Tag Archives: ACA

Are Obamacare’s 22 Health Insurance Co-ops Near Financial Collapse?

By Richard Pollock

Ominous signs are proliferating among 22 Obamacare health insurance co-ops of imminent financial collapses that could leave more than a million Americans without coverage, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group analysis.

All but one of the federally funded co-ops are experiencing accelerating net losses. President Obama’s signature health care reform program established the co-ops to provide non-profit competition to private sector health insurance providers.

Many of the 22 co-ops could soon follow an Obamacare co-op that defaulted earlier this year, suffering $163 million in operating losses in a single year. That collapse left 120,000 customers without coverage on Christmas Eve.

“We’re certainly going to have fewer co-op’s by the end of the year,” Thomas Miller, a resident health care fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, told DCNF.

New figures compiled by Miller and Marie-Grace Turner, president of the Galen Institute, show that net losses for the co-ops reached a record $614 million in 2014. Both AEI and Galen are Obamacare critics.

The figure is nearly three times the $234 million in losses suffered through the first three quarters of 2014 as reported by Standards & Poor’s in a February 2015  report. It means that the burn rate for the experimental Obamacare co-ops is quickening.

“All but one of the co-ops,” S&P noted, “reported negative net income through the first three quarters of 2014.”

Insurance ratings firm A.M. Best also warned in January that as of September 30, 2014, “the ratio of surplus notes outstanding to capital and surplus exceeded 100% for all of the co-ops.”

Arizona’s Meritus Mutual Health Partners co-op has long-term loans that are nearly 1,000 percent of the value of its capital and surplus, according to A.M. Best.

S&P identified the co-ops suffering the worst capital ratios as those in Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Maryland.

The Community Health Alliance co-op in Tennessee reported that it’s net losses were 314% of its federal funding, according to the S&P report.

Community Health said in January that it would no longer offer insurance on the state exchange, according to the Tennessean daily newspaper. The co-op enrolled 140 customers and received $73 million from Obamacare, a cost of more $521,ooo per enrollee.

Another indication of serious co-op financial weakness is the fact that CMS gave out $317 million in additional “solvency loans” to one out of every three co-ops last year.

The injection of the federal funds was to prevent co-op capital reserves from falling below the minimum capital rates set by each state insurance commissioner.

The emerging picture of massive losses across all of the federal co-ops was forecast by an original White House Office and Management and Budget estimate that warned up to four of every 10 co-ops could default.

The human wreckage left behind a failing co-op was seen earlier this year when regulators in Iowa and Nebraska liquidated the assets of a failing federal health care co-op known as Co-Opportunity Health.  Insurance regulators officially declared the co-op was in “hazardous condition” last December.

Co-op supporters hailed Co-Opportunity health because it had initially enrolled 50,000 customers, the second highest in the nation.

“We are very pleased with the market response to our products,” said David Lyons, Co-Opportunity’s chief executive officer and a politically-connected former Iowa insurance commissioner.

What Lyons failed to say was that Co-Opportunity slashed prices and offered very low, below-market premiums to attract new customers.

The low premiums came at a cost. Co-Opportunity’s ratio of costs to premiums was 140 percent. That meant that for every dollar it collected in premiums, it had to pay out $1.40 in medical claims.

The ratio is not much better among the other remaining co-ops.  According to Scott E. Harrington of the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard David Institute of Health Economics, “The ratios for the first three quarters of 2014 produced “a total ratio of costs-to-premiums of 116 percent.

“Most co-ops’ weak operating performance is a result of high medical claims,” concluded S&P, adding, that the medical costs were “hopelessly high” for many of the co-ops.

Brian Gillette, the chief operating officer of the Urbandale, Iowa-based Group Benefits Limited, said that the unexpected closure of Co-Opportunity Health was “massively disruptive” to 800 of his employer groups and for thousands of individual policyholders.

“We were notified on Christmas eve that the insurance division was taking over Co-Opportunity Health,” Gillette told the DCNF in an interview. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “This was without precedent in my career.”

Hints of the financial Co-Opportunity debacle came last September when the co-op abruptly announced it was dumping more than 10,000 of its poorest and sickest customers and transferring them to the state’s Medicaid program.

That harsh action appeared contrary to the originally stated mission of the consumer-oriented co-op as presented by Obama administration officials.

