Tag Archives: New York

Aetna ditching 70% of its ObamaCare business

Obamacare: Going as planned.

tried to warn you

Via NY Post: Insurance giant Aetna won’t be offering coverage under ObamaCare next year in 11 of the 15 states it now serves — an announcement that instantly became an issue in the presidential race.

Aetna’s decision led Donald Trump to charge that President Obama’s health care reform was “imploding.” “Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Trump campaign deputy national policy director Dan Kowalski.

Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage under this disastrous policy, eliminating their ability to choose their doctors. Thousands of businesses have been forced to cut employment or shutter their doors in response to Obama’s signature achievement,” he added.

The company had previously warned that it expected to lose more than $300 million this year on the 900,000 patients it covers under the Affordable Care Act. Aetna said it is pulling out of ObamaCare markets in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

Aetna does not currently offer the policies in New York. It does offer other medical insurance to individuals and small businesses as well as large employers in the state, officials said. It will continue to offer policies in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia.

ObamaCare is credited with expanding coverage to millions of previously uninsured or under-insured people.

O laughs

But insurers have complained they have lost money on the policies. United Health Group and Humana are other insurers exiting ObamaCare plans.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, in a statement, said there were not enough younger, healthier customers signing up to make ObamaCare policies sustainable. “The vast majority of payers have experienced continued financial stress within their individual public exchange business. Providing affordable, high-quality health care options to consumers is not possible without a balanced risk pool,” Bertolini said.

More than a dozen nonprofit insurance co-ops have shut down in the past couple years. The pullouts could spell trouble because competition is supposed to help control price increases.

Some states like Alaska and Oklahoma will be left with only one insurer selling ObamaCare plans to individuals in 2017. More densely populated states like New York say their ObamaCare markets remain strong.

But rates for customers are skyrocketing to maintain stability.

Obamacare Screw U

Citing increased medical costs, New York recently authorized insurers offering individual ObamaCare plans to increase premiums by an average 16.6 percent — the highest rate hike in the program’s four-year existence. New York’s small businesses will get hit with an average 8.3 percent rate hike.

DCG

Cuomo blames state legislature for chasing businesses out of NY

popcorn time

From NY Post: Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the state legislature for chasing businesses out of New York and giving the state a bad reputation for business — after pointing out that state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli once sat as a member of that legislature.

The criticisms, which called on lawmakers to take a good look at themselves in the mirror, came days after DiNapoli criticized Cuomo’s economic development plans in an audit claiming that unqualified businesses drew tax breaks.

Gov. Know-it-all Cuomo

Gov. Know-it-all Cuomo

“He’s dead wrong and he should educate himself,” Cuomo told reporters asking about the findings during a press conference announcing Geico would add 600 jobs in Buffalo. He then went on to criticize hometown lawmakers.

“The comptroller was in the legislature and sat in that Assembly, as did members of the Western New York delegation, where New York and Upstate and Buffalo hemorrhaged jobs, hemorrhaged jobs. We had people leaving Buffalo on a daily basis and all they did was make it worse by raising taxes and they stifled businesses and stifled New Yorkers. We’ve reversed that. Now we have to incentivize and compete with other states to get those jobs back. Frankly, the New York State Legislature should look long and hard in the mirror about what they did to Upstate New York.

While Cuomo and his economic czar Howard Zemsky have rebutted DiNapoli’s findings, the comptroller has remained steadfast about his claims that tax breaks were given to businesses that didn’t deserve them.

DiNapoli’s audit of Start-Up New York is one of many criticisms publicizing flaws in the state’s economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion, which is under federal investigation thanks to US Attorney Preet Bharara.

DCG

ObamaCare rates set to skyrocket for most New Yorkers

tried to warn you

Via NY Post: About 350,000 New Yorkers who have individual policies under ObamaCare are going to get whacked with an average 16.6 percent premium increase next year, the state Department of Financial Services announced Friday.

