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Obamacare’s Secret Is Out

October 15, 2013 at 6:30 am
by Amy Payne

Timing is everything. And just as Congress’s focus seems to be drifting from Obamacare’s ravages on the economy, Americans are learning the reason this law’s implementation was postponed until after the presidential election.

That reason is becoming clear as person after person opens the mail. Insurance costs are going up. For many, not just going up—skyrocketing.

Ross, a married father of three small boys in Florida, tells us his insurance will be going up $525 per month. “I feel completely helpless,” he says.

Kevin, who also has three small boys, just found out his wife’s individual health insurance premium will be jumping from $79 per month to $311.82 per month.

“For whom exactly is the Affordable Care Act making care affordable?” asked Kevin, who lives in Alabama.

But this isn’t all. While people are receiving notices that their premiums are going up or perhaps their health plans are being discontinued, there’s a secret in Obamacare’s exchanges, too.

One of the reasons the Obamacare website has been so slow and glitchy? It requires people to enter personal information before they’re able to see insurance plan options. Health and Human Services does this so that if you’re eligible for a subsidy, you won’t see the true cost of your health plan.

Obamacare is laden with mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance. And it didn’t stop with the original law. Federal bureaucrats are continuing to write more Obamacare regulations. One estimate is that these paper pushers have added 30 words of regulations for every word in the original law.

No small tweak to Obamacare can fix this. No small tweak can give relief to these hard-working dads who are supporting their families and getting the wind knocked out of them by hundreds of dollars in insurance hikes.

If Congress does anything less than defund Obamacare, it is turning its back on all of these suffering Americans.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

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Need health care coverage? Just dial 1-800-F**KYO to reach Obamacare’s national hotline

Need health insurance? The Obama administration has you covered. Simply dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach the next available health-care provider.

Far from being a mistype, that’s the official number that Health and Human Services wants Americans to dial when seeking health care. Obamacare’s national call center really did list its number as 1-800-318-2596, helpfully spelling out President Barack Obama’s tendency to blatantly flip the bird in plain view.

After allowing for the lack of letters attached to 1 on a traditional American telephone keypad, the number spells out a clear message. For every duped voter, every young invincible weighing the cost of a penalty versus a newly tripled yearly deductible, every ailing old granny in a wheelchair (whom, remember, Paul Ryan wants to push off a cliff) who needs adequate and affordable health care, Obama’s message is: Read more (here)

1-800-3(F) 8(U) 2(C) 5(K) 9(Y) 6(O).

That’s 1-800-FUCKYO. Sadly, the Obama administration failed to swap the useless 1 for a more functional 8 to complete the heartfelt message, perhaps in consolation to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s tragically shortened middle finger.

Leaked Emails: Boehner Worked With Reid to Save Lawmaker Subsidies

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 12:23 PM
By Sandy Fitzgerald

House Speaker John Boehner Monday called on colleagues to ban an exemption lawmakers and staff receive for health insurance, but he and his aides had worked for months with Democratic leaders to save the subsidies, leaked documents and emails show.

The documents were provided to Politico, which revealed Tuesday morning that Boehner and aides were working closely with Democratic rivals to protect the payments.

Roll Call had earlier reported that Democrats were mulling divulging the private communications between Boehner Chief of Staff Mike Sommers and Reid Chief of Staff David Krone as proof that Boehner was trying to protect the payments.

The revelations are sure to cause more friction between Boehner and more conservative members of the House of Representatives, who have been pressing for all Obamacare exemptions for Congress to be scrapped.

The documents show Boehner and his aides discussed the matter with the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and others. Further, the documents show that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knew of the discussions.

A possible legislative solution was drafted, the documents show, and they continued to push for a solution from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Further, Boehner and Reid asked for a meeting with President Barack Obama to lobby him for help, the documents show. The meeting never happened, but a senior Boehner aide was able to speak to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the Speaker’s wish to retain the employer subsidy.

Obamacare requires lawmakers and staff to join insurance exchanges, and the debate over whether they should continue collecting the employer contribution from the federal government has been the source of many heated discussions.

The OPM ruled that lawmakers and their staff could not receive employer payments once they went into the subsidies. The office reversed its decision, saying the employer payments could continue.

But Boehner put the issue into the government shutdown debate, attaching an amendment ending the subsidies to a House GOP funding bill.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told Politico the White House should solve the problem, and that “we always made it clear that House would not pass any legislative fix.”

