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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Government Forces Refiners To Pay Fne For Nonexistent Ethanol

 Institute for Energy Research: Cellulosic ethanol is not yet commercial, but our politicians and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are apparently not aware of that fact since they are mandating U.S. refiners to blend it into petroleum products or pay a fine. Refiners will be required to pay about $6.8 million in penalties for not blending enough cellulosic ethanol into gasoline in 2011. Even though cellulosic producers did not sell a single gallon of cellulosic ethanol commercially in 2010 and it is not clear if they sold any cellulosic ethanol in 2011, EPA has mandated that refiners blend even more cellulosic ethanol in 2012. EPA now requires refiners to blend 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol or pay EPA millions of dollars in fines. The current system rewards EPA for picking an unrealistic number so that EPA can increase the fines it receives. It also means that consumers will be paying higher gasoline prices.

Cellulosic ethanol is ethanol made out of biomass such as wood chips, corn cobs, or so-called energy crops such as switch grass and poplar. Cellulosic ethanol from wood was first produced in Germany in 1898. The Germans developed an industrial process that was also used in two commercial plants in the southeast United States during World War I. The plants closed shortly after World War I due to a drop in lumber production. During World War II, the United States again turned to cellulosic ethanol, but because the technology was still not profitable, the plant closed after the war. Construction of pilot scale cellulosic ethanol plants requires considerable financial support through government grants and subsidies.[i]

When Congress created the cellulosic ethanol mandate, they assigned EPA the task of determining a new mandate each year, if cellulosic producers do not produce the mandated level. Although the agency provides a much lower mandate than what Congress hoped for, EPA’s mandate is far higher than the amount available from pilot plants and higher than the amount suggested by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The penalties for not blending the prescribed EPA amount are eventually paid by consumers at the pump.

Evolution of Cellulosic Ethanol Mandates
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) contains a renewable fuel standard that mandates the production of ethanol to the level of 36 billion gallons by 2022, where 15 billion gallons is to be corn-based and the remainder is to come from advanced forms of biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol. The advanced biofuel contribution starts at 0.6 billion gallons in 2009 increasing to 1.35 billion gallons in 2011, 2.0 billion gallons in 2012 and eventually to 21.0 billion gallons in 2022. Because cellulosic ethanol was not yet commercial, EPA issued changes to the original act that requires four separate standards including 1.0 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel by 2012 and 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels by 2022, subject to annual assessments that EPA will set each November for the following year.

The original legislation set the goal for motor fuel from cellulose at 250 million gallons for 2011 and 500 million gallons for 2012.[ii] EPA lowered those figures to 6.6 million gallons for 2011 and 8.65 million gallons for 2012, just a small fraction of the original numbers (about 2 percent), but an incredibly large amount when the cellulosic biofuel does not exist commercially.

The Clean Air Act requires the EIA to provide EPA each October with an estimate of the amount of transportation fuel, biomass-based diesel and cellulosic biofuel projected to be available in the following calendar year. EIA’s estimate for 2012 for cellulosic biofuel production is 6.9 million gallons, 20 percent lower than the EPA requirement established for 2012.[iii] To see that even EIA’s lower estimate is high, for 2011, EIA predicted cellulosic biofuel production to be 3.94 million gallons, but “actual sales, if any, are expected to fall well below the estimate” according to the agency.

The State of Cellulosic Ethanol Producers
One reason the mandates cannot be met is that the companies that were expected to produce cellulosic ethanol and that received the first round of subsidies from the government did not make it commercially. About 70 percent of the cellulosic ethanol mandated for 2010 (about 70 million gallons) was expected to come from Alabama-based Cello Energy. However, that projection was made before Cello Energy had built the cellulosic ethanol plant and before the technology was proven to work. In 2009, a jury ruled that Cello Energy lied about how much cellulosic biofuel it could produce and in October 2010, the firm declared bankruptcy.[iv]

A 2011 report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that “currently, no commercially viable bio-refineries exist for converting cellulosic biomass to fuel.” The reason, according to the NAS, is because of “the high cost of producing cellulosic biofuels compared with petroleum-based fuels, and uncertainties in future biofuel markets.” According to NAS, even the 2022 target will not be met “unless innovative technologies are developed that unexpectedly improve the cellulosic biofuels production process.” The report also concludes that the renewable fuel standard “may be an ineffective policy for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions,” since the full life cycle of the fuel, including its transport, could result in higher emissions than conventional petroleum.[v]

The federal government under Presidents Bush and Obama has poured at least $1.5 billion of grants and loan subsidies to potential cellulosic producers. Recently, in August 2011, the Obama Administration funded a $510 million program in partnership with the Navy to produce advanced biofuels for the military. In September 2011, the federal government loaned $134 million to Abengoa Bioenergy to build a cellulosic plant in Kansas and the Department of Energy provided POET, which advertises itself as the “world’s largest ethanol producer,” a $105 million loan guarantee for cellulosic biofuels.[vi]

Refiners Must Pay Penalties
Refiners have to purchase waiver credits for failing to comply with the mandate to purchase cellulosic biofuel that does not exist commercially. For 2011, the cost is estimated at $6.8 million, but the amount will not be determined until refiners close their books in February. According to Charles Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, the credits cost about $1.20 per gallon.[vii] These costs are passed onto consumers of gasoline and diesel fuel, so the renewable fuels mandate becomes an invisible tax paid at the gas pump. It is just another way for the federal government to tax consumers, and in this case without most of them suspecting it.

Conclusion
Congress subsidized a product (cellulosic biofuel) and mandates its use although that product does not exist and is punishing oil companies for not purchasing the nonexistent product. And the federal government is still subsidizing the industry in the hope that someday it might exist. All along, consumers and taxpayers are paying for the debacle whether at the pump and/or in subsidies and loan guarantees.

As Charles Drevna stated, “Once again, refiners are being ordered to use a substance that is not being produced in commercial quantities—cellulosic ethanol—and are being required to pay millions of dollars for failing to use this nonexistent substance. This makes no sense.”
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[i] Wikipedia, Cellulosic ethanol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulosic_ethanol

[ii] New York Times, A fine for not using a biofuel that doesn’t exist, January 9, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/business/energy-environment/companies-face-fines-for-not-using-unavailable-biofuel.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25

[iii] Ethanol Producer Magazine, EIA issues 2012 ethanol cellulosic biofuel predictions, November 16, 2011, http://ethanolproducer.com/articles/8355/eia-issues-2012-cellulosic-biofuel-predictions

[iv] Wall Street Journal, The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle, December 14, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577072470158115782.html

[v] National Academy of Sciences, Renewable Fuel Standard Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy, October 2011, http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13105&page=R1

[vi] Wall Street Journal, The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle, December 14, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577072470158115782.html

[vii] Wall Street Journal, New Forms of Biofuel Fall Short, December 28, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204296804577125082495631226.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlines

Tags: ethanol, ethanol mandate, regulations, government refiners, fines for nonexistent Ethanol To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith

Image Via AP/ Brietbart.com
 by Ken Klukowski: The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense ... Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis...”.

