Sunday, February 17, 2013

Obamacare Survey: Firms Will Drop Health Coverage
From: Newsmax                                                                

One in five companies with fewer than 500 employees say they are “likely” or “very likely” to discontinue company-provided healthcare coverage within five years, a survey reveals.

The reason: The main provisions of Obamacare will be implemented in 2014.

And 43 percent of those companies expect employees to pay a greater share of healthcare costs this year, according to the survey by Mercer, a human resources and financial services consulting firm.

Less than 10 percent of larger companies — with 500 to 4,999 workers — say they’ll likely drop coverage in five years, as do about five percent of firms with 5,000 or more employees.

But almost 70 percent of those largest companies, and 60 percent of those with 500 to 4,999 employees, expect workers to pay a larger share of healthcare costs this year.

Nearly 150 million Americans now rely on company-provided healthcare benefits, and the price of those benefits has doubled in the past decade. The average cost to a large company of covering an employee with a family is now $15,745 a year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But individuals whose coverage is dropped would pay even more, since they do not receive the same tax breaks as an employer and can’t bargain with insurers the way a company can, although some lower-income workers can qualify for subsidies to buy insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with more than 50 workers will eventually have to pay a fine of $2,000 for each employee if they don’t provide coverage, but many could decide simply to pay the fine rather than pay for employees’ coverage, according to The Economist.

So much for President Obama’s promise that “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”

A 2011 survey by consulting firm McKinsey found that 30 percent of employers would “definitely or probably” drop coverage after 2014.

That prediction was thought to be extreme, but later surveys find that around 10 percent of employers feel that way.

The Mercer survey also found that more than 45 percent of companies with fewer than 500 workers are considering adopting a “defined contribution” healthcare scheme, whereby employees receive a fixed sum to spend on health insurance rather than company-provided coverage.

Defined contribution plans make employers’ costs more predictable and employees more conscious of costs. But the danger, The Economist observes, is that employees will “delay seeking essential treatment for fear of the bill,” which “could leave companies with a sicker, less productive workforce.”
Supreme Court to Hear Voting Rights Challenge: Constitutional Clash of Titans
By: Shannon Goessling / Townhall Columnist
 
File photo of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas arriving for inauguration ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington 
Shelby County, Alabama is a bustling suburban county near Birmingham. It’s a remarkable, growing community, like thousands of similar communities all across America.

Yet Shelby County, like hundreds of jurisdictions across the so-called “Old South,” remains under strict and costly supervision by both the federal courts and the U.S. Department of Justice. The enactment of the Voting Rights Act in the early 1960s, which was designed to remedy instances of voter intimidation held over from the Jim Crowe era, empowered federal authorities to strike down the repugnant and unconstitutional tactics of a bygone era.

One of the key elements of the enforcement is that any changes to voting districts and election law must be submitted for thorough review and approval by the Justice Department and the courts. The record of success, at least in terms of eliminating instances of illegal behavior, is unquestioned.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and evidence of ongoing discrimination is nearly non-existent in the so-called “covered” jurisdictions. This is not personal opinion; no evidence of a systematic attempt to intimidate or suppress voting was presented to Congress when it was considering reauthorizing Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2006. Yet Congress reauthorized the preclearance and enforcement provisions for an additional 25 years, leaving hundreds of communities and, indeed, entire states under Justice Department and federal court authority.

The expensive hoop-jumping required to comply with this kind of scrutiny has rightly raised the ire of many jurisdictions, and not just because it’s burdensome in the face of no provable ongoing discrimination. Rather, the far-ranging power and authority granted to the Justice Department and federal courts in this area is a constitutional threat to state sovereign authority and ability to make necessary changes to election laws in the states.

In 2006, when Congress reauthorized parts of the Voting Rights Act for another quarter century, there were 870 black elected officials in Alabama. In many respects, to say that the various governments in the South – local and state – currently maintain discriminatory voting practices is to say that minorities in powerful elected offices are part of the group doing the discriminating.

