Showing posts with label ObamaCare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ObamaCare. Show all posts

Friday, August 28, 2015

Yes, Those Shocking ObamaCare Rate Hikes Are For Real

ealth Care: When insurers requested huge rate hikes for their 2016 ObamaCare plans, we were told not to worry because state regulators would force them down. But that's not happening. Death spiral, anyone?

In Alaska, the state regulator approved a 39.6% rate increase for Moda Health, and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska got a 38.7% hike.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee asked for and got a 36.3% boost in premiums. Oregon's insurance commissioner approved a 25.6% increase for Moda, the biggest insurer on its ObamaCare exchange. In Kansas, ObamaCare enrollees will face increases of up to 25.4%.

In the pre-ObamaCare days, rate hikes of this magnitude, no matter how rare, would have been cited as proof positive of the need for ObamaCare-type changes. But these eye-popping jumps are showing up across the country, and ObamaCare itself is to blame.

The law's mixture of heavy-handed market regulations, mandated benefits, taxes and fees have sharply increased the cost of insurance, with no end in sight.

Undaunted, ObamaCare backers say that in many states, regulators succeeded in cutting back on some requests, and that premiums in some states didn't go up all that much. But calling a 14% increase a victory because it wasn't 21% isn't a victory for those still faced with a substantially more expensive product.

Fact is, insurers had real claims data to back up their rate hikes, giving regulators little wiggle room. When New Mexico refused to let that state's Blue Cross Blue Shield raise premiums enough to cover its costs, Blue Cross decided to pull out, which will force 35,000 ObamaCare enrollees to find another provider.

In some states, regulators themselves forced premiums up more than insurers requested. Oregon's commissioner told Health Net to raise its premiums by 34.8% instead of the 9% the company had in mind.

In Florida, insurers asked for rate hikes averaging 8.6%. The increase finally approved was 9.5%.

For those eligible for tax subsidies, these premium hikes won't matter much. But for the many who aren't, it means ObamaCare is putting affordable insurance even further out of reach. That's a pretty big failure for a law that is officially titled the "Affordable Care Act."

Via: Investors Business Daily

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ObamaCare's True Cost

We recently spoke with Dr. Claudette Lajam, NYU Hospitals for Joint Diseases, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone Medical Center. She does pediatric, assisted in the lauded robot knee-replacement procedure, affiliates with Cornell Medical and the Alpha Award Club, and hosts Sirius Radio, Monday evenings. These will do for a start.

Lajam was speaking on “The Myth of Choice” to the NY County Republican Women’s Club. We stayed afterwards to schmooze and exchange views on reproductive topics and related hot-button topics. “Choice” means more than pregnancy termination.

Not inconsequentially, Dr. Lajam -- pert, personable, honey-blonde wife and mother -- is sole female surgeon specialist in her practice field in the city. The hospital in which she plies her skills is No.1 in safety.

To get where she is, she had to stay focused, tough, mindful of her colleagues, ahead of thousands of would-be’s. Not, as anyone knows who has tried to wrest an appointment with an in-demand pro, a breeze. 

Thoughtfully, Dr. Lajam referred to the fact that 26 August is the 95th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution -- after a long, bloody fight by incredibly doughty women who suffered jail, torture, humiliation and public shamings.

“There’s more to Choice than genitalia,” asserted the ‘orthopod.’

Because the Feds are so involved in care, micromanaging medicine and its practitioners, all independent hospitals in Queens, she notes, are gone.

Every surgeon generates seven or more support staff: aides, accounting, intensivists, resupply, nurses, and the like. When you cut a hospital, you cut all ancillary staff that keeps it humming -- and patients in standard ameliorative care.

Medicine is Big Biz.

Why aren’t we more aware of the irritating negatives and foreclosing of real ‘choices’? “There’s no meme for these things,” responds Dr. Lajam. “The abortion meme is there, and gets a constant workout,” shutting out other valid concerns. That narrows what some seem to be able to envision.

“The leading cause of doctor visits in the U.S.,” Lajam continues, “is musculo-skeletal problems.” As a consequence of President Obama’s signature, deeply meddling Affordable Care Act, unneeded workers in those hospitals -- mostly women -- were excessed. They lost what had been good jobs, benefits, decent pay.

