Category Archives: Affordable Care Act

Justice Tells Court Obamacare Unconstitutional, Could Strike Down Entire Law

WASHINGTON, DC – The Trump-Barr Department of Justice (DOJ) informed a federal appeals court on Monday that it agrees with Texas and the other states suing over Obamacare that President Donald Trump’s repealing of the individual mandate renders the entire law unconstitutional, and therefore should be struck down in its entirety.

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(Ken Klukowski) This all turns on the legal doctrine of severability. Much of the time when a statute is unconstitutional it is actually only partially unconstitutional. Typically a court will strike down that part of the law, but sever it from the rest of the statute and uphold the remainder.

Pundits who have never studied or litigated severability will surely show up on television now posing as experts, and criticizing DOJ’s position. But writing as a former law school faculty member who authored the largest academic work on severability doctrine ever published, permit me to describe the argument and why it should be taken seriously.

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 when a Democrat-controlled Congress passed that statute without a single Republican vote in either the House or Senate. Various plaintiffs immediately filed suit. In the biggest lawsuit, a majority of states in the nation – along with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and several private individuals – filed suit in Florida, arguing that the ACA was unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs raised multiple constitutional issues. At the heart of the legal challenge is the doctrine of enumerated powers: The Constitution gives the federal government only limited powers, and so every provision of every law Congress passes must be authorized by one of the provisions of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

One constitutional objection to the ACA was that Section 1501 of the ACA – which is the individual mandate that requires Americans to buy health insurance – is unconstitutional, because Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution does not include the power to order human beings to buy something, thereby entering into the commercial realm where the government can regulate them.

Section 1201 of the ACA is the preexisting condition provisions of “guaranteed issue” and “community rating,” which ensures that no person attempting to purchase insurance can be denied coverage, and that a person cannot be charged more because of preexisting conditions. Section 1501 mandates that everyone buy insurance to offset the effect of the multi-billion-dollar costs arising from Section 1201.

Another count of the lawsuit brought by the states and NFIB was that the individual mandate section could not be severed from the other 450 sections of the 1,000-page ACA statute, and therefore that the whole statute must fail with the mandate section.

Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida agreed, holding it was unconstitutional. Vinson also held that the individual mandate could not be severed from the remainder of the statute, and therefore struck down the ACA in its entirety. (Disclosure: Vinson quoted this author’s legal brief in the case when he ruled that the individual mandate is nonseverable.)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, and noted that even the Obama DOJ admitted to the court that Section 1501 could not be severed from the statute, but nonetheless severed that section anyway, and upheld the rest of the law.

The Supreme Court in 2012 took the historic case of NFIB v. Sebelius to decide four issues: (1) whether a different federal statute – the Anti-Injunction Act – even permitted federal courts to decide this case before the individual mandate went into effect in 2014; (2) whether the individual mandate is not authorized by Congress’s authority under Article I, Section 8; (3) whether the ACA’s enormous expansion of Medicaid unconstitutionally coerces the states; and (4) whether the statute can be severed from any sections that are unconstitutional.

The justices unanimously agreed that it had jurisdiction to decide the case immediately. By a 7-2 decision, the Court agreed that the Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment, but a separate 5-4 lineup held that the expansion would be constitutional if it was optional for the states, and effectively rewrote Section 2001 of the ACA.

Four justices – conservatives Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, joined by moderate Anthony Kennedy – wrote that the individual mandate exceeded Congress’s Commerce Clause power and was therefore unconstitutional. They also wrote that the Medicaid expansion exceeded Congress’s Spending Clause power, and could not be rewritten, and thus those core provisions must both be struck down.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent for the four liberal justices, claiming what many claim to be unlimited federal power under the Commerce Clause over the lives of American citizens. She and Justice Sonia Sotomayor also insisted that the Medicaid expansion was constitutional.

Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito also wrote that both the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion were critical to the entire ACA. They concluded that the provisions could not be severed from the statute, and that without either one, all of Obamacare must go down.

Breitbart News published a five-part series on “The Great Dissent,” quoting the justices in their own words, explaining through those five articles their reasoning that (1) Obamacare must be struck down, (2) the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause, (3) the individual mandate is not a tax, (4) the Medicaid expansion violates the Tenth Amendment, and (5) both unconstitutional provisions are nonseverable from the ACA, and so the entire law must be struck down.

Then came a historic surprise. Chief Justice John Roberts agreed that the individual mandate was not authorized by the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. However, he concluded that even though only a couple paragraphs in 980 pages of legal briefs discussing Congress’s power to tax, and even though only a couple minutes was spent on that issue during six hours of oral argument, that the individual mandate was authorized by the Constitution’s Tax Clause, and was therefore constitutional.

