Monday again

‘Tis the season for newspapers to make endorsements, and Sid Dinsdale has won the endorsement of the Omaha World-Herald in the race for U.S. Senate. The Lincoln Journal Star has endorsed Shane Osborn.

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The Omaha World-Herald has taken Ben Sasse’s plan to replace Obamacare in for a checkup, and produced an expert analysis of his health care plan.

The bottom line: It would take us back to the bad old days of pre-existing conditions, discriminatory pricing, annual and lifetime caps on benefits, and the kinds of crummy policies that buyers don’t understand until it’s too late.

In exchange for doing away with the benefits and consumer protections Americans have under the Affordable Care Act, Sasse would raise the dollar limits on contributions to health savings accounts.

He would also raise the retirement age, charge wealthier retirees a higher Medicare premium, and change Medicare to a defined-benefit plan based on how much a person paid in– which sounds a lot like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program. (Ryan has endorsed Sasse.)

Federal Medicaid dollars would still flow to states, but without federal strings on how that money is spent — also a lot like Ryan’s plan to make Medicaid a block-grant program.

Sassecare would also allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. Insurance is regulated on the state level, and experts fear that sales across state lines would create a health insurance exodus to the state with the least regulation — much the same way credit card operations flocked to South Dakota when that state removed its 18 percent cap on interest rates in the early 1980s.

In that scenario, uVoted4them.com finds that Nebraskans would benefit from Sassecare only if the state rolled back all or most of its regulations and succeeded in enticing insurance companies to move hereand then taxed them the way South Dakota taxes financial institutions.

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Tea party groups came under the financial microscope of the Washington Post this weekend, which found that only a small percentage of money raised by Tea Party groups finds its way to candidates.

“Of the $37.5 million spent so far by the PACs of six major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates, according to the analysis, which was based on campaign finance data provided by the Sunlight Foundation,” the story says.

Three groups — Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express and the Madison Project — spent 5 percent or less on election-related activities. Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks, both supporting Ben Sasse in the Senate race, have spent 40 percent of their contributions directly helping candidates with such items as ads and yard signs.

Meanwhile, the staffs of such groups have been cashing in with six-figure salaries, retirement plans, and other perks. SCF spent $52,000 redecorating its Washington headquarters, according to the Post.

Tea Party leaders have also cashed in by directing business to firms owned by the groups’ executives. Senate Conservatives Fund has paid a company owned by executive director Matt Hoskins $288,000 this election cycle, and the Tea Party express has paid a firm headed by Sal Russo $2.75 million since the beginning of 2013, the Post reported.

The Tea Party was founded to cut wasteful government spending. It raises money by sending out flyers and hosting web sites that attract millions of dollars in mostly small donations from members with little knowledge of how the money is spent.

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If you missed the debate between 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith and Republican challenger Tom Brewer, you can watch it here. Thanks KNEB News!

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We all know that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Pete Ricketts for governor, but did you know that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal says the Ricketts family gave hefty donations to Walker during his recall election in 2012?

According to the Journal Sentinel, Pete Ricketts gave Walker’s campaign $20,000, brother Todd gave $55,000, father J. Joe gave $100,000 and the family’s Ending Spending PAC gave $245,000. That adds up to $420,000.

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Attorney General Jon Bruning has been endorsed by the Lincoln Journal Star and controversial Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio became a celebrity cop after dressing Phoenix inmates in pink underwear and housing them in tents. He also is a “birther” who claimed in 2012 that both President Obama’s birth certificate and selective service card were forgeries.

“Only Jon Bruning can be trusted to oppose amnesty and fight illegal immigration. I am proud to endorse him for governor,” Arpaio said.

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