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Obamacare is working so well insurance companies are in a race to get out of it. The latest escapee is Oscar Health Insurance, announcing today they are completely withdrawing from the New Jersey market.
Oscar Health Insurance, a start-up insurance company founded by a scion of the Kushner real estate fortune and known for its cartoon advertising campaign in mass-transit hubs, announced Tuesday that it was pulling out of the market in New Jersey created by the Affordable Care Act.
The company started providing coverage to New Jersey residents in 2015, and insured 24,560 people, as of March 30.
Oscar also is withdrawing from the individual market in Dallas-Fort Worth. It will remain in New York, Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Orange County, a company statement said.
The exodus from Obamacare is now a stampede, as Oscar joins Aetna and UnitedHealthcare (Oxford) in abandoning the federally-mandated marketplace.
So now there are only 3 insurers left in NJ's Obamacare exchange: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, AmeriHealth of New Jersey, and Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey.
Blue Cross is of course the state's insurer of last resort, and they've got the astronomical rates to prove it.
Nationwide the trend is the same, or worse.
Residents in seven states won't have much of a choice in selecting medical coverage under ObamaCare next year because only a single insurer plans to offer policies in each market, it was reported Monday.
"Lower-than-expected enrollment, a high-cost population, and troubled risk-mitigation programs have led to decreased plan participation for 2017," said Dan Mendelson, president of the consulting firm Avalere Health.
Avalere's analysis indicates that Alaska, Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming will each have only one carrier selling policies.
But people in those 7 states are still better off than residents of Pimal County, Arizona. No company will offer an Obamacare plan there next year. None.
The president says you have to buy it. But he forgot to tell someone that they have to sell it.
Which, if you think about it for a minute, is actually a feature from his perspective, and not the bug you'd expect it to be.
Because if no one is willing to provide Obamacare coverage, that opens the door to having the Federal government step in to provide coverage.
And before you can say "single payer," that's exactly what you'll get — health care with the compassion of the VA delivered via the efficiency of the DMV, all at a price that'll make your taxes skyrocket.
Gee, where do I sign up?
Choices? You now have fewer.
The number of insurance companies offering health coverage via the Affordable Care Act marketplace in New Jersey will dip to four next year when Oxford Health Plans, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, pulls out.
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, announced in April that it would leave the Obamacare marketplaces next year in most of the 34 states in which it offered coverage. High health costs for the small number of people who signed up in those markets led it to project $650 million in losses this year, the company reported. The company did not reveal its plans for New Jersey at that time.
A state insurance official notified the company on Tuesday 5/17 that the withdrawal of its HMO offerings was approved, to take effect on Jan. 1. The HMO will no longer be offered either on healthcare.gov or in the state's unsubsidized individual market.
There goes my plan.
I liked it. But, I can't keep it.
Of course I liked my pre-Obamacare plan better, but I couldn't keep that either.
Oxford customers affected by this move are to receive notification letters in late June. They will be able to shop for replacement coverage during the open enrollment period that begins on Nov. 1.
Yippee Kai Ay.
The insurers currently approved to sell coverage through the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey are Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, AmeriHealth of New Jersey, Health Republic of New Jersey, and Oscar Health Insurance, which is available in nine counties, including Bergen and Passaic.
With competition decreasing, watch for rate hikes. Big rate hikes. Because anyone who thought "affordable care" meant lower prices is an idiot. Or a Democrat. But I repeat myself.
Donald Trump says he'll shut Obamacare down.
I think I'm ready to vote for that.
That man in the girls' locker room? You're gonna pay to put him there.
Right behind his coed bathroom mandate, General Secretary Obama also decreed that health insurance companies participating in Obamacare must now cover sex change operations.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final regulation Friday that will pressure health insurers to cover sex change operations, which could then be subsidized by taxpayers through Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.
The regulation "prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability; enhances language assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency; and protects individuals with disabilities," the agency said in a release.
Doctors and health insurers also cannot deny "health care or health coverage based on an individual's sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping."
