Saturday, March 1, 2014

Costs of ObamaCare bungles start to add up, with Maryland first at about $30.5M

Maryland could end up spending as much as $30.5 million as a result of a glitch in its ObamaCare website, as the Obama administration steps in to help states with problematic exchanges.
Because of Maryland’s defective exchange, the state cannot determine whether customers remain eligible for Medicaid, according to a report by state budget analysts released Thursday.
As a result, the state has agreed with the federal government to a six-month delay in determining eligibility, meaning that payments will continue to be made to customers who are not eligible until the system is fixed. The delay will cost the state $17.8 million in fiscal 2014 and $12.7 million in fiscal 2015, the analysts estimated.
On Friday, the Obama administration said it would suspend some Affordable Care Act rules to help the 14 states with their own ObamaCare sites, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oregon, which have had the most problems.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan, completed a day earlier, states the federal government will help pay for “qualified” health-insurance plans for customers in those states who because of “exceptional circumstances” had to buy plans outside of ObamaCare exchanges, as reported first by The Washington Post.

Frustrated States Fight Federal Overreach

States frustrated by federal overreach have been taking action to nullify laws coming from Washington, D.C. — but the efforts may prove futile given long-standing court precedents dictating that states can't overturn federal law. 

The federal actions under fire range from Obamacare and gun control laws to a controversial detention measure contained in a defense authorization bill.

Editor’s Note: New 'Obamacare Survival Guide' Reveals Dangers Ahead for Your Healthcare

In one example, the South Carolina House passed the "Freedom of Health Care Protection Act" to exempt state residents from Obamacare requirements. The bill went to the state Senate in mid-February. 

If approved and signed by the Republican governor, the law would prohibit state dollars from going toward implementation of the federal healthcare reform. 

West Virginia in January considered a bill in its House of Delegates to void key facets of Obamacare. And in 2011, Idaho mulled legislation to declare the healthcare reform "void and of no effect" in the state. Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia are among the other dozen or so states that have considered similar opt-out bills.

Obamacare is not the only perceived federal overreach. Missouri's Senate in February passed a bill to nullify federal gun control laws and imprison any federal agent who tries to enforce them in the state. 

The bill, which has backing in the state House, was brought forward last year after President Barack Obama took to the national stage seeking an expanded background-checks law as well as a ban on assault weapons.

Missouri's bill likely won't pass the governor's desk — Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has vowed to veto it — but lawmakers pressured by pro-Second Amendment constituents decided to try the nullification route anyway.

"I am proud to say that we have passed arguably one of the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country,” the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brian Nieves, told The Associated Press.

Kansas passed its own nullification gun law a few months earlier, via its "Second Amendment Protection Act" asserting that guns that are made and owned in Kansas, including semi-automatics, are not subject to federal firearms regulations and that federal agents who try to enforce their laws can be penalized. 

Via: Newsmax
Continue Reading....


As the seemingly endless deluge of negative Obamacare developments continue to mount up, theNational Journal’s “Hotline” reported on Thursday that “disapproval of the health care law” has “put Democrats on the defensive” heading into the November midterm elections. 

Here are seven Obamacare figures that have Democratic insiders sweating. 
1.  56% of uninsured Americans do not like Obamacare.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent polling data reveal that 56% of uninsured Americans--the very people whom Obamacare purports to help--do not like Obamacare.
2.  According to the Obama administration’s own figures, Obamacare will spike premiums on 11 million small business employees.
A new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services concluded that two-thirds of small businesses that offer health insurance will pay higher premiums due to Obamacare. That, reports the Washington Post, means 11 million workers can expect their premiums to jump because of Obamacare. Worse for Democrats, because many employers renewed their pre-Obamacare health plans before the end of 2013, many of these rate spikes will be timed to hit beginning in the second part of 2014 right before the November 4 midterm elections.
3.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Obamacare will kill 2.5 million jobs over the next 10 years.
By creating disincentives to work, the CBO says Obamacare will result in a “decline in the number of full-time equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”
4.  Obamacare will cost taxpayers between $1.8 and $2.6 trillion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that Obamacare will cost American taxpayers $1.798 trillion. The Senate GOP Budget Committee says those figures are based on overly optimistic economic assumptions and scores the real cost at $2.6 trillion.
5.  According to the New York Times, 800,000 Obamacare enrollees failed to pay their first premium.
Even as the Obama administration attempts to put a happy face on its low four million enrollees—a figure far removed from its seven million goal--the New York Times says at least 20% of all the people who applied for Obamacare never paid their first month’s premium, thereby rendering them still uninsured.
6.  Just 11% of Obamacare customers were previously uninsured.
The purported purpose of Obamacare was to increase health care coverage of uninsured Americans. However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, a McKinsey & Co. study last month found that “only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured.”
7.  Obama reassured Americans at least 36 times that if they liked their health care plan, they could keep their health care plan.
President Barack Obama’s now-infamous promise, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was named Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” Obama stated the claim at least 36 times, and several Democrats running in tight races parroted the president’s comments before millions of Americans saw their health insurance plans canceled due to Obamacare. Political ads have already begun hitting voters showcasing Democratic candidates repeating Obama’s ill-fated promise.

