Thanks Barack… Illegal Aliens Benefitted From Up To $750M In Obamacare Subsidies

Senate Report: Illegal Aliens Benefitted From Up To $750 Million In Obamacare Subsidies – Weasel Zippers

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Didn’t Obama say illegal aliens would not be getting subsidies?

Via Fox News:
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Illegal immigrants and individuals with unclear legal status wrongly benefited from up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies and the government is struggling to recoup the money, according to a new Senate report obtained by Fox News.

The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, “the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.”

Keep reading

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Scientists Take A Step Closer To Curing Type-1 Diabetes

Have Scientists Found A Cure For Type 1 Diabetes? Experts Halt The Disease By Implanting Cells That Help Produce Insulin – Daily Mail

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A cure for Type 1 diabetes is a step closer after scientists managed to halt the condition for at least six months thanks to insulin-producing cells.

Experts from U.S. hospitals and institutions including Harvard University managed to transplant cells into mice, which immediately began producing insulin.

The team was also able to show they could prevent the cells being rendered useless by the body’s own immune system, which was effectively ‘switched off’ thanks to scientific work.

It means a cure for Type 1 diabetes – which affects 400,000 people in the UK – could be much closer.

Scientists are now working to replicate the results in people with the condition.

The findings build on the news at the end of 2014 that experts had discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells.

The man who led that breakthrough – Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby – also worked on the new studies.

The human islet cells used for the new research were generated from human stem cells developed by Professor Melton.

Following implantation in mice, the cells immediately began producing insulin in response to blood glucose levels and were able to maintain blood glucose within a healthy range for 174 days – the length of the study.

The findings are published in the journals Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology and were made possible with funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

In one study, experts were able to create a newly-modified alginate material to encapsulate human pancreatic islet cells – a way of making the body adopt them.

The modified alginate, a material originally derived from brown algae, was used to prevent the body triggering an immune response which can lead to the build-up of scar tissue and the cells ultimately being rendered useless.

Scientists created a library of almost 800 alginate derivatives and evaluated the immune response to each of them.

This led them to focus on one called triazole-thiomorpholine dioxide (TMTD), which had a minimal immune response in mice and large animals.

The researchers then implanted human islet cells encapsulated in TMTD in mice, which provided the success for the study.

JDRF’s vice president of discovery research, Julia Greenstein, said: ‘Encapsulation therapies have the potential to be groundbreaking for people with Type 1 diabetes.

‘These treatments aim to effectively establish long-term insulin independence and eliminate the daily burden of managing the disease for months, possibly years, at a time without the need for immune suppression.

‘JDRF is excited by these findings and we hope to see this research progress into human clinical trials and ultimately a potential new Type 1 diabetes therapy.’

Senior author of the research, Daniel Anderson, who is associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of chemical engineering, said: ‘We are excited by these results, and are working hard to advance this technology to the clinic.’

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Leftist Nightmare Update: U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses

U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses – Truth Revolt

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UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.

According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.

What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.

“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.

Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,

Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.

While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.

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Obama vetoes repeal of ObamaCare

What? You Bible thumpers expect Obama to do something that might actually help Americans? ObamaCare has not totally destroyed the best health care system on earth, YET!

Protecting his signature domestic achievement, President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed Republican-inspired legislation to repeal his health care law, saying to do so “would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.”

Republican lawmakers have pushed many repeal measures since 2010, when Obama signed the health care program into law. This bill was the first one to make it through Congress and reach his desk.

Republicans have argued that the law is costly and doesn’t work.

In his veto message to Congress, Obama disagreed. Obama said the Affordable Care Act includes fairer rules and stronger consumer protections “that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable and more patient-centered. And it is working.”

Because, basically, ObamaCare has “helped” millions by pricing either them out of being able to actually afford health care plans, and helped millions more by taking the health plans they had away, and forcing them to pay far more for plans they never wanted.

Baby Killers At Planned Parenthood Say Hiding HIV From Sex Partners Is A ‘Right’

Planned Parenthood Says Hiding HIV From Sex Partners Is A ‘Right’ – The Federalist

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In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, actor Charlie Sheen disclosed that he is HIV-positive and has been aware of his HIV status for approximately four years. Since Sheen has a well-known sexual legacy and claims to have had sex with 5,000 women, Matt Lauer and the rest of humanity were understandably concerned that Sheen may have infected some of his many partners with HIV over the years.

Lauer asked Sheen pointedly, “Have you, since the time of your diagnosis, told every one of your sexual partners, before you had a sexual encounter, that you were HIV positive?” Sheen said, “Yes, I have.” Lauer: “No exception?” Sheen: “No exception.”

In this exchange, both Lauer and Sheen seem to assume it would be the right thing to inform a potential sexual partner that you are HIV-positive before engaging in sexual activity with him or her. Even if Sheen is not telling the whole truth, he seems to know he should at least publicly insist that he, without exception, told his sexual partners that he was HIV-positive before engaging in sexual activity with them.

Would it surprise you to know that Planned Parenthood disagrees? International Planned Parenthood Federation, of which Planned Parenthood Federation of America is an official affiliate, maintains it is a person’s “human right” not to tell their sexual partners they are HIV positive if they don’t want to.

Go Ahead, Infect People

It’s all laid out in International Planned Parenthood Federation’s booklet for HIV-positive youth entitled “Healthy, Happy and Hot.” It says, “Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status.” It continues: “Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status.”

In other words, Planned Parenthood thinks it’s your human right to risk exposing other people to a potentially deadly disease without telling them. Most of the states in the union disagree with Planned Parenthood. Lauer went on to ask Sheen, “What about criminal charges? In 35 states if you or someone who is HIV positive… have sex with someone else without divulging it, you can be charged with a crime.” Sheen said he understands.

But fortunately for him, International Planned Parenthood Federation is working to change that. “Healthy, Happy and Hot” explains, “Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

The pamphlet then gives tips to protect oneself from criminalization, and does say that the best way to protect yourself (which is apparently more important than protecting your partner) is to tell your partner that you are infected before you have sex. This section ends with the statement, “Get involved in advocacy to change laws that violate your rights.” It appears that, according to Planned Parenthood, Sheen’s right to have sex trumps his partners’ right to live. That should give him some peace of mind.

