The Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017, Story 1: Senate Draft Bill To Repeal Obamacare Is Obamacare Lite! No Individual and Employer Mandates and Obamacare Taxes But Subsidies Remain — The Stupid Party Again Betrays Republican Voters By Not Repealing Obamacare Completely — Conservative and Libertarian Republicans Will Oppose Senate Draft Bill — Nothing For Trump To Sign Before Independence Day! — Videos — Story 2: More Republican Voters Will Be Leaving The Party and Become Independents — Waiting For A New Limited Government Party! — Obama Damaged Democratic Party and Trump Will Damage Republican Party — No Hope and No Change With Two Party Tyranny of Big Interventionist Government — BIG Parties — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Image result for senate draft bill does not repeal obaMACARE

Image result for CARTOONS senate draft bill does not repeal obaMACARE

Image result for branco CARTOONS senate draft bill does not repeal obaMACAREImage result for CARTOONS senate draft bill does not repeal obaMACARE

 

Story 1: Senate Draft Bill To Repeal Obamacare Is Obamacare Lite! No Individual and Employer Mandates and Obamacare Taxes But Subsidies Remain — The Stupid Party Again Betrays Republican Voters By Not Repealing Obamacare Completely — Conservative and Libertarian Republicans Will Oppose Senate Draft Bill — Nothing For Trump To Sign Before Independence Day! — Videos

Image result for ludwig von mises on government intervention into marketsImage result for ludwig von mises on government intervention into markets

“Once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.”

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau.”
~ Ludwig von Mises

Image result for four gop senators opposed to senate draft of repeal and replace

Image result for four gop senators opposed to senate draft of repeal and replace

 

Image result for List of pre-existing conditions

Image result for List of pre-existing conditions

Image result for four gop senators opposed to senate draft of repeal and replace

Senators Debate GOP Health Care Plan

GOP health care plan faces opposition

GOP health care bill will ruin the Republican Party: Ann Coulter

Rand Paul: Insurance Should Be Available For $1 A Day | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Senate Republicans unveil a bill to repeal Obamacare

Senate Republicans’ health care bill already in jeopardy?

Is the Senate GOP healthcare bill dead on arrival?

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GOP Health Care Bill Update (6/22/2017)

Ted Cruz: Senate GOP Healthcare Bill Doesn’t Lower Costs

Rand Paul on Senate GOP Healthcare Bill: ‘I Didn’t Run on Obamacare-Lite’

Senate health care bill to be released today

ObamaCare Is In A Death Spiral

Rush Limbaugh [Free Video] Republicans Dont Want to Repeal Obamacare

I’ve covered Obamacare since day one. I’ve never seen lying and obstruction like this.

Sen. Chris Murphy: Senate Health Care is ‘Dumber and ‘More Evil’ Than House Proposal

What’s in the Senate GOP health bill?

4 GOP senators, including Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, come out against Senate healthcare bill —

The Differences among Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians (Robert A. Levy)

Freedom Caucus Calls For Complete Repeal Of The Affordable Care Act

Dr. Siegel breaks down the pre-existing conditions challenge

NEW: Tucker Carlson + Rand Paul Discuss Repealing/Replacing Obamacare

Image result for ludwig von mises on government intervention into markets

 

Here are the details of Senate Republican Obamacare replacement bill

  • The bill would significantly change how the federal government subsidizes individual health plans and funds Medicaid
  • GOP leaders want to have a vote on the bill before the Fourth of July recess.
  • The House’s own version of a health-care bill is deeply unpopular.
Dan Mangan | Kayla Tausche

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Former Medicare administrator: Millions will still lose coverage under Senate health-care bill  6 Hours Ago | 03:20

Senate GOP leaders on Thursday finally released their secret health-care reform bill, which would repeal Obamacare taxes, restructure subsidies to insurance customers, and both phase out Medicaid’s expansion program and cap Medicaid spending.

Republicans plan to bring the controversial bill that was drafted in secret to a quick vote next week, but face potentially fatal opposition to it from several members of their own caucus.

The 142-page bill, if passed into law, would sharply reduce financial aid that currently helps millions of people obtain health coverage, while at the same time offering a tax break to primarily wealthy Americans to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. And it would loosen rules in a way that could lead to states allowing insurers to offer less-generous health plans.

The bill would repeal, retroactive to the beginning of 2016, the Obamacare rule requiring most Americans to have some form of health coverage or pay a tax penalty fine. That repeal is expected to sharply increase the number of people who don’t have insurance, which could in turn lead insurers to raise premiums.

And it would repeal, retroactively to the beginning of 2016, the “employer mandate,” which requires large employers to offer health insurance to workers or be fined.

Read the entire bill here

The bill also would continue for at least two years to offer reimbursements to health insurance companies for subsidies that reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income customers of Obamacare plans. But those subsidies would end in 2020, which would increase deductibles and other out-of-pocket health expenses for millions of customers.

The federal government’s share of funding for Medicaid, which is jointly run with individual states, would fall over the course of seven years to end up at around 57 percent of the cost of that program, which offers health coverage to the poor.

Under Obamacare, the federal government had guaranteed that its funding for adults newly eligible for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act would fall to no lower than 90 percent of their costs. That expansion program would begin being phased out in 2021, and fully repealed by three years later.

In another cost-cutting move, the bill would lower the maximum income level a household could have to still qualify for federal subsidies that help reduce the premiums people pay for enrollment for individual health plans. Obamacare currently bars subsidies to families that earn more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The new bill would reduce that cap to 350 percent of the poverty level.

Younger people, as a group, would end up paying less of a share of their income toward their individual health plans under the bill in comparison to what they pay now under Obamacare, while older people as a group would end up paying a larger share of their income.

Health plans that offer abortion services would not be eligible for the subsidies, according to the draft released Thursday.

The federal government also would end up spending less money subsidizing people’s insurance purchases by changing how the value of those subsidies are calculated. The bill would use a less-expensive type of individual health plan to calculate those subsidies, as opposed to the pricier plan used under Obamacare.

The bill also seeks to repeal, to the start of 2017, the 3.8 percent tax on net investment income.

The Trump administration is expected to back the bill, which most GOP senators were learning the details of during a meeting Thursday morning. The bill is named the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

“It’s going to be very good,” President Donald Trump said about an hour after the bill’s release. “A little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good.” Trump did not elaborate.

The House’s version of the bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, is broadly unpopular among the public, and had been reportedly called “mean, mean, mean,” by Trump during a meeting with senators. Weeks earlier, Trump and House members who voted for the ACHA celebrated its passage in the Rose Garden of the White House.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released Thursday found that just 16 percent of Americans thought the House bill was a good idea, with 48 percent saying it is a bad idea.

“In broad strokes, the Senate bill is just like the House: Big tax cuts, big cut in federal heath spending, big increase in the uninsured,” tweeted Larry Levitt, an Obamacare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Under the Senate bill, low-income people would pay higher premiums for bigger deductibles,” Levitt said.

He had noted on Twitter on Wednesday that “A 60 year-old at 351% of poverty currently gets a premium subsidy of $5,151 per year on average.” The Senate bill would eliminate all of that federal financial aid if it becomes law.

Senate GOP leaders want to have a vote on the bill by late next week, before Congress’ Fourth of July recess. They do not plan to hold any hearings on the legislation, infuriating Democrats, who were frozen out of the drafting process.

To pass, Republicans must get at least 50 GOP senators to vote for the bill, since no Democrat or independent is expected to vote for it. Vice President Mike Pence would break any tie, and would be expected to vote for the bill. There are 52 Republican senators.

On Thursday, about an hour after the bill was posted online, NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted that a group of a conservative Republican senators were meeting, and that there are at least three GOP senators, and possibly more, who plan to announce later today that they will oppose the bill.

If that number proves to be accurate, it could be a death blow to the bill.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told NBC that he and several other members of the GOP caucus would be making a statement on the bill later Thursday.

“It looks like we’re keeping Obamacare, not repealing it,” said Paul, who declined to say whether that meant he would vote against the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, followed by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, leaves a Republican meeting on healthcare, Thursday, June 22, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Jacquelyn Martin | AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, followed by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, leaves a Republican meeting on healthcare, Thursday, June 22, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday, “There will be ample time to analyze” and discuss the bill before the legislation is put to a vote.

While McConnell praised the bill on the floor of the Senate, many of his Republican caucus members avoided speaking with reporters staking them out in Congress, who wanted to ask about the legislation.

Democrats promptly blasted the bill, and castigated Republicans for planning to call a vote on it just a week after its details were released.

“The Republicans want to give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, on the floor of the Senate after release of the bill. “Simply put this bill will result in higher costs, less care, and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance.”

“It’s every bit as bad as the House bill. In many ways it’s even worse,” Schumer said. “The Senate bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., during a press conference said, “From what I understand, their bill tracks along lines of House bill … [I] think that’s very good.”

Leslie Dach, director of the Obamacare-supporting group Protect Our Care Campaign, tore into the Senate’s bill, which, like Ryan, he compared to the House’s earlier bill.

“Senate Republicans promised to start over and write a plan that improves people’s health care,” Dach said. “Instead they doubled down on the failed House repeal approach that puts everyone’s health care last, and tax breaks for the wealthy first.”

“The heartless Senate health care repeal bill makes health care worse for everyone — it raises costs, cuts coverage, weakens protections and cuts even more from Medicaid than the mean House bill,” said Dach, who had served as senior counselor at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.

“They wrote their plan in secret and are rushing forward with a vote next week because they know how much harm their bill does to millions of people.”

But Seema Verma, administrator for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, praised the Senate’s bill as she criticized Obamacare, a program that CMS oversees.

“I appreciate the work of the Senate as they continue to make progress fixing the crisis in health care that has resulted from Obamacare,” Verma said. “Skyrocketing premiums, rising costs and fewer choices have caused too many Americans to drop their insurance coverage.”

“Today, Obamacare is in a death spiral and millions ofAmericans are being negatively impacted as a result. They are trapped by mandates that force them to purchase insurance they don’t want and can’t afford,” she said. “The Senate proposal is built on putting patients first and in charge of their health-care decisions, bringing down the cost of coverage and expanding choices. Congress must act now to achieve the President’s goal to make sure all Americans have access to quality, affordable coverage.”

The Congressional Budget Office said it expects to release an analysis of the bill early next week Monday. The analysis will estimate how many people are likely to become uninsured in the next decade if the bill becomes law, as well as how premiums for individual health plans would be affected.

CBO aims to release estimate for Senate health care plan early next week https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52843 

CBO aims to release estimate for Senate health care plan early next week

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation are in the process of preparing an estimate for the Senate health care plan and aim to release it early next week.

cbo.gov

The CBO “score” would also include projections on the bill’s impact on federal spending.

The release of the draft comes more than six weeks after GOP leaders in the House barely managed to win passage for their own health-care legislation.

The House bill, the American Health Care Act, is widely unpopular, multiple polls have shown.

The nonpartisan CBO, in analyzing that bill, found that 23 million more Americans would become uninsured by 2026 if it became law than if Obamacare remained in place.

While many of those people would voluntarily cease buying insurance plans because of the elimination requirement that they have some form of health coverage or pay a fine, millions more would find their plans unaffordable because of either rising prices, the loss of government subsidies or both factors.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/senate-republicans-finally-unveil-their-big-obamacare-replacement-bill.html

Track the Key Changes in the GOP’s Health Plan

By Hannah Recht, Zachary Tracer and Mira Rojanasakul

Published: March 22, 2017 | Last updated: June 22, 2017
Seven years after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, Republicans are trying to follow through on their promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. On March 6, Republican House leaders introduced their health plan, and Senate Republicans followed with their own bill on June 22. Congress will need to reconcile differences in the two proposals before a bill can reach President Donald Trump’s desk. We’ll track major policy changes and their impacts as Congress drafts and revises legislation to repeal Obamacare.
House bill introduced [March 6] ⟶ First House amendments [March 20] ⟶ First House vote canceled [March 24] ⟶ Passes House [May 4] ⟶ Senate bill introduced [June 22] ⟶ Passes Senate ⟶ House and Senate negotiate and revise bill ⟶ House and Senate pass final bill ⟶ President signs, becomes law
Medicaid Financing
House billCHANGE
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Currently, the federal government generally reimburses states for a fixed percentage of Medicaid expenditures, regardless of total spending or number of enrollees. The GOP bill would limit Medicaid reimbursement by a per-enrollee cost, based on 2016 average costs.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Allows states to choose from two formulas for how they get federal Medicaid funding, and boosts the funding for elderly and disabled Medicaid enrollees, relative to the initial bill.

Senate billCHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Like the House bill, the Senate bill would allow states to choose between two formulas for federal Medicaid funding. But starting in 2025, the Senate bill would set a lower funding growth rate than the House bill would, meaning states would receive less money. Certain Medicaid enrollees would not be subject to these limits, including people with disabilities and children.

Budget impact: In the House bill, Federal Medicaid spending would decrease by $834 billion, from 2017 to 2026, relative to current law.

Decrease in Medicaid spending from current law, House bill
Source: Congressional Budget Office
Medicaid Expansion
House billREPEAL
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

The ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid to individuals making as much as 138 percent of the federal poverty level, with federal funding. The GOP bill winds down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion starting in 2020.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Won’t provide extra funding to states that newly expand Medicaid.

Senate billREPEAL
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Medicaid expansion funding would be phased out between 2021 and 2024.

Human impact: In the House bill, Medicaid enrollment would decrease by 14 million people by 2026, about 17 percent.

Decrease in Medicaid enrollment from current law, House bill

0M

–3

–6

–9

–12

–15

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Premium Subsidies
House billCHANGE
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

The ACA introduced subsidies based on income and the cost of health insurance, with some help available to people making up to 400 percent of the poverty level, or about $47,000 for an individual. The House bill would base subsidies mainly on age, phasing out funding beginning at an income of $75,000 for an individual.

Senate billCHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

The Senate bill would maintain the ACA’s subsidies through 2019, but change how subsidies are allocated starting in 2020. The ACA calculates subsidies based on a mid-level coverage plan, while the Senate bill would use a cheaper type of plan. Subsidies would no longer be available to those above 350 percent of the poverty level, or about $42,000 for an individual.

Human impact: Many low-income subsidy recipients would lose thousands in premium subsidies, particularly older enrollees in higher-cost areas. In the House bill, some people who currently earn too much to qualify for subsidies would receive new assistance. The Senate bill does not offer similar assistance. Instead, it would place additional limits on who qualifies for subsidy assistance, making some middle-class recipients who currently receive subsidies ineligible.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Essential Health Benefits
House billCHANGE
House amendment  |  March 23, 2017

The ACA requires health insurance plans to cover 10 broad categories of essential health benefits, as well as to provide preventive services at no cost. The bill initially left the requirement intact, but an amendment that would repeal that requirement was added. Instead, states will define their own list of benefits that are required for plans receiving premium subsidies beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

House amendment  |  May 3, 2017

An amendment was added that would leave essential health benefits intact—reinstating the federal standard. Instead, states could opt out of the requirement and apply for a waiver to define their own list of benefits that are required for plans receiving premium subsidies beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Senate billCHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Human impact: The Congressional Budget Office expects that half of the U.S. population live in states that would waive some required benefits. Plans in these states would likely have lower premiums, but they would cover less. For instance, maternity care premiums could cost an additional $1,000 per month or more. Customers seeking comprehensive coverage could face premiums and out-of-pocket charges that are significantly higher than under current law.

Budget impact: Insurers in some states could offer plans with such limited coverage that CBO does not consider them health insurance. Those plans would still be eligible for millions of dollars in federal subsidies.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Pre-existing Conditions
House billCHANGE
House amendment  |  May 3, 2017

The ACA requires health insurers to sell plans to individuals who are sick with so-called pre-existing conditions and not charge them more than healthy customers. An amendment would allow states to apply for a waiver that would let insurers charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions that had a gap in coverage of at least 63 days in the prior year. To do so, states would have to establish some method (a special “high-risk” insurance pool, or subsidies) to help sick people.

