Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? (David Catron)

Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? – David Catron

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In July of 2009, as the Obamacare debate was heating up, Gallup published a survey indicating that 83 percent of Americans wanted health care reform to make their health insurance more affordable. Now, more than five years after the President’s “signature domestic achievement” was passed, health insurance premiums are higher than ever. And it’s obvious that Obamacare is a major driver of the increase. The Wall Street Journal reports that insurers are proposing rate increases ranging from 25 to 51 percent for 2016. Why? “All of them cite high medical costs incurred by people newly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.”

Obamacare apologists suggest different causes, of course. Jonathan Cohn writes, “One reason could be the normal and predictable competition among insurance plans jostling for market share.” Cohn’s grasp of economics is so tenuous that he doesn’t know insurers compete for market share by reducing premiums. He also connects the increases to anxiety about that bête noire of Obamacarians everywhere, King v. Burwell: “If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs… millions will drop their coverage because they will no longer be able to afford it.” Cohn evidently thinks insurers will respond by making insurance even less affordable.

The real reason for the proposed increases is that insurers now have real data on real Obamacare enrollees rather than implausible projections from the Obama administration. And this new information makes it clear that they’ll lose their shirts if they sell coverage at anything resembling 2015 rates. Many young, healthy individuals have refused to buy pricy Obamacare coverage, leaving insurance carriers with sluggish premium streams out of which to pay the large dollar claims coming in from seriously ill patients willing to buy coverage regardless of cost. This dynamic has already caused a number of health insurers to incur huge losses.

Obviously, not even an evil insurance company can stay in business if it consistently loses large amounts of money. Earlier this month, Assurant Health announced that losses related to Obamacare are causing it to close its doors. Western Journalism reports, “The company and industry watchers blamed its losses directly on the impact of Obamacare… Assurant lost $63.7 million in 2014. The insurer raised its rates by 20 percent in 2015, in hopes of returning to profitability, but lost between $80 to $90 million during the first quarter of this year.” The company has been in business for 123 years and provides coverage for 1 million people.

Assurant is based in Wisconsin, but insurers all across the country are attempting to survive the same perverse incentives that finally undid that venerable company. The Journal lists proposed increases by companies offering plans through exchanges in Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state. And many of these companies are already losing huge amounts of money: “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee… lost $141 million from exchange-sold plans, stemming largely from a small number of sick enrollees.” It is asking for a 36.3 percent rate increase.

All of which suggests that the “premium stabilization” safeguards ostensibly meant to prevent Obamacare from sending the health insurance industry into a death spiral aren’t working. The “reinsurance program,” as Philip Klein explains at the Washington Examiner, “slaps fees on insurance policies and uses the revenue to funnel payments to insurers to compensate them for taking on individuals with a high-risk profile.” “Risk corridors” are a corporate redistribution scheme whereby the government uses the profits of some insurers to offset the losses of others. But, as Klein points out, both programs will be gone after 2016.

If disasters like Assurant and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee are occurring while these programs remain in place, what will happen when they’re gone? Well, we’ll have more insurers proposing hair-raising rate increases in order to avoid the fate of Assurant. But, not to worry, says Charles Gaba at HealthInsurance.org, upon whom the erstwhile “Citizen Cohn” rather desperately relies upon as the voice of reason: “These requested rate changes are being submitted to the state insurance commissioner’s office… and in most states either the commissioner or some other regulatory body has to either approve the requests or deny them.”

In other words, some state bureaucrat may simply deny the insurance company’s rate request and impose a more “appropriate” premium. This means that, in New Mexico, Health Care Service Corp. may get a mere 25 percent increase rather than the 51 percent it has proposed. In Tennessee, Blue Cross may get only 20 percent rather than the requested 36.3 percent increase. In Maryland, the state bureaucrats may decide that, instead of a 30.4 percent increase, Blue Shield may only get 18 percent. All of these outcomes have one thing in common: The rate goes up by double digits. That means you pay a higher premium no matter how it turns out.

