Roll Tide

One might be forgiven for thinking health insurers are cracking under the strain of Obamacare’s broken insurance exchanges. But don’t be fooled: it is the 10 million Obamacare enrollees who are in trouble, not the insurers.

To be sure, new nonprofit cooperative insurers, set up with special subsidies to compete in the exchanges, have had a terrible run. They deliberately underpriced their premiums to gain market share, expecting the federal government to bail out their losses. Once the Republicans took over the House of Representatives, then the Senate, this became unlikely. As a result, the administration announced in November that 12 of 23 nonprofit cooperative insurers were shutting down.

However, these nonprofit cooperative insurers, which did not exist before Obamacare, are not important overall. That is why UnitedHealth Group’s November 19 announcement that it is losing $500 million on the Obamacare exchanges and might withdraw from Obamacare in 2017 is a big deal. Just a few weeks earlier, UnitedHealth Group had announced it would expand into 11 new states’ Obamacare markets.

The insurer is also dialing back advertising and brokers’ commissions for 2016, even though it is too late to withdraw from the market literally. (We are in the middle of Obamacare’s third open season.) However, it is the threat of absolute withdrawal in 2017 that has shocked many. By 2017, the fourth year of Obamacare, the market is supposed to have shaken out. Both insurers and Obamacare’s political sponsors understood that insurers would not know how expensive claims would be from those who signed up during the first three years. That is why insurers were given temporary taxpayer subsidies, called reinsurance and risk corridors, for 2014 through 2016. Reinsurance is a direct handout of $25 billion from taxpayers to insurers. Risk corridors were more complicated and supposed to be budget-neutral. Insurers that made more money than expected would pay money to those that lost more money than expected.

 

When it became clear that the losers far outnumbered the winners, the administration tried to raid the kitty to make risk-corridor payments from the general fund. By this time a new Congress (in which the majority opposed Obamacare) actually read the bill that its predecessor had passed in 2010 and pointed out that the administration could not pay out that money. As a result, Obamacare insurers will only receive $362 million of $2.9 billion of risk-corridor payments requested.

However, even if Congress did cave in and pay the risk corridors in full, payments would finish in 2016. That is what makes UnitedHealth Group’s announcement about dropping out in 2017 so important: it is effectively an admission that three years are not enough to learn how to manage risks in Obamacare’s exchanges. Indeed, it suggests that risks are unmanageable, that the vicious circle of increasing premiums’ driving healthy subscribers away and leaving only sick ones on the books cannot be stopped under Obamacare.

The exchanges have fewer victims than initially expected. The economy has been strong enough that employer-based coverage has stood up to Obamacare. As a result, only 10 million people are caught in them, instead of the 21 million forecast when the law was passed. However, this is a mixed blessing. These 10 million are a politically weak constituency of working-class and lower middle-class citizens in middle age — the people whose needs politicians always talk about but seldom address because they are not politically active.

The only group politically powerful enough to renegotiate the exchanges are the insurers, and they show no more creativity than to lobby for their subsidies to be restored, which this Congress has promised not to do. On the other hand, simply quitting the exchanges is not very painful for large health insurers. UnitedHealth Group’s stock took a small hit when it admitted its struggles, but Obamacare exchanges are a tiny share of its business. As more insurers make the same decision to quit, 10 million Obamacare subscribers will be left high and dry in short order. (DC)

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Bailout Time For Baby

The Greatest Socialist Baby, ObamaCare, needs a bailout diaper change because it’s overwhelming success in creating “better” and “more” Health Care for everyone has got some ‘wastage’ (aka poop) 🙂

When Obamacare was rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote way back in 2010, conservatives warned that the massive government program would ultimately require bailing out health insurance companies that gladly signed on.

Fast forward five years and it’s that time. Today on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are being pressured by the White House to provide money, or a bailout, to insurance companies losing money due to running government Obamacare exchanges. From The Hill

Republicans and Democrats are close to agreeing on delaying two major taxes, the “Cadillac tax” on high-benefit plans and the medical device tax.

But those proposals have run into opposition from the White House, which wants language fixing ObamaCare’s so-called risk corridors — a program intended to help insurance companies that take a financial hit by participating in government-run health exchanges.