Senate billNO CHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Insurance companies would not be allowed to charge customers with pre-existing conditions more than healthy customers.

Human impact: In states that allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more than healthy people, those less healthy individuals would face increasingly prohibitive premiums under the House bill. Eventually, the CBO predicts, less-healthy people may not be able to afford any coverage.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Age Rating
House billCHANGE
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Obamacare lets health insurers charge their oldest customers no more than three times as much as their youngest ones. The GOP bill introduced widens the ratio to 5 to 1.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Adds a provision that would let the Senate decide whether to increase subsidies that go to older Americans.

House amendment  |  May 3, 2017

Adds a provision that would allow states to apply for a waiver to give insurers permission to charge older customers even more than the 5 to 1 ratio.

Senate billCHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Human impact: Premiums would significantly rise for older people and decrease for younger people. Low-income older adults would face much higher premiums than under current law, even with federal subsidies.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
State Grants
House billNEW
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Includes a new $100 billion fund designed to help states stabilize their individual health insurance markets or help low-income people get health care.

House amendment  |  March 23, 2017

Adds $15 billion to the fund to be used for maternity, newborn, mental health and substance abuse coverage.

House amendment  |  April 6, 2017

Adds $15 billion for the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program, designed to help insurers cover the costs of sick and expensive patients.

House amendment  |  May 3, 2017

Adds $8 billion in funding from 2018 through 2023 to help individuals afford higher premiums in states that let insurers charge sick people more.

Senate billNEW
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

The Senate bill would include $112 billion in state grant funds, primarily to stabilize state insurance markets and cover expensive patients. It would also allocate $2 billion in 2018 for substance abuse treatment.

Human impact: The grants would lead to slightly lower premiums in the individual market and encourage insurer participation. The new funding would not be enough to significantly lower costs for people with pre-existing conditions.

Budget impact: Both bills would require more than $100 billion in additional federal spending.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Medicaid Work Requirements
House billNEW
House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Gives states the option of requiring some Medicaid recipients to work or pursue job training.

Senate billNEW
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Human impact: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 10 million non-elderly adult Medicaid recipients who don’t receive Social Security are not working. Some of these adults would be excluded from work requirements due to disability, pregnancy or caretaker status, but many would be expected to complete job training or find employment in order to keep their insurance.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Insurance Mandates
House billREPEAL
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

The House bill ends Obamacare’s requirement that individuals have health coverage and that most employers offer it. Instead, when people who’ve gone uninsured decide to buy health insurance, they’ll have to pay a 30 percent surcharge on their premiums for one year.

Senate billREPEAL
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

The Senate bill ends Obamacare’s requirement that individuals have health coverage and that most employers offer it.

Human impact: Though about 1 million people are expected to buy insurance in 2018 in order to avoid future surcharges, twice as many would choose not to purchase insurance long-term because of the House bill surcharge or insurance documentation requirements.

Budget impact: Revenue loss of $210 billion from 2017 to 2026 from repealing insurance penalties. The new premium surcharge would go to insurers directly, not the government.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Planned Parenthood and Abortion Care
House billNEW
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Ends all federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year. The bill also prohibits federal funds from going to insurance plans that cover abortions, other than those necessary to save the life of the woman, or in cases of rape or incest.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Adds additional safeguards to prevent government funds from being used for some abortions.

Senate billNEW
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Human impact: Several thousand Medicaid-covered births would occur because of the loss of Planned Parenthood contraceptive and abortion care, particularly among women in areas without other providers that serve low-income patients.

Budget impact: Direct spending would decrease by $234 million between 2017 and 2026, but new births due to the Planned Parenthood provision would increase Medicaid spending by $77 million over the same period.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Individual Taxes
House billREPEAL
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Repeals a 0.9 percent Medicare payroll surtax and a 3.8 percent investment-income tax on wealthy individuals that were introduced in the ACA, effective 2018.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Ends the taxes in 2017, rather than 2018.

House amendment  |  March 23, 2017

Postpones repeal of the additional Medicare tax to 2023.

Senate billREPEAL
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Human impact: Wealthy individuals would get a tax break. In counties that backed Trump, taxpayers would save $6.6 billion, while taxpayers in Clinton counties would save $21.6 billion.

Budget impact: From 2017 to 2026, the repeal would lose $172 billion in Net Investment Tax revenue and about $64 billion in Medicare tax revenue from 2023 to 2026. Repealing the Medicare tax in 2017 would have resulted in an additional $63 billion loss.

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Industry Taxes
House billREPEAL
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Repeals ACA taxes imposed on health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical-device companies and tanning salons, effective 2018.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Ends the taxes in 2017, rather than 2018.

Senate billREPEAL
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Repeals most taxes immediately. A tax on providers would be phased out in 2025.

Budget impact: Loss of $199 billion in tax revenue from 2017 to 2026.

Tax revenue lost, 2017–2026
Source: Congressional Budget Office
Cadillac Tax
House billCHANGE
House bill introduced  |  March 6, 2017

Obamacare imposes a tax on very generous health insurance benefits, which was delayed to 2020. The bill introduced further pushes the tax back to 2025.

House amendment  |  March 20, 2017

Delays the tax to 2026.

Senate billCHANGE
Senate bill introduced  |  June 22, 2017

Senate bill adopts changes in House bill.

Budget impact: Loss of $66 billion in tax revenue through 2026.

Tax revenue lost

$0B

–3

–6

–9

–12

–15

Source: Congressional Budget Office
Dependent Coverage
No proposed change to current law

The ACA requires health insurers to allow children to remain on their parents’ plans, up to age 26.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-healthcare-bill-changes/

The C, D, and F Rollover Republicans Want To Keep Obamacare Subsidies

This Is Not Repeal But Extending Obamacare

 

Conservative Review Scorecard of Senators

https://www.conservativereview.com/scorecard?chamber=senate&state=&party=R

 

 

Story 2: More Republican Voters Will Be Leaving The Party and Become Independents — Waiting For A New Limited Government Party! — Obama Damaged Democratic Party and Trump Will Damage Republican Party — No Hope and No Change With Two Party Tyranny of BIG Interventionist Government Parties — Videos

 

How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

From white supremacy to Barack Obama: The history of the Democratic Party

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The Pronk Pops Show 886, May 4, 2017, Breaking — Story 1: The Beginning of The End of Obamacare — House Republicans Vote Yes For Repeal and Replace of Obamacare — 217-213– On The Senate — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders Promoting Free Speech And Religious Liberty — Videos —

Posted on May 4, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Life, Media, Medicare, Mike Pence, News, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Image result for trump executive order protecting free speech and religious libertyImage result for house republican vote to repeal obamacare 217Image result for May 4, 2017 white house president trump and congress repeal and replace on lawnStory 1: The Beginning of The End of Obamacare — House Republicans Vote Yes For Repeal and Replace of Obamacare — 217-213– On To The Senate — Videos — 

Image result for house republican vote to repeal obamacare

 

Image result for house republican vote to repeal obamacare 217

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FULL. President Trump A Statement Following Health Plan Passing House. May 4, 2017.

Vote to repeal Obamacare passes in the House of Representatives

House passes Obamacare replacement bill | ABC News

Story 2: President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders Promoting Free Speech And Religious Liberty — Videos —

Image result for History Johnson Amendment 1954Image result for History Johnson Amendment 1954

The History of the Johnson Amendment

Trump’s Promise to Evangelicals: I Will ‘Destroy’ the Johnson Amendment

How Does the Johnson Amendment Affect the Church?

Repealing the Johnson Amendment Will Blur Lines Between Church and State

Donald Trump says he will repeal The Johnson Amendment – Voter Values Summit Washington, DC

President Trump’s Speech On Religious Freedom And Free Speech Executive Order

USA: Trump signs executive order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty

FULL: President Donald Trump signs the Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech & Religious Liberty

BREAKING: Trump Just Did Something Huge For Churches That Will Make God Smile

President Trump Promises Christians More Freedom At Prayer Breakfast And Liberals Won’t Like It

Trump marks National Day of Prayer, signs executive order on religious freedom

Trump: We are giving our churches their voices back

President Trump marked the National Day of Prayer by signing an executive order aimed at boosting religious freedom by easing IRS restrictions against political activities by tax-exempt religious organizations, including churches.

Declaring “no one should be censoring sermons,” Trump announced the order, which fulfilled a campaign pledge, during a Rose Garden ceremony Thursday attended by religious leaders, activists and Vice President Pence.

“We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced again and we will never stand for religious discrimination,” Trump said before signing the order, which states it is now administration policy is “to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty.”

EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROMOTING FREE SPEECH AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

The ban on political speech from the pulpit is rooted in an amendment introduced in 1954 by then-Democratic Sen. Lyndon Johnson that gave the IRS authority to punish tax-exempt charitable organizations, including churches, for making political endorsements or getting involved in political campaigns.

The order directs the IRS to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the so-called Johnson Amendment.

In addition, it instructs the Treasury Department not to target the tax-exempt status of churches and other institutions if they express support for political candidates.

The order also directs the Department of Justice to ensure religious protections are afforded to individuals and groups, such as Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who take a vow of poverty in serving the elderly.

In his introductory remarks, Pence said the National Day of Prayer is a time to reaffirm “the vital role people of faith play in American society” and praised the president for marking the day in such a public manner.

Trump campaigned against the ban and pledged in his address to the Republican National Convention that he would “work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.”

Trump called up several of the Little Sisters of the Poor members and congratulated them on their landmark victory in the Supreme Court over the issue of the contraceptive mandate included in ObamaCare.

According to Trump, more than 50 religious groups filed lawsuits against the Obama administration for violating their religious liberty.

Before the final order was released, several religious liberty groups expressed support for the administration’s actions.

“The first freedom in the Bill of Rights is religious freedom. America was born on the foundation of religious freedom and it is one of our most cherished liberties. There could be no better day to sign an executive order on religious freedom than the National Day of Prayer,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Mark Rienzi, counsel for The Becket Fund, said on Twitter he was encouraged by the “promise of the protection” coming from the White House and looked forward to seeing the final language.

The Becket Fund is the public interest law firm which has represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in their fight to be exempted from ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate.

The executive order drew critics from the left and the right.

“If the … EO on religious liberty ends up being what media outlets are currently reporting, then it’ll be woefully inadequate,” tweeted Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The American Civil Liberties Union argued the executive actions constitute “a broadside to our country’s long-standing commitment to the separation of church and state” that will divide the nation and permit discrimination.

“President Trump’s efforts to promote religious freedom are thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate. It’s a dual dose of pandering to a base and denying reproductive care. We will see Trump in court, again,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/04/trump-marks-national-day-prayer-signs-executive-order-on-religious-freedom.html

Johnson Amendment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization in the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas.

In recent years, many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have sought to repeal it, arguing that it restricts the free speech rights of churches and other religious groups. Repeal has been criticized because churches have fewer reporting requirements than other non-profit organizations, and because it would effectively make political contributions tax-deductible. On May 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order easing the Johnson ammendment’s restrictions.[1]

Provisions

Page from the Congressional Record containing a transcript of the passage of the amendment

The amendment affects nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exemptions,[2] which are subject to absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax-exempt status if violated.[3] Specifically, they are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office.[4][5] The Johnson Amendment applies to any 501(c)(3) organization, not just religious 501(c)(3) organizations.

The benefit of 501(c)(3) status is that, in addition to the organization itself being exempt from taxes, donors may also take a tax deduction for their contributions to the organization.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, contributions to political campaign funds, or public statements of position in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, are disallowed. However, certain voter education activities as well as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, if conducted in a non-partisan manner, are not prohibited.[4]

History

Lyndon B. Johnson during his tenure as Senator from Texas

The amendment was to a bill in the 83rd Congress, H.R. 8300, which was enacted into law as the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The amendment was proposed by Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas on July 2, 1954. (Johnson would later serve as President from 1963 to 1969.) The amendment was agreed to without any discussion or debate and included in Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736).[6] It was considered uncontroversial at the time, and continued to be included in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 enacted during the Ronald Reagan administration.[7]

Repeal efforts

In recent years, the Alliance Defending Freedom has attempted to challenge the Johnson Amendment through the Pulpit Freedom Initiative, which urges Protestant ministers to violate the statute in protest. The ADF contends that the amendment violates First Amendment rights.[8]

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump called for the repeal of the amendment.[9] On February 2, 2017, President Trump vowed at the National Prayer Breakfast to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment,[10] White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced to the press that the President “committed to get rid of the Johnson Amendment”, “allowing our representatives of faith to speak freely and without retribution”,[11] and Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would allow all 501(c)(3) organizations to support political candidates, as long as any associated spending was minimal.[12][13]

Repeal has been criticized for a number of reasons. One concern is that campaign contributions funneled through 501(c)(3) organizations would be tax-deductible for donors, and because churches are exempt from reporting requirements required of other 501(c)(3) organizations. This has the potential of creating a mechanism where political contributions could be made in violation of relevant campaign financing laws.[14][15][16] Polls have shown that majorities of both the general public and of clergy oppose churches endorsing political candidates.[17] The National Council of Nonprofits released a statement opposing the proposed repeal legislation.[18]Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations has also stated their opposition to the proposal to repeal the Johnson Amendment.[19]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_Amendment

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The Pronk Pops Show 493, June 25, 2015, Story 1: Supreme Court Obamacare Attacks American Consumer Sovereignty and Individual Freedom — Big Government Tyranny and Coercion — Repeal Obamacare Completely — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

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Story 1: Supreme Court Obamacare Attack On American Consumer Sovereignty and Individual Freedom — Big Government Tyranny and Coercion — Videos

“The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

“Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.”

~ Frederic Bastiat

“Liberty is always freedom from the government.”

“The fact is that, under a capitalistic system, the ultimate bosses are the consumers.

The sovereign is not the state, it is the people.”

“The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.”

“It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action.

The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation.

And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers.

They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless.

As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.

The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.

Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.”

~Ludwig von Mises

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

~Chief Justice John Roberts

“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

~Justice Antonin Scalia

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The Truth About Obamacare

In Upholding Obamacare’s Subsidies, Justice Roberts Rewrites the Law—Again

Time to start calling the Affordable Care Act SCOTUScare.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the law to save Obamacare—again.

Roberts’ majority opinion today in King v. Burwell, which ruled that the Obama administration’s decision to allow health insurance subsidies flow through the law’s federal exchanges, leaves no doubt that Roberts considers it his duty to keep the law afloat.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he writes. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

And so Roberts decided that a law which explicitly and repeatedly states that subsidies are limited to exchanges “established by a State,” and which defines “State” as one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, actually allows subsidies in exchanges established by a State or the federal government. Roberts’ decision does not interpret Obamacare; it adds to it and reworks it, and in the process transforms it into something that it is not.

Roberts has not merely tweaked the law; he has rewritten it to mean the opposite of what it clearly means. Why include the phrase “established by a State under Section 1311″—the section dealing with state-based exchanges—except to limit the subsidies to those particular exchanges? Roberts’ opinion reconceptualizes this limiting language as inclusive.

The Chief Justice frames his decision as a form of respectful deference to congressional intent. As my colleague Damon Root noted earlier, his opinion cautions that in “every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.”

But Roberts’ opinion is far more than a fair reading of the legislative plan; it is a Court-imposed decision as to what that plan must be.

As Justice Antonin Scalia writes in a scathing dissent, Roberts presumes, with no definitive evidence, that his interpretation is the one that Congress intended. “What makes the Court so sure that Congress ‘meant’ tax credits to be available everywhere?” Scalia asks. “Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges.”

Roberts’ opinion declares its intent to uphold the law’s basic policy scheme, arguing that there would be adverse insurance market effects to a decision in favor of the challengers. In other words, there would have been policy implications to a ruling for the plaintiffs. That is almost certainly true, but it is not an excuse to rewrite the clear language of the law.

