Obamacare penalties to slam low-income Americans


**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Wait. I thought the whole point of this rolling fiasco was to make insurance  affordable for the least among us. But, according to the Congressional Budget Office, roughly one million Americans will pay the fine tax whatever the heck Roberts decided it was. Via The Washington Free Beacon:

“All told, CBO and [the Joint Committee on Taxation] JCT estimate that about four million people will pay a penalty because they are uninsured in 2016 (a figure that includes uninsured dependents who have the penalty paid on their behalf),” the report said. “An estimated $4 billion will be collected from those who are uninsured in 2016, and, on average, an estimated $5 billion will be collected per year over the 2017–2024 period.”

A chart accompanying the report revealed that 200,000 of those paying the penalty earn less than 100 percent of the poverty line. An additional 800,000 are considered low-income, earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level.

The article then points out how Obama was originally against the individual mandate, because it would be unfair to the poor. During a 2008 debate with Hillary Clinton Lady Macbeth, he said:

“You can have a situation, which we are seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care, but choose to accept the fine because they still can’t afford it even with the subsidies,” he said. “They are then worse off, they then have no health care and are paying a fine above and beyond that.”

Which is …erm… kind of what’s about to happen right now under your system, sir. Not to be picky, or anything.

Of course, this is one of those predictible outcomes, like Obamacare causing increased use of emergency rooms instead of decreased use, that critics on the right have been warning about for several years. When faced with two painful choices –buy insurance you can’t afford or pay a fine– the vast majority will choose the least painful option. This was how the system was designed.

It’s a pity the Democrats who wrote it and shoved it down the nation’s throat didn’t bother read and understand it before voting on it and causing so many poor people so much pain. A pity, but not my problem, because not a single Republican voted for this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

And we need to remind them of that in November.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Bad news for #NCSEN’s Hagan: #Obamacare hurting small biz in Charlotte



Local news station WCNC files this report on one small local business the monstrosity known as “Obamacare” is hurting:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The doors open early at Fresh Salon off Providence Road in south Charlotte and when they do, the place starts buzzing.

Owner Julia Vittorio dreamed of having her own salon, and for five years she’s lived the dream.  She’s on the floor with clients, and in the back keeping the books.  With 25 employees, she feels she has done well.

“I think you want the best for your employees. We are a small business, very much like a family, so I care very much about our staff,” she said.

Vittorio cared so much she offered her employees health insurance, even though she didn’t have to as a small business with less than 50 employees.  She paid part of her employees’ premiums, but now will have to rethink that move, she fears.

“We’ve been proud to even carry it for this long, but it’s a concern for the future if we can keep doing it.”

There are many problems she and her staff are worried about.  A new study says employees are not ready for the higher premiums and deductibles they may be faced with.  In fact, the study says more than half of  employees have less than one thousand dollars to pay for unexpected medical costs.

Paging Senator Hagan, paging Senator Hagan

Pelosi channels Whoopi Goldberg on the #VAscandal: It’s not really a scandal-scandal…


**Posted by Phineas

Oh, brother.

While her minions race to the microphones to denounce VA Secretary Shinseki before the voters take out their wrath on them, House Minority Leader (1) Nancy Pelosi took the softball question lobbed to her by Vox’s Ezra Klein (2) and explained that, yes, the poor treatment of veterans was scandalous, but she wasn’t sure if it really was a “scandal:”

Gee, Nancy, it sure seems to me that VA administrators and employees manipulating federal records to hide the poor treatment of veterans and win themselves some bonuses amounts to a scandal. Maybe even a criminal matter. What else do you need? Oh, wait. I know.

An (R) after the president’s name.

via The Right Scoop

(1) And a person very much responsible for creating that minority. Thanks, Nancy!
(2) He who thinks the Constitution is too old to understand.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Opposition to #Obamacare is racist, and why Democrats love the race card


**Posted by Phineas

Liberal tolerance racist

Oh, brother. If we needed any more convincing that it was well-past time for Senator Jay Rockfeller (D-WV) to retire and never be heard from again, this clip of him not just playing the race card, but slamming it on the table and dancing around it should do the trick:

(h/t David Freddoso)

Apparently the senator’s “analysis” was aimed at Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was at the hearing. Naturally, Johnson took offense:

“My opposition to health care has nothing to do with the race of President Obama,” Johnson said. “I objected to this because it’s an assault on our freedom. … I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law.”

“You’re evidently satisfied with a lot of people not having health insurance,” Rockefeller responded.

“I am not. Quit making those assumptions. Quit saying I’m satisfied with that. I’m not. There’s another way of doing this,” Johnson said. “Please, don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support. You have no idea.”

“I actually do,” Rockefeller said. “God help you.”

“No senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist,” Johnson replied.