That program is nearly out of money because of a policy rider sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on a year-end spending bill in 2014 that bars the Department of Health and Human Services from tapping into other accounts to fund it.

Rubio’s role has injected presidential politics into the debate, making it all but impossible for GOP leaders to agree to the White House’s demands.  

The talks appeared to hit a wall Monday when Republicans ruled out fixing the risk corridors, which they panned as a “bailout for insurance companies.”

“This is not on the table. Risk corridors is fully off the table,” said a Senate Republican leadership aide.

Despite the disagreement, Republicans are feeling optimistic they can get the healthcare pieces worked out.

Repealing the Cadillac tax, which hits the health plans of union members especially hard, is a priority of Reid’s and many Democrats.

But that was the “soak the rich” component of ObamaCare because only “rich”, well to do, greedy, people had those plans they said.They kneww they were lying but they didn’t care. The Agenda Uber Alles. It was a funding mechanism they used to sell the CBO (and thus con everyone else) on the BS that is ObamaCare.

My Blog Nearly 6 years ago (January 8th, 2010):

Those who think they’ll be exempt from the tax because their health care insurance isn’t one that Obama would define as a “super, gold-plated Cadillac” plan are kidding themselves. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Congressional Budget Office under George W. Bush, says 95% of Americans who are covered by plans that fit into the Cadillac category make less than $250,000 a year.

Even groups on the left get it. As Jim Kessler, vice president for policy for the progressive Third Way think tank, puts it: “A lot of those folks that have Cadillac plans have Chevy wages.”

Also don’t believe the claim that the tax will be on the insurance companies only. Sure, insurers will write the checks to Washington. But they’ll forward their costs to the customers, adding to a tax burden that’s already too punitive — and going to get worse.

“Passing the tax on to workers would result in an effective tax rate that is even higher than the specified 40%,” Curtis S. Dubay wrote in October in a Heritage Foundation WebMemo. “When the insurance companies embed the cost of the excise tax in premiums, the prices of plans will rise. A higher price means the excise tax would be higher, too.”

This would happen when the tax on a $10,000 individual plan adds $600 (40% of the $1,500 beyond the $8,500 threshold) to the cost, leaving a new premium of $10,600. The new cost will then be subject to the tax, boosting the premium another $840 (40% of the $2,100 over the $8,500 threshold). By now, that $10,000 plan is costing $11,440 a year.

“This cascading effect,” explains Dubay, “could raise the effective rate for the excise tax to 67% according to one estimate — considerably higher than the 40% specified in the bill.”

The problems don’t stop there. The growing premiums will drive many private employers that provide coverage for their workers to downgrade to cheaper insurance plans, which defeats the effort to improve health care.

A Liberal Democrat “soak the rich” scheme that blows up in their face and does the exact opposite. Nah, that never happened before…

See Alternative Minimum Tax 🙂

history2

The good news is, it looks like the Obamacare Cadillac tax will be repealed and insurance companies will have to take the hit they signed up for when they agreed to Obamacare years ago.

I’ll leave you with this, which explains why Democrats and Republicans are on board with repealing the Cadillac Tax.

They knew this 6 years ago, but THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA, after all. 🙂

Most Americans don’t know what their insurance plans are worth. They’re happy to let their employers pay the premiums for them and believe that the money isn’t coming out of their pockets.

Very true.

Very Very true.

I heard a woman say, “Well, I just got out of the hospital. It cost $150,000. And I paid nothing. It was wonderful”

She was complaining about a $42 State Mandated charge in her car insurance. Because “I’m poor you know”. “I’m on a fixed income” (aka I relied on Social Security to pay for my glorious retirement).

And now 6 years later with the economy in the crapper because of Liberals they do it EVEN MORE now than they use.

People may not know the value of ANY insurance, but politicians know the value of politics. 🙂

“These are plans,” says the St. Pete newspaper, “that generally have very low co-pays and lots of extras.”

Sound familiar? Then either be prepared to pay more, or be stuck with a brass-plated, Yugo plan that’s more affordable. And while learning to settle for less, don’t forget: This grand reform effort coming out of Washington is supposed to improve our health care.(IBD and my Blog- January 2010).

It’s Bailout time, and you get stuck with Government “improved” Health Care and The Check.

