**Posted by Phineas
One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?
Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:
“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”
As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.
My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.
That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?
This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.
Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?
Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.
Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.
RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
If you check out Senator Kay Hagan’s campaign Twitter feed today, you’ll see she’s joining other Democrats nationwide in pretending there’s a gender wage gap that favors men over women. Here’s one of her tweets on the topic:
— Kay Hagan (@kayhagan) April 8, 2014
This manufactured issue is, of course, being brought up now by President Obama and other elected Democrats at this time because it’s an election year, and vulnerable Democrats up for reelection like Senator Hagan – whose approval numbers have been dropping rapidly here for the last several months – are increasingly desperate to take the focus off of the disastrous Obamacare bill itself and its glitch-filled roll-out. Hagan, you may recall, helped craft the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, which lead to nearly 500,000 North Carolinians losing health insurance plans they liked – plans they were routinely told by the Senator that they could keep. So understandably, she wants your eye off the ball – hence, jumping on the “Fair Pay Act” bandwagon.
Putting to the side the fact that the Equal Pay Act was already signed into law in 1963, and the fact that the “gender wage gap” is, in reality, a huge myth created by Democrats in order “win” the women’s vote by playing the victimhood card, if we go by the Senator’s own metrics concerning this supposed “issue” – it turns out she’s a big hypocrite on the issue of “equal pay”:
As President Barack Obama and the Democrats prepare to honor “Equal Pay Day,” Senate Democrats continue to pay female employees significantly less than their male counterparts, according to an analysis of Senate salary data in Democratic offices.
Senate Democrats plan to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act on Tuesday, though the vote is largely symbolic given the unlikelihood that the bill will be brought to the floor of the Republican-controlled House.
The analysis shows female staffers in Democratic Senate offices were paid just 91 cents for each dollar paid to male staffers. The average salary for a woman was more than $5,500 below the average salary for a man.
Men received higher average salaries in more than two-thirds of the 43 Senate offices analyzed.
Many of the senators with the largest pay disparity between men and women are facing reelection battles in 2014.
Numerous senators up for reelection have an especially large gap between male and female salaries:
- Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.): $15,343 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.): $9,783 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.): $6,267 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.): $5,799 higher average male salary;
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.): $3,189 higher average male salary.
This is not a new problem for Democrats. A previous Washington Free Beacon analysis of the fiscal year 2011 found that Democratic Senate offices were paying female staffers far less than their male coworkers during that year as well.
And not only are Hagan and many of her fellow Democrats – including our celebrity President himself – failing big by their own standards on the “equal pay” issue, but even the major media outlets that are normally reliably in Democrat corners on this topic have caught on to their duplicity:
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) April 8, 2014
We’ll just call this “War On Women” – Democrat style. Nice to see the mainstream media finally catching on. Much easier to destroy phony liberal narratives like the ones Senator Hagan and her party try to foist onto the American people when the journalists actually do their jobs in investigating White House claims for a change.
**Posted by Phineas
Somebody on Twitter posted an upbeat message saying the US delegation to the latest round of talks with Iranian officials was quite optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born optimist and I love optimism, but I’d rather revel in victory than hope for good news, and the Iranians have every reason to revel. The Obama crowd has just ok’d something the Tehran tyrants have desperately wanted since the eighties: spare parts for their long-grounded American passenger aircraft. Boeing and General Electric were given export licenses by the Treasury Department and everyone involved has been chanting “we take aircraft security very seriously,” in order to cloak this latest gift to the Khamenei-Rouhani regime in humanitarian hues.
Frankly I’d rather they took national security very seriously. Iran uses its commercial aircraft for military purposes (one of the reasons that eery flight between Tehran and Caracas is so worrisome), and the mullahs have been limited by the degradation of the national fleet. The Boeing planes and GE engines date to the 1970s, and very few of them are in service. Back in the mid-eighties, when I spent quite a bit of time with Iranian officials, they repeatedly asked for spare parts, both for the passenger planes and for the aging military craft, the F4s and F5s. Secretary of Defense Weinberger of course vetoed any such discussions, and the embargo has held until just now.
Now we’re arming Iran.
The idea that a state-sponsor of global terrorism like Iran would adhere to understandings to keep the civilian and military functions of their aircraft separate is self-delusional nonsense. They’ll no more do that than they have to keep their civilian and military nuclear programs apart. (Really, I have a bridge for anyone who believes they’re honoring the recent nuclear agreement.)
What these fatuous dunderheads at State and in the White House refuse to see is that Iran has regarded itself as being at war with the United States since 1979. A deal like this, when Iran could easily ferry troops or equipment on “civilian” flights is tantamount to selling them the rope they’ll use to hang us.
