Tag Archives: ACA

Mark Caserta: Budget deal outlines repeal of Obamacare

7 May

This isn’t a settled deal…if the GOP keeps their promise.

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Mark Caserta:  Editor, Free State Patriot

May. 07, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
 dems turn 3

For the first time since 2009, both chambers of Congress have reached an agreement on a combined budget, setting the stage for financially curbing critical components of President Obama’s liberal agenda – including Obamacare.

Last week a budget proposal was agreed upon which would boost military spending while outlining a path to end deficits over the coming decade by cutting some $5 trillion in spending. And, to the chagrin of many Democrats, the budget does not include any additional taxes on the American people.

Additionally, this budget resolution would unlock a procedural tool that Republicans say they will use to send the White House a repeal of Obamacare. The process known as “reconciliation” allows legislation to pass Congress with a simple majority. Some may recall in 2009, Democrats wrote into its budget rules that they could use the reconciliation maneuver to pass the president’s healthcare reform bill. At that time, many warned this could come back to bite Democrats should they lose power in Congress, so it only seems poetic justice that the process be used to begin the repealing and replacing of Obamacare.

Yes, President Obama still wields the veto pen, but the case for moving forward on Obamacare’s repeal is still very straightforward. Nearly every poll shows that most Americans dislike the law and want more freedom in their health insurance choices. A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that 54 percent of likely U.S. voters view the national health care law unfavorably while 37 percent have a “very” unfavorable opinion of it.

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For many voters, ridding our country of this healthcare abomination will be a litmus test for a presidential candidate. Astute voters realize the GOP does not yet have a veto-proof majority in Congress. Forcing a presidential veto of a bill repealing Obamacare will force every 2016 presidential candidate to respond as to whether they would have signed or vetoed a similar bill.

Politically speaking, the process of drafting and passing the reconciliation measure through both chambers will serve as an effective trial run, and affirm the GOP-controlled Congress’s commitment to sending a bill repealing Obamacare to the president’s desk in 2017. This will ensure that every insurance company or industry with a vested interest in the Affordable Care Act realize the law remains very unsettled rendering them less likely to make changes permanently embedding the job-killing law into our lives.

The leveraging of reconciliation also will prompt the GOP to offer a viable healthcare alternative which no doubt will impact the pending Supreme Court’s ruling on whether to strike down subsidies received by millions of Americans who purchased health insurance through a federally run exchange. Such a decision would dramatically increase the cost for many potential 2016 voters and further fan the flames of discontent.

Five years into this healthcare debacle, Americans are still learning of its adverse impact on their lives. And frankly, it’s a huge reason we have a GOP majority in Congress.

Republicans must pass this budget and follow through with their pledge to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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

Mark Caserta: Let’s truly work to create affordable healthcare

22 Jan

Obamacare just isn’t working

mark 2


Jan. 22, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

It’s time to get serious about providing affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Most people are now keenly aware of the political motivation behind the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the lies and deceptive tactics needed to sell it to the American people. A recent Gallup Poll taken at the beginning of the 2015 enrollment period revealed 37 percent of Americans say they approve of the law, while 56 percent say they disapprove.

It’s also now known the enrollment numbers provided by the Obama administration touting the success of Obamacare were inaccurate. The Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that it had made a “mistake” in calculating the number of enrollments.

Reportedly, 380,000 stand-alone dental plans were “inadvertently” added into the number of healthcare plans, allowing the administration to claim more than 7 million paid enrollments, the “magic number” needed for the new health insurance exchanges to be sustainable.


Just last week, the leader of the agency charged with the rollout of Obamacare decided to step down. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, decided to step down after five tumultuous years on the job. Her tenure included the disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.gov website as well as the recent discovery of the inflated tally of Obamacare’s enrollment numbers.

But even without the inflated numbers, the exchanges have lost more than 1 million subscribers since May 2014, based on Tavenner’s recent testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Tavenner attributed this to people picking up employer coverage, becoming eligible for Medicaid or simply not paying their premiums.