At its formation, federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promised the co-ops would offer “affordable, consumer-friendly and high quality health insurance options.”

Sally Pipes, another Obamacare critic who is president of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, called the dumping of enrollees “totally, absolutely immoral.”

“If I were dumped on Medicaid, I’d be furious,” she said.

Ultimately, the Iowa Insurance Division reported in court that Co-Opportunity suffered $163 million in operating losses in its lone year of operation.  More than 120,000 customers lost their coverage.

Some co-ops are taking steps to stem their large losses with huge new rate increases.

Health Republic in Oregon, for example, boosted its 2015 rates by a whopping 37.8% according to state data.

On April 8, its president and CEO unexpectedly resigned, saying he wanted to return to his home state of Louisiana.

But Co-Opportunity Health didn’t suffer the worst losses, according to S&P.

Obamacare co-ops in Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Illinois, Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada “had net loss-to-surplus ratios that were worse than Co-Opportunity’s,” S&P said. “That means their net losses represented a larger portion of their remaining funds compared with Co-Opportunity, as of Sept. 30.”

Co-Opportunity Health received an initial $145 million in low-cost loans from the CMS in 2012. Then last September it received an emergency $32 million in new “solvency loans.”.

CMS officials turned down a third Co-Opportunity request for an injection of another $55 million in a solvency loan, according to Nick Gerhart, Iowa’s insurance commissioner in an interview with the DCNF.

Explaining the rejection, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told the DCNF that “CMS did not have sufficient funds” to cover the $55 million.

Albright’s comments underscore the financial dilemma facing all the co-ops.

Unlike traditional insurance companies, Obamacare from the start restricted the co-ops from regular access to conventional credit markets. They cannot obtain short-term bridge loans, offer stock, seek equity or other forms of private capital. All the co-ops are funded with federal tax dollars.

Miller warned that the co-ops are in such precarious shape they many could fail very quickly. “One lesson is that this happens very quickly,” he said. “These things could suddenly explode and leave a lot of injured parties to clean up.”

The speed with which Co-Opportunity failed was recounted by Gillette, whose firm was the largest general insurance agency for the co-op.

“Only a couple of weeks prior to the announcement, maybe two weeks prior to the announcement, we met with their senior leadership to discuss financial performance because we were aware what were disturbing trends,” Gillette said. “We were given every assurance that they had a sustainable model, not just for 2015 but well into the future.”

“They don’t have any other cushion except for taxpayers to bail them out or lend them more money.  When that’s gone, so is the co-op,” explained Miller.

Gerhart agreed, telling the DCNF that once Washington turned off the spigot, the co-op was gone.

“A lot of traditional insurance companies have a lot of different tools at their disposal to raise capital.  And insurance, as you know, is a very capital-intensive business,” the commissioner explained.

“If you’re a more traditional company, if you run into problems, you try to offer debt, you try to offer stock to folks,” he said. “You go to financing that’s more flexible, maybe. There’s a lot of different financing tools available that’s just not available to a co-op.”

“It wasn’t realistic given the structure of the non-profit,” he observed. “So they weren’t able to raise the capital necessary,” he recalled.

“Our message to Iowans and Nebraskans was they should be get out. ‘Get out now,’” he said.

Follow Richard on Twitter





Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Reid: Obamacare Delayed Because “People Are Not Educated About How to Use the Internet”

Another extension has been granted by The White House for its Obamacare enrollment deadline, despite previous reports that the deadline could not be extended beyond March 31st.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attributed this delay to people not being smart enough to use the internet.

“We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up who didn’t get through,” he said. “There are some people who are not like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time. The example they gave us is a 63-year-old woman came into the store and said, ‘I almost got it. Every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.’ We have a lot of people just like this through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.”

According to Reid, the fact that this woman was “cut off” has nothing at all to do with Healthcare.gov’s embarrassing track record full of errors and security problems, but everything to do with a lack of internet education. He did not specify the problems with the internet that allegedly baffle so many Americans. Enrollment by telephone is an option, but the long wait times might mean that Americans are also not smart enough to use the telephone.

Reid’s accusation about Americans’ ability to use the internet came a month after declaring on C-SPAN that all complaints about Obamacare’s problems are a lie, a huge contradiction to reports all over the country.

