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The true cost of Obamacare

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
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October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Author Topic: The true cost of Obamacare  (Read 22615 times)
Kilika
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« Reply #240 on: December 22, 2013, 04:18:36 am »

Quote
If people who had insurance, but lost it, are now exempt from Obamacare due to hardship, what about people who didn’t have insurance in the first place? Isn’t their situation just as difficult?

That group has the biggest hurdles of all. There is a reason why they have no coverage, and it's usually due to a lack of funds to pay for medical care and also don't have the funds for an insurance policy. To pay $50-$200 a month, PLUS the up front deductible before insurance kicks in, many cannot afford that, get sick, run up a bunch of over-charged medical bills, and then get sued for the debts, destroying their credit for years, just because the standard thing these days is to send out a couple "past due" letters, then "turn it over" to collections, which is double-speak for, "It's more cost effective to sell the debt account to debt collectors, and clear our books".
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« Reply #241 on: December 28, 2013, 05:39:51 am »

USA Today: Obamacare Plans Unaffordable For Over Half Of Counties

A startling USA Today analysis released on Thursday finds that over half of all counties in the 34 states on the federal Obamacare exchange "lack even a bronze plan that's affordable by the government's own definition."

"The analysis clearly shows how the sticker shock hitting many in the middle class, including the self-employed and early retirees, isn't just a perception problem," wrote USA Today's Jayne O'Donnell and Paul Overberg. "The lack of counties with affordable plans means many middle-class people will either opt out of insurance or pay too much to buy it." 

USA Today says it examined whether premiums for the cheapest Obamacare offerings--bronze plans--exceeded the federal government's 8% of household income affordability test for health insurance for a hypothetical 40-year-old couples who make "a little too much for financial assistance." The paper says that while several of the counties with unaffordable health care are rural, "many others are heavily populated."

USA Today's analysis further confirms the sticker shock numerous media outlets are now reporting and creates a painful irony for the program officially known as the "Affordable Care Act" (ACA). However, former government and insurance official Kip Piper says the fact that Obamacare is proving unaffordable should hardly come as a surprise.

"The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law's name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans," Piper told USA Today. "The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace."

Support for the already unpopular Obamacare scheme continues to crater. CNN's latest poll finds that 62% of Americans now oppose Obamacare and that a record low 35% support President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.
 
Obamacare will costs American taxpayers $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/26/USA-Today-Obamacare-Plans-Unaffordable-For-Over-Half-Of-Counties
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« Reply #242 on: December 29, 2013, 10:43:32 am »

Calorie Counts Coming To Millions Of Vending Machines Nationwide

Office workers in search of snacks will be counting calories along with their change under new labeling regulations for vending machines included in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.

Requiring calorie information to be displayed on roughly 5 million vending machines nationwide will help consumers make healthier choices, says the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to release final rules early next year. It estimates the cost to the vending machine industry at $25.8 million initially and $24 million per year after that, but says if just .02 percent of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week, the savings to the health care system would be at least that great.
 
The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group’s vice president for government affairs.
 
“The money that would be spent to comply with this _ there’s no return on the investment,” he said.
 
While the proposed rules would give companies a year to comply, the industry group has suggested a two-year deadline and is urging the government to allow as much flexibility as possible in implementing the rules. Some companies may use electronic displays to post calorie counts while others may opt for signs stuck to the machines.
 
Carol Brennan, who owns Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, said she doesn’t yet know how she will handle the regulations, but she doesn’t like them. She has five employees servicing hundreds of machines and says she’ll be forced to limit the items offered so her employees don’t spend too much time updating the calorie counts.
 
“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she said.
 
Brennan also doubts that consumers will benefit from the calorie information.
 
“How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she said. “If you’re concerned about it, you’ve already read it for years.”
 
But Kim Gould, 58, of Seattle, said he doesn’t read the labels even after his choice pops out of a vending machine, so having access to that information wouldn’t change what he buys.
 
“People have their reasons they eat well or eat poorly,” Gould said.
 
Standing with his 12-year-old daughter near a vending machine in a medical clinic where he bought some drinks last week, he said he only makes purchases at the machines when he’s hungry and has no other options.
 
“How do we know people who are buying candy in the vending machines aren’t eating healthy 99 percent of the time?” he added.
 
As for the new labels, Gould said he wasn’t sure what the point would be, and that they would just be “nibbling around the edges of the problem.”
 
The FDA also is working on final rules for requiring restaurant chains with more than 20 locations to post calories information, something some cities already mandate and some large fast-food operations have begun doing voluntarily. A 2011 study in New York found that only one in six customers looked at the information, but those who did generally ordered about 100 fewer calories. A more recent study in Philadelphia found no difference in calories purchased after the city’s labeling law took effect.
 
“There is probably a subset of people for whom this information works, who report using it to purchase fewer calories, but what we’re not seeing though is a change at an overall population level in the number of calories consumed,” said Brian Ebel, the study’s author and an assistant professor at New York University’s department of population health and medicine.
 
Ebel said he wouldn’t be surprised if the vending machine labels end up being equally ineffective, but he said it’s possible that consumers might pay more attention to them for a couple of reasons. In some locations, a vending machine might be the only food option, he said. And reading a list of calorie counts on a machine will be less overwhelming than scanning a large menu at a fast-food restaurant with other customers waiting in line behind you, he said.
 
“It could go either way, but I think there’s at least some reason to think it could be slightly more influential in vending machines.”
 
Even without the calorie counts, consumers already have ways to make healthier choices from vending machines. The vending machine industry group launched its “Fit Pick” system in 2005, which includes stickers placed in front of products that meet healthy guidelines for fat and sugar content. The program is used by nearly 14,000 businesses, schools and government agencies, as well as all branches of the military.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/12/28/report-calorie-counts-coming-to-millions-of-vending-machines-nationwide/
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« Reply #243 on: January 02, 2014, 12:31:38 pm »

Obamacare Contractor Blamed for Slow Medicare Payments to Hospitals

The contractor building the financial management system for Healthcare.gov is being blamed by a Houston hospital for delayed Medicare reimbursements that have caused the hospital to miss payrolls for weeks. Novitas Solutions is the federal government's new Medicare payment processor for the south-central region of the country hired by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.)  ABC-KTRK in Houston reports:
 
According to the CEO Jason Leday, more than 150 employees haven't been paid in nearly a month.
 