While proponents of this healthcare nightmare understandably ignore the falsehoods leveraged by this administration to pass the law, they rarely speak about the estimated 5 million people who lost their coverage because it “didn’t meet the ACA guidelines.” No doubt millions of these individuals were forced to purchase a replacement policy from an exchange, seriously compromising the legitimacy of the number of “newly” insured individuals.

And Americans found it insulting that liberal proponents of Obamacare would pompously justify the loss of those existing healthcare plans by declaring they were “inadequate” for the people who chose to purchase them. After all, big government knows best.

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Possibly making matters even worse for the ACA, the Supreme Court will soon decide whether the law provides for healthcare subsidies to people in the 36 states which declined to set up their own healthcare exchange and ended up on the federal exchanges instead. If the court kills Obamacare’s subsidies, more than 4 million people will likely see higher premiums, possibly forcing them to drop coverage altogether.

Liberals have made this simply about “winning.” The goal should be to provide everyone affordable healthcare and Obamacare simply isn’t working.

And once the ACA is replaced, it will be the government’s responsibility to ensure that no person who purchased health insurance from an exchange loses their coverage period.

Voting to repeal Obamacare isn’t enough. The GOP must first provide a visible, well-vetted alternative.

For now, Americans are simply waiting.

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

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.



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.



“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.”


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

Fed appeals court panel says most Obamacare subsidies illegal

22 Jul


Dan Mangan

In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a federal appeals court panel declared Tuesday that government subsidies worth billions of dollars that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on HealthCare.gov are illegal.

A judicial panel in a 2-1 ruling said such subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia — not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov.

“Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith. “We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”

In his dissent, Judge Harry Edwards, who called the case a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare, wrote that the judgment of the majority “portends disastrous consequences.”

Indeed, the decision threatens to unleash a cascade of effects that could seriously compromise Obamacare’s goals of compelling people to get health insurance, and helping them afford it.

The Obama administration is certain to ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse the panel’s decision, which for now does not have the rule of law.

The ruling endorsed a controversial interpretation of the Affordable Care Act that argues that the HealthCare.gov subsidies are illegal because ACA does not explicitly empower a federal exchange to offer subsidized coverage, as it does in the case of state-created exchanges. Subsidies for more than 2 million people who bought coverage on state exchanges would not be affected by Tuesday’s ruling if it is upheld.

HealthCare.gov serves residents of the 36 states that did not create their own health insurance marketplace. About 4.7 million people, or 86 percent of all HealthCare.gov enrollees, qualified for a subsidy to offset the cost of their coverage this year because they had low or moderate incomes.

If upheld, the ruling could lead many, if not most of those subsidized customers to abandon their health plans sold on HealthCare.gov because they no longer would find them affordable without the often-lucrative tax credits. And if that coverage then is not affordable for them as defined by the Obamacare law, those people will no longer be bound by the law’s mandate to have health insurance by this year or pay a fine next year.

If there were to be a large exodus of subsidized customers from the HealthCare.gov plans, it would in turn likely lead to much higher premium rates for nonsubsidized people who would remain in those plans.

The ruling also threatens, in the same 36 states, to gut the Obamacare rule starting next year that all employers with 50 or more full-time workers offer affordable insurance to them or face fines. That’s because the rule only kicks in if one of such an employers’ workers buy subsidized covered on HealthCare.gov.

The decision by the three-judge panel is the most serious challenge to the underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act since a challenge to that law’s constitutionality was heard by the Supreme Court. The high court in 2012 upheld most of the ACA, including the mandate that most people must get insurance or pay a fine.

If the Obama administration fails to prevail in its expected challenge to Tuesday’s bombshell ruling, it can ask the Supreme Court to reverse it.

A high court review is guaranteed if another federal appeals court circuit rules against plaintiffs in a similar case challenging the subsidies. And the only other circuit currently considering such a case, the Fourth Circuit, is expected by both sides to rule against plaintiffs there in a decision that is believed to be imminent.

Tuesday’s ruling focused on the plaintiffs’ claim that the ACA, in several of its sections, says that subsidies from the federal government in the form of tax credits can be issued through an exchange established by a state.

The law also says that if a state chooses not to set up its own exchange, the federal government can establish its own marketplace to sell insurance in such states.