Conscripted Into Obamacare, I Conscientiously Object

I have been trying to work out why I am so upset about Obamacare.

We already live in a social democratic state that forcibly takes my money through taxes for things that I don’t think anyone’s money should be taken for. I may feel there is a better way to build the roads than have the government pay for them through massively redistributive taxation, collected essentially by force, but I don’t get angry about using them every day.

So isn’t there a prima facie case to be made that if we are stuck with a huge state, taxing and spending to the tune of about a third of the economy, then at least the attempt to save lives and maintain health through this questionable system is better than the funding of secret agencies to spy on us and otherwise eliminate our basic civil rights, the deployment of massive military capability that makes more enemies rather than eliminating any immediate threat, or the transfer of the hard earned wealth of working Americans to already privileged financiers?

How can Obamacare possibly be as bad as that litany, and why do I find myself angry about it, even as I find deeply hypocritical the objections of many Republicans whose party was actually responsible for designing the ACA that they now decry?

I am one of those whose healthcare coverage was cancelled. The nearest equivalent policy from the same insurer would have cost me 67% more than that the one I lost. A slightly worse policy (which I have purchased) costs me 20% more – presumably somewhat “subsidized” on account of my modest income. Ironically, the 67% increase would have been enough to price me out of health insurance, which has become for me much less affordable under the ironically named Affordable Care Act.

What could possibly justify cancelling my healthcare plan, and forcing me to replace it with a more expensive plan that covers drug addiction treatment that I shall never use because I do not take drugs, maternity care that I shall never use because I am male, and pediatric dental coverage that I shall never use because I don’t have children and have no plans to have any?

The answer is, I suppose, the pragmatic and superficially humane notion, which most advanced societies have arrived at, that a wealthy, civilized society does not let its own suffer from bad health, and that since no one knowingly brings physical harm upon themselves, it would be wrong not to socialize resources to save lives and prevent suffering. After all, goes one argument, we accept taxation and the socialization of resources for much less necessary ends, so why would we not socialize for this? (There is also an implied (and much more tenuous) State and societal interest in reproduction, to justify my paying for the medical expenses incurred by someone else who chooses to have a child, even while I cannot afford to have my own child.)

You may agree or disagree with the above justification of Obamacare, but when it is used to justify a legal takeover one seventh of the American economy by the State, you end up with the greatest single move toward a communistic (used advisedly) society since the New Deal. Whether that is a step that America wants to make is for America to decide, but it is a step so large that it demands honest and extensive debate that can only legitimately end in informed consent (to borrow another idea from the field of healthcare that carries far too little respect among our political class) or dissent. And if the social democrats were successful in persuading the rest of us that we really wanted to change our culture and politics so massively as to socialize all healthcare, then we would have either to change the Constitution or to agree on some interpretation of it under which the socialization of healthcare is justified as the Constitutional protection of life, liberty and/or pursuit of happiness. (While many of my readers might find that latter notion incredible, just imagine how much more honest, comprehensive and principled a debate we would be having if anyone were to try even to make that case.)

America has not had that debate because Obamacare is not what we were told it was. The continued involvement of insurance companies in the healthcare industry provides the illusion of continuity, of the operation of a market, and of free contract and choice. The ultimate decision by social democrats not to advocate for the single-payer system that most directly and visibly realizes the changes they are trying to make gives the appearance that individuals will continue to be responsible for their poor health choices – not that they will be paid for by their fellow Americans. The ACA hurts some Americans very much more than others – something else no one told us to expect. (The worst case was that we could keep our coverage, remember, so there wasn’t to be a downside. (Yes, I know it’s laughable when you see it written down.))

There is at least something “honest” about the single-payer system: government as sole provider of, and payer for, universal healthcare is the most direct implementation of the socialistic purpose that drives it. Single-payer doesn’t t pretend to individualism by having “individual mandates” (isn’t all taxation for public welfare a mandate on the individuals who pay it?) or the involvement of insurance corporations as potential scapegoats for the State and/or the public – corporations who now received legally extorted (again used advisedly) business.

