Category Archives: Obamacare

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

obamacare2

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

 

 

Advertisements

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

NY gov requires insurance companies to cover contraception

strong-women-free-stuff

From Fox News: New York governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday said he was requiring health insurance companies to cover medically necessary abortions and most forms of contraception at no cost to women, a move that further protects and safeguards coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The state department of financial services is mandating that health insurers in New York provide for at least one form of FDA-approved contraception exceeding a month’s supply at a time. And women must be provided medically necessary abortions without co-pays or deductibles.

President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress have said they will repeal the health care act as soon as possible, and that is why New York must act fast to ensure women’s access to coverage and care, Cuomo said.

“These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation,” Cuomo said. “Women deserve to make a fair wage and the same salary as any man, they deserve to work in an office free of sexual harassment, they deserve comprehensive paid family leave, and they deserve control over their health and reproductive decisions.”

The regulations go a step further to ensure insurance companies can’t skirt laws in any way to deny coverage. Insurance companies would face steep fines if found to be violating the mandate.

DCG

Hollyweird libtard tweets sick joke about abortion

michael-ian-black

A serious case of TARD: Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian black is an American comedian (which I’m sure will probably enable him to use the “it was a joke” non-apology for his tweet, if his PR agent deems it necessary), actor, writer and director. Yesterday he tweeted the following:

“Not a recommendation to the Republicans trying to replace Obamacare, but aborted babies are A LOT cheaper than babies carried to term.”

All because he’s got butt hurt about the republicans trying to repeal Obamacare, which he’ll never have to purchase in his life seeing that his net worth is $1.5 million.

Ugly man, inside and out.

h/t Twitchy

DCG

U.S. judge blocks transgender, abortion-related Obamacare protections

judge-reed-oconnor

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor

From Yahoo: A federal judge in Texas on Saturday issued a court order barring enforcement of an Obama administration policy seeking to extend anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act to transgender health and abortion-related services.

The decision sides with Texas, seven other states and three Christian-affiliated healthcare groups challenging a rule that, according to the judge, defines sex bias to include “discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy.”

In granting an injunction one day before the new policy was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor held that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law governing rule-making practices.

The judge also ruled that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in court on their claim that the new policy infringes on the rights of private healthcare providers under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

As explained in O’Connor’s 46-page opinion, the plaintiffs argued that the new regulation would “require them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment.”

The same judge issued a similar court order in August blocking a separate Obama administration policy that would have required public schools, over the objections of 13 states, to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their choice.

It was not immediately clear whether the Obama administration, which has just 20 days left in office, would seek to appeal the latest injunction.

White House spokeswoman Katie Hill decried the ruling. “Today’s decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans – regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination,” she said.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was passed in 2010 with an anti-discrimination section designed to prevent insurers from charging customers more or denying coverage based on age, race, national origin, disability or sex.

The rule in dispute on Saturday was adopted by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to implement those provisions, including definitions for sex discrimination that encompassed transgender and abortion services.

According to the court opinion, gender identity was defined under that rule as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.”

The state of Texas has led a string of legal cases brought by Republican-controlled states contesting various social policies advanced by President Barack Obama, most notably his 2014 executive action to protect millions of immigrants in the United States illegally and give them work permits.

That plan, challenged by Texas and other states, has been barred by the courts. But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015 issued rulings that kept the Affordable Care Act, his top legislative achievement, intact.

DCG

How Trump can undo what Obama did in past 8 years

As his days in the White House dwindle to a few, Obama is in a frenzy to do as much damage as possible.

Even while he is on vacation in Hawaii, he designated vast swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as off limits to future oil leases, and planned more detainee transfers out of Guantanamo Bay.

Today, Obama made good on his threats to punish Russia for alleged hacks into Democrat emails and interfering in the Nov. 8 presidential election. The U.S. expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland, in retaliation against a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow, according to a senior U.S. official who told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

But that doesn’t mean America is stuck with what Obama has done.

obama-last-days

On Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2016, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said on Fox News that Obama’s final spree of policy changes and initiatives is part of a “desperate frenzy” to leave a legacy that will largely be reversed:

“His legacy is like one of those dolls that, as the air comes out of it, shrinks and shrink and shrinks. The things he’s done this week will be turned around … He’s in this desperate frenzy.”

Gingrich said the bulk of Obama’s legacy stems from executive actions, “almost all of which will be repudiated by Trump.”

A blogger named Stryker for The Last Line of Defense claims, without either naming or citing his source, that Trump already “has written his first executive order, dated it for the day he is inaugurated and placed it in a folder he carries with him ready to sign as soon as he’s finished taking the oath of office.” That executive order will erase “Obama’s entire eight years” by simply declaring “All orders from the executive office dated from January 20th, 2009 through January 19th, 2017 are hereby null and void.”