Monday, August 24, 2015

States Using Obamacare Dollars to Fill Budget Holes Instead of to Fund Child Health Programs

In March 2010, while the details of Obamacare were still being hammered out, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) famously declared to a frustrated and bewildered American public, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.”
Congress did pass Obamacare, and citizens and states have steadily been finding out what’s actually in the legislation ever since.
One of the recent “finds” includes a provision that will shift to the federal government a significant amount of the financial burden previously placed on states for the funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
CHIP, formerly called the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, was created as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to help states provide insurance for children in low-income households who are not eligible for Medicaid. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an estimated 8.1 million children were enrolled in CHIP in fiscal year 2014.
To help offset the expected growing costs of Obamacare to the states, legislators included a provision in Obamacare that shifts all or nearly all of the CHIP burden to the federal government, beginning this year.Sarah Ferris reports in The Hill that under Obamacare, states will not pay more than 12 percent of CHIP expenses, and 11 states plus Washington, D.C. will not contribute anything. In previous years, federal contributions to CHIP amounted to 65–83 percent.
Shifting the CHIP burden to the federal government could free up as much as $6 billion for states over two years. Special-interest groups and advocacy organizations say the increased federal funding should only be used to improve CHIP, but instead of expanding or shoring up CHIP programs, many states are choosing to use those dollars to help fill budget holes completely unrelated to health care.
Via: The Blaze
Continue Reading.....

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Americans for Prosperity (AFP), one of the largest conservative activist groups in the United States, held their annual “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Columbus, Ohio, this week, but the state’s Republican Governor John Kasich was not invited.

Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare—a move that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was optional and up to state discretion—is a sore subject for fiscal conservatives and led to him being, not just left out of an event held in his backyard, but attacked by several of the event’s speakers, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and AFP President Tim Phillips.
Obamacare critics do not like how the law allows Medicaid, originally enacted as a safety net to provide health coverage for poor mothers and children, to be expanded to cover able-bodied, working-age adults. Federal funds cover the costs of the new enrollees but will start scaling back in 2017. Moreover, states are on the hook for administrative costs for signing up the new enrollees, whose numbers have far exceeded estimates.
For fiscal conservatives, like the activists at the AFP conference, the massive spending incurred by Medicaid expansion is especially distasteful, and Kasich’s support of it is viewed as a heretical departure from conservative principles, much like the way school choice advocates view former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s support for Common Core.
Kasich has defended his decision to authorize Medicaid expansion in Ohio on religious grounds, a rationale that has fallen flat with conservatives. According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, when Kasich was questioned about Medicaid expansion at a California conference sponsored by the Koch brothers, AFP’s benefactors, he replied, “When I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”
Groups like, a project of the Franklin Center for Government Accountability, and the Foundation for Government Accountability have joined AFP in criticizing Kasich. Nearly half a million Ohioans signed up under Kasich’s Medicaid expansion, and the plan was already 33 percent over budget in just its first year.
According to Watchdog’s Jason Hart, Ohio’s Medicaid enrollment numbers under Obamacare now exceed 600,000 and have cost taxpayers $4.4 billion.
Phillips, the AFP President, mentioned Kasich’s Medicaid expansion when he addressed the nearly 4,o00 activists on the conference’s first day. Even though he never said Kasich’s name, the implication was clear when he vowed that they would continue to fight against Medicaid expansion: “Whether proposed by a Democrat or a Republican, we’ll continue to oppose it with all we’ve got.”
“President Obama and some Republicans want to take millions of the most vulnerable citizens and they want to throw them into a Medicaid bureaucracy where the care is substandard,” continued Phillips, as the audience cheered in agreement. “They call that compassion. We call it immoral.”
Perry also took a swipe at his fellow Republican presidential contender during his remarks on Saturday. Kasich has repeatedly claimed that the federal funds going to pay for Ohio’s Medicaid expansion “belong” to Ohioans and would be spent in other states if Ohio had not claimed them. Perry rejected this argument as “just nonsense.”
“That money doesn’t come from an endless vault of money in Washington. It is borrowed from bankers in China and children in Cleveland and Columbus,” Perry added. “Justifying Medicaid expansion on the grounds of returning federal money to your home state can only be done if you turn a blind eye to the fact that we are $18 trillion in debt.”
Avik Roy, Senior Advisor to Perry’s presidential campaign and well-regarded as a health care policy expert before joining the campaign, spoke on a well-attended panel Saturday morning on the issue of Medicaid expansion. Like Perry, Roy found Kasich’s justifications wholly unconvincing.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