But even Hillary Clinton, who a decade ago did extensive work from the Left, as it were, on Healthcare reform, could see that Americans didn’t want such a single-payer system: it was, in fact, rejected so comprehensively that even Obama, with all the political capital he won in a landslide swing against the Republicans in 2008, didn’t try to push it. Rather, Obama’s Democrats adopted a Republican plan that the GOP now hypocritically decries.

A single-payer system would be funded, presumably, out of our familiar progressive taxation system. While many conservatives and libertarians have no love for that idea or direct taxation, itself, even they would much rather be forced to pay for something that the country had honestly chosen after a proper national debate in which they had a chance to propose alternatives and lost. I know that because I polled the question among 14,000 liberty-curious and libertarian Americans, leaning from liberal to conservative, and an overwhelming majority said they’d take a single-payer system over the current Republicrat (I am not letting the Republicans off the hook for this) Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare is funded by doing disproportionate harm to a few – of which I am one. If I knew that the country had broadly and consciously consented to the deeply socialistic principles on which the system of healthcare that I was being forced to finance was based, I would swallow it and pay up, like I do with all my taxes. But clearly, it did not. The individual mandate, the involvement of the insurance industry, the use of taxation to compel me to enter contracts against my will, are all means by which the political class has hid its purpose from the people.

But there is something even worse: the ACA forces me into a new degree of supplication to the state. It essentially forces individuals like me to take hand-outs.

Although I have a modest income, I declare every penny I make and I pay my share of taxes. I have never taken a penny in welfare from this or any other country – and that is important to me. Of course, I use those things that I have to use to conduct a modern life, even if they are funded through taxation – such as roads, the air-traffic control system etc., and I accept the fact that I live in a nation where too many goods are deemed to be public goods and paid for accordingly.

But paying taxes and using public goods is rather different from what the ACA makes me do: it essentially blackmails me: it damages me financially by increasing the cost of something it tells me I must buy (but was buying anyway) and then forces me to accept a government subsidy as an individual to undo the damage. I resent that deeply. I resent it in the way I would resent a more blatant violation of my first amendment right to live by my own beliefs as long as I harm no one else.

It is all the more offensive because I am sure that if the nation had been honestly told this was to happen, the nation would not have allowed me or anyone else to be put in this position. In short, Obamacare feels like a massively personal and covert impingement.

Now some may say the ACA subsidy is ultimately no different from any other tax rebate – after all, all taxes and subsidies go into and out of the same pot – so my feeling is unwarranted. To which I ask, if that is the case, then why aren’t we funding this whole thing from the tax system we already have in place without the need for any rebates at all: why don’t we have the single-payer system? The answer, as we’ve seen, is that the nation rejected that system, so the ACA, which punts in decidedly the same direction, could only be (mis)sold to us with all this smoke and all these mirrors.

I am not a partisan. I am as sick of the Republican repetitions of the need to repeal the ACA that they mostly designed – without offering a principled alternative reform – as I am of the way the Democrats bounced us into this. As usual, a pox on both their houses.

But I have been conscripted into a rather covert attack on some simple American values and preferences. And as a conscript, I conscientiously object.

Obamacare and Crony Capitalism: Is Washington Engineering an Insurance Industry Bailout?

The insurance and healthcare industries know how to play the game. In fact, the healthcare industry spent $243 million in 2013 to lobby for Obamacare.

So far business is booming. According to a Forbes’ report in October, the value of the S&P health insurance index has gained 43%, double the gains made in the S&P 500.  The shares of CIGNA are up 63%, Wellpoint 47% and United Healthcare 28%.

Rules in Obamacare continue to change for insurance companies, though. Originally Obamacare required everyone to purchase insurance or face penalties, but millions of Americans have lost their insurance plans because of high costs. The new rule changes will exempt those Americans who lost their plans from buying any insurance. This poses a problem for insurance companies. Insurance companies will suffer financial losses if only sick (high risk) people sign up for the exchanges. Analysts claim that this rule change could bankrupt the system.

Political commentator Charles Krauthammer believes that next year we’ll be bailing out the insurance industry.  “The cost to insure the people left in the exchanges is going to be exorbitant,” explained Krauthammer.

“The insurers understand that they are going to be completely ruined over this.  There is only one way out: A huge government bailout of the insurers is waiting at the end of next year. That’s an issue that Republicans should focus on more,” he said.

