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Thread: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

  1. #541
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    ObamaCare in death spiral after federal appeals court strikes down some subsidies

    By Betsy McCaughey
    FoxNews.com


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    Tuesday, a federal appeals court slapped down the Obama administration in a 2-1 ruling that could kill the president’s signature health care law. If upheld by the Supreme Court, the ruling would force Congress back to the drawing boards to design a health law that is actually affordable, rather than bearing the false title “Affordable Care Act.”
    The ruling in Halbig v. Burwell bars the federal government from handing out taxpayer-funded subsidies to people who buy ObamaCare plans in nearly two-thirds of the states. Those subsidies took the sting out of being forced to buy pricey ObamaCare plans. If the ruling sticks, buyers in those states will have to pay full price, on average a whopping four times the subsidized price they paid this year.
    Quadrupling the price would likely trigger a mass exodus out of the plans,causing what the insurance industry calls a “death spiral.”
    The ruling by the influential appeals court for the District of Columbia also chastised the Obama administration for rewriting the law to suit its own ends.
    Halbig is the latest in a series of warnings from federal judges that in America, the rule of law is king, not Mr. Obama.
    Judge Thomas B. Griffith, writing for the majority, declared: "The Constitution assigns the legislative power to Congress, and to Congress alone."
    No more governing by fiat, Mr. President.
    The businesses and individuals who sued in Halbig argued that the actual wording of the Affordable Care Act allows the IRS to provide subsidies (via a tax credit) only to buyers in states that established state exchanges. Section 1401 of that law unambiguously states that subsidies will be made available “through an exchange established by the state.”
    The subsidies were intended as a carrot to persuade states to establish exchanges. But surprise, only 14 states went along. The others, mostly led by Republican governors, refused.
    Late in the game, the Obama administration had to establish the federal healthcare.gov exchange to get ObamaCare launched in those uncooperative states.
    In 2012, the Congressional Research Service cautioned that the text of the law indicated “the IRS’s authority to issue the premium tax credits is limited only to situations in which the taxpayer is enrolled in a state established Exchange.”
    Yet when the Obama administration launched the federal healthcare.gov exchange last fall, IRS officials dispensed tax credit subsidies in all fifty states, despite being warned they were violating the law.
    Lawyers for the administration told the appeals court judges that regardless of what section 1401 says, Congress envisioned offering subsidies to buyers nationwide. The Court didn’t buy it.
    "The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or other of congressional intent," wrote Judge Griffith.
    No wonder. ObamaCare was crammed through the Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009, before lawmakers had read it, much less debated it.
    What is clear is that without subsidies, the Affordable Care Act is just the opposite -- hugely unaffordable. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 87% of people who signed up for ObamaCarefor 2014 qualified for subsidies, and on average they paid 76% less than the true cost of their plan. $82 a month instead of $376 a month. That $82 price tag didn’t mean ObamaCare had succeeded in lowering health insurance costs. It just shifted the cost from premium payers to taxpayers.
    The Court ruled "with reluctance," Judge Griffith said "At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly. But, high as those stakes are, the principle of legislative supremacy that guides us is higher still."
    The judges made it clear that either Congress must act to change the law (highly unlikely) or states must establish their own exchanges (also unlikely), or ObamaCare will collapse due to its unaffordable premiums.
    Yesterday’s ruling put ObamaCare in legal limbo. Expect the administration to request an en banc hearing before the entire 11-judge appeals court, which is weighted in their favor with seven Democratic appointees. En banc hearings are not always granted even on issues as monumental as this. Either way, this controversy is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Three other federal appeals courts are deciding challenges almost identical to Halbig. A disagreement among any of them will force the high court to rule.
    Judges don’t like to be overruled. Twice in recent months the Supreme Court has emphatically declared that the executive branch of government must execute the laws, not rewrite them. Down the street at the DC Court of Appeals, the judges were listening.
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Two different courts came up with two different decisions on the same thing.

    NOW, this is absolute PROOF that America is FUBAR
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  3. #543
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Federal court invalidates some ObamaCare subsidies, separate ruling preserves them