Roberts admitted that the individual mandate looked like a commercial regulatory law, and thus would normally need to be authorized by the Commerce Clause. However, he wrote that there were several factors that, taken together, permitted courts to view the mandate as a tax. These included that (1) it was codified in 26 U.S.C. § 5000A, which is part of the Tax Code; (2) it was enforced by the IRS, (3) proof of complying with the mandate is reported along with a person’s annual Form 1040 tax return, and (4) failure to comply results in a tax penalty that goes to the U.S. Treasury along with normal tax money.

Years later, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Part of that historic tax reform repealed 26 U.S.C. § 5000A in the Tax Code, which is the operative part of the individual mandate.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately sued, joined by 19 other states. Their argument is that the factors Roberts relied upon to uphold the individual mandate as a tax no longer existed. As such, the only relevant constitutional provision is the Commerce Clause, and a five-Justice majority already held in NFIB that the individual mandate would be unconstitutional if it relied upon Congress’s commercial regulatory power.

Texas went on to argue that the individual mandate still cannot be severed from the rest of the ACA, and therefore the entire statute must be struck down.

Consider Congress’s findings on the role the individual mandate plays in the entire Obamacare system. Those official findings are found in Section 1501 itself, and those findings from Section 1501(a) were permanently codified in the United States Code in 42 U.S.C. § 18091(a).

Congress said at 42 U.S.C. § 18091(a)(2)(A) that without the individual mandate, “some individuals would make an economic and financial decision to forego health insurance,” and thus would endanger the whole Obamacare system. Paragraph 18091(a)(2)(C) says that “together with other provisions of this Act,” the individual mandate is what will add people to the insurance market. Paragraph 18091(a)(2)(D) says the individual mandate will result in “near-universal coverage.”

Paragraph 18091(a)(2)(H) adds:

The [individual mandate] requirement is an essential part of this larger regulation of economic activity, and the absence of the requirement would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market.

And finally, Paragraph 18091(a)(2)(I) adds that:

… if there were no [individual mandate], many individuals would wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care. By significantly increasing health insurance coverage, the requirement, together with the other provisions of the Act, will minimize adverse selection and broaden the health insurance risk pool to include healthy individuals, which will lower health insurance premiums. The requirement is essential to creating effective health insurance markets …..

The Obama administration admitted during the big Supreme Court case that the individual mandate was the essential “linchpin” to keep the entire ACA from imploding due to unsustainable costs. It is a compelling argument against severability.

The Supreme Court has held that courts must look to congressional intent when determining whether part of a statute can be severed to salvage the rest. Courts must ascertain the original “legislative bargain,” and then ask two questions: First, does the remaining statute “function in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress.” And if so, second, would Congress “have enacted them standing alone and without the unconstitutional portion.”

If the answer to either question is “no,” then the unconstitutional provision is nonseverable, and the court must strike down the entire statute.

Paxton’s team representing the 20 states – initially led in the courtroom by Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and now continued by Keller’s successor, Kyle Hawkins – set forth all this material to Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The defenders of the ACA argued that when Congress amended the Tax Code through President Trump’s new law, that reset the clock as to the point in time a court should look at for legislative intent. They say that a court should ask if Congress meant to repeal the whole Obamacare system when it enacted the Trump tax cuts. If not, they say the individual mandate can now be severed.

But the states’ counter argument is that Congress removed the part of the mandate that was a tax, but did not remove the congressional findings that the individual mandate was still essential to the ACA being able to function as Congress wishes.

Judge O’Connor accepted Paxton’s arguments. The district court held that without taxing power support, the individual mandate is an unconstitutional mandate under the Commerce Clause, and that the rest of the ACA cannot be severed from it.

The case is now on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The head of DOJ’s Civil Division, Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt, filed a notice with the Fifth Circuit on Monday informing the court that the Trump administration agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and nonseverable, and thus that the entire ACA is unconstitutional. DOJ therefore will be filing briefs in support of the legal challenge. (Liberal states have intervened as the defendants in the case.)

What so many talking heads derided as an absurd lawsuit suddenly looks like a pretty serious case after all.

President Trump has had a major impact on the Fifth Circuit through his judicial appointments. Proven constitutional conservatives like Judges Don Willett, Jim Ho, Andy Oldham, and Kyle Duncan now sit on that court, under the mentoring of the fearless originalist Edith Jones and the libertarian-leaning Jerry Smith.

Regardless of how the Fifth Circuit rules in the case, the fact remains that the fifth vote to win at the Supreme Court is still Roberts. Many believe that his reasoning was such a stretch to save Obamacare the first time that he would find another rationale to do so now.