[OPINION] Let's see even more GOP alternatives to Obamacare

Let's see even more GOP alternatives to Obamacare | Washington Examiner
This week, another GOP contender for president released a plan for replacing Obamacare — demonstrating again that yes, there are Republican alternatives.
As with the plan proposed earlier this year by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the main feature of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to change the pre-Obamacare status quo is a refundable tax credit for those who buy insurance outside their workplace. This is designed not only to ease the transition away from an Obamacare system laden with mandates and subsidies that drive up the cost of care, but also to make insurance affordable for more people than it was before Obamacare.
Some conservatives object that this sounds too much like Obamacare's tax-code-based insurance subsidy. They are right to make their voices heard, but the idea that this proposal is "Obamacare Lite," or even a step in the wrong direction, is preposterous. In fact, the idea of a tax credit had currency in conservative circles when Obamacare was still just a bad idea. More importantly, the subsidies that currently make Obamacare's sky-high premiums more palatable for consumers are not even one of the messy program's bigger problems.
The biggest single problem with Obamacare is its abridgment of human freedom — its unprecedented requirement that every American obtain insurance as a condition of existing, under penalty of fine, and likewise that every employer enter the insurance business or face a penalty.
But the main practical problem with Obamacare so far has been how badly it messed up the insurance market for millions of Americans in the individual and small group markets. These are people who were perfectly happy with what they had, and must now pay more for an inferior product. The additional (often unnecessary) coverage mandates and elimination of all underwriting either caused monthly premiums to skyrocket or caused insurers to jack up deductibles and skimp on their provider networks in order to make their premiums seem like a good deal — in many places, both of these things occurred.
The result is that many Americans who were previously happy with their coverage suddenly find themselves paying substantially more for policies they either cannot use or cannot afford to use.
Walker's and Rubio's plans, as well as that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, would undo that crucial part of damage from Obamacare, allowing insurers to tailor plans (no more forced maternity coverage for 70 year-olds) and permit more flexible arrangements like miniature plans. They would also break the state regulatory monopoly on insurance licensing, so that New Jerseyans can buy plans that sell in Iowa for a fraction of the prices they must currently pay. This already makes all of their plans superior not only to Obamacare, but also to what existed before it.
But each also has a mechanism for making insurance more available than it was previously. Walker and Rubio have chosen a tax credit system. Jindal has gone the more ideologically pure route of a deduction, which would not subsidize anyone who does not pay taxes. But the conceptual difference between the two is smaller than you might think. Payroll taxes are taxes too. A refundable credit effectively gives all workers a break on them — including those too poor to pay income taxes but too rich to qualify for Medicaid.
Everyone in the Republican field agrees on Obamacare repeal. Conservative tastes will differ on the precise details of the replacement. But it's healthy for the candidates to show their work and demonstrate their commitment to repeal by presenting real plans for replacement that can always be improved upon later. Walker has done the right thing here, and all other candidates who haven't done so yet should follow suit.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Obamacare is putting a big crimp in Wal-Mart’s lucrative pharmacy business

It was not an especially good quarter for Wal-Mart, and one pain point that will continue to hurt the company is a downturn in its large in-store pharmacy business in the US. On a media call yesterday (Aug. 18), executives in part blamed the company’s reduced profit outlook on a change in the way Americans are paying for drugs.

“We are seeing less cash and more reimbursements from insurers,” CFO Charles Holley said.

In other words, the rapid fall in uninsured Americans after passage of the Affordable Care Act has led to more drugs being paid for by insurers, and fewer being paid out of pocket. That squeezes profit margins, particularly for a company like Wal-Mart with one of the biggest drug stores in the country (it brings in about $19 billion in annual revenue).

In the US, full retail prices paid by the uninsured are substantially inflated compared to what private insurers reimburse. Unlike the average healthcare consumer, private insurers know the market, whether generic or cheaper options are available, and they have the leverage of scale to negotiate prices.

Government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which cover many Wal-Mart customers, are prohibited from negotiating on price with drug makers. But they are also legally required to only reimburse the drug maker a certain percentage over the average wholesale price.

Pharmacy benefit managers, which administer drug benefits for employers and insurers, have also consolidated (pdf), leaving three firms (ExpressScripts, CVS, and UnitedHealth) to cover most Americans. The bump in scale has boosted their negotiating power on drug prices.

Formerly uninsured Wal-Mart customers are also likely to be entering into lower-tier health insurance plans that don’t cover an ever-growing list of expensive drugs, instead favoring cheaper, clinically-equivalent alternatives.

Pharmacies that have overcome these changes, like CVS, have tended to focus on offering expensive and often high-margin specialty drugs that require extra service to administer (such as chemotherapy drugs and arthritis drugs).

