Epic Fail

With major insurers poised to pull out of the exchanges, out-of-pocket costs soaring, premiums rising across the board, the overall healthcare cost curve rising, and access to care constricting for millions, defenders of the unpopular Obamacare program have been clinging to the thin reed that the new law has at least provided coverage to millions of Americans. This is a weak argument, for two reasons: (1) The “Affordable” Care Act, by definition, emphasized affordability. The sales pitch was that the legislation would lower rates, improve care, and insure tens of millions — while reducing costs overall, and allowing anyone who was happy with their existing arrangement to keep it. A no-loss proposition. This was pure, dishonest fantasy, of course; the American people smelled a rat from the beginning, which is why disapproval of Obamacare has significantly outpaced approval ever since it was introduced in 2009. (2) Celebrating the fact that millions of people have signed up for coverage for which they are legally obligated to sign up isn’t exactly an achievement, especially when one considers how many people have run the math and chosen to pay for the privilege of remaining uninsured because they can’t afford the “Affordable” Care Act.  And when one considers how many of the “new” enrollees previously had insurance.  But even on the sign-ups metric, the law is failing, and failing badly. Decline:

ObamaCare will enroll significantly fewer people than expected in 2016, ending the year with about 13 million customers, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday. The figure, which was included in an expansive budget report, is a decline of about 40 percent from last year’s enrollment prediction of about 20 million people. The latest projections confirm the Obama administration’s previous assessment that fewer people are signing up as the marketplace closes in on its third enrollment season — the final one under President Obama.


The New York Times also notes the dramatic downgrade, speculating that future projections are also likely to be slashed:

When the Affordable Care Act was drafted, the Congressional Budget Office expected people to sign up quickly for new health insurance. Now, two years into the law, it’s clear that progress is going to be slower. The Obama administration acknowledged as much in late 2014, and again in October, when it presented its own modest predictions. Monday, the budget office also agreed, slashing its 2016 estimate by close to 40 percent…It has proved harder to spread the word about new health insurance, and harder yet to persuade people to shell out money for new health insurance they hadn’t had in their household budgets… The budget office’s estimates for future years won’t be released until March, but it seems reasonable to assume they will also come down.


The Times story tries to salvage some good news from this disaster, desperately editorializing that this exodus “is not a sign that the health law is failing.” As evidence for this sweeping generalization that fails to adhere to most of the data, the “news” report cites sign-ups under the law’s Medicaid expansion program — which is already straining state budgets, redirecting precious resources from the truly indigent, and failing to produce superior health outcomes for its enrollees compared to uninsured people.  Republicans in the House and Senate recently passed a bill repealing almost all of Obamacare, which was immediately vetoed by the president. And as she attacks Bernie Sanders over the massive expense of socialized healthcare, Hillary Clinton stubbornly insists that the new law has been a success, vowing to pour more taxpayer money into itIowa’s CoOportunity Health, the second largest CO-OP in the nation, was shut down by the state’s insurance commissioner in January 2015 after losing $45.7 million in the previous 10 months.

(CNSNews.com) – Despite guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last year that allowed Obamacare Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) to use “creative” accounting and record “loans as assets in their financial filings,” “CO-OPs are failing left and right,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said during a hearing Thursday.

Last year, more than half of the 23 non-profit CO-OPs set up under the Affordable Care Act as an alternative to for-profit insurers were closed by state regulators after they failed to take in enough premiums to cover their costs.

“Of the 11 CO-OPs still in operation, there is reason to call their long-term financial viability into question. All but two of them are losing money,” Hatch pointed out during the hearing. “Not a single one of them had an underwriting gain through the third quarter of 2015.

“And as CO-OPs generally continue moving into weaker financial conditions, several show signs of running out of money this year,” Hatch said.

CMS has actually encouraged the CO-OPs to cook their books with some creative accounting. Last year, the agency issued guidance allowing CO-OPs to apply surplus notes to program start-up loans, which essentially allowed the CO-OPs to record loans as assets in their financial filings,” he continued.

“Taxpayers have been forced to foot the bill for the CO-OP experiment, to the tune of $2.4 billion in federal loans for 23 CO-OPs around the country.  And, to date, more than half of the CO-OPs have failed, while the vast majority of the others are in poor financial shape.

“As a result, hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost or will lose their health insurance and taxpayers are still on the hook,” Hatch added.

But acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt assured the committee that the remaining CO-OPs “have every opportunity to be successful long-term market participants.”

“For the CO-OPs that are closing, we are working closely with the CO-OP and state regulators to facilitate a smooth transition for consumers to retain access to coverage and ensure providers are reimbursed for covered services rendered to CO-OP enrollees. Affected CO-OP enrollees have access to a special enrollment period, and are able to shop for 2016 coverage on the Marketplace until February 28, 2016,” Slavitt told committee members.

A July 2015 report by the inspector general of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services stated that “member enrollment for 13 of the 23 CO-OPs that provided health insurance in 2014 was considerably lower than the CO-OPs’ initial projections and 21 of the 23 CO-OPs had incurred net losses as of December 31, 2014.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) noted that CoOportunity Health, the first CO-OP to go out of business – leaving 120,000 people “scrambling for health insurance” – was in his home state of Iowa. If the second largest CO-OP in the country failed, Grassley asked Slavitt, how could CMS be sure that smaller CO-OPs would not face a similar fate?

“One of the things we learned there was how quickly things can happen, and how quickly things can deteriorate,” Slavitt replied, noting that the regulatory agency has learned valuable lessons from the failed CO-OPs.

“The reason that there were so many CO-OPs that closed last year was that we worked very aggressively with the departments of insurance to make a full-on, 12-month assessment, and even those that seemed like they were in pretty good shape at the time didn’t have the wherewithal to last through the end of the year,” he said. (CNS and townhall))

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

The Best and Worst of 2015

Derek Hunter: As far as years go, 2015 certainly was one of them. The news was not wanting for content, and we columnists were not wanting for material. It was a year of tragedies and triumphs bookended by terrorist attacks in Paris. A reality TV star became the leading candidate of a major political party, “Star Wars” returned, and I got married. Yep, 2015 was quite a year.

I had a health scare that resulted in a pacemaker and a different view on mortality just months after my Dad died.

Not the best of times by far.

Politics:

The Best

Donald Trump. For all his problems, and they are legion, and the bluster, and it is constant, he’s done more than anyone in recent years to get people to pay attention to politics and just how corrupt the media and the Democrats have become. He’s been battering the media since the start, slamming his opponents since and changing how politics is done.

While, I’m still not a full on Trump guy I do like that he makes the Left and the RINOs crazy and just doesn’t give a damn. That really shakes them up.

Trump has been holding a clinic on how to run against Democrats and the media since his announcement. Aside from momentary flashes, none of the rest of the field appears to have learned a thing.

Because they are all stuck in their ways. They can’t see doing it any other way. Especially, Democrats, they have one playbook and they go to it every nanosecond of every day.

Expect all out nuclear war again on the Republicans. No atom will be lest un-nuked, no ethic or moral will not be cr0ssed in the quest for the Coronation of King Barack’s successor Queen Hillary.

The Republican RINOs are just plain lost.

If Trump is the nominee, Democrats may well win, but they will have been so battered and bruised they’d be hard-pressed to govern with any effectiveness. If he isn’t the nominee, whoever is will have learned how to be locked in a box with a rabid spider monkey and survive. The eventual nominee, whoever it ends up being, will be a much more devastating candidate thanks to Trump’s entry into the race.

The Media is still setting up the Coronation of Queen Hillary I like they have for 4 years now. I doubt they are going to change.

But maybe, just maybe, the sleeping stupid will recognize it for what it is.

That,and just maybe, the Republicans will actually run a campaign to WIN this time. Maybe.

 

The Worst

As awful as she is, Hillary Clinton is not the worst person on the national political stage. Until he leaves office, Barack Obama’s head wears the crown.

In a post-9/11, post-Paris, post-San Bernardino world, the president of the United States managed to go 12 months in which he used the words “radical Islamic terrorism” only to chastise others for saying them.

Well, you’re talking about his friends and mentors, the Muslims. They can’t be evil. That’s like Lule finding out Darth Vader is his Father…. 🙂

The economy continues to falter, our enemies are on the march, and the president has improved his short-game. The Obama presidency is a hilarious joke, but sadly it’s not the funny kind of joke.

But the Democrats continue to self-delude themselves that everything is awesome and we just need to get rid of those naybobs negativity.

One more year…

11 Months+ a few days. Don’t make it any longer than it has to be. Though if Queen Hillary wins we’re all doomed and you might as well close up shop and move to Fiji because it’s over.

Lie Of The Year

The “winner” of this category is obvious, which is why it hasn’t won any of these “awards” from the mainstream media: Hillary Clinton’s ever-evolving claims about classified material on her secret, unsecured email server.

Though I think her saying that the Benghazi families who have been ripping her for years about her You Tube cause of the incident are now lying because she never said it was pretty close.

“What Difference Does it Make?”

Her original statement at her press conference at the UN, was, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” High-stakes divorce settlements are less carefully worded.

Note how she specifically said she didn’t send any classified material, and how there “is” nothing classified on her server. She’d wiped it by then, though not thoroughly, so, in using present tense, she was telling her version of the truth.

After that original statement, Hillary’s story “evolved” at least two more times to she never “sent or received anything marked classified at the time.”

After that lie the media lost interest. Why wouldn’t they? Their candidate is ensnared in an FBI investigation that, were it anyone else, already would have led to an indictment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees by now.

But we aren’t named Clinton; we haven’t been selling, or at least renting, our positions for sums of money that rival the worth of third-world economies, and a president of her party still controls the prosecutors.

No, we’re civilians, bound by truth, and she’s Hillary, utterly unburdened by such trivialities.

As we wind up 2015, I think we’ve dwelled enough on politics. So a few notes on a couple of other things.

Sports

The year started with a great Super Bowl. What a game! But it will be remembered as the game that gave us Deflategate. Tom Brady won – everything. He continues to live a charmed life, and good for him. Unless you bet against him.

And the Seahawks created a blunder for the ages that will be talked about until Liberals outlaw football altogether sometime later in the Century.

 

The Super Bowl was the highlight of the year for New England sports fans, but the rest of the world had to suffer until the World Series. After decades of miserable losing, New England (particularly in Boston) started winning. And their fans, both in baseball and football, became even more miserable to be around during a game. And I say that as someone with many friends who fit this description.

But the highlight of the year was the World Series.

The Kansas City Royals are a lot of fun to watch. They scrap and scrape together runs in a way no other team does.

Arizona Cardinals anyone? Anyone?? 🙂

Movies

I love “Star Wars,” saw it three times the weekend it opened. But it doesn’t win for movie of the year with me. There were a lot of great “art house” movies, and I’m sure one with $48 in box office receipts will win the Oscar. But “The Martian” was the most enjoyable movie of 2015. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor. Even if you don’t care for Matt Damon (and I wouldn’t blame you), you’ll enjoy this movie.

I love “Star Wars” but I still think either Jurassic World or Avengers 2. I never saw “The Martian”.

Television

“The Walking Dead” remains TV’s best drama.

DOCTOR WHO! 🙂

The zombie aspect might turn your off, but it’s much more than that. Moreover, it’s a show that generates true suspense, in which no one knows what’s going to happen from week to week and no character, no matter who they are, is safe.

DOCTOR WHO! 🙂

If you’re a comic book nerd, or if you don’t mind super hero movies, might I also suggest checking out “Jessica Jones” on Netflix. It’s a surprisingly good series with humor, action and a great anti-hero. And, unlike “The Walking Dead,” you can binge-watch it over a weekend.

Haven’t got around to it yet. And that shows you how technology has changed so much.

I’m not sad to see 2015 go, though it does seem like it went fast. With 2016 being an election year, it will fly by as well. While I work and play in the first half of this column, life happens in the rest. Hope you had a great 2015, and I hope you have as much fun as possible in 2016. 

Here’s to 2016. The Hope of the future of our Country rests on your shoulders.

No pressure. 🙂

Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Star Wars Matters
Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

You Just Might Be A Liberal…

Are you not sure that you’re a liberal? Well, there’s an easy way to find out. You might be a liberal if…

1) ….Your newspaper calls people “bigoted” for being worried about bringing Syrian refugees to America, but you won’t run pictures of Muhammad because you’re afraid Muslims might kill you for it.

2) ….You think every man accused of sexual assault is guilty until proven innocent except Bill Clinton.

3)….You insist that anyone who questions global warming hates science even though you don’t understand any of the science behind it yourself and you say we have to do something about climate change primarily because you want to impress your liberal friends.

4) ….You are terrified that holding terrorists at Guantanamo Bay who are trying to murder Americans might make the other terrorists who are trying to murder Americans mad.

5) ….You believe there’s a “Republican War on Women;” yet you are okay with aborting baby girls for any reason, think any man who says he identifies as a woman should be able to use the women’s bathroom and you want to put Bill Clinton back in the White House.

6) ….You claim to constantly hear Republican “dog whistles” that 99% of the population misses; yet you’d deny you’re racist for insisting that black Americans aren’t competent enough to get an ID to vote.

 

7) …You think there’s a possibility that Obama might be able to have a productive conversation with radical Islamists who want to kill us, but dialogue with the NRA is impossible.

8)….You believe Hillary Clinton is telling the truth. About anything. Ever.

9) ….You simultaneously believe the police are violent trigger-happy racists who shoot people for no good reason and that we should disarm the populace so that only the government has guns.

10) ….You went to a talk given on your campus by a conservative just so you could scream at him for “invading your safe space.”

11) ….You think Chris Kyle was a monster for killing so many enemies of America while Bowe Bergdahl deserves to be treated with respect and compassion after deserting his unit.

12) ….You believe you’re a caring and compassionate person because you advocate giving other people’s money away to people you hope will vote for candidates you like.

13) ….You believe that anyone who dislikes Barack Obama must hate him because he’s a minority, but your hatred of Ted Cruz and Clarence Thomas is perfectly justifiable.