While that might be true, it does not need to be true. It is possible that the chief justice could play it straight from his 2012 reasoning, in which case the ACA should be struck down without the tax authorization.

It is also possible that President Trump will fill another Supreme Court vacancy before this case is decided by the Supreme Court – a decision that could come in 2020 but is more likely to come in 2021 – in which case Roberts’ vote might not even be necessary.

Suddenly, Obamacare is back in the legal crosshairs. If it falls under this legal challenge, President Trump would have a clean canvas on which to design fundamental market-based reforms to provide healthcare security and freedom for millions of Americans.

The case is Texas v. United States, No. 19-10011 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Source: by Ken Klukowski | Breitbart

Covered California Plans To Jack 2018 Premiums Up 12.5%

Covered California announced this week that its 2018 rates will increase about eight times faster than the rate of inflation, as the Obamacare law and the state’s liberal legislature continue to destroy private insurance in California.

Despite the latest United States Department of Labor Consumer Price Index for the month of June estimating that inflation rose by only 1.6 percent over the last twelve months, Covered California, Obamacare for the state, just announced that the average health insurance premiums on the California insurance exchanges would rise by 12.5 percent, or about 7.81 times faster than the rate of inflation.

Covered California’s spiking prices are actually a relative bargain compared to the even worse Obamacare price increases insurers are about to extract across the rest of the nation. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “big insurers in Idaho, West Virginia, South Carolina, Iowa, and Wyoming are seeking to raise premiums by 30 percent or more.”

The insurance industry lobbied the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010 to design Obamacare to be more expensive than traditional private insurance by dramatically expanding services covered in the health benefit packages.

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Section 1302 of the law granted also the Department of Health and Human Services the right to periodically revise an “essential health benefits package” of minimum health insurance coverage requirements. That allowed insurance companies to lobby federal bureaucrats to add more benefits and eliminate the standard lifetime caps on spending for wildly expensive treatments, such as inpatient drug rehabilitation.

Since the 2013-4 launch of Obamacare, premiums have risen by about 15 percent per year, despite inflation averaging only about 2 percent a year.

Not only were insurance companies making huge increases in revenue during the Obamacare years, their gross profit margins jumped from 22 percent, when Obamacare was passed in 2010, to 26 percent in the last quarter of 2016. Healthcare stocks have been the second-hottest sector in the seven-year bull market for stocks. Since Obamacare was passed on March 23, 2010, the healthcare stock index has risen by 248 percent.

The Trump presidential win appeared to represent an existential threat to the healthcare industry’s Obamacare bonanza. But with the Republican Senate failing to pass any type of Obamacare repeal, the healthcare stocks hit another all-time-high on July 31.

Many major healthcare companies that supported the expansion of Obamacare benefits and costs over the last seven years are now dropping out of the program as customers begin to take full advantage of the expanded and unlimited benefits.

United Healthcare, America’s largest healthcare insurer, announced in March 2016 that it was exiting all Obamacare exchanges after stating that Obamacare claims would reduce 2016 earnings by about $850 million. Still, four months later, United Healthcare recorded all-time-record quarterly revenues of $46.5 billion, a $10 billion increase over the prior year.

Covered California had been able to keep healthcare premium growth to around 10 percent per year because 11 healthcare insurers were participating. But Aetna dropped out at the end of 2016, and Anthem Blue Cross just announced they are dumping 153,000 customers and shutting down California operations in all regions except the rural north state, Central Valley, and Santa Clara County, according to the Orange County Register.

The 12.5 percent Covered California statewide increase is just an average. Abandoned United Healthcare subscribers can still buy coverage from Blue Shield, but their annual premium cost is expected to leap by 24 percent.

Covered California premium rates could jump statewide by another 16.6 percent if the Trump administration does not contest the May 12, 2016 ruling by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer in United States House of Representatives v. Price that the Obama administration improperly amended Obamacare in January 2014 to pay billions in cost-sharing subsidies to insurers without congressional approval.

By Chriss W. Street | Breitbart

 

To Remove ObamaCare We Must First Remove The UniParty “Big Club”…

By Sundance | The Conservative Treehouse

President Trump is the first political entity in our lifetime that not only comprehends the faces of the false arguments (the personalities of false choice), but more importantly sees the architects behind the Potemkin villages represented by those faces.  When it comes to domestic economic policies, the architects are the BIG CLUB.

So, what is “The Big Club“?

