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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Tech Giant Qualcomm Lays Off Thousands Of Americans While Simultaneously Seeking More Foreign Workers

Qualcomm Lays Off 4,500 Workers While Demanding More H-1bs – Daily Caller

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Another tech giant that says it must import foreign workers because there aren’t enough skilled American workers in the industry is laying off thousands of workers.

Qualcomm – a major producer of smartphone chips – announced last week it’s eliminating 15 percent of its workforce or about 4,500 employees, just weeks after fellow tech giant Microsoft announced a massive round of layoffs.

Both companies are top beneficiaries of the H-1b visa program, which backers say allows companies to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs they can’t find qualified Americans workers to fill. Critics contend the program is really used to cut costs.

Microsoft and Qualcomm were in the top 15 users of H-1b visas in Fiscal Year 2013, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data obtained by Computer World. They’re part of a major tech lobbying effort to increase the cap on these temporary workers, on the grounds there is a shortage of Americans with science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

“Qualcomm has been engaged within the technology industry in highlighting the ‘skills deficit’ in all areas of today’s workforce, especially engineering,” a spokeswoman for Qualcomm told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is an industry-wide problem, and we are committed to working to build the pipeline of students studying STEM fields.”

One in five of the new Qualcomm hires in Fiscal Year 2013 were foreign workers with H-1b visas, according to an analysis of SEC filings by Ron Hira, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology who is an expert in offshoring. Those 900 foreign workers hired in 2013 triple the total number of workers Qualcomm hired in 2014.

“Qualcomm and other tech firms have argued that they turn to H-1Bs because there is a significant shortage of American talent available,” Hira told TheDCNF. “Given the recent large layoff announcements by Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, how can the tech industry continue to argue there’s a shortage of American workers?”

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hira also analyzed the skills of H-1b workers Qualcomm hired from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2012, and found most of the workers weren’t the highly skilled, U.S.-trained workers lobbyists imply make up the majority of H-1b holders.

Thirty-five percent of the 1,265 workers Qualcomm hired at that time held only a bachelors degree, and just 32 percent held advanced U.S. degrees. Only 44 of them held Ph.Ds from U.S. universities.

“This is very different than the carefully constructed, and misleading, narrative constructed by the tech industry that the H-1b program is primarily a vehicle for keeping people from abroad that the U.S. trained, and paid for,” Hira told TheDCNF.

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Obamanomics Update: President Asshat Owns Worst Economic Numbers Since 1932

Obama Owns Worst Economic Numbers In 80 Years, Since 1932 – Gateway Pundit

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Thanks to Obamanomics the US economy is plodding through the worst recovery in decades.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The economic expansion – already the worst on record since World War II – is weaker than previously thought, according to newly revised data.

From 2012 through 2014, the economy grew at an all-too-familiar rate of 2% annually, according to three years of revised figures the Commerce Department released Thursday. That’s a 0.3 percentage point downgrade from prior estimates.

The revisions were released concurrently with the government’s first estimate of second-quarter output.

Since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has advanced at a 2.2% annual pace through the end of last year. That’s more than a half-percentage point worse than the next-weakest expansion of the past 70 years, the one from 2001 through 2007. While there have been highs and lows in individual quarters, overall the economy has failed to break out of its roughly 2% pattern for six years.

It’s even worse than we thought.

Obama looks even worse, ranking dead last among all presidents since 1932 – over 80 years.

The Daily Caller reported:

Over the first five years of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. economy grew more slowly than during any five-year period since just after the end of World War II, averaging less than 1.3 percent per year. If we leave out the sharp recession of 1945-46 following World War II, Obama looks even worse, ranking dead last among all presidents since 1932. No other president since the Great Depression has presided over such a steadily poor rate of economic growth during his first five years in office. This slow growth should not be a surprise in light of the policies this administration has pursued.

An economy usually grows rapidly in the years immediately following a recession. As Peter Ferrera points out in Forbes, the U.S. economy has not even reached its long run average rate of growth of 3.3 percent; the highest annual growth rate since Obama took office was 2.8 percent. Total growth in real GDP over the 19 quarters of economic recovery since the second quarter of 2009 has been 10.2 percent. Growth over the same length of time during previous post-World War II recoveries has ranged from 15.1 percent during George W. Bush’s presidency to 30 percent during the recovery that began when John F. Kennedy was elected.

