Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Obamacare: Experts Fear Large Premium Spikes in Some States, More Employers Consider Dumping Plans  
Guy Benson / Townhall Columnist

No, you're not experiencing deja vu. I wrote a piece with a nearly identical headline just last week. The reports in this post are new, though, and they point in the same direction. First, National Journal writes that while rates are increasing across the country, experts worry that consumers in certain states will be subjected to especially acute hikes. Remember, every state has its own risk pool, and some are looking less sustainable than others:
Despite Obamacare's strong national enrollment numbers, several states are at risk for big premium hikes. Each state is its own insurance market, and they had wildly different experiences during Obamacare's first open-enrollment window. So although nationwide statistics are important for judging the law's political success, the substantive tests for the law's future mostly lie with the states—and some of them aren't looking so hot.
Predicting premium increases is an inexact science to say the least, but health care experts see a troubling number of red flags in certain states. Perhaps the most vulnerable is West Virginia—the home state of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who's awaiting confirmation as the next Health and Human Services secretary...Premiums will go up, on average, across the board—premiums go up every year. But a range of factors could drive higher-than-average increases in certain places. States that fell short of their overall enrollment goals, and where the people who did enroll are mostly older and sicker, are more at risk for large premium hikes. So are states that don't have much competition among insurers.
Let's try not to dwell on this reporter's casual commentaries about Obamacare's "strong national enrollment numbers," and the fact that "premiums go up every year." The former assertion is quite generous in light of the facts, and the latter flies in the face of what Americans were promised about the effects of the new law. Shrugging that "rates increase every year anyway" isn't a resonant point when people were told their premiums would drop significantly. In any case, this is the same journalist who wrote the original Obamacare "winning streak" story, so he has strong incentive to try to resuscitate that narrative. Back to the story about problematic states:
Hawaii is another consensus pick, and some experts say the state might never be able to support its Obamacare exchange. Hawaii was near the bottom for total enrollment, signing up just 15 percent of its eligible population, and had the second-worst mix of young adults...Ohio and Arizona, both of which allowed plan extensions, are on Levitt's list of states to watch for big premium hikes. He and Pearson mentioned Iowa, which allowed a two-year extension for canceled plans and was the second-worst state at enrolling its eligible population. Health care analysts are also keeping an eye on premiums in Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Dakota, where officials had to beg and plead just to get one carrier into the state's private market.
That's a total of eight states specifically mentioned as having raised red flags for sharper increases. 

Not among them is Virginia, where insurers released preliminary 2015 rates that will increase across all plans on the exchange, some by double-digits. Does that mean that Virginia's "pocketbook-pinching" experience will be fairly typical? The list also excludes Washington State, where insurers are seeking increases as high as 26 percent. If those are the average states, what will the high risk states' premiums look like? NPR, meanwhile, has an upbeat story about the coming trend of more employers paying employees to purchase insurance on their own. Decoupling insurance plans from consumers' employer (in order to make coverage portable, while significantly mitigating the pre-existing conditions problem) has long been a goal of some conservative healthcare reform proposals. But it's a stark departure from Democrats' infamous "keep your plan" promise. Being tossed off one's employer-based coverage and handed a defined contribution payment to track down a plan in the individual market is markedly different than being permitted to maintain one's preferred plan "no matter what, period." Other companies, NPR reports, are shifting over to private insurance exchanges. That outcome isn't necessarily a bad thing for workers, but it fails to satisfy Democrats' unambiguous pledge to wary Americans. NPR euphemizes this phenomenon as a new strategy companies are employing to help defray rising costs. Nowhere does the phrase "coverage dumping" appear, nor do any references to the infamous "keep your plan" vow. Internal White House estimates have revealed that the administration knew full well that they couldn't keep their airtight promise, but they made the political decision to employ it anyway. Finally, the New York Times covers how an uptick in America's insured population is coming at the price of "access shock" for many consumers:
In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network — or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want. These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans.While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups...Insurers, ranging from national behemoths like WellPoint, UnitedHealth and Aetna to much smaller local carriers, are fully embracing the idea, saying narrower networks are essential to controlling costs and managing care.
Now seems like as good a time as any to re-up this video, which features handy reminders of what the president and his allies promised us prior to the law's passage:

The press continues to ponder how it's possible that Obamacare remains so unpopular in spite of all the great news -- which is a risible underlying assumption. They can abandon unhelpful poll questions and spin the results as positive for Democrats, but they're not moving the needle. Liberal groups are about to spend tens of millions on ads highlighting the most popular elements of Obamacare in a bid to boost its approval. But countering those ads will be a rash of cancellation notices, climbing premiums, and fewer choices for consumers. But at least NBC News has a hot tip on how to make Obamacare seem less hated by average people: Refer to the program by a moniker nobody's heard of, and fewer people say they're opposed to it. Magic.

