Saturday, April 12, 2014

What is most missing from the Republicans is not so much the lack of an alternative to ObamaCare. It is the lack of a clear vision. Even if you can understand what their various proposals (and friends and close allies often cannot), it is almost never clear why they want to implement them.

Here is the sad truth: Even though the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is a Rube Goldberg contraption that no one can explain and even though its rollout has been a complete disaster and even though the delay of one provision after another makes it seem as though the entire enterprise is coming apart…

Even with all that, Barack Obama in his sleep can articulate a clearer vision for health reform than Republicans and all their think tanks combined — after spending four years thinking about it!!!

Granted, the president's vision is often deceitful. When he says insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your insurance after you get sick, he neglects to say that this has been federal law since the time of the Bill Clinton presidency. But even if they insist on being honest, can't Republicans come up with a convincing message of their own?

Let's see if we can help them out.

From Priceless, let's take four simple reforms:

• A universal tax credit
• Roth Health Savings Accounts
• Medicaid as an option for everyone
• Change of health status insurance

With these elements we will insure more people and spend less money than ObamaCare. But (and this will come as a surprise to many in the GOP) that is not a vote-inspiring vision. A real vision follows. And, come to think about it, it's not just a vision for Republicans. Democrats may discover they like it as well.

Choice: There will be no employer or individual mandate. People will be free to choose insur¬ance tailored to individual and family needs. Men will not be forced to buy coverage for maternity care. Women will not have to buy coverage for prostate cancer tests.

Fairness: To purchase private health insurance, every individual and every family will get the same help from government regardless of where they obtain the insurance — at work, in an exchange or in the marketplace. The subsidy for private health insurance will be the same:

• Whether they work on the assembly line or whether they are the CEO;
• Whether they work less than 30 hours a week or more;
• Whether their workplace has fewer than 50 employees or more;
• Whether they are in a union or not; and
• Whether their employer provides the insurance or whether they obtain it on their own.

Simplicity: When people purchase insurance online, the exchange will not have to verify their income with the IRS, determine how many employers they work for with the Social Security Administration, check with the Labor Department to see if they have been offered affordable insurance from an employer, or check with their state Medicaid program to see if they quality. The reason: these things will no longer matter. To enroll, people can make use of EHealth and other private exchanges that have been in existence for over a decade.

Also, under the ACA almost every income number entered online will turn out to be wrong.

Therefore almost every subsidy will be wrong. That means almost everyone will face a tax increase or a refund next April 15th. Under ideal reform, there will be no need for tax increases or refunds the following year.

Jobs: Unlike the Affordable Care Act, we:

• Will not encourage employers to avoid hiring new workers;
• Will not encourage employers to drop health coverage for their current employees or for their retirees;
• Will not penalize employees and their employers if they work full time rather than part time;
• Will not favor small business over large business or vice versa;
• Will not favor non-union firms over union firms or vice versa;
• Will not encourage outsourcing or labor saving technologies, or in other ways discourage eco¬nomic recovery.

Universal Coverage: Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which will leave most of the uninsured still uninsured and which will drain safety net institutions of their funds in the process, we will commit a certain amount of money on behalf of every American.

• Unclaimed tax credits (by people who elect to remain uninsured) will be sent to local safety net institutions to cover medical expenses the uninsured cannot pay on their own. 
• Also, everyone — regardless of income — will be able to use her tax credit to buy into Medic¬aid.

Portability: Unlike the current system, we will encourage employers to buy for their employees insurance that is personal and portable, and that travels with them from job to job and in and out of the labor market.

Patient Power: People will have new opportunities to manage their own health care dollars, if they choose:

• With a Roth Health Savings Account people will be able to manage their own small dollar expenses, including most primary care.
• Special accounts will allow the chronically ill to manage their funds, similar to the highly popular Cash and Counseling program for the homebound disabled in many state Medicaid programs.

Real Insurance: Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans have an incentive to avoid the sick and to under-treat them if they happen to enroll — in part by omitting the best specialists and best hospitals from their networks. This is because the premium high-cost patients pay is well below the cost of their care. As an alternative:

• Insurance should give people genuine protection against the financial consequences of devel¬oping a pre-existing condition.
• If an individual's health deteriorates and he must subsequently switch health plans, the origi¬nal plan must pay the new plan a higher premium to reflect the higher expected cost.
• Patients with health problems, therefore, will be just as desirable to new plans as people who are healthy.
• A vibrant market will develop, in which entrepreneurs compete to find new and better ways of treating the chronically ill.

In this new market, no insurance pool will be able to dump its most costly enrollees on another pool, with impunity — as they are currently doing with alarming frequency. Similarly, no individual will be able to game the system by remaining uninsured and then buying insurance without penalty after he gets sick.

Efficiency: No longer will the government subsidize the last dollar of health insurance, no matter how wasteful. Instead, government will subsidize the first dollars, paying for the core insurance that we want everyone to have. Additional insurance and deposits to Roth HSAs will be made with after-tax dollars and these dollars will compete on a level playing field with all other consumer spending.

