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


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.”



Government Accountability Office: Obamacare Is A Big Bowlful Of Fraud

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


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:

* 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.

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.


Related article:

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.”



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

H/T Daily Signal



Leftist Failure Update: ObamaCare Entering Dreaded Death Spiral

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


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.



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

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


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.”



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


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.”



Federal Judge Rules Speaker Boehner Can Sue President Asshat Over Obamacare

Judge Says Boehner Can Sue President Over Obamacare – Washington Examiner


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.



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


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.”



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


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.



Leftist Incompetence Update: Yet Another Obamacare Health Co-Op Ends In Utter Failure

Another Obamacare Health Co-Op Ends In Failure – Daily Caller


Bleeding cash, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) announced Friday that Louisiana’s Obamacare health insurance co-op will be closing its doors by the end of 2015.

It will be the second collapse of an Obamacare health care co-op this year and the third since the Obama administration rolled them out in 2012 as a competitor to commercial health insurance companies.

From the beginning, the Louisiana co-op was fraught with high-paid consultants who were not even from Louisiana, but Georgia. It also suffered from an apparent conflict of interest. George Cromer, its CEO, simultaneously served the Louisiana House of Representatives as chairman of that legislative body’s insurance committee.

Roughly 18 months into its existence, in September 2012, the Louisiana co-op received $66 million from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. By 2014, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that the co-op had burned through half of its cash and suffered a net operating loss of $23 million.

The co-op had only enrolled 17,000 paid subscribers out of a total state population of 4.6 million, according to state census data.

AM Best, the insurance rating company, reported in the third quarter of 2014 that the Louisiana co-op’s indebtedness was 198 percent, among the worst performing Obamacare nonprofits in the nation.

“The onerous burdens of Obamacare have shocked health insurance markets and caused instability in pricing and predictability, and as a result, we’ve seen premiums spike upward,” Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon wrote in a press statement July 24 when he announced closure plans for the co-op.

“Start-ups in insurance, especially health insurance, are always a tough row to hoe. Obamacare has made that even more difficult,” the commissioner noted in a press release.

The LDI’s Office of Financial Solvency will be examining the financial issues that led to its decision to close, and the commissioner has said that the department is “on-site at the co-op.”

The Louisiana Health co-op began with controversy over Terry Shilling, its first CEO. Shilling arranged a lavish contract with his own Atlanta-based consulting firm, Beam Partners, LLC, an arrangement approved by federal Obamacare CMS officials.

Federal officials also approved Shilling as original founder and “interim CEO” for the co-op, even though in 1998, the Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned him for insider trading as a health executive. Shilling’s consulting firm received more than $3 million from the co-op in 2013 for “health plan development,” according to its IRS Form 990 filing.

Louisiana insurance documents obtained by the Washington Examiner in August 2013 showed that Beam would receive a separate $4 million contract from the start-up co-op. On top of the contract, the Atlanta firm would receive a 20 percent “performance fee,” according to the documents. Finally, Beam additionally reaped a “benefit payment services” that began at $66,667 per month in 2013, culminating in $72,917 in 2016, according to Louisiana co-op insurance filing documents.

Separate from the preferential contract with Shilling, the co-op represented a potential political conflict of interest. After Shilling’s relationship with the co-op went public, the Atlanta businessman stepped down as interim CEO, to be replaced by Louisiana Rep. George Cromer.

Cromer, a Republican, also was the chairman of the Louisiana House committee on health insurance. He did not step down from the position after assuming the co-op post.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Cromer’s office, but has yet to receive a response.

The Louisiana co-op is not the first to fold.

In February, the Iowa Insurance Department assumed receivership and closed the doors of Co-Opportunity Health, an Obamacare co-op that served more than 100,000 customers in Iowa and Nebraska. Co-Opportunity had a loss ratio of 140, which meant that for every dollar it received in premiums, it had to pay out $1.40 in benefits.

The first failure occurred in 2013, when the Vermont Insurance Commissioner refused to grant a license to a new Obamacare health co-op.

The Commissioner refused to license the co-op because the president had steered as much as $500,000 of the co-op’s money to his own firm. CMS had approved the loan to the Vermont co-op despite the conflict of interest.

She also said the co-op’s math was inadequate and failed to meet the state’s financial standards.



