COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Eighteen states have decided to turn their state Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) programs over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS officials said Tuesday.
HHS officials have asked states with state-based PCIP programs to accept a fixed, lower-than-expected budget allocation for the rest of the year or else shut down the state-based programs and put the enrollees in the federal PCIP program.
PCIP program managers in nine states seem to be inclined to accept the new HHS PCIP contract terms.
PCIP continues to provide important coverage to those with few alternatives, an HHS spokesman said Tuesday in comments about the program changes.
“These actions will help ensure the program’s smooth transition to 2014, when the new market reforms will be implemented and insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions,” said agency spokesman Fabien Levy.
An industry group, the National Association of State Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans, said in a letter to HHS that it fears “catastrophic disruption of coverage” for PCIP program enrollees.
Officials in Ohio, one of the states that will be putting enrollees in a state-based PCIP program in the federal program, estimated that HHS had offered it about $12 million less funding that their program needs to maintain current benefit levels. MORE
The IRS scandal means House Republicans can defund Obamacare for good.
The IRS scandal provides Republicans and conservatives with the opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare now. The House Republican majority should refuse to fund the expansion of the IRS necessary to manage Obamacare. Without that funding, and hiring thousands of additional agents, the IRS cannot even begin to manage Obamacare.
President Obama may throw a fit. He may refuse to sign funding bills to keep the federal government open. No matter. Let him close his government down if he wants. Nobody wants the IRS playing political games with their health care and health records, like it did with the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and Equal Protection of Tea Party and conservative organizations. Contribute to the Republican Party? Attend a Tea Party protest? Good luck getting your Obamacare health insurance tax credit application approved. Good luck finding a doctor the government will pay to do that operation your kid needs.
Obama can flail away all he wants. The public will now back the Republicans in this fight, just as it did in the sequester battle. But won’t the public feel that the Republicans would be irresponsible to just refuse to fund Obamacare, leaving the health system in chaos?
That is why the Republicans need to back up their IRS Obamacare chokehold with legislation proposing free market, Patient Power health care reforms to replace Obamacare. (A comprehensive, free-market health reform plan to replace Obamacare has already been proposed by John Goodman and myself in our NCPA paper, “Health Care for All Without the Affordable Care Act.”)
Going for the Jugular of Obamacare President Obama sold Obamacare to the 40% of the nation that supports it on the grounds that it would provide universal health insurance. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the legislation as still leaving 30 million uninsured 10 years after full implementation.
It will be much worse than even that, however. In fact, for the reasons I explain below, it is quite possible there will be more people uninsured after Obamacare goes into effect than before. That is the exposed jugular of Obamacare. Those who’ve been supporting it have done so because they believe in universal health care. If Obamacare is going to make the problem worse rather than better, for all of its costs, then public support for replacing it with a better plan will explode. As I will also explain, the free market, Patient Power plan that Republicans should now advance would assure universal health care for all, with no individual mandate, and no employer mandate, at a cost savings of at least $2 trillion over the next 10 years, as compared to current law. MORE
Government Execs up for Millions in Bonuses; Samsung and LG Dump Millions into Faulty Tech
Meet the Government’s Cash Cows: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (YahooFinance)
In last three months, Fannie Mae’s share price has gone up more than 400%. According to James Fenker, a long-time investor, “This year, Fannie and Freddie Mac are likely to post combined net income of over $100 billion — more than both Exxon (XOM) and Apple (AAPL).” And shares of the twin government cash cows? Well, should both government-owned agencies return to pre-2008 highs, preferred shares would probably rise another five-fold and junior-preferred, eight-fold. It is not a bad payday, if you can get it. Unfortunately, you can’t. All profits derived by the company are paid directly into the Fed. In light of the government bailing out both troubled lending entities, it seems fitting that taxpayers get a little of the money back, even if it goes to directly to debt-ridden Uncle Sam.
What Sequester Pain? Government Execs up for Millions in Bonuses (Business Journal)
Unless the law is changed quickly (not a specialty of the government), members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) will remain eligible to receive millions of dollars in bonuses during the federal government’s sequester when many of their lower-ranking colleagues face furloughs. While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ordered a freeze on most bonuses for federal workers during sequestration, current law provides an exemption for members of the SES, who are among the most highly-paid government employees. Legislation by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) would close the exemption loophole to ensure both non-SES federal employees and SES employees are treated equally and do not receive bonuses during sequestration. From 2008-2011, this group of senior government executives received more around $340 million in bonuses, on top of salaries ranging from $119,000-$179,000. The three senators expressed outrage at the practice and are trying to gather support among other lawmakers to enact a change swiftly. Taxpayers likely would agree with the trio, so let’s watch if other lawmakers become backers. MORE
Who is Judy Faulkner? Chances are, you don’t know her — but her politically connected, taxpayer-subsidized electronic medical records company may very well know you. Top Obama donor and billionaire Faulkner is founder and CEO of Epic Systems, which will soon store almost half of all Americans’ health information.
