Saturday, January 21, 2017

Obamacare

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Jimmy Kimmel put people on the street to the test to see if they preferred Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

With the Senate taking the first steps to repeal the ACA, it was an interesting test to see how brain dead most people are.

Watch above.

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President Elect Trump made waves shortly after his election when he stated that instead of repealing Obamacare, he may support simply amending Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation.

Working Americans have paid the highest price for the Affordable Care Act. A law that has turned out not to be affordable for those who choose not to live off of the government.

Between 2013 and 2015, market medical costs have increased an incredible 69%.

Those increases in care quickly worked their way into the health insurance market where prices are expected to rise AGAIN, by at least 30% in several states in 2017.

There is little arguing that Obamacare is a complete disaster for most Americans and their families.

But, who has benefited?

Healthcare companies, their investors and some insurance companies.

With the highest level of coverage for Americans in history, business is a booming for healthcare providers and rates are only going up.

To add even more pain to the system, those newly subsidized Obamacare recipients are taking advantage of their low-cost coverage and lining up to see the doctor at any given opportunity – meaning prescription drug abuse is at an all time high – as is heroin addition with overdose rates hitting all-time highs year after year.

Addiction, as bad as it seems to society is great for healthcare as rehab is funded as are the constant visits for the problems associated with addiction.

A vicious cycle for sure . . . but great for business.

Just take a look at the Vanguard Health Care Index Fund. In 2013, when Obamacare rolled out, the fund was priced at $36.

By mid-2016, the fund had broken $70 per share. Far outperforming the market.

Over the weekend, Sen. Mitch McConnell began to beat the war drums to completely repeal Obamacare, before a replacement is considered.

Repeal, while great for American taxpayers, will hit the healthcare industry like a bullet train barreling into Trump Tower.

As it stands, the medical provider industry could not have it any better, and they have made a killing over the last three years.

Money like that doesn’t go away without a fight so expect the healthcare industry to get off of the fence and send in their best, brightest establishment lobbyists to maintain the status quo.

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The government spent a breathtaking $26 million to provide dead people—who were poor when they were alive—with health insurance in one state alone, according to a new federal audit. The benefit was administered through Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the needy and the astonishing multi-million-dollar figure applies to just Florida but similar atrocities are likely occurring in other states.

American taxpayers may wonder how this could possibly happen, though fraud and corruption are rampant in government, especially in welfare programs. First let’s explain how Medicaid, jointly funded by federal and state governments, functions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the program at the federal level. States must create CMS-approved plans to run their Medicaid programs, which provide low-income residents with medical coverage. In some states, such as Florida, the government contracts with insurance companies and makes fixed monthly payments to provide coverage. In Florida 37 insurance companies have contracts to provide coverage.

In this case, the government continued making payments to the insurance companies long after the beneficiaries had passed away. In other words, the government doled out huge sums to provide dead people with medical insurance for years. The astounding figures were made public recently in a report issued by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General, which blamed the outrageous waste on lack of collaboration between various state agencies and outdated information in databases. In some of the overpayment cases, investigators found that the state was “not able to explain the reasons they occurred.”

The investigation covered a five-year period from 2009 to 2014 and reviewed a sample of 124 payments to Medicaid insurers for subjects that had died. Of the 124, the inspector general determined that 113 were overpaid at a cost to the government of $192,273. Using that formula, auditors estimated that the state paid $26,202,536 over the five-year period to provide dead people with taxpayer-funded health insurance. This occurred because Florida officials failed to update the death dates of beneficiaries in its Medicaid database, the probe found, so the payments kept rolling. “The State agency had inadequate policies and procedures to identify and correct inaccurate death information,” the report states. As is the case in other states, the feds cover about 60% of Florida’s Medicaid tab so in this instance Uncle Sam got fleeced out of $15,356,486.

