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Posts tagged ‘Health insurance’

Obamacare Campaign Highlights Sports Injuries to Enroll Young People.


With the clock running down on Obamacare enrollment, the administration sought to persuade young people to sign up for health coverage on Tuesday by telling them how much it hurts not be insured – that is, how much it can hurt the wallet.

Take the humble ankle sprain, one of the most common injuries among young adults under the age of 25. Treating it can cost $2,290. Then there’s the broken arm: On average $7,700. And people without health insurance get to pay full freight.

Or as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put it in a government blog: “This can be a huge financial blow to young people and families alike.”

That is the message the administration hopes will be heard by college-age kids and others who do not have health insurance, but could qualify for federal subsidies to help purchase coverage. Some could also qualify for the Medicaid health program for the poor.

Open enrollment ends March 31.

In a promotion aimed at fans of the annual college basketball playoff series known as March Madness, Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition released data looking at the economic costs of common sports injuries like sprains and fractures – just the sort of thing to send a young person to the emergency room.

Young people are vital to the success of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. Obamacare prevents insurance companies from penalizing people who are sick or older. And so the new marketplaces need young people who are cheaper to insure to make up for the higher financial risks posed by others.

But so far, the administration’s target audience of people aged 18 to 34 have not been signing up in such large numbers, a trend that could lead to higher insurance costs down the road if it continues.

More than 5 million people have enrolled in private health insurance under Obamacare, according to the administration. But the latest breakdown shows the number of younger adults stuck at 25 percent of the enrollment population, versus the 38 percent target that the administration laid out before last October’s botched rollout.

Administration officials say younger people could sign up in huge numbers in the final days of the open enrollment period.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Christians Flock to Obamacare Alternative.


A Christian healthcare sharing program that’s been around for more than 20 years has exploded since the launch of Obamacare, Fox News reported.

Exempt from the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance, Medi-Share is a network of Christians who pool their financial resources to cover members’ medical expenses in what the organization deems a “proven biblical model of healthcare.”

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According to Fox, the nation’s three largest ministries have 242,000 members from all 50 states. Since the Oct. 1 Obamacare rollout, Medi-Share has enrolled 30,000 new members, more than the number of people who selected Obamacare plans in 24 states.

“Fellow believers who are living God-honoring lifestyles, based on biblical principles and service to others,” according to MyChristianCare.org, who meet the following requirements are permitted to apply to join the network:

• Attend church regularly and submit a “verifiable Christian testimony indicating a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and profess the Statement of Faith;

• Abstain from sex outside “traditional Christian marriage” ;

• Cannot use tobacco or illegal drugs and cannot abuse alcohol or legal drugs;

• Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a green card or visa and Social Security number living full time in the United States.

A “New Testament way of thinking,” Medi-Share is not health insurance, and there is no guarantee that it will cover a member’s healthcare costs. But CEO Tony Meggs told Fox that during its 21 years in existence, there have been only a handful of complaints about coverage.

Medi-Share does not cover abortion or morning-after pills, since those things violate members’ religious beliefs.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a healthcare consumer advocacy group, told Fox News that Medi-Share does not offer the same protections as federally regulated coverage.

Editor’s Note: Health Benefits of Prayer Revealed!

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melissa Clyne

Restaurants Across US Now Charging Diners An Obamacare Tax Surcharge.


RELATED STORY: BOMBSHELL! IRS Warns Obamacare Tax Will Be Forcibly Taken From Your Tax Return

Some restaurants have made the decision to charge customers for Obamacare: Gator’s Dockside restaurants in Florida have added a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their diners’ tabs, while at least one popular restaurant in Los Angeles has added a 3% charge to bills. –

obamacare-tax-now-being-added-to-restaurant-checks

In Florida, The Gator Group told CNN Money that the company had to implement “the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015.” So even though their employees won’t get health insurance coverage until December, customers are feeling the pinch now.

The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign [in the restaurant] reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.