• Unlike the current system, no one will have an incentive to over-insure or under-insure.
• Since HSA dollars will be available for other consumption without taxes or penalties, consumers who eliminate wasteful health care spending will get to use every dollar they save for other purposes.

Transition: We cannot abolish ObamaCare and start all over. We must transition from where we are now to where we want to be; and that is a process that will take several years. In the meantime, we can make two promises that are easy to keep:

• If you and your employer like the plan you have, you can keep it.
• If you have an individual or family policy you like (even one purchased in an exchange), you can keep it.

Racketeering, assault, and extortion -- these are just a few of the crimes that union organizers have been accused or convicted of committing over the past few weeks and months.

You would think Big Labor bosses would be concerned with their image and whether or not it affects their ability to maneuver with friends in the Obama Administration. Not so. In fact, they have been emboldened by the actions undertaken by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is currently seeking to expedite the unionization process so much so that workers and businesses will not be able to make informed decisions concerning the formation of collective bargaining units in their place of employment.

To better understand who stands to benefit from the proposed “ambush” election rule change giving employees and employers less than two weeks to act after union petitions have been filed, while also providing union organizers with the personal contact information of workers, we need to look no further than recent press reports.

Last February, for instance, ten members of the Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401 were charged with “conspiracy, extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault under federal racketeering statutes.” Local media outlets reported that union organizers created “goon squads” to intimidate construction contractors who refused to hire union workers with violent force and explicit threats.

Labor thugs even went so far as to torch a construction site costing $500,000 in damages.

The incidents in Philadelphia are demonstrative of a much larger trend and closely resemble events that took place last March when members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 in Vancouver, Washington allegedly assaulted security guards and were charged with “threatening to rape one manager’s daughter and issuing veiled threats to another’s children.” The labor organizers were supposedly employing said tactics merely because they were disgruntled over being locked out of union negotiations.

Similar incidents occurred in Buffalo, where Mark Kirsch, president of the Operating Engineers Local 17, and several other members of the notorious union were guilty of using intimidation to win contracts and punishing those who failed to comply. According to The Buffalo News, “Prosecutors claim the criminal conduct by Operating Engineers Local 17 touched many of the region’s biggest construction projects, including Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Ralph Wilson Stadium, and added millions of dollars to the cost of those projects.” Remarking on the union’s tactics, FBI special agent Boetig said, “The union members who pleaded guilty and were found guilty in this case made honest working people go to work in fear of being stabbed or assaulted...”

The use of violence and fear is nothing new for union bosses, but with Obama’s Labor Board now seeking to change workplace election rules that have adequately served both unions and employers for decades, it is likely instances of coercion and intimidation will only increase. This is best exemplified by the provision in the proposed rule which goes beyond the status quo which currently allows labor organizers to gain the home address of workers, and seeks to also provide them access to various phone numbers and email addresses. This information will only serve one purpose: facilitate the harassment of employees.

Fortunately, while the executive branch appears to be in the back pocket of Big Labor bosses, the legislative branch is advancing common sense measures to stop the Obama NLRB from hurting American workers and business owners. Just this past week, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce sought to move forward with legislation addressing the “ambush” election rule change. The House Committee is considering two bills, namely the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 4320), and the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4321).

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, among other things, provides workers with the opportunity to make a fully informed decision and ensures union elections will not be held in less than 35 days. The Employee Privacy Protection Act, among other things, affords employees the chance to select the safest and easiest method to communicate with labor organizers.

It is a sad day when we need one branch of government to protect us from the actions of another as it seeks to facilitate conduct that threatens the safety and peace of mind of citizens. Yet, under the Obama Administration, that’s exactly what’s happening. Let’s hope the Congress acts and forces President Obama to publicly choose between America’s workers or Washington’s labor bosses.

State Department issues worldwide caution against jihad terror attacks targeting US

  / Jihad Watch
FE_DA_130418_boston620x413“Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.” So apparently the State Department wants us all to cower in — where? Not our homes, since al-Qaeda is targeting “residential areas” as well as public events where people congregate. They just want us to cower in fear, wherever we may be, while they assure us that Islam is a Religion of Peace and conduct outreach sessions at mosques with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
State, in other words, and the whole political culture in Washington, of denial and appeasement, has brought this situation upon us.