Also, Impair Your Sexual Judgment

Furthermore, to the Charlie Sheens of the world, take heart. Your days of sexual indulgence are far from over. Planned Parenthood’s booklet says, “There are lot’s (sic) of people who don’t mind whether their partner(s) is HIV negative or positive,” that it’s your right to “experience sexual pleasure” and that “you’ve done nothing wrong.” So don’t bother with any of that I’m-going-to-change-my-life rhetoric, Charlie. Don’t change! You’ve done nothing wrong!

Finally, Lauer was understandably concerned that Sheen’s drinking and drug use might affect his ability to take his medication regularly and to make responsible sexual choices that may affect his health and the health of others. He asked Sheen’s doctor, “Are you worried that in an impaired state, that Charlie will simply lapse in taking his medication? It impairs your judgement. Can he be trusted to continue to take that medicine on a regular basis if he continues to drink and perhaps do drugs?” Then Lauer said to Sheen directly: “You need to stop drinking.” Good job, Matt. You had the guts to say what everybody was thinking.

Everybody except Planned Parenthood, that is. Here is the “Healthy, Happy and Hot” advice on alcohol and drug consumption for HIV-positive youth: “Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice. Being drunk or high can affect the decisions you might make about sex and safer sex. If you want to have sex and think you might get drunk or high, plan ahead by bringing condoms and lube or putting them close to where you usually have sex.”

It then gives this sound advice: “It’s not okay to have sex with someone who is so drunk or high that they are staggering, incoherent or have passed out.” Good on you, Planned Parenthood. Way to take a moral stand for what’s right.

So, Charlie Sheens of the world, rejoice. Planned Parenthood doesn’t think you should have to tell your partners that having sex with you might kill them, they want you to keep having sex no matter what because it is your human right, and they don’t mind if you do drugs and drink while you do it. And through their expansive sex-education programs, they want to fashion the rising generation of school children in Sheen’s image.

In fact, if Planned Parenthood is looking for a new poster child, I know just the guy. Looks like, after 5,000 tries, Sheen may have finally found his soul mate.

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11 Of 23 Obamacare Co-Ops Have Collapsed, Leaving Half A Million More Americans Without Health Insurance

Obamacare Doomsday? ‘Collapses’ Drop Half-Million Americans – WorldNetDaily

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About half of Obamacare’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or co-ops, have imploded, leaving nearly half-a-million Americans looking for new health coverage.

And instead of addressing the problem, the Obama administration is pretending it doesn’t exist.

That’s the assessment of Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who recently wrote about the spate of failures in the Wall Street Journal.

“When it passed Congress in 2010, the Affordable Care Act offered substantial financial support to create nonprofit health-insurance plans. Today 11 of the 23 such regional Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans have failed – seven since the beginning of October,” Smith wrote.

“They’ve collapsed despite federal startup loans totaling more than $1.1 billion. These loans will likely never be fully repaid, while insurers and consumers will be on the hook for any unpaid claims left behind by failed insurers,” he added.

The congressman estimates 400,00-500,000 Americans lost their coverage in those 11 failed co-ops.

In an interview with Radio America, Smith says the co-ops were doomed from the start.

“I think they were improperly structured. They were allowed to charge too low a premium, not reflecting the actual costs. They thought the original subsidies – or loans if you will, but let’s face it, they’re subsidies, especially since they’re so unlikely to be repaid. That wasn’t enough,” said Smith, who is fuming more as he learns how these collapses transpired.

“The more I am learning about this entire situation, the more offensive it is, and this is just one part of Obamacare,” Smith said.

The congressman said what galls him most is that the government forced many people out of coverage they liked and then left those same people out in the cold.

“The thing that bothers me the most is when a good, upstanding citizen is doing everything they’re supposed to do to be a responsible individual,” Smith said. “Yet they are faced with canceled coverage, or they’re faced with a penalty for taking care of themselves.”

Adding to Smith’s frustrations is what he believes is utter indifference to the problem from the Obama administration.

“We had a hearing earlier this week, and the chief of staff from [the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services] was our witness,” Smith said. “[Dr. Mandy Cohen] sent the message that everything is just fine in the Obamacare co-op arena.”

He said it’s quite obvious that co-ops are not “just fine.”

“It’s not a win,” Smith said. “Nearly half of the co-ops have collapsed and that’s from New York to Nevada. Ours, with Nebraska and Iowa together, we were the first to collapse a year ago. Now we see them collapsing at a much quicker pace.”

How can the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, say all is well when almost half the co-ops have failed?

“In a very dismissive manner, I have to say, and it’s disappointing,” Smith said. “I started asking questions almost a year ago and HHS is not offering any answers.”

Not only is the government doing little to help, in some circumstances it is actually pushing co-ops to their deaths.

“The administrators of the Nebraska-Iowa plan saw a larger number of people sign up for their plan than they originally anticipated,” Smith said. “So they requested permission from HHS to suspend enrollment, to basically cap that at a number they figured was more manageable. They were prohibited by HHS from capping the number of enrollees.”

The congressman said that hastened the demise of the Nebraska-Iowa co-op. He said HHS did give permission for the Tennessee co-op to cap enrollment, but it collapsed anyway.

In the meantime, Smith is sponsoring legislation that would protect those who lost coverage with the failure of the co-ops from being fined by the IRS for not having coverage as mandated by federal law.

He believes all of Obamacare will eventually crater, but he hopes too many people aren’t hurt in the process.

“Ultimately, I think it collapses under its own weight,” he said. “I just want to do everything I can to minimize the damage in the ensuing time. That’s what weighs heavy on my mind is that the heavy hand of the federal government is actually hurting the very people Barack Obama was saying he was wanting to help.”

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Government Accountability Office: Obamacare Is A Big Bowlful Of Fraud

Obamacare Is A Big Bowlful Of Fraud, Say Investigators – Conservative Base

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Just as detractors of President Barack Obama’s healthcare power grab predicted in the midst of Democrat lawmakers shoving their unread law down the throats of the American people, the finished product is living up to expectations: it is filled with deceit, waste, misconduct, and “a big bowl of fraud,” according to several attorneys and investigators who spoke with the ConservativeBase.com’s editor.