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..What “Deep State” is to intelligence, military intervention and foreign policy – The “BIG CLUB” is to matters of domestic economics…

Politicians do not write laws.  Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer do not sit in their offices writing out scripts of laws and legislation; no politician does.  Politicians are the faces who sell legislation that unseen hands create.  The Big Club are the hands that create the legislation.

As such, it makes no sense to argue about the salesmanship of Ted Cruz or Elizabeth Warren when neither Cruz nor Warren are creating the legislative constructs they are selling.

Indeed, it makes much more sense to focus the attention on the unseen hands that are never discussed – These are the roots of the issues, the politicians are merely the expendable and interchangeable sales force.

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The Big Club are massive and complex networks of lobbying groups who actually write legislation.  What follows, depending on their own evaluation of importance therein, are payments to the politicians to go and sell their construct.

The amount of payment varies depending on how valuable the construct is to the interests of the Club.  Big legislative constructs that provide the Club large income increases are worth more than smaller ones.

This is the accurate background framework to consider ObamaCare.

Within The BIG CLUB there are, essentially, two larger factions with interest: Big Labor and Wall Street (big crony-business).  There are other factions like Big Green (Al Gore) etc. However, for the sake of ObamaCare the two that matter are “Big Labor” (AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, UFCW etc), and Wall Street (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue).

The Big Club has paid for ObamaCare’s construct, and they are not going to allow their sales force to walk away from it.  From their position, this is a massive ‘multi-multi-hundreds-of-millions’ expenditure that has already taken place.

Tom Donohue (U.S. CoC) already lost hundreds of millions when his construct (his team actually did the writing) of TPP was lost due to Donald Trump.   Donohue’s TPP loss followed the loss of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (2014 Dave Brat), and his loss of Common Core Education standards, again with Donald Trump.

Donohue spent hundreds of millions on Gang of Eight, Common Core, TPP and ObamaCare.

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Donohue paid off AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka to get him to stop being public about his opposition of TPP.   The quid-pro-quo was transparently most evident when Trumka endorsed candidate Hillary Clinton who was supporting Donohue’s TPP.

Having lost TPP, Go8 and Common Core, there is no way Tom Donohue is going to accept losing his biggest investment to date, ObamaCare.

♦ Big Labor support ObamaCare for a few reasons.  #1 it granted fiscal stability to their retirement programs which were failing with the increased costs of providing healthcare coverage.  #2 it creates additional profit margin space within union companies for more lucrative compensation contracts.  And #3 ideologically it was constructed to eventually end up with a single-payer system.  All three points are great for Big Labor.

♦ Wall Street supports ObamaCare because it:  #1 removes the cost of providing healthcare from the cost of producing products in the U.S. [However, you’ll note the consumer price of manufactured goods never actually decreases, instead the savings go to the profit margin.] #2 allows the manufacturing cost equity to streamline globalization efforts.

Both primary factions within the BIG CLUB stood to gain substantially if they could shift the cost of healthcare from their individual ledgers into the personal checkbooks of the U.S. consumer.  Hence, they looked at the lobbying cost of ObamaCare as a long-term legislative investment with a massive upside.

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After the GOPe wing of the UniParty was voted into the majority in both houses (2014), the Big Club sales people (politicians) needed to give the illusion of “repeal” or “removal”, but not actually do anything which would remove it.  So long as Obama was in office the optical games were easy; with Clinton later in office the games would be no longer needed.

Big Club spends to make sure Clinton wins the Presidency.

#NeverTrump making sense now?

Rut Roh.

Now, fast forward to 2017 and President Trump is in office on a promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Oh snap, NOW what is the Big Club going to do?

Stall for time…. Quick construct plan to deal with the unexpected.  Stall, block cabinet and down-stream confirmations… Activate astroturf to provide Sales Force cover…  Paul Ryan lies to Sean Hannity… etc.

More things reconciling now?

Meanwhile, President Trump understands exactly what they are doing.

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President-Elect Trump met with Richard Trumka and outlined larger administration pro-jobs objective assurances.

Once in office, President Trump works around Donohue and goes to the manufacturing and business community directly.

Now Trump is highlighting how deregulation, tax policy and other pro-growth America-First objectives will more than compensate them for any ObamaCare recall.

The battle/negotiation you see in the media is the visible stuff going on amid the Big Club’s sales people, the politicians.  However, the REAL ObamaCare removal negotiation is going on behind the scenes where the Trump Administration is taking on The Big Club directly…

Once you see the strings, it’s almost impossible to watch the marionettes and not see them.

However, that doesn’t mean the puppet show has to be less enjoyable….

….Specifically because we have President Trump, it is entirely possible to simultaneously watch the show, and yet still look up toward the scaffolding and see the shadows of the hands controlling them.