"I understand that they have children and a house payment, bills. Not getting paid is wow," nearby resident Theresa Gutierrez said.
 
The hospital is strapped for cash not because its not making money, but because Leday says a new Medicare payment facilitator named Novitas Solutions is taking too way long to pay out Medicare claims to the hospital.
 
Leday says he's owed nearly $3 million in payments from Medicare and can't make payroll...
 
The Texas Medical Association says they are familiar with complaints like this one regarding the medicare payment facilitator- and a representative told us smaller community hospitals like this one are in similar situations.

Novitas also runs the south-central region's Medicare website which was launched just two days before the October 1 launch of Healthcare.gov.  As THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported on December 19, that site has experienced problems reminiscent of Healthcare.gov's troubles, and the site will not be fully operational until well into 2014.
 
Novitas's direct connection to Healthcare.gov stems from an emergency, no-bid contract for "financial management services" awarded in August and first reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD in September.  The services required included accounting, tracking of accounts receivable and accounts payable, documenting funds collected by CMS, and data validation, among other things.  CMS justified the no-bid award because the "prospect of a delay in implementing the Marketplace by the operational date of January 1, 2014, even for a few days, would result in severe consequences, financial and other" and that the services required were "beyond what was initially anticipated and beyond CMS' currently available resources."
 
Novitas did not respond to KTRK for its story, and so far has not responded to a request for comment since the story ran.  In the past, Novitas has referred requests for comment to HHS.
 
Despite initially promising more information about the August contract, HHS/CMS has ignored repeated requests for clarification about the nature of the work and how it relates to the mission of Healthcare.gov.  HHS has not responded to a request for comment about the reports of slow payments to hospitals either.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-contractor-blamed-slow-medicare-payments-hospitals_773207.html
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« Reply #244 on: January 06, 2014, 01:25:50 pm »

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-06/obamacare-medicaid-split-creates-two-americas-for-poor.html?cmpid=yhoo
1/5/14
Obamacare Medicaid Split Creates Two Americas for Poor

Amber Sanchez, a San Francisco cancer survivor, skipped visiting the gynecologist last year to check a growth on her ovary because she was uninsured. This year, it’s at the top of her New Year’s plans.

The difference: As of Jan. 1, the 27-year-old is eligible for California’s Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

In Alabama, which rejected the expansion, Jefferica Poindexter isn’t so lucky. Dealing with high cholesterol, chronic sinus pain and a bad back, she depends on emergency rooms and nonprofit clinics -- when they can see her.

“I’ve tried to go the clinic,” said Poindexter, who is 63. “They’re already booked by the time they get to me.”

The women’s fates are the consequence of a political debate that’s divided the U.S. roughly along party lines: Democratic-led states have expanded Medicaid programs for the poor under the health law; most Republicans have refused. While the law’s online exchanges draw more scrutiny, it’s Medicaid that may determine the health of millions of Americans. The expansion is one of the twin pillars created by the law to supply medical care to the nation’s uninsured, complementing subsidies for private insurance.

Still, with only 25 states choosing to participate in the expansion, almost 5 million people will be left out, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health policy.

Real People

“These are real people with real health-care needs who may work but don’t have a lot of income, and no way to be able to afford health insurance,” said Kathleen Stoll, health policy director at Washington-based consumer group Families USA.

About 2.1 million people enrolled in private medical plans through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year, as its online insurance markets rebounded from software flaws that hobbled their debut in October. About 3.9 million more people were newly enrolled in Medicaid through November, according to a Dec. 20 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Medicaid sign-ups may have been higher if 25 states, mostly Republican-led ones in the south, hadn’t been able to opt out of the expansion. A 2012 Supreme Court decision upheld their right to refuse. The Obama administration is trying to persuade more Republicans to follow the lead of Arkansas and Iowa, which expanded Medicaid using private insurance plans, David Simas, a White House deputy senior adviser, said Jan. 2.

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« Reply #245 on: January 12, 2014, 05:01:17 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/obamacare-may-sick-young-americans-don-39-t-130506211--sector.html
Obamacare may get sick if young Americans don't sign up
1/12/14

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Now that more than 2 million people have signed up for private insurance plans created by President Barack Obama's healthcare law, a crucial next check-up for the new marketplace will be to see how old customers are.

Early data from a handful of state exchanges shows the administration needs more young adults to sign up in the next three months to help offset costs from older enrollees and prevent insurers from raising their rates.

Critics of Obama's Affordable Care Act say the market won't attract enough young people to keep it financially viable, putting more pressure on government funds to compensate for any insurer losses.

Data from seven states and the District of Columbia, which are running their own marketplaces, show that of more than 200,000 enrollees, nearly 22 percent are 18 to 34 years old, according to a Reuters analysis.

The administration had hoped that over 38 percent, or 2.7 million, of all enrollees in 2014 would be 18 to 35 years old, based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate that 7 million people would sign up by the end of March.

"The whole insurance relationship is counting on them signing up," said Dale Yamamoto, an independent healthcare actuarial consultant. "Otherwise rates will have to increase."

The picture from the initial state data is likely to change, since it mostly includes people who enrolled only through November, before a year-end surge of sign-ups for people wanting coverage effective Jan 1. Many experts speculate the early enrollees were more likely to be in urgent need of coverage, and therefore more likely to be older or sicker.

A recent survey by The Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare research foundation, found that 41 percent of those who had shopped at the various state marketplaces by the end of December were ages 19 to 34, up from 32 percent from an October survey.

One marketplace with current data, the District of Columbia, said on Friday that of the 3,646 enrollees in private plans through Thursday, about 44 percent are young adults.

Healthcare experts say many young healthy people may sign up only at the end of enrollment on March 31 to avoid paying the law's penalty for not having health insurance.

A FACTOR OF PRICE

The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, prevents insurers from charging people more if they have a health problem. Age is one of the few factors that can affect the price, with insurers allowed to charge up to three times more for a 64-year-old than someone in their early 20s.

But the healthcare costs for a 64-year-old on average are nearly five times as much as a 21-year-old, according to a study of claims from three large insurers Yamamoto conducted for the Society of Actuaries.