In other words, in the best case scenario, the your health insurance premiums are going up. And this is not simply because Obamacare has been unable to accomplish the main thing most Americans wanted from health reform in first place – more affordable medical care. Barack Obama’s “signature domestic achievement” is actually making health care less affordable. Good job, Mr. President. Please use the rest of your term perfecting your chip shot.

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Thanks Barack… U.S. Welfare Rolls Explode Under Obamacare

U.S. Welfare Rolls Explode Under Obamacare – WorldNetDaily

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The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has created more dependency on government and perverted the capitalist foundations of America, according to a top surgeon.

“You just can’t keep giving everything away to people without them working for it,” said Dr. Lee Hieb, former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “It’s not capitalism when you let people who are able-bodied not contribute to society but take the spoils. I mean, that’s just not capitalism. We have too many people that don’t work to eat.”

Obamacare appears to be worsening America’s dependency issue. The Associated Press reported food-stamp enrollment increased in 11 states between January 2013 and the end of 2014, the period during which Obamacare went into effect.

Ten of those 11 states expanded Medicaid under the ACA, and six of them used new online enrollment systems that made it easy for customers to sign up for both Medicaid and food stamps at the same time. Such streamlined application systems were built specifically for the health-care overhaul.

In total, nearly 632,000 people were added to the food-stamp rolls in those 11 states during that period, at an estimated cost of almost $79 million a month to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the food-stamp program also known as SNAP. This came at a time when the national economy was improving and food-stamp enrollment declined nationwide.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, sees the phenomenon as part of a government attempt to place more Americans under its thumb.

“Self-reliant Americans are being crushed by taxation and regulation, directly and indirectly, and turned into government dependents,” Orient said. “How can you resist if government can cut off your food and medicine?”

In almost all of the 16 states that didn’t expand Medicaid, food-stamp rolls have been decreasing as the economy improves.

Hieb, author of “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare,” said Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion damaged the American medical system by dropping people from their private insurance and putting them on Medicaid.

“People think that all these people getting on Medicaid through Obamacare were uninsured,” Hieb said. “That’s not true. A number of those people had private insurance, but now, because they qualify under these new guidelines, why not have somebody else pay for your health insurance? So instead of paying for health insurance, they’re taking Medicaid.”

She continued, “So you’ve turned paying patients into nonpaying patients. It’s absolutely, clearly a failing economic model, and I don’t understand how smart people believe it. I just don’t understand how they do not see that point.”

Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon, has observed firsthand the damage Medicaid expansion has done to hospitals. She recently reached the end of a contract to perform surgery two-and-a-half days a week at a small hospital, and she is now looking for a similar arrangement. However, she says she’s found hospitals are running scared from orthopedic surgeons like her because they fear they won’t make enough money to pay the surgeons’ salaries.

According to Hieb, the hospitals are struggling to bring in money because of the increase in Medicaid patients and corresponding decrease in private-pay patients. Medicaid does not reimburse hospitals as much as private insurance does. Hospitals have also struggled to cope with Medicare provider payment cuts and increased administrative paperwork.

But while Medicaid expansion has hurt hospitals, it has been a boon to health-care consumers. In states that expand Medicaid, adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level must qualify, and states are allowed to set even higher thresholds. Before the ACA took effect, the median Medicaid eligibility limit for parents was 106 percent of the federal poverty level. Medicaid expansion also made adults without dependent children eligible for the first time.

Hieb said she believes Americans are smart enough to act in their own financial self-interest, and, for many who hover just above the poverty level, that involves taking advantage of the welfare system. Hieb lives among the patients she serves in rural Iowa, and she says they know how to look out for themselves.

“It’s a mistake to think that all these poor people are children who cannot navigate this very complex medical system,” Hieb asserted. “These are the people who have figured out if you don’t make $35,000 a year working, it’s not worth working because you can do that well if you know how to work the system of welfare.”