A more credible voice on this matter is Andy Koenig, the vice president of policy at Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.

Writing for National Review, Keonig lays out the first phase of what a Trump administration can do:

  • As President, Trump has the authority to simply erase Obama’s executive orders and memoranda on Day 1, without congressional approval or action. An example is the Paris Climate Agreement, which is estimated to cost each American family $20,000 of lost income by 2035.
  • The Congressional Review Act enables Congress, via resolutions of disapproval, to simply undo rules issued by Obama in the last 60 legislative days — an estimated 199 proposed “major” rules that will cost the U.S. economy over $100 million each. Included among those major rules are some aspects of Obamacare’s implementation and overtime regulations that could reduce workers’ hours. The House and Senate, both now dominated by Republicans, need only a simple majority to pass a resolution of disapproval and send it to the president’s desk — a threshold that’s easily achieved following November’s elections. The Republicans simply have to do it. Let your Republican representatives in D.C. know that you want them to deploy the Congressional Review Act! Go here to contact your reps.

The second phase to undo what Obama had wrought in 8 years will be more laborious and take more time. But it can be done. Go to Koenig’s article, “A How-to Guide for Rolling Back Obama’s Regulatory State,” to find out how.

~Eowyn

Fear of Trump Triggers Deep Spending Cuts by SEIU

seiu-obama

SEIU: Say goodbye to your best buddy…

Imagine my distress…

From Bloomberg: In a clear sign that labor unions are bracing for lean times under Donald Trump, the massive Service Employees International Union is planning for a 30 percent budget cut over the next year, according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry wrote in an internal memo dated Dec. 14. “These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.” After citing the need to “dramatically re-think” how to implement the union’s strategy, Henry’s all-staff letter announces that SEIU “must plan for a 30% reduction” in the international union’s budget by Jan. 1, 2018, including a 10 percent cut effective at the start of 2017.

SEIU, which represents nearly 2 million government, health-care, and building-services workers and wields an annual budget of $300 million, is the nation’s second-largest union and arguably the most politically significant. In the past few years, SEIU has mounted organized labor’s most effective political intervention with the “Fight for $15,” a campaign that’s dragged Democrats—from city council members to presidential candidates—further left on the minimum wage. At the same time, it cultivated close ties with President Obama, played a key role in passing Obamacare, and worked hard to elect Hillary Clinton.

Asked about what the memo could mean for its current campaigns, SEIU didn’t offer specifics. “As we prepare to fight-back against the forthcoming attacks on working people and our communities under an extremist-run government, we know we must realign our resources and streamline our investments to buttress and broaden our movement to restore economic and democratic opportunity for all families,” said spokeswoman Sahar Wali. “As part of this process, we are currently looking at possible ways to improve our budgets.”

SEIU, like most of its peers, was already in a state of slow-motion crisis before Trump’s victory. Things will only get worse after inauguration, when organized labor will find itself without a friend in the White House. Unions will instead be up against unified Republican control of the federal government and of half the nation’s state governments, where labor organizers have already suffered some severe blows.

In Michigan, for example, Republicans in 2012 passed a private sector “Right to Work” law that let workers decline to fund the unions representing them, a public sector law doing the same for government employees, and a third law stripping University of Michigan graduate student researchers and home-health aides of their collective-bargaining rights. Afterwards, SEIU’s Michigan health-care local lost most of its membership.

With Republican dominance in Washington, the threats to SEIU will get more grave: Everything from slashing health-care spending to passing a federal law extending “Right to Work” to all private-sector employees could be on the table. One of the most widely expected scenarios is that a Trump appointee will provide the decisive fifth vote on the Supreme Court’s labor cases. The court already ruled in 2014 that making government-funded home health aides pay union fees violated the First Amendment, and a future case could apply the same logic to all government employees, effectively making the whole public sector “Right to Work.” SEIU was bracing for such a ruling earlier this year, in a case called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, but got an unexpected reprieve when Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left the court tied, four to four. With several similar cases brought by union opponents already making their way through lower courts, it may not last for long.

The Dec. 14 internal memo from SEIU’s president doesn’t specify which threats necessitate planning for a 30 percent cut or how particular programs could be affected. It does reference the next congressional and presidential election cycles, saying the union needs to “focus our resources and energy on the fights that position us to retake power in 2018, 2020 and beyond,” as well as position itself “to take on the forthcoming attacks, absorb the short-term losses and strengthen ourselves to win big in the future.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG