Tag Archives: Obamacare

Obama Vetoes Bill To Repeal Obamacare Provisions, Defund Planned Parenthood

President Obama vetoed a bill that would have repealed key provisions in the Affordable Care Act and defunded Planned Parenthood for one year on Friday.

The bill was sent to the president’s desk on Wednesday after it was passed by the House of Representatives, 240 to 181. Prior to the House’s vote, the bill was passed in the Senate on Dec. 3, 2015.

[RELATED: Senate Passes Bill Repealing Obamacare Provisions, Defunding Planned Parenthood] 

The vote in the House was largely along party lines, with Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) being the only Democrat to vote for the bill, and Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) the only Republicans to vote against it.

In response, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that although Congress passed the bill, it ultimately will have no effect on Obamacare.

“They’ve voted 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is the first time that it has reached the president’s desk, but it has no impact,” Earnest said during a press conference Thursday.

HR 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, sought to repeal Obamacare provisions including the requirement for most people to obtain healthcare coverage, the expansion of Medicaid, and the taxes imposed on income, insurance policies and medical devices that were required to fund Obamacare.

The bill would have also put an end to the nearly $450 million given to Planned Parenthood for at least one year. While the Senate did vote on over a dozen amendments to the bill, they rejected two amendments that would have given money to Planned Parenthood.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) noted the significance of such a bill reaching the President’s desk after five years of being struck down by Democrats. While he did not say what the Republicans would replace it with, he claimed that a Republican president in 2017 would seek out “a truly patient-centered healthcare system.”

“This budget reconciliation bill, which would reduce the federal deficit by a half trillion dollars, forces the president to confront the failures of Obamacare head on,” Ryan said. “But most importantly, it clears the path to repealing this law with a Republican president in 2017 and replacing it with a truly patient-centered health care system. We will not back down from this fight to defend the sanctity of life and make quality health care coverage achievable for all Americans.”

Senate Passes Bill Repealing Obamacare Provisions, Defunding Planned Parenthood

The United States Senate passed a budget bill on Thursday that aims to repeal several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act and seeks to halt funding to Planned Parenthood.

HR 3762, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” would overhaul Obamacare provisions such as the requirement for most people to obtain healthcare coverage, the expansion of Medicaid, and the taxes imposed on income, insurance policies and medical devices that were required to fund Obamacare.

The bill would also put an end to the nearly $450 million given to Planned Parenthood annually. While the Senate did vote on over a dozen amendments to the bill, they rejected two amendments that would have given money to Planned Parenthood.

[RELATED: Federal Court: Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate Violated Religious Freedom]

The Senate also blocked proposals for increased gun control that were pushed after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday.

Although President Obama has promised to veto the bill, it marks the first time legislation of its kind could make it to the president’s desk without being prevented by Democrats in Congress.

Needing 51 votes to pass, the bill passed in the Senate 52-47, and will go on to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass, as a similar bill was passed on Oct. 23.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the bill presents Obama with a choice that could lead to “better care” for Americans with his consent.

“President Obama will have a choice,” McConnell said. “He can defend a status quo that’s failed the middle class by vetoing the bill, or he can work toward a new beginning and better care by signing it.”

Healthcare spending topped $3.03 trillion in 2014, up 5.3 percent from 2013, which marked the highest growth since 2007.

In terms of GOP presidential candidates, the bill received the approval of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did not vote.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Faces 3rd Party Candidate Threat Over Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

Aaron Day, the New Hampshire State Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, has been fighting Obamacare’s medicaid expansion on the local level for years now.

Day spoke with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook in 2013 after Day and statewide activists were able to successfully table a bill, but in 2015 Medicaid expansion is once again a fierce battle in the state.

In an exclusive interview with Truth In Media, Day told Joshua Cook that N.H. Republicans are not trying to stop Obamacare Medicaid expansion and are actually drafting the bill for the expansion.


Regarding a possible third-party run, Day declared that this is a serious consideration. “I’m not actually just throwing this out here, you know ‘maybe I’ll do it.’ I’ve already got a team together to get on the ballot. I need to get 3,000 signatures to get on the ballot as an independent. I already have a team in place, I’ve had a lawyer review the process.”

