Healthcare Archives

A Loose Definition of "Law"

I mean, if you can make it say whatever you want, if you can change it on a moment’s notice, is it really a law?

Most employers won’t face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout.

The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won’t have to comply with the law’s requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers.

It’s such a great law, we have to keep delaying it! Well, for big employers. For the small ones and the individual, you’re stuck with it.

Oh, and why was this done?

The move came after employers pressured the Obama administration to peel back the law’s insurance requirements. Some firms had trimmed workers’ hours to below 30 hours a week to avoid paying a penalty if they didn’t offer insurance.

Because the administration saw the effect it was having on the economy, that’s why. It was causing such problems, that it just had to be delayed. Until after the mid-term elections.

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    Wal-Mart Out-ObamaCares ObamaCare

    One of the big promises of ObamaCare was that, with a much larger pool of insured people, the cost to the average individual or family would go down. That’s how insurance works, right? You spread out the risk over a bigger population, and the required payouts become less than the premiums taken in. More people, less risk, lower costs.

    You’d think so. But as it turns out, the insurance offered by one of those eeevil corporations, Wal-Mart, beats the equivalent ObamaCare plan handily. David Todd, an independent insurance agent based in Little Rock, Ark., compared the health plans.

    Todd looked at a 30-year-old woman who could qualify for the government subsidy. “The nonsubsidized premium is $205 a month for this 30-year-old. If they get a subsidy, then the premium is zero. But that person has to come up with $6,300 if something catastrophic happened,” he said.

    The Walmart monthly premium for the same 30-year-old woman would be about $40. Her deductible would be $2,750, minus $250 in cash advance, for a total net deductible of $2,500.

    Todd said some Obamacare exchange family plan deductibles can go as high as $12,000 before benefits kick in.

    This is what the government considers “subsidized”; pay thousands up front and get your money back, depending on when you spent it, over a year from now. OK, but what is the actual coverage like? Very good question. Let’s take a look at some of the particulars.

    Walmart also offers a free preventive health plan that mirrors the Obamacare plan. Its employees can take advantage of a wide range of free exams and counseling, including screenings for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, chlamydia, diabetes, depression and special counseling for diet and obesity.

    Their children can get more than 20 free preventive services, ranging including screenings for genetic disorders, autism and developmental problems to obesity, lead poisoning exposure and tuberculosis. There are also 12 free vaccinations, and free hearing and vision testing.

    Walmart employees pay as little as $4 for a 30-day supply of generic drugs and only $10 for eye exams through a separate vision plan.

    Oh, and in Chicago, where this comparison was done, Wal-Mart employees have access to about 2 ½ times as many doctors than those with ObamaCare do. What does it say about ObamaCare that doctors and hospitals would rather do business with a private company than with the government?

    Well, it says that we’re going about this all the wrong way.

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      Live By the CBO, Die By the CBO

      Dana Milbank explains that the Congressional Budget Office issued glowing reports years ago about how ObamaCare was going to save money. The Obama administration trumpeted those findings far and wide. I noted at the time that the system was gamed because the administration knows the rules by which the CBO comes up with estimates, and wrote the bill to get the best looking numbers at the start. It wouldn’t matter that later estimates would be worse; it would have already been sold to the American people.

      But now, things are looking much worse.

      The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.

      This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.

      The President’s spokesman, Jay Carney, tried to spin it as people who would "spend more time with their family", or perhaps become entrepreneurs. The latter guess is just that; a guess trying to make it sound wonderful. The former is a euphemism for living off the dole because the benefits are better.

      Carney noted that these were "personal choices", but he conveniently neglects to mention that they are personal choices spurred on by the government. People respond to incentives; that’s why things like tax deductions work the way they do. ObamaCare is pushing people to dependency.

      The CBO numbers prove it.

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        Escaping Canada (Temporarily)

        I knew that many Canadians were leaving their borders to come to the US to avoid the long waits they have to endure up there. I just didn’t know how many. Well a free-market think tank, the Frasier Institute, has published the numbers for 2013. Turns out just under 42,000 folks fled the country, at least temporarily, to jump the line and get the timely care they needed. That was down just slightly from the just over 42,000 that came here in 2012.