20,000 Montanans' health insurance 'discontinued' by 'Obamacare'

HELENA – In Montana, as many as 20,000 holders of individual health insurance are getting or will get letters from insurers saying their current policy doesn’t comply with "Obamacare" regulations, and is being “discontinued.“
But insurers say the letter is not a cancellation, and that they’re instructing those policyholders how to get comparable coverage, which may or may not cost more.
“It’s important to note that we are not dropping members from their coverage,” said John Doran, director of strategic marketing services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana. “Our goal is to provide customers with as many options as possible.”
The letters, which are being sent by insurers not only in Montana, but also across the country, have sparked a national outcry from critics of the Affordable Care Act.
They say the letters contradict President Barack Obama’s earlier promise that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, would allow people to keep their current health coverage, if they wanted to.
“We told you Obama’s ‘If you like your health insurance, you can keep it’ promise was false,” Montana Republican Party Chairman Will Deschamps said Wednesday. “We told you Montanans would lose their insurance coverage.”
Under the ACA, virtually all health insurance policies must offer a set of “essential benefits,” starting next year.
Most current policies don’t meet these requirements, so insurers are discontinuing those policies and offering new, ACA-compliant policies for 2014. For some customers, the new policies will be more expensive because they have more generous coverage.
For example, the ACA prohibits policies with extremely high deductibles or high out-of-pocket costs. If a customer has to buy a plan with a lower deductible or lower out-of-pocket costs, the premium likely will be higher.

Montana Democrats: We Demand to See the Birth Certificate!

Remember when this sort of thing was ipso facto evidence that someone was a lunatic, a conspiracy theorist, a hate-monger, and unfit for public discourse?
The Montana Democratic Party today called on Congressman Steve Daines, who claims in his latest TV ad to be a “fifth-generation Montanan,” to clear up confusion about his roots by releasing his birth certificate.
Daines’ latest ad asserts he “grew up in Bozeman, a fifth-generation Montanan,” which directly contradicts earlier versions of his biography when he claimed: “I’m a third-generation Montanan, kind of that classic Montana kid.”
So the dispute is really whether Daines’s great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were Montanans, huh? Really? Does Daines need to dig up their birth certificates, too? Do we need to dig deep into his profile to get to the bottom of this?

Democrats insist Daines isn’t really a Montanan, because he was born in California and lived there . . . until he was two.

Everything in Montana’s going so hunky-dory that you guys have nothing else to worry about, huh? Anything else going on in that state?

Surge in concealed weapon permits follows California court Second Amendment decision

Gun owners are flooding the sheriff's offices in two California counties with applications for concealed weapon permits following a bombshell ruling two weeks ago by a federal appeals court that citizens need not justify their requests.
Orange and Ventura counties have dropped the "good cause" standard for issuing conceal carry permits after the requirement was struck down  Feb. 13 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. A three-judge panel of the court ruled 2 to 1 that the Second Amendment bars California counties from requiring law-abiding gun owners who want to carry concealed firearms to demonstrate special, individualized needs for protection.
More than 500 applications have poured in to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in just two weeks — roughly the total number of applications filed in 2013, a spokesman said. Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens announced on the department's website that the county will comply with the federal court's order immediately, sparking the wave of applications.
“As of two days ago, it was well over 500.”
- Lt. Jeff Hallock, Orange County Sheriff's Department
“We’ve received as many or more in the last week in a half than we did in the whole calendar year [of 2013],” OCSD Lt. Jeff Hallock told by phone early Thursday.
He said Hutchens didn't wait for the decision to be further tested in order to "show respect to the court’s opinion while demonstrating her responsiveness.”
“For now, we’re going to accept applications with self-defense and/or personal protection as just cause,” said Hallock, adding that Hutchens is still encouraging applicants to submit a statement of good cause.
Similarly, in Ventura County, where officials also elected to immediately drop the "good cause" requirement, a tide of applications is expected.
“We’re certainly preparing for an influx of more applications,” Capt. Don Aguilar, spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, told “We’re getting calls from people who have questions about this.”

Ukraine, Syria, Iran -- America isn't leading from behind, it's being left behind

Russia, flush with new-found wealth from oil exports, expands its military reach and political influence abroad. A war-weary America slashes defense spending and retreats from the world. The president embarks on a massive government-subsidized program to develop alternative energy to replace fossil fuels.
Pundits cluck about America in retreat, and point to the rise of an Asian economic superpower. That’s the world circa 1976, but it sounds like quotes ripped from today’s headlines.
The Obama administration is looking a lot like the Carter administration. Only worse. 
History has a way of repeating itself, or to quote the great Yogi Bera, it’s déjà vu all over again. The Obama administration is looking a lot like the Carter administration. Only worse. 
President Obama may think the Cold War is over, as dated as yesteryear’s fashions. But President Putin thinks it’s game on, and Russia is winning. And there is ample evidence to support his claim.
I can’t wait for the pictures from the next Obama-Putin meet-up. It will be in June in Sochi, where President Obama would NOT go for the Olympics, but has to go for the G-8 summit. 
In the past, Putin has looked bored, picking lint off his sleeve while Obama droned on. 
This time he’ll no doubt have a smirk on his face: he’s got Snowden safely ensconced in Moscow, he’s calling the shots in Syria, he’s taken America’s place with Egypt, and Europe is addicted to his natural gas. 

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