Obamacare’s ‘Bailouts,’ Explained

There has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill and in the news about taxpayer-funded “bailouts” for insurance companies under Obamacare. But what exactly are lawmakers talking about when they reference these “bailouts?”

The “bailouts” have come in the form of two programs—the risk corridor and reinsurance programs—written into the health care law and designed to mitigate risks for insurance companies.

But they haven’t worked out quite the way they were intended.

Learn more about the risk corridor and reinsurance programs, as well as the debate surrounding their futures, in the video above. (For more from the author of “Obamacare’s ‘Bailouts,’ Explained” please click HERE)

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See How Much Premiums Will Increase Under Obamacare in These 14 States

Consumers will be hit by increases in health insurance premiums averaging 10 percent or more in all but one of 14 states where regulators have approved higher rates.

In Vermont, insurance rates will rise by an average of 5.5 percent.

Insurance companies submitted their rate proposals for 2017 over the past few months. In the lead-up to Obamacare’s open enrollment period beginning Nov. 1, regulators have begun to approve or alter the requests.

Consumers purchasing health coverage both on and off of the Obamacare exchanges will see their rates increase by an average of at least 10 percent, according to the insurer filings in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

The Obama administration has stressed that many consumers, especially those who qualify for government subsidies to pay premiums, won’t feel the full effects of the higher payments.

More than 9 million Americans received subsidies to help pay premiums, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said earlier this month.

However, another 2.5 million who purchased plans off the Obamacare exchanges in the individual market may qualify for financial assistance if they instead buy plans on the exchanges. Those who receive subsidies could end up paying monthly premiums of less than $75, Burwell said.

But Burwell didn’t address the nearly 10 million Americans who purchase plans sold in the individual market and don’t qualify for a subsidy.

Rising premiums, experts warn, will directly affect those consumers.

In their filings with states, insurance companies point to the end of Obamacare’s reinsurance program as one reason they need to increase rates. The reinsurance program, which expires at the end of the year, was designed to mitigate risk among insurers.

Insurers also point to their customers’ high medical costs as contributing to rising premiums.

Here’s how rates in the District of Columbia and the 14 states—Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont—will increase next year:


(For more from the author of “See How Much Premiums Will Increase Under Obamacare in These 14 States” please click HERE)

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In 3 Years, His Insurance Premiums Double as Options Decline Under Obamacare

For the past 15 years, Warren Jones has had the same health insurance plan with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

But over the years, Jones, of Kansas City, Missouri, has watched the coverage offered in his policy “erode” over time.

First, the company got rid of the dental and vision coverage he had.

Then, Jones’ deductible increased—to $2,500—for his plan alone.

But perhaps the most significant change for Jones, a veterinarian, has been the rising cost of his monthly premiums.

In 2014, the year Obamacare took effect, Jones paid $318 in monthly premiums. In 2015, the price went up to $394 per month, then to $491 for 2016.

For 2017, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas estimates that Jones will pay $716 each month for his premiums—a 45.8 percent increase—according to a letter the insurer sent him.

“You can’t keep doing this because people’s wages don’t increase by that amount,” Jones told The Daily Signal. “Nobody’s wages are increasing, so it’s taking a bigger chunk of the budget.”

“That’s the scariest part,” he continued. “It takes a bigger chunk of the budget, and there’s no relief in sight.”

Like millions of other Americans nationwide, Jones, 55, doesn’t buy his insurance on Obamacare’s state and federal exchanges.

And even if he did, he wouldn’t qualify for the subsidies that lessened the cost of health insurance for 7.3 million Americans who received the tax credits last year, according to regulatory filings.

Instead, the veterinarian falls into an overlooked subset of consumers who pay full price for their health insurance in a time of skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.

They don’t qualify for the tax credits offered under the health care law, and they don’t receive their coverage from employers, since many are self-employed.

“I have seen so many people, self-employed people, many started their own little business and make whatever they do, they have a small business, and they buy their individual policy or buy for their family, and what are their options?” said Beverly Gossage, a broker who has worked in the Kansas City area for 14 years.

“Do they no longer be self-employed? Maneuver taxes to make less than the income threshold to get subsidies?” Gossage continued. “They don’t want to do that, but they’re being pushed to do that. I get this question every day—‘What am I supposed to do?’”