Congrats. It’s a Whopper (from your own Burger KING). 🙂

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Terror Speech, Rick McKee,The Augusta Chronicle,Obama, ISIS, terrorism, terror, San Bernardino

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 

 

Urging

Update: School admits they were hyper-stupid but only after the pressure got to be too much.

CNN: Amid a tidal wave of negative publicity, a Colorado school system has let a 6-year-old boy return to school and said it won’t classify his kissing a girl on the hand as sexual harassment.

The story of first-grader Hunter Yelton made national news and spurred outrage this week after word spread that his school near Colorado Springs suspended him for the kiss and accused him of sexually harassing the girl.

On Wednesday night, CNN affiliate KRDO reported that Canon City Schools Superintendent Robin Gooldy met with Hunter’s parents. The superintendent then changed Hunter’s disciplinary offense from “sexual harassment” to “misconduct.”

The boy has also returned to school at the Lincoln School of Science & Technology.

And wouldn’t you know, the ‘victim’s’  mother was a teacher at the school. 🙂

No word on the “Gateway” Sex Addict: The Hugger  in Atlanta though.

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Nearly two weeks after Obama promised the federal exchange website would be completely fixed, his top official tacitly admitted that nothing of the sort has happened.

On Thursday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced two new ObamaCare delays. One was to require insurers to accept payment through the end of this month for coverage starting in January.

The second — and more telling — delay gives those enrolled in the temporary ObamaCare “high risk” pools an extra month to sign up for coverage through one of the new exchanges.

The law set up these high-risk pools in states that didn’t already have them, as a way to provide insurance for people with huge health bills who couldn’t get coverage any other way.

But as of October, there were only 85,798 people enrolled in one of these plans. This means the administration can’t even guarantee that this tiny group will have its applications processed on time.

Sebelius also suggested that she might push back the enrollment deadline yet again, and then listed several things she’d like the insurance industry to do on her behalf.

First, she’s “urging” insurers to cover people who haven’t paid their first month’s premium on time — presumably because she knows that a non-payment disaster looms come Jan. 1.

Are they guys in Black Suits with the words IRS on the back? 🙂

Next, she’s “strongly encouraging” them to treat out-of-network providers as “in network” for emergency care — presumably to prevent some from losing their doctors after Obama promised this would never happen.

Sebelius is also “strongly encouraging” insurers to refill prescriptions covered under a previous plan, even if they aren’t covered on their new ObamaCare plans, for a month. Just how the industry is supposed to manage this is a mystery. But the implication is clear — millions will find themselves losing the drug coverage they had, thanks to ObamaCare.

OR ELSE!

The irony here is rich. The administration had nearly four years to set up the exchanges, write the rules, test the technology and tell the public what was going on, only to see it all crash and burn on the launchpad.

Now it’s giving insurance companies a matter of days to rewrite business plans, conjure up addendums, assume additional financial risk, all to mitigate the fallout of ObamaCare’s botched launch and to spare Obama further embarrassment.

Keep in mind that the industry is already in a mad scramble to repair the faulty enrollment data they keep getting from both the federal and state exchanges.

And Obama already asked them to figure out — in a matter of weeks — how to extend policies to millions of people whose plans they had to cancel because of ObamaCare. Not only that, but they’re supposed to send all these customers a note explaining what their coverage lacks compared with available ObamaCare plans.

The fact that the insurance industry isn’t in open revolt at the complete chaos ObamaCare has unleashed, to say nothing of Sebelius’ blatant last-minute attempts at intimidation, shows just how deeply it’s now wedded to the federal government.

Industry trade group head Karen Ignagni could muster only a gentle “Tsk, tsk” over the latest round of delays, saying “continued changes to the rules and guidance could exacerbate the challenges associated with helping consumers through the enrollment process.”

When Obama signed ObamaCare into law, he said: “It will take four years to implement fully many of these reforms, because we need to implement them responsibly. We need to get this right.”

Why should the country give him still more time to get it right? (IBD)

Because they are Liberals and they are never, ever wrong. No matter what. Just ask them…
And eventually, some day, when you have no other choice you will thank them for their generosity and love… 🙂

 

Do you want Fries with your McBribe?

Political Cartoon by Lisa Benson

I doubt the Ministry of Truth will be too happy to report this story.