Wal-Mart says it has no intention of selling off its pharmacy business. As for solutions, on its Aug. 18 earnings call it offered up only that it is taking a “number of actions to lessen the impact.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WATCH LIVE: Scott Walker Reveals Obamacare Alternative

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is scheduled to make a speech from Minneapolis on Tuesday morning in which he lays out his plan to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “If you’ve had it with Obamacare and you want someone who is going to do something about it, I am your candidate,” the Republican presidential candidate said in prepared remarks released ahead of the speech.
According to Politico, Walker aims to replace Obamacare with a plan “that would return authority to the states and provide sliding-scale tax credits directly to consumers who don’t get coverage at work to help them buy insurance.” In addition he would “give states greater say over Medicaid, which he would break into separate plans for different groups, such as poor families, people with disabilities and low-income seniors.”
Watch live stream video below, via NBC News:

Monday, August 17, 2015


Are Reagan Democrats Becoming Trump Democrats? | The American Spectator
The Gallup poll. December, 1979.

President Jimmy Carter — 60%. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan — 36%. So confident was Carter White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan of the coming year’s presidential election that he boasted: “The American people are not going to elect a seventy-year-old, right-wing, ex-movie actor to be president.” Hamilton Jordan was a smart guy — and he was also wildly wrong. A little less than a year later the American people — ignoring that Gallup poll — elected Ronald Reagan to the presidency in a landslide — in a three-way race. Reagan won 50.8% of the vote to Carter’s 41%. Third party candidate John Anderson, a liberal Republican who had been defeated by Reagan in the GOP primaries, won a mere 6.6% of the vote. Reagan carried 44 states to Carter’s six plus the District of Columbia.

What happened? How could Reagan go from losing a Gallup poll to Carter by 24 points — then winning the actual election by almost 10 points? Answer? The emergence of what would become known to political history as “the Reagan Democrats.” Who were they? Blue collar, working class, largely Catholic and ethnic, they originally emerged in Richard Nixon’s 1968 and 1972 elections. In which Nixon referred to them as the “Silent Majority.” In 1980, angered by Carter’s handling of the economy, the feckless handling of the Iran hostage crisis, and the left-wing tilt of the Democrats, these voters — many of whom had voted for John F. Kennedy twenty years earlier — returned with a vengeance. Famously, Macomb County, Michigan, which cast 63% of its vote for JFK in 1960, turned around in 1980 and voted 66% for Reagan.

On Tuesday night of this week, Donald Trump appeared in Birch Run, Michigan in Saginaw County. Here’s the headline from the Detroit Free Press:
A lovefest for Donald Trump in Birch Run
The story begins:
BIRCH RUN, Mich. — Addressing about 2,000 very enthusiastic people at the Birch Run Expo Center, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump touched on everything from immigration, China, the military, Obamacare and his Republican opponents. 
The crowd, some coming from outside of Michigan, ate it up, giving him frequent standing ovations and breaking into chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump!” and “U.S.A, U.S.A.”
The obvious question. Are Reagan Democrats returning to the center of the American political scene — this time known as Trump Democrats?
A new CNN poll in Iowa has some very revealing stats. The poll notes:
Donald Trump has a significant lead in the race to win over likely Iowa caucus-goers, according to the first CNN/ORC poll in the state this cycle. Overall, Trump tops the field with 22% and is the candidate seen as best able to handle top issues including the economy, illegal immigration and terrorism. He’s most cited as the one with the best chance of winning the general election, and, by a wide margin, as the candidate most likely to change the way things work in Washington.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

[LETTERS] Readers react to Planned Parenthood, abandoned animals and Obamacare

Planned Parenthood

Even though Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas do not accept fetal tissue, Gov. Sam Brownback launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood. Brownback is staunchly opposed to abortion, so this is merely another effort to close down Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas.
Apparently, the governor does not realize the vital health care services Planned Parenthood provides for women. These include birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, pelvic exams, Pap tests and breast-cancer screenings. Abortions account for only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services.
Brownback must keep his hands off health care for Kansas women and concentrate on the fiscal disaster he has created in our state.
Jane Toliver