He said Boehner was aware that Reid and the White House had been discussing the issue and that the speaker’s “fix is repealing Obamacare.”

Boehner’s office said the leak shows how concerned Democrats are.

“Any emails from Mr. Sommers will reflect the Speaker’s position: he voted against ObamaCare, and he wants to repeal Obamacare,” Steel said. “If the Senate Democrats and the White House want to make a ‘fix’ to the law, it would be their fix. The Speaker’s ‘fix’ is repeal. This is just a desperate act by Harry Reid’s staff to protect their own subsidy.”

Reid communications director Adam Jentleson, meanwhile, said his boss worked closely with Boehner and was grateful for his help.

Roll Call reported the communications could back up Democrats’ claims that Boehner’s decision to add an amendment revoking the contributions was a shot at vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2014, such as Kay Hagan of North Carolina or Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

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Senate Republicans actually do have the votes to stop Obamacare

By Robert Romano

“I want to be absolutely crystal clear — any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead.”

That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) telling reporters last week that there would not be the votes to pass a House Republican plan to defund the health care law via the continuing resolution.

Something he and his colleagues might consider, however, is that that really cuts both ways.

Republicans have 46 members in the U.S. Senate, more than enough to defeat cloture on any continuing resolution that will ultimately result in Obamacare being funded.

To do so, they will first have to block a parliamentary maneuver by Reid to proceed to the continuing resolution in a manner that will allow the defund Obamacare language to be stripped out with a simple majority vote.

According to Breitbart.com’s Matthew Boyle, “They could refuse to grant cloture in the first place until a unanimous consent agreement is reached in the Senate that any amendment added to the bill post-cloture would also be subject to a 60-vote threshold. They could also require Reid to fill what is known as the ‘amendment tree,’ a list of amendments that is the maximum of what could be considered on a bill, with amendments other than that one, before agreeing to grant cloture.”

But, reports Boyle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refuses to commit to using all the tools in his parliamentary toolbox to do just that. He would be well advised, however, that consciously voting to proceed to any bill that invariably winds up funding Obamacare — even if the amendment to strip the defund language is to be agreed to post-cloture — is just the same as proceeding to a bill where the defund language had already been removed.

Yet, Senate Republicans appear to be content with playing dumb and pretending they will be voting to proceed to legislation that defunds Obamacare — when everyone already knows it in the end it will not.

For example Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said, “It doesn’t seem to make much sense to vote ‘no’ on a bill that contains the defund-ObamaCare provision. I don’t know anybody in our conference who’s for ObamaCare, so I think they’d vote ‘yes’ to get on a bill to defund it.”

That doesn’t sound like Senate Republicans are really committed to the defund strategy. But even if they aren’t — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of” — there is another case to be made for waging a filibuster.

It would strengthen the GOP’s hand. When it is clear that there are neither the votes to fund Obamacare nor to defund it in the Senate, it would force Reid and the White House to the negotiating table.

While many observers have suggested that Reid and Obama will never compromise, history suggests otherwise.

The continuing resolution passed in March 2011 was a compromise largely negotiated by House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) that resulted in some small cuts to the budget. Sequestration was another compromise in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion in August 2011. The tax deal in December 2012 was yet another compromise in exchange for avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.

This speaks not only to the willingness of Democrats to make a deal, but also to the utility of Republicans using these leverage points, whether they be continuing resolutions, debt ceiling increases, or otherwise, to achieve major concessions.

As Sen. Ted Cruz noted on Fox News in an interview with Neil Cavuto, “I know for sure that you lose 100 percent of the battle that you begin by surrendering, and all these Republicans who say we can’t win, if they want, these various pundits who want us to surrender, that will make sure we can’t win.”

Cruz is right. Consider the alternative offered by the Washington, D.C. establishment, which frowns upon any confrontation over the continuing resolution or debt ceiling. They fear anything that smacks of a government shutdown or risks default. They would apparently just have Obamacare opponents simply capitulate.

But surely to constituents of Republican senators — who have sworn up and down they oppose Obamacare — submission to a law that will force them onto government-run, taxpayer-funded health insurance is untenable.

They will intuitively understand what this fight is all about, and come 2014, 2016, and subsequent election cycles, they will likely collect political scalps, or attempt to, of any senator whom they perceive forced them onto Obamacare.

In a stark warning to senators, Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens defined the choice facing the so-called deliberative body: “The message for the Senate is very simple: If you vote to fund Obamacare via the continuing resolution, you will own the health care law. If you vote to invoke cloture on a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare, you will own it.  And if you vote against a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare, you will own it, too.”