Following the interview, Day clarified to Truth in Media that “if the Republicans in New Hampshire expand Medicaid, I will launch a third party campaign. If the party rejects expansion, I will continue fighting in the trenches to elect conservative Republicans.”

Aaron Day said he asked Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is now the Speaker of the House, how he would advise and instruct the Republicans in the N.H. state senate regarding medicaid expansion.

“Tell them no, no, no on Medicaid expansion. The funding won’t be there,” said Ryan.

Day said that expanding Medicaid would ultimately bankrupt New Hampshire or trigger a massive tax hike. Currently, New Hampshire has no income or sales tax.

Day said that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is an influential force behind the movement to move Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the state.

Cook asked Day about his thoughts on splitting the vote and the result of Republicans losing a majority in the Senate if Sen. Ayotte loses.

“Not only might this cost her her seat, this might cost the Republicans control of the United States Senate,” said Day. “Which tells you just how serious I am about this issue, because it was thrown in our face. We wouldn’t be in this place if it weren’t for people who made a political calculation that said ‘in order for Kelly to win we are going to throw the state underwater so she has better election chances,’ I’m just changing the math.”

Day asked, “why bother even have two parties if Republicans are going to cave on an issue like this?”

“Because the number one problem our country faces in the next 12 to 18 months is a looming sovereign debt crisis. We have $18 trillion of debt and hundreds of trillions of unfunded liabilities and we are asleep at the switch and adding fuel to the fire by expanding Medicaid is only going to exacerbate the situation,” added Day.

Fact Check: Christie Did Not Stop Obamacare in New Jersey

WISCONSIN, November 11, 2015– During Tuesday night’s Republican undercard debate hosted by Fox Business News, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to convince America that he stood up to the Obama agenda when he claimed that, as Governor, he “stopped Obamacare in New Jersey because we refused to participate in the federal exchange.” While some of that statement is partly true, Christie actually followed along with other liberal governors and took steps to save Obamacare.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, a states’ rights organization dedicated to fighting federal overreach, there are four steps that states needed to take in order to stop Obamacare in their state.

The first step is refusing to set up a state exchange. In 2012, Christie vetoed a state health insurance exchange bill.

Under Obamacare, the federal government is relying heavily on states to use their own resources to support the law by setting up a state exchange. Why? Because the federal government simply couldn’t handle implementing the law on their own.

However, Christie stopped short of doing anything else to stop Obamacare. In fact, he propped it up.

The next thing states could have done to help kill Obamacare was to refuse to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. However, Governor Christie accepted Medicaid expansion in New Jersey.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal ran an article noting that Christie’s move to expand Medicaid under Obamacare had angered Republicans.

The third thing Christie could have done to stop Obamacare was to prohibit the State Insurance Commissioner from investigating and enforcing health insurance requirements. However, Christie did not do so.

Finally, Christie could have used legislation to block the IRS’s ObamaCare taxes by suspending the licenses of insurers that accept the subsidies. “Since no insurer would then accept one, not a single employer in the state could be hit with the employer-mandate penalties those subsidies trigger,” states the Tenth Amendment Center. However, Christie didn’t do so.

Judge Andrew Napolitano said that if a number of states were willing to follow the above 4 steps, then Obamacare would be gutted.

Taken together, had Christie performed these four steps, he could have actually stopped the implementation of Obamacare in New Jersey. However, he did the opposite, which actually saved Obamacare in New Jersey.

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Obamacare Forces 2016 Insurance Premiums To Skyrocket

October 27, 2015– Insurance premiums across the country are about to skyrocket yet again thanks to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

Former Tennessee Medical Association board member and current Emergency department director Dr. Omar Hamada says that he expects Obamacare will force insurance premiums to continue climbing for the foreseeable future.

I see no end in sight for increasing insurance costs as long as Obamacare is the law of the land. Since becoming law, Obamacare has forced costs to skyrocket every single year,” said Hamada. “In Tennessee, the Obamacare co-op is shutting down because costs were catastrophically high and insurance premiums will climb again in 2016.”