14) ….You think you are a sophisticated person with a deep understanding of complex political issues, but sum up every one with some variation of, “Republicans are evil, racist, and they hate you while liberals like me are nice!”

15) ….You think it’s vitally important to increase the number of Muslim immigrants coming to America so they can inform on all the other Muslims who are planning terrorist attacks.

16) ….You blame the Republicans for the failure of Obamacare even though none of them voted for it.

17) ….Your first response to a terrorist attack committed by radical Islamists who’ve sworn allegiance to ISIS is to try to disarm every law-abiding gun owner in the country.

18) ….You think an unemployed, white factory worker who’s struggling to feed his family has some sort of racial privilege compared to Barack Obama, Melissa Harris Perry or Al Sharpton.

19) ….You say fences don’t work and gun-free zones do, but if Republicans wanted the fence around the White House taken down and demanded that the Secret Service be disarmed, you’d accuse them of trying to get Obama killed.

20) ….You believe Bruce Jenner is a woman, Rachel Dolezal is black and Elizabeth Warren is an Indian.

21)  Food in any way can be a “microagression” based on race, religion, sex, or ethnicity.

22) Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Guns kill people so getting rid of Guns will kill less people.

23) The Power of Life and Death is “Pro-Choice”.

24) Any immigration is good no matter how it was done and anyone opposed to any immigration of any kind is “racist”.

25) A Religion is a Race, unless they are Christians, then they are just bigots.

26) Utter the word “islamophobia” and mean it.

27) Anything with a (D) after their name is ok and can do anything they want because it’s better than they alternative.

28) Democrats Lie, but it’s your fault not theirs.

29) A Tax is a Penalty, even after it’s ruled a Tax it’s still a Penalty.

30) “What Difference Does it Make?”

31) It was the fault of a You Tube Video.

32) That the Media is not biased and that people like Hillary and Barack are “moderates” and any Republican is “extreme”.

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley
Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

If you Like your Job…

ObamaCare

Please enjoy the latest installment of the “it’s working” chronicles. Sorry, American workers (via The Hill):

ObamaCare will force a reduction in American work hours the equivalent of 2 million jobs over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper said Monday. The total workforce will shrink by just under 1 percent as a result of changes in worker participation because of the new coverage expansions, mandates and changes in tax rates, according to a 22-page report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). “Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the agency said in its latest analysis of the now five-year-old law.

This assessment largely confirms the bombshell February 2014 analysis from the nonpartisan entity, which also projected that Democrats’ $2 trillion healthcare scheme would slow economic growth and slow job creation.  Take it away, 2011 Nancy Pelosi:

“Four million jobs will be created by the legislation when it is fully in effect.”

In 2010, she said Obamacare would create 400,000 new jobs “almost immediately.”  Last year, the law’s defenders were reduced to arguing that the reduction in worker hours was a positive development, offering Americans more time to spend with their families, and freeing them from “job lock.”  CBO’s findings determined that Obamacare disincentivizes work, shifting the burden of subsidizing health coverage for people who choose to work less or leave the workforce altogether onto the backs of middle class taxpayers.  Democrats’ frantic “liberation from job lock” spin worked out…about as well as one might have expected.  Obamacare’s cheerleaders have been wrong about virtually everything: Their law was not a job creator.  Their law has not bent the national health spending “cost curve” down.  Their law has not even approached lowering rates across the board.  Their law has not made healthcare more affordable.  Their law has not secured access to care.  Their law has not reduced emergency room visits, or decreased uncompensated care. Their law did not guarantee that satisfied consumers could keep their preferred doctors and plans. And their law has not attracted nearly as many enrollees as they expected, largely due to lack of affordability.  Their law has not signed up as many young and healthy consumer as they’d anticipated, raising new fears of an adverse selection spiral.

Gee, How many times have I said that very thing? 🙂

And their law has not become popular post-implementation.  Meanwhile, the string of high-profile failures among Obamacare co-ops is inflicting more chaos onto an already-strained system:

Health care providers could get stuck with unpaid bills in a half dozen states where co-op plans have collapsed. That’s because there’s no financial backstop in those states if the failed nonprofit startups backed by Obamacare loans run out of money before paying off all of their medical claims. That messy scenario is already playing out in New York, where the state’s co-op shut down at the end of November after its financial situation proved direr than originally known. The Greater New York Hospital Association estimates the co-op, Health Republic Insurance of New York, owes its members at least $165 million. And the Medical Society of the State of New York found that of more than 900 doctors surveyed, 64 percent reported being owed money by the co-op plan. For most insurers, a state’s guaranty fund – bankrolled by the industry – will cover unpaid medical claims if they become insolvent. But in some states, like New York, that fund doesn’t support plans that are licensed as health maintenance organizations, which is typically how the co-ops were set up. The other five states where providers could end up with unpaid bills if the failed co-ops run out of money: Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon and Utah…Just over half of the 23 co-ops seeded with $2.4 billion in loans have collapsed, with most set to cease operations at the end of this year. That’s left roughly 600,000 individuals scrambling to find new coverage.

On Capitol Hill this week, Republican lawmakers are demanding answers about how the government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on state-level Obamacare exchanges that ultimately collapsed, and have since been abandoned.  Here’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) grilling acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt about whether or not he agrees with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recently-announced verdict that zero of the remaining state-level exchanges are “fully operational,” after five years and $1.45 billion in IT spending, courtesy of taxpayers:

Senate Republicans used a budget maneuver called reconciliation to vote to repeal vast swaths of Obamacare last week, approving a bill that would gut the law.  Once it passes the House, President Obama is expected to veto the legislation in order to protect his unpopular, harmful law. Hillary Clinton, who invented Obamacare, asserted last week that the law is working.

And The Ministry of Truth assures us that it’s all just a plot by dissidents and Thought Criminals and that they just want poor people to die. 🙂

THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA. They fight for it to very last drop of YOUR blood. 🙂

 

United We Fall

A “Healthcare Workers for Obamacare” sign hangs torn in a parking lot in New York on Oct. 31, 2012.  AP

President Obama repeatedly promised that his signature health law, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, would reduce insurance premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.

ObamaCare: United Healthcare’s surprise warning that it may scrap participation in federal health care exchanges is more than bad news for consumer choice. It’s a broader sign of an unsustainable system.

The nation’s largest health insurance provider surprised the markets Thursday by saying losses from its 550,000 individual ObamaCare exchange enrollments were sharply cutting its bottom line. That’s notable because ObamaCare exchange participation only forms a small slice of the $105 billion company by market capitalization.

Yet it was enough to make the giant company and all the value it creates throughout its many operations suffer enough to trigger, as IBD market reporter Jed Graham wrote, “a surge of red ink.”

The company forecast $425 million less revenue in the fourth quarter and cut its full-year 2015 earnings-per-share forecast to $6 from $6.25-$6.35.

Not surprisingly, its stock fell 5.6% by the close of trading Thursday, and other health care and hospital companies such as Aetna, Anthem, Tenet, Cigna, Humana and HCA took similar hits.

“We see no data pointing to improvement,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Helmsley said on a conference call. Patients, he explained, were using their plans more than the company had anticipated and, worse still, were dropping coverage when they got well.

Bad as that is for company profits, it’s a predictable outcome given the structure of the law and what it permits.

What Helmsley described was a company caught up in the classic “death spiral” that IBD and reputable economists have been warning about: Insurance policy sales going in the main to the sickest patients who use the most health care services, while the high prices of the larded-up government-mandated packages continue to drive off younger, healthier consumers.

DOH!  It’s not like it was predictable or anything… 🙂

In short, the ObamaCare master plan of having young and healthy consumers subsidize the oldest, sickest patients isn’t working as the White House’s central planners and self-proclaimed experts claimed.

<<chuckle>>

Not that the ideologically rigid Obama and The Democrats will care. They will continue to hammer on it until you give in to government control of who lives and who dies and the Insurance companies go bankrupt leaving only the government left.

That’s Democrat “compassion” for ya… 🙂

What’s striking here is that UnitedHealth is no tiny startup ship with a narrow margin of error riding the big ObamaCare regulatory waves. It’s the biggest of the big, a conglomerate that’s the product of the consolidation of the industry — Anthem and Cigna, UnitedHealth and HCA, HCA and private investors — that was supposed to enable the sector to absorb the blow of higher costs of insuring more customers and still continue to do well.

That’s not happening.

What’s more, UnitedHealth was in the ObamaCare exchanges for only a year, during a window of time when the government was supposed to cushion insurers against losses in the ObamaCare transition. The cushion ends next year, leaving companies on their own.

(Insert “Jaws” theme music here) 🙂

Will smaller health care companies really be able to make a profit in an atmosphere that even UnitedHealth found impossible to sustain a profit in? There’s plenty of reason to wonder, as the markets did Thursday. (IBD)

“We cannot sustain these losses,” CEO Stephen Hemsley said in an investor call Thursday morning. “We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”

Several nonprofit insurance cooperatives that were supposed to compete for customers on the exchanges have folded. Meanwhile, some big publicly traded insurance companies, including Anthem, Aetna, Cigna and Humana, say they are enrolling fewer people than expected or even losing money.

A recent report by McKinsey & Co. found that the industry lost a total of $2.5 billion, or $163 per customer, in the individual market.

Insurance companies have had trouble attracting healthy customers to the exchanges to purchase their insurance products, many of which have deductibles of thousands of dollars.

The industry’s troubles are reflected in the insurance products being offered on the exchanges during the current enrollment period, reports The Wall Street Journal:

“For these plans, which will take effect in 2016, many insurers have raised premiums in order to cover the medical costs of enrollees, which have run higher than many companies originally projected, fueling this year’s losses. Insurers have also shifted to offering more limited choices of health-care providers”

Still, no other big insurer has signaled its intention to leave the exchanges. (NPR)

YET. But it will come. But don’t worry Obama and The Democrats are from the Government and they are here to help you! 🙂

The average premium for medium-benefit plans offered to 40-year-old non-smokers will rise 10.1% in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

 

 

The November Surprise?

Another round of “if you like your plan” well… too f*cking bad suckers!

But don’t worry, the Liberal media won’t tell you about it because that’s not on The Agenda (and it’s still “the Affordable Care Act” to them because their Orwellian training says so when it’s bad news) or they’ll sugar coat it in Orwellian BS and class warfare as they do anything that’s bad new for them.

One of the causes they’ll never see, because it was central to their Agenda:

From MSNBC (earlier this year): Until recently, insurance companies screened individual buyers for potential health needs and penalized or excluded anyone who might actually need care. The Affordable Care Act bars that discrimination, and it uses tax credits to subsidize coverage for people with modest incomes.

And we know how this was destined to fail and has failed. What they are flapping their collectivist lips about is Adverse Selection (which I have harped on before).

Suppose an insurance firm offered health insurance to the general public. It is likely to have the highest take up rate amongst unhealthy people. People who don’t exercise, people who smoke. They are the group most likely to need health care, therefore, it makes sense for them to take out insurance. Healthy people don’t see the point, if the price of health insurance is determined by the average unhealthy person.

If insurance premiums are based on the needs of smokers, then the premiums will be high. Therefore, there is no incentive for healthy people to take out the insurance.

Solutions to Adverse Selection

To avoid adverse selection, firms need to try and identify different groups of people. This is why health insurance premiums are higher for smokers and obese people, etc.

And some people deemed of high or extreme risk are excluded altogether.

And this works in any insurance really, the higher risk people get higher premiums or excluded altogether in order to try and keep premiums as low as possible.

BUT

In Health Insurance if  you MANDATE that you can’t adversely select the higher risks (what the Left calls “discrimination”) then EVERYONE‘s premiums are going up to cover the influx of the unhealthy and the one’s who couldn’t afford it in the first place but are mandated to have it anyhow (or just like a freebie) are now on the taxpayers-you-and-me’s dime and we get to pay to pay for them as well!

That’s fair!, right. 🙂

And then you stick in the provision, in ObamaCare, that says if your plan doesn’t match up perfectly with what ObamaCare considers the perfect plan then your plan has to bit the big one and you get….

More than a dozen states plan to cancel health care policies not in compliance with ObamaCare in the coming weeks, affecting thousands of people just before the midterm elections.

“It looks like several hundred thousand people across the country will receive notices in the coming days and weeks,” said Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The policies are being canceled because states that initially granted a reprieve at the request of President Obama are no longer willing to do so.

In coming weeks, 13 states and the District of Columbia plan to cancel such policies, which generally fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act because they don’t offer the level of coverage the law requires.

Virginia will be hardest hit, with 250,000 policies expected to be canceled.

And because federal law requires a 60-day notice of any plan changes, voters will be notified no later than November 1, right before the Nov. 4 midterms.

Many of those forced out of their current plans and into ObamaCare may not be able to keep their doctors. They also could face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, making ObamaCare an election issue on the eve of voting.

Obama had originally unequivocally promised that under his health care plan, everyone could keep their doctors and plans.

In 2009, he told the American Medical Association, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.No one will take it away. No matter what.”

The president later was forced to admit that any plan without the additional benefits required under ObamaCare faced cancellation.

But that unleashed a nasty political backlash, forcing him to back down and call for states and insurers to extend those policies for three more years.

Some said he didn’t have much choice. “There were some five or six million people who were at stake here and the federal exchange was in no condition to even process a few hundred thousand people much less millions,” said Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute.

Many states flatly refused to extend and now comes the new round of states that plan to cancel policies. (Jim Angle)

But don’t worry, IF the liberal media even mentions it, it will be the Insurance Companies fault, not the fault of ObamaCare and it’s ridiculous “requirements” because ObamaCare is the Light, and we “haters” are the Darkness, after all.

You don’t want the days of “discrimination” (racial overtone background music) to come back now do you? 🙂

After all, The Left is the Light, and everyone else is The Dark.

MSNBC: “Honest people can differ on the merits of those policies.

And there’s no one more honest and transparent than The Left, after all, they are The Angels of Mercy and Compassion… 🙂

So LIGHTen your wallet, here comes ObamaCare! The November Surprise?