That’s more than double the7 percent hike allowed by state regulators last year. Insurers had sought a 19.3 percent boost.

Some policies will skyrocket even higher. An astonishing 80 percent increase was granted to the Crystal Run Healthcare based in upstate Middletown.  Metro Plus, run by the city’s municipal-hospital system, won a 29 percent hike.

About 1 million New Yorkers in small group plans through ObamaCare were spared a double-digit increase, with an average 8.3 percent jump in their premiums. These insurers had requested a 12.3 percent rise.

Financial Services chief Maria Vullo defended the hikes as comparable to those approved in other states to cover “rising health-care and pharmaceutical costs.” She said more than half of those buying coverage will get a tax credit to offset the increases.

Rates for individuals are still 55 percent lower than before the establishment of ObamaCare, ­according to state officials.

The changes won’t affect more than 600,000 lower-income New Yorkers projected to enroll in the exchange’s “essential plan,” with monthly premiums of $20 or less, according to the agency.

Obama-laughs--300x199

DCG

New York City’s public schools join fight against ‘white power’

New York City tax dollars at work in the public indoctrination system.

Principal Darlene Cameron

Principal Darlene Cameron

Via NY Post: On the last day of school, Principal Darlene Cameron of Star Academy-PS 63 in the East Village gave her small faculty a chart defining racist and non-racist institutions and asked them to think about where their school fits in.

A non-racist institution, among other things, is conscious of and aims to wipe out a culture of “white power,” “white privilege” and “inherent white advantage.” “We fit into the category of white power and privilege!” a white teacher at the K-5 school told her colleagues. The concept that whites enjoy everyday benefits simply because of their skin color has become the rage.

Elite private schools have grappled with the notion. The Post exposed an extreme case — how the Bank Street School for Children on the Upper West Side made white kids feel guilty about their “whiteness” while heaping praise and cupcakes on kids of color. The school’s diversity director stepped down after the report.

Now public schools are jumping on the bandwagon.

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

After recent killings of black men by cops and murders of police officers, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña called on educators to tackle “tough conversations” about race, violence and guns.

In addition, Fariña announced a new curriculum that emphasizes social justice. She also recommended a K-12 reading list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Perspectives for a Diverse America,” which includes selections on race, gender and LGBTQ issues. In K-2, for instance, kids can learn the true story of Z and Vielpunk, a couple of gay male penguins rearing a chick in a German zoo.

The ninth-through-12th-grade readings include a 1990 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which lists 50 hidden benefits whites enjoy. No. 17: “I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.”

The chart handed out at Star Academy, written by an Illinois-based anti-racism ministry, angered some parents questioned by The Post. “When you start sending out things like this, it divides us,” said Robert Powell, a black dad in The Bronx who served on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy. “It’s a subtle form of racism.”

Education author Sol Stern called the chart “left-wing propaganda” and “brainwashing.” White privilege “is an argument, not a fact,” he said.

David Bloomfield

David Bloomfield

But David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center education professor, who is white, lauds the idea. “It reminds me a bit of when ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ was recommended reading by the DOE before same-sex couples became mainstream,” he said. Greater awareness can help teachers pick books that reflect other races, he added.

It can also spur classroom discussion. “If you put the US presidents on your classroom wall, it sends a signal of who’s in charge,” Bloomfield said. “The teacher might point out to students that these are all white, except one, and all, currently, males.”

Cameron told The Post she plans to have teachers discuss the race-based issues in the fall. “We want to be sure we’re as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and that we’re all aware of the different backgrounds that come together to make up our community,” she said.

Star Academy students are 65 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, 10 percent white and 4 percent Asian, records show.