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Your Daley Gator Leftists-Ruin-Everything-They-Touch Video O’ The Day


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Hitlery To Propose Doubling Capital Gains Tax On Short-Term Investments

Clinton Would Double Capital Gains Tax On Short-Term Investments – OANN

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will propose nearly doubling the U.S. capital gains tax rate on short-term investments to 39.6 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

A Clinton campaign official said the Clinton rate plan would affect investments held between one and two years, which are currently taxed at a 20 percent capital gains rate, the newspaper reported.

Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, will outline her plan in a speech Friday in New York. She will argue that corporate efforts to boost stock prices in the short term undercuts longer-term economic growth and hurts American workers, the newspaper said.

Top-bracket single earners with taxable income higher than $413,201 and married couples filing jointly with income above $484,850 would be affected, the newspaper reported.

The campaign official, who was not identified, said the plan would not change the capital gains rate for lower-income taxpayers, the journal said.

The plan would not count an extra 3.8 percent tax on net investment income included as part of the federal healthcare law, it said.

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Leftist-Run Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Vs. The Real World (Video)

Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Law Just Came Back To Bite Them In A Totally Unexpected Way – Western Journalism

As the push continues in various locations around the country to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the real world consequences of such a move have begun to surface.

Seattle became the first city in the nation to implement the $15 per hour minimum wage this past spring. Fox News reports that one unintended effect is that workers who are earning the higher wage are asking for fewer hours, so they can remain eligible for low income government benefits like childcare and tax credits.

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Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

Local radio talk show host Jason Rantz on KIRO-FM noted the irony: “If [employees] cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people.”

“Despite a booming economy throughout western Washington, the state’s welfare caseload has dropped very little since the higher wage phase began in Seattle in April. In March 130,851 people were enrolled in the Basic Food program. In April, the caseload dropped to 130,376,” according to Fox News.

As reported by Western Journalism, private businesses, unlike government entities (which, in theory, can always raise taxes or borrow), must make more than they spend in order to pay the rent, make payroll, keep the lights on, pay their business taxes, and, heaven forbid, have some left over for the owners and investors who are taking the risk and putting in the long hours.

“Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut,” Fox News reported.

Earlier this year, as the implementation of the minimum wage law loomed, Seattle Magazine noted that something appeared to be afoot affecting the restaurant industry in the city, asking: “Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately? “Seattle foodies [are] downcast,” the magazine reported, “as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Renée Erickson’s Boat Street Café will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm… What the #*%&$* is going on? A variety of things, probably – and a good chance there is more change to come.”

The magazine went on to report that one “major factor affecting restaurant futures in our city is the impending minimum wage hike.” Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association, told the magazine: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.” He estimates that restaurants usually have a budget breakdown of about 36 percent for labor, 30 percent for food costs, and 30 percent to cover other operational costs. That leaves 4 percent for a profit margin. When labor costs shoot up to, say 42 percent, something has to give.

Shah Burnham is just one Seattle restaurant owner who believes that keeping her doors open is no longer worth it. She owns a popular Z Pizza restaurant location and says that even though her one store only has 12 employees, she’s considered part of the Z Pizza franchise – a large business. So she has to give raises within the next two years. “Small businesses in the city have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage,” according to Seattle’s Fox News 13.

“I know that I would have stayed here if I had 7 years, just like everyone else, if I had an even playing field,” she says. “The discrimination I’m feeling right now against my small business makes me not want to stay and do anything in Seattle.”

“It’s what happens when the government imposes a restriction on the labor market that normally wouldn’t be there” …usually the “small, neighborhood businesses” get hit the hardest, said Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center.

San Francisco and Los Angeles have already embraced the $15 per hour benchmark being pushed by some Democrat politicians and labor unions, while New York regulators announced their recommendation to the state’s governor this week to raise the rate for fast food workers to the same level.