“Right now, it’s the only way Obamacare will survive. It ought to be stopped before it happens. Congress must say no to any bailouts because it’s not a natural disaster. It’s a man-made one,” he added.


Latest Obamacare Commercial Features 1/2 Naked Gay Men Licking Candy Canes

The Obama administration has recently teamed up with a campaign called #Out2Enroll, the brainchild of the Sellers Dorsey Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that focuses on “improving the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” according to their website.

The video, which features homosexual men licking candy canes, seems to promote risky sexual behavior and promiscuity.

In September, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a meeting with the foundation at the White House to prepare for Obamacare’s launch.

The Obama administration and the foundation discussed strategies to get the gay and lesbian community to enroll. The above video is a result of such collaboration.

Breaking: Hobby Lobby Claim Against Obamacare Headed to The Supreme Court

Hobby Lobby is now on its way to the Supreme Court in order to see if it can claim constitutional protection from Obamacare based on religious grounds. The Supreme Court will hear both the case of the evangelical-owned craft chain and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite-owned woodworking company.

As reported by Emily Hardman of The Becket Fund:

“My family and I are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide our case,” said Mr. Green, Hobby Lobby’s founder and CEO. “This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only: the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution. Business owners should not have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law.”

The Obama administration in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc. is requesting that the Supreme Court reverse the 10th Circuit Court’s decision that sided with the craft-store chain in June of this year.

Right now there are 84 lawsuits challenging the Obamacare mandate.

Is A Viral E-mail Threatening The Closure of Hobby Lobby From The CEO?

Many people around the nation are passing around a viral e-mail titled “Hobby Lobby Founder – May Close ALL Stores” that looks to be from the CEO of Hobby Lobby. The e-mail has many people wondering whether or not David Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, is on the cusp of closing down all of the Hobby Lobby stores due to Obamacare.

After receiving the viral e-mail, we wondered the same thing so we contacted Hobby Lobby to get their take on it.

In the e-mail we received from Vincent Parker of Hobby Lobby he states that, “David Green has not sent a letter out nor did he state that he would close his stores. He did an interview with USA Today on September 12, 2012. Someone has been passing the article around as a letter from David with some additions that cannot be attributed to him.”

Parker goes on to state in the e-mail that Hobby Lobby will open 36 stores before the end of the year and he then requested that we help dispel the rumors that have been caused by the viral e-mail.

Could The Government Force Hobby Lobby To Close Its Doors?

The likelihood of Hobby Lobby closing its doors at the moment seems to be very slim. As shown in an article we posted a few days ago, the federal government has no problem destroying businesses that participate in activities that it deems as being illegal but Hobby Lobby is an industry giant that may be able to pay the fines of up to $474 million each year while still running business as usual.

Exclusive: Rhode Island May Challenge Obamacare in Court

Sources tell Benswann.com that Rhode Island may follow Kentucky’s lead in legally challenging Obamacare in court. It would be a good strategy for Rhode Island because both state governors bypassed legislators in order to set up Obamacare exchanges by executive order, violating their own state constitution.

Tea Party activist David Adams filed a lawsuit in early April challenging the creation of the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange and seeks to shut it down.  Governor Steve Beshear had approved the formation of the exchange by executive order, bypassing the state’s legislative system.

Adams’ lawsuit seeks to prevent Beshear’s continued, undemocratic and illegal implementation of the program.  The suit moved to the state Supreme Court in September.  Despite Beshear disregard for law and the legislative process he has been reluctant to comment on the case. A spokesperson insists that the state’s Constitution granted Beshear the authority to create a new, taxing authority without legislative approval, and that Obamacare is the “law of the land.”  Beshear, however, is preparing to retire in 2015 and hasn’t faced reelection since 2011.

Kentucky is one of 17 states approved to build and run its own healthcare exchanges, and the state received $252 million from the federal government to help set up the exchange.  Kentucky will be responsible for all funding beginning in 2015.  Kentucky currently has a strong Democrat majority in its House of Representatives and a strong Republican majority in its Senate.

Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook asked David Adams, “How is this affecting the state financially? Will these exchanges increase taxes for the middle class?”

“It’s horrible anyway you look at it,” said Adams.

