ObamaCare – More Bad News, Premiums to Skyrocket

Editor’s Note – Does anyone consider ObamaCare, or the PPACA an actual law anymore? It changes constantly, delays galore, lies about everything, and what ever happened to saving families $2,500 per year? Now we see that lie is worse than anticipated as well. Where will this all end?

O-Care premiums to skyrocket

By Elise Viebeck – The Hill

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.SkyRocketObamaCare

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

The hikes are expected to vary substantially by region, state and carrier.

Areas of the country with older, sicker or smaller populations are likely to be hit hardest, while others might not see substantial increases at all.

Several major companies have been bullish on the healthcare law as a growth opportunity. With investors, especially, the firms downplay the consequences of more older, sicker enrollees in the risk pool.

Much will depend on how firms are coping with the healthcare law’s raft of new fees and regulatory restrictions, according to another industry official.

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year.

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.

After this story was published, the administration pointed to some independent analyses that have cast doubt on whether the current mix of enrollees will lead to premium hikes.

ObamaCare also includes several programs designed to ease the transition and stave off premium increases. Reinsurance, for example, will send payments to insurers to help shoulder the cost of covering sick patients.

But insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare’s rollout.

They point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.

“We’re exasperated,” said the senior insurance official. “All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.”

“My gut tells me that, for some people, these increases will be significant,” said Bill Hoagland, a former executive at Cigna and current senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Hoagland said Sebelius was seeking to “soften up the American public” to the likelihood that premiums will rise, despite promises to the contrary.

Republicans frequently highlight President Obama’s promise on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

“They’re going to have to backpedal on that,” said Hoagland, who called Sebelius’s comment a “pre-emptive strike.”

“This was her way of getting out in front of it,” he added.

HHS didn’t comment for this article.

Insurers will begin the process this spring by filing their rate proposals with state officials.

Insurance commissioners will then release the rates sometime this summer, usually when they’re approved. Insurers could also leak their rates earlier as a political statement.

In some states, commissioners have the authority to deny certain rate increases, which could help prevent the most drastic hikes.

Either way, there will be a slew of bad headlines for the Obama administration just months before the election.

“It’s pretty bad timing,” said one insurance official.

Other health experts say predictions about premiums are premature.

David Cutler, who has been called an architect of Obama-Care, said, “Health premiums increase every year, so the odds are very good that they will increase next year as well.  None of that is news.  The question is whether it will be a lot or a little.  That depends in part on how big the insurers think the exchanges will be.”

Jon Gruber, who also helped design the Affordable Care Act, said, “The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Premiums were rising 7 to 10 percent a year before the law. So the question is whether we will see a continuation of that sort of single digit increase, as Sebelius said, or whether it will be larger.”

The White House and its allies have launched a full-court press to encourage healthy millennials to purchase coverage on the marketplaces.

HHS announced this week that sign-ups have exceeded 5 million, a marked increase since March 1.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday claimed the administration has picked up the pace considerably, saying months ago reporters would have laughed if he “had said there would be 5 million enrollees by March 18.”

It remains unclear how many of those enrollees lost their insurance last year because of the law’s mandates. Critics have also raised questions about how the administration is counting people who signed up for insurance plans.

Political operatives will be watching premium increases this summer, most notably in states where there are contested Senate races.

In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.

Sheila Timmons contributed.

Selling Obamacare – Kids, Librarians, Hollywood, but not NFL

Editor’s Note – How do you sell a loser program? Get kids and librarians to push the product, try to get the NFL, NBA and Hollywood to advocate it, and we are sure these are not the last ploys the administration is going to try and employ to sell the Obamacare ‘swamp properties” to America.

Fortunately the NFL said no, flatly:

On Friday, the NFL indicated that the league had no desire to help the Obama administration sell and implement Obamacare this fall. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy emailed the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein to say the NFL had no plans to help promote Obamacare:

We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about PPACA’s implementation.

It is very disconcerting to many Americans that two years after ramming the PPACA down our throats, we are seeing what Nancy Pelosi inadvertently indicated we would, “what’s in it”! The “what’s in it” is a train wreck, and expensive wreck and come this October Americans are all going to see what it means to them, especially as they file their tax returns in 2014.

