Friday, January 31, 2014

Washington State’s Pending Legislation Seeks To Prohibit Barbaric Muslim Practice Of Young Female Genital Mutilation

Bare Naked Islam:

State of Washington 63rd Legislature 2014 Regular Session
AN ACT Relating to female genital mutilation; amending RCW 26.44.020; adding a new section to chapter 9A.36 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties. More

Read the entire bill here:

An estimated 130 million young girls have undergone sexual mutilation, mostly in Muslim countries, but now, apparently in Great Britain, Europe, and the USA, too. 

Wake-up America… Wake-up Democrats… It is your party’s politicians, including those in the White House, who support the Muslim Brotherhood and the spread of Islam in this country and are then feeding you the crazy notion of a war on women by Republicans… You are being used and had!

Video: Female Genital Mutilation must end

Obamacare Architect Retires

Weekly Standard: Representative Henry Waxman is retiring.  Waxman has been in Congress a long time. He got there in the aftermath of Watergate, back when disco was still cool, and he hung around, building seniority and an attachment to certain causes. Among them, health care and the environment.

Since he was one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, he considered it his duty to stick around and:

… make sure the landmark health reform law is implemented in the best possible way because the decisions over the coming years will impact millions of American families. 

The supreme environmental issue is, of course, global warming and Waxman was saying, just a month or so back, that he intended to remain in Congress in order to devote himself to this cause, declaring with fetching modesty that:

I am leading a coalition in the House of Representatives that is focused on reducing the risk posed by climate change.  I’ve been deeply involved in this issue for many years and recognize it won’t be resolved by 2014.  But given the devastating consequences climate change has for our country and our planet, I intend to continue this fight.

Now, he has changed his mind.  One would not be going too far out on a limb in speculating that he has decided that the Democrats most likely will not regain control of the House in 2014 leaving him as merely a (very) long-serving member in the minority.  No committee chairmanship.  

Leaving the planet to look after itself.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are You a Potential Plaintiff in an Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit? Please Respond by January 31, 2014


Nationwide Alert

By: C. Steven Tucker
Gulag Bound – Cross-Posted at the NoisyRoom and AskMarion

The Illinois Policy Institute has teamed up with the Liberty Justice Center to seek plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the PPACA – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. “Obamacare”. It will take every legal and legislative avenue at their disposal to stop Obamacare. Your information will be totally confidential, and there is no cost involved.

They’re looking for people to join a lawsuit that will challenge an IRS rule that extends Obamacare health insurance subsidies and the Obamacare “employer mandate” to states like Illinois where they shouldn’t apply because the state government hasn’t established its own insurance exchange.

As a result of this unlawful IRS rule, many people who would otherwise be exempt from the Obamacare individual mandate will be forced to buy insurance they don’t want. You may be eligible to participate in their lawsuit if you:

    • Are a resident of Illinois or any of the following states: AL, AK, AZ, AR, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, or WY;
    • Are ineligible for Medicaid;
    • Have not been offered Obamacare-compliant health benefits from an employer;
    • Are a nonsmoker;
    • Have a household income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level in 2014 ($11,490 to $45,960 for a single person — see this chart for other household sizes); and
    • Do not want to buy insurance for 2015 or, if you are 30 or over, either do not want to buy insurance or plan to purchase a catastrophic plan for 2015.

If you meet these criteria and are interested in helping us take our case to court — at no cost to you — please call Jacob Huebert at 312.263.7668, extension 219 or email him at

Fill out this short survey to get started. Please respond no later than Friday, January 31, 2014


State-based exchanges and federally facilitated exchanges

Section 1311 of the PPACA describes state-based health insurance exchanges. That section outlines the powers granted to the IRS to provide APTC – “Advance Premium Tax Credits” (a.k.a. ‘subsidies’) that will be used to artificially lower the high cost of health insurance offered in a state-based exchange. Tied to those APTC’s is also the power granted to the IRS to levy a $2,000 or $3,000 excise tax (non-tax deductible) on all employers with 50 or more full-time employees (first 30 employees waived) if they do not provide PPACA approved health insurance. This is a lot of new power granted to the IRS and this is the primary reason the IRS is hiring thousands of new agents.

Section 1321 of the PPACA describes federally-facilitated exchanges and state-federal partnership exchanges – like the exchange the state of Illinois has chosen to establish. In these types of exchanges, the IRS is granted no authority to provide APTC’s or to levy excise taxes on any employer in that state for not providing PPACA approved health insurance. Since the crafters of the PPACA assumed that every state would willingly establish a state-based exchange, there was no money appropriated for federally-facilitated exchanges. Thus far 34 states have chosen not to open a state-based health insurance exchange.

The illegal action taken by the IRS

Here’s the kicker, in order to ‘fix’ this legal ‘opt out’ that section 1321 provides to states that choose not to open a state-based exchange. The Internal Revenue Service finalized a proposed rule on the 2 year anniversary of the passage of the PPACA that offers APTC’s -Advance Premium Tax Credits – through exchanges “established under section 1311 OR 1321 of the PPACA. Those six characters—”or 1321?—constitute an unconstitutional and as such illegal rewriting of the statute. By issuing tax credits where Congress did not authorize them, this rule also triggers APTC’s “subsidies” and imposes excise taxes on employers with 50 or more full-time employees in all 50 states with either a state-based, state-federal partnership or federally facilitated exchange. Since the IRS is not a Legislative branch, this action was an illegal action not authorized by Congress and it must not stand.

