Corruption Update: Medicare/Medicaid Administrator Instructed Subordinate To Delete Obamacare-Related Email

Top Obamacare Official: ‘Please Delete This Email’ – The Blaze

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Congressional investigators are demanding answers from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner after she reportedly instructed a subordinate to “delete” an Obamacare-related email conversation involving key White House officials.

In a August 15 letter to Tavenner, leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce bring to light an October 5, 2013, email discussion involving White House representatives. The email was then forwarded to the CMS communications director with the following message: “Please delete this email-but please see if we can work on call script.”

According to veteran journalist Sharyl Attiksson, this revelation is “significant” for a number of reasons:

First, the email to be deleted included an exchange between key White House officials and CMS officials. Second, the email was dated October 5, 2013, five days into the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Third, federal law requires federal officials to retain copies of –not delete– email exchanges. And fourth, the document to be deleted is covered under Congressional subpoena as well as longstanding Freedom of Information requests made by members of the media (including me).

Members of Congress are now requesting answers from Tavenner, including why she instructed a subordinate, CMS Director of Communications Julie Bataille, to delete the email exchange rather than telling her to retain it as she claimed was the official policy.

As Attkisson notes, those copied on the email exchange included Jeanne Lambrew, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, White House health care advisor Christopher Jennings, as well as other HHS and CMS officials.

In the 2013 email exchange, Tavenner reportedly explained how CMS staff were dealing with the high volume of Obamacare applications as Healthcare.gov failed. She noted officials were accepting PDF files that “look and act like a paper application” while also trying to accept some information online. Eventually, another official asked for more details on the process.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently informed Congress that they would not be able to produce some of Tavenner’s emails requested under a subpoena as they were deleted. Lawmakers, who are investigating the “processes and procedures” that led to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, were told “most but not all” of the emails would likely be provided.

Tavenner blamed the email loss on the “extremely high volume of emails” that she receives on a daily basis.

The Friday letter from lawmakers asks Tavenner if any other emails were purposefully deleted and how CMS intends on attempting to recover them. Lawmakers also requested an explanation regarding several redactions made in some documents already provided to Congress.

“[N]ow we know that when HealthCare.gov was crashing, those in charge were hitting the delete button behind the scenes,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a statement.

Despite the “delete” request, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told FoxNews.com that the email exchange was saved anyway.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M

Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M – Fox News

Maryland could end up spending as much as $30.5 million as a result of a glitch in its ObamaCare website, as the Obama administration steps in to help states with problematic exchanges.

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Because of Maryland’s defective exchange, the state cannot determine whether customers remain eligible for Medicaid, according to a report by state budget analysts released Thursday.

As a result, the state has agreed with the federal government to a six-month delay in determining eligibility, meaning that payments will continue to be made to customers who are not eligible until the system is fixed. The delay will cost the state $17.8 million in fiscal 2014 and $12.7 million in fiscal 2015, the analysts estimated.

On Friday, the Obama administration said it would suspend some Affordable Care Act rules to help the 14 states with their own ObamaCare sites, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oregon, which have had the most problems.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan, completed a day earlier, states the federal government will help pay for “qualified” health-insurance plans for customers in those states who because of “exceptional circumstances” had to buy plans outside of ObamaCare exchanges, as reported first by The Washington Post.

The administration made the change before the end-of-March deadline for Americans to enroll in ObamaCare this year.

In Maryland, the exchange cannot convert income data from the existing Medicaid enrollment system into a calculation needed to review whether enrollees are qualified “because of a variety of system architectural flaws,” according to budge analysts.

The exchange has been plagued by computer problems that have made it difficult for people to enroll in private health care plans since its debut Oct. 1.

State officials have decided to stick with the exchange through the open enrollment period that ends March 31 but is evaluating alternatives with an eye toward the next enrollment period that begins in November.

Among the possibilities is adopting technology developed by another state, joining a consortium of other states, partnering with the federal exchange or making major fixes to the existing system.

Thirty-six states use the federal HealthCare.gov site, which crashed and had other major problems in the first two months of enrollment.

The Maryland report said the state may need to develop an interim solution while a long-term solution is being developed. However, that process would likely take at least nine to 12 months, pushing up against the next open-enrollment period.

The report also states the development of the exchange was “a high risk undertaking” from the outset, in large part because of contractors woes, tight deadlines, constantly evolving requirement and its need to interface with work-in-progress federal databases.

The administration changes this week are not the first to ObamaCare, to be sure.

