Saturday, December 21, 2013
Ten Broken Obamacare Promises
by Alyene Senger, Hertitage Foundation: Since the passage of Obamacare in 2010, many of the President’s famous promises have been routinely broken. As he so ironically threatened in 2009, “If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.” To that end, here are 10 promises of Obamacare that have already proved to be broken.
Promise #1: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”
Reality: Millions of Americans have lost and will lose their coverage due to Obamacare.
Obamacare has significantly disrupted the market for those who buy coverage on their own by imposing new coverage and benefit mandates, causing a reported 4.7 million health insurance cancelations of an existing policy in 32 states.
For those with employer-sponsored insurance in the group market, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance by 2018.
Moreover, the Administration itself has admitted that employers would not keep their existing health plans. Federal regulations written in 2010 estimated that 51 percent of small and large employers would lose their “grandfathered status” by 2013—meaning a majority of employers would not keep their existing health plans.
Promise #2: “[T]hat means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”
Reality: Many Americans might not be able to keep their current doctor without paying extra.
Many plans offered on Obamacare’s exchanges have very limited provider networks, decreasing the chances consumers will be able to keep their current doctor without paying more money. Furthermore, many Americans who purchase coverage on their own have had their existing health plans changed or canceled due to Obamacare, resulting in some people being unable to keep their current doctors without paying additional money to do so.
Due to the significant payment reductions included in Obamacare, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans may be forced to find new doctors. The largest provider of these plans, UnitedHealth, has recently reduced its provider networks in several states.
Promise #3: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”
Reality: Premiums for people purchasing coverage in the individual market have significantly increased in a majority of states.
A Heritage analysis shows that, on average, consumers in 42 states will see their premiums in the exchanges increase, many by over 100 percent.
For people with employer-sponsored coverage, costs also continue to increase. For families, premiums from 2009 to 2013 have increased by an average of $2,976.
Promise #4: “[F]or the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Reality: Obamacare imposes certain new benefit mandates on those with employer-sponsored coverage—a majority of Americans.
These mandates increase the cost of coverage. In fact, federal regulations written in 2010 assumed “that the increases in insurance benefits will be directly passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums. These assumptions bias the estimates of premium changes upward.”
But higher premiums not only cost people more money; they have other impacts on coverage as well. For instance, as a response to the direct cost increases associated with Obamacare, UPS dropped coverage for spouses of employees if they are offered coverage through their own employers.
Promise #5: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”
Reality: Obamacare contains 18 separate tax hikes, fees, and penalties, many of which heavily impact the middle class.
Altogether, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will accumulate over $770 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period. Among the taxes that will hit the middle class are the individual mandate tax, the medical device tax, and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.
Promise #6: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”
Reality: Obamacare’s new spending is unsustainable.
Obamacare was passed into law relying on a wide variety of unrealistic budget projections. A more realistic assessment reveals that it will be a multi-trillion-dollar budget buster. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated the cost of Obamacare over the long term if certain cost-containment measures were overridden. Under that alternative scenario, which assumes that “historical trends and policy preferences continue,” the GAO found that Obamacare would increase the primary deficit by 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL) and the Senate Budget Committee staff, who commissioned the GAO report, translated the 75-year percentage estimate into today’s dollar amount, which would be $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.
Promise #7: “[W]hatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”
Reality: Health spending is still rising and is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2022.
While growth in health spending has been slower recently compared to the past, that is largely due to the sluggish economic recovery. Indeed, Obamacare’s new entitlements will help drive greater health spending in 2014 and beyond.
Promise #8: “I will protect Medicare.”
Reality: Obamacare cuts Medicare spending.
Obamacare makes unprecedented and unrealistic payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans in order to finance the new spending in the law. The cuts amount to over $700 billion from 2013 to 2022. If Congress allows these draconian reductions to take place, it will significantly impact seniors’ ability to access care.
Promise #9: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American.”
Reality: Millions of Americans will remain uninsured.
Despite spending nearly $1.8 trillion in new spending from 2014 to 2023, the law falls far short of universal coverage. Indeed, Obamacare is projected by the CBO to leave 31 million uninsured after a decade of full implementation.
Promise #10: “So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”
Reality: Obamacare has not increased insurer competition or consumer choice.
In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state’s exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state. And at the local level, for 35 percent of the nation’s counties, exchange enrollees will have a choice of plans from only two insurers—a duopoly. In 17 percent of counties, consumers will have no choice—a monopoly—as only one carrier is offering coverage in the exchange.
Alyene Senger is a Research Associate in the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by the President to a Joint Session of Congress on Health Care,” September 9, 2009.
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by the President at the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association,” June 15, 2009.
Senate Republican Policy Committee, “More Than 4.7 Million Health Insurance Cancellations in 32 States,” November 19, 2013.
Congressional Budget Office, “Table 2: CBO’s May 2013 Estimate of the Budgetary Effects of the Insurance Coverage Provisions Contained in the Affordable Care Act.”
Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 116 (June 17, 2010), p. 34553.
The White House, “Remarks by the President at the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association.”
Jen Christensen, “Obamacare: Fewer Options for Many,” October 29, 2013, CNN.
Melinda Beck, “UnitedHealth Culls Doctors from Medicare Advantage Plans,” The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2013.
Senator Barack Obama (D–IL), “Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Health Care Town Hall,” June 5, 2008.
Drew Gonshorowski, “How Will You Fare in the Obamacare Exchanges?” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 4068, October 16, 2013
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Employer Health Benefits: 2013 Annual Survey,” p. 24, Exhibit 1.11.
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “News Conference by the President,” April 30, 2013.
Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 137 (July 19, 2010), pp. 41737.
See Alyene Senger, “When You Can’t Actually Keep Your Health Care Plan,” The Heritage Foundation, The Foundry.
Senator Barack Obama, “Remarks in Dover, New Hampshire,” September 12, 2008.
Joint Committee on Taxation, “Estimated Revenue Effects of a Proposal to Repeal Certain Tax Provisions Contained in the ‘Affordable Care Act (“ACA”),’” June 15, 2012, and Congressional Budget Office, “Table 2: CBO’s May 2013 Estimate.” The total amount of tax revenue collected from the individual mandate, employer mandate, and 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans comes from the CBO’s May 2013 estimate. For all other taxes, the amount of tax revenue totaled comes from the Joint Committee on Taxation’s June 2012 estimation.
For a detailed explanation of the impact of Obamacare’s taxes, see Curtis S. Dubay, “Obamacare and New Taxes: Destroying Jobs and the Economy,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3100, January 20, 2011.