The Gator Group employs 500 people, half of whom work part-time. Right now, they only offer health benefits to management. Instead of cutting their full-time employees to part-time to avoid the mandate as so many restaurants have chosen, the Gator Group decided to simply charge customers the added costs.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations told CNN Money:

In addition to the costs of providing health care, the company hired one additional staffer and a consulting firm to make sure it is complying with the law and to assist in the additional tracking of workers’ hours and wages required by Obamacare.

In Los Angeles at the upscale restaurant Republique, customers have not always reacted positively to the ACA surcharge appearing on their bills.

One customer wrote: “1 star for the 3% healthcare surcharge. An employer who really cares about their employees’ health pays for this themselves. But because you and I both know that I’m finically [sic] well off your [sic] going to mandate me to pay for what YOU think if a great idea? You might fool other customers into believing that you truly care about your employees health but your [sic] not fooling this customer.”

So, companies are passing the costs of Obamacare on to the consumer. Economists totally did not see this comingsource – CNS News

by NTEB News Desk

Christie Agenda Hampered as Former Democratic Allies Turn on Him.


To push his first-term agenda, Republican Governor Chris Christie had no greater booster than Senate President Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey’s top-ranking elected Democrat.

When Christie wanted to make state workers contribute more toward pensions and benefits, Sweeney, an ironworkers union organizer, stepped up with a bill. To drum up voter support for $750 million in borrowing for university construction, Sweeney, who never attended college, hit the campus tour circuit.

Now, as Christie seeks backing from the legislature’s majority Democrats to further cut pensions that constrain his record $34.4 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2015, Sweeney is casting himself more as foe than enabler.

“This has nothing to do with me getting along with him or not,” Sweeney, 54, said in a Feb. 25 interview. “It’s business.”

The chill comes amid state and federal investigations of the administration’s links to intentional traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Christie, a potential presidential candidate, is seeking a policy victory to reverse sliding approval. He also is looking for bragging points as chairman and chief fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association in a year in which 36 states will elect chief executives.

More Cutbacks

Sweeney is the one New Jersey politician with the clout to make both the legislature and labor swallow a sequel to Christie’s first-term benefits cutbacks, which included a higher retirement age and bigger employee contributions to health insurance and the pension plan. Sweeney on Feb. 24 said another round isn’t negotiable.

“He’s saying, ’I don’t feel like giving anymore, especially to a weakened governor,’” said Matthew Hale, a political-science professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange.

Since Christie, 51, began his second term last month, Sweeney has soured:

The governor’s inaugural address, the burly lawmaker said, was “long on rhetoric and short on solutions.”

His handling of Hurricane Sandy aid: a “colossal failure.”

On another Christie proposal, a 10 percent income-tax cut, Sweeney told reporters Feb. 24: “You gotta be kidding me.”

Not Shy

Sweeney, like Christie, isn’t afraid to speak his mind. A resident of West Deptford, a Philadelphia suburb, Sweeney entered public service after his daughter was born with Down syndrome, because he wanted to improve laws and services for children with special needs. He served on his county’s governing board and was elected to the Senate in 2001. He has been re- elected three times, and has been president since 2010.

Since 2006, the lawmaker had been pushing pension changes over the objections of members of his party, who are typically backed in New Jersey elections by public unions.

Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, wouldn’t hear of it, telling workers at a rally in front of the Statehouse that he would fight for them.

In the Feb. 25 budget speech, Christie said New Jersey’s pension system is underfunded by $52 billion after a decade of expanded benefits and missed payments. He signed a law in 2011 requiring the state to make one-seventh of its pension contribution in fiscal 2012, then raise the payment each year until it reaches the full annual amount, $5.5 billion, in 2018.

Creative Invective

Christie ousted Corzine in the 2009 election as voters rejected the one-term Democrat’s handling of the economy. The first Republican elected New Jersey governor since 1997, Christie and Sweeney made an agreement in June 2011 on a plan to curb pension costs. Unions picketed outside the Statehouse, while members hissed and booed inside as Sweeney testified on the measure before a legislative panel.