Obamacare: Now With 34% Fewer Providers!

Report: Obamacare Plans Have 34% Fewer Providers – Weasel Zippers


But you can keep your doctor!

Via Newsmax:

Thirty-four percent fewer healthcare providers are available to Obamacare patients – backing up “anecdotal reports that exchange networks contain fewer providers than traditional commercial plans,” a new report says.

According to an analysis by Avalere Health, the Washington-based advisory firm, the Obamacare networks offer an average of 42 percent fewer heart and cancer doctors – along with 24 percent fewer hospitals and 32 percent fewer primary care physicians for patients to choose from.

But most importantly, the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on out-of-pocket costs by patients do not apply to healthcare services outside the plan’s network.

Keep reading



Leftist Nightmare Update: IRS Might Not Refund $38M In Overpaid ObamaCare Fines

IRS Might Not Refund $38M Overpaid ObamaCare Fines – Sweetness & Light


Fines? What fines? Those are ‘shared responsibility payments.’

From the Washington Free Beacon:

300,000 Taxpayers Overpaid Obamacare Fine by $38 Million, IRS May Not Return Money

By Morgan Chalfant | July 15, 2015

Approximately 6.6 million U.S. taxpayers paid a penalty for not having health insurance imposed this year under Obamacare, and hundreds of thousands of them overpaid the fine.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the number of taxpayers paying the fine, which was put in place to encourage Americans to enroll in health coverage, exceeded the Obama administration’s initial estimate by 10 percent.

Funny how all of the ‘bad stuff’ about Obama-Care was underestimated. What are the odds?

According to a new report from the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average fine paid by taxpayers was $190. The penalty, however, can reach up to 1 percent of one’s income.

The report also discovered that about 300,000 taxpayers, most of whom should have been deemed exempt because of low income, overpaid the fine by $35 million. The average amount overpaid by each individual was $110.

So Obama-Care even fined the poor. What a surprise.

The IRS has yet to decide whether or not it will return the funds to those who overpaid…

According to the report, approximately 10.7 million U.S. taxpayers filed for exemption from the penalty…

And never mind that most of these people getting exemptions are the very people Obama-Care was supposed to get to pay their ‘shared responsibility.’



Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? (David Catron)

Ready For Another Obamacare Price Hike? – David Catron


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.



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

U.S. Welfare Rolls Explode Under Obamacare – WorldNetDaily


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.”



Leftist Nightmare Update: Hawaii Shutting Down $205 Million Obamacare Exchange (Video)

Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Shutting Down – TPNN


Hawaii’s state legislature rejected legislation giving a $28-million cash infusion to its troubled Obamacare insurance exchange, making it impossible for the website to operate after this year.

The exchange will stop taking new enrollees on Friday.

Hawaii’s Connector Exchange released a statement saying:

“Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector’s operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay.”

“Staff reductions will commence immediately, with the executive director ( Jeff Kissel) exiting once the bulk of operational activities end.” The statement continued saying: “If the state cannot facilitate an orderly transition, the Connector’s operations will abruptly end, as the Connector does not have the resources to continue operations.”

According to Americanthinker, more states, including: Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Oregon – are having massive problems with their Obamacare websites, and are expected to close also. The cost? Almost a Billion dollars more of our money flushed down the drain.

Can any state exchanges continue to exist? With 36 states refusing to open their own exchanges and the Supreme Court ready to deal the death blow to subsidies, the future of the Obamacare exchanges appears uncertain at best.




How Rand Paul And A Few Other RINO Douchebags Let Congress Keep Its Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies

How Five Republicans Let Congress Keep Its Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies – National Review


The rumors began trickling in about a week before the scheduled vote on April 23: Republican leadership was quietly pushing senators to pull support for subpoenaing Congress’s fraudulent application to the District of Columbia’s health exchange – the document that facilitated Congress’s “exemption” from Obamacare by allowing lawmakers and staffers to keep their employer subsidies.

The application said Congress employed just 45 people. Names were faked; one employee was listed as “First Last,” another simply as “Congress.” To Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter, who has fought for years against the Obamacare exemption, it was clear that someone in Congress had falsified the document in order to make lawmakers and their staff eligible for taxpayer subsidies provided under the exchange for small-business employees.