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Lobbying Ban – Executive Order

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Affordable Care Act?

Largest US Health Insurer Ditches ObamaCare

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Tracking the slow motion train wreck of Obamacare has become one of our preferred hobbies: below is just a random sample of headlines covering just the most recent tribulations of the “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it” Unaffordable Care Act:

But the most surprising article we wrote was our explanation from three weeks ago explaining why “Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof” showing that even insurance companies have been unable to earn a profit under Obamacare, as shown in the following chart:

This was a stunning revelation because, after all, the Affordable Care Act was largely drafted by the insurance industry itself, and if for whatever reason, it itself was unable to capitalize on Obamacare, then it has truly been a disaster.

Today we got confirmation of this when none other than the U.S.’s biggest health insurer, UnitedHealth, cut its 2015 earnings forecast with a warning that it was considering pulling out of Obamacare, just one month after saying it would expand its presence in the program.

According to Bloomberg, “UnitedHealth Group would scale back marketing efforts for plans it’s selling this year under the Affordable Care Act, and may quit the business entirely in 2017 because it has proven to be more costly than expected.

This was precisely what we cautioned on November 2.

Fast forward to today when UnitedHealth said in a statement that “the company is evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.”

Needless to say, the implications for Obamacare – which has seen a surge in tangential problems in recent months – are dire: “A pull-back would deal a significant blow to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. While UnitedHealth has been slower than some of its rivals to sell Obamacare policies since new government-run marketplaces for the plans opened in late 2013, the announcement may indicate that other insurers are struggling, said Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Mizuho Securities.

“If one of the largest and presumably, by reputation and experience, the most sophisticated of the health plans out there can’t make money on the exchanges, then one has to question whether the exchange as an institution is a viable enterprise,” Skolnick said.

UnitedHealth further said it suspended marketing its individual exchange plans and is cutting or eliminating commissions for brokers who sell the coverage.

What is surprising is that for UnitedHealth, its Obamacare-facing exposure is relatively limited: the company covers fewer than 550,000 people on the Obamacare exchanges. About 9.9 million people had insurance through the U.S.- and state-run insurance markets as of June 30. This means that all other insurance companies must be getting crushed, something which the market also noticed earlier today hitting the stocks of not only hospitals, such as CYH, HCA, LPNT, THC and UHS but also home health care providers as well such as AFAM, AMED, GTIV and LHCG.

What is perhaps even more perplexing is the abrupt shift in posture: just last month, UnitedHealth had struck a more optimistic note. I think we’ll see strikingly better performance on the insurance exchange business” next year, Chief Financial Officer David Wichmann told analysts on an Oct. 15 conference call.”

Perhaps he had not seen the P&L? Oh well, he certainly did in the subsequently 4 weeks.

The rest of the story is well-known and has been covered here extensively in the past: the inability of businesses to turn a profit from Obamacare has meant that about a dozen non-profit “co-op” plans created under the Affordable Care Act have failed, after charging too little to cover the cost of patients’ medical care, and because an Obama administration fund designed to stabilize the market paid out just 12.6 percent of what insurers requested. And Anthem last month said some rivals were offering premiums too low to provide the coverage patients require and book a profit.

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At the end of the day, the worst news is not for the corporations, since Obamacare is not going away any time soon. It simply means that what until now were supposedly Affordable plans under Obamacare, will soon become (even more) Unaffordable as insurer after insurer hikes premiums dramatically in order to make the biggest US governmental intrusion into the private sector in recent decades profitable to shareholders.

Or, as we explained three weeks ago, “Your Health Insurance Premiums Are About To Go Through The Roof


UnitedHealth CEO Regrets Entering ObamaCare

The CEO of UnitedHealthcare on Tuesday said he regretted the decision to enter the ObamaCare marketplace last year, which the company says has resulted in millions of dollars in losses.

“It was for us a bad decision,” UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said at an investors’ meeting in New York, according to Bloomberg Business.

UnitedHealth, the country’s largest insurer, announced last month that it would no longer advertise its ObamaCare plans over the next year and may pull out completely in 2016 — a move that sent shock waves across the healthcare industry.

Hemsley’s remarks double down on his earlier warning that the ObamaCare exchanges remain weaker than expected after two years and that it will take far longer for insurers to profit from the millions of new enrollees. 

The company had already eyed ObamaCare’s federal marketplace cautiously since it launched in 2013. UnitedHealth only began selling plans on the exchanges last year.

Now, UnitedHealth officials have said that move will result in a half-billion dollars in losses over two years.

Hemsley said it was smart to sit out of the exchanges for the first year, but that the company should have held out another year.

