Category Archives: Obamacare

60% of online defenders of Obamacare are paid trolls

Paul Bedard reports for Washington Examiner that according to digital expert Michael Brown, social media is used to manipulate opinion, which is proven in the last presidential election, and that a majority of online and social media defenders of Obamacare are paid professionals.

By social media, Brown means Facebook pages, as well as the comment sections in every major newspaper.

Brown’s shocking analysis was revealed on “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson,” which was broadcast on Sinclair stations and streamed live on February 19, 2017.

Brown evaluated 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles, and discovered that “60% of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time.” This means that the posters “were paid to post.” These “Digital activists are paid employees; their purpose is to attack anyone who’s posting something contrary to the view of the page owner wants expressed.”

Brown calls these “zombie posts” — “a fake, purchased, or rented Facebook profile that’s expressing the views of an organization as if it was his or her own. But, when in reality, the comment being expressed is done on software and written by generally one or two people. So, the zombie posts will go out on a schedule and then they are supported by zombie likes.”

See also “Get ready for a $1M army of social media trolls for Hillary”.

~Eowyn

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Planned Parenthood rejects Trump proposal to stop abortion services

Planned Parenthood Shasta

Vital to the mission…

From CNN: Planned Parenthood swiftly rejected Monday a proposal by President Donald Trump that would have pledged his support for federal funding for the women’s health organization if it ceased providing abortion services.

White House officials recently floated the idea in private conversations, a White House official said, but it was dismissed by the women’s health organization, which receives about a $500 million annually in federal funds.

Taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood, which provides a range of reproductive health services and preventative screenings through clinics nationwide.

Trump confirmed his support for the proposal in a statement provided by the White House, noting that he is both opposed to abortion and “deeply committed to investing in women’s health.”

“As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services such as cancer screenings,” Trump said in a statement. “There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”

The debate over Planned Parenthood funding could play a role in Congress’ ability to repeal and replace Obamacare, with House Republicans seeking to cut off monies and some Senate Republicans standing in opposition of such a move. Trump’s proposal may reflect an understanding of those fraught politics.

Many conservatives have consistently advocated defunding Planned Parenthood and during his 2016 campaign Trump said he supported the effort.

“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion — a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards tweeted in response to the proposal.

“The White House proposal that Planned Parenthood stop providing abortion is the same demand opponents of women’s health have been pushing for decades, as a part of their longstanding effort to end women’s access to safe, legal abortion,” Richards said in a statement provided by Planned Parenthood.

Richards added that her organization is “glad that the White House understands that taking away the preventive care Planned Parenthood provides is deeply unpopular and would be a disaster for women’s health care.”

While Trump on the campaign trail joined GOP calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its abortion services — and even said he would support a government shutdown to cut off federal funds to the group — he has also at times talked approvingly on the campaign trail about the vital women’s health services the group provides.

DCG

$21.8 million in ObamaCare tax credits awarded to individuals who were not eligible to receive them

shock

From Fox News: The Affordable Care Act exchanges awarded $21.8 million in advance premium tax credits to individuals who were not eligible to receive them, according to an audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Advance premium tax credits are awarded to those with low to moderate income to help rein in the cost of purchasing health care insurance on the exchanges.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for overseeing the Obamacare exchanges which should ensure that an individual who applies for the tax credit has his identity verified and that the individual is eligible to receive the payment.

Individuals are asked a number of questions regarding their personal information such as their address, telephone number, date of birth, and out-of-wallet questions to determine their identity. After this process, individuals can submit an application to see if they are eligible to receive benefits.

The audit found that the exchanges did not successfully verify the identity of 35,276 individuals, and these individuals received $112 million in advance premium tax credits. The report notes that the majority of these applications—99 percent—had no verification process performed on them, and 251 failed identity verification.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.

DCG

New Congressional bill HR 708 allows health insurers to charge older Americans 5x more

Did you know that at present, Obamacare makes it legal for insurers to charge older Americans a health insurance premium that’s three times more than what younger Americans pay?

That, of course, is tantamount to an age health tax.

To make matters worse, a new bill in Congress means to actually INCREASE it to as much as 5 times or more. 

The bill is H.R. 708: State Age Rating Flexibility Act of 2017, the purpose of which is to amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to increase the permissible age variation based on age for health insurance premiums for coverage offered in the individual or small group market from a factor of three to a factor of five, or to a factor determined by the state.

To top it off, this age-discriminatory bill was introduced by a Republican! — Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana). At present, there are no co-sponsors. On January 27, 2017, H.R. 708 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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Casey Dowd reports for Fox News, Feb. 16, 2017, that AARP Senior Vice President Joyce Rogers lashed out against H.R. 708 in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond told FOX Business:

“This legislation has a simple explanation — it would be an age tax — charging older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare a penalty of five times what others must pay for health insurance. The term ‘age rating’ is Washington-speak for overcharging older Americans by thousands of dollars for their health care.”

According to a new study from AARP’s Public Policy Institute conducted by the independent actuarial firm Milliman, if H.R. 708 is passed, on average, adults age 60 and older would see their insurance bills go up by $3,200 — making their average annual premium a whopping $17,900.

LeaMond said:

“Seniors already spend one out of every six dollars on healthcare—they can’t afford to spend more.

