maryland. the median increase is 2.3%. so let me summarize what these
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early returns are, how typical are these five states of the rest of the nation? it's really very difficult to say. what we do know is there are great differences from state to state. last year, ten states had double digit increases and according to our data. the overall increase was 0%. this is what i dare say based on early returns. average premium increases will be higher than last year. benchmark plans show greater increases than the average increase for silver plan. it is not a catastrophe as some have reported. what, instead, we're seeing is something more in line with
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employer-based health insurance where the historic average is around 7%. where we'd been at 4% for about the last four years. and lastly, cost sharing remains stable. >> thank you, john, we'll move now to cory. with the american academy of actuaries. >> thank you, john, and thank you to the alliance for inviting me to participate today. so john provided an overall view of general premium trends, and now i'll give you some information on the drivers that may be underlying these trends. before i get to that, just a quick reminder of the components of premiums. claims make up the largest share of premiums and they reflect not only who has coverage, but also the medical spending. other premium components include administrative costs and profit and, of course, laws and regulations can affect each of these components.
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i won't get into the slide in detail. but i just wanted to highlight some of the elements in the premium development process. one thing to do is. fall into one of those metal tears. another thing they have to do is examine their prior claims and enrollment experience. i'll talk a bit about the adjustments in a minute. insurers also have to negotiate with providers to get their provider payment rates. i'll talk about 2015 premium changes. the first of these now, although medical spending is slow
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recently compared to historical trends, on average, 2016 premiums reflect a medical trend of about 6% to 8% and a prescription drug trend of about 10 to 12%. the second major driver of premium changes for 2016 is the scheduled reduction in the reinsurance program. the practical program subsidizes plans for the high-cost enrollees and does so by offsetting some of the high cost claims. the program lowers premiums. the reduction in the program means there'll be a lower offset to claims. and that lower offset will produce upward pressure on premiums. and on average, the reduction in
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the reinsurance program could increase 2016 premiums by about 3% to 5%. here's more detail on the reinsurance program. parameters and how they're changing overtime. the third major driver of premium changes is how the expectations regarding the 2016 risk pool profile differ from those that underlie 2015 premiums. so as a reminder, when insurers put together their 2014 premiums, they didn't have a lot of information to go on. in terms of who would enroll in coverage and what their health spending would be. in 2015, for that plan year, insurers had a little more information to go on. they had the first few months of enrollment on 2014. now, looking forward to 2016, insurers have a lot more information on their own experience. in terms of who enrolled in
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coverage and what their health spending is. they also had a few months worth of data from 2015. and as they have more information, they're able to change their assumptions regarding 2016. and these changes and assumptions can either lead to higher or lower premiums. i noted earlier the need to adjust prior experience data when projecting that to 2016. so in 2014, enrollees who were more likely to enroll early in january for coverage were those who would be more likely to have high health care needs and have high health care spending. whereas those individuals who are healthy may have been more likely to delay coverage to later on in the open enrollment period. that's one thing that needs to be adjusted for. another adjustment might be made
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to reflect pent-up demand. people who are newly lly insur 2013 who gained coverage in 2014. might experience a temporary spike in spending based on pent-up demand. they put off obtaining services until they got coverage. some of that will be temporary. it's not expected to kind of be at that high level permanently. so not accounting for these two things, in terms of enrollment times in 2014 and the pent up demand. if those aren't accounted for, this could result in an overestimate of 2016 claims. insurers might also need to adjust the risk profile expectations. if they think that the increase in the individual mandate penalty will lead more people to obtain coverage, especially among the healthy folks. an influx of people who have
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lower health care needs could actually put some more downward pressure on premiums. so john's slides showed how premium changes can vary across states. and one of the reasons for this is the transition policy, which allowed individuals to hold on to their nonaca compliant coverage. sometimes this is referred to as grandmothered plans. many, but not all states adopted that transition policy. they have kept their old coverage, whereas people who had high health care needs, pre-existing conditions, and maybe previously rated higher
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because of some health conditions, they would be more likely to switch into the new aca compliant coverage. might be seeing higher premium increases than plans and states that did not. and finally, i just want to point out that we hear a lot of information. looking at averages in a state as a whole or for particular insurers. and it's likely going to differ from that average. right away, that's going to result in an increase in premium consumers can have changes in the premium subsidy eligibility,
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and they may have other changes, as well. so those are kinds of things to keep in mind when comparing a consumer's individual premium change as opposed to the change in the market as a whole. >> thank you, cory, we'll turn now to carrie with the kentucky exchange. >> thank you for inviting me here today to talk about kentucky's health benefit exchange connect. as the state-based exchange, kentucky was able to develop an integrated eligibility system with online realtime determinations of eligibility for medicaid and qualified health plans. this is why we were able to enroll over 500,000 into coverage for the first time. this resulted in a decrease rate of the uninsured from 14.3% to
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8.5% based on some recent u.s. census data. this was the largest decrease in the nation. based on a gallup poll on the first half of 2015, gallup poll decreased the rate of inunshired from 20.4% to 9%. and that was the second-largisted decrease in the nation. prior to the affordable care act, kentucky basically had two insurance companies in the individual market. when we launched connect, in 2013, we had three insurers that offered products on our exchange. due to our success in 2015, we had two additional insurers, care source and well care. and we're very excited to say for 2016 we're going to have eight insurance companies