        This brings up a question in my mind. With the advent of ObamaCare down here, where will these folks go now? And I guess the next obvious question would be, where will we go?

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          Good news on the religious liberty front. Gabriel Malor writing at Ace of Spades give a great rundown of the main points of the district court judge’s ruling with regards to forcing the Catholic Archdiocese of New York to cover, or exempt themselves, from the ObamaCare™ requirement that they cover contraception or abortion. In a snark-less post, it’s just a matter-of-fact examination of the ruling, and why this may have a very tough road to the Supreme Court, assuming it’s appealed that far.

          Some highlights (but, as they say, read the whole thing):

          This is the first litigation to result in a final injunction against the contraception mandate for religious non-profit organizations that come within the Obama Administration’s purported exemption to the mandate.The 7th, 10th, and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals have all found the mandate to be an unacceptable burden on the free exercise of religion for for-profit businesses that don’t come under the exemption. This case is important, though, because it recognizes that even the act of having to claim the exemption is an unacceptable burden on religion.

          Very late in this case, the government realized that, although the Archdiocese and its constituent organizations are covered by the mandate, the regulations might not actually force a third party they designate to provide the objectionable contraception coverage. The judge was not amused:

          The Obama administration has handed out so many exceptions to the law, it can no longer claim the law serves a compelling purpose.

          The administration, as it has frequently done with respect to disobeying laws it does not like, argued that it had to enforce the contraception mandate in such an infringing manner because it could not do it any other way. The district court pointed out the obvious flaw in this line of thinking:

          A very interesting and damaging ruling.

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            More ObamaCare Broken Promises

            President Obama gave something of an apology in November for his promise that if you liked your health care plan or doctor, you could keep them, period. Turns out what he meant was that if he liked them, you could keep them. And he turned out to be very difficult to please.

            But he’s not the only one who was going around making that promise. Here’s a link for the occasions where these Senators went and did likewise.

            SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA)
            SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC)
            SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK)
            SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO)
            SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA)
            SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA)
            SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY)
            SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL)
            SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV)
            SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT)

            Baucus actually wrote most of the bill that eventually became ObamaCare, and was a major player in health care policy for decades before, so his transgression is especially grievous. They were fed a line, which a few of them at least should have known to be false, and parroted it to the people.

            The American people were not promised a website; they were promised that they could keep their plan and doctor. Will these Democrats pay a price for this? Will saying something so transparently false hurt them at the ballot box? Do Democratic voters really want people who lie this brazenly, or are just tools for those that do, representing them? Will they vote them out? We’ll see, but hold not thy breath.

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              ObamaCare Navigators Exposed

              James O’Keefe has been exposing fraud with his Project Veritas for years. The oxen that have been the target of his goring have been of the variety that liberals tend to hold dear, which is why, while saying they don’t like fraud, they typically try to marginalize him. And when that doesn’t work, people like Rachel Maddow just make stuff up.

              The latest group to find themselves in front of the cameras of Project Veritas are the ObamaCare “Navigators”, those 50,000 folks who will, if you need it, give you help in getting signed up for the Healthcare Exchanges. Once those exchanges are actually, y’know, working. They’ll get you the lowest premium, even if they have to tell you to commit fraud.

              And it’s not just the fraud that is of concern. Enrollment information is being shared with a political group called Battleground Texas, one that is trying to get more Democrats elected. There’s more in the video, and O’Keefe says this isn’t the last of what he has. Hopefully he’ll get to the issue of no federal background checks being required for these folks.

              O’Keefe’s undercover videos were a major reason that fraud was uncovered in the group ACORN, and it seems like these Navigators are cut from the same cloth. In fact, in some states, they’re one and the same, with former ACORN people forming more groups under different names and supplying people to work as Navigators.

              Yup, if you liked ACORN, you’ll love the ObamaCare Navigators, because both groups seem to have the same agenda. And competence.

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                Is the "Cure" Worse Than the Disease?

                OK, so let me get this straight. The problem that ObamaCare was trying to fix was this: uninsured people got free healthcare at emergency rooms, but this cost was borne by taxpayers.

