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Sometimes I start to think that maybe Democrats do have principles. But then, reality always obviates me of that silly notion.
The official sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law may be over, but leading congressional Democrats say millions of Americans facing new tax penalties deserve a second chance.
Three senior House members told The Associated Press that they plan to strongly urge the administration to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year.
The three are Michigan's Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama's law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010.
So they were for the penalties, until the penalties started biting their key demographic (low-information consumers of government) in the ass.
The lawmakers say they are concerned that many of their constituents will find out about the penalties after it's already too late for them to sign up for coverage, since open enrollment ended Sunday.
That means they could wind up uninsured for another year, only to owe substantially higher fines in 2016. The fines are collected through the income tax system.
This year is the first time ordinary Americans will experience the complicated interactions between the health care law and taxes. Based on congressional analysis, tax preparation giant H&R Block says roughly 4 million uninsured people will pay penalties.
That's 4 million people who'll be less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Whoa, we can't have that! To the ramparts! Fight the penalties!
"Open enrollment period ended before many Americans filed their taxes," the three lawmakers said in a statement. "Without a special enrollment period, many people (who will be paying fines) will not have another opportunity to get health coverage this year."
Wait, you mean President Selfie Stick didn't get his message out to everyone on the DNC's list of likely Hillary voters? It's been 5 years now, just how out of touch are their sycophants?
Apparently, pretty darned out of touch. Because Obamabots are getting blindsided, and they're not liking it, not one bit.
Janice Riddle got a nasty surprise when she filled out her tax return this year.
The Los Angeles resident had applied for Obamacare in late 2013, when she was unemployed. She qualified for a hefty subsidy of $470 a month, leaving her with a monthly premium of $1 for the cheapest plan available.
Riddle landed a job in early 2014 at a life insurance agency, but since her new employer didn't offer health benefits, she kept her Obamacare plan. However, she didn't update her income with the California exchange, which she acknowledges was her mistake.
Now, she has to pay back the entire subsidy, which is forcing her to dip into her savings.
"I was blindsided that the subsidy has to be paid back," said Riddle, adding she didn't even use the coverage, which she had until she qualified for Medicare in October. "I'm in shock…but I have no choice. Do I want to argue with the IRS or the Obama administration?"
Bwahahahaha! Sucks to be you Toots.
Who here thinks Ms. Riddle is going to learn from her mistake?
Yeah, me neither. She'll still vote for the Democrats and their false promises. Because you just can't fix stupid. But you can mock it. Mercilessly.
See WyBlog deride
Progressives far and wide.
What do you do when you realize that millions of low-information voters are going to get hosed by your signature piece of legislation? Well, if you're Barack Obama, you unilaterally decide not to enforce the inconvenient provisions of that law.
So it should come as no surprise that the IRS has "clarified" how they'll recapture excess Obamacare subsidies come April 15th. They won't. Not right away anyway.
If you got health insurance subsidies last year, and you're worried that you got too much in federal tax credits and will be faced with a huge tax bill for repayment, then you can worry a little less: The IRS says that people who are liable for repayment ("clawback") of excess subsidies won't have to pay by April 15.
It's not relieving you of the obligation to repay; it's just saying that you won't be liable for a penalty if you don't repay by the deadline. Interest will continue to accrue, but the interest rates that the IRS charges are actually pretty reasonable (and probably much better than what your credit card company charges). It's the failure-to-pay penalties it layers on top -- half a percentage point a month, with even stiffer penalties for failing to file -- that really make your tax bill add up fast.
Well, isn't that special? Pay your taxes whenever you feel like it! That is, if you're somebody the Democrats are counting on to help put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
As the saying goes, Obama's got more nerve than cheap veal cutlet. This is,
what, the 914th time he's decided he can just ignore the law whenever it
turns out to be politically embarrassing? Underpayment penalties are fine
and dandy when they're incurred by regular schmoes like me. But folks who
bought into the Hope and Change? They gotta be given special dispensations!
They can't feel the pain of their own electoral dysfunction. They might,
gasp!, vote Republican!
Democrats love taxes. They'll tax anything, anyway they can. Their mantra is Pay up, sucka!
But even by their standards, this latest Catch-22 is over the top.
As we all know, if you don't have health insurance, Obama will tax you.
But now, if you DO have health insurance, Andrew Cuomo will tax you.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new budget includes a nearly $69 million tax on health-insurance policies to pay for the administrative costs of continuing New York's ObamaCare health exchange, The Post has learned.
The levy is intended to make up for federal funds no longer available to the states as of this year. Adding up to about $25 per person insured under the plan, the cost is almost certainly going to be passed on to consumers.