Remember during the Health Care Debate this was ll about the poor, low wage person who had no health insurance and that the evil company they worked for had to be forced by the employer mandate to be “fair”??

“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government”-President Barack Obama

Remember the threats from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius to insurers to not blame ObamaCare for Rate increases?

Sept 30th, Wall Street Journal: McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.

Last week, a senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.

McDonald’s and trade groups say the percentage, called a medical loss ratio, is unrealistic for mini-med plans because of high administrative costs owing to frequent worker turnover, combined with relatively low spending on claims.

Democrats who drafted the health law wanted the requirement to prevent insurers from spending too much on executive salaries, marketing and other costs that they said don’t directly help patients. (Feel good economics :))

McDonald’s move is the latest indication of possible unintended consequences from the health overhaul. Dozens of companies have taken charges against earnings—totaling more than $1 billion—over a tax change in prescription-drug benefits for retirees.

So the evil corporate exploiter of low income people had insurance for it’s workers but said they were thinking of dropping it because ObamaCare was going to be too expensive.

The Obama Administration immediately jumped on it : The White House pushed back hard with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jessica Santillo claiming: “This story is wrong. The new law provides significant flexibility to maintain coverage for workers.”

Then was a rumor of a back room deal. The Obama Administration denied it.

Well, guess what…

The federal government has granted 30 companies and organizations one-year waivers to exempt them from one of the newly-implemented health care reforms.

Guess who’s one of them?  McDonalds. Gee, that only took a week!! 🙂

And it’s a one Year waiver, guess what next year is– Obama’s Re-Election campaign.

Anyone see more waivers and extension coming?? 🙂

I guess that was “fair”. Some workers are now more “fair” than others. 🙂

And after all, it was such a great plan to begin with. 🙂

Waiver list: http://www.hhs.gov/ociio/regulations/patient/appapps.html

The biggest single waiver, for 351,000 people, was for the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund, a New York union providing coverage for city teachers.

Gee, I thought they were Obama’s Apparatchiks. I guess they didn’t get their bailout money (or maybe they did but turned it around and feed the Democrats Re-election campaigns instead) :).

So Obama is kissing up to his Union apparatchiks AGAIN!

At least one was a Health Insurance Company: CIGNA.

The irony I’m sure is lost on the Ministry of Truth.

So how many more waivers are to come? Leaving guess who, to hold the bag?

YOU!!

Rejoice. That’s your Hope & Change for you. Aren’t you happy? 🙂

But what’s funnier is all that nashing of teeth and all that rhethoric for nearly two years about non-one losing coverages…

Without the waivers, companies would have had to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, increasing to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013, and unlimited coverage in 2014.

“The big political issue here is the president promised no one would lose the coverage they’ve got,” Robert Laszewski, chief executive officer of consulting company Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said by telephone. “Here we are a month before the election, and these companies represent 1 million people who would lose the coverage they’ve got.”(Bloomberg)

And the Spin:

“The waivers are about insuring people and protecting the coverage they have until there are better options available to them in 2014,” White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said today.

Meaning, we’ll cover we’ll exempt you from ObamaCare until 2014 when you’ll drop them anyhow and then the taxpayers will have to pay for them anyhow through the government run health care. Isn’t that peachy! 🙂

The bulk of the new health care reforms will go into effect in 2014. At that point, some large employers that drop coverage for their workers will be subject to a fee. Consumers will also have the option of using new state-based health care exchanges to access the individual health care market.

By 2014, insurers will be completely barred from limiting annual benefits. The new regulations are being phased in until then: companies without waivers will have to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, $1.25 million in coverage in 2012, and $2 million in 2013.

“HHS is to committed strengthening employer-based coverage for employees and retirees, while building a bridge to a new competitive marketplace in 2014,” HHS spokesperson Jessica Santillo said.

The waiver granted to the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund will have the biggest impact in terms of numbers, applying to 351,000 enrollees of the Fund’s supplemental insurance plan. McDonald’s insurance carrier, BCS Insurance, received a waiver to cover 115,000 enrollees.

Gibbs said today that the White House does not perceive the need to grant the waivers as a flaw of the new health care reforms.