Obama: Immigration Bill Necessary ‘For Our Safety and Security’


Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

If there is anyone who knows less or cares less about our “safety” and “security,” it’s the one man who has done the most to harm it: Obama.
Weekly Standard: Talking today with law enforcement officials at the White House, President Obama said changes to immigration law is necessary “for our safety and security.”
“Our broken immigration system makes it harder for our law enforcement agencies to do their job,” Obama said.
“Our system is not fair to workers, is not fair to businesses and and is not fair to law enforcement agencies.”
Via the White House pool report:
Mr Obama spoke to a group of “law enforcement leaders” in the Eisenhower Office building, for about ten minutes,starting at 12.00. See below for WH list of attendees.
Mr Obama was introduced by the DHS secretary, Jeh Johnson, who spoke about his two best days as a public servant – the day that OBL was captured and four days later when Mr Obama went to NYC and visited the fire house at 48th and 8th and then the 1st Precinct of the NYPD.Mr Obama then arrived to talk about immigration reform which he said was was important for America’s “economic future, our cultural future, our standing in the world and our safety and security.”Here are some further outtakes, making the case for comprehensive immigration reform.:”It’s the right thing to do for our safety and security.”"Our broken immigration system makes it harder for our law enforcement agencies to do their job.”"Our system is not fair to workers, is not fair to businesses and and is not fair to law enforcement agencies.”"We have put unprecedented resources at our borders.”He joked that people probably knew he was in favour of reform, along with the Hispanic caucus on Congress and some businesses like those recruiting agricultural workers. ”A number of Republicans are realising that blocking immigration reform is not a good idea.”"Public opinion is on our side.”"A handful of House Republicans are blocking legislation getting to the floor.”Said he was not wedded to every section in the current Senate bill.Said about 80 per cent of the undocumented immigrants had been in the US for more than ten years and that they were “woven into teh fabric of our society.”Talked about how policing the current law was stopping police from “chasing gang bangers and going after violent criminals.”Said to bring the public along – “It is more important to hear from unexpected voices.” (like law enforcement) ”We have a very narrow window”The closer we get to mid-term elections the harder it will be to get things done.”"We have about 2-3 months to get the ball rolling in the House of Representatives.
Background from the White House:
More than 40 Law Enforcement leaders are attending today’s meeting, representing the following organizations:
o   Major Cities Chiefs Association
o   Major County Sheriffs Association
o   National Sheriffs Association
o   International Association of Chiefs of Police
o   Fraternal Order of Police
o   National Association of Police Organizations
o   Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
o   Police Executive Research Association
Administration Officials Include:
Secretary Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security
Director of Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz
Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security
Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin, Department of Homeland Security
Associate Attorney General Tony West, Department of Justice
 The post Obama: Immigration Bill Necessary ‘For Our Safety and Security’ appeared first on Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs.
Rubio: Offer All Workers Federal Retirement Plan
Newsmax

Younger voters would face higher retirement ages but all Americans could join federal retirement accounts in a plan proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio, the latest in his series of national policy prescriptions.

Rubio, a first-term Republican senator from Florida who is weighing a presidential bid, is set to deliver a speech Tuesday about retirement programs. He is proposing an overhaul of federal programs to help younger workers save for their retirement, as well as protect programs for older voters who had assumed those programs would be there after they ended their careers.

Rubio, who previously addressed poverty, higher education and economic growth in policy speeches, is working to build his policy credentials ahead of an expected 2016 campaign. The prescriptions come just days after he had a private audience with the Republican National Committee in Memphis, Tennessee, and made his first trip to early-nominating New Hampshire.

Rubio's speech, excerpts of which The Associated Press obtained in advance, promises that partisanship would not affect older Americans, who are nervous as they approach retirement. With so many retirees and those near retirement as constituents in senior-rich Florida, Rubio is mindful that he represents their interests as he prepares for the national political stage. Should he bypass a 2016 presidential run, Rubio's policy proposals would not hurt his chances at Senate re-election in 2016.

In his speech, Rubio proposes making the federal retirement program that Congress uses available beyond government employees. His proposal would make it easier for workers whose employers don't offer retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and other investment plans. Rubio's system would make it easier for lower- and middle-class voters to plan for their older years.

But Rubio's plan also would raise the retirement age for younger workers while protecting those age 55 and over. Older workers could still expect to retire at age 62 or older, depending on their plans.

But for younger workers, who are expected to live longer than their elders, the retirement age in federal programs would go up.

To offset their concerns, those younger workers could have access to the same retirement plans used by Congress.