The tax is being called a bait-and-switch by opponents of Cuomo's decision to start a state-run ObamaCare health exchange in New York. Had he not done so, they argue, there would have been no need for the tax.
"There was no indication that there would be a new tax to pay for this. We had plenty of debate on ObamaCare. I never heard this mentioned," said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Troy).
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Because Obamacare is so gosh-darned wonderful, right? A bargain at twice the price! Or something.
The important thing is that we pay. And then pay some more.
Nineteen times Dear Leader promised he'd reduce our health insurance premiums by $2,500 per year.
Repeat after me: Barack Obama is a lying sack of shit.
Since Obamacare kicked in, health insurance premiums in New Jersey have risen faster than ever.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the cost of premiums in New Jersey each year have risen faster than the national average, according to a study released today by a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.
Premiums for New Jersey employer-sponsored health coverage climbed an average of 4.4 percent a year from 2003 through 2010 to $5,153 per single person, according to the study by the Commonwealth Fund. But from 2010 to 2013, the average premium rose 6.4 percent a year, to $6,200.
The spike was even greater for family policies. Pre-Obamacare, premiums rose by 4.7 percent a year, but escalated to a 7.4 percent average jump annually from 2010 to 2013. The total cost of a family policy in New Jersey was $17,396 in 2013.
New Jersey is among 10 states where premiums climbed 6 percent or more each year from 2010 to 2013. Similarly high increases were felt in Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to the report.
I'm thinking that 7.4 percent number is a little low. My day job's small group plan's premiums rose an average of 18 percent a year over the same time period. And that's for crappier coverage with higher deductibles and whopping out-of-pocket / coinsurance costs. Pre-Obamacare we had an awesome Aetna plan which really was "affordable." Post-Obamacare our prescription drug copays have trebled, the family max out-of-pocket quadrupled, and the number of doctors in our network went way down. For this we pay premiums that are almost double what they were 6 years ago.
The only person who ever told the truth about Obamacare was Jonathan Gruber.
Oh, but the Obamabots will call him (and me) a liar, and claim Obamacare is "working." 9 million more people are insured! OK, then riddle me this, Batman. The US population is about 320 million. So to allegedly help 2.8% of the people, Obama screwed over the other 97.2%.
Yeah, that's some mighty fine government work alright. No wonder he's the
Best President Evuh.
For two years, Barack Obama pretended to care about Medicaid's low reimbursement rates. He gave doctors a much-needed pay increase, to keep pace with Medicare and private insurance plans. But at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, the party's over.
When federal lawmakers planned the massive expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, they included a big enticement to physicians — a significant, but temporary, pay increase.
Although the pay increase was not tied to Medicaid expansion, New Jersey accepted the deal. Some 300,000 additional state residents have enrolled in Medicaid in the last year.
Even though the number of patients continues to increase, come Jan. 1, the pay increase will be gone, adding even more stress to overburdened health care providers in the state.
The provision of the health law that boosted Medicaid reimbursement rates to make them equal to Medicare rates expires at the end of the year.
Medicaid reimbursements to New Jersey providers will decline by 53 percent, according to an Urban Institute report. Only four other states — New York, Michigan, California and Rhode Island — will see greater decreases, the report found.
Obama figured, wrongly it turns out, that the states would pick up the tab after he bailed out. And I'm sure his media sycophants will do all they can in the coming days to pin the upcoming Medicaid-accepting-doctor shortage on Chris Christie.
Because the state has had a low reimbursement rate, only about 40 percent of New Jersey physicians accept Medicaid patients — a nationwide low, according to a 2012 Health Affairs study.
In addition, because many feared the boosted payments would end without an extension, few of the state's doctors who hadn't been accepting Medicaid patients joined the program, she said.
"Many doctors in New Jersey didn't trust that it would be a long-lasting parity situation," said Campagnolo, a past president of the Medical Society of New Jersey.
Medical society CEO Lawrence Downs speculated in a Nov. 18 letter to Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez that the return to 2012 reimbursement levels could drive physicians out of Medicaid.
"Our concern is that we could have 5,000 less physicians accepting Medicaid in 2015, when payments go back down to one of the lowest in the nation," he wrote. "Thus, continuation of this payment level is crucial for the proper access to care for Medicaid patients."
Doctors don't want to work for peanuts.
Last year, a New Jersey family physician averaged $23.50 for an office visit from a Medicaid-covered patient.
And remember, $23.50 is the increased reimbursement rate. Next year it'll be a paltry $12.45.
I can't imagine any doctor being dumb enough to accept that.
So, all you suckers who believed Obama, voted for him, and signed up for
Medicaid? Yeah, the joke's on you. Here's my advice: Don't get sick.