    By Barnini Chakraborty
    FoxNews.com


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    WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court dealt a major blow to ObamaCare on Tuesday, ruling against the legality of some subsidies issued to people through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
    The ruling is likely to be appealed. And a separate federal appeals court -- the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals -- hours later issued its own ruling on a similar case that upheld the subsidies in their entirety.
    But the decision Tuesday morning by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia nevertheless strikes at the foundation of the law by challenging subsidies that millions of people obtained through the federally run exchange known as HealthCare.gov.
    The panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 2-1 that the IRS went too far in extending subsidies to those who buy insurance through that website.
    The suit maintained that the language in ObamaCare actually restricts subsidies to state-run exchanges -- of which there are only 14 -- and does not authorize them to be given in the 36 states that use the federally run system.
    The court agreed.
    “We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” the ruling stated.
    The case, Halbig v. Burwell, is one of the first major legal challenges that cuts to the heart of the Affordable Care Act by going after the legality of massive federal subsidies and those who benefit from them.
    The decision said the law "unambiguously restricts" the subsidies to insurance bought on state-run exchanges.
    The dissenting opinion, though, claimed political motivations were at play. “This case is about Appellants’ not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ('ACA'),” the dissent stated.
    The ruling, though likely to be appealed, could threaten the entire foundation of the newly devised health care system. Nearly 90 percent of the federal exchange’s insurance enrollees were eligible for subsidies because of low or moderate incomes, and the outcome of the case could potentially leave millions without affordable health insurance.
    “Today’s decision rightly holds the Obama administration accountable to the law,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a written statement adding, “… As it has on so many occasions, the Obama administration simply ignored the law and implemented its own policy instead.”
    The next step for the Obama administration would be that they request a so-called en banc ruling, which means there would be a vote taken by all of the judges on the court. An appeals court can only overrule a decision made by a panel if the court is sitting en banc.
    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stressed Tuesday that different courts have reached different conclusions on the subsidy issue, and said that the latest ruling “does not have any practical impact” at this point on the ability of people to get tax credits.
    He said the Department of Justice will likely appeal to the full D.C. Circuit Court and defended the administration’s position that Congress intended “all eligible Americans” to have access to the subsidies regardless of which entity set up the exchange.
    “We are confident in the legal position that we have,” Earnest said.
    Ron Pollack, founding executive director of Families USA, said in a written statement that the ruling “represents the high-water mark for Affordable Care Act opponents, but the water will recede very quickly.”
    He added, “It will inevitably be placed on hold pending further proceedings; will probably be reheard by all of the 11-member active D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals members, who predictably will reverse it; and runs contrary to" the ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
    The appeals process could eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court deciding on the legality of the subsidies, but Pollack, whose group supports the law, believes that won’t happen.
    Of the 11 judges that could rehear the case, seven are Democrats and four are Republicans.
    Halbig v. Burwell, which previously had been called Halbig v. Sebelius, is one of four federal lawsuits that have been filed aimed at targeting the idea of tax credits and other subsidies afforded under ObamaCare.
    A total of $1 trillion in subsidies is projected to be doled out over the next decade.
    A U.S. District Court previously sided with the Obama administration on Jan. 15.
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Single Payer is coming.

    The only other way would be to get government out of it and that's not going to happen unless the government collapses.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    When... the government collapses.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    When... the government collapses.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Obamacare Now Pays for Gender Reassignment

    By Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News



    Devin Payne had gone years without health insurance—having little need and not much money to pay for it.

    Then Payne, who had a wife and four children, realized she could no longer live as a man.

    In her early 40s, she changed her name, began wearing long skirts and grew out her sandy blond hair. And she started taking female hormones, which caused her breasts to develop and the muscle mass on her 6-foot one-inch frame to shrink.

    The next step was gender reassignment surgery. For that, Payne, who is now 44, said she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,” said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money to pay for it would be awful.”

    Payne learned in the fall that she might qualify for subsidies through the state’s new insurance marketplace, Covered California, because her income fell under the limit of $46,000 a year. She eagerly signed up in March for a Blue Shield plan for about $230 a month, and began making preparations for the surgery that would change her life.

    A ‘Pre-existing Condition’


    Among the less-talked-about implications of the Affordable Care Act is the relief it is providing to many transgender people, many of whom are low-income and who have struggled to obtain health coverage.

    Getting jobs that offer insurance often has been difficult for transgender people and the cost of purchasing plans on the private market can be prohibitive. Some have been denied policies altogether after being diagnosed with “gender identity disorder,” often considered a pre-existing condition.

    Without insurance, many people were unable to afford the hormones, surgeries and counseling needed to complete their transition. Nor would they have been covered in the event of surgical complications, which can include infections.

    “We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be able to live authentically,” said Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles.

    Now, federal law prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, and it bars insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That makes it possible for more transgender people to purchase private plans. And in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, those with low incomes may get free coverage.

    The federal anti-discrimination regulations have yet to be written, but California insurance regulators have said that companies must treat transgender patients the same as other patients. For example, if plans cover hormones for post-menopausal women, they must also cover them for transgender women. Medicare, the program for the elderly and disabled, lifted its ban on covering sex reassignment surgery earlier this year.

    “The law and policy are on a transgender person’s side for the first time,” said Anand Kalra, program administrator at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center.

    Conservative and religious groups oppose using government funds for transgender surgeries, questioning whether they are medically necessary, ethical or effective.

