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Who’s paying the new Obamacare tax? You

31 Aug

So who’s surprised?

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it required health insurers, hospitals, device makers and pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost because they would get a windfall of new, paying customers.

But with an $8 billion tax on insurers due Sept. 30 — the first time the new tax is being collected — the industry is getting help from an unlikely source: taxpayers.

States and the federal government will spend at least $700 million this year to pay the tax for their Medicaid health plans. The three dozen states that use Medicaid managed-care plans will give those insurers more money to cover the new expense. Many of those states — such as Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee — did not expand Medicaid as the law allows, and in the process turned down billions in new federal dollars.

Other insurers are getting some help paying the tax as well. Private insurers are passing the tax onto policyholders in the form of higher premiums. Medicare health plans are getting the tax covered by the federal government via higher reimbursement.

State Medicaid agencies say they have little choice but to pay the tax for health plans they hire to insure their poorest residents. That’s because the tax is part of the health plans’ costs of doing business. Federal law requires states to pay the companies adequate rates.

“This situation results in the federal government taxing itself and taxing state governments to fund the higher Medicaid managed care payments required to fund the ACA health insurer fee,” said a report by Medicaid Health Plans of America, a trade group.

Meanwhile, many Medicaid managed-care companies have seen their share prices — and profits — soar this year as they gained thousands of new customers through the health law in states that expanded Medicaid. More than half of the 66 million people on Medicaid are enrolled in managed-care plans.

AND THEN I TOLD THEM

STEEP COSTS FOR STATES

A KHN survey of some large state Medicaid programs found the tax will be costly this year. The estimates are based in part on the number of Medicaid health plan enrollees in each state and how much they are paid in premiums. States split the cost of Medicaid with the federal government, with the federal government paying, on average, about 57%.

• Florida anticipates the tax will cost $100 million, with the state picking up $40 million and the federal government, $60 million.

• Texas estimates the tax at $220 million, with the state paying $90 million and the federal government, $130 million.

• Tennessee anticipates it will owe $160 million, with the state paying $50 million and the federal government, $110 million.

• California budgeted $88 million, with the state paying $40 million and the federal government, $48 million.

• Georgia estimates the tax on its plans at $90 million, with the state paying $29 million and the federal government, $61 million.

• Pennsylvania predicts the tax will cost $139 million, with the state paying $64 million and the federal government, $75 million.

• Louisiana estimates the tax will cost $27 million, with the state paying $10 million and the federal government, $17 million.

Texas is believed to be the only state that has not yet agreed to cover the tax for its health plans, according to state Medicaid and health plan officials. “The premium tax is just another way that the costs of the Affordable Care Act are pushed down to states and families,” said Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for the Texas Medicaid program.

Medicaid officials in other states complain that paying the tax reduces money they could have spent on covering more services or paying providers.

 sebelius

DIMINISHING RETURNS?

“I do not feel I am getting anything in return for this,” said Tennessee Medicaid Director Darin Gordon.

Officials won’t know exactly how much states owe until the Internal Revenue Service sends bills to insurers at the end of August and the Medicaid plans submit those to states.

The health insurer tax is estimated to bring in at least $100 billion over the next decade from all insurers, government auditors estimate.

Most non-profit Medicaid health plans are exempt from the tax, which the trade group says gives the non-profits a competitive edge vying for state contracts. “We consider this tax so badly construed that it should be reconsidered because it makes no public policy sense,” said Jeff Myers, CEO of Medicaid Health Plans of America.

The trade group, which represents both non-profit and for-profit Medicaid plans, also opposes the tax because it takes money from Medicaid programs that could be used to pay plans to improve care, he said.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services declined to comment on how states and the federal government are covering part of the tax.

Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate and law professor at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, said the lawmakers intended to cover the costs of the law by including as many groups paying in as possible.

While it may be unusual for the federal government to essentially tax itself, Jost said, the situation is no different from the federal government paying a contractor to provide a service, then having that contractor use some of those dollars to pay state sales tax or federal income tax.

“This tax should not have surprised anyone, and it should have been worked into contract prices,” he said.

Paul Van de Water, senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said neither health plans nor states should be complaining about the taxes because both are benefiting from the law.

“States are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act because with more people getting insured, it is driving down their uncompensated care costs,” he said. He noted that is true even in states that did not expand Medicaid under the health law.

“People always like to get a benefit and not have to pay for it,” he said. “If we did not have this tax, we would have had to raise the money somewhere else.”

3 YEARS LATER

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation

Mark Caserta: Progressives repudiate founding principles

8 May

progressives

May. 08, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Today’s progressive movement and the liberal policies it has generated arose from a conscious repudiation of the principles on which our nation was founded.