Hamada says that Tennessee’s 2016 insurance rate hike is one of the highest in the nation.

“In 2014, Tennessee’s benchmark plan was $188 a month. In 2016, the plan will cost at least $250,” said Hamada. “By 2017, I expect the plan will be nearly $300. On average, premiums will cost at least 23 percent more in 2016.”

In Utah, those who buy healthcare insurance through brokers or the HealthCare.gov Obamacare exchange will see rate hikes up to 44 percent. The price of an average insurance plan for a 21-year-old will go up 13 percent to nearly $165 per month in urban Salt Lake County. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old living in rural Rich County will see a substantial 44 percent price hike to nearly $228 per month.

Oklahoma will see a 35.7 percent increase; Montana will have a 34.5 percent increase; Alaska will have a 31.5 percent increase; New Mexico will have a 25.8 percent increase; and South Dakota will have a 24.7 percent increase.

For the first time since becoming law, the Obama administration publicly acknowledged that those purchasing health insurance will be paying more to do so during Monday’s announcement.

Trump Proposes Replacing Obamacare with Government-Funded Universal Healthcare

On Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes on CBS, Donald Trump said that “Obamacare is a disaster” and that he plans to repeal it and replace it with a government-funded universal healthcare plan.

During the lengthy interview, CBS correspondent Scott Pelley asked billionaire real estate mogul and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump his position on healthcare reform.

Obamacare’s going to be repealed and replaced. Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what’s going on with premiums where they’re up 40, 50, 55 percent,” replied Trump.

Pelley then pressed him to offer his own specific plan for fixing the U.S. healthcare system.

[RELATED: Trump: Rivals Want to Start World War 3 Over Syria]

Trump began explaining, “There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private.’ But…

Pelley then interrupted, noting that Trump was describing a universal healthcare plan.

Trump continued, “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.

The real estate billionaire then explained that he “would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care” of uninsured Americans.

When Pelley asked him to clarify who would pay for the plan, Trump replied, “The government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.

For more election coverage, click here.

Federal Court: Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate Violates Religious Freedom

A federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled on Thursday that the contraception coverage mandate required by the Affordable Care Act and paid for by a government subsidy, as well as the opt-out process for religiously affiliated employers, violates the employers’ religious freedom.

That coverage, which is paid for by a government subsidy, was struck down by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals after four Christian nonprofits- Heartland Christian College, CNS International Ministries Inc, Dordt College and Cornerstone University- filed lawsuits against it, noting that they object to emergency contraceptives.

The court ruled that the employers should not have to include contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plans, and that forcing the employees to seek individual exemptions to the law, puts a “substantial burden” on their religious rights.

The Hill reported that the court’s ruling “includes 30 references to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the 2014 Supreme Court case that allowed certain for-profit companies to opt out of the mandate,” which led to several nonprofits filing lawsuits seeking the same permission.

[RELATED: Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Hobby Lobby]

The current law states that employers must provide contraceptive coverage for their employees or they must pay a fine, and if they choose to go through the process of opting out of the requirement, the coverage has to be provided by the insurers.

The Associated Press reported that since Obamacare was signed into law in 2010, “roughly 100 lawsuits from businesses and religiously affiliated colleges, hospitals and other not-for-profit organizations” have been filed, challenging the contraceptives requirement.

[RELATED: Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By Supreme Court]

In response to the ruling, a spokeswoman for the White House said that the Obama administration is “disappointed” and claimed that “as all of the other seven courts of appeals to address this issue have held,” the current process “strikes the proper balance between ensuring women have equal access to health care and protecting religious beliefs.”

Reuters noted that this court’s decision differs from all other appeals courts that have considered the issue, which makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will issue a ruling at some point in its coming term, between October and June.