"The more that the marketplace is able to attract a broad mix of enrollees including the young and healthy ... the more that costs will be sustainable and premiums will be more affordable," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance plans, a trade group for insurers.

Other factors may be as crucial, if not more, in determining the stability of the new market, including the health status of enrollees, regardless of their age, and how that lines up with what individual insurers had projected. But those details will only become clearer later in the year based on the medical claims filed by the newly insured, making age the best early proxy about whether the market is sustainable.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the marketplace for 36 states, has yet to provide any demographic data about enrollees. CMS is expected to release an enrollment report later this month.

Data may come sooner from insurers as they discuss their recent financial performance with investors in the next few weeks. Humana Inc said on Thursday that the mix of enrollment in its marketplace plans were likely to be "more adverse than previously expected.

But healthcare experts say insurers need a better mix of enrollees than seen in the early data.

"If a quarter or more of the enrollees are young adults, I would think that's an encouraging sign, particularly for the first half of the open enrollment period," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation healthcare think-tank.

By the end of March, "if it's lower than that, I think there would be some cause for concern," Levitt said.

Levitt and colleagues at Kaiser analyzed a scenario that they deemed "worst case" in which young adults represented 25 percent of enrollees. They found that costs then would be about 2.4 percent higher, but insurers would retain a very slim profit margin. As a result, the Kaiser authors projected the companies would raise premiums by a commensurate amount, but not enough to destabilize the market.

Using the same data as Kaiser but different assumptions, Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston who specializes in insurance, said costs would be 3.5 percent higher, should only 25 percent of enrollees be young adults.

"If we see fewer than 30 percent of the enrollees being in that 18-to-34 age bracket, that's a warning sign that there are problems," Chandler said. "If the demographics come in poorly, insurers are going to lose money."

Chandler is a skeptic of the healthcare law and writes a blog called "ACA Death Spiral." Such a spiral is thought to occur if insurers facing higher costs raise premiums, so only very sick people buy coverage, leading to even higher premiums with the pattern continuing until the insurance market either disappears or shrinks to the point that it is not sustainable.

The penalty for not buying insurance increases significantly by 2016, which should bring in more young and healthy holdouts over time.

Not everyone, however, is significantly concerned about the age of Obamacare enrollees this year.

Linda Blumberg, senior fellow at the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center, said that Obamacare's protections for insurers in the first few years means the program has time to get the demographics sorted out.

"That all combines to make me much less worried about the mix for this year," Blumberg said. "I don't think we have to get a certain percentage of enrollees to be below age 35 or this thing crumbles."
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« Reply #246 on: January 13, 2014, 11:11:27 am »

Bailing Out Health Insurers and Helping Obamacare

you knew it was coming...

a prominent consultant to health insurance companies—recently wrote in a remarkably candid blog post that, while Obamacare is almost certain to cause insurance costs to skyrocket even higher than it already has, “insurers won’t be losing a lot of sleep over it.”  How can this be?  Because insurance companies won’t bear the cost of their own losses—at least not more than about a quarter of them.  The other three-quarters will be borne by American taxpayers.

For some reason, President Obama hasn’t talked about this particular feature of his signature legislation.  Indeed, it’s bad enough that Obamacare is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to funnel $1,071,000,000,000.00 (that’s $1.071 trillion) over the next decade (2014 to 2023) from American taxpayers, through Washington, to health insurance companies.  It’s even worse that Obamacare is trying to coerce Americans into buying those same insurers’ product (although there are escape routes).  It’s almost unbelievable that it will also subsidize those same insurers’ losses.

But that’s exactly what it will do—unless Republicans take action.  As Laszewski explains, Obamacare contains a “Reinsurance Program that caps big claim costs for insurers (individual plans only).”  He writes that “in 2014, 80% of individual costs between $45,000 and $250,000 are paid by the government [read: by taxpayers], for example.”
 
In other words, insurance purchased through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges isn’t even full-fledged private insurance; rather, it’s a sort of private-public hybrid.  Private insurance companies pay for costs below $45,000, then taxpayers generously pick up the tab—a tab that their president hasn’t ever bothered to tell them he has opened up on their behalf—for four-fifths of the next $200,000-plus worth of costs.  In this way, and so many others, Obamacare takes a major step toward the government monopoly over American medicine (“single payer”) that liberals drool about in their sleep.
 
Laszewski adds, “The reinsurance program has done and will continue to do what it was intended to do; help attract and keep more carriers in Obamacare than might have otherwise come.”  Thus, Obamacare is being aided by having taxpayers subsidize big insurance companies’ business expenses.  (Who could ever have guessed that big government and big business might be natural allies?)
 
But, amazingly, it doesn’t stop there.  Laszewski writes that Obamacare also contains a “Risk Corridor Program that limits overall losses for insurers.”  So insurers not only don’t have to pay out all of their costs; they also don’t have to swallow all of their losses.
 
Laszewski explains that if an insurance company expects its costs in a given year to be X, and those costs end up being more than X plus 2 percent, taxpayers will come to that insurance company’s rescue—thanks to Obamacare.  In fact, once an insurance company covers that initial 2 percent in unexpected costs, taxpayers will cover at least 80 percent of any additional costs the insurer accrues.
 
Laszewski provides a couple of examples to help illustrate taxpayers’ unwitting generosity toward these “participating health plans” (plans sold through Obamacare’s government-run exchanges):
 
f the health plan has costs at 110% of the medical cost target [the costs that the insurer expects to accrue], it will be responsible for only 102.4% of the target (a 2.4% shortfall)—only about a quarter of its losses.
 
“If the health plan’s medical costs come in at 120% of the expected claim cost target level, the health plan will only be responsible for 104.4% of the target (a 4.4% shortfall)—again only about a quarter of its losses.”
 
It’s actually only about a fifth in this example, as taxpayers would cover 78 percent of the losses, with the insurer covering just 22 percent.

rest: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/bailing-out-health-insurers-and-helping-obamacare_774167.html#
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« Reply #247 on: January 15, 2014, 11:54:18 am »

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-turns-to--magic--to-sell-obamacare-013151802.html
White House turns to ‘Magic’ to sell Obamacare
1/14/14



Eager for an assist in getting young Americans to sign up for Obamacare, the White House is turning to NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

Johnson, in a two-minute video released Wednesday, notes that access to reliable health care “saved my life” with the early detection of his HIV infection 22 years ago.