In November, Obama helped Americans about to lose policies because they didn’t meet new minimum requirements by allow the substandard plans to be sold through the end of this year.

And administration officials has twice this year given medium- and large-sized employers more time to offer health insurance to most full-time workers.

However, the change this week is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has agreed to help pay for policies bought outside the new exchanges.

The coverage in the outside policies would have to be comparable to those offered on the exchange. And customers would have to start paying premiums, then get the subsidies after the state exchanges could determine their income eligibility.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange official told The Post earlier this week that roughly 7,000 applications are stuck in state’s system, but all of them might not need insurance and that officials were still looking over the administration’s offer.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related article:

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45-State Study: Obamacare Offers Less Choice, Higher Prices, Breaking Another Promise – Washington Examiner

A new and comprehensive comparison of health insurance options offered by Obamacare versus private websites finds that President Obama’s program offers less choice and higher prices than promised by the White House and leading Democrats.

Adding to the list of broken health care promises, the study from the National Center for Public Policy Research found that there were more and cheaper options available on websites outside the health insurance exchange in 2013 than on healthcare.gov and state Obamacare exchanges.

The report, “Obamacare Exchanges: Less Choice, Higher Prices,” looked at options available for a 27-year-old single person and a 57-year-old couple in metropolitan areas across 45 states.

The report found that a 27-year-old male had about 10 more policies to choose from on eHealthinsurance.com and finder.healthcare versus the exchange. The older couple had about nine more policy choices.

Ditto for the cost findings, with the 27-year-old male having access to 32 policies that cost less than the cheapest Obamacare offering, and the 57-year-old couple access to 29 cheaper policies.

“In general, consumers had substantially more policies to choose from on private websites such as eHealthinsurance.com and Finder.healthcare.gov than they presently have on the exchanges,” said the study.

“Obamacare supporters, including the president himself and Nancy Pelosi, claimed the exchanges would yield more choice and lower prices,” said the study’s author, David Hogberg. “This study shows those claims do not stand up.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, describes itself f as a “non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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House Subcommittee Chairman: Obama Administration Policy Would Eliminate Half Of All Existing Medicare Part D Plans – Daily Caller

The Obama administration’s new proposed rule for Medicare Part D would eliminate half of all Medicare Part D plans and raise prescription drug premiums for millions of seniors by up to 20 percent, according to a U.S. House subcommittee chairman.

“Today, the average senior has 35 different [Medicare Part D] plans to choose from this year. This rule would reduce that choice to two plans. 50% of the plans offered today will be gone, and the health care that seniors like may go with it,” House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Pitts said in a statement at a Feb. 26 hearing attended by a top administration health official.

“Limiting seniors’ choices like this will inevitably lead to higher costs. By some estimates, the restriction on the number of plans that can be offered could cause premiums to rise by 10%-20%. Costs to the federal government may increase by $1.2-1.6 billion according to a study by Milliman,” Pitts said. “… I urge Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner to rescind this rule.”

The study Pitts cited also showed that the new rule would increase out-of-pocket drug costs for 6.9 million seniors who do not qualify for low-income subsidies, and would raise federal taxpayer costs for six million seniors who do qualify.

President Bush signed Medicare Part D into law in 2003 to subsidize prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Daily Caller reported that the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently introduced a new proposed rule on the Federal Register called “Medicare Program: Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs.”

The new rule “would revise the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C) regulations and prescription drug benefit program (Part D) regulations to implement statutory requirements; strengthen beneficiary protections; exclude plans that perform poorly; improve program efficiencies; and clarify program requirements,” according to the Federal Register.

The rule states that it also aims “to implement certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

The new rule’s stated desire to “strengthen our ability to identify strong applicants for Part C and Part D program participation and remove consistently poor performers” would give the Obama administration new authority to limit health insurance and prescription drug providers under the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.

The rule would also violate the Medicare Part D’s law’s “non-interference provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from interfering with the negotiations between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and sponsors of prescription drug plans,” according to testimony by American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, violating “congressional intent.”

Rep. Pitts expressed confusion and anger at CMS’ new rule.

“CMS itself says that 96% of the Part D claims it reviewed showed seniors saved money at preferred pharmacies, and nearly 25,500 seniors in my district have chosen Part D plans with a preferred pharmacy network. Yet CMS would take that away from them,” Pitts said.

“The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is a government success story. Last year, nearly 39 million beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan,” Pitts said.