New IRS Regulation Threatens Small Businesses With Fines For Helping Workers With Health Costs

A new regulation that went into effect on July 1 threatens small businesses with fines from the Internal Revenue Service of up to $36,500 a year per employee, if the businesses help their employees with health costs by reimbursing them for the cost of their healthcare premiums or by paying for their health costs directly.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that the new regulation, which is not part of the Affordable Care Act, states that employers who compensate their employees for health costs, rather than offering a group health plan, “can be fined $100 per day, per employee,” which adds up to “$36,500 per employee up to $500,000 in total.”

Gracie-Marie Turner, the founder of the Galen Institute and a contributor to Forbes, noted that this new regulation is more than “18 times greater than the $2,000 employer-mandate penalty under Obamacare for not providing qualifying health insurance for employees,” and while employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the employer-mandate penalty under Obamacare, they are not exempt from this penalty from the IRS.

“The rule appears nowhere in the Affordable Care Act but was developed by the Obama administration’s regulation writers at the IRS,” Turner wrote. “The rule punishes small businesses for providing the only health insurance support many can afford – a contribution to help employees pay premiums for their individual or family health insurance policies or to help finance direct payment for medical services.”

Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s policy director, called the new regulations the “biggest penalty no one is talking about.”

“The penalty for compensating employees for healthcare-related expenses is enough to destroy most small businesses,” Kuhlman said. “Reimbursing employees for the cost of insurance or medical services is a way for small businesses to help their workers without the administrative headaches of setting up a costly group plan.”

In response to the regulation, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) introduced H.R. 2911 in the House and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced S.1697 in the Senate. Both bills are labeled as “Small Business Healthcare Relief Acts” and are awaiting congressional action.

SCOTUScare: Texas Rep Introduces Bill To Force Supreme Court To Enroll In Obamacare

Following the Supreme Court decision on Thursday to uphold Obamacare subsidies, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) introduced the “SCOTUScare Act of 2015,” a bill that would force each of the Supreme Court justices and their aides to sign up for Obamacare.

In the case of King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that federal subsidies can be paid to customers throughout the United States, not just in the states that have established their own insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Babin said that he created the “SCOTUScare Act” as a way to make the Supreme Court justices and their employees “see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” by removing their exemptions and making them join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.

[pull_quote_center]As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people. That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for Obamacare. By eliminating their exemption from Obamacare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with![/pull_quote_center]

The term “SCOTUScare” was used by Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday, in reference to the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare.

In his dissent, Scalia said that while the Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available on an “Exchange established by the State,” this Court “concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped.”

“So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere,” Scalia wrote. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”

ObamaCare Subsidies Upheld By Supreme Court

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal subsidies received by millions of Americans are legal.

The plaintiffs in the case of King v. Burwell argued that only insurance customers of exchanges run by a state should receive federal subsidies. The ruling upheld that credits shall be allowed in all 50 states, not only in the states that have established their own insurance exchanges.

The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted that the ACA was passed “to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

Roberts wrote that “The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.”

Over 6 million people are using federal subsidies to offset the cost of insurance.

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.

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Walker or Bush: What difference does it make?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker innocuously popped up and was thrust upon the 2016 Republican Primary stage seemingly out of no where. He hasn’t even announced, and he tops multiple polls across the country.

His greatest asset is also his greatest weakness. Most people have no idea who he is with regards to policy. In virtually every poll that is conducted, the majority of voters say they do not know enough about him. So, he tops the polls, but people don’t know enough about him? Says a lot about American voters. While this gives his campaign advisers the opportunity to mold Walker however they like, come debate time, he will face quite a challenge trying to hide behind his newly crafted image.

Most of Walker’s support seems to come from conservatives. Not Republicans, but conservatives. The same conservatives that disdain Bush seem to like Walker, which is quite odd, given that they have virtually identical policies. Unless, of course, Walker pulled a Romney and flip flopped.

The Supreme Court could soon be dealing a critical blow to Obamacare. Conservative candidates like Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz want a total repeal. Meanwhile, Walker says that Congress should fix Obamacare if the Court dismantles the law, which puts him in line with Washington’s establishment Republicans. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Walker went against the wishes of conservative legislators in Wisconsin and implemented Obamacare. Conservative Wisconsin State Sen. Lasee once noted that Walker was not serious about fighting Obamacare, protecting state sovereignty and healthcare freedom. This alone proves that Walker simply doesn’t understand the constitutional and economic impact of Obamacare. But wait… there’s more.

