Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

Obamacare-Aided Insurer Almost Broke After $145 Million in Loans

A startup insurance company loaned $145 million by the U.S. government under Obamacare is running out of money and being taken over by state officials in Iowa.

The company, CoOportunity Health, which also serves Nebraska, was placed under Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart’s supervision this week and is no longer accepting new enrollees, according to a statement from his office. While Gerhart’s agency will operate the company for the time being, it’s urging policyholders to seek a new insurer.

CoOportunity Health is a co-op, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, one of 23 nonprofit health insurers providing coverage in 26 states. They were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to increase competition. The fate of CoOportunity provides new fodder for Obamacare opponents who argue that the law wastes government money.

The co-op’s troubles are a blow to an Obamacare program that had outperformed the direst predictions of Republicans. While Obamacare opponents had argued the companies would fail and squander government loans, some co-ops including CoOpportunity had outpaced forecasts for enrollment, growing five times faster than expected through March.

CoOportunity now has 96,350 enrollees, up from 63,000 at the end of March, according to its website. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided the insurer $130.6 million in funding for solvency and $15.4 million for operations, according to a legal filing by Gerhart. CMS told CoOportunity Dec. 16 it couldn’t provide more funds. The insurer lost $45.7 million from January to October, according to the petition.

‘Financially Hazardous’

“CoOportunity is not insolvent on a statutory basis at this time, but CoOportunity’s lack of additional solvency funding places it in a financially hazardous condition,” the petition said.

CMS, the Iowa Insurance Division and CoOportunity didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who heads the U.S. House oversight committee, predicted last year that five co-ops that received $2 billion in loans under Obamacare wouldn’t survive because of financial or regulatory shortcomings. CoOpportunity didn’t make his list, though a co-op in Vermont did, and it never got off the ground after CMS pulled its funds.

People who enrolled in CoOportunity on or before Dec. 15 will still have insurance, and anyone who enrolled after will need to choose a new plan by the end of open enrollment Feb. 15, according to Iowa’s Insurance Division.

“Most policyholders may find it in their best interests to find other coverage before the end of open enrollment,” the Insurance Division said on its website.

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Republicans eye obscure budget tool to repeal ObamaCare

Republicans on and off Capitol Hill are rallying behind using a rarely deployed budget tool next year to dismantle ObamaCare.

But the issue of how to use “budget reconciliation” has divided Republicans, with some calling for it to be implemented to overhaul the tax code or to push through major energy reforms.

The tool is useful because it could allow newly empowered Senate Republicans to pass legislation with a 51-vote simple majority rather than the usual 60, greatly increasing the chances of moving legislation to President Obama’s desk.
And while Obama is certain to veto anything that tries to roll back his landmark healthcare law, Republicans increasingly see reconciliation as an important messaging tool to help paint a contrast with Democrats on ObamaCare ahead of 2016.

“My guidance is that’s where members are headed,” said one senior Senate Republican aide familiar with the behind-the-scenes budget discussions.

There already appears to be strong bipartisan support to undo smaller pieces of ObamaCare — things like restoring the 40-hour workweek and repealing the medical device tax — so those provisions wouldn’t require the filibuster-proof budget tool.

While Democrats will certainly have more leverage if they retain the ability to use the Senate’s filibuster, Republicans think they can work across the aisle to enact legislation on taxes and energy.

If Republicans are serious about enacting tax reform next year, they should aim for 60 Senate votes, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who leads the conservative think tank American Action Forum. Republicans will hold 54 seats come January, so they they’d need at least six Democratic votes.

“That’s better for tax reform because it means it’s more durable,” Holtz-Eakin said. “When you’ve done the work of getting the minority to sign on, it makes it much more likely the White House signs it.”

Furthermore, if reconciliation is used on tax reform or energy, Democrats may refuse to cooperate.

The senior Senate Republican aide called it “unrealistic” to turn to reconciliation to pass tax or energy reform.

“That’s a way to pass something, but it’s not necessarily the way to get an outcome,” the aide said. “If you’re looking to get an outcome, which we are on energy and tax reform, using reconciliation won’t get you any Democrat votes for that.”

To be sure, the issue has not been resolved in the Republican conferences.

A spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said discussions about reconciliation are ongoing and nothing’s been decided yet. And Ryan, who will grab the gavel of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee next month, has signaled he’s open to using the powerful budget tool to enact tax reform.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who will replace Ryan as Budget chairman, threw out a number of possibilities for which Republicans could use the reconciliation process, including reforms to the tax code, entitlements like Medicare, or energy programs.

