(Pattie Curran) I explain how Obamacare harms my family and families like mine with sick loved ones. Since many people don’t understand insurance- medication copays do NOT go toward our OOP Max, and I don’t know many people whose medication copays go toward their OOP max. Also, oral surgery, dental and other such things do not go toward the OOP Max. Link to my blog: www.catholicteapartyhippie.blogspot.com Liberals are attacking me and I don’t care. Some liberals tell me “Sorry Obamacare is hurting your family, but look how many people is IS helping.” That statement is no consolation. It is immoral to push my family into debt under the guise of helping others. If my children die, or harm comes to them, other people being helped will not console me. Since this video was made in August 2013, our 2013 OOP Medical bills now total over $23,300 as of Oct 25, 2013. Our 2014 insurance premiums will be increased $3066/yr since Obamacare passed in 2010.
(CBS) CBS News has uncovered a serious pricing problem with HealthCare.gov. It stems from the Obama administration’s efforts to improve its health care website. A new online feature can dramatically underestimate the cost of insurance.
The administration announced it would provide a new “shop and browse” feature Sunday, but it’s not giving consumers the real picture. In some cases, people could end up paying double of what they see on the website, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
As President Obama promises to fix HealthCare.gov, his administration is touting what it calls “improvements” in design, specifically a feature that allows you to “See Plans Now.” White House press secretary Jay Carney has said, “Americans across the country can type in their zip code and shop and browse.”
But CBS News has learned the new “shop and browse” feature often comes with the wrong price tags.
Industry analysts point to how the website lumps people only into two broad categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.”
Jonathan Wu is co-founder of Valuepenguin.com, a consumer finance website focusing on the impact of health care reform. His company has built a tool that provides quotes for plans on the federal exchange. He said it’s “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”
Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay.
CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies. According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s website costs $360, more than 50 percent higher. The difference: Blue Cross and Blue Shield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.
The numbers for older Americans are even more striking. A 62-year-old in Charlotte looking for the same basic plan would get a price estimate on the government website of $394. The actual price is $634.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said the government added the “shop and browse” feature to provide “estimates of premiums without tax credits.”
Chini Krishnan is the chief executive officer of GetInsured.com. His company helped design California’s new health-care-exchange website. It requires people to enter their birthdays to get a real price quote. Krishnan said, “It’s important that the users have a proper, trustworthy, honest brand experience when they interact with HealthCare.gov, and I think providing accurate prices is an integral component of that.”
Industry executives CBS News spoke with could not believe the government is providing these estimates, which they said were useless and could easily mislead consumers. They also said that the website repeatedly states the actual prices could be lower, but it makes no mention that they could be higher.
(Reuters) A U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to President Barack Obama’s protective detail was found dead on Saturday in an apparent suicide, a law enforcement source said on Thursday.
Special agent Rafael Prieto was under investigation for having an unreported romantic relationship with a foreign national, the source said.
The agent’s death is being investigated by the District of Columbia police, said Max Milien, a spokesman for the Secret Service.
“Rafael Prieto has a distinguished 20-year career with the Secret Service that was marked by accomplishment, dedication, friendships and the Secret Service is mourning a valued colleague,” said Milien.
Prieto was not under investigation for compromising sensitive or classified information, but because he was involved in an administrative proceeding to see if he was in violation of Secret Service rules, the source said.
Gwendolyn Crump, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, would not provide details about an ongoing investigation.
The Secret Service, which prides itself in unobtrusively protecting the president and vice president, has found itself under unaccustomed public scrutiny in recent months.
Secret Service employees were accused of bringing women, some of them prostitutes, back to their hotel rooms in Colombia in April during a trip to prepare for a visit by the president. The agency said later that nine personnel were found to have been involved in serious misconduct.
A government investigation concluded their actions did not compromise the president’s safety, but the event was an embarrassment for the Secret Service and its director issued a stricter code of conduct afterward.
A Secret Service officer was arrested in Miami last month the day after a visit by Obama after having been found passed out on a street corner.
Officers are uniformed members of the agency, and perform support services, in contrast to plain-clothed agents who directly guard the president and vice president.
(NATIONAL REVIEW) My wife, the syndicated San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders, has learned that at least 500,000 Californians may lose their health insurance next year — and that’s a conservative estimate. From her Token Conservative blog:
According to this link as of December 2012, there were 491,977 covered lives in individual health care plans regulated by the state Department Insurance that are not grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act. (If they bought a plan after March 2010, their coverage is not grandfathered.) This is a 2012 number, but if the number of people with private coverage hasn’t changed much in the last ten months, that’s half a million Californians who will lose their coverage.
Those canceled policies will have to be replaced with Obamacare-approved insurance:
California Association of Health Plans president Pat Johnston told me that by law providers must cancel non-grandfathered individual policies. (It is my understanding some folks will lose their coverage at year’s end, others might be able to extend into 2014 through the end of a covered year.) This probably means premiums hikes for people who “not only were they healthy, they also probably were very savvy shoppers.” This is a small corner of the insurance market; others may well save money under the Affordable Care Act. But for the people kicked off their individual California plans, Johnston said, it may well be that ”if you’re outside that subsidy range, you’re on your own.”