Americans must be keenly aware of the progressive yearning to fundamentally transform society into one which imposes no “concrete” sanctions for immorality and no restrictions within which we should live our lives. We are in a sense “gods” within ourselves able to transcend through reason.

Progressive confutation stems from their view that society is changing and “intelligent” people must adapt accordingly. They claim Christians are archaic in their beliefs and “modern” Christianity should be tolerant of varying lifestyles. And precepts by the Bible’s writers or our nation’s founders were penned without “clairvoyance” of the future — discrediting any possible unction by an omnipotent God.

But God’s Word says in Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Now, the progressive movement hasn’t “broadened” the road overnight. Its tenacious approach calls for constant pressure against the “status quo” designed to move the parameters of acceptance further and further to the left.

But unchecked, where will it end?

The single largest barrier facing liberalism is God’s Word and the influence of Christianity in our society. It’s imperative for liberal “theologians” to question the plausibility and intent of biblical scripture to uproot preconceived notions of morality or principle.

Some recall Barack Obama’s June 2007 rant against the “Christian Right” for hijacking religion and using it to divide the nation:

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together… Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us,” Obama said.

In retrospect, this quote should be added to Obama’s growing list of infamous accolades as the single most “hypocritical” statement ever made.

Liberals want us to believe our nation wasn’t founded on Christian principles. But Thomas Jefferson, our third U.S. President and drafter and signer of the Declaration of Independence said:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”

Liberals want us believe we’re not a nation blessed of God. But in Genesis 12:3, God told Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse…” God is referring to Abram’s descendents, the nation of Israel, with whom our relationship must be symbiotic. Our nation’s obedience to God has heretofore secured His blessings according to the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy.

But I believe as progressives promulgate disobedience to God’s Word, those blessings will be revoked accordingly.

There’s one more “biblical reference” found in Matthew 12:36 which is apropos for the progressive movement.

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Obama acts is if he’s above the law; he’s not

29 Apr

one bill at at time

Feb. 27, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

What liberals refer to as “obstructionist” tactics by Republicans in blocking the socialist policies of Barack Hussein Obama, conservatives call “preserving the Constitution.”

It’s interesting that while the president has often referred to himself as a “constitutional law professor,” the title is somewhat gratuitous. While never a full-time or tenured professor, he did teach courses in constitutional law at the University of Chicago as a “senior lecturer.”

Unfortunately, rather than use his knowledge to adhere to its provisions, the president has chosen to test the boundaries of our government’s founding document.

Article II, Section 3 of the U. S. Constitution, sometimes known as the “Faithful Execution Clause,” is best read as a duty that qualifies the president’s executive power. By virtue of this power, the president is required to “take care” that our nation’s laws are “faithfully executed.”

But not only has Obama been derelict in his duty to protect our laws, he’s an offender.

As Democrats are so fond of reminding Republicans, Obamacare is now the law of the land.

But despite the fact The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was indeed signed into law in 2010 and ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court, President Obama believes it’s within his power to make changes without Congressional action!

Our Constitution clearly grants legislative powers to Congress. The president does not have the authority to arbitrarily “alter” legislation signed into law.

The employer mandate, which requires businesses employing 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a fine, was scheduled to take effect in 2014, but has been delayed entirely or in part, twice, by the president!

The fact that Obamacare is poor legislation doesn’t grant the president powers exceeding those afforded him by the Constitution.

And in the first case of its kind, the Supreme Court is now arguing the legality of four “recess” appointments made by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2012. The Constitution allows the president to make temporary appointments to those positions that otherwise require Senate confirmation, but only when the Senate is in recess. The problem is — the Senate was not in recess!

Three federal appeals courts have already ruled that Obama overstepped his authority in these appointments.

It’s obvious the president is following the “executive version” of the liberal playbook which calls for continuous contestation of preconceived limitations designed to “progressively” tilt the scales of totalitarian power to the left.

President Obama is arguably the most liberal president in our nation’s history. If he’s successful in these attempts to bypass our nation’s laws, what leftist policies will he pursue in his remaining years in office?

The U.S. Constitution is not merely a guideline to be consulted by those it was written to regulate. It’s the supreme law of the land written to protect the rights of all Americans and must be protected.

It’s time Americans “tether” President Obama to the Constitution and hold him accountable for adhering to its precepts.

This president is not above the law.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Now is the time to defend Capitalism, not change it.

17 Apr

putin

Note: A column from 2008: Somewhat prophetic in its scope.

These past few weeks have been very disconcerting with regard to the path our government has chosen in these troubling economic times, although often in times of crisis, leaders expose deeply embedded beliefs as they frantically search for solutions to an overwhelming problem. I’m concerned our government may be out of answers and we’re going down a road that could change our economic system as we know it.

