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TrumpRyanRinoCare was doomed from the get-go.
We didn't elect these clowns so they could enact Obamacare Lite.
And we surely didn't expect "repeal" would turn out to be "keep all the bad stuff."
So as you all know by now, Paul Ryan pulled his American Health Care Act before it could go down in flames in the House.
The Democrats, and their media allies, would have you believe this was a defeat for "repeal" and a victory for Obamacare.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The House Freedom Caucus torpedoed the bill, and I assure you, they are no fans of Obamacare.
They killed it because it did not do the one thing we elected a GOP House, a GOP Senate, and a GOP president to do — repeal Obamacare, all of Obamacare.
They know how to do that, of course, They did it last year. The GOP House and the GOP Senate passed a clean Obamacare repeal bill, which was promptly vetoed by then-president Obama.
One has to wonder where their courage went.
Or was the clean repeal bill just for show?
Because the easiest way to fulfill Donald Trump's campaign promise is to simply pass that bill again.
In addition to repealing Obamacare the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Act of 2015 defunded the charnal houses of Planned Parenthood. That's what I call a win-win piece of legislation.
But with a Republican in the White House the House GOP got cold feet.
So they crafted a version of Obamacare Lite, less satisfying, but with the same onerous provisions.
Slacker millenials can keep their parents' insurance? Why? Don't mandate it; don't ban it either. That way mom and dad can keep little Poindexter on their insurance until he's 65 if they want, and they're willing to pay for it. But the rest of us who actually understand responsibility aren't subsidizing his social disease lab tests.
Pre-existing conditions? Listen up, that's called "pay my bills." Look, I get it, sick people don't want to go broke. But sorry if I sound harsh, that's not my problem. Sure the truly sick need a safety net, and why not model it on the national flood insurance program instead of sticking you and me with the bill?
In fact, deregulate all health insurance. Set it up on the catastrophic care model — you pay for the routine stuff and the insurance kicks in when the bills get out of hand. That's how car insurance works; the insurance company doesn't pay for your gas and oil changes. So why should your health insurance pay when your kid has a cold?
A health care system where people pay their own damned bills is a health care system that will constrain costs. Doctors and hospitals and labs that charge "too much" will go out of business. We shop around for food and phone service and clothing and entertainment, but we don't even stop to consider the cost when we visit a doctor or pick up a prescription. Why?
Since I was knee-high to a grasshopper I've heard Republican politicians tout the need for Association Health Plans and selling insurance across state lines. Then there's tort reform, so the next John Edwards can't get rich exploiting vulnerable women. Why didn't RyanCare incorporate those features?
Beats me. But my guess is his donors didn't like the sound of Freedom.
Fox News posted that Donald Trump is "open" to a new health care bill. Here's my advice.
Repeal Obamacare. All of Obamacare.
Then craft a replacement that emphasizes Freedom.
Freedom to choose our doctors.
Freedom to choose the coverages we want. No mandates.
Freedom to pay cash if we desire to forego health insurance.
Freedom to determine our own destiny.
Freedom to fail, if that's what we chose to do. Because the Constitution wasn't designed to save us from ourselves.
Remember, the Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness; not actual happiness. That's up to you.
And I must say, a health care system that is built upon the idea of personal
responsibility is a health care system that is sustainable, affordable, and
Has anyone seen free market health care reform? I seem to recall a certain political party promising free market health care reform if Donald Trump won the presidency.
Instead they delivered Obamacare Lite.
So let's get right into the objections.
Refundable tax credits are just subsidies by another name. Replacing one entitlement with another is not my definition of "reform."
Paul Ryan is touting his Medicaid cuts, but what he isn't telling you is that he's replacing them with a $100 Billion dollar slush fund for "high risk" state by state insurance pools. Meh. That's a lot of cash that'll be easy pickings for sticky-fingered bureaucrats. And it's not "saving" us anything.
But I could probably live with this plan if that's all it does in "repealing" Obamacare. Alas, the GOP definition of "repeal" must be different from mine, because they're retaining 3 of Obamacare's core provisions.
Lazy slackers will still get to sponge off their parents' insurance up through age 26. Sheesh, by age 26 I owned my first house and wouldn't have dreamed of saddling my parents with my bills. Why are today's twenty-somethings different?
And speaking of saddling someone else with your bills, the ridiculous pre-existing condition mandate remains in force. Look, for the 127,415th time, "insurance" for pre-existing conditions is merely a way for forcing me into paying your bills. When you have a pre-existing condition your costs are known, but Obamacare lite refuses to price your plan accordingly.
Now Paul Ryan et al do make one sop to reality here, if you have a pre-existing condition they require you to maintain continuous coverage or pay a 30% penalty. Which is good as far as it goes, but it still means you're rated as if you're not already sick when you're up for renewal. No actuary in his right mind would sign off on that.
