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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27 Shootings (8 Deaths) In Leftist-Controlled Baltimore Over Memorial Day Weekend

With 27 Shootings This Weekend, Baltimore Sees Its Most Violent Month This Century – Daily Caller

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Baltimore has seen 27 shootings and eight deaths so far over Memorial Day weekend, as the month of May promises to be the most violent the city has seen this century.

“It is disheartening that we are seeing such an increase in violence, especially when we think about the progress that we’ve made,” Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told WJZ. “We’ve come too far to have this type of setback.”

The sharp uptick in violence coincided with the April 12 arrest of Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, died in police custody a week later. The case sparked rioting and looting in the city and nationwide protests over police brutality. Six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transport were indicted last week by a grand jury. Charges include second-degree depraved-heart murder and manslaughter.

According to Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton, crime in the city has reached levels not seen since 1999.

The city did not reach the 100 murder threshold until July last year.

One anonymous Baltimore cop came forward anonymously last week to say that officer morale is “in the sewer.” The officer told CNN that cops in the city are concerned for their safety and worried about being unfairly accused of using excessive force.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper noted during the interview segment that before Freddie Gray’s arrest, city officers made 626 arrests per week on average. Last week, 358 arrests were made.

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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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Thanks To Leftist Assclowns, Baltimore Shootings Spike 70%, Murder Rate Up 42%

Baltimore Shootings Spike 70%, Murder Rate Up 42% – Clash Daily

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Gee, I wonder why this would happen? Don’t expect this to get better anytime soon.

BALTIMORE – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the city’s recent spike in violence “disheartening” Thursday as police work to address a dramatic increase in homicides and nonfatal shootings.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” the mayor told reporters at a news conference. “It is disheartening, but I am still resolved to continue to reduce violent crime in our city.”

Rawlings-Blake said the city’s faced spikes in crimes in the past and police have been able to successfully reverse them. She said she’s “confident” police do so will again.

The city’s had 98 homicides so far this year, which is 42 percent higher than over the same period in 2014. Nonfatal shootings are up more than 70 percent with at least 19 people shot on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Read more: Baltimore Sun

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Thanks Barack… Regime Granted Amnesty To Accused Child-Sex Criminal

Amnesty Granted To Child Molesting Camp Counselor Known As ‘Papa Bear’ – Daily Caller

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) knew last year that an illegal alien California camp counselor known as “Papa Bear” was being investigated on child molestation and child pornography charges but did nothing about it, Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley claims in a letter sent to DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson on Wednesday.

Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla was arrested May 7 and charged with four felonies including child molestation and the distribution of child pornography. According to local news reports, authorities believe that Covarrubias-Padilla also produced child pornography.

Covarrubias-Padilla recently worked as a night counselor at Walden West, an environmental science camp near San Jose. Besides the recovery of 600 child porn images from his computer, Covarrubias-Padilla has been accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy. The Santa Clara County Office of Education told Grassley’s office that it had received over 100 phone calls and 50 emails from parents concerned that their child may have been victimized. Covarrubias-Padilla worked at two other camps over the past two years.

In his letter to Johnson, Grassley stated that whistleblowers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — a DHS sub-agency — claim that the federal authorities knew as early as Nov. 17 that Covarrubias-Padilla was being investigated for child sex abuse charges.

Yet, nothing was done about his DACA status until his recent arrest, Grassley claims.

The whistleblowers claim that on Oct. 8, 2012, Covarrubias-Padilla applied for amnesty protection under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. His amnesty and work eligibility were scheduled to last through this month, at which point he would have been allowed to re-apply for the program.

“These allegations are deeply troubling because, if true, they suggest that DHS was aware for months or years that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla posed a public safety threat to the children he was monitoring, yet took no action to revoke his DACA authorization,” Grassley, a Republican, wrote to Johnson.

“These allegations are particularly alarming because they suggest that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla would not have been placed in a position to abuse and exploit children had DHS properly vetted DACA recipients,” Grassley added.

Grassley has recently shed light on other cases involving felonious DACA recipients. One particular egregious case of DHS failure was Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez. Rangel-Hernandez was slated for deportation following a 2012 marijuana charge. He applied for amnesty under DACA in Feb. 2013, and his application was approved in Aug. 2013. But the application was approved even though U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) was aware that Rangel-Hernandez was gang-affiliated. Gang members are not eligible for DACA status.

After Grassley raised questions about Rangel-Hernandez’s case, USCIS admitted in a response letter that it erred in approving his DACA application and ensured that steps were taken to prevent gang members from being given amnesty in the future.

In his latest letter to Johnson, Grassley asked 11 questions about Covarrubias-Padilla’s DACA application, immigration status, and known criminal history.

He asked for a response by May 29.

Grassley also sought information on how ICE and USCIS coordinated and shared information about Covarrubias-Padilla.

“Did USCIS know or have reason to know that ICE was investigating Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla in connection to crimes involving either possession or distribution of child pornography or child exploitation, including molestation?” Grassley asked.

“If Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla was under investigation by ICE, please provide the procedures in place for when, and in what manner, ICE would have notified USCIS.”

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Leftist Anti-Gun Nazis Smacked Down In Federal Court Over DC’s Concealed Carry Permit Restrictions

Federal Judge Smacks Down D.C. Gun Permit Requirement – Daily Caller

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U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. placed a hold on Washington D.C.’s mandate that firearm owners must have a “good reason” to get a concealed carry permit in the District. The judge said the requirement took away citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Judge Scullin granted a preliminary injunction as a result of a lawsuit brought forth by three gun owners who sought to overturn the bureaucratic D.C. gun law claiming the regulations surrounding it make it impossible for the majority of law abiding individuals to qualify for a D.C. firearms permit.

“For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Judge Scullin wrote within his 23 page opinion.

Local lawmakers created the D.C. gun permitting process after Scullin ruled the District’s long-time ban on carrying firearms in public was unconstitutional last year. The process was intended to set up a process for residents and non-residents alike to apply for concealed carry permits.

Prior the passage of the law for gun permits, law-abiding citizens with permits from other states were allowed to carry in D.C. for a period time before the District took legal action to end the brief carry period.

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