Posts tagged obamacare
The Crippling of America Continues
Volunteer fire departments all across the U.S. could find themselves out of money and unable to operate unless Congress or the Obama Administration exempts them from the Affordable Care Act.
‘Man, oh, man, this could potentially destroy some real good companies in Florida.’
The U.S. Department of Labor takes the term ‘volunteer’ literally, but the IRS says volunteer firefighters are technically employees if they’re on the job more than 30 hours per week, making them subject to Obamacare’s employee-mandate rules.
Since the Obamacare law doesn’t specifically carve out an exemption for them, fire departments where 50 or more people work – either as volunteers or real employees – are expected to provide health insurance for every one of them.
During a congressional committee hearing about the constitutional limits imposed on the presidency and the implications of President Barack Obama’s disregard for implementing the Affordable Care Act as written, one expert testified that the consequences of the president’s behavior were potentially grave. He said that the precedent set by Obama could eventually lead to an armed revolt against the federal government.
On Tuesday, Michael Cannon, Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of the president’s legal behavior.
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.” source – Mediaite
For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.
Such as the one just spectacularly blown up in the Senate. To get three judges onto a coveted circuit court, frustrated Democrats abolished the filibuster for executive appointments and (non-Supreme Court) judicial nominations.
The problem is not the change itself. It’s fine that a president staffing his administration should need 51 votes rather than 60. Doing so for judicial appointments, which are for life, is a bit dicier. Nonetheless, for about 200 years the filibuster was nearly unknown in blocking judicial nominees. So we are really just returning to an earlier norm.
The violence to political norms here consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52 to 48 . This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.
What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.
As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.
Barack Obama may be remembered for something similar. His violation of the proper limits of executive power has become breathtaking. It’s not just making recess appointments when the Senate is in session. It’s not just unilaterally imposing a law Congress had refused to pass — the Dream Act — by brazenly suspending large sectionsof the immigration laws.
We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.
Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.
The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.
That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.
Remember how for months Democrats denounced Republicans for daring to vote to defund or postpone Obamacare? Saboteurs! Terrorists! How dare you alter “the law of the land.”
This was nonsense from the beginning. Every law is subject to revision and abolition if the people think it turned out to be a bad idea. Even constitutional amendments can be repealed — and have been (see Prohibition).
After indignant denunciation of Republicans for trying to amend “the law of the land” constitutionally (i.e. in Congress assembled), Democrats turn utterly silent when the president lawlessly tries to do so by executive fiat.
Nor is this the first time. The president wakes up one day and decides to unilaterally suspend the employer mandate, a naked invasion of Congress’s exclusive legislative prerogative, enshrined in Article I. Not a word from the Democrats. Nor now regarding the blatant usurpation of trying to restore canceled policies that violate explicit Obamacare coverage requirements.
And worse. When Congress tried to make Obama’s “fix” legal — i.e., through legislation — he opposed it. He even said he would veto it. Imagine: vetoing the very bill that would legally enact his own illegal fix.
At rallies, Obama routinely says he has important things to do and he’s not going to wait for Congress. Well, amending a statute after it’s been duly enacted is something a president may not do without Congress. It’s a gross violation of his Article II duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
A Senate with no rules. A president without boundaries. One day, when a few bottled-up judicial nominees and a malfunctioning health-care Web site are barely a memory, we will still be dealing with the toxic residue of this outbreak of authoritative lawlessness. source – Washington Post
With the roll out of Obamacare being as disastrous as possible for the Obama administration, one group was given a $1 million grant to help lead a rebranding effort with hopes of salvaging the law in the eyes of the American people.
Families USA (FUSA) — an organization that describes itself as a “national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans” — was given a $1.1 million grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on October 4, 2013, to gather “success stories” of Americans dealing with Obamacare and distribute them to the media who often refer to them as an “independent” group. This is part of a greater upcoming effort to bolster the perception of the lowly health care law.
“The purpose is to bridge the information gap for people who can significantly benefit from the Affordable Care Act,” Ron Pollack, the Co-founder and Executive Director of Families USA, told TIME on October 25, 2013.
However, the organization is a far cry from “non-partisan” and is extremely close to the Obama Administration and Enroll America – the group leading the efforts to sign people up for Obamacare.
Philippe Villers, the president of Families USA, serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of Board of a little-known group called the Herndon Alliance. The Herndon Alliance originated in Herndon, VA in 2005 and produced research the left used to sell the overhaul of the United States health care system and counteract opposition as the president was making a push for Obamacare. As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon noted, they are credited with crafting President Obama’s, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” message, and are even backed with money from George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
In 2009 Politico wrote, “When President Barack Obama says Americans can maintain their ‘choice’ of doctors and insurance plans, he is using a Herndon strategy for wringing fear out of a system overhaul.” They were also described as, “the most influential group in the health arena that the public has never heard of.”