If the crony odor and the potential for abuse that this “epic” arrangement poses don’t chill your bones, you ain’t paying attention.
As I first noted last year before the IRS witch hunts and DOJ journalist snooping scandals broke out, Obama’s federal electronic medical records (EMR) mandate is government malpractice at work. The stimulus law provided a whopping $19 billion in “incentives” (read: subsidies) to force hospitals and medical professionals into converting from paper to electronic record-keeping systems. Penalties kick in next year for any provider who fails to comply with the one-size-fits-all edict.
Obamacare bureaucrats claimed the government’s EMR mandate would save money and modernize health care. As of December 2012, $4 billion had already gone out to 82,535 professionals and 1,474 hospitals; a total of $6 billion will be doled out by 2016. What have taxpayers and health care consumers received in return from this boondoggle? After hyping the alleged benefits for nearly a decade, the RAND Corporation finally admitted in January that its cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year — used repeatedly to support the Obama EMR mandate — were, um, grossly overstated.
Among many factors, the researchers blamed “lack of interoperability” of records systems for the failure to bring down costs. And that is a funny thing, because it brings us right back to Faulkner and her well-connected company. You see, Epic Systems — the dominant EMR giant in America — is notorious for its lack of interoperability. Faulkner’s closed-end system represents antiquated, hard drive-dependent software firms that refuse to share data with doctors and hospitals using alternative platforms. Health IT analyst John Moore of Chilmark Research, echoing many industry observers, wrote in April that Epic “will ultimately hinder health care organizations’ ability to rapidly innovate.” MORE
WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI)–The 16th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will be presented to television icon Carol Burnett at a ceremony in Washington this fall.
Burnett, 80, is to collect the award during a star-studded tribute Oct. 20. The event is to air on PBS stations nationwide Oct. 30.
“From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement Tuesday. “We are delighted to pay tribute to this unique and beloved entertainer.”
“I can’t believe I’m getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington,” Burnett said.
Heart, Chrissie Hynde, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and Christy Mcvie
In order to make it an even 6 going into the finals we are going to have a resurrection round. Nominate anyone you want and we will thumb up the choices. Highest thumb total will be in the final 6.
PLEASE NOTE – DO NOT NOMINATE A PERSON WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN NOMINATED. IF YOU DO YOU WILL BE HARMING THAT PERSON’S CHANCES OF MAKING IT INTO THE FINAL. I’M NOT GOING TO ADD TOGETHER 4 OR 5 OF THE SAME PERSON FROM 4 0R 5 DIFFERENT NOMINATIONS. I WILL ONLY ADVANCE THE HIGHEST THUMB TOTAL ON ONE COMMENT.
SO IF PATSY CLINE IS NOMINATED 10 TIMES SHE WILL MOST LIKELY NOT WIN.
Where are the peaceful muslims to keep the violent ones in check?
ANSWER: If there are any peaceful muslims they are inconsequential to this world dilemma. All muslims need to leave islam or face the consequences that they will receive when the world necessarily cleanses itself of this maniacal cult.
By the way, the police did not respond to this violence for over 20 minutes because their faggot police force don’t have any guns. GOOD JOB, PIERS!
If only it was your head being lopped off, then I could tag this post under Comedy.
Disgraced Ex-Congressman Weiner Announces Candidacy For NYC Mayor
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two years after resigning from Congress in a lewd photo scandal, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner announced in a video message early on Wednesday he is running for New York City mayor.
“I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” Weiner said in the video. “I’m running because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life.”
The announcement promises to shake up the race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg nearly four months before the September 10 Democratic primary, though recent polls suggest Weiner faces an uphill battle.
A Quinnipiac University poll also released on Wednesday found Weiner in second place with 15 percent of the vote, trailing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by 10 points. The poll also found nearly half of city voters say Weiner should not enter the race for mayor, while 38 percent of voters want to see him run.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson both followed with 10 percent and John Liu, the current city comptroller, with 6 percent.
Weiner’s resignation in June of 2011 marked a remarkable fall from grace for a politician who was seen as a leading liberal voice in the U.S. House of Representatives and had been widely expected to run in this year’s race for mayor. MORE