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offering products. we've add aetna, united health care of kentucky and baptist health, which was formerly known as bluegrass family health. you know, without the affordable care act, kentuckians would not have these additional choices. and also, i wanted to note that outside of the exchange in our regular commercial market, there's about two or three additional insurers that are going to offer products. in kentucky, we plan to have a passive renewal process. individuals can remain enrolled in their current health plan, and they don't have to do anything at all. october 1st we issued a notice advising individuals that open enrollment was coming up, that we were going to have more insurers and more health plans on the exchange. around october 21st, we plan to
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mail out our open enrollment packet. it will include the individual's premium amount for 2016, if they keep their coverage, ago well as their aptc amount, however, we are encouraging everyone to check out all of their options because of the new insurers and new plans that will be available. as part of the passive renewal process, we'll be accessing the federal data service hub to verify income. if we're unable to verify income, we'll issue an rfi, requesting documentation of their income. and, as a new feature of our system that we implemented in 2015, if they don't provide proof of their income within the 90-day period, we'll utilize what is on file with the irs. en for 2016, we're implementing
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several system enhancements that will enhasn't consumer shopping experience and assist the consumer in selecting the best qualified health care plan options that meet their needs. during open enrollment two, we identified thousands of individuals who had purchased a gold or platinum plan and they were actually eligible to select a silver plan. as a result, we sent out a letter to these individuals in december, notifying them of the availability of cost-sharing reductions if they selected a silver plan. since that time, we've developed system functionality in plan browsing as well as our regular shopping where the silver plans will be displayed first, if you're eligible for cost-sharing reductions. we also have special messaging, strongly encouraging individuals
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to select a silver plan on our screens if they're eligible. at the request of the aged community and our assisters will launching a tablet application in the individual market as well as medicaid enrollees and shop. the tablet application allows the user to enroll from start to finish. it also utilizes an intuitive and conversational process. many kentuckians are overwhelmed with the number of qualified health care plan options to choose from and oftentimes do not select the plan that best meets their needs. we've seen individuals buy a platinum and a gold plan who hardly ever go to the doctor, and we've seen people purchase a bronze plan who are heavy utilizers. as a result, for open enrollment
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three, we've developed a cost-shopping tool to assist individuals in selecting a plan that best meets their needs. with this new cost-shopping tool, individuals will enter their medical condition, just for instance, diabetes, asthma, copd. they'll also be asked to rate their health status from poor to average, to good. they'll also include any health care providers that they're seeing, their physicians, maybe the hospital that they go to. frequency of physician visits will also be collected. and they'll also enter any type of prescription drug medications that they're taking. we also ask them if there's a future medical need, such as a hip replacement or a knee replacement they would enter that information on the system as well, and based on all the information that is entered, the system will display the best
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th. in 2014, we had a connect retail store at the fayette mall, located in lexington, kentucky. it was highly successful. we had over 7,000 visitors. we took almost 6,000 applications. local agents, in person assisters and state staff helped with the store. and we'll also be having a second store for this open enrollment in louisville, kentucky. en for open enrollment 2016, we'll be conducting statewide outreach and education advertising through various channels, tv, radio, cable, billboards, print media, social media. but we'll also be targeting certain populations with
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tailored messages. in rural counties, there are 18 that probably have a higher uninsured rate than we would like. so we are working with the university of kentucky rural extension offices, hosting enrollment events with local agents and in-person assisters. we're also running newspaper and radio advertising in those counties. we've targeted 32 counties in kentucky with low dental health. we'll be distributing 10,000 toothbrushes to dental clinics and schools in those areas, and we're going to increase our efforts in marketing dental plans that are offered through ke connect in those counties through increased advertisements. individuals on transitional and grandfather plans who could obtain their coverage through connect and receive a discount are being targeted as well.
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we sent out the mailers to households. we're running tv ads and commercials, advising of discounts through connect. that's the only please you can receive a subsidy is on the exchange. and we also have early renewal fact sheets available, instructing people how they can enroll through special enrollment. we're targeting the justice involve population. we're working with our statewide healthy re-entry coalition, surprised of correction personnel, federal, state, and county, advocates and connectors are also on this project as well. and we've actually produced a two to three-minute video by former inmates, educating individuals about the importance of health insurance coverage once you're released from prison and on how you can actually obtain that coverage by enrolling through connect.
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we've allocated resources to the prisons and the jails for education and enrollment. and it's important for the jug t -- justice-involved population to continue with drug treatment. and they will enroll as quickly as possible and continue their treatment. >> fantastic. so we're going to turn the microphone over to mila kaufman with the dc exchange. if you're following us on twitter, the twitter handle is #oe3. we welcome your questions or comments as well. after her comments we will open q&a. we have two microphones set up in the room, or you also have a green card in your packet on
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which you can write down questions, and our staff will be circulating around the room and will peick them up and bring thm to us. if you are not in the room with us and are following on c-span 2 you can tweet your question at #oe3. >> thank you. very much appreciate your ongoing effort, not only informs but influences our approach on the ground. and i'd also like to thank ed howard for his many years of leadership. i'm sure he mentored many people in this room, including myself, fresh out of law school. so his leadership and his contributions we will miss and maybe he'll reconsider retirement.

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