If people can cobble together enough disability payments, unemployment payments and food stamps to earn a halfway decent living, Hieb argued, they are smart enough to hitch themselves to Medicaid, even if they might be able to afford health insurance on their own.

“People act in their own economic self-interest,” Hieb said. “If you can get things for free, why pay for them?”

She answered her own question: “One, because that’s ethical, and two, medical providers cannot be in business unless somebody actually pays the bill.”

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Your Daley Gator Hitlery Clinton News Roundup

Hillary Discussed Highly Sensitive Information, Now Classified “Secret,” On Her Private Email, As We Predicted – Andrew C. McCarthy

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Well, you heard it here first.

Today, the State Department released Benghazi-related email from the private server and one of the (at least) two private email accounts on which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted official business – recklessly and in violation of laws and guidelines relating to the exchanging and preservation of electronic communications. Within hours, the Obama administration was forced to concede that at least one of the emails contained classified information.

Mrs. Clinton has previously and dubiously claimed that she did not discuss classified information on her private email account(s). Despite today’s disclosure, she is standing by that claim as, apparently, is the State Department. Her rationale is that the information in question – which relates to suspects in the Benghazi attack and remains highly sensitive ­- was not classified “secret” at the time of the email exchange. Instead, it was upgraded to “secret” status just today by the FBI, which was plainly alarmed at the prospect of its disclosure.

I warned about this situation back in March, when Mrs. Clinton’s violation of federal laws and guidelines in connection with using private email to conduct official business first surfaced. The problem with the rationalization offered by Mrs. Clinton and the administration is twofold.

First, at the time of the Benghazi attack, Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state and an old hand at dealing with classified information. She thus had to have known at the time of the communication in question that information of the type she was dealing with should have been classified as “secret” even if it had not been so classified yet. Obviously, the FBI instantly recognized the significance of the information upon learning that it was about to be disclosed.

Second, it is frequently the case that highly sensitive information is not classified (or not yet classified); nevertheless, government officials are instructed that it is not to be disclosed publicly and not to be discussed on non-government email systems.

As I explained back in March:

Mrs. Clinton [in her press conference] stressed that she never stored classified documents on her private e-mail system. To the uninitiated, this sounded like the strongest point in her defense. Mostly, however, it is a red herring, exploiting the public’s unfamiliarity with how classified information works – and fueling no small amount of irresponsible speculation over the last few days about how the nature of her responsibilities meant classified material must have been stored on her private system. In the government, classified documents are maintained on separate, super-highly secured systems… [I]n general, Mrs. Clinton would not have been able to access classified documents even from a .gov account, much less from her private account – she’d need to use the classified system… That said, there are two pertinent caveats.

First, since we’re dealing with Clintonian parsing here, we must consider the distinction between classified documents and classified information – the latter being what is laid out in the former. It is not enough for a government official with a top-secret clearance to refrain from storing classified documents on private e-mail; the official is also forbidden to discuss the information contained in those documents. The fact that Mrs. Clinton says she did not store classified documents on her private server, which is very likely true, does not discount the distinct possibility that she discussed classified matters in private e-mails…

Second, most of the important but mundane information exchanged in government is not classified. It is a truism that too much information in Washington is classified. Still, it is also true that, for government officials, dealing with classified information is very inconvenient – you are usually not allowed to read it on your office computer, certainly not on your personal computer, not while commuting to work, not at home, etc. Thus, much of the information that government officials deal with is categorized as “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU).