The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.

(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians--including chaplains--sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)

Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.

So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime--possibly resulting in imprisonment--for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains—military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)--whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.

This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.

In response to the Pentagon’s plans, retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning:
It’s a matter of what do they mean by "proselytizing." ...I think they’ve got their defintions a little confused. If you’re talking about coercion that’s one thing, but if you’re talking about the free exercise of our faith as individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, especially for the chaplains, they I think the worst thing we can do is stop the ability for a soldier to be able to exercise his faith.”FRC has launched a petition which has already collected over 60,000 signatures, calling on Secretary Hagel is stop working with Weinstein and his anti-Christian organization to develop military policy regarding religious faith.
---------------------------
Kenneth Klukowski is is senior legal analyst for and a contributing author to Breitbart News, senior fellow for religious liberty with the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. He is a national-bestselling co-author of The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency and a contributing author to ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Klukowski, Pentagon, Court Martial Soldiers, Share, Christian Faith, religious proselytization, Breitbart News, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Political Incorrectness: Elementary School Bans Red and Green, Christmas References

 By Bobby Eberle: Political correctness has simply gone too far. Now, an elementary school in Texas has not only banned any reference to Christmas from its "winter" party, students are not even allowed to wear red or green. What is happening to this country?

The story takes place in Frisco, Texas at Nichols Elementary School. As Fox 4 News in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area reports, a parent of one of the students contacted local State Representative Pat Fallon. The parent forwarded Fallon an e-mail from the school's PTA which described the rules for the school's "winter" party. The rules specified:
* No reference to Christmas or any other religious holiday
* No red, green or Christmas trees
* Nothing that will stain the carpet.
There's just one problem. (Actually, there are MANY problems with this, but let's focus on the legal one.) As Rep. Fallon points out in a letter to the school district, Texas now has what is known as the Merry Christmas Law:The reason for my letter today is to let you know about one of the best new laws that came out of the 83rd Legislative Session. On June 14th of this year, House Bill 308 (nicknamed "The Merry Christmas Bill") was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry and became effective immediately.

This law clarifies and codifies the fact that students and district staff are permitted to discuss winter holidays as they please, including using the terms "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," or "happy holidays," among others, as greetings. The district may also display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter holidays (e.g. nativity scenes, Christmas trees, menorahs, etc.).
In addressing the concerns of the angered parent, Fallon wrote that the restrictions placed on the students are "unnecessary, inappropriate, and quite frankly draconian in nature." Fallon added that Texas law "clearly permits Christmas-themed celebrations, events, and displays."

Here's the report by Dallas News | Fox4DFW.com:
Despite the assurances from the district that children would not be banned from referencing Christmas, the rules remain in place. As noted on the Texas Values web site, a second correspondence was sent by a PTA member which states that the rules would remain in place because they "didn’t want to offend any families..."

Hello! I'm offended, and my children don't even go to this school. I'm sure there are plenty of parents who are offended!

During this time of year, we are not "celebrating winter." That phrase doesn't even make sense. We are celebrating religious holidays.

The parents of those students should speak up and do so now. Rules like this continue to spread, because Americans do not stand up for traditional American values. If it continues, there will be no traditions nor values left.

Tags: political incorrectness, elementary school, bans, red and green, Christmas references To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Look Out for Chinese Imports

 by Phyllis Schlafly: Now that America is importing most of the ingredients in our prescription drugs and the majority of the foods we eat, it’s important to look behind the label. It may or may not tell you where the products come from.

Your prescription drugs may be coming from Communist China. Drug research in China has fallen under a cloud since 2006 because 13 of the top 20 global drug makers have set up research and development centers in China. Yes, it’s cheaper to do research there but, as one auditor said, “with cheaper research comes greater risk.”

Researchers did not report the results of animal studies about a drug already being tested in humans, a breach described by drug researchers as a “mortal sin.” Auditors also reported that Chinese workers did not properly monitor clinical trials and they paid hospitals in ways that could be seen as bribery.

China’s purchase of pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. for $4.7 billion has U.S. officials concerned about how this could affect the safety and availability of heparin. That’s an important blood thinner derived from pig intestines that is widely used in U.S. heart surgery and kidney dialysis.

This would be the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company. Smithfield is the world’s largest pork producer, with 46,000 employees in 25 states, and is a major supplier of crude heparin, which is already stressed and could soon be in short supply.

In 2007 and 2008, nearly 150 people suffered serious reactions and 94 people died after being treated with contaminated heparin.

U.S. inspections in China are not what we are used to in the United States. For example, U.S. inspectors came and went from a Walmart-certified factory in Guangdong Province in China this fall, approving its production of specialty items that are on U.S. shelves for Christmas sales. Unknown to the inspectors, none of the kiddie items, such as reindeer suits, were manufactured at the factory being inspected, but had been outsourced to a never-inspected cheaper rogue factory.

Pets are in danger, too. Mysterious canine illnesses and deaths have been linked to jerky treats from China, and two manufacturers pulled leading brands off their shelves.

Dog lovers are warned that many jerky treats say “product of the USA” but that label merely means they were packaged in the U.S. while the ingredients are Chinese. Federal officials said the current outbreak sickened 3,000 dogs and 10 cats and killed about 600 canines.

Chickens raised and slaughtered in China are planned to be on U.S. grocery store shelves next year. The USDA notified China in September that four of its processing plants have been cleared to begin processing chickens from the U.S. and then sell them in the American market.

Free trade is bringing us fish raised in China’s sick rivers such as the Yangtze. By the time the fish swim to the fish ponds, the water has accumulated raw sewage, agricultural pesticides, and the heavy metal output of poorly regulated industrial plants.

An increasing percentage of vaccines is manufactured in China and sold in U.S. pharmacies. China boasts of 30 vaccine-producing companies that will soon be producing one billion doses a year.

China tops the list of countries with tainted products. Chinese baby milk killed Chinese babies after melamine was added to conceal the milk’s low protein count.