Lastly, and most worrisome, Obamacare Lite preserves the ten minimum essential benefits mandate at the heart of Obamacare's escalating cost structure. So no, we can't choose the plan that's right for us, because every plan will still be required to cover "free" mammograms and birth control, pediatric dental (essential for a 59 year old guy like me!), and a laundry list of feel-good "preventative" services like diet counseling and anti-smoking incentives.
So much for being able to once again purchase a catastrophic care plan and self-insure for the routine stuff.
For that matter Obamacare Lite leaves out all the free-market reforms Republicans have said they wanted. Insurance still won't be sold across state lines, preserving 51 petty fiefdoms and forcing insurers to create a multitude of similar yet distinct plans. There are no association health plans either, which is yet another way for individuals to band together and reduce costs. And nowhere in this bill is any mention of tort reform.
Frankly I don't see this plan reducing my costs at all. It's essentially a full surrender to the forces of permanent liberalism.
I've already shared my skepticism that the bill, which doesn't actually start repealing the major spending provisions of Obamacare until the 2020 presidential election, would actually end up repealing much in practice. But for the sake of argument, let's just assume the plan gets implemented exactly as written.
Supporters of the bill could argue that it does make changes to Obamacare — repealing taxes, reducing spending, and scaling back some mandates and regulations. There are even a few areas in which one could argue the bill moves health policy in a more conservative direction relative to the pre-Obamacare status quo. It provides for expanded health savings accounts and, though it would spend more money than otherwise would have been the case before Obamacare, it would overhaul Medicaid into a program in which states are given a per capita grant and provided the flexibility to run their own programs.
But at the same time, the GOP bill preserves much of the regulatory structure of Obamacare; leaves the bias in favor of employer healthcare largely intact; replaces Obamacare's subsidies with a different subsidy scheme; and still supports higher spending for Medicaid relative to what was the case before Obamacare.
Big Government Republicans are just as execrable as Big Government Democrats. And what we have here is a product of Big Government Republicans.
We can do better.
We must do better.
Repeal Obamacare, in its entirety.
Then, open health care to the free market. Stop treating health insurance
as if it's health care. Trust people to decide what services and
benefits they want to pay for. Free doctors from reams of regulations and
let them practice medicine. It's easy if you try.
Thanks to a recent Executive Order from President Trump the Obamacare individual mandate is no longer mandatory.
Following President Donald Trump's executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement.
The health law's individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a "shared responsibility payment." The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.
For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled "silent returns" and rejected.
Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.
Yowza! The individual mandate is dead! And with it, the funding "glue" that John Roberts decided was necessary to hold Obamacare together is gone, perhaps for good.
And if this news isn't enough to bury Obamacare, how about one of the nation's largest insurers pulling the plug on the exchanges?
While Republicans continue to grapple with plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and stabilize health insurance rates, Humana is the first major insurer to say it is dropping out of the individual market for 2018.
"Based on our initial analysis of data associated with the company's health-care exchange membership following the 2017 open enrollment period, we continue to see further signs of an unbalanced risk pool," said Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, on a conference call with analysts Tuesday. "Therefore, the company has decided that it cannot continue to offer this coverage for 2018."
Translation — we're losing too much money on old, sick people. Which is what everyone with a brain said would happen when Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi foisted this debacle onto us.
Did they listen? No. And so here we are, in the final stages of Obamacare's death spiral.
All we need to do now is wait, and get ready for
the GOP replacement, coming soon to a congressional committee hearing room
As you head to the polls on November 8th bring along your health insurance bill as a reminder of what's at stake. Can you afford 4 more years of double digit premium increases?
Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama's health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday.
Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.
Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will have plans only from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.
"Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period," said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
Liberal apologists are quick to blame "greedy insurance companies."
Except it's not "greedy insurance companies" who mandated expensive comprehensive health insurance plans covering all manner of "free" services.
And it's not "greedy insurance companies" who required the plans to take on all comers and charge them the same price regardless of risk of illness or pre-existing conditions.
Nope, that was President Barack The Magnificent, who's a firm believer in the Government Knows Best school of human interaction. According to him, the only choices we're allowed to make are choices he's pre-selected for us.
To which the "greedy insurance companies" responded, "No thanks."
Dwindling choice is another issue.
The total number of HealthCare.gov insurers will drop from 232 this year to 167 in 2017, a loss of 28 percent. (Insurers are counted multiple times if they offer coverage in more than one state. So Aetna, for example, would count once in each state that it participated in.)
Switching insurers may not be simple for patients with chronic conditions.
While many carriers are offering a choice of plan designs, most use a single prescription formulary and physician network across all their products, explained Pearson. "So, enrollees may need to change doctors or drugs when they switch insurers," she said.
If you like your doctor you can't keep your doctor.
If you like your life-saving medication you probably can't keep them either.
Adding to the pain, employer-sponsored plans will likely see very similar premium increases and reductions in choices because they're required to offer the same comprehensive coverages as the marketplace plans.