    “We would oppose sex change operations all together,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. “But as a public policy issue, we would feel particularly strongly that taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for it.”

    A few obstacles remain for transgender patients. Not many doctors specialize in transgender care. And while the law opens the door to insurance coverage, insurers can set conditions and don’t automatically approve payment.

    “Insurance companies are making up their own rules as they go along,” said Kalra of the Transgender Law Center.

    ‘Feeling Complete’


    Growing up in Kansas, Payne remembers trying on her mother’s clothes and dressing as a girl every year for Halloween. She dreamt of having another life after this one, as a girl. But Payne said she mostly suppressed her feelings and tried to live up to the expectations for a male.

    “I put it out of my head,” she said.

    She married a woman she met at work and they had four children, now ages 7 to 22. But she never felt comfortable in the traditional role of father and provider.

    “Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money to pay for it would be awful.”

    “I was just horrible at it because it wasn’t who I was,” she said. So Payne became the primary caretaker, playing the “mommy role” as she worked from home doing software development for pharmaceutical companies.

    She felt increasingly anxious, and in late 2012, a therapist helped her to realize that she was meant to live as a woman. Payne said her entire outlook on life changed when she started taking female hormones.

    “All my anxiety and all of the bad things that I felt inside were just completely washed away,” she said.

    Payne told her wife, who was upset. She told Payne: I married a man, not a woman—but she also admitted that she wasn’t entirely surprised. With mixed feelings, Payne’s wife stayed in the marriage, and the family moved from Kansas to California, in part so Payne could be more comfortable living as a transgender woman. They rented a small house in a middle-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Palm Springs and sent their children to the public school.

    Late last year, Payne’s wife, who had battled alcoholism for years, died of liver disease.

    Payne said the children worried how people would react to her transition, but she said they soon realized it wasn’t as big of a deal as they had feared. When Payne brought birthday cupcakes to her 7-year-old daughter’s classroom last year, the children asked if she was a girl or a boy. After Payne told them she was a girl, “They just wanted their cupcakes.”

    In California, Payne found transgender friends and became an advocate within the community. “You find out that there is a whole world of people out there,” said Payne, who wears little makeup or jewelry and calls herself a “T-shirt and skirt kind of a girl.”

    Payne was ready for the surgery. She started calling the approved providers in Blue Shield’s preferred provider network. But they were booked up for months, or years. She felt she couldn’t wait—she wanted to do the surgery while her children were on summer vacation so they could go to her parents’ house in Kansas as she recovered. She found an out-of-network doctor in Palo Alto who would do the surgery about a month later.

    “The time was right and I wanted to get it done,” she said.

    Her Blue Shield policy said that gender reassignment surgery—which uses existing tissue to construct female genitalia—could be covered if patients met certain guidelines. For example, she had to be diagnosed with gender identity disorder and have an “expressed desire” to live as a member of the opposite sex.

    By the scheduled date, Blue Shield had authorized the operation but hadn’t determined exactly how much it would pay for an out-of-network provider. Payne got a cashier’s check for nearly all her savings, $27,000, to pay the doctor, hoping her insurance plan would reimburse most of it. She worried about all the other expenses too, including the hospital stay, lab work and anesthesiology services.

    The day of the surgery at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, Payne said, she remembers being wheeled into the operating room and feeling very calm. When she woke up, with oxygen still attached and wearing her hospital gown, a friend told her that the surgery had gone well, without any immediate complications.

    Later that day, she had just enough energy to type a few words on her Facebook profile: “Feeling complete.”

    Grateful for Coverage

    On a boiling afternoon in early July, about six weeks after the operation, Payne and her friends sat outside on the patio next to a pool. Misters sprayed above them, and Payne’s cat and two dogs wandered beneath their feet.

    Payne said she did suffer a few complications later—some swelling and an infection—but she recovered with medication and support from friends.

    She is still trying to figure out how much she has to pay out-of-pocket for the surgery and hospital stay—and how much of that her insurance plan will reimburse. Payne said she believes the lab work, pathology, anesthesiology services and follow-up doctor’s visits were all covered. But recently she got a statement saying she was on the hook for $17,000 of the total cost of the surgery.

    Payne believes that the government and insurance companies should help cover such operations. The population of transgender patients who want surgery is small, and she said they are less likely to suffer mental health problems once they have it.

    Payne said she will be grateful for whatever coverage she can receive. Her friend Jenny Taylor, who is staying with her during the recovery, has had an even harder time with her insurance.

    An outgoing transgender woman who laughs easily and wears colorful outfits and painted nails, Taylor purchased a policy through the insurance exchange in Tennessee. But she soon learned her doctor wasn’t in the plan’s network and that she had to pay cash for everything, with no hope of reimbursement.