Even in the most socialist state in the nation, socialism fails.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is canceling his dream plan to create a single-payer health system in the state, he announced Wednesday.
"I am not going to undermine the hope of achieving critically important health care reforms for this state by pushing prematurely for single payer when it is not the right time for Vermont," Shumlin said in a statement Wednesday. "In my judgment, now is not the right time to ask our legislature to take the step of passing a financing plan for Green Mountain Care."
The problem, of course, is simple. There just isn't enough Other People's Money to pay for it.
The problem is, of course, how to pay for it. Even while plans were moving forward for a 2017 launch of the single-payer system, to be called Green Mountain Care, Shumlin had held off on releasing a plan for how to pay for the system, waiting until his announcement Wednesday.
Tax hikes required to pay for the system would include a 11.5 percent payroll tax as well as an additional income tax ranging all the way up to 9.5 percent. Shumlin admitted that in the current climate, such a precipitous hike would be disastrous for Vermont's economy.
Oops. You know a tax hike is too onerous if a Democrat comes out against it. And then his buddy Obama wouldn't cough up any cash either.
Shumlin's office released a slideshow with more details about financing for the plan which fell through. The state had been anticipating $267 million in federal funding to revamp its system, courtesy of a 2013 Obamacare waiver — but the current estimate has fallen to $106 million. Vermont also overestimated by $150 million in federal Medicaid funding.
The final nail in the coffin? Single Payer won't actually cost less than the current system.
But beyond federal funding, the report also admits that the single-payer system won't save money as Vermont officials had planned. While both previous reports on Green Mountain Care had assumed "hundreds of millions of dollars" in savings in the very first year of operation, Shumlin's office is now admitting that's "not practical to achieve."
There's never a magic unicorn around when you need one.
Let this be a lesson to all you Obamacare lovers. Government meddling in the
free market is never a good thing. Your dreams of a universal
Euroweenie-style Single Payer "upgrade" to Obamacare just met Reality. And,
to almost no one's surprise, Reality won.
Hey Obamabots, what good is "affordable" health insurance if it costs you too much to use it?
In a survey taken in the fall, The Commonwealth Fund, a private, independent health care research organization, found that about 40 percent of adults nationwide who had high-deductible private insurance plans reported delaying care because of the cost.
In another, the Gallup Poll, which annually asks about health care cost and use every November, reported that the percentage of Americans who had insurance and chose not to go to a health care professional for a routine visit or a need because of cost hit an all-time high of 34 percent.
"Last year, many hoped that the opening of the government health care exchanges and the resulting increase in the number of Americans with health insurance would enable more people to seek medical treatment," Gallup said. "But, despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure."
The problem is easy to identify but difficult to solve. Health care is extremely expensive in the U.S., and to keep from busting their budgets, companies that provide coverage to their employees and families increasingly are turning to plans that keep monthly premiums lower by increasing deductibles and charging more for out-of-pocket costs, said Linda Schwimmer, vice president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
"More and more of [the cost] is being put on the employee, and because of that, they're reluctant to get the care they need because they're concerned about the cost," she said.
Once again proving that the Affordable Care Act is a total misnomer.
Obamacare will never cut costs. It can't. Not with all of it's mandates and required coverages. So to artificially lower the up-front cost of health insurance it had to hike the back-end copays and deductibles that kick in when we actually go to use it.
The result? Pay through the nose, or go without medical care.
Given the abysmal Obama economy, the choice is clear. Feed your kids, and skip the colonoscopy. To most folks a $4,000 deductible might as well be $400,000. And those $75 prescriptions buy a whole lotta diapers.
The best part is, Obama knew he was hoodwinking us. And he didn't care. That's the real story of Jonathan Gruber.
Gruber's attempt to downplay his role in the ACA is unconvincing, for reasons we suggested here. But the most damming comments by Gruber were not his "glib" words about the American public but his accurate analysis of the Affordable Care Act. For instance, in one of the videos that became controversial, Gruber is taped saying "What the American public cares about is costs. And that's why even though the bill that they made is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control." That is not glib; regardless of whether you think the law was sold deceptively in the way Gruber suggests, his understanding of the law's focus on coverage over cost is correct. Whether or not Gruber was "the architect" of the law, whether or not his more noxious comment can fairly be associated with the law, he understands the law—and that is damming enough.
They purposefully obfuscated Obamacare's effects. Obama lied, health care died.
Obamacare is "working" dontcha know, except for that pesky affordability thing. Sylvia Burwell came to Newark today, to shill for her boss's signature statutory sensation, and she inadvertantly told the truth.