Winston Churchill once said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Capitalism is an economic system in which the free enterprise of investment and ownership provides production of a product and/or service, distribution and the exchange of wealth between private individuals or corporations. Its success is directly relative to the productivity of its components. It’s an economic system characterized by a free market for goods and services under the control of private entities.

Capitalism is designed to reward those who work hard; however, it has equal consequences for those who decide not to pull their weight. Although capitalism clearly results in different levels of economic success, it also clearly provides equality in opportunity and promotes the entrepreneurial spirit. The people are in control of their future.

Socialism is the economic theory of “collective ownership” and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Socialists believe that capitalism unfairly provides power and wealth to only a small segment of society that controls the major flow of capital. Socialists advocate a system whereby wealth and power are distributed more evenly by the government in an effort to eliminate class warfare. Socialism is designed to balance the economic worth of each citizen and for the government to provide for the needs of the people. The government is in control of your future.

Karl Marx, often referred to as the “father of socialism,” said, “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.” Socialism suppresses the entrepreneurial spirit by eliminating the incentives for productivity, while capitalism rewards productivity and creates consequences for fiscal “slothfulness.”

Or is the equation changing?

The government’s bailout of businesses that knowingly breeched the faith of the people is setting a very dangerous and unjust precedent. Most assuredly, the government has shown its down card, and the fact that these lending institutions were not allowed to suffer any consequences for their actions is unfathomable and unfair to hard-working Americans.

Probably the most tragic result of this “economic nightmare” of a decision made by our government is that it truly showed the will of the American people really doesn’t matter, and our nation’s political leaders, who were elected to represent the people, truly do not.

Is capitalism in danger? Is there a resolve among our nation’s leaders to take the problem out of the hands of the people? Are we headed for a major change to our economic system?

Karl Marx also said, “Democracy is the road to socialism.”

Only if our leaders decide to take that path.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald- Dispatch editorial page

The Cloward-Piven Plan to Destroy Governments

4 Apr

20120516_Cloward-Piven
by FRANK SALVATO May 17, 2012

In 1966, two Columbia University sociologists, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, collaborated on a theory to end poverty in the United States. This theory, today, is referred to as the “Cloward-Piven Strategy.” People who are familiar with the likes of Saul Alinsky and William Ayers are familiar with the strategy, as are the full complement of the Progressive Movement.

In a nutshell, the underlying principle of the Cloward-Piven Strategy is to so overload the entitlement system – to add so many to the entitlement rolls, that the country’s economic system collapses, unleashing chaos and violence in the streets, thus affecting radical Leftist political change in government. Up until recently this theory has been just that, a theory, and a theory that anarchists and Progressives have salivated over for their want of execution. But today, we are seeing the fruits of the Cloward-Piven Strategy played out to success in Greece and several other financial destitute countries in Europe.

To summarize briefly the Cloward-Piven Strategy, I turn to Richard Poe who wrote an article of the same name, which is featured at DiscoverTheNetworks.org.

Mr. Poe observes that Mr. Cloward and Ms. Piven sought (and “seeks,” in the case of Ms. Piven) to facilitate the fall of Capitalism by “overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.” Mr. Poe explained that Cloward and Piven saw the so-called “ruling class” as using entitlements to “weaken the poor”; to make the poor dependent on government, thus “dousing the fires of rebellion,” following the “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” theory.

In a 1970 New York Times interview, Cloward is quoted as saying that poor people can only advance when “the rest of society is afraid of them.” He then theorized that activists should refrain from demanding that government provide more for the poverty stricken and, instead, should strive to pack as many people on the welfare (read: entitlement) rolls as possible, creating a demand that could not be met, facilitating the destruction of the welfare system and massive financial crisis. As a byproduct, rebellion would be ignited amongst the people; chaos would rule the streets and governments would be damaged beyond repair, many falling to history making it possible for new radicals to assume the roles of oligarchs, ushering in new systems of government and the dismantling of the Capitalist system in particular.

Both Cloward and Piven understood that it would take pushing the American citizenry to the point of anarchy, to the point of the populace affecting violent chaos in the streets, for there to emerge an opportunity to damage our Republican form of government and our Capitalist system to the point where people would accept radical political as well as economic change. Cloward and Piven, using the philosophy of Saul Alinsky (who, by-the-by, was their inspiration in fomenting their “strategy”), knew that they would have to achieve chaos, so as to introduce the Progressive political ideology – the ideology of Democratic Socialism – to the masses as a saving grace.