“In retrospect, we should have stayed out longer,” he said, adding that he believes the marketplace will take more than “a season or two” to develop.

“We did not believe it would form this slowly, be this porous, or become this severe,” he added.

by Sarah Ferris in The Hill


GRUBER: A lack of transparency was how we got this law through.

 

ObamaCare On The Rocks As Open Enrollment Looms

by Betsy McCaughey in IBD

ObamaCare is heading toward a death spiral. The 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 and sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.

Last Thursday, the administration predicted enrollment for 2016 will be less than half what had been forecast in March by the Congressional Budget Office.

Even with 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 administration seems reconciled to failure. Already it has announced it won’t be running the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as 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 Obama-Care enrollment will inch up by 1 million or so, to 10 million people — half what the CBO forecast. 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 are looking at premium hikes of 30% or more, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson/Urban Institute analysis. The Heritage Foundation estimates that insurers lost 12% 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, they’re profitable overall, 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 $7.9 billion. Recent congressional testimony shows the payments kept ObamaCare sticker prices about 11% lower than they otherwise would have been. In short, you pay a tax to make Obama-Care look more affordable than it is.

But even with these hidden subsidies, ObamaCare isn’t working because the design is fatally flawed. The 5% of the population with serious medical conditions consume nearly 50% 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% 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 should 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 ObamaCare’s failure.

• McCaughey is author of “Beating ObamaCare” and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

‘Playing on stupidity of the American voter is how we got it passed’

Whitehouse.gov Caught Freezing Vaccine Choice Petition To Prevent Signatures From Reaching 100,000 Threshold

by Mike Adams | Natural News

(NaturalNews) A WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for the prohibition of laws requiring mandatory vaccines has been throttled by the White House, buried from public view and finally frozen for over 36 hours to prevent the petition from achieving 100,000 signatures, Natural News can now reveal.

The petition, which was rapidly headed toward the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a response from the White House, was frozen mid-day Friday and has remained stuck at 56,791 signatures for over 36 hours.

The petition is titled “PROHIBIT ANY LAWS MANDATING THE FORCE AND REQUIREMENT OF VACCINATIONS OF ANY KIND.” It can be found at this link.

The petition reads:

No human being should be FORCED to be vaccinated against their will and/or personal/religious beliefs. I petition against making vaccinations of any kind mandatory. This includes forcing children to be vaccinated to attend public schools, activities, and daycare centers. This also includes adults working in the public or private sector.

The petition still allows people to sign it, and it still sends a confirmation email that claims your signature counts. But the numbers on the petition website never change, no matter how many people sign it.

Petition signatures systematically ignored

As the following screen shot shows, the petition confirmation page claims, “Your signature has been verified and counted.”

But in reality, your signature doesn’t count at all, and the signatures number on the petition page stays frozen:

Throttled to a maximum of 100 per hour before being frozen

Before the petition was frozen by the White House to prevent it from reaching 100,000 signatures, it was throttled to allow a maximum of 100 signatures per hour.

Dr. Rima Laibow of the Natural Solutions Foundation has been monitoring the petition’s numbers for several days. “Counsel Ralph Fucetola, JD, and I were tracking the number of signatures for the petition on our Skype chat and I noted something rather strange: there were many hours when the number increasing on the petition was exactly, EXACTLY, 100,” she told Natural News.

“We realized that although it is really important in this debate to get to the 100,000 signature threshold on this petition, the system was gamed, making it harder than it should be. We knew that if we did not reach that number, the White House juggernaut would claim that only a tiny fraction of Americans were against Mandatory Adult Vaccines and would use that against us.”

“…the White House Petition Site programming is not recording signatures on a petition it disagrees with,” Dr. Laibow concludes in a breaking news warning published at her website.

WhiteHouse.gov buried the petition to try to hide it from the public

Even before the throttling and the freezing of the petition numbers, the White House went to great lengths to bury the petition and make sure it could not be easily found by the public.

Unlike other petitions which are easily found at Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov, the petition opposing vaccine mandates was deliberately hidden from view and could only be accessed if someone knew the direct URL.

On YouTube, this is equivalent to setting a video to “unlisted” status to prevent the public from finding it.

To help people find the petition, Rima Laibow set up a new link that directs people to the correct petition URL:

http://TinyURL.com/VaccinationISViolation

A pattern of systematic deceit by vaccine pushers

This fraudulent attempt by the White House to suppress this petition and prevent it from reaching 100,000 signatures is part of an extraordinary pattern of lying and deceit on the part of today’s medical extremists who demand all people be injected with vaccines, even against their wishes and in blatant violation of the American Medical Association’s code of ethics.