Although non-profit, conservative watchdog groups have frequently reported corruption, misconduct, malfeasance and deception within the Obama administration’s signature program known as Obamacare, the Democrats and their news media partners found it relatively easy to dismiss the watchdogs’ reports by claiming a right-wing conspiracy.

However, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) officials – who report to the U.S. Congress and are reputed to be nonpartisan at least when their reports prove the Democrats’ point of view – released their latest “indictment” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on Friday, the majority of denizens in American newsrooms ignored the GAO’s disturbing report describing its undercover operation.

The PPACA requires the health-insurance marketplace to review application information to verify applicants’ eligibility for enrollment and to review eligibility for income-based subsidies or Medicaid for those claiming such entitlements. The verification process includes reviewing and validating information about an applicant’s Social Security number, if one is provided; citizenship, status as a national or lawful presence; and household income and family size.

GAO investigators reported that they tested application and enrollment controls for obtaining subsidized health plans available through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) (for New Jersey and North Dakota) and two selected state marketplaces (California and Kentucky). Although 8 of these 10 fictitious applications failed the initial identity-checking process, all 10 were subsequently approved by the federal Marketplace or the selected state marketplaces.

According to GAO officials: “To perform our undercover testing of the federal and selected state eligibility and enrollment processes for the 2015 coverage year, we created 18 fictitious identities for the purpose of making applications for health-care coverage by telephone and online.18 The undercover results, while illustrative, cannot be generalized to the full population of enrollees. For all 18 applications, we used publicly available information to construct our scenarios.

“We also used publicly available hardware, software, and materials to produce counterfeit or fictitious documents, which we submitted, as appropriate for our testing, when instructed to do so. We then observed the outcomes of the document submissions, such as any approvals received or requests to provide additional supporting documentation.”

Four applications used Social Security numbers that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), have never been issued, such as numbers starting with “000.” Other applicants had duplicate enrollment or claimed their employer did not provide insurance that meets minimum essential coverage. For 8 additional fictitious applicants, GAO tested enrollment into Medicaid through the same federal Marketplace and the two selected state marketplaces, and was able to obtain either Medicaid or alternative subsidized coverage for 7 of the 8 applicants:
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* Three were approved for Medicaid, which was the health-care program for which GAO originally sought approval. In each case, GAO provided identity information that would not have matched SSA records. For two applications, the marketplace directed the fictitious applicants to submit supporting documents, which GAO did (such as a fake immigration card), and the applications were approved. For the third, the marketplace did not seek supporting documentation, and the application was approved by phone.

* For four, GAO did not obtain approval for Medicaid; however, GAO was subsequently able to gain approval of subsidized health plans based on the inability to obtain Medicaid coverage. In 1 case, GAO falsely claimed that it was denied Medicaid in order to obtain the subsidized health plan when in fact no Medicaid determination had been made by the state at that time.

* For one, GAO was unable to enroll into Medicaid, in California, because GAO declined to provide a Social Security number. According to California officials, the state marketplace requires a Social Security number or taxpayer-identification number to process applications.

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According to officials from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), California, Kentucky, and North Dakota, the marketplaces and Medicaid offices only inspect for “supporting documentation that has obviously been altered. So if the documentation submitted doesn’t show such signs, it wouldn’t be questioned for authenticity.

The latest survey by Rasmussen Polling shows that only 32% of likely voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Most voters (56%) continue to oppose Obamacare’s insurance requirement, and this is the highest level of opposition in nearly two years. Twelve percent (12%) remain undecided.

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Obamacare Premiums To Soar 3 Times Faster Than Feds Claim – Daily Caller

Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016.

When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year. The 2015 Obamacare price hike was 20.3 percent.

The Obamacare program’s federal exchange operates in 37 states where officials declined to set up state-run exchanges. Officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services, which manages Obamacare, only calculated price changes for the health insurance program’s Silver plan, thus ignoring data for the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans.

The CMS officials said they did so because the IRS uses the Silver plan as a “benchmark” for tax purposes. That approach, however, gave consumers an incomplete picture of what is happening in the health insurance marketplace through the Obamacare program.

The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

The 20.3 percent figure is the average for all plans. Premium increases in some states will be much higher. In Utah, for example, some enrollees in an individual plan will face a 45 percent price jump. In Illinois, the highest price hikes for individuals in the federal exchange will be 42.4 percent. Some insurers in Tennessee will experience a 36.3 percent price rise.

Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS 7.5 percent forecast number is “misleading and a meaningless statistic” that “isn’t actually relevant to any individual in any state. If you go across the four different metals, what happened in the Gold plan, what happened in the Platinum plan, what happened to the Bronze plan?”

Charles Gaba, a data analyst who tracks Obamacare trends and is an Obamacare supporter, reported earlier this year that Obamacare consumers in all 50 states will experience an average 14.4 percent increase. His analysis can be found on his web site, acasignups.net.

“I was hoping they would include all of the rates,” Gaba told TheDCNF. “I would love it ideally if they had all the medal levels.”

Gaba called the CMS price analysis, “fairly representative, but there’s the Gold, the Platinum, the Bronze, the catastrophic plan even, and there’s also a variety of Silver plans. So there are a bunch of different ones in addition to the benchmarks which they did not include.”

The difference between premium cost projections based only on the Silver plan and those that result from using all four plans can be dramatic. Silver enrollees in Pennsylvania, for example, will experience a 10.6 percent increase. Using all four plans, the average price hike for Obamacare enrollees is 20.3. Time Insurance Co. pulled out of Obamacare after state officials rejected its 61 percent increase request.

South Dakotans using Silver will pay 24.7 percent more this year. But among all exchange users in the state, the average increase will be 39 percent. Dakota Care hiked its Obamacare exchange prices 63 percent for 2016, while Blue Cross Blue Shield raised its rates by 43 percent.

In South Carolina, the Silver increase will be 10.8 percent, compared to 23.4 percent when all four plans are considering.

Some worrisome trends appear when specific Silver plan offerings are measured against other medal levels. The National Conference of State Legislators has begun tracking Obamacare price hikes by levels.

In Colorado, for example, Silver customers will see a 12.94 percent price hike. But Gold users will face a 20.33 rate increase and Platinum enrollees will see a 29.80 percent price rise, according to NCSL data.