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Independence, Progressive Style

Economic Policy: We sing of America as the land of the free, but it’s no longer the home of a free economy. We now rank 17th in economic freedom — a shameful situation.

The U.S. should have the freest economy in the world and constantly be encouraging others to catch up.

But that’s not the case. In 2013, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Bahrain are judged to have freer economies. “The Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report,” a joint effort of the Cato and Fraser institutes, even judges Chile, Jordan and Estonia to have freer economies.

It hasn’t always been this way.

As Cato scholar Ian Vasquez noted on the Cato-At-Liberty blog, America “has seen more than a decade of decline, having been ranked second in the index in 2000, eighth in 2005 and 17th in the current report.”

How can this be? Why the steep downward slide? The answer starts and ends with a government that can’t say “no” to its urge to expand its role forever.

Consequently, America’s ranking has fallen in all areas that the report measures. In size of government, it is ranked 59th out of 152 countries. Our legal system and security of property rights ranks 30th, while our freedom to trade internationally is 43rd.

Worse, the U.S. is a true regulatory state, ranking 121st in credit market regulation and 33rd in business regulations.

The trouble with less-free economies is their universal poor performance. The freer a country’s economy, the more prosperous its people. The less free, the more miserable.

Venezuela, Myanmar, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Chad are the bottom five (least-free) nations, and it’s no accident that all are wretched places to live.

The life satisfaction that is closely tied to an economy’s openness and the benefits it confers is not widely found in these places. As the report says, “economic freedom … makes people richer, but it also makes them happier.”

Despite the clear advantages produced by a free economy, the U.S. is moving away in the wrong direction. It is a shift that will have severe consequences.

“Unless policies undermining economic freedom are reversed,” say the report’s authors, James Gwartney, Robert Lawson and Josh Hall, “the future annual growth of the U.S. economy will be half its historic average of 3%.”

Reversal is the key, but it won’t happen with the status quo in Washington. We have a White House and its Democratic allies in Congress that want greater government control over the economy.

For them, it’s the America of hope and change. For the rest of us, it’s an unnecessary decline into a second-rate existence. (IBD)

We have ObamaCare still because The Democrats in Washington want it. Not the People. That’s hardly “free”. Or even accurate apparently…

Four people familiar with the development of the software that determines how much people would pay for subsidized coverage on the federally run exchanges said it was still miscalculating prices. Tests on the calculator initially scheduled to begin months ago only started this week at some insurers, according to insurance executives and two people familiar with development efforts. “There’s a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,” said one senior health-insurance executive who asked not to be named. “Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they’re seeing and the potential of them to stick around.” Not surprisingly, instead of inserting a delay, the Obama administration is going to iron out the kinks as we go.

The Obama administration says open enrollment will begin Oct. 1 on schedule. “We may encounter some bumps when open enrollment begins but we’ll solve them,” said Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, one of the main offices within Medicare charged with developing the exchanges, in congressional testimony on Thursday.

Let  the crippled airliner take off anyways and then fix it after takeoff in the air…Yeah, that’s a good plan!!!

Man, how do Congressional Democrats and Government Bureaucrats want this thing. 🙂

Mark Steyn: “This is the United States of America,” declared President Obama to the burghers of Liberty, Missouri, on Friday. “We’re not some banana republic.”

He was talking about the Annual Raising of the Debt Ceiling, a glorious American tradition that seems to come round earlier every year. “This is not a deadbeat nation,” President Obama continued. “We don’t run out on our tab.”

True. But we don’t pay it off either. We just keep running it up, ever higher. And every time the bartender says, “Mebbe you’ve had enough, pal”, we protest, “Jush another couple trillion for the road. Set ’em up, Joe.” And he gives you that look that kinda says he wishes you’d run out on your tab back when it was $23.68.

“Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt.”–Obama

SO we must be more Free under him than ever, right? 🙂

Oh, then there’s Energy “independence”…

The administration finally has released its rules for curbing CO2 emissions from U.S. power plants. Far from being a plan to clean up the environment, it is in fact a road map to de-industrialization and poverty.

The tough new rules that will limit carbon dioxide output from new power plants immediately drew protests from the power industry. No surprise. But if Americans really understood what Obama is doing, they’d be up in arms, too.

Far from being an economically sensible plan to reduce U.S. pollution, this proposal will sharply raise the cost of energy to all Americans, while doing little to improve our environment.

Last year, the Institute for Energy Research estimated that the administration’s “regulatory assault” on power plants would eliminate 35 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity — or 10% of all U.S. power.

The new EPA rules will make that even worse. If you wonder why Obama has the worst jobs record of any president in modern history, look no further.

“We know this is not just about melting glaciers,” said Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy in announcing the rules Friday. She linked climate change to a host of spurious public health threats.

Yet just one day earlier, appearing before a congressional committee, McCarthy admitted that even though the EPA already has extensive rules in place to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, she had no evidence that they had done anything to halt global warming.

This is a stunning admission that these regulations aren’t about climate change at all, but rather part of an ideologically driven fight to tear the capitalist heart out of western civilization — plentiful energy, source of our highest-ever standard of living.

Worse, lying about the public health benefits ignores the real costs that come with the new regulations. Many big companies, faced with soaring costs for energy, will simply relocate plants and high-paying jobs overseas.

As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, iconic U.S. aluminum company Alcoa Inc. is moving production and jobs to other countries, in large part due to growing regulations and sharply higher energy costs.

This will be increasingly common, as will energy shortages around the country.

“If the carbon dioxide emissions standard for power plants proposed by the EPA today is enacted, the United States will have built its final coal-fired power plant,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute said.

This isn’t hyperbole. The EPA says its actions won’t cost anything — but will in fact help the power industry grow. This is plainly absurd.

New coal-fired plants will be forced to use technology to trap carbon dioxide and bury it in the ground. Problem is, as the Associated Press notes, “No coal-fired power plant has done this yet, in large part because of the cost.” Nor, we might add, do we have the technology needed to pull it off.

The U.S. has hundreds of years worth of low-cost coal to supply our energy needs. Now it’ll be off limits, thanks to another federal edict that will cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

But it will make the Left feel “good” and proud and smug about their superiority and their power to make it happen.

Now that’s freedom.

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

FREEDOM IS DEPENDENCE

FREEDOM IS REGULATION

FREEDOM IS CONTROL

🙂

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

The Whole Hog

Richard Trumpka, of the AFL-CIO, Mr. Bully Union Thug: During a recent interview, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said employers are “restructuring their workforce to give workers 29 and a half hours so they don’t have to provide them healthcare.”

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT AFL-CIO: The Affordable Care Act does need some modifications to it, because as it does right now, what’s happening is, you have employers that the law says if you pay your, if your employees work 30 hours or more a week, you’ve got to give them healthcare. So they’re restructuring their workforce to give workers 29 and a half hours so they don’t have to provide them healthcare. They’re also doing some taxing to nonprofit plans to pay for for-profit plans. (Newsbusters)

Hey, Richard, let me clue you in one something. This is all a part of the plan.

You see, since Liberal worship at the feet of Government and a Quasi-Government solution (aka “compromise”) goes down in flames the only answer, of course, is that we need MORE government…

And Ta Da, Single Payer, Canada/Britain Style is proposed as the solution since the “compromise” didn’t work.

You see, it has to fail the very people it’s suppose to “help” and it has to be a just enough of a  failure to the rest so that the Left can promote their “solution”.

The idea that the whole thing is rotten and should be thrown out isn’t even remotely conceivable to the Left.

They want The Whole Hog!

A Nose to Tail Government Health Care Feast. Which of course, will cause a famine, but like they care. This is about the Agenda, not about reality.

Especially while he’s exempted or politically delayed so much of it for so many of his friends and employers. Gotta get it done before the the Whole Pig roasts them first.

Last week, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka let it be known that he was “working with the administration on ObamaCare” to find a solution for their oh-so-unexpected plight, ahem, but other leaders are still pretty frustrated with the lack of progress they’re seeing on getting concessions. Why has the administration catered to so many other special interest groups, but not us?, they wonder angrily:

“We are disappointed that the non-profit health plans offered by unions have not been given the same consideration as the Catholic Church, big business and Capitol Hill staffers,” Unite Here President D. Taylor told The Hill. …

“The Democrats have completely given the store away to the for-profit industry,” Taylor said. “Without any question, we have a scenario set up that ObamaCare has turned all the money over to the for-profit plans and the non-profit plans will fade away.”

“With open enrollment set to begin on October 1, time is of the essence, so we are working hard every day to find a solution to protect our members’ healthcare,” said Tim Schlittner, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). …

“The administration has found resolutions for a whole variety of issues and the fact that their biggest supporters will be put at the mercy of the for-profit insurance industry will leave a very bad, bad taste,” Taylor said. “You can’t blame the Republicans on this one. This is a Democratic bill through and through.”

Ouch. (Hot air)

I guess the kiss ass narcissism train hasn’t stopped there yet and there not happy. Well, that’s the Left for you.

If it’s good enough to do for everyone, it’s good enough to exempt me from it.

IBD: More than 250 employers have cut work hours, jobs or taken other steps to avoid ObamaCare costs, according to a new IBD analysis.

Mind the data have been the refrain from the White House as it downplays anecdotal reports of employers limiting workers to fewer than 30 hours per week.

But the anecdotes are piling high enough that they now constitute a body of data that can help gauge the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

IBD is introducing ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs — a compilation of employers who have opted to restrict work hours to limit new liability for employee health coverage.

As of Sept. 3, this list has reached 258 — including more than 200 public-sector employers.

Almost all of those employers have cut the hours of part-time workers to below 30 per week — the point at which ObamaCare’s insurance mandate kicks in.

A few have cut payrolls to steer clear of ObamaCare’s 50 full-time-equivalent-worker definition of a large employer subject to employer fines. A few others have reduced staff while contracting with employment services firms to limit their ObamaCare exposure.

The scorecard reflects an extensive, though less than exhaustive, search. It only includes employers when there is convincing documentation (generally news accounts or public records) that job actions are specifically tied to ObamaCare.

For example, when Forever 21 said it was cutting hours for 192 workers to 29.5 per week or Lowe’s (LOW) said it would hire 9,000 permanent workers — all part-time — the ObamaCare connection wasn’t quite the slam dunk needed to land them on this list.

Because private firms may fear bad publicity or litigation if they admit to cutting hours to avoid ObamaCare’s coverage mandate, it’s not surprising that few would be willing to come right out and say it. It’s only logical to take their denials with a grain of salt.

Public employers, on the other hand, tend to make decisions in a much more transparent way. Even here, limiting hours for part-timers is often an administrative, rather than legislative, action, so documentation may be hard to come by.

All this is to say that the list in no way represents an accounting of ObamaCare’s actual impact on work hours.

Further, because relatively few employers on the list have provided specifics, the scorecard’s total of 19,300 workers facing reduced hours should in no way be used to minimize ObamaCare’s impact.

One useful bit of information that can be gleaned from the list is that 110 of the reports of reduced hours came in May and June alone. This flurry of activity has subsided significantly since the White House announced on July 2 a one-year delay of employer penalties.

The take-away: Many employers were only just beginning to understand and respond to ObamaCare’s regulations that were confusing and late in coming. This suggests another flurry of work-hour reductions can be expected next spring — assuming the mandate is still expected to come into force. That’s because penalties for 2015 will be based on staffing levels starting in the second half of 2014 — at the latest.

The private-sector anecdotal entries help interpret industry workweek data. The list includes sharp hour reductions by several firms that provide social assistance to the elderly. That suggests it is no mere coincidence that the workweek among providers of services to the elderly and disabled has tumbled to a record-low 27.6 hours.

Further, it is evident — and hardly surprising — that the private-sector hour cuts have virtually all come in low-wage industries.

Therefore, to evaluate ObamaCare’s impact on the workweek, focus on low-wage industries. Over the past 18 months, the low-wage workweek has fallen back near the recessionary low-point.

The list of more than 200 public-sector employers cutting work hours is surely the most surprising revelation.

The main take-away is that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is a real problem for the segment of public-sector employers who offer generous coverage (as most all of them do) but don’t cover part-timers who work more than 30 hours.

In at least one case, the list goes beyond mere anecdote to reveal a clear pattern. It includes 34 universities and colleges — or college systems — cutting hours of part-time or adjunct faculty. That may not seem like much, until you consider that those reports cover more than 150 campuses attended by more than 1.4 million students.

Another 67 entries on the list involve school boards cutting hours of part-time instructional aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and coaches.

The entire list is available on our website, in a format that can be easily downloaded into a spreadsheet for further analysis. It will continue to be updated as more employer announcements are made.

But if we cause you enough pain you’ll want government to solve the problem.

Entire, The WHOLE HOG!

And it will never want to leave the trough.

 

136493 600 Health Care Gag Rule cartoons

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

What Can Brown Not Do for You?

“If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”

— President Barack Obama, June 28, 2009

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

— President Barack Obama, Aug. 11, 2009

 

“If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”

— President Barack Obama, Sept. 9, 2009

ALL LIES. Big Surprise.

In any case, President Barack Obama somehow managed never to read the full-disclosure follow-up line to “you can keep your plan”:

“Unless the people in Washington, D.C., who know what’s good for you don’t like your plan.”

Word of the fine print has now reached New Jersey.

Residents of the Garden State have recently been informed that state-approved, private health insurance coverage that suited 106,000 of them just fine does not suit the federal government at all, and thus will come to a sudden and non-negotiable end next year.

At that point, those New Jersey residents who have taken advantage of low-cost insurance because they’re rich in health but poor in financial resources will be at the mercy of a government-fabricated “market” in which the individual buyer has no leverage at all.

In fact, the individual buyer is under legal obligation to participate in the market, to buy a plan that’s more comprehensive and more costly than he desires, and to pay a fine — call it a tax, if you’re a Supreme Court justice — if he fails to comply.