Abandoned animals

To the uncaring person who saw fit to drop off the little black and white dog at Missouri 150 and Bynum Road one Sunday morning, if you had stuck around a few minutes you could have seen that bewildered baby scanning every vehicle that passed by hoping in its heart that you would return, only to be disappointed time after time.
You would also have seen several caring people stop to try and rescue that poor thing before it became another dead animal along the roadway.
You were right in your apparent assumption that we country folk are animal lovers and will if possible make a home for your unwanted pet.
The truth is, however, we who want animals already have them. Your callous disregard for that animal’s feelings are reprehensible.
There are a number of animal rescuers in the metropolitan area that would have gladly taken that poor creature and tried to find a decent home for it.
Almost daily, we who travel the highway are treated to a collection of dead animals, some wild and some dumped as was yours, that have been struck by cars.
Shame on you.
Wayne Miller
Lone Jack

Kobach, Obamacare

The Kansas secretary of state has written members of Congress, urging them to affirm a health-care compact that he says would give states a way to exempt themselves from the federal Affordable Care Act.
News stories have said that Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in the letter to 94 Republicans in Congress that authorization of the interstate coalition on health care would give those states authority to regulate health care within their borders and to administer their federal health-care funds.
In 2014, Kansas lawmakers approved a bill to join such a compact. But it requires congressional approval to take effect. Critics say the plan could jeopardize the health care of people who receive other forms of federal health-care benefits, including more than 450,000 seniors in Kansas on Medicare.
Medicare works just fine as a federal program. Kansans should fight this effort.
Kansas cannot manage Medicare as well as the federal government.
John Skelton

Brownback’s plan

I do not agree that the budget deficit in Kansas stems from a poor or mistaken economic policy by Gov. Sam Brownback. He knew exactly what the outcome would be.
The governor is an intelligent man. He has to be aware that trickle-down economics is a failed economic policy. Yet he has continued to pursue tax cuts for the wealthy and shifted more of the tax burden to the middle class and the poor through increased sales taxes and reduced mortgage deductions.
Gov. Brownback appears to subscribe to a libertarian philosophy, which favors dismantling the “nanny state” by starving state and local governments of adequate tax money to fund education, public pensions, Medicaid and infrastructure.
Next year, as the deficit grows, Kansans will face some hard choices if they continue to support Brownback’s insistence on his 2012 tax cuts for the wealthy.
Diane Mitchell
Kansas City

Redefining terrorism

Terrorism is a violent statement, meant to strike terror into the hearts of entire groups. The acts of Dylann Roof, F. Glenn Miller Jr. and a huge number of others fall into this category.
And yet our government and the news media mostly reserve the word terrorism for acts committed by Muslims. An example is Chattanooga, Tenn.
Most low-information Americans find the very word terrifying and wildly overestimate their odds of getting killed by Muslim terrorists. It’s considerably more likely that one might be the victim of an American terrorist.
Reserving the word for Muslims leads to unfair hatred of Islam and to our enthusiastic endorsement of war and drone strikes on Muslim countries. This understandably angers Muslims and recruits some to groups bent on vengeance.
It’s time to ponder this effect and rethink the role being played in the branding of Muslims as the terrorists of the world.
Marlen Beach
Kansas City

Climb pay ladder

I am a lifelong Kansas City resident. I voted for Mayor Sly James twice.
I’ve read Mary Sanchez’s columns for years, often disagreeing with her. I don’t own a business, and I get my coffee at McDonald’s every day. I put myself through college by working after school and through the GI bill.
Raising the minimum wage to $13 an hour by Jan. 1, 2020, is a mistake. It will only serve to hold people in menial jobs even longer.
I love the servers I see at McDonald’s every day. My best wish for them is to leave, move on to the next better job.
Raise your pay by advancement, not by raising the minimum wage.
Get out of the rut.
Mary Sanchez is worried about the programs these wonderful young people might lose if the wage went up. Go to school, get an education and get out of the rut.
I worked 40 hours a week and carried a full college load every semester. I was married, and my first son was born while I was in school.
It worked. I spent 42 years with the same company here in Kansas City by moving up, not by protesting for more pay.
Michael J. Callahan
Kansas City
Via: Kansas City Star
Continue Reading....