The White House, remarks by the President to a joint session of Congress on health care.
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Effect on Long-Term Federal Budget Outlook Largely Depends on Whether Cost Containment Sustained, GAO–13–281, January 2013, p. 19.
The Senate Budget Committee staff reported that they had arrived at their figure by obtaining from the Medicare actuary the exact GDP and discount-rate assumptions for every individual year, doing the equivalent calculation on a per-year basis, and summing up the estimated results. The staff also indicated that when they earlier shared their methodology with the GAO, they were told that it was a “reasonable method.”
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by the President After Meeting with Senate Democrats,” December 15, 2009.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “National Health Expenditure Projections 2012–2022.”
The White House, “Remarks by the President to a Joint Session of Congress on Health Care.”
Douglas W. Elmendorf, director, Congressional Budget Office, letter to Speaker John Boehner (R–OH), U.S. House of Representatives, July 24, 2012, pp. 13–14. The letter estimates the cost of repealing Obamacare, which would increase Medicare spending due to the absence of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts. If Obamacare were repealed, the CBO states, “[w]ithin Medicare, net increases in spending for the services covered by Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) would total $517 billion and $247 billion, respectively. Those increases would be partially offset by a $48 billion reduction in net spending for Part D.”
Alyene Senger, “Obamacare’s Impact on Seniors: An Update,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 4019, August 20, 2013.
Politifact.com, “Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 521: Cut the Cost of a Typical Family’s Health Insurance Premium by up to $2,500 a Year,” updated December 1, 2009.
CBO, “Table 1: CBO’s May 2013 Estimate.”
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act and the Government Shutdown,” October 1, 2013.
Edmund F. Haislmaier, “Health Insurers’ Decisions on Exchange Participation: Obamacare’s Leading Indicators,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2852, November 7, 2013.
Alyene Senger, “Lack of Competition in Obamacare’s Exchanges: Over Half of U.S. Has Two or Fewer Carriers,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 4082, November 8, 2013.
Tags: Obamacare, Ten Broken Promises, healthcare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Morton Blackwell Headlines Conservatism 101® Course
Leadership Institute President Teaches Lecture on “The Real Nature of Politics"
Washington DC, December 19, 2013 – Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell will examine how conservative grassroots activists have been key to the electoral success of the Republican Party for the past several decades in a new online lecture released today as part of Conservatism 101®, a multi-media series about the American conservative tradition.
In his lecture, “What’s the Real Nature of Conservative Politics?” Blackwell exposes consultants, like Karl Rove, who raise large sums of money from conservative activists, only to spend that money on expensive commissionable paid-advertising campaigns, as a systemic problem for conservatives and the Republican Party.
“To the best of my knowledge, none of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by Rove’s 2012 operations was spent on ground-game activities. As far as I have learned, whatever he spent to affect election results was spent on commissionable advertising,” said Blackwell.
Blackwell’s lecture also looks at the relationship of conservatives with the left, with the Republican Party, and with each other. Blackwell encourages conservatives and libertarians to cooperate and use the Republican Party to build a stable, governing majority.
The Conservatism 101® multi-media series was developed by the Leadership Institute and co-produced by Free Think University. The series consists of 14 different, 45-minute, free online lectures, each featuring a different conservative leader.
The lectures focus on the big questions of the conservative movement – its origins and history, its founding principles, its successes and failures, and its future. After each segment, students are provided with supplemental reading materials, and may complete an assessment through which they earn Free Think University scholarship points. These points can be applied in competitions for cash scholarships that help students pay for their higher education.
Previous Conservatism 101® lectures have featured some of the conservative movement’s most influential voices, including Stephen Moore from the Wall Street Journal, radio host Mark Levin, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, author Dr. Paul Kengor, Becky Norton-Dunlop from The Heritage Foundation, and many more. Click here to see the full lineup of speakers.
“No matter a person’s political leanings, Conservative, Liberal or otherwise, we think this collaborative project with Leadership Institute is an important contribution to a more civil dialogue about politics and the American experience,” said Free Think University co-founder Jim Van Eerden.
“All of our courses are framed by questions we receive from our students, who want to know both sides of an argument, or the case made on behalf of an under-represented point of view – since the modern American university can sometimes be hostile to the competition of ideas,” Van Eerden said.
“Leadership Institute believes in equipping the next generation of leaders with a clear understanding of the principles, composition, and activities of American conservatism,” said founder Morton Blackwell. “We are happy to be leading the way with Free Think University in bringing this world-class college course experience to thousands of students.”
Tags: Moron Blackwell, Leadership Institute, Free Think University, Conservatism 101®, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Rep. Aaron Schock Delivers Weekly Republican Address: ObamaCare Fails Young People
Delivering the Weekly Republican Address from the campus of Eureka College in Eureka, IL, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) talks about the House’s efforts to deliver fairness and better solutions for young people hurting from the president’s health care law. Schock is one of the youngest members of Congress and co-founder of the Congressional Future Caucus. Schock, is one of the youngest members of Congress and co-founder of the Congressional Future Caucus. He also addressed how the best thing we can do for young people is focus on better solutions that lower costs, increase choices, and boost competition.
On campuses like this, young people are just beginning to make choices that will shape their future.
Right now – even in the middle of finals week – they’re being told that to make the future better, they should rush out and get covered under the president’s health care law.
Not only that, they’re being told to “spread the word’” about what a great deal it is.
The state of Illinois is spending a million dollars just this week on television advertising to try and sell the health care law. This is on top of $684 million already being spent nationwide to promote it.
But no matter how many actors, and rappers, and rock stars the president rolls out, the best sales pitch in the world can’t sell a bad product.
And this health care law is a bad product for young people.
How bad? Well, typically, based on health and age, it costs about six times more to insure a 64-year old than it does an 18-year old.
The health care law, however, says that insurance companies can only charge their most expensive customers three times what they do their cheapest customers.
In other words, they are forced by law to shift the cost of older and sicker patients onto young people. And the president needs a lot of young people – about 2.7 million – to enroll so he can shift the costs onto them and keep premiums from skyrocketing.
In Washington, they call this “community rating,” but where I come from, we call it a ripoff. According to one independent estimate, for a healthy, non-smoking 30-year old male, the cheapest health insurance plan – the cheapest one – will be on average 260 percent more expensive. That's two and a half times what a young person should be paying.
You know, it’s funny, the Obama administration held a contest encouraging millennials to come up with a catchy slogan or video to help sell the law.
The winning entry was a song with lyrics that actually included the line: “Don’t worry about the price tag.”