(Hint: Fail to comply. That fine will be a bargain for anyone who gets really sick or really injured, then shows up to demand treatment — which he most certainly will get.) (cleveland.com)

Thousands of UPS workers have found out what’s actually in that Obama-Care package Democrats shipped out in 2010. Their company decided to drop coverage for spouses to avoid the law’s added costs.

“[T]he ACA has mandated several changes that have been impacting the cost of coverage for UPS employees since its implementation. These include:

  • Coverage for dependent children up to age; regardless of whether they are enrolled in school, are married, or (beginning 2014) have coverage available from their own employer;
  • Removal of lifetime and annual benefit limits;
  • Fees for comparative effectiveness research; and
  • Fees to help fund the public exchanges.

We are making these changes to, in part, offset cost increases due to the ACA and so that healthcare premiums remain the same for most of our people.” (Page 18 of the memo).

President Obama has been claiming lately that most of his signature law is already in place, and that all the fuss about delays and premium hikes is over parts of the law that don’t go into effect until next year and are relevant only to the small share of uninsured.

“For the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance,” he says, “they don’t have to worry about anything else.”

Tell that to the 15,000 UPS workers who recently learned that the shipping giant is dropping coverage for husbands and wives who can get insurance from another employer.

A chief reason for the change? The added costs ObamaCare is imposing, including the mandate that plans cover children up to age 26, its ban on lifetime spending limits, and the $65 in ObamaCare fees that will be imposed on every enrollee starting next year.

Rising medical costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” UPS told its employees in a memo.

As Kaiser Health News reports, many of these spouses will end up on worse health plans.

This is just the beginning. While almost no large companies excluded spouses from coverage three years ago, 6% did last year, according to Mercer. And many others are making such coverage exorbitantly costly in the hope that spouses will drop it on their own.

Once the ObamaCare exchanges are open, the incentive to dump spouses will be even greater. After all, why should companies bear such costs when they know spouses can get coverage “guaranteed” — and likely subsidized by taxpayers — in one of the exchanges?

This is, of course, just the latest revelation about the ill effects ObamaCare is causing among the 85% who Obama says have nothing to worry about from the law.

Companies are already cutting part-time worker hours to get below the new 30-hour workweek rule imposed by Obama’s regulators. Or they’re moving full-time workers to part time to avoid the eventual employer mandate.

As IBD reported last week, four industries that employ lots of low-wage workers have seen an historic drop in the workweek, thanks to ObamaCare.

In other evidence of harm, a recent Chamber of Commerce survey found that nearly three quarters of businesses it queried say ObamaCare will make it harder to grow their businesses, and the American Action Forum calculates that ObamaCare will impose $30 billion in compliance costs on businesses — money that will eventually come out of workers’ pockets.

Despite what the president claims, there is no escape from ObamaCare’s punishing effects. Don’t think so? Just ask your UPS delivery man the next time he drops off a package. (Townhall)

An ObamaCare cause their company to drop them or their family…. 🙂

The University of Virginia said Wednesday that it will stop offering health insurance to some employees’ spouses because of rising costs under ObamaCare.

The university said the Affordable Care Act will add $7.3 million to its healthcare costs next year. It indicated that it could face additional costs in the future because of the law’s tax on especially generous insurance policies.

In an effort to cut costs, UVA’s healthcare benefits will no longer be available to some employees’ spouses. (The Hill)

According to the Towers Watson survey, when asked how they thought plans would change by 2018—the year that Obamacare’s “Cadillac” tax on high-cost plans takes effect—92 percent of employers said plans would be different, with 47 percent saying they anticipated significant or transformative change. Do you like your health care plan? Sorry. With Obamacare in effect, costs are going up and plans are changing. (Heritage)

Now, like all Americans as Obamacare takes hold, they will see their choices diminish and the calculations and their circumstances cease to matter.

Decisions about health care will become less and less individual and more and more governmental. What market remains for health coverage will serve precisely one customer: the federal government. Its priorities will rule decisions over every insurance and treatment call.

Obama knew that when he issued his serial promises that all sorts of choices would remain in the hands of individual Americans.

Now, he delays certain particularly onerous aspects of Obamacare to postpone the inevitable pain that comes with converting what has been a medical system with bureaucrats into a bureaucracy with doctors and nurses.

Yes, the medical coverage and payment system was a mess before, but at least one could argue with it. At least there were exits. At least there were options.

Today, it’s which kind of insurance is appropriate. A few years hence, it will be who should get what sort of care — and, perhaps more to the point, who should be denied what sort of care. Those decisions will be made with the priorities of the customer in mind.

The customer will be the federal government. The patient will be nothing more than a faceless inconvenience. (cleveland.com)

But at least the evil Insurance Companies and The satanic Koch Brothers are screwed! 🙂

Don’t you feel better now, Citizen. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

An Act of Cowardice

It must be election season again. 🙂

“Democrats no longer face the immediate specter of running against the fallout from a heavy regulatory imposition on employers across the land,” Holtz-Eakin wrote. “Explaining away the mandate was going to be a big political lift; having the White House airbrush it from the landscape is way better.”

The Obama Administration announced on Tuesday that it is delaying implementing a key component of the Affordable Care Act for a year following complaints from the private sector about reporting requirements.

More like the reports of massive layoffs and cutting of hours to avoid the thing. 🙂

Funny how proud the Democrats are that they passed but at every political turn they run and hide…

The so-called employer mandate, which penalizes employers with more than 50 employees if they fail to provide a minimum standard of affordable health insurance, was set to kick in in 2014, but now will take effect in 2015, the Treasury Department announced in a blog post first reported by Bloomberg News. The delay not only allows the Administration time to alleviate concerns among business owners, but also takes a controversial component of the law off the table before the midterm elections.

The vast majority of employers that already provide coverage to their employees raised concerns about burdensome reporting requirements under the law, a complaint the Administration is particularly sensitive to. Companies that don’t meet the law’s requirements now have an extra year to alter their policies.

“Just like our effort to turn the 21-page application for health insurance into a three-page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible in employer and insurer reporting as we implement the law.”

The delay deprives the federal government of a year of penalties that would have been paid by companies that do not meet the law’s requirements, with as yet unknown budgetary effects.

That’s that pay for 10 years in 6, now 5. 🙂

The carcass is starting to rot and you are not suppose to notice.

But here’s the punchline:

Individuals must still buy insurance beginning next year.

And since you don’t do your tax returns until after the election….
TA DA! 🙂
So tell me again how great this thing is going to be?
ObamaCare’s efforts to expand insurance coverage and bring down costs depend entirely on convincing young people to buy coverage, while the law gives these people every reason not to.A marketing presentation put together for the administration admits that convincing the young and healthy — who make up 48% of the uninsured — to buy insurance will be difficult, since they “take health for granted” and have a “low motivation to enroll.”

What it doesn’t say is that ObamaCare will give them still more reasons not to buy insurance.

According to recent news reports, the cheapest policies so far proposed for ObamaCare exchanges will cost an average of about $2,400 a year. And these come with higher deductibles, bigger co-pays and stricter limits on doctors and hospitals than many individuals can buy today at lower prices. This isn’t exactly a strong selling point for millions of young people who rarely need health care.

Census data show that just 30% of those between 25 and 44 saw a doctor three or more times in 2010, just 33% took a prescription drug and only 6% went to the hospital. On average this group spends about $850 on medical care — roughly half the cost of a daily cafe latte.

ObamaCare backers say premium subsidies will draw in the young, and tax penalties will take care of the rest. But many in this group won’t be eligible for those subsidies. In Virginia, they end once incomes reach $33,000. And the tax penalty for not buying insurance starts at just $95 and will still cost less than insurance when fully phased in.

What’s more, ObamaCare guarantees insurance coverage when one of these “young invincibles” does get sick, and at subsidized rates, since the law bans insurers from charging more based on health status.

How long will it take for the young to figure this out, and tell all their Twitter pals how to game the Obama-Care system?

The problem is that ObamaCare depends on getting the young and healthy to sign up so it can subsidize premiums for the sick. Otherwise, the insurance pool will get sicker and more expensive, causing a premium “death spiral.”

This might not be a problem for those who ultimately want a single-payer system. But it’s a far cry from what the country was promised by the Orwellian-named “Affordable Care Act.” (IBD)

But yesterday in response to Speaker John Boehner calling ObamaCare a train wreck, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz argued that the delay of the mandate means the law is here to stay “for the long haul.”
The Democrats are going to cram this down your throat!
We Vill Make you comply, comrade!
We just don’t want to do it in the light of an election! 🙂
YOU HAVE TO RE-ELECT US TO FIND OUT WHAT’S IN  IT!
But then what about Hilary in 2016? 🙂
Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

 Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

More Skunk Spray

As Democrats grow increasingly worried that ObamaCare will explode on the launch pad just as midterm elections get going, the Obama administration seeks to pin blame on Republicans. Good luck with that.

Well, let’s think about that for a moment.

The Ministry of Truth is there to lie repeatedly with great gusto to ignorant masses 24/7/365.

Tell a Lie often enough and it can become truth, especially with low and no info voters.

After all, they bought the “Vote For Me the other guys an asshole” Campaign Strategy that Obama had last campaign season.

And he’s still in Campaign mode and still raising money.

It won’t be easy since it was and is his singularly most proud moment. But that just makes the lies more challenging.

Earlier this week, Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius admitted that she didn’t realize how complicated getting ObamaCare off the ground would be.

So you just blame the Republicans for “obstructing” the process as usual. That at least has worked on the moron peasant crowd before.

Sebelius complained that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in implementing ObamaCare, or how confusing it would be with the public.

Hey, the 2,700 pages of crap that no one in the Congress or The Administration actually read wasn’t a clue!

She wasn’t talking about the massive and impossible task of imposing central planning on one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

Because that was the goal all along and they wanted that. They want to control everyone and everything eventually.

Instead, she was trying to find a way to blame Republicans for ObamaCare’s failures when the inevitable problems start emerging.

And since the Republicans want to get rid of it, lets blame them for the problems and say they created them by trying to “piece meal” UNDO it or there obstruction is “causing” the problems.

Just like doing it to begin with “piece meal” was bad, according to the Left. Which is what the Republicans wanted, if anything.

Then you blame the Republicans “friends”, the industry, rich people, etc… and you have your class warfare element and your next “throw grandma/poor off the cliff” ad.

Rather than say “let’s get on board, let’s make this work,” recalcitrant Republicans have forced her to engage in “state-by-state political battles,” Sebelius said at a Harvard School of Public Health forum. “The politics has been relentless.”

So the war is the Republican’s fault. If they had just let them do it all without a fight there wouldn’t be these problems!

Of course, there would be, probably even worse than these, but that’s not how this game is played.

So let’s see if we get this. Democrats shoved an unpopular, expensive, ill-conceived and poorly written law down the country’s throat with no Republican support, and without bothering to see whether states would want to take on the thankless and costly task of helping the feds implement it.

Yes. So it MUST Be their fault! 🙂

It sure as hell can’t be the Democrats fault. There intentions and ambitions were pure as the driven snow. They are the Angels of Mercy and Compassion…Besides, they can lie about the votes and the support. Hell, that was 4 years ago, the low or no information moron won’t remember it and if we lie about the History well enough…

And now that many of these states are rebelling, it’s the Republicans’ fault?

Of Course it is. Any time you rebel against the yoke of your Morally and Politically Superior Masters on The Left it’s your Fault! 🙂

Sebelius’ fellow Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, had a more accurate take on the problem the administration faces: the law is “probably the most complicated piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress” and “if it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”

Or it could just be worse to begin with… 🙂

Rockefeller, like a growing number of Democrats, realizes that ObamaCare is shaping up to be a political disaster for the party next November.

So we have to start the Campaign Now to blame someone else for it!

The influential Cook Political Report noted earlier this month that almost all of the Democratic insiders they talked to “voiced concern about the potential for the issue to hurt Democrats in 2014.”

And just what could explain these concerns?

Maybe it’s because even Sebelius now admits that ObamaCare will force insurance claims up 32%.

Gee, that’s a bit of a ways from lowering your premiums by thousands of dollars.

Or possibly it’s because, despite endless assurances that the insurance exchanges would be ready on time, the administration had to delay for a year a key feature meant to give small business a choice of health plans.

Or because neither Sebelius nor the states have provided evidence they can get the rest of the exchanges ready by Oct. 1, when ObamaCare’s open enrollment begins.

Or that a key provision, The High Risk Pool (pre-existing conditions) portion is already bankrupt NOW and will need a “bailout” by the time this all kicks off. 🙂

Or perhaps Democrats’ fears stem from state insurance commissioners warning of a rate shock once ObamaCare’s “community rating” rules and benefit mandates start. Or from rising evidence the law is hurting job growth as small businesses try to avoid its costs.

Townhall: The $1.3 trillion U.S. health-care system overhaul is getting more expensive and will initially accomplish less than intended. Costs for a network of health-insurance exchanges, a core part of the Affordable Care Act, have swelled to $4.4 billion for fiscal 2012 and 2013 combined, and will reach $5.7 billion in 2014, according to the budget President Barack Obama yesterday sent to Congress. That spending would be more than double initial projections, even though less than half the 50 U.S. states are participating. The unanticipated spending is a consequence of an ambitious timetable dictated by Congress and a complex new way of offering people medical coverage, say analysts, lobbyists and administration officials. Combine that with a majority of Republican governors declining to cooperate with a Democratic president and U.S. regulators are left grasping to get the 2010 health law up and running by a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline. For the areas that money can’t solve, the Obama administration is opting for delay. It temporarily backed off some provisions of the law, including restrictions on coverage for executives and a promise to offer small businesses greater choices of health plans. 

And there are still the 1,700 Waivers they gave their friends.
Costing more, and doing less.  What a deal. (sounds like a typical liberal idea) Remember, the federal government simply assumed that every state would set up its own exchange — despite strong public opposition to the law, and high associated costs coupled with heavy-handed federal mandates with scant flexibility.

Oh course they did. They are the Morally Superior Left. Everyone loves them because they are so vastly superior to you morons that you’ll just roll over and do whatever they want you to do.

Why would anyone question that?