“Competition and choice have kept premiums stable. In fact, in 2006, the first year the program was in effect, the base beneficiary premium was $32.20 a month. In 2014, the base beneficiary premium is $32.42 – a 22-cent increase over 9 years – and still roughly half of what was originally predicted,” Pitts added. “More than 90% of seniors are satisfied with their Part D drug coverage because of this. African-American and Hispanic seniors report even higher levels of satisfaction, at 95% and 94%, respectively.”

“The program has worked so well because it forces prescription drug plans and providers to compete for Medicare beneficiaries – putting seniors, not Washington, in the driver’s seat. Part D should be the model for future reforms to the Medicare program,” Pitts said.

House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton joined with Pitts at the hearing in criticizing the new rule.

“The proposed rule, issued on January 6, 2014, appears to be a direct assault on the competitive structure of the program. It inhibits the ability of plans to obtain discounts for beneficiaries, limits the range of market segments in which they may compete, and usurps the responsibility of states to license those able to prescribe. This 700-page proposal makes numerous changes,” Upton said.

CMS principal deputy administrator Jonathan Blum testified that limiting Part D sponsors to providing only two plans per region will “promote needed clarity of plan choices for beneficiaries.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Dreaded and feared Fiscal cliff avoided?

Not doing too much blogging today, I am exhausted, but, I did see this at The Other McCain, where Stacy notes Obama and his fans are happy about higher taxes on the evil rich

Ace has examined the reported terms of the deal, which would raise taxes on those earning more than $400,000, if indeed it is a deal, but deal or no deal, President Obama refused to be distracted from his most important second-term priority, scapegoating Republicans:

Barack Obama held a last-minute press conference today to bash Republicans and gloat about his election victory. At one point in his speech he bragged about how he’s going to be able to raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
His supporters cheered — as if they earned it.

Of course those tax hikes will do nothing at all to address the deficit, but, Democrats love to play that class warfare game so there you are. The Democratic leadership gets to tell the suckers ah, Democratic base that they are making those rich bastards pay their “fair share” and the sheep, ah Democratic base love to see the rich punished. Amazingly the walking brain donors, ah Democratic base are convinced that other people making less money benefits them somehow. 

Here are more details on the proposed deal

Under the proposed accord being hammered out by Biden and McConnell, households earning less than $450,000 would largely escape higher income tax bills, though couples earning more than $300,000 a year and individuals earning more than $250,000 would lose part of the value of their exemptions and itemized deductions, under the terms of the emerging agreement.

Low-income households would also benefit from a five-year extension of credits for college tuition and the working poor first enacted as part of Obama’s stimulus package in 2009. And businesses would see a variety of popular tax breaks extended, including a credit for research and development.

The tax on inherited estates would rise from 35 percent to 40 percent, though Democrats agreed to keep in place the current exemption for estates worth up to $5 million. And nearly 30 million households would be protected from paying the costly alternative minimum tax for the first time — either on their 2012 tax returns or at any time in the future. The developing agreement calls for a permanent fix.

The two sides also appeared to have reached consensus on unemployment benefits, with Republicans acceding to Democratic demands to keep benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed for another year. Medicare payments would not be cut for doctors next year, and the cost of preserving those programs would not be offset with other spending cuts.

Especially galling to me is the Death Tax, or tax on inherited estates. Why should an heir pay 40% of property ALREADY taxed? This is yet another reason we need ONE, as in JUST one tax rate, for ALL income, period!

 

Fiscal Cliff update! Speaker Beohner offers up tax hikes on millionaires

Point one. Boehner ought to know better, Obama is seeking to use this issue to cripple the GOP. 

Point two. This added revenue will do nothing to reign in the deficit, because it does nothing to reign in the real  problem SPENDING!

Point three. No matter what Boehner and the party do, the Democrats and media will still blame them for everything.

Point four. Once you abandon your principles the game is over.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Signaling new movement in “fiscal cliff” talks, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed raising the top rate for earners making more than $1 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. President Barack Obama, who wants higher top rates for households earning more than $250,000, has not accepted the offer, this person said.

The proposal, however, indicated progress in talks that had appeared stalled. The person would only discuss the plan on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

As part of a broader budget deal, Boehner is still seeking more spending cuts than Obama has proposed, particularly in mandatory health care spending. Boehner has asked for a long-term increase in eligibility age for Medicare and for lower costs-of-living adjustments for Social Security.

Point five. Who wants to bet that those spending cuts never happen? Who wants to bet the Democrats are calling for more spending by next Summer?

 

Obamacare is already strangling small medical practices

The creeping illness of Socialism is beginning to take effect, and, as always, it is the  people, and small businesses that get it hardest, and first! The Lonely Conservative has more

Obamacare hasn’t yet been fully implemented but it’s already driving up the cost of health care and killing small medical practices. At the same time, it’s helping big hospitals become even bigger.