Worse yet President Obama is following that new proposed rule that was written by the IRS as if it was codified law. This illegal action and President Obama’s support of it has prompted Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt to amend his lawsuit to include a section that sues the IRS for illegally writing new law and granting itself power that it was not granted in the PPACA as originally written. Read more about Mr. Pruitt’s lawsuit here. Mr. Pruitt sat down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity to discuss the progress of his pending case against the IRS on December 6, 2013. Watch the interview below:

Video: OK Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Fox News "Hannity"

As of May 28, 2013 here’s where the numbers stand:

  • Committed to a state-based exchange: 17 states and Washington, D.C. (described in section 1311)
  • Planning for a partnership exchange: 7 states (described in section 1321)
  • No to state-based exchange. Defaulting to Federal Exchange: 27 states (described in section 1321)

I recently commented about this illegal action taken by the IRS for Champion News talk radio on Chicago’s AM560TheAnswer radio:


Video: The IRS and Obamacare - 3

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

GOP Senators’ Obamacare Replacement Beneficial to Young People says Senator Colborn as He Loses His Own Cancer Doctor in the Midst of His Cancer Fight

GOP senators’ Obamacare replacement beneficial to young people

Tom Coburn

Red Alert Politics: Just weeks into the new year and only months after Congressional Republicans attempted to defund the Affordable Care Act, a trio of Senate Republicans have unveiled a plan to replace Obamacare. And this alternative seeks to put money back in Millennials’ pockets.

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) joined forces in crafting a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, unveiling the proposal Monday. Called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, the law’s first step would be to repeal Obamacare. However, the proposed alternative does leave some key aspects of the current healthcare law in place, while offering some reprieves for Millennials.

“The American people have found out what is in Obamacare— broken promises in the form of increased health care costs, costly mandates, and government bureaucracy.  They don’t like it and don’t want to keep it,” Burr said in a press release. “…We can lower costs and expand access to quality coverage and care by empowering individuals and their families to make their own health care decisions, rather than empowering the government to make those decisions for them.”

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, young Americans have found their premiums increasing, some as much as 260 percent. However, the law was designed to require Millennials to pay more for health insurance to subsidize coverage for the elderly, whose health insurance is deemed to be more costly.

The Patient CARE proposal, however, seeks to take the financial burden off of young people’s shoulders.

“Unfortunately, young Americans are on the front lines of experiencing the costs and consequences of Obamacare’s costly mandates and broken promises: skyrocketing premiums, fewer choices, employers deciding not to offer health insurance, cutting back hours, or not hiring all together,” Burr said in an emailed statement to Red Alert. ”They know that Obamacare is not fair to them or their future.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can charge older Americans only three times as much as they charge “young invincibles.” This provision drives up the cost of health insurance for Millennials.

But under the Patient CARE proposal, that threshold is increased to allow insurance companies to charge the elderly a maximum of five times as much as they charge Millennials. States, though, can set their own ratio below that amount or opt out of the mandate by passing a law allowing it to do so.

Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, many states adhered to the federal benchmark proposed by Burr, Coburn and Hatch.

“Mr. President, we can see the importance of choice in the failings of ObamaCare, which is struggling to sign up young people who might just need a health plan that’s affordable instead of one that includes coverage they’ll never use or need,” Hatch said on the Senate floor Monday.

One of the Affordable Care Act’s most lauded provisions allows young people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans, and the measure has long been a staple of President Obama’s speeches and addresses surrounding his signature healthcare law. Sens. Burr, Corburn and Hatch included the provision in the Patient CARE proposal.

“While we believe fewer young consumers will utilize this option as the cost of health insurance decreases, retaining this policy has a very marginal effect on premiums and provides consumers with more choices,” it states.

The Congressional Budget office projected Obamacare would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs, likely as a result of the high cost of providing employees working more than 30 hours per week and other provisions in the employer mandate. But repealing the Affordable Care Act, as the Patient CARE measure seeks to do, provides both economic relief and opportunity for Millennials — a generation facing 15.9 percent unemployment.

“The Patient CARE Act would provide relief to young Americans by repealing Obamacare’s costly mandates, putting in place common-sense  insurance protections – like guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, and empowering them to find a plan that meets their needs, including allowing health savings account dollars to go toward health premiums for the first time,” Burr said.

The Patient CARE legislation has yet to be introduced in the Senate, as the Republican triad hopes to “further refine and improve upon the proposal” and build support on both sides of the aisle.

Meanwhile, Cancer-stricken Sen. Tom Coburn revealed Tuesday that his health insurance under Obamacare doesn’t cover his oncologist.

The Oklahoma Republican’s spokesman confirmed to POLITICO that since the senator enrolled in his health insurance plan under Obamacare, his coverage has been reduced and he lost coverage for his cancer specialist. Coburn will continue to pay out of pocket and see his oncologist, his office said.

Luckily the former physician and Senator can pay for his doctor of choice and treatment out of pocked, but that is not the situation for many Americans who are losing their specialists, doctors or choice or their healthcare coverage completely and can’t afford the replacement.

His spokesman said Coburn’s struggles with his own doctor illustrate the need for a new policy, saying that not every American has the option to pay out of pocket for care.

“We hope the White House will work with us to make sure Americans who can’t afford to pay out of pocket don’t lose access to life-saving care,” spokesman John Hart said. “As Dr. Coburn’s experience shows, the American people are about to learn they’re going to lose access to not only their doctors and plans, but their specialists and treatments.”

Warning: Dem Rep. Says Obamacare Is Unraveling & “We Don’t Have a Solution”

U.S. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) hugs a television reporter after interviews in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 15, 2014. Moran, a 12-term Virginia liberal, became on Wednesday the third member of his party this week to announce he will not seek re-election in November. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX17FD8

Democratic Congressman Admits Obamacare Won’t Work (After Announcing Retirement)

Video: Dem Rep. Says Obamacare Is Unraveling & “We Don’t Have a Solution”

"I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially," warned Democrat Virginia Representative Jim Moran. The Democrat, as The Daily Caller reports, seemingly daring to break ranks with his peers, added that he understood Millennial lack of signing up as "frankly, there’s some legitimacy to their concern because the government spends about $7 for the elderly for every $1 it spends on the young." This stunning declaration, of course, fits with the narratives that most mathematically-capable human beings can comprehend but starkly refutes the hopes and dreams of the President's healthcare policy... The reason that Jim Moran could be so honest... after 12 terms of toeing the lying line, he has announced his retirement.