Idaho Silver customers will have an 8.69 percent increase. But Bronze customers will face 11.03 percent rise and Gold will face 15.9 percent, according to NCSL. Idaho did not offer Platinum coverage for 2016.

The mainstream media was quick to embrace the 7.5 percent number, claiming it reflected the real- world experience of most Obamacare customers. The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reported in a story filed last Saturday that “the [CMS] analysis includes all plans being sold in the 37 states that will continue to rely on the federal exchange next year.”

In fact, Platinum, Gold and Bronze price changes were excluded from the federal analysis.

Thomas Miller a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS is “always trying to put the best face on things going forward.” But, he said, “you got your initial press release. Only a few people catch up with what might be the final results.”

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The Donald Unveils His Veterans Administration Reform Plan

Veterans Administration Reforms That Will Make America Great Again – Donald J. Trump

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The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Veterans Plan

The current state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is absolutely unacceptable. Over 300,000 veterans died waiting for care. Corruption and incompetence were excused. Politicians in Washington have done too little too slowly to fix it. This situation can never happen again, and when Donald J. Trump is president, it will be fixed – fast.

The guiding principle of the Trump plan is ensuring veterans have convenient access to the best quality care. To further this principle, the Trump plan will decrease wait times, improve healthcare outcomes, and facilitate a seamless transition from service into civilian life.

The Trump Plan Will:

1. Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting for backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.

2. Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.

3. Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.

The Trump Plan Gives Veterans The Freedom To Choose And Forces The VA To Compete For Their Dollars

Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem. None of it has worked. In fact, wait times were 50% higher this summer than they were a year ago. That’s because the VA lacks the right leadership and management. It’s time we stop trusting Washington politicians to fix the problems and empower our veterans to vote with their feet.

Under a Trump Administration, all veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately. Our veterans have earned the freedom to choose better or more convenient care from the doctor and facility of their choice. The power to choose will stop the wait time backlogs and force the VA to improve and compete if the department wants to keep receiving veterans’ healthcare dollars. The VA will become more responsive to veterans, develop more efficient systems, and improve the quality of care because it will have no other choice.

The Trump Plan Treats The Whole Veteran

We must care for the whole veteran, not just their physical health. We must recognize that today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the Greatest Generation.

The Trump Plan Will:

1. Increase funding for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention services to address our veterans’ invisible wounds. Service members are five times more likely to develop depression than civilians. They are almost fifteen times more likely to develop PTSD than civilians. This funding will help provide more and better counseling and care. More funding will also support research on best practices and state of the art treatments to keep our veterans alive, healthy and whole. With these steps, the Trump plan will help the veteran community put the unnecessary stigma surrounding mental health behind them and instead encourage acceptance and treatment in our greater society.

2. Increase funding for job training and placement services (including incentives for companies hiring veterans), educational support and business loans. All Americans agree that we must do everything we can to help put our service men and women on a path to success as they leave active duty by collaborating with the many successful non-profit organizations that are already helping. Service members have learned valuable skills in the military but many need help understanding how to apply those skills in civilian life. Others know how to apply those skills but need help connecting with good jobs to support their families. Still others have an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to start creating jobs and growing the economy. The Trump plan will strengthen existing programs or replace them with more effective ones to address these needs and to get our veterans working.

3. Transform the VA to meet the needs of 21st century service members. Today’s veterans have very different needs than those of the generations that came before them. The VA must adapt to meet the needs of this generation of younger, more diverse veterans. The Trump plan will expand VA services for female veterans and ensure the VA is providing the right support for this new generation of veterans.

4. Better support our women veterans. The fact that many VA hospitals don’t permanently staff OBGYN doctors shows an utter lack of respect for the growing number female veterans. Under the Trump plan, every VA hospital in the country will be fully equipped with OBGYN and other women’s health services. In addition, women veterans can always choose a different OBGYN in their community using their veteran’s ID card.

The Trump Plan Will Make The VA Great Again

The VA health care program is a disaster. Some candidates want to get rid of it, but our veterans need the VA to be there for them and their families. That’s why the Trump plan will:

1. Fire the corrupt and incompetent VA executives that let our veterans down. Under a Trump Administration, there will be no job security for VA executives that enabled or overlooked corruption and incompetence. They’re fired. New leadership will focus the VA staff on delivering timely, top quality care and other services to our nation’s veterans. Under a Trump Administration, exposing and addressing the VA’s inefficiencies and shortcomings will be rewarded, not punished.

2. End waste, fraud and abuse at the VA. The Trump plan will ensure the VA is spending its dollars wisely to provide the greatest impact for veterans and hold administrators accountable for irresponsible spending and abuse. The days of $6.3 million for statues and fountains at VA facilities and $300,000 for a manager to move 140 miles are over. The Trump plan will clean up the VA’s finances so the current VA budget provides more and better care than it does now.

3. Modernize the VA. A VA with 20th century technology cannot serve 21st century service members and their needs. The VA has been promising to modernize for years without real results. The Trump plan will make it happen by accelerating and expanding investments in state of the art technology to deliver best-in-class care quickly and effectively. All veterans should be able to conveniently schedule appointments, communicate with their doctors, and view accurate wait times with the push of a button.

4. Empower the caregivers to ensure our veterans receive quality care quickly. Caregivers should be able to easily streamline treatment plans across departments and utilize telehealth tools to better serve their patients. As we have seen from the private sector, the potential for new, innovative technology is endless. Abandoning the wasteful and archaic mindset of the public sector will give way to tremendously effective veteran healthcare.

5. Hire more veterans to care for veterans. The more veterans we have working at the VA, the better the VA will be. They understand the unique challenges facing their community. To increase the number of veterans hired by the VA, this plan will add an additional 5 points to the qualifying scores of veterans applying for VA jobs.

6. Embed satellite VA clinics in rural and other underserved areas. The Trump Administration will embed satellite VA clinics within hospitals and other care facilities in rural and other underserved areas. This step will ensure veterans have easy access to care and local hospitals and care facilities can handle the influx of patients without backlogs while tapping the specialized knowledge of VA health specialists.