The government spent an eye-popping $545.1 billion on Medicaid in 2015, according to National Health Expenditure Data made available by CMS. California’s annual Medicaid costs are top in the nation at $85.6 million followed by New York at $60 million and Texas at $36 million. It’s hardly surprising that states with large immigrant populations have the biggest Medicaid tabs. Though federal law prohibits illegal aliens from receiving Medicaid benefits, some states, like Massachusetts, openly provide illegal aliens with publicly-funded health coverage through its Medicaid agency known as MassHealth. Additionally, Medicaid has a multi-billion-dollar slush fund to offer illegal immigrants “emergency” coverage. Furthermore, the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens (anchor babies) automatically qualify for Medicaid.

Fraud in this colossal healthcare program has been pervasive for years and things only got worse with the implementation of President Obama’s disastrous healthcare overhaul. CMS was in charge of Obamacare’s tumultuous implementation and catastrophic health exchange website yet the government officials who screwed up quietly received tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses and other taxpayer-funded perks. Judicial Watch obtained records that show Medicaid officials who played a significant role in the healthcare law’s failures were handsomely rewarded with large sums of cash and generous amounts of paid time off on the public’s dime. Many have left their lucrative federal government jobs for the private sector.

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obamacare

So far this October we have heard secret Trump recordings and seen undercover videos of Hillary’s corrupt campaign, but ObamaCare is the real October surprise.

The White House came out on Monday and admitted that premiums were going to go way up next year. In fact, they are going to up around 25%.

The news is not good for Democrats and the Affordable Care Act which Obama pushed through his first term. He still considers it his best domestic legacy, but it is falling apart.

ACA was sold to America as a way to keep your doctor, keep your plan and bring the prices of healthcare down while giving more people insurance.

More people have insurance, but they are paying a lot of money for it.

In some states, Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, members of ObamaCare will only have a single insurer providing plans.

There will be no competition because all the big insurance companies ran out as soon as they started losing money.

After the White House made the announcement that the premiums would be skyrocketing next year, Trump went on the offensive and attacked ObamaCare.

“It’s a disaster. In some areas they’re paying 60,70 and 80 per cent more than they were paying last year. It’s over for ObamaCare.”

Hillary continues to defend the Affordable Care Act, and that could really hurt her come Election Day.

If people who were planning on voting for Hillary see that their plan is going up another 25% after their plans have already gone up, they might switch to Trump.

Trump wants to repeal and replace ObamaCare and now that the ACA premiums are going up even higher, he might find more support for that decision.

The timing couldn’t be worse for Hillary Clinton as she is being buried in scandals from WikiLeaks, Project Veritas and plagued by low enthusiasm. Will the ObamaCare premium spike be the October surprise that finally breaks the camels back? We’ll find out in two weeks.

Are your ObamaCare premiums going up? Let us know in the comments below.

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Abortions

In a recent ruling by the Obama Administration, churches in California are being forced to pay for abortions through the Affordable Care Act.

Abortions are covered in Obamacare under “basic health services”, but the Obama Administration has ordered all insurance companies to pay for surgical abortions.

No church in California is safe.

In October 2015, a number of churches joined in a lawsuit against the ruling that has been moving though the courts.

The Department of Health and Human Services was investigating the matter and found that there was no violation, so they are closing the investigation. They will not look into this matter any further.

What does that mean? It means that the Obama administration is mandating churches to pay for abortions even though it is against their religious beliefs.

Pro-life leaders in congress are speaking out. Rep. Chris Smith, who is also the co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, had this to say after the ruling:

“Nearly two years after California imposed its draconian mandate that requires all insurance companies to pay for abortion the Obama Administration has reached a new low. This means that Californians, including churches, will continue to be forced to pay for elective abortions in their insurance plans.

Congress must not let this discrimination stand. We must take this issue out of the hands of the Obama Administration by moving enforcement of current conscience protections to the courts. Congress needs to enact legislation so churches and other victims have a “private right of action” so they can have their day in court.”

Currently a couple of large churches have joined together to ask the courts permission to sue the state of California.

This is far from over.

Right now, Obama is making Christian churches pay for abortions through tax dollars and it isn’t right. Stay tuned to Liberty News Now for more updates as this story develops.