In an article titled, The United States of America Is Not a Democracy, in introduction to a spectacular presentation that puts into plain words our misinterpreted political spectrum of “Left v. Right,” I explain how the Progressive Movement seeks to achieve chaos to smooth the progress of governmental transition:

“Those who possess nefarious and/or ideological agendas for our nation often refer to our system of government as a Democracy, knowing full well that Democracy is a transitional state between a Republican form of government and an Oligarchic form of government; a vehicle for transition to first, majority rule, which, in light of the corruptible and narcissistic frailty of human virtue, eventually leads to the establishment of an Oligarchy – or, rule by an elitist class – and the trampling of the rights of those in the minority. The implementation of this transition is facilitated by a distracted, agitated and uninformed citizenry and a people who exist constitutionally illiterate…

“…those who promote the misnomer that the United States is a Democracy infer direct governmental control by the people, thus usurping the established governmental system. In most cases, this cultivates a false sense of entitlement and in some cases promotes anarchical behavior among factions of the citizenry.”

Getting back to The Cloward-Piven Strategy, chaos and how the violent protests in Greece and Spain relate directly to us here in the United States…

It is easy to see how our expanding entitlements and our population’s expanding dependency on government, combined with the purposeful engagement in reckless fiscal policy, plays directly into the demise of the country by accelerating the poison of the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

A recent PJ Tatler column at PJMedia.com offers this observation:

“Voters in both France and Greece, two countries ruinously addicted to government entitlements, rejected the ‘austerity’ model of debt-reduction and instead doubled down on unsustainable spending sprees. France elected Socialist Francois Hollande as president, and in his acceptance speech he promised to increase government benefits and amp up ‘stimulus’ spending programs – the exact things that got France into a metaphorical debtors’ prison in the first place. But exactly as Cloward and Piven had surmised, once you get 50+% of the population hooked on ‘free’ government money, there’s no turning back – they will vote for socialists every time. The election of Hollande is the culmination of Cloward-Piven; the strategy worked, but in the wrong country…

“The message is clear: Once enough voters are on the dole, regardless of your party’s ideology or what label it has, you will win elections if you promise to keep the free money flowing. This was Cloward-Piven’s point, and they turned out to be frighteningly correct.”

I will take this a step further.

As we watched the so-called Arab spring play out, we saw that international labor unions – international labor unions, the likes of the SEIU – had boots on the ground, honing their organizational skills, as violent chaos reigned supreme. In Greece, as in Spain, France, Italy and every other European locale wrestling with financial insolvency, labor unions – international labor unions – were on the frontlines of the protests, antagonizing the anarchists and fomenting discontent amongst the masses. In each locale the tactic was the same: Get the masses irate enough to demand, “Give me what I deserve,” even if they don’t deserve it; even if they haven’t earned it. To those provoking the anger it makes no difference if there is nothing to give; that these governments are in such massive debt that there is a very real possibility that they will all fail, one domino after another.

(Note: I would suggest that the citizens of Wisconsin, Ohio and every other State combating the mathematically impossible demands of narcissistically enraged labor union tools realize this reality better than most as it is happening in these States as well…at least in the beginning stages.)

It cannot be denied that those in power today in Washington are incredibly reluctant to embrace the sweeping reforms needed to make our bloated entitlement system viable. In fact, as the actuaries at Social Security and Medicare sound the alarm about impending insolvency should drastic reform not be implemented, the tax and spend Progressives in Washington are adding to the entitlements rolls, even as a natural spike is about to occur with the retirement of the Baby Boomers. Today, as our unfunded liabilities stand at $118 trillion, the House Minority Leader has the unmitigated gall to say of the expanding unemployment rolls, “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”

Today, as the SEIU provides the anarchists of the Occupy Movement with office space at the SEIU affiliated Institute for Policy Studies office building at 16th and L Street NW, in Washington, DC, we need – we need – to ask ourselves:

▪ Do Progressive international labor unions mean to re-create the political change realized in Europe; in Greece; in France, here in the United States?

▪ Do the Progressive international labor unions mean to create the anarchy, the violent chaos in the streets, needed to affect the “fundamental transformation of the United States of America”?

▪ And are Progressives who exist in elected federal office purposefully exploiting their power to engage the efforts of the Progressives in the international labor unions to accelerate the metastasis of Cloward-Piven?

These answers are essential and they need to be answered using a mentality sequestered from the inanity and self-effacing mandate of political correctness; an instituted dogma originated by the Progressive Movement.

If Greece, and the whole of the Eurozone, was the ideological Petri dish for whether Cloward-Piven would actually work, the results are in and they are not good. They are not good for freedom, liberty or Capitalism, the only “ism” that has every elevated people out of poverty. If the overthrow of governments achieved in the Arab Spring and the financial assassinations of governments achieved in the Eurozone are the affects of a successfully implemented Cloward-Piven Strategy at the hands of the Progressive Movement, the results are frighteningly disastrous for you and me.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.

Read more: Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/the-cloward-piven-plan-to-destroy-governments#ixzz2xyTp4LBi
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