But until Vitter got a green light from the Small Business Committee to subpoena the unredacted application from the District of Columbia health exchange, it would be impossible to determine who in Congress gave it a stamp of approval. When Vitter asked Republicans on his committee to approve the subpoena, however, he was unexpectedly stonewalled.

With nine Democrats on the committee lined up against the proposal, the chairman needed the support of all ten Republicans to issue the subpoena. But, though it seems an issue tailor-made for the tea-party star and Republican presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) refused to lend his support. And when the Louisiana senator set a public vote for April 23, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies got involved.

“For whatever reason, leadership decided they wanted that vote to be 5-5, all Republicans, to give Senator Paul cover,” one high-ranking committee staffer tells National Review. “So they worked at a member level to change the votes of otherwise supportive senators.” Four Republicans – senators Mike Enzi, James Risch, Kelly Ayotte, and Deb Fischer – had promised to support Vitter, but that would soon change.

Senate staffers, according to a top committee aide, reported seeing Missouri senator Roy Blunt make calls to at least two Republican committee members, lobbying them, at McConnell’s behest, to vote no on subpoenaing the exchange. By the time the committee was called to quorum, Enzi, Risch, Ayotte, and Fischer voted no.

To many observers, it was curious that any Republican would move to put the brakes on an investigation into Obamacare fraud, and particularly curious that they would pull back in an instance where the federal government was actually defrauding itself, one that so clearly illustrates Obamacare’s flaws by exposing the bureaucratic jujitsu and outright dishonesty required of federal employees themselves to navigate the law.

Conservative health-care experts can’t understand the reasoning behind the GOP senators’ opposition. They see politics and self-interest at play, and they allege that Republican leaders are as invested as their Democratic counterparts in maintaining their subsidies, fraudulently obtained, while avoiding scrutiny from an overwhelmingly disapproving American public.

“We deserve to know who signed that application, because they are robbing taxpayers,” says Michael Cannon, director of health-policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. The staffers who signed the fraudulent application, he says, “know who was directing them to do this. And so we have to follow the trail of breadcrumbs. This is the next breadcrumb, and whoever is farther up the trail wants to stop Vitter right here.”

The story of the ill-fated subpoena can be traced back to the debate over the Affordable Care Act, when Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) insisted that lawmakers and congressional staff join a health-care exchange set up under the bill. For government employees, that meant giving up government-subsidized health-care contributions of between $5,000 and $10,000 per person. The White House scrambled to find a way to allow congressional employees to keep those subsidies. In Washington, D.C., only the small-business exchange allowed them to do so. After secret meetings with House speaker John Boehner in 2013, President Obama instructed the Office of Personnel Management to allow Congress to file for classification as a small business, despite the fact that the law defines a small business as having no more than 50 employees and the House and Senate together employ tens of thousands.

When Vitter’s staffers tracked down the application and discovered obvious signs of fraud, Vitter requested approval to subpoena an unredacted copy of the application. The value of that document, says Cannon, is that it would reveal the name of the person who filed it. “Now you’ve got someone to call to testify,” he says, predicting that testimony would precipitate a congressional vote on whether to end the congressional exemption altogether.

“I think it makes sense to find out what happened,” says Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, a noted conservative health-care voice and a National Review contributor. “It would be pretty interesting to see whose name is on the forms,” he says. “It has to go beyond mid-level staffers.”

But some congressional Republicans, it seems, are also resistant to getting to the bottom of the mystery – or, at the very least, they are content to let sleeping dogs lie.

Committee rules for a subpoena require either the consent of the ranking member or a majority of the group’s 19 senators. Because Democrats quickly made their opposition clear, Vitter needed the approval of all ten Republicans. Nine of them quickly consented via e-mail; one senator was strangely unresponsive.

Senior committee aides say that Rand Paul’s staff didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail requesting the senator’s consent and, when they did, they refused to provide it. When Vitter attempted to set up a member-to-member meeting, his overtures were ignored or put off. Paul’s policy staff refused to take a meeting. When Vitter tried to confront Paul on the Senate floor, they say, the Kentucky senator skirted the issue.

It wasn’t until after the vote that Paul shared his reasoning. “Senator Paul opposes allowing Congress to exempt themselves from any legislation,” an aide told the Conservative Review. “To that end, yesterday, he reintroduced his proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit Congress from passing any law that exempts themselves. Senator Paul prefers this option over a partisan cross-examination of Congressional staff.”