Burwell acknowledged that affordability is still a high hurdle for many, however. Affordability, whether in the cost of the premium, the deductible, co-payments or co-insurance "is one of the fundamental issues" keeping people from getting health insurance, she said.
"We need to work on putting downward pressure on those costs," Burwell said.
So, a fundamental issue with Obamacare is affordability. Even though its official name is The Affordable Care Act.
Gee, a cynic might think they lied to us about that "affordable" thing.
Obamacare has done nothing to constrain costs. In fact, it has added costs to virtually everyone's health insurance bills for coverages none of us ever wanted or needed. The point is for guys like me to subsidize health care for layabouts, feminuts, and illegal aliens. And with a 2015 premium increase of 28%, I can assure you, I'm subsidizing more than my "fair share."
I'm not alone. I can point you to thousands of people in the same boat. We're paying more money for crappier coverage. Higher deductibles. Shrunken networks. Fewer doctors. Unrenewable prescriptions.
It's deliberate. And if we don't stand up and yell "STOP," it's never gonna end. The Obamunists are determined to redistribute our hard-earned dollars to their voting bloc, because holding on to power is their only goal. The Affordable Care Act was never meant to reduce costs or make health care "affordable." Its only purpose was to create havoc in the health insurance marketplace so that government could step in to regulate our choices.
They're from the government and they're here to help.
Alas, vestiges of freedom linger. Liberty isn't (yet) a dirty word. We are at
a crossroads. Obamacare, or America, must die. We can't have both. The Founding
Fathers chose independence. We must not countenance nullification of their
Fewer Americans than ever like Obamacare.
And more Americans than ever hate Obamacare.
Can I get an "amen?"
As the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period begins, 37% of Americans say they approve of the law, one percentage point below the previous low in January. Fifty-six percent disapprove, the high in disapproval by one point.
The more you know…
Americans were slightly more positive than negative about the law around the time of the 2012 election, but they have consistently been more likely to disapprove than approve of the law in all surveys that have been conducted since then. Approval has been in the low 40% or high 30% range after a noticeable dip that occurred in early November 2013. This was shortly after millions of Americans received notices that their current policies were being canceled, which was at odds with President Barack Obama's pledge that those who liked their plans could keep them. The president later said, by way of clarification, that Americans could keep their plans if those plans didn't change after the ACA was passed.
And we now know it was all lies anyway.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) admitted Sunday to knowing the promises President Obama made about his signature health care plan were false. On ABC's This Week, fill-in host Martha Raddatz asked Gillibrand where she felt misled by Obama, considering the fact that the President said that Americans who wanted to keep their health care plans could do so.
Gillibrand offered a startling revelation:
He should've just been specific. No, we all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. How many women, the minute they get pregnant, might risk their coverage. How many women paid more because of their gender, because they might get pregnant. Those are the reforms.
"We all knew" Obama was lying. But he lied for our own good! And so Sandra Fluke could get free birth control, of course.
Americans don't like it when politicians lie to us. We also don't like it when liberal political hacks call us stupid.
Turns out, we aren't as stupid as they think we are.
They passed the bill. We found out what's in it. And we don't like what we
found. Not one bit. Obamacare is a fraud. The sooner it goes away, the better.
And given that virtually no one approves of it anymore, the path to its repeal
just got a whole lot easier.
It's T minus 5 days and counting for the debut of Healthcare.gov V2.0. On November 15th the second wave of Obamacare signups goes live, and this time HHS officials are confident that they're almost ready. But in case they're not, you can pass the time in our of their snazzy new digital waiting rooms.
With the next time to buy health plans under the Affordable Care Act starting in less than a week, the Obama administration is expressing confidence that HealthCare.gov is no longer the rickety online insurance marketplace that exasperated consumers a year ago.
Behind the scenes, however, federal health officials and government contractors are scrambling, according to confidential documents and federal and outside experts familiar with this work. They have been making contingency plans in case the information technology or other aspects prove less sturdy than the administration predicts. And some preparations are coming down to the wire.
The confidential documents written in recent weeks hint at elaborate backup planning that undercuts the administration's predictions that an improved HealthCare.gov will be able to handle everyone who wants to sign up.
One document from late October, for instance, describes a new system known as "throttling," which will be deployed if the number of people trying to use HealthCare.gov at the same time strains the Web site's enlarged capacity.
This throttling could send groups of people using different parts of the site into separate online "waiting rooms."
The doctor won't see you now. And neither will the website.
Their preparations certainly don't inspire confidence, eh? They know how many enrollees to expect. They've had a year to get it right. And yet, "waiting rooms." No doubt complete with year-old magazines and bad vending machine coffee.
