Categories
Archives
HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN
target="_top">

Archive for the ‘Obamacare’ Category

GOP Eyes Lightning Strike on Obamacare to Kick Off Trump Era

by Steven Dennis and Billy House

Slim Senate majority leaves little wiggle room for passage
Some Republicans also want to end Planned Parenthood funding
Congressional Republicans are considering a lightning-strike rollback of Obamacare early next year to kick off the Donald Trump era, but first they have to agree on a plan limited enough to hold their caucus together.
Republicans won’t have much room for error to successfully repeal Obamacare, a top campaign promise of Trump and congressional Republicans. Even if they delay the repeal to allow more time to come up with a replacement, there will be pressure to use the legislative maneuver to push through other top GOP priorities, such as defunding Planned Parenthood.
But Senate Republicans would have to keep unified the 52 senators they expect to have when the new Congress convenes Jan. 3.
The Republican plan would take advantage of reconciliation, a budget-related mechanism to circumvent the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and prevent Democrats from being able to block legislation on their own. By striking early, the GOP could set itself up to invoke the same procedure again later in the year on a broader range of targets, including tax cuts.
The quick-strike bill, like one vetoed earlier this year by President Barack Obama, H.R. 3762, would likely set what amounts to an expiration date for the law’s financial underpinnings, leaving Congress to act at a later date on any replacement plan. That’s because more than six years after the law’s passage, Republicans still don’t have a consensus on how to replace Obamacare.
Early Win
But passing something in Trump’s first 100 days would allow Republicans to claim a big win early on, and conservatives are demanding the GOP deliver quickly.
“In order to give a clear and unambiguous message there’s a new occupant in the White House, one of the first things that should be done after the oath of office is passage of a bill through reconciliation repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood,” Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, said Monday in a interview.
Franks, chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, said he worries that some in Congress may seek more time to pass a bill. But he said the bill should be passed “almost the first moment after the oath of office.” Congress needs to send the message that when people vote based on promises made during a campaign, “that their votes will matter,” he said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Tuesday at a Washington Post breakfast that the first 100 days of Trump’s administration may include action on an Obamacare repeal, although “repealing is easier and faster” than replacing.
Having a “transition period” after a vote to repeal Obamacare would create a deadline for Congress to pass a replacement, he told reporters later Tuesday.
“If you have a date certain that something is going away” lawmakers will be motivated to pass a replacement, McCarthy said. Democrats who try to obstruct a replacement would risk being blamed for allowing Obamacare to lapse without a new plan, he said.
John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Monday that a Obamacare repeal is “going to be high on the list right when we come back.”
“It will be early, because we have to get that done,” Cornyn said. “January would suit me just fine.” He said Republicans may use the reconciliation procedure again later in the year to push through other matters, such as a tax overhaul.
‘Does No Harm’
Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, predicted during an interview with reporters that it would ultimately take “several years” to fully move to a new system with less federal control. He said that while Republicans can do some things with reconciliation, they’d ultimately need 60 votes.
“We need to gradually move those decisions back to states and to individuals and do it in a way that does no harm to people today,” the Tennessee Republican said.
“If we want a lasting solution eventually we’re going to have to have 60 votes in the Senate to get it.”
While a lightning-strike bill could be used for other priorities Republicans agree on, House Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia predicted in a recent interview it would be focused on something similar to the Obamacare repeal bill lawmakers have already passed because expanding it would require more time for committees to work.
“There is an opportunity there,” said Price, who Trump named Tuesday morning to be his secretary of Health and Human Services. “All this has to go through the process obviously.”
Democratic Ire
The idea for a lightning-strike bill has been percolating among Capitol Hill Republicans since long before the election, and it’s sure to provoke howls from Democrats.
But there’s not much they can do under the rules, beyond kick up a fuss. Senate Democrats’ leader-in-waiting, Chuck Schumer of New York, has said in several interviews that Republicans will rue the day they roll back the health law.
Representative Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the law has worked in many important ways, including insuring millions of people and banning the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
“But it’s not about facts or data or performance. It’s about political promises, and what they said they would deliver,” he said, adding that he doubts Trump and congressional Republicans could backtrack now politically.
Budget Resolution
To pull off a lightning strike, Republicans would have to pass a budget resolution first for the current budget year, which can take a week or two even if they are in agreement on what it should say. That resolution would set budget targets for the bill to follow. Then the committees would have to push through the actual repeal bill.
Republicans will also face internal fights if they end up keeping much of the law in its current form.
“When we all run for office, we run on repeal and replace with a free-market alternative,” said Representative Dave Brat, a conservative member of the Freedom Caucus from Virginia. “We did not run and say: ‘Let’s kind of soften this failed experiment down a little bit and keep most of the elements of socialized, top-down central planning in health care, along with 20 to 50 percent premium increases, and mandates forcing you to buy products by the federal government.’”
“We don’t need to be nasty, but we need to be rational and principled. And if we do not move forward with what we promised, the American people will rightly judge us as a failure, and a moral failure, as well, for not keeping our word,” said Brat.
But already there are some Republicans who are concerned about the possible scope of a reconciliation effort now that whatever they pass could actually become law.
Representative Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican who is a senior deputy whip, said Tuesday, “In my view, the repeal is not nearly as important as replacement.”
“To just say ‘repeal everything, and the mandates, without a replacement,’ then what?” he asked. “I don’t think we can do a repeal without a replacement. People are already in the system.”
One House centrist, who didn’t want to be identified by name in order to speak more freely, confirmed several members are voicing their opposition to leaders about voting again to defund Planned Parenthood in the reconciliation package.
But Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that GOP leaders plan to push ahead. During his most recent Capitol news conference on Nov. 17, he said, “We’ve already shown what we believe with respect to Planned Parenthood. We put a bill on President Obama’s desk in reconciliation. Our position has not changed.”
Talking With Trump
Republican leaders are also talking with Trump about how exactly to move forward.
“Obamacare has hurt families across the country through higher costs and less choice, and they made their disgust with the law known by voting for a candidate who ran on repeal,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.
“Speaker Ryan is in near-daily communication with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence about the agenda for next year,” she added. “We will share more when we have it.”
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said they have nothing to announce yet on the schedule.
Keep up with the race of a lifetime.
Get our politics newsletter daily.
Sign Up
“This continues to be a top priority for the Senate Finance Committee, which has kept a steady pace with its efforts to replace Obamacare with common-sense reforms that will lower costs and increase choice,” said Julia Lawless, spokeswoman for Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah. “The chairman is working with members to find the best way to move forward and is confident Congress will be prepared to act quickly next year.”
The reconciliation process can also be used on tax bills and to raise the federal debt limit, which must be done sometime in mid-2017. The last time Republicans had control of the House, Senate and the White House during George W. Bush’s administration, they pushed through an assortment of items via reconciliation packages, affecting taxes, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other programs.