The vaccine industry, we have all observed, is willing to do anything it takes to prevent the public from learning real facts about vaccines or even achieving success with an online petition that calls for the protection of medical choice for mothers and their children.

USA Today, the same publication that ran an article authored by a mentally deranged vaccine fanatic who called for the arrest and imprisonment of “anti-vaxxers,” recently conducted an online survey that asked Americans whether they support the arrest and imprisonment of people who rejected vaccines. The results of that survey reveal that 92% of Americans support vaccine choice and reject government coercion for forced vaccinations.

Jail parents who opt out: 2%
It’s a choice: 92%
Fine parents who opt out: 5%
Inform parents vs. jail: 2%

Only 2% support government coercion against parents who choose to avoid toxic vaccines. Public support for laws prohibiting forced vaccination policies is remarkably high; far higher than public support for President Obama himself.

So in an attempt to destroy the perception that the public strongly opposes the government coercion of medical choice (also called “medical fascism”), the White House has now gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress the online petition that calls for fundamental human rights and medical choice.

This pattern of deceit and coercion is far larger than the White House alone. It includes:

• The CDC’s deliberate burying of scientific data linking vaccines to autism (as confessed by the CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson).

• The mainstream media’s blatantly one-sided media coverage of vaccines, where no scientific questions about vaccines are ever allowed to be aired, and any doctor who asks an intelligent question about vaccine ingredients, vaccine safety or vaccination schedules is verbally assaulted with the derogatory, intellectually-bigoted label of “ANTI-SCIENCE!”

• The ongoing delusion of “mercury denialism” where even the Associated Press publishes articles that falsely claim mercury has been “phased out” of all vaccines even though the CDC confirms mercury, MSG, formaldehyde and aluminum are still used in vaccines.

• The Disneyland measles hoax, where the CDC knows full well that the viral strain of measles found in MMR vaccines is different from the strain of measles that has spread among children. The genetics don’t match, which means the MMR vaccine would have done little or nothing to stop the outbreak in the first place.

• The complete suppression of true stories of vaccine-damaged children who have suffered severe neurological harm, painful skin disorders, comas and even death due to vaccines. See horrifying photos here of just some of the children who are being medically mutilated by the very same vaccines that government authorities tell us are “safe.”

• The widespread refusal of the FDA to acknowledge the truth that it does not test vaccines for safety or efficacy and instead relies entirely on Big Pharma’s own self-funded studies to “prove” vaccines work. But those studies have been faked, say the industry’s own scientists, who describe how animal antibodies were used to spike human blood samples in order to defraud the FDA and keep selling vaccines that do not work.

• The publication of a medical extremism article in USA Today which openly called for the government to arrest and imprison so-called “anti-vaxxers.” This article, like nearly all articles on vaccines that appear in the mainstream media, was written by a mentally ill vaccine fanatic with a bizarre desire to incarcerate informed vaccine skeptics who raise intelligent, rational questions about vaccine safety and immunization scheduling. USA Today has no problem giving a platform to mentally ill vaccine fanatics as long as they keep calling for more vaccines.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition and watch how your vote doesn’t count at the White House

Want to sign the WhiteHouse.gov petition and see the petition fraud for yourself?

Click here to sign the petition and notice how the number of signatures doesn’t budge even after you sign it.

Or, possibly, WhiteHouse.gov will reactivate the petition after being caught red-handed and exposed by this story, but they will still throttle the petition to make sure it never quite reaches the 100,000 threshold.

This petition fraud, of course, perfectly mirrors every fraudulent tactic of the vaccine industry which is utterly incapable of any behavior at all that resembles ethics or honesty. Every layer of the vaccine fraud now being perpetrated upon the American public is steeped in deceit, fabrication and fraud.

Introducing “The American Opportunity Carbon Free Act”… what?

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse delivers a weekly speech on climate change on the Senate floor, a series he dubbed “Time to Wake Up.” (Photo credit: Office of Sen. Whitehouse)

Stupid American voters are being heavily conditioned by main stream media for the next massive tax increase before they’ve had a chance to deal with the last one, Obama Care.

Remember Cap and Trade? This one, “The American Opportunity Carbon Free Act”, reported as being formally discussed in the US Senate on a weekly basis since last November’s mid-term elections is a proposed tax on fossil fuels used by manufactures. This revenue act would also assess fees for other greenhouse gas emissions and tariffs on products from countries who aren’t taxing their manufactures in the same way.