But a constitutional amendment is a longshot that would take years, and it hardly precluded an investigation of congressional corruption here and now.

“That’s absurd,” says Robert Moffit, the director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “You don’t need a constitutional amendment to get a subpoena… I don’t know where he’s coming from.”

“The answers he has given do not make sense,” Cannon says of Paul. “And when someone with his principles does something that is so obviously against his principles, and does not give an adequate explanation, you begin to think that politics is afoot. It would have to be someone very powerful that made him a powerful pitch – or threat – to keep him from doing this.”

Paul’s press secretary tells National Review that the senator “examines every opportunity to [oppose Obamacare] individually, and does not base his vote on requests made by other senators, including the majority leader.”

Asked whether McConnell pushed Paul or any other senator on the subpoena, a spokesman for McConnell says the majority leader “didn’t make any announcements when that committee voted.”

The flip-flopping Republicans justified their change of heart. Risch said in the April 23 committee meeting that legal wrangling with the D.C. exchange could take time away from the committee’s small-business work. Enzi said he saw little wrong with the application as is.

“Each of us has our own budget, each of us has our own staff,” he said. “I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m way under 50 [employees]. So my staff qualifies as a small business.”

Enzi was one of the original sponsors of Vitter’s 2013 amendment to end the congressional Obamacare exemption, but his press secretary tells National Review he felt the probe “could inadvertently target staff who simply completed paperwork as part of their job.” He insists that Enzi “made up his own mind.” Risch, Ayotte, and Fischer declined to comment.

A spokesman for South Carolina senator Tim Scott, who voted for the subpoena, says that nobody lobbied him one way or the other, while a spokesman for Florida senator Marco Rubio, who also voted in favor of the measure, declined to comment.

Health-care experts dismiss Enzi’s claim that each member’s office is its own small business, and not just because the health exchange application was filed for Congress as a whole. “These congressional offices that think they’re small businesses, are they LLCs?” Cannon asks. “Are they S-Corps? Are they shareholder-owned? Are they privately held? What is the ownership structure of this small business that you’re running, senator? It’s just utterly ridiculous.”

“They’re transparently absurd,” says Moffit of Senate Republicans claiming small-business status. “Who made the determination that Congress is a small business and is therefore eligible for subsidies that do not legally exist? How did that happen?”

No one quite knows what’s behind leadership’s apparent push to kill the subpoena. The move baffled some committee staffers. “The amount of blood that McConnell and Paul spilled to prevent [the subpoena] from happening makes me wonder [if] maybe that isn’t all that there is to it,” the high-ranking staffer says. “Maybe other people signed it… They’re clearly afraid of something bigger than a person’s name getting out there.”

Others, however, think the motives behind GOP leadership’s apparent obfuscation are clear. “If there’s one thing that absolutely drives Americans fundamentally crazy, it’s the idea that Congress can set one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else,” says Moffit. “That’s political poison, and that’s why they have been so desperate to avoid the issue.”

“The most powerful interest group in Washington D.C., is not the Chamber or the unions or anyone else,” Cannon says. “It is members of Congress and their staffs. And when it comes to their benefits, they are all members of the same party.”


Related videos:





Contrary To Democrats’ Promises, Emergency Room Visits Surge Under Obamacare

Contrary To Goals, ER Visits Rise Under Obamacare – USA Today


Three-quarters of emergency physicians say they’ve seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare took effect – just the opposite of what many Americans expected would happen.

A poll released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight increases. By contrast, fewer than half of doctors reported any increases last year in the early days of the Affordable Care Act.

Such hikes run counter to one of the goals of the health care overhaul, which is to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by getting more people insured through Medicaid or subsidized private coverage and providing better access to primary care.

A major reason that hasn’t happened is there simply aren’t enough primary care physicians to handle all the newly insured patients, says ACEP President Mike Gerardi, an emergency physician in New Jersey.

“They don’t have anywhere to go but the emergency room,” he says. “This is what we predicted. We know people come because they have to.”