And if you fight them, then they have to be the Parent who blames the other one for wanting to be so mean because they are so perfect it can’t possibly be their fault.

None of this, mind you, has anything to do with Republicans. And if the GOP were smart, it’d be focused on making sure that, come next November, the public knows that, too. (IBD)

Yeah, but I’m not convinced they are that smart. They don’t have a great track record of it lately. Especially with “Jar Jar” Boehner at the helm.

Conservatives must resist the temptation to bury their heads in the sand for possible short term political advantage.  That’s what liberals are for!

Which means come 2014 we won’t smell success against Obamacare, just more Skunk spray.

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 

A Bitter Pill

1. Biden repeated the false talking points — as did moderator Martha Raddatz (!) — about the Romney Medicare plan exposing seniors to higher costs. In fact, the Romney plan is explicitly designed to ensure that seniors are not exposed to any additional costs.

2. Biden repeated the false talking points about Obamacare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts not being real cuts, because they allegedly don’t cut “benefits.” Indeed, the ratio of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts to “new benefits” is 15 to 1.

3. Biden claimed that Democratic senator Ron Wyden opposes the Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform plan. Wyden opposes the House GOP budget, because it repeals Obamacare and block-grants Medicaid, but rest assured that Wyden still supports the Wyden-Ryan plan. And that plan is actually to the right of Romney’s plan, because Wyden-Ryan contains a hard cap on Medicare spending growth (GDP + 1 percent) whereas Romney’s plan contains no growth cap.

4. Biden claimed that having the government directly negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D would save taxpayers “$156 billion right off the bat.” In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that such a change “would have a negligible effect on drug spending.”

5. Biden claimed that Paul Ryan’s House budgets would “knock 19 million people off of Medicare.” This is an entirely made-up figure. Not a single person would lose their Medicare coverage under Ryan’s budgets, and not a single person would under Romney’s plan either.

6. Biden repeated the long-debunked claim that Romney seeks a “$5 trillion tax cut,” when in fact Romney’s tax proposal is designed to be revenue-neutral. Furthermore, Biden claimed that there is a study from AEI supporting his claims. “The American Enterprise Institute study [says that] taxes will go up on the middle class,” claimed Biden. There is no such study. Two AEI scholars, Matt Jensen and Alex Brill, have in fact made the opposite case. (NRO)

The Obama health law creates two new entitlements for people under age 65: Subsidies to buy private health plans, and a vast expansion of Medicaid.  To pay for these two new entitlements, this law raises taxes by over half a trillion dollars, and then takes well over half a trillion dollars out of future funding for Medicare.  So seniors pay over half the cost of these new entitlements.  Cuts to Medicare pay for over half the cost of this Obama health care law.  It’s like robbing Grandma to “spread the wealth.”

Based on the data from Medicare’s own actuaries, every single year Medicare will have less money to spend on a senior than before this law was passed.  For example, in 2019, Medicare will have $1,431 less to spend, per senior, than if the law hadn’t passed.  But averages obscure the real impact, understate the real impact, because, in a given year, only about one of out of every five seniors, 22%, go to the hospital.  So, for the senior who needs care that year, the impact is far greater—between $5,000 and $6,000 less in resources to care for that person.

Obama: “Don’t worry, I’m only cutting payments to providers, I’m not cutting benefits for seniors.” 

And the Republicans, specifically want to “end medicare” (see link at the bottom).

Don’t be bamboozled!  It’s a trick.  It’s an illusion.  The fact is that Medicare already pays less than the actual cost of care to a hospital—91 cents for every dollar of care delivered.  So when the payments to hospitals are cut, it’s not going to trim hospital profit margins—they’re already in the negative!  It’s going to force hospitals to deliver less care.(AIM)

On Oct. 1, the Obama administration started awarding bonus points to hospitals that spend the least on elderly patients. It will result in fewer knee replacements, hip replacements, angioplasty, bypass surgery and cataract operations.

These are the five procedures that have transformed aging for older Americans. They used to languish in wheelchairs and nursing homes due to arthritis, cataracts and heart disease. Now they lead active lives.

But the Obama administration is undoing that progress. By cutting $716 billion from future Medicare funding over the next decade and rewarding the hospitals that spend the least on seniors, the Obama health law will make these procedures hard to get and less safe.

The Obama health law creates two new entitlements for people under age 65 — subsidies to buy private health plans and a vast expansion of Medicaid. More than half the cost of these entitlements is paid for by cutting what hospitals, doctors, hospice care, home care and Advantage plans are paid to care for seniors.

Just Take A Pill

Astoundingly, doctors will be paid less to treat a senior than to treat someone on Medicaid, and only about one-third of what a doctor will be paid to treat a patient with private insurance.

On July 13, 2011, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and hospitals to accept Medicare. Doctors who do continue to take it will not want to spend time doing procedures such as knee replacements when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing care their patients need for an extra fee. You’re trapped.

President Obama seems to think too many seniors are getting these procedures. At a town hall debate in 2009, he told a woman “maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller.”

Science proves the president is wrong. Knee replacements, for example, not only relieve pain but also save lives. Seniors with severe osteoarthritis who opt for knee replacement are less apt to succumb to heart failure and have a 50% higher chance of being alive five years later than arthritic seniors who don’t undergo the procedure, according to peer-reviewed scientific research.

Yet Foster warned Congress that 15% of hospitals may stop treating seniors once the Obama-Care cuts go into effect. The rest will have to lower the standard of care. Hospitals will have $247 billion less over the next decade to care for the same number of seniors as if the health law had not been enacted.

Obama claims his Medicare cuts will knock out waste and excessive profits. Untrue. Medicare already pays hospitals less than the actual cost of caring for a senior, on average 91 cents for every dollar of care. No profit there. Pushing down rates will force hospitals to spread nursing staff thinner.

Elderly patients will have a worse chance of surviving their stay and going home. When Medicare reduced payment rates to hospitals as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, hospitals incurring the largest cuts laid off nurses.

Rewarding Skimpy Care

Eventually, patients at these hospitals had a 6% to 8% worse chance of surviving a heart attack, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research report (March 2011).

In addition to the across-the-board cuts, the Obama administration will now impose a new measure on hospitals: “Medicare spending per beneficiary.” Hospitals that spend the least on seniors get bonus points, and higher-spending hospitals get demerits.

Hospitals will even be penalized for care consumed up to 30 days after patients are discharged, for example, for outpatient physical therapy following a hip or knee replacement.

There are ways to control Medicare spending, such as inching up the eligibility age or asking well-off seniors to pay more. Forcing hospitals to skimp on care is deadly.

Research sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (Annals of Internal Medicine, February 2011) shows that heart attack patients at the lowest-spending hospitals are 19% more likely to die than patients of the same age at higher-spending hospitals. Yet the Obama health law pushes all hospitals to imitate the lowest spending ones.

Ignore the political rhetoric and look at the scientific evidence. The Medicare cuts in the Obama health law will end Medicare as we’ve known it and doom seniors to painful aging and shorter lives.

And to that: The Politifact Lie of the Year 2011:

So who really wants granny thrown off a cliff?
It’s man behind the curtain. The showman out front. The Hypnotist’s misdirection.
That’s who.

Helping the Poor

Obama administration officials have insisted that their decision to grant states waivers to redefine work requirements for welfare recipients would not “gut” the landmark 1996 welfare reform law. But a new report from the Congressional Research Service obtained by the Washington Examiner suggests that the administration’s suspension of a separate welfare work requirement has already helped explode the number of able-bodied Americans on food stamps.

In addition to the broader work requirement that has become a contentious issue in the presidential race, the 1996 welfare reform law included a separate rule encouraging able-bodied adults without dependents to work by limiting the amount of time they could receive food stamps. President Obama suspended that rule when he signed his economic stimulus legislation into law, and the number of these adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010, according to the CRS report.

But I’m sure it’s Bush’s fault!

The CBO (The Congressional Budget Office) has released some bad news for President Obama and his signature Health Care law the Affordable Care Act.  The CBO has found that almost 6 million Americans, the majority of them in the middle class, will be hit with a tax penalty for failing to comply with the insurance mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The number of 6 million is significantly higher than the first estimates released by Democrats when the bill was still being debated.  Critics are saying this is another example of how the President has broken promises in relation to his Health Care Initiative.

The CBO, a nonpartisan group of number crunchers that work for Congress, had originally estimated that less than 4 million Americans would be hit with the tax surcharge in 2016 when the law is fully implemented.

The cost of the penalty s around $1,200 per year per family.  Obama had campaigned on a promise to not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 for a family of four.  The CBO estimates says that the vast majority of those that will be hit with the surcharge will make significantly less than that. (aka “middle class”)

Whoops, Did Obama do that again! 🙂

REDISTRIBUTION

Barack Obama back in 1998.

Addressing an audience at Loyola Chicago, Obama said he “believes” in redistribution:

I think that the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution. Because I actually believe in redistribution — at least to a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.

But he’s “evolved”? 🙂

Thomas Sowell: The recently discovered tape on which Barack Obama said back in 1998 that he believes in redistribution is not really news. He said the same thing to Joe the Plumber four years ago. But the surfacing of this tape may serve a useful purpose if it gets people to thinking about what the consequences of redistribution are.

Those who talk glibly about redistribution often act as if people are just inert objects that can be placed here and there, like pieces on a chess board, to carry out some grand design. But if human beings have their own responses to government policies, then we cannot blithely assume that government policies will have the effect intended.

The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty. The communist nations were a classic example, but by no means the only example.

In theory, confiscating the wealth of the more successful people ought to make the rest of the society more prosperous. But when the Soviet Union confiscated the wealth of successful farmers, food became scarce. As many people died of starvation under Stalin in the 1930s as died in Hitler’s Holocaust in the 1940s.

How can that be? It is not complicated. You can only confiscate the wealth that exists at a given moment. You cannot confiscate future wealth — and that future wealth is less likely to be produced when people see that it is going to be confiscated. Farmers in the Soviet Union cut back on how much time and effort they invested in growing their crops, when they realized that the government was going to take a big part of the harvest. They slaughtered and ate young farm animals that they would normally keep tending and feeding while raising them to maturity.

People in industry are not inert objects either. Moreover, unlike farmers, industrialists are not tied to the land in a particular country.

Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky could take his expertise to America and produce his planes and helicopters thousands of miles away from his native land. Financiers are even less tied down, especially today, when vast sums of money can be dispatched electronically to any part of the world.

If confiscatory policies can produce counterproductive repercussions in a dictatorship, they are even harder to carry out in a democracy. A dictatorship can suddenly swoop down and grab whatever it wants. But a democracy must first have public discussions and debates. Those who are targeted for confiscation can see the handwriting on the wall, and act accordingly.

Among the most valuable assets in any nation are the knowledge, skills and productive experience that economists call “human capital.” When successful people with much human capital leave the country, either voluntarily or because of hostile governments or hostile mobs whipped up by demagogues exploiting envy, lasting damage can be done to the economy they leave behind.

Fidel Castro’s confiscatory policies drove successful Cubans to flee to Florida, often leaving much of their physical wealth behind. But poverty-stricken refugees rose to prosperity again in Florida, while the wealth they left behind in Cuba did not prevent the people there from being poverty stricken under Castro. The lasting wealth the refugees took with them was their human capital.

We have all heard the old saying that giving a man a fish feeds him only for a day, while teaching him to fish feeds him for a lifetime. Redistributionists give him a fish and leave him dependent on the government for more fish in the future.

If the redistributionists were serious, what they would want to distribute is the ability to fish, or to be productive in other ways. Knowledge is one of the few things that can be distributed to people without reducing the amount held by others.

That would better serve the interests of the poor, but it would not serve the interests of politicians who want to exercise power, and to get the votes of people who are dependent on them.

Barack Obama can endlessly proclaim his slogan of “Forward,” but what he is proposing is going backwards to policies that have failed repeatedly in countries around the world.

Yet, to many people who cannot be bothered to stop and think, redistribution sounds good.

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

 

The Choice

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 

Obama 2009: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

How about Health Insurance!? 🙂

IT’S NOT A TAX! IT’S A PENALTY Levied and enforced by a tax collection agency. But it’s not a Tax! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 

According to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, the White House disagrees with the Supreme Court in its ruling Obamacare is a tax. From Twitter:

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Orwell is intact. Even though the EXPLICIT reason the  mandate survived is because the SCOTUS called it a tax, the Liberals are still spinning away from it.

When is a tax not a tax? When President Obama says it isn’t, or when the Supreme Court says it is?

Obamacare was sold on several fraudulent lines. The president knows the country doesn’t want to pay higher taxes, given the deplorable way their government spends the money. And so the administration packaged it as something different.

That’s called bait and switch, which is defined as “an illegal tactic in which a seller advertises a product with the intention of persuading customers to purchase a more expensive product.” And Obamacare, if it is not repealed, is guaranteed to be more expensive, not to mention more bureaucratic, delivering lower-quality care and eventually rationing to save money.

Does it matter what this president promises since so many have turned up empty?

This ruling will impose a massive tax increase during a lingering recession. Twenty-one new taxes are associated with Obamacare, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. That doesn’t include the scheduled year-end expiration of the Bush tax cuts. President Obama has said taxes shouldn’t be raised during a recession.

Simply put, if government is going to take more money from the people who earn it — mostly small businesses — it will result in those businesses hiring fewer people, or laying off more employees, or both, thus increasing already high unemployment. People who have never run a business, or made a payroll, like most in this administration, have no sense of that.

The list of lies and deceptions by this administration is long and growing. When campaigning for president in 2008, candidate Obama made “a firm pledge” not to raise taxes: “Not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” In 2009, he vigorously denied to George Stephanopoulos of ABC that the individual mandate is a tax. Now Chief Justice John Roberts says it is. If money leaves your pocket and goes to government, it’s a tax, no matter the label.

Some congressional Democrats, especially those running for re-election in traditionally Republican districts, might not have voted for this law had it been presented as a tax increase. They will now have to either defend the tax hike or vow to repeal the law. One way, they appear not to have known what they were doing. The other way, they will be portrayed as having lied.