The administration knows this all too well and the Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius has already been caught pressuring the very industry she regulates and grants are flowing in many states, including California and its kids. 51TvGSvYo5L._SX260_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

Lest we forget amidst the several other scandals currently blowing up in the Obama administration’s face (it is rather difficult to keep up), last Friday we learned that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been hitting up health-care industry executives and groups, directly asking them to make donations to the non-profits that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase public awareness of ObamaCare’s benefits. (Read more here.)

And then there are the librarians:

The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law. (Read more here.)

If it is so good for America, why do they have to sell it to America since its already law? The answer is easy, its a lemon and no one wants it. Its just so telling when a book named “ObamaCare Survival Guide“, not a very supportive book, was number one on the best sellers list.

L.A. schools use your tax dollars teaching students to sell ObamaCare at home

By Andrew MalcolmInvestors.com

With great excitement, the Los Angeles Unified School District has designed a nearly $1 million program to train teenagers to promote the glories of ObamaCare to parents, relatives and friends at home.

The state’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, is handing $990,000 to LA schools, along with federal grants totaling 36-million more U.S. taxpayer dollars to districts around the most populous state.

obamakidsThe goal is to train millions of student messengers statewide to sell the idea of government-subsidized health insurance to parents and relatives at home and to get more people enrolled in ObamaCare.

Taxpayer-paid public school staff will also be used to phone students’ homes urging enrollment under Obama’s Affordable Care Act. And they will be used to consume precious class instructional time to teach the students all about the healthcare program that the Democrat Congress did not read before passing in 2010.

The use of California school children to peddle ObamaCare is part of a broad, desperate promotional effort by the Obama administration to combat the controversial healthcare program’s declining support in the public and among Democrats, especially those facing reelection efforts next year.

One of ObamaCare’s key congressional architects, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, now calls the plan “a huge train wreck.” He decided against seeking reelection next year.

Fox News Poll this week found sizable majorities fear the act’s impact on their family and a record number now want the entire measure repealed. Results showed 39% (a new high) favor total repeal while another 19% want parts killed. Only 19% find the act about right.

A new Gallup Poll reports nearly half of Americans (47%) believe ObamaCare will make the country’s healthcare worse.

Previous columns here have reported the steep climb to near-record levels in the nation’s temp job sector as employers shed full-time workers to avoid the massive fines and new costs of ObamaCare. Additionally, the law’s 30-hour work-week cutoff is apparently driving thousands of businesses to cut employees’ work schedules to 29 or fewer hours.

Los Angeles’ immense indoctrination effort has absolutely nothing to do with what many Americans have long associated with the real job of taxpayer-funded public high schools, attempting to teach subjects such as math, history, trades or even, say, reading at a level above eighth grade.

Officials at Covered California said enforcement of the grants would be strict with monthly, quarterly and annual reports required on something. They added that if unspecified targets measured by unidentified means are not met, then additional reports on something would be required.

A spokeswoman for the LA school district proudly said the student ObamaCare scheme was actually a pilot program to see how well teenagers serve as messengers of government-sponsored information.

The goal, she said, is to determine “whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver” a broad array of school and government-sponsored messages to family and friends. Now, there’s a student indoctrination idea that sounds like some country other than the United States.

If they prove proficient at influencing their own families to believe material sent home from schools, she said, the teens will be used to deliver numerous other official messages to adults in their home and neighborhoods. (Read more here.)

It can happen here – tyranny

Editor’s Note – Once again Victor Davis Hanson eloquently sums up an issue. The issue this time is the wild dance we are in over the way Obama has effectively changed so much of how things operate, and how the administration is dancing around so many scandals – a must read. Tyranny Mr. Obama?

It can happen here

By Victor Davis Hanson – PJ Media

Shortly before the second-term inauguration of Barack Obama this January, I wrote the following of my worries over the Obama way of doing business:

But the untruths and hypocrisy hover in the partisan atmosphere and incrementally and insidiously undermine each new assertion that we hear from the president — some of them perhaps necessary and logical. Indeed, the more emphatically he adds “make no mistake about it,” “let me be perfectly clear,” “I’m not kidding,” or the ubiquitous “me,” “my,” and “I” to each new assertion, the more a growing number of people will come to know from the past that what follows simply is not true. Does this matter? Yes, because when the reckoning comes, it will be seen as logical rather than aberrant — and long overdue.

I ended my prognostications with the warning, “And so a reckoning is on the near horizon. Let us pray it does not take us all down with his administration.”