However, the ACA does not explicitly say, as it does in the case of state-run exchanges, that subsidies can be given to people who buy insurance on a federal exchange.

The plaintiffs’ claim has been met with derision by Obamacare supporters, who argue that it relies on a narrow reading, or even misreading of the law. Those supporters said the claim ignores its overarching intent: to provide affordable insurance to millions of people who were previously uninsured.

Supporters argue that the legality of the subsidies to HealthCare.gov enrollee derives from the fact that the law explicitly anticipated the potential need to create an exchange in the event that a state chose not to.

When the ACA was passed, most supporters believed that the vast majority of states would create their own exchange. But the opposition to Obamacare of many Republican governors and state legislators lead to most states refusing to build their own marketplaces, setting the stage for the challenges to the subsidies issued for HealthCare.gov plans.

Two separate federal district court judges—in D.C. and Virginia—have rejected plaintiffs’ challenge to the subsidies. Those denials lead to the appeals in the D.C. federal circuit and in the Fourth Circuit.

Out of the more than 8 million Obamacare enrollees this year, fewer than 2.6 million people signed up in plans sold via an exchange run by a state or the District of Columbia. Of those people, 82 percent, or about 2.1 million, qualified for subsidies.

The subsidies are available to people whose incomes are between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that’s between about $24,000 and $95,400 annually.

In a report issued Thursday, the consultancy Avalere Health said that if those subsidies were removed this year from the 4.7 million people who received them in HealthCare.gov states, their premiums would have been an average of 76 percent higher in price than what they are paying now.

Another report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute estimated that by 2016, about 7.3 million enrollees who would have qualified for financial assistance will be lose access to about $36.1 billion in subsidies if those court challenges succeed.


26 May



The Storm is brewing. And when it hits, everyone will feel the impact, but mostly the middle class.

Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.

The ruling this month, by the Internal Revenue Service, blocks any wholesale move by employers to dump employees into the exchanges.

Under a central provision of the health care law, larger employers are required to offer health coverage to full-time workers, or else the employers may be subject to penalties.

David Cordani of Cigna said the insurer planned to expand beyond the five states where it offers coverage on the exchanges.

Insurers Once on the Fence Plan to Join Health Exchanges in ’15MAY 25, 2014

Many employers — some that now offer coverage and some that do not — had concluded that it would be cheaper to provide each employee with a lump sum of money to buy insurance on an exchange, instead of providing coverage directly.

But the Obama administration raised objections, contained in an authoritative question-and-answer document released by the Internal Revenue Service, in consultation with other agencies.

The health law, known as the Affordable Care Act, builds on the current system of employer-based health insurance. The administration, like many in Congress, wants employers to continue to provide coverage to workers and their families.

“I don’t think that an employer-based system is going to be, or should be, replaced anytime soon,” President Obama said recently, when asked if the law might speed the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance.

When employers provide coverage, their contributions, averaging more than $5,000 a year per employee, are not counted as taxable income to workers. But the Internal Revenue Service said employers could not meet their obligations under the health care law by simply reimbursing employees for some or all of their premium costs.

Christopher E. Condeluci, a former tax and benefits counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, said the ruling was significant because it made clear that “an employee cannot use tax-free contributions from an employer to purchase an insurance policy sold in the individual health insurance market, inside or outside an exchange.”

If an employer wants to help employees buy insurance on their own, Mr. Condeluci said, it can give them higher pay, in the form of taxable wages. But in such cases, he said, the employer and the employee would owe payroll taxes on those wages, and the change could be viewed by workers as reducing a valuable benefit.

Andrew R. Biebl, a tax partner at CliftonLarsonAllen, a large accounting firm based in Minneapolis, said the ruling could disrupt arrangements used in many industries.

“For decades,” Mr. Biebl said, “employers have been assisting employees by reimbursing them for health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The new federal ruling eliminates many of those arrangements by imposing an unusually punitive penalty.”

When an employer reimburses employees for premiums, the arrangement is known as an employer payment plan. “These employer payment plans are considered to be group health plans,” the I.R.S. said, but they do not satisfy requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Under the law, insurers may not impose annual limits on the dollar amount of benefits for any individual, and they must provide certain preventive services, like mammograms and colon cancer screenings, without co-payments or other charges.