As Scalia says in the dissent, “The Court protests that without the tax credits, the number of people covered by the individual mandate shrinks, and without a broadly applicable individual mandate the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements ‘would destabilize the individual insurance market.’ If true, these projections would show only that the statutory scheme contains a flaw; they would not show that the statute means the opposite of what it says.” The majority has decided how Obamacare’s policy scheme should work, and redrafted the statute accordingly.

If Roberts had truly wanted to defer to Congress, he could have ruled that the law means what says rather than what it does not, and effectively handed the issue back to the legislature, letting Congress decide whether and how to update the law in accordance with its own wishes. Instead, Roberts made the choice for Congress—taking its power to craft law for itself. As Scalia writes, “the Court’s insistence on making a choice that should be made by Congress both aggrandizes judicial power and encourages congressional lassitude.”

This is not the first time that Roberts has rewritten the law in order to uphold it. In 2012, he declared that the law’s individual mandate to purchase insurance was unconstitutional under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause—and yet upheld it by declaring that the law’s penalty was instead permissible as a tax. In the same decision, he also found that the law’s threat to revoke all federal Medicaid funding from states that decline to participate in Obamacare’s expansion of the program was unconstitutionally coercive. But rather than strike the whole thing down, Roberts rewrote it, allowing the Medicaid expansion, and the rest of the law, to continue but without the same threat to state budgets.

In his dissent, Scalia argues that there’s a pattern to these rulings. “Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.”

If anything, it’s even worse. What Roberts has saved is not the law so much as the Obama administration’s dubious, textually unsupported interpretation and implementation of Obamacare. This is not judicial restraint. It is judicial hubris.

And while it would be overstatement to say that this damages the legitimacy of the Court, it certainly reflects on the legacy and status of the law. As even Roberts admits in his opinion, the law “contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting” and generally “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” It is a shoddy, messy piece of legislation, held together, barely, by Supreme Court duct tape.

At this point, then, the law is as much a joint project between the administration and the Roberts court as it is a creation of Congress. As Scalia snarks at the end of his dissent, “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare.” Regardless of what we call it, that’s effectively what it has become.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/25/in-upholding-obamacares-subsidies-justic

Supreme Court Rules Obamacare Subsidies Are Legal

By Krishnadev Calamur

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” the court’s majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that “petitioners’ arguments about the plain meaning … are strong.”

The majority opinion cited the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” but added, “the context and structure of the Act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

Roberts was joined by the court’s liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as by Anthony Kennedy.

In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said: “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” an apparent reference to the fact the Supreme Court has now saved the Affordable Care Act twice. Scalia called the majority’s reading of the text “quite absurd, and the court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”

As NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported in March, opponents of the law contended “that the text of the law does not authorize subsidies to make mandated insurance affordable in 34 states.”

At issue were six words in one section of the law. As Nina pointed out: “Those words stipulate that for people who cannot afford health coverage, subsidies are available through ‘an exchange established by the state.’ ” She added:

“The government [contended] that those words refer to any exchange, whether it is set up by the state itself or an exchange run for the state by the federal government in accordance with individual state insurance laws and regulations. The challengers [said] the statute means what it says and no more.”

The court agreed Thursday with the government’s position.

The decision comes three years after a bitterly divided high court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional by a 5-4 vote.

President Obama made a statement on the ruling late Thursday morning, saying the Affordable Care Act “is here to stay.”

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/25/417425091/supreme-court-rules-obamacare-subsidies-are-legal

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies in King v. Burwell

SCOTUS rules 6-3 in favor of administration in major defeat for critics of the health law.

Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies will live, thanks to the Supreme Court.

The High Court has ruled 6-3 in favor of the administration to uphold the subsidies in Obamacare’s federal exchanges. The case challenged the administration’s decision, through the Internal Revenue Service, to allow subsidies in the 36 exchanges run by the federal government under the law.

The challengers argued that the plain text of the law, which states that subsidies are only available in an exchange “established by a State,” defining “State” to mean the 50 states or the District of Columbia, prohibited subsidies in the federal exchanges. The administration argued that the IRS rule allowing those subsidies was consistent with the overall structure of the law, and with congressional intent.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the administration’s position, saying that although the health law contains “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” the Court nevertheless believes that the relevant section of the law “can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.” The complete ruling can be read here.

Basically, the Supreme Court, decided they’d rather squint at the law and look at its general shape rather than bother too much with the plain meaning of the relevant text.

This is a major victory fo the administration and backers of the health law, whose decision to ignore the plain text of the law has been blessed by the Court. It’s also a big loss for critics of Obamacare, who hoped to see the law’s implementation restrained by its legislative text, and for straightforward interpretation of congressional statute.

What it means is that the crazy array of post-King scenarios that many had speculated about over the last few months will never come to pass. Obamacare stays the same, in terms of both policy and politics. It’s a ruling for the status quo.

Reason will have much more on this throughout the day.

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/25/supreme-court-upholds-obamacare-subsidie

Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Health Care Subsidies

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017. For the second time in three years, the law survived an encounter with the Supreme Court. But the court’s tone was different this time. The first decision, in 2012, was fractured and grudging, while Thursday’s ruling was more assertive.

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a united six-justice majority. In 2012’s closely divided decision, Chief Justice Roberts also wrote the controlling opinion, but that time no other justice joined it in full.

Photo

Demonstrators expressed their support for the Affordable Care Act outside of the Supreme Court on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

In dissent on Thursday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”

He announced his dissent from the bench, a sign of bitter disagreement. His summary was laced with notes of incredulity and sarcasm, sometimes drawing amused murmurs in the courtroom as he described the “interpretive somersaults” he said the majority had performed to reach the decision.

“We really should start calling this law Scotus-care,” Justice Scalia said, to laughter from the audience.

In a hastily arranged appearance in the Rose Garden on Thursday morning, a triumphant Mr. Obama praised the ruling. “After multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” he said, adding: “What we’re not going to do is unravel what has now been woven into the fabric of America.”

The ruling was a blow to Republicans, who have been trying to gut the law since it was enacted. But House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed that the political fight against it would continue.

“The problem with Obamacare is still fundamentally the same: The law is broken,” Mr. Boehner said. “It’s raising costs for American families, it’s raising costs for small businesses and it’s just fundamentally broken. And we’re going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the American people back in charge of their health care and not the federal government.”

The case concerned a central part of the Affordable Care Act that created marketplaces, known as exchanges, to allow people who lack insurance to shop for individual health plans. Some states set up their own exchanges, but about three dozen allowed the federal government to step in to run them. Across the nation, about 85 percent of customers using the exchanges qualify for subsidies to help pay for coverage, based on their income.

The question in the case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, was what to make of a phrase in the law that seems to say the subsidies are available only to people buying insurance on “an exchange established by the state.”

A legal victory for the plaintiffs, lawyers for the administration said, would have affected more than six million people and created havoc in the insurance markets and undermined the law.

Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that the plaintiffs had strong arguments about the plain meaning of the contested words. But he wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

The court decided in King v. Burwell that tax subsidies are being provided lawfully in three dozen states that have decided not to run the marketplaces for insurance coverage. Full analysis »
6-3
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This was challenging, he said, in light of the law’s “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” a consequence of rushed work behind closed doors that “does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”

But he said the law’s interlocking parts supported a ruling in favor of the subsidies, particularly given that a contrary decision could have given rise to chaos in the insurance markets. A ruling rejecting subsidies in most of the nation would have left in place other parts of the law, including its guarantee of coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, its requirement that most Americans obtain insurance or pay a penalty, and its expansion of Medicaid.

Without the subsidies, many people would be unable to afford insurance, and healthier consumers would go without coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker, more expensive pool of customers. That would raise prices for everyone, leading to what supporters of the law called death spirals.

“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, referring to the challengers, “because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any state with a federal exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the act to avoid.”

In dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that the majority had stretched the statutory text too far.

Photo

Copies of the court’s ruling in favor of nationwide health insurance subsidies were rushed to television news reporters. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I wholeheartedly agree with the court that sound interpretation requires paying attention to the whole law, not homing in on isolated words or even isolated sections,” Justice Scalia wrote. “Context always matters. Let us not forget, however, why context matters: It is a tool for understanding the terms of the law, not an excuse for rewriting them.”

“Reading the act as a whole leaves no doubt about the matter,” he wrote. “ ‘Exchange established by the state’ means what it looks like it means.”

Justice Scalia said the decision had damaged the court’s reputation for “honest jurisprudence.”

The court, he said, had taken into its own hands a matter involving tens of billions of dollars that should have been left to Congress.

“It is up to Congress to design its laws with care,” he added, “and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts rejected the argument that Congress had limited the availability of subsidies in order to encourage states to create their own exchanges, a notion that had occurred to almost no one at the time the law was enacted.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have established their own exchanges. Under the law, the federal government has stepped in to run exchanges in the rest of the states.

“The whole point of that provision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is to create a federal fallback in case a state chooses not to establish its own exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering states a deal they would not refuse — it expressly addressed what would happen if a state did refuse the deal.

The case started when four plaintiffs, all from Virginia, sued the Obama administration, saying the phrase meant that the law forbids the federal government to provide subsidies in states that do not have their own exchanges.

The plaintiffs challenged an Internal Revenue Service regulation that said subsidies were allowed whether the exchange was run by a state or by the federal government. They said the regulation was at odds with the Affordable Care Act.

In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ruled against the challengers.

Judge Roger L. Gregory, writing for a three-judge panel of the court, said the contested phrase was “ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations.” That meant, he said, that the I.R.S. interpretation was entitled to deference.

The Supreme Court’s ruling was more forceful. “This is not a case for the I.R.S.,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead our task to determine the correct reading.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/us/obamacare-supreme-court.html

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Syllabus

KING ET AL. v. BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

Supreme Court Ruling – Obamacare Subsidies Stay

Posted by William A. Jacobson

Decision just in in King v. Burwell. Here.

In a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held that subsidies are available on the federal exchanges. Those voting in the majority were Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Had the court ruled otherwise, it would have put all of Obamacare in jeopardy, since 38 states do not have exchanges and Obamacare is too expensive for most people without a subsidy.

The issue was whether only state-established exchanges could issue tax credits, or whether the federal exchanges could also. Challengers to IRS regulations pointed to the words “established by the State” in the legislation as clear and unambiguous that subsidies were limited to state exchanges.

The Court rejected this assertion:

These provisions suggest that the Act may not always use the phrase “established by the State” in its most natural
sense. Thus, the meaning of that phrase may not be as clear as it appears when read out of context. [at 11.]

As he did in upholding an Obamacare constitutional challenge in 2012, Roberts found a way to read the law so as to save the law:

The upshot of all this is that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]” is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits. If a State chooses not to follow the directive in Section 18031 that it establish an Exchange, the Act tells the Secretary to establish “such Exchange.” §18041. And by using the words “such Exchange,” the Act indicates that State and Federal Exchanges should be the same. But State and Federal Exchanges would differ in a fundamental way if tax credits were available only on State Exchanges—one type of Exchange would help make insurance more affordable by providing billions of dollars to the States’ citizens; the other type of Exchange would not.2 [at 12-13]

The Court found Obamacare so “inartfully drafted” that the Court essentially wrote the law for Congress through “statutory interpretation.”

The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative
History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167. As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one mightexpect of such significant legislation….

Anyway, we “must do our best, bearing in mind the fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.” Utility Air Regulatory Group, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 15) (internal quotation marks omitted). After reading Section 36B along with other related provisions in the Act, we cannot conclude that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State under [Section 18031]” is unambiguous. [at 14-15]

Nowhere in any of the opinions is the term “Gruber” mentioned. Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law, stated on numerous occasions that there was a specific purpose of the language to exclude the federal exchange, so as to pressure states to get subsidies for their citizens by establishing exchanges.

Architect of Obamacare: Only get tax credits if buy on state exchanges

The Court rejected the Gruber view of Congressional intent:

The whole point of that provision is to create a federal fallback in case a State chooses not to establish its own Exchange. Contrary to petitioners’ argument, Congress did not believe it was offering States a deal they would not refuse—it expressly addressed what
would happen if a State did refuse the deal.

Having found the term “established by the State” ambiguous, the Court read it in a way such as to save Obamacare and prevent a “death spiral” of the law:

Given that the text is ambiguous, we must turn to the broader structure of the Act to determine the meaning of Section 36B. “A provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of the statutory scheme . . . because only one of the permissible meanings produces a substantive effect that is compatible with the rest of the law.” United Sav. Assn. of Tex. v. Timbers of Inwood Forest Associates, Ltd., 484 U. S. 365, 371 (1988). Here, the statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very “death spirals” that Congress designed the Act to avoid. [at 15]

Reliance on context and structure in statutory interpretation is a “subtle business, calling for great wariness lest
what professes to be mere rendering becomes creation and attempted interpretation of legislation becomes legislation itself.” Palmer v. Massachusetts, 308 U. S. 79, 83 (1939). For the reasons we have given, however, such reliance is appropriate in this case, and leads us to conclude that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid. [at 21]

Roberts and the majority did not want to be the ones to take down Obamacare, and that drove everything:

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt. [at 21]

Scalia’s dissent, joined by Thomas and Alito, was stinging, and in my opinion correct as to the absurdity of the Court contorting itself to save the law (as Roberts did in the original Obamacare challenge):

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so. [at 1]

Scalia points out that the words have a plain meaning:

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” …. [at 2, italics in original]

Scalia argued — persuasively — that the overriding goal seems to be saving Obamacare, not exercising normal judicial interpretation of plain language:

“[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved. [at 2-3]

Scalia wrote that the majority opinion rewrote the law “with no semblance of shame”:

The Court interprets §36B to award tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges. It accepts that the “most natural sense” of the phrase “Exchange established by the State” is an Exchange established by a State. Ante, at 11. (Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that “it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.” Ante, at 13. (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!) [at 3]

Scalia then delivered the best line of the day. Looking back over multiple decisions from the Court to rewrite Obamacare in order to save it, Scalia insisted that the law now should be called SCOTUScare:

Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act. That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congress passed provides that every individual “shall” maintain insurance or else pay a “penalty.” 26 U. S. C. §5000A. This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 15–45).

The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to accept an expansion of its Medicaid program, or else risk losing all Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. This Court, however, saw that the Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. 567 U. S., at ___–___ (principal opinion) (slip op., at 45–58). Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.” This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere.

We should start calling this law SCOTUScare. [at 20-21, emphasis and hard paragraph breaks added.]

The legacy of this Court, Scalia wrote, will live on just as Obamacare, but in infamy:

Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.

I dissent.

http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/06/supreme-court-ruling-obamacare-subsidies/

From ‘Jiggery-Pokery’ to ‘SCOTUScare,’ Read the Best Quotes From Today’s Obamacare Ruling

Justice Antonin Scalia’s flair for the dramatic shines through, while Chief Justice John Roberts plays it straight.

Jessica Ellis, right, with

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act react with cheers as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday .

By U.S. News Staff
Thursday’s 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the validity of tax credits that help millions of people afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act came down to a literal matter of interpretation.

At issue were words in the law that subsidies could be distributed for health coverage purchased through “an Exchange established by the State.” The plaintiffs argued the law should be read literally, nullifying subsidies provided through exchanges that relied on the federal government. The Obama administration countered that the law never intended to limit subsidies in such a way.

Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion, and was countered by Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent. Here are some select quotes from both.

Roberts:

John Paul Stevens, Supreme Court Justice 13
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the court’s majority opinion.

“The upshot of all this is that the phrase ‘an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]’ is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal—at least for purposes of the tax credits.”

“It would be odd indeed for Congress to write such detailed instructions about customers on a State Exchange, while having nothing to say about those on a Federal Exchange.”

“The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through ‘the traditional legislative process’ … As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.”

“The statutory scheme compels us to reject petitioners’ interpretation because it would destabilize the individual insurance market in any State with a Federal Exchange, and likely create the very ‘death spirals’ that Congress designed the Act to avoid.”

“In petitioners’ view, Congress made the viability of the entire Affordable Care Act turn on the ultimate ancillary provision: a sub-sub-sub section of the Tax Code. We doubt that is what Congress meant to do.”

