Saturday, January 31, 2015

CGI Federal, The Designers of the Bungled Rollout, Are Back! Back at the IRS

“The Internal Revenue Service is under investigation by an oversight subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee for signing a $4.46 million contract with a Canadian company called CGI Federal – despite the fact that the same company was responsible for the disastrous launch of”

“Roskam reminded Koskinen that CGI Federal had already been fired by the Department of Health and Human Services, Vermont and Massachusetts for their failure to rollout websites associated with the Affordable Care Act in an efficient fashion.” - The IRS Hired the Same Company That Botched The Rollout, 01/24/2015, daily

Link to the entire article appears below:

Friday, January 30, 2015

ACA/Obamacare and April 15th: Time To Pony-Up The Penalty/Return The Subsidy

“Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year, Treasury officials said Wednesday. It's the first time they have given estimates for how many people will be subject to a fine.

The penalty is $95, or 1% of income above a certain threshold (roughly $20,000 for a couple). So you could end up owing the IRS a lot of money.

Take a married couple with $100,000 in income - their bill comes to $797, according to the Tax Policy Center ACA penalty calculator.

The penalty for remaining uninsured rises to the larger of $325 or 2% of income in 2015.”

“Finally, between 4.5 million and 7.5 million taxpayers received subsidies for insurance premiums when they signed up for coverage on Obamacare exchanges. They will have to use Form 8962 to reconcile their actual 2014 income with the amount they estimated when they applied for a policy in late 2013 or early 2014.

Those who underestimated their income either will receive smaller tax refunds or will owe the IRS money.

Treasury officials declined to forecast how many people may be in this situation. But H&R Block projects 3.4 million taxpayers will have to pay back part of their premiums.” - Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty, CNN Money, 01/28/2015


Link to the entire article appears below:



Wednesday, January 28, 2015, Third-party Embedded Websites and Information Security

‘A little-known side to the government's health insurance website is prompting renewed concerns about privacy, just as the White House is calling for stronger cybersecurity protections for consumers.

It works like this: When you apply for coverage on, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.

Connections to multiple third-party tech firms were documented by technology experts who analyzed, and confirmed by The Associated Press. There is no evidence that personal information from has been misused, but the number of outside connections is raising questions.

"As I look at vendors on a website...they could be another potential point of failure," said corporate cybersecurity consultant Theresa Payton. "Vendor management can often be the weakest link in your privacy and security chain."’ - New privacy concerns over government's health care website,, 01/20/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ACA's Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan: Kiss $145 Million of Taxpayer Funds Goodbye

"A startup insurance company loaned $145 million by the U.S. government under Obamacare is running out of money and being taken over by state officials in Iowa.

The company, CoOportunity Health, which also serves Nebraska, was placed under Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart’s supervision this week and is no longer accepting new enrollees, according to a statement from his office. While Gerhart’s agency will operate the company for the time being, it’s urging policyholders to seek a new insurer.

CoOportunity Health is a co-op, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, one of 23 nonprofit health insurers providing coverage in 26 states. They were created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to increase competition. The fate of CoOportunity provides new fodder for Obamacare opponents who argue that the law wastes government money." - Insurer That Got $145 Million Loan Under Obamacare Is Almost Broke,, 12/27/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ACA Architect Ezekiel Emanuel and Preventative Care

'One reason your insurance premiums have skyrocketed during the past year is that Obamacare requires all health plans to provide “free” annual wellness visits and 15 associated preventive services for which they cannot charge the patient a copayment. According to a key architect of PPACA, however, “the annual physical exam is basically worthless.” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, last heard from claiming that he wants to die at 75 in order to avoid becoming a burden on society, writes in the New York Times that “screening healthy people who have no complaints is a pretty ineffective way to improve people’s health.”

The good doctor says he’ll forego his annual exam pursuant to a desire to “make the world a better place.” But, as with his professed willingness to depart this vale of tears after three-quarters of a century, he makes it clear that all men and women of good will should follow his example “to ensure there is no doctor shortage as more Americans get health insurance.” This is where the rubber glove hits the road. Emanuel wants you to voluntarily give up a much-ballyhooed feature of Obamacare for which the “reform” law itself compels you to pay via new taxes and inflated health insurance premiums.

This is entirely consistent with Dr. Emanuel’s unique code of ethics. He is, for example, a long-time proponent of medical rationing for the elderly. Consequently, he probably doesn’t experience much cognitive dissonance when suggesting that, in order to forestall the physician shortage caused by a program he helped design, right-minded people should forego a “benefit” they were coerced to purchase. For him, this call for you to restrict your consumption of medical care is just another expression of his passion for rationing. The only thing new here is the exhortation for you to impose it on yourself

All of which raises a question: If annual physicals are worthless, why did Dr. Emanuel and his accomplices build them into PPACA?' - Ezekiel Emanuel: Go Ration Yourself,

The American Spectator, 01/12/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

Friday, January 9, 2015

When ACA Supporters Become Unsupportive: NIMBY

“For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.

The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.”