                So the solution is to subsidize their insurance. The subsidies come from their tax refund via the IRS. Where does the money come for these subsidies? The taxpayer. And for those not getting subsidies for their ObamaCare insurance, many are seeing rate increases to also offset these lower cost plans. And since the Supreme Court called this a tax, then again, the money is coming from the taxpayer.

                And since those subsidized plans don’t really get subsidized until folks get the credits on their tax refund, they have to front both the cost of the plan and the cost of the often huge deductibles, until tax time. How about that? The poor give Uncle Sam a no-interest loan. How compassionate.

                Here’s the bottom line: The problem was that taxpayers bore the cost of the poor getting free health care. The solution is that the taxpayers bear the cost of insurance for the poor, and the poor bear the full cost of the insurance and thousands of dollars of deductible until sometime the following year. Does that make sense to anyone?

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                  “Everyone Thought We Were A Bit Mad”

                  Meet Simon Fitzmaurice, an Irish filmmaker who chose life in the face of certain death:

                  Ruth Fitzmaurice watched as the consultant, a man they had never met before, entered the hospital room and made his way towards her husband’s bed.

                  Simon, a talented filmmaker and the father of three small boys, lay there with a tube going down his throat, pushing air into his lungs, allowing him to breathe but preventing him from being able to talk.

                  They listened as the medic spelled out in no uncertain terms what he expected them to do.

                  ‘He basically announced that this was the end of the road,’ explains Ruth. ‘That was it, they had done all they could – that he had phoned Simon’s own consultant in Beaumont Hospital who agreed that ventilation for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is not advocated in Ireland.’

                  The consultant continued, telling Simon that it was now time for him to make ‘the hard choice’ – to agree to come off the ventilator.

                  But Simon was not going to give up that easily.

                  Despite the consultant’s stark and very clear recommendation, Simon refused to grant permission to take him off the machine that was keeping him alive.

                  ‘Simon’s family very much think for themselves, and Simon in particular is a very strong character,’ smiles Ruth. ‘He wouldn’t be fazed by being told what to do by a doctor, he would question things and say: “Hang on a second.”

                  ‘The consultant told us if he stayed on the ventilator that he wouldn’t get out of the hospital. With MND [a degenerative condition that destroys the cells that control voluntary muscles and can affect speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement] it’s like, “where do you think this is going? You’re only going to get worse. Why would you choose to ventilate?” So that’s when we decided to fight.’

                  Not only did they decide not to take Simon off the ventilator they went a step further by deciding to have more children (they already had three when they received his diagnosis). They ended up having twins.

                  ‘Everyone thought we were a bit mad,’ laughs Ruth. ‘But we felt in the face of death and with everything that had happened, well, kids are the ultimate opposite of all that, they’re life-affirming.’

                  But that’s not all. Simon also went on to finish a script that he had been working on for a movie he will direct starting next year.
                  Rather than accepting a death sentence, Simon has chosen to go on living life to the fullest possible. It’s a beautiful picture of what it truly means to choose life. Be sure to read his entire story.

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                    New Polls – How Has the ACA Affected You?

                    Haven’t done a new one of these in a while. We’ve got 2 new polls up (in addition to the perennial social network one).

                    You can answer how the Affordable Care Act has affected your insurance policy and your insurance costs. And feel free to rant or rave in the comment section of this post. How is this new law affecting you?

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                      "A Promise He Could Not Keep"

                      The House Republicans have produced a devastating video. Keep doing this, guys.

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                        Millions of ObamaCare Broken Promises

                        Yeah, I know I’ve been harping on ObamaCare for quite a while now, but there’s just so much wrong with it. And I’m not speaking of the website. All I’ll say about that is that the oversight that was given to putting that together is the same oversight you’re likely to see on the program itself. How does that make you feel?

                        No, the big deal is the fact that what you were sold is not what you’re getting. You were given some promises about this that were repeated over and over.

                        Well of course no one was saying you’d lose your coverage. Obama couldn’t have sold this particular bill of goods if he’d been honest about it. What we’re getting are millions of Americans whose insurance companies had to—had to—cancel their policies because they didn’t meet ObamaCare’s standards. Yes, you can keep your plan, as long as the government says you can. And then you can’t. Ben Shapiro tweeted, “PolitiFact rated Obama’s ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it’ as ‘half true.’ Which half? ‘If you like it’?”