“In a democracy, the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people. Our role is more confined —’to say what the law is.’ … That is easier in some cases than in others. But in every case we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

Scalia:

widemodern_scalia_091613.jpg

Justice Antonin Scalia authored the court’s dissenting opinion.

“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’? Little short of an express statutory definition could justify adopting this singular reading.”

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

“The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says ‘Exchange established by the State’ it means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.’ That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.”

“Yet the opinion continues, with no semblance of shame, that ‘it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges—both State and Federal.’ (Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!)”

“The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”

“Much less is it our place to make everything come out right when Congress does not do its job properly. It is up to Congress to design its laws with care, and it is up to the people to hold them to account if they fail to carry out that responsibility.”

“Pure applesauce.”

“The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (‘penalty’ means tax, ‘further [Medicaid] payments to the State’ means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, ‘established by the State’ means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

Read the full opinion and dissent below: 

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/25/read-the-best-quotes-from-roberts-and-scalia-in-the-king-v-burwell-obamacare-opinion

Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals in states that expand and Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of the poverty line. Baseline estimates show that over 41 million individuals were uninsured in 2013, prior to the start of the major ACA coverage provisions, and early evidence suggests that the ACA has reduced this number. This brief describes trends in coverage leading up to the ACA, reviews early estimates of the impact of the ACA on the uninsured, examines the characteristics of the uninsured population, and summarizes the access and financial implications of not having coverage.

Summary: Key Facts about the Uninsured Population

What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?

Trends in the uninsured have historically tracked economic conditions, with the number of uninsured people increasing during recessionary periods when people lost their jobs. Public programs provided a safety net during the Great Recession and prevented many from going uninsured. On the eve of the ACA, as the economy stabilized, coverage losses slowed. However, over 41 million people were still without coverage in 2013.

What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?

As of 2014, the ACA helps expand coverage to millions of currently uninsured people through the expansion of Medicaid eligibility and establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces. The ACA also includes reforms to help people maintain coverage and make private insurance affordable and accessible. Early evidence on coverage in the first few months of 2014 indicates that the number of uninsured has declined since the availability of these new provisions.

Why are so many Americans uninsured?

The high cost of insurance has been the main reason why people go without coverage. In 2013, 61% of uninsured adults said the main reason they were uninsured was because the cost was too high or because they had lost their job. Many people do not have access to coverage through a job, and gaps in eligibility for public coverage in the past have left many without an affordable option.  Even after ACA coverage expansions, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in states that did not expand their programs.

Who are the uninsured?

Most of the uninsured are in low-income working families. In 2013, nearly 8 in 10 were in a family with a worker, and nearly 6 in 10 have family income below 200% of poverty. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults have been more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.

How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?

People without insurance coverage have worse access to care than people who are insured. Almost a third of uninsured adults in 2013 (30%) went without needed medical care due to cost. Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.

What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?

The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. In 2013, nearly 40% of uninsured adults said they had outstanding medical bills, and a fifth said they had medical bills that caused serious financial strain.  These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.

What was happening to the uninsured leading up to the ACA?

The number of uninsured people steadily increased throughout most of the past decade due to decreasing employer sponsored insurance coverage and rising health care costs. The recent recession led to a steep increase in uninsured rates from 2008 to 2010 as a high jobless rate led millions to lose their employer sponsored coverage.1Medicaid and CHIP prevented steeper drops in insurance coverage, as many Americans became newly eligible for these programs when their income declined during the recession. From 2011 to 2013, uninsured rates dropped as the economy improved and early provisions expanding coverage under the ACA went into effect.

Key Details:

Figure 1: Uninsured Rates Among the Nonelderly, 2000-2013

  • The share of the nonelderly population with employer-sponsored coverage declined steadily between 2000 and 2010, dropping nearly ten percentage points over the decade.2 In 2011, this trend ended as the share with employer-sponsored coverage held nearly constant at around 58% between 2011 and 2013. This break in trend was likely due to uptake of the ACA provision that allowed young adults to continue as dependents on parents’ private plans until age 26. It also reflects improving economic conditions. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2009. From 2010 on, the unemployment rate improved steadily, corresponding with a drop in the uninsured rate from 2010 to 2013 (Figure 1).
  • The share of people covered by Medicaid increased significantly during the recent recession due to the weak economy and loss of jobs, which led to declining family incomes and decreasing employer-sponsored coverage among families. Between 2007 and 2013, over 10 million people—primarily children—gained Medicaid coverage. These gains offset some of the loss of employer coverage over the period.
  • In 2013, the uninsured rate among nonelderly individuals was at 16.7%, a level comparable to pre-recession uninsured rates (Figure 1). Still, many uninsured individuals had been uninsured for long periods, often five years or more,3 indicating that their lack of coverage was related to forces outside the recession. With the major ACA coverage provisions going into effect in 2014, many are newly-insured.

What has been happening to the uninsured under the ACA?

Under the ACA, as of 2014, Medicaid coverage is expanded to nearly all adults with incomes at or below 138% of poverty in states that expand, and tax credits are available for people who purchase coverage through a health insurance Marketplace. Early data suggest that the ACA has helped expand coverage to millions of previously uninsured people, but some—particularly poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid—are still left without affordable coverage.

Key Details:

Figure 2: Percentage Point Decrease in Uninsured by State Medicaid Expansion Status, 2013- Q1 2014

  • As of mid-April 2014 (after the first open enrollment period), over 8 million people selected plans through the federal or state Marketplaces.4 The vast majority of Marketplace enrollees (85%) were eligible for premium tax credits. Many Marketplace enrollees are newly-insured. A survey of people with private non-group plans after open enrollment found that nearly six in ten (57 percent) of those with Marketplace coverage were uninsured prior to purchasing their current plan.5 Other data from insurers suggest a large increase in the individual market in the first quarter attributable to the ACA.6
  • Enrollment data also show that as of July 2014, Medicaid enrollment has grown by 8 million since the period before open enrollment (which started in October 2013).7 This growth is an increase of 14% in monthly Medicaid enrollment.8 Enrollment increases were higher (20%) among states that chose to expand Medicaid eligibility. These data suggest that Medicaid enrollment growth is related to ACA expansions.9
  • Early survey data suggest that the uninsured rate is falling. The early release of estimates from the first quarter (January through March) of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey indicates that the uninsured rate dropped for nonelderly individuals in the first quarter of 2014 by a full percentage point relative to the first quarter of the previous year.10 However, the NHIS early results were not likely to have captured most or all of the ACA’s effects, as many people enrolled in coverage after survey data were collected. NHIS early results also show that states that chose to expand Medicaid saw significant declines in uninsured rates among adults from 2013 to the first quarter of 2014 (Figure 2). States that did not choose to expand Medicaid did not see corresponding declines. Several private polls and surveys also indicate that the uninsured rate has been decreasing since the period prior to ACA open enrollment. While these surveys have different methodologies and often have high error margins that make point estimates unreliable, they are all in agreement that the uninsured rate has dropped in 2014.
  • Even with the availability of new coverage options, millions remain uninsured. Previous analyses show that many poor adults in states that do not expand Medicaid will continue to be at risk to be uninsured.11 People of color, people living in the South,12 and individuals living in rural areas are especially at risk to be left out of ACA coverage expansions.13

Why are so many Americans uninsured?

Insurance is expensive, and few people can afford to buy it on their own. Most Americans obtain health insurance coverage through an employer, but not all workers are offered employer-sponsored coverage. Also, not all who are offered coverage by an employer can afford their share of the premiums. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cover many low-income individuals, particularly children. However, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in some states, and few people can afford to purchase coverage on their own without financial assistance.

Key Details:

Figure 3: Reasons for Being Uninsured among Uninsured Nonelderly Adults, 2013

  • Uninsured individuals report that cost poses a major barrier to purchasing coverage. In 2013, 61% of adults said that the main reason they are uninsured is either because the cost is too high or because they lost their job, compared to 1.7% who said they are uninsured because they do not need coverage (Figure 3). Under the ACA, financial assistance is available to help many uninsured people afford coverage.
  • Not all workers have access to coverage through their job. Most uninsured workers are self-employed or work for small firms where health benefits are less likely to be offered.14 Low-wage workers who are offered coverage often cannot afford their share of the premiums, especially for family coverage.15,16
  • Workers usually enroll in employer-sponsored health insurance if they are eligible.17 However, it has become increasingly difficult for many workers to afford coverage. In 2014, the average annual total cost of employer-sponsored family coverage was $16,834, and the worker’s share averaging $4,823 per year.18 Between 2004 and 2014, total premiums have increased by 69%, and the worker’s share has increased over 81%.19 Starting in 2015, under the ACA, employers with 50 or more workers will be penalized if they do not offer affordable coverage. As of 2014, the ACA provides Marketplace tax credits or Medicaid coverage for many employees without access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance.20
  • In 2013, over 51 million nonelderly individuals were covered by Medicaid and CHIP.21 Historically, Medicaid was only available to low-income children, parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. While states have increasingly expanded eligibility for children over time, eligibility for parents remained much more limited before ACA coverage expansions.22
  • As of September 2014, 28 states are moving forward or will be moving forward with expanded Medicaid eligibility for most nonelderly individuals under 138% FPL.23 This expansion will fill in historical gaps in eligibility for public coverage. However, in states that do not expand their Medicaid programs, eligibility for adults remains limited: the median eligibility level for parents is just 47% of poverty, and adults without dependent children are ineligible in nearly all states not expanding.

Who are the Uninsured?

The majority of the uninsured are in low-income working families. Reflecting the more limited availability of public coverage, adults are more likely to be uninsured than children. People of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites.

Key Details:

Figure 4:  Characteristics of the Nonelderly Uninsured, 2013

  • Based on the most recent data that is available (which reflects coverage prior to the major ACA provisions), over six in ten of the uninsured have at least one full-time worker in their family, and 16% have a part-time worker in the family (Figure 4).
  • Individuals below poverty are at the highest risk of being uninsured, and this group accounted for 27% of all the uninsured in 2013 (the poverty level for a family of three was $19,530 in 2013). In total, almost nine in ten of the uninsured are in low- or moderate-income families, meaning they are below 400% of poverty (Figure 3).
  • While a plurality (46%) of the uninsured are White, non-Hispanic, people of color are at higher risk of being uninsured than White non-Hispanics. People of color make up 40% of the population but account for over half of the total uninsured population. The disparity in insurance coverage is especially high for Hispanics, who account for 19% of the total population but more than 30% of the uninsured population. Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks have significantly higher uninsured rates (25.6% and 17.3%, respectively) than Whites (11.7%).24
  • About eight in ten of the uninsured are U.S. citizens and 19.7% are non-citizens. Uninsured non-citizens include both lawfully present and undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants residing in the U.S. for less than five years are ineligible for federally funded health coverage.
  • Uninsured rates vary widely by state and by region, with individuals living in the South and West the most likely to be uninsured (Figure 5). This variation reflects different economic conditions, availability of employer-based coverage, demographics, and eligibility for public coverage.

How does the lack of insurance affect access to health care?

Figure 5: Uninsured Rates Among the Nonelderly by State, 2013

Almost a third of uninsured adults (30%) in 2013 went without needed care each year due to cost (Figure 5). Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.25, 26, 27, 28 Research also has suggested that insurance can decrease likelihood of depression and stress.29

Key Details:
  • Health providers can choose to not provide care to the uninsured. Only emergency departments are required by federal law to screen and stabilize all individuals. However, the uninsured are not necessarily more likely to use the emergency room than those with insurance.30 If the uninsured are unable to pay for care in full, they are often turned away when they seek follow-up care for urgent medical conditions.31
  • The uninsured receive less preventive care and recommended screenings than the insured. In 2013, only 1 in 3 uninsured adults (33%) reported a preventive visit with a physician in the last year, compared to 74% of adults with employer coverage and 67% of adults with Medicaid.32 Uninsured older adults (ages 50-64) were far less likely than their insured counterparts to report having been screened for cancer in the past five years.33

Figure 6:  Barriers to Health Care Among Nonelderly Adults by Insurance Status, 2013

  • Receiving needed care is especially important for the uninsured since they are generally not as healthy as those with private coverage. The uninsured are at higher risk for preventable hospitalizations and for missed diagnoses of serious health conditions.34 After a chronic condition is diagnosed, they are less likely to receive follow-up care and as a result are more likely to have their health decline.35 Lack of follow-up attributed to being uninsured can delay the detection of certain cancers, which can result in adverse outcomes.36 It follows that the uninsured also have significantly higher mortality rates than those with insurance.37,38
  • The uninsured report higher rates of postponing care and forgoing needed care or prescriptions due to cost compared to those enrolled in Medicaid and other public programs (Figure 6). A seminal study of health insurance in Oregon found that the uninsured were less likely to receive care from a hospital or doctor than newly insured Medicaid enrollees.39A follow-up study found that newly insured Medicaid enrollees were much less likely to delay care because of costs than the uninsured.40

What are the financial implications of lack of coverage?

The uninsured often face unaffordable medical bills when they do seek care. These bills can quickly translate into medical debt since most of the uninsured have low or moderate incomes and have little, if any, savings.

Key Details:

Figure 7: Financial Consequences of Medical Bills by Insurance Coverage, 2013

  • Those without insurance for an entire year pay for one-fifth of their care out-of-pocket.41 They are typically billed for any care they receive, often paying higher charges than the insured.42
  • Medical bills can put great strain on the uninsured and threaten their physical and financial well-being. The uninsured are significantly more likely than individuals covered by employer coverage, non-group insurance or Medicaid to have trouble paying medical bills (Figure 7). Almost 40% of uninsured adults have outstanding medical bills.
  • A study based on the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment found that the uninsured were more likely to experience financial strain from medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses than those with Medicaid coverage. The uninsured were also more likely than the insured to have to postpone care because of costs.43
  • The uninsured live with the knowledge that they may not be able to afford to pay for their family’s medical care, which can cause anxiety and potentially lead them to delay or forgo care. Almost three-quarters (70%) of the uninsured are not confident that they can pay for the health care services they think they need, compared to 13% of those with employer coverage and 37% with Medicaid.44
  • The average uninsured household has no net assets.45 Without sufficient income or assets to pay their medical bills, uninsured individuals often see their debts accumulate while their credit ratings are compromised. Medical debts contribute to almost half of all bankruptcies in the United States.46

Conclusion

Over 41 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured in 2013.  This figure represents the baseline against which most changes in the ACA will be measured. While we do not yet know the full effect of the major coverage provisions of the ACA, early evidence indicates that it is working to expand insurance to those who need it.

Going without coverage can have serious health consequences for the uninsured because they receive less preventive care, and delayed care often results in more serious illness requiring advanced treatment. Being uninsured also can have serious financial consequences. The ACA holds promise for many people who will gain access to health insurance coverage, but monitoring how coverage changes and who is left out of coverage expansions is also important.

http://kff.org/uninsured/fact-sheet/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/

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The Pronk Pops Show 306, July 31, 2014, Story 1: Illegal Immigration and Obamacare Impacts Employment And Will Be An Election Issue Come November 4, 2014! — Videos

Posted on July 31, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Constitutional Law, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Insurance, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Security, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 270: May 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 269: May 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 268: May 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 267: May 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 266: May 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 265: May 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 264: May 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 263: May 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 262: May 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 261: May 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 260: May 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 259: May 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 258: May 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 257: May 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 256: May 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Story 1: Illegal Immigration and Obamacare Impacts Employment And Will Be An Election Issue Come November 4, 2014! — Videos

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 7.28.2014 Obama’s Executive Amnesty

Senator Blunt Discusses Impact Of ObamaCare On Job Creators & Their Employees

Sen. Ted Cruz: The Crisis on the Border is a National Security Threat

Blackburn Discusses Obamacare’s Harmful Impact on Jobs & Economy

Blackburn Discusses Immigration & Border Security with Lou Dobbs

Blackburn Discusses Border Crisis with Lou Dobbs

New Sparking More Concerns About Obamacare’s Impact On Jobs – Cavuto

Massachusetts Residents Lashing Out Over Housing Of Illegal Immigrants In Their State – 

Where Will America’s Largest Shelter For Illegals Be Built? – On The Record

Illegal Immigration – Documentarian Exposes Realty Of Border Crisis – America’s News HQ

Fox News poll: Border crisis divides voters

Illegal immigrant poll

Poll: 40% Say Illegal Immigration Major Cause Of Unemployment

Published on Feb 8, 2013

Poll: 40% Say Illegal Immigration Major Cause Of Unemployment

Poll Shows Americans Against Illegal Immigration

 

EXCLUSIVE – POLLING DATA SHOWS GOP VOTERS THINK REPUBLICANS STANDING TOUGH ON IMMIGRATION MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE

Polling data compiled by Tea Party Patriots and provided exclusively to Breitbart News shows that a majority of Republican voters think Republicans standing strong on immigration is more important than repealing Obamacare, getting to the bottom of the Benghazi or IRS scandals—or anything else for that matter.