To listen to the commentary over the past week, and to listen to Mrs. Clinton yesterday, one would think there are only two realms of government information: something is either a national defense secret or the seating chart for Chelsea’s wedding reception. Most information, though, is neither classified nor private. When I was a federal prosecutor, for instance, the SBU information I routinely dealt with included: grand-jury transcripts, the secrecy of which must be maintained by law; investigative reports by the FBI, DEA, NYPD, and other investigative agencies; wiretap affidavits that disclosed that investigations were underway, the suspects, the evidence, the wiretap locations, and the identity of government undercover agents, informants, and witnesses; memos outlining investigative or litigation strategies to deal with organized crime and terrorism organizations; plans to orchestrate arrests in multi-defendant cases where flight risk was a concern; financial information of subjects of investigations; personal information (sometimes including family financial and medical information) of lawyers and staff whom I supervised; contact information (including home addresses) of agents with whom I worked on cases often involving violent crime and public corruption; contact information (including home addresses) of judges in the event it was necessary to get a search warrant after hours; and so on.

None of that information was classified. I was permitted to – and needed to – have it ready to hand, but it was also my duty to maintain it in a secure, responsible manner… a duty that became even more important once I was a boss and was expected to set an example for junior lawyers and staff to follow. And mind you, I was just a government lawyer. I was not the secretary of state.

The inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of SBU can do enormous damage. It can even get people killed. That is why the State Department has elaborate rules about SBU – rules that include instructing State Department employees to conduct their e-mail business via government e-mail accounts on government communications systems that have “the proper level of security control to provide nonrepudiation, authentication and encryption, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of resident information” (U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Affairs Manual, vol. 12, sec. 544.3 ). As Fox News relates, it was on the basis of these concerns that Mrs. Clinton, as secretary of state, directed State Department employees in June 2011 to “avoid conducting official Department [business] from your personal e-mail accounts.”

Thus far, there has been disclosure of only a fraction of Mrs. Clinton’s existing private email – i.e., the email that she did not unilaterally delete despite being on notice that it was relevant to government investigations. Yet it is already clear that, as secretary of state, she did business in a way that was, at a minimum, grossly irresponsible… and quite possibly worse. She had to have realized the near certainty that an official of her stature would have been targeted for surveillance of her private emails by foreign intelligence services. Yet, in her determination not to leave a paper trail that might damage her political prospects, she ignored the risks. The Justice Department, which has prosecuted high government officials for mishandling national defense information, should be investigating – and that includes acquiring custody of Mrs. Clinton’s private server.

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Krauthammer Sounds Off On Hillary Email Dump, Explains Why He Thinks ‘Whole Release Is A Farce’ – The Blaze

Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer reacted to the release of the first batch of Hillary Clinton emails, calling the “whole release” a “farce.”

“This is an echo of what her own press secretary said, who said there isn’t a shred of evidence. And as I’ve said there is no shred of evidence because she shredded the evidence. This whole release is a farce,” the syndicated political columnist said. “What is being released now… is stuff that was scrubbed and cleansed and decided upon, chosen by her own people, acting in her own interest, rather than… people with obligation to the public.”

“So we are getting the cleaned up version,” he continued. “And I think they are succeeding, the Clinton people. Because everybody is hungrily looking through stuff pre-scrubbed. They are not going to find anything. The Clinton’s are secretive and deceptive, but they are not stupid.”

Krauthammer then explained how he thought the process will benefit Clinton in the presidential election.

“Whatever is indicating has been scrubbed and removed. So we are going to have this long saga of the release. She will take the credit for, ‘I asked for it to be released, I wanted it to be released.’ But it’s the wrong stuff. And when people attack her later in the campaign, she will say it’s all been released, the press has looked at it,” he said.

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Hillary Slept Through Security Briefing On Benghazi Attack – Gateway Pundit

Figures.

Hillary Clinton slept through the president’s daily briefing on Benghazi. She didn’t wake up until 10:45 AM.

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What difference does it make?

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Hillary Didn’t Even Know Ambassador’s Name After He Was Murdered In Benghazi – Right Scoop

The State Department is releasing a batch of the Hillary emails, because the best way to make sure no one notices is to do it on the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. Hidden in one email is a pretty deplorable absence of interest and care from Hillary.

From the Washington Times:

The night a U.S. ambassador was killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, Hillary Clinton sent a message three senior State Department officials.