So much for, “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.” The train wreck continues.
(THE DAILY CALLER) First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.
Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contractto build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.
Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.
Toni Townes ’85 is a onetime policy analyst with the General Accounting Office and previously served in the Peace Corps in Gabon, West Africa. Her decision to return to work, as an African-American woman, after six years of raising kids was applauded by a Princeton alumni publication in 1998
George Schindler, the president for U.S. and Canada of the Canadian-based CGI Group, CGI Federal’s parent company, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obamacare website contract.
As reported by the Washington Examiner in early October, the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed only CGI’s bid for the Obamacare account. CGI was one of 16 companies qualified under the Bush administration to provide certain tech services to the federal government. A senior vice president for the company testified this week before The House Committee on Energy and Commerce that four companies submitted bids, but did not name those companies or explain why only CGI’s bid was considered.
On the government end, construction of the disastrous Healthcare.gov website was overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of longtime failed website-builder Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services.
Update: The Daily Caller repeatedly contacted CGI Federal for comment. After publication of this article, the company responded that there would be “nothing coming out of CGI for the record or otherwise today.” The company did however insist that The Daily Caller include a reference to vice president Cheryl Campbell’s House testimony. This has been included as a courtesy to the company.
(KHN) Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.
The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are cancelling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.
But the cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them.
“I don’t feel like I need to change, but I have to,” said Jeff Learned, a television editor in Los Angeles, who must find a new plan for his teenage daughter, who has a health condition that has required multiple surgeries.
An estimated 14 million people purchase their own coverage because they don’t get it through their jobs. Calls to insurers in several states showed that many have sent notices.
Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.
Some Policies Targeted
Both Independence and Highmark are cancelling so-called “guaranteed issue” policies, which had been sold to customers who had pre-existing medical conditions when they signed up. Policyholders with regular policies because they did not have health problems will be given an option to extend their coverage through next year.
Consumer advocates say such cancellations raise concerns that companies may be targeting their most costly enrollees.
They may be “doing this as an opportunity to push their populations into the exchange and purge their systems” of policyholders they no longer want, said Jerry Flanagan, an attorney with the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog in California.
Insurers deny that, saying they are encouraging existing customers to re-enroll in their new plans.
“We continue to cover people with all types of health conditions,” said
She said some policyholders who may have faced limited coverage for their medical conditions will get new plans with “richer benefits” and the policies “in most cases, will be at a lower rate.”
Paula Sunshine, vice president of marketing with Independence, said the insurer hopes the cancelled policyholders will “choose Blue when they decide on a new plan.”
Some receiving cancellations say it looks like their costs will go up, despite studies projecting that about half of all enrollees will get income-based subsidies.
Kris Malean, 56, lives outside Seattle, and has a health policy that costs $390 a month with a $2,500 deductible and a $10,000 in potential out-of-pocket costs for such things as doctor visits, drug costs or hospital care.
As a replacement, Regence BlueShield is offering her a plan for $79 more a month with a deductible twice as large as what she pays now, but which limits her potential out-of-pocket costs to $6,250 a year, including the deductible.
“My impression was …there would be a lot more choice, driving some of the rates down,” said Malean, who does not believe she is eligible for a subsidy.
Regence spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham said the new plans offer consumers broader benefits, which “in many cases translate into higher costs.”
“The arithmetic is inescapable,” said Patrick Johnston, chief executive officer of the California Association of Health Plans. Costs must be spread, so while some consumers will see their premiums drop, others will pay more — “no matter what people in Washington say.”
Health insurance experts say new prices will vary and much depends on where a person lives, their age and the type of policy they decide to buy. Some, including young people and those with skimpy or high-deductible plans, may see an increase. Others, including those with health problems or who buy coverage with higher deductibles than they have now, may see lower premiums.
Blue Shield of California sent roughly 119,000 cancellation notices out in mid-September, about 60 percent of its individual business. About two-thirds of those policyholders will see rate increases in their new policies, said spokesman Steve Shivinsky.
Like other insurers, the Blue Shield letters let customers know they have to make a decision by Dec. 31 or they will automatically be enrolled in a recommended plan.
“There is going to be a certain amount of churn in the marketplace as people have to make their decisions,” Shivinsky said.
(Michael Lotfi) You wouldn’t expect to see a headline that reads “Obamacare Will Double My Premium” on the Daily Kos website. Daily Kos is about as far left as new media news sources come. Proceeds from the website help to fuel the progressive movement within America. Liberal blogger Tirge Caps posted the following article more than two weeks ago. However, it has only recently gone viral as those opposed to Obamacare have caught wind to what is really happening.
“My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.
Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.
I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any fucking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?
Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don’t qualify, anyway, so what’s the point?
I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.
I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.
What am I missing?
I realize I will probably get screamed at for posting this, but I can’t imagine I am the only Californian who just received a rate increase from Kaiser based on these new laws.”