“I think the conference has to decide, and will decide, whether or not the tools ought to be used for things that we know will provide a contrast with the president, that we know the president will not support,” Price told reporters at the end of the legislative session. “Or things that will get us to do a true change in public policy with his signature.”

Republicans will likely settle on a strategy in mid-January when they map out their 2015 agenda at a joint House and Senate retreat in Hershey, Pa.

But Republicans are keenly aware that they’ll have to navigate a series of hurdles before they can deploy reconciliation.

First, the House and Senate would have to agree on a budget resolution, no easy feat given that the Budget chairmen, Price and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), will both be new to the job. And the handful of senators eyeing White House runs might not back the budget blueprint passed by the House.

“2016’s around the corner, so they’re going to be careful of what they’re voting on in the Senate,” said Bill Hoagland, a former longtime Senate Budget Committee staff director who later served as a top budget adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). “It’s not a foregone conclusion that all Republicans will walk in lockstep together on what comes out of the Budget committees.”

Congress is also extremely limited in how it can use the procedural maneuver — typically it’s reserved for just one issue per budget.

And even then, Senate rules say the reconciliation measure must not hike the federal deficit beyond a 10-year period and do not change spending and revenue.

Republicans will engage in back-and-forth negotiations with the Senate parliamentarian and chief referee, Elizabeth MacDonough, who must decide whether their legislation passes the test, a process known as the “Byrd Bath,” named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

“It is a tough hurdle to overcome,” said Hoagland, who had been through a few baths of his own during his Senate tenure.

The last time reconciliation was used was 2010, when Democrats — shy of a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate — needed it to make changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans should “take the bill that the Democrats passed and you run reverse, you get rid of it. Wholesale,” said Holtz-Eakin.

“If it’s intended as a message vote anyway, you might as well be aggressive,” he said. “It’s not about the legislating.”

Steve Ellis, vice president of the fiscal watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said he understands why Ryan and others are eyeing reconciliation as a possible vehicle for a major tax overhaul. Both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) never saw tax reform become a reality before their retirements.

But Ellis said it’s also an extremely risky option to pursue.

“It’s a seductive idea, but the proof will be in the pudding,” Ellis said. “Lawmakers have to recognize how much time and effort do they want to put in that … knowing that it may doom the whole package if you send it to the president for a veto.”

Obamacare Author: We Shouldn’t Have Passed Obamacare The Way We Did

harkin_featured By Sarah Hurtubise
Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who helped co-author Obamacare in 2009 and 2010, says the bill is too complicated and Congress probably shouldn’t have passed it at all.

Harkin, a liberal senator who’s in favor of a single-payer health-care system, told The Hill Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act turned out too complicated and doesn’t actually make health care more affordable for most people. As chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Harkin was instrumental in constructing Obamacare and getting the bill passed, but is retiring this year.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.”

Harkin’s the second high-profile Democrat to pull his support from the law. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said in November that Congress should not have passed Obamacare because the law does not help the middle class.

“Unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem — health-care reform.”

Harkin is less worried about the middle class and more concerned that Obamacare lacks a government-provided coverage option.

“What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” Harkin continued. Insurance companies are some of the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare now that all Americans are required to purchase their product and many are given federal subsidies to do so.

“We had the votes in ’09″ for a law included single-payer or a public option, Harkin said. “We had a huge majority in the House, we had 60 votes in the Senate.”

The retiring senator charged that Congress should have passed “single-payer right from the get-go or at least put a public option, would have simplified a lot,” according to The Hill. “We had the votes to do that and we blew it.”

“The House passed public option. We had the votes in the Senate for cloture,” Harkin argued. “There were only three Democrats that held out and we could have had those three,” he said, referring to Sens. Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. “We could have had all three of them if the president would have been just willing to do some political things but he wouldn’t do it.”

Obamacare turned out unnecessarily complicated, Harkin explained, because Democrats were attempting to appease the few senators who were still on the fence about voting for the law. ”So as a result we’ve got this complicated thing out there called the Affordable Care Act,” he concluded.

Enough is Too Much Already!

The recent elections delivered the most crushing defeat a political Party has suffered since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Forty-nine state landslide.  Democrats were rejected by every voting block demographic: young, old, men, women, rich, poor.  Everyone said, “Enough is too much already!” Exit polls everywhere say their handling of the economy and the general direction of the country were the major reasons.  BHO tried to make the election about him as he tries to make everything about him.  His party spent millions trying to run away from him, his record, and his agenda.  However in the end the President’s repeated statements that his policies were on the ballot and that all these Democrats had supported him and his agenda outweighed his friends protests that they hardly knew him.