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*VIDEO* Ben Carson Discusses The GOP Presidential Primary Race On Bloomberg Television

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Click HERE to purchase Dr. Carson’s book ‘A More Perfect Union: What We The People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties’.

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*VIDEO* Mike Lee Explains How The GOP Can Force A Showdown On Obamacare

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H/T Daily Signal

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Leftist Failure Update: ObamaCare Entering Dreaded Death Spiral

ObamaCare Is Entering Its Dreaded ‘Death Spiral’ – New York Post

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ObamaCare is heading toward a death spiral.

The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.

Last Thursday, the administration predicted enrollment for 2016 will be less than half what the Congressional Budget Office predicted in March.

Despite subsidies to help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs, most of the uninsured who are eligible for ObamaCare are saying “no thanks.” Only one in seven is expected to sign up. That’s despite a hefty increase in the financial penalty next year for not having insurance.

The president sees the writing on the wall. You won’t be seeing the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as there were in previous years. Remember the young guy in plaid pajamas – “Pajama Boy,” to conservatives – well, he won’t be back this winter.

Bad enough that healthy people aren’t buying. Worse is that the administration is spending billions of your tax dollars covering up the problem, paying insurers to keep offering the plans, even though they’re losing their shirts. But facts are facts – and there’s no hiding these.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell predicts ObamaCare enrollment will inch up by 1 million or so, to 10 million people – half what the CBO forecasted. Open enrollment for the coming year, which begins Nov. 1, “is going to be a challenge,” she said.

David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group’s president, announced higher premiums last week because enrollees will “require more medical services than original expectations.”

Many states (though not New York) are looking at premium hikes of 30 percent or more, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson/Urban Institute analysis. The Heritage Foundation estimates that insurers lost 12 percent selling ACA plans in 2014, with more losses this year.

Don’t shed any tears for the insurance companies. Though they’re losing money on exchange plans, overall they’re profitable and their stocks are doing well. It’s John Q. Public who’s bearing the brunt. Just as ObamaCare intended.

If you get insurance at work, you’re paying an extra tax to fund “reinsurance” for ObamaCare plans. It’s a fund to defray the cost of their most expensive enrollees.

So far, insurers have collected about $7.9 billion. Recent congressional testimony shows the payments kept ObamaCare sticker prices about 11 percent lower than they otherwise would have been. In short, you pay a tax to make ObamaCare look more affordable than it is.

But even with these hidden subsidies, ObamaCare isn’t working because the design is fatally flawed. The 5 percent of the population with serious medical conditions consume nearly 50 percent of the health care. When you try to sell insurance to sick and healthy people for the same price, the healthy don’t sign up. It’s too expensive.

New York state learned that in the 1990s, when one-price-for-all insurance laws pushed premiums to the highest in the nation, crushing the individual insurance market here.

ObamaCare repeats that mistake. Despite slapping the uninsured with penalties – which will jump to 2.5 percent of household income in 2016 – they’re not signing up. The need to coerce enrollment with penalties is proof the plans are a bad deal.

How long will big insurers play along? There are political considerations, and for most, ObamaCare losses are still just a dent in their overall business. Not so for the 23 co-op insurers set up under the health law. Eight state plans have already failed, including New York’s Health Republic, and most of the rest are bleeding money.

With ObamaCare enrollment floundering and losses mounting, the nation needs alternatives. The Republicans are coalescing around a reform plan, but Democrats are doubling down. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to burden the existing, unpopular plans with more “free” goodies, and make it harder to dodge the mandate. That won’t work.

A real reform would cover the seriously ill – people with pre-existing conditions – in separate plans with separate pricing and subsidies to make them affordable.

Just like the high-risk pools many states used to maintain. That’s the lesson of the failing ObamaCare scheme.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Obama Regime Hides Secret List Of 11 Crumbling Obamacare Insurers

Feds Hide Secret List Of 11 Staggering Obamacare Insurers – Daily Caller

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Federal officials have a secret list of 11 Obamacare health insurance co-ops they fear are on the verge of failure, but they refuse to disclose them to the public or to Congress, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has learned.

Just in the last three weeks, five of the original 24 Obamacare co-ops announced plans to close, bringing the total of failures to nine barely two years after their launch with $2 billion in start-up capital from the taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act.

All 24 received 15-year loans in varying amounts to offer health insurance to poor and low income customers and provide publicly funded competition to private, for-profit insurers. Among the co-ops to announce closings were those in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

Nearly half a million failing co-op customers will have to find new coverage in 2016. More than $900 million of the original $2 billion in loans has been lost.

The 11 unidentified co-ops appear to be still operating but are now on “enhanced oversight” by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which manages the Obamacare program. The 11 received letters from CMS demanding that they take urgent actions to avoid closing.

Aaron Albright, chief CMS spokesman, said 11 co-ops “are either on a corrective action plan or enhanced oversight. We have not released the letters or names.” He gave no grounds for withholding the information from either the public or Congress.

CMS officials have stonewalled multiple congressional inquiries into the co-op financial problems. The latest congressional inquiry came in a September 30 letter to CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt demanding transparency over the troubled program.

“We have long been concerned about the financial solvency of CO-OPs,” three House Ways and Means committee members wrote to Slavitt. “Which plans have received these warnings or have been placed on corrective plans,” the congressmen asked. To date, they have received no reply.

Insurance commissioners in Vermont were the first to refuse to license the federally approved co-op there in 2013 because they feared those financial plans were unrealistic. But then the dominoes began to fall this year, resulting in at least eight co-op failures. And if CMS officials are to be believed, more failures may be on the way.

Sen. Chuck Grassley , a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee who has been an outspoken critic of the troubled co-op program, said transparency should be a top priority for the faltering program.

“Since the public’s business generally ought to be public, CMS should have a good reason for not disclosing which co-ops are troubled,” he said.

Rep. Adrian Smith , is a member of the House Ways & Means health subcommittee who has been pressing to know which co-ops are in trouble.

“It’s time for CMS to stop shielding these failures from the public and start identifying faltering co-ops. Taxpayers deserve more accountability and consumers deserve to know whether the insurance they are forced to buy will still exist at the end of next year,” he said.