Gossage ran as a Republican for Kansas insurance commissioner in 2014.


Over the past few months, insurers have been submitting rates to state regulators for the 2017 benefit year.

In most states, companies are requesting double-digit rate hikes for those selecting plans sold in the individual market both on and off the Obamacare exchanges.

Experts say insurers are playing catch-up after setting rates too low in the early years of the health care law and enrolling a sicker—and costlier—population than anticipated.

“A lot of insurers didn’t understand that the market was going to be skewed in terms of income and health status as severely as it was,” Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Generally, the pool was much worse than anybody expected because of things the administration did that made it worse.”

In response to questions about the growing cost of health insurance for consumers who buy plans sold in the individual market, the Obama administration has said that many Americans are shielded from premium hikes since they buy coverage on the exchanges and receive a subsidy from the government.

Many of the exchange enrollees who qualify for a subsidy may end up paying as little as $75 per month in premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said earlier this month.

But that’s not the case for people like Jones and the 10 million others paying full price for their coverage.

“The traditional individual market, which consisted largely of middle-class people who are self-employed, those people are hooked onto this,” Haislmaier said. “It’s kind of a situation where you have an anchor that’s too big, and it’s pulling the boat under.”

Jones is considering selecting a new health insurance plan altogether, but because Missouri hasn’t yet approved rates for 2017, he’s unsure if he’ll even be able to find a cheaper alternative.

“The big thing is the unknown still,” Jones said. “But we know we’re getting inundated with increases in premiums.”

The Missouri man said he is familiar with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and switching to another carrier may leave him with even less coverage.

“You get a comfort level, and at least you know what you’re getting,” Jones said. “If I had to change insurance, you miss the changes that occur. You don’t know what you’re signing up for.”


While Missouri residents like Jones are confronting a spike in rates, consumers across the state’s western border also are facing fewer insurers to choose from.

Among the insurers that will continue to sell coverage in Kansas, the number of plans they’re offering both on and off the Obamacare exchange is decreasing.

Many insurers, large and small, have decided to leave the exchanges after losing millions of dollars last year; they either withdrew from states altogether or decreased the number of policies offered.

According to an August study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, six in 10 counties may have a maximum of two insurers on the exchanges next year. Additionally, five states will have one insurer selling coverage on an exchange.

In Kansas, 17 carriers sold policies in the state before Obamacare’s implementation, Gossage said.

This year, the majority of consumers in Kansas will have only two insurers to choose from on the exchange, according to the Kansas Department of Insurance.

Those buying plans sold in the individual market off the exchange have five insurers, according to the state.

It’s a similar landscape in Missouri, where four insurance companies are selling coverage on the exchange, according to regulatory filings.

Off the exchange, consumers can choose from at least seven different companies.

Gossage said that over the last few years, she has seen insurers significantly lessen the number of policies they’re offering.

“What we did is we went from a very vibrant, competitive marketplace with extremely low rates and lots of different plans to pick from to over-overregulation with the type of plan you have and to mandates placed on insurance companies which led to high premiums and fewer carriers in the marketplace,” Gossage said.

While much of the focus has been on the declining number of choices for consumers selecting coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges, those with plans sold in the individual market off the exchanges are hurting, too.

Rochelle Bird, who is self-employed and lives in Overland Park, Kansas, has had a policy through Coventry, a subsidiary of Aetna, for two years.

In that time, her monthly premiums have risen from $335 to $487, and her deductible went from $1,200 to $6,200.

Late last month, Bird received a letter from Coventry notifying her that her policy will cease to exist at the end of the year.

“We may still offer coverage in your area, but most of the options available today will not be available for 2017,” the letter stated.

Bird said she wasn’t surprised to learn her policy was being canceled. Rather, she expected it.

“I know that this act has created chaos,” she said of Obamacare, formally the Affordable Care Act. “When I get a thing [in the mail] saying that my rate has changed, I know it’s 50-50 when I open it. It’s either a letter saying this is what you’re going to pay starting Jan. 1, or we’re no longer offering that plan anymore. It wasn’t a total shock to me.”

Bird said she has started researching other policies with different insurance companies, but because officials in Kansas only recently finalized rates, she hasn’t yet made a final decision on her coverage for next year.