Experts cite many root causes. In addition to the nation’s long-standing shortage of primary care doctors – projected by the federal government to exceed 20,000 doctors by 2020 – some physicians won’t accept Medicaid because of its low reimbursement rates. That leaves many patients who can’t find a primary care doctor to turn to the ER – 56% of doctors in the ACEP poll reported increases in Medicaid patients.

Emergency room usage is bound to increase if there’s a shortage of primary care doctors who accept Medicaid patients and “no financial penalty or economic incentive” to move people away from ERs, says Avik Roy, a health care policy expert with the free market Manhattan Institute.

“It goes to the false promise of the ACA,” Roy says, that Medicaid recipients are “given a card that says they have health insurance, but they can’t have access to physicians.”

Complicating matters, low-income patients face many obstacles to care. They often can’t take time off from work when most primary care offices are open, while ERs operate around the clock and by law must at least stabilize patients. Waits for appointments at primary care offices can stretch for weeks, while ERs must see patients almost immediately.

“Nobody wants to turn anyone away,” says Maggie Gill, CEO of Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga. “But there’s no business in this country that provides resource-intensive anything and can’t even ask if you’re going to be able to pay.”

Some people who have been uninsured for years don’t have regular doctors and are accustomed to using ERs, even though they are much more expensive. A 2013 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says going to an ER when a primary care visit would suffice costs $580 more for each visit.

Damian Alagia, chief physician executive for KentuckyOne Health, says he’s seen the trend play out in his large hospital system. There are more than a half-million people in the state newly insured through Obamacare. Many who put off care in the past now seek it in the place they know — the ER. “We’re seeing an uptick pretty much across the system in our ERs,” he says, calling the rise “significant” in both urban and rural hospitals.

Gerardi acknowledges that some people come to the ER for problems that would be better handled in a primary or urgent care office. But he says the ER is the right place for patients with vague but potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain, which could be anything from a heart attack to indigestion.

ER volumes are likely to keep climbing, and hospitals are working to adapt. Alagia says his ERs have care management professionals who connect patients with primary care physicians if they don’t already have them. Gill says her Georgia hospital has a “whole staff in the emergency room dedicated to recidivism,” who follow up with patients to see whether they’ve found a primary care doctor, are taking their medications or need help with transportation to get to doctors.

Still, seven in 10 doctors say their emergency departments aren’t ready for continuing, and potentially significant, increases in volume. Although the numbers should level off as people get care to keep their illnesses under control, Alagia says, “the patient demand will outstrip the supply of physicians for a while.”



Shocker! California’s Obamacare Exchange Plagued By Incompetence, Mismanagement

Incompetence, Mismanagement Plague California’s Obamacare Insurance Exchange – Daily Signal


California’s health insurance exchange, established under the Affordable Care Act, has been held out as a national model for Obamacare. In some ways – not all of them good – it is. Whether it’s falling far short of 2015 enrollment goals or sending out 100,000 inaccurate tax forms, Covered California is struggling with its share of challenges.

Now, several senior-level officials integral to the launch of Covered California – who enthusiastically support the Affordable Care Act – are speaking about what they view as gross incompetence and mismanagement involving some of the $1 billion federal tax dollars poured into the state effort.

‘Somebody Must Have Been Smoking Something’

Consultant Aiden Hill became a “foxhole convert” to Obamacare in July of 2010 when he lost his insurance, had a serious medical issue and couldn’t get a new policy.

“I lived through a health care nightmare. That’s one reason why I took a cut in my pay rate to work for Covered California.”

In March 2013, Hill was hired as project manager over Covered California’s massive $120 million call center effort. In just six short months, it would face an avalanche of customers seeking insurance mandated under the new law.

But five months on the job converted Hill from avid supporter to disenchanted whistleblower. He says the secretive and dysfunctional culture was more interested in cheerleading than real results. After he persistently raised concerns, Covered California abruptly terminated his contract. He says the experience drove him to raise allegations about waste and cover ups at a Covered California board meeting.

Covered California quietly launched an independent investigation into Hill’s grievances. Nine months later, the results were summarized in four sentences stating that evidence did “not support” Hill’s complaints. Hill calls the probe a sham and says the inquiry didn’t include interviews with many witnesses he suggested.

Today, Hill describes himself as disgusted by the process – and soured on Obamacare.

“I really believe that we’ve created a monster – and it’s an unaccountable monster,” Hill told The Daily Signal.