In creating the co-ops under Obamacare, Congressional Democrats exempted the co-ops from public disclosure rules that apply to publicly traded insurance companies and other publicly traded corporations on such exchanges as the New York Stock Exchange. Those rules require immediate disclosure of materially important financial details.

Any materially “significant event” by publicly traded corporations have to be disclosed in “real time,” according to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

The Securities and Exchange Commission identifies 18 “mandatory disclosure items,” for private corporations including “any material impairment of a company’s asset.”

The double standard rankles critics of the co-op experiment undertaken by the Obama administration. “The nonprofit co-ops advertise themselves as having a ‘market approach,’” said Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute. “But if it’s a market approach, they are responsible to their shareholders and to the taxpayers to reveal the status of their business.”

Grassley agreed, saying “disclosure requirements on publicly traded companies would be a good guidepost for CMS on co-ops.”

Pipes said taxpayers are stockholders in the non-profit health insurance co-ops. “We are paying for it. We have a right to know. They don’t like to release things unless they’re forced to, particularly if it shows them in a bad light or their program to be in a bad light.”

Taxpayer groups also expressed anger over the government secrecy.

“There is no excuse why taxpayers should not know the names of the people and groups who misspent and wasted tax dollars on publicly financed health insurance co-ops,” said David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

“When anybody receives tax dollars, they have a responsibility to spend those dollars wisely and be held accountable for the expenditures. Transparency is the first step. CMS has a responsibility to all Americans to publish this information,” Williams said.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said “as Obamacare continues to fail, those failures point right back to CMS. They don’t want people to see that failure and think if they hide it somehow we won’t hear about it.”

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*VIDEO* Ted Cruz: Iowa Town Hall

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Leftist Failure Update: One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead

One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead – Daily Caller

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One-third of the Obamacare health insurance co-ops have now failed, causing about 400,000 policyholders in 10 states to scramble for new coverage for 2016.

Seven of the 23 co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act in 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion – including many launched by passionate but inexperienced health reform activists – have since closed their doors. An eighth, the Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, appears on the brink of default as well.

The failing Obamacare co-ops have canceled health insurance for largely poor and low-income customers in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

The co-op’s are falling like dominoes. In the last two months, the public has seen co-ops fail in Nevada, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and New York.

Including Colorado, taxpayers have lost $876 million in loan money that was supposed to last for 15 years. The failed co-op’s existed for only two years before suddenly closing their doors.

More co-op failures are expected. “There will be more closures,” said American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Thomas Miller, a health care expert. “The only question is when rather than whether.”

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which funded the co–ops, said this summer that six co-ops were under “enhanced oversight” because of poor financial reports. The Daily Caller reported in August that federal officials refused to identify the six that are in trouble.

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in July that 21 of 23 operating co-ops faced staggering losses, some greater than the loans that were expected to last 15 years.

New York’s Health Republic, the largest of the co-ops, announced it was closing its doors last month, leaving 155,000 customers in the lurch.

The New York failure was not only the largest, but was the flagship of the co-op movement. It was created by liberal political activist Sarah Horowitz, who had previously worked with then-state Sen. Barack Obama.

The New York Department of Finance Services last month reported that Health Republic had the worst 2014 consumer record of all insurance companies operating in the state.

Horowitz was the only individual to be given federal loans to run three co-ops at the same time. Her other two co-ops are in New Jersey and Oregon.

Miller said there is growing apprehension among state insurance commissioners about the solvency of many of the other co-ops still hanging on.

Nov. 1 is the new date for open enrollment for the co-ops. The deadline is forcing state insurance commissioners to take a closer look at the co-0p’s prospects over the next year.

Miller said many state commissioners are asking, “do you cut your losses now or do it later? There’s a lot of apprehension among state regulators in terms of signing up for another year in light of results that have happened.”

Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, said, “everything is coming to pass. It was inevitable, given their inexperience.”

Kelly Crowe, CEO of the trade association that represents all of the co-ops has now turned against the Obama administration, which set up the programs.

She blamed “regulatory obstacles,” and said Obamacare – is “not working.”

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VA Gets Shorted $2.6B While Obama Regime Earmarks $4.5B For Syrian “Migrants”

VA Gets Shorted $2.6 Billion While Obama Admin Budgets $4.5 Billion On Syrian Migrants – Truth And Action

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House lawmakers say the Veterans Affairs Department’s $2.6 billion budget shortfall for this fiscal year is further proof of administrators’ incompetence and poor planning.

VA officials have a slightly different take, saying the shortfall is a sign of their extraordinary efforts to get veterans the medical care they need, regardless of the cost.

Either way, the department has a gigantic deficit to fill in the next three months.

It also could mean furloughs, hiring freezes and program cancellations if a solution can’t be found.

“We are going to do the right thing for veterans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. “But to succeed, we need the flexibility to use funds to meet veterans needs as they arise.”

Without that, he said, “we get to dire circumstances before August. We will have to start denying care to some veterans.”

Lawmakers were enraged that the department is only now informing them of significant shortfalls in this year’s budget, with the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

“I have come to expect a startling lack of transparency and accountability from VA over the last years,” said committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “But failing to inform Congress of a multibillion-dollar funding deficit until this late in the fiscal year… is disturbing on an entirely different level.” – Source: Military Times

Meanwhile, back at the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest says the United States will direct $4.5 billion to help address the dire conditions inside Syria and in refugee camps scattered across the region. – Source: Breitbart

The money will come through the U.S. Agency for International Development and Congress will not have to approve the additional spending.

So, the Veterans face a $2.6 Billion shortfall in their health care, but the While House and Congress have found a whopping $4.5 Billion to ship over to help Syrians who are overrunning Europe.

Priorities are definitely in order at the White House and in the halls of Congress.

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VA Retaliated Against Disabled Veteran Because He Tried To Get Them To Find His Lost Claims Folder

Independent Agency Confirms: VA Retaliated Against Whistleblower – Daily Caller

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An independent federal agency has just determined that the Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against whistleblower Bradie Frink because he tried to get the VA to find his lost claims folder.

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), retaliation started after Frink, a disabled veteran and employee at the Baltimore Regional Office (BRO) of the Veterans Benefits Administration, contacted Congress when he realized that the VA couldn’t add one of his children as a beneficiary to his disability payments. The reason? Employees couldn’t even locate his claims folder.