This is part of a larger, global war of tyrannies against democracies. George W. Bush was mocked for his “Axis of Evil” comment, but he was right. The players have changed a bit since then, but still include Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas — and Tehran. And they’re taking advantage of the openings we’re giving them. More Michael:
And so it is, indeed the war has been on for some time, and it’s a bit hotter than Cold War 1.0 was for most of the twentieth century. Kiev burned, and may burn again soon. Caracas is burning, as are many of Venezuela’s cities and towns. Crimea has been annexed, and Syria is still aflame, as is Iraq, and also Yemen. Estonia and Finland are seriously frightened, as well they should be. If we pull back from the crisis du jour, we can see it’s a global conflict. Iran and Russia are fighting in Syria, sometimes with and sometimes against the jihadi marauders. Cuba is fighting in Venezuela, a country the Castros largely command, and Hezbollah is in there, too. And for those of you who follow Africa, know that the Iranians are up to their necks in Nigeria, buying influence and supporting the mass murderers in Boko Haram.
The West needs to wake up and smell the smoke from the fires starting to burn all around it, before it turns into a real conflagration. Our foes are vulnerable, and the West can win, but only if with American leadership. The US government is the only one that can convince the other nations to take the steps necessary to push back against Putin, Khamenei, and the others. As John Schindler recently wrote:
We will have many allies in resisting Russian aggression if we focus on issues of freedom and sovereignty, standing up for the rights of smaller countries to choose their own destiny.
It would help if we had leaders who saw themselves as the heirs to Churchill, rather than Chamberlain.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
What.a.surprise. Not. Via The Hill:
The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.
The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.
Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.
Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.
The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on Monday said changes in the healthcare market meant it did not need to make those cuts to Medicare Advantage this year.
It cited an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare, which it said has lowered projected costs for that program.
CMS separately is delaying a risk assessment proposal that was set to take affect under ObamaCare.
Now, keep in mind that there were Republicans who complained about these cuts as well, but because vulnerable Democrats who have been steadily losing support in their home states over Obamacare sounded the alarm bell, the administration decided to hold off on the cuts to Medicare Advantage… at least for this critical election year.
Anyone wanna predict the next delay or postponement King Obama will grant on behalf of his party in the next few months in order to try and help maintain their Senate majority and contain the damage in the US House?
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)
**Posted by Phineas
Wait. Wasn’t one of the justifications for passing the Affordable Care Act that we had to do it “for the children?” That so many children were among the uninsured that it would be heartless, cruel, and even racist to not pass Obamacare? (1)
Then how do they explain this?
While the federal government was trumpeting the benefits of Obamacare to boost enrollment earlier this year, about 1,800 families in New Jersey were receiving letters telling them their children would be losing their health coverage last week.
The Affordable Care Act — the federal law that mandates everyone have insurance — effectively killed FamilyCare Advantage, a low-cost option for kids in New Jersey created six years ago for parents who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid and other subsidized programs but too little to buy on a policy on their own. The state program was the first of its kind in the nation.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey was the only insurance carrier that agreed to offer the FamilyCare Advantage plan, which covered most medical, dental and vision needs for the relative bargain of $144 a month per child.
What was it that killed FamilyCare Advantage? Oh, just the lack of services Obamacare declares must be included in every policy.
Such as maternity care. For children.
FamilyCare Advantage was New Jersey’s experiment to help lower middle-class families who made too much to qualify for state assistance, but not enough to buy adequate insurance on their own. Under (what used to be) our federalist system, states could try different approaches to common problems, see what worked and what didn’t, and then other states could, if they wanted, copy and adapt them to their own people’s needs. It’s that famous “laboratories of democracy” concept that leads to the discovery of best practices. Instead, these 1,800 families and their children get to experience the “benefits” of a top-down, one-size-fits-all, we-know-better-than-you nationalized health care system. One that kills the health insurance plan they liked and were promised they could keep.
But, don’t worry. These families can still go on the exchange and buy a policy there. Of course, it will likely be more expensive and carry a high deductible, but beggars can’t be choosy, right?
After all, it’s for the children.
Afterthought: There’s one other point that needs to be made. The article quotes one father frustrated with both Obamacare and the insurance company:
“Obamacare did snuff it out, but it also looks like Horizon was looking for a reason to end it. With all of the federal mandates (for employers to offer insurance) delayed, they didn’t need to do anything right now.”
Emphasis added. This kind of resentment is inevitable when you have chief executive whose governing style seems to be borrowed from Argentina’s Juan Domingo Peron. Rather than treat people as free citizens, equal under the rule of law, you instead get individuals clamoring to get the same special favor as the other guy, turning free citizens into dependent clients and a president of a constitutional republic into El Patrón, doling out the favors to those who please him (or he needs to please) most. And that dependency, in the long run, is the progressives’ real goal.
via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt
(1) And I exaggerate only a bit, here.
RELATED: The Affordable Care Act becomes unaffordable.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via Post Politics:
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Sunday that he will base his decision on whether to run for president in 2016 on whether he thinks he can mount a campaign that would transcend the modern-day mechanics of such a run.
Bush, the second-oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush and younger brother of George W. Bush, spoke at an event marking the 25th anniversary of his father’s presidency at the library and museum that bears the patriarch’s name. The event was closed to reporters, but moderated by Fox News anchor Shannon Bream and portions of the event were later broadcast on the Fox News Channel.