In a fact sheet on the portion of the rule regarding sex discrimination, the government explains that health care providers cannot refuse to cover all services related to a sex change — such as hormone therapy, breast implants, and the surgery itself — as a matter of policy.
Let's tack on another expensive mandate! Because our premiums aren't high enough already, right?
Meanwhile, the folks who pioneered sex change surgery no longer offer that form of treatment. Here's why:
At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s. Our efforts, though, had little influence on the emergence of this new idea about sex, or upon the expansion of the number of "transgendered" among young and old....
I am ever trying to be the boy among the bystanders who points to what's real. I do so not only because truth matters, but also because overlooked amid the hoopla — enhanced now by Bruce Jenner's celebrity and Annie Leibovitz's photography — stand many victims. Think, for example, of the parents whom no one — not doctors, schools, nor even churches — will help to rescue their children from these strange notions of being transgendered and the problematic lives these notions herald. These youngsters now far outnumber the Bruce Jenner type of transgender [autogynephilia]. Although they may be encouraged by his public reception, these children generally come to their ideas about their sex not through erotic interests but through a variety of youthful psychosocial conflicts and concerns....
When "the tumult and shouting dies," it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people — extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered — documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.
Speaking of Bruce Jenner, word is that he's going to "de-transition." So had this regulation been in place when he invented "Caitlyn," Obama would have us paying for both sex changes.
At least he's an adult, and if he wants to screw around with his plumbing and his hormones, well that's why we have tabloids and celebrity gossip columnists.
But when kids decide to reconfigure their biology, it's a whole lot more consequential.
Transgender people descend into despair when even all the medicine and medical advances that everyone encouraged can't change their biological reality. In fact, the medicine used on younger individuals prior to surgeries causes its own harms.
As gender dysphoria becomes more accepted as normal for children, "supportive" adults lead children to "helpful" doctors who use various "treatments" to block puberty. Some can merely delay puberty for a few years. But the blockers lock the child into sterility and health risks in their tweens and early teens.
For what other issue would any parent accept an increasing risk of cancer and suicide? We obsessively control our kids' diets and activities for far less dire outcomes based on far flimsier research.
According to Obama, a school that can't legally give a child an aspirin, can, and indeed must, honor that child's "perceived gender" with nary a question or raised eyebrow. And doctors who would cringe at seeing a teenage girl enter a tanning booth or smoke a cigarette won't hesitate to give her life-altering drugs that radically revise her transition into puberty.
Not only that, but according to Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist in chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, it's "impossible" too.
He went on to write that changing sexes is impossible and that what transgendered people actually do is become "feminized men or masculinized women."
Hmm. Now we're on to something. "Feminized men" and "masculinized women." That's the goal of Third-Wave Feminism, isn't it? Erasure of gender norms, leading to a society ruled by militant lesbians, with heterosexual men marginalized or eradicated altogether.
It's just one more way for cultural Marxists to
fundamentally transform America.
The latest dilemma facing economists is why "unequivocally good" low oil prices haven't sparked excuberant consumer spending across America. We have discussed the simple (though awkward for the establishment) answer many times - soaring costs for 'shelter' and healthcare have hoovered up every penny saved (and more); and now, a new study proves it - exposing the reality that many Obamacare customers pay more than 10 percent of their incomes toward coverage (and some paying considerably more).
The shocking findings show that, as CNBC summarizes, One in 10 Obamacare customers who earn between just two and five times the federal poverty level will have coverage costs that exceed 21 percent of their incomes, an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute found.
And the median Obamacare customer who earns in that range spends more than 10 percent of their income on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses, the analysis found.
So, if you've been wondering where all your money is going, wonder no more.
The law that promised to reduce our costs has instead inflated them beyond anything we could have imagined. Premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and overall health care spending continue to escalate faster than ever, piling increase upon increase, with no relief in sight. This, of course, on top of the tax hikes needed to subsidize Obamacare for the Taker class so they'll keep on voting Democrat.