“This is about implementing a bill correctly,” he said, to ensure that “as reform ramps up, we protect consumers and don’t put them at the mercy of health insurance companies.”

Gee, I thought that was what ObamaCare was supposed to do right out of the gate, not in 2014. 🙂

Oh, that’s right, you don’t want the young, poor, future socialist voters to get mad at you right now. Not to mention your Union apparatchiks.

So what if it’s a bribe. So what if it’s no longer “universal” and for “everyone”.

So now that  the “fair” playing field and “everyone” is covered is out the window.

You will be stuck with the check.

Doesn’t that just make you want to vote for the Democrats! 🙂

Political Cartoon by Chuck Asay

Sleep Tight. Don’t let the IRS bite. 🙂

Leg Breaking & Truthers

A Must See:  New Ray Stevens Song- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWpOcZVnBrc

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Mugshot

TIME FOR SOME LEG-BREAKING!

Katherine Sebelius, Health Czar (Health and Human Services Secretary) is going all Chicago Style:

“Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections. Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1 percent and 9 percent to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators,” reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In addition, a Mercer survey of employers found that 79 percent expect they will lose  their “grandfathered” status by 2014, and therefore will become subject to many more of Obamacare’s new mandates – a much higher figure than the administration  had estimated. Employers expect those additional mandates will increase premiums by 2.3 percent, on average, and boost the overall growth of premiums from 3.6 percent to 5.9 percent in 2011.

In response to the health insurers’ claims, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius fired off a letter to the head of the health insurance lobby. The news release on the HHS website makes her purpose plain:

“U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national association of health insurers, calling on their members to stop using scare tactics and misinformation to falsely blame premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius noted that the consumer protections and out-of-pocket savings provided for in the Affordable Care Act should result in a minimal impact on premiums for most Americans. Further, she reminded health plans that states have new resources under the Affordable Care Act to crack down on unjustified premium increases.”

In the letter, Mrs. Sebelius cites HHS’ internal analyses and those of Mercer and other groups to support her claim that Obamacare’s effect on premiums “will be minimal” – somewhere in the range of 1 percent to 2.3 percent, on average. Mrs. Sebelius tells insurers that she will show “zero tolerance” for insurers who “falsely” blame premium increases on Obamacare, and promises aggressive action against those who do:

“[We] will require state or federal review of all potentially unreasonable rate increases filed by health insurers. … We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014. Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.”

There’s word for this: It’s called extortion, folks. 😦

As defined: the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.

You either do it our way and do as we say and only do it our way and what we want you to do, regardless, or else we’ll boot you out of the market and you’ll go out business.

Which, by the way, was the plan all along. Leaving Big Brother and Mama Government as the sole choice.

But now you have the Chicago-Style Leg breakers threatening companies to play their game or else!

But don’t worry, We are from the Government and we are here to protect you!! 🙂

Here’s something elseto consider: Mrs. Sebelius threatened insurers for claiming Obamacare will increase premiums by as much as 9 percent. Yet there were no threats issued against the Rand Corporation when itestimated Obamacare will increase premiums for young adults by an average of 17 percent beginning in 2014, or against Milliman Inc. when itlikewise estimated premium increases of 10 percent to 30 percent for young adults. The reasons for the disparate treatment are fairly obvious. Mrs. Sebelius has less power over Rand or Milliman, and bullies always find it easier to pick on the unpopular kid. But an equally important implication is that Mrs. Sebelius knows that Obamacare’s largest premium increases are yet to come. Mrs. Sebelius may be intimidating insurers now to prevent them from blaming those much larger premium increases on Obamacare. (Washington Times)

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GROUND ZERO MOSQUE IMAM’s CLOSE ASSOCIATE IS A “TRUTHER”

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif has stepped in it again. But don’t expect the Ministry of Truth to tell you. They will vigorous ignore or try to discredit the following from the NY York Post.

A “Truther” by the way is an individual who has the utter irrational view that 19 High-jackers mostly from Saudi Arabia did not murder 3000 people on 9/11/01, the US Government- more specifically the newly elected George W Bush and CIA were behind it or it was Corporate America or some conspiracy of all of them. Name whatever the Left hates, they did it.

Not Islamic Terrorists.