Four months later, it almost has.

In January, of course, we all knew that Obama had misled the country on the nature of the disaster that is called Obamacare—a bill forced through on an entirely partisan basis through extraordinary legislative pay-offs and exemptions. The author of the bill, Sen. Max Baucus, dubbed it a “train wreck”; the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (who helped ram through the bill), claimed that we needed to pass the bill to find out what is in it.

Obama’s first-term methodology was in line with his history of dissimulation—promising to accept public campaign financing before becoming the first presidential candidate in the general election to refuse it; demagoguing the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols as a senator as useless or unlawful (e.g., Guantanamo as “al-Qaeda’s chief recruiting tool”), only to embrace or expand them all once he became president; and stoking racial animosity by weighing in during the Professor Henry Louis Gates psychodrama and the Trayvon Martin murder case, and asking La Raza activists “to punish our enemies.”

The president had a strange habit, like a moth to a flame, of demagoguing the wealthy as toxic (spread the wealth, pay your fair share, fat cat, you didn’t build that, etc.), while being attracted to the very lifestyle that he damns, a sort of Martha’s Vineyard community organizer. Sometime in 2009, $250,000 in annual income became the dividing line between “us” and “them.” When we hear the president remind us that he is not a tyrant or monarch, then we assume he laments that fact; “make no mistake about it” ensures that you should believe that the president is not being “perfectly clear.”

Of course, in January I did not know yet that the IRS had targeted conservatives, in partisan fashion, to deflate their activism by denying their organizations pre-election tax-exempt status. (Do we now suspect why Harry Reid claimed that he knew the tax records of Mitt Romney, or why Austan Goolsbee popped off about the tax records of the Koch brothers, or how ProPublica had access to confidential tax information about Crossroads GPS [compare the ProPublica boast on their website: “Now, for the first time, ProPublica has obtained the group’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status, filed in September 2010. The IRS has not yet recognized Crossroads GPS as exempt, causing some tax experts to speculate that the agency is giving the application extra scrutiny”]?)

(File Image) – Monica Crowley interviewing Austan Goolsbee, former White House Economic Advisor – We wonder if we will ever see Mr. Goolsbee on any talking head shows after new revelations that revealed he was privy to IRS records as reports indicate. We also wonder what Ms Crowley thinks about the media investigation scandal as well as that Benghazi debacle in the second Presidential debate of late… Paging Ms Crowley?

I did not think that the administration would be so haughty to go after the Associated Press and monitor their official and private communications, especially given that the source of most national security leaks par excellence was the Obama White House itself. Recall the sordid details of the AP scandal: the AP sat on a story until they were given a quiet administration go-ahead to publish the account—even as the administration desperately wanted to scoop them and high-five over the story of the Yemeni double agent 24 hours earlier than the AP.

The AP was not first advised of the administration investigations, nor were the phone checks focused and narrow. Instead, the administration went whole hog after two months of phone records to send a message to its pets in the press—secure that Eric Holder, in Fast and Furious fashion, could always go to Congress with “I don’t now,” followed by executive privilege and stonewalling.

Meanwhile, in Machiavellian fashion the Obama administration had divulged classified information about the Stuxnet virus, the bin Laden raid, and the drone targeting—in order that sympathetic Washington Post and New York Timesreporters might have pre-election fuel for the hagiographic accounts of Obama, the underappreciated commander-in-chief.

While we all knew that a filmmaker did not prompt a riot that just happened to kill four Americans, we did not, until the testimony of State Department officials and the published communications of White House, CIA, and State Department staffers, appreciate just how far the administration would go to further a false narrative. And quite a myth it was: lead-from-behind Libya was still a success; al-Qaeda was still scattered; Obama was still on the global front lines condemning anti-Islamic bigots like Mr. Nakoula, whose religious hatred supposedly had spawned violence that even the Nobel laureate Barack Obama could not deter.

Yet in some sense, Obama won. The IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals were all adroitly kept under wraps for months before the 2012 election, as Goolsbee and Reid thundered about right-wing wealthy people not paying their fair taxes, and the press echoed a “how dare you” when anyone questioned the frightening state of events.

Living in Oceania

And now?