She has, however, set expectations for the terms of her next plan.

“I am now faced with the fact that unless something changes, there will be one health care provider presumably with two different health plans that I will have a choice of [while] living in the state of Kansas,” Bird said. “That’s absurd. How is that helpful?”

“I’m expecting (a) I’ll pay more, (b) I’ll have less, and (c) I may or may not have the same doctors,” she said. “Those are always the moving parts.”


Bird herself didn’t purchase her plan on the Obamacare exchange, and she wouldn’t qualify for a subsidy if she did.

While going without insurance and paying the fine—$695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income for 2016—isn’t an option for her, it is for other Kansas and Missouri residents.

Jessica Huayaban of Olathe, Kansas, and her husband, Joel, each purchased plans in the individual market off the exchange in 2014.

Jessica, 36, bought a plan through Humana, and her husband, 35, through Coventry.

The couple, who own a painting and remodeling company, previously were uninsured and saving money each month to pay for a costly knee surgery Joe needed.

Jessica and Joel had insurance before, but when the recession hit in 2009, coverage was too expensive so they decided to go without.

“It was way cheaper to cash pay,” she said of the years they needed medical services but didn’t have insurance.

In 2014, when Obamacare was implemented, the couple purchased their own coverage, but only because the law required it.

“I wasn’t getting [insurance] for even the coverage part,” Jessica told The Daily Signal. “I was getting it for the compliance.”

Over the past two years, the monthly premiums Jessica pays for her Humana plan have gone up minimally, but her plan has a high deductible.

Then, last month, the 36-year-old mother received a letter from her insurer notifying her they’re canceling her policy.

“This is just something that continues to happen, and I don’t have a choice in it,” Jessica said.

She said she isn’t sure whether she and her husband will purchase plans on Obamacare’s exchange when the open enrollment period opens in November.

And although she may qualify for a subsidy, the young mother fears she’ll be stuck with an expensive tax bill when she files with the IRS for 2017, since her income—she is self-employed—fluctuates drastically from month to month.

“All of it is so backward,” she said of the health insurance system. (For more from the author of “In 3 Years, His Insurance Premiums Double as Options Decline Under Obamacare” please click HERE)

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The Media’s Embarrassing Failure to Bring up Obamacare in the Debates

Maybe Bill Clinton should moderate Sunday’s presidential debate. Referring to Obamacare this week as “the craziest thing in the world,” he seems to understand that the consequences of the health care law might be of interest to voters.

Indeed, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 71 percent of Donald Trump supporters and 77 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters say the issue of health care is “very important” to their vote in 2016.

Which is why it seems odd that not one single question dealing with Obamacare was asked at either the first presidential debate or the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election. Not one.

Well, perhaps it’s only odd if you don’t know the major broadcast networks have all but ignored the disastrous news stories about Obamacare.

According to the media watchdogs over at the Media Research Center, from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, ABC’s “World News Tonight” and “NBC Nightly News” have not covered the issue at all. “CBS Evening News” dedicated a whopping 2 minutes and 18 seconds to the subject.

As the Media Research Center notes, “To put that in perspective, these same three evening news shows managed to find 46 minutes and 49 seconds to dedicate to Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte running afoul of Brazilian police.”

Maybe we’ll get a question about Lochte in the next debate.

There are so many questions that could be posited about Obamacare’s failures that perhaps the moderators just haven’t been able to choose which one to ask. For example:

Sir/Madame: The Government Accountability Office just announced last week that its investigation has determined that Health and Human Services has been illegally bailing out insurance companies with taxpayer dollars. What’s your reaction?

Or …

Sir/Madame: What do you say to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost the insurance they bought through Obamacare’s public co-ops? So far, 12 of the 23 co-ops have failed and been shut down, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion and forcing 740,000 people in 14 states to scramble to find new health insurance.

Or …

Sir/Madame: Contrary to what President Barack Obama originally promised, many Americans’ premiums did not go down, they’ve gone up. And the evidence suggests they will continue to rise. By 2025, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that employment-based coverage will cost about 60 percent more than it does today because of Obamacare. How will you address that?