“If the supreme court doesn’t resolve this and doesn’t require the governor to follow the law and shut this thing down, then when legislation goes back into session then they will have to come up with the budget for the next  two fiscal years. At the end of the 2014 calendar year they will have to come up with all money to run the exchange. There is no likelihood that the Republicans that run the senate and the democrats that run the house will come to an agreement on creating a new funding mechanism and create a new Obamacare tax” said Adams.

Tea Party activist have a good strategy in Kentucky for fighting against Obamacare by holding their elected officials accountable and ensure that they uphold their oath to the Constitution.

Will other states follow Kentucky’s lead?

Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, also elected to establish its exchange by executive order.  Chaffee, too, has announced that he would not seek reelection as governor in 2014, though he only assumed office in 2011.

Other states created their exchanges by executive order, too.  New York followed Rhode Island’s lead in taking this route, and Ohio’s Republican governor announced on October 9 that he may adopt Obamacare via executive order.  Minnesota’s governor also created his state’s exchange by executive order.  These states could face similar lawsuits as the full implementation of Obamacare moves forward.

Colorado Obamacare Advocate Loses Insurance Plan

“If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it” is becoming the most notorious political lie since “Read my lips, no new taxes.”  Millions of Americans nationwide – and about 250,000 in Colorado alone – are losing their health coverage as a result of Obamacare.  In some cases, this has extended to the very people who championed the program hardest.

One of these people is Kathy Wagner.  A now-retired nurse of 35 years, Wagner and her husband are fairly healthy, and strongly supported Obamacare when it was being passed.  When it was implemented, however, their insurance company dropped their coverage.  To buy a similar plan, the Wagners must now pay over $1000/month – 35% more – and their deductible is still higher.

Saying her “hopes were dashed,” Wagner sent a letter to President Obama.  She spent five years arguing against people who told her costs weren’t actually going to go down, and that people would actually lose their coverage, and that Obamacare was “moving us back instead of moving us forward,” in her own words.  Now she finds herself in the position of those whose concerns she was trivializing just two months ago, and for the first time in her life, is considering just going without health insurance.

Her Representative, Diana DeGette, who sits on the committee which oversees Obamacare, simply responded to her concerns by saying that “a year from now people overall are going to be very, very happy with the way the Affordable Care Act is working.”

Wagner is far from unique, even among people who supported the ACA.  Jared Polis, who represents Colorado’s Second Congressional District, recently tried to lower the healthcare exchange rates for one of the most affluent and liberal counties in his district because people there were simply walking out the door after looking at the coverage rates, which significantly exceeded $500/month per person.  Polis helped write Obamacare.

Harry Reid has said Obamacare would and should lead to a single payer system, similar to those found in France and the UK.  The left has begun to say that Obamacare was a right-wing idea, and that Democrats only pursued it as an attempt to compromise, though their plan would have been cheaper and more effective.  Through these statements, it’s clear that the problems of Obamacare will only be used as a justification for increased government intervention, when it has been government intervention which caused problems with healthcare every step of the way.

Both Parties have failed to implement free market solutions to fix the challenge of healthcare affordability. While the left seeks a complete single payer system, Republicans continue to block outside competition in many states giving unfair advantages to big companies. In South Carolina for example,  BlueCross BlueShield gave a total $1,448,488 from 2004-2012 to lobby SC legislators according to followthemoney.org. This partnership of lobbyist and business prevents the competition needed to lower prices for the consumer.  South Carolina Republican senators also had the opportunity to nullify Obamacare, but chose to let it die in the senate.

Sen. Tom Davis (R-SC) is fighting to get a bill passed next session that will nullify Obamacare. Recently Ron Paul suggested that states should nullify Obamacare as well.

Big Unions May Get Their Obamacare Exemption After All


The President has been under increased pressure from unions, which are seeking any possible exemption they can from his healthcare law. However, the President assured America that no one was getting an exemption– not even labor.

On Sept. 11, the last day of the AFL-CIO quadrennial convention was held in Los Angeles. Here, prominent labor leaders attacked provisions of the health care law, warning that if left intact they would devastate union-backed health plans that were decades in the making. Terry O’Sullivan, the International Union of North America General President, addressed the convention,“We’ll be damned if we’re going to lose our health care plan because of unintended consequences.”