Well, it’s tough not to worry about the price tag when you’re racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, doing work-study to make it by, and trying to save for your first apartment – all at a time when youth unemployment in this country is nearly 16 percent.
Young people helped put the president in office, and with this health care law, he’s pushing them into years of less choice, fewer opportunities, and larger bills.
This isn’t how it was supposed to be.
And everywhere I go people come up and say we should do something to stop this law, and they’re right.
We should make it so that young people pay their fair share for health care, and nothing more.
And instead of Washington telling us what to buy, let’s get back to letting every American choose the plan that’s best for them and their family.
Every time I’m asked what Washington can do to connect with millennials, my answer is that we should actually get government out of the way. Hard work and a good education will take you further than any government program.
And let’s give young people the chance to build confidence, give them an incentive to work, and save, and invest, take risks, and rekindle that entrepreneurial spirit that sets this country apart.
The president’s health care law does none of this – and it only sets us back and makes things more expensive. I know – and you know – that we can do better.
Thank you for listening. Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.
Tags: U.S. House, Weekly Republican Address, Representative, Aaron Schock, Illinois, ObamaCare, Fails Young People, millennials To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Secret To Happiness - It's Not Money
How much control do you really have over your happiness, and how effectively are you pursuing it? Check out this inspiring video from Washington Could Learn a Lot. Arthur Brooks, the president of American Enterprise Institute, distills 40 years of social science research into a surprising set of answers and talks about what makes people happy (hint: it’s not winning the lottery). Money doesn't buy happiness.
Arthur Brooks is the President of American Enterprise Institute, and the author of multiple publications on the topic of happiness and free enterprise.
Tags: secret, happiness, Arthur Brooks, AEI To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Friday, December 20, 2013
Duck Dynasty And The New Fascism In America
Expressing a Biblical viewpoint is now “unacceptable?” In any forum? Really? How far and how fast we have fallen as a society and as a culture. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion (especially the Christian one) is no longer tolerated in the eyes of those who have completely capitulated to the charms of the gay agenda and those who seek to complete the mainstreaming of homosexuality into society without debate or criticism.
It is amazing that one can now be hounded, punished, and censored for merely having the audacity of believing in traditional morals and values. And for daring to express them. Political correctness is a tool of tyranny wielded by the radical isms of the Left with increasing ferocity. The persecution of Christians continues to expand and grow every day and those who dare to proclaim a Biblical principle can expect no mercy. The Left has absolutely no tolerance for any beliefs other than their own. All else is branded incendiary bigotry, intolerance, and hatred. It has become fashionable to persecute traditional values, but if you dare offend gays, lesbians, or Muslims for that matter, you’re going to be intimidated, silenced, and labeled as a hater.
The followers of the new religious creed of ‘tolerance, multiculturalism, diversity, and political correctness’ are among the most intolerant of people. No one is allowed to disagree with them in a public forum or manner without being blasted, mocked, and shut down with extreme prejudice. All the power available to our fascist friends of the Left is brought to bear against those so foolish as to dare to utter a word contrary to their official creed.
Robertson discusses in his GQ interview his religious beliefs and about sin, saying, “start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” Then, he paraphrases Corinthians saying, “don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Robertson added in the interview, “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Robertson further elaborated on the interview in question later.
“I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together,” the statement said.
“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Merely stating what the Bible says about certain topics is not offensive. It is instead a statement of Biblical truth.
Interestingly enough the gay rights group GLAAD said in a statement posted on the group’s website “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.” Apparently, “true Christians” don’t believe in the Bible. Now that’s a twisted bit of theology to say the least. But in the eyes of Left and the gay community ‘up is down, and wrong is right.’ What a confusing state of affairs to say the least.
I’m sure the apostle Paul would have been extremely surprised to find out that he was not a “true Christian” (read Romans 1:26, 27). As the son, grandson, and great-grandson of ministers of the gospel I have to say that Phil Robertson’s statements were closer to true Christianity than those issued by GLAAD. You are free to disagree with the Christian religion and what its founders taught, but don’t try to pretend it is something that it isn’t.
It is also interesting that the same groups of people who supposedly oppose the bullying of people for their personal beliefs are now bullying someone for their personal beliefs. If you can tolerate someone saying “I’m gay and I’m proud” then you certainly should be able to tolerate someone saying “I’m Christian and I’m proud.” In the end, Darkness cannot stand the light of truth. Therefore, there can be no tolerance for truth. It must be silenced no matter what. The champions of diversity stop at diversity of thought and in reality become mere thought-police using the levers of power to create a chilling effect on all those who don’t agree with their agenda.
My prayers and heartfelt support for Phil Robertson, as well as anyone else who has suffered at the hands of the new American fascism of the Left.
If you would like to share your views on this particular topic with the A&E network, their contact information is below.
A&E Television Networks, LLC
235 E. 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
Telephone # 212-210-1400
David Huntwork is a conservative activist, blogger, and columnist, and the proud father of three daughters. The son, grandson, and great-grandson of Ministers of the Gospel he brings a unique blended background of theology and ideology to the great debates of the day. He believes that Faith, Family, and Freedom is the formula for success and the key to a good life and a healthy nation. David blogs and is the editor for the Constitutionclub.org. You can contact him at Davehuntwork@juno.com.
Tags: David Huntwork, op-ed, Duck Dynasty, GLAAD, new fascism, America To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Thankfully - Law Protecting Our Troops Expressions of Religous Beleifs
Tony Perkins' FRC Washington Update: Long before "Duck Dynasty," other camouflaged Americans were being persecuted for their beliefs: U.S. service members. Now, thanks to Congress, our brave men and women will finally have the legislative armor they need. It took until almost midnight, but when the Senate passed the Defense Authorization bill, it was worth the wait. After a year-long struggle against the forces of political correctness, leaders stood together in defense of our troops' right to speak and act openly on their faith.
With overwhelming bipartisan support (84-15), the Senate approved the legislation with Sen. Mike Lee's (R-Utah) military conscience language -- handing FRC and its supporters one of the biggest victories yet in the battle for religious liberty. Under the bill (which still awaits the President's signature), Congress moves the current law from protecting religious beliefs to also protecting the expressions of those beliefs. For service members who've become increasingly afraid to even share their faith, this language is a game-changer. It frees our troops from the fear of retaliation, which so many have experienced under this administration.