The recepients were Jake Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Clinton, Cheryl Mills, an adviser to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Secretary, and Victoria Jane Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?” Clinton says in the email, time stamped 11:38 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

The email had as its subject line: “Chris Smith.” The murdered ambassador was Chris Stevens.

The Secretary of State didn’t even know the name of the U.S. ambassador to Libya – even after terrorists stormed an American compound and killed him.

How deplorable is that. And this is who the Democrats want to make president? Disgusting.

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E-mails: Hillary Knew That State Department Asked YouTube To Block Anti-Muslim Movie Overseas – Hot Air

Not that there was ever much doubt. Three days after the Benghazi attack, the White House admitted it had pressured Google and YouTube to yank “Innocence of Muslims” as some sort of terms-of-use violation. Google refused. A week after that, having failed to twist a major corporation’s arm into censoring a politically unhelpful bit of free speech on its behalf, the State Department started running ads in Pakistan denouncing the movie, in hopes that jihadi savages would be appeased by the show of national contrition and not target any more embassies. Also around this time, YouTube did agree to censor “Innocence of Muslims” by blocking it in Egypt and Libya, the two nations that saw the most violent attacks on U.S. diplomats on September 11, 2012. Hillary Clinton had to have known about and signed off on all this, we naturally assumed. And now here’s evidence that she did: Although the message below is vague, I assume it’s referring to the ban that Google imposed on the video in Africa.

Leaning on corporate cronies to suppress Americans’ speech for political ends would be a disqualifying offense for a candidate in a sane world.

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Fun fact: On the very day that e-mail was sent, the man who made “Innocence of Muslims” was arrested by the feds on a “parole violation.” Hillary’s leisure reading in the weeks before that was interesting too:

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Clinton Foundation Discloses Millions In Additional Payments Under Pressure – Big Government

From the Washington Post:

The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.

Thursday’s disclosure is one of a number of instances in recent weeks in which the foundation has acknowledged that it received funding from sources not disclosed on its Web site.

The ethics agreement was reached between the foundation and the Obama administration to provide additional transparency and avoid potential conflicts of interest with Hillary Clinton’s appointment as secretary of state.

The agreement placed restrictions on foreign government donations, for instance, but the foundation revealed in February that it had violated the limits at one point by taking $500,000 from Algeria.

There was one entity clearly associated with a foreign government that provided speaking fees, of $250,000 to $500,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton: The energy ministry in Thailand.

The U.S. Islamic World Forum also provided $250,000 to $500,000 to the foundation for a speech by Bill Clinton, according to the new disclosure. The event was organized in part by the Brookings Institution with support from the government of Qatar.

In addition, the list is studded with overseas corporations and foundations.

They included the South Korean energy and chemicals conglomerate Hanwha, which paid $500,000 to $1,000,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton.

China Real Estate Development Corp. paid the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by the former president. The Qatar First Investment Bank, now known as the Qatar First Bank, paid fees in a similar range. The bank is described by Persian Gulf financial press as specializing in high-net-worth clients.

The Telmex Foundation, founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, provided between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Leftist Astroturf Update: Ferguson Protesters Protest Not Getting Their Checks For Protesting

Ferguson Protesters Protest Not Getting Their Checks For Protesting – Weasel Zippers

On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.

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They even started a hashtag, #cutthechecks, to demand their money:

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Some folks had apparently been paid like Deray McKesson, and others hadn’t, causing further discord.

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This protester indicates those who protested for more money were paid $2700 to stop making a fuss, but it would then impact the ability to protest over the summer in #Ferguson:

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Update: More Proof Of Paid Protesters: Ad Asking For Protesters To Travel To Protest, List Of Payouts To #Ferguson Protest Organizers

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Hitlery Personally Took Money From Companies That Sought To Influence Her

Hillary Clinton Personally Took Money From Companies That Sought To Influence Her – Vox

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Almost a decade ago, as Hillary Clinton ran for re-election to the Senate on her way to seeking the presidency for the first time, the New York Times reported on her unusually close relationship with Corning, Inc., an upstate glass titan. Clinton advanced the company’s interests, racking up a big assist by getting China to ease a trade barrier. And the firm’s mostly Republican executives opened up their wallets for her campaign.