“State Dept Issues Worldwide Caution Against Terrorist Attacks Targeting US,” from RTT News, April 11:
The United States has renewed its Worldwide Caution on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.
In a Worldwide Caution update issued on Thursday, the Department of State reminded that U.S. citizens are to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. The renewal comes at the expiry of information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide, issued on September 25, 2013.
The Department of State said it remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as al Qaeda and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations. Kidnapping targets are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransoms for the release of individuals in custody. Current information suggests that al-Qaeda, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan and encourage kidnappings of U.S. citizens and Westerners. U.S. citizens have been advised to closely monitor Travel Warnings and Alerts, as well as Country Specific Information, on the Department of State’s travel website to review the latest safety and security information for destination countries.
Information also suggests that al-Qaeda and its affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.
Current information suggests that al-Qaeda, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa.
U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea have been advised to exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.
U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents.
The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region, the State Department said.
Bye-bye Kathleen...NOT sorry to see you go
By: Diane Sori

“The next HHS secretary will inherit a mess — Americans facing rising costs, families losing their doctors, and an economy weighed down by intrusive regulations.”
- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus

What a sickening display we saw yesterday as Barack HUSSEIN Obama sung the praises of Kathleen Sebelius for all her "fine work" in regards to ObamaCare. The man who blames her...and everyone else but himself...for the disastrous ObamaCare roll out was now singing her praises. The man who claimed it was all her fault for the lack of information emanating from the HHS about the extent of the website problems could care less about Sebelius resigning...quitting she says or fired what he actually meant was 'hurry up and get the hell out of here'fill in the blank with the word of your choice as they all fit.

Kathleen Sebelius, an ex-Kansas governor, a former state insurance commissioner, and the daughter of a former Ohio governor, was one of Obama’s longest-serving cabinet members (one of six cabinet members, like Eric 'Fast and Furious' Holder, who has been hanging on since this administration's beginning), is the very woman who eleven days ago promised that she would stay at the top of the HHS organizational pecking order until ObamaCare's second open enrollment period started in November...started after the mid-term elections of course...and is the one who has been ObamaCare's head honcho since its inception.

Kathleen Sebelius, the woman who become the public face of the continuously troubled and malfunctioning health insurance exchanges...the woman who evoked the 5th when appearing before Congress...was sworn in as HHS head in April 2009, and then helped ObamaCare win congressional she is as equally responsible for this monstrosity as those who passed it before reading it.

Hoping Sebelius' resignation would put to rest the NEVER ending but oh so rightful barrage of controversies connected with ObamaCare (I will NOT call it the Affordable Care Act as this monstrosity is anything but affordable), Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget to replace affect trading one shill for there are still problems galore with ObamaCare. Remember, 24 states have NOT agreed to an expansion of Medicaid under the law...a key part of providing coverage to the uninsured, and in 36 states the federal government runs the exchanges, because they declined to take on that responsibility ...and rightly so.

"Their futures are secured knowing that they can take care of themselves and their families."
-Kathleen Sebelius in her Rose Garden resignation speech 4/11/14

Words said during her resignation speech but words of a blind follower...words of the clueless...words of a lying vile woman who helped orchestrate and push the most cleverly crafted stuff of nightmares ever perpetrated on the American people...a nightmare complete with 'death panels' and rationed medicine, all paid for with changes to Medicare, taxes on health-care providers, and a requirement...a mandate...that all Americans have insurance...that all Americans buy insurance whether they want it or NOT.

And as a surge of last-minute applications 'miraculously' arrived before the March 31th deadline allowing the White House to claim it had finally reached its target of seven million enrolled...with .1 added in for good measure...Sebelius' job was done. So her words were simply empty bloviations of a woman who needed to go..but know that her going will in NO way fix the inherent problems with ObamaCare.

And while Sebelius publicly took responsibility...most likely ordered to do so or else...for the disastrous ObamaCare roll out, once the website was repaired...sort of repaired that is as the website continued to go down even on the last sign-up day...Sebelius became Obama's personal shill and mouthpiece. Traveling across America to spew Obama's LIES about ObamaCare, Sebelius deliberately ignored the cancellation of six plus million private policies that people were happy with...deliberately ignored the fact that those who tried to sign onto the exchanges encountered delays, could NOT log on, or began an application only to see their data vanish...and most importantly deliberately ignored the fact that most could NOT pay the all-important first premium payment because the payment portals had NOT yet been built.

"Glitches" Obama, Sebelius, and their devious crew of miscreants and LIARS called them...'glitches' my these 'glitches' were NOTHING more than covering up for the difficulties and the subterfuge that became the hallmark of Obama's signature anything but a health care law.

So while yesterday Obama praised Sebelius for helping to steer ObamaCare's comeback by saying, "Under Kathleen's leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done...and the final score speaks for itself," the fact remains that NO such comeback has really been done for signing up for ObamaCare does NOT mean one is enrolled in ObamaCare for the payment portals are still under construction, and the 'supposed' 7.1 million who signed up actually gets negated by the six plus million who lost their insurance because of ObamaCare.

Said by an HHS official, “As she closes this chapter, Secretary Sebelius is extremely thankful to President Obama and very proud of the historic accomplishments of this Administration,” the truth is that Kathleen Sebelius's tenure as the head of the steward of ObamaCare...has been a total and complete failure as is all that has been done by this administration. I hope this woman doesn't let the door slam her in the butt as it closes behind her...NO...I actually hope it does for maybe then she'll have some sense knocked into her.

Just saying...