In the last year, Americans have watched in horror as service members were harassed, reprimanded, or relieved of their duties just for practicing their faith in a real and tangible way. Some, like Master Sgt. Phillip Monk (whose story you can watch here), were punished -- not because they were outspoken about their values -- but because they refused to embrace the administration's. On issues like marriage, where there's still a very real divide, Obama's Pentagon came down even harder. Men and women who embraced the majority opinion on marriage were even bigger targets.
Under this bill, those service members can breathe a sigh of relief that their careers will no longer be threatened for exercising the rights that they've dedicated their lives to defend. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the conservative champions behind Lee's amendment, said he "feel[s] strongly that we have a good bill." Like Lee and others, he was committed to bringing the full weight of Congress to bear on the Obama Defense Department, which had refused to issue a guidance on this very topic -- leaving troops vulnerable and victimized.
Although there are still some lingering issues with the overall bill, the Senate will work out the kinks when it returns to D.C. in January. Until then, we commend our coalition partners and Senators Lee, Inhofe, U.S. Reps. John Fleming (R-La.), Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), and other leaders who worked so hard to defend the religious liberties of America's men and women in uniform. To our supporters, who funded our efforts, called their members, signed petitions, and helped raise awareness on the threat, thank you for partnering with us! Your involvement helped us deliver the best Christmas present our troops could ask for!
Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRD, Law, protecting troops, military Conscience Language, protecting expression of religious beleifs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
This Is No Obamacare Success Story, Mr. President
Laura Trueman, Heritage Foundation: Most of the people applying for Obamacare are being funneled into Medicaid. President Obama boasted that sending these 803,000 people to Medicaid is an under-reported Obamacare success.
But this does not equal success—in fact, it’s a negative for the enrollees themselves and for taxpayers. Here are four reasons why this is bad news.
1. Harder to Get Care
Being signed up for Medicaid does not mean having access to care. As Heritage’s Kevin Dayaratna concluded in his study, “Academic literature has consistently illustrated that Medicaid patients—adults and children—have inferior access to health care, and notably poorer health outcomes, than privately insured patients.”
This is because Medicaid pays doctors much less than privately insured patients and even those with Medicare, all the while imposing lots of red tape.
In 2011, just 69 percent of doctors nationwide were accepting new Medicaid patients, with acceptance rates in some states as low as 40 percent to 50 percent.
Coverage doesn’t hold much value if you can’t get a doctor to see you, and since Obamacare dramatically increases Medicaid enrollment, the problems are likely to get worse.
2. Poorer Health Outcomes
Just as Medicaid “coverage” isn’t a guarantee of access to care, it isn’t a guarantee of quality care, either.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at how Medicaid enrollees fared compared to a similar (but not enrolled) population. Despite the fact that Oregon’s Medicaid program spent an average of $4,400 per enrollee, “Medicaid generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes.”
3. Jeopardizing Coverage
Medicaid, historically, has been targeted to specific, vulnerable Americans: low-income disabled, low-income moms and kids, and low-income seniors. Obamacare changed that.
Now, in the 26 states that have opted to expand Medicaid, more Americans qualify, even if they are able-bodied and can work. Health policy analyst Chris Jacobs notes the dangers of Medicaid expansion beyond those it was intended to serve:
Even before Obamacare became law, Medicaid was already the third-largest program in the federal government, as well as one of the two fastest-growing. With Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office projects that federal spending on Medicaid will more than double over the next 10 years.
Medicaid, traditionally, is paid for with both federal and state dollars. Expanding Medicaid will cost states plenty—it is not “free,” writes Heritage scholar Drew Gonshorowski.
For many states, paying for Medicaid will mean one of two things (or some of both): 1) cutting funding for other items like education or transportation, or 2) increasing taxes.
Obamacare isn't the answer. We need an alternative that gives people quality health coverage.
Tags: Health Care, medicaid, Medicaid expansion, patients, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
GLAAD: Lethal Enforcers of the Left's Tolerance Mob
The A&E network (Atheists & Elitists) suspended the reality TV patriarch and self-made businessman on Wednesday for the Biblical views he expressed in an interview with GQ. Robertson was asked by the liberal magazine what he viewed as sinful. Drawing on the condemnation of sexual immorality in Corinthians 6:9, he cited "adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God."
Robertson's punishable transgressions? Responding honestly to a question posed to him (this was not an unsolicited "anti-gay rant"; it was a response) and abiding by his Christian faith. GLAAD's P.C. Praetorian Guard sprung into repressive action. The same group that initially gave f-word-spouting, homophobic liberal Alec Baldwin a pass accused Robertson of uttering "some of the vilest and most extreme statements" against "LGBT people" ever. (They should listen to the Koran-inspired executioners' rants of gay-hanging and gay-stoning Iranian mullahs sometime.) GLAAD also railed against Robertson's "vile" preference for female anatomy over male as if it were an international human rights violation.
A&E folded faster than a stadium seat, immediately disavowing Robertson and suspending him from his family's show indefinitely. Meanwhile, network execs continued to cash in on the lucrative "Duck Dynasty" empire with a marathon of program reruns on the very day they threw Robertson under the bus. The network is free to do that, of course. And I am free to tell you all about the radical thugs that A&E indulged.
GLAAD has worked tirelessly to marginalize and suppress the free speech of Christian leaders, Christian businesses and conservative talk-radio hosts dating back to their infamous Dr. Laura boycott 13 years ago. The group's mission is not about equality or defending against "defamation." It's about silencing critics, making open debate radioactive, demonizing people of faith and making even the slightest perceived slight a hate crime.
Last year, GLAAD speech-squelchers issued a blacklist of 34 Christian commentators they wanted networks to ban from their air for "extreme" views (read: opposing gay marriage). Earlier this year, GLAAD attacked the National Geographic Channel for partnering with the traditional values-promoting Boy Scouts on a reality TV program. GLAAD is free to start its own Gay Scouts, but instead chose to harangue NatGeo for refusing to run a "disclaimer" at the beginning of each show condemning the Boy Scouts' leadership policies.
It's not enough to live and let live. You must repent and genuflect before the self-serving gods of selective progressivism. That's why GLAAD forgave Hollywood director Brett Ratner for using the word "fag." He was allowed back into the protected Hollywood club after submitting to GLAAD reeducation camp and appearing in GLAAD public service announcements. Bill Clinton, who authored both the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies so reviled by the homosexual lobby, ended up receiving a GLAAD "Advocate for Change" award earlier this year -- for changing his mind when politically expedient.
For the civility police, the operational motto is always: "Do as we say, not as we do, in the name of social justice. Amen."