Which only means we'll see more stories like this one, describing how average Americans can't afford to use their mandatory health insurance.
Oh, but Lena Dunham and her feminut slut sisters get "free" birth control, so there's that.
Happy New Year, from Obamacare. Now pay up, sucker!
Obamacare's Cadillac Tax on overly generous union health plans is slated to go into effect in 2018. Harry Reid's unionista buddies don't want to pay it. So, before he fades away into the sunset, Reid is pushing hard to kill it.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), under pressure from labor allies, is pressing hard for a two-year moratorium of ObamaCare's "Cadillac tax" in a major tax deal that negotiators hope to wrap up by Monday.
Reid has assured labor leaders that freezing the Cadillac tax on high-benefit insurance plans is a top personal priority, and he wants to get it done now, knowing he has only a year left as Senate Democratic leader.
Some Republicans, such as Sen. Dean Heller, also of Nevada, support getting rid of the Cadillac tax, but Reid is doing the heavy lifting to make sure it's part of a year-end deal, according to sources familiar with the talks.
"Leader Reid feels very strongly, in my opinion from discussions with him, that this needs to be done and it needs to be done now. And I think he is confident that will occur," said Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Firefighters, who met with Reid this past week.
Poor, poor unionistas. Or should I say, mendacious, greedy, duplicious unionistas? Because that's what they are. Unions fought tooth and nail for Obamacare. Unions funnel millions of dollars to Democrats who voted for Obamacare.
You made your bed Mr. Schaitberger, now lie in it.
"At minimum, delaying the implementation of this Cadillac tax would be seen as of major importance to workers and the security of their [health] plans," he added. "Without taking care of this it will have profound impact in the political arena over the course of the next many months."
Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. Every dime you slimeballs have to pay in Cadillac Tax is one less dime you can donate to Hillary's campaign.
I see that as A Big Plus.
What I can't figure out though, is why any Republican would be in favor of helping these guys avoid paying a tax they brought upon themselves. In other words, what's Dean Heller's malfunction? He should be making popcorn while the tax goes into effect as the unions and the Democrats point fingers at each other.
It'd be especially gratifying to see public employee unions like the firemen get hoisted on their own petard. Maybe they'll even decide to cut back on their gold-plated benefits packages! Because that would bring a smile to even the most jaded property-tax-paying citizen living in unionista-dominated blue states. We're getting crushed by pension and benefits costs, and these guys have absolutely zero interest in lightening our load.
In fact, in one particularly egregious example, New Jersey's union grifters got Steve Sweeney to propose a massive public employee pension boost and the onerous tax increases that'll be needed to fund it too. Because we aren't paying them enough already, or something.
These union guys just don't get it. Their only mantra is Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.
But now we have the opportunity to stick it the unions, good and hard, and all the GOP has to do is sit back and let it happen. So c'mon Mitch McConnell, bury Harry Reid's Cadillac Tax moratorium. Send him home in ignominious defeat. Tell the unions to shut up and pay their "fair share."
Hey, it's what they'd tell us, right?
The reality of Obamacare continues to underperform the promises of Obamacare.
Today we learn of two more states that are shuttering their money-losing Obamacare co-ops.
Two nonprofit health insurers set up under ObamaCare announced on Friday that they are shutting down, the latest in a string of closures due to financial problems.
The closure of the two health insurers in Colorado and Oregon means that just 15 of the original 23 co-ops will remain in business next year.
The news comes after announcements on Wednesday that Tennessee's co-op is shutting down and last Friday that Kentucky's co-op would shutter.
November 1 marks the start of next year's enrollment period. So with barely two weeks to go, customers of these co-ops will have to scramble to find new coverage.
But remember, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.
Wanna guess why these co-ops failed?
They ran out of Other People's Money!
Many of the beleaguered co-ops have blamed low payouts from an ObamaCare program known as risk corridors. That program was designed to protect insurers against heavy losses by collecting money from insurers doing well and giving it to insurers faring poorly. But the Obama administration announced on Oct. 1 that the program had only taken in enough funds to pay out 12.6 percent of the $2.87 billion that insurers had requested.