"If it wasn’t for that quality health care that I had, and the plan that I had, I probably would have been dead," Johnson says in the video.

“You never know when you’re going to need it,” the former world-class athlete says. “Young people, they think they’re Superman, like nothing’s ever going to happen to them. But trust me, one day something’s going to happen, and you’re going to need a quality health plan, so make sure you get Obamacare.”

The retired Los Angeles Laker, 54, is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game. He plans to promote the video—soon to be a 30-second ad on networks like ESPN, ABC and TNT—via Twitter and on a blog.

The Obama administration has acknowledged that people signing up for coverage on the new insurance marketplaces known as “exchanges” have tended to be older. To keep premiums from rising sharply, Obamacare needs younger and (generally) healthier Americans to sign up to balance out older and (potentially) less healthy people. Obama aides have predicted that younger folks will wait  to enroll until late in the process and near the March 31 deadline to sign up.

But with the president's signature domestic achievement potentially in the balance, the White House can't leave that to chance.

“Magic’s video comes as we are continuing to ramp up our aggressive outreach effort to reach young people as we head into the second half of open enrollment, working with allies across the spectrum, including grass-roots organizers, elected officials, colleges and universities, celebrities, athletes, and arts leaders,” an administration official said. The official, who requested anonymity, noted that Obama met in a cafe last week with five young people. (One entertaining account of what happens when the president sits down near you at a cafe is here.)

The push to enroll young Americans will include making door-to-door pitches, pressing religious leaders to discuss enrollment with their congregations, encouraging employers to inform their employees, campaigning via social media, and a “National Youth Enrollment Day,” Feb. 15.
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« Reply #248 on: January 15, 2014, 09:40:54 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/u-judge-rejects-challenge-obamacare-insurance-subsidies-175728247.html
U.S. judge upholds subsidies pivotal to Obamacare
1/15/14

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday upheld subsidies at the heart of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, rejecting one of the main legal challenges to the policy by conservatives opposed to an expansion of the federal government.

A ruling in favor of a lawsuit brought by individuals and businesses in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia would have crippled the implementation of the law by making health insurance unaffordable for many people.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington D.C. wrote that Congress clearly intended to make the subsidies available nationwide under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"There is evidence throughout the statute of Congress's desire to ensure broad access to affordable health coverage," the judge wrote.

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a requirement of the law, commonly called Obamacare, that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

The subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are available to people with annual incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four.

The lawsuit by conservative legal groups asserted that the wording of the 2010 law allowed subsidies to help people obtain insurance only in exchanges established by states, not those set up by the federal government.

Michael Carvin, a lawyer for those who brought the suit, filed a notice that he would appeal the ruling.

"This decision guts the choice made by a majority of the states to stay out of the exchange program," Sam Kazman, another lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

The law aims to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured or under-insured Americans by offering private insurance at federally subsidized rates through new online health insurance marketplaces in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C.

Only 14 states opted to create and operate their own exchanges, leaving the Obama administration to operate a federal marketplace for the remaining 36 states that can be accessed through the HealthCare.gov website.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which is defending the law, said officials were pleased with the decision.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a nonprofit group that supports Obamacare, said the ruling was vital to the health insurance overhaul.

"This (case) had been the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act," he said.

The law is considered Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. His administration's flawed rollout of the HealthCare.gov website in October drew sharp criticism from both opponents and supporters of the law.

Republican lawmakers and conservatives strongly opposed the law, saying it represented an overreach by the federal government.

The case is Halbig v. Sebelius, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:13-cv-623.

(Editing by Grant McCool)
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« Reply #249 on: January 16, 2014, 11:16:47 am »

http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/hackers-healthcare-gov-still-riddled-potential-security-issues-2D11940198?ocid=msnhp&pos=1
1/16/14
Hackers: HealthCare.gov still riddled with potential security issues

Cybersecurity researchers slammed HealthCare.gov's security during a House hearing on Thursday morning, saying the site is still riddled with problems that could put consumers' sensitive health details at risk.

“The reason we’re concluding that this is so shockingly bad is that the issues across the site are so varied,” David Kennedy, founder of the information security firm TrustedSec, told NBC News. “You don’t even have to hack into the system to see big issues – which means there are [major problems] underneath.”

Kennedy was the first of a group of so-called "white-hat hackers" who testified before the House of Representatives Science Committee on Thursday. He previously appeared before the committee on November 19, when he said he was able to identify 18 major issues with the site – without even hacking into it.

“Nothing’s really changed since our November 19 testimony,” Kennedy said during the hearing. “In fact, it’s worse.”

Only half of one of those 18 issues on HealthCare.gov has been fixed since that November meeting, Kennedy said, and he has since learned of more problems with the site. A separate House Oversight committee hearing began Thursday morning with testimony expected from the Department of Health and Human Service's chief information security officer.

TrustedSec isn’t disclosing the specifics of how those vulnerabilities work, as they are active issues that hackers could exploit. But Kennedy did cite issues including the disclosure of user profiles and the “ability to access anyone’s eligibility report on the website without the need for any authentication or authorization.”

Some issues still include critical or high-risk findings to personal information or risk of loss of confidentiality or integrity of the infrastructure itself,” Kennedy said in his written testimony. He also submitted statements from seven other security researchers who expressed serious concerns.

HealthCare.gov is run through the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS), which released a statement Thursday insisting the agency takes security concerns seriously and has a “robust system in place” to address potential issues.

“To date, there have been no successful security attacks on Healthcare.gov and no person or group has maliciously accessed personally identifiable information from the site,” CMS said in the statement, adding that it continually conducts security testing on the site.

The committee, which is chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), also heard testimony from Michael Gregg, the CEO of security consulting firm Superior Solutions.

Gregg discussed concerns about Healthcare.gov “going up fast,” comparing the process with those of private companies like Microsoft, which roll out products in waves and spend a lot of time testing them. Healthcare.gov didn’t follow that type of process, he said, and the data it contains is a goldmine.