China has sold Americans a dazzling array of counterfeits and forgeries including copyrighted books, music, and expensive fashion apparel. The China Bee Products Association claims that half of all honey sold in China is fake.

China’s latest venture into deception is collecting empty bottles of genuine alcohol, refilling them with a cheap substitute from who knows where, and then reselling this counterfeit alcohol to popular bars and restaurants in Beijing. The police discovered 37,000 bottles of this fake alcohol ready to be delivered.

China’s counterfeit alcohol is generally made from one of three bases: ethylene glycol (antifreeze) which attacks the kidneys and heart and is potentially fatal; methanol which attacks the retinal nerve and can result in blindness; and isopropyl (rubbing alcohol).

An expert on Chinese health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, explained the big difference between Chinese and U.S. medicine safety. U.S. vaccines are kept safe by supporting institutions such as “the market economy, democracy, media monitoring, civil society, and a business ethics code,” plus inspections and regulations, severe punishment for violators, and lawsuits by trial lawyers. Communist China doesn’t tolerate any of those safety precautions.
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Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, Chinese imports, danger, recalls, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Majority of House Republicans Supports RSC American Health Care Reform Act

Washington, D.C. – The RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act today reached another milestone by gaining its 117th cosponsor, a majority of House GOP members.
“American families and small businesses deserve and demand real solutions to the serious problems that exist in our health care system,” RSC Chairman Steve Scalise said. “It is encouraging to see so much momentum building behind the American Health Care Reform Act, which is focused on putting patients back in charge of their health care decisions and lowering costs so hard-working taxpayers have more options for their families. I look forward to this bill continuing to gain momentum as it moves through the legislative process and ultimately comes up for a vote on the House Floor.”

“I am proud to see support growing for the American Health Care Reform Act, a commonsense conservative plan to make health care less expensive and more accessible,” said Dr. Phil Roe, Chairman of the RSC’s Health Care Working Group. “With a majority of House Republicans supporting this bill, it’s time that President Obama stop claiming Republicans don’t have solutions. The health care system in this country was broken before Obamacare, and his law has only made things worse. There is an answer to our country’s health care problems, but President Obama’s health care law is not it. This bill has real solutions and I am glad to see so many conservatives, under the leadership of Chairman Scalise, rally around it.”
H.R. 3121 was drafted by RSC Chairman Steve Scalise, RSC Health Care Working Group Chairman Dr. Phil Roe, and working group members Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Renee Ellmers, Dr. John Fleming, Dr. Paul Gosar, Dr. Tom Price, and Rep. Todd Rokita. Specifically, H.R. 3121, the RSC's American Health Care Reform Act:
  • Fully repeals President Obama's health care law.
  • Provides tax reform that allows families and individuals to deduct health care costs, just like companies, leveling the playing field and providing all Americans with a standard tax deduction for health insurance.
  • Spurs competition by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines and enabling small businesses to pool together and get the same buying power as large corporations.
  • Reforms medical malpractice laws in a commonsense way that limits trial lawyer fees and non-economic damages while maintaining strong protections for patients.
  • Expands access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars individuals can deposit into portable savings accounts to be used for health care expenses.
  • Safeguards individuals with pre-existing conditions by bolstering state-based high risk pools and extending HIPAA guaranteed availability protections.
  • Protects the unborn by ensuring no federal funding of abortions.
More information on H.R. 3121 can be found here.

Tags: Republican Study Committee, American Health Care Reform Act, sponsors, majority of Republicans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Millennials (18-29 yr. olds): Repeal Obamacare / Impeach Obama


by A.F. "Tony" Branco

Tags: Millennials, Repeal Obamacare, Impeach Obama, AF Branco, editorial cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Labor Report Released | Most Americans Want Obamacare Repealed or Scaled Back | Obamacare Problems Pile Up

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 6, 2013: Congress not session today, although various committees are working. In an interview, the President commented that he could get more done if his party controlled all of government. What a scary thought. Also, today, President Obama and his family turned the lights on on the National Christmas tree.

The Department of Labor’s unemployment report for November 2013 was released today.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded to the report, "Today’s report includes positive signs that should discourage calls for more emergency government ‘stimulus.’ Instead, what our economy needs is more pro-growth solutions that get government out of the way. That’s why the House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would help small businesses hire, increase our energy production, rein in red tape, and protect all Americans from the fundamentally-flawed health care law. President Obama ought to take this opportunity Republicans have given him and call on his party’s leaders in the Senate to act on these proposals immediately."

Evan Feinberg, President of Generation Opportunity said, "The economy has been terrible for young people for five years now, and President Obama has responded by asking my generation to foot the bill for more government spending and pay more for healthcare coverage through Obamacare.  Thankfully young people know a bad deal when we see one and are overwhelmingly choosing to Opt Out of Obamacare, opposing generational theft. This disastrous healthcare law has finally caught up with the President and his approval rating among young people is collapsing alongside Obamacare itself."

Real data reflects continued problem for for Millennial, age 18-29:
  • The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.844 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 15.9 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 10.0 percent (NSA).
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 24.4 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 17.9 percent (NSA).
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics is 16.9 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 10.9 percent (NSA).
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women is 13.8 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 9.5 percent (NSA).
But who knows if the BLS data is accurate?  Recent revelations that previous data was in error, possibly manipulated for political purposes, and then later revised makes us wonder.  Just three days ago, on Dec. 3, House committee chairmen sent a letter to the Secretary of Labor requesting information relevant to their investigation into allegations that  unemployment numbers have been manipulated at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

Americans for Limited Government vice president of public policy and communications Rick Manning, a former Public Affairs Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor, today issued the following statement praising the action by these House committee chairmen: "The House Education and Workforce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee have taken a vital first step in getting answers from Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on news reports that monthly jobs data has been manipulated.

"The December 3 letter from Chairmen John Kline, Dave Camp, along with the three relevant subcommittee chairmen charged with overseeing the Labor and Commerce Departments demanded that Perez provide the Committees, 'a description of all instances in which the Census Bureau reported to BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) its data were found to be inaccurate.'

"In the context of ongoing legitimate concerns that the unemployment numbers have been willfully and deliberately manipulated, the Labor Department's report that the unemployment rate has dramatically declined to 7 percent is evidence that it is now time for Congress to end extended unemployment benefits and restore the normal 27 week eligibility period that existed prior to 2008.