What do you think? Should churches be forced to pay for abortions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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ObamaCare

Remember when President Obama described his new healthcare law? You wouldn’t need to change your doctor, everyone can be covered, and premiums wouldn’t go up that much.

Well, we all know that the doctor thing didn’t work out and the plan now covers an additional 12 million people, but millions are paying a fee because they can’t afford healthcare.

The plan is a disaster, but it is going to get a lot worse; probably 9.3-45% worse.

From early reports from insurance companies, the few that remain in Obamacare, are coming in and it is not looking good for next year’s premiums.

Due to the amount of money the insurance companies are losing as part of Obamacare, they have to raise their rates.

Almost every state is looking to have an increase.

Virginia, who is one of the first to report, has nine insurers that are going to continue to offer coverage through Healthcare.gov. Those nine companies are going to have to raise their rates for 2017 to stay financially viable. They are predicting just in Virginia a rate increase of 9.4% – 37.1%.

That means that if you pay $300 for Obamacare in Virginia you could be paying $411 next year. That is a huge increase. If you have a family that pays around $1000 a month for healthcare, you could be paying $1,371 the next year.

The economy, that Obama also says is doing well, is not going to make that kind of jump feasible for most families. Some families will have to drop health insurance and pay the monthly fine instead.

Virginia is just the first state to report and most suspect that the rates in other states could see even higher premium increases. Majority of the other states will start announcing their rate increases over the summer and into the fall which coincides with another major even in the United States.

With the huge increases in Obamacare, you can guarantee that this will be come a major talking point in the election in the fall and could derail Hillary. Obamacare stats and increases could be the October surprise that could shake up the election.

Hillary is running on a similar platform as Obama and she says she will continue and add to his efforts. She wants to keep Obamacare and that could hurt her in the fall.

Trump on the other hand, wants to get rid of Obamacare. It would be nice if we knew exactly what Trump wanted to do to replace Obamacare, but knowing he isn’t supporting a system that is raising the premiums by huge increases each year.

Obamacare doesn’t have enough people in it to make it work. It is priced too high to get new people to join. People would rather pay a fine than join. That is a problem, and one that the next president will have to fix one way or another.

Who do you think will be the best at fixing or replacing Obamacare? Let us know in the comments below.

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ObamaCare

Nearly half of all ObamaCare co-ops have collapsed – more could fail by year’s end

Critics said that healthcare co-ops set up to dispense “free” medical care to the nation’s uninsured under ObamaCare would collapse and, so far, nearly half of them have – leaving millions of “insured” Americans with nowhere to go when accidents or illnesses strike.

The states that have seen their ObamaCare co-ops financially collapse include Utah, Kentucky, New York, Nevada, Louisiana, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina and a co-op that served both Iowa and Nebraska.

The failures, which have come more quickly than even those who opposed to ObamaCare originally predicted, have proved one thing. Despite the way ObamaCare was rushed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama or the way low-income voters cast their ballots on Election Day, healthcare isn’t free.

And the bloodletting isn’t over.

Experts say that the co-ops are failing because of artificially low premiums, strict regulations and the old and sick signing up for free healthcare while the young and healthy sit things out choosing to pay a fine instead.

This lethal combination of facts – which critics said were self-evident when ObamaCare was forced on the American people – are on track to run the remaining state healthcare co-ops out of business before the end of next year.

“In most cases, they priced too low relative to what their claims costs were going to be, that’s what the operating margins were all about,” said Thomas Miller, a fellow specializing in health care policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

“Now what made them attractive was they’re offering lower premiums so more people want to sign up for that, but that’s a dangerous proposition where you’re making up your losses on volume.” “You’re getting more people, but those extra enrollees you’re bringing in are being underwritten at a loss.”

Ali Meyer, writing for the Washington Free Beacon, quoted Nathan Nascimento, a senior policy adviser at Freedom Partners as saying:

“The co-ops are losing more than they’re bringing in because they’re paying out for older, sicker populations and don’t have enough younger, healthier people to help share the cost burden” “This is in part because the monthly premiums set up by the co-ops were set artificially low compared to other plans.”

