The ObamaCare War On Marriage

Photo Credit: Human Events“Companies have a new solution to rising health-insurance costs: Break up their employees’ marriages,” says the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch:

By denying coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. This year, companies have to pay $1 or $2 “per life” covered on its plans, a sum that jumps to $65 in 2014. And health law guidelines proposed recently mandate coverage of employees’ dependent children (up to age 26), but husbands and wives are optional. “The question about whether it’s obligatory to cover the family of the employee is being thought through more than ever before,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.

But… but… “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

Such exclusions barely existed three years ago, but experts expect an increasing number of employers to adopt them: “That’s the next step,” Darling says. HMS, a company that audits plans for employers, estimates that nearly a third of companies might have such policies now. Holdouts say they feel under pressure to follow suit. “We’re the last domino,” says Duke Bennett, mayor of Terre Haute, Ind., which is instituting a spousal carve-out for the city’s health plan, effective July 2013, after nearly all major employers in the area dropped spouses.

MarketWatch cites anecdotal evidence that some people are dropping their personal coverage so they can migrate to joint coverage provided by companies that do continue to offer it. That’s a nice near-term solution… if you happen to be married to someone who works for such a company. In the longer-term, what happens to the remaining plans that offer spousal coverage, after they’ve attracted all of those expensive spouses?

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Legislation Repealing ObamaCare Tax Paid By Small Business Reintroduced

Photo Credit: Daily Caller A bipartisan coalition of congressmen introduced legislation Friday calling for the repeal of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) on fully-insured premium markets imposed by ObamaCare.htm” rel=”tag” target=”_blank”>Obamacare.

The tax is expected to primarily fall on small businesses and the self-employed, who are the main purchasers of fully-insured premiums. According to an earlier study, not repealing the tax could cost also cost between 125,000 and 249,000 jobs by 2021 and raise the cost of employer-sponsored insurance by 2-3 percent, a cumulative cost of nearly $5,000 per family.

“The [p]resident’s Health Care law is full of hidden tax increases. Beginning in 2014, millions of American small businesses will be subjected to a new health insurance tax (HIT) coming at a cost over $100 billion. This tax will close many small businesses and kill jobs once implemented,” Louisiana Republican Rep. Charles W. Boustany, a co-sponsor of the measure, said in a statement.

The bill, titled “The Jobs and Premium Protection Act,” is also sponsored by Democratic Utah Rep. Jim Matheson.

“We commend Representatives Boustany and Matheson for rising above the political gridlock and showing bipartisan support for small businesses and the Americans they employ,” said Jim Anderson, vice president of government affairs of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. “We look forward to working together with all members of Congress to ensure this important bipartisan legislation is passed.”

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Report: $2 Billion Spent Annually For Medicaid Emergencies, Largely For Illegal Immigrant Baby Deliveries

Photo Credit: Laura RauchEven though federal law largely bars illegal immigrants from obtaining Medicaid coverage, the program annually pays out more than $2 billion in free emergency coverage that mostly goes to illegal immigrants, according to Kaiser Health News.

The vast majority of the total emergency care reimbursements cover delivering babies, Kaiser reports.

Based on a Kaiser data analysis of the states believed to have the greatest populations of illegal immigrants — including California, New York, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Illinois and Florida — more than 100,000 people annually receive emergency care that is reimbursed by Medicaid. California, Kaiser’s analysis showed, receives approximately half of the annual $2 billion Medicaid expenditure category.

That category of Medicaid also covers some homeless people and legal immigrants who have been in the country less than five years — and are therefore mostly ineligible for Medicaid, according to Kaiser.

“We can’t turn them away,” Joanne Aquilina, the chief financial officer of Bethesda Healthcare System in Boynton Beach, Fla., told Kaiser.

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Health Care Exchanges And The Two Americas

Photo Credit: Reuters In the Obamacare era, there are two Americas. Half the states have refused to set up the health insurance exchanges, ignoring a Friday deadline for states to take on core requirements of the law. They’ll hand over the keys to the Obama administration, which will play an outsize and risky role in driving critical health insurance decisions that are typically the province of state governments.

Barring any surprise last minute Friday announcements, in those 25 states — nearly all led by Republican governors — the feds must set up health insurance exchanges. Enrollment starts in October, and on Jan. 1 those online marketplaces are supposed to provide affordable health coverage for millions of Americans.

Republicans who voted against the law and still clamor to repeal Obamacare believe the feds are heading for a nationwide failure.

“I have a hard time understanding how the administration expects to have exchanges up and running by Oct. 1, ” Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Thursday.

For the administration, it’s a dangerous endeavor: the text of President Barack Obama’s health law didn’t envision widespread abdication by the states. There’s not much of a playbook for federal health officials to follow. And if it goes horribly awry, not only will the Obama administration be blamed, the entire health care law could be in trouble.

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Doctors to Obama: You’ve Failed Again

Photo Credit: WNDMembers of the Christian Medical Association had harsh words for Barack Obama after his latest attempt to mandate abortion coverage in Obamacare: You have failed.

“This latest version of the contraceptives and sterilization mandate remains unacceptable,” said Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association. “Since when does the government get to pick and choose which groups will get to enjoy First Amendment protections?

Our founders intended the First Amendment to protect every American’s freedom to act according to one’s conscience,” he said. “They didn’t specify that only groups deemed religious will be afforded this protection; freedom of conscience applies equally to all Americans.”