When asked by TPP’s pollster which issue they think is the important for Republicans in Congress to deal with, 34.6 percent of GOP voters said stopping the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border. Stopping Obama’s “illegal overreach” with executive power came in a distant second with 24 percent of GOP voters saying that’s the most important, while 23 percent saying repealing Obamacare is the most important and just 7.2 percent say the IRS scandal is the most important issue and 2.8 percent say the Benghazi scandal is most important. A total of 8.4 percent of GOP voters said they don’t know or refused to answer.

The poll was conduced with 1,000 likely GOP voters on Thursday, July 24 via a combination of cell phones and landlines nationwide, with a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

When the GOP voters were asked why the illegal aliens are coming into America, 78.8 percent said they are coming because “they have been led to believe that they will be allowed to remain here legally” while just 13.6 percent said they are coming because they want to “flee violence in their home countries” and 7.6 percent said they don’t know.

Also interesting in the poll, 48.6 percent of GOP voters think Republican leaders in Congress should listen to their constituents primarily, 17.9 percent think they should to listen to their conscience, 12.7 percent think they should listen to low dollar donors, 7.1 percent to the Republican platform and 2.8 percent to their families. Just 2.5 percent of GOP voters think Republican leaders should entertain ideas from high-dollar donors.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/31/Exclusive-Polling-Data-Shows-GOP-Voters-Think-Republicans-Standing-Tough-On-Immigration-Most-Important-Issue

 

1000 Children Fleeing Violent Honduras Heading to Violent Chicago

By Susan Jones

A thousand children said to be fleeing the violence in Central America will be welcomed to Chicago, where local children are routinely in the cross-fire of gang-related grudges.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at the request of the Obama administration in which he formerly served, says he is working with local organizations to make room for up to one thousand additional unaccompanied children “traveling” from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border in the coming year.

“The influx of unaccompanied child migrants is a growing humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “While we have our own challenges at home, we cannot turn our backs on children who are fleeing dangerous conditions. We will do our part to ensure that these children are given access to services and treated fairly and humanely.”

The city is also asking Chicago law firms to provide free legal assistance to the foreign children.

Emanuel on Wednesday said that his own grandfather left eastern Europe at age 13, all alone, to get away from the violence directed at Jews.

Likewise, “These kids are leaving violence,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Emanuel as saying. “There are 1,000 kids. We are not only a city of big shoulders. We’re a city of big hearts, and we welcome them and get ‘em on their way. And we will also make sure that the city of Chicago has universal pre-K, universal kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, expanding summer jobs, because the test and measure of this city is how we treat our children.”

Based on reporting by Chicago Tribune staff, there were 440 homicides in Chicago in 2013, down from the 500 counted by the FBI in 2012. So far this year, 223 people have been killed by the Tribune’s count, including an 11-year-old girl shot by a stray bullet at a sleepover with friends.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), an amnesty advocate who is pressing President Obama to stop deportations for most illegal aliens in the U.S., says he’s proud that Chicago is leading by example in “welcoming migrant children and working with them as their cases are resolved.”

The mayor’s office said that earlier this month, the federal government approached the Emanuel about the possibility of housing Central American children in a federally-funded facility containing one thousand beds. The federal General Services Administration would oversee and pay for the renovation of the facilities while the Department of Health and Human Services would fund support services for the children, including education, health care, food, security, and legal assistance.

A number of organizations, including the Heartland Alliance and the National Immigrant Justice Center, currently provide housing and legal services to hundreds of children housed at multiple sites in the Chicago area.

At the same time, the mayor is reaching out to organizations and institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, that are willing to offer services to the unaccompanied minors.

“Cardinal George has called on the federal government to allow the Archdiocese of Chicago, including Catholic Charities and Maryville, to assist in this humanitarian crisis,” said Monsignor Michael Boland, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“We, along with the Archdiocese and Maryville, are ready to work with the City in providing counseling, food and clothing, case management, legal assistance and housing to these children with the dignity, care and compassion that every person deserves.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/1000-children-fleeing-violent-honduras-heading-violent-chicago

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 206, February 7, 2015, Story 1, Bombshell: CBO’s Impact of Obamacare On Economy Devastating — Time To Repeal Obamacare and Replace It Affordable, Portable, Individual Health Insurance With Health Saving Accounts! — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2014. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Culture, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, History, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

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job_impactobamacare_impact

Analysis of CBO report on ObamaCare impact

CBO On Obamacare’s Impact 2.5 Million Fewer Full Time Workers Cavuto

CBO: Obamacare Will Reduce Jobs By 2.3 Million Workers – Stuart Varney On The Real Story

CBO Predicts Obamacare Will Reduce The Number Of Full Time Workers Brit Hume The Kelly File

ObamaCare Forcing Companies To Reduce Hours And Not Hire Full-Time Workers

Obamacare Will Cost 2,3 Million Full Time Jobs Obama Admin Says People Don’t Want To Work

Conservatives Push Misreading Of CBO Report To Claim Obamacare Is A Job-Killer

White House Pushing Back Against CBO Report On Obamacare Job Losses – America’s Newsroom

CBO: Actually, ObamaCare is kinda’ like a tax, and it’s going to result in 2 million…

Health Savings Account Breakdown

Health Savings Accounts

Deductibles and Coinsurances

Health Savings Account Safety Net

The CBO’s Obamacare Scorecard

Obamacare by the numbers, according to the Congressional Budget Office — labor lost: equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs over the next decade; insurance enrollment: down 1 million from earlier first-year estimate; cost: $1.2 trillion over the next decade; number of Americans uninsured: 30 million.

Which is to say: We are spending $1.2 trillion and taking a blowtorch to the work force in order to fund a semi-public insurance system that still leaves tens of millions uncovered. And that’s assuming that CBO has not taken too rosy a view of Obamacare, which it may well have.

There is more wrong with Obamacare than a bumble-thumbed website.

The White House has tried, with hilarious results, to spin the labor-force data, emphasizing the CBO’s estimate that the so-called Affordable Care Act will cost the economy the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs not because there will be a pink-slip bloodbath at Walmart but because fewer people will choose to work, or will choose to work fewer hours, once their federally subsidized health insurance makes the prospect of quitting their jobs less enticing. In the considered view of the Obama administration, that is good news. We are happy to see that the White House seems finally to have stumbled upon the concept of economic incentives — give people less reason to work and they will work less. But the administration still does not seem to be able to get its collective head around the fact that American workers are not just hungry mouths that have to be filled with paychecks: They are people who provide economically valuable goods and services. Those 2.5 million out of the work force may be happier at their leisure, but the economy as a whole will be substantially worse off without their contributions. We could, in theory, simply have the federal government deliver checks to every household and allow each and every one to follow his bliss as he sees fit, but the shelves of the grocery stores soon would be empty. The depth of the Obamacare crater in the labor force isn’t some abstract unemployment rate, but the lost value of the work those Americans would have done.

The spending largely speaks for itself: $1.2 trillion is a great deal of money. The CBO still holds out the possibility that the expenses associated with the program may yet outweigh the cost of its benefits, meaning merely that that $1.2 trillion in spending will be accompanied by approximately $1.2 trillion in taxes, or slightly more. “Revenue-neutral” is not a synonym for “free.” We are still to spend $1.2 trillion, regardless of the combined ledger impact on our bloated deficit.

Spending $1.2 trillion on what? That is the most galling bit. Obamacare was sold as a response to the alleged emergency presented by 40-odd million Americans’ lacking insurance. That number was hotly disputed at the time, but even if we were to take it at face value, getting the figure down to 30 million at a cost of more than $1 trillion is hardly a bargain.

We are familiar with the phrase “money for nothing,” but had always understood it to denote a positive cash flow rather than a negative one.

We already have begun to experience the effects of Obamacare as they relate to health insurance specifically: canceled policies, chaos in the insurance markets, insecurity for consumers. But the more significant cost may in the long run prove to be its structural hobbling of our economy, reducing the work force and redirecting trillions of dollars away from the productive economy into a system of rewards and subsidies for cronies and political constituencies. The CBO’s increasingly bleak economic forecasts suggest that it has begun to take the measure of the long-term costs of the Obama administration’s economic misgovernance, of which Obamacare is one, but only one, significant part. But detailed as those estimates are, they can only begin to suggest the damage.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370367/cbos-obamacare-scorecard-editors

What the CBO report on Obamacare really found

  • BY GREG SARGENT

Republicans erupted in applause today when the Congressional Budget Office released a new report on projected deficits and on the impact of the Affordable Care Act. They widely claimed the CBO report had found that Obamacare will cause the loss of over two million jobs.

That isn’t what the report found at all. And there’s a very simple way to prove it. But more on that in a moment.

Here is a sample of GOP reactions to the report. Mitch McConnell’s spokesman claimedthat CBO had projected “a loss of at least two million jobs.” A spokesman for the NRCCinsisted that “because of Obamacare, there will be 2 million less [sic] jobs in the economy.”

A statement from Senator Chuck Grassley claimed that the CBO had found that the law will “cause the loss of 2.5 million jobs.” Former Romney policy adviser Lanhee Chenclaimed the CBO had estimated that Obamacare “will result in 2.5 million jobs lost.”

That’s not what the report says. Here is the key passage, on page 117:

Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the aCA. The decline in full-time-equivalent employment stemming from the ACA will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours; however, CBO has not tried to quantify those two components of the overall effect. The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in business’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking, but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).

The CBO report actually says that the impact of the ACA will be “almost entirely” due to a decline in labor that “workers choose to supply.” It says explicitly that the ACA’s impact will not be felt as an “increase in unemployment” or “underemployment.”

Now, a few conservatives on twitter did seize on the report to make an argument about how the CBO report shows that the safety net act as a disincentive to work. Whether or not you agree with that argument, it at least exists within the parameters of what the CBO report actually said. The suggestion that Obamacare will cause over two million jobs to be lost does not. This is not a small distinction. It goes directly to the heart of one of the Republican arguments against the law — that it is a job killer, i.e., that its regulations strangle jobs.

Indeed, the response from many Republicans to the report suggests they are so wedded to their “Obamacare is a job killer” talking point that they will misrepresent what it actually says in order to continue making it. That’s not surprising, in a way. After all, the larger political context here is that claiming the safety net is a disincentive to work — again, whatever you think of the substance of that argument — is politically a hard case to make. Remember how Republicans moved away from arguing that unemployment benefits lull people into a state of dependency — Paul Ryan’s Hammock Theory of Poverty — and began arguing instead that the UI extension needed to be paid for?

As for the CBO report, there is a simple way to settle this argument. CBO director Douglas Elmendorf is set to testify before the House Budget Committee tomorrow. One committee lawmaker can ask him the following question: Is it true that your report found that Obamacare will result in over two million lost jobs?

And so, this doesn’t have to be a partisan argument. Tomorrow we can find out what the CBO’s own director has to say about it. There shouldn’t be any need for this to be represented by neutral news orgs as an unresolvable he-said-she-said standoff.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/04/what-the-cbo-report-on-obamacare-really-found/

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The Pronk Pops Show 176, November 26, 2013, Segment 0: Obamacare Success Story? Millions More Enrolled in Medicaid and Food Stamps — Government Dependency On The Rise — 30 Million Seeking Full Time Jobs — Wonder What Failure Looks Like? — Videos

Posted on November 27, 2013. Filed under: Abortion, Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Pro Life, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Religion, Scandals, Science, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-176

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Segment 0: Obamacare Success Story? Millions More Enrolled in Medicaid and Food Stamps — Government Dependency On The Rise — 30 Million Seeking Full Time Jobs — Wonder What Failure Looks Like?

2013_US_poverty_linepoverty-guidelines-2013

US-Poverty-Rate

How Medicaid & Obamacare Hurt the Poor – and How to Fix Them

Medicaid Sign Ups Outnumber People Enrolling In Paid For Obamacare Plans Lou Dobbs

CBS: ObamaCare System Threatened From High Medicaid Enrollment In Many States

Obamacare: Medicaid enrollment outpacing private insurance could ca

Stimulus, Obamacare & The New Republic: May 2013 Reason Mag

Your Doctor Is Not In? ObamaCare may put your doctor out of business.

83% of Private Practice Doctors Quiting Due to Obamacare Main Stream Media Keeping Quiet

Obamacare Has Always Been About Killing Grandma & Grandpa

Government Payouts – Nick Gillespie

ObamaCare Event In Arkansas Hands Out Condoms As Prizes

[youtube3=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU5AbKY4ZSY]

Is There a Silver Lining to the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision?

The History of Medicaid (According to Frank Thompson)

47 Years of Medicare & Medicaid

Heritage Hangout: Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

Why new Medicaid enrollment is soaring

Christine Vestal

States are reporting far higher enrollment in Medicaid than in private insurance since the Affordable Care Act exchanges opened Oct. 1. In Maryland, for example, the number of newly eligible Medicaid enrollees is more than 25 times the number of people signed up for private coverage.

Even some Medicaid experts say they are surprised at the early numbers.

Stateline survey of the 25 expansion states and the District of Columbia provides clear explanations for the strong Medicaid rollout so far.

The biggest reason for the initial jump in Medicaid enrollment is that hundreds of thousands of people in the expansion states have been pre-qualified for expanded Medicaid because they are already enrolled in low-income state health care. Illinois, for example, will roll over 100,000 Cook County residents who have received expanded Medicaid benefits since 2011.

Another reason for the big numbers is aggressive outreach campaigns in many states, including mailings to residents enrolled in other safety net programs. Oregon, for example, signed up 70,000 enrollees in October by contacting residents who receive food stamps.

A much smaller number of people in expansion states are also signing up on state exchanges and Medicaid websites. The federal government has not yet released the number of Medicaid applications filed on federally-operated exchange sites in the 34 states that are not running their own exchanges.

To be sure, the rush to enroll in Medicaid indicates a strong demand for health care coverage. But the early spike is more a function of states’ proven ability to find, educate and enroll low-income residents than an indication of an imbalance with healthier people who can afford insurance, as has been suggested.

It is important to note that early enrollment numbers reflect so-called “low hanging fruit,” said Matt Salo, director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. Future increases are expected to be smaller.

The states that chose to expand Medicaid, Salo said, are predisposed to aggressively reach out to potential beneficiaries. “Most have been more committed to Medicaid than the other states,” he said.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that Medicaid expansion was up to states, the Congressional Budget Office downgraded its original projection that 13 million people would qualify for expanded Medicaid in 2014 and 17 million by 2020. Now, the federal estimate is 7 million by the end of 2014 and 11 million by 2020.

Stateline‘s survey indicates at least 1.5 million people have already signed up or have been pre-qualified for expanded Medicaid in the 19 states that provided counts. Expected total enrollment in those states is 3.7 million.

Following are the details available as of Nov. 5:

Arizona: The number of new applications is not available at this time. In total, Arizona expects 57,000 people to qualify for its expanded Medicaid program. In addition, the state expects 240,000 more individuals to enroll in its existing Medicaid program for childless adults with incomes at or below the federal poverty level ($11,490). Enrollment in that program was frozen in 2012 and currently totals 70,000.