“Co-op insurers are heavily subsidized and operate under strict regulations,” he explains. “They’re more heavily regulated than other insurance plans offered in the health care exchange.”

“When you have artificially low premiums, a pool of people requiring more payouts, increased regulations, and reductions in risk corridor subsidies, it’s the perfect storm of insolvency,” he said.

“They’re a public option comprise concept that clearly does not work – a thought experiment that is not practical in reality.”

Akash Chougule, deputy director of policy at Americans for Prosperity, says that as costs continue to rise, less people will enroll, causing more co-ops to go out of business.

“It doesn’t require an advanced degree in economics to see why this is unsustainable.” “As costs and premiums continue to increase, people will increasingly avoid enrolling.

And as co-ops succumb to the reality of higher rates, they’ll continue failing at their alarming pace.”

Nascimento added that:

“More co-ops will likely fail – they were doomed from the start.” “We’re already seeing another coop collapse, this time in Utah, with 66,000 people losing their health care coverage and costing taxpayers more money – $89,650,303 to be exact.”

As more state co-ops close down, people who bought into the idea of free or low-cost healthcare under ObamaCare will have fewer plan choices, could face higher co-pays and annual deductibles before “free healthcare” kicks in and would likely be penalized by the federal government if they drop out of the system.

One story out of New York describes a nightmare for hundreds of cancer patients who lost access to their doctors at the world-renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. According to New York Post report:

“Health Republic Insurance of New York, which has lost $130 million dollars in 18 months, was the only ObamaCare exchange insurer contracted with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

250 Health Republic members receiving care at Sloan Kettering need to find a new insurer by November 15 that the hospital takes or prepare to shoulder the cost themselves. New York is forcing their carrier to close shop at the end of this month for losing so much money.”

Did someone say “death panels”?

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trump

The tide turned swiftly in favor of Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor’s race this week. He defeated the democratic attorney general, Jack Conway. The Democratic Governor’s association is blaming the landslide victory in “Trump-Mania” that they say is sweeping the country.

Bevin, a Tea Party favorite, beat out Conway, 53 to 44 percent. 40 of the last 44 years have seen a democratic governor for Kentucky. Steve Beshear, the current governor, is a twice-elected democrat.

Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, praised Conway’s platform and campaign, but ultimately cried sour grapes saying, “…he ran into the unexpected headwinds of Trump-mania, losing to an outsider candidate in the year of the outsider.”

Bevin himself even made the comparison. He is self-funded so he does have an interesting upper hand. In his words:

“I have no favors to pay back. There’s not one person in this state who believes they are going to have a job in my administration…There’s not one person who I’ve promised anything to…Donald Trump is an interesting fellow…Part of what people appreciate about him is the very same thing. He doesn’t owe anybody anything.”

Reports have noted that one of the deciding factors in the outcome of the gubernatorial race was the massive failure of Kentucky’s ObamaCare co-op which left 51,000 people uninsured. But democrats are still pointing towards Trump’s appeal instead of to their own failures.

Maybe not owing anyone anything really could decide the 2016 election. Donald Trump is still a surprise hit with the polls, whose only real competition is Ben Carson; a man who also has not had a long enough political career to accrue political debts.

Americans are tired of politicians politicizing. They want results and changes. The fact that non-politicians are finally entering the ring may ring the bell of some long overdue retirements.

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Obamacare

Liberal bleeding hearts are stopping at nothing to push the agenda of illegal immigrants. Everything from free college tuition to the ever debated issue of healthcare.

While the GOP has worked hard to repeal ObamaCare, Representative Luis Gutiérrez, an Illinois Democrat, wants to extend the healthcare exchange to –you guessed it– illegal aliens. Wednesday he proposed a bill that would do just that.

He is capitalizing on the moral appeal of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the U.S., and trying to guilt the House he said in his statement on the House floor:

“Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving’ ”

He refers to illegal immigrants as our nation’s “most vulnerable” and that we have an obligation to care for them and make provisions for their health.