They charged below-market premiums to attract customers, and the customers they attracted turned out to be older and sicker than they wanted them to be. Then, in typical Obama fashion, the unicorns didn't ride in at the 11th hour to save the day.
Soon your doctor will be required to tell you how much your end-of-life care is going to cost. But please don't call it a "death panel."
Advocates for better end-of-life care expect Medicare to soon announce that it will start paying physicians for having advanced-care planning conversations with patients — reviving the widely misunderstood provision that gave rise to "death panel" fears and nearly sank the Affordable Care Act.
Spin, Politico, spin!
If it looks like a death panel, and it acts like a death panel, well, I'm gonna call it a death panel.
The new policy could be part of an annual Medicare physician payment rule, which could be released any day.
With an aging population and growing public awareness that high-tech interventions are often futile at the end of life, doctors have encouraged private insurers to cover advanced-care conversations. Some state Medicaid programs already do so.
Sorry Grandma, you're not worth it.
Oh, wait, I'm being "hysterical" again.
Such a policy shift would come six years after former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's wild charges of "death panels" triggered near-hysteria that bureaucrats might begin to withhold medical care from older Americans. Polls showed that the charges stuck, and the ongoing uproar in the summer of 2009 almost derailed Obamacare. The same fears have shadowed the law ever since.
Gee, I wonder why?
Oh, right, because cutting Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement rates is the one thing Obamacare has been good at doing. Except that doctors voted with their feet, leaving an acute shortage of physicians willing to play by Obamacare's rules.
So what do you do when there aren't enough doctors to go around?
You ration care!
How do you ration care?
By making old people feel guilty for "wasting" the doctor's time. They're just going to die anyway, why prolong their agony?
You've heard the push for assisted suicide — the humane choice! — to supposedly enable suffering patients to die with "dignity."
Now imagine how that'll play out in conjunction with discussions of costs for end-of-life care. Grandma has a duty to die, before she wastes precious resources that could be used for more important stuff like sex-change operations and free birth control.
Sure sounds like a death panel to me.
The greatest wealth transfer ever enacted lives on. Chief Justice John Roberts, a traitor to the Constitution if there ever was one, redefined the English language.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld ObamaCare subsidies nationwide, in the second major court victory for President Obama on his signature health care law.
In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that subsidies are valid even in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.
Because "established by the states" actually means "established by the federal government." Really. That's the crux of his, ahem, reasoning.
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "The Act gives each State the opportunity to establish its own Exchange, but provides that the Federal Government will establish the Exchange if the State does not."
Also, Freedom is Slavery. War is Peace. And, Work Makes You Free.
Roberts tied himself in knots to uphold Obama's legacy, and it's Antonin Scalia's scathing dissent which should become our rallying cry for 2016.
"Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an 'Exchange established by the State.' This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere."
"We should just start calling this law SCOTUScare.""…the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites."
A "penalty" is a "tax," except when it's a "penalty" that some people won't actually have to pay. Whatever it takes to keep this abomination limping along, sucking the lifeblood out of the productive class.
So now, having decreed that Obama can force us to purchase a product, and that now and forever he can tax me to subsidize your purchase of it, what's to stop him from expanding the Obamacare model to other liberal shibboleths? Is "The Electric Car Affordability and Environmental Protection Act" beyond the realm of possibility? Imagine a world in which every American must purchase a Chevy Volt, and tax credits are available to ensure we all do our part to Save The Planet. Because that is the world John Roberts lives in.
Words no longer have meaning. Or rather, they mean whatever John Roberts says
they mean. In which case our republic is doomed.
Maybe we should rename it The Unaffordable Care Act. Because the claims experience data is in, the insurers have crunched the numbers, and your premiums are going to go through the roof next year.
Health insurers are proposing to raise Obamacare rates more than in the past — some by more than 70 percent — now that they are finally equipped with all the information they need to price those plans.