An essay included in city high-schoolers’ reading list seeks to explain the hidden benefits supposedly enjoyed by white people. Some examples of so-called “white privilege”:

  • I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  • I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  • I can choose…bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
  • I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

DCG

$15 minimum wage shutters old-school Brooklyn diner

#FightFor15 must be so proud.

del rio diner

From NY Post: Say goodbye to the late-night fries and gravy. One of the last classic Brooklyn diners is biting the dust — and soon they’ll all die off due to the state’s minimum-wage increase and other factors, restaurateurs and economic experts predicted Friday.

The owner of the four-decade-old, 24-hour greasy spoon, Del Rio Diner in Gravesend, said his place is closing down because he can’t afford to pay cooks $15 an hour, along with rising rents and expensive Health Department inspection fees.

The minimum-wage law was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’d need to raise the burger to $9 from $6.45. I don’t want to do that to my customers. They’ve been good to me. These are middle-class people,” said owner Larry Georgeton, 66.

“This is going to kill me to leave. But I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Georgeton — who has served everyone from movie stars to sports heroes at the fabled neighborhood hangout on Kings Highway near West 12th Street.

The Del Rio’s closing was first reported Friday by the Web site BrooklynDaily.com.

“The outlook for this business model is bleak. If you’re a diner, going automated isn’t an option. Neither is raising prices on your working-class customers — a $20 sandwich isn’t going to work,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, which studies job growth. “It’s too bad because it’s these sorts of restaurants that make neighborhoods unique.”

Other old-school Brooklyn diners such as the Vegas in Dyker Heights, the Mirage in Midwood and the Floridian in Marine Park are also at risk, Saltsman said.

“I’m happy for McDonald’s workers. God bless them. I hope you get $30 an hour. But we can’t handle it,” Georgeton said.

Over the years, the Del Rio has served former Yankees star Joe Pepitone, actress Jessica Biel and late “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, Georgeton said. It will close its doors for good Monday at 7 a.m.

Georgette Barrile, 69, who worked as a Del Rio waitress in the ’80s added, “I never thought this place would close. It’s heartbreaking.”

DCG

Mayor de Blasio and wife defend Black Lives Matter movement

Naturally.

NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and his lesbian wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea

NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and his lesbian wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea

Via NY Post: Mayor de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray called the Black Lives Matter movement a “force for good” that has changed the “national discussion,” as the pair defended the group on Monday from criticisms by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who blasted it as too intent on protesting against cops rather than engaging in productive dialogue.

“We have a different perspective (than Bratton),” McCray told CNN’s “New Day.” Black Lives Matter is a force for good. It’s about peaceful protests. It’s about shining a light on the problems that we have in race relations across this country. We’ve had a history of it. And it has not gone away, but we haven’t had enough positive action taken on making change. And I am very encouraged by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mayor de Blasio walked a finer line, backing his top cop while also showing respect for BLM. “I appreciate the fact that he’s [Bratton] saying that we have vast majority of police officers doing their job. We have some who don’t belong in the profession like every profession,” de Blasio said. “I think what the protesters are doing is really about the few who don’t belong.”

As a whole, de Blasio said BLM has set a good agenda for debate. “I think that movement, just the very phrase `Black Lives Matter,’ has changed the national discussion. Now, as with any movement, there’s some people I don’t agree with, but I have to tell you, they’ve changed the national discussion for the better,” the mayor said.

“They did stop and have a moment of silence when they protested in New York for the officers lost in Dallas. Just like the officers in Dallas, when bullets were raining down on them, their first impulse was to protect the protesters. So we’ve got to find these examples of hope and possibility here, and that movement has discussion forward.”

CNN asked de Blasio to comment on network columnist Charles Blow, who said in a Facebook Live commentary that white Americans have to come to grips with the racism faced daily by minorities. “He’s right in the sense that white America doesn’t understand the extent of the problem,” the mayor said.

“As I said, and we know it from our own son, when the most law-abiding, hard-working young man you could imagine, but he has to worry. We’ve got to overcome that. How do we make a society whole? We make a society whole by everyone having a common standard. We value all our young people.”