On immigration, Walker and Bush both support amnesty. In 2002, Walker signed a resolution urging Congress to support amnesty legislation. Of course, as of late, he has had a change of heart.

President Bush brought us the Patriot Act and NSA. President Obama put it on steroids. While conservative candidates like Paul maintain that we can fight terrorists without allowing President Obama’s NSA to shred the Constitution by spying on every single American citizen, Walker and Bush (Jeb) have pushed hard for full re-authorization of the Patriot Act and NSA spying.

War in Iraq? Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham are hungry for more war. Unsurprisingly, Walker is supportive of another “full blown invasion of Iraq”.

Jeb Bush makes no apologies for his love of Common Core. He is one of its biggest proponents. Scott Walker is also a huge supporter of Common Core. He now says he is against it, but a simple look at Wisconsin education laws prove he has purposefully done nothing to get rid of Common Core. After all, he is the one who brought it in. He now maintains that the state allows local school districts to “opt-out”, but cash hungry locals never opt out of federal money. Anyone inside the beltway of state or federal politics knows that Walker’s latest flop against Common Core is nothing more than theater to pander to conservatives.

So, there you have it. Common Core, Obamcare, NSA spying, foreign policy and immigration are five of the biggest issues on GOP voters’ minds. Where exactly are Scott Walker and Jeb Bush different on any of these issues?

Not to worry. Walker took it upon himself to redefine what it means to “flip flop” on an issue so that the term no longer applies to him. Lucky dog.

So, Walker or Bush?

In the words of Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?”

Jason Stapleton Live: Government Lies, Minimum Wage and Obamacare, PLUS: Guess who’s spending your money now!

Jason will be tackling a wide range of issues today, ranging from minimum wage to Obamacare.

The Jason Stapleton Program is live from 11:05 am to noon eastern. Enjoy replays from earlier episodes before and after the live show.

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EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Emails Claim TN Governor to Pressure Lawmakers on Obamacare By Violating HIPAA

Leaked emails, obtained exclusively by TruthInMedia.com, between the Tennessee General Assembly’s Director of Legislative Affairs Connie Ridley and members of the state’s Senate, allege that Governor Bill Haslam’s administration plans to release unprecedented private details about lawmakers’ healthcare plans, a possible violation of privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Reportedly, the change in policy regarding legislators’ healthcare plans was made immediately following a special legislative session in which Haslam failed to convince lawmakers to back his Insure Tennessee Medicaid expansion, which has been characterized as an expansion of Obamacare into the state. Previously, less-detailed leaks about lawmakers’ healthcare plans were politicized by supporters of Insure Tennessee in an effort to personally attack legislators who opposed the plan.


Said Ridley in her email to lawmakers, seen above, “This is once again a dramatic and unprecedented departure from policy. As you may remember, I wrote to you in February to inform you that Benefits Administration was departing from their policy to release only the number of legislators and staff on the state health plan. Today, Benefits Administration is going further. They are releasing, both to The Tennessean and The Associated Press, not only the names of legislators on the plan but what type of plan they have, as well as the full cost.”

Another leaked email obtained by TruthInMedia.com, a reply by Republican State Senator Janice Bowling, seen below, implied that the policy change was made by the Haslam administration in an effort to put pressure on lawmakers who oppose his Insure Tennessee plan. Said Bowling, “There is no doubt that this is a HIPPA[sic] violation. We are observing and experiencing a culture of lawlessness that cloaked and defined the proposed expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. This culture continues to threaten and personally attack members of the Legislative branch of our great State.”


Connie Ridley’s email blamed the policy change on Haslam’s administration and said, “I would like to emphasize that decision was made in the executive branch at the direction of Benefits Administration Executive Director Laurie Lee. The Office of Legislative Administration did not approve of this release nor did we authorize it. Our policy of releasing only the number of legislators and staff goes back decades. This policy was also the policy of Benefits Administration until the concluding moments of this February’s special session on Insure Tennessee. The policy change was made in consultation with Finance & Administration General Counsel Martha Nichols. The General Assembly’s Office of Legal Services was not consulted.”