    “My insurance, even though I finally got it, was useless,” she said.

    The policy also wouldn’t pay for her hormones. A pharmacist told her the medication was for women—and her identification still listed her as a male. Taylor recently moved to Palm Springs and said she now plans to apply for insurance through Covered California.

    “I was really frustrated,” she said. “We’re just trying to be ourselves, at the end of the day.”

    Payne agreed, saying she finally feels like her body matches what she knows to be true—that she is a woman. “It seems more natural,” she said.

    Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Hate to tell you this...

    Gender reassignment has been being paid for by the US government for military personnel for a LONG time now.

    I know this for an ABSOLUTE FACT. If you want details, feel free to PM me. (And no, it wasn't ME you bad thinkers!)
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Media blackout shields ObamaCare architect who bet on public stupidity



    By Howard Kurtz
    FoxNews.com



    I’ve been trying to figure out why the mainstream media has all but decided to ignore one of ObamaCare’s chief architects saying the administration played on the public’s stupidity in passing the law.
    After all, the press usually loves when hidden video surfaces, as it did this week with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, and we get unvarnished comments showing what someone really and truly believes.
    And yet there hasn’t been a mention on the network evening newscasts. CNN's Jake Tapper, to his credit, played the clip twice, asked two senators about it and wrote an online column on the subject, but that was about it for the network. Nothing in the Washington Post but for a couple of online items. (Update: The Washington Post finally got around to covering the controversy today, three days after it broke.) Not a word in the New York Times, which in 2012 ran a puffy profile of Gruber (“It is his research that convinced the Obama administration that health care reform could not work without requiring everyone to buy insurance”).
    This is utterly inexplicable, except as a matter of bias. No matter what you think of ObamaCare, on what planet is this not news? Maybe on that comet where the spaceship just landed.
    I tried to think of the possible excuses. Too busy covering other stories? Hey, nobody in America has Ebola anymore! The only real competition is a big winter storm and Eminem disgustingly dropping F-bombs at HBO’s Veterans Day concert.
    Was Gruber’s point about health care taxes and mandates too complicated? Then explain it. Besides, it isn't that this argument never came up before; it's that Gruber fesses up to the attempt at deception.
    Even MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, who makes no secret of being a liberal, admitted yesterday that “had it been a Republican, the media would have been exploding.”
    And yet MSNBC’s coverage in the previous two days basically consisted of Ronan Farrow doing a softball sitdown with Gruber. Now I’ve tried to avoid taking cheap shots at Farrow, a guy with zero journalistic experience, who worked for the administration, and who’s basically on the air because he’s Mia Farrow’s son (and maybe Frank Sinatra’s son). But this was a farce.
    “I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments,” Gruber said.
    Did Farrow ask what was inappropriate? Did he ask whether the comments were true? Nope, he carried the professor’s water:
    “But the point you were making underneath the choice of words was actually quite nuanced. You were saying, correct me if I’m wrong, that due to political pressure the language of ObamaCare had to be somewhat opaque.”
    Somewhat opaque, I love that. Also known as being highly misleading and pulling the wool over people’s eyes.
    Let’s review: Gruber, a highly paid administration consultant, said this at an academic conference a year ago:
    “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes…Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
    Stupidity. Really critical. And where is the rest of the press?
    Now Fox has certainly given the story heavy rotation, and conservatives on the network and elsewhere have jumped on the tape, and a second one that soon surfaced, to discredit the Affordable Care Act. Gruber’s comments don’t prove that the program is a mess or isn’t working. They show that the administration was counting on public ignorance to pass it.
    In another interview, on Boston’s WGBH, Gruber didn’t argue with host Emily Rooney’s characterization that he had admitted to “intentional obfuscation.” In fact, he’s not really taking back what he said at all. He said he didn’t want it widely known that “we gave poor people money.” Gruber then pivoted to charge that “the master strategy of the Republican Party” is “to confuse people enough about the law so that they don’t understand that the subsidies they’re getting is because of the law.”
    That’s a separate debate, but it’s kind of ironic that a guy who pleaded guilty to intentional deception is now accusing the other side of spreading confusion.
    All this would seem to be a ripe subject for public debate. But in much of the mainstream media, it’s been blacked out. And that's downright embarrassing.
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    LOL! The Hitler spoof videos never get old...


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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    ObamaCare Propaganda Cartoons

    Fred Lucas
    The White House posted seven cartoons on its website to help promote Obamacare, asking supporters to share them on social media.

    The cartoons featured a cross section of various times of people: a hippie “not to hip” to get insurance; an acrobat/skydiver who won’t risk doing without health insurance, among others.


    The artwork was produced by artist Carolyn Belefski, who lives in the Washington, D.C. area and collaborates with writer Joe Carabeo on the comic books Kid Roxy, Black Magic Tales and The Legettes, according to her website. She has also worked for the conservative Heritage Foundation, as well as National Geographic.

    The cartoons are among the Obama administration’s attempts to promote HealthCare.gov to people who don’t normally follow politics. Last week, Obama did an interview with three YouTube personalities. Previously, Obama did an interview with the comical “Between Two Ferns” show.

    Neither the White House nor Belefksi immediately responded to inquiries from TheBlaze.

    Below are some samples:


    Credit: WhiteHouse.gov


    Credit: WhiteHouse.gov


    Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

    To see all the images, click here.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Yeah. Let's see. I'm at almost 5k deductable a year now (was 1000). My co-pays are 40 or 50 dollars (I haven't been in to find out for sure yet). My EYE insurance was cancelled. I was diagosed with cataracts yesterday.

    Tell me how fucking Obama has helped me again?

    Fuck him.
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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Obama Tells Companies Never To Complain About ObamaCare, Shame On Him

    BY JOHN MERLINE
    02/11/2015 05:46 PM ET



    In an interview with a web-based news site called Buzzfeed, President Obama was asked to comment on news that Staples has been warning part-time workers not to clock in more than 25 hours a week because of ObamaCare. ( Reported Here )

    Obama launched into a tirade.

    "I haven't looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security," he said.

    Let's leave aside the fact that Staples is providing workers some basic financial security -- in the form of a paycheck.

    The issue is how Staples will cope with the high costs of the ObamaCare employer mandate, which went into effect this year. Any worker who puts in more than 30 hours a week is now considered full time, and companies like Staples face a $3,000 fine for each of these former part-timers if they don't offer them "affordable" insurance.

    According to Obama, these companies should just suck it up and never, ever complain in public.

    "When I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers' wages, shame on them," he said.

    But even state and local governments -- which can raise taxes to cover increased costs -- are making the exact same decision as Staples in the face of the hugely expensive employer mandate.

    In fact, IBD for some time now has been tracking businesses and government agencies that have publicly blamed ObamaCare for cutbacks in worker hours or jobs.

    In Obama's world, government can force companies to raise worker wages, provide paid time off, offer generous health insurance, and other mandated benefits, and they can just pull the extra money out of a hat to pay for it all.

    Obama displayed the same level of ignorance about how businesses operate in an earlier interview with Vox.com.

    Defending his proposal to increase sharply the capital gains tax, Obama claimed "there's no evidence that would hurt the incentives of folks at Google or Microsoft or Uber not to invent what they invent or not to provide services they provide. It just means that instead of $20 billion, maybe they've got $18, right?"

    The problem with high capital gains tax rates, however, is that they distort investment decisions by locking money in established firms to avoid the tax hit while discouraging investment in start-ups, thereby starving capital needed to finance the next Google, Microsoft or Uber.

    That's why capital gains tax hikes consistently produce far less revenue than expected, and why cutting the tax rate generates more.

    President Obama hasn't spent a single day in the private sector, and has never balanced a budget. Yet he feels qualified to lecture businesses on how they should spend their money.

    Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/blogs-capi...#ixzz3RXOucksL



    ObamaCare Co-Ops Headed Toward $2.5 Billion Meltdown
    02/11/2015 06:36 PM ET

    Crony Socialism: Among ObamaCare's many bad ideas was the attempt to create an entirely new industry of nonprofit insurance co-ops. It is fast turning into a huge, multibillion-dollar taxpayer boondoggle.

    Created as an alternative to an outright "public option," the co-ops have received $2.5 billion in low-interest loans to help them get started.

    Only about 500,000 enrolled in one of the 23 co-ops that ObamaCare spawned, which works out to $17,000 per enrollee, according to an analysis by the Daily Signal, a news site started by the Heritage Foundation.

    The loans were supposed to provide the co-ops a years-long cushion to get their premiums right. But even with all this help, one of them — CoOportunity Health — is already insolvent, forcing its roughly 68,000 enrollees in Iowa and Nebraska to switch to other plans.

    Just months before it went belly-up, CoOportunity was being hailed "as one of the most successful of the 23 such health-insurance co-ops organized nationally," according to the Des Moines Register.

    The Community Health Alliance in Tennessee froze enrollment this January after posting an $8.5 million loss in the first nine months of last year.

    These are likely to be the first of many such financial problems. A Standard & Poor's report out this week found that all but five of the co-ops had negative cash flow through Sept. 30, and 11 had bigger loss ratios than CoOportunity.

    S&P also found that "medical loss ratios" — the percentage of premiums that go to pay medical claims — were "hopelessly high" for several co-ops, a sign they enrolled too many high-cost patients.