"It is also clear that the Federal Reserve should immediately begin tapering the $85 billion a month in mortgage backed securities purchases as this data, and that previously reported, demonstrate that it is unnecessary. In fact it would be the height of irresponsibility for the Fed to continue on the reckless course of continuing the Quantitative Easing program at all."
On Wednesday, Harvard's Institute for Politics released a new poll of 18-29 year olds:
  • 59% of 18-29 year olds disapprove of President Obama's job performance, the highest approval rating recorded during his entire presidency
  • The President's approval rating has dropped 11 points among this group since the last poll in April 2013
  • Only 3 out of 10 young Americans (18-29) plan to enroll in the government exchanges.
  • 57% of Millennials disapprove of Obamacare.
  • Only 18% say Obamacare will improve their care.
  • If a recall election were held today 52% of young Americans 18-24 would vote to recall President Obama.
As the calamity that is Obamacare continues to hurt the nation, a new Gallup poll finds that most Americans “want Congress to repeal or scale back the law.” According to Gallup, “Fifty-two percent favor scaling back (20%) or repealing (32%) the law, similar to the 50% from mid-October. . . . Overall, 37% of Americans want the law expanded or kept as is, while 52% want the law repealed or scaled back, roughly similar to the 40% who approve and 54% who disapprove in the latest update on overall attitudes toward the ACA.” Politico adds, “As the White House claims to have significantly improved the Obamacare exchange website after a bungled rollout, more than half of all Americans still want to see the Affordable Care Act slimmed down or gone entirely. Fifty-two percent of those polled in a new Gallup survey said they want the law scaled back or repealed, compared with 50 percent in October . The majority of that group wants to see the law gone, as 32 percent of those surveyed said it should be repealed altogether.”

Everywhere one looks in the news this week, there’s another story of problems with Obamacare or its struggling website. The AP writes, “People shopping for insurance on the federal marketplace may be informed they're eligible for Medicaid and that their information is being sent to state officials to sign them up. However, states aren't able enroll them because they're not receiving usable data from the Obama administration. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote a memo to the 36 states using the federal website last week acknowledging the information wasn't being transferred automatically and saying another system was being developed to send it. . . . The problem with Medicaid coordination could affect tens of thousands of applicants and represents the latest issue to arise in the rollout of a website that's been plagued with long waits for users and other glitches. Some users who fill out applications on the federal site may believe that they're already being enrolled in Medicaid or that state officials will contact them, even though the agencies aren't receiving the information they need, said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. The data transfer problem is occurring in the 36 states where the federal site is deployed, regardless of whether they chose to expand Medicaid. . . . Tony Keck, director of South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, said that so far his agency has been receiving garbled data that may include a name but no address or three digits from a social security number. ‘What they're sending us is essentially the same type of bad data they're sending the insurance companies, and we can't do anything with it,’ Keck said. ‘That's frustrating, because there's going to be a lot of people who think they're enrolled, especially now that they're doing all the marketing and phone calls and enrollment's increasing on the website as it's improved.’”

Politico reports, “Even in states where Obamacare enrollment is booming, insurance companies are running into significant behind-the-scenes technical glitches that could threaten Jan. 1 health coverage. Many of these 14 states and the District of Columbia have been eager to tout the success of their own exchanges compared with the bungled federal portal, but they now appear to be worrying about back-end problems similar to those afflicting HealthCare.gov. It’s a new twist in the unfolding saga of so-called 834 forms — industry jargon for the application files that insurers receive when someone signs up for coverage through an exchange. Insurers in Kentucky and New York, for example, say they’ve received flawed 834 enrollment forms from their local exchanges, though the extent of the errors is unclear. Washington state has already had to correct thousands of 834s with faulty information about federal tax credits. Several state exchanges waited until late last month to even start sending application data to insurers, meaning potential errors haven’t had much time to surface. . . . Until now, concerns about state-run exchanges focused mostly on the places with very public breakdowns in just getting people into their system. Oregon, for one, only recently claimed its first enrollees, while Colorado has faced major bottlenecks in its system. Hawaii recently replaced its exchange director following a series of tech woes, and Vermont is reportedly withholding funds from its lead contractor, CGI, which also built the biggest chunk of HealthCare.gov. As for California, its program has yet to process as many as 35,000 applications that were submitted by fax, Fox Business Network revealed Thursday afternoon. Yet problems with the back end of these 15 exchanges have received little attention. Not even the programs considered to be the nation’s best — including Kentucky’s Kynect and New York State of Health — seem immune. . . . The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an ardent Obamacare opponent, has been asking insurers if they’re getting the information they need to enroll people. “We have been told that although a Kentuckian may believe they’ve enrolled in a plan on the exchange, this information is not necessarily being reported to the insurer in a way that guarantees coverage,” said McConnell spokesman Donald Stewart.”

And another Politico piece ponders, “How will the White House make sure all those people with canceled policies get new coverage by Jan. 1? At the rate the signups are going — even with the speedier, newly functioning Obamacare website — the administration has a vast distance to travel before the estimated 4 to 5 million people with canceled policies get new health coverage. In fact, health care experts say, it’s not out of the question that the Obama administration could face the worst-case scenario on Jan. 1: the number of uninsured Americans actually goes up. . . . [E]ven with all the variables, one thing is for certain: the Obama administration has one seriously long road to travel from the signups it has now to the number who will likely need to replace their coverage. That’s a bad place to be, given that the point of the law was to cover more people, not fewer people.”

Tags: Gallup, poll, Harvard poll, Obamacare, problems, Labor Department, unemployment, Millennials,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tom Price Explains the ObamaCare Alternative Obama Claims Doesn't Exist

 by Herman Cain: The Empowering Patients First Act.

Barack Obama doesn't only lie about his illegal alien uncle. He also lies when he stands there time after time and insists Republicans have offered no alternative to ObamaCare. In fact, Republicans have offered many alternatives to ObamaCare, and one of the best comes from Congressman Tom Price, who is from my state of Georgia and is also a physician.

Known as the Empowering Patients First Act, Tom's bill is H.R. 2300 and would save taxpayers $2.34 trillion over its first 10 years according to an analysis from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office.

Here is a video, just over three minutes, in which Tom explains the basics of his bill:
The key elements are:
  • It extends tax deductions for health insurance to those who buy as individuals, thus eliminating the perverse incentive that favored employer-purchased insurance.
  • It gives patients true portability by making them the owners of their insurance – not their employers.
  • It gives doctors the real power to make treatment decisions, not insurance companies or the government.
  • It reforms medical liability laws and thus saves money by reducing the practice of defensive medicine.
Tom knows of what he speaks when he warns that many of his former colleagues in the medical profession are looking to get out of the profession entirely because the economics of ObamaCare simply make it impossible for them to practice. But Tom's bill is not about physicians so much as it is about empowering you, the patient, to make decisions about your own health care and to have the economic freedom and wherewithal to pay for it.

The premise of ObamaCare is that everyone should accept the insurance the government wants them to have, because they think that's what makes the system work. As we have already seen, the system doesn't work at all.

The premise of the Empowering Patients First Act is that you should be able to choose what kind of coverage you want, and where you get it.

That's the alternative to ObamaCare, and I guess it's no surprise Obama doesn't want you to know about it. But now you do. Tell everyone.
--------------
Herman Cain is an American author, a business executive including being chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza for ten years and the CEO of the National Restaurant Association and serving on the Kemp Commission and as senior economic advisor to the Bob Dole presidential campaign, aradio host, a syndicated columnist, and A Tea Party activist from Georgia. He was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination. He furst shared this commentary on the Best of Cain.

Tags: Herman Cain, Obamacare, alternative, Tom Price To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Government Solution


by William Warren, Editorial Cartoon

Tags: Government Solution, fixing Obamacare, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

When You’re Way Left of Senator Schumer…

  Seton Motley, Contributing Author: Our cell phones are chewing up more and more spectrum - so the cell phone companies need more and more of it to keep us productive and happy. Thus there will be in our future a government-run two-pronged spectrum incentive auction - to get more of it to market.

Prong One: The nation’s broadcasters can if they wish sell to the government some or all of their spectrum. Prong Two: The government will then hold an auction to sell said spectrum to the nation’s wireless phone providers.

T’would be far better if the government hadn’t inserted itself as a middle man - and the broadcasters could simply organize with the wireless phone providers a secondary-market auction. But why do things simply and efficiently? This is Washington, after all.

The government wants its money cut - which it could have had without being the go-between. What the government couldn’t do as an innocent bystander is mess around with how the auction is conducted. Herein lies the potential problem.Some Media Marxist groups are demanding that the government prevent AT&T and Verizon from openly bidding on any spectrum they wish. Why? Because these Leftists have deemed these two to be too successful – and they want the government to spread the wealth around.

Spread it to whom? Everyone else besides AT&T and Verizon.

Well, Sprint is #3 in the nation. They too want the government to Crony Socialize the auction. To their direct benefit - every time the Feds block AT&T and Verizon from bidding, it makes it easier and cheaper for Sprint (and everyone else).
Sprint is pushing this nonsense because they are trying to use government to hobble their competition. If you can’t beat them in the free market, have the Leviathan beat them with a regulatory bat.

The Media Marxists want it because:Leftists Don’t Form ‘Public Interest’ Groups - They Form Government Interest Groups

The underlying theme throughout is the advancement of as much government as possible - all the while as much as possible disrupting the free market and destroying or silencing those opposed.

Under the fraudulent guise of advancing the “public interest.” By which they of course mean government interest. After all, Media Marxists are...Marxists. And growing the government interest is what they do.
The Media Marxists say they want the government messing with the auction to prevent a monopoly. Or a duopoly. Or something. Except besides AT&T and Verizon there’s Sprint. And T-Mobile. And U.S. Cellular. And Leap Wireless. And Boost Mobile. And Cricket. And many, many others. Not exactly a dearth of selections - certainly not a duoply.

This is very simple. You either want an actual auction - where as many people can bid as much as they want on whatever they want. Or you want a government-pick-losers-at-the-expense-of-winners, Crony Socialist nightmare mess.

And - brace yourself - look who wants the free market: New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer. That is why I urge you, in structuring these auctions, to maximize participation by broadcasters and bidders alike by avoiding limitations that could lower the potential return and disincentivize broadcasters from offering their spectrum for auction. While I understand that some have advocated for rules that would limit participation by some wireless carriers, the effect of such rules would simply be to reduce the amount of spectrum offered for auction as well as the revenue that would be generated in return.Bravura, Senator. If only you’d apply this reasoned reasonable-ness to all things private sector, we’d be really getting somewhere.

Sadly, the Barack Obama Administration is on this way to the left of the good Senator - and just about everyone else (shocker, I know).White House Backs Spectrum Caps

Justice Department Wants to Limit Major Telcos’ Involvement in Spectrum Auctions
Here’s hoping newly-minted Obama Administration Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler - the man ultimately responsible for setting the spectrum auction rules - sides with Senator Schumer, the free market, results and Reality.

And against government micromanagement of yet another facet of the private sector.
-------------
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Human Events also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on Twitter Facebook.

Tags: wireless phones, broadcasters, technology, the future, Marxism, Media Marxist groups, Chuck Schumer, Seton Motley, Less Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Living on the Edge of a Volcano

Living on the Edge of a Volcano
 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author Living on planet Earth these days is much like living on the edge of a volcano that can erupt at any time and which rumbles ominously all the time.

After three decades in which the United Nations and countless “environmental” organizations have tried to convince everyone that “global warming” and then “climate change” (the rebranding that occurred when the former reversed itself into a cooling cycle) was occurring, the effort to use this hoax to redistribute wealth from developed to undeveloped nations is pretty much at an end. Meanwhile, billions have been squandered at home and in other nations on “renewable energy” and all manner of “research”, largely based on phony computer models, complete with claims of a “consensus” that never existed.

Every so often a volcano erupts and the people are told to evacuate. Only, on planet Earth, there is no place to run because the systems developed to move money around are so rigged and so flawed that the systems are now in serious trouble. It portends default and collapse, something that nations try to avoid but which occur with regularity, along with recessions.

The present example is the printing of money backed by nothing more than the "full faith and credit of the United States" by the U.S. Federal Reserve bank which it then uses to purchase U.S. debt.

The United States is a volcano whose many social programs, all devoted to the redistribution of wealth by the government, are reaching a point of such an eruption; insolvency. Their need for reform is widely known, but there is no political will to make such reforms.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration keeps expanding them in the form of disability payments, food stamps, and, of course, Obamacare, the takeover of one sixth of the nation’s economy. It is such a huge disaster that no one can ignore it. The only solution is to repeal the law, but that is not going to happen for at least three more years while an incompetent narcissist and pathological liar remains in office. The progressive agenda is being pressed by the Democratic Party which is now just another name for the Communist Party.

As if problems at home were not so serious, the efforts of the President to downsize America’s role in the world is causing other nations to sense weakness and, of course, seek to take advantage of it. China, whose landmass is 3,705,407 square miles, has recently announced that it wants to expand its territorial outreach to include some islands that Japan has long maintained as part of its territory. The response has largely been tepid at this point, but if China’s claims are granted, it will expand on them. Treaties in effect would require the U.S. to go to war to defend Japan’s interests.