Dr. Gene Rudd, CMA executive vice president, joined Stevens.

“The administration fails to understand that many employers and individual Americans, regardless of a religious label or not, maintain strong conscience objections to participating in any, way, shape or form in a plan that promotes pills that the FDA says can cause the demise of a living human embryo – a developing baby in her earliest stage,” Rudd said.

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Union Leaders Making an Effort to Dodge ObamaCare

Photo Credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty ImagesImagine the following scene: A handful of union bosses crowd around an old card table, punching numbers into their calculators. They’ve been up all night. Someone puts on another pot of coffee and a few of the older bosses are starting to fall asleep. Those who are still alert and active scratch their heads and re-enter their calculations.

“Oh, my gosh!” one of them shouts, concluding the all-night exercise. “‘Obamacare’ is going to cost us!”

Yes, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, union leaders (i.e. the same people who campaigned tirelessly in favor of universal healthcare) are trying to figure out a way to avoid paying for the costs associated with “Obamacare.”

From the WSJ: “Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.

Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.”

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Piers Morgan Receives Flu Vaccine Injection from Dr. Oz, Then gets Sick

Photo Credit: thisiscowIn a recent publicity stunt gone terribly but humorously wrong, Piers Morgan, the infamous CNN personality and British journalist whose unconstitutional views on gun control have sparked petitions for his deportation, agreed to take his first ever flu shot during a live taping of The Dr. Oz Show that aired on January 11, 2013. But just 10 days later, Morgan, who promised to “go after” Oz if he developed the flu following the shot, ironically came down with flu-like symptoms that all but debilitated him from hosting his own Piers Morgan Tonight show.

An obvious ploy to both quell the growing public distrust of the flu shot and advocate for its alleged safety and effectiveness, Morgan agreed to be this year’s media guinea pig in receiving a flu shot injection directly from vaccine advocate Dr. Mehmet Oz, who we recently exposed as being a shill for industrial agriculture. In front of a live studio audience, Morgan rolled up his sleeve and received the injection to help dispel the “myth” that flu shots cause the flu or are in any way dangerous.

But just a few days later, Piers reportedly began to develop flu-like symptoms that clearly inhibited his ability to speak properly. His symptoms quickly worsened, prompting him to publish a “tweet” on January 23, just 11 days after getting his flu shot, explaining that his voice had “plunged to [a] ludicrous level, fading in and out.”

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Premiums Set to Rise This Year in Run-Up to ObamaCare Tax on Insurance Industry

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While the most sweeping provisions of the health care overhaul have not yet gone into effect, plenty of Americans will still be paying higher insurance premiums this year — as insurance companies try to preemptively cover the cost of a tax increase included in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

That tax doesn’t take effect until next year, when other major provisions like the so-called “individual mandate” and insurance subsidies also kick in. But that hasn’t stopped insurance companies from charging higher premiums this year to cover the hike, as well as the cost of ObamaCare benefits such as free birth control and preventive care.

Premiums for individuals and small businesses are projected to increase due to the tax by roughly 2 percent this year and by as much as 3.7 percent in 2023, according to a widely cited analysis by the insurance industry.

Officials will argue about who is to blame for the hike — insurance companies for sticking customers with the cost, or the government for imposing the industry tax hike in the first place. But the projected increases are the latest sign that Americans, in exchange for expanding and strengthening insurance coverage, will in many cases be paying more.

Already, a pair of taxes has hit higher-income households to cover the law. Those making more than $250,000 are seeing a .9 percentage point increase in their Medicare tax, and another 3.8 percentage point hike on investment income.

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Post-Election Flood of ‘Obamacare’ Rules Expected

photo credit: SteveKingIAThe bottled-up rules to set up President Barack Obama’s health care reform law are going to start flowing quickly right after Election Day.

But how long will that last? That depends on who wins the presidency.

The once-steady stream of regulations and rules from the Obama administration — instructions for insurance companies, hospitals and states on how to put the law in place — has slowed to a trickle in recent months in an attempt to avoid controversies before the election. Many states, too, have done little public work to avoid making the law an election issue for state officials on the ballot.

But work has been going on behind the scenes — both in the Department of Health and Human Services and at the state level. As soon as Wednesday, the gears and levers of government bureaucracy are likely to start moving at full speed again.

HHS is expected to begin to release the backlog of regulations. And the states will quickly face a Nov. 16 deadline to tell the Obama administration whether they’ll implement a health insurance exchange — a key part of the law about where consumers will purchase health insurance after 2014.

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Bishop Orders Priests to Read anti-Obama Letter at Sunday Sermons

CHICAGO — Joining the chorus of Roman Catholic clergy in Illinois criticizing President Barack Obama before next week’s election, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests to read a letter to parishioners on Sunday before the presidential election, explaining that politicians who support abortion rights also reject Jesus.

“By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass,” Jenky wrote in a letter circulated to clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

In the letter, Jenky cautions parishioners that Obama and a majority of U.S. senators will not reconsider the mandate that would require employers, including religious groups, to provide free birth control coverage in their health care plans. “This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system,” Jenky wrote.

“Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord,” Jenky added. “They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”

Earlier this year, Jenky delivered a controversial homily criticizing the contraception mandate. The bishop included Obama’s policies in a list of historic challenges the Catholic Church has overcome in previous centuries, including Hitler and Stalin’s campaigns.

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