Rubio's plan also would suspend the payroll taxes on those age 65 or older who continue to work.

That move could help him appeal to older workers of all types who choose to stay on the job after they are eligible to receive retirement benefits.

Rubio has been bulking up his political team and working to help candidates on the ballots in 2014, including those in Iowa, which hosts the leadoff presidential caucuses.

AFDI/SIOA Trademark Ruling "Unconstitutional"


AFDI/SIOA Trademark Ruling "Unconstitutional"
Wall Street Journal on SIOA Trademark Ruling: "Pamela Geller has stirred controversy across the globe...."

The USPTO rejected AFDI’s trademark application.
I wanted to keep you updated on today's ruling on one of our many legal battles against the government in the battle for free speech.
Read the Wall Street Journal here.
The USPTO rejected AFDI’s trademark application based on the following analysis:
(1) “Islamisation” means converting to Islam or “to make Islamic;” and (2), “Stop” would be understood to mean that “action must be taken to cease, or put an end to, converting or making people in America conform to Islam.” Thus, the trademark, according to the “Office Action” ruling, disparaged Muslims and linked them to terrorism. (AFLC)
The Washington Post today: "The court concludes that “Stop the Islamization of America” mark, as used by its promoters, is likely to be understood as “disparaging to a substantial composite” of Muslims, whether “Islamization” refers to conversion to Islam or to “a political movement to replace man-made laws with the religious laws of Islam.”
The Judge was hostile towards us from the very first (more on the appeal here). David Yerushalmi's oral arguments (here.)
Just minutes after the ruling down against us, Reuters contacted me. It's interesting how closely they watch our work -- even these somewhat little known, obscure cases.

Reuters: "What reaction do you all have to the court ruling today?"
Here was my full response.
Russia to Ban US from Space Station in Sanctions Retaliation
Newsmax
 
 
Russia cast doubt on the long-term future of the International Space Station, a showcase of post-Cold War cooperation, as it retaliated on Tuesday against U.S. sanctions over Ukraine.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow would reject a U.S. request to prolong the orbiting station's use beyond 2020. It will also bar Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines to launch military satellites.

Moscow took the action, which also included suspending operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites on its territory from June, in response to U.S. plans to deny export licenses for high-technology items that could help the Russian military.

"We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicizes everything," Rogozin told a news conference.

Washington wants to keep the $100 billion, 15 nation space station project in use until at least 2024, four years beyond the previous target.

Moscow's plan to part ways on a project which was supposed to end the "space race" underlines how relations between the former Cold War rivals have deteriorated since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March.

Since the end of the  Space Shuttle project, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way U.S. astronauts can get to the space station, whose crews include mostly Americans and Russians, as well as visitors from other countries.

At a time when Moscow is struggling to reform its accident-plagued space program, Rogozin said U.S. plans to deny export licenses for some high-technology items were a blow to Russian industry.

"These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate," Rogozin said. "We have enough of our own problems."

Moscow's response would affect NK-33 and RD-180 engines which Russia supplies to the United States, Rogozin said. "We are ready to deliver these engines but on one condition that they will not be used to launch military satellites," he said.

RD-180 engines are used to boost Atlas 5 rockets manufactured by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that holds a virtual monopoly on launching U.S. military satellites.

ULA on Tuesday said it was not yet aware of any restrictions and hopes talks will resolve any issues that do arise. It added that it can use other launch vehicles and has a two-year supply of engines to smooth over any transition.

"ULA and our Department of Defense customers have always prepared contingency plans in the event of a supply disruption," ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye said in a statement.

Rogozin said Moscow was planning "strategic changes" in its space industry after 2020 and aims to use money and "intellectual resources" that now go to the space station for a "a project with more prospects".

He suggested Russia could use the station without the United States, saying: "The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one. The U.S. one cannot."

The U.S. space agency NASA is working with companies to develop space taxis with the goal of restoring U.S. transport to the station by 2017. The United States currently pays Russia more than $60 million per person to fly its astronauts up.

Rogozin said Russia will suspend the operation of 11 GPS sites on its territory from June and seek talks with Washington on opening similar sites in the United States for Russia's own satellite navigation system, Glonass.

He threatened the permanent closure of the GPS sites in Russia if that is not agreed by September. Rogozin said the suspension of the sites would not affect everyday operations of the GPS system in Russia, where it is used by millions of Russians for navigation on their smartphones and in their cars.

The upheaval in Ukraine — where the United States says Russia is backing separatists and the Kremlin accuses Washington of helping protesters to topple a Moscow-friendly president in February, has led to the worst East-West crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In addition to the high-tech sector sanctions, the United States has imposed visa bans and assets freezes on officials and lawmakers and targeted companies with links to President Vladimir Putin.