Thankfully, Senator Rockefeller (D-RaceBaiter) will retire in January, hopefully to be replaced by Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

But the senator from West Virginia didn’t just slam his colleague from Wisconsin; he cavalierly insulted all of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act. While I can’t speak for others, let me recapitulate the reasons I oppose it:

Political Philosophy: By placing the State in charge of people’s healthcare, you fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and State, turning free people into dependent wards of a Leviathan-like government and taking away their control over a crucial part of their own lives. To a conservative/classical liberal like me, this is a bad thing.

Constitutionalism: Congress has no authority —none!— to force a citizen to buy a private product under penalty of law. This is an abominable legislative usurpation and a trammeling of individual liberty. It tortures the Commerce Clause until it begs for mercy. It goes against the spirit and intent of our founding documents, and the Supreme Court, in the worst decision since Korematsu, was wrong to uphold the law.

Bad Law: I’ll be more charitable than Senator Rockefeller and stipulate that most voting for this law thought they were doing good and helping people. But that doesn’t justify defending a law that just isn’t working. It’s not even meeting its basic goals: healthcare premiums are still skyrocketing; millions have lost the insurance they liked; millions have lost access to the doctors they liked; and, even when you have insurance, you may not be able to find a physician who will take you. (Really. Watch that one.) When a law performs as poorly as this, is it any wonder people hate it? Are they all racists, Jay?

Somehow, looking over those reasons, I think it’s safe to say the President’s ancestry doesn’t matter to me and my opposition to his miserable law. In fact, I can quite honestly say I couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about President Obama’s race.

But I don’t expect you to get that, Senator.

PS: On a lighter note, I’m happy to say Andrew Klavan is back at last making satirical political videos. Longtime readers will recall my love for his “Klavan on the Culture” series. Now he’s returned, producing them for Truth Revolt. (He also still works with PJMedia and PJTV) In this video, he explains what we’ve all wondered: Just why do Democrats call us racist? Enjoy.

Welcome back, Andrew! smiley dance

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Paging #NCSEN’s Hagan: NC Obamacare premium hikes may be published in August

Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

Another day of more worrisome news for NC’s embattled Senator Kay Hagan:

States are nailing down dates to release 2015 premium costs under ObamaCare, and their decisions will guarantee a drumbeat of news about rate hikes all the way to the November midterm elections.

Democrats are bracing for grim headlines that could put the unpopular law back at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Premiums are expected to go up in a majority of states, as they do every year, but the size of the increases could go a long way toward determining how much political damage ObamaCare inflicts on vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

A survey by The Hill of state insurance commissioners found that news about ObamaCare premiums will hit nearly every week this summer (see list below), providing ample opportunity for Republicans to attack any significant premium hikes.

A slew of states will publish proposed prices in June, including Colorado and Louisiana — where the GOP is targeting Democratic Senate incumbents.

Others will wait until later in the season, including West Virginia and Arkansas. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a fact that his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), has repeatedly raised.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), a top GOP target, will see her state publish rates on Aug. 15 or later.

I’ll be having fun watching the Senator, who has bragged on her official government website about helping to craft Obamacare – and who recently ‘fully embraced’ the bill after months of dodging and weaving on it, try to explain away why both she and our celebrity President  lied (or, er, “misspoke”) about – among other things –  lowering premium costs while promoting a bill that eventually was shoved down the throats of the American people with not a single Republican vote in the House or Senate, not even the tried and true moderates.

Republicans note that President Obama promised on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

And we won’t even go there on the whole “if you like your doctor/plan you can keep it” lie, ya know, the promise that Senator Hagan made in so many words at least 24 times, or how she had the opportunity to vote in favor of a resolution (but didn’t) that would have prevented people from not being able to keep their doctors/plans, or …

Add Nevada to the list of states having to dump their #Obamacare exchange site


The costs for Obamacare continue to rise in many ways.

The list keeps growing.  Via The Politico:

Nevada has become the latest state to scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year.

The Silver State, which had seemed to start strong last October before smashing into a wall of technical problems, is the only state with a Republican governor that ran its own health insurance exchange in 2014. Gov. Brian Sandoval had argued that it was important for his state to steer its own exchange, even though he opposed Obamacare.

But the Nevada exchange board decided Tuesday that its effort couldn’t be salvaged in time for the 2015 enrollment season that starts in November. Nevada becomes the fourth state to admit its enrollment system, which cost tens of millions of dollars, is beyond repair and move to replace it with a substantially new one.

The board of the exchange, known as Nevada Health Link, voted unanimously to end its relationship with Xerox, the vendor that had received a $75 million contract to build the online enrollment portal. Instead, it will fold into HealthCare.gov.

“We’ve seen so many broken promises from Xerox on how they’re going to fix it that at some point it just becomes not credible,” said Marie Martin Kerr, a member of the board appointed by Sandoval.