As policy, a veteran’s claim folder cannot be stored at the same office where that veteran works, in order to maintain impartiality. When Frink was hired as a clerk in February 2013, the VA attempted to move the folder out to another regional office, but soon discovered that it was lost, even though it appeared in the computer system. Frink initially made several requests, asking the VA to try and locate his folder.

He tried for months. Nothing worked. That’s when Frink decided to contact Sen. Barbara Mikulski on June 5, 2013, with a complaint that the VA was unable to make important service-connected disability payments to him and his family. Mikulski launched an inquriy and forwarded the complaint letter over to BRO, which sparked near immediate retaliation. Incidentally, during the time when Mikulski sent the letter over, BRO was being watched for how it was processing benefits claims.

VA officials started discussing ways to terminate Frink. They succeeded in firing him on July 12, 2013, during his probationary period, despite a clean performance record. Officials alleged that Frink engaged in misconduct, but OSC didn’t buy it.

“OSC’s investigation determined that the VA’s allegations about Mr. Frink lacked evidentiary support; management’s testimony was inconsistent and lacked candor; other witnesses did not corroborate the agency’s version of the events; and termination was an excessive penalty for the alleged misconduct,” the OSC said in a statement. “Further, OSC found one of the VA officials involved in Mr. Frink’s termination showed animus and all three officials involved had a clear motive to retaliate against him.”

With the OSC investigation in hand, VA officials have reinstated Frink with back pay, as well as damages for emotional distress. After a long, hard fight, Frink starts work again Tuesday, over two years after he was fired by supervisors.

“The constitutional right to petition Congress must be guaranteed for all Americans. Federal agencies cannot deny their employees this right even if it leads to scrutiny of their operations,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in a statement.

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Federal Judge Rules Speaker Boehner Can Sue President Asshat Over Obamacare

Judge Says Boehner Can Sue President Over Obamacare – Washington Examiner

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A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit over the implementation of Obamacare can move forward, setting the stage for another high-stakes legal battle over President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment.

Though the judge ruled that House leaders do have legal standing and thus can sue Obama, it wasn’t a complete victory for Republicans. Some legal experts questioned whether the ruling puts the court in the middle of a “political food fight.”

The lawsuit focused on whether President Obama improperly and unilaterally delayed implementation of the law’s employer mandate, and funneled payments to insurers for lowering co-pays for low-income people with insurance .

Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer decided that the House can sue over the cost-sharing payments but not the mandate delay.

The administration argued earlier this year that the House couldn’t sue over existing federal law.

But Collyer said that the ruling will “open no floodgates.” She wrote that the ruling is inherently limited to just this case.

Boehner cheered the ruling, saying that Obama made “unilateral” changes to Obamacare that overstepped the bounds of the presidency.

“The House will continue our effort to ensure the separation of powers to create or change the law,” he said in a statement.

The next step in the lawsuit is in flux right now. Technically the next step would be a hearing on the merits of the lawsuit, but the administration could appeal Collyer’s decision, said Timothy Jost, health law professor for Washington & Lee University and a leading academic proponent of Obama’s healthcare law.

Jost believed that the ruling was wrong as there is “ample precedence” that at least members of Congress can’t sue the president.

Nick Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, said it’s not an “earth shattering surprise” that the court is allowing part of the lawsuit to go forward.

But the judge also opened a pathway to the part of the lawsuit that could be most damaging to the law, he said.

“Holding that the administration lacks the authority to cover the cost of those reductions would create a real mess on the ground,” Bagley said.

“It inserts the court into the middle of a political food fight,” he said.

Other experts believed it was the right call.

“Only Congress can appropriate funds for federal programs and so Congress faces a unique institutional injury when the executive branch decides to take that particular prerogative upon itself,” according to a blog post from Ilya Shapiro, a legal scholar for the libertarian think tank Cato Institute and an outspoken Obamacare critic.

“Obamacare implementation has been a seat-of-the-pants executive frolic from the get-go,” he added.

While it could have a lasting impact on the law, the lawsuit won’t gut Obamacare entirely.

Obamacare required insurers to reduce the cost of insurance for low income Americans in exchange for compensation from the federal government.

However, the lawsuit charged that Congress never appropriated the funding for the repayment program.

If the court eliminates cost sharing repayments then it could mean insurers raise premiums dramatically, Jost said.

Another option is the cost-sharing reduction funding gets rolled in to the annual appropriations spending bills to get funded by Congress.

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307,000 Vets Died Waiting For VA Health Care

Report: 307,000 Veterans Died Waiting For Veterans Affairs Healthcare – Weasel Zippers

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By the time the VA got around to it, they’d been dead for years.

(CNN) Hundreds of thousands of veterans listed in the Department of Veterans Affairs enrollment system died before their applications for care were processed, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The VA’s inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency’s system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.

In a response to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs’ request to investigate a whistleblower’s allegations of mismanagement at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center, the inspector general also found VA staffers incorrectly marked unprocessed applications and may have deleted 10,000 or more records in the last five years.

In one case, a veteran who applied for VA care in 1998 was placed in “pending” status for 14 years. Another veteran who passed away in 1988 was found to have an unprocessed record lingering in 2014, the investigation found.

Keep reading

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House And Senate Claimed Only 45 Employees Each, Then Signed Up 12,359 On Obamacare ‘Small Business’ Exchange

U.S. House And Senate Each Said They Had Only 45 Employees, Then Signed Up 12,359 For Insurance On Obamacare ‘Small-Business’ Exchange – CNS

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Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives certified that they had only 45 employees each in order to sign up for the District of Columbia’s Small Business Exchange. But 12,359 – or 86 percent of the exchange’s enrollees – are members of Congress, congressional staff members, and their spouses and dependents, according to an appeal filed with the D.C. Court of Appeals by Judicial Watch.

The public interest law firm announced Monday that it is appealing the February dismissal of its lawsuit challenging congressional participation in the Obamacare exchange even though the D.C. Exchange Act limits enrollment to small companies with 50 or fewer employees.

“Congress obviously has far more than 50 employees,” Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha pointed out in his opening brief. “It has thousands of employees.”

Congress enrolled in the small business exchange when its previous coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan was terminated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and congressional employees stood to lose thousands of dollars in “employer contributions” if they enrolled in the District’s individual exchange.

