Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kathleen Sebelius rules against the church: Kathleen said from on high, let there be "free" contraceptive, and then there was contraceptive

'The White House ruled Friday that employees of religious-affiliated, nonprofit institutions would receive insurance coverage for birth control under Obamacare, ensuring more legal challenges to the rule.

"[Friday's] announcement reinforces our commitment to respect the concerns of houses of worship and other nonprofit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage, while helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Early last year, the Obama administration said that universities, hospitals, and other employers with a religious affiliation could avoid paying directly for contraceptives.

Under that Obamacare arrangement, insurance companies would instead provide coverage and pay for it.

The rule requires an institution's health insurer or third-party insurance administrator to notify employees about birth control benefits and provide beneficiaries with direct payments that cover the cost of contraceptive services.

The announcement by Sebelius puts into effect a requirement that has been beset by more than a year of talks between administration officials and religious employers.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other denominations oppose contraception on religious grounds and have protested against the requirement, along with conservatives.

"We have received and started to review the 110-page final rule," New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the conference’s president, said in a statement. "It will require more careful analysis. We will provide a fuller statement when that analysis is complete." '
Obamacare Ruling: Religious Employers Must Provide Birth Control Coverage, Newsmax, 06/28/2013

Link to the entire article appears below:

Milton Friedman: when the proponents of more government want to be the purveyors of more government

Ryan to IRS: You Work for the Taxpayer

Friday, June 28, 2013

If You Love the NSA, You’ll Really Love Hub!

“The Health and Human Services Department earlier this year exposed just how vast the government's data collection efforts will be on millions of Americans as a result of ObamaCare.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., asked HHS to provide "a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub." The Hub is a central feature of ObamaCare, since it will be used by the new insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.

In response, the HHS said the ObamaCare data hub will "interact" with seven other federal agencies: Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense and — believe it or not — the Peace Corps. Plus the Hub will plug into state Medicaid databases.

And what sort of data will be "routed through" the Hub? Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, and enrollment status in other health plans, according to the HHS.

"The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic," noted Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor.” - Think NSA Spying Is Bad? Here Comes ObamaCare Hub, Investors Business Daily, 06/25/2013

Link to the entire article appears below:




Friday, June 21, 2013

The NBA to be Obamacare Pitchman?

"Could LeBron James be the next spokesman for Obamacare?

The Obama administration has reached out to the NBA about a potential marketing partnership to promote the health law, POLITICO has learned.

The news, revealed recently by Massachusetts officials who have been in contact with the administration, offers a glimpse at how President Barack Obama’s team plans to push the new coverage options to a public that largely has been clueless about the new health insurance options.

The NBA declined to comment. A spokesman said, “We have nothing to announce at this time.”

It’s unclear whether a potential partnership would put big-name ballplayers — like James, the Miami Heat superstar — at the center of ad campaigns or whether it would be as modest as permitting the administration to affix the NBA logo onto marketing materials. An agreement itself isn’t even a slam dunk; Obamacare is partisan and controversial, and the NBA could decide it doesn’t want to go near it." - White House seeks NBA assist on Obamacare, Politico, 06/19/2013

Link to entire article appears below:

Gallup Poll: Obamacare Causing Small Businesses to Freeze Hiring

'Small business owners' fear of the effect of the new health-care reform law on their bottom line is prompting many to hold off on hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases, a recent poll found.

"We were startled because we know that employers were concerned about the Affordable Care Act and the effects it would have on their business, but we didn't realize the extent they were concerned, or that the businesses were being proactive to make sure the effects of the ACA actually were minimized," said attorney Steven Friedman of Littler Mendelson. His firm, which specializes in employment law, commissioned the Gallup poll.

"If the small businesses' fears are reasonable, then it could mean that the small business sector grows slower than what economic conditions otherwise would indicate. And small businesses have been a growth engine in the economy," Friedman told CNBC.

Forty-one percent of the businesses surveyed have frozen hiring because of the health-care law known as Obamacare. And almost one-fifth—19 percent— answered "yes" when asked if they had "reduced the number of employees you have in your business as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act."

The poll was taken by 603 owners whose businesses have under $20 million in annual sales.' - Will Obamacare Hurt Jobs? It's Already Happening, Poll Finds, CNBC 06/19/2013

Link to entire article appears below:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

From the Department of You Can’t Make this Stuff Up: Sebelius “May as well drop out” [in 3rd grade].

“Children who don’t get a pre-kindergarten education, ideally from birth to age 5, might fall behind and “may as well drop out” by third grade, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday at an event to garner support for President Barack Obama's $75-billion proposal to increase pre-school enrollment across the country.” - Sebelius: Kids 'So Far Behind' by 3rd Grade 'May As Well Drop Out',, 06/14/2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Possible Government Employee Insider Trading Regarding Grandma’s Health Insurance? No way! Way!

“Hundreds of federal employees were given advance word of a Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers in the weeks before the official announcement, a period when trading in the shares of those firms spiked.