A typical senior without insurance in the individual market has a median income of only $20,000.  Asking moderate and middle income older Americans to pay over $3,000 more out of pocket for insurance will put a major squeeze on other necessities.  And, this group is already dealing with added expenses from the high prices of prescription drugs.

Add to that the fact that many parents pay for their children’s insurance until they turn twenty-six, a bill many are happy to foot, but that certainly adds to their financial burden.”

LeaMond said this week, AARP launched a new campaign to stop the age tax that includes advertising and recess visits by AARP staff and volunteers to members of Congress in the states:

“Our latest efforts follow letters we have sent that lay out the negative impact of the age tax. The ads also come as an addition to AARP’s Medicare campaign, which takes on ‘premium support,’ a proposal that would harm Medicare beneficiaries by turning the successful program into a private voucher program.

We are encouraging our members to call their representatives in Congress at 844-617-2688 and urge them to oppose H.R. 708, the bill that would allow insurance companies to charge 50- to 64-year-olds thousands of dollars more for their health care. Remind Congress they should be standing up for their constituents, not insurance companies. You can also send a message to your Representative by going to the following website Opens a New Window. .

Contact info. for Rep. Larry Buschon:

1005 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 225-4636

~Eowyn

Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

adalberto-jordan

Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

DCG

Humana to quit Obamacare exchanges in 2018, providing fuel for Trump’s ‘repeal’ efforts

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From Yahoo:  While Republicans continue to grapple with plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and stabilize health insurance rates, Humana (HUM) is the first major insurer to say it is dropping out of the individual market for 2018.

“Based on our initial analysis of data associated with the company’s health-care exchange membership following the 2017 open enrollment period, we continue to see further signs of an unbalanced risk pool,” said Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, on a conference call with analysts Tuesday. “Therefore, the company has decided that it cannot continue to offer this coverage for 2018.”

In the wake of the news, President Donald Trump tweeted that the insurer’s decision was another example of the failure of the Affordable Care Act, and he reiterated his plan to “repeal, replace & save healthcare for ALL Americans.”

The health insurer made the announcement with its earnings update, following the mutual termination of its $34 billion merger agreement with Aetna (AET) earlier in the day. The two insurers agreed to part ways , after a federal court judge blocked the deal on antitrust grounds.

Humana now expects to earn $10.80 to $11.00 per share for 2017, excluding anticipated losses on its exchange business.

Humana cut back its Affordable Care Act exchange participation to 11 states last July, when the Department Of Justice sued to block its deal with Aetna. The insurer said that despite efforts to mitigate losses on its exchange plans in 2017 through narrower networks and selective market participation, it is seeing early signs of high pharmacy utilization among its new members.

Right now, the insurer estimated that it will lose a modest $45 million on ACA exchange plans, but it cautioned that this is an early estimate and “a number… that we’re going to have to evaluate.”

Other health insurers have threatened to pull out of the individual market if there is no clarity from Capitol Hill or Trump’s health officials on stabilizing the markets, but Humana is the first to say that it will pull out altogether.

Leading up to 2017 open enrollment, the exchange markets experienced tremendous turbulence last year, after most major insurers, including Humana, cut back on participation after suffering big losses on exchange plans.

Humana is a leading Medicare Advantage plan provider, and executives said that they don’t believe that they can achieve the same kind of health-care models on the Obamacare exchanges that they achieve with health plans for seniors.

The company does not hold out hope for more detail on Republican “repeal and replace” plans in the near term.

“We’re really feeling that this organization needs to stay focused on what we do well,” Broussard said, and the company can’t do that with Obamacare plans. “I think with that particular program, the way it is designed today and most likely the way it is designed in the future, will limit our ability… to get back into that marketplace.”

DCG

 

 

Disney Princesses Show the Terrifying Reality Facing Women in Trump’s America

mindsaymohan-instagram

From mindsaymohan Instagram

Trump Derangement Syndrome on steroids.

From Glamour: Just days into his presidency, President Donald Trump began to take steps toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). After a midnight Senate vote left the road clear for Trump to gut the health care plan, millions of Americans stand in limbo—uncertain if they stand to lose the coverage they gained under the Act, and even more unclear on what plan Trump has to replace it. What is certain, however, is that the effects of repealing Obamacare will be devastating, especially for women (nevermind the fact that because of Obamacare, my health insurance premiums went up 80% this year and I have a crazy high deductible).

To help drive this point home, illustrator Maritza Lugo and writer Danielle Sepulveres employed their “god-given talents” to combat the “GOP’s war on women,” Lugo writes on Instagram. The Latina duo revamped their series of illustrations featuring Disney princesses attempting to go to the gynecologist (which first debuted last year as part of cervical cancer awareness month)—and it now includes the new, terrifying realities these princesses would face if the Affordable Care Act was repealed.

They include Elena of Avalor being turned away from Planned Parenthood, Aladdin and Jasmine forced to hold a funeral for their miscarried child, Belle having to pay out-of-pocket for birth control, Pocahontas being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and Tiana having trouble getting her HPV vaccine. Lugo draws the Disney illustrations, Sepulveres writes the captions, and the results are poignant, to say the least.

The picture above is of Elena of Avalaor, Disney’s first Latina princess, “going to Planned Parenthood to stand against the evil stepsisters of the GOP.” Belle “was super happy to get birth control. As someone who was dependent on it, finding out she was denied her refill will only make Belle’s life a little harder.”

Read the rest of the hyperbole here.

DCG