Oh, by the way, they forgot to send you the instructions.
Other confidential CMS documents show that federal health officials drafted contingency plans involving notices for people who have insurance through the exchanges. The notices provide important information, such as whether enrollees appear eligible for federal subsidies for the coming year.
The notices were supposed to be in consumers' hands by Nov. 1. But by the third week of October, a document says, fewer than 1 million of 7.6 million notices were ready to be mailed or e-mailed. Officials considered sending some late to certain groups, sending skimpier notices or reducing the size of ones delivered electronically. In the end, technicians fixed a computer problem, and the notices are going out in batches that are due to arrive by Saturday, when enrollment begins.
Ever notice how the Obamabots never seem to have trouble sending you their fund-raising emails? But critical information on Obamacare? That they can't get straight.
Maybe they'll post the instructions in the waiting rooms.
Just when you thought this week's good news couldn't get any better…
The Supreme Court has snatched the Halbig case out from the clutches of Obama's lefty-packed D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
How big a deal is this?
As in, earth-shattering kaboom huge.
The Supreme Court, moving back into the abiding controversy over the Affordable Care Act, agreed early Friday afternoon to decide how far the federal government can extend its program of subsidies to buyers of health insurance. At issue is whether the program of tax credits applies only in the consumer marketplaces set up by sixteen states, and not at federally operated sites in thirty-four states.
Some of this stuff is real inside baseball, but it's important, so bear with me. SCOTUS only intervenes when there are split decisions at the circuit court level. In King v Burwell the Fourth Circuit upheld the subsidies. But at the same time, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court disagreed.
It was a Category Five ObamaCare tornado in July when a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit agreed with conservatives and ruled that the text of the O-Care statute does not allow subsidies for people who bought their policies on the federal exchange, i.e. Healthcare.gov. Only if you bought your policy through an exchange created by a state are you eligible for help from Uncle Sam. That ruling is a nuclear bomb for the White House, obviously, because it would mean that the vast majority of new enrollees in O-Care would suddenly be on the hook for the full cost of their premiums. That would prove too expensive for many of those people, which would mean lots of dropped coverage and total chaos in the insurance industry.
It looked like Obamacare was heading back to the Supreme Court, when six weeks later the full D.C. Circuit decided to rehear the case en banc, throwing the three-judge panel's ruling out the window.
Why would they do that? Because Obama packed the D.C. circuit court with a legion of far-left ideologues guaranteed to rule his way. You can thank Harry Reid nuking the Senate for helping him do that. Normally republicans would have been able to filibuster the most radical nominees, but they were rendered powerless by Reid.
The Halbig challenge to Obamacare was, apparently, dead.
Until today. SCOTUS' action cuts the en banc D.C. circuit out of the loop, sending Obama and Reid's court-packing scheme up in flames, and putting the future of Obamacare very much in doubt.
Because if SCOTUS was going to rule for the subsidies they didn't have to do anything. The D.C. circuit court would do it for them, reversing Halbig and concurring with the Fourth Circuit's King decision. No circuit split means no SCOTUS review, and no SCOTUS review means the subsidies remain intact.
The only reason for SCOTUS to review King is if there's a good chance they will reverse the ruling. Ergo the likelyhood is extremely high that the Supreme Court will enforce the clear wording of the law, and render the subsidies in all but 16 states null and void.
Without those subsidies, Obamacare is dead.
Are you still with me? Because here's where it gets fun.
The GOP won the Senate on Tuesday partly by vigorously campaigning against Obamacare. There is a strong desire among many republicans to repeal the law. But Obama would never sign a repeal bill, right?
So suppose SCOTUS neuters the law, and effectively repeals it for them. Then, instead of sending Obama a repeal, the GOP sends him a replacement, one that perhaps restores subsidies for federal exchange enrollees, but also eliminates all of the law's onerous and questionably-Constitutional provisions, and includes the free-market reforms we've been trying to enact for years.
Does Obama dare veto it?
Stay tuned, this is gonna be good.
Nineteen times Barack Obama promised to lower our health insurance premiums by as much as $2500 per year.
Small businesses continue to see double-digit increases in the cost of employee health care, according to a survey released by a major business group Thursday, which found 87 percent of those polled provide coverage.
The survey by New Jersey Business and Industry Association found that health-care costs rose by 24 percent in the last year for businesses that have between one and 24 employees, and by 16 percent for those with between 25 and 49 workers.
Employers on average paid $7,416 for employee coverage and $11,352 for parent-child coverage, the survey found. They paid $15,600 on average for husband-wife coverage and $19,116 for family coverage, according to the survey.