In the 1960s, radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse popularized the "repressive tolerance" theory of modern progressives. "Liberating tolerance would mean intolerance against movements from the right and toleration of movements from the left," Marcuse pontificated. "Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed."
The tolerance mob's insatiable quest for power and control has led to such unhinged witch-hunting that many of its own erstwhile allies are balking. Novelist Bret Easton Ellis called GLAAD the "gatekeepers of politically correct gayness." He was attacked as a "self-loathing gay man," but unlike A&E, he didn't give in. "An organization holding an awards ceremony that they think represents all gays and also feels they can choose which gays can and cannot be a member of the party is, on the face of it, ridiculous."
The liberal The Atlantic magazine recounted how GLAAD invited Fox News anchors Kimberly Guilfoyle and Jamie Colby to a New York event and then issued a press release condemning them and their employer after the network failed to cough up big donations for gala tables. Wrote the Atlantic's James Kirchick: "Aside from raising money to perpetuate its own existence and throwing swanky parties (the event feting Bill Clinton was one of three different media-award ceremonies, with others in New York and San Francisco), GLAAD has no purpose. That is, unless one views it not as a gay-rights organization but rather a partisan liberal one."
Nail, meet head. GLAAD's counterculture warriors know full well: It's a small leap from forcing Phil Robertson, the Boy Scouts and Rush Limbaugh out of the public square to forcing wedding photographers and cake bakers to serve gay customers against their will and mandating that Catholic medical providers and Hobby Lobby violate their religious conscience and cover abortion pills in order to stay in business.
These GLAAD tidings have everything to do with repression and nothing to do with rights.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Tags: Michelle Malkin, A&E, GLADD, enforcers, partisan liberals, anti-christian, attacks, Duck Dynasty, Boy Scouts, Rush Limbaugh, Hobby Lobby, Catholic medical providers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Chaos - Arbitrary Policy Shift For Some People With Insurance Cancelled By Obamacare
The House was not in session. The Senate reconvened at 9 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
At 10, the Senate began a series of votes on nominations Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to push through after he used the nuclear option to strip the minority’s ability of filibuster them. The Senate voted 54-41 to confirm the Mayorkas nomination, 56-39 as Deputy Directorof the DHS, and also to invoke cloture on the nomination of John Koskinen to be IRS Commissioner, 59-36 to confirm the Koskinen nomination, 56-36 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Brian Davis to be a district judge for the Middle District of Florida, to 68-26 confirm the Davis nomination, and finally 59-34 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve System.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 84-15 to pass H.R. 3304 and 55-45 ,after using the nuclear option on cloture, for on the Alejandro Mayorkas nomination. As The Washington Times's Stephen Dinan noted, "Mayorkas is currently the chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, one of the immigration branches within the Homeland Security department. As director, he has been accused of overruling career officers in his agency in order to approve visa applications sought by well-connected Democrats, including Mr. Reid."
If an adjournment resolution is approved, the Senate is expected to adjourn until January 6th. When the Senate reconvenes, the first item on the agenda will be a vote on the confirmation of Janet Yellen.
Reuters reports, “The Obama administration made a major last-minute policy shift on Thursday, saying the change would help Americans meet a looming deadline to replace insurance plans canceled because of new standards under Obamacare reforms. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that this group of people - estimated by the administration to be fewer than 500,000 in number - will be allowed to claim a ‘hardship exemption’ from the requirement in the 2010 Affordable Care Act to buy insurance. Armed with the exemption, they then have the option to buy ‘catastrophic’ insurance plans - cheaper insurance with a minimal coverage level that, under the law, is normally available only to people under the age of 30. . . . In the law, there are 14 categories of ‘hardships’ that can be used to get an exemption from the mandate to buy insurance, such as a recent eviction or bankruptcy. But this is the first exemption prompted by the administration's botched rollout of the law, and comes after months of insistence that there would be no delays in implementing the individual mandate. The rocky rollout of President Barack Obama's signature policy achievement has been embarrassing and politically damaging, helping push Obama's approval ratings to the lowest point of his presidency.”
These latest tweaks, exemptions, and changes, all done without the approval of Congress, leave Avik Roy’s head spinning. He writes, “It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a ‘hardship exemption’ from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who ‘believes’ that Obamacare’s offerings ‘are unaffordable.’ These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.” Roy notes all the previous exemptions and changes the Obama administration announced after Americans started receiving cancellation notices, but points out, “[F]or all of the seeming flurry of activity, as of yesterday the fundamental problem—people losing their old health plans, and failing to gain new ones—remained. Last night, in a stunning reversal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Americans who have had their plans canceled will be exempt from enrolling in the exchanges, ‘because some consumers were finding other coverage options to be more expensive than their cancelled plans or policies.’ For years, these pages have raised the concern that the ‘Affordable Care Act’ will drive up the cost of health insurance. . . . But this most recent announcement from the Obama administration is the first time it has publicly admitted that Obamacare is making health insurance less affordable, not more so, for millions of Americans. . . . This decision by the administration—characterized by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as an attempt to provide ‘the smoothest possible transition’ into the Obamacare era—has instead thrown the individual insurance market into chaos. . . . ‘This latest rule change could cause significant instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption for consumers,’ said Karen Ignagni, president of AHIP, the insurer trade group, last night. . . . ‘Panic mode’ is how insurance executives are describing the administration’s moves—but the insurers themselves are going to have to wonder about the financial viability of their exchange-based plans.”
Politico noticed the arbitrariness of all the administration’s moves. “NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd says with all the changes the Obama administration has made to the rules of Obamacare, he doubts a ‘single person’ will end up paying a penalty next year when the individual mandate takes effect. ‘If you put together all the different ways that they have delayed or grandfathered certain things in … I’m starting to wonder if anybody is ever going to pay the penalty in the first year,’ Todd said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on Friday. ‘Is there going to be a single person that is going to be responsible for paying that $95? At this point it doesn’t look like it.’ . . . He called the move ‘arbitrary,’ saying the uneven enforcement is upsetting insurance companies trying to keep up. ‘If you didn’t get the [cancellation] notice and you don’t like the prices and you’re not eligible for subsidies, then you can’t apply for this hardship. So it’s really kind of arbitrary here what they did at the last minute,’ Todd said. ‘And what’s why insurance companies are upset, because it is an arbitrary rule, there isn’t even, other than basically to placate people that have been the most upset with these cancellation notices.’”