    An earlier report from insurance rating firm A.M. Best also found trouble brewing. All but one co-op had operating losses through last September that totaled nearly $244 million. That led A.M. Best to say it "is concerned about the financial viability of these plans."

    Now the co-ops are in Washington, "pushing federal officials to make it easier for the nascent plans to get significant private funding to stay solvent," according to Politico Pro.

    Among the sticking points is whether the government will go to the back of the line when it comes to collecting on those debts.

    Washington needs to pull the plug on this dubious experiment, not waste still more money to keep it on life support.

    Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editor...#ixzz3RXQdyWtr

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Sounds similar to the redistribution of taxpayer funds toward alternative energy companies. They are paid a boatload of cash to get started, they go insolvent, they shut down and pocket the cash.

    White collar thievery.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Barack Obama resorts to selfie-stick in video to sell health insurance

    Date
    February 13, 2015 - 9:01AM

    Using a selfie-stick, posing in front of his mirror, doodling pictures of his wife Michelle and playing imaginary basketball in his office: these are the things United States President Barack Obama supposedly does when he's alone.

    That's the premise at least of a video he has recorded for BuzzFeed, the news, pop culture and listicle website, in a calculated and apparently already successful effort to reach young voters.

    Like his controversial appearance on the Funny or Die web series 'Between Two Ferns' with Zach Galifianakis in 2014, Obama participated in the self-mocking BuzzFeed video, published on Thursday in the US, as part of a strategy to sell his healthcare policy to young Americans.


    US President Barack Obama captures himself on a selfie stick in this still from the video. Photo: BuzzFeed

    BuzzFeed shared the video of Obama on their Facebook page with the message: "How did we get Obama to use a selfie stick? Oh, because he wants you to go to https://www.healthcare.gov/."

    Things everybody does but doesn't talk about, featuring President Obama http://t.co/Kd6qUbauxm pic.twitter.com/6nYMfeKDXv — BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) February 12, 2015

    In the video, between winking at himself in the mirror and using a selfie-stick (a long stick you attach a phone or camera to so you can take a picture of yourself from a distance, sometimes viewed as the ultimate vanity product), Obama rehearses a speech in the mirror reminding Americans about the fast-approaching annual deadline to secure health insurance, which falls this Sunday in the US.


    Barack Obama shows off a new level of cool in the BuzzFeed video. Photo: BuzzFeed

    He also mocks the derisory 'Thanks Obama' meme, muttering the phrase to himself as he struggles to get a cookie inside a glass of milk. He even says "YOLO" - an acronym for "you only live once".

    "YOLO man!" Find out why President Obama has a selfie stick—and #GetCovered by February 15: http://t.co/edMm32q3mA pic.twitter.com/VqzhrcrA7I — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 12, 2015
    President Obama wants YOU to #GetCovered by February 15: http://t.co/GNfbft9Ewv Watch → http://t.co/edMm328sv2 pic.twitter.com/Ws1rTHRDC6 — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 12, 2015


    But he isn't above poking fun at himself either. Photo: Supplied

    As a political strategy for reaching a wide online audience, it appeared to be paying off within hours. Almost three million people had viewed the video on Facebook within two hours of it going live, and the piece had a huge response on social media, most of it positive.

    Obama weathered criticism for his appearance on Galifianakis' web series last year - which was pilloried by politicians and commentators on the right wing of politics for being a waste of his time and an undignified exercise. But the piece was viewed more than nine million times on YouTube alone, while his strategists defended the humorous approach as necessary to "break through".

    Galifianakis asked Obama questions like "Is it going to be hard in two years when you're no longer president and people will stop letting you win at basketball?" - before allowing him to eventually plug the policy in the video and repeat the name of the healthcare website several times.


    Barack Obama doodles his love in the spoof video. Photo: BuzzFeed

    In 2012, Obama also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in a comedic segment called 'Slow Jam The News', where he performed with Fallon and the band The Roots, to promote his policy on student loans.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare



    Dear God, we are such a laughing stock.

    (And also, that is a very complimentary drawing of Moochelle. Then again, you don't want to make a Wookie mad. They'll tear your arm right out of your socket!)

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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    It appears that Obamacare might go down in flames today.

    Unfortunately, Kennedy is the swing vote. HOWEVER, he has been saying things that lead the media to believe he is about to nuke it.

    Nothing firm yet. But the debate is going on today.

    This is about the subsidies, the fact that 38 states refused to create the offices for this crap and it might cause a "death spiral for insurance" are all at stake.