In a rambling answer that suggested he has given serious thought to the prospects of running for a job once held by his father and brother, Bush said he would decide whether to run for president by the end of this year. He appeared to bemoan the thought of having to spend time attending political cattle calls in early-primary states, suggesting that some candidates might devote too much time to questions such as, “How am I going to get to win the Muscatine Pork Roast straw poll, or something like that.”
Bush said he ultimately would base his decision on whether a candidate can “run with a hopeful, optimistic message, hopefully with enough detail to give people a sense that it’s not just idle words and not get back into the vortex of the mud fight.”
“In my case, that means can one do it joyfully without being tied to all the convention of the here and now?” he added.
Family considerations will also play a prominent role, he said, especially whether running a campaign would be a “huge sacrifice.”
“I just don’t want to go through that until the right time,” he added later. “And it turns out that not running has generated more interest than if I said I was running. It’s kind of weird. I’m not that smart, I promise you, it just kind of happened that way.”
I know he’s not so popular with the GOP conservative base right now – considering his support for comprehensive immigration reform that some have dubbed “amnesty” as well as his strong stance in favor of Common Core educational “standards.” But beyond that, I’m not sure the name “Bush” holds the widespread appeal beyond the Republican faithful that it used to anymore. While we all recollect mostly fondly of former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, the Bush name has been through the ringer for the past decade or more and I’m not sure the American people are ready for another one.
New York City’s longest-serving congressman won’t pay his rent.
State taxpayers were stiffed out of at least $87,000 when Rep. Charles Rangel stopped paying for the district office he rents in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, records obtained by The Post show.
His staffers’ excuse? They lost the lease, according to state Office of General Services correspondence.
“I finally heard back from Congressman Rangel’s office and it seems we haven’t gotten the signed lease back because they lost it!” OGS real-estate specialist Sydney Allen wrote in a July 30, 2013, e-mail to a colleague that was obtained by The Post.
Rangel paid $7,253 in monthly rent on the 125th Street office he has rented since 2000, expense reports from 2012 show. But the payments stopped for all of 2013.
Incredibly, instead of demanding payment of the back rent and late fees from its deadbeat legislative tenant, the state cut him a huge rent break.
The state says it allowed Rangel in March 2013 to enter into a new sweetheart deal in which he could postpone paying six months of rent. That “abatement” money has still not been paid, nor has the other six months of missed rent from 2013, a OGS official said.
The state comptroller approved a $101,000 lease between Rangel and OGS on Dec. 26, 2013, retroactively covering the period back to April 2013 and future months through December 2014, records show. The 21-month deal resulted in a deeply reduced rent of $4,809 a month.
When The Post last week inquired about the year of missing rent, Rangel’s office and OGS blamed federal sequestration, not the lost lease referenced in agency correspondence.
“As everyone knows, the GOP sequester not only constrained our nation’s economy, but also strained the budget of congressional offices,” said Rangel spokeswoman Hannah Kim.
So typical of a Democrat to fail to take personal responsibility for their own actions, isn’t it – and furthermore, to blame Republicans? Wouldn’t be the first time for Charlie the hypocritical tax cheat, and I doubt seriously it will be the last.
Voters in his district should demand he pay back every red cent for last year’s rent on his district office. But they won’t – because they’ve had numerous chances to kick this guy out of office, yet keep voting him back in every time. Oh well.
**Posted by Phineas
Australia is scheduled to host the annual G20 heads-of-state meeting this year. The G20 is an informal grouping dedicated promoting international financial stability, and the host country gets to set the agenda. For some strange reason Tony Abbott, Australia’s Liberal prime minister, has decided that the G20 should stick to its brief and said that global warming/climate change/ritual denunciations of the Demon CO2 will not be on he agenda.
This has made Europe unhappy.
European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year.
They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor.
One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”.
The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market.
But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy.
Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.
I can hear the Eurocrats’ tongues clucking and their tut-tutting even now. How are they going to live their taxpayer-funded lifestyles and carry out their dreams of “global eco-social justice,” if more nations follow Australia’s lead? They must be so disappointed in Mr. Abbott. I’m sure he’s losing sleep over it. Perhaps from laughing.
The kicker line is this:
Mr Abbott has said he doesn’t want the G20 agenda “cluttered” by topics that would take the focus from his top priority of economic growth.
Imagine that. A national leader actually concerned about his people’s prosperity and not only unwilling to sacrifice it at the altar of eco-statist group-think, but quite willing to openly “call BS” on the whole farcical charade. I’m sure that John “Climate change is a WMD” Kerry is unhappy. You can guess how that prospect makes me feel.
It’s nice to know that, somewhere in the Anglosphere, there are still nations lead by leaders who don’t have their head stuck firmly up their progressive backsides and who know that their first job is protecting their nation’s interests, not winning a popularity contest in Brussels or Turtle Bay. Canada is another.
I can only look on with envy and hope that, someday, we rejoin them.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)