So, the choice belongs to each and every senator. They can stand with the American people, and block cloture on any continuing resolution that funds Obamcare, or they can roll over and let it be implemented.

But they would be well-advised that should they surrender, the American people will not forget — and they are not forgiving.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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This Fight Is for You

September 24, 2013
by Jim DeMint

The Heritage Foundation has been talking about defunding Obamacare for some time now, and people may be wondering why. Why did we put up a billboard in Times Square warning Americans that Obamacare will be hazardous to their health? Why won’t we give up this fight?

Because we are fighting for you.

We’re fighting for the grandmother who is counting on her trusted physician to guide her through the challenges of aging. Because Obamacare means you can’t necessarily keep your doctor if you like him, and it’s cutting down on the health care choices available to seniors.

We’re fighting for the couple who’s raising their own children while wondering how they’re going to care for their aging parents. Their premiums are going up and they’re wondering how they’ll afford it.

We’re fighting for the waiter who’s going to school and working full-time. Obamacare is causing many employers to cut back on workers’ hours so that they don’t have to provide them with health insurance. For many people, that means losing income and losing health insurance at the same time.

We’re fighting for the single mom who needs a steady job to support her kids. Obamacare is making jobs tougher to find, because a lot of businesses are saying they just can’t hire anyone new. The burden of the law’s mandates and regulations is making it too costly.

Every one of you is working hard to support your family, stay healthy, and make the best choices you can make. Obamacare is only getting in the way.

So no matter what anyone says, we’re going to keep fighting. Harry Reid is threatening to use all sorts of procedural gimmicks to keep Obamacare going. But Americans are catching on that this law is the reason their spouses don’t have health insurance any more, or their kids’ doctor isn’t in their network any more. They’re seeing how unfair and harmful it is.

And we can’t just sit by and let Obamacare take away the health plans we like, the doctors we like, and the freedom to make our own health care choices.

We won’t stop fighting. You can count on it.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day at Heritage Libertad.

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Billionaire Swindlers Line Up for ObamaCare Cash

July 17, 2013
By Michael Volpe 

An information technology (IT) company in line to bid on billions in new contracts as a result of ObamaCare is the subject of a growing list of scandals and investigations in which its alleged that, among a number of abuses, the company has produced low ball bids in order to win Medicaid related contracts, only to create overages that balloon the expense of the project as it is implemented.

The name of the company is Client Network Services, Inc (CNSI) and it’s headquartered in Maryland. The company will be able to bid on billions in new ObamaCare-related IT contracts because, in order for states to receive new grants for expanded Medicaid rolls, ObamaCare requires states to have IT systems that are able to share data at so-called finger-tip access. Because most states have antiquated systems, such overhauls will often require the assistance of companies like CNSI.

In March, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal canceled one such contract between CNSI and his state after it came to light that a federal grand jury was investigating the relationship between one of his top aides and CNSI.

Front Page Magazine interviewed Tom Aswell, a blogger and author from Louisiana with more than three decades of news experience. Aswell has been writing about the case from the beginning.

Aswell said he first became aware something was amiss in June 2011, when Bruce Greenstein went before the Louisiana Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to be confirmed as the secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), the equivalent of the US Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary.

During the proceedings, things became contentious and confusing when Greenstein refused to divulge the recipient of a contract to upgrade the State of Louisiana’s antiquated computer system, which electronically processed Medicaid health care claims.

Greenstein went back and forth with lawmakers for quite a while before he finally admitted it was CNSI, his own former employer. He assured the state legislators at that hearing that he created a firewall between himself and his former employer during the contractual process.

That turned out not to be true, and, instead, in March 2013, news was leaked that a federal grand jury was investigating the potentially illegal relationship between Greenstein and CNSI during the process in which this contract was awarded.

Once that came to light, not only did Jindal cancel the contract, but Greenstein resigned shortly after. Aswell said that all sorts of issues were raised with CNSI’s bid ($194 million), and a number of people in the media raised concerns that CNSI would not be able to achieve the contract for the pre-arranged price.

In 2012, Southeast Michigan Healthcare Information Exchange (SEMHIE), a multi-stakeholder initiative trying to integrate a health information exchange throughout southeast Michigan, sued CNSI for breach of contract after CNSI allegedly failed to provide SEMHIE with prior agreed upon software. An email was left unreturned by SEMHIE for this story. Jennifer Bahrami, press secretary for CNSI, also didn’t respond to an email for comment for this story.