Plans wanting to raise rates by at least 10 percent next year posted the proposed increase online Monday, as required by the 2010 healthcare law. Insurers are allowed to raise rates each year, but they must publish significant increases ahead of time.
Insurers have sold plans in the law's new insurance marketplaces for two years in a row. But the difference in 2016 is that for the first time, they have a full year of claims data from enrollees that tells them how high or low to set the price tag.
While plans and rates vary by state, a look at rate increases published Monday on healthcare.gov shows many hovering around 10 to 30 percent in many states.
But there's also a sprinkling of even bigger hikes. Blue Cross wants to raise its most expensive "platinum" plan in Alabama by 71 percent next year. Aetna wants to charge 59 percent more for one of its small group plans in Virginia. Time Insurance Co. is proposing a 64 percent hike for an individual plan in Georgia.
Hey, didn't that Obama fellow promise us savings of $2,500 per year?
Why yes, yes he did. Numerous times, too.
The phrase "lying sack of shit" seems appropriate here.
Because it turns out the people signing up for Obamacare are older and sicker than the Obamabots said they'd be.
Until now, insurers have had to mostly guess at who would enroll in Obamacare plans. If the enrollees tended younger and healthier, they could price plans lower. But if they ended up being older and sicker, prices would need to be higher.
And with year two of Obamacare enrollment concluded, there are more older enrollees than younger ones. Almost half were older than age 44, according to final enrollment data from the Obama administration.
Experts are predicting rates will escalate faster next year than in the two years prior, as insurers take a close look at who is enrolling in Obamacare plans to get a good sense of the overall picture.
But wait, there's more. Bad news, that is. Remember all those mandates for "free" coverages? They cost money too.
The national group representing insurers quickly jumped to their defense Monday when asked about the big increases. Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for American's Health Insurance Plans, said there are many reasons for the increases — including taxes and fees and the fact that more insurers are phasing out plans that do not comply with Obamacare's rules.
"Premiums cannot be viewed in isolation," Krusing said. "It's critical to look at the individual market dynamics that impact how much consumers pay for their health care coverage and the factors, like provider consolidation and exploding prescription drug prices, that drive up premiums across the country."
So next year, when you can't afford your health insurance, be sure to thank a
Democrat. Because no matter how much you disliked the old system, nothing says
"you're gonna get screwed" quite like the government trying to make it "affordable."
The Hawaii Health Connector has prepared a contingency plan to shut down operations by Sept. 30 after lawmakers failed to pass legislation to keep the state's troubled Obamacare insurance exchange afloat.
"Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector's operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay," Connector officials said in a report released Friday to the nonprofit's board of directors.
The plan, obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, states the Connector will cease new enrollments Friday, discontinue outreach services May 31 and transfer its technology to the state by Sept. 30. The Connector's workforce will be completely eliminated by Feb. 28. The exchange has 32 employees, 29 temporary staff and 12 full-time contractors.
"Staff reductions will commence immediately, with the executive director (Jeff Kissel) exiting once the bulk of operational activities end," the report said. "If the state cannot facilitate an orderly transition, the Connector's operations will abruptly end, as the Connector does not have the resources to continue operations."
37,000 people will lose their health insurance, and have to scramble onto the federal exchange if they want coverage.
That's the same federal exchange, if you're keeping score at home, that's likely to be eviscerated by the Supreme Court next month. Oh, but HHS has a contingency plan for that too. Tell the states to set up their own exchanges!
The CEO of HealthCare.gov on Monday said states would not be able to immediately set up their own insurance marketplaces if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare this summer.
Kevin Counihan, the director of HealthCare.gov, told an audience at the National Health Insurance Exchange Summit that creating an exchange is a "very, very complex activity" that could not be achieved in just a few months.
"It would not be something that folks could do for this next open enrollment period," he said during a question-and-answer session, referring to the sign-up period that begins in November.
I don't think Hawaii is gonna be ready for that. Which ought to make things,
um, interesting for Dear Leader when he goes back there for another
Sooner or later, everyone will be dependent on the government.