Or … (my personal favorite)

Sir/Madame: Former President Bill Clinton referred to Obamacare as “the craziest thing in the world.” Do you agree with his remarks?

So many options but not one single question in either debate on the topic.

And yet, abortion, which fewer than half of voters say is very important to their vote, was a major topic in the vice presidential debate.

And I’m not saying it isn’t important. But why did CBS moderator Elaine Quijano think it was more important to voters than the issue of health care?

If she’d done a little more homework, she might have been able to combine the two issues by asking what the candidates thought about a report from the Government Accountability Office showing that Obamacare forces taxpayers to subsidize bills for abortion services.

One might think that, in the post-debate analysis, some in the media might start asking about what major issues have not been addressed.

The folks over at NBC News apparently did ask that question but got the wrong answer.

An article following the vice presidential debate said the debate “left lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocates stunned, after 90 minutes of questioning failed to address a single LGBTQ issue.”

It doesn’t mention that voters rank that issue over 30 percentage points behind health care as important to their vote.

To say the media doesn’t get it lets them off the hook way too easy. They get it all right. Obamacare is a disaster but they’re hoping voters won’t notice. (For more from the author of “The Media’s Embarrassing Failure to Bring up Obamacare in the Debates” please click HERE)

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Senate Candidate Joe Miller Agrees With Bill Clinton: Obamacare is ‘Crazy’

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller agreed on Wednesday with former President Bill Clinton’s assessment that Obamacare is “the craziest thing in the world” and called out Sen. Lisa Murkowski for merely seeking to “fix” the law.

The Hill reported on Tuesday that former President Clinton “steamrolled President Obama’s signature healthcare law” saying:

“You’ve got this crazy system where all the sudden 25 million more people have healthcare and then the people are out there busting it [at their jobs], sometimes 60 hours a week, [and] wind[ing] up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”

“It’s the craziest thing in the world,” he added.

Miller stated, “Bill Clinton got it right. Obamacare is crazy. I have fought this legislation from its inception.”

“Following the law’s passage in the Senate in the spring of 2010–through the dubious means of budget reconciliation–I called out Sen. Murkowski for joining the Republican surrender caucus and giving up on repeal. Repealing Obamacare is the only answer,” said Miller.

Local NBC affiliate KTUU ran a story following the law’s passage in March 2010, reporting that Murkowski viewed the law as a “work in progress.”

The senator stated, “Repealing this is not the answer, in my opinion, because if you just repeal and you do nothing, we will not have addressed healthcare reform.”

During a town hall in Anchorage in August 2009, as the healthcare legislation was being considered in Congress, Murkowski said, “It’s not so much that a government run plan is in and of itself a bad thing . . . What we have to have is a government-run plan that actually works.”

Murkowski voted against the effort to defund Obamacare in 2013, and while she did vote to repeal the law in December 2015, she, along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, introduced an amendment seeking to remove language that defunded Planned Parenthood.

Murkowski recently reiterated the view that government has a significant role to play in healthcare in an op-ed in the Alaska Dispatch News in May: “Until the Affordable Care Act is truly affordable for Alaskans and actually increases access to care, I will not ease up on my efforts to fix this unworkable law.”

“The senator’s big government mindset is entirely wrong,” said Miller. “More government involvement in the healthcare market has done exactly what I predicted: drove costs up exponentially and decreased options for Alaskans.”

Miller concluded, “I will not go to Washington with plans of ‘fixing’ Obamacare. I will fight to fully repeal Obamacare.”

Joe Miller is a limited government Constitutionalist who believes government exists to protect our liberties, not to take them away. He supports free people, free markets, federalism, the Constitutional right to life, the 2nd Amendment, religious liberty, American sovereignty, and a strong national defense.


GOP Lawmakers Pressure Administration Over Obamacare ‘Bailout’ for Insurers

GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate are pressuring the Obama administration for additional information on whether it plans to settle with insurance companies suing the government over a program written into Obamacare, which they warn would serve as a “multibillion dollar bailout” of those insurers.

Republicans in the House and Senate sent separate letters to top officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services raising concerns over the possibility of the Justice Department tapping into the Judgment Fund to settle lawsuits filed by insurance companies over Obamacare’s risk corridor program.