A month later, when Christie removed millions of dollars of Democratic add-ons to his second budget, Sweeney called him a bully, a punk and “a mean old bastard.” Christie told reporters two weeks later that he held no grudges because of the remarks, and he said together they had done “amazing things.”

“Senator Sweeney and I have a passionate relationship,” Christie said then. “When you have a passionate relationship like that, sometimes people get overemotional, and I think Senator Sweeney’s comments of two weeks ago are probably an example of that. We have a good relationship and we’re friends.”

The pension and benefits bill “never would have happened without Steve Sweeney’s vision and his leadership,” he said.

Taking Credit

Christie’s first-term successes were made possible because of alliances with prominent Democrats. Such ties stretch to Sweeney’s South Jersey base and its major political fundraiser, George Norcross. In the north, Christie is aligned with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. The governor worked with DiVincenzo on the pension changes and with Norcross on reorganizing the state’s universities.

Sweeney, mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2017, made it clear this week that he wants credit for the 2011 retirement legislation.

“Let’s get it straight: It was my plan, not his,” Sweeney told reporters after Christie’s Feb. 25 budget address. “I was not his collaborator. He came along and worked on a plan that I believed in because I know pensions.”

2017 Race

Sweeney ceded a chance to challenge Christie last year to Barbara Buono, a Senate colleague from Metuchen who lost by 22 percentage points in November. In January, after e-mails showed a Christie aide suggested the bridge tie-ups in Fort Lee, whose Democratic mayor didn’t endorse the governor, Sweeney formed an investigatory committee with power to subpoena members of the executive branch.

“He’s been such a close ally of Christie over the past four years that he has to prove himself anew to the Democratic Party,” said Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.

Christie, in his budget speech, said the pension changes haven’t gone far enough, because costs continue to rise. He gave no specifics on what else was needed. Sweeney said the governor should focus on improving the economy to boost revenue, not cutting obligations.

“Sweeney saw his political star rising because of the ascendancy of Chris Christie, and that allegiance could carry him into the governor’s mansion,” said Brigid Harrison, a political professor at Montclair State University. “Now he recognizes that his alliance with Christie is detrimental. Over the next several years he’s going to make every effort to distance himself.”

Sweeney in recent months has adapted some of Christie’s public-relations strategy. Christie has his town-hall meetings; Sweeney this month started touring towns to draw attention to Sandy victims’ troubles.

Once a month, the governor hears from voters during an hour-long radio call-in show. In December, Sweeney began weekly “Twitter Thursdays,” using his social-media account to answer questions. He has about 2,500 followers; Christie has 439,000.

In a Dec. 12 exchange, one user asked who would be the victor in a Sweeney-Christie arm-wresting match. Sweeney, with apologies to the governor, said, “It’s only a competition if the other guy has a chance.”

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Biden: ‘We May Not Get to 7 Million’ by Obamacare Deadline.


Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that it will be hard to reach the target on the number of people signing up for health insurance by a looming March 31 deadline for Obamacare enrollment.

The Congressional Budget Office had originally forecast that 7 million people would sign up for insurance, many with help from subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

But the program got off to a rough start in October when a website used to shop for insurance plans failed to work for almost two months. The nonpartisan CBO recently trimmed its enrollment forecast for 2014 to 6 million.

Biden, on his way to a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Minneapolis, spoke with a small group of people in the city who are working to help others sign up for insurance, and thanked them for their work.

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“We may not get to seven million, we may get to five or six, but that’s a hell of a start,” Biden said, according to a pool report of his meeting.

The Obama administration said last week that 3.3 million people have enrolled in private Obamacare health plans between Oct. 1 and Feb 1.

The deadline for 2014 coverage is March 31, and the administration and allied groups are pushing to convince more uninsured people in big cities to sign up.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Allen West: New Obamacare Delay Unfair to Individuals.


