Promise Zones? Really? The president promised Detroit that he would not let it fail. He promised us that if we liked our doctors and our insurance, we could keep them. He promised us that he would close Gitmo. He promised us that he would lead the most transparent administration in history. I look at his promises like a bad case of gas. They stink from the moment they are made and eventually they are followed by crap that needs to be cleaned up!
The Oligarchy Times, volume 1, issue 3
In today’s issue of the Oligarchy Times, we examine the most consistent man in the United States, if not the world. President Barack “Enron” Obama made the following statement on October 23, 2013:
“The product is good. The health insurance that’s being provided is good. It’s high quality and it’s affordable. People can save money, significant money, by getting insurance that’s being provided through these marketplaces. And we know that the demand is there. People are rushing to see what’s available. And those who have already had a chance to enroll are thrilled with what’s available.” (Source: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/obama-shills-obamacare-product-good-call-now#sthash.s6xg4RDg.dpuf)
In almost flawless constancy, President Enron lied, flat out lied. How can a person state that a largely unavailable product “is good?” Even if the site is 100% running and available, by all accounts, it is not secure. In order to go window shopping, you have to give sensitive information. It is like going window shopping at the mall while naked.
The following is directly from the Chicago Tribune, December 15, 2013
CHICAGO — Rachel Arai is a 38-year-old stay-at-home mom with a second child on the way in February. Her family has never been without health insurance, coverage her family views not as a luxury but as a necessity.
She and her self-employed husband, Devin Stites, want to buy a policy for 2014, but like millions across the country, they’ve found themselves in limbo: With just days left to select coverage that will kick in Jan. 1, they lack the information needed to make a decision on what policy to buy.
The family has health insurance through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. But they’ve been eager to see if they can get a better deal, and possibly a tax credit, through the new Illinois health insurance exchange set up as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The problem: Blue Cross hasn’t told them how much they’ll have to pay for their existing plan in 2014. And HealthCare.gov, the federal website where consumers in 36 states, including Illinois, are supposed to be able to compute their subsidy amount and buy health insurance, has been largely inoperable for many consumers, including Arai.
As the Dec. 23 deadline to obtain insurance coverage approaches, frustration is mounting across the country for people who fear they’ll have little time to assess their health care options or, at worst, not be able to sign up for a plan in time because of the bumpy rollout of the health care law.
There’s not much Arai and her husband can do, aside from wait and hope they get the information they need in time to ensure no gap in coverage.
“I’m really frustrated at this point, (and) I don’t have hours and hours to try and get pricing on my health insurance,” she said. “I’m nervous about the situation, but my hands are kind of tied. I don’t know what to do, and my husband is beside himself.”
For people with chronic conditions or those who require ongoing medical treatment like Arai, the loss of coverage — even for a month — could create a big financial hardship.
How the family and others like them ended up in this pickle is largely a reflection of the technological meltdown that rendered the website all but unusable in its first two months, a reordering of the insurance market spurred by the health care law and the policy reversal that followed.
New regulations under the health law that required all new policies to cover a list of 10 essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, hospitalization and maternity care, with no extra charge. That spurred insurers across the country to cancel plans for millions of Americans with private coverage, including about 185,000 in Illinois.
Massive public outcry erupted, prompting the White House to change course. President Barack Obama announced in November that states could allow insurers to offer existing policies for one more year, even if they didn’t meet the new standards.
Blue Cross, the state’s largest insurer that issued the majority of plans on the individual market last year, decided it would go along. But it has yet to communicate 2014 rate information to Arai and other customers.
“Every week I call they say next week. The email I got earlier this week said next week. Everything is next week, but next week never seems to come,” Arai said.
Lauren Perlstein, a spokeswoman for the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, said the company will notify its members soon of adjusted 2014 rates that reflect new taxes and fees associated with the health law.
In a letter sent two weeks ago to customers, the insurer said it would tack on an additional 4.1 percent to premiums reflect those new fees, plus another unspecified rate adjustment to account for 2014.
The insurer advises them to compare their current plan to new 2014 plans on its website to ensure they’re getting the coverage that is right for them.
Other insurers that sold individual policies in Illinois this year also will offer those plans next year, including Health Alliance, which said it will increase rates on extended plans by 21.8 percent effective Feb. 1.
Humana is offering renewals for small group plans, but still hasn’t made a decision about individual policies, a spokesman said. Aetna said Thursday it would not offer old plans next year.
State and federal officials have urged consumers to keep trying to access the website, which is working far better in December than in its first two months of operation. They also encourage those who need help sorting out their options to contact one of several dozen community groups across the state that have a combined 1,500 trained helpers who can help people navigate the process of signing up for coverage.
That’s little consolation for Fran Schlesinger, 45, of Naperville, who has spent more than 20 hours trying to sign up for coverage on the federal website, including at least seven hourlong calls with federal call center helpers, to no avail.
After her husband lost his corporate job in 2011, her family of six has purchased coverage on the individual market. Their current policy, through UnitedHealthcare, will cost more than $1,000 a month starting in January, up from about $900.
She estimates the family will be eligible for a hefty federal subsidy to buy an insurance policy on the exchange, but the one time out of dozens that she was able to get through the application process, she inadvertently entered an erroneous income figure. The system kicked her application into Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for those with low-income or the disabled
Once she realized her mistake, she made four calls to the federal help line, spending an hour on the phone with a helper each time. But she’s still unable to remove or correct her application, leaving her locked out of the system and unable to compare the private policies her family intends to buy.
“At this point, I’ve thrown up my hands and said I can’t deal with this anymore,” Schlesinger said. “I feel like I’m in one of those hamster wheels, where you cannot get off.”