Other global problems include the expansion of Islamic fascism beyond the Middle East to include a more vigorous effort in North Africa, the sub-Sahara, and other nations to include Somalia. The threat is manifest enough for Muslim nations to engage in the effort to eliminate groups like the stateless al Qaeda. In recent times, some nations have seen the overthrow of dictators who have plundered them. They include Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. In some cases this has created opportunities for the Islamists. Egypt has responded by outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood.

The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran has just increased by several factors when the United States led a group of European nations, plus Russia and China, in an effort to stop resisting Iran in favor of opening up its economy to various business deals that the sanctions imposed by the United Nations have deterred. It’s short-term self-interest versus a predictable nuclear holocaust. Previous efforts with North Korea failed.

Largely unknown to the world’s population is the way globalization has put every nation at risk should any of the world’s nations default on their debt. This has happened in the past, but not in the way a future default—particularly by the United States—would plunge the world into a financial crisis that no one can even imagine.

The U.S. is already seriously in debt with a gross domestic product (GDP)of some $14 trillion annually versus debt of various descriptions that range from $17 trillion in borrowed money to many trillions more in “unfunded” debt in the form of its social programs in which the U.S. collects money from its employed population and redistributes it to those unemployed. Unfunded obligations are now estimated to be around 90 trillion dollars. The so-called “trusts” of these programs is a fiction. The federal government has used that money to pay its on-going debts.

The current actual and estimated debt will affect the lives of today’s children, grandchildren, and future generations. It will take a hundred years to dig out from such debt.

U.S. budgets do not reflect “events” that can and will occur such as natural disasters. Wars break out when one least expects them. 9/11 was such an event. It drained ten trillion dollars from the economy. The various Wall Street “bubbles” collapse. The budgets are in many ways works of fiction.

The largest population the Earth has ever known, seven billion and growing, is perhaps the biggest volcano of all. Much of the population continues to live in actual or relative poverty. Much of it is aging at the same time fertility rates worldwide decline. Intellectuals keep calling for reducing the population by allowing as many as possible to die by denying them medical care.

Vast numbers of the population are voting with their feet. They migrate to wherever jobs and more freedom exist. The U.S. has not secured its southern border. Europe is under siege by migration from the Middle East and Africa.

The volcanoes of population and weakened economies are rumbling louder these days.
------------------------
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.
Tags: global issues, national issues, living on the edge, risks, changes, Democrats, communist party, Alan Caruba, Warning Signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Insanely Logical For Progressives: The Affordable Boat Act

  Bill Smith, Editor: The following "parody" has been passed around for a few months. It was run previously in mid-November by friend and Missouri blogger, Patrick Booth on The Blue Eye View. Today, AL Page, a friend and avid ARRA News Service reader from Indiana, sent me the same item. Since the White House continues to intrude into so many areas of our private lives, I decided to also run the following. I do not know who to credit for the this, but their final line drives home the point:
If the government can force you to buy health care, they can force you to buy a boat....or ANYTHING else.
Makes one wonder where the "Supreme Court Judges" had their heads when the majority ruled  that a non-tax was a tax, and we could be made to buy healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obmacare.

The Affordable Boat Act
The U.S. government has just passed a new law called: "The affordable boat act" declaring that every citizen MUST purchase a new boat, by April 2014. These "affordable" boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each. This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.

This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase boats. This new laws ensures that every American can now have a "affordable" boat of their own, because everyone is "entitled" to a new boat. If you purchase your boat before the end of the year, you will receive 4 "free" life jackets; not including monthly usage fees.

In order to make sure everyone purchases an affordable boat, the costs of owning a boat will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don't want or can't afford to maintain. But to be fair, people who cant afford to maintain their boat will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can use their parents boats to party on until they turn 27; then must purchase their own boat.

If you already have a boat, you can keep yours (just kidding; no you can't). If you don't want or don't need a boat, you are required to buy one anyhow. If you refuse to buy one or cant afford one, you will be regularly fined $800 until you purchase one or face imprisonment.

Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the desert; ghettos; inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not exempt. Age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge nor lack of desire are acceptable excuses for not using your boat.t-size: 10pt;">
A government review board (that doesn't know the difference between the port, starboard or stern of a boat) will decide everything, including; when, where, how often and for what purposes you can use your boat along with how many people can ride your boat and determine if one is too old or not healthy enough to be able to use their boat. They will also decide if your boat has out lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific accessories,(like a $500 compass) or a newer and more expensive boat.

Those that can afford yachts will be required to do so...its only fair. The government will also decide the name for each boat. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment

Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat, they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of tax payers. Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$) are also exempt.

If the government can force you to buy health care, they can force you to buy a boat .... or ANYTHING else ...   Yea... it's that stupid.

Tags: obamacare, affordable healthcare act, affordable boat act,  socialist, democrats, Government theft, loss of freedom, parody To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Feds Not Required To Report Security Breaches of Obamacare Exchange Website

by Eric Boehm: Americans who buy health insurance through the federal Obamacare exchange website could have their personal information stolen by hackers and never even know it.

Most of the state-run health exchange websites will be covered by state laws that require notification when government databases are breached by hackers. But there is no law requiring notification when databases run by the federal government are breached, and even though the Department of Health and Human Services was asked to include a notification provision in the rules being drawn up for the new federal exchange, it declined to do so.

Other protections for individuals’ privacy, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, do not apply to the government-run exchange, only to health providers and insurance companies operating within the exchange.

Privacy advocates and cyber-security experts have had concerns about the lack of a federal notification law for years and hope the scrutiny of the Obamacare exchange will finally bringchange.

“The notification requirement is a very important part of overall security,” said Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “People should be told when their information is at-risk.”

The lack of a notification requirement is particularly bad for the health insurance exchange website because of all the questions surrounding the site’s security. Poor security, coupled with the website’s high-profile problems, could make it a target for hackers either seeking to steal identities or embarrass the government.

Unfortunately, security is often an afterthought for the government, said David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSEC, an Ohio-based cyber-security firm. Kennedy has testified before Congress about security threats in the Obamacare exchange and the need for notification laws.

“All we need is something that says if the federal government is breached, all we have to do is alert the public,” he told Watchdog.org. “Healthcare.gov is just one website of hundreds that have had these issues going back through the years.”

Together it creates a possible nightmare scenario. Without strong security on the front end, the hastily built and not fully operational website could become a treasure trove for hackers looking to steal identities. But without any laws requiring that those victims be notified by the federal government users of the Federal health exchange will be in the dark about any potential security breaches of their private data.