In a way, the Obama administration is admitting here that Obamacare itself is a hardship. The law resulted in cancelled plans (just as Republicans predicted it would) and higher premiums (as Republicans predicted), but people are required to purchase insurance at these higher prices. So now for some families who lost their insurance plan due to Obamacare and can’t afford the higher premiums caused by Obamacare, they can buy catastrophic coverage plans (which the laws defenders have trashed as junk insurance in the past) and not face the tax imposed by Obamacare next year on those without insurance. But as Obamacare defender Ezra Klein explains, “[T]his puts the administration on some very difficult-to-defend ground. Normally, the individual mandate applies to anyone who can purchase qualifying insurance for less than 8 percent of their income. Either that threshold is right or it's wrong. But it's hard to argue that it's right for the currently uninsured but wrong for people whose plans were canceled. . . . Put more simply, Republicans will immediately begin calling for the uninsured to get this same exemption. What will the Obama administration say in response? Why are people who plans were canceled more deserving of help than people who couldn't afford a plan in the first place? . . . The same goes for the cheap catastrophic plans sold to customers under age 30 in the exchanges. A 45-year-old whose plan just got canceled can now purchase catastrophic coverage. A 45-year-old who didn't have insurance at all can't. Why don't people who couldn't afford a plan in the first place deserve the same kind of help as people whose plans were canceled?”
Responding to announced delay to the individual mandate for those who have lost their health plans under ObamaCare, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, “With this latest delay, the Obama administration is once again admitting that the president’s health care law is unworkable and unaffordable. Millions have lost the plans they liked, only to find themselves priced out of new policies with higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The administration’s action does nothing to address the problems at the center of the president’s health care law, or to help the families suffering its consequences. All Americans deserve a hardship exemption from this train wreck of a law, and a focus on patient-centered reforms that will help lower costs and protect jobs.”
The real problem is that this whole law has been a catastrophe. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, "For the folks patient enough to successfully navigate through Healthcare.gov, many are finding that Obamacare offers higher premiums, costs, or deductibles – sometimes all three – in exchange for coverage that’s in many cases inferior to what they had before. Fewer choices, restricted hospital networks, losing doctors our constituents know and trust. That’s what many are getting in exchange for higher costs and skyrocketing premiums, even after the President promised that reform would ‘cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families and small businesses.’
". . . the government’s own studies on this issue now indicate that Obamacare will actually increase the cost of health care in America by more than $620 billion. As one California woman recently put it, Obamacare feels like being ‘forced into a lower coverage plan, for more money.’ . . . So the Administration and its allies in Congress can talk until they’re hoarse about a website, or about nominees, or about whatever else they think they can say to distract Americans from the failures of this law. But it isn’t going to work. And to the millions of Americans suffering under Obamacare, you should know that Republicans are on your side. We’re going to keep fighting for true health reform that lowers costs, for reform that promotes choice and a better quality of care. And we’re going to keep fighting against the idea that government knows better than you do when it comes to your family’s health care."
Tags: Senate, confirmations, Obamacare, choas, White House, policy shift, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
America, A Christian Nation
It is a habit of mine to revisit the classic literature of the past and, with the advent of Christmas, I picked up an excerpt from Edward Gibbon’s famed “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” that addressed in part the role of Christianity.
Gibbon’s vast knowledge of the Empire eventually filled six volumes. The first three volumes were published in 1776 and became a bestseller. The final three volumes cemented his reputation as a historian.
The religion of Rome, however, being polytheistic with many gods could only be called organized insofar as temples to those gods were built wherever it exercised its power. Suffice to say, the then-new religion of Christianity was declared illegal and Christians were widely persecuted.
Initially, the adherents to Christianity were Jews. Gibbon notes that “The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregations over which they presided, united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ.” Judaism had been around for a thousand years by that time, but there were a variety of factors that kept it isolated and limited in numbers. It did not actively proselytize and the requirement for circumcision was a deterrent. Judaism also had many restrictions such as dietary laws and requirements that further reduced its attraction for the masses.
All that changed with the advent of Saul of Tarsus, now known as St. Paul, a Jew who experienced an epiphany that threw open the doors to the philosophical and theological basis of Judaism. “Christianity offered itself to the world, armed with the strength of the Mosaic Law and delivered from its fetters,” wrote Gibbon. “The divine authority of Moses and the prophets was admitted, and even established, as the firmest basis of Christianity.”
“The promise of divine favor, instead of being partially confirmed to the posterity of Abraham, was universally proposed to the freeman and the slave, to the Greek and the barbarian, to the Jew and to the Gentile.”
“When the promise of eternal happiness was proposed to mankind, on condition of adopting the faith, and of observing the precepts of the gospel, it is no wonder that so advantageous an offer should have been accepted by great numbers of every religion, of every rank, and of every province in the Roman Empire.”
The Roman Empire had reigned supreme for almost 300 years when Christianity came on the scene and would last another 200 until, in the view of historians; it became too tired to maintain itself. It stretched across the known world from the British Isles to India, exacting taxes and offering protection. By the third century it could not be effectively governed from Rome and split into two factions, East and West, seen today in the Eastern and Western churches.
Christianity offered something that Judaism did not; the promise of life after death, of Heaven, and, conversely, a vision of Hell. Neither the prophets, nor the sages of Judaism devoted much attention to what occurred after death because there is no way to determine what occurs in its wake. Instead, Judaism has always placed an emphasis on how one can pursue a life of proper behavior based on the interpretation of the Torah or Old Testament whose heart is found in the Ten Commandments.
Gibbon wrote “It was by the aid of these causes, exclusive zeal, the immediate expectation of another world, the claim of miracles, the practice of rigid virtue, and the constitution of the primitive church, that Christianity spread itself with so much success in the Roman Empire.”
The gospels were composed in the Greek language “at a considerable distance from Jerusalem” and after gentile converts had grown in numbers. “As soon as those histories were translated into the Latin tongue, there were perfectly intelligible to all the subjects of Rome” with some exceptions.
The conversion of Constantine in the fourth century made Christianity the official religion of Rome. It is estimated that, by then, almost a third of the population had previously embraced Christianity and the Empire had already begun to decline. In the early 400s, Rome was conquered by the barbaric tribes of northern Europe, the Gaul’s, Visigoths, and others. Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages.
In time Christianity would spread to much of the world though it would compete with the more ancient faiths of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the tribal faiths of Africa and the New World.
In 632 A.D. Islam, the invention of Mohammed, would spread as much by the sword as by its doctrine. It is the enemy of all other religions and its persecution of Christians is a warning to the world. Mohammed told his followers, “The sword is the key to heaven and hell.” These days, the Middle East is being “cleansed” of Christians. No accommodation can be made with Islam.