Gutiérrez claims that the benefits will extend to legal residents as well. Broadening access to the healthcare platform, he believes, will make patient pools younger and healthier. This, he says, would make insurance costs lower for those already enrolled. More people in, more money in, lower costs; it seems simple enough, right?

Gutiérrez’s belief is that hospitals having to care for the uninsured is a problem best solved by requiring “younger” and “healthier” workers to join the exchanges.

Enacted in 2010, the current policies exclude illegal immigrants. But the bill would call for working aliens to apply to the exchanges and buy insurance like everyone else. Gutiérrez says, “The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law.”

He goes onto say that the illegal immigrants applying would not get special treatment in the exchange process but would be subject to regular rules of residency in their states. It would also make them eligible for subsidies, “if and when they file taxes”. His words, if and when they file taxes. But isn’t inclusion in the exchanges in the first place special treatment?

As for now, Gutiérrez’s scheme is dead in the water. Congress is controlled by Republicans and immigration reform bills have been refused across the board. He even admits that is unlikely that the outgoing Speaker will address immigration.

How this plays out will doubtless be quiet as the 2016 election continues to heat up.

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obamacare

Months after Judicial Watch exposed massive security risks with the government’s healthcare.gov website, a federal audit reveals that the public employees responsible for overseeing the disastrous Obamacare site were not properly trained, failed to keep adequate records and stood by as delays mounted to millions over the original contract costs.

We’re talking an astounding $600 million in contracts to build the website for the president’s signature healthcare law. The government employees tasked with supervising the colossal project actually helped private contractors fleece American taxpayers, according to an investigation conducted by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General (IG). Most of the derelict employees work at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal healthcare programs including Obamacare. The IG determined there were widespread failures and poor oversight by CMS, which functions under HHS.

The investigation focused on nearly two dozen contracts considered to be most important to the operation of the website, which was supposed to create a marketplace that serves as a one-stop shop for health insurance. Instead, it’s had a multitude of problems that have been well-documented in the media. The deals to develop this federal insurance marketplace went mostly to eight politically connected companies that raked in north of $600 million, the IG’s report says. “As of March 31, 2014, CMS had identified 62 contracts that it had awarded to 35 different contractors to develop, implement, and operate the Federal marketplace,” the report states.

That means there are a lot of taxpayer dollars floating around for this cause. You’d think the government would select its finest employees to oversee the deals. Instead, CMS violated federal rules by assigning unqualified employees to oversee contracts worth more than $10 million, according to the audit. In one case an unqualified agency employee, who didn’t even have lower-level certification to supervise contracts over $25,000, oversaw a $130 million deal for more than a year. In a separate case documented by the IG, an unauthorized CMS worker allowed an eye-popping $28 million cost overrun that wasn’t even identified until the agency finally assigned a more knowledgeable staffer to take over the deal.

These atrocious examples are probably not the half of it because CMS couldn’t even provide investigators with routine documents that should have been readily available. That means there’s no telling the true magnitude of the damage. As for accountability, there appears to be none as is often the case in government. The Obama officials—former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former CMS head Marilyn Tavenner—in charge of this boondoggle are both gone and it’s highly unlikely either will face any consequences.

The HHS watchdog report only confirms the fraud and corruption that has plagued the president’s hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Back in 2013 Judicial Watch reported that healthcare.gov was designed by a team made up entirely of Obama minions, including the design manager for the president’s 2008 campaign and the White House Deputy Director of New Media. The expert team of Obama pals promised to deliver a bilingual website that would be the healthcare law’s centerpiece and serve as an essential tool that would guide millions of Americans through the rigorous process of choosing insurance.

Despite huge failures, the government officials in charge of Obamacare’s tumultuous implementation and beleaguered health exchange website quietly received tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses and other taxpayer-funded perks. In fact, last year JW obtained records documenting that enraging reward system. JW has also exposed incriminating HHS records detailing a massive, taxpayer-funded multi-media campaign designed to promote Obamacare. A few years ago JW reported on a controversial Obamacare initiative that gives “community-based organizations” $1 billion to devise “compelling new ideas” to deliver better services to those “with the highest health care needs”

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