After the 1994 Contract With America Congress came to town in a similar wave of rejection for the Progressives and their agenda, President Clinton was eventually dragged by his advisor Dick Morris to the signing table and he eventually signed on to the Contract’s legislation.  This brought about everything he is credited with today: a balanced budget and reforming welfare.  After his comeuppance he took the microphone to remind us he was still relevant.

After his recent shellacking BHO came to the world’s stage to tell us he hadn’t lost because the two thirds of the electorate who didn’t vote support him.  He has declared himself to be the voice of those not interested enough to pry themselves off the couch long enough to vote and the advocate of those who care enough to show up.  This is a bold attempt to organize the anarchy of the militantly apathetic.

Since his meteoric messianic rise from the South Side of Chicago to the Oval Office BHO has governed against the will of the American people.  When he, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid used parliamentary sleight-of-hand to shove Obamacare down our throat they knew the majority of the public opposed it.  When the President used executive orders to implement the Dream Act he knew the representatives of the people had rejected it.  When he announced the surge in Afghanistan and at the same time announced the coming evacuation, when he cut and ran from Iraq setting the stage for ISIS to rise, when he encouraged the Arab Spring to overthrow our allies and empower our enemies leading to the wholesale slaughter and dispossession of the Christians of the Middle East, he knew all of these acts were contrary to the will of the people.

So it should be no surprise that after the largest shout by the voters since the 1940s that they want him to stop his fundamental transformation of America he plans to move ahead with his import-a-voter campaign.  Any moment now he will announce another decree from the imperial presidency.  In the wave of his hand that disregards the wave of the people he will legalize millions of illegal immigrants.  These are people who have broken our laws.  These are people whose goal is to take jobs from Americans.

I know that we are told constantly by the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media that these people are doing the jobs Americans refuse to do.  If this is so then why are the majority of people in the very sectors that employ the majority of illegals: farming, construction, lawn care, manufacturing, restaurants, and service still legal American workers?  Why when the INS staged a raid on chicken processing plants and rounded up the illegal immigrants who had these difficult and unpleasant jobs were there legal workers lined up to replace them?  Americans are hurting for jobs.  The unemployment figures are smoke and mirrors.  They do not reflect all the millions who have quit looking, those who are working part-time who want full time, or those whose benefits have run out.  The central government in a transparent attempt to put a good spin on a massive problem only counts those who are receiving unemployment benefits.  Then again the official inflation report leaves out food and energy for an unreal twist to a real problem.

BHO knows the Congress will do nothing to stop him.  Boehner has already taken impeachment off the table and if the Clinton interlewd taught us anything, even when a president is obviously guilty a Republican senate will not convict.

It almost seems as if BHO is intent on igniting a violent reaction from those who believe in limited government.  This would give him an excuse for an even more autocratic response.  He told us before he was elected that what we needed was a civilian defense force as well armed as the armed services.  Today he is hurriedly militarizing the police as he pink slips the army

We must avoid this trap.  We need to urge our elected representatives to do all they can to stop any and all unconstitutional actions on the part of the executive.  They need to reassert the power and authority of the legislature to reasserting the system of checks and balances that is at the heart of the American system of government.  If need be the legislature should use its power to curb the federal courts.  They have the power to make place any issue beyond the scope of judicial review.  They even have the power to abolish all federal courts below the Supreme Court.

The authority is there in the Constitution if our elected representatives will use it.  They can right the ship of State before it capsizes into the shabby swamp of socialist collectivism.  However I am sorry to say these bold new fresh faces we have just sent to Chicago on the Potomac will learn how to play the game before they get there.  They will reaffirm John Boehner and Mitch McConnell as the same old same old and before we can say wave the wave will have broken against the cliff of status quo that is the Washington establishment.  Our new heroes will bend over backwards to reach across the aisle, and they will do nothing to stop our rule-by-decree executive who allows his dedication to anti-colonialism color every decision.

We may have been a colonial power.  We may have been aggressive at times in our past.  However, America is the greatest force for good that this world has ever known.  We have provided the model for individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic opportunity for the world.  American exceptionalism is a reality even if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue doesn’t understand it.

Without enough votes to override a veto there is little chance of rolling back the transformation. Just remember gridlock is out friend.

Keep the faith. Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens



The Nature of Godless Democratic Lies.

by William Green

By now you’ve likely heard (or read) one or more speeches given by Dr. Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D., Economics, MIT, describing the American electorate as stupid, and that upon the basis of our stupidity, with hep from Obama’s complete lack of transparency aided and abetted by outright lies, Obamacare was torturously written and passed.