By contrast, as the attorneys for Shelby County have argued, if the desire is to mandate preclearance on jurisdictions where there is actual evidence of voter problems, states like New York, Illinois and Tennessee would have been covered. They are not.

As we argued before the United States Supreme Court in the similar 2009 NW Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder case, “the lack of current evidence of intentional discrimination with respect to voting [meant that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act] could no longer be justified as an appropriate mechanism for enforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment.”

As we now argue before the Supreme Court in the Shelby County appeal, Congress found in 2006 that first generation barriers to voting had been virtually eliminated. Therefore, relying on a speculative, non-evidence-based formula to determine whether states should be covered is arbitrary “reverse-engineering” that exceeds Congress’ authority and violates the Constitution.

The “final stand” argument for most such defenses of excessive federal authority, as in this case, is that federal authority is an effective deterrent to bad behavior (despite the willingness of the federal courts to hear civil rights cases, as in the rest of the nation). The high court will decide to what extent that “deterrence” does damage to the rest of the Constitution.


Disgusting Leftist Mark Lamont Hill Compares Cop Killer to a 'Super Hero'

Disgusting Leftist Mark Lamont Hill Compares Cop Killer to a 'Super Hero'
Nothing really stuns me anymore about the Left and their lunacy.  That was until this week when soulless Columbia professor Mark Lamont Hill appeared on CNN and got giddy about cop killer Chris Dorner. Hill said Dorner’s murderous revenge spree was “exciting,” and was like Jamie Foxx’s character in Tarantino’s latest flick, D’jango Unchained.

Hill doubled down on his stupidity during the same interview by stating Chris’ homicidal orgy was akin to the exploits of a “super hero.” I was speechless when I heard such vomit roll off that quack’s tongue.

In contrast to numb nuts, Dorner's mother, Nancy Dorner, expressed condolences for the victims in a statement given to Robin Sax at Fox 11 Los Angeles. "It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher's actions. We do not condone Christopher's actions.”

Note, those closest to Chris didn’t commiserate with/for him but rather for those who were ruthlessly killed. Mark Lamont, eh … not so much. His capital lay with Chris.

In my book, Hill jumped the shark with those comments and I hope that all of what’s left of legitimate talent bookers on the various networks treat him like the plague. Like a Rottweiler with rabies. Hill is unbelievably disgusting.

Can you imagine someone of a conservative stripe stating that James Holmes’ melee in Aurora was titillating, understandable and smacked of a heroism? Huh? Holmes had a manifesto, is he cool too, Mark?

And what about Cho Seung-Hui, Mr. Hill? Is he like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan? I mean, he also drafted docs explaining why he “had” to frickin’ destroy three dozen college students' lives at Virginia Tech.

Oh, and I almost forgot: what about Adam Lanza? Is he a super hero? Is he “Kick Ass”? I mean … he might have been an offended twenty-something of divorced parents, daddy didn’t love him, the color yellow made him sad or his friends made fun of him on Facebook for his Three Stooges haircut. Should we give Lanza faint praise and cut him some slack for his senseless massacre of six year olds at Sandy Hook because of possible and plausible offenses, huh, Mark?

Here’s my prediction: as long as Hollywood celebrates revenge murders and the likes of CNN keep putting clowns like Hill on TV, we will continue to see whiners shoot up innocent civilians in hopes that jerks like Lamont will sympathize on TV for their murderous plight and make ‘em posthumous heroes.

However, if our culture and our commentators uniformly condemn such actions, the clowns who praise them and the pathetic losers that carry them out, I’m a-guessin’ we could see a reduction in the senseless slaughter of innocent people.

We could call it a High Capacity Idiot Ban.

Finally, I hope to God that families of those murdered by Dorner didn’t hear that BS roll off Hill’s tongue. I cannot imagine the grief they’re going through now accentuated by such callous and calamitous comments.