“Hacking today is big business,” Gregg told the committee. “It’s no longer the lone hacker in the basement.”

When questioned by the panel, Gregg and Kennedy both said they would not put their personal information on HealthCare.gov.

The third of the three cybersecurity researchers on the panel disagreed. Waylon Krush, CEO of the security firm Lunarline, stressed that he would put his information on the site.

Krush explained that Lunarline has worked with federal clients, and he used his written testimony to lay out the six-step process that federal information systems use to mitigate risk.

He also criticized Kennedy and Gregg for engaging in what he called speculation, pointing out that “no one at this table” was involved in the setup and management of HealthCare.gov. What’s more, he added, because hacking into the system would be a crime, no one has – at least not legally -- looked deep into the site to fully understand its setup.

“Just as security critics lack the hands on knowledge necessary to make dramatic claims about the site's weaknesses, I cannot claim to understand all of Healthcare.gov's security intricacies,” Krush said in his written testimony.

Gregg argued that a third party should be assigned to do just that: plumb the depths of the site and figure out a way to fix the problems through “an independent assessment.”

Another security researcher, who was not a part of the committee hearing, was not as optimistic.

“If you build a house on a bad foundation and it’s sinking into a swamp, it’s really hard to pick up the house and rebuild the foundation,” said Alex McGeorge, a senior security researcher at Immunity Inc. Companies hire Immunity to hack into their own systems and show vulnerabilities.

“Security isn’t a bolt-on,” McGeorge said. “It’s not easy to retrofit once you have a system up and running.”


This week the Obama Administration booted the original IT contractor, CGI Federal, that managed Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal’s contract will not be renewed in February, and Accenture won the contract instead.

“From a security standpoint, one of the things that’s so interesting about this site is that it’s so dynamic -- and it’s changing quickly,” McGeorge said. “You’ve got so many hands in the pot.”

Unfortunately, “that is the exact opposite of how you create a secure site,” McGeorge said.

There’s also an upside to the ever-changing nature of Healthcare.gov and its stewards: When the site is constantly shifting, it’s tougher for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities they found previously.

“It’s harder to hit a moving target,” McGeorge said. “But a moving target also makes more mistakes.”
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« Reply #250 on: January 16, 2014, 02:37:10 pm »

Quote
The third of the three cybersecurity researchers on the panel disagreed. Waylon Krush, CEO of the security firm Lunarline, stressed that he would put his information on the site.

Krush explained that Lunarline has worked with federal clients, and he used his written testimony to lay out the six-step process that federal information systems use to mitigate risk.

He also criticized Kennedy and Gregg for engaging in what he called speculation, pointing out that “no one at this table” was involved in the setup and management of HealthCare.gov. What’s more, he added, because hacking into the system would be a crime, no one has – at least not legally -- looked deep into the site to fully understand its setup.

“Just as security critics lack the hands on knowledge necessary to make dramatic claims about the site's weaknesses, I cannot claim to understand all of Healthcare.gov's security intricacies,” Krush said in his written testimony.

This guy Krush is a troll for the federal government. So he says it's "speculation"? His assessment is speculation as well. He's playing on the fact that most people have no idea about anything relating to the security and coding of a website.

And it is irrelevant that these 3 "experts" weren't involved with the development of the site. All they have to do is look at the source code, which is NOT complicated coding. Most sites code in "CSS", which is pretty simple stuff. I had a web design class where we made basic sites using XHTML and a little bit of CSS.

If you want to see how the code looks, just go to any web page and right click in an open area, select "View Source", and bingo, there's the actual code for the site page. Now the "back end" of the site code isn't available that way, it's all the networking and mechanics of the site functions. Javascript is used a lot for that kind of stuff, but is still not complicated.

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« Reply #251 on: January 18, 2014, 05:52:16 am »

Yes, California, Your Tax Dollars Were Used to Finance a Richard Simmons Pro-Obamacare Dance-a-Thon

A pro-Obamacare event hosted by Covered California, the state’s heath insurance marketplace, descended into the bizarre Thursday as fitness enthusiast Richard Simmons led a series of dance-offs.
 

 
Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.
 
The online event, which lasted more than six hours, was advertised as a “live celebration of the 35 million Americans who now gain access to affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.” But it quickly became a smorgasbord of bizarre and unusual behavior.
 
Simmons was joined during the event by contortionist Nathan Barnatt and YouTube celebrity Hannah Hart.
 
“What’s he doing?” Simmons asked as Barnatt began to shake his body.
 
“He’s extending his livelihood! That’s what he’s doing!” Hannah Hart replied.
 
“His moves are telling us something,” Barnatt said as Simmons started shaking.
 
“They are, and I think they’re saying, ‘Be flexible about your health insurance options,” Hart replied.
 
The event goes on like that for quite some time.
 
You can see the dance-off weirdness at the 20 minute mark:



The entire point of the online event was to encourage younger consumers to enroll in Obamacare. But based on how the event turned out, you have to wonder what the people behind Covered California think of the state’s young people.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/17/yes-california-your-tax-dollars-were-used-to-make-richard-simmons-pro-obamacare-dance-a-thon/


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« Reply #252 on: January 18, 2014, 09:50:46 am »

I don't know if he's Catholic, but Simmons went to one of the RCC high schools in New Orleans(someone told me that when I used to live there - he was on that school's powerlifting team).

Yeah, this is incredibly bizarre, is all I can say.
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« Reply #253 on: January 18, 2014, 08:30:18 pm »

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/01/18/coverage-expansion-fail-less-than-one-third-of-obamacare-exchange-enrollees-were-previously-uninsured/?partner=yahootix
1/18/14
Coverage Expansion Fail: Less Than One-Third Of Obamacare Exchange Enrollees Were Previously Uninsured

At the end of the day, for all of the rhetoric and promises about what Obamacare would achieve, the health law’s most ardent supporters have stuck to their guns because of one thing: coverage expansion. But new data suggests that Obamacare may fail even to achieve this goal. Instead of expanding coverage to those without it, Obamacare is replacing the pre-existing market for private insurance. Surveys from insurers and other industry players indicate that as few as 11 percent of those on Obamacare’s exchanges were previously uninsured. If these trends continue, the probability increases that Obamacare will eventually get repealed lead to the single payer system.