The risk corridor program was written into the Affordable Care Act and designed to provide insurers with stability during the first few years of the law’s implementation.

“This program was originally intended to be implemented in a budget neutral manner,” Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt.

“This intention was confirmed when Congress passed, with presidential approval, two separate provisions of appropriations law confirming its budget neutrality,” the letter continued. “It now appears the administration is preparing to circumvent these actions.”

The Republican senators said they have “grave concerns” about the potential for settlements with insurers.

Insurance companies filed lawsuits earlier this year after learning they would receive a small fraction of the money requested from the risk corridor program.

But Rubio and Senate Republicans included an amendment in 2015 and 2016 government spending bills prohibiting the government from using any taxpayer dollars to fund payments requested by insurers through the program. Under Rubio’s provision, the federal government could only use money collected from insurers to make those payments.

Because of those restrictions, insurance companies participating in Obamacare’s exchanges received just 12.6 percent of the money they intended to get from the risk corridor program—a collective $2.5 billion less than originally anticipated.

Many smaller insurers, including at least four of 23 consumer operated and oriented plans, ended up closing their doors because of lower-than-expected risk corridor payments.

Congressional Republicans began to sound the alarm over use of the Judgment Fund after insurers filed the lawsuit. Settling with insurers, they warned, would give the White House a way to provide the companies with their full risk corridor payments, effectively circumventing Congress.

“Any attempt to settle these cases out of court as a backdoor way to direct taxpayer dollars to insurance companies through the Judgment Fund will be met with the strictest scrutiny from Congress,” more than 40 GOP lawmakers wrote in one of the letters, sent to Burwell last week.

The Republicans go on to signal they would be willing to file their own lawsuit against the administration.

“Should the administration seek to make settlements in any pending lawsuit regarding risk corridor payments, we remain committed to exhausting all legislative and judicial options to ensure the power of the purse vested in Congress under the Constitution is respected and maintained,” the letter continues.

Republicans further stepped up their pressure on the Obama administration regarding potential use of the Judgment Fund following the release of a Sept. 9 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services on risk corridor payments for the 2015 benefit year.

In its memo, the agency addressed the lawsuit filed by insurers over the risk corridor payments for 2014 and said it would be “open to discussing resolution of those claims.”

Then, in a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee earlier this month, Slavitt indicated officials from his agency had discussed with the Justice Department a potential settlement with insurers over the risk corridor program.

Nicole Navas, spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said the agency declines to comment because of pending litigation.

Health Republic Insurance of Oregon, a co-op, filed the first lawsuit against the Obama administration over the risk corridor program in February. The nonprofit is seeking class-action status.

Highmark Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina followed, filing their own individual lawsuits in May and June, respectively.

The insurers allege that the federal government violated the Affordable Care Act and the risk corridor payment obligations outlined in the health care law.

Though the Obama administration has signaled it would be willing to use the Judgment Fund to settle insurers lawsuits against the government, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued two separate memorandums to Rubio and Barrasso on the legality of the use of the Judgment Fund.

In a memo sent to Rubio in January, the Congressional Research Service said the administration wouldn’t be able to use the Judgment Fund to award payments to insurers who filed suit.

Congress, the memo concluded, would have to appropriate additional funds for “any payment to satisfy a judgment secured by plaintiffs seeking recovery of amounts owed under the risk corridors program.”

In a separate memo to Barrasso, the Congressional Research Service said that even if the insurance companies won their case, either insurers would need to pay additional money into the risk corridor program or Congress would need to appropriate additional money for companies involved in the litigation to recover additional funds.

“Consequently, it would be inappropriate for the Judgment Fund to be used to settle any litigation stemming from the risk corridor program,” the letter from Barrasso, Lee, Rubio, and Sasse continues. (For more from the author of “GOP Lawmakers Pressure Administration Over Obamacare ‘Bailout’ for Insurers” please click HERE)

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3 Simple Ways to Win the Debate on Obamacare

Before March 2010, health care reform was already a divisive political issue. People chose sides for very personal reasons, which made it a difficult topic to discuss using an indoor voice.

Then Obamacare hit the scene. Promises made were not kept, and Americans are still facing the consequences—including higher premiums, fewer choices of doctors, and waiting periods.