Via The Daily Caller,

A top House Democrat slammed Obamacare’s inability “to work” — but only after he announced his impending retirement from Congress.

12-term Virginia Rep. Jim Moran, an Appropriations Committee member who said this month that he will not seek re-election in 2014, said that not enough young people are signing up for Obamacare coverage to make the law work.

I’m afraid that the millennials, if you will, are less likely to sign up. I think they feel more independent, I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially,” Moran said in an interview with WAMU American University Radio.

“And, frankly, there’s some legitimacy to their concern because the government spends about $7 for the elderly for every $1 it spends on the young,” Moran said.

I just don’t know how we’re going to do it frankly. If we had a solution I’d be telling the president right now,” Moran said.

Moran voted for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which depends on young healthy “invincibles” to sign up for health insurance exchanges to offset the high number of older, sicker people that drive rates up and make Obamacare plans more expensive.


read more here

Perhaps there is a lesson in this for all of us - do not trust a politician until he has retired (and we suggest - not even then).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another Obamacare Fiasco

And the ObamaCare Fiasco Rolls On…

By: Roger Aronoff - Accuracy in Media

President Barack Obama said his biggest mistake of 2013 was the rollout of the Obamacare website. But the website was just a small manifestation of the many real problems with Obamacare, some of which have only recently become apparent. Actually, his biggest mistake may have occurred during the government shutdown negotiations, by not taking the Republicans up on their efforts to postpone its implementation by a year. Just think of the concessions he might have gotten from them on a host of other issues — such as immigration reform and the minimum wage—and the aggravation he could have avoided if he had agreed to push the pause button until after the 2014 election.

Accuracy in Media has pointed out many of the problems with Obamacare. It is a job-killing disaster, it was sold to Congress and the American public based on a series of lies, and it is doing serious damage to the quality of healthcare in this country. Millions of people have had their policies cancelled, with tens of millions more expected to have theirs cancelled once the employer mandate kicks in. The fact that President Obama has arbitrarily delayed aspects of the law, such as the employer mandate, means that he recognizes them as politically damaging to the Democrats.

People are being asked to sign up on a website that is not secure, and is in fact even less secure than it was two months ago, with no recourse for ordinary citizens if their most personal information is hacked. And the government is misrepresenting and concealing the number of people signing up for Obamacare by not distinguishing between previously uninsured people who have now purchased insurance, from those who have merely gone online to explore their options, or those who are signing up for Medicaid or subsidized policies.

The health insurance industry, which last week saw its “Industry Outlook” in terms of creditworthiness, as characterized by Moody’s, go from stable to negative, is protected against losses by a taxpayer-funded bailout provision in the so-called Affordable Care Act.

The incentives are perverse throughout Obamacare, such as cities with unfunded health-care commitments preparing to dump their retirees on the state exchanges, and companies reducing the number of full-time employees and the number of hours they can work. And the system is supposed to be enforced by the IRS, which has been highly politicized under this administration. What could possibly go wrong?

On top of all that, there has been the serious problem of cronyism. is additional proof that cronyism continues to be the name of the game in America under President Obama. As AIM previously explored in a special report, CGI Federal was awarded the contract to work on the government health care website after donating extensively to the Obama campaign. It was the only bidder. The company’s senior vice president also attended Princeton with Michelle Obama. Remember when no-bid contracts were a source of outrage and cause for investigation? No more.

Now, the Canadian-owned CGI Federal is out and a new company, called Accenture, is in. Except that the company winning this no-bid contract has offices in Chicago and is incorporated in Ireland, which its spokesman says “reflect[s] its global business across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.” It works through tax havens. “Accenture previously was incorporated in America but then reportedly moved to the tax haven of Bermuda,” reported Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily. Bloomberg News wonders why the Senate isn’t investigating Accenture for using tax havens, like they investigated Apple last year for that very same matter. “Democrats in Congress generally don’t want to be seen badmouthing the White House,” they conclude, “or the Affordable Care Act.”

And Accenture looks to be a hefty Obama supporter as well. Accenture employees, family members, and its political action committee gave nearly four times as much to Obama as they did to Mitt Romney. They have given nearly $300,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the years.

In a letter to Front Page Magazine, Accenture Director of Corporate Communications James McAvoy clarified that the Accenture PAC itself did not contribute to Obama’s Senate campaign or his presidential campaigns.

But the amount given by employees overall is dwarfed by the amount bundled by Accenture senior manager Tracey Patterson’s husband, Chaka Patterson. He is listed on the Obama-Biden website as having bundled over $500,000 for the re-election campaign in 2012. Chaka received a shout out from the President on June 1, 2012, when he was traveling through Chicago and Minneapolis to make six fundraisers in one day. Chaka’s and his wife’s party was among them.

And another former employee of Accenture, Rayid Ghani, self-identifies as the former “Chief Scientist at [the] Obama for America 2012 campaign.”

“Rayid Ghani, chief scientist of the Obama for America data analytics team, came to the Obama campaign in 2011 after a long stint directing the analytics research group at Accenture Technology Labs, where he engineered new ways for companies to track consumers’ personal preferences,” reported The Daily Caller.

In other words, the administration transitioned from using a company for its government website that had known ties to the Obama administration to one that has less-well-known ties—but arguably ones that also run deep.

Where are the mainstream media in reporting this information? They seem to have no interest in exposing Obama’s revolving-door cronyism, and no-bid contracts. Can it get any worse for the American taxpayer?

Yes, it can.

It seems that, according to the New York Post, Obama has effectively outsourced his health care project by giving it to this company. “Accenture has 80,000 Indian workers, 35,000 in the Philippines and only 40,000 in the United States,” reported Robert Oak for the Post on January 18. “Over 40 percent of their worth comes from outsourcing. In all probability, the tech jobs awarded under this contract and paid for with U.S. tax dollars are going abroad.”