First, I partially agree with Dr. Gruber. I don’t have a Ph.D. in Economics but I did teach it at the undergraduate and graduate levels for several years with a couple Masters degrees and lots of self-study. There is no question that the electorate just prior to and after Obama’s election was and is more stupid than the electorate of 30 or 40 years ago. The International tests administered to young adults annually within several dozen nations, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the European nations, Scandinavia, Russia, Australia, India, etc., have revealed a severe, multi-decade decline in the average Science, Math and Reading Scores of Americans vis-a-vis the rest of the developed and developing word. We used to be Number 1 in virtually every category, now we languish near the bottom. See the attached graphic for our relative basement position vis-a-vis those we compete against globally.

When I first heard Dr. Gruber speak about the need to lie to the electorate in order to pass Obamacare I did not catch the nuance of what he was saying: I just heard he thought we were dumb and thus Obamacare had to be written in a convoluted and tortured manner to fool us and garner our support.

But when I re-listened and listened again I had one of those rare “ah-ha” moments when you realize that what a Progressive is saying is not only true, but also revelatory and probative.

Dr. Gruber not only revealed what he and the entire Obama regime thinks about the electorate, or at least that slight majority of the electorate that was stupid enough to vote for and elect Obama twice, but offered proof probative of one of the allegations the smarter, more savvy, slightly less-than-the-majority electorate (aka Conservatives) has known for some time, and has been screaming at Godless Progressives to take note of in order to refudiate the Democratic Party: Godless Progressives purport to know what’s BEST for U.S., even when we — if told truthfully the nature, cost and ramifications of what they deem best for us — protest otherwise.

In other words, BIG Brother in BIG Government believes we’re too dumb, stupid and ignorant to know what’s best for U.S., but we shouldn’t worry because they do; and so, by virtue of their acquired degrees from the Ivy League, especially Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale which procure for them a type of special gnosis and seat them among the highest ranks of the global intelligentsia, they will pan what the electorate says it wants, will accept and pay for, and instead create what they know from their Marxist-indoctrination to be best for U.S., sugar-coat it — perform like Mary Poppins over her young charges, singing “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down” — lie about what it really is, truly costs, and how it will actually work, obfuscate, ice it in opacity, and then ram it down our throats, causing us to choke and vomit. And call it Obamacare.

Obama and his enlightened acolytes employed fighter jet stealth technology in the legislative process, and then unleashed semi-senile gavel-wielder Nancy “Nanny” Pelosi to assure an uneasy electorate that we all would just have to pass the bill so afterward, we could finally learn what’s in it; damned if any of our elected members of Congress should read, re-read, and read it again before voting for it.

Specifically, Senate Majority Leader Dirty Harry Reid gutted like a Thanksgiving turkey a bi-partisan, House-passed veterans’ housing benefits bill (read, re-read and read THAT again), stuffed its gut with the tortured text of glitchy Obamacare — as bad or worse than the website when it was first launched — using an arcane Senate rule known as Reconciliation (whose rules state it may only be employed for House-originated revenue-raising budget legislation which Obamacare was not except as a TAX; in fact it was going to increase the national debt, not reduce it), essentially a parliamentary maneuver to get Obama’s eponymous law passed in the Senate with only 59 Democratic votes after the normally-needed 60th vote had been lost to newly installed Republican Senator Scott Brown, which forced the Democratically-controlled House to vote on it “as is” with all the errors, typos, and the BIG individual mandate that was a tax disguised as an unConstitutional Liberty-quashing compulsion under threat of retribution — with no opportunity for joint-chamber committee work to remove the errors, typos, Obamanations, and the onerous mandate to make it palatable to at least a few Republicans; and then passed it without a single vote in either chamber from the Grand Old Party of Know. The Democrats in both chambers of Congress with Obama as their cheerleader altered one-sixth of the entire U.S. Economy, about $2,700,000,000,000 annually, without a single vote from a duly elected Republican in either the People’s House of Representatives or the deliberative, compromise-finding, Senate.

Is it any wonder that a majority of the stupid electorate thinks this atrocious monstrosity deserves to be struck down for the legislative, abominable abortion it is.

The only more frightening thing about this historical truth is that a slight majority of the electorate may be so stupid, so naive, so self-loathing, and so dependent upon and addicted to BIG government that they will abdicate their own freedom and liberty, their own self-determination, and their own best interests together with their votes to BIG Obama in exchange for lots and lots more Welfare, Food Stamps, unemployment checks, ObamaBucks, ObamaFones and free healthcare at taxpayers’ expense.