With the first presidential debate and open enrollment season just around the corner, health care is poised to be a hot topic yet again.

Whether you’re talking to a neighbor about your increasing premiums or a co-worker about the latest health care debate on Capitol Hill, here are some tips for talking about Obamacare from a free-market, limited-government perspective that beats back socialism without beating down your opponent.

1. Find Common Ground

The common denominator on both sides of the argument is the desire for access to quality, affordable health care. Regardless of position, class, income, or location, health care should be cost-effective and accessible for everyone.

Furthermore, the part of the health care debate that nearly everyone agrees on is the need to address what happens to those with pre-existing conditions. For too long, those who suffered with a pre-existing condition were up against a nearly impossible task to find affordable, quality health care—those who needed it the most were often denied. A solution to this issue is something we can seek to solve together.

These well-known aspects of the health care debate create a common goal and make room for a discussion to work toward a solution.

2. Use Examples

There are numerous facts and statistics that prove Obamacare is not working as we were promised.

Just this year, average premium costs for an employment-based insurance family plan have skyrocketed to $15,500. In just a few years, those costs are projected to increase another 60 percent.

In March, on the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, The Daily Signal released this video, detailing six broken promises made by President Barack Obama regarding his health care plan.

Among other promises that were not kept, Americans were assured: you would be able to keep your current plan if you liked it; families making less than $250,000 would see no tax increase; Obamacare would not add to the deficit; premiums would decrease; and federal conscience laws would remain in place.

If you want to cite personal anecdotes, there are plenty. For example, I am a small business owner and therefore purchase my own health care. My premiums have tripled (while my health has remained the same) since the introduction of Obamacare. And I know my story isn’t unique.

Use stats and examples that prove Obamacare has achieved the opposite of what we were promised. Focus on the broken system, higher costs, longer wait times, and less choice.

3. Choose Your Words Carefully

The words and terms you use in this debate have the power to determine how your argument is received.

Even though the president embraced this legislation as his own, use the “president’s health care law” or the “Affordable Care Act” when talking to people who like it. Throwing “Obamacare” around will put liberals on the defensive, and then any chance for a reasonable conversation is harder to achieve.

While we may consider it unconstitutional to mandate that Americans buy a product whether or not they want it or need it, don’t focus on Obamacare being “unconstitutional.” That isn’t a winning argument for someone who is in favor of the health care law. Instead, focus on real-life implications like fewer choices, longer waits, and higher costs—all of which are happening and are the opposite of what we were promised. Proving injustice is easier, and fairness is a term they care a whole lot about.

Obamacare has not turned out to be a good deal for any of us, and this election season is an important time to discuss the law and its long-term implications. Civil discourse may be our best starting point to hold the president accountable and develop a health care system that truly works for all Americans. (For more from the author of “3 Simple Ways to Win the Debate on Obamacare” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.


Government Watchdog: Obamacare Can’t Detect Fake Enrollees

Republicans are slamming the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) lack of accountability in light of two new reports showing the health care law is vulnerable to fraud.

“This report unfortunately tells us more of what we already know — that the Obamacare federal exchanges have been riddled with problems since day one,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) in a statement issued with several other GOP Committee Chairmen.

Brady and the other top GOP policymakers say they are concerned by the fact that undercover operations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2015 and 2016 got through the ACA’s fraud prevention measures. For its 2015 analysis, the federal investigative agency successfully used “fictitious applications for subsidized health plans” ten times, and was approved for Medicaid coverage in seven of eight other fake applications.

Four states were targeted for investigation — New Jersey, North Dakota, California and Kentucky.

The 2016 investigation found that in addition to approving eight fraudulent applications, four applications were approved despite lacking proof of eligibility from prior years’ investigations. The applications were submitted through federal exchanges in West Virginia and Virginia, and California’s state marketplace.

Federal and some state officials agreed to create systems for better oversight, according to the GAO.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said in a statement that “Continuing to leave taxpayers vulnerable, years after the system was implemented, is a disgraceful way for the administration to leave our healthcare system. That the administration has been aware of this since 2014, and has failed to employ proper safeguards, is just the latest incompetence in the health law’s implementation.”