Below is a prime example of how government has been using main stream media to scare stupid American voters into accepting the climate change lie behind “The American Opportunity Carbon Free Act”, before it ultimately gets crammed through congress like Obama Care. This makes me wonder if Jonathan Gruber, the highly compensated consultant architect of The Affordable Care Act, made famous for referring to the rest of us as “stupid American voters” have been hired to help sell this one too.

The key words and punch lines CBS editors built the following article around are highlighted in red. The same re-occurring themes found in all global warming / climate change propaganda articles.


Mega-Droughts To Become The New Normal

https://i0.wp.com/stateimpact.npr.org/texas/files/2011/11/51636665.jpg

A stock pond south of Dallas dries up due to a drought. Conditions like this could become more commonplace in the later part of the 21st century due to global warming.

Large sections of the United States will endure “persistent droughts” in the coming decades that will be worse than anything experienced in the past 1,000 years.

Comparing the conditions to the Dust Bowl but lasting several decades, researchers writing in the journal Science Advances warned Thursday that the Southwest and Great Plains will be hit by these “mega-droughts” in the later part of the 21st century. Such events have been linked to the fall of civilizations, including the decline of the Anasazi, or Ancient Pueblo Peoples, in the Colorado Plateau in the late 13th century.

“The story is a bit bleak,” said Jason E. Smerdon, a co-author and climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Even when selecting for the worst mega drought-dominated period, the 21st century projections make (those) mega droughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden.”

86611.jpgA representation of the summer moisture in the US Central Plains and Southwest is shown. The brown line represents the variation in dryness since the year 1000; the lower the line on the graph, the drier the conditions. Colored lines to the right side of the graph represent what climate models see ahead: a trend toward dryness not seen in the previous millennium. Cook et al., Science Advances, 2015

To come up with these projections, researchers turned to the North American Drought Atlas which recreates the history of drought over the previous 2,005 years, based on hundreds of tree-ring chronologies, gleaned in turn from tens of thousands of tree samples across the United States, Mexico and parts of Canada.

Taking the Atlas data, they then applied three different measures of drought – two soil moisture measurements at varying depths, and a version of the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which gauges precipitation and evaporation and transpiration. After that, the researchers applied 17 different climate models to analyze the future impact of rising average temperatures on the regions and compared two different global warming scenarios – a continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions and one where they are moderated.

The results, according to the study, point to a “remarkably drier future that falls far outside the contemporary experience of natural and human systems in Western North America, conditions that may present a substantial challenge to adaption.”

“The surprising thing to us was really how consistent the response was over these regions, nearly regardless of what model we used or what soil moisture metric we looked at,” said lead author Benjamin I. Cook of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “It all showed this really, really significant drying.”

Today, 11 of the past 14 years have been drought years in much of the American West, including California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona and across the Southern Plains to Texas and Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaboration of U.S. government agencies.

The current drought directly affects more than 64 million people in the Southwest and Southern Plains, according to NASA, and many more are indirectly affected because of the impacts on agricultural regions. As a result, states have imposed water restrictions, aquifers have been drawn down and reservoirs such as Lake Meade and Lake Powell are at historic low levels.

“Changes in precipitation, temperature and drought, and the consequences it has for our society – which is critically dependent on our freshwater resources for food, electricity and industry – are likely to be the most immediate climate impacts we experience as a result of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kevin Anchukaitis, a climate researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Anchukaitis said the findings “require us to think rather immediately about how we could and would adapt.”

The current study on so-called medieval droughts adds to a large body of research linking climate to worsening droughts in parts of the Southwest. The driver, for the most part, is warming in recent decades brought on by increasing greenhouse gas emissions mostly from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

“The results … are extremely unfavorable for the continuation of agricultural and water resource management as they are currently practiced in the Great Plains and southwestern United States,” David Stahle, professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas and director of the Tree-Ring Laboratory and who was not involved in the study, said.

Aiguo Dai, a University associate professor who did not take part in the study but has done studies on past and future droughts across the globe including the United States, said its findings were “fairly convincing” and hopefully will motivate policy makers to take action.

“This provides huge warning sign for society, for the governments to take action to slow down global warming,” Dai told CBS News. “If they don’t, its likely the Southwest could become unsuitable for agriculture or many other activities.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mega-droughts-to-become-the-new-normal/
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/19/carbon-fee-bill-introduced-senate

https://whiskeytangotexas.com/2015/01/17/the-truth-about-climate-change/

https://whiskeytangotexas.com/2015/01/04/health-care-costs-are-crippling-american-middle-class-workers/

https://whiskeytangotexas.com/2014/11/11/obamacare-architect-credits-lack-of-transparency-and-stupidity-of-the-american-people-for-passage-of-healthcare-law/