Senator Janice Bowling’s email concluded, “I am saddened, shocked and disgusted by this flagrant display of disregard for the rule of law. The same disregard for the rule of law expands as it shows no regard for the elected lawmakers representing the people of Tennessee… This culture of lawlessness must be exposed and pulled out by the root.”

800,000 Obamacare Customers Sent Incorrect Tax Information

Washington- The Obama administration acknowledged on Friday that about 800,000 Healthcare.gov customers received incorrect tax information from the federal government. Officials have advised that people who have received the wrong information should postpone filing their 2014 returns.

The errors were discovered on 1095-A forms sent to Healthcare.gov customers who had signed up in 2014 and received tax credits to compensate for the premium costs. Those statements are used to determine if people received an appropriate tax credit. Forbes reported that the incorrect 1095-A forms “included the monthly premium amount of the second lowest cost Silver plan for 2015 instead of 2014.”

According to Andy Slavitt, the administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as many as 20% of statements sent out contained the wrong local premium.

Officials estimate that about 50,000 people who received incorrect information have already filed their returns. The remainder of the recipients will be asked to wait until corrected statements are issued before filing their taxes.

California’s health exchange, Covered California, issued a statement on Thursday revealing a similar mistake in sending about 100,000 incorrect forms to people in the state. California appeared to know of the inaccuracies before issuing the forms to meet the February 2nd deadline; Covered California spokesman Dana Howard told news station KPIX 5 that “We did not want to hold up sending out the 1095s to everybody, so that we can correct those that we did have.”

The Health and Human Services Department also announced on Friday an extended health insurance enrollment period, stating that “This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the federally facilitated marketplace.” Between March 15th and April 30th, people previously uninsured will be able to sign up for insurance, but will be expected to affirm that they were unaware of the healthcare law’s requirement to have insurance or pay a fine when they filed their taxes.

House Votes To Repeal Obamacare, Pressing For Alternative Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act by approving a bill that would dismantle the current law and move forward to provide an alternative plan.

The bill, H.R. 596, was introduced in the House on January 28th and passed 239-186 on Tuesday; there was no support from House Democrats and three Republicans voted in opposition to the bill. CNN reported that GOP leaders believe passage of H.R. 596 is “the beginning of their effort to show they have a better plan,” although no alternative has been provided yet.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), who voted “no” on Tuesday, said that he doesn’t support Obamacare but a “free-market alternative” must be ready to replace the current law and H.R.596 does not have one. “Had Congress voted for the full repeal of ObamaCare two years ago, families and small businesses would have been able to adjust to the change. Now, however, more than 60,000 Mainers have invested their time and energy in choosing health care plans that work for their families,” Poliquin said in a statement.

“If Congress fully repeals ObamaCare, it must be fully prepared to replace it with a free-market alternative that requires health care plans to cover pre-existing conditions and be portable for workers changing jobs. Any replacement law must also allow moms and dads to purchase health insurance plans that they can afford, and to choose the doctors and hospitals that best fit their family health care needs,” Poliquin said.

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) also voted “no” and made similar remarks to those of Poliquin, saying in his own statement that he voted against the bill “because we failed to include replacement legislation.”

“With a majority in Congress, I would like to see the GOP come forward with market-based solutions,” Katko said. “I am disappointed that the bill taken up by Congress today did not provide a real solution to the rising costs of healthcare, but I will continue to fight for comprehensive, bipartisan healthcare reform for Central New York in Congress,” Katko said.

According to Politico, the bill would “delay repeal for six months to give Republicans an opportunity to offer an alternative package.”

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) told CNN that “I have urged leadership to put forth a plan as soon as possible.”