“But even if the work is done locally, chances are the employees are foreigners brought in for lower wages using the controversial H-1B visa program—where companies are allowed to hire guest workers from abroad,” reports Oak. In other words, those working on the website likely come from outside the U.S. and are paid as much as 25% less than American workers.

Accenture ranked very high among American companies in using these visas, reports Oak. The year before last, Accenture brought in over 4,000 foreign workers on these visas; they even paid one “chief programmer” about $25,000 a year.

The rationale, argues Oaks, for hiring foreign engineers and programmers is that there aren’t enough American ones. But, he notes, “It has been proved repeatedly there is no shortage of Americans with technical skills and talent.”

Will Accenture’s future employees be paid fairly? Probably not. Oak reports that in 2012, the median salary for an H-1B visa worker at Accenture was about $30,000 less than the median salary for an equivalent visa worker at Amazon.

For a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. health care system and a vital component of Obama’s signature legislation, the administration has chosen to rely once again on a foreign-affiliated technology company with ties to Obama’s own fundraising apparatus. This is one company guaranteed to underpay its workers and outsource its production.

It’s time the media took notice of these facts and stopped ignoring the inconvenient truths about Accenture—and about Obamacare.

Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

Ex-Trader Joe’s President To Open Expired Food Store For The Poor


Fox News: We’ve all heard about the massive food waste Americans incur every year.

‘Sell-by’, ‘best-by’ and ‘use-by’ dates are mostly unregulated and confusing for consumers when it comes to throwing items out –a factor that contributes to $165 billion of food wasted every year.

But the former president of Trader Joe’s Doug Rauch says he’s got a solution.

In May, he’s launching The Daily Table, a grocery store and restaurant in Dorchester, Mass., that will offer inexpensive food considered ‘unsellable’ by regular grocery stores.

Food available will include fruits and vegetables that are expired and repurposed food that will be incorporated into hot meals. Other items for sale will be products that are fine to eat but may have damaged packaging.

“Most families know that they’re not giving their kids the nutrition they need. But they just can’t afford it, they don’t have an option,” Rauch recently told Salon.

His big idea: Make healthy food available for the working poor at the same price as fast food by using expired food.

A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic says Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.

Dana Gunders with the Natural Resources Defense Council and co-author of the study, said that as much as 40 percent of food in the U.S. –or the equivalent of $165 billion– is wasted, thrown away to fill our landfills after spoiling in the refrigerator or pantry.

Although Daily Table will be setup as a non-profit, it is a retail store, not a food bank or a soup kitchen.

Rauch is hardly the first to sell expired food or slightly damaged items deemed unsellable for cosmetic reasons. Discount supermarkets already offer many of the same items, but don’t sell prepared food.

Yet, critics have accused Rauch of taking rich people’s food, repurposing it, and selling it to the poor, something he just shrugs off.

“I might say, without naming the names, one of the leading, best regarded brands in the large, national, food industry — they basically recover the food within their stores, cook it up and put it out on their hot trays the next day,” Rauch said in an 2013 interview with NPR. “That’s the stuff that we’re going to be talking about. We’re talking about taking and recovering food. Most of what we offer will be fruits and vegetables that have a use-by date on it that’ll be several days out.” 


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Moody's Downgrades Health Insurers, Cites ObamaCare Uncertainty

New American: In announcing credit rating firm Moody’s downgrade of all health insurers, Senior Vice President Stephen Zaharuk placed the blame firmly and directly on the Obamacare rollout and implementation:

The ongoing and unstable and evolving environment is a key factor for our outlook change. The past few months have seen new regulations and announcements that impose operational changes well after product and pricing decisions were finalized.

Translation: Health insurers could lose their shirts if the assumptions they made in their premium calculations prove false. So far, it doesn’t look good. Zaharuk cited some of those uncertainties, including the demographics of those enrolling for coverage. The insurers assumed that the Obama administration was right when it estimated that at least 2.7 million young and healthy individuals aged 18 to 34 would sign up by the end of March. Only 24 percent of the 2.2 million enrolled by the end of the year fall into that category. Put another way, so far just 528,000 of the 2.7 million needed to make the math, and the economics, work out are in that category.

That’s why, in its report, Moody’s cut its earnings estimate for all insurers by a full third, while expecting enrollments will fall short by two-thirds.

There are other uncertainties, including the decision by the administration to allow insurers to continue to offer “bare bones” (read: low profit margin) coverages in response to pressure from those previously insured who had their present insurance plans terminated. The administration delayed the premium payments deadline (delaying expected cash flows to the insurers), delayed the sign-up date, pushed back the second-year enrollment period until after the November elections, and extended the enrollment deadline for those with pre-existing conditions.

There’s also the industry’s new tax on medical devices that insurers somehow had to factor into their calculations. Said Zaharuk: “While some insurers built this tax into their premium calculations, the amounts [they receive] may still be insufficient to cover their share of the assessment.”

Also, many ObamaCare enrollees are actually pouring into the states’ Medicaid programs, and insurers have no direct way to offset those increased expenses and will have to eat any losses, perhaps for years. Zaharuk explained: “The Medicaid business is particularly vulnerable to this disconnect as insurers cannot pass on additional costs to consumers, and it remains to be seen whether states will permit insurers to factor in the assessment costs in determining Medicaid reimbursement rates.”

Health insurers are vulnerable on other fronts as well. Gallup just published its latest “Well-Being Index,” which shows the uninsured rate to be virtually the same as it was two years ago, despite the enormous marketing efforts by the administration touting the wonders of ObamaCare, and actually significantly higher than it was in January 2008, long before the federally mandated law was birthed in the hothouse of central planning. In addition the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that, even under the most favorable circumstances, by 2016, when Obamacare was assumed to be fully functioning, 31 million citizens will remain uninsured. This means insurers can’t count on that huge block of customers to enhance their revenue streams.