In the short term, the president may have won the argument, but the Supreme Court has given Mitt Romney and the Republicans three issues: higher taxes, a loss of individual freedom and the wrong solution to reforming health insurance.

So the Republicans just have to have their viable plan for replacing ObamaCare, sell it. The liberal media will tear it apart faster than piranhas would a cow in the Amazon River NO MATTER WHAT IT SAYS  but they have to just go for it.

But will they? I don’t know.

The Founders sought to “secure the blessings of liberty.” This president wants to secure the power of government. And so government, which has done a poor job of running Medicare and Medicaid, will now be responsible for an even bigger program. This is like renewing the license of a serial drunk driver.

Roberts joins a long line of justices nominated by Republican presidents, beginning with Earl Warren, who agreed with the liberal wing of the court on cases favored by the Left. Rarely, if ever, does a liberal justice vote with the conservatives.

Roberts suggested he wouldn’t do the work of the people. If they don’t like Obamacare, they can change the leadership. The Republican Governors Association is planning to do nothing on Obamacare until after the election, an indication they believe a Romney presidency and a Republican Congress will repeal the law.

In a statement following the court’s decision, President Obama promised to implement the law with all deliberate speed. He apparently hopes that with more of it in place (except the taxes that come in 2014), people will become dependent on it and won’t want to do away with it.

In just four months, voters will have the opportunity to live up to the responsibility that Roberts says is theirs. Otherwise, voters will become co-conspirators in the weakening of health care and the further destruction of our liberties. (Cal Thomas)

It’s all on you now.

Do you want to be a nation of Serfs or Free (relative to Serfdom) People? Your Choice. Your Children’s choice. Your Grand children’s Choice.

THE TAX BOMB

Summary (from Heritage Foundation)

PPACAcontains 18 separate tax increases that will cost taxpayers $503 billion between 2010 and 2019. Three major tax hikes make up nearly half of the new revenue raised by PPACA:

  1. Section 1401 imposes a 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans. This new tax will apply to health plans valued in excess of $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Those thresholds will grow annually by inflation plus 1 percent. The tax takes effect in 2018 and is projected to raise $32 billion by 2019.
  2. Section 1411 increases the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) portion of the payroll tax. This provision will increase the employee’s portion from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent for families making more than $250,000 a year (and for individuals making more than $200,000). Combined with the employer’s portion, the total rate will be 3.8 percent on every dollar of income over $250,000 when the tax hike takes effect in 2013.
  3. Section 1411 also imposes a new payroll tax on investment. This tax provision applies the new higher 3.8 percent Medicare tax to investment income—including capital gains, dividends, rents, and royalties—and is scheduled to become effective in 2013. Together, the Medicare tax hikes will raise $210 billion between 2013 and 2019.

Table 1 lists all of the tax increases in PPACA.

Impact

As a result, the tax hikes in PPACA will slow economic growth, reduce employment, and suppress wages. These economy-slowing policies could not come at a worse time. PPACA tax increases will impede an already staggering recovery.

They Will Slow Economic Growth and Destroy Jobs . Taxes transfer money from productive private hands to the less efficient public sector. A politicized allocation is less efficient than market-based allocation because political decisions do not consider the highest-value use of resources, while the private sector considers such issues and therefore does a better job of assigning resources where they will contribute the most to economic growth.

They Will Discourage Work and Savings. Congress must levy high tax rates to take more Americans’ money, and this has a number of negative implications. Higher tax rates decrease the incentives for individuals to work and save more, both of which are essential for economic growth. Additionally, high rates discourage individuals from working harder and saving larger portions of what they earn. Combined, these two effects impede economic growth and reduce the number of jobs that businesses would have created had tax rates been lower.

They Will Not Reduce Deficits. Higher taxes never close budget deficits because, in the short run, Congress will spend all of the extra revenue it receives from higher taxes. Congress always spends every dollar of tax revenue it raises and however much it can borrow from credit markets. In the long run, the extra revenue will dissipate as individuals adjust their behavior to minimize their tax liability. The only way to close deficits is to cut spending and align it with how much revenue the tax code typically raises.

A New Direction

All tax increases have negative economic effects because higher taxes take resources from the productive hands of the private sector and transfer them to the wasteful hands of politicians. Higher taxes also lessen the incentives for individuals and businesses to engage in activities and behaviors that expand the economy and create jobs.

The tax code is a severe drag on the economy and is badly in need of fundamental reform. Ideally, a revised tax code would adhere more closely to the well-known flat tax. This new tax system would tax all wage and salary income at one rate and provide for only minimal deductions, credits, and exemptions. Tax reform is not an excuse to raise taxes. The new tax code would raise the same amount of revenue as the current system but in a more efficient manner in order to enhance economic growth.

Full List of Obamacare Tax Hikes

(From Americans for Tax Relief)
Obamacare law contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses

Taxpayers are reminded that the President’s healthcare law is one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.

Arranged by their respective effective dates, below is the total list of all $500 billion-plus in tax hikes (over the next ten years) in Obamacare, where to find them in the bill, and how much your taxes are scheduled to go up as of today:

Taxes that took effect in 2010:

1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113

3. “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

4. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies ($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

5. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike ($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

6. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services ($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

Taxes that took effect in 2011:

7. Medicine Cabinet Tax ($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike ($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

Tax that took effect in 2012:

9. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Min$/Jan 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

Taxes that take effect in 2013:

10. Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013):  Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

11. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax ($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

12. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers ($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

13. Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI ($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

14. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” ($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).  Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs educationBill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

15. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D ($4.5 bil/Jan 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

16. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives ($0.6 bil/Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

Taxes that take effect in 2014:

17. Individual Mandate Excise Tax (Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

18. Employer Mandate Tax (Jan 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

19. Tax on Health Insurers ($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.  Phases in gradually until 2018.  Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

Taxes that take effect in 2018:

20. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans ($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

Obama 2009: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

But don’t worry, even now after the SCOTUS has called it a tax, the DOJ that defended it in court said it is a tax, the White House still maintains it is not tax and thus they are not lying out what’s left of their collectivist asses.

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 

And The Winner Is…

BIG BROTHER!!!!

Its "for the childern"

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court’s judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Roberts provided the swing vote to uphold the president’s health care law as the court ruled 5-4. The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Justice Roberts: The chief justice came to the conclusion that the mandate was constitutional as a tax after finding that it was not, in fact, a legal “command” to buy health insurance.

WHAT WAS HE SMOKING?!!!

“Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income,” he wrote.

“As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test ‘has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.'” –Justice Thomas

Justice Roberts still toking the Weed: The Constitution’s commerce clause does not allow the federal government to force people to participate in a particular economic activity, Roberts stated.

“The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because they will engage in particular transactions,” Roberts wrote. “Any police power to regulate people, as such, as opposed to their activities, remains with the states.”

BUT THE COMMERCE CLAUSE WAS THE JUSTIFICATION YOU MORON!

The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said.

The court found problems with the law’s expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states’ entire Medicaid allotment if they don’t take part in the law’s extension.

“The act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying non-consenting states all Medicaid funding,” the dissenters said in a joint statement.

The court’s ruling has a far-reaching impact on the nation’s health care system. With the law being upheld, about 30 million of the 50 million uninsured Americans would get coverage in 2014 when a big expansion begins.

Obama has vigorously defended the health care overhaul as critical to the public’s health and well-being in campaign events this week.

“I think it was the right thing to do. I know it was the right thing to do,” he told supporters in Boston.

Republican campaign strategists said presidential candidate Mitt Romney will use the court’s ruling to continue campaigning against “Obamacare” and attacking the president’s signature health care program as a tax increase.

“Obama might have his law, but the GOP has a cause,” said veteran campaign adviser Terry Holt. “This promises to galvanize Republican support around a repeal of what could well be called the largest tax increase in American history.”

So Now the Government can demand you buy they deem, all they have to do is      call it a tax and claim it’s “commerce” and you’re toast!

And if your State objects to Federal Laws, too f*cking bad for you!

Do you think if it was sold as a Tax originally and that if  you didn’t comply an  IRS Agent would be punitively coming to your bank account  would you have embraced it?

The Left would have, it’s their Holy Grail. They now control who lives and who dies and How you Live! What could make them happier!

So coming soon:

The BMI Tax

The Salt Tax

The Soda Tax

The Obese Tax

The Fat Tax

The Vegan Tax

The Recycling/Global Warming Tax

The Chevy Volt Tax

The Gasoline Tax

The Light Bulb Tax

The Home Garden Tax

The Fast Food Penalty Tax

The MSNBC Tax

If they can TAX you for this what can’t they TAX you for??

NOTHING! Certainly not the Supreme Court!

What’s next, a TAX if we don’t work? So they they can get us working and not working.

You are now Serfs of the Big Brother who can now TAX you for anything they want and you have no say! So just suck it up, Serf!

If you do not obtain insurance coverage by 2014 you will be assessed a tax penalty. The penalty becomes progressively greater from 2014 through 2016, when it reaches full strength. Costing you $744 on a  $40,000 a year job to begin with.

But testing a website for poor people: The law expands Medicaid to all individuals and families with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. But the court found that states cannot be penalized if they decline to comply with the expansion, raising questions as to how effectively the federal government will be able to implement it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/what-health-bill-means-for-you/

Under 26, Single, Low income of $20,000: You will have the option of buying a health plan through your state’s exchange with federal assistance. Based on your income, your annual premiums for that plan would be no more than $800 to $1,260. Your maximum out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-payments would be capped at 15 percent of the total cost.

If you do not obtain insurance coverage by 2014 you will be assessed a tax penalty. The penalty becomes progressively greater from 2014 through 2016, when it reaches full strength. At that point, assuming your current income remains the same and your household consists of 1 uninsured adult, you would be subject to a penalty of about $695.

And everyone making that kind of money can certainly pay a Tax to nearly $700!!

So let me get this straight. We are taxed on things we do and now we are taxed if we don’t do anything?

And since the Government will now be in control of your Life through your health congratulation citizen you are now the proud servant of your Master not the Master of your our destiny!

R.I.P. USA 2012. It is almost officially over for this country.

We sure as hell ain’t a Constitutional Republic anymore. A blighted, bloated, and not-so-benign Dictatorship more like.

Hope you will remember fondly with nostalgia that now vanquished concept called FREEDOM. It was a quaint nothing while it lasted.

Future generations will look upon it with puzzlement  completely unable to understand the concept. It will be like a Roman trying to understand an airplane.

The Government is ALWAYS Right. There are Three Lights!

ALL HAIL YOUR KING!

Sen Mike Lee: The Court really messed up with that part of their decision — it isn’t a tax, it wasn’t sold as a tax, it doesn’t have the hallmarks of a tax.  I respectfully but forcefully disagree with the opinion.  Politically, we have to take this thing down.  We’re going to win.  People are going to show up in droves in November.”

And the only way to do that is to VOTE AGAINST OBAMA and the Democrat Senate!

THEY MUST BE STOPPED!

Sarah Palin Obamacare
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

The Coming of ObamaCare Ethics

Just when you thought Obamacare and  Contraceptives were fun…

All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon.

Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan.

“In a study of the cost-effectiveness of specific contraceptive methods, all contraceptive methods were found to be more cost-effective than no method, and the most cost-effective methods were long-acting contraceptives that do not rely on user compliance,” said the Institute of Medicine report on its mandate recommendations.(CNS)

Say Just say “yes” to Sterilization, and No to “Just say no” abstinence!

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” HHS Secretary Sebelius has said in the past.

The prestigious Journal of Medical Ethics has just given us a sneak-peek into what ObamaCare will surely be mandating in the not-too-distant future.

The Journal published an article this month seeking to mainstream the view that infanticide is a health-improving measure.  Calling it “after-birth abortion,” two philosophers argue that killing a newborn should be a purely elective decision of parents who believe the baby would be a burden or would negatively impact their family’s well being. (life News)

So, they way to cover cost of Obamacare is to have less people in the system!!

For the past several years, the medical profession has been undergoing a disturbing transformation. The process was begun by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to control exploding Medicare costs, and was accelerated by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. As a surgeon in practice for over 30 years, I have witnessed this transformation firsthand. I fear that my profession will soon abandon its traditional code of ethics and adopt one more suited to veterinarians.

For centuries, my predecessors and I have been inculcated with what has come to be called the “Hippocratic Ethic.” This tradition holds that I am ethically required to use the best of my knowledge to recommend to my patient what I consider to be in my patient’s best interests—without regard to the interests of the third-party payer, or the government, or anyone else.

But gradually the medical profession has been forced to give up this approach for what I like to call a “veterinary ethic,” one that places the interests of the payer (or owner) ahead of the patient. For example, when a pet owner is told by a veterinarian that the pet has a very serious medical condition requiring extremely costly surgery or other therapy, the veterinarian presents the pet’s owner with one or more options—from attempt at cure, to palliation, to euthanasia—with the associated costs, and then follows the wishes of the owner.

In a few years, almost all doctors will be employees of hospitals and will be ordered to practice medicine according to federally prescribed guidelines—guidelines that put the best interests of the state ahead of the interests of individual patients.

Several factors in combination are bringing this ethical approach to my profession.

Since the mid-1980s, Medicare has imposed price controls on health care providers. Over the years, in order to accommodate increasing Medicare utilization, physician payments have steadily dropped.

Meanwhile, the regulatory burden on physicians has increased. In the last few years, CMS required all providers to adopt electronic health records or face economic sanctions from Medicare. It is the ultimate goal that every health care provider, including pharmacies, will have electronic databases that will be accessible to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In 2009, as part of the so-called stimulus bill, the Federal Commission for the Coordination of Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCCCER) was created. Its mission is to collect the data culled from all electronic health records and make recommendations regarding the comparative effectiveness of drugs, procedures, and therapies. In rendering advice, the FCCCER will essentially answer the following question: What is the most cost-effective way of allocating a fixed amount of resources among a population of roughly 310 million people?