I may be cynical, but not a complete nutjob. 🙂

Still, that didn’t stop Rauf from telling his high-brow audience that he wants to build a coalition of religious moderates, who he said must retake the debate from extremists of all religions.

Presumably, such a coalition would not include Rauf’s longtime associate, Faiz Khan — who touts “the inescapable fact that 9/11 was an inside job.”

By which, he told The Post’s Jennifer Gould Keil, he means he’s “certain” that “the towers of WTC 7 could not have collapsed without controlled demolition placed from the ‘inside.’ “

Now, Khan is not the only crackpot out there who’s convinced that “the quarter known as ‘militant Islam’ ” had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. (He maintains the World Trade Center was actually brought down by “corporate America” and “the heroin trade.”)

But he is the only one, that we’re aware of, who was a founding director of Imam Rauf’s American Society for the Advancement of Muslims — which, along with the Cordoba Institute, is spearheading the Ground Zero mosque.

Khan claims he severed his connection to ASMA in “2002 and 2003” — though he spoke at the group’s 2006 conference in Copenhagen, where he was described as a board member.

All of which raises yet more questions about the so-called moderate imam and the people around him.

If Rauf truly wants “the best possible outcome for all,” there’s only one solution — move the mosque.

But don’t worry, Just like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, where Obama was a parishioner for 20 years and never heard any of the Reverend fiery anti-american, anti-white rants this too will come to pass with the Imam’s friend. Despite him actually preaching at the Burlington Coat Factory mini-mosque that already exists on the site of the Ground Zero Mosque and they were board members together.

He’ll use the Sargent Schultz defense, “I know nothing!” and the liberal media will defend that to your death. 🙂

Media Matters, one of the co-founders of the Hunt down Tea Party Racism site has an exhaustive and vitriolic denial. That right there proves something to me. 🙂

So just get out a high-speed fan as the Liberals and their apparatchiks in the Liberal Media once again try and blow smoke up your ass! 🙂

The Law with Unintended Consequences

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.

“It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in F.E.H.B.P. may be able to retain this coverage,” the CRS wrote in a 8,100-word memorandum, the Times reports.

For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available. . . .

The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.

The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.

Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.

That means that congressmen and their staffers may be afoul of the law right now.

ObamaCare is proving to be even more of a shambles than critics had expected. Is this because the Democrats who currently run Congress are unusually incompetent? Tempting as it is to say yes, probably not. Put it down, instead, to hubris and haste. In their mad rush to outrun public opinion and impose “universal health care” on their unwilling constituents, Harry Pelosi, Nancy Reid & Co. simply didn’t bother paying attention to the details.

If CRS is right and congressmen and their staffers are now forbidden to be insured as federal employees, this may turn out to be ObamaCare’s fatal flaw. The Times observes that Congress “could try for a legislative fix,” and it quotes Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, as urging just that: “After the committee completed its work, the coverage provision was redrafted by others, and that’s where mistakes were made. Congress can and should act to correct the mistakes.”

Good luck with that, guys. Are congressmen really going to pass legislation to rectify the harm ObamaCare did to them,Yuval Levin points out: “If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging.” The CRS’s findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone. while continuing to subject everyone else to this awful, hated law? Leaving the law in place isn’t a politically attractive option either, for the reason National Review’s Yuval Levin points out: “If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging.” The CRS’s findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone.

The logic of the situation inexorably points toward repeal–though we expect President Obama and this Congress will defy logic as firmly and for as long as they can. (WSJ)

While ObamaCare is an abomination that will hurt future generations it would be fitting if Congress was hoist on their own petard.

But I suspect that once they determine if they are screwed or not rather than revisit the bill in an overhaul and draw lots of unwanted attention they’ll just sneak it into a bill later on in the dead of night.

That would be the modis operandi of this Congress. Do it in secret, in a back room, without anyone knowing until it was too late to doanything about what you cooked up.

And if they do find out, Lie, Obfuscate, and attack.

I’m sure we have years and years of surprise and new horrors ahead of us.

This from the Toronto Star is just Curious:

Proof of medical coverage will become mandatory for all visitors to Cuba starting May 1.

The Cuba Tourist Bureau in Canada notified tour operators recently, and promises a general announcement with more details shortly.

So how long before ObamaCare follows suit, after all Cuba has a great medical system according to the Far Left who are in love with it. See “Sicko” by Michael “I by My own press” Moore.