There really isn't anything surprising, though, about Obamacare's latest woes. They were widely predicted. Obamacare was ill-conceived — so ill-conceived that some suggest it was designed to fail and be replaced with a single-payer style system.
If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until Hillary makes it "free."
Obamacare's passage is an object lesson in what happens when Democrats control the White House and the Congress. The latest news should help drive that lesson home just in time for the election.
Yup. Just say "No" to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Vote Donald Trump for
President! Because he'll repeal Obamacare on day one, and save us money.
The Clintons don't do anything by accident. So when everyone started hyperventilating because Bill Clinton was trashing Obamacare, I knew I needed to sit back and wait for the other shoe to drop.
I didn't have to wait long.
Right on cue, uber-liberal NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) introduced the "New Jersey Public Option Health Care Act."
And Bill himself "pitched a new system that would allow people to buy into Medicare or Medicaid," while calling for "a government-run 'public option,' describing it as 'the change we need' to help working class people who aren't covered."
Because what's better than a botched government takeover of health insurance companies?
A government takeover of all health care!
Doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, drug companies — they'll all fall under the umbrella of the omnipotent State. And promptly become as screwed up as the health insurance marketplaces are now. But that's not important.
What's important (h/t Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll on Facebook) is getting 51% of the people to vote for Hillary Clinton by promising that the other 49% will pay for their every whim.
And face it, universal Single Payer health care is the liberal holy grail.
With it they can enslave the population until the end of time.
Nevermind that truly successful government programs are few and far between.
Nevermind that of the three current government health care systems, the VA is an unmitigated disaster, Medicaid is rampant with fraud, and Medicare is woefully underfunded.
Hillarycare will be the bees knees. Honest!
Don't be fooled. Government health care will promote neither health nor care. It will provide lifetime sinecures for bureaucrats, and offer up unprecedented opportunities for graft, but as for helping the average American, well, that's gonna have to wait for the next Five Year Plan. Or maybe the one after that.
There's a reason no one from the U.S. travels to Canada (or Cuba or England or Sweden) for health care. Socialized medicine sucks. The lines are long. The care is subpar. The horror stories are legion. Venezuela is the model.
The only truly meaningful reform will come about via the free market. Remove the government from the equation entirely. Eliminate costly mandates, and let people buy the coverage they alone decide that they need. Institute pricing transparency, so that doctors and hospitals post their rates for all to see, and consumers can comparison shop. Free insurance companies from the artificial boundaries of state lines and allow us to purchase health care coverage from anyone willing to sell it to us. Expand the role of Health Savings Accounts to enable more of us to prepare for unexpected expenses.
Then watch prices drop as care improves.
That's how to reform Obamacare, no matter what Bill and Hillary might want
you to believe.
New Jersey's Obamacare co-op is down and out.
Faced with "a deteriorating financial condition," another health insurance carrier is pulling out of New Jersey's health exchange marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, forcing 35,000 policy holders to find a new plan in 2017, the state's top insurance official announced Monday night.
Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey will serve customers through the end of the year, state Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Richard Badolato said.
The state is working out a "rehabilitation" plan that preserves the carrier's financial assets so medical providers will be reimbursed for the care they provide consumers for the remainder of the year, Badolato said in a statement late Monday.
"Rehabilitation plan" is regulator-speak for bankruptcy, although they're desparately pretending that everything is going to be OK, sometime in 2018, maybe. In the meantime they're taking a break.
Because no matter how you phrase it, New Jersey's Obamacare co-op is broke.
Health Republic got its start with $107 million loan through the landmark health care law, in an effort to create competition. But more than half of the nonprofit co-ops (or consumer-operated and oriented programs) have folded, crippled by higher than anticipated expenses and the financial requirements of the federal law.
Health Republic owes $46.3 million under the risk adjustment program tied to the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers which enroll healthier and less costly enrollees to contribute to a fund that would bail out plans serving a larger share of sicker and most expensive patients.
The words you're searching for are "adverse selection."
Sicker people, higher costs, expanded mandates, fewer choices. And as you'll recall, Aetna, Oscar, and UnitedHealthcare have also bailed on NJ.
So now there are only 2 insurers left in our Obamacare exchange: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AmeriHealth of New Jersey. Neither are known for their low rates.
The marketplaces which were supposed to open up competition have instead driven away most of the competitors. Which must mean Obamacare is "working," or something.
The "something" being, of course, the inexorable march to Single Payer Nirvanna, where the costs can really rack up and the opportunities for graft are endless. Quality of care will go down the tubes (just look at the VA, which is as close to Single Payer as we've got) but that just means the rubes will die off faster. So long as the bureaucrats get paid and the expense checks for their junkets keep rolling in our Single Payer future will be touted as rosier than a Bernie voter's glasses.
Want a good health plan? Take my advice. Don't get sick.
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.