Arkansas: Arkansas has received 70,595 applications for its expanded Medicaid program. Of those, 3,672 came through the state’s existing Medicaid website, 1,785 were paper or phone applications, and the rest were positive responses to a mailing to 132,000 households that receive food stamps. Ultimately, the state expects about 250,000 uninsured residents to qualify.

California: California plans to release enrollment numbers from its state-run website in mid-November. Newly eligible enrollment in expanded Medicaid is expected to total about 1.4 million. Of that number, 600,000 people will come from the state’s early expansion program approved by the federal government in 2011.

Colorado: Colorado has qualified more than 25,000 adults for its expanded Medicaid program. Of that number, approximately 9,000 were on a waiting list for an existing Medicaid program that covers adults with extremely low incomes. Another 10,000 people enrolled in that program will also be transferred to expanded Medicaid coverage in January. Combined, that comes to 35,000 individuals, more than 20 percent of the 160,000 uninsured residents Colorado expects to be eligible for its expanded Medicaid program.

Connecticut: Connecticut has enrolled 3,550 new people in its expanded Medicaid program through its state-run exchange and Medicaid website. In addition, at least 48,000 enrolled in a state-run low income-health program have already been moved into expanded Medicaid. Connecticut expects a total of 55,000 expanded Medicaid enrollees in 2014.

Delaware: No new enrollment data is available yet. Delaware already provides Medicaid coverage for 30,000 adults with incomes up to the federal poverty level ($11,490). Its expanded Medicaid program is expected to cover another 30,000 people with incomes between $11,490 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856).

District of Columbia: D.C. began expanding its Medicaid program in June 2010. By June 2013, nearly 50,000 new people were enrolled. The District has not estimated how many people will ultimately enroll in expanded Medicaid.

Hawaii: Hawaii has approved 6,100 applications for expanded Medicaid. By 2014, the state expects a total of 54,000 enrollees.

Illinois: The Illinois Medicaid agency has received 30,124 applications for expanded Medicaid through its existing website. Illinois has an exchange partnership with the federal government so applications are also being filed on the federally-run exchange. In addition to online applications, 46,000 people responded to an August mailing to 123,000 food stamp recipients. Illinois has enrolled 26,000 of those respondents and is processing the balance. In addition, 100,000 people in Cook County who participate in a limited early Medicaid expansion enrollment group will automatically be rolled over to the expansion program on Jan. 1. Projected enrollment is 342,000.

Iowa: No new numbers are available on Medicaid applications. In all, 150,000 uninsured Iowans are expected to qualify under the proposed expansion. About 63,000 residents with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($22,980) are currently enrolled in a Medicaid health plan with limited benefits. Most are expected to qualify for expanded Medicaid. Iowa has not yet received federal approval for its Medicaid expansion plan, which is similar to Arkansas’ so-called private option.

Kentucky: Kentucky has received 25,654 applications for expanded Medicaid through its state-run exchange. Ultimately, the state expects 308,000 low-income individuals to qualify.

Maryland: The number of applications from its state-run website is not yet available. However, Maryland has an existing, limited-benefit health plan known as Primary Adult Care (PAC) available to all adults with incomes up to 123 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,133). As of Sept. 30, enrollment in the plan was 82,423. Maryland expects enrollment in PAC to expand to 88,000 by Jan. 1, 2014, when the entire population will automatically convert to full Medicaid benefits. In addition, residents in a narrow income band (124 percent to 138 percent of poverty) can sign up for expanded Medicaid on the state exchange. Overall, Maryland expects 110,000 people to be enrolled by the end of 2014.

Massachusetts: No enrollment numbers are available at this time. As a result of its own health care reforms launched in 2006, Massachusetts has a 97 percent insured rate. Still, the state expects about 45,000 people to obtain Medicaid coverage as a result of the expansion.

Michigan: No enrollment numbers are available. The Michigan legislature approved Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed Medicaid expansion in September but postponed implementation until April 2014.

Minnesota: The federal government granted Minnesota special permission to enroll 84,000 individuals in the expanded Medicaid program in 2011. Another 2,496 newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries completed applications on the state-run exchange in the first two weeks of October. Ultimately, Minnesota expects to cover 265,000 adults in its expansion. In addition, it is the only state that has opted to provide a so-called “Basic Health Plan” for people with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line ($22,980). Under the ACA, the federal government will pay 85 percent of the costs starting in 2015. That program is expected to grow to 160,000.

Nevada: No information is available at this time.

New Jersey: No information is available at this time.

New Mexico: New Mexico has approved 2,507 applications for expanded Medicaid through the federally operated exchange and its existing Medicaid website. In addition, 100,000 enrollees in two limited-benefit state health care programs will be rolled into the expanded Medicaid. New Mexico expects 130,000 people will be in the expanded program by 2015.

New York: No enrollment numbers are available yet. New York already covers parents with incomes up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line ($17,235) and childless adults with incomes up to the poverty line ($11,490).

North Dakota: The Medicaid agency has received 147 applications for expanded Medicaid. In December, the state plans to send letters to 36,000 households that receive food stamps or home heating assistance, inviting eligible adults to sign up for expanded Medicaid. Total enrollment in expanded Medicaid is expected to reach 32,000.

Ohio: The most recent state to expand Medicaid, Ohio expects to sign up 275,000 newly eligible Medicaid enrollees. Republican Gov. John Kasich sidestepped the state legislature and won approval for expansion Oct. 21 from an executive branch Controlling Board. The state has not yet begun enrollment. The Medicaid agency says it will announce soon when enrollment will begin.

Oregon: Oregon has approved 70,000 applications for expanded Medicaid. Its state-run website had some initial technical difficulties, but new applications were filed over the phone, in person and through the mail. The vast majority of enrollments came from a mailing in late September that went to 260,000 residents who either receive food stamps or have children enrolled in Medicaid. The state expects roughly 223,000 adults to be enrolled in its expanded Medicaid program by 2015.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island has approved 3,213 new applications for its expanded Medicaid program. Another 835 are in progress. Projected enrollment is 23,428.

Vermont: About 1,000 individuals have signed up for Medicaid on Vermont’s exchange or by submitting paper applications. In addition, 30,000 adults enrolled in two state-run low-income health plans will be rolled into the expanded Medicaid program. By 2015, Vermont expects enrollment to reach 160,000.

Washington: Through its state-run exchange and Medicaid sites, Washington has signed up 26,336 people. Another 30,000 people enrolled in a low-income health program will be automatically enrolled in expanded Medicaid, bringing the total to 56,336. The state expects 270,000 people to qualify by the end of 2014.

West Virginia: West Virginia has pre-qualified 52,056 residents for its expanded Medicaid program. Projected new enrollment is 63,000.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/06/new-medicaid-enrollment-healthcare/3453929/

About Medicaid


Medicaid Home
About Medicaid
Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid Defense
Waivers

Since 1965, Medicaid has been the backbone of this country’s health care safety net. Jointly funded by the states and the federal government, Medicaid covers more than 58 million low-income Americans, including families, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Today, Medicaid provides coverage for almost 29 million children and pays for approximately half of all long-term care costs.

Medicaid is jointly funded by the states and the federal government. Federal law requires state Medicaid programs to cover certain categories of individuals and services. Beyond that, states have wide flexibility in the design and implementation of their Medicaid programs.

Medicaid Today: Even though Medicaid has helped millions gain access to health care, many low-income people have been left out.  In 30 states, income eligibility for parents is set below 50 percent of poverty (in 2012, that’s an annual income of $9,545 for a family of three). In most states, adults without dependent children, no matter how poor, cannot get Medicaid coverage at all.

Medicaid Expansion: In 2014, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, states can get substantial federal funding to expand Medicaid to all residents with incomes at or below 133 percent of poverty, thus extending Medicaid coverage to individuals who have been left out of the program. [Note: Since 5 percent of income is not included—is “disregarded”—when eligibility is determined, the expansion, in effect, applies to those with incomes at or below 138 percent of poverty.]

For more on how Medicaid works today, and how it will work under the Medicaid expansion, see:

Financing 

Medicaid Today: Generally speaking, each state receives matching dollars from the federal government, and those matching rates vary across the states from 50 to 76 percent. This means that, for every dollar a state spends on Medicaid, the federal government contributes between $1.00 and $3.17. Federal matching rates are based on the per capita income of the states, so states with lower per capita incomes get higher matching rates.

Medicaid Expansion: In 2014, the Affordable Care Act gives states the opportunity to expand their Medicaid programs to cover all individuals with incomes at or below 138 percent of poverty (see note above), an income of about $31,809 for a family of four in 2012. That will extend coverage to many low-income adults currently left out of the program and simplify eligibility determinations across the program.

Eligibility 

Medicaid Today:

Federal Requirements
Federal law requires states to cover certain categories of people in Medicaid. In general, there are six categories of so-called “mandatory” individuals: 1) children, 2) pregnant women, 3) very low-income parents, 4) the elderly, and individuals who are 5) blind or 6) disabled. Eligibility levels for these groups of people varies by income:

  • Children under age six with family incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($25,390 for a family of three in 2012)
  • Children ages 6-19 with family incomes up to 100 percent of poverty ($19.090 for a family of three in 2012)
  • Pregnant women with family incomes up to 133 percent of poverty
  • Parents whose income meets the state’s AFDC (former welfare program) criteria in place as of July 1996
  • People who are elderly, blind, or who have disabilities and who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may have incomes up to 74 percent of poverty ($8,266 for an individual in 2012)
  • Certain people with severe disabilities who would qualify for SSI if they did not work
    Elderly individuals and people with disabilities whose Medicare premiums are paid by Medicaid through the “QMB,” ”SLMB,” and “QI” programs—generally speaking, these are individuals who have incomes below 150 percent of poverty

State Options
States have the flexibility to increase these income limits to allow more people to qualify for Medicaid for several general categories of people, as follows:

  • Low-income children, parents, and pregnant women with family incomes above mandatory cutoff levels and up to whatever income limit the states decide
  • People who are blind, elderly, or disabled with incomes above the SSI level but below 100 percent of poverty ($10,830 for an individual in 2010)
  • Nursing home residents with incomes above SSI levels but below 300 percent of poverty ($32,490 for an individual in 2010)
  • People with disabilities who work and have incomes above the SSI limit
  • Medically needy individuals who require institutional care but who have incomes that are too high to qualify for SSI—these individuals can deduct the cost of their institutional care from their income in order to qualify for Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act requires states to maintain the Medicaid eligibility levels, policies, and procedures that were in place in March 2010 (the date the Affordable Care Act was enacted) until the state has an operational exchange.

Medicaid Expansion: In 2014, states can expand their Medicaid programs to cover virtually all individuals under the age of 65 with incomes below 133 percent of poverty. Income eligibility for those over 65 will remain unchanged. For those newly eligible through this expansion, the federal government will cover 100 percent of costs for 2014 through 2016, gradually falling to 90 percent in 2020. The federal contribution will remain at 90 percent thereafter. States have the option to implement this expansion sooner.

In states that expand Medicaid, the historic federal Medicaid matching formula will still apply to individuals who meet the Medicaid eligibility criteria in place as of December 1, 2009.

For more information on current state-by-state eligibility, see Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Eligibility by State (May 2010) or Kaiser’s statehealthfacts.org and scroll down to “Medicaid Eligibility.”

Benefits

Medicaid Today:

Federal Requirements
Federal law requires states to provide a minimum benefit package in Medicaid. So-called “mandatory” benefits include physician services, hospital services, family planning, health center services, and nursing facility services. The benefit package for children is more comprehensive than the one for adults because federal law requires states to provide coverage for certain health screenings and services that are medically necessary. This requirement is called the Early and Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit.

State Options
States are permitted to provide coverage for certain other health care services that are approved by the federal government. Such “optional” services include dental care, mental health care, eye glasses and vision care, coverage for prescription drugs, home health care, case management, and rehabilitation services. For a detailed list of what benefits state Medicaid programs cover, click here.

Medicaid Expansion: In states that take advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, there are specific benefit requirements for those who are newly eligible. For those individuals, states must provide a set of essential health benefits. For more information on Medicaid’s essential health benefits, see Designing the Essential Health Benefits for Your State: An Advocate’s Guide.

Additional Resources

Medicaid


Medicaid Home
About Medicaid
Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid Defense
Waivers

Medicaid provides health coverage for low-income children and adults, medical and long-term care coverage for people with disabilities, and assistance with health and long-term care expenses for low-income seniors. More than 58 million people rely on Medicaid services today, and millions more will qualify for Medicaid when the provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014.

Children receive health coverage through Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To learn more about CHIP, see the Children’s Healthsection.

This section of our website provides resources on Medicaid laws and regulations and keeps you up-to-date on the battle to sustain and improve this important program.

Medicaid Expansion Center
States that plan to expand Medicaid coverage in 2014 have much to do to prepare. In many states, advocates need support in making the case for expansion. The Medicaid Expansion Center offers information on everything from the Supreme Court decision’s effect on Medicaid to news from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), plus the best tools for helping your state make the most of the expansion.

Medicaid Defense Center
While some states move ahead to expand their Medicaid programs, the existing Medicaid program remains under fire at both the federal and state level. Many in Congress—and some governors, as well—seek to make deep cuts in Medicaid funding and to change the structure of the Medicaid program through proposals for block grants, per capita caps, and similar schemes. The Medicaid Defense Center features the latest news on the federal budget battle plus tools to help you fight for Medicaid funding in your state.

http://familiesusa.org/issues/medicaid/

Obamacare Event Hands Out Condoms as Prizes

The Obamacare event took place at the University of Central Arkansas last weekend. It was hosted by a group called the Living Affected Corporation, which apparently has received a grant from the federal government to educate the public about Obamacare.

The event organizer spilled out a bag of condoms — as a couple whoops and hollers could be heard from the small crowd.

Then she says, “Ok, if anyone wants a paper application,” but she interrupts herself to pickup condoms that had fallen on the floor. “I have those as well.”

“So when you’re leaving, you can stop by my table and I’ll give you whatever — condoms — that box has a bunch in it. Anyway … Our corporation, LA Corp … And I’m waiting on my dental dams and female condom order that still hasn’t come in. If you ever need condoms, let me know because we have thousands — boxes of magnums, we get magnums a lot. So here is the prize table.”

The condom give-away was a training event with young Democrats, I’m told.

Is Obamacare on the rebound? Media turn to positive stories. (+video)

Positive headlines are creeping into the news coverage of Obamacare, amid a Democratic counteroffensive and signs the program could be turning a corner. But tough tests lie ahead.

Bit by bit, the media narrative around the travails of Obamacare and its main enrollment vehicle, HealthCare.gov, is starting to look up. Or to put it more precisely, it is no longer so crushingly negative.

After weeks of stories about website crashes and canceled health plans – and an extraordinary mea culpa from President Obama – a competing story line is starting to emerge. Slowly but surely, people are navigating the exchanges and getting insurance – for some, cheaper and better than what they had. Last week, The New York Times and Los Angeles Timestouted a “surge” in enrollment figures, especially in states that have their own exchanges.

This week, a Washington Post story described almost an Obamacare nirvana – people in rural Kentucky lining up and getting coverage, some for the first time in their lives.

Part of this wave of positive stories may be a media effect: Reporters (and the public) get tired of all the wall-to-wall negativity, and to keep interest up, seek out happy stories for a change of pace.

The Obama administration has also ramped up its public relations efforts on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), going around the national media and directly into local markets. On Tuesday, the administration

announced that seniors saved $8.9 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the ACA. And Democratic senators have headed off for Thanksgiving with marching orders: Find and publicize the ACA success stories. At the very least, say Democrats, they need to counter the Republican message machine and story-gathering.

“It’s true, the Democrats are more on the offensive than they were,” says Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. “But they still have serious problems. No one knows where this is going. And for Democrats, the last thing they want is for this to dominate the elections next year.”

This Saturday, Nov. 30, will be one moment of truth. That is the day the Obama administration promised HealthCare.gov would work smoothly for the vast majority of users, after the disastrous Oct. 1 launch. The definition of “vast majority” was later downgraded to 80 percent – with the remaining 20 percent enrolling by other means or still encountering slow loads and error messages.