The surge of trading in Humana’s and other private health insurers’ stock before the April 1 announcement already has prompted the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Wall Street investors had advance access to inside information about the then-confidential Medicare funding plan.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Washington Post late last week that his office reviewed the e-mail records of employees at the Department of Health and Human Services and found that 436 of them had early access to the Medicare decision as much as two weeks before it was made public.


The number of federal employees with advance knowledge is surely higher; the figures Grassley’s staff compiled did not include people at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget who also saw the information. The e-mail records of those employees have not been made available to Grassley.


The discovery that sensitive information was so widely disseminated could complicate the forensic task for investigators trying to determine who may have leaked confidential information, and it brings further attention to the government’s handling of policy details valued by Wall Street traders.” - Hundreds in government had advance word of Medicare action at heart of trading-spike probe, Washington Post, 06/09/2013


Link to the entire article appears below:


Monday, June 3, 2013

GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius’ ‘Obamacare’ fundraising - Washington Times 05/30/2013

Senior Republican senators on Thursday asked the Health and Human Services’ inspector general to investigate Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ fundraising drive to promote the new health care law — a practice ethics specialists have said is anything from a legal stretch to a shakedown for cash.

“These activities call into question whether appropriations and ethics laws are being followed,” said the letter signed by Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

In a letter to Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson, the top GOP senators on three influential committees asked if Mrs. Sebelius broke any laws or violated ethics guidelines by soliciting insurance companies and other health care industry entities to contribute to a nonprofit that says it will educate Americans about the health law.

Watchdogs and good-government groups disagree over whether Mrs. Sebelius violated federal laws by seeking funds on behalf of a nonprofit group, called Enroll America, to promote “Obamacare,” but all say asking private companies and entities to financially support the rollout of the massive and complex law raises serious ethical questions for the Obama administration, which is already reeling from a string of recent controversies.

The administration and its critics were also sparring over whether Mrs. Sebelius was targeting private companies and other groups that she would soon be regulating as part of the health bill, or that could be in line for contracts to help implement the law.

“Obviously, there’s an appearance problem,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “If she was soliciting for a Girl Scout troop in her neighborhood — something totally unrelated to health care — I don’t think you would have these questions, but she is charged with implementing the most significant health care changes in a generation.” - Washington Times, 05/30/2013

Link to the entire article appears below:



Saturday, June 1, 2013

ACA: a price rocket -or- Wernher Von Braun warned of such launch pad explosions.

An item of ACA that escapes discussion is "fully reserved". That is, private insurance must reserve for future losses. However, social insurance, in the main, the "reserve" thereof, is implicitly and explicitly assumed to be the political authorities ability to coercively tax. Historical experience tells one, in no uncertain terms, that social security type plans with a quasi-reserve such as a trust fund do not reserve for future loses rather they raise taxes in that the tax functions/substitutes as the reserve.
Another item to consider is, in the aggregate, experience tells one that social insurance schemes are generally way too rich in benefit design based upon an extremely under estimated price.
Regarding ACA, the schemers have created a design that has the attributes of a social insurance plan yet the insurance mechanism is privately insured. Unlike U.S. Social Security and Medicare which have paper tiger trust funds [or worse in that the dupery of being one's own debtor and creditor is at work] and escalating historical tax rates, ACA is underpinned with a real tiger reserve [private insurers] and hence escalating premium rates. Stated alternatively, the premium rates will mirror the escalating tax rates of general social insurance schemes yet escalate even more as the future losses must be reserved and those reserves based upon ever escalating price. No hiding behind unfunded future liabilities.

Consider for a moment that Medicare had been originally designed based on the ACA design. For example, circa 1965 to today there would be no such item as unfunded liabilities. All future losses would have to be reserved [private insurance mechanism]. Exactly what kind of insurance premium would one currently face and would have faced between 1965 and today?

Would it be the current zero price per month for part A and $100 per month for part B? The only way part A could remain at a zero price would be to have an extreme escalation in the payroll tax and part B's price would need to increase substantially as well.

Moreover, if such program had been fully reserved all along, then there would be no need to massively escalate price today as that mass escalation would have occurred over time [1965 - 2013]. The price, if fully reserved, would have been a bone of contention, politically speaking, during the vast majority of Medicare's life span.

In essence, there is no bending the cost curve in ACA. The curve is now fully priced for escalating price based upon too rich of a benefit design AND fully reserved for the price today and escalating price of tomorrow. No hiding behind paper tiger trust funds and unfunded future liabilities. Moreover, ObamaCare taxes will need to rise as well to subsidize the escalating price of certain groups selected for subsidization.

As with all social insurance schemes price containment will end in cutting benefits and/or price control schemes that will merely exastrobate the situation.
**note** how many times and in how many ways does one see/hear the basis regarding  the future viability of collective action as "the political authorities ability to coercively tax."

How many programs, when challenged on viability, are defended by "the political authorities ability to coercively tax." The nitwitery of the argument is that if all programs had to call in their marker regarding  "the political authorities ability to coercively tax" then the tax rate would be 101% which means there would be no economy as no tax at 101% can exist.