But the administration said employer payment plans do not meet those requirements.

Richard K. Lindquist, the president of Zane Benefits in Park City, Utah, a software company that helps employers reimburse workers for health insurance costs, said, “The I.R.S. is going out of its way to keep employers in the group insurance market and to reduce the incentives for them to drop coverage.”

The ruling came as the Obama administration rushed to provide guidance to employers and insurers deciding what types of coverage to offer in 2015.

In a new regulation, the Department of Health and Human Services said it would provide financial assistance to certain insurers that experience unexpected financial losses this year. Administration officials hope the payments will stabilize premiums and prevent rate increases that could embarrass Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.

Republicans want to block the payments, which they see as a bailout for insurance companies that supported the president’s health care law.

In a separate rule, the administration prohibits states from imposing onerous restrictions on insurance counselors, who educate consumers and help them enroll in health plans. Under the rule, states cannot establish standards that impair the counselors’ ability to help consumers or to perform other tasks required by federal law.

In January, a federal district judge in Missouri found that the state was illegally obstructing the activities of insurance counselors, including those known as navigators. The state has appealed the decision.

A version of this article appears in print on May 26, 2014, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline:

Mark Caserta: Obamacare more about power than healthcare

29 Apr


Dec. 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Americans have been given a false choice regarding healthcare reform.

There were many viable alternatives for making healthcare more available and affordable in America that didn’t require tearing down the entire system and replacing it with a mandate that all Americans “bow” at the altar of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Internal Revenue Service.

Yet Democrat leadership failed to pursue reasonable solutions which studies have shown would significantly improve healthcare in the U.S. while maintaining an individual’s right to choose the coverage which best suits their needs.

Americans struggling to make ends meet should receive tax breaks commensurate with their income enabling them to afford quality healthcare for themselves and their family. I would personally like to see the money our government sends to other nations outside of humanitarian needs redirected to subsidize healthcare coverage for Americans at or below our nation’s poverty level. America must stay strong to help others!

People with pre-existing conditions shouldn’t be left out in the cold. But we can’t expect insurance companies to simply “absorb” these additional costs. Again, our government should re-allocate foreign aid funding, as well as eliminate their own irresponsible spending, to cover these additional costs in the form of a tax subsidy.

We must allow insurance companies to sell their policies across state lines. We have every reason to believe that healthy competition will reduce costs and provide more options for Americans just as every other U.S. industry.

Tort reform on medical malpractice is needed. Our current system increases costs both directly, in the form of higher malpractice insurance premiums, and indirectly, in the form of defensive medicine when medical services are prescribed simply to circumvent liability rather than benefit the patient.

Employers should be encouraged to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to their employees. HSAs allow individuals to set aside money from each paycheck, before taxes, for future medical care. The American people are much more frugal and conscientious with their money than the government! An HSA may also be an excellent fit with a high-deductible insurance plan.

Pre-Obamacare, according to the Congressional Budget Office, (CBO) there were around 15 million uninsured Americans in the U.S. But based on CBO projections, once Obamacare is fully implemented, and working smoothly, that number climbs to 30 million in 2023!

I submit the Obamacare journey, which has cost our nation billions of dollars, has never really been about providing health coverage for all Americans, but something entirely different.

President Obama and Democrats sold Obamacare on a series of lies knowing it would result in a base of voters not only dependent upon government, but subject to extortion of their tax dollars if they defied the mandate.

A defining characteristic of this administration is to arrogantly operate within the narrowest definition of executive power and outside of the people’s consent.

The fact that Obamacare shifts power away from the people and to government challenges the fundamental belief that government must derive its “just powers from the consent of the governed”.

Obamacare isn’t about healthcare. It’s about power.

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: Individual mandate change cripples Obamacare

3 Apr

obamavcareApr. 03, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Obamacare is falling apart. And honestly, it’s been altered or delayed so many times Americans are no longer able to take this legislation seriously.

Piece by piece, we’ve watched the Affordable Care Act (ACA) crumble. And last week the Obama administration witnessed the very core of the president’s signature healthcare law severely crippled — the individual mandate.