"Employers are paying more than ever for health benefits," said Christine Stearns, NJBIA's vice president for health and legal affairs. "Eighty-five percent of companies reported their health-care costs went up over last year."
Ayup, my day job is certainly going to pay more than ever for health benefits. A whopping 21 percent more next year, bringing the per employee cost to $8,652 and family coverage to $26,640 a year. I guess that means we're above average, probably in more ways than one.
Obamacare has been an unmitigated disaster for me and the folks I work with,
no doubt about it. Yet there are still die-hard liberals who insist the law
is "working." Delusion runs deep, it seems. Because there is no universe
where these kind of annual premium increases are sustainable for a small
business. Obamacare is going to break our backs. If anyone really believes
that's good for America, please tell me why.
Because if you know what it'll cost, you won't vote to re-elect Democrats.
Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased - after the Nov. 4 election.
Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that's no coincidence. Last year's inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.
"This is more than just a glitch," said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. "The administration's decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans."
Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said in a Monday column in USA Today that "when it comes to a lack of openness and transparency about Obamacare, this administration has no peer."
If the premiums were going down you can bet they'd be telling you. Loudly.
Even so, details about cost increases are trickling out in states with pivotal Senate contests: Alaska, Iowa and Louisiana. All three states are wrestling with double-digit premium hikes from some state insurance companies on the exchange.
The most dramatic increases are underway in Alaska, where the state insurance division has cleared double-digit rate hikes for two insurers, Premera Blue Cross and Moda Health. Premera's premiums will rise by 35 to 40 percent.
The Iowa insurance commissioner approved last week premium increases for three insurance carriers: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOpportunity Health and Coventry Health. Two of those insurers will implement double-digit hikes ranging from 11.9 to 19 percent, the Des Moines Register reports.
The issue is also resonating in the Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Documents filed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance show some insurers are anticipating double-digit rate hikes, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
"Premiums have gone up by 53 percent for the average Louisiana policyholder and many of these policies will again see double-digit increases," Mr. Cassidy said. "It's unfair to Louisianans who have to balance their budgets and their businesses."
Obamacare, it's so great, you're forced to buy it. Sight unseen! With only half the time to sign up that they gave you last year. Because that clunky website is working now. Honest.
Hey, remember when
Obama promised to cut your premium by $2,500 per year? Let me know how
that's workin' out for you.
Who you gonna believe, Obamabot propaganda, or your own lyin' eyes?
Over a quarter of Americans now say Obamacare has personally hurt them, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans say the health-care law has hurt them, up from 19 percent in May. The percentage saying Obamacare has helped still lags behind, up to 16 percent from 10 percent earlier this year.
Count me among the 27%. Obamacare is costing my family more money, for crappier coverage, with daily hassles over formerly routine stuff like prescription renewals. My doctor hates it too.
Apparently that's not a bug.
According to the Obama administration, however, this is what the public can expect when Obamacare is working as intended. The White House has repeatedly declared victory on Obamacare; the health-care law's new chief, Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell, is calling for the public to "move beyond the politics," she told The Washington Post this week.
If you like getting screwed, you can keep getting screwed…
As always, a majority of Americans oppose the health-care law on principle. Fifty-three percent of those polled disapprove of the health-care law, while just 41 percent approve.
what who else the public hates?
A clear majority of Americans describe President Obama's tenure as a "failure" according to a new poll released Monday.
The survey from IBD/TIPP indicates that 53 percent of adults in the United States now characterize Obama's presidency as a "failure," while 41 percent chalk it up as a success. Half of the people who live in states won by Obama see his tenure negatively, as do 59 percent of those aged 25-44 years old.
There's that "41 percent" figure again. Who are these deluded Obamabots?
Xbox-playing basement dwellers, and Lena Dunham fan-grrls!
Some of the key groups remain solid in their support of the president, though. More than three-quarters of voters aged 18-24 see Obama's presidency as a success, as do 54 percent of single women.
Hey, sooner or later the slackers are gonna have to find a job. And then, uh oh, the only jobs left are part-time.
Starting this year, the United States' working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA's health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers' incomes.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent — translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.
No wonder the Obots are so enamored with raising the minimum wage. It's all they'll ever earn, at whatever crummy job they manage to slither into. Hey, elections have consequences dontcha know, and not to put too fine a point on it, but you idiots voted for this shit.
You know, before it's too late, we should raise the voting age back to 21 and
repeal the Nineteenth Amendment. Responsible government might ensue.
On the plus side, you'll have (allegedly) cheap health insurance, and more time to play golf.
Because, thanks to Obamacare, your job just went poof!
Businesses are cutting jobs due to ObamaCare, according to surveys by several regional Federal Reserve Banks.
