Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Ukraine



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Fundamentally Devastating America

We are letting him get away with it. No action by the federal government in our lifetime, maybe ever, caused as much instant disruption, expense, uncertainty, fear, and threat to real health—while demonstrating astonishing incompetence and lack of planning—as the advent of the "Affordable Care Act."

The law was sold on a foundation and core of direct, deliberate lie. Its architects intended to sever people from their plans and doctors; they intended to make most pay more so a few could pay less; they designed a system to herd masses toward the exchanges and Medicaid. Every serious person knows it. Now, instead of saving average families $2,500, it’s costing virtually all insured Americans much more. Many Americans are left struggling to replace their coverage.

Having sawed off the branch of the coverage of millions, it’s not clear whether the law actually positioned a net to catch their fall. Problems accessing healthcare.gov are a tired joke by now. Less reported is that many who think they signed up, might as well have played a video game, having committed their clicks, selections, identities, and personal information to a fa├žade without a back-end, landing in a dangerously hackable pile of inconsequence.

Meanwhile, the accounts are piling up of seriously ill Americans who had good coverage and good treatment who have lost it. Many literally fear for their lives. The president doesn’t deign to comment on their plight while his bagman in the Senate implies they’re liars. Operatives scramble to silence their accounts.

No one knows where this is going; what will happen. This year many millions more will be swept from employer based plans and find themselves in the same capsizing boat. Scratch that—not quite this year. The president dispensed with three branches as he sponsored, passed and signed an amendment to the law, to kick the employer devastation past the next election for some employers if they take a vow of loyal silence against blaming Obamacare for their employment decisions.

That was the latest in a train of abuses. The president has selectively delayed, distorted, or ignored so much of the law he rammed through by sham procedures and a party line vote that it’s impossible to say whether or how the remaining pieces fit together. The only thing that’s sure is that anything that threatens the president’s party with political damage will by misrepresented, covered up, or kicked down the road.

What has happened to the American spirit of independence and vigilance of government? This administration deliberately disrupted American life like nothing since WWII. When Congress passed a pharmaceutical plan for seniors in 1988 that made many pay more, they rose in anger and mobbed a fleeing Dan Rostenkowski. Congress quickly repealed its mistake. When LBJ bungled he Vietnam War, his own party rose up and served eviction notice on one of the most transformative presidents in history.

Yet today, we sleepwalk through an earthquake, discussing pros and cons, listening to straight face defenses of the president’s initiative, watching post-modern hacks for total government argue to redefine “keep your plan” “keep your doctor” and “cancelled plan.” By the account of these zombies, the president and his backers told the truth and now it’s his critics who are lying. Anger at what he’s done to our nation is unenlightened, uncivil, and racist, they intone.

Rubbish, I say. If anything the response has been too docile, too deferential to lies and the defenders of lies. He goes about his methodical agenda transforming America by executive order, and barely reported Department programs, unleashing his enforcers on anyone whose criticism rises to the national radar, while we’re left picking up the pieces of what he’s done to jobs, growth, opportunity, and now our individual physical safety nets. We’re too scared and shell shocked to rise up and chase his limousine like the spirited seniors just 25 years ago.

America is softening and stumbling. It should be difficult for the Chief Executive and Chief Architect of this chaos to find an audience anywhere that doesn’t shout, challenge, question, and resist his overreach. But we’re either too stunned to move, too afraid of the names his guard dogs would call us, or maybe we fear a knock on the door from federal regulators.

May Providence breathe new life into the people of America. If not, Obama gets his transformation.

SOURCE

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Hearing Reviews Benefits of Self-Insured Plans

Members raise concerns with possible regulation to discourage participation in self-insured market

The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), today held a hearing entitled, “Providing Access to Affordable, Flexible Health Plans through Self-Insurance.” During the hearing, members discussed the positive benefits enjoyed by workers and employers participating in self-insured health plans and expressed objections to regulatory efforts that would discourage the use of this important health insurance option.

In his opening remarks, Rep. Roe said, “Employers who manage a self-insured health plan bear the financial risk of providing health benefits to workers. Employers will often work with a third-party to process claims and benefit payments. Many self-insured employers also purchase a product known as stop-loss insurance, a risk management tool that protects employers against catastrophic claims and high costs.”

“It is worth noting just how vitally important this health insurance option has become,” continued Rep. Roe. “Support for self-insurance has grown because it can be tailored to the needs of the workforce and offers transparency to ensure the plan is managed in an efficient and effective way. Just as important, self-insurance helps control health care costs, which can lead to higher wages for workers and more resources for employers to invest in job creation.”

Robert Melillo, an executive at USI Insurance Services, echoed the benefits of self-insurance. “A self-funded program allows a plan sponsor to customize, measure, evaluate, and manage each and every aspect of their benefit plan,” said Mr. Melillo. “I believe a plan sponsor’s choice to self-insure with the use of quality and customizable stop-loss insurance programs is essential if they have any chance of managing their future health care spending.”

Subcommittee members listened to the story of one employer who has been able to offer employees comprehensive, affordable health coverage through a self-insured policy. Wes Kelley is the executive director of Columbia Power & Water Systems, a municipal utility for the City of Columbia and Maury Country in Tennessee.

Speaking from personal experience, Mr. Kelley testified, “Over the past 22 years, our self-funded arrangement has allowed the utility to maintain above average benefits for our employees, dependents, and eligible retirees… These benefits are provided without the employees contributing to the cost of health insurance through their paycheck or otherwise. Furthermore, eligible early retirees and their dependents enjoy the same benefits as active employees.”