On Tuesday, in a conference call with state and local elected officials, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised a “significantly different user experience” on HealthCare.gov by the end of the month. And with reporters on the line, she urged the officials “to not hesitate to recommend that people go to HealthCare.gov and get signed up.”

Secretary Sebelius has put her credibility on the line at a time when she can ill afford to see it go any lower. The problem for the Obama administration is that by announcing a hard deadline – Nov. 30 – for vast improvements on a once-profoundly dysfunctional website, it has raised expectations (again) for how well the site will work. As with the initial rollout, Obamacare opponents will be on the lookout for failures, and the media will surely cover them.

Another moment of truth will come when the administration reveals demographic data of people who have enrolled in coverage via the exchanges, possibly with the next official enrollment numbers in mid-December. The ACA will work only if less-healthy enrollees are balanced by enrollees without expensive health issues. On Tuesday’s conference call, Sebelius said she didn’t have demographic information on enrollees, but promised it “very soon.” Then she urged the county executive from Milwaukee to reach out to “young and healthy individuals.”

The daily report Tuesday from Kaiser Health News (KHN) was noteworthy for its positive stories:

  •  “Health law may offer part-time workers better options,” said one headline. The story talked about “mini-med” plans – low-cost, low-benefit plans that are no longer allowable under the ACA – and cited the case of a woman with a serious health problem who is likely to get better, subsidized coverage on the exchange.
  • Another piece reported on Californians happy to have their insurance policies canceled. Some people, the story reported, had felt trapped with subpar plans but had kept them because of preexisting medical conditions. Now, under the ACA, people with health problems cannot be denied coverage.
  • A story out of Philadelphia, highlighted websites that have been set up that allow people to calculate their health-care subsidy without going on HealthCare.gov – and if they’re not eligible, allow them to buy coverage directly from the site.

If they are eligible, however, they have to buy their coverage on the federal exchange. So ultimately, for those living in the 36 states that are served by HealthCare.gov, all roads lead back to that site. Among the challenges ahead for the federal site:

  • By Saturday, the Obama administration says HealthCare.gov should be able to handle 50,000 users simultaneously. Whether that will be enough capacity is an open question. But it’s safe to say that if too many people wait till the last minute to sign up, there could be another wave of embarrassing website failures.
  • People who want their insurance to begin on Jan. 1 now have until Dec. 23 to enroll. But again, if everyone waits until Dec. 23, that leaves the insurers just eight days – right during the holidays – to process all that paperwork.
  • And about that paperwork… The “834” forms that are supposed to go to the insurance companies after consumers enroll on HealthCare.gov still need work, the HHS agency in charge of the site said Monday.
  • Then there’s the issue of Healthcare.gov’s “back-office system,” which a week ago was still unbuilt. On Nov. 19, Henry Chao, a top official at HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said that between 30 and 40 percent of the IT system for the marketplace remained to be constructed. That sounded alarming, but a CMS spokeswoman said that that portion of the website is involved in paying federal subsidies to insurance companies and will not affect individuals.

Getting HealthCare.gov fully functioning in time still sounds like a high-wire act. If there are more major stumbles, the bad headlines will come roaring back.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2013/1126/Is-Obamacare-on-the-rebound-Media-turn-to-positive-stories.-video

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Segment 0: Repeal Obamacare Tax (ROT) — ROT NOW! — Videos

obamacare-taxes (1)2013-Capital-Gains-Tax-RatesObamacare tax increaseobamacare-tax11-fine_taxes_and_obamacareObamacare-Tax-Penaltiesindividual_mandate_tax

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Obamacare-Taxes

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special-obamacare-spending-and-taxesObamacarebl-obama-taxes-on-richvero marginal tax rate smallaffordable-tax_care

Obamacare-New-Taxes

Higher Taxes In 2013 Can’t Help The Government (But Can Hurt You!)

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Obama in 2009: “Absolutely Not a Tax Increase”

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Reality Check: If Healthcare Law Is A Tax Is It Now Invalid?

Ben Swann Truth in Media: Obamacare Navigators Won’t Have To Pass Background Checks

Obama: Healthcare Law Raised Taxes On “Somethings” – Obamacare – Wake Up America!

ObamaCare Obama’s Regressive Tax on the Middle Class

Fail-Safe In Obamacare Puts Taxpayers On The Hook For Insurer Bailout – Wake Up America

Judge Jeanine Pirro – Unions Dodging Obamacare Tax – RPT: Rule Allows Labor Unions A Pass

Busted: Audio of Obama Lawyer Arguing Obamacare Is a Tax Stuns WH Chief of Staff Lew

ObamaCare Slaps 3.8% Net Income Tax On Individuals, Trusts And Estates

New ObamaCare Taxes You Probably Don’t Know About

Wake Up, America – Aka, “Obamacare Tax’ New Term: Shared Responsibility Payments

Reporter Uncovers Massive Fraud In Obamacare !!

Glenn Beck- ObamaCare Lies

Pelosi: ObamaCare Is Not “In Trouble”

The Obamacare Extension – Government Without Painkillers

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The Pronk Pops Show 168, November 15, 2013, Segment 1: His Imperial Majesty Obama Will Allow Insurance Companies To Renew Cancelled Health Insurance Policies — Obama Rewriting The Law — Impeach Him — Videos

Posted on November 15, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Consitutional Law, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Housing, Investments, Law, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

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House Passes Republican Bill To Let Insurers Offer Old Health Plans

Obama to allow Americans to extend canceled health plans

Insurers skeptical about reinstating canceled policies

Obama Unconstitutional Obamacare Fix – Insurance Industry Group: Fix Could Destabilize Market

Ted Cruz I Am Convinced President Obama Plans To Grant Unions Obamacare Exemption

Constitutional Crisis

National Review Writer: Obamacare ‘The Biggest MISTAKE That Any Party Has Made in 100 Years’

President Obama FULL Press Conference On Obamacare ACA Fixes. 11/14/13

Krauthammer to Megyn Kelly Obama Presser Was to Stop ‘Open Rebellion’ of Democrats

The Truth About Obamacare

House votes to let Americans keep health plans; 39 Dems defy Obama

By Tom Howell Jr

Nearly 40 House Democrats defied President Obama and helped the Republican majority pass a bill Friday that lets Americans keep, for one year, health plans that do not comply with Obamacare.

The defections from 39 members of Mr. Obama’s party highlighted the pressure on Congress to help people who lost coverage because of the president’s signature law, as balky websites keep a veil over alternative plans and pressure mounts on the Democrat-led Senate to forge a remedy.

“Let’s face it, millions of people right now have a cancelled policy,” Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona Democrat, said before voting for the Keep Your Health Plan Act.

The House passed the bill, 261 to 157, despite a veto threat from Mr. Obama and objections from Democrats who said the legislation was an insidious attempt to rot the Affordable Care Act from the inside out.

Four Republicans voted against the bill, perhaps because it could be viewed as an attempt to smooth over Mr. Obama’s controversial reforms.

Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, offered the bill at the height of furor over Mr. Obama’s oft-repeated promise that people who liked their health plans could keep them. Millions of Americans received cancellation notices because their plans did not meet the health care law’s coverage requirements, forcing the president to apologize as vulnerable Democrats scrambled to find a legislative solution.

Rampant glitches on the HealthCare.gov website — a federal portal that connects 36 states with plans under Obamcare — have intensified the problem, because people losing their policies cannot explore their options.

Mr. Barber said some Arizonans are “beside themselves.”

“Because by December 31 they don’t have health coverage, and they can’t get on the exchange to find out what’s available,” he told reporters.

Mr. Obama announced an administrative remedy on Thursday that permits insurers to offer a one-year renewal to people who hold noncompliant plans, and Senate Democrats are pushing legislation that would let existing enrollees hold onto their plans indefinitely.

The Republican-led bill goes further, allowing new enrollees to gain current health plans that do not comply with Obamacare.

Democratic opponents of the bill said the GOP offered a hocus-pocus fix that amounts to yet another attempt to repeal Mr. Obama’s signature law.

“It basically allows them to sell low-quality 2013 plans all through 2014, nothing else,” Rep. Frank Pallone, New Jersey Democrat, said.

Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, deemed it a “colossal waste of time.”

The White House said Mr. Obama would veto the House bill because it would likely increase the number of people with barebones plans, undermining Obamacare’s attempts to offer better protections through state-based insurance markets.

If too many young and healthy people keep noncompliant plans, a high proportion of sicker consumers on the exchanges — people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied — would cause premiums to rise and spoil Mr. Obama’s overhaul.

“The Administration supports policies that allow people to keep the health plans that they have,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy. “But, policies that reverse the progress made to extend quality, affordable coverage to millions of uninsured, hardworking, middle class families are not the solution.”

The House voted shortly before Mr. Obama met with insurance company executives at the White House.

The president made no mention of his renewal proposal in remarks before the meeting. Instead, he said they would be “brainstorming” ways to make Americans aware of their coverage options.

“Because of choice and competition, a whole lot of Americans who’ve always seen health insurance out of reach are going to be in a position to purchase it,” he said.

But Mr. Obama’s administrative decision has some state insurance commissioners worried. The logistics of grabbing back people who received cancellation notices are murky, they said, and it may prevent customers from contributing to a robust exchange in their respective states.

Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, said Mr. Obama’s fix “really only offers political cover for Democrats. It doesn’t really do anything substantial.”

He said the Upton bill is a step in the right direction, but he is working on legislation that lets Americans “meet the individual mandate as long as you purchase insurance that you like that you’re comfortable with.”

“What I’d like to do is actually put in effect rules and regulation and laws that actually allow that [individual] market to come back together again,” he said, an idea that would surely roil Mr. Obama’s plans to build balanced exchanges through his law.

GOP lawmakers insisted they like to scrap the whole law, despite their vote to amend Obamacare’s problems.

“It is merely to stop the bleeding,” Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican, said.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/15/house-votes-let-americans-keep-health-plans-39-dem/

House Passes Bill Letting People Keep Their Health Plans

By  and 

Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday approved legislation that would allow health insurance companies to renew individual insurance policies and sell similar policies to new customers next year even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits and consumer protections required by the new health care law.

The vote was 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats bucking their party leadership to vote in favor of the bill.

The legislation would go further than the fix announced on Thursday by Mr. Obama, who said he would temporarily waive some requirements of the law and allow insurers to renew “current policies for current enrollees.”

Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and the chief sponsor of the House bill, said his legislation would fulfill a promise that Mr. Obama had made to the American people and then broken.

“In the last three years,” Mr. Upton said, “the president personally promised that if people liked their current health care plan, they could keep it ‘no matter what.’ But cancellation notices are now arriving in millions of mailboxes across the country. It’s cancellation today, sticker shock tomorrow.”

Mr. Upton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, belittled Mr. Obama’s proposal, saying it was offered at the last minute, “as the administration’s allies in Congress panicked.”

Senior Democrats criticized the Upton legislation as a ploy that could unravel the entire health care law.

“Don’t pretend you care about the American people’s health care here,” said Representative Mike Doyle, Democrat of Pennsylvania. “You just want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are not going to let you do that.”

The outlook for the legislation is unclear in the Senate, where Democrats running for re-election in 2014 are looking for a way to help consumers facing the loss of insurance policies that do not meet requirements of the 2010 law.

Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, was one of the first Democrats to break with the White House and offer her own plan, which would allow people to keep their current plans indefinitely. However, after the president’s turnabout on Thursday, many Senate Democrats said they were waiting to see if additional legislation was necessary, and quick action in the Senate is not expected.

With the House debating the measure, Mr. Obama and his top aides were to meet with insurance company executives at the White House in an effort to quell concerns about the implications of the president’s plan.

The insurance industry reacted with alarm to Mr. Obama’s announcement on Thursday, saying that the decision to change the rules about who could keep insurance plans had the potential to undermine the Affordable Care Act and raise premiums.

“This decision continues different rules for different policies and threatens to undermine the new market, and may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond,” Jim Donelon, Louisiana’s insurance regulator and the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said on Thursday.

House Democrats on Friday used a procedural maneuver to offer a plan of their own called “Landrieu lite,” intended to build upon the president’s fix and offer their members additional political cover. The Democratic proposal, which was rejected by Republicans, would have allowed people who like their current plans to retain them for an additional year. But, unlike with Mr. Upton’s bill, insurers would not be allowed to sell plans that previously faced cancellation to new customers.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, said insurers should be allowed to sell new policies like those now in force because it was extremely difficult for consumers to obtain coverage through the federal website, HealthCare.gov.

But Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Mr. Upton’s bill was an attempt to “drag us back to the bad old days of the American health care system.” It would, he said, allow insurers to sell “cut-rate shoddy policies that lack the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act.”

The House vote came as Mr. Obama struggles to extricate himself from a political crisis of his own making. Opinion polls indicate that he is losing the trust of many Americans because of his handling of the health law rollout and the debut of the insurance website, which has been paralyzed by technological failures.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, said Mr. Upton’s bill “pulls the plug on the Affordable Care Act.”

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, said the Upton bill would provide relief to some people hurt by the president’s health care overhaul.

“The American people have grown weary of this administration spending money that it does not have on programs the American people do not want,” Ms. Blackburn said. “The president’s health care law is a great example.”

The White House said Mr. Obama would veto the House bill if it got to him. The bill, the administration said, would reverse progress made in extending coverage to the uninsured.

The House bill says that if an insurer was providing coverage in the individual market on Jan. 1 of this year, it “may continue” to offer such coverage for sale next year in the market outside the new insurance exchanges.

People who choose to buy or renew these policies in 2014 would be deemed to be in compliance with the requirement to have insurance, so they would not be subject to tax penalties for violating the individual mandate.

Insurance executives say that the premiums in the new federal and state marketplaces were based on the assumption that younger and generally healthy people who had been enrolled in cheaper plans would move into the new marketplaces. Their presence would help keep prices lower for everyone.

If those healthier people stick with their current plans, then the new marketplaces will be filled with older, sicker people, and premiums could rise.

White House officials say that they designed the new policy with an eye to those concerns. Insurance companies will be required to tell people that they might get a better deal in a new plan on the federal or state insurance marketplaces.

That is a subtle nudge that might help persuade people to move off what officials say are substandard policies and into the marketplaces. But insurance company executives and their representatives warned that such tweaks might not be enough to avoid problems. Those issues were sure to come up when the executives met with Mr. Obama and his advisers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/us/politics/obama-to-meet-with-insurance-executives.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

Obamacare Architect: ‘Could Be the Beginning of a Death Spiral’

“So when you were on last week I asked you, if they don’t get enough people in the exchanges, then what happens?” said host Megyn Kelly. “And you said then the premiums go up very, very high. Now, was that ball put in motion today?”

“We don’t know yet,” said Cutler. “So what the president is trying to do is to say the website is not working, the exchanges are not working. Let’s try and slow the process down and delay it by a year. And if it turns out to be a delay of a year, then we can work through that. It would be uncomfortable as it has been for the past month, but it will turn out okay. If it becomes a permanent situation that people who are healthier stay away and people who are sicker go into the exchanges, that becomes a very big problem.”

“Is that the beginning of the so-called death spiral?”

“That could be the beginning of a death spiral,” said Cutler. “That is, you could have a situation where the only people in the exchanges are very unhealthy people with very high premiums.”

Roiling health care waters, Obama’s fix could make matters worse

BY ANITA KUMAR AND LESLEY CLARK

Facing growing outrage from Americans, President Barack Obama reversed course Thursday and offered to let insurance companies sell existing plans even if they don’t meet the minimum standards set by his new problem-fraught health care law.

But Obama’s much-delayed attempt to make good on his promise that Americans could keep their insurance plans if they liked them faces strong opposition from insurance companies, which warn that rates might spike, and it risks undermining the basic premise of his law, which requires quality, affordable insurance.

“We fumbled the rollout on this health care law,” a contrite Obama said in an hourlong news conference Thursday at the White House. “We should have done a better job getting that right on day one – not on day 28 or on day 40.”