Pam Lefkowitz, 53-year-old Lincolnwood self-employed IT consultant, called the entire process “the biggest nightmare.”
After two months of failed attempts, the finally was able to view health plans on HealthCare.gov Dec. 2. She didn’t like what she saw.
Although she’ll qualify for a monthly tax credit of about $91 if she buys a plan through the exchange, the policies offered carried higher total out-of-pocket costs than her old plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which she would prefer to keep, depending on how much it costs.
She received an e-mail last week from the insurer saying it would renew that plan and send her information this week on how much it would cost in 2014. As of Thursday afternoon, the letter had not arrived.
“I’m in a holding pattern,” Lefkowitz said. “I’m not doing anything until I hear from Blue Cross.”
Even for enrolled, obstacles remain
Even those who have signed up via the health exchanges are running into red tape and roadblocks.
The website also has had a number of back-end issues that affect the way it notifies insurance companies of their new enrollees. The federal government said last week that about 10 percent of the enrollment forms HealthCare.gov submits to insurers have errors, including incorrect information, duplicate forms and, in some cases, missing forms.
That’s down from an error rate of about 25 percent in October and November, before a host of significant repairs were made to the website, officials said. Even so, the continued issues raise the specter that some people who believe they are enrolled in a health plan may show up to a doctor’s office or a hospital and find that insurers have no record of their application.
Administration officials and insurance companies suggest that anyone who enrolls in coverage via the federal website call their insurance company to confirm they’ve signed up. For the plan to kick in Jan. 1, enrollees also are required to pay their insurer the first month’s premium by Dec. 31.
In a nod to the ongoing sign-up problems nationwide, federal officials announced several steps Thursday aimed at helping people who get stuck in health care-law limbo. The Department of Health and Human Services said patients enrolled in special insurance plans for people with pre-existing conditions would be able to stay on that coverage until the end of January.
—Peter Frost and Chad Terhune of the Los Angeles Times
To quote The Thompson Twins, “lies, lies, lies, yeah!”
I was having a discussion with several people about the whole “you didn’t build that” thing. A good friend who is a liberal that believes true discourse is marked by civility, dignity, and respect, pointed out that if it were not for the government providing lumber, nails, tacks, and shingles, referring to infrastructure, we’d not have been able to build our businesses. I wrote the following in response:
_____ is absolutely right about lumber, nails, tacks and shingles. However, we all need to bear in mind that it was our money that bought all of that. We bought the lumber. We bought the nails, the tacks, and the shingles. We assembled the roads and bridges. We laid the cables and connected the pipes. We paved the roads. We provided our lives in countless conflicts to make sure our land was safe enough to build the things we paid for. Long before there was a government that did these things, people got together as members of communities and built up their towns. Look at the Amish. Without a penny of government money and no advanced technology, they have social programs that build buildings for their children, care for their sick, engage in commerce, and maintain a quality of life that has worked for centuries. We call them backward. I call them successful. Is there a single business or government on the face of the earth that has never changed its business model in hundreds of years and is still in the same line of business? I have something to say to Mr. Obama:
“Nobody in Washington, on either side of the aisle, ever built anything. The only thing that Washington has ever done is take our money and then pay us back with it so that we could build that. The road that led to my in-laws’ office is mine because I paid for it. The only contribution that you have made is the taxes you’ve paid on over $12,000,000 that you, according you own Web site, have earned since 2005. You wrote your books. You traveled to speaking engagements. You worked as a community organizer. Every accomplishment you have made is because you, private citizen Obama, built that. You should be proud of what you actually built and not give the government the slightest responsibility for what every other hard working American like you has built.”
Riddle: “What is the difference between a spork and a moderate?”
Answer: “Nothing. They both try to be two things at once and are not very good at either of them.”
The ideal result for 2012 is that Ron Paul would win and for eight years, he’d return the country to a Constitutional Republic where the Constitution is the rule of law and populist prejudices fade into the realm of repealed unconstitutional laws.
However, the shallow conservatives and RINOs won’t vote for him because they won’t dig 2cm past his elderly exterior and whinely voice to notice that he is the only person among the campaigners that understands the concept of liberty, even when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Chris Christie is too smart to run now. As much as I love Sarah as a person, her abdication of Alaska’s State House mid-first-term will always we be seen as a fatal flaw, even though Barry’s abdication of the Illinois junior Senator seat was identical. I predict Christie will run in either 2016 or 2020. 2016 will be the year if Barry wins 2012. It will be a Reagan-esque landslide. Also, if a weak RINO wins in 2012, Christie has enough backbone to challenge that person in 2016. 2020 will be the year if a decent Two-term Republican wins 2012.
Apart from the unlikely election of Ron, the best thing for the country will be for Barry to narrowly win re-election and accomplish next to nothing while Congress prevents him from enacting anything too stupid. The House and Senate will both get bumps toward the GOP and in 2014, the GOP will own both houses. The takeover of the Senate will be lead by truly conservative Republicans. Ron Paul’s highly visual but unsuccessful run and Rand Paul’s growth as a champion of libertarian ideals in the Senate will make many of those GOP senators “liberty-minded.” The Tea Party will cease to be the litmus test for true Republicans. Instead, conformance to many libertarian ideals will become the standard. Liberty-minded Democrats will also come on the scene. By 2016, the country will practically beg for a Chris Christie/Rand Paul ticket. The defeat of the Democratic ticket will be of Reaganssque proportions. The two poor losers will be the next Dukakis/Bentsen.
2016 to 2024 will become a Renaissance of Constitutionalism, the likes of which the country hasn’t seen since the 1700’s. If the Rapture happened somewhere during that time, it would be profoundly awesome!