At least that seems to be the trend.
Medicaid, the public health insurance program expanded under the Affordable Care Act, now covers nearly one out of every five New Jersey residents, according to the latest enrollment figures.
More than 420,000 people signed up for insurance since New Jersey allowed more people to into the program, according to Valerie Harr, director of the division of medical assistance and health services for the N.J. Department of Human Services.
About 80,000 of those people already qualified for the program under the old income guidelines - but didn't realize it until they attempted to enroll in Obamacare policies and found they were poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
All told, 1.7 million New Jersey residents will now have the bulk of their medical expenses covered by Medicaid.
Obamanomics — it's Trickle Up Poverty!
Of course, the Obamabots / Hillarians* consider putting 20 percent of New Jersey on the dole a success. Because they're not paying for it.
But, those of us who are still dumb enough to be working for a living?
*I am open to a better moniker for Hillary's Hypnotized Hordes. Hillaridiots? Hillunatics? Hillemmings? Hillbillies?
Five years since it was shoved down our throats in the dark of night, and despite all the debacles encountered along the way, Obamacare's supporters continue to insist it's "working." Their definition of "working" must be different from mine. Because even if it might have succeeded in forcing people to buy health insurance, those people can't find a doctor who'll take it.
The Affordable Care Act has provided a path for 420,500 low-income New Jersey residents to gain insurance through the Medicaid program, but a new study says the state ranks last in the nation in doctors willing to treat them.
Just 38.7 percent of New Jersey physicians said they accepted new Medicaid patients in 2013 — far below the national average of nearly 69 percent, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Jersey is the only state where fewer than half of the doctors accepted new Medicaid patients. California, at 54.2 percent is second-lowest in the nation.
New Jersey also ranked at the bottom in a 2011-12 survey of 8,158 physicians, when 46 percent of primary care doctors said they had planned to take on new Medicaid patients.
Can you guess why?
Obamacare is long on promises, and short on payments.
New Jersey's Medicaid physician reimbursement rates — among the lowest in the country despite the state's high cost of living — have long suppressed doctor participation in the program known as NJ FamilyCare.
Are you surprised by that? Of course you aren't.
Obamabots believe doctors should work for free.
Notice how they don't hold themselves to the same standard.
A report by NJ Advance Media in February detailed the problems people on Medicaid have finding a doctor who will see them. Making the situation even more challenging to patients, an investigation of the insurance company lists of participating providers revealed those lists to be inaccurate or out-of-date.
Bad info from the Obamacare website? Say it ain't so!
Of course it's so. The whole thing is a train wreck.
It's the illusion of health care.
The doctor won't see you now. So, don't get sick.
Can you believe it's been 5 long years since Obamacare went into effect?
Can you believe there are still deluded people out there who like Obamacare?
Not for long. The pain, it is coming.
Half of the households that received subsidies to help pay health insurance premiums last year under the Affordable Care Act will probably have to repay some of that money to the federal government, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Taxpayers generally receive subsidies in advance, with the amount based on their projected household income for the year the insurance policy will be in effect. But they must then reconcile the estimate with their actual income when filing federal taxes. Kaiser estimated that subsidy recipients who underestimated their incomes will owe $794 on average.
There goes your refund. Please make your check payable to
America Ready For Hillary and don't forget to mail it in by April
Speaking of pain, small business is bearing the brunt of Obamacare's onerous record-keeping requirements.
Complying with the health care law is costing small businesses thousands of dollars that they didn't have to spend before the new regulations went into effect.
Brad Mete estimates his staffing company, Affinity Resources, will spend $100,000 this year on record-keeping and filing documents with the government. He's hired two extra staffers and is spending more on services from its human resources provider.
The Affordable Care Act, which as of next Jan. 1 applies to all companies with 50 or more workers, requires owners to track staffers' hours, absences and how much they spend on health insurance. Many small businesses don't have the human resources departments or computer systems that large companies have, making it harder to handle the paperwork. On average, complying with the law costs small businesses more than $15,000 a year, according to a survey released a year ago by the National Business Association.