Unions are in an uproar because the Patient Care Act does not allow them to receive premium tax credits under multiemployer union health plans and forces them to pay the reinsurance tax. In a resolution, labor also demanded that the ACA excise tax, reinsurance tax and other taxes to be nullified  for collectively bargained plans, union administered plans and other various plans that cover union-represented workers.

Robert Scardelletti, president of the Transportation Communications International Union/International Association of Machinists (TCU/AIM), estimates that  under current ACA rules, his union’s multiemployer health fund will have to pay $27 million in taxes. He’s not happy about it.

At the convention, labor said that if their demands weren’t met, then the Affordable Care Act should be repealed.

Three days after the convention the Obama administration told labor– no exemptions. It was not legally possible.

However, those exemption requests by labor are now coming to fruit. Last week the Obama administration released hundreds upon hundreds of pages worth of new rules and regulations for the healthcare law. Inside, a new loophole for unions was discovered. A disclosure exists that the administration will propose exempting “certain self-insured,  self-administered plans” from the laws reinsurance tax. Such a description applies to the majority of the Taft-Hartley union healthcare plans, which act as their own insurance company and claims processors.

Eliminating this specific fee was one of the key parts of the resolution adopted by labor at the convention. According to a report by Kaiser Health, labor most likely just got their exemption.

Piece by piece Obamacare  is being chipped away at via exemptions, which are all against the law. However, unions have proved a point that perhaps all opponents of Obamcare should take note of. When organized, Obamacare can be defeated.

To read more about how Obamacare is not a law, but a new 3-letter agency read my op-ed.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Twitter: @MichaelLotfi


Is Your Health Insurance Going Up? Readers Respond

Is your health insurance rate going through the roof?

President Obama told the American public that the Affordable Care Act would save them approximately $2,500 in insurance premiums. But, many Americans are finding that not to be the case. They’re finding that their rates are going up and up.

We asked readers to share their stories. Here are some of those disenfranchised stories from our readers at Benswann.com:

“In New Hampshire 12 of the 26 hospitals will not take anyone with ACA insurance. My hospital is one that will not take ACA insurance, which means if I buy into the market place I will lose both my doctor and my hospital of choice.” (see article Telegraph)


“Obamacare is going to kill entrepreneurs like myself and put many small business owners on the streets. My family and I had our own plan independent of my employer from Humana.  It was a high-deductible plan where only regular check-ups were covered.  Everything else required to be paid out of pocket up to $10,400 annually.  It cost us $256 a month. Humana has informed us that this plan is no longer eligible under the Affordable Care Act.  Instead of going to Healthcare.gov, I went to eHealthInsurance and looked up plans available there.  Humana now offers another plan, which costs about $444 a month.  It is similar to the high-deductible plan I had with them with a little extra coverage. Oh, and the annual out of pocket limit is around $12,000 now. So my only option is to go with a plan that is worse for both me and my family or pay a fine.  Many friends on Facebook can’t believe this is happening when I announced it to them.  They seem to believe that Obamacare is not responsible for me losing my health insurance and having to spend more money for it.”


“My husband and I are the parents of 6 children.  We have been insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC on a catastrophic plan with a premium of $256 per month.  We just received our premium increase.  Our new premium is now $1,170 per month!  That is for the Bronze plan, with a $5,000 deductible per person or $11,000 for the family.  I have been trying for days to finish finding what it will really cost me through the health.gov website.  It took hours to fill out the application when I finally got through to the site, and then I could not finish the process and have tried since last Friday to get through to find what this will really cost us.  Still no luck.  Depressing, to say the least.  Even if I don’t have to pay the full amount because of my income, I despise the thought of someone else covering that on my behalf.  It is SOOO immoral!”


“I just got word from Kaiser Permanente that my premium is going up 77.2%.  This is a plan that I purchase entirely on my own without any assistance.  The monthly fee increase is $108.83.  I haven’t looked at the coverage to see if I’m better or worse.”


“With so many people’s premiums and deductibles going up, I find it hard to believe that the ACA is nothing more than a bailout for the insurance companies and a transfer of wealth from the working middle class, entrepreneurs, and small business to the mega insurance corporations.”

Last week we posted a poll entitled What Is Obamacare Costing You? Below are the results.*





*This is not a scientific poll. The results are based on the respondents that required an email address and was IP specific. Thanks for those who participated.