Covered California declined comment on Hill’s allegations.

Other officials integral to Covered California’s efforts concur with Hill’s assessment. One of them headed the largest call center.

“They started this way too late for what they needed to do,” says the official who was hired in April 2013, five months before the website’s launch. He has since left that position and asked not to be named to protect his current job status.

“This program had to touch 58 counties, 11 federal agencies, all medical carriers and all advocates. To have a system that would be integrated seamlessly – somebody must have been smoking something if they thought that was going to happen.”

Disappointing Enrollment

It’s against that backdrop that Covered California finds itself now grappling with a big disappointment: low enrollment growth. California ranked near the bottom in overall growth, with a scant 1 percent increase over last year.

“It’s a tiny fraction of the growth they were expecting,” says an official who helped implement the Affordable Care Act and examined California’s numbers.

As recently as last fall, the official says, California hoped to increase enrollment by 500,000 this year. But only an additional 7,098 have “selected a plan” for 2015.

“Their total enrollment is a step in the right direction but nowhere near what anyone thought it would be for the largest state in the country.”

Covered California would not answer our questions about enrollment figures.

Another telling statistic is Covered California’s poor retention rate. Even though people are required by law to have health insurance, only 65 percent of Covered California’s 2014 customers reenrolled in 2015. The rest dropped off.

Covered California would not address our questions about lackluster retention and growth.

Last month, the agency issued a press release touting a younger and more diverse mix of customers.

“New enrollment for 2015 coverage is strong and has brought in consumers who our marketing and outreach targeted,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee, overlooking the fact that his organization’s retention of last year’s customers was among the lowest in the country.

Hoping for a bump, California followed the lead of the federal HealthCare.gov effort and repeatedly extended this year’s enrollment deadline. The Feb. 15 cutoff was pushed back to Feb. 20 and then Feb. 22. Now, it’s been extended to the end of this month.

“I lived through a health care nightmare. That’s one reason why I took a cut in my pay rate to work for Covered California.”

In March 2013, Hill was hired as project manager over Covered California’s massive $120 million call center effort. In just six short months, it would face an avalanche of customers seeking insurance mandated under the new law.

But five months on the job converted Hill from avid supporter to disenchanted whistleblower. He says the secretive and dysfunctional culture was more interested in cheerleading than real results. After he persistently raised concerns, Covered California abruptly terminated his contract. He says the experience drove him to raise allegations about waste and cover ups at a Covered California board meeting.

Covered California quietly launched an independent investigation into Hill’s grievances. Nine months later, the results were summarized in four sentences stating that evidence did “not support” Hill’s complaints. Hill calls the probe a sham and says the inquiry didn’t include interviews with many witnesses he suggested.

Today, Hill describes himself as disgusted by the process – and soured on Obamacare.

“I really believe that we’ve created a monster – and it’s an unaccountable monster,” Hill told The Daily Signal.

Covered California declined comment on Hill’s allegations.

Other officials integral to Covered California’s efforts concur with Hill’s assessment. One of them headed the largest call center.

“They started this way too late for what they needed to do,” says the official who was hired in April 2013, five months before the website’s launch. He has since left that position and asked not to be named to protect his current job status.

“This program had to touch 58 counties, 11 federal agencies, all medical carriers and all advocates. To have a system that would be integrated seamlessly – somebody must have been smoking something if they thought that was going to happen.”

Disappointing Enrollment

It’s against that backdrop that Covered California finds itself now grappling with a big disappointment: low enrollment growth. California ranked near the bottom in overall growth, with a scant 1 percent increase over last year.

“It’s a tiny fraction of the growth they were expecting,” says an official who helped implement the Affordable Care Act and examined California’s numbers.

As recently as last fall, the official says, California hoped to increase enrollment by 500,000 this year. But only an additional 7,098 have “selected a plan” for 2015.

“Their total enrollment is a step in the right direction but nowhere near what anyone thought it would be for the largest state in the country.”

Covered California would not answer our questions about enrollment figures.

Another telling statistic is Covered California’s poor retention rate. Even though people are required by law to have health insurance, only 65 percent of Covered California’s 2014 customers reenrolled in 2015. The rest dropped off.

Covered California would not address our questions about lackluster retention and growth.