During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Corning lobbied the department on a variety of trade issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The company has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to her family’s foundation. And, last July, when it was clear that Clinton would again seek the presidency in 2016, Corning coughed up a $225,500 honorarium for Clinton to speak.

In the laundry-whirl of stories about Clinton buck-raking, it might be easy for that last part to get lost in the wash. But it’s the part that matters most. The $225,500 speaking fee didn’t go to help disease-stricken kids in an impoverished village on some long-forgotten patch of the planet. Nor did it go to a campaign account. It went to Hillary Clinton. Personally.

The latest episode in the Clinton money saga is different than the others because it involves the clear, direct personal enrichment of Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate, by people who have a lot of money at stake in the outcome of government decisions. Her federally required financial disclosure was released to media late Friday, a time government officials and political candidates have long reserved for dumping news they hope will have a short shelf life.

Together, Hillary and Bill Clinton cleared $25 million on the lecture circuit over the last 16 months, according to a Hillary Clinton’s personal financial disclosure required of presidential candidates. A lot of the focus will naturally go toward the political argument that Clinton’s wealth makes her out of touch. The US has had plenty of good rich presidents and bad rich presidents. What’s more important is whether they are able to listen to all of the various interests without being unduly influenced by any of them.

There’s a reason government officials can’t accept gifts: They tend to have a corrupting effect. True, Hillary Clinton wasn’t a government official at the time the money was given. But it is very, very, very hard to see six-figure speaking fees paid by longtime political boosters with interests before the government – to a woman who has been running for president since the last time she lost – as anything but a gift.
Who gave and gave and gave and lobbied?

Corning’s in good company in padding the Clinton family bank account after lobbying the State Department and donating to the foundation. Qualcomm and salesforce.com did that, too. Irwin Jacobs, a founder of Qualcomm, and Marc Benioff, a founder of salesforce.com, also cut $25,000 checks to the now-defunct Ready for Hillary SuperPAC. Hillary Clinton spoke to their companies on the same day, October 14, 2014. She collected more than half a million dollars from them that day, adding to the $225,500 salesforce.com had paid her to speak eight months earlier.

And Microsoft, the American Institute of Architects, AT&T, SAP America, Oracle and Telefonica all paid Bill Clinton six-figure sums to speak as Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork for her presidential campaign.

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And that list, which includes Clinton Foundation donors, is hardly the end of it. There’s a solid set of companies and associations that had nothing to do with the foundation but lobbied State while Clinton was there and then paid for her to speak to them. Xerox, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, in addition to Corning, all lobbied Clinton’s department on trade matters and then invited her to earn an easy check.

By this point, most Clinton allies wish they had a button so they didn’t have to go to the trouble of rolling their eyes at each new Clinton money story. The knee-jerk eye-roll response to the latest disclosure will be that there’s nothing new to see here. But there’s something very important to see that is different than the past stories. This time, it’s about Hillary Clinton having her pockets lined by the very people who seek to influence her. Not in some metaphorical sense. She’s literally being paid by them.

That storyline should be no less shocking for the fact that it is no longer surprising. The skimpy fig leaf of timing, that the speeches were paid for when she was between government gigs, would leave Adam blushing. And while most Democrats will shrug it off – or at least pretend to – it’s the kind of behavior voters should take into account when considering whether they want to give a candidate the unparalleled power of the presidency. It goes to the most important, hardest-to-predict characteristic in a president: judgment.

Read Clinton’s full financial disclosure report here.