The House has voted dozens of times to repeal or obstruct the Affordable Care Act; Republicans claim H.R. 596 is their 67th attempt at a form of repeal, while Democrats reported 56 past attempts. This bill is not expected to pass the Senate, and the President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any repeal of the law. “I don’t know if it’s the 55th or the 60th time that [the House is] taking this vote, but I’ve asked this question before: why is it this would be at the top of their agenda?” Obama said.

“We have the Republicans continuing to bay at the moon. They’re baying at the moon,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said regarding the vote. “Instead of proposing any- which we’d be welcome to hear- good suggestions they may have to improve the Affordable Care Act, they’re baying at the moon.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had introduced a separate bill on Monday to “repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 entirely.”

Report: Obamacare Website Sharing Users’ Information with Third-Party Tech Firms

On Tuesday, a report was released that shed light on the vulnerability of HealthCare.gov users’ information to third-party tech firms.

Following an investigation, the Associated Press revealed that the HealthCare.gov website is “quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing.”

This personal data may include the user’s Internet address, age, ZIP code, income, and information on whether the user smokes, or is pregnant.

According to the Associated Press, while the Obama administration claims the website’s connections to data firms “were intended to help improve the consumer experience,” there were connections to “dozens of third-party tech firms,” and seven of the companies were “also collecting highly specific information.”

In a letter to the Obama administration, Republican Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Charles Grassley of Iowa voiced their concerns:

“This new information is extremely concerning, not only because it violates the privacy of millions of Americans, but because it may potentially compromise their security.”

The Associated Press reported that although third-party sites embedded on HealthCare.gov can’t see a user’s “name, birth date or Social Security number,” they can correlate the fact that the computer accessed the government website with the user’s other Internet activities.

While Cybersecurity was one of the topics Obama discussed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the emphasis was on keeping private information from falling into the hands of foreign nations, rather than keeping users’ private information from being shared by the U.S. government

No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” said Obama. “We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber-threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.”

TN GOP Governor Announces Plan to Expand Obamacare

On Monday, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam outlined his plan to expand Obamacare. According to The Tennessean, he has branded the plan Insure Tennessee and dressed it in states’ rights rhetoric, claiming that the plan, which he says qualifies for federal funding under the Affordable Care Act, is an alternative to expanding Medicaid. WATE-TV 6 quoted a press release by Haslam in which he said, “This plan leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility.”

Haslam announced that he would push for the policy in a special legislative session after the 109th General Assembly takes over in January. Tennessee’s legislature features a strong Republican majority.

The Tennessean published an estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation which predicts that Insure Tennessee could result in over 160,000 additional Tennesseans qualifying for federal funds under Obamacare. Conservative critics in the state have pointed out the fact that federal funds for the program decline in future years, meaning the cost of the expansion could begin to leak into the state budget. Tennessee already has a state-run healthcare program called TennCare, which has been plagued by administrative failures of late, as thousands of Tennesseans found themselves stuck in a back log of applications earlier this year.

Insure Tennessee would expand the Affordable Care Act to low-income Tennesseans through a program called the Healthy Incentives Plan, which would be serviced through TennCare. Haslam’s health care overhaul would also include a program called the Volunteer Plan which would grant a voucher that qualified participants could use to pay for healthcare plans offered by their employers. It is not yet clear whether Haslam’s program would subject Tennesseans to Obamacare’s individual mandate, as low-income individuals in the state can currently claim an exemption to the mandate due to the state’s non-participation in the health care law’s Medicaid expansion.

Tennessee’s Democratic legislators praised the plan, as did Republican senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Said Corker in comments to The Tennessean, “I’m pleased our state was able to adopt a solution that will build off of the innovative ways we deliver quality health care.”

In Tennessee’s state-level politics, Haslam is widely viewed as an establishment figure within the GOP, along with Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell. Earlier this month, Republican Representative Rick Womick led an unsuccessful conservative challenge against Beth Harwell for speaker. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey told The Tennessean last Thursday, “I think if the governor can truly revamp the way our Medicaid is run and TennCare is run, then I think he may be able to sell that to the legislature.”