Moody’s was not optimistic:

In 2015, insurers will need to deal with the implications of the employer mandate and the second year of the individual mandate. Both require substantial lead time with respect to product development and pricing. Ad hoc changes to these provisions, as experienced at the end of 2013 … add additional risks and financial uncertainty.

When asked by Kate Rogers of Fox News what it would take for Moody’s to reverse its downgrade, Zaharuk said:

We would need [to see] some positive enrollment numbers, the back-end problems with the exchanges fixed, and the regulatory environment … stabilized.

Positive news would help the situation.

How likely is that? Responded Zaharuk:

The first test comes in March when we will see what enrollment looks like, if the back-end issues are fixed, if people are getting access to health care, and what the costs … are.

If these things don’t work, it may have a longer and more detrimental effect on the industry as they struggle under the new law. 

Whether intended or not, this disruption in the healthcare marketplace is having its consequences, nearly all of them negative. First experienced by the consumers, they are now spilling over, inevitably, to the insurers. 

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at

Here comes Obama’s solution to the disastrous Affordable Care Act: National Health Care a.k.a. the Single Payer System
Betsy McCaughey: Obamacare designed to vastly expand single payer Medicaid by eviscerating Medicare 
Bailing Out Health Insurers and Helping Obamacare

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Propaganda: HHS Claims 3 Million Have Signed Up For Obamacare, Refuses To Say How Many Have Paid For Their Plans…

No, three million people did NOT enroll, this figure couldn’t be more misleading if they tried. These people simply chose a plan on the exchange (in their shopping cart), the back end system is still a mess and that’s what needed for someone to fully enroll by paying their first month’s premium. Sadly, the low-information voters will be at least somewhat swayed by this bogus statistic.

Washington Examiner:

About 3 million Americans have now signed up for insurance through President Obama’s health care law since the debut of the law’s exchanges on Oct. 1, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday.

HHS did not specify when the exchanges hit the 3 million mark. Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters replied by email: “We hit 3 (million) this week, don’t have an exact date.” [...]

But there’s also an important caveat. HHS still hasn’t disclosed how many of those who have selected a plan through the health care law have actually paid for it, which is how insurers typically define enrollment.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fantastic Video: Heritage Foundation On The Ground At March For Life 2014 – New Poll: 62% of Americans Now Believe Abortion is Morally Wrong

Marchers braved the cold and snow in Washington, DC today for the annual March for Life. The Heritage Foundation was on the ground to capture the event and grabbed some amazing footage and interviews.

Video: Fantastic Video: Heritage Foundation On The Ground At March For Life 2014

New Poll: 62% of Americans Now Believe Abortion is Morally Wrong

Examiner: A new Knights of Columbus/Marist poll released Wednesday shows that more than six in 10 Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong.

Sixty-two percent of those polled believed that abortion is morally wrong, and only 36 percent found it morally acceptable. Two percent of Americans indicated that it was not a moral issue.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they believe life begins at conception.

The poll shows that most Americans choose a more moderate position on abortion, but believe it should be restricted.

Support for restrictions on abortion includes 79 percent supporting a 24-hour waiting period, 58 percent supporting a woman receiving an ultrasound before her abortion and 80 percent supporting parental notification for underage patients.

Even respondents who identify themselves as strongly pro-choice indicated that they do not believe in unrestricted access to abortions.

Sixty-four percent of strongly pro-choice Americans agreed that a patient should wait 24 hours before an abortion and consult with professionals, 62 percent support parental notification and 68 percent believe doctors who perform abortions should be required to have hospital admitting privileges.

The release of the poll coincides with the National March for Life in Washington.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Iditarod on 12,000 calories a day

Extreme cold in Alaska makes the race even more challenging – and dangerous

Rick Casillo dog racingGuest essay by Paul Driessen – What’s Up With That? – Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet

This winter’s record Midwestern freeze made any outdoor activity a real challenge. It also made us appreciate modern housing, heating, transportation and hydrocarbons – and what our frontline troops have endured in the Aleutians, Korea and Afghanistan. I’ve been in minus 20-50 F weather, and it is brutal. 

The nasty weather reminded me of the Iditarod racers and spirited sled dogs I met last summer in Alaska. Trekking 1,100 miles from Anchorage to Nome, across Sam McGee’s wilderness in the dead of winter in nine to twelve days, is not for faint-hearted humans or canines. It’s equivalent to jogging from Chicago to Tampa or from Washington, DC to Kansas City – with temperatures ranging from a “balmy” 10 or 20 degrees F (-7 to -12 C) above to a bone-rattling and deadly minus 50 (-46 C) or lower for the entire trip.

It helps explain why far more people have reached the summit of Mt. Everest than have finished the annual Iditarod race.

This difference: some 4,000 to Everest’s peak versus around 900 individual dogsledders, many of whom are the same hardy men and women racing year after year. About 2,550 dog teams of 16 dogs each have competed since Dorothy Page and Joe Redington, Sr. launched the Iditarod dogsled race in 1973.

Rick Swenson has entered the race 33 times and won it five times, logging more than 82,000 miles in training and racing. DeeDee Jonrowe has started 27 races and finished 25, including 2003 when she began three weeks after finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer! (Go here for still more Iditarod trivia.)

“The coldest I’ve ever been in during the Iditarod was minus 60, and I actually camped out on the trail that night with the dogs,” Rick Casillo told me. “It’s by far the coldest I have ever been. I went to sleep after taking care of the dogs, woke up two hours later and was starting to get hypothermic. I had to get out of my bag and get moving fast. When you’re dealing with temperatures like that, there is no room for error. You have to plan and execute each step perfectly.” Jack London’s “To build a fire” comes to mind.