Ron Pollack, the above mentioned co-founder and Executive Director of Families USA, told the Washington Post in a 2010 interview after the passage of Obamacare that he was going to help found a group called Enroll America in order to raise millions of dollars to assist with enrollment.
“We’re actually helping to found a new organization to work on this. Its placeholder name is Enroll America, and it will involve all the different interest groups, from supporters of reform like consumers groups to community health centers and doctors and insurers,” Pollack told Ezra Klein during an interview. He continued, “And what we’ll do is raise tens of millions of dollars for state groups to work with the state to try to create the most effective systems to apply and enroll. You should be able to enroll with simple application forms at a doctor’s office or a pharmacy. You shouldn’t have to take the day off of work. That sort of thing.”
Pollack currently sits on the board of directors of Enroll America.
In fact, the grants given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation show Families USA and Enroll America are in the exact same office building, in the exact same suite. source – Capital City Project
Maybe in your idea of what a government takeover looks like, you imagined armed guards patrolling the streets. Well, that day is not far off, but there are other, cleaner ways to collapse and takeover a society. Destroying their healthcare and access to doctors is certainly one of them. It is typical in Marxist regimes to deny people access to clean water, fresh food and medical services. It weakens them and breaks their morale.
America, these are your last days, and you don’t even know it.
Reuters News – UnitedHealth Group dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage for plans the elderly could not be fully offset by the company’s other healthcare business. The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.
The Journal report said that doctors in at least 10 states were notified of being laid off the plans, some citing “significant changes and pressures in the healthcare environment.” According to the notices, the terminations can be appealed within 30 days.
Tyler Mason, a UnitedHealth spokesperson, was not immediately available for comment when reached by Reuters.
The insurer told the WSJ that its provider networks were always changing and that it expected its Medicare Advantage network to be 85 percent to 90 percent of its current size by the end of 2014.
UnitedHealth is participating in about a dozen new state insurance markets that launched on October 1 to offer subsidized health coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.
The insurer said previously it planned to withdraw from some markets in 2014 because of the government funding cuts.
Another top health insurer, Aetna Inc , also warned in October that it expected slowing growth in 2014 in its Medicare Advantage plans. source – Yahoo News
The Obamacare Nightmare
The White House scrambled Wednesday to find solutions for the glaring failures in Obamacare as rebellious congressional Democrats pressured the administration over their increasing political predicament.
In a closed-door meeting at the Capitol, House Democrats blasted administration officials over their handling of the Obamacare rollout, and the White House’s failure to address Mr. Obama’s broken promise to Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans.
Top Senate Democrats, meanwhile, were giving more support to a legislative proposal that would allow people to keep their insurance plans. The White House said the proposal from Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, has more merit than a House Republican plan scheduled for a vote Friday.
Presidential aides wouldn’t commit to a specific fix.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president is trying to reassure congressional Democrats that he will decide on a solution “sooner rather than later.” “The frustration that Democrats who strongly support the Affordable Care Act and who strongly believe that it is the right thing to do … [feel] is similar to the frustration the president feels,” Mr. Carney said. “Nobody is satisfied.”
The reasons for the Democrats’ rising anger are clear. With website glitches and millions of constituents receiving insurance cancellation notices, lawmakers who supported the president’s health care reform plan are feeling more vulnerable about their re-election prospects next year, and many who fought for Obamacare are worried that its promise is being threatened by incompetence.
“There is no question that the dysfunction in Washington that the American people have seen is taking its toll on everyone,” Mr. Carney said. “And while the president’s ratings are low for him, they’re sky high in comparison with Congress, and in particular Republicans in Congress. That’s not satisfactory to us, only because it reflects a feeling among the American people that this place is not working for them.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that congressional Republicans have erased a 9-point deficit in six weeks in a generic congressional ballot question, and are running even with Democrats. One of the main developments in the past six weeks was the rollout of Obamacare on Oct. 1. source – Washington Times
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS Sacramento/AP)— Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross of California has agreed to a two-month extension of about 104,000 individual policies after failing to give the required 90-day cancellation notice.
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The policies had been set to expire on Dec. 31 but will be extended until Feb. 28. State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the extensions Tuesday. He said the company notified the Department of Insurance that it failed to give enough notice because of a computer glitch.
Jones says more than 1 million cancellation notices have been sent to Californians as the Affordable Care Act begins allowing individuals to buy insurance through exchanges. The federal law requires policies to offer minimum levels of coverage, forcing companies to terminate many existing plans.
In an interview with NBC News, President Barack Obama apologized for previously pledging that Americans would get to keep their health plan under Obamacare, despite millions receiving cancellation notices.
Last week, Blue Shield of California said it would extend 113,000 policies by an extra three months. source – CBS Local Sacramento