With this same question in mind, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a committee that reports to HHS, concluded in 2009 that mammogram screenings should not be recommended to women under age 50. This caused an uproar among both private health care providers and breast cancer advocacy groups, and the task force soon backed down. Similarly, in the fall of 2011, the task force recommended the abandonment of certain routine prostate cancer screenings. Once again, health care providers and cancer advocacy groups protested, and the task force rescinded its recommendation.

In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Beginning in 2014, the 15 presidential appointees on this board will determine what therapies, procedures, tests, and medications will be covered by Medicare, using advice provided by the FCCCER. Such determinations will then be used to design the coverage packages for the non-Medicare insurance offered through the government–run exchanges. The decisions of the IPAB are not subject to Congressional oversight or judicial review.

Meanwhile, in an effort to control costs now, CMS has developed practice guidelines and protocols for physicians to follow. Committees of health care academics and statisticians developed these guidelines, using data from large population samples.

These protocols govern the therapeutic decisions made by the health care practitioner—right down to the pre-operative antibiotics a surgeon may order. Despite the fact that several recent peer-reviewed studies concluded that the protocols have had no positive effect—in fact, one study showed post-op skin infections increased since the protocols were instituted—CMS imposes financial penalties on hospitals that fail to get protocol compliance from their medical staff.

Medical students and residents are now being trained to follow federally-derived protocols and guidelines as a normal part of medical practice. As a result, this new generation of doctors will be less inclined to challenge the recommendations of federal task forces and agencies. Some academics also worry that “teaching to the protocol” might discourage independent thinking and the use of intuitive knowledge, two traits essential to the practice of good medicine.

In addition, decreased reimbursements and increased regulatory demands on physicians have led many to sell their practices to hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine* estimates that 50 percent of the nation’s doctors are now hospital employees. As private medical practice becomes more economically untenable, look for the overwhelming majority of doctors to become salaried hospital employees—many working in shifts—in the next few years. Virtually every doctor now graduating a residency program is taking a position as a salaried hospital employee.

Ten thousand people will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years, placing an even greater fiscal burden on the Medicare program.

One way CMS is trying to deal with this is by penalizing hospitals and doctors who treat patients with resistant problems. Effective this year, any patient readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge for the same or a related problem will be treated by the hospital without compensation. The plan is to implement the same policy with respect to the original treating physician in the near future.

To help deal with this more definitively, an old concept with a new name is being promoted and encouraged by the Affordable Care Act: the Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The ACO harkens back to the infamous HMO capitation system of the early 1990s over which the population rebelled.

In a nutshell, hospitals, clinics, and health care providers have been given incentives to organize into teams that will get assigned groups of 5,000 or more Medicare patients. They will be expected to follow practice guidelines and protocols approved by Medicare. If they achieve certain goals established by Medicare with respect to cost, length of hospital stay, re-admissions, or other “core measures,” they will get to share a portion of Medicare’s savings. If the reverse happens, they will face economic penalties.

Private insurance companies are currently setting up the non-Medicare version of the ACO. These will be sold in the federally subsidized exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act. In this model, there are no fee-for-service payments to providers. Instead, an ACO is given a lump sum, or “bundled” payment for the entire care for a large group of insurance beneficiaries. The ACOs are expected to follow the same Medicare-approved practice protocols, but all of the financial risks are assumed by the ACOs. If the ACOs keep costs down, the team of providers and hospitals reap the financial reward: a surplus from the lump sum payment. If they lose money, the providers and hospitals eat the loss.

In both the Medicare and non-Medicare varieties of the ACO, cost control and compliance with centrally-planned practice guidelines are the primary goal. The hospital and provider networks will live or die by these objectives.

When almost all health care providers are salaried employees of hospitals, hospitals might then be able to get ACOs to work better than their ancestor HMOs. The hospital administrators will have more control over their medical staff. If doctors don’t follow the protocols and guidelines, and desired outcomes are not reached, hospitals can replace the “problem” doctors.

So where does all this place the medical profession with respect to its ethical credo? In a few years, almost all doctors will be employees of hospitals and will be ordered to practice medicine according to federally prescribed guidelines—guidelines that put the best interests of the state ahead of the interests of individual patients.

When the physician’s primary obligation is to satisfy the wishes of the payer—ultimately the wishes of the state—how can patients be truly confident in their doctors’ decisions?

I submit that it all boils down to a question of professional ethics.

The medical profession must decide—and soon—which ethical doctrine to follow: Are doctors to be agents of their patients or agents of the state? All of us should dread the latter choice—because we will all be patients some day.

Jeffrey Singer practices general surgery in Phoenix, Arizona, writes for Arizona Medicine, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association (Goldwater Institute)

Obama Memo on the Obamacare Case at the Supreme Court:

WHERE’S MY RECOVERY?

Today, over 4 years since the recession started, there are still almost 24 million Americans unemployed or underemployed. That includes 5.6 million who are long-term unemployed for 27 weeks, or more than 6 months, the highest since the Great Depression. The number of Americans employed part-time for economic reasons was still 8.1 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says, “These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”

Another 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. The BLS says, “These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

African Americans have been suffering an outright depression under Obama, with unemployment today, 51 months after the recession started, still over 14%. Black unemployment has been over 14% for Obama’s entire term in office. Black teenage unemployment today is still nearly 35%, where it has persisted for Obama’s entire term as well.

Hispanics have also been suffering a depression under Obama, with unemployment today still in double digits at nearly 11%, where it has also persisted for Obama’s entire term. Over one fourth of Hispanic youths remain unemployed today, which also has persisted for years.

The Census Bureau reported last September that more Americans are in poverty today than at any time in the entire 51 year history of Census tracking poverty. Americans dependent on food stamps are at an all time high as well. White House spokesman Jay Carney recently tried to blame the Republicans for that, saying that it was their policies of deregulation that caused the recession. But actually it was liberal policies of overregulation forcing the looting of the banks for subprime loans under threat of discrimination suits that caused the recession. See, e.g. Paul Sperry, The Great American Bank Robbery.

Moreover, it was Obama’s responsibility to foster a timely, robust recovery restoring traditional American prosperity. Where is that? The absence of that is because Obama doesn’t believe in traditional American anything. (American Spectator)

The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has released a new document entitled “Terrorism Awareness and Prevention”. The paper is aimed at raising awareness on how New Jersey residents can help combat terrorism, including tips on how to spot signs of suspicious activities and behaviors.

So what are these suspicious behaviors? “Look for signs of nervousness in the people you come in contact with.” This includes “exaggerated yawning when in a conversation,” “repetitive touching of face,” “increased breathing rate,””unusual perspiration,” “excessive fidgeting,””trembling” and “goose bumps.” Though some might say these are all completely natural body reactions, the document says otherwise.

While pacing around and being jumpy is also listed as a potential indicator of malicious intent, standing still in a rigid posture also fits the bill of terrorist intent. So what should you do to avoid getting flagged as a potential enemy of the state? Stand still, or gesture profusely? In reality, there’s probably not much you can do.

You’re just toast.

Hot dogs. Bison Wellington. Baby back ribs.

President Barack Obama is roaming all over the culinary map this week.

The president made a lunchtime detour to a barbeque and ribs joint Thursday on his way back to the White House after a speech about energy policy.

The president came away from Texas Ribs & BBQ with a takeout bag containing 2 slabs of baby back ribs and a brisket sandwich with fries.

Earlier in the week, Obama downed a hotdog at an NCAA basketball game in Ohio. And on Wednesday, he dined on bison at a fancy state dinner.

So “Let’s Move”!! 🙂

ANOTHER TSA UPDATE

Passengers at airports can now avoid TSA pat downs, long lines and can carry liquids on board by paying $100.

However, the TSA’s new fast track ‘Precheck’ screening is likely to rile the family of a wheel-chair bound toddler who was recently subjected to invasive security checks.

Unlike the background check passengers in the scheme, who will be able to skip screening, the three-year-old was stopped at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

‘We can reduce the size of the haystack when we are looking for that one-in-a-billion terrorist,’ TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Journal.

And a Three year old in a wheelchair is definitely a candidate for that 1 in a Billion!
So you just have to bribe them a $100 bucks! Gee…
FAST & FURIOUS

Breitbart.com has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

Liberal leopards don’t change their spots.
Now don’t you feel better about Obamacare, The TSA, Security and The Economy! 🙂
Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

 Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

A Year In Review

Here’s a look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s year in review.

– Jan. 14: Kansas announces its intention to become the 26th state to file suit against the federal government to stop implementation of the health care overhaul.

– Jan. 19: The House of Representatives votes to repeal the health care law.

– Jan. 26: Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Abbott Labs cuts 1,900 jobs “in response to changes in the health-care industry, including U.S. health-care reform and the challenging regulatory environment.”

– Jan. 31: A second federal district judge rules that the law is unconstitutional.

– Feb. 2: All 47 Republican senators vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the measure fails.

– Feb. 16: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the Senate Finance Committee and admits that the CLASS Act, a key portion of the law that was touted as a $70 billion savings, is “totally unsustainable.” But not to worry: Sebelius says her department has the authority to rework the legislation to make CLASS tenable.

– Feb. 18: The House votes to block federal funding to implement the Affordable Care Act. The Congressional Budget Office also estimates that repealing the law would add $210 billion to the combined federal deficits from 2012 to 2021.

– Feb. 22: A federal judge tosses a lawsuit claiming that the Affordable Care Act violates the liberties of those who choose to rely on God to protect and heal them instead of buying health insurance.

– March 3: The House votes to end an unpopular tax paperwork-filing requirement for businesses tucked into the health care law.

– March 23: The law turns one year old. On the same day, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce finds that the temporary Early Retirement Reinsurance Program will spend its allotted $5 billion far earlier than its Jan. 1, 2014 expiration date.

– March 30: The CBO estimates that health care reform will cost $1.1 trillion, an increase of $90 billion from its February estimate.

– May 17: The Daily Caller reports that 20 percent of new waivers from the law have gone to gourmet restaurants, nightclubs and fancy hotels in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.

– June 8: A McKinsey & Company survey of over 1,300 private sector employers found that 30 percent of employers would definitely or probably stop offering insurance to their employees after the law is implemented in 2014.

– June 18: HHS announces that it is axing waivers from the law. After over 1700 of them, 24% of them are for Public and private sector UNIONS and “small” employers like McDonalds. And they only stopping kissing up because of too much bad press.

– June 21: A glitch in the law, discovered after Obama signed it, would allow middle-class Americans to get subsidized health care intended for poor people, the Associated Press reports. Medicare’s chief actuary says the policy “doesn’t make sense.”

– June 29: In the face of a constitutional challenge, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the law.

– July 18: An Employment Policies Institute report finds that the Affordable Care Act would incentivize employees to switch to a government-subsidized insurance exchange even if employers were to continue their health care coverage, costing taxpayers “significant[ly].”

– July 19: The bipartisan “gang of six” puts forward a debt-reduction plan that would repeal the CLASS Act.

– Aug. 1: HHS issues a regulation requiring all group health insurance plans to cover FDA-approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” Even if you are morally opposed to Planned Parenthood. 🙂

Now that’s “Pro-Choice” !!!!

– Aug. 12: The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the law’s individual health insurance mandate is unconstitutional.

– Sept. 8: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejects a pair of challenges to the law on procedural grounds. It does not rule on the law’s constitutionality.

– Sept. 15: A bicameral Republican report accuses Democratic supporters of the health care law of recklessness for promoting the CLASS Act despite knowing that the program would eventually blow up the budget.

– Oct. 5: The signatures of about 1.6 million petitioners pressing for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act are delivered to Capitol Hill at a press conference.

– Oct. 13: A federal inspector general finds that the IRS is having trouble collecting the 10-percent federal tanning tax established by the law.

– Oct. 14: HHS completes its 19-month review of the CLASS Act, determining that “we do not have a path to move forward,” Sebelius says. CLASS remains on the books, but the administration essentially gives up on it.

– Nov. 4: Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe and 23 Republican colleagues send a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman objecting to a new IRS rule authorizing subsidies for participants in the yet-to-be-created federal health care exchange program. They argue that the agency is seeking to rewrite legislation, something it is not allowed to do.
Conservative experts say the IRS rules are covering up a glitch in the original law that provides subsidies for people enrolled in state exchanges, but not federal exchanges. Shulman does not agree with their analysis.

– Nov. 9: The National Federation of Independent Business releases a report saying that in 2012 the law’s new health insurance tax will reduce private sector jobs by between 125,000 and 249,000.

– Nov. 10: The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty announces it is suing HHS on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic educational institution. The lawsuit claims the Aug. 1 regulation violates the college’s teaching on contraception, sterilization and abortion.

– Nov. 14: The Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act.

– Nov. 16: Forty-seven percent of Americans favor repeal of the law, Gallup finds.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law passed by Congress in March 2010, while 35% at least somewhat oppose repeal. The intensity remains on the side of the law’s opponents since these findings include 42% who Strongly Favor repeal versus 26% who are Strongly Opposed.

– Nov. 29: Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank joins the effort to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a key portion of the law that would “recommend levels at which Medicare recipients, including seniors, can
be reimbursed for health care expenses.”

– Nov. 30: The House energy committee votes to repeal the CLASS Act.

– Dec. 15: The Obama administration announces that the number of young uninsured Americans has fallen by 2.5 million, attributing it to his law’s provision permitting young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans
until age 26. (yeah and their parents are not underemployed) 🙂

– Dec 16: Seeking to defuse a potential showdown over a key part of the new healthcare law, the Obama administration moved Friday to let states, rather than the federal government, define which medical benefits insurance companies will have to offer consumers starting in 2014. That allows state leaders to retain more control of health insurance even as the law extends a new federal guarantee that all Americans can get coverage, even if they are sick.

But it’s just a “pre-rule”.

By giving states authority to define the scope of covered benefits, the Obama administration potentially sidestepped an ugly showdown between consumer and business groups in the run-up to the presidential election. Administration officials also may have undercut a charge from opponents of the law that the federal government is usurping state authority. (aka The 10th Amendment argument)

That’s tricky territory for the administration, which is trying to avoid the “big brother” label on health care.