Suddenly in 2013, what was once sure has become suspect. All the old referents are not as they once were. The world is turned upside down, and whether the government taps, politicizes, or lies is not so important if it subsidizes the 47%. Does anyone care that five departments of government are either breaking the law or lying or both (State [Benghazi], Defense [the harassment issues], Justice [monitoring of phone lines], Treasury [corruption at the IRS], Health and Human Services [shaking down companies to pay for PR for Obamacare])?

The National Rifle Association is now supposed to be a suspect paramilitary group, in the way the Boy Scouts are homophobes. One day we woke up and learned that by fiat women were suddenly eligible to serve in front-line combat units—no discussion, no hearings, no public debate. We had a “war on women” over whether upscale Sandra Fluke could get free birth control from the government, but snoozed through the Dr. Gosnell trial. The latter may have been the most lethal serial killer in U.S. history, if his last few years of snipping spinal cords were indicative of the his first three unmonitored decades of late-term aborting.

The Obama administration had decided to shut down as many coal plants as it can, stop most new gas and oil drilling on federal lands, and go after private companies ranging from huge aircraft manufacturers to the small guitar concerns—based not on law, but on certain theories of climate change and labor equity. As in the case with the IRS, the EPA is now synonymous with politically motivated activism designed to circumvent the law. The president in his State of the Union address assured us that cap-and-trade will be back, given, he says, the atypical violent weather that hit the U.S. in his term—even as global temperatures have not risen in 15 years, and hurricanes are now occurring more rarely than during the last administration.

The government, we were also told, would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and would grant de facto amnesty for large numbers of illegal aliens as the election approached. Enforcement of existing law now is a fluid idea, always up for discussion For the first time in my life, I can not even find rifle shells on the store shelves—amid rumors that the Department of Homeland Security, at a time of national acrimony over the Second Amendments, believes it is an opportune moment to stockpile gargantuan amounts of ammunition—again, a sort of force multiplier in ensuring panic buying.

Are You a Correct Citizen?

So we are in unchartered territory. The IRS has lost our trust, both for its rank partisanship and its inability to come forward and explain its crimes. Eric Holder wants us to believe that he has no idea why his office was monitoring the communications of journalists, and yet now warrants the renewed trust of the president. Susan Rice serially misled on national television about Benghazi and so will probably be promoted to national security advisor. Even the Washington Post has decided that the president was lying in his defense about Benghazi (albeit with the funny sort of childhood rating of “four Pinocchios”) after the president’s team serially blamed the violence on an internet video, while the president simultaneously claimed that he also identified the crime immediately as a terrorist hit.

On campuses, the Departments of Justice and Education have issued new race/class/gender guidelines that would effectively deny constitutionally protected free speech in universities, a sort of politically correct idea that proper thinking is preferable to free thinking.

If you oppose “comprehensive immigration reform” you become a nativist or worse—and apparently are one of the “enemies” the president wants to “punish.” The president just condemned American guns that wind up in Mexico–implying right-wingers opposed his own remedies of new gun control and neglecting to mention that his own Fast and Furious operation sold thousands of lethal weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

The end of the revolving doors, lobbyists, and non-transparency resulted in Jack Lew—recipient of a $1 million bonus from Citibank as it both lost money and gulped down federal bailout money—taking over from the tax-dodger Timothy Geithner as our new Treasury secretary to oversee the new IRS. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is now pumping corporations for money to help spread the gospel about how eager we are for the implementation of Obamacare, as the government now sort of freelances on its own—the federal equivalent of California Highway Patrol officers suddenly ubiquitous along our roadsides ticketing in a frenzy, in fear of their bankrupt state pension funds.

Now What?

What happens to a corporation that says “nope” to Sebelius? An IRS audit? Phone monitoring? Presidential denunciation as a “fat cat”? Talking points? Harry Reid taking to the floor to claim it had not paid its fair share in taxes?

Government has become a sort of malignant metasisizing tumor, growing on its own, parasitical on healthy cells, always searching for new sources of nourishment, its purpose nothing other than growing bigger and faster and more powerful—until the exhausted host collapses. We have a sunshine king and our government has become a sort of virtual Versailles palace.

I suppose that when a presidential candidate urges his supporters to get in someone’s face, and to take a gun to a knife fight, from now on you better believe him. And, finally, the strangest thing about nearing the threshold of 1984? It comes with a whimper, not a bang, with a charismatic smile and mellifluous nonsense—with politically correct, egalitarian-minded bureaucrats with glasses and iPhones instead of fist-shaking jack-booted thugs.