"It's a horrible hassle," says Mete, managing partner of the Miami-based company.
That's $15,000 the business can't spend on raises, or expansion, or supplies. It's wasted, a lost opportunity really, dragging our economy down.
But don't take my word for it. Listen to Senate Democrats.
A group of Democratic senators is urging the Obama administration to delay a key portion of Obamacare because the results could be "harmful and disruptive."
The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester and independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats.
"We are writing to share our concerns regarding scheduled changes to the definition of the small group market under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," the senators wrote in the letter, dated March 12.
"Under the law, employers with 51 to 100 employees will be included in the ACA's definition of small group market starting in 2016. Instead of providing stability, we believe expanding the definition will force those historically defined 'large group plans' into the 'small group market,' where they could experience higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage. We therefore encourage you to delay the effective date in the definition change for two years so the market can more smoothly transition to the new rules."
Wait, I thought Obamacare was working swimmingly and all the kinks were worked out! How can these senators say it causes "higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage?"
Because the small group marketplace (aka SHOP) still isn't built, that's why. It's 2 years behind schedule. And I'll know you'll find this hard to believe, but it's actually more of a trainwreck than the original Obamacare web site.
As a guy who's already stuck in the hell that is Obamacare's small business marketplace, let me tell you, it's worse than you can imagine. Choices? Yeah, we have "choices." Between Expensive, Ridiculously Expensive, and Donald Trump Couldn't Afford This Plan. We liked our insurance. We didn't get to keep our insurance. And our employees are not happy. Not one bit.
Just wait until thousands and thousands more hapless schmucks are subjected to the same fate. No wonder these senators are worried, people who are pissed off at Obamacare might not vote for HillBillary. They might even decide to put that Ted Cruz feller into the White House. And then where would progressivism be?
Obamacare, it's so great they have to force you to buy it, and then they have to
keep postponing the really scary parts so they can retain their hold on power.
No wonder it's so popular!
These clowns can't get anything right. Today's Obamacare debacle? 800,000 bogus tax forms.
The White House has some bad news for those ObamaCare-insured taxpayers who prepared for early tax filing — or actually had already filed. That form that they sent out about premiums and subsidies? More than ten percent of them turned out to be wrong, so … you'll have to either wait to calculate your taxes, or have a do-over.
They'll mail corrected forms "soon."
Hey, filing your taxes wasn't painful enough, right?
It's not just the federal exchange, either. The Covered California system issued 100,000 erroneous tax forms, too. The AP has no word on other state exchanges, but it's beginning to look like ObamaCare may snarl tax preparation for weeks.
But don't worry, your health care is in the very best of hands!
Really. You'd think Obama would take a few minutes from playing golf or apologizing to Muslims to make sure his signature legislation isn't screwing over the people he's claiming to help.
Meanwhile, HHS has Hillary's back — if a low-information voter has been living under a rock for the past 5 years she can still sign up for Obamacare even though enrollments are technically "closed" for 2015.
The Obama administration said it would allow people to sign up for plans on HealthCare.gov through April to avoid tax penalties for going uncovered in 2015.
The extension, which adds more than two months to the enrollment period for health coverage this year, was announced by Health and Human Services officials on Friday.
People who pay penalties for going uncovered in 2014 and are still uninsured will be allowed to visit HealthCare.gov until the end of April, said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS unit overseeing implementation of the law. They will be able to apply for coverage starting March 15 as long as they attest that they didn't learn about the health law's requirement to carry insurance or pay the fine when they filed their taxes. The site had closed Sunday for most users.
Democrats were in a panic that their voters would get socked with two tax penalties this year, and take it out on Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions in 2016.
Besides, deadlines are for suckers. Obama's minions just rewrite the law to suit their whims, because, uh, it's good to be king!
It's us peons who have to live with the fallout. Good thing I haven't filed
my taxes yet.
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.