Woman Who Ran Obamacare Defects, Reveals Obama’s Sick Next Step

The woman who ran Obamacare during her tenure as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which played a pivotal role in implementing the failed program, claimed last week that health care customers could be in for a huge sticker shock come 2017.

“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” Marilyn Tavenner, who now works as a spokeswoman for insurers, said during an interview with the Morning Consult. “I don’t know, because it also varies by state, market, even within markets.”

She added, “But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years … that’s my big prediction.”
Since its launch in 2013, Obamacare has repeatedly caused premiums, co-payments and deductibles to skyrocket, despite rhetoric from President Barack Obama’s administration about how the law would reduce health care costs for Americans.

Instead, it spurred many Americans to drop out of the program altogether and opt for much more affordable but less comprehensive non-Obamacare alternatives.
In explaining why rates keep rising, Tavenner pointed to a number of factors, including Obamacare’s rules preventing insurers from denying coverage to anyone suffering from a pre-existing condition.

“The problem with the exchanges … is people are still kind of seeing this as, ‘I use insurance when I’m sick, but I may not need it when I’m no longer sick,’” she explained. “So they tend to churn. And that churn increases premiums. So you have to kind of price over that.”

Tavenner also highlighted the upcoming end of certain rules that protected insurers from experiencing financial losses. Without these rules in place, many insurers will need to dramatically raise their premiums just to break even, let alone earn a profit.
President Obama will keep claiming otherwise until his face turns blue, but Obamacare is an epic failure — and clearly, the woman who used to run it pretty much agrees.

CBO Projects 2 Million Fewer Jobs Under ObamaCare

Thee_RANT_LogoObamacare ObamaCare is expected to cost the U.S. workforce a total 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 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.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides new analysis of a previously mentioned figure.