The demographics of Christianity have shifted significantly in the last century, largely due to the enmity of Communism. As noted in a recent article, “In Latin America alone, there are 517 million Christians. In Africa, 411 million. Asia tallies 251 million. Once a global powerhouse of Christianity, Europe is home to an ever-shrinking 553 million (expected to drop to 480 million by 2050) while North America has 275 million.”
"Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” said President Barack Obama on June 28, 2006. A true Christian would never have uttered those words.
America was and is a Christian nation. Obama either misspoke or deliberately lied. His words barely acknowledge the role of Christianity in the founding and history of our nation. His words betray its role today.
Gibbon’s great work about the fall of Rome is a warning to all present empires and great powers. It fell because it lacked a doctrine of virtue as much as from the attacks by the barbarians who finished it off.
Today Communism is the faith of the new barbarians and Islam is the faith of its enemies. The defense of civilization falls heavily on the worldwide Christian community.
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: America, Christian nation, atheists attack Christmas, Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, President Obama, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
What’s Actually Melting
Shredding the Constitution – The New Obama White House?
Yesterday, in light of negative news on his comments comparing Republicans in Congress to the Jonestown cult community where more than 900 people died in a mass suicide, Podesta apologized.
Tags: John Podesta, presidential advisor, energy issues, Climate Action Plan, President Obama, Republican Study Committee, Steve Scalis To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Defend The Duck Commander!
When asked by GQ about his views on homosexuality, Robertson quoted Scripture and, as his many fans appreciate, he elaborated in his own colorful way.
The militant homosexual movement immediately went on the attack, demanding Robertson be fired from the show. This movement, which has wrapped itself in the language of tolerance, is in fact intolerant of men and women of faith and is determined to punish anyone who dares to speak up for biblical values.
Just ask Christian photographers, florists, bakers or college administrators who have been raked over the coals, taken to court and essentially persecuted for their faith. You can add Phil Robertson to that growing list.
A&E's knee-jerk reaction caused even one homosexual columnist to ask, "Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them?" He added, "I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil's." I couldn't agree more. In addition, Senator Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh all spoke out in defense of the Duck Dynasty star.
Men and women of faith must stand up and defend our First Amendment rights of free speech and religion!
TAKE ACTION: Petitions defending Phil Robertson are great, but A&E needs to hear from you now. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama Calls In Left-Wing Hatchet Man
A major theme of Obama's presidency is his claim to unity. He rose to fame after delivering the keynote address at the 2004 Democrat National Convention in which he talked about values that unite us. But as we have learned time and time again -- most recently with his now infamous Obamacare pledge being labeled the "Lie of the Year" -- what Obama says can't be trusted.
Reeling from falling poll numbers, the Obama White House has decided to do what previous White Houses have done -- bring in someone new. After his party got shellacked in the 1994 elections, Bill Clinton famously brought in Dick Morris, who pushed Clinton to the political center.
So who did Obama bring in to help "right the ship"? John Podesta. For those who don't follow D.C. personalities, Podesta's reputation is not that of a consensus builder, but rather a left-wing hatchet man.
Previously, Podesta ran the far left Center for American Progress, a George Soros-funded outfit. And his brother, Tony, was a founding president of the radical group People for the American Way.
His new appointment does not bode well. In fact, one reporter wrote that Podesta's hiring "represents the clearest sign to date of the administration's interest in shifting the paradigm of Obama's presidency through the forceful, unapologetic and occasionally provocative application of White House power." As if there hasn't already been enough of that!
Not surprisingly, Podesta is already in hot water for recent remarks comparing congressional Republicans to the murderous and suicidal cult led by Jim Jones. A few months ago, Podesta said that the Obama White House should "focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress." In 1978 more than 900 of Jones' followers, including at least 300 children, were poisoned in a mass suicide in Guyana.
Podesta's outrageous remarks speak volumes about the instincts of the left. Obama has compared the congressional GOP to hijackers and terrorists. Why should the remarks of his new counselor surprise us?
Speaker John Boehner's office was furious about Podesta's White House assignment. A spokesman for Boehner told reporters, "For those who've forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident. If this is the attitude of the new White House, it's hard to see how the president gets anything done again."
Steel yourselves, my friends. It's going to be a rough ride.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families
Tags: Defend Duck Commander, Phil Robertson, John Podesta, Obama White House, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The 12 Days of Obamacare
Heritage Action For America: Every day we learn of new problems with President Obama’s healthcare law. Employees’ hours are being cut, millions of Americans are having their health insurance cancelled or premiums dramatically increased, and people are losing the doctors they know and trust.
Americans now see, often first-hand, that Obamacare is a disaster. From employee hours being cut, to rising health insurance premiums, to losing doctors and insurance plans, Obamacare is bad for the country.
Our New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to continue the fight to save Americans from Obamacare. Obamacare is the gift that no none wants.
Tags: Heritage For America, video, 12 days of Obmacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate Passed Budget Deal Without Protecting Active Duty And Military Retirees | Obamacare A Mess But Obama Admin Still ‘Hasn't Fired Anyone’
Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec. 19, 2013
The House reconvened at 11 AM for five minutes and received a message from the that yesterday they had passed without amendment H.R. 3588, H.R. 185, H.R. 2251. S. 1847, and S. 947. The House recessed until Dec. 23 when they will meet pro-forma at 10 AM. All Representatives are on there way home for Christmas.
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of H.R. 3304, the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense authorization bill. If all post-cloture time is used, a vote on final passage of the bill is scheduled for 11:30 PM. Following that vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated the Senate would likely vote on cloture (to cut off debate) on the controversial nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Reid is also trying to force through a number of other nominations, including Janet Yellen to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve System and John Koskinen to be IRS Commissioner even though the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups has not yet been completed.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 64-36 to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H. Res. 59 (which passed the budget resolution). The nine Republicans who voted in favor of the bill were Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Orin Hatch (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rob Portman (R-OH).
The budget has a a continuous provision will reduce by 1 percent cost of living adjustments to the retirement pay of working age military retirees but not Federal employees. Thirty veterans groups and military associations, as well as members of Congress, have objected. The Military Officer Association (MOAA) president Norb Ryan said the provision a breach of faith to men and women in uniform because it reduces retired pay, survivor benefit values and is an unfair cut in military career benefits. Under the plan, he said, an E-7 in 2013 with 20 years of service would lose an average $3,700 per year by the age of 62, for a total of about $83,000 and an 0-5 would be out more than $6,200 a year for a total, cumulative loss of more than $124,000.