Last month, the agency issued a press release touting a younger and more diverse mix of customers.

“New enrollment for 2015 coverage is strong and has brought in consumers who our marketing and outreach targeted,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee, overlooking the fact that his organization’s retention of last year’s customers was among the lowest in the country.

Hoping for a bump, California followed the lead of the federal HealthCare.gov effort and repeatedly extended this year’s enrollment deadline. The Feb. 15 cutoff was pushed back to Feb. 20 and then Feb. 22. Now, it’s been extended to the end of this month.

Call Center Chaos

The devastating crash of Covered California’s website and call centers on Oct. 1, 2013 was “the canary in the coalmine, an early warning of deep dysfunction,” according to Hill.

Pre-launch testing had proven disastrous. As with the national HealthCare.gov website, “it was breaking at the first click of the button,” says the former call center manager who worked under Hill. “Behind the scenes, states were worried. I know we were worried.”

Covered California contractors projected 10,000 calls the first day. The call center manager says he knew they were way off. “I and my training manager, who had launched call centers before, projected 20,000. We had 21,000 on day one. Our contractors were wrong.”

The HealthCare.gov website was on a parallel trajectory. It, too, suffered under hasty development and failed performance tests days before launch – all while the Obama administration put on a positive public face.

“Everybody knew it wasn’t going to function,” says a third Covered California official. “Calls start coming in and within the first hour, the entire system went down – phone and web.”

“The train was coming off the rails,” adds Hill. “The call center was going into meltdown.”

The meltdown lasted for months and fixes proved costly. Covered California would not provide a tally of expenses, but the agency ended up asking the federal government for an extra $155 million. That put the cost of Covered California at more than $1.06 billion federal tax dollars.

Enrollment Exaggeration?

Covered California’s disastrous debut triggered a house of cards. When the website crashed, consumers were directed to fill out paper applications; they were 33 pages long and took at least an hour to complete. What’s more, they couldn’t be coordinated with the electronic version because of a major design flaw. The forms didn’t match.

But Covered California counted duplicate applications as if they were enrollments, giving the impression that more people had successfully signed up. (The Obama administration did the same with national HealthCare.gov applications.)

For example, Covered California’s Lee publicly touted 30,000 successful enrollments for the first month. Hill says the actual number was closer to 4,000.

“A lot of the information that came out of Covered California was misleading or outright lies,” Hill insists.

Another Covered California official agrees.

“There’s no way he didn’t know he wasn’t telling the truth,” says an official, who still works at the agency and asked not to be identified. “We were fully aware that those numbers were inflated. It was horrible… morale busting. Things were being said that were blatantly untrue.”

The Daily Signal asked for Lee’s side of the story, but Covered California declined to make him available.

Hill says misinformation was aided and abetted by an uninformed press. In the midst of Covered California’s fiasco, he was stunned to read a New York Times article claiming the Golden State was an Obamacare utopia: the crown jewel of the health care reform effort.

On Nov. 24, 2013, Paul Krugman of The New York Times gushed:

What would happen if we unveiled a program that looked like Obamacare, in a place that looked like America, but with competent project management that produced a working website? Well, your wish is granted. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you California… The California authorities have been especially forthcoming with data tracking the progress of enrollment. And the numbers are increasingly encouraging.

That assessment was far from the reality, say the Covered California officials who spoke to The Daily Signal.

Covered California declined to respond to our questions but issued this statement:

Covered California is proud that it has been the portal for nearly four million people to find coverage through one of our participating health plans or through low cost/no cost Medi-Cal; is helping more than a million people access financial assistance to lower their monthly health insurance premiums; through the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured in California by half.



FL Governor: Obama Resorting To Extortion In Attempt To Force State Further Into Obamacare

Fla. Gov. Suing Administration For Trying To ‘Force Our State Further Into Obamacare’ – CNS


“It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal healthcare dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare,” a furious Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said Thursday as he announced that he plans to sue the Obama administration.

“It’s outrageous,” Scott told Fox News Thursday night.”The federal government started a program in our state in 2006. It’s called the Low Income Pool. It’s (health care) for low income families,” Scott explained. “Now, what they are saying is they are not going to keep that program going unless the state expands Obamacare (Medicaid). So this, first off, is horrible.”