    I'd like to see a death spiral for insurance. While it's nice to have, if I had all the money my wife and I pay INTO insurance and all my fucking Social Security for the past 40 years, I'd have been a millionaire already.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Justice Kennedy’s opinion supporting states’ collecting taxes on Internet/mail-order transactions

    By Eugene Volokh March 3 at 1:24 PM Follow @volokhc

    Justice Anthony Kennedy is weighing in on Internet and direct mail sales taxes. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, 2013 File)
    Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision in Direct Marketing Ass’n v. Brohl involved a procedural question, but the underlying substantive issue is also very important: What can states do in order to collect sales and use taxes on Internet and direct mail transactions, where the seller is outside the state but the buyer is inside? And Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion signals that — when the substantive issue comes before him — the answer would be “a lot”: he would reverse Supreme Court precedent that generally bars states from collecting such taxes from the out-of-state sellers. Here’s most of Justice Kennedy’s opinion (some paragraph breaks added):
    It [seems] appropriate, and indeed necessary, to add this separate statement concerning what may well be a serious, continuing injustice faced by Colorado and many other States.
    Almost half a century ago, this Court determined that, under its Commerce Clause jurisprudence, States cannot require a business to collect use taxes — which are the equivalent of sales taxes for out-of-state purchases — if the business does not have a physical presence in the State. National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Department of Revenue of Ill., 386 U.S. 753 (1967). Use taxes are still due, but under Bellas Hess they must be collected from and paid by the customer, not the out-of-state seller.
    Twenty-five years later, the Court relied on stare decisis to reaffirm the physical presence requirement and to reject attempts to require a mail-order business to collect and pay use taxes. Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 311 (1992). This was despite the fact that under the more recent and refined test elaborated in Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady, 430 U.S. 274 (1977), “contemporary Commerce Clause jurisprudence might not dictate the same result” as the Court had reached in Bellas Hess.
    In other words, the Quill majority acknowledged the prospect that its conclusion was wrong when the case was decided. Still, the Court determined vendors who had no physical presence in a State did not have the “substantial nexus with the taxing state” necessary to impose tax-collection duties under the Commerce Clause. Three Justices concurred in the judgment, stating their votes to uphold the rule of Bellas Hess were based on stare decisis alone. Id., at 319 (Scalia, J., joined by Kennedy, J., and Thomas, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). This further underscores the tenuous nature of that holding — a holding now inflicting extreme harm and unfairness on the States.
    In Quill, the Court should have taken the opportunity to reevaluate Bellas Hess not only in light of Complete Auto but also in view of the dramatic technological and social changes that had taken place in our increasingly interconnected economy. There is a powerful case to be made that a retailer doing extensive business within a State has a sufficiently “substantial nexus” to justify imposing some minor tax-collection duty, even if that business is done through mail or the Internet. After all, “interstate commerce may be required to pay its fair share of state taxes.” D. H. Holmes Co. v. McNamara, 486 U.S. 24, 31 (1988).
    This argument has grown stronger, and the cause more urgent, with time. When the Court decided Quill, mail-order sales in the United States totaled $180 billion. 504 U.S., at 329 (White, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). But in 1992, the Internet was in its infancy. By 2008, e-commerce sales alone totaled $3.16 trillion per year in the United States.
    Because of Quill and Bellas Hess, States have been unable to collect many of the taxes due on these purchases. California, for example, has estimated that it is able to collect only about 4% of the use taxes due on sales from out-of-state vendors. The result has been a startling revenue shortfall in many States, with concomitant unfairness to local retailers and their customers who do pay taxes at the register. The facts of this case exemplify that trend: Colorado’s losses in 2012 are estimated to be around $170 million. States’ education systems, healthcare services, and infrastructure are weakened as a result.
    The Internet has caused far-reaching systemic and structural changes in the economy, and, indeed, in many other societal dimensions. Although online businesses may not have a physical presence in some States, the Web has, in many ways, brought the average American closer to most major retailers. A connection to a shopper’s favorite store is a click away — regardless of how close or far the nearest storefront. Today buyers have almost instant access to most retailers via cell phones, tablets, and laptops. As a result, a business may be present in a State in a meaningful way without that presence being physical in the traditional sense of the term.
    Given these changes in technology and consumer sophistication, it is unwise to delay any longer a reconsideration of the Court’s holding in Quill. A case questionable even when decided, Quill now harms States to a degree far greater than could have been anticipated earlier. See Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 233 (2009) (stare decisis weakened where “experience has pointed up the precedent’s shortcomings”). It should be left in place only if a powerful showing can be made that its rationale is still correct.
    The instant case does not raise this issue in a manner appropriate for the Court to address it. It does provide, however, the means to note the importance of reconsidering doubtful authority. The legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill and Bellas Hess.
    As Justice Kennedy notes, Justice Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also expressed similar substantive views in Quill (1992), though they weren’t prepared then to overturn the precedent; query whether they, and some other Justices, would go along with Justice Kennedy in a future case.
    Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.