Udall’s October ObamaCare Surprise

tumblr_mwauf4brtq1rv4aqro1_1280ObamaCare And Cancelled Health Care Plans Continue To Drag Down Mark Udall’s Campaign

According To Colorado State Insurance Officials, In The Last Month, Over 22,000 Coloradans Were Notified That Their Health Plans Would Be Cancelled By The End Of The Year. “More than 22,000 Coloradans were informed in the the last month that their health coverage will be canceled at the end of the year, state insurance authorities disclosed this week, a spike in cancellations already roiling the state’s fierce campaigns for Senate and governor.” (Kyle Cheney, “Health Cancellations Ripple In Colorado,” Politico, 10/17/14)

“The 22,000 Cancellations Represent A Surge” As “About 6,100 Plans Had Been Cancelled Prior To That Point This Year.” “The 22,000 cancellations represent a surge: The Division of Insurance said last month that insurers reported no cancellations from mid-August to mid-September. The agency’s August report indicated that about 2,100 policies had been marked for closure over the summer, and about 6,100 plans had been canceled prior to that point this year.” (Kyle Cheney, “Health Cancellations Ripple In Colorado,” Politico, 10/17/14)
According To The Commissioner Of Insurance, 28,911 Coloradans Will Be Affected By The Health Plan Cancellations. (Marguerite Salazar, Commissioner Of Insurance, Letter To Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman , 10/16/14)

“The Sudden Spike In Cancellations Comes At An Inopportune Time” And Is More Bad News For “Staunch” ObamaCare Defender Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO). “The sudden surge, however, comes at an inopportune time for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, both of whom are fighting for their political lives and have been staunch defenders of the health law. Hickenlooper was one of just more than a dozen governors to build a state-run Obamacare exchange last year.” (Kyle Cheney, “Health Cancellations Ripple In Colorado,” Politico, 10/17/14)

Since ObamaCare’s Launch, About 340,000 Coloradans Have Had Their Health Plans Cancelled. “Another 2,320 Coloradans have had their health insurance policies cancelled in the aftermath of ObamaCare, bringing the total to nearly 340,000, according to figures from the state Division of Insurance. The Colorado Senate Republicans released updates Monday showing another 2,320 individuals had their health-care coverage dropped from two insurance providers, MEGA Life and Health and Mid-West National, as of June 5.” (Valerie Richardson, “Health Insurance Policies Cancelled For Thousands Of Coloradans,” The Colorado Observer, 6/23/14)

“In Colorado, Regulators Said Small-Group Plans Covering 143,000 People Are Being Discontinued In 2014.” (Ariana Eunjung Cha, “Second Wave Of Health-Insurance Disruption Affects Small Businesses,” The Washington Post , 1/11/14)

Udall Promised Coloradans That “You’ll Be Able To Keep Your Doctor Or Your Plan” Under ObamaCare

In 2009, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Promised. “If You Have An Insurance Policy You Like, A Doctor Or Medical Facility That Provides Medical Services To You, You’ll Be Able To Keep Your Doctor Or Your Plan.” “‘If you have an insurance policy you like, a doctor or medical facility that provides medical services to you, you’ll be able to keep your doctor or your plan,’ Udall told a reporter with Fox21 News in September 2009.” (Christina Salvo, “Sen. Mark Udall Talks On Health Care Reform,” Fox 21 News, 9/2/09)
Following Last Year’s Backlash, Udall Resorted To Intimidation Tactics To Fudge ObamaCare’s Cancellation Numbers

A Colorado Division Of Insurance Official “Felt Intimidated” After Udall Staffers Pressured The Regulatory Agency To Alter Its Report That 250,000 Coloradans Had Received Insurance Cancellation Letters Due To ObamaCare. “An administrator at Colorado’s Division of Insurance felt intimidated by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s legislative director in November after he pushed back against claims that 250,000 Coloradans had policies canceled because of the Affordable Care Act, according to internal e-mails.” (Allison Sherry and Michael Booth, “Colorado Official Felt Pressure From Udall office On Obamacare Tally,” The Denver Post, 1/9/14)

Colorado Division Of Insurance Director Of External Affairs Jo Bonlin Told Colleagues In A November 14, 2013 Email That “Sen. Udall Says Our Numbers Were Wrong…They Want To Trash Our Numbers.” “Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong. They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.” (Jo Donlin, November 14, 2013 Email)

When Donlin Refused To Retract The Estimate, She Reported Receiving A “Very Hostile Phone Call” From Udall’s Deputy Chief Of Staff. “Following my email, I received a very hostile phone call from Sen. Udall’s deputy chief of staff. Marguerite is on the phone with his chief of staff right now.” (Jo Donlin, November 15, 2013 Email)