“It sounds like extortion,” Fox News’s Kimberly Guilfoyle told Scott.

“Absolutely,” the governor agreed. “First off, you think about the families in our state that are relying on this. Second, (Supreme Court Chief) Justice Roberts said…that it’s not lawful for the federal government, for the Obama administration, to use coercion tactics, basically held a gun to our head, if we don’t expand Obamacare. They say they can’t do that.”

The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate, but it also said the federal government could not compel the states to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income people. As of this writing, 28 states and the District of Columbia have ageed to expand Medicaid. The federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the expansion costs through 2016, but after that, the states must pick up a larger share of the costs, and that’s what worries Scott and other governors.

In July 2012, shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, Gov. Scott announced that Florida would “opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program.”

“Floridians are interested in jobs and economic growth, a quality education for their children, and keeping the cost of living low,” Governor Scott said at the time. “Neither of these major provisions in Obamacare will achieve those goals, and since Florida is legally allowed to opt out, that’s the right decision for our citizens.”

He also noted that “Florida already has health care safety net programs for those with the greatest need.”

Scott told Fox News on Thursday that he and his attorney general are working on a lawsuit right now.

He questioned whether President Obama really cares about the low-income families in Florida for whom the federal government created the LIP program in the first place.

“And doesn’t everybody now understand that this is an administration that’s going to use coercion tactics, and when it’s appropriate, they’ll cut back funding if you don’t do another program they want?”

“One, they don’t care about the low income families because they are willing to walk away from a program. And then, two, they are using bully – this is a Sopranos. They are using bullying tactics to attack our state. It’s wrong. It’s outrageous just that they’re doing this.”

A White House spokesman, asked for his reaction to the anticipated Florida lawsuit, said he hadn’t seen “specific details.”

“But what is true is that expanding Medicaid in the State of Florida would ensure that 800,000 Floridians would get access to quality health-care coverage,” Josh Earnest said on Thursday.

Earnest noted that under Obamacare, the federal government picks up the full cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016.

“So there’s not a good reason why anybody in Florida would be in a situation of trying to block a policy that would benefit 800,000 Floridians. In fact, they would have a positive impact on the finances in the State of Florida.

“And it’s difficult to explain why somebody would think that their political situation and their political interest is somehow more important than the livelihood and health of 800,000 people that they were elected to lead.”

In a message on his website Thursday, Scott said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent him a letter this week, saying that “the furture of LIP’ and “Medicaid expansion are linked.”

“We will fight to protect the healthcare of Floridians, and their right to be free from federal overreach,” Scott said. “Our citizens already pay federal taxes that go into the federal LIP program. Now, President Obama has decided that the state must take on a larger Medicaid program, forcing our taxpayers to pay even more to government, before they get their own federal tax dollars back. This is outrageous, and specifically what the Supreme Court warned against.”



Maryland Obamacare Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M

MD’s Exchange Wrongly Billed U.S. Taxpayers $28M – Sweetness & Light


From the United Press International:

Audit shows Maryland health exchange improperly billed $28.4 million

March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Maryland’s health insurance exchange improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million, a Department of Health and Human Services audit reported Friday.

In another patented Friday evening news dump.

An inspector general’s probe found a lack of oversight and internal controls, not criminal wrongdoing, was the cause of the exchange’s problems since the marketplace opened in 2013.

Their incompetence seems to border on criminality.

The Maryland Health Connection was among the first state exchanges approved by the federal government, but its website crashed on its first day of operation and it experienced numerous software problems and feuds between contractors.

The entire technological infrastructure of the exchange was scrapped in 2014 and replaced by a platform used by Connecticut’s exchange.

In other words, it was a typical Obama-Care success story. By the way, wouldn’t Maryland’s governor make a great President?

The audit said the state used a 2013 and 2014 federal grant to cover the exchange’s costs when it should have used funds from a Medicaid program jointly financed by Maryland and the federal government…

We’re sure it was an innocent mistake. The state wouldn’t want to try to cheat the federal taxpayers in other states.

The audit found two accounting errors, a $15.9 million misallocation caused by out-of-date enrollment data, and $12.5 million through an unidentified contractor’s incorrect calculations.

It recommended Maryland pay back the $28.4 million, then apply for the actual amount due it from the federal government…

Don’t hold your breath.