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New Conservative Crowdfunding Website RallyBuilder.com Promises It Won’t Cave To PC-Nazis

Liberal Crowdfunding Platforms Are About To Get Competition From A New Player That Promises It Won’t Cave To The PC Crowd – Liberty News

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A new crowdfunding player has emerged in response to growing concern about mainstream crowdfunding platforms finding loopholes in their terms of use to discriminate against Christians and conservatives. The new website, located at RallyBuilder.com, takes direct aim at the mainstream websites in one of its blog posts.

Via the RallyBuilder.com blog.

Unfortunately, instead of standing up to the mobs, the mainstream platforms cower and side with them while turning their backs on thousands if not hundreds of thousands of customers. All for the simple mindset that mainstream platforms would rather discriminate against their own customers over being accused of something they aren’t guilty of by a noisy minority.

This is not only ridiculous, it’s disingenuous, weak and anti-American in principle.

Today RallyBuilder quietly launched the Beta version of its platform and is working with a handful of project creators that it will unveil early next week. RallyBuilder says they will also be hosting a major crowdfunding campaign next week on behalf of a Christian small business that was banned from GoFundMe several weeks ago.

According to RallyBuilder the new platform will have every feature available on any of the mainstream crowdfunding websites. The service will enable project creators to rally peers and others around their products, business ideas, causes and fundraising campaigns, and will have the added benefit of ensuring project creators are not bullied off the site by politically correct special interest groups.

“The crowdfunding market is due for an overhaul,” said Eric Odom, architect of the RallyBuilder platform. “Crowdfunding is a powerful tool that can be abused by people who want to silence others. We saw a void in the crowdfunding space and we’re filling it. Our pledge to our users includes the promise that we won’t cave to the PC crowd.”

RallyBuilder is fully functional and open for business, but says it won’t go public with a full version of its website until late May or early June. A quick visit to the RallyBuilder.com website reveals that it already accepts new accounts and new users can create projects to immediately begin raising funds.

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Obama VA Illegally Spending $6 Billion A Year

Veterans Affairs Improperly Spent $6 Billion Annually, Senior Official Says – Washington Post

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.

In a 35-page document addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the official accuses other agency leaders of “gross mismanagement” and making a “mockery” of federal acquisition laws that require competitive bidding and proper contracts.

Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, describes a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” at the Veterans Health Administration, the massive health-care system for 8.7 million veterans.

“Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” he writes in the March memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post. He adds, “I can state without reservation that VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of Federal laws.”

Frye describes in detail a series of practices that he says run afoul of federal rules, including the widespread use of purchase cards, which are usually meant as a convenience for minor purchases of up to $3,000, to buy billions of dollars worth of medical supplies without contracts. In one example, he says that up to $1.2 billion in prosthetics were bought using purchase cards without contracts during an 18-month period that ended last year.

He also explains how VA has failed to engage in competitive bidding or sign contracts with outside hospital and health-care providers that offer medical care for veterans that the agency cannot provide, such as specialized tests and surgeries and other procedures. Frye says VA has paid at least $5 billion in such fees, in violation of federal rules that the agency’s own general counsel has said since 2009 must be followed.

Frye alleges further violations in the agency’s purchase of billions of dollars worth of prosthetics and in the acquisition of a wide range of daily medical and surgical supplies. He says many products are bought without the competitive bidding and contracts essential to ensure quality care, effective use of tight dollars and proper government oversight.

“These unlawful acts may potentially result in serious harm or death to America’s veterans,” Frye wrote. “Collectively, I believe they serve to decay the entire VA health-care system.”

VA spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said in a statement that some of the care the agency pays for is not covered by federal acquisition law. She also said that the agency is trying to manage rapid growth in medical care administered by outside providers, with authorizations for outside medical care jumping 46 percent in the first four months of 2015 over the same period last year.

Dillon said VA officials are urging Congress to pass legislation that would allow an “expedited form of purchasing care” for veterans who need to go outside the VA system. She said the bill “would also resolve legal uncertainties that have arisen” regarding the use of purchasing agreements other than those required by federal acquisition regulations.