Rick and his wife Jennifer operate Battle Dawgs Racing, Aurora Heli-Expeditions and the Knik River Lodge west of Palmer. But Battle Dawgs is not just their dog kennel. By partnering with Alaska’s Healing Hearts, they’ve made it a wounded veterans rehabilitation program that enables military personnel and their families and loved ones to experience wild Alaska, restore their souls, and meet kindred spirits through hunting, fishing, mushing, flying, hiking and snowmobiling.

James Hastings, director of operations for AHH and a retired U.S. Army veteran, says their goal with Battle Dawgs is to have a year-round camp with cabins and facilities that can accommodate warriors in wheel chairs. Adds Jennifer, an Air Force veteran and reservist, aircraft mechanic and chopper pilot: “For a wounded veteran, the true battle often begins when they get home.” That’s why the dogs are important. “The healing capabilities of canines are legendary,” Rick says. “You can’t spend time with these men and women, and not want to help out by offering them some life changing experiences.”

Some of warriors will actually be members of Rick’s “pit crew” during dog races. One will be on his sled for the “ceremonial” portion of the 2014 Iditarod, from Anchorage to Eagle River, where the teams regroup and start the actual race. Few can imagine what goes into this race.

Pre-season racing is like pre-season football, Rick says. “You use it to gauge younger dogs and give them valuable racing experience. I’m looking for attitude, recovery time, eating habits, drive and desire. These dogs are all born to run, but I need dogs that can do these runs over and over, willingly and happily.” Usually he spots these characteristics by opening day, but sometimes there are surprises.

“The toughest situation I was ever in was easily in 2007 when I was going up the Alaska Range from Rainey Pass,” Rick recalls. “The temperature was minus 30, with 40 mph winds – making it feel like minus 71 – and we were climbing in a complete whiteout. My goggles froze up solid and were useless. I was forced to take them off. Minutes later, frostbite set in on my nose, cheeks and eyelids. Sometimes I had to walk in front of the team to find the trail. All of a sudden, an 18-month-old dog started demanding to be up front, leading. Normally I would never rely on a young dog in a situation like that, but Grisman was jumping five feet in the air, howling to go. So I gave him a chance. Once I put Gris in lead, he never balked once. Not only did he take us up and over the range. He continued to be one of best dogs in that race and went on to be the best dog I have ever run.”

That experience underscores what are perhaps the six most important factors in Iditarod racing. (1) Bond and trust. “If you don’t have the dogs’ trust, you have nothing,” Rick emphasizes. (2) Mental and physical toughness, for dogs and musher alike. By the end of the race, each musher is tired, battered and cut up – attesting to the difficulty of the trail and weather, and to the need to just keep going, no matter what. (3) Logistics. More on that in a minute. (4-6) “Dog care, dog care, dog care. As the dogs go, you go.”

For UPS and Amazon, logistics are vital. “Brown” even has a jingle about logistics, and hires numerous veterans because of their logistical skills. But for the military and Iditarod racers, logistics mean the difference between success and failure, life or death. “We’re on our own out there,” Rick told me. “No cell phones, no communications. Careful planning and preparation are critical.”

Each dog burns 12,000 calories a day during the Iditarod, Rick points out. That’s what Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps reportedly consumes on racing days. Rick’s dogs eat a combination of beef, horse, fish and chicken; beef fat and turkey and chicken skins; tripe and high-grade dry dog food; salmon oil and natural supplements. They wear booties to protect their feet from the cold and bruising.

Mushers are required to carry a sleeping bag, ax, snow shoes, extra dog booties, a veterinary care book, a dog food cooker and sufficient food for the dogs, in their sleds at all times. So they are hauling about 60 pounds of food and gear in sleds similar to what Inupiaq and Yup’ik Natives used for centuries. For each musher, some 3,000 pairs of booties and 2,000 pounds of food and personal gear are divided up and airlifted by volunteer flyers two weeks before the race to each of 20 check points along the route.

“We cover 125 to 150 miles a day. Our average runs are 60 miles, followed by a four-to-five-hour break to eat, rest, massage and care for the dogs – and then we do it again, and again, until we reach Nome,” Rick explains. Mushers are also required to shut down completely for two 8-hour and one 24-hour rest periods. Tough hills, rocks, swollen creeks, high winds, frigid temperatures, storms, whiteout conditions, accidents and injuries to dogs or mushers, and other adventures can slow that pace down. But somehow they need to make it to the next check point, where volunteer veterinarians examine the dogs and they can replenish their supplies. More volunteers fly any injured dogs from the nearest checkpoint back to Eagle River, where Hiland Mountain Correctional Center inmates care for them until the mushers finish the race.

The hard training and careful preparation pay off. Rick has entered and finished four Iditarod races and is now preparing for his fifth. He’s also competed in many other dogsled races. This year he plans to run at a slower pace that requires less exertion and less rest – and results in less fatigue and healthier dogs that can chew up miles. That’s a bit different from a musher who “ran” all 188 miles to Rohn with minimal breaks in the first race of the 2013-14 season. It will be fascinating to watch all the mushers’ strategies in action.

They’re all straining, sweating and freezing for the $50,000 first place prize – and smaller cash prizes for the next 30 top finishers, plus the joys and thrills of just being in this premier race. But competing in the Iditarod costs $30,000 or more in fees, supplies, dog care, preparation, training and prelims.

So follow Rick Casillo on and all the mushers, preparations, history and thrills of this amazing race at Buy some gear and DVDs. Support your favorite mushers and dogs with donations or by volunteering. And watch the race on television. It starts March 1 – and now you know enough to really understand and appreciate “the last great race,” the Iditarod.


Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death (Kindle), and a huge fan of Rick Casillo, Battle Dawgs and all they do.


Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters, Palin and Alaskan Tourism 

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Pet Detectives Capture Iditarod Dog on the Lam in East King Co. for 6 Weeks 

Iditarod Dog Saved With Mouth-To-Snout CPR 

Alaskan Breeds Only True American Breeds Study Shows…

Friday, January 17, 2014

Obamacare Open Enrollment is ending soon. If you have pre-existing conditions you need to understand the new rules…

C. Steven Tucker: Today is January 15, 2014 and today is the last day to enroll in an individual (non employer sponsored) health insurance plan with a February 1, 2014 effective date. After tomorrow, the next available effective date will be March 1, 2014. In fact the first national “open enrollment” period is quickly coming to a close. The last date to enroll in any individual major medical health insurance plan will be February 15, 2014 for a March effective date. So, if you have a preexisting condition or are one of the 6.3 million policy holders who have lost your plan because of the PPACA (Obamacare) you need to start familiarizing yourself with how “open enrollment” works now, not later now.

The old rules are gone

The old rules pertaining to purchasing health insurance in the individual major medical market are now gone. You can no longer purchase individual major medical health insurance coverage whenever you want, all year long. There are now specific time periods where this kind of coverage will be available in 2014 and in subsequent years. Those periods are called “open enrollment” periods. Outside of those “open enrollment” periods individual major medical health insurance coverage will not be available for sale. This means that you will not be able to get coverage for preexisting conditions.

This is why it is essential that you understand the new rules for they will affect you and everyone you know who has a preexisting condition or has lost their health insurance because of Obamacare. This is especially true because our existing state run high risk health insurance pools which provided guaranteed issue coverage for those who were declined health insurance coverage for decades before Obamacare are now being dissolved.

Buying insurance on and off the Obamacare exchange

It is important to know that you do not have to purchase health insurance at All products sold on and off the new Obamacare HIX – “Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace” will be guaranteed issue products during the two national “open enrollment” periods. They are:

Open Enrollment Period One: 1/1/14 – 3/31/14

Open Enrollment Period Two: 11/15/14 – 1/15/15

This means that you can not be denied coverage and no exclusion riders can be placed on your policy whether you buy the product on or off the Obamacare HIX but only during these two time periods. After these two time periods you can be denied coverage. In fact, individual major medical products will not be offered between these two national “open enrollment” periods. If insurance carriers continued to offer guaranteed issue coverage all year long it would lead to adverse selection. As it did in Massachusetts.

What you need to know right now

Since time is of the essence (and their is nothing timely about purchasing health insurance on the exchange). You need to know the only reason to purchase health insurance inside the HIX – Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace ( is if you qualify for an APTX – Advance Premium Tax Credit – (subsidy) to artificially lower the high cost of the Obamacare “Medal” plans – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. In order to qualify for an APTX your 2014 total household MAGI – Modified Adjusted Gross Income – income after taxes and retirement contributions must be less than:

$46,960 for an individual
$62,040 for a couple
$78,120 for a family of three
$94,200 for a family of four
$110,280 for a family of five
$126,360 for a family of six

If your income is more than the aforementioned amounts, you should purchase your health insurance outside of the HIX. The same plans are available off the exchange and the application process is much faster and far more secure. Again, all major medical health insurance products purchased inside and outside the HIX will be guarantee issue (no preexisting conditions) during the two national “open enrollment” periods in 2014.

PLEASE NOTE: The cheapest 2014 Obamacare “Medal” plan is the “Bronze” plan equivalent. This plan will expose a couple or a family to $12,700 in out of pocket risk each year for in network claims. For single applicants, that risk will be $6,350. So you are better off purchasing the Silver, Gold or Platinum plans if they are within your affordable range.

For Illinois residents the best priced 2014 ‘Medal’ plans are insured and underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois a Division of Health Care Services Corporation. Find the right health insurance plan for you by exploring all of the plan options, save plans that fit your needs in your Shopping Cart and return to apply for coverage when you are ready. Don’t forget the last day for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Open Enrollment is February 15, 2014.

To shop for all plans on and off the Obamacare HIX in all 50 states click the banner below:

A cheaper option for those without preexisting conditions

If you do not have any serious preexisting conditions, you can save a lot of money if you purchase a Temporary health insurance policy for a period of one year. These health insurance policies do not cover preexisting conditions nor do they include all of the federally mandated “Essential Health Benefits” such as Maternity, Drug Rehab coverage and Pediatric Dental. This also means that they are not considered ‘Qualified Health Plans’ meaning that you will be subject to the 1% of your MAGI penalty in 2014 if you purchase one of these plans. That stated the premium difference between these plans and ‘Qualified Health Plans’ is significant. Far outweighing the additional fine you would pay to the IRS in most cases.

To run quotes for a Temporary health insurance plan off the exchange click the banner below:

If that Temporary insurance quote engine does not work in your state click the banner below:

Very Important Note: Since the PPACA mandates that all health insurance policies cover preexisting conditions during the first national “Open Enrollment” period from 1/1/14 – 3/31/14 and the second national “Open Enrollment” period from 11/15/14 – 01/15/15. You can now safely purchase Temporary health insurance knowing that when your one year Temporary policy ends you will qualify by Federal law for any ‘Qualified Health Plan’ regardless of preexisting conditions during the second annual “Open Enrollment” period in 2014. Outside of those two aforementioned “Open Enrollment” periods you will not be able to obtain coverage for a preexisting condition. For this reason you must not purchase the 6 month Temporary health insurance option.

Only the 12 month Temporary insurance option is acceptable at this juncture. If you purchase a 6 month Temporary policy your coverage will end in between the two aforementioned “Open Enrollment” periods and you will not be able to obtain another policy that will cover a preexisting condition that you may develop during the first 6 months of Temporary policy ownership. HHS may yet provide us with further guidance as to whether or not the loss of a Temporary health plan outside of “Open Enrollment” periods will qualify as a “Special Enrollment” period in 2014 so that one could obtain a “Qualified Health Plan” on a guaranteed issue basis outside of “Open Enrollment” periods. As of the date of this writing no such guidance has been received.

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Obamacare Will Hurt Dems in 2014 as Progressives Shift to New Battles

The unpopularity of Obamacare will make 2014 a tough year for Democrats, especially those in red states. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent doesn't deny some Dems are already taking cover where they can, but he says they also have a strategy for making this into a broader argument.

Dems aren’t simply looking to shift away from Obamacare, but to shift the terms of the debate over it, by putting it in the context of a larger debate over the safety net, an argument Dems are already engaging pretty aggressively...

red state Dems who did vote for the law — Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Pryor — are in a tougher spot, and are each striking their own balance by criticizing its problems while calling for keeping and fixing it. But Dems like Hagan are aggressively joining the fight over unemployment insurance, and the party committees will be hitting Republicans hard over it.

I think there's an underlying truth here which is that parties can win battles over particular programs but that does not often translate into bigger wins. While word has certainly gotten out that Obamacare is a troubled program, the damage is probably limited to that one issue. Ideological conservatives (and some progressives) may see the obvious connection between this particular instance of big government failure and other similar programs but Americans are notorious for wanting to have it both ways.

For instance, a Gallup poll released in December found that an astounding 72 percent of Americans say big government is the biggest threat to the nation. If Americans were ideologically consistent we should see a groundswell of support for cutting back on entitlement programs which make up most of government's spending and hence its need for ever more growth and taxation. But in fact we don't see that in polls.

Satisfaction with Medicare and Social Security was 12 points lower in 2008 than it was in 2013. In 2010, 75 percent said the behemoth programs will "create problems" but in 2011 61 percent still said the solution was minor changes or to "not try to control costs." That's how it often seems to go in America. You get 3/4 of people saying entitlements are a problem and yet 2/3 say we should do little or nothing about it.

That kind of compartmentalization means that even though Americans genuinely do not like Obamacare right now and are worried about government overreach in general, they will not automatically side with Republicans against the broader progressive agenda. Each policy is its own battleground and Democrats surely know that heading toward November.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

What If Coffee Were Like ObamaCare? CoffeeCare: The Affordable Coffee Act

Video: What If Coffee Were Like ObamaCare? CoffeeCare: The Affordable Coffee Act

RealityAlwaysWins - Cross-Posted to AskMaron - h/t to MJ:

Published on Jan 13, 2014:

While the video above seems like it is a joke, here are the actual quotes from the website:

From the penalty page:

If someone who can afford health insurance doesn’t have coverage in 2014, they may have to pay a fee. They also have to pay for all of their health care.

Fantastic. I get to pay for my healthcare, which is fine, but then also a fee on top of that. Why would I have to pay a fee if I already am paying for my own healthcare?

The fee is sometimes called the “individual responsibility payment,” “individual mandate,” or penalty.

Wouldn’t paying for your own healthcare mean taking responsibility for your own healthcare? The fee doesn’t seem to do anything other than not go to your own healthcare.

When someone without health coverage gets urgent—often expensive—medical care but doesn’t pay the bill, everyone else ends up paying the price.

Because we are forced to….by the government.

That’s why the health care law requires all people who can afford it to take responsibility for their own health insurance by getting coverage or paying a fee.

But if they pay for their own healthcare then they are taking responsibility for their own healthcare.
Paying a fee to a doctor for an individual’s own healthcare makes sense as the individual is exchanging their money to the doctor in return for the doctor’s service. The individual is responsible for their own healthcare. This is how capitalism works – a voluntary mutual exchange of value.

Paying a fee to the government means that individual is being forced to pay for someone else’s healthcare. This is how socialism works – from each according to ability, to each according to need.

People without health coverage who pay the penalty will also have to pay the entire cost of all their medical care. They won’t be protected from the kind of very high medical bills that can sometimes lead to bankruptcy.

Do you mean the extremely high medical bills that are the result of…..government intervention into the healthcare market? Such as the case of medicare reimbursements that don’t cover the cost of administering those treatments so hospitals are forced to shift those costs to individuals who want to pay out of pocket? Or other cases where insurance companies are legally required to provide minimal coverages that people don’t want, such as maternity care for single men?

  The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:

Great, I always like getting the worse of two options.

• 1% of your yearly household income. The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.
• $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

The fee increases every year. In 2015 it’s 2% of income or $325 per person. In 2016 and later years it’s 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After that it is adjusted for inflation.
If you’re uninsured for just part of the year, 1/12 of the yearly penalty applies to each month you’re uninsured. If you’re uninsured for less than 3 months, you don’t have a make a payment.

Learn more about the individual responsibility payment from the Internal Revenue Service.

Why is the IRS involved in my healthcare decisions?

Enroll by March 31, 2014 and you won’t have to make the individual shared responsibility payment

Notice how it went from “individual responsibility payment” to “individual shared responsibility payment”?
Why don’t they just drop the individual word and go with ”shared responsibility payment”.

If you pay the penalty, you’re not covered

It’s important to remember that someone who pays the penalty doesn’t have any health insurance coverage. They still will be responsible for 100% of the cost of their medical care.

Yes, thank you for repeating that someone paying the fee receives nothing of value in return as they are already paying for their healthcare as well.

Minimum essential coverage

To avoid the fee you need insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage.

Shouldn’t an individual choose what that person deems essential?

And now from the minimal essential health benefits page (numbers added out for easier reading):

The Affordable Care Act ensures health plans offered in the individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace, offer a comprehensive package of items and services, known as essential health benefits. Essential health benefits must include items and services within at least the following 10 categories:

1) ambulatory patient services;
2) emergency services;
3) hospitalization;
4) maternity and newborn care;
5) mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment;
6) prescription drugs;
7) rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;
8) laboratory services;
9) preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
10) and pediatric services, including oral and vision care

What if a 30 year old single male is purchasing health insurance? Why should he have to pay for “maternity and newborn care”? What if he doesn’t want chronic disease management? What if he doesn’t want substance abuse care?

Here’s a hint.  It really isn’t about healthcare…’s about money.  Specifically money from you to be redistributed to someone else.