Board members left the door open to retaking control of Nevada’s exchange after 2015 but emphasized that they can lean on HealthCare.gov as long as they choose.


Like Nevada, Oregon and Massachusetts took steps to join the federal exchange in recent weeks. Maryland, too, scrapped its system but opted to borrow Connecticut’s technology to salvage a state-run system. It’s unclear if the Obama administration will approve that decision.

Will Hawaii be next?  Stay tuned.

QOTD: New York Times discovers that #Obamacare “narrows choices”


The NYT’s HQ.

Sorta kinda finally paying attention to reality:

In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network — or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want.

These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans. While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. Smaller networks are also becoming more common in health care coverage offered by employers and in private Medicare Advantage plans.

Insurers, ranging from national behemoths like WellPoint, UnitedHealth and Aetna to much smaller local carriers, are fully embracing the idea, saying narrower networks are essential to controlling costs and managing care. Major players contend they can avoid the uproar that crippled a similar push in the 1990s.

What’s this? Obamacare limits doctor and hospital options? Ya don’t say.

Hate to say we Toldjah So, NYT, but …

Runner up for today’s “quote of the day” was in the very next paragraph of the NYT piece:

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”

Got that? “Choice” and a desire for “open access” are habits we must break. Guess insurers have adopted the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality when it comes to the realities of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” Oh well, when your choices are, um, limited in that regard ….

Costly failed state #Obamacare health exchanges may cost much more to “fix”

"Sorry, our system is temporarily down."  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“Sorry, our system is temporarily down.”
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Politico reports that four failed state healthcare exchanges that cost close to half a billion dollars to create will likely cost much more to fix:

Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher.

Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange.

The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov. The federal system is already serving 36 states, far more than originally anticipated.

As for the contractors involved, which have borne most of the blame for the exchange debacles, a few continue to insist that fixes are possible. Others are braced for possible legal action or waiting to hear if now-tainted contracts will be terminated.

The $474 million spent by these four states includes the cost that officials have publicly detailed to date. It climbs further if states like Minnesota and Hawaii, which have suffered similarly dysfunctional exchanges, are added.

Their totals are just a fraction of the $4.698 billion that the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation calculates the federal government has approved for states since 2011 to help them determine whether to create their own exchanges and to assist in doing so. Still, the amount of money that now appears wasted is prompting calls for far greater accountability.

PJ Tatler’s Rick Moran provides a depressing reality check on the issue of “accountability” in government:

Unfortunately, there’s no law against a politician or bureaucrat wasting taxpayer money. If there were, I would imagine we’d have to build a few more prisons to house the majority of politicians in America who have voted for “roads to nowhere” and other such boondoggles. And a few more prisons constructed for all the bureaucrats who shouldn’t be put in charge of redecorating their office much less a $200 million dollar IT project.

So no one will go to jail. And I suspect President Obama won’t press the issue of a refund very hard, considering the fact that he doesn’t want to advertise how much money his namesake achievement has cost the American taxpayer.

Nothing to see here…move along.

Politicians may not be able to go to jail over bad policy and wasting taxpayer dollars, but they can certainly be voted out of office. Let’s all do our part – starting with NC’s Senator Kay Hagan, who helped craft this pile of fail in the first place and who has, after months of dodging and weaving on the issue, now decided to ‘fully embrace‘ Obamacare. Let’s send Kay packing in November, shall we?

#NCSEN’s @SenatorHagan goes for broke, ‘fully embraces’ Obamacare

Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

The Senator is starting the first of the tricky two-step I mentioned Wednesday she had to do here in order to try and get re-elected to a second term in the US Senate, the first part being to appeal to her base to turn out in strong numbers in November.  Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) may be in one of this year’s most competitive elections, but she signaled Thursday that she’s prepared to fully embrace the benefits of Obamacare as part of her ticket to victory.

During a Senate confirmation hearing for Health and Human Services nominee Sylvia Burwell, Hagan lamented that leaders of her home state decided to opt out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The result is about 500,000 North Carolina residents who would have qualified for Medicaid are unable to enroll.

“These are some of the most vulnerable citizens in our country who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms, and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which is detrimental not only to their health but to the economy too,” Hagan said. “It leads to higher costs for the patients, it drives up costs for hospitals and it drives up costs for the insured.”

Hagan asked Burwell to describe the experiences of states that expanded Medicaid under the health care law last year, compared with the 24 states that didn’t. Burwell said in West Virginia, for example, which expanded its Medicaid coverage, there already has been a decrease in the number of uninsured people. More broadly, she said, expanded Medicaid programs translate to increased quality of care, which boosts people’s productivity and ultimately fuels the economy.