The European Union has also imposed sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the latest EU measures were an "exhausted, trite approach" that would only deepen discord and hamper efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

U.S. Islamic religious leaders refuse to denounce terror group Boko Haram

Bare Naked Islam

images“There is a great reluctance to excommunicate someone by extension. … It would be like convicting someone in absentia,” said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the spokesman for the Dar Al Hijrah mosque, in Falls Church Va. IF (if?) crimes have been committed, the Nigerian government should punish the individuals, he added.


Daily Caller  On May 7, Abdul Malik led a group of Muslim advocates at a press conference at the National Press Club, where they denied that Islamic strictures are shaping Boko Haram’s years-long campaign of killing and kidnapping Christians.

 

Al-Qaeda affiliated Anwar N. Awlaqi served for many years as the imam of Dar al-Hijrah. He has been singled out as the source of inspiration not only for Fort Hood's Major Nidal Hasan, but also Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallah, the Nigerian underwear bomber
Al-Qaeda affiliated Anwar Awlaki served many years as the imam of Dar al-Hijrah. He has been singled out as the source of inspiration not only for some of the 9/11 hijackers and Fort Hood’s Major Nidal Hasan, but also Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallah, the Nigerian underwear bomber

“Islam is not the problem,” said Ahmed Bedier, a Florida-based Islamic advocate. “We’re tired of people coming on television and asking where does this ideology come from,” Bedier said. “Well, this ideology comes from nowhere,” he insisted. The Islamic leaders’ defensiveness was slammed by Rahil Raza, a Canadian Muslim who is working to modernize the faith.

 


7c6f9b0e09e0christianbodies7vi-viEstablished Islamic leaders “have to look long and hard at the Sharia [Islamic law] that Boko Haram is using … [because] it is an ideology of violence,” said Raza, who is president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, a Canadian Islamic group. ”We’ve got to stop living in the past, stop living in the 7th and 8th centuries and start living in the 21st century,” she said.

 

At his May 7 event, Abdul-Malik urged Boko Haram to change its view of Islam, even as he declined to challenge its religious claims. “Groups like Boko Haram desire to take us back to a medieval … world where kidnapping of women and girls and enslavement and rape are acceptable,” he said.

 

“The world has changed … [and] in particular we are saying as modern day Muslims that we now reject all of these acts and that they are contrary to our faith,” he said.

 

7418287814_e802e446d5_zvi-viCHRISTIANS IN THE QURAN

Qur’an 9:29
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the Last Day, who do not forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, or acknowledge the Religion of Truth (Islam), (even if they are) People of the Book (Christians and Jews), until they pay the Jizyah tribute tax in submission. Pay the tax in acknowledgment of our superiority and their state of subjection.”
Qur’an 5:35
As for the disbelievers [previously defined as Christians], if they had everything on earth, two times over, to give as ransom for the penalty of the Day of Doom, it would never be accepted from them. Theirs will be a painful torment. They will desire to get out of the fire, but they shall not be released from it. They shall have an everlasting torture.”
Qur’an 5:73
“They are surely disbelievers who blaspheme and say: ‘God is one of three in the Trinity for there is no Ilah (God) except One, Allah. If they desist not from saying this (blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall them – the disbelievers will suffer a painful doom.”
Qur’an 5:77
“Say (Muhammad): ‘People of the Book, do not overstep the bounds in your religion, or follow the people who erred and led many astray. Cursed are the unbelievers among the Children of Israel by David and Jesus…. They do vile things, allying themselves with the infidels so that Allah’s indignation is upon them and in torment they will suffer for all eternity.”
Qur’an 3:56
“As for those disbelieving infidels, I will punish them with a terrible agony in this world and the next. They have no one to help or save them.”
Op-ed: 
Expose the truth...get labeled a "possible national security threat"
By: Diane Sori

Today at 2pm, Craig Andresen and I will be up and running on RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS on the CPR Worldwide Media http://cprworldwidemedia.com/live-radio/ and we will talk about Craig and my, and CPR station owner Michael Collins-Windsor, now being considered "possible national security threats" and for NO other reason than because we dared to expose the truth...as we saw it...concerning all things Benghazi and the feds land grabs.

For anyone who has NOT seen Craig and my Benghazi and Land Grab series, below are the links and see for yourself what we discovered...and we believe it will put all the puzzle pieces together.

Benghazi: The Truth Exposed (3-part series)

Government Land Grabs: The Truth Exposed (4-part series)
Don't miss RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS today at 2 pm on CPR Worldwide Media http://cprworldwidemedia.com/live-radio/ and all will be explained...and it will absolutely blow your mind as this administration has totally run amok against 'We the People.'