“However, flexibility must yield to reliable, comprehensive coverage of benefits for consumers.… It is essential that HHS provide strong oversight and enforcement.”

The proposed rules, which will take months to finalize. What do you want to bet it will right up to the March arguments in the Supreme Court. 🙂

Gee, I’m not a little cynical. I’m nothing BUT cynical. 🙂

That means that some states may require insurers to cover services such as chiropractic therapy or in vitro fertilization, while others may not. The rules will not affect co-payments, cost sharing and deductibles, which play a major role in determining premiums.
– Dec. 18: Health care experts doubt that the federal insurance exchange program will be fully operational by the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline, since many states have refused to implement the state exchange program, the Washington Post  reports.

– Dec. 19: The Supreme Court announces it will hear an unprecedented week’s worth of arguments in March 2012 to determine whether the health care overhaul law is constitutional.

So it’s all politics and chaos. They passed the buck so that them not sawing off the finger on your right hand would also you to not notice they want to or have sawed over your legs.

But don’t worry, when the IRS comes knocking on your wallet, it’s only a “penalty” nothing to be concerned about. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Reason

When people make statements that are completely at variance with reality and they continue to repeat them and you know they are not crazy, it’s only natural to wonder, what’s going on?

I’ve concluded that for some people on the left, political beliefs are like a false religion in which the parishioners become unable to distinguish myth from reality.

How else can you explain the statements of Donald Berwick, President Obama’s recess appointee to run Medicare and Medicaid, on his way out of office the other day? For starters, he claimed that the Affordable Care Act (what some people call ObamaCare) “is making health care a basic human right.” Then he went on to say that because of the new law, “we are a nation headed for justice, for fairness and justice in access to care.”

Now I can’t claim to have read everything in the 2,700-page law, but I can assure you that “making health care a right” just isn’t in there. Nor is there anything in the new law that makes the role of government more “just” or “fair.”

To the contrary, a lot of knowledgeable people (not just conservative critics) are predicting that access to care is going to be more difficult for our most vulnerable populations. That appears to have been the experience in Massachusetts, which Obama cites as the model for the new federal reforms. It’s not that Massachusetts tried and failed to expand access to care. It didn’t even try.

True enough, Massachusetts cut the number of uninsured in that state in half through Governor Romney’s health reform. But it didn’t create any new doctors. The state expanded the demand for care, but it did nothing to expand supply. More people than ever are trying to get care, but because there was no increase in medical services, it has become more difficult than ever to actually see a doctor.

And far from fair, the new federal health law will give some people health insurance subsidies that are as much as $20,000 more than the subsidies available to other people at the same level of income. In fact, the new system of health insurance subsidies is about as arbitrary as it can be.

Berwick isn’t alone in making bizarre statements about health reform. Right after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, administration health advisors Robert Kocher, Ezekiel Emanuel and Nancy-Ann DeParle announced that the new health reform law “guarantees access to health care for all Americans.”

In fact, nothing in the act guarantees access to care for any America, let alone all Americans. Far from it. Again, take Massachusetts as the precedent. The waiting time to see a new family practice doctor in Boston (63 days) is longer than in any other major U.S. city. In a sense, a new patient seeking care in Boston has less access to care than in just about every other U.S. city!

The disconnect between belief and reality is not unique to our country. With the enactment of the British National Health Service after World War II, the reformers claimed that they too had made health care a “right.” The same claim was made in Canada after that country established its “single-payer” Medicare scheme.

Yet in reality, neither country has made health care a right. They didn’t even come close. Neither British nor Canadian citizens have a right to any particular health care. A patient with a mysterious lump on her breast has no right to an MRI scan in either country. A cancer patient has no right to the latest cancer drug. A cardiac patient has no right to open heart surgery. They may get the care they need. Or they may not. Sadly, all too often they do not.

The British and the Canadians not only have no legally enforceable right to any particular type of care, they don’t even have a right to a place in line. For example, a patient who is 100th on the waiting list for heart surgery is not entitled to the 100th surgery. Other patients (including cash paying patients from the United States!) may jump the queue and get their surgery first.

Imagine a preacher, a priest or a rabbi who gets up in front of the congregation and gets a lot of things wrong. Say he misstates facts, distorts reality, or says other things you know are not true. Do you jump up from the pew and yell, “That’s a lie”? Of course not. But if those same misstatements were made by someone else during the work week you might well respond with considerable harshness. What’s the difference? I think there are two different thought processes that many people engage in. Let’s call them “Sunday morning” thinking and “Monday morning” thinking. We tolerate things on Sunday that we would never tolerate on Monday. And there is probably nothing wrong with that, unless people get their days mixed up.

In my professional career I have been to hundreds of health policy conferences, discussions, get-togethers, etc., where it seemed as though people were completely failing to connect with each other. One day it dawned on me that we were having two different conversations. Some people were engaged in Monday morning thinking, while everyone else was engaged in Sunday morning thinking.

Here’s the problem. Whether the beliefs are true or false, if people didn’t come to their religious convictions by means of reason, then reason isn’t going to convince them to change their minds.

This same principle applies to collectivism and health care. If people didn’t come to the false religion of collectivism by means of reason, you are not going to talk them out of it by means of reason. If you remember this principle, you will save yourself the agony of many, many pointless conversations. (Townhall.com)

And Boy have I had a few of those (!!) over the past 3 years!

Especially, one very strident liberal who refuses to acknowledge that the penalty for not purchasing health insurance (the mandate) levied by the IRS against your taxes is thus a tax and the Justice Department has defended it as such in court.

But since politically it can’t be a “tax” he’ll defend to end of the earth that this penalty is not from a tax, even though it is levied by the government’s tax collection agency.

I cite many case where the Justice Department called it a “penalty” in public but then a tax in court and he just says “no they didn’t”.

So I counter with:

In a Department of Justice (DOJ) legal brief  in the case of the State of Florida v. The Department of Health and  Human Services, the Obama Administration argues the individual mandate  (requiring Americans to buy a government-approved insurance plan even if  they can’t afford it) is a constitutional exercise of Congresss power  to collect taxes. 
July 17, 2010: It is a Tax In Court, the Obama  Administration defends the individual healthcare mandate as a tax,  painting the mandate requirement as an exercise of the governments  power to lay and collect taxes. Furthermore, Administration officials  say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of  the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being  challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private  organizations.

October 18, 2010 In Court:  Justice Department lawyers argue that the fine is a tax, which Congress  can impose under its constitutional taxing authority.

Ian H. Gershengorn, a deputy U.S. assistant attorney general, he said the penalty will act like a tax, paid  annually when individuals file their tax returns to the IRS.

October 19, 2010: It is a Tax When States suing the  federal  government over the constitutionality of the individual mandate  they  were answered with the response that Justice Department lawyers argue that the fine is a tax, which Congress can impose under its constitutional taxing authority.

And I get: “I noticed that in all of your articles about the court brief, none of them quote the court brief….”Again, just because the health insurance mandate penalty comes from the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes doesn’t make the health insurance mandate penalty a ‘tax’ — any more than the penalty for not filing a return can be called a ‘tax’.”

The doublespeak here is trying to disassociate the “penalty” from the TAX agency that would be collecting it and the fact that it is a tax. He knows it’s a tax, but ideologically that can’t be allowed  so it isn’t.

Thus, reason is not an option.

But there is something darkly satisfying about playing cat and mouse with liberals like this. I haven’t figured out exactly what though. I’m sure it’s a dark part of me as well.

But I’m reasonable enough to recognize it. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

I’ll hug him and squeeze him and call him Barack!
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

 

Surprise!

No Media Bias here! 🙂

“Look, he is accusing the tea party because it threatened default, for causing this,” Krauthammer said. “He himself said openly he would veto any debt ceiling extension that wasn’t long enough to get him into 2013. He was going to veto it over the length, which incidentally turns out to be, as you point out, irrelevant. He got what he wanted on length and we still got the downgrade.”

Krauthammer added that he was quick to fault congressional Republicans for the exact same thing he did during these negotiations and raised the question of where exactly the buck stops.

“But here he is accusing others of holding debt as hostage as a bargaining chip when he said he would himself,” Krauthammer continued. “So he’s been completely contradictory. I was sort of stunned by his appearance today. I said, ‘Why did he go out there?’ He went out there with the Dow at minus-400. And after he spoke, it went down minus-600. He looked weak, plaintive and small. I mean weak and plaintive because he comes out there and he blames of course the tea party, Europe, Japan and the Middle East, probably God because he’s the author of earthquakes — everybody except for him.” (DC)

You’re “unfair” or “evil” or “obstructionist”  if you don’t let a Liberal do whatever the hell they want. But when it blows up in their face, they are the “victim” and it’s anyone else fault but theirs.

Oh, and speaking of blowing up in our faces! ObamaCare will cost EVEN More. Surprise!!

So anyone want to kill this entitlement before it become Medicare or Social Security. Certainly, not any liberal.

Federal payments required by President Barack Obama’s health care law are being understated by as much as $50 billion per year because official budget forecasts ignore the cost of insuring many employees’ spouses and children, according to a new analysis. The result could cost the U.S. Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars during the first ten years of the new health care law’s implementation.

“The Congressional Budget Office has never done a cost-estimate of this [because] they were expressly told to do their modeling on single [person] coverage,” said Richard Burkhauser in a telephone interview Monday. Burkhauser is an economist who teaches in Cornell University’s department of policy analysis and management. On Monday the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper on the subject that Burkhauser co-authored with colleagues from Cornell and Indiana University.

Employees and employers can use the rules to their own advantage, he said.  “A very large number of workers” will be able to apply for federal subsidies, “dramatically increasing the cost” of the law, he said.

In May a congressional committee set the accounting rules that determine who will qualify for federal health care subsidies under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When the committee handed down the rules to the Congressional Budget Office, its formula excluded the health care costs of millions of workers’ spouses and children. The result was a final estimate for 2010 that hides those costs.

“This is a very important paper,” Heritage Foundation health care expert Paul Winfree told TheDC. These hidden costs, he said, “will almost certainly add to the deficit, contrary to what the Congressional Budget Office and others have estimated.”

That’s especially important, Winfree added, because Congress’s 12-member “super committee” is about to draft another round of cuts to 10-year spending plans.

Burkhauser says his paper will be expanded later this year because “we have gotten so much heat for this work, that in our final version we are more clearly explaining how we came to find out about the change in the Committee’s [the Joint Committee on Taxation’s] interpretation of the law.”

The president’s health care law provides government subsidies for, among others, private-sector employees who earn between 1.33 times and 4 times the poverty level, and who also spend more than 9.5 percent of their family income on health care.

On May 4, 2010, the Joint Committee on Taxation directed the Congressional Budget Office to ignore family members when determining whether employees actually pay more than 9.5 percent of their household income on insurance.

The instruction was included in a correction of a complex, 150-page March 21 document. The correction read: “ERRATA FOR JCX-18-10 … On page 15, Minimum essential coverage and employer offer of health insurance coverage, in the second sentence of the second paragraph, ‘the type of coverage applicable (e.g., individual or family coverage)’ should be replaced with ‘self-only coverage.’”

Because of this rule change, Burkhauser said, employees who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements to receive the federal subsidy can be denied it, if their own share of the family’s insurance costs total less than 9.5 percent of their families’ incomes.

If theory, he added, “this will mean that millions of families that are not provided with affordable insurance [by companies] will be ineligible to go to the federal exchanges,” he said.

But companies and their employees share great incentives to rearrange workers’ compensation to win more of these federal subsidies, he said.

For example, he explained, an employee can ask his employer to raise the price of company-provided insurance in exchange for an equal increase in salary. In many cases, that would boost the share of his income spent on health insurance to a percentage above the 9.5 percent threshold.

Such an arrangement, Burkhauser added, would make the employee, his spouse, and his children all eligible for federal health care subsidies while enriching both employer and employee — even after the Treasury Department collects fines from U.S. workers.

Burkhauser’s research found that because of the law’s incentives, an extra one-sixth of workers who get their health insurance from employers — or roughly an additional 12.7 percent of all workers — would gain by transfering themselves and their families into the federal exchanges.

Current projections suggest 75 percent of all employees will avoid the federal subsidies and stay in employer-backed health insurance plans. Burkhauser’s estimate, however, suggests that only about 65 percent of employees would have an adequate incentive to remain in privately funded health plans.

The May 4 federal health care rule ignored these incentives, he said, causing the CBO to underestimate the cost of Obama’s program by as much as $50 billion per year. If subsidy costs were to remain consistent, the ten-year total would be $500 billion; the government would likely recoup some of that in noncompliance penalties.

“Every day seems to bring a new Obamacare eruption that demonstrates the law’s authors had no idea what they were doing,” said Michael Cannon. Cannon directs the Cato Institute’s health policy studies program.

“This study shows yet another way that ObamaCare’s cost will be much, much higher than supporters led the American people to believe,” Cannon warned.

“Anyone who’s serious about the federal debt should make Obamacare’s trillion-plus dollars of new entitlement spending the first item to put on the chopping block.” (DC)

“Leadership starts at the top with the presidency. Here he is way into our crisis, way in this issue of the double-dip, low growth rate, high unemployment, instability. After all of this, in office three years and today he says, ‘I will have recommendations on reducing the debt.’ Where was he in December when his own commission reported and he ignored it? Or with the budget in February, which increased our deficit and increased the debt by $10 trillion. All of a sudden he discovers the virtues of presenting the proposal. He has put nothing on the table and he blames everybody else.”

And he’s the victim!
“Don’t you think something slightly pathetic by the way in smart men who claim to be able to run the multi-trillion dollar enterprise that is now the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh no it is not us. It is the guy that runs the hardware store over there. He goes to a tea party rally and the lady who owns the hair salon. They have caused it,’” Steyn said. “Do you understand how pathetic the president of the United States sounds?”(Mark Steyn)

No I don’t think they do. And the Media sure as hell doesn’t care to notice.