Hagan also got Burwell to clearly state how much it would have cost North Carolina to cover newly eligible Medicaid recipients if the state had expanded its program under Obamacare: Nothing.

“That would be zero,” Burwell said. “The state doesn’t pay.”

“For three years, the states pay zero,” Hagan chimed in.

“The federal government will pay for those years,” Burwell said.

The devil, as they say, is always in the details – as the John Locke Foundation’s Becki Gray explained in this October piece at Carolina Journal Online:

North Carolina’s Medicaid costs are the highest in the Southeast and among the highest in the United States. For the past four fiscal years, Medicaid spending has exceeded its budget by 11 percent.

Total Medicaid costs have gone up 90 percent in the last 10 years. Medicaid costs crowd out spending on other public programs, including education, salary increases for teachers and other public employees, and transportation.

The proposed Medicaid expansion would cost North Carolina taxpayers an extra $3.1 billion over a 10-year period. By 2020, the state would incur net costs of nearly $100 million, jumping to $119 million one year later. 

Even though the federal government says it will pay 100 percent of the cost of new enrollees for the first three years and 90 percent by the 10th year of expansion, the expansion would not be free. The money would come from federal taxes; North Carolinians would pay for the additional coverage. 

Moreover, the federal government does not always abide by its promises. In 1982, the feds promised to cover 40 percent of the program costs for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, Washington provides only 17 percent of the funding. In addition, experts predict that states expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will have less flexibility and control over their Medicaid programs.

In other words, “free” is not really “free” when it comes to anything connected to government programs or services – and absolutely NOTHING is “guaranteed.” There is always a cost, and someone has to pay for it – and those “someones” ALWAYS end up being you and me.  Funny how the left always fails to mention that inconvenient truth.

Senator Hagan can offer up all the “stunningly strong” defenses of Obamacare that she wants to, but these facts will never change, no matter how often she wants to apply a fresh coat of paint on the old “Affordable Care Act” barn:

1) 476,000 North Carolinians lost health insurance plans they liked as a result of Obamacare.  Millions more across the country lost theirs as well as a result of her vote.

2) Many more of those same North Carolinians saw their premiums go up and/or saw their deductibles go up – for less care and less choices than they had before.

3) Obamacare has cost North Carolinians jobs – including ones that have bumped down from full time to part time as a result of the hours mandate employers face that forces them to provide  health care insurance coverage.  Not to mention businesses holding off on investing further due to the massive, expensive health insurance regulations under the ACA.

4) Hagan lied and said in more ways than one at least 24 times, “If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.”

5) Senator Hagan had the opportunity in 2010 to sign on to a Republican bill that would have kept people from losing their plans on Obamacare. She voted against it.

I could go on but you get the picture.  There are other ways our health insurance system could have been changed that wouldn’t have resulted in so many hundreds of thousands in this state losing plans, having to sign on to more expensive plans, losing their jobs or full time status, etc.   But Obamacare was crafted by liberal Democrats like Senator Hagan who would rather remain true to her party leaders than loyal to her state.   She chose DC Democrats over her own constituency here in the state of North Carolina on this issue. There’s simply no other way to spin it, no matter how stirring her defenses of the bill might be.

The election-year myth-making of #Obamacare “success stories”


Obamacare – bad for your health, your wallet, your …

The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost has a good read this morning about how Democrats are making up Obamacare “success stories” in hopes they can take the “Affordable Care Act” issue off the table come time for fall elections – especially for vulnerable incumbents like NC’s Senator Hagan:

• First, they say that premium rates are down. In support of this, liberals cite research from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but they misinterpret it. In fact, the CBO’s most recent estimate of premiums shows a decline not from what they were in 2013, before the implementation of Obamacare, but rather from what CBO estimated they would be in 2014. Studies from many outlets have shown that rates have gone up since 2013, substantially for many people.

This is no mystery. Obamacare basically outlawed insurance underwriting, so rates must go up as healthy people pay the price for the sick. Insurers, moreover, have also increased deductibles and co-pays and narrowed doctor networks and drug formularies.


• Fourth, liberals claim the law is “working.” This omits the dozens of provisions that the president has suspended or delayed because they were not working—for budgetary or political reasons. The suspended or postponed provisions include the mandate that businesses cover full-time employees, the cancellation of noncompliant plans, and cuts to Medicare Advantage.

In fact, what is working is a very narrow segment of the law, the most politically salable part: the distribution of tax credits so people with low incomes can buy heavily subsidized insurance coverage. To say the law is working is like saying you “ate your dinner” when you gulped down your dessert and skipped the veggies. Just as your mother said you could not have one without the other, so the popular provisions of Obamacare are linked to the unpopular ones. Sooner or later, the administration will have to enforce the law—or watch a vast array of unintended side effects disrupt the national health care system.

He makes many great points. Make sure to read the whole thing.