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    Default Re: Mandating health Insurance - Obamacare

    Court's liberals hammer health law challengers



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    WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court's four liberal justices hammered challengers to President Obama's health care law with a decidedly conservative line of attack Wednesday, suggesting that the consequences of upending the law's tax subsidies would raise serious a serious constitutional problem.
    In an unusually combative argument Wednesday morning, the court's four more liberal justices suggested that limiting the tax credits used by millions of Americans to pay insurance premiums, as the challengers have said the law requires, would throw the insurance markets in the 34 states that did not create their own insurance exchanges. If Congress had meant to do that, the liberal justices suggested, it would have been applying unconstitutional
    "We're going to have the death spiral that this system was created to avoid," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. "Tell me how this is not coercive in an unconstitutional way." Justice Elena Kagan echoed the point, asking why the court shouldn't presume that Congress typically can't impose "draconian" burdens on the states unless it makes its intent clear.
    Justice Anthony Kennedy, often considered the court's swing vote, said he was concerned that the challengers' view of the health law would create "a serious constitutional problem." But he quickly hedged to say the challengers' view of the law's language may be correct.
    The lawyer for the challengers, Michael Carvin, disputed that suggestion. And he returned repeatedly to the wording of the law itself. "This is," he told the justices, " a straightforward case of statutory construction where the plain language dictates the result."
    The liberals' line of attack reached back to the last time the high court heard a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, in 2012. Then, the court's conservatives said that the Constitution did not permit the federal government to strip a state of all of its Medicaid funding as a consequence of not expanding eligibility for the program.
    The court's more conservative justices stayed mostly silent during the first half of Wednesday's arguments. Chief Justice John Roberts gave Carvin an extra 10 minutes to joust with the court's liberals.
    Several of the liberal justices also voiced concern that states never were told a refusal to set up their own health insurance exchanges would deny their citizens the federal subsidies needed to make premiums affordable.
    The court challenge in King v. Burwell represents the most serious obstacle to the law since it survived the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 2012 -- more serious than its occasionally balky website, wavering public opinion ratings or Republican opposition in Congress.
    The law states that tax credits will be available through so-called exchanges, or online marketplaces, "established by the State." When it was being crafted, lawmakers assumed most or all states would create their own exchanges. After it passed in March 2010, it became clear that many states would rely on the federal government to operate them, as the law allows.
    In 2012, the Internal Revenue Service issued regulations making the subsidies available in all states. The law's challengers claimed they cannot be offered in exchanges operated by the federal government. At least 34 states fit into that category. Without subsidies, insurance costs would skyrocket.
    To back up their claim that Congress meant what it said — that it wasn't simply a drafting error — the law's opponents say lawmakers purposely made tax credits available only in state-run exchanges as an incentive for governors and legislatures to create their own exchanges.
    But proponents, backed by 22 states, have argued that governors and legislatures never were told they needed to set up state exchanges in order for their citizens to get tax credits. They claimed the issue was not discussed when the law was being drafted. And now, they said, the court should take into consideration that millions of people would be hurt if the subsidies are eliminated.
    The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012 by a 5-4 vote in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. Last year, it exempted closely held companies with religious objections from a follow-up regulation that insurance plans must include full coverage for contraceptives. That, too, came on a 5-4 vote.
    The argument over subsidies in federal exchanges is the focus of four separate cases. In King, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit unanimously upheld the law. A panel of the D.C. Circuit appeals court ruled 2-1 for the challengers, but that opinion was vacated by the full court pending further review, which is on hold. A district court in Oklahoma ruled in favor of the challengers. A fourth case is pending in Indiana.
    The legal argument in favor of the law has been bolstered by the potential effect of its demise. More than 9 million people could lose subsidies in 2016, according to data compiled by the liberal Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. On average, those subsidies pay more than 75% of premium costs.
    Without subsidies, more than 8 million people would be exempt from the requirement that individuals purchase insurance, because it no longer would be affordable. Hundreds of thousands of employers would be exempt from penalties for not covering employees, because the penalties only kick in if any of their workers require federal subsidies.
    Those are the results most opponents seek. But the four King plaintiffs' qualifications to bring the lawsuit were cast in doubt because of their low incomes and potential eligibility for other government benefits. As the case went to court, it was not clear whether any of them would be worse off under the law.
    Other parts of the Affordable Care Act would be left standing even if the justices strike down tax credits in federal exchanges. Participants in at least 14 states that operate their own exchanges would remain eligible for tax credits: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Two other states, Idaho and New Mexico, are transitioning from the federal to state exchanges.
    But the law no longer could work as intended. Federal subsidies make insurance for most participants affordable. That keeps them from being exempt from the individual mandate. If they drop insurance and don't pay the penalty, insurance companies no longer could afford to guarantee coverage to everyone else, and hospitals no longer could afford to treat the uninsured.
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