VA has been under intense pressure to provide adequate care to the surge of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Frye makes clear in his memo that the agency’s violations of purchasing law have been going on for years and that senior leaders have had many opportunities to revamp their practices.

He discloses his repeated efforts to raise his concerns with other senior officials at the agency but says he was consistently ignored. He also accuses top agency officials of deceiving Congress when they were asked about questionable practices.

VA operates one of the largest health-care systems in the country, spanning 150 hospitals and more than 800 outpatient clinics. The agency has been struggling to serve not only the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a surge in veterans who served in the 1960s and 1970s.

VA has been rocked since last year by revelations about long wait times for veterans seeking treatment for health issues including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. McDonald’s predecessor, Eric K. Shinseki, resigned as VA secretary last year after a coverup of months-long hospital wait times became public, and Congress has given the system $10 billion in new funding to ramp up private medical care.

On Thursday, Frye will have a chance to explain his concerns directly to lawmakers. He is scheduled to testify before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee about waste and fraud in the purchase card program.

Frye, 64, is a retired Army colonel who has overseen VA’s acquisitions and logistics programs – one of the federal government’s largest – since 2005. In his role as the agency’s senior procurement executive, he is responsible for developing and supervising VA’s practices for acquiring services and supplies, but he is not in charge of making the purchases. A former Army inspector general, he has held senior acquisition positions over 30 years in government.

Some of his concerns were previously flagged by VA’s inspector general, who has reported for years that weak contracting systems put the agency at risk of waste and abuse. Thousands of pharmaceutical purchases were made without competition or contracts in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, often by unqualified employees, investigators found. And according to documents that have not been made public, the inspector general’s office has warned VA repeatedly that its use of purchase cards needs better oversight.

For the most part, Frye does not explain why the rules are so widely flouted. But he suggests, in this discussion of purchase cards, that the reason may be laziness. He calls these payments an “easy button” way of buying things. Frye told McDonald he became aware in 2012 that government purchase cards were being used improperly by VA. About 2,000 cards had been issued to employees who were ordering products and services without contracts, Frye recounts.

He said his concerns grew after learning that a supervisor in New York had recorded more than $50 million in prosthetics purchases in increments of $24,999 – $1 under the charging limit on each card. In a response to a member of Congress who inquired about the purchases, Shinseki had few answers. “No contract files exist” and “there is no evidence of full and open competition,” Shinseki wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

Purchase cards, Frye says in his memo, can be a sufficient means of acquiring goods and services for “micro-purchases” up to $3,000. Above that limit, the cards can be used for payment only if there is a certified invoice linked to a properly awarded contract.

Frye’s concerns about payments for outside medical services are rooted in the reality that VA hospitals do not have the resources or specialists to provide all the treatment veterans require, such as obstetrics and joint replacements. For these services, VA normally refers veterans to a list of doctors or labs in their area.

The agency, Frye says, is required to identify providers through a competitive process and contract with them to ensure that the government pays reasonable prices and gets the best value and quality. And contracts help ensure veterans are legally protected if they get poor care or if a medical procedure goes wrong.

But according to Frye’s account, VA spent about $5 billion on outside medical care in both 2013 and 2014 in the absence of contracts, and such practices “extend back many years.” “Based on my inquiry in January 2013, [the Office of the General Counsel] confirmed in writing the fact VHA was violating the law,” Frye says.

Large medical systems similar to VA order many supplies in bulk through a list of approved vendors, identified through a competitive process, to ensure quick delivery for the best price. But VA’s system for these “just-in-time” purchases is deeply flawed, and this is yet another way that the agency wastes money, Frye says.

He writes that there are many types of supplies that are not covered by these arrangements. Instead, they are ordered off the shelf, without competition and for higher prices, from a “shopping list” containing 400,000 items, “indiscriminately and not in accordance” with acquisition laws.

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