Thomas Lewandowski, a Wisconsin heart doctor, was faced with a dilemma after his Medicare payments were cut and his overhead costs soared: Fire half his staff to keep his practice open, or sell it to a local hospital.

He decided to sell, becoming one of more than 6,000 employees at Thedacare, which runs five hospitals and numerous clinics in northeast Wisconsin. It’s a decision being made increasingly in the U.S., creating a new dynamic that threatens to raise the price of health care, even as the federal government and states strain to keep a lid on costs.

Under Medicare’s tangled payment system, hospitals get higher reimbursements than individual doctors for cardiology treatment, as they do for other specialty services, in some cases as much as three times more. At the same time, the added bargaining power gained by controlling more of the heart care in a geographic market has given large hospital systems added leverage in negotiating reimbursements from insurers, such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and WellPoint Inc. (WLP)

One cardiologist said the people who concocted these payments schemes need to have their heads examined. He also said his previous plan to work well into his retirement years has been scrapped.

For cardiologists, the move to hospitals has good and bad aspects, according to Lewandowski, the Wisconsin heart doctor who sold his practice in 2010. While they may gain more stable incomes, doctors often have less freedom over how they care for their patients under strict hospital protocols. Some doctors are also under pressure to see more patients each day when they are employed by a hospital, he said.

“I miss being in private practice and being my own boss,” said Alexander, the Illinois cardiologist. “I would have said 30 years ago that I planned on dying with my boots on, and practicing until I couldn’t practice anymore.

‘‘Now, do I look forward to retirement?’’ he asked. ‘‘Yes. Do I plan on working forever? No.’’

Go read it all. As I noted, it is the very people Socialists claim to be helping that are crushed first. The small businesses go under the wheels too of course. The LOnely Conservative links Timothy Carney, who explains how this works

This is standard. Dodd-Frank looks like it is making big banks bigger. Toy-safety regulation has accrued to the benefit of the big toymakers while killing Mom n Pop competitors. Wal-Mart’s support for theemployer mandate in health insurance and a higher minimum wage weren’t philanthropy. There’s a reason Philip Morris supported FDA regulation of tobacco and smaller cigarette companies called it the “Marlboro Monopoly Act.”

Again, here we go, down the road that Socialism paves. The Road that leads to broken promises, human suffering, and greatly diminished liberty, and choice? Soon that will be gone too. Unless you call being herded into one massive hospital, or another massive hospital. And, of course, the poor will be hardest hit there too, once the IRS starts enforcing that mandate that we MUST buy health care. So, they will be the first to be herded won’t they? And, as more and more of us join them, the system will go broke, and then what?

Comedy Gold! AARP Advertises Medicare Supplement Insurance Chris Matthews says seniors cannot get on Chris Matthews Show

Ah, yes! The Daley Douchebag Award is not given out that often here, but Crazy Legs Matthews just earned himself one

English: Chris Matthews at the 2010 Time 100.

So, wait, I get a Daley Douchebag Award?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…a day after MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews said for the umpteenth time that no one will sell senior citizens health insurance, AARP ran ad on his show promoting – wait for it! – Medicare Supplement Insurance

As NewsBusters reported Thursday, Matthews is regularly making the completely false claim that no one will sell health insurance to seniors.

Quite the contrary, Medicare Supplement Insurance – or what is also referred to as Medigap Insurance – is a booming business in America with currently almost 10 million policy holders.

As such, Matthews is either ignorant of this incontrovertible fact, or is lying to his viewers.

Matthews defines Raving Moonbat doesn’t he? He knows he lies about this issue, Hell, he lies about most everything on his show

Pelosi on ramming health care down our throats, we had to, those darned Republicans were being mean or something

This piece from The Daily Caller sums up Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic Party perfectly

Pelosi defended her 2010 passage of health care reform, stating that the Democratic caucus was very diverse and blamed the Republicans for making it impossible for her to pass the legislation without steamrolling it through Congress. She went on to make the case that Obama and the Democrats have to win or health care reform and Medicare “as we know it” are in jeopardy.

Ah, so the Democratic caucus was “diverse” because every member wanted to force the bill through against the will of their constituents, but those Republicans, who were actually doing their jobs by listening to their constituents? They were the problem. Spoken like a true elitist with no respect for the Constitution, or the will of the people. Which, of course is EXACTLY what Pelosi, and her party is!