Udall’s Chief Of Staff Also Called Marguerite Salazar, The Colorado Insurance Commissioner. “Following my email, I received a very hostile phone call from Sen. Udall’s deputy chief of staff. Marguerite is on the phone with his chief of staff right now.” (Jo Donlin, November 15, 2013 Email)


In June 2014, Colorado’s Exchange Board Approved A Plan To Partly Fund The Exchange “By A $13 Million Fee On All Coloradans With Health Insurance.” “Colorado’s health exchange board on Monday approved a $66.4 million dollar budget for the next fiscal year to be funded in part by a $13 million fee on all Coloradans with health insurance.” (Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, “Exchange Board Approves $66 Million Budget Including $13 Million Fee,” Health News Colorado, 6/9/14)

At Least 875,000 Coloradans That Get Health Coverage Through Their Employer Or Outside The Exchange Will Be Subjected To The New Tax. “A $13 million fee on all Coloradans with health insurance would pay half the operating costs at the state health exchange next year and in 2016 under new financial projections. The proposed fee would affect at least 875,000 people and includes Coloradans who get their insurance through their employers or outside the exchange, known as Connect for Health Colorado.” (Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, “Fee To Fund Exchange Would Hit All Coloradans With Health Insurance,” Denver Business Journal , 4/17/14)

FLASHBACK: In January, Officials At Colorado’s ObamaCare Exchange Told Lawmakers That The Exchange Was “On Track To Be Self-Sustaining” And That There Would Be No Need For High Fees On Health Premiums. “Colorado’s state-run insurance exchange says it’s on track to be self-sustaining by next year, telling lawmakers that enrollment is perking up and that taxes on premiums should be lower than in states using the federal exchange. Officials from Connect For Health Colorado, the state marketplace for buying health insurance, told lawmakers that Colorado’s exchange won’t need high fees on premiums to be self-supporting by 2015, when federal subsidies run out.” (“Colorado Exchange Says It Will Be Self-Sustaining,” The Associated Press, 1/30/14)

Colorado Exchange CEO: “This Is Easily Sustainable.” “‘This is easily sustainable,’ exchange CEO Patty Fontneau said.” (“Colorado Exchange Says It Will Be Self-Sustaining,” The Associated Press, 1/30/14)


The Majority Of Likely Voters In Colorado Believe ObamaCare “Has Been Bad For Colorado.” “What’s more, by 55%-37% they say the Affordable Care Act, the signature health care law Obama signed in 2010, generally has been bad for Colorado.” (Susan Page, “Poll: In Colorado, Obama Is A Drag On Democrats,” USA Today , 9/17/14)

55 Percent Of Likely Voters In Colorado Believe ObamaCare Has Been Generally Bad For Their State, While Only 37 Percent Believe It Has Been Generally Good. (USA Today/Suffolk University Poll, 500 LV, MoE 4.4%, 9/13-16/14)

52 Percent Of Likely Voters In Colorado Believe ObamaCare “Went Too Far.” “Overall, a 52-percent majority says the 2010 health care law ‘went too far,’ and three-quarters of those voters are supporting Gardner. Sen. Udall, who was first elected in 2008, voted for the law.” (Dana Blanton, “Fox News Polls: Senate Battleground Races Trending GOP, Roberts Up In Kansas,” Fox News, 10/8/14)

Unemployed by ObamaCare – IT CONTINUES TO GET WORSE

Three new Fed surveys highlight damage to the labor market.
Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. This flight from reality can’t last forever, especially as the evidence continues to pile up that the law is harming the labor market.
Obama care
On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice.

The bank reports that 78.8% of businesses in the district have made no change to the number of workers they employ as the specific result of ObamaCare and 3% are hiring more. More troubling, 18.2% are cutting jobs and employees. Some 18% shifted the composition of their workforce to a higher proportion of part-time labor. And 88.2% of the roughly half of businesses that modified their health plans as a result of ObamaCare passed along the costs through increasing the employee contribution to premiums, an effective cut in wages.

Those results are consistent with a New York Fed survey, also out this week, that asked “How, if at all, are you changing (or have you changed) any of the following because of the effects that the ACA is having on your business?” For “number of workers you employ,” 21% of Empire State manufacturers and 16.9% of service firms answered “reducing.”

To complete the triptych, an Atlanta Fed poll earlier this month found that 34% of businesses planned to hire more part-time workers than in the past, mostly because of a rise in the relative costs of their full-time colleagues. ObamaCare may be contributing to that surge to the extent the law’s insurance mandates and taxes increase spending on fringe benefits for people who work more than 30 hours.