“When the President’s health law hurts the labor force at the same time it increases healthcare premiums and taxes, it’s clear the law is not working for the American people,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).

By Sarah Ferris – 12/07/15 05:01 PM EST
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.
The CBO is not predicting that employers will fire millions of workers or reduce hours because of the law, but that the law changes incentives over the years for the workers themselves both in part-time and full-time positions.

That could mean that older Americans who wish to retire but have remained in the workforce solely for employer health benefits could opt to leave their jobs.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides an update through 2025.

Obamacare Leaves Hundreds Of Cancer Patients Without Insurance

Best-Cancer-treatment-hospitals-Memorial-Sloan-Kettering-Cancer-Center
Yay Obamacare! Isn’t it great to have full coverage?

Via NY Post:

Some 250 patients receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are facing a crisis because they signed up with the only ObamaCare insurer in New York that provides coverage at the world-renowned hospital — and the insurer is going bust.

Now the patients either have to find new insurers and doctors or pay higher out-of-pocket costs for extended care at Sloan.

State regulators are removing Health Republic Insurance of New York from the ObamaCare exchange as of Nov. 30 because the company is gushing red ink — losing more than $130 million in 18 months.

The state Department of Financial Services is advising customers to shop for new policies by Nov. 15, to ensure coverage for the rest of this year as well as next.

Under state law, patients are guaranteed 60 days of “continuity of coverage” at the facility where they are being treated.

Sloan Kettering said it is urging the state to extend that to one year.

But no other ObamaCare insurer has been able to reach a deal with Sloan Kettering, leaving the Health Republic patients in the lurch.
“Unfortunately, at this time, no exchange plan has agreed to include access to Memorial Sloan Kettering despite our concerted and consistent attempts,” said hospital spokeswoman Christine Hickey.

The cancer patients aren’t the only ones scrambling.

Health Republic has a total of 200,000 customers — 20 percent of the health exchange’s individual market.

A state spokesman said the Cuomo administration has been “working day and night . . . to address the situation and protect consumers.”

High Obamacare Deductibles Make Mandated Insurance Practically Useless

by Kristina Ribali

Remember the Affordable Care Act? The law that was supposed to lower the cost of health care by providing health insurance plans to the masses that were more affordable. That’s what we were promised, but the reality is that millions have seen their formally affordable premiums skyrocket, and now they’re also stuck with deductibles that are hard to swallow.

One man from New Jersey told the New York Times just how worthless his newly mandated plan has become.

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”
Deductibles in the thousands of dollars are not uncommon. In fact, “in many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more.” Once you add in several hundred dollars per month for your plan premium, a rate that may or may not be lower than it used to be and add in a $3,000 or more deductible, the average individual could be paying over $5,000 out of pocket in a year before their “affordable” insurance kicks in. This is true for employer sponsored plans as well.

Just this past September, I wrote about the Kaiser Family Foundation study showing deductibles on employer sponsored plans rose by almost 9 percent.

How many American families who need to get insurance via Obamacare have the ability to absorb more than $3,000 or $5,000 into their yearly budget? In this economy, with fairly stagnant wages, and millions of Americans leaving the labor force, it’s doubtful that’s an easy cost to absorb for low income earners or even the middle class.

Kevin Fanning of Texas told the New York Times that “Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.” Fanning said that he and his wife “had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.” That’s nearly one-third of their income just to get the insurance company to cover them if they actually need to seek care.

Unsurprisingly, Fanning dropped his plan.

But it gets even worse.

“Our deductible is so high, we practically pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket,” said Wendy Kaplan, 50, of Evanston, Ill. “So our policy is really there for emergencies only, and basic wellness appointments.”
Her family of four pays premiums of $1,200 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $12,700.

Twelve thousand, seven hundred dollars! Is that what this Administration considers affordable?

And let’s not forget, people are required to purchase this unaffordable insurance, or face a fine from the IRS.

Clarissa Morris, 47, has been a server at the Golden Corral here for five years, earning $2.13 an hour plus tips. On a typical day, she leaves the restaurant with about $70 in tips. Her husband makes $9 an hour at Walmart but has been offered only a part-time schedule there, without benefits. Their combined paychecks barely cover their rent and daily essentials.