At current exchange rates, Cubalinda will charge $2.70. a day for up to $7,558 of medical emergency insurance, plus assorted other types of coverage. It will charge about $3.24 a day for $27,000 of medical coverage and $7,558 for transportation of deceased, injured or sick persons.

That compares with as little as $1.81 a day or a minimum of $16 a week for a young Canadian to get $5 million of medical coverage from a Canadian insurer, says Aguirre. Meanwhile, a reasonably healthy senior, age 70 to 74, would pay $6.36 a day for a short trip to a non-U.S. destination, says Cappon.

Aguirre’s company’s president, Robin Ingle, concedes the skimpy Cuban policies would provide enough coverage for the vast majority of illnesses or injuries travelers might experience in Cuba.

“The Cubalinda.com website says ‘the insurer will not assume payment for treatment of pre-existing medical condition (sic), known or unknown to the insured person’.”

You could pay the modest premium and discover later you have no coverage when you need it.

So proceed with caution. Don’t leave home without adequate coverage.

Where’s Karl Malden when you need him??

And a Preview of Things to Come

A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise their premiums 8 to 32 percent in a closely watched case.

Massachusetts enacted a universal health care plan in 2006 that includes politically controversial measures such as the individual mandate requiring all adults to purchase insurance. With opponents of the national health care legislation passed weeks ago promising legal action, the Massachusetts case was seen a foretaste of what could lie ahead.

In this instance, the court affirmed that, for now at least, the state has the authority to oversee the industry.

The challenge arose from a bid by health insurance providers in Massachusetts several weeks ago to raise their premiums. Massachusetts Insurance commissioner Joseph Murphy called the increases “excessive,” noting that the medical consumer price index – an indicator of how much medical goods and services cost – projected a necessary increase of only 5 percent. Mr. Murphy rejected 235 of 274 proposed rate hikes.

Six insurance companies sued, arguing the state does not have the regulatory authority to cap premiums. They said they would lose $100 million without the premium increase, plus even more in the administrative costs of having to redesign their plans.

In addition to the suit, the insurance companies filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from regulating their premium increases until the case is decided. They also asked for an expedited trial.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel denied the request to expedite the trial and the injunction. He said that until the health insurance companies exhausted all available administrative remedies within the state Department of Insurance, the court had no jurisdiction. Only then could the insurance companies move through the normal legal process, he said.

He added that he wanted to avoid “stepping in the [insurance] commissioner’s shoes” and revising the regulations temporarily until the later court date.

Furthermore, the regulations did not cause “irreparable harm” because lost profits could later be recouped, Judge Neel said.

Recouped how?

Don’t worry, the Government is here to save you from evil capitalists! 😦

Chicxulub II

Americans & Democracy are being systemically exterminated.

“There ain’t no rules here, we’re trying to accomplish  something. . .  .All this talk about rules. . . When the deal goes down . . . we make  ’em up as we go along.”—Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.)

Let me remind you this [Americans allegedly dying because of lack of universal health care] has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.–Rep Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)

WASHINGTON – House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced bills in both chambers of Congress today that will restore voting rights to millions of American citizens with past felony convictions. An estimated 5.3 million citizens cannot vote as a result of felony convictions, and nearly 4 million of those individuals are living and working in their communities. The Democracy Restoration Act of 2009 is a welcome measure that will establish a uniform standard restoring voting rights in federal elections to millions of Americans who are not incarcerated, but continue to be denied their ability to fully participate in civic life.(ACLU)

And it’s a fact that Democrats traditionally get the majority of the “Felon Vote”.

So add the Felons to the Amnesty Illegals and you have as many as 25 million new Democrats who can be herded to the polls and informed to vote for the people who will kiss their buts.

And in the gerrymandering of the Census  (after it is being run by the White House and not the Treasury Dept) for the 2012 election cycle.

You get some real Chicago Politics.

Now we just need the Dead voting for Democrats.