Liberals will dismiss this as merely anecdotal or of minor impact, but it makes sense that ObamaCare’s labor effects would be concentrated in some industries with relatively low-wage or marginal workers. The data points also help explain why the number of people employed part-time surged by 12% during the recession but the rate hasn’t fallen even as the economy has improved. Or why labor force participation is the lowest since the late 1970s.

Chief White House economist Jason Furman put out a report in July that attempted to explain this collapse in the share of Americans working. He attributed about half the decline to an aging population and a sixth to the conventional expected result of the downturn. But he simply threw up his hands and assigned a third of the responsibility to an “unexplained” category.

Our view is that Mr. Furman’s gnomes were wrong to gloss over government-fueled labor distortions like ObamaCare. People are responding at least in part to the incentives to work fewer hours or not at all, as the research of University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan on marginal tax rates has shown. But there are also simply fewer jobs available that would have been created in the past, as the Fed surveys show.

Slow growth is the great tragedy of the Obama Presidency, and maybe these findings will eventually get past the liberal Iron Dome of only positive thoughts.

Busted Obamacare Website Has Already Cost Taxpayers $840 Million

By Winton Hall

Health Market Place
A newly released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reveals that the Obama administration’s disastrous management of the construction of the Obamacare website cost U.S. taxpayers $840 million.
That figure could climb even higher, as entire sections of the Obamacare website, such as those that submit insurance payments to insurers, have not even been built yet.
Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, blasted the Obama White House for what the GAO report describes as gross mismanagement and shoddy oversight of the Obamacare website rollout.
“The disastrous implementation of the president’s healthcare law has already led to canceled plans, lost access to doctors, and higher premiums,” said Upton. “Now add to that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on an exchange that is still not ready for prime time.”
Specifically, the GAO reports that the Obama administration “undertook the development of and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight.” Moreover, the GAO warned that if the administration continued its path of mismanagement, “significant risks remain that upcoming open enrollment periods could encounter challenges.”
The nearly $1 billion the Obama White House blew on its busted Obamacare website pales in comparison to the overall cost of President Barack Obama’s unpopular health law. Indeed, over the next ten years, U.S. taxpayers will spend $2.6 trillion paying for Obamacare.
Obamacare remains deeply unpopular with voters. A new Kaiser Health poll finds that President Obama’s signature legislative achievement now receives its lowest approval ever, with just 37% of Americans supporting Obamacare.

ANOTHER PREZ SETBACK–Appeals Court Guts Obamacare

Written by Suzanne Olden on July 24, 2014Obamacare111
Obamacare Redux – US Court of Appeals Guts Obamacare

In a move that has Obamacare opponents doing a serious happy dance, the U.S. Court of Appeals just gutted the hated Act. In a well worded decision, the Court basically told Congress that if you want a law to say something, the words you choose are important. I’m thinking “pass it so we can see what’s in it” just backfired on Nancy Pelosi. In a very big way.

The case revolves around a few things, but basically it was challenged by those saying that the language of the act only allow subsidies for states that set up their own exchanges instead of relying on the federal exchange to step in. Supporters of the law argued that while that may be true, it was just a “typo” and should be ignored.

Sorry, that’s not how it works.

The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the challengers and set up another go round over Obamacare in the Supreme Court for most likely the upcoming session. Those in states that didn’t set up their own exchanges may find that the subsidies they thought they were getting will disappear because of Obamacare, much like their old policies did.

When Obamacare passed, only 14 states opted to set up their own health insurance marketplaces. Those states were California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Idaho and New Mexico were originally supposed to have state run sites, but went federal due to different constraints on their plans. The District of Columbia also has its own exchange site. Only those states, and DC, will be able to offer subsidies to people who purchase insurance through their state run exchanges.

In the rule making phase after the law was passed, someone realized there was a problem and wrote the IRS rules for subsidies, which are given in the form of tax credits. Making those subsidies broadly available was important in the left’s cries of “See! There were plenty of people who wanted and needed insurance through Obamacare.”

This, of course, led to the problems recently uncovered with verifying important information such as income and citizenship status. That meant more people received subsidies than probably qualified for them in the first place. Keep in mind that, per HHS records, 5.4 million have signed up in the 36 states that use the federal exchange, and 87% of those who did received federal subsidies. Either way, not being able to extend subsidies to residents in the 36 other states who use the federal exchange means that they will most likely not sign up for coverage, or keep the Obamacare policies they currently have.

The case itself, Halbig v. Burwell, was filed by small business owners. All the issues revolve around four words in the Act. Four. Those words are “established by the state.” The Court looked at the actual written law and the Congressional Record, which has the legislative history. They looked at the legislative history because Defendants Burwell, et al, claimed that the intent of Congress was to extend the subsidies. The Court found no such intent either implied or written in any of the legislative history, nor in the actual act itself.