Maintaining access to a vibrant self-insured marketplace is a priority for policymakers. Michael Ferguson, president and CEO of the Self-Insurance Institute of America, warned, “The administration may make this option more difficult by restricting the availability of stop-loss insurance. Specifically, it is believed that the federal agencies may ‘interpret’ the definition of health insurance coverage to include stop-loss insurance.” These concerns were confirmed earlier by a 2013 New York Times article citing administration officials interested in discouraging the use of stop-loss insurance.

Chairman Roe urged the administration to abandon such a misguided effort, stating, “The administration must clarify its plans to potentially regulate in this area, and explain the legal basis it has to do so… The employers, workers, unions, and families who rely on these health plans deserve the truth now. Like every American, they were told if they liked their current health care plan they could keep it; they have a right to know whether they too will be on the losing end of the president’s broken promise.”

SOURCE

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Republicans can help to bridge the inequality gap

In his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke passionately about an issue that concerns all Americans and strikes most as one of our biggest challenges: what he calls “income inequality.” I have yet to meet a constituent who is comfortable with the gap between our nation’s wealthiest and our least fortunate — a gap that has expanded over the past five years.

How we meet this challenge is a critical debate, because I know my constituents believe the best way to bridge this gap is to create more and better-paying jobs. Yet, too many of our unemployed today are not prepared to fill the 4 million U.S. jobs that are currently open. In my district, Hartford City has more than 100 positions waiting to be filled. In Southern Indiana, the mayor of Jasper recently shared that his city has more than 700 open jobs. Right now, too many employers are unable to find workers with the skills they require.

The president’s primary proposal to address income inequality — increasing the minimum wage — sets a floor for future incomes, but it does nothing to promote upward mobility. Minimum wage should be seen as a starting point for people just entering the workforce and not a long-term destination. I’ve also heard from small business owners who are struggling in a still-recovering economy. If we raise operating costs, they will be forced to reduce employee hours and maybe even staffing levels. Ultimately, the president will be hurting the same employees we are all trying to help.

The U.S. House last year passed several bills that would create jobs and expand education and job training, including the SKILLS Act, the Northern Route Approval Act and the Innovation Act. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate didn’t pass a single jobs bill.

The bills Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid left sitting on his shelf would do more to reduce “income inequality” than any executive action the president could take. Keep in mind, the president promised to use his executive power to enact policies if Congress didn’t enact his agenda.

The SKILLS Act would streamline more than 35 federal workforce development programs into a single Workforce Investment Fund. Eliminating red tape will make it easier for our local WorkOne centers to provide job seekers the industry specific training they need.

I offered an amendment to this bill that would give states the opportunity to direct their federal job training dollars to programs with a proven track record of preparing applicants for, and placing them into, new jobs. For the first time, states would be able to reward successful programs that work, such as EmployIndy’s PriorITize, which partners with community leaders like Ivy Tech Community College and Goodwill’s Excel Center to provide the unemployed and underemployed computer concepts training and access to externships.

I strongly believe the SKILLS Act will give people the tools they need to earn the 4 million open jobs we have in this country. I strongly believe the SKILLS Act will give people earning minimum wage the opportunity to earn meaningful raises.

Unfortunately, House Republicans only had one meeting, other than the State of the Union, with the president where he actually showed up and talked to us.

As you said in your State of the Union Address, Mr. President, “let’s make this a year of action.” I agree, let’s get to work.

SOURCE

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UCLA Leftist Has Meltdown After Anti-Israel Resolution Is Defeated

Leftists are spoiled brats who throw tantrums if they don't get their way



Some have requested a transcript. This is the best I could find, courtesy of Moshe Ringler at Youtube:

"I never talk, I’m always like, like I’m always like, like it fucking sucks (incoherent gibberish) but I’ve never been so fucking disappointed that the (incoherent gibberish) terrorize them (incoherent gibberish) so pissed off and I always bite my tongue during these meetings but I’ve never been so fucking disappointed on anything. People are getting hurt and we could have stopped it and (incoherent gibberish) we fucking blew it and I’m sorry (incoherent gibberish) 12 hours and we all did and we all listened to this and I’m like I went, sorry for blowing up right now and I’m so disappointed about this (incoherent gibberish) but like I just wanted to know that like I like know that about it all the time (incoherent gibberish)…. And it was so terrible, and my sister was like, “I’m so sorry you have to go through that”, and she saw me and she asked me, “what’s wrong, why are you crying?” and I was like the whole world should be crying right now (incoherent gibberish)"

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Leftmedia Racism:  "CNN's Don Lemon may have let the cat out of the bag when it comes to the Leftmedia's cozy relationship with Barack Obama. We know that most in the media agree ideologically with the president, and that sharing his goals means carrying his water. But Lemon admitted that race plays a significant part, too: "As journalists, you know, you weigh whether you -- how much you should criticize the president, because he's black, what have you. But then you have to do it, because ultimately you're a journalist." Except that the criticism is rarely forthcoming, leaving Obama's race as a trump card. A former president had a phrase for this sort of thing: "The soft bigotry of low expectations."

Impossible to Cancel Plans: "A Florida man found out the hard way that he's keeping his insurance plan -- whether he likes it or not. When Andrew Robinson signed up for coverage under ObamaCare but then realized he couldn't afford it, he quickly signed up for a different plan and called Florida Blue to cancel the first one. WFTV Orlando reports, "But he quickly learned canceling Obamacare is no easy task. ... More than six weeks later after spending 50 to 60 hours on the phone his policy is still not canceled and he is still waiting for the payment Florida Blue withdrew from his account to be refunded." But not to worry; Harry Reid says the horror stories aren't true.

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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