Health economist John Goodman noted that "three Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta have surveyed the folks in their area and roughly one fifth of the employers are saying they cut back on employment."
"Roughly one fifth are saying they're moving from full time to part time," Goodman added. "More than one in ten are saying they're doing more outsourcing - all this because of the new health care reform."
Doug Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said for the smaller employers -- those that have between 20 and 49 employees -- you get a negative impact on jobs, you get a negative impact on wages in those jobs. What this means for small business as a whole is over $22 billion of earnings gone for their workers and 350,000 jobs."
The president repeatedly has delayed the mandate requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide insurance. But businesses know it's coming, so many avoid hiring to keep their worker rolls below 50.
Also, the mandate applies only to those who work more than 30 hours a week -- an incentive for employers to reduce hours.
Fewer jobs. And the jobs that remain are part-time.
But wait, there's more bad news.
Prices are rising, and incomes are shrinking.
More than a third of manufacturing firms in the NY Fed survey said they're raising prices to cover the costs of health care, and about half the businesses surveyed by the Dallas Fed said ObamaCare is raising insurance costs for their employees.
"Yes we are going to see increased cost to employers who are trying to provide health care for their employees, but employers don't just take that lying down," said Tevi Troy of the American Health Policy Institute.
Goodman added, "Even among full-time workers, their take home pay is going to go down because one thing that almost all the employers are doing in response to ObamaCare is raising the deductibles, raising the co-payments and making the employee pay more of the premium."
Oops. Scratch that "cheap health insurance" baloney. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the decrease in disposable income is all too real.
But smug liberals get to feel good about themselves for "helping" the uninsured, so there's that.
Meanwhile out here in The Real World, Obamacare is a train wreck. And that
light at the end of the tunnel? Yeah, it's another oncoming train.
You'd think the Obamacare brain trust would have learned their lesson. But, no, they rolled out a companion website to Healthcare.gov, and it failed spectacularly too.
Another federal government-run website created under ObamaCare is suffering the same symptoms as the troubled federal health care exchange -- grappling with delays, data problems and other hiccups as the deadline to take it public nears.
At issue is a database known as the Open Payments website. It was created under the Affordable Care Act to shed light on the financial ties between doctors and pharmaceutical companies as well as device manufacturers.
The transparency initiative is supposed to include detailed information about drug payments made by doctors as well as the value of gifts and services given by drug makers. Such items can include everything from meals to swanky retreats.
The database project, though, is dealing with a minefield of technical problems and confusion over the data. The problems led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to shut down what is currently a private site for 11 days earlier this month.
The government is hoping to take the site public on Sept. 30. But it's already a year behind schedule, and if some industry heavy hitters have it their way, the schedule will slip by another six months.
The data is hopelessly garbled. The procedure for registering is convoluted, and inaccurate. There are major technical glitches. And it's more than a year behind schedule.
It's deja vu all over again!
After people signed up, would they pay? That was the Big Question lurking in the shadows as the White House trumpted 8 million enrollees in Obamacare.
"Trust us," said the Obamabots, "they'll pay."
Except, as you might have guessed by now, the checks got lost in the mail.
ObamaCare exchange statistics should clear up any doubt as to why the Obama Administration has been tight-lipped about enrollment since celebrating 8 million sign-ups in mid-April.
Reality, evidence suggests, could require quite a come-down from those lofty claims.
The nation's third-largest health insurer had 720,000 people sign up for exchange coverage as of May 20, a spokesman confirmed to IBD. At the end of June, it had fewer than 600,000 paying customers. Aetna expects that to fall to "just over 500,000" by the end of the year.
That would leave Aetna's paid enrollment down as much as 30% from that May sign-up tally.
Insert obligatory George Costanza shrinkage joke here.
Meanwhile, Obamacare premiums are rising by an average of 7.5%. This is, quixotically, being spun as good news.
The average national increase of 7.5 percent is "well below the double-digit increases many feared," HRI Managing Director Ceci Connolly wrote in an email.
Yeah, they screwed us over so much last year they can cut back a little.
Last time I looked nobody's paycheck went up 7.5%. But hey, Obamacare is still a bargain, right?
Me? I find out next month what my increase will be. And let me tell ya, I'm
praying it's only 7.5%. Because if history is any guide, that'll
be a bona fide miracle.
It seems like everybody is exempt from Obamacare, except me.
Today comes the breathtaking news that 90% of the remaining uninsured are exempt from paying the individual mandate tax penalty.
Almost 90% of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health-coverage requirement.
The architects of the health law wanted most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the uninsured will qualify for one or more exemptions.