65-89% of Obamacare exchanges enrollees were previously insured

The latest reporting on this topic comes from Christopher Weaver and Anna Wilde Mathews of the Wall Street Journal. They cite several industry surveys on the coverage history of those signing up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. The first, from McKinsey & Co., indicates that “only 11 percent of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured.” McKinsey surveyed 4,563 individuals “thought to be eligible for the health-law marketplaces,” of which 389 had enrolled in exchange-based plans.

Of those that didn’t sign up for Obamacare-based coverage, 52 percent stated that “affordability” was their biggest complaint with the exchanges’ plan offerings. Only 30 percent cited “technical challenges in buying the plans.”

HealthMarkets, a insurance holding company based in Texas, conducted its own survey based on the 7,500-or-so people that the company enrolled in exchange-based plans. Based on their survey, obtained by Wilde and Mathews, only 35 percent of enrollees were previously uninsured. 10 percent previously had employer-sponsored coverage, but were dropping into the exchanges either because the exchanges offered a better (i.e., taxpayer-subsidized) deal, or because their employer had stopped offering coverage.

15 percent previously had individually-purchased coverage, but their old plans had been rendered illegal by Obamacare and were canceled. The remaining 40 percent were people previously covered under the old individual market, a market that was substantially less expensive than the Obamacare exchanges.

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« Reply #254 on: January 21, 2014, 09:36:37 pm »

 Huh Huh

http://beforeitsnews.com/healthcare/2014/01/wow-obamacare-bombshell-no-one-is-required-to-participate-in-obamacare-no-fines-or-imprisonment-for-opting-out-2453512.html

Wow! Obamacare Bombshell!!! No One Is REQUIRED To Participate In Obamacare!!! No Fines Or Imprisonment For Opting Out!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014 5:56

In this newly released video we learn that Americans CAN OPT OUT of Obamacare without being penalized or imprisoned. While Americans have once again been lied to by the Obama administration, this report should put Americans fears to rest about being fined or imprisoned for saying NO to Obamacare. Info taken directly from the Cornell University Legal Information Institute. Much more below video.



Ever heard of a federal law 42 USC § 18115: Freedom Not to Participate in Federal Health Insurance Programs?

I haven’t either.

But thanks to FOTM reader Joseph, now we all do!

This is how Cornell University Law School’s website describes 42 USC § 18115:

No individual, company, business, nonprofit entity, or health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall be required to participate in any Federal health insurance program created under this Act(or any amendments made by this Act), or in any Federal health insurance program expanded by this Act (or any such amendments), and there shall be no penalty or fine imposed upon any such issuer for choosing not to participate in such programs
.

The website further explains that the Act referred to in 42 USC § 18115 is Obamacare:

This Act, referred to in text, is Pub. L. 111–148, Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 119, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 18001 of this title and Tables.


42 USC § 18115 refers to:

Title 42 – The Public Health and Welfare
Chapter 157 – Quality, Affordable Health Care For All Americans
Subchapter 6 – Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 18115 - Freedom Not to Participate in Federal Health Insurance Programs

You can see it for yourself by going on the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Law Revision Counsel’s website for United States Code.

This is what the U.S. Code website says about 42 USC § 18115:

§18115. FREEDOM NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN FEDERAL HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS

No individual, company, business, nonprofit entity, or health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall be required to participate in any Federal health insurance program created under this Act (or any amendments made by this Act), or in any Federal health insurance program expanded by this Act (or any such amendments), and there shall be no penalty or fine imposed upon any such issuer for choosing not to participate in such programs.

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« Reply #255 on: January 22, 2014, 03:49:03 am »

Well, well, Obama never mentioned that!

And what's amazing, is if they told people about it at the start, I think more people would have been receptive to the ACA. But instead, they get their president lying to them, on multiple counts.
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« Reply #256 on: January 23, 2014, 06:29:12 am »

Hundreds in Ohio Lose Their Doctor Due to Obamacare



"With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, some area medical facilities saying, they're no longer able to use some insurance companies," says the anchor.

The local reporter adds, "Hundreds of people in the Mahoning Valley can no longer go to their trusted doctors, and local officials say the Affordable Care Act is to blame. Doctors from the Mahoning county medical society sat down with U.S. representative Bill Johnson today, discussing their concerns with United Health Care's decision to drop local doctors, including the Eye Care Associates in Beaver Township, from their Medicare Advantage plans. That means patients either have to change doctors or pay out of their own pockets."

One doctor tells the reporters that people are "really scared" at the prospect of having to change doctors.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/hundreds-ohio-lose-their-doctor-due-obamacare_775213.html
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« Reply #257 on: January 23, 2014, 12:41:57 pm »

Quote
United Health Care's decision...from their Medicare Advantage plans

The wife and I were talking about that just last night, how United, a private company, now runs Medicare. THAT is problem number one of countless issues with the mess we now have in medical coverage.

I realize these wicked people mess things up and make bad decisions because of their lack of love for God and their fellow man, but these people have REALLY messed this one up big time.

I'd say this is the biggest debacle by the federal government in US history. And the fact is, it's not going to get better!
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« Reply #258 on: January 27, 2014, 06:15:33 am »

Hobby Lobby May Close All Stores In 41 States Due To Obamacare Abortion Mandate

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word.

http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=16202
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« Reply #259 on: January 27, 2014, 10:46:31 am »

Hobby Lobby May Close All Stores In 41 States Due To Obamacare Abortion Mandate

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word.

http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=16202

So looks like they're finally standing down too.

No, not saying as Christians we should go out and fight Caesar or anything, but nonetheless it was pretty recently when these people acted like this would be a fight we would win.

Ultimately, the word of God will hold true 100% of the time.

Matthew_24:25  Behold, I have told you before.
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« Reply #260 on: January 27, 2014, 11:04:08 am »

So looks like they're finally standing down too.

No, not saying as Christians we should go out and fight Caesar or anything, but nonetheless it was pretty recently when these people acted like this would be a fight we would win.

Ultimately, the word of God will hold true 100% of the time.

Matthew_24:25  Behold, I have told you before.

How are they standing down? What else should they do? What else can they do?
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« Reply #261 on: January 27, 2014, 11:11:36 am »

How are they standing down? What else should they do? What else can they do?