Caps was right- People are screaming on the liberal site. One reader writes, “Wah! Wah! I hate Obamcare! You sound like Ted Cruz.” Another tries to claim Caps is lying, “He’s probably dead wrong on the details here-” One even blames Caps’ price increase on the insurance company, “So basically Kaiser raped you on renewal and tried to blame it on ACA. If this isn’t proof that this whole industry needs reform nothing else is.”
There are a few readers who seem not to be choked by the Stockholm Syndrome of Obamacare. One reader says, “I am not looking for anything more and I don’t want to pay more. Thank you for the NEW BENEFITS but I didn’t ask for them. I am happy with our current plan. And for double the rate increase, no thank you. I came in to buy a Nissan, not a Mercedes.”
(RT) A presidential determination announced by the White House on Monday will waive restrictions against aiding regimes that employ child soldiers and allow the United States to provide six African and Arab nations with military assistance.
The determination, authorized by President Barack Obama and addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, says that it is in the national interest of the US to waive the application of a provision of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 with respect to Chad, South Sudan and Yemen.
That provision, section 404(a), prohibits the US from providing assistance to or licensing the direct commercial sale of military equipment to the government of any country identified as having children under the age of 18 participating in armed operations.
Additionally, the White House has determined that it is in the best interest of the US if that prohibition is also waived in part with respect to the Democratic Republican of the Congo in order for America to continue providing International Military Education and Training (IMET) and nonlethal excess defense articles. The determination will also let the DRC receive licenses for direct commercial sales of nonlethal defense articles. The White House also said it is waiving sections of the CSPA so that the US can allow Somalia to buy nonlethal defense articles and receive IMET and the continued assistance from America under the Peacekeeping Operations authority “for logistical support and troop stipends.”
(NBC NEWS) President Barack Obama is looking for a new ride.
Not that his current limousine – dubbed “The Beast” or “Cadillac One” – isn’t faring well, but it’s a 2009 model, which he takes wherever he travels, and the Department of Homeland Security says it’s time for an upgrade.
Designed to look like a 2008 Cadillac DTS, The Beast is a hybrid that reportedly blends Caddy components with the guts of a Chevrolet Kodiak commercial truck – but with heavy armor. Such heavy armor that the car reportedly weighs 7.5 tons.
The armor includes 8-inch plates capable of stopping an improvised explosive device, or IED, and 5-inch multi-layer windows that make the doors as heavy as those on a 757 jet. The car is sealed against biochemical attacks.
Although details of the presidential limo are classified for security reasons, various reports say that it features James Bond-style options, including a night vision system. It also carries communications gear and, in the trunk, a blood bank matching the president’s type.
Special loops replace door handles, which allow Secret Service agents to hold on when running alongside the car. Goodyear run-flat tires fit into extra-large wheel wells.
Secret Service agents who have specialized training in evasive driving techniques, including a J-turn, pilot the vehicle. The J-turn, taught at the Secret Service training facility outside Washington, D.C., can turn the limo 180 degrees in matter of seconds to escape trouble. (The J-turn is also known as the “moonshiner’s turn,” based on a signature bootlegger driving maneuver.)
As for which car maker will land the contract, that’s a secret. Ford, Chrysler and GM have alternated as limo providers since 1939.
“We at Cadillac consider it a great honor and responsibility to carry on the tradition of presidential cars,” Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Motor Trend. “There’s absolutely nothing we would say directly about the future. The Presidential Limousine is built to an exacting set of specifications – and one of the specifications is that we not discuss inner workings of the project.”
The new limo promises to be even sturdier than The Beast. According to FedBizOpps.gov, work on the New Design Armored Limousine “will include concept development, armor design, initial automotive component selection and chassis development, material testing, armor system modeling and simulation, and armor system fabrication and testing (live fire).”
1899-president: Presidential vehicles evolve
Obama’s current Cadillac is a significant upgrade – at least from the standpoint of safety and communications capabilities – from cars used by earlier presidents.
William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile in November 1899, though Teddy Roosevelt was the first to commission a government-owned car, a white convertible Stanley Steamer. (William Howard Taft, Roosevelt’s successor, also opted for a Steamer when he converted the White House stables into a garage.)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt rode in the specially built “Sunshine Special.” It was based on a Lincoln K-Series chassis with a V-12 engine. It was aptly named as FDR preferred to ride around with the top down.
Those early limos were convertibles, a favorite for politicians at all levels who knew the value of being seen by their constituents. But that was to change forever on Nov. 22, 1963.
As far back as 1954, a nervous Secret Service had developed a protective bubble-top for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s limousine. There was one available for the Lincoln that his successor, John F. Kennedy, was riding in that fateful afternoon in Dallas, Texas.
That midnight blue 1961 stretch Lincoln Continental was pulled from service, rebuilt and returned to the White House fleet – though it is today on display at the Henry Ford, a suburban Detroit museum. Among the updates available to President Lyndon Johnson was a bulletproof hardtop and additional body armor. The vehicle remained in service through the Nixon Administration.
The cruel realities of the world revealed by the Kennedy assassination changed the design of presidential limos – and for vehicles used by political leaders worldwide.
Problems do occur, however, as when the diesel-powered Beast broke down at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport. But such incidents are rare – and there was a backup limousine available.