Remember when John Roberts twisted the Constitution by deciding Obamacare was a "tax?"
Well, the joke's on him. It's a "tax" that virtually nobody has to pay.
The Obama administration has provided 14 ways people can avoid the fine based on hardships, including suffering domestic violence, experiencing substantial property damage from a fire or flood, and having a canceled insurance plan. Those come on top of exemptions carved out under the 2010 law for groups including illegal immigrants, members of Native American tribes and certain religious sects.
Factoring in the new exemptions, the congressional report in June lowered the number of people it expects to pay the fine in 2016 to four million, from its previous projection of six million. Also bringing down the total: At least 21 states have opted not to expand the Medicaid insurance program for lower earners under the health law, and those residents may be exempt from the penalty.
Dear Anybody Paying The Fine: You're a schmuck.
"If your pajamas don't fit well, you don't need health insurance," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and president of the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank. "It basically waives the individual mandate."
Yup, the catch-all exemption is "hardship."
In December, a hardship application form was released that laid out the 14 exemptions. Among other things, people could avoid the penalty if a close family member had died recently, if they were facing eviction or if they had medical expenses that couldn't be paid in the last 24 months and resulted in substantial debt.
Critics have assailed one exemption for people who "experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance" as too broad. That exemption asks for documentation if possible but doesn't require it.
Hey, I "experienced hardship obtaining health insurance!" Aetna raised our rates so high we were forced into buying a craptacular Oxford plan which is still about 20% more expensive that what we paid last year. The renewal forms should be here in another month or so, I can't wait to see what next year's premium increase will look like. Because single guys paying for maternity and pediatric dental coverage is the epitome of fairness, or something.
And spare me the whole "cost sharing" nonsense. If cost sharing was actually the goal, there wouldn't be so many damn exemptions from having to actually share some costs.
Nope, Obamacare was, and is, all about vote-buying. Exemptions exist because otherwise Democrats would have already gotten creamed in 2012, and the idea now is to soften their looming chances of losing the Senate in November. If people had to pay the true cost of Obamacare nobody would vote for Obama's duplicious cronies.
The only thing Democrats care about is Power. They've got it, and they'll do
anything to keep it. You? Me? America? We're, in the candid words of Nancy
Incompetence? From the Obama Administration? Surely you're as shocked as I am!
But really, it's true. The GAO says so.
A nonpartisan congressional investigation has concluded that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed President Barack Obama's health care program website last fall, officials told The Associated Press.
The findings are in a report to be released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, which has spent months investigating the health law's chaotic rollout. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.
The official report doesn't come out until tomorrow, but Washington insiders are already leaking it to the media. And it doesn't paint a very pretty picture of Dear Leader's minions at HHS.
Among its conclusions:
· Contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead they were kept jumping around from issue to issue.
· The cost of the project grew by tens of millions of dollars as the contractors tried to accommodate administration requests.
· CMS, the lead agency, failed to follow up on whether contractors were doing the work assigned to them, and to review that work for quality.
· CMS sent conflicting signals, at one point notifying one contractor it was so dissatisfied that it would start withholding payments, and then quickly rescinded that decision.
· The type of federal contract that the administration selected for HealthCare.gov was open-ended, which may have encouraged costly changes.
What else would you expect from a bunch of socialists who never built so much as a dog house on their own?
Even now, almost a year later, the thing is still held together with duct tape and bailing wire. The back-end remains largely dysfunctional. HHS can't verify 1/3 of the applicants' citizenship or income eligibility. And half of the new enrollees are in Medicaid, which has created a whole 'nother kind of time bomb.
As my friend Bob used to say about bad news, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
In the 1950's our government built the Interstate Highway System.
In the 1960's our government put a man on the moon.
Today, not only can't they build a website, or a highway, they can't go back to the moon, or even get their own people up into space without help from the Russians.
But we've now got more Americans on food stamps than ever before.
Apparently this is "progress." If you're a liberal.
I imagine that somewhere in the land of unicorns and rainbows there is someone who was once helped by Obamacare.
But here in the Real World, it's been nothing but a royal pain in the butt.
And now, a new poll by those noted right-wingers at CNN confirms what most sane people already know.
Obamacare's overall approval rating remains upside-down by nearly 20 points (40/59), virtually unchanged from its March "rebound." Democrats' self-congratulatory convulsions over "eight million new enrollees" failed to move the needle. (Reasons for scare quotes here, here, here, and -- new today! -- here). Asked whether the law has helped or hurt their families, respondents shared the bad news:
I wonder if CNN asked the fake applicants what they thought…
And sooner or later everybody is gonna hate Obamacare.