The law has faced other criticisms of late, as insurers are pulling out of many states and a majority of state-run healthcare exchanges have collapsed. (For more from the author of “Government Watchdog: Obamacare Can’t Detect Fake Enrollees” please click HERE)

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3 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Bad for Millennials

For many millennials, the fear of entering the “real world” is looming. We are preparing to face the financial challenges, often feeling like we are starting the trek up Mount Everest.

Many of us are scrambling to find jobs and avoiding moving back in with our parents. We recognize more and more that good jobs putting us on a promising career path are harder to find.

But our generation faces an additional challenge. Obamacare is jeopardizing our personal freedom and our financial future in ways few saw coming and many are unprepared to handle.

So many young people believe Obamacare is helping our society and will make health care more affordable, but now it is abundantly clear that the plan is harming young people.

Here are three ways Obamacare is hurting millennials:

Health Care Costs Skyrocket

Because of Obamacare, young people have seen up to a 44 percent increase in premiums because the new 3-1 ratio (older people can’t be charged more than three times the cost of a young person’s health care) forces the young to subsidize the old in the health insurance market. Not only are elderly individuals paying artificially lower prices for their insurance, but millennials are paying artificially higher prices.

This gives young people a strong monetary incentive to go without insurance and pay the annual fine for not buying insurance and then still “free ride” at the expense of the taxpayer with hospital emergency room care when they do get sick. If these regulations weren’t in place, young people’s premiums would be reduced by around $1,100.

That’s a lot of money for many young people starting in entry-level jobs, making only $10-15 an hour.

One aspect of Obamacare that seemed appealing to millennials on the surface was that if they are age 26 or younger they can stay on their parent’s plan—assuming their parents have employment-based coverage. However, if they don’t, they must enroll through the health insurance exchanges, where their choices are scarce. If they don’t do either, they must pay a fine. What we want to do is enroll in less expensive health plans of our choice. We can’t do that under these restrictions.

In addition, some options that were specifically designed for young people have been outlawed. Most college students only need and want basic coverage, which they could get through a limited benefit plan. Obamacare has abolished these minimum coverage caps (the plan’s minimum amount of money used to cover medical expenses) that characterizes these short-term, college plans. This desirable option of limited, short-term insurance coverage is now no longer available for students.

Instead of expanding coverage, some young people have decided to go without. That defeats the whole purpose of this law.

Harder to Keep Jobs

Because of Obamacare’s mandates on businesses, employers are increasingly forced to cut back on hiring and hours of work.

Employers are forced to purchase expensive insurance packages at the risk of being fined. The law mandates to anyone employing 50 or more full-time employees to purchase federally standardized health insurance. This coverage is often very expensive because of the inclusion of a wide range of government-mandated benefits.

If businesses don’t offer the federally-approved coverage, they can be fined at a rate of $2,000 to $3,000 for each employee who isn’t covered. Employers deal with this by not absorbing the costs, but passing it on to their workers. How? By slashing hours, cutting wages, rolling back other benefits, and firing people with the least seniority.

It’s not surprising that people have had to take multiple jobs just to support themselves. For young people entering the workforce, this doesn’t make our chances of securing jobs upon graduation any easier.

An Explosion of the National Debt

If the above two reasons weren’t enough to make a young person worry, this point will for sure.

As of March 2015, Obamacare has a net cost of $1.207 trillion over the next 10 years and will add an additional $17 trillion over the next 75 years in unfunded liabilities. Our national debt is over $19 trillion, so how is the United States supposed to pay for this? Oh, that’s right, it will increase taxes on the young people who will continue to pay for Obamacare, as well as the other giant federal entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—for the rest of our lives.

Not only are the young subsidizing the old through Obamacare’s unfair insurance rating rules, they are also subsidizing a large and rapidly-growing elderly population—including wealthy retirees—through their payroll and income taxes.

Imagine how much that will end up costing. Imagine how much of our hard-earned money will go toward big entitlement programs like this one, which we might never benefit from. If the goal was simply to provide help for those who could not afford health insurance, we could have easily done it without incurring Obamacare’s massive cost and debt. But that wasn’t the goal. The goal was more government intervention, and less of the free market; sadly it seems to be working.

A Better Solution for Young People

There is a better way to help the millions of Americans struggling to find affordable coverage, but not at a debilitating cost to young people.