Fourteen ways you can avoid paying the Obamacare tax

NASHVILLE, December 7, 2014– Tax season is just around the corner, and the majority of Americans are still completely puzzled when it comes to how Obamacare will affect their taxes. According to Dr. Omar Hamada, unbeknownst to most, 14 ways, in total, to avoid paying the Obamacare tax penalty for not complying with the federal insurance mandate exist. In fact, one of them is so incredibly ambiguous, just about anyone can get away with not paying the tax.

As of now, these “waivers” are available until at least 2016:

1. You were homeless.

Documentation Required: None

2. You have been evicted in the past 6 months, or were facing eviction or foreclosure.

Documentation Required: Copy of eviction or foreclosure notice

3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.

Documentation Required: Copy of shut-off notice from a utility company

4. You recently experienced domestic violence.

Documentation Required: None

5. You recently experienced the death of a close family member.

Documentation Required: Copy of death certificate, copy of death notice from newspaper, or copy of other official notice of death

6. You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.

Documentation Required: Copy of police or fire report, insurance claim, or other document from government agency, private entity, or news source documenting event

7. You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.

Documentation Required: Copy of bankruptcy filing

8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months.

Documentation Required: Copies of medical bills

9. You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.

Documentation Required: Copies of receipts related to care

10. You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child.

Documentation Required: Copy of medical support order AND copies of eligibility notices for Medicaid and CHIP showing that the child has been denied coverage

11. As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible either for: 1) enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, 2) lower costs on your monthly premiums, or 3) cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of appeals decision

12. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of denial of eligibility for Medicaid

13. You received a notice saying that your current health insurance plan is being cancelled, and you consider the other plans available unaffordable.

Documentation Required: Copy of notice of cancellation

And here’s the final exemption that will allow anyone without insurance to avoid paying the penalty. Because documentation is only required “if possible” it’s impossible to collect the tax against virtually everyone without insurance. Although it is certainly not suggested that one lie to the IRS, many people could end up doing so in order to have extra money to feed their family.

14. You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance.

Documentation Required: “Please submit documentation if possible.”

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Obama Defends Obamacare, but Does Not Address the “Stupidity of the American Voter”

On Sunday, President Obama spoke out in defense of the Affordable Care Act, after comments from its original architect, Jonathan Gruber, called the bill’s transparency into question.

As previously reported, a video of Gruber saying that Obamacare was made to appeal to the “stupidity of the American voter,” with “lack of transparency” being a “huge political advantage,” in its creation, was released recently.

According to Reuters, Gruber’s comments were “quickly picked up” by Republicans in Congress, “who are committed to repealing or dismantling parts of the healthcare law.”

USA Today reported that Obama addressed Gruber’s comments while at a news conference after the G-20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, and insisted that the bill was “extensively debated,” before it went into law in 2010.

The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said.

Although Gruber was not a member of the staff, Politico reported that he was a  “paid consultant whose models were used to help assess the impact of various policy changes being considered as part of health care legislation,” and that “official logs show he visited the White House about a dozen times” from 2009 to 2014.

According to the Washington Post, Gruber’s comments should be taken seriously, due to the fact that he is “well-known in health-care circles as one of the intellectual godfathers of Obamacare,” and because he received “nearly $400,000” from the Obama administration for his contribution to the Affordable Care Act.

Obama went on to insist that if there were any questions, every press outlet present should “pull up every clip and every story,” that was written on the bill.

“I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent,” said Obama. “It was a tough debate.”

Among the controversial comments made by Jonathan Gruber, at an academic conference in October 2013, he also claimed that Obamacare was “written in a tortured way,” in order to ensure its approval from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” said Gruber. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.

According to the New York Times, while the Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats who were writing the law had “strong political incentives to ensure that the individual mandate they proposed would fit the CBO’s definition of things that don’t have to be counted on the federal government budget,” it is important to note that “the versions of Obamacare that received public discussion and debate never broke from that goal.”

Politico reported that although Obama had a “dismissive tone toward Gruber,” he has previously acknowledge that “some of his own statements about the law were ill-advised,” such as his “repeated promises that if Americans liked their health care plans they could keep them.”