Read more here:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Obamacare: An Alarming Checkup

OK, Obamacare. Up on the table. It’s time for your annual physical.
Three years old, eh? Well, with any luck, you’ll leave here with a clean bill of uh-oh. I can see one problem already. Have you seen these tax hikes?
Let’s see — five, 10, 15, 18 tax hikes in all. That hardly seems wise, considering the fragile health of the economy, but there they are.
There’s the tax on individuals who don’t purchase health insurance. That will cost $55 billion over the next decade. I also see a 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans costing more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. It’ll be $111 billion for that between 2018 and 2022. Several smaller ones, such as limiting the amount people can set aside in their flexible spending accounts: $4.5 billion there from 2011 to 2022.
It all adds up, Obamacare. It’s not healthy.
Hate to tell you this, but it gets worse. See this? That’s the number of people who are going to lose their current health insurance because of you. Not thousands, but 7 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This isn’t guesswork; it’s already happening.
Take Universal Orlando, which recentlyannounced that it won’t continue to cover its part-time workers. Why? Not because they’re coldhearted, but because they can’t afford it. Your prohibition of annual benefit limits beginning next year is making Universal’s health plans too expensive. The word is, this will affect about 500 Universal employees.
Or consider the American Veterinary Medical Association in Illinois. “[M]edical coverage will end for some 17,500 association members and thousands of their dependents at year’s end,” the group says in a news release. There are many more to come, from other employers. Ouch.
Wait. Obamacare, didn’t you say that nobody who liked his current plan would lose it? Yes. You promised it, in fact — repeatedly. I’d better note that in your chart.
You may be getting uncomfortable, but we’re not done yet. Over here, there’s another serious problem: You’re hurting hiring — and right at a time when the economy could use all the help it can get to reduce unemployment.
You don’t believe it? Look at the “Beige Book,” a report that the Federal Reserve publishes eight times a year detailing the economic activity in the Fed’s 12 regions. According to its most recent report: “Employers in several districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
“Affordable Care Act.” That’s you.
There’s more. It’s a good thing you’re sitting down. It turns out you’re making it more difficult to access Medicare services.
You can be as skeptical as you want, but this is right from the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s own trustees. They’ve shown what you don’t want to admit: You’re raiding Medicare to pay for other new programs.
Payment rates for Medicare Advantage: down $156 billion over the next decade. Home health services: down $66 billion. Hospice services: down $17 billion. The biggest one is hospital services, which you cut by $260 billion. What’s that? No, the cuts do not target medical institutions or organizations suspected of waste, fraud or abuse. Nice try.
Finally, I see that insurance premiums are going to skyrocket under you. It’s those coverage mandates you put in place; they’re the culprit. According to a congressional report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, some premiums are set to rise in every state. Yes, every state, and not by small amounts. In many states, they’re primed to go up by more than 50 percent; in others, by more than 100 percent. It’s all as a result of changes you’ve introduced.
This despite your claim that your law would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.” That sure isn’t working out, is it?
You can pay the receptionist on your way out. No, I’m afraid we don’t accept that insurance plan anymore.
-Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation (

War Vets Are Getting Screwed Thanks To A VA Computer Glitch

War Vets Are Getting Screwed Thanks To A VA Computer Glitch
More than 35,000 combat veterans are being denied access to their healthcare by the Department of Veterans Affairs, with many waiting for years, because of a glitch in the agency’s computer system. The findings are based on internal documents obtained by the Huffington Post that show how the former troops—almost all of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan—were mistakenly placed in a “pending” list for failing to to provide certain financial information, even though combat troops are not required to do so.
The revelation comes just months after a separate series of leaked VA documents showed how more than 238,000 veterans have died over the years while waiting for their healthcare applications with the agency to be approved. About 16,000 of the 35,000 combat vets currently in limbo have been waiting for more than five years to receive healthcare from the VA, the Huffington Post reported.
Vocativ analyzed the data behind the VA’s current computer error and found that the combat vets affected live in all 50 states. Twenty-one states have 500 or more vets who have been denied healthcare because of the glitch, with eight states exceeding 1,000. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers.
VA glitch.r6

Here are the numbers of vets affected in the remaining 40 states.

Alabama: 922
Virginia: 910
South Carolina: 880
North Carolina: 864
Missouri: 858
Georgia: 769
Mississippi: 762
Arizona: 759
Lousiana: 721
Colorado: 695
Washington: 585
Kansas: 481
Indiana: 474
Oregon: 455
Arkansas: 448
Massachusetts: 439
Minnesota: 414
Oklahoma: 406
Nevada: 401
Wisconsin: 372
New Jersey: 372
West Virginia: 331
Iowa: 316
Hawaii: 301
New Mexico: 289
Kentucky: 287
Utah: 272
Nebraska: 254
Alaska: 222
Wyoming: 219
Delaware: 189
Connecticut: 165
New Hampshire: 141
North Dakota: 121
Rhode Island: 119
Idaho: 119
South Dakota: 109
Montana: 92
Vermont: 51
Maine: 51

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