According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives both certified that they “employ 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees.”

In October 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule that provides an “employer contribution” covering about three-quarters of the premiums of congressional employees enrolled in the small business exchange starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The OPM rule “allowed at least 12,359 congressional employees and their spouses and dependents to obtain health insurance through the Small Business Exchange… These 12,359 participants represent an astonishing 86% of the Small Business Exchange’s total enrollment,” the appeal states.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit last October on behalf of Kirby Vining, a D.C. resident since 1986, who objected to the expenditure of municipal funds to insure congressional employees in an exchange that was established specifically for small employers in the District.

“Congress authored the law [ACA], and is going to rather questionable lengths to avoid compliance with the law it drafted,” Vining said.

Although the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority conceded that D.C. law limits participation in the exchange to small employers, it argued in court that “the local statute must yield to the extent the federal statute or regulation applies.”

In its motion to dismiss the case, the authority also stated that the exchange “has been funded exclusively by federal grants awarded to the District to establish its Exchange, and more recently, an assessment imposed on health carriers doing business in the District.”

In dismissing the lawsuit, D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon ruled that Vining had no standing to challenge the OPM rule because he “has not demonstrated a reasonable inference that municipal taxpayer funds have been appropriated to defendant exchange authority to establish a cognizable injury to maintain standing to bring his underlying complaint.”

However, in a budget report submitted to Congress, the Exchange Authority’s actual budget for Fiscal Year 2013 ($10.9 million) and FY 2014 ($66.1 million) was identified as ” ‘municipal monies’ as originating from the District’s General Fund. No monies are identified as Federal Funds, Private Revenue, or Intra-District Funds,” according to the appeal.

“In Fiscal Year 2015, the Exchange Authority’s budget was reclassified from the General Fund to a newly created fund, separate and distinct from ‘Federal Funds’,” it continued.

Dixon also ruled that the OPM rule preempts the D.C. Exchange Act, noting that “allowing members of Congress and their staff to participate in the District’s small business health options program is authorized by federal regulations.”

But Judicial Watch argues in its appeal that the D.C. law cannot be preempted because it is “completely consistent and entirely compatible” with the federal law and in fact its “sole purpose is to implement various provisions of ACA.”

“In reality, the court ruled that a determination by a federal bureaucrat – in this instance, the director of OPM – trumps the 50-employee limit of the Exchange Act, at least with respect to Congress,” the group’s appeal brief stated. “No lawful regulation – much less a regulation that purports to delegate such authority to an agency head – can do that, and the Court cites no legal authority whatsoever for their astonishing conclusion that it can.”

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that allowing Congress to enroll in an exchange meant for small businesses is both “unlawful and unethical.”

“It is an abuse of District taxpayers to use D.C. funds to subsidize illegal health insurance for Congress,” Fitton said in a statement. “It is unlawful and unethical for District officials to use local dollars to participate in Congress’s Obamacare fraud.

“The highest court in the District of Columbia must affirm the right of District taxpayers to protect their monies from being misappropriated by corrupt District officials.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: 22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Funded Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014

22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Backed Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014, Audit Finds – Daily Signal

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A new report from a government watchdog examining the success of taxpayer-funded Obamacare co-ops found that the vast majority lost money last year and struggled to enroll consumers, throwing their ability to repay the taxpayer-funded loans into question.

According to the audit from the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, 22 of the 23 co-ops created under the Affordable Care Act experienced net losses through the end of 2014. Additionally, 13 of the 23 nonprofit insurers enrolled significantly less people than projected.

Co-ops, or consumer-oriented and operated plans, are nonprofit insurance companies created under Obamacare. Co-ops exist in a variety of capacities, and lawmakers hoped the entities would foster competition in areas where few insurance options were available.

The co-ops received $2 billion in loans from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist in their launch and solvency. However, the government watchdog warned that repayment may not be possible.

“The low enrollment and net losses might limit the ability of some co-ops to repay startup and solvency loans and to remain viable and sustainable,” the report said.

Andy Slavitt, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, attributed the co-ops’ financial losses to the difficulties of moving into a new market.

“The co-ops enter the health insurance market with a number of challenges, [from] building a provider network to pricing premiums that will sustain the business for the long term,” he said. “As with any new set of business ventures, it is expected that some co-ops will be more successful than others.”

Roughly half of the nonprofit co-ops struggled to enroll consumers, and the vast majority experienced significant losses in 2014.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general report, Arizona’s co-op, Meritus Health Partners, saw the lowest enrollment when compared with its projections. Through the end of 2014, the insurer enrolled just 869 Arizona consumers, compared with its projected enrollment of 23,998.

By contrast, New York far surpassed its enrollment projections. As of Dec. 31, Health Republic Insurance of New York signed up 155,402 people. It expected to enroll 30,864.

Additionally, 22 of the 23 co-ops experienced net losses as of Dec. 31, with the exception of Maine Community Health Options, which was profitable.

Just two insurance companies, including the co-op, offered plans on the federal exchange in Maine. Maine Community Health Options offered the lowest-priced coverage and enrolled 80 percent of marketplace consumers in the state, according to the inspector general.

In South Carolina, Consumers’ Choice Health Insurance Company exceeded profitability projections as of the end of 2014. However, the co-op still incurred net losses of $3.8 million. It expected a net income loss of $8.1 million.

Information regarding income for the co-op serving Iowa and Nebraska, CoOportunity, was not available, as the insurer was liquidated in March. CoOportunity received $145.3 million from the federal government in startup and solvency loans.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog came after Louisiana’s co-op, Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc., announced last week it would be discontinuing operations at the end of the year. The nonprofit insurer projected to enroll 28,106 Louisiana consumers in 2014 but signed up just 9,980 through the federal marketplace.

Additionally, Louisiana Health Cooperative incurred $20.6 million in net losses as of Dec. 31.

Similarly, Tennessee’s co-op, Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company, froze enrollment during Obamacare’s second open enrollment period, which began in October. The co-op cited its financial conditions as a reason for its enrollment freeze.

According to the inspector general’s report, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services placed four co-ops on “enhanced oversight and corrective action plans.” Two were put on notice for low enrollment.

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