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” in the form of the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax. “ - Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard, NYT, 01/05/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:






Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Trends in Health-care Spending

“Last week’s third estimate of 3rd quarter GDP contained a significant upward revision to the real (inflation-adjusted) increase in GDP, from a 3.9 percent in the second estimate (released in November) to 5.0 percent in the third estimate.

November’s second estimate of 3rd quarter GDP included very tempered growth in health spending. The third estimate blows that out of the water. Much of the upward revision to the GDP estimate was due to health spending.

The real dollar change in seasonally adjusted GDP (at annual rates) from the 2nd quarter to the 3rd quarter was estimated at $153.7 billion in the second estimate. The third estimate revised this up to $195.2 billion, a change of $41.5 billion (27 percent).

Health spending was revised up from $8.6 billion to $20.7 billion, an increase of $12.1 billion. That is, the upward revision of health spending accounted for almost one-third of the entire GDP revision. Health spending is a component of household consumption of services. The entire revision to that category was $21.8 billion. So, pretty much the entire net increase in the estimate for household consumption of services was accounted for by health spending.” - Last week’s GDP Estimate Included a Massive Upward Revision in Health Spending, The Independent Institute, 12/30/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Obamacare’s Emphasis on Acquisition of Coverage Creates Supply Side Problems

"In addition to financial barriers to care, there are non-financial ones – mainly caused by the narrow networks that have emerged in the insurance company race to the bottom. These networks often exclude the best doctors and the best hospitals. A study by Avalere found that there were no cardiologists in the networks of plans offered in Los Angeles. There were no diagnostic radiologists in the networks of plans offered in Chicago. In seven of the nine urban areas, fewer than half of specialists sampled belonged to provider networks in Obamacare exchanges. Patients can be forced to pay 100 percent of the cost of out-of-network services.

Here is another problem: millions of Americans are being forced to switch to the wrong kind of insurance. For example, many employees of fast food restaurants have mini med insurance, which covers the first few thousand dollars of care. These employees tend to be young and healthy and mini med plans pay for primary care – which is about the only care they are likely to need. The Obama administration considers that kind of insurance “under insurance,” however, and the new law insists that people have coverage for catastrophic care, with no annual or life time limits. Yet this kind of “comprehensive coverage” often has very high deductibles – forcing the young and the healthy to pay for primary care out of pocket.

About half the newly insured will get insurance through Medicaid, where there is little or no cost sharing. But here again, there are serious non-financial barriers to care. According to a study by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services about half the doctors who are listed by insurers as serving Medicaid patients are not available to treat them. Those who are available often require long waits:


“For example,” the report said, “a number of obstetricians had wait times of more than one month, and one had wait times of more than two months for an enrollee who was eight weeks pregnant. Such lengthy wait times could result in a pregnant enrollee receiving no prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy.”

“Primary care providers, such as family doctors, internists and gynecologists, were less likely to offer appointments than specialists, the report said. But specialists tended to have longer wait times, with a median wait of 20 days, compared with 10 days for a primary care provider.”

These problems will almost certainly get worse in January when an end comes to a special Obamacare subsidy that has been enhancing the fees of Medicaid doctors for the last two years. According to the Washington Post:

“A study … from the nonpartisan Urban Institute estimated fee reductions will average about 40 percent nationwide. But they could reach 50 percent or more for primary care doctors in California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois — big states that have all expanded Medicaid under the health law.

A system-wide problem will add to these woes: we are about to experience a severe rationing problem. If the economic studies are correct, the newly insured will try to consume twice as much health care once they have insurance and there may eventually be 25 million of them. Along the way almost everyone else is being forced to have more generous insurance than they previously had and with these new benefits they are likely to seek more care. The result: we are in the process of greatly expanding the demand for care while doing virtually nothing about supply.’ - Is Obamacare Working? John Goodman, Forbes, 12/15/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Welcome to 2015: The ACA Penalty (Tax) Has Come Due

“Being uninsured in America will cost you more in 2015.

It's the first year all taxpayers have to report to the Internal Revenue Service whether they had health insurance for the previous year, as required under President Barack Obama's law. Those who were uninsured face fines, unless they qualify for one of about 30 exemptions, most of which involve financial hardships.”

“In 2015, all taxpayers have to report to the IRS on their health insurance status the previous year. Most will check a box. It's also when the IRS starts collecting fines from some uninsured people, and deciding if others qualify for exemptions.

What many people don't realize is that the penalties go up significantly in 2015. Only 3 percent of uninsured people know what the fine for 2015 will be, according to a recent poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Figuring out your potential exposure if you're uninsured isn't simple.

For 2014, the fine is the greater of $95 per person or 1 percent of household income above the threshold for filing taxes. It will jump in 2015 to the greater of 2 percent of income or $325. By 2016, the average fine will be about $1,100, based on government figures.” - Being uninsured in America will cost you more, Yahoo Finance, 12/29/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:

Updated 01/09/2015:

Chart of the Week: How Much Will Obamacare Fines Continue to Rise? -, 01/08/2015