Bratton on Sunday said Black Lives Matter “is primarily focused on police and their efforts to portray police and the police profession in a very negative way, which is unfortunate.”

DCG

AG Loretta Lynch wants to let nation break law without consequences

Of course she does.

obama and lynch

Via NY Post: As New York moves to decriminalize low-level offenses, arguing enforcement is “rigged against communities of color,” other large cities are coming under pressure from the Justice Department to do the same thing.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch has issued a warning to municipal and state judges across the country that their courts could lose federal funding if they don’t ease up on fines and arrest warrants for minor crimes involving poor offenders, indigent minorities in particular.

In lieu of fines and jail time, Lynch urges the nation’s 6,500 municipal courts to provide an avenue for offenders to perform “community service” or take advantage of “amnesty days,” whereby outstanding arrest warrants are cleared for nominal fees.

Failure to comply with these policies could trigger a Ferguson-style discrimination investigation. Already, Lynch says she’s “evaluating discrimination complaints against several court systems.”

A strongly worded “guidance” letter, written by her civil-rights team, warns that a local court policy of enforcing warrants for failure to pay court fines and fees can have an adverse “disparate impact” on African-Americans, who are fined and/or arrested for outstanding warrants at “disproportionate” rates versus whites.

Federal data also show that blacks tend to break both felony and misdemeanor laws at a disproportionate rate. Even if applied evenly across all races and in neutral, color-blind fashion, such policies could be found by Justice to be discriminatory. “In court systems receiving federal funds, these practices may also violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when they unnecessarily impose disparate harm on the basis of race,” the nine-page letters states.

This is the same dubious legal threat the administration is using to force the nation’s public schools to back off suspending unruly — even violent — black students, and to force cops to avoid stopping, frisking and arresting minority offenders.

The Supreme Court has ruled that disparate impact doesn’t violate Title VI, only “intentional” discrimination does. “The administration is quite wrong to say that Title VI incorporates a ‘disparate impact’ standard,” Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity points out. “The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that it does not.”

This new court “reform” will only exacerbate the crime problem. Studies show ignoring low-level crimes like warrant violations only leads to bigger crimes.

Under Mayor de Blasio, the NYPD has scaled back its aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses only to see both minor and serious crime rebound. Already cops have backed off public urination and other public nuisance violations, while overlooking outstanding warrants for many other misdemeanor crimes.

Even a senior Justice Department official predicts the decriminalization-cum-deincarceration movement will backfire in higher crime nationwide. “In five years the crime rate is going to be crazy again,” he said.

The official, who oversees probation of felons paroled from federal prisons and who requested anonymity, worries the new department policy will be abused. “I don’t see liberal judges even attempting to make people pay or spending the time making an accurate determination of a person being ‘indigent,’ ” he said. “It’s another way of not holding people accountable for their actions.”

The Justice guidance defines “indigent” as anybody who might be “eligible for public benefits,” but not actually receiving them. “Jurisdictions may benefit from creating statutory presumptions of indigency for certain classes of defendants,” the source said.

The administration claims cops and courts conspire to exploit poor blacks to generate city revenue in some kind of shakedown. But data show blacks fail to pay their fines at far greater rates than whites, so why not target whites if cash extortion is the objective?

Many of the cities with the highest fines, such as Philadelphia, are run by Democrats; and the Justice Department is no piker when it comes to levying fines. “US attorneys always want fines and restitution amounts in the millions from people who have little chance of ever paying it back,” the department official said.

Liberals are actually to blame for the trend they’re trying to reform. Court fines and fees help pay for all the new costs liberals have added to the system, such as drug counseling and home electronic monitoring. They’ve also pushed judges to assess more fines in lieu of incarceration, especially for drug offenders.

Yet now they claim the whole court fine and bail system is racist. Former federal civil-rights attorney Hans Bader, now with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, describes the latest reforms as a “massive assault on the criminal justice system.” It’s a slippery slope to clemency for criminals, large and small.

O laughs

DCG