“It’s either buy insurance or put food in the house,” she said.
A study in 2014 found that 56 million Americans under age 65 will have trouble paying their health care bills. A whopping 10 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 “will be unable to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, and heat due to their medical bills.”

Furthermore, “In 2013 over 20% of American adults were struggling to pay their medical bills, and three in five bankruptcies in 2014 will be due to medical bills.”

For millions of Americans, the insurance plans they are now required to purchase under Obamacare could potentially bankrupt them – forcing them to choose insurance or food, insurance or rent, insurance or heat during a cold winter. And if they don’t choose insurance, a hefty fine awaits as well.

It’s long past time for Congress to start rolling back these senseless government mandates on health care. Real solutions that put families back in charge of their health care costs and help the uninsured are already being pioneered in the states, but first the federal government needs to get out of the way.

Update (Ed), 11/18 12:33 pm: At Kristina’s request, I edited the post slightly to remove a reference to deductibles increasing $5,000 per person, which was an error in cross-referencing some of the data.

10th Obamacare startup to close

by Robert King

A lack of federal funding from the Obama administration has caused the 10th taxpayer-funded Obamacare insurance startup to close.

Utah’s insurance regulator announced Tuesday that it will place Arches Health Plan in receivership. The reason is due to a small amount of funding from a federal program intended to help buttress insurers that offer plans in the Obamacare marketplaces.

The decision by the Utah Insurance Department allows the regulator to supervise the runoff of its policies. The department says Arches’ customers should call their insurance agent or use healthcare.gov when open enrollment starts Nov. 1.

Utah lays the blame on a shortfall from Obamacare’s risk corridor program. The program was intended to help Obamacare insurers if they took on too many sick and older Americans.

The program was meant to help mitigate some of the risk of joining the completely new Obamacare marketplaces.

Insurers requested $2.9 billion but only received $362 million in funds, about 12 percent of what they asked for.

The reason is that not enough insurers paid in to the program. Insurers whose profits reached a certain threshold were supposed to provide funding to the program.

The co-ops, created to provide more competition in the Obamacare marketplaces, were particularly vulnerable to the shortfall since they were created back in 2014 and didn’t have enough cash reserves to mitigate the lack of funds.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the co-ops, has said that it expected some would not survive since they are startups. It has pledged to work with co-ops to ensure their stability.

The agency didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Most of the Obamacare-funded startups that have closed have cited the low federal payments as a key reason. The administration gave more than $2 billion to set up the startups, of which only 13 remain.

The latest closure ignited another round of criticism from Republican opponents of the law. The House Ways and Means Committee health subcommittee announced it will hold a hearing Tuesday on the co-op program.

NINTH OBAMACARE CO-OP IMPLODES

A South Carolina health insurer has become the ninth insurance cooperative formed nationwide under the Affordable Care Act to fold. Consumers’ Choice Health Insurance Co. said Thursday that it will not sell policies in 2016, a decision that will leave 67,000 individuals and business customers looking for new coverage. Ray Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, said Consumers’ Choice and state regulators reached a mutual decision to shut down the company’s business. He said the company was in a “financially hazardous condition.”

It seems Mr. Farmer may have stumbled upon a solid new slogan for the entire law. The New York Times analyzes the “cascading failures” of Obamacare co-ops across the country:

The grim announcements keep coming, picking up pace in recent weeks. About a third, or eight, alternative health insurers created under President Obama’s health care law to spur competition that might have made coverage less expensive for consumers are shutting down. The three largest are among that number. Only 14 of the so-called cooperatives are still standing, some precariously. The toll of failed co-op insurers, which were intended to challenge dominant companies that wield considerable power to dictate prices, has left about 500,000 customers scrambling to find health insurance for next year…At a time when the industry is experiencing a wave of consolidation, with giants like Anthem and Aetna planning to buy their smaller rivals, the vanishing co-ops will leave some consumers with fewer choices — and potentially higher prices…The shuttering of these start-ups amounts to what could be a loss of nearly $1 billion in federal loans provided to help them get started. And the cascading series of failures has also led to skepticism about the Obama administration’s commitment to this venture. Some policy analysts say they were doomed from the beginning.

Obamacare Entering ‘Death Spiral’

sc-death-spiral

by Betsy McCaughey

ObamaCare is heading toward a death spiral.

The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.

Last Thursday, the administration predicted enrollment for 2016 will be less than half what the Congressional Budget Office predicted in March.

Despite subsidies to help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs, most of the uninsured who are eligible for ObamaCare are saying “no thanks.” Only one in seven is expected to sign up. That’s despite a hefty increase in the financial penalty next year for not having insurance.

The president sees the writing on the wall. You won’t be seeing the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as there were in previous years. Remember the young guy in plaid pajamas — “Pajama Boy,” to conservatives — well, he won’t be back this winter.

Bad enough that healthy people aren’t buying. Worse is that the administration is spending billions of your tax dollars covering up the problem, paying insurers to keep offering the plans, even though they’re losing their shirts. But facts are facts — and there’s no hiding these.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell predicts ObamaCare enrollment will inch up by 1 million or so, to 10 million people — half what the CBO forecasted. Open enrollment for the coming year, which begins Nov. 1, “is going to be a challenge,” she said.

David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group’s president, announced higher premiums last week because enrollees will “require more medical services than original expectations.”

Many states (though not New York) are looking at premium hikes of 30 percent or more, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson/Urban Institute analysis. The Heritage Foundation estimates that insurers lost 12 percent selling ACA plans in 2014, with more losses this year.

Don’t shed any tears for the insurance companies. Though they’re losing money on exchange plans, overall they’re profitable and their stocks are doing well. It’s John Q. Public who’s bearing the brunt. Just as ObamaCare intended.

If you get insurance at work, you’re paying an extra tax to fund “reinsurance” for ObamaCare plans. It’s a fund to defray the cost of their most expensive enrollees.

So far, insurers have collected about $7.9 billion. Recent congressional testimony shows the payments kept ObamaCare sticker prices about 11 percent lower than they otherwise would have been. In short, you pay a tax to make ObamaCare look more affordable than it is.

But even with these hidden subsidies, ObamaCare isn’t working because the design is fatally flawed. The 5 percent of the population with serious medical conditions consume nearly 50 percent of the health care. When you try to sell insurance to sick and healthy people for the same price, the healthy don’t sign up. It’s too expensive.

New York state learned that in the 1990s, when one-price-for-all insurance laws pushed premiums to the highest in the nation, crushing the individual insurance market here.

ObamaCare repeats that mistake. Despite slapping the uninsured with penalties — which will jump to 2.5 percent of household income in 2016 — they’re not signing up. The need to coerce enrollment with penalties is proof the plans are a bad deal.

How long will big insurers play along? There are political considerations, and for most, ObamaCare losses are still just a dent in their overall business. Not so for the 23 co-op insurers set up under the health law. Eight state plans have already failed, including New York’s Health Republic, and most of the rest are bleeding money.

With ObamaCare enrollment floundering and losses mounting, the nation needs alternatives. The Republicans are coalescing around a reform plan, but Democrats are doubling down. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to burden the existing, unpopular plans with more “free” goodies, and make it harder to dodge the mandate. That won’t work.

A real reform would cover the seriously ill — people with pre-existing conditions — in separate plans with separate pricing and subsidies to make them affordable.

Just like the high-risk pools many states used to maintain. That’s the lesson of the failing ObamaCare scheme.

Betsy McCaughey is the author of “Beating ObamaCare” and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Bombshell: Federal Judge Says Americans Can’t be Forced to Follow Obamacare Mandates!

Monday was a wonderful day in court for conservatives and pro-lifers across the nation. Federal judge Richard Leon handed down his ruling on Monday, permanently prohibiting the federal government from forcing its Obamacare abortion-pill mandate on any pro-life organization – regardless of its religious beliefs.

Up until this decision the Obama administration had argued that any organization that was not a church or religious organization could be forced to offer abortifacients and other contraceptives through their health care plans. However, Judge Richard Leon disagreed.

Judge Leon found that an organization’s moral objections (religious or otherwise) were enough to keep the government from forcing certain Obamacare provisions on them.

Read more at http://visiontoamerica.com/23679/bombshell-federal-judge-says-americans-cant-be-forced-to-follow-obamacare-mandates/#Y45TdgUrPDh8vKHR.99

Call the Medic

cartoond062615

HELP US KEEP YOU BETTER INFORMED ABOUT THE TRICKS OF THE RADICAL PROGRESSIVE REVOLUTION PLEASE DONATE ANY AMOUNT YOU CAN