The decision itself is lengthy, but the important parts discuss choice of wording and how important it is in law. “The crux of this case is whether an Exchange established by the federal government is an “Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the [ACA].” We therefore begin with the provisions authorizing states and the federal government to establish Exchanges. Section 1311 provides that states “shall” establish Exchanges. 42 U.S.C. § 18031(b)(1). But, as the parties agree, despite its seemingly mandatory language, section 1311 more cajoles than commands. A state is not literally required to establish an Exchange; the ACA merely encourages it to do so. And if a state elects not to (or is unable to), such that it “will not have any required Exchange operational by January 1, 2014,” section 1321 directs the federal government, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to “establish and operate such Exchange within the State.” Id. § 18041(c)(1) (emphasis added).

The phrase “such Exchange” has twofold significance. First, the word “such”—meaning “aforementioned”, see BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 1473 (8th ed. 2004); WEBSTER’S THIRD INT’L DICTIONARY 2283 (1981)—signifies that the Exchange the Secretary must establish is the “required Exchange” that the state failed to establish. In other words, “such” conveys what a federal Exchange is: the equivalent of the Exchange a state would have established had it elected to do so…

The problem confronting the IRS Rule is that subsidies also turn on a third attribute of Exchanges: who established them. Under section 36B, subsidies are available only for plans “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the [ACA].” 26 U.S.C. § 36B(c)(2)(A)(i) (emphasis added); see also id. § 36B(b)(2)(A). Of the three elements of that provision—(1) an Exchange (2) established by the State (3) under section 1311—federal Exchanges satisfy only two: they are Exchanges established under section 1311. Nothing in section 1321 deems federally-established Exchanges to be “Exchange[s] established by the State.”

This omission is particularly significant since Congress knew how to provide that a non-state entity should be treated as if it were a state when it sets up an Exchange. In a nearby section, the ACA provides that a U.S. territory that “elects . . . to establish an Exchange . . . shall be treated as a State.”2 42 U.S.C. § 18043(a)(1). The absence of similar language in section 1321 suggests that even though the federal government may establish an Exchange “within the State,” it does not in fact stand in the state’s shoes when doing so.”

The Court went on to conclude that “a federal Exchange is not an “Exchange established by the State,” and section 36B does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges”; and that section 36B of the IRS rules “plainly distinguishes Exchanges established by states from those established by the federal government.”

What is really interesting is another small, yet key phrase in the decision: “The government argues that we should not adopt the plain meaning of section 36B, however, because doing so would render several other provisions of the ACA absurd.” Mostly because Obamacare is absurd on its face! Here’s hoping that SCOTUS finds it just as absurd and concurs with the lower court!



Federal Courts Issue Split Decisions on Obamacare

Two Federal appeals court rulings put the issue of Obamacare subsidies front and center in the 2014 Congressional campaign — with one court invalidating some of them and the other upholding all of them.

The first decision came Tuesday morning from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The panel, in a major blow to the law, ruled 2-1 that the IRS went too far in extending subsidies to those who buy insurance through the federally run exchange, known as

A separate federal appeals court — the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals — hours later issued its own ruling on a similar case that upheld the subsidies in their entirety.

The conflicting rulings would typically fast-track the matter to the Supreme Court. However, it is likely that the administration will ask the D.C. appeals court to first convene all 11 judges to re-hear that case.
The libertarian Cato Insitute hailed the D.C. Court of Appeals decision in the Halbig v. Burwell case. Cato had been instrumental in making the case that the Federal subsidies in Obamacare, as finalized by the IRS, were illegal.

In August 2011, the Internal Revenue Service proposed offering subsidies through health insurance Exchanges established by the federal government, even though the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act clearly and repeatedly provides those subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.” Due to the PPACA’s interrelated provisions, the decision to offer unauthorized subsidies in federal Exchanges also triggers unauthorized taxes against millions of individuals and employers in the 36 states that ultimately opted not to establish Exchanges. When the IRS finalized this proposal in May 2012, it cited no authority for its decision to depart from the clear language of federal law.

Jonathan Adler and I were the first to criticize this decision in August 2011, and have continued to show how it is contrary to federal law and the PPACA’s legislative history.

Today, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit – known as the second-highest court in the land – ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the Obama administration is indeed imposing taxes and spending funds through those 36 federal Exchanges without statutory authority, and indeed contrary to the plain language of the PPACA.

Simply put, the President is violating the law.
Most observers believe that the one or both of these cases will be decided by the Supreme Court which could deal a fatal blow to the financing structure of the Affordable Care Act.