The Heritage Foundation notes the minimum wage is usually for new workers, with a low percentage of Americans receiving it. The organization notes some other interesting statistics:

* Over half of minimum-wage earners are between the ages of 16 and 24.
* Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers earn raises within a year – without the government’s help.
* Only 2.9 percent of wage earners earn the federal minimum wage.
* Most minimum-wage earners are teenagers or young adults, not heads of families.
* Two-thirds work part time (defined as less than 35 hours a week).
* Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers live in families with incomes above 150 percent of the poverty line.
* Just 4 percent of minimum-wage workers are single parents working full time, compared to 5.6 percent of all U.S. workers.
* Studies find raising the minimum wage does not reduce poverty.

Heritage recommends that if government leaders want to reduce poverty, they should focus on growing the economy through better tax policies and restructuring the welfare state to remove the current disincentives to work more hours, or work at all.

Early indicators suggest that the $15 minimum wage is a lose, lose proposition for employers and employees.

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How Uncle Sam Plans To Cheat Granny Out Of Health Care (Betsy McCaughey)

How Uncle Sam Plans To Cheat Granny Out Of Health Care – Betsy McCaughey

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Everybody knows if you don’t pay to repair your car, you limit its life.

The same is true with people. We need medical care to avoid becoming clunkers.

For a half-century, Medicare has enabled seniors to get that care. But now the Obama administration is pressuring hospitals to skimp.

Last week, the administration announced the largest-ever change in how Medicare pays for care. It’s called “bundled payments,” and it’s the latest trick to squeeze care from seniors.

Bundling will make it financially risky for hospitals in New York and many other areas of the country to do hip and knee replacements. These two procedures have transformed the experience of aging, allowing seniors to stay active.

But President Obama says too many seniors are getting these operations.

When the subject of hip replacements came up in a 2009 town-hall meeting, he said “maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the pain killer.”

Science proves the president is wrong. Seniors with severe arthritis who opt for a knee replacement are 50 percent more likely to still be alive seven years later than seniors who don’t. Pain and immobility are killers.

Medicare is moving from paying doctors and hospitals for each item and service they provide to the new bundling system in January 2016.

It’s being rolled out in New York City, Newark, Buffalo, New Haven and New London, Conn., and many other regions, including Los Angeles. About 100,000 seniors will feel the pain, one quarter of the number expected to get hip and knee replacements each year.

Hospitals in these areas will have to settle for a flat fee for all the care a knee- or hip-replacement patient might need – including surgery, pain killers, hospital stays, rehabilitation and home care – regardless of how things go.

If there are complications, the hospital and doctors lose out. Hospitals will have to cut corners, and avoid the costliest patients altogether. So if you’ve been considering getting a hip or knee replacement, do it before January.

Ezekiel Emanuel, the president’s health-care adviser, applauds the impending change, promising that “savings are immediate and guaranteed.” What savings? Not for you.

Bundled payments will force cuts in care, not necessarily “savings.” The new system will set up a conflict of interest between patients and the very people they need to trust.

Whatever the patient gets will come off the hospital’s bottom line and out of the doctors’ own pockets at the end of the year.

Seniors are guinea pigs in this new scheme. The RAND Corp. says there are no studies to show the impact on patients.

Isn’t that what health care is supposed to be about? RAND says the scheme risks putting “pressure on physicians to spend less time with patients or on hospitals to decrease amenities.”

Health-care analysts at Lewin Group predict hospitals will scrimp by sending patients directly home with only a part-time health aide instead of to full-time rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility.

Another risk is that hospitals will use low-cost implants instead of allowing surgeons to opt for newer prostheses that give patients more range of movement.

Bundling payments is one of several ploys to shortchange seniors. In October 2012, Medicare began awarding bonus points to the hospitals that spend the least per senior, despite evidence that spending less results in higher death rates.

Americans know Medicare is running out of money.

But it’s better to have an honest conversation about how to extend its solvency, including raising the eligibility age and enlisting competition among private insurers, than to have the hidden incentives to cut care the Obama administration is using.

Rationing is invisible. Patients won’t know about the care they should have gotten or how much less they could have suffered.

Bundled payments, like other perverse incentives buried in ObamaCare, destroy Medicare as we’ve known it.

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