Congressional Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recently released a plan that embraces a free marketplace, respects personal freedom, allows Americans to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, and embraces the diversity of this wonderful land we call America.

Ryan’s plan would reform the health care system, starting with the repeal of Obamacare. The plan states: “This law cannot be fixed. Its knots of regulations, taxes, and mandates cannot be untangled.”

The congressional Republican plan will allow people to buy insurance anywhere in America, creating a highly competitive national market for health insurance.

It would give Americans more options, better quality, and intense competition that would lower costs. States would be able to regulate their own health insurance markets, meaning that Washington could no longer force employers and individuals to purchase “Washington-mandated” health plans. It would mean that young people would be able to buy insurance that fits their needs, rather than pay artificially inflated insurance premiums.

Removing the employer mandate would mean that businesses would be able to purchase coverage that is best for them, and they would be able to balance health benefits with wages and other benefits. It would also open up job opportunities, enabling businesses to hire more full-time staff instead of many part-time staff, creating more job security and larger paychecks. That would be a direct benefit to young people entering the workforce.

Obamacare was supposed to lower costs and increase access to care. While insurance coverage has increased, health care costs have soared, particularly for the young. The most energetic new workers are being slammed with higher costs of insurance, including big deductibles—forcing many to go without.

President Barack Obama said his plan would not only expand coverage, but would also control costs, reduce typical family premiums, and expand competition. In fact, its biggest achievement has been to increase cost and expand government control.

Many of our peers don’t like conservatives very much, but they don’t realize that the Ryan alternative to Obamacare will lower insurance costs—especially for millennials. This plan was created with an understanding that young people shouldn’t bear the entire burden and recognizes that our future should be full of excitement and opportunity, not high taxes, suffocating bureaucracy, and crippling premiums. (For more from the author of “3 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Bad for Millennials” please click HERE)

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FEDERAL COURTS: Emperor Obama’s Executive Overreach Is Bullsh**

In another blow to President Obama’s flagrant executive overreach, a federal appeals court smacked down an ObamaCare rule requiring all indemnity health insurance plans to meet essential coverage minimum standards. The decision offered by the three-judge panel included Patricia Millet, an Obama nominated judge, who said the Administration “overreached” when it adopted a 2014 rule that “effectively eliminated” the plans by adding “additional criteria” to previous law.

The courts have repeatedly rebuked Obama for extending his executive pen too far. In May, a federal judge ruled Obama “exceeded his authority” and struck down an Obamacare provision giving billions of dollars to health insurers through subsidies.

Last month, an Obama-appointed federal judge struck down Obama’s overreach when it came to fracking regulations.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight. Skavdahl made it clear what he was — and wasn’t — considering in his ruling. ‘The issue before this Court is not whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,’ he wrote. The question, instead, is ‘whether Congress has delegated to the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It has not.’”

In June, an appeals court ruled Obama had wrongly bypassed Congress on his temporary government appointments.

“Congress did not want the president to install his chosen replacement unless the Senate approved,” SW General argued. “Allowing the permanent nominee to begin work immediately as an acting official would enable the president to advance his agenda without obtaining the Senate’s advice and consent.”

Last year, the Courts blocked Obama’s water rule not once, but twice for flexing executive power exceeding federal law.

Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota found that the 13 states suing to block the rule met the conditions necessary for a preliminary injunction, including that they would likely be harmed if courts didn’t act and that they are likely to succeed when their underlying lawsuit against the rule is decided. … Immediately upon the rule taking effect, the rule will irreparably diminish the states’ power over their waters’ he continued, calling the Obama administration’s interpretation of its jurisdiction “exceptionally expansive.”

“In a 2-1 ruling, the Cincinnati-based Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit delivered a stinging defeat to Obama’s most ambitious effort to keep streams and wetlands clean, saying it looks likely that the rule, dubbed Waters of the United States, is illegal.”

The court’s continued rebuke of Obama’s imperial presidency shows that no one is above the law when crafting irresponsible policies that go against the Constitution and hurt Americans. Sadly, the American people must continue to look to the courts to protect them from the damaging policies of the last 7 years. (For more from the author of “FEDERAL COURTS: Emperor Obama’s Executive Overreach Is Bullsh**” please click HERE)

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