President Obama said his bill will end some of the worst practices by insurance companies, provide the same health care coverage that Congress receives to the uninsured and small businesses, and will decrease health care costs. (Crains)

Problem: There is a provision in the bill to exempt members of congress from the regulations in the bill. What is more under this bill if you don’t have a “qualified plan” you will be fined for several thousand dollars. The other problem in the quote, “nothing changes for you”…that is, unless the plan you currently have doesn’t qualify on the government’s list of what is acceptable. If it doesn’t qualify you will be fined and given a plan of their choice. Ouch!

“Most of the major public policy changes embodied in the health care reform legislation will become effective only after the next presidential election in 2012,” said Maury Harris, an economist with UBS AG, said in a research report.

Gee, I wonder why… 😦

Insurers also will have to reveal how much of members’ premiums they spend on medical care, as opposed to executive salaries or other administrative costs. Next year, they’ll owe a rebate to customers if the insurers spend less than 80 percent on benefits for people in individual or small-group plans. (Bloomberg).

NYT: There will also be limits on overhead and profit. Insurers will be required to spend between 80 cents and 85 cents of every premium dollar on health care. They have been paying about 74 cents on average.

So You have a business that is required to spend 80-85% of their money on expenses and cover millions of new people and high-risk people that they previous didn’t and children they previously didn’t.

Some of them have to be covered for little or for free on preventative care, like colonoscopy’s and mammograms.

And forget things like employee expenses and business expenses.

Sounds like a sustainable business to me, doesn’t it. 😦

But then again, that was the plan.

Private Health Insurance was just hit with it’s own Chicxulub Meteor (the one that killed off the Dinosaurs) and will be extinct in 5 years or less I’d bet.

Leaving, guess who to step in and save the day!!! 😦

Mind you, a lot of this is based on Medicare and Medicaid, that are almost bankrupt and will have $500 Billion dollars in cuts (at least that’s what is supposed to happen, what are the chances it won’t happen).

The Cuts are most in Medicare Advantage, because AARP’s insurance arm has a higher cost alternative plan that will not be targeted.

Gee, I wonder why AARP supported the bill. 😦

So the idea that premiums will go down is fantasy.

And then there’s your friendly IRS agent. ALL 16,000 new ones to be Health Care Enforcement.

HR 4872 (The Reconciliation bill), Heritage reports, would “force companies to pay a tax penalty if that business employs 50 or more workers as soon as one worker qualifies for, and opts to accept, a health insurance premium subsidy.”

That $3,000 penalty is on top of the $2,000-per-worker penalty for all workers beyond the first 30 for such companies not offering a “qualified” health plan or paying 60% of employee health premiums. Such companies would be faced with a $3,000 penalty for hiring a single parent, the very kind of person desperately in need of employment.
Here’s where it gets even more bizarre. According to Heritage, under the reconciliation bill, if Company A lays off an employee with a working spouse, this could generate a $3,000 tax penalty for the other spouse’s employer, unless Company B also lays off the other spouse.

We’re not making this up. This byzantine legislation is a job-killer that will destroy small business, the major creator of new jobs. Some 77,000 businesses in the U.S. have 50 to 200 workers that could face the $2,000-per-employee tax penalty. An additional 116,000 businesses have 35 to 49 workers.

This nonsense will stunt economic growth and worsen the economic downturn by actually providing financial incentives to not hire people. It’s not worth the trouble. Businesses that might have expanded will stop at 49 employees. Those already considered a “large” business will face a minefield of taxes and penalties due in some cases to events beyond their control.

The power to tax is indeed the power to destroy. As we have said, this is not about health care. This is about power and the redistribution of wealth. And the IRS will be making a list and checking it twice to see who’s being naughty and who’s being nice.

And this you add this ditty:  In a joint statement to Congress, the president’s top economic advisers hedged against expectations of lower unemployment this year, saying the jobless rate — still hovering around 10% — will “remain elevated for an extended period.” “We do not expect further declines in unemployment this year,” the White House budget director, top economist and Treasury secretary testified.(IBD)

But at least they’ll have Government Health Care, in the future, that’s what’s really important. 🙂

And so, for Obama and The Democrats, it’s on to the next target.

They have to cram as much of this in this year as they can, so if they lose in November, they still win in the long term.

Amnesty, Financial “reform”, Global Warming, The EPA…

So much to control, so little time.

The Acid Rain and aftershocks  from the 21st century Chicxulub Meteor are now upon us.

And all we can do is our best.

It’s all we have left.