When the federal Obamacare exchange was being developed by HHS prior to its troubled launch on Oct. 1, experts told the department that it should include a data-breach provision in its policies for the website even though one was not required under federal law.

FIXED? The federal Obamacare exchange
 website was relaunched this month to much
 fanfare, but security remains a concern.
The department flatly declined to do so.

The final rules for the exchanges were approved on March 27, 2012, meeting of HHS officials, according to the Federal Register.

At that meeting, two commenters asked HHS to ensure the exchanges would promptly notify affected enrollees in the event of a data breach or unauthorized access to the exchange’s databases. One suggested that a full investigation be launched each time such a breach occurred, with the goal of holding hackers legally and financially accountable for breaking into the website.

The department’s response: “We do not plan to include the specific notification procedures in the final rule. Consistent with this approach, we do not include specific policies for investigation of data breaches in this final rule.”

Since there is no federal notification requirement, breaches of any and all federal databases can occur without the public ever being informed.

The only way to find out a hack has occurred is when the government decides to disclose it — as several federal law enforcement agencies did last month in response to attacks from Anonymous, a group of super-hackers who threatened to take down the FBI website and others.

But hacks that happen behind the scenes —potentially stealing everything from Social Security numbers to Department of Homeland Security watch lists — never have to be reported.

“That’s alarming because there could be a number of federal databases that are compromised already and we don’t know about it,” Kennedy said. “The exchange is part of a bigger problem.”

Federal privacy protections contained in HIPAA also do not apply to the databases created by the federal exchange website, McGraw said, even though health insurers doing business through the exchange must be HIPAA compliant.

In other words, the health plan itself is covered by HIPAA and any breaches of security that affect a consumer who has purchased a specific plan would have to be reported. But the process of choosing and purchasing a plan through the federal exchange — along with any information entered into the federal exchange as part of that process — is not subject to HIPAA protections.

“The problem with the exchanges is that they are such new entities, and they are so unique that existing laws don’t really cover them,” McGraw said.

But 48 states have laws on the books requiring that they give notification to individuals who may have had personal information stolen or leaked from a government database. Many states require that government agencies and departments alert the state attorney general so investigations can be launched.

In states that opted to run their own health insurance exchanges, those laws generally cover security breaches of the exchanges, McGraw said, though it depends on the specific wording of each state law.

Those state laws are how data breaches of several state-level health insurance exchange websites have come to light.

Even Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
 have taken criticism in their role as mascots
 for Minnesota’s health care exchange.
In September, Watchdog.org reported on a data breech of the Minnesota health exchange — known as “MNsure” — that potentially affected as many as 2,400 people.

In Florida, concerns about data breaches of the state-run exchange website prompted Gov. Rick Scott to send a letter to Congress saying Floridians would not exchange privacy for insurance.

On the federal exchange, such breaches are possible, maybe even likely, since the site was launched without comprehensive testing of the security controls for the system.

A Sept. 27 memo to Medicare chief Marylin Tavernner said insufficient testing of the website before the Oct. 1 launch “exposed a level of uncertainty that can be deemed a high risk,” the Associated Press reported in October.

Even though the federal government does not have to report any breaches of security, at least a few already have occurred.

The most high-profile case so far is that of Thomas Dougall, a South Carolina lawyer who had his personal information accidentally leaked to another person after using the Obamacare exchange last month.

“We logged on and compared some prices,” Dougall later told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “We came home last Friday night to have a young man from a completely different state calling to tell me that when he logged on … he got all my personal information in exchange.”

Dougall only found out about that breach of security because the recipient was kind enough to give him a call. Without a requirement that the exchanges report such problems — whether the result of nefarious hackers or glitches in the programming — it is impossible to tell how many other Americans have had their private information released by the federal exchange.

Kennedy said he would not recommend that anyone use the federal exchange until it is more secure and until breaches of security are reported.

“I would say think twice about it, at least until we get more details,” he said.

Kennedy says he supports universal health care and his criticisms of the website are not rooted in political motivations. But the former U.S. Marine whose firm provides computer security to several Fortune 100 companies says there have been “zero changes” to the security of the health insurance exchange website in the run-up to the much-touted Dec. 1 re-launch.

Congress has debated a federal notification law in each of the past three years, but one has never been passed.

In July, during a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, lawmakers heard testimony from a variety of experts who explained the need for a federal breach notification requirement.

David Thaw, a law professor at the University of Connecticut who specializes in cyber-security and the legal framework around it, said data breach notification laws, combined with comprehensive data security, are an essential part of protecting consumers and businesses.

“I analogize the effects of breach notification alone to locking the bank or vault door while leaving a back window wide open,” he said.

With the federal health insurance exchange, there are questions about whether the vault door has been adequately locked.

But there is no doubt that the back window is still wide open.
------------------
Eric Boehm first reported this for Watchdog.org. He can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org. Follow him on Twitter @EricBoehm87

Tags: security breaches, Obamacare Exchange, website, Feds not reporting, Watchdog, Eric Boehm To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare Costs: The Real Story

Consumers Face Skyrocketing Premiums, Deductibles And Out Of Pocket Costs

‘I’m Paying More And Getting Less… It Is Fundamentally A Worse Plan’
KY Man: “A policy that has similar coverage to what we had would cost us around 1100.00 a month. This is a 100% increase for me and my wife.” (Sen. McConnell, Constituent Mail, 11/19/13)

OH Woman: ‘I can’t afford it. I cannot afford it … It’s going to take at least a second job, praying that I would make enough’ Reporter: ‘She went shopping today for an insurance plan, and what she found has her devastated.’ Liz Binns: ‘Ahhh’ Reporter: ‘You can see it in her face and hear it in her voice. The disappointment Liz Binns felt when after two months of trying she was finally able to compare health insurance plans on the government website healthcare.gov’ Binns: ‘I can’t afford it. I cannot afford it.’ Reporter: ‘Liz needs insurance for her husband who has a pre-existing condition and who’s job doesn’t offer coverage, but the cheapest match for him that she found on the health insurance marketplace is well over $400 a month with a $5,000 deductible.’ Binns: ‘How can I pay this kind of money out? It’s going to take at least a second job, praying that I would make enough on a second job just to pay for this health insurance.’ (WEWS-OH, 12/3/13)