For the most part, it looked like the (compromised)court system was siding with these religious groups on this contraception issue, which was why I was surprised they stood down and decided to close their doors.
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« Reply #262 on: January 27, 2014, 03:56:40 pm »

Considering how many "Christian" groups seem to be joining the rank and file of the world and "standing down" in their protestations, I can see surprise in a company choosing rather to close it's doors than to fight a wicked world on a topic they know they WILL lose in the world court system.

I applaud them for closing shop. It's what all believers should be doing if they are currently "friends with the world".
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« Reply #263 on: January 31, 2014, 11:07:09 am »

Sick Kids Denied Specialty Care Due to Obamacare in Washington



"Administrators at Seattle Children's today said they predicted this would happen, and it's even worse than they expected," says the local news anchor. "Patients being denied specialty treatment at the hospital by insurance providers on the Washington health benefits exchange. Children's filed request on behalf of 125 of their patients. Of those, they say they got only 20 responses, eight of which were denials. Dr. Sandy Melzer says all this comes after reassurances of certain unique specialty cases would still be covered."

Dr. Sandy Melzer says, "Well, some of the patients who were denied are ones who clearly would fall into that unique category. A two-year-old with new significant neck mass that was being evaluated for infection or malignancy, an older child with a chronic severe medical condition requiring multidisciplinary care here, a baby that had a skull abnormality."

The anchor explains, "Children's went ahead and treated those cases anyway, but Dr. Melzer said they can't afford to keep doing that it way."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/sick-kids-denied-specialty-care-due-obamacare-washington_776030.html
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« Reply #264 on: January 31, 2014, 01:04:02 pm »

And they're targeting the youth(as well as the elderly) with this agenda...
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« Reply #265 on: February 04, 2014, 11:13:36 am »

http://news.yahoo.com/woes-reduce-health-care-enrollment-160645560.html

Web site woes will reduce health care enrollment

Budget office: Administration's web site woes to reduce 2014 enrollment in Obama's health law

2/4/14

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Budget experts for Congress say fewer uninsured people than expected will get covered this year through President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Congressional Budget Office dropped its estimate by 2 million people. That's partly the result of website problems that prevented people from signing up last fall when new markets for subsidized private insurance went live.

Website woes have largely cleared up, but the nonpartisan analysts said Tuesday they expect 1 million fewer people to sign up through the new insurance exchanges, for a new total of 6 million in 2014. They predict enrollment will pick up and top 20 million in 2016.

CBO also revised its Medicaid projection down by 1 million, for a new total of 8 million. About half the states have accepted the law's Medicaid expansion.
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« Reply #266 on: February 06, 2014, 03:33:32 pm »

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obamacare-could-affect-taxes-101500276.html
2/4/14
How Obamacare Could Affect Your Taxes This Year

The dozens of tax policy changes associated with the implementation of Obamacare are complex, but what most people really want to know is: How will it affect my taxes?

On 2013 returns

For most people preparing their 2013 returns right now, Obamacare won’t have any impact at all. The taxpayers who may see higher bills this year include high earners and those with steep medical expenses.

The first tax hit on high earners is a 0.9 percent higher Medicare tax for married couples earning $250,000 or individuals at $200,000. The second is a new Net Investment Income Tax of 3.8 percent on “individuals, estates and trusts,” also triggered at the $250,000 or $200,000 level.

The other major change on 2013 tax returns is a higher threshold for medical expenses for most individuals. Unreimbursed medical expenses for those under age 65 must now total more than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income (up from 7.5 percent) in order to be deductible. “Most people don’t qualify for the medical expenses deduction,” says Carrie McLean of eHealth. “But for those that do that were seriously ill or hospitalized last year, this can be an enormous benefit.”

For those older than age 65, the 10 percent threshold will start in 2017.

On 2014 returns

This time next year, there will be far more taxpayers dealing with Obamacare-related issues on their returns. That’s when the penalties become due for those who have opted to go without insurance this year and when taxpayers who received subsidies to offset the cost of insurance need to reconcile those payments with their actual 2014 income.

**Scroll up on this page to the article posted on January 21, 2014 - it's already been exposed that you don't have to pay the fines if you don't enroll.

Taxpayers who choose to go uninsured will owe either $95 per person or one percent of their income, up to a family cap of $285. “On your 2014 tax returns, you’ll have to provide some proof of insurance,” says Minda Wilson, founder of Affordable Healthcare Review. “If you don’t pay the fee, the IRS can recoup it from your refund, but they can’t come after you to collect it.”

After 2014, the penalties will ratchet up, eventually hitting 2.5 percent of income in 2016.

To help offset the cost of buying insurance on the exchanges, tax credits are available to those with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,500-$46,000 for individuals, or $23,500-$94,000 for a family. Nearly 80 percent of those who have purchased plans on the exchanges are eligible for some sort of subsidy, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Since open enrollment is taking place now, taxpayers need to estimate their 2014 income to determine how much of a subsidy they’ll receive.  Then you can choose whether you’d like to have the payment paid directly to the insurers, or whether you’ll pay the premium yourself and claim the credit on your taxes.  “At the end of the year, if you’ve overpaid, you’ll get a refund on your taxes,” says Jackie Perlman, principle tax research analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “But if you underpaid and received too high a subsidy, you’ll owe the difference.”

To avoid getting hit by a huge tax bill, revisit your subsidy settings mid-year to make sure your actual income is shaping up the way you had estimated. Unlike

Indirect taxes
For middle-income Americans who get their insurance at work (the vast majority of us), there will be few changes on your 1040s as a result of Obamacare. That doesn’t mean you’re not paying for the law’s implementation.

There are a host of changes to corporate tax law—particularly those that affect employers and insurers that mean additional expenses and taxes that are likely to be passed along to consumers.

The Health Insurance Providers Fee, for example, requires insurers to collectively fork over $8 billion in 2014 (an amount that escalates to $14.3 billion in 2018) to help fund the exchange subsidies. In a 2011 analysis, the consulting firm Oliver Wyman found that the fee could push up individual premiums by around 2 percent, although Obamacare proponents argue that insurers will be able to digest most of the costs as their revenue rises.