On Tuesday, the Health and Human Services Department announced the six-month open enrollment period for Obamacare that began in October 2013 and was supposed to end March 31 would be extended for two years for those with canceled policies who qualify under a broadened “hardship” requirement.

Previously, the HHS had provided exemptions only in substantial hardship cases. But facing potential backlash from millions of voters who will be liable for a “shared responsibility” payment or fine for every month they don’t have coverage or an exemption, the agency chose to “broaden” the scope of those qualifying for exemptions. Now, anyone who claims that going into an exchange would constitute a “hardship” would qualify. They would simply “check a box” signifying they’ve “experienced a hardship” that prevents them from getting health coverage.

This “relaxed” accommodation mortally compromises the individual mandate which the Obama administration told the Supreme Court was “essential” to the administration of the ACA.

The president’s role in the demise of Obamacare is really quite ironic.

When Republicans attempted to delay components of the Affordable Care Act, the president and complicit liberals berated them, saying, “You can’t shut down Obamacare. It’s the law.” But in glaring hypocrisy, the president repeatedly broke his own law and delayed it as needed to keep it alive.

On July 2, 2013, the administration delayed for one year the mandate forcing businesses to provide health coverage or pay fines, and delayed it again for another year in February 2014.

On Nov. 14, 2013, the president gave a last-minute extension for insurance plans that would have been canceled at the end of 2013 because they failed to meet Obamacare’s minimum requirements.

On March 5 of this year, Obama gave Americans the option to renew their health care plans that were canceled because of the law until 2016 and keep them until 2017.

And finally, the Obama administration’s most recent extension of the deadline for enrolling in Obamacare, essentially crippling the president’s “buy it or else” mandate.

While Obama was successful in legislating his ideology upon our nation, it’s important to remember that many Americans were simply misled about the Affordable Care Act.

But as the truth is revealed, more Americans are becoming disenchanted with this president and his healthcare legislation. A recent ABC News poll showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans now support getting rid of the individual mandate.

Leading up to the November elections, I expect Obamacare to become more of a “suggestion” than a mandate. And unless the GOP wins the Senate in November, look for Democrats to begin pitching a single-payer, government run healthcare system as the only viable solution.

But without the individual mandate, Obamacare will be history.

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

McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees

2 Apr

Avik Roy, Forbes Staff

The Obama administration has, for months now, been peddling nice-sounding numbers as to how many people are gaining health coverage due to Obamacare. But their numbers have been inflated on two fronts. First, not everyone who has “selected a marketplace plan” under Obamacare has actually paid the required premiums, payment being required to actually gain coverage. Second, only a fraction of people on the exchanges were previously uninsured. A new survey from McKinsey gives us a better view into the real numbers. Of the 3.3 million people that the White House has touted as Obamacare exchange “sign-ups,” less than 500,000 are actual uninsured people who have actually gained health coverage.

Many Obamacare ‘enrollees’ aren’t actually enrolled

McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm, has been conducting monthly surveys of the exchange-eligible population under the auspices of its Center for U.S. Health System Reform. McKinsey’s most recent survey, conducted in February with 2,096 eligible respondents, found that only 48 percent had thus far signed up for a 2014 health plan. Within that 48 percent, three-fifths were previously insured people who liked their old plans and were able to keep them. The remaining two-fifths were the ones who signed up for coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.

McK enroll Feb 2

Of the Obamacare sign-ups, only 27 percent had been previously uninsured in 2013. And of the 27 percent, nearly half had yet to pay a premium. (By contrast, among the 73 percent who had been previously insured, 86 percent had paid.)

Put all those percentages together, and you get two key stats. Only 19 percent of those who have paid a premium were previously uninsured. Among those that the administration is touting as sign-ups, only 14 percent are previously uninsured enrollees: approximately 472,000 people as of February 1.


29 Mar

This is important. The Obamacare individual mandate is falling apart. If you want to apply for exemption fill out this form. Hardships have been broadened to include most anything, including not being able to afford the premium if you’re prior policy was cancelled. If you’re interested, here is the link to the HHS application. Pass it on.



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