In 2011, CNSI was accused of lowballing a contract in South Dakota, only to have expenses increase exponentially as the project wore on. A local story on the affair explained:

The South Dakota Department of Social Services has paid $49.7 million so far for a new Medicaid processing system that at this point remains inoperable.

The original contract was for $62.7 million, but the new system is now expected to cost far in excess of $80 million to complete and will take two to three more years to get running, according to court documents filed as part of a lawsuit between the contractor and the department.

The most in-depth investigation of CNSI occurred in Maine in 2006, and it was conducted by the magazine CIO, a journal for IT professionals. In that piece, CIO concluded that not only did CNSI’s system end up costing 20% more than the company’s originally bid, but its implementation was a logistical nightmare.

The department’s Bureau of Medical Services, which runs the Medicaid program, was being deluged with hundreds of calls from doctors, dentists, hospitals, health clinics and nursing homes, angry because their claims were not being paid. The new system had placed most of the rejected claims in a ‘suspended’ file for forms that contained errors.

Tens of thousands of claims representing millions of dollars were being left in limbo.

About 15 IT staffers and about 4 dozen employees from CNSI, the contractor hired to develop the system—were working 12-hour days, writing software fixes and performing adjustments so fast that Hitchings knew that key project management guidelines were beginning to fall by the wayside. And nothing seemed to help.

Because CNSI is a private company, their financials aren’t published, and thus, the exact amount of business it does with our government isn’t known. Furthermore, because most IT-related Medicaid contracts are done on the state level, tracking the amount of IT business that ObamaCare will create is also very difficult to do. It is clear that one company that should be happy with the implementation of ObamaCare is CNSI because it is without a doubt a boon to a company like it. The company’s behavior before and during the implementation of ObamaCare should therefore be watched very carefully and Front Page Magazine intends to do so.

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Taxation Without Representation

Asylum Watch

Correct me if I am wrong; but didn’t our ancestors fight a revolutionary war over the issue of taxation without representation some 250 years or so ago? So, tell me: how many of you feel that you are adequately represented in our federal government or any other level of government, for that matter? My guess is that, with few exceptions, you do not feel that the people elected to represent you in government are looking out for your best interest. They often claim they voted for some bill because it is for your own good; but what they really mean is that it gives them more power over your life. The elected and unelected people in charge of our governments believe to their very core that for every single problem in life there is or should be a law or policy to fix the problem. And, in almost every case…

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Roll Out the Barrels? Obamacare Funds to Sponsor Bourbon Festivals

Chris Jacobs July 12, 2013

One day after The Washington Post reported that federal taxpayer dollars could be used to promote Obamacare through porta-potties, the same outlet posted this e-mail from a Kentucky state official on how the Commonwealth plans to use federal funds to promote Obamacare:

I briefly scanned a schedule of upcoming mobile tour events and below few [sic] that are attended by a large number of young people: regional sporting events, such as the Lexington Legends and Louisville Bats games; the Goettafest and Riverfest in Newport and Covington; the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Ky.; the Bourbon Chase; Oktoberfest in Newport; the Bourbon and Blues Festival in Owensboro; a couple of half marathons in various locations; the Iron Man competition, etc. We also expect that Navigators will be doing outreach on college campuses.

In other words, Kentucky plans a beer-and-bourbon tour to try to attract young people to enroll in Obamacare. (Maybe that’s what the porta-potties are for.)

The ironies abound in this announcement. Last year, the New York Post reported that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed using community transformation grant funds from Obamacare to “reduc[e] alcohol retail outlet density and illegal alcohol.” So as Kentucky is using Obamacare funds to promote alcohol consumption, New York City wants to use Obamacare funds to discourage it. Apparently, the left hand doesn’t know what the far-left hand is doing.

Second, alcohol abuse costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. A 2011 Centers for Disease Control study found that alcohol abuse cost federal, state, and local taxpayers a total of $94.2 billion each year. To the extent that these Obamacare promotional activities encourage alcohol abuse, they will inevitably impose new burdens on taxpayers—and raise overall health costs, contradicting the law’s stated purpose.

Just as important, these types of theatrical “marketing” activities represent a misuse of taxpayer dollars at a time of record debt and deficits. Congress should tell the Administration to stop handing out Obamacare grants like drunken sailors and refuse to spend a single dime funding Obamacare.

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