Meanwhile, employers are scaling back their plans in order to avoid the coming excise tax on so-called “Cadillac plans.” Under the law, companies will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the cost of each plan worth more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family, starting in 2018.

The average health plan is already over that threshold, costing $10,800 per employee, according to a recent report by Mercer. At those prices, employers would pay a 40 percent tax on the $600 difference, or about $240. For a company with $10,000 employees, that equates to a $2.4 million tax.

Making it more difficult for employers, some of the minimum requirements of health plans under Obamacare are driving up the cost of plans, just as companies are looking for ways to push costs down. For example, all plans must now fully cover all preventative care treatments, maternity care, and emergency care.

More than 60 percent of companies say their health benefit plan will trigger the excise tax if they don’t make any changes, according to a recent report by Towers Watson. For many companies, the only way to reduce the cost of their plans and avoid the tax is to push more costs onto workers.

More than 60 percent of companies expect to increase employee premium contributions next year, with one in five companies projecting a 5 percent or more increase. In addition to higher deductibles, employers are raising copays and reducing prescription drug coverage as much as possible while still meeting the ACA guidelines.
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« Reply #267 on: February 10, 2014, 08:51:34 pm »

http://money.msn.com/small-business-smarts/news.aspx?feed=OBR&Date=20140210&ID=17337600
U.S. Treasury relaxes 2015 Obamacare penalty rules for businesses

February 10, 2014 4:15 PM ET.

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Monday relaxed final rules for businesses that must comply with the Affordable Care Act in 2015, sparing businesses with 99 employers or fewer the tax penalty until 2016.

In final regulations to be published on Monday by the Treasury Department, businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will not face a penalty until 2016 for not providing healthcare.

For businesses with 100 or more employees, the final rules reduce to 70 percent the number of full-time workers to whom an employer must offer coverage in 2015. Businesses are required to offer coverage to 95 percent of their employees in 2016 and beyond.

The Obama administration last July delayed for employers the ACA penalties and reporting requirements until 2015. Most individuals face a tax penalty for not having healthcare coverage in 2014.

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« Reply #268 on: February 14, 2014, 12:42:53 pm »

http://www.myfoxny.com/Story/24682709/gym-memberships-add-obamacare-tax
Gym memberships add Obamacare tax
2/10/12

NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - Some people who are members of the health club Planet Fitness are finding their membership costs have gone up because of the Affordable Health Care Act.

A sign posted at a Falls Church, Va. location says "Holders of Black Card memberships will be required to pay a tax on these memberships Starting January 1, 2014 as required by the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act.  This is not a change in your membership fee but rather a tax required by the government."

Ashley Pratte, who works for the Young America's Foundation, took the photo.  She wrote that when she asked a Planet Fitness employee about the sign, they confirmed that it was a five-cent-per-month tax related to the ability to tan under the membership.

The reason these accounts are forced to charge the new tax is because they include the option for members to tan at the clubs.  Obamacare has a tax on tanning salons.  It doesn't matter if the member uses or does not use the tanning facilities.

The reason that people might get the so-called Black Card membership without wanting to tan is that it gives the member reciprocal use of all Planet Fitness locations without having to pay extra.

The tax, called an excise tax, is 10 percent.  It's unclear why Planet Fitness is only charging $0.05 a month tax.  Pratt says that she has researched other locations and some charge $.60 in new taxes.
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« Reply #269 on: February 18, 2014, 09:01:20 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-gay-couple-sues-being-denied-obamacare-coverage-234823986--sector.html
Ohio gay couple sues after being denied Obamacare coverage
2/18/14

Reuters) - A gay couple in Ohio filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday, charging they were unable to obtain family coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law because the state of Ohio does not recognize their same-sex marriage.

The plaintiffs, Alfred Cowger and Anthony Wesley of Gates Mills, Ohio, have been together since 1986 and were married in New York state in 2012, six years after adopting a daughter, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio.

The suit names the U.S. government and the state of Ohio as defendants, charging they violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights by refusing to recognize their married status, thereby preventing them from enrolling in family coverage under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The plaintiffs said they had been covered under the same policy for the past 15 years, which included their recognition as "domestic partners." Their daughter also became covered under their policy at the time they were granted custody in 2006.

After the family moved to the Cleveland area from Pennsylvania in 2010, the three were covered under the same non-group family health insurance policy purchased from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio.

With Cowger starting to scale back his law practice in early 2013 and Wesley retired from his job as a chief financial officer, the couple faced reduced income and became interested in family coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

After initially being unable to enroll in Obamacare because of glitches involving the troubled rollout of the healthcare.gov website, they said in the suit that they were assured by Anthem they could remain under its policy after December 2013, although premiums would increase by about 20 percent.

But in November, according to the suit, Cowger said he received a letter from Anthem stating their policy "was to be terminated because it was not in compliance with the ACA."

A new family policy with Anthem would cost about twice their existing one, or about half the family's joint income, and not be eligible for tax credits under Obamacare.

'NOT DEEMED VALID'

Cowger said he returned to the ACA marketplace and logged some 100 hours trying to obtain family coverage. He said in the suit he was repeatedly told by marketplace representatives that he and his spouse should be able to obtain a family policy because they were legally married in New York and planned to file a joint 2013 tax return.

"However, each time, Cowger would ultimately be told that it was determined that plaintiffs could not purchase a family policy since their legal marriage in New York, recognized as valid for federal tax purposes, was not deemed valid to obtain a family policy under the ACA," the suit said.

Ultimately facing the loss of all health coverage at the end of 2013, Cowger and Wesley were forced to obtain separate individual health insurance policies from the marketplace, their lawsuit said.

The inability of Cowger and Wesley to get family coverage under Obamacare created further complications that also ultimately required them to get a separate policy for their daughter, the suit said.

"As a result, the Cowger-Wesley family went from one family policy in 2013 to three different individual policies," it added.

Ohio state officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement: "We are aware that same-sex married couples in some states are experiencing issues in obtaining family plans and (are) looking into ways to address this issue for the 2015 plan year."

"While we work to address this situation, same-sex married couples can use their tax credit to buy individual policies for each spouse if they are unable to obtain a family plan in their current state," she said.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney, editing by G Crosse)
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