CA Man: ‘I’m paying more and getting less… It is fundamentally a worse plan’ “Walter Niles is one of them. The self-employed biotechnology consultant with a doctorate in neuroscience was notified in September that his policy was being canceled. The coverage offered through Covered California, his state’s new insurance exchange, has left him unsatisfied. ‘I’m paying more and getting less,’ said Niles, 59, who leans Republican yet also says he voted twice for President Barack Obama. ‘It is fundamentally a worse plan.’ … A single man, Niles said his monthly premium will go from $367 to $507, even though he sees the coverage as less comprehensive and flexible.” (“Angry Self-Insured Voters Dim Democratic Takeover Plans,” Bloomberg, 12/5/13)

ID Man: ‘We're going to go from $770 a month … to about $1,300’ “A small business owner in the Treasure Valley says the Affordable Care Act has made his family's health care coverage much more expensive. … ‘We're going to go from $770 a month which we were paying up until October, to about $1,300. I don't see how this helps,’ said Lund. Lund says he was shocked to hear that the most comparable plan would cost almost double. ‘From an emotional point of view, I don't think you can really prepare yourself for it,’ said Lund.” (“Sticker Shock: Health Insurance Costs Nearly Double For Boise Man,” KTVB, 12/4/13)
  • ‘Most plans under the new law cost at least 20 percent more’ “Insurance agent Jenna Ortiz says Lund's story is common. ‘We have a lot of clients who are small business owners, so for them if their business is doing well, they don't get help but they're paying astronomical amounts for monthly premiums,’ said Oritz. Oritz says most plans under the new law cost at least 20 percent more…” (“Sticker Shock: Health Insurance Costs Nearly Double For Boise Man,” KTVB, 12/4/13)
NJ Woman: Premium will increase by $8,000 per year “Ms. Tuit said that she and her husband had private health insurance, spending up to $10,000 a year, because he has long been self-employed. But she said their existing plan was no longer available, effective Dec. 31. Even though the Obama administration said that people would be able to keep their existing insurance for a year, she said she was told by her insurer that her plan no longer exists so she is anxious to learn about new options and the cost. She said she needed the tax credit information because the quote she was getting without it was $18,000 a year, starting Jan. 1. ‘I was looking forward to Obamacare,’ she said. ‘I thought that it had to be better because with more people in it, the price had be better. It can’t be $18,000 a year.’” (“Even With Website Fixes, Troubles Persist In Applying For Insurance,” The New York Times, 12/3/13)

AL Woman: ‘It’s scary. … oh no, I didn’t get to get my insurance plan … it went up!’ Casey Heaps: ‘This is not affordable at all, this is a very unaffordable care act’ Reporter: ‘That’s Gainesville medial assistant Casey Heaps.’ Heaps: ‘I don’t know what this world’s coming to.  It’s scary. … oh no, I didn’t get to get my insurance plan I had. I had the one I liked, the one that worked for me, the one I could afford, but no I didn’t get to keep it, it went up!’ (WAAY-AL, 11/26/13)

MD Student: ‘We don’t have that money. We can barely afford books’ “At Bowie State University in Maryland, the cost of student health insurance policies went from roughly $100 a year to $1,800 a year. … The sticker shock didn’t sit well with some students who spoke out against the price hike. ‘You’ve haven’t done anything Obama and I am disappointed in you,’ one student said. Another told Campus Reform, ‘We don’t have that money. We can barely afford books.’” (“Students Suffer Obamacare Sticker Shock As Premiums Soar, Plans Get Cut,” Fox News, 11/18/13)

‘My Deductible Has Doubled’
KY Woman: ‘My deductible has doubled along with my premiums. ... This is hardly affordable health care’ “I am deeply upset because of the effect this health care act has had on our family's health insurance. It has negatively impacted our finances and our quality of care. The President promised that if you had health care, you would not be impacted. The sad truth is that like my co-workers, my deductible has doubled along with my premiums. The only way to be able to adjust, is for us to either reduce or stop our 401K contributions. This is hardly affordable health care.” (Sen. McConnell, Constituent Mail, 11/7/13)

NJ Retiree: ‘maximum out-of-pocket has risen from $6,000 to $9,200’ “After 36 years on the job as an IT specialist, Saglibene retired last year. He said under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, his ‘retirement medical premium will go up $103 a month beginning in 2014.’ Also, said Saglibene, his ‘maximum out-of-pocket has risen from $6,000 to $9,200 for my family in network, and the Health Reimbursement Account from my company will decrease from $2,000 to only $800.’” (“Added Costs For Obamacare Put Squeeze On Staten Islanders; Grimm Seeks Input,” Staten Island Advance, 11/25/13)

MI Family: ‘the couple's deductible will jump to $6,000 each instead of $4,000 combined’ “Kalamazoo residents Mary Swanson and her husband are among the reported 225,000 Michiganders who received cancellation letters from their insurers because their plans did not meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. The Prudential Preferred Realtor, whose husband owns a construction business, said they currently pay $925 a month… She has been quoted between $1,300 and $1,500 a month for coverage, she said, and the couple's deductible will jump to $6,000 each instead of $4,000 combined. As a result, in 2014 they would need to budget $26,000 a year for health-care, Swanson said.” (“Obamacare's Impact On Kalamazoo Residents: 'We're In The Worst Spot We Could Be,'” Kalamazoo Gazette, 11/23/13)

NC Businessman: ‘deductible is increasing by $1,000’ Anchor: ‘One local business owner told us he is suffering from sticker shock after watching his premiums skyrocket.’ … Reporter: ‘…their health care premium is tripling from $311 a month to $963. He says the letter from his provider also said his deductible is increasing by $1,000.’ … Tony Hyatt: ‘I really am concerned that the way things are going that the quality of healthcare will go down.’ (WSOC-NC, 11/18/13)

Tags: Obamacare costs, real storyINSERT TAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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  • 9/14/14 - 9/21/14
  • 9/21/14 - 9/28/14
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  • 11/2/14 - 11/9/14
  • 11/9/14 - 11/16/14
  • 11/16/14 - 11/23/14
  • 11/23/14 - 11/30/14
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  • 12/14/14 - 12/21/14
  • 12/21/14 - 12/28/14
  • 12/28/14 - 1/4/15
  • 1/4/15 - 1/11/15
  • 1/11/15 - 1/18/15
  • 1/18/15 - 1/25/15
  • 1/25/15 - 2/1/15
  • 2/1/15 - 2/8/15
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  • 2/15/15 - 2/22/15
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  • 3/1/15 - 3/8/15
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  • 3/22/15 - 3/29/15
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  • 4/26/15 - 5/3/15
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  • 5/17/15 - 5/24/15
  • 5/24/15 - 5/31/15
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  • 9/20/15 - 9/27/15
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  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
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  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
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