The Senate also voted 71-29 to invoke cloture (cut off debate and amendments) on H.R. 3304.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The leader of Minnesota's health-insurance marketplace resigned after taking a two-week vacation in late November when the state's website was experiencing technical problems, making her the fourth state health-insurance chief to be ousted. April Todd-Malmlov's resignation late Tuesday highlighted the divide among the 14 states running their own exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. . . . [A]t least four of the 14—Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota and Oregon—have had serious technical problems, and all four have now replaced directors less than three months after opening their exchanges. As of Dec. 1, fewer than 4,500 people had managed to sign up for private insurance in Minnesota, according to an Obama administration report. . . . Hawaii, Maryland and Oregon also now have interim leaders in place. Maryland's former leader, Rebecca Pearce, also faced criticism over a late-November vacation to the Cayman Islands. Oregon's director took a medical leave in early December. Hawaii's director resigned in late November. By Dec. 1, only 44 people had managed to sign up for private insurance in Oregon and the state has been forced to rely on paper applications. In Hawaii, 960 people had enrolled as of Dec. 14, a spokesman said.”
In Iowa, which is using the troubled federal website, the Des Moines Register reports, “Thousands of modest-income Iowans who filled out health insurance applications via the government’s new online marketplace could be without coverage on Jan. 1, because of a lack of communication between federal and state officials. The issue involves people who might qualify for Iowa’s version of Medicaid, the public insurance program for the poor, or related programs. The federal website, healthcare.gov, has made an initial determination that more than 10,000 applicants should qualify for the public insurance, according to a report issued last week. But federal officials have not yet sent complete information on those people to state administrators, who are supposed to review the applications and enroll people in the programs. The upshot is that some Iowans who dutifully signed on to healthcare.gov, worked their way through online glitches and thought they would receive public health insurance could be disappointed if they need to see a doctor in early January. . . . The Iowa Department of Human Services installed a $59 million computer system this year, financed mainly with federal money tied to the Affordable Care Act. One of the system’s main tasks is to accept information from healthcare.gov to enroll Iowans into Medicaid or related programs. A spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said federal officials have sent such information to 10 other states, and they are working to send it to Iowa and the rest. However, she couldn’t say whether the information would be transmitted to Iowa by the end of the month.”
The Chicago Tribune editors are basically disgusted with the whole mess. They write today, “If you're scrambling to make last-minute arrangements, or waiting to hear if your insurer has actually received and approved your application, we know this is not your fault. For weeks, the government's HealthCare.gov website repelled customers with the brutal efficiency of a nightclub bouncer. Even if you thought you completed the process, chances were good that your application information wasn't accurately sent to insurers. If you're among the millions who had their individual policies canceled because of Obamacare, you may still be confused about the conditions under which your insurer will extend those policies and at what cost. Last week, federal officials piled on more confusion when they urged insurers to relax coverage rules. . . . You think the Obamacare run-up to Jan. 1 has been a train wreck? Now it gets worse. You'll soon be hearing more stories of people who thought they'd signed up for coverage, only to find that their paperwork was gobbled by computer gremlins. . . . But insurers say they are still finding errors and the government is overstating improvements to HealthCare.gov, The New York Times reported. . . . Looming question: How many people have gained coverage versus those who have lost it? No one knows — yet. HHS is fond of boasting of rising numbers of people who have signed up for coverage, but officials don't keep track of how many have paid premiums to start coverage.”
While problems are occurring all across the country thanks to Obamacare, at least some of the states are holding some people accountable. Compare that to the federal government. As the WSJ writes, “Only one person who helped oversee HealthCare.gov has left so far: Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for developing the site. He resigned in November. Asked why the Obama administration hasn't fired anyone, a Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman pointed to a statement in which Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said new management was brought in to run HealthCare.gov and a general contractor was named after problems emerged.”
In an editorial today, the WSJ marvels at this contrast. “President Obama has responded to the ObamaCare debacle by bringing in Beltway liberal mastermind John Podesta as a senior West Wing hand, and he promptly announced his arrival by likening House Republicans to ‘a cult worthy of Jonestown’ in an interview with Politico. The states running their own insurance exchanges are exacting more accountability for their ObamaCare failures. Enrollment and technical dysfunctions and security breaches akin to the 36 federal exchanges continue to beset Minnesota's operation, called MNsure. On Tuesday, April Todd-Malmlov, the exchange's executive director since 2011, resigned under political duress. The state's problems are severe—4,478 have selected a plan so far—but were not severe enough to disrupt her two-week vacation in Costa Rica late last month with her partner, James Golden, who runs the state's Medicaid program. . . . Poorly timed Caribbean R&R also sealed the fate of Rebecca Pearce last week. The chief of Maryland's ObamaCare exchange absconded for the tonier destination of the Cayman Islands as her exchange floundered. . . . Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley promised his state would "lead the nation" on the Affordable Care Act and he is leading Minnesota by a click or two, with 5,179 sign-ups. Maryland's performance glitches are still so atrocious that on Monday Mr. O'Malley said he's weighing a Plan B that would desert Ms. Pearce's handicraft and shift residents to the federal Healthcare.gov website. Yes, it's that bad. Out in Hawaii, Coral Andrews stepped down from her position running that state's exchange on the same day as Ms. Pearce. Fewer than 500 people have enrolled thus far in the Aloha State's exchange, despite having received $205,342,270 in federal exchange planning and establishment grants. That sounds bad unless the point of comparison is Oregon, where enrollment stood at all of 44 people at the end of November. The Beaver State's $303,011,587 in grants in hand works out to about $6.9 million a head. Enrollment since has improved to 7,597 as the state abandoned trying to fix the digital site and moved to all-paper applications and direct insurer recruitment. Rocky King, the functionary responsible for that anachronism, was placed on extended medical leave this month. Is Mr. Podesta or Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius due for a holiday? A flap over an inopportune vacation might be the only thing that would force the White House to hold someone responsible for ObamaCare.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week, “There’s a lot of ivory tower thinking that goes on in this city. Way too much of it. And it’s time for our Washington Democrat friends to finally climb out of the ivory tower and see the reality of their ideas in action – to witness the failure of their policies first hand. It’s time for Washington Democrats to drop their refusal to change anything of real substance in Obamacare and it’s time for them to listen closely to the people who sent us here in the first place. And here’s what so many Americans are saying: that they want Democrats to start working with Republicans to improve our nation’s health care system in a positive way – to help us implement real, patient-centered, common-sense reforms that can actually lower costs and improve the quality of care. ...So let’s erase that mistake and start over with real reform.”
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