                        Oh, and you can keep your doctor, as long as he doesn’t leave the practice, or get laid off from the hospital. There are links in the show notes to stories about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is, for many Americans, not being very protective in this regard.

                        And the “affordable” part? Not so much, either. First there was the promise.

                        And now comes the reality. Supporters of ObamaCare, most notably, are getting acute cases of “sticker shock” as they find out how much their premiums will go up. A writer at the left-wing Daily Kos website was floored that his rates were doubling.

                        I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

                        I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

                        What am I missing?

                        Well for starters, you’re missing the reality of basic economics. And, as Dave Ramsey says, you’re missing basic math skills. What happening is that non-subsidized premiums are skyrocketing, but even if you get the subsidies, the deductibles are huge, reaching 10-12 thousand dollars. Sure the insurance may be affordable, but the health care is not.

                        But it’s not even so much the broken promises, so much as it is the fact that they knew, from the start of this awful bill, that they couldn’t keep it. Regulations within the bill itself give an estimate that 40 to 67 percent of customers who bought their own insurance will not be able to keep their policy. That’s an estimate right in the bill.

                        But Obama kept parroting that promise, and the media kept dutifully reporting it. From the “Now They Tell Us” Department, NBC News now reports this rather important bit of information, now that the bill has passed the Congress and the Supreme Court, and has started signing people up. And this startling revelation was worth a whopping 21 seconds on the NBC Nightly News.

                        Yeah, you can report on how the administration lied to us, but what about the journalistic malpractice in not doing this digging years ago? I’m looking at all of you, including CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox.

                        Why is it that conservatives saws this coming but liberals didn’t? And why were conservatives who pointed this out called “racists” (and still are)? The truth would have benefited conservatives, liberals and independents. But blind partisanship won the day, and we’ve all been dragged into the same pit.

                        Indeed, dealing with the pre-existing conditions issue and lowering the cost of insurance are admirable goals. But the ObamaCare way of dealing with this is, overall, not the way to do it. The Republicans have had their proposal up on the web for all to see for years; a plan to fix the specific problems without upending the entire industry and forcing government’s choice on the individual.

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                          ObamaCare Proponent Wakes Up

                          Blogger Donald Sensing noted that someone writing at the very liberal Daily Kos website was rather irked that, due to ObamaCare, she’d wind up paying over $8000 a year for what she called “crappy, high-deductible insurance” in New York state. The writer notes, “This means we will all be required to pay steep premiums and deductibles but may not have the financial resources to actually access healthcare.”

                          You mean ObamaCare is not going to be the panacea its proponents claimed it would be? Color me meh.

                          She concludes , “I am reminded on days like today, that President Obama campaigned on the idea that people like me would see something like a $2500 reduction in health insurance costs. What was I thinking?” Don Sensing surmises that thinking didn’t enter into it. I’d say, wow, now who could have anticipated that?

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                            ObamaCare(tm) Proponents Want Exemptions

                            The IRS will be one of the agencies collecting data for ObamaCare. Odd, then, that the National Treasury Employees Union, whose members include most of those IRS workers, is encouraging them to write their Congressman and protest being put into those very exchanges that ObamaCare proponents consider so wonderful.

                            Congressman David Camp has introduced legislation to force all federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the exchanges. Camp actually thinks that ObamaCare should be repealed, but if what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, why should government employees be exempt from this big government program? After all, the whole point is to get more people to participate so that (so the theory goes) insurance costs will be lower for those who need subsidies, right? The fewer the participants, the higher the cost for everyone, right?

                            And unions were the biggest backers of this plan. So, you have to wonder why this union is trying to get out of this. Oh, and DC legislators and their staff; they’ll be exempt, too. Subsidizing for thee, but not for me, so the saying goes. Or ought to.

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                              Are ID Cards Racist?

                              ObamaCare will require the use of an ID card. Does that make it racist? If not, would requiring an ID card to vote be racist? Or how about this; what if we used the ObamaCare card as a voter ID card? Would heads explode?

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