The president flatly took responsibility for the slew of problems that have bedeviled his signature domestic achievement, including an error-filled website, and said he’d restore Americans’ confidence in him by fixing HealthCare.gov this month and making good on his promise to allow Americans to keep their plans. “We’re just gonna keep on chipping away at this,” he said.

The debacle threatens to swamp Obama’s entire second-term agenda, raising questions about his competency and credibility. Polls released this week show the president’s job-approval rating at a historic low and a majority of voters saying, for the first time, that he isn’t trustworthy.

“A White House interested in stabilizing this presidency would want to leave no stone unturned in the effort to deal with both those problems,” said William Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who’s a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left policy research center.

On Thursday, Obama announced that he’d allow – but not require – insurance companies to extend existing policies for a year as long as they notified customers that their benefits might be diminished with their current plans and that alternative policies might be available to them.

Insurance companies already have devised plans for next year, received the necessary approval from states and begun to sell policies. They aren’t required to continue to offer their existing policies and state insurance commissioners aren’t required to approve those 2013 plans.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” Karen Ignagni, the president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents the industry.

Washington state’s insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, announced Thursday he won’t allow insurers to extend their policies, saying Washington’s state-based exchange was “up and running and successfully enrolling thousands of consumers.”

“We are staying the course,” said Kreidler, a Democrat who’s one of the longest-serving state insurance commissioners in the country.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he’d taken steps to allow more than 1 million residents with terminating insurance plans to keep them.

Companies based their rates for 2014 on certain assumptions, including that consumers who bought plans after 2010 or had their prior plans substantially change wouldn’t be able to keep them. If more customers are allowed to keep their plans, companies probably will have to raise premiums and offer fewer choices.

“The point of the law was to provide health care insurance that was affordable and comprehensive and that protected people from catastrophic, out-of-pocket costs, so going back and allowing people to keep plans that are substandard seems not to fit the goal of the law,” said Sara Collins, the vice president for health care coverage and access at the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes access to health care and has supported the Affordable Care Act.

The White House says it will try to keep prices down through an existing program that could provide companies financial assistance. But Obama, who was limited in what he could do without approval from an often unfriendly, inactive Congress, acknowledged that his administrative fix might not solve the problem and that lawmakers may still have to act.

The Republican-led House of Representatives and Democratic-controlled Senate are considering bills that would allow people to keep their plans. The House will vote Friday on legislation that would let new customers buy existing policies, not just current customers. The White House says the House bill goes too far, but some frustrated Democrats, many of whom face tough re-election campaigns next year, say Obama hasn’t done enough to fix the problems.

“I am highly skeptical that they can do this administratively,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said at a news conference. “There is no way to fix this.”

In spite of the anxieties of some Democrats in the Senate and House, the party’s House leadership circled the wagons Thursday, offering to help fix the law’s problems but making no apologies for them.

“Our members were pleased with the president’s statement today,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Sherry Taylor, 63, of Tulare, Calif., said she welcomed Obama’s news after her Anthem Blue Cross policy was canceled in lieu of a slightly higher-priced one. “I’m going to keep my policy until Congress works out what they’re actually going to do,” said the hairdresser, who broke her pelvis in two places in a bicycle accident.

Administration officials say they don’t know how many people would be affected by Obama’s decision, though they continue to insist that the problem is limited to people who buy their own insurance, about 11 million people. But a 2010 administration estimate indicates that as many as 69 percent of people with certain employer-based insurance plans – as many as 41 million – could have lost their policies.

Nicholas Bagley, a health policy expert and law assistant professor at the University of Michigan, said Obama’s fix raised more questions than answers, from the effect on premiums to the ability of insurance commissioners to swiftly approve previously canceled plans. And, he said, it remains to be seen whether the effort is legal.

“The administration hasn’t offered a legal justification, so it’s difficult to deliver a thumbs up or thumbs down,” he said. “There’s at least a big question mark whether the president can do this.”

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/11/14/208636/roiling-health-care-waters-obamas.html

White House: Obama would veto Republican healthcare bill

President Barack Obama would veto a bill sponsored by a Republican congressman that would allow insurers to offer healthcare plans slated to be canceled because they do not meet the new U.S. healthcare law’s standards, the White House said on Thursday.

The veto threat came hours after Obama, under fire for the botched roll-out of his signature domestic policy achievement, said health insurers could extend by at least one year policies that were due to be canceled because they do not comply with new minimum requirements.

The White House has said previously that the bill, sponsored by Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, would undermine the law known as Obamacare because it would allow plans that had been canceled to be sold to anyone, not just people who wanted to renew their existing plans.

The bill “rolls back the progress made by allowing insurers to continue to sell new plans that deploy practices such as not offering coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men, and continuing yearly caps on the amount of care that enrollees receive,” the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

“The administration supports policies that allow people to keep the health plans that they have. But, policies that reverse the progress made to extend quality, affordable coverage to millions of uninsured, hard-working, middle-class families are not the solution,” it said.

Upton is the chair of the House of Representatives’ energy and commerce committee and a longtime critic of Obamacare.

Democrats and Republicans have expressed anger over the prospect of several million Americans having their policies canceled. Obama’s proposed fix on Thursday was aimed at addressing one of a myriad of problems associated with the law since the glitchy website Healthcare.gov went online last month.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bill Trott)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/15/us-usa-healthcare-veto-idUSBRE9AE03X20131115

Why liberals are panicked about Obamacare

By , Published: November 14

“Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

— Bill Clinton, Nov. 12

So the former president asserts that the current president continues to dishonor his “you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge. And calls for the Affordable Care Act to be changed, despite furious White House resistance to the very idea.

Coming from the dean of the Democratic Party, this one line marked the breaching of the dam. It legitimized the brewing rebellion of panicked Democratsagainst Obamacare. Within hours, that rebellion went loudly public. By Thursday, President Obama had been forced into a rear-guard holding action, asking insurers to grant a one-year extension of current plans.

The damage to the Obama presidency, however, is already done. His approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, his lowest ever. And, for the first time, a majority considers him untrustworthy. That bond is not easily repaired.

At stake, however, is more than the fate of one presidency or of the current Democratic majority in the Senate. At stake is the new, more ambitious, social-democratic brand of American liberalism introduced by Obama, of which Obamacare is both symbol and concrete embodiment.

RELATED: The many scandals the White House says Obama didn’t know about

Precisely when the GOP was returning to a more constitutionalist conservatism committed to reforming, restructuring and reining in the welfare state (see, for example, the Paul Ryan Medicare reform passed by House Republicans with near-unanimity), Obama offered a transformational liberalism designed to expand the role of government, enlarge the welfare state and create yet more new entitlements (see, for example, his call for universal preschool in his most recent State of the Union address).

The centerpiece of this vision is, of course, Obamacare, the most sweeping social reform in the past half-century, affecting one-sixth of the economy and directly touching the most vital area of life of every citizen.

As the only socially transformational legislation in modern American history to be enacted on a straight party-line vote, Obamacare is wholly owned by the Democrats. Its unraveling would catastrophically undermine their underlying ideology of ever-expansive central government providing cradle-to-grave care for an ever-grateful citizenry.

For four years, this debate has been theoretical. Now it’s real. And for Democrats, it’s a disaster.

RELATED: America’s 25 most influential conservative voices

It begins with the bungled rollout. If Washington can’t even do the Web site — the literal portal to this brave new world — how does it propose to regulate the vast ecosystem of American medicine?

Beyond the competence issue is the arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health-care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington.

For all his news conference gyrations about not deliberately deceiving people with his “if you like it” promise, the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. This is life imitating comedy — that old line about a liberal being someone who doesn’t care what you do as long as it’s mandatory.

Lastly, deception. The essence of the entitlement state is government giving away free stuff. Hence Obamacare would provide insurance for 30 million uninsured, while giving everybody tons of free medical services — without adding “one dime to our deficits,” promised Obama.

This being inherently impossible, there had to be a catch. Now we know it: hidden subsidies. Toss millions of the insured off their plans and onto the Obamacare “exchanges,” where they would be forced into more expensive insurance packed with coverage they don’t want and don’t need — so that the overcharge can be used to subsidize others.

The reaction to the incompetence, arrogance and deception has ranged from ridicule to anger. But more is in jeopardy than just panicked congressional Democrats. This is the signature legislative achievement of the Obama presidency, the embodiment of his new entitlement-state liberalism. If Obamacare goes down, there will be little left of its underlying ideology.

Perhaps it won’t go down. Perhaps the Web portal hums beautifully on Nov. 30. Perhaps they’ll find a way to restore the canceled policies without wrecking the financial underpinning of the exchanges.

Perhaps. The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats, or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.

If it does fail, the effect will be historic. Obamacare will take down with it more than Mary Landrieu and Co. It will discredit Obama’s new liberalism for years to come.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-why-liberals-are-panicked-about-obamacare/2013/11/14/bd2e9834-4d6f-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_print.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 167, November 14, 2013, Segment 0: HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — His Imperial Majesty — Monarch of Marxism, Czar of Communism, Shah of Socialism, and Pharaoh of Progressivism — His Imperial Majesty Obama — HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — HIM That Must Be Obeyed — If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep Your Plan For One More Year — Videos

Posted on November 14, 2013. Filed under: Abortion, Addiction, American History, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Consitutional Law, Crime, Disasters, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Medicine, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Politics, Regulation, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-167

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

Segment 0: HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — His Imperial Majesty — Monarch of Marxism, Czar of Communism, Shah of Socialism, and Pharaoh of Progressivism — His Imperial Majesty Obama — HIM Obama, HIM Obama, HIM Obama — HIM That Must Be Obeyed — If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep Your Plan For One More Year — Videos

king-obama

characteristics_qualtities_barack_obama

how_Americans_View_Barack_Obamamedicare__social_security_deficits_chartsocial_security_medicareCP-fed-spending-numbers-2013-page-2-chart-2CP-fed-spending-numbers-2013-page-3-chart-2 CP-fed-spending-numbers-2013-page-6-chart-1

A Montage of Obama’s “If You Like Your Plan Keep It” Lies

President Obama describing how to reach single payer flashback

Barack Obama: ‘We Fumbled the Roll Out on This Health Care Law,’ ‘That’s on Me’ – 11-14-2013

Barack Obama Full Speech on Obamacare Disaster & Keep Your Plan Promise – November 14, 2013

Obama wants it both ways on single payer

Obama’s Single Payer Health Care System : New World Order ( NWO )

President Obama Wants A Single Payer Health Care System

Obama on single payer health insurance

Barack Obama and single payer health care

Obama On Single Payer Health Care

President Obama answers question on Health Care Website (C-SPAN Clip)

Obama Town Hall 1st Question? Single Payer

Obama In ’09: Medicare “Is Going Broke”

Trustees say long-run Medicare, Social Security deficit is $66 trillion

Social Security and Medicare – the two largest federal programs – are on track to generate $66 trillion in deficits over time, according to the latest analysis from the programs’ trustees.

Taken together, the reports underscore the fact that whatever modest improvement there has been in the near-term deficit outlook, the nation still faces deep long-term fiscal challenges.

In 2013, Social Security’s trustees expect the program to pay out $79 billion more in benefits than the government collects in Social Security taxes, and anticipate the program running deficits in perpetuity. This is despite the expiration of the 2011-12 payroll tax holiday and the improvement in the economy. Back when President Bush advocated Social Security reform, the program wasn’t supposed to start running annual deficits until 2018.

Typically, the media places emphasis on the Social Security “trust fund.” That is, in past years in which the government was collecting more in Social Security taxes than it cost to provide benefits, it spent the surplus on other government functions and issued IOUs to the Social Security system. Though the distinction is silly given that the money all has to come from the same bank account, the trustees estimate that these IOUs will now run out in 2033, at which point, absent other changes, the federal government would have to automatically cut Social Security benefits by 23 percent. When Bush was advocating Social Security reform, this wasn’t projected to happen until 2042. Put another way, the trust fund exhaustion date that was 37 years away during the Bush era when liberals denied the existence of a Social Security crisis, is now just 20 years away.

Under the trustees’ “infinite horizon” estimates that project the cost of Social Security over time in present dollars, the program is running a long-term deficit of $23.1 trillion.

When it comes to Medicare, the outlook is even grimmer, because the demographics of an expanding older generation, which challenge the finances of Social Security, interact with rising health care costs.

The finances of Medicare are also more complicated, because the program has several different funding streams. The hospital payment program, Medicare Part A, like Social Security, is financed by a payroll tax, in addition to general federal revenue. Medicare Part B (which covers services such as doctors visits and lab tests in addition to equipment such as wheelchairs) and Medicare Part D (which covers prescription drugs) are financed by a combination of collecting premiums from beneficiaries and general revenue.

Over time, the trustees project the hospital fund has $3.5 trillion in unfunded obligations, Part B will require $25 trillion in general revenue to finance, and Part D — passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Bush — will require an injection of $14.4 trillion. All told, Medicare will run $42.9 trillion short. Combined with Social Security, the long-term deficit of the two programs is $66 trillion.

This, however, likely understates the true extent of the financial problems facing Medicare. The reason is that these projections assume that all of the Medicare cuts in President Obama’s health care law will be fully implemented and that Congress will allow scheduled cuts to doctors’ payments to go into effect, even though lawmakers routinely vote to delay such cuts.

Paul Spitalnic, the acting chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a statement at the end of the report, cautioned that the projections were ultimately “implausible.” For instance, they would require a cut to Medicare physicians’ payments of nearly 25 percent this January.

“Further, while the Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook, there is a strong likelihood that certain of these changes will not be viable in the long range,” Spitalnic wrote. He continued: “Without unprecedented changes in health care delivery systems and payment mechanisms, the prices paid by Medicare for health services are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice, ambulatory surgical center, diagnostic laboratory, and many other services would be less than half of their level without consideration of the productivity price reductions. Medicare prices would be considerably below the current relative level of Medicaid prices, which have already led to access problems for Medicaid enrollees, and far below the levels paid by private health insurance. Well before that point, Congress would have to intervene to prevent the withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market and the severe problems with beneficiary access to care that would result. Overriding the productivity adjustments, as Congress has done repeatedly in the case of physician payment rates, would lead to substantially higher costs for Medicare in the long range than those projected under current law.”

According to an alternate set of assumptions in which Congress undoes these cuts, the trustees estimate that the Medicare program could cost about 50 percent more over a 75-year period.

On paper, the Medicare hospital “trust fund” won’t be exhausted until 2026, which is two years later than last year and nine years later than before the passage of Obamacare. But, this estimate is based on the same unreasonable assumptions. Additionally, it’s misleading, because the projected Medicare savings are really supposed to be used to help finance the health care law’s new spending rather than extend the solvency of Medicare.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/trustees-say-long-run-medicare-social-security-deficit-is-66-trillion/article/2530908

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The Pronk Pops Show 157, October 28, 2013, Segment 0: Obamacare and Benghazi: The Scandals of Government Interventionism Domestically and Abroad — Videos

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: American History, Business, Communications, Consitutional Law, Economics, Employment, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Law, Media, Politics, Radio, Resources, Scandals, Security, Success, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 140: September 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 139: September 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 138: September 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 137: September 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 136: September 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 135: September 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 134: September 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 133: September 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 132: September 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 131: September 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 130: September 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 129: September 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 128: September 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 127: September 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 126: September 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 125: September 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 124: September 6, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 41-44

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 38-40

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 16-22

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 10-15

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 01-09

Segment 0: Obamacare and Benghazi: The Scandals of Government Interventionism Domestically and Abroad — Videos

SNL Opening Kathleen Sebelius Healthcare Website

60 Minutes: Benghazi

Chairman McCaul on FOX News on New Reports on Benghazi Attack

Benghazi Revelations For Those Who Don’t Watch Fox News Channel The Five

Benghazi Timeline – Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier – October 10, 2012

[FULL] Whistletblower Speaks on Benghazi Terror Attack: Foxnews Special Report

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