Image: Allen West: New Obamacare Delay Unfair to Individuals

By Todd Beamon

The latest delay in Obamacare proves that “big government does not work — and we see it happening right here,” former Florida congressman Allen West told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

“The president always talks about fairness and fair share and inequality,” West told John Bachman on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “Then, why is he continuing to grant all of these delays and waivers and exemptions to unions, to cronies, to employers, big businesses?

“Why not the same to the individual American citizen, when they see their wages being depressed, they are out of work, they don’t see any future and hope? Mr. President, you talk about fairness. What about fairness to the individual American?”

Story continues below video.

On Monday, the Obama administration delayed another part of the Affordable Care Act, this one affecting companies with 50 to 99 employees. The companies will not face a tax penalty until 2016 for not providing workers with health insurance.

Last July, the employer mandate for Obamacare was delayed until next year, even though individuals face a tax penalty for not having health coverage this year.

The latest delay marked the eighth one-year extension of mandates to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation since it was signed into law in 2010, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service. The report was provided to Newsmax by the office of GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

West, who is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, is among many Republicans who have long charged that Obamacare is unworkable and should be repealed.

“Is this the law of the land, or it is just some imperial edict that can be changed willy-nilly by the stroke of a pen or the use of a cellphone?” he asked Newsmax. “We continue to see these changes to employer-based mandates. But the one that is most important: Why not a delay for the individual mandate?

“This was truly rammed down the throats of the American people,” West added. “In the world of academics, theory works very well — but when it comes to practical application, now you see things falling apart.”

Republican disunity is keeping the party from taking the lead in the Obamacare debate, he said.

“That’s the problem with the Republican Party: You cannot get them to come out as unified messengers on major policy issues. Right now, the Republican Party needs a singular voice, a true leader.”

That’s not, however, House Speaker John Boehner.

“He’s supposed to be the third in line to the presidency,” West said of the Ohio Republican. “Any time the president gets up and gives a press conference or something like that, John Boehner should be up there giving the counterargument.

“John Boehner should be up there saying: ‘Here’s our plan. The president keeps talking about we don’t have a plan.’ His denial of us not having a plan does not mean that’s true — and he should be able to articulate that plan step by step.

“The key thing is, in a constitutional republic, a law is supposed to be applicable to everyone,” West said. “That’s why I say this is not the law of the land. This is just an edict that can continually be changed and manipulated according to politics.

“That’s a great point to bring up with this president and his administration. This is not applicable to everyone — and we need to have a law that is applicable to everyone.

“If this law cannot be applicable to everyone, then we need to scrap it.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

White House: Young Are Flocking to Obamacare.


The White House insisted Monday that there had been a “surge” in young Obamacare enrollees, disputing doubts from a Democratic Virginia lawmaker that there wouldn’t be enough millennials signing up “to make this bill work,” reports said.

Retiring Rep. Jim Moran told radio station WAMU in an interview Friday that people under 35 “are less likely to sign up.”

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“I think they feel more independent,” he said. “I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations. But I don’t think we’re going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially.”

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

White House spokesman Jay Carney, though acknowledging Obamacare’s “shaky rollout,” brushed aside Moran’s concern, The Hill reported.

Carney asserted instead that there had been “a significant surge in the percentage of young Americans under 35 enrolling.”

“Those numbers are consistent with what we saw in Massachusetts,” Carney said.

“And if you ask the Republicans in Massachusetts who supported and, in one case signed, into law the health insurance reform, which is the closest thing to a model for the president’s Affordable Care Act, they would say that that worked and that there the percentage of young people who enrolled was adequate.”

Harvard economics professor David Cutler, one of the ACA’s architects, has warned that if too few young people are covered, Obamacare won’t be able to offset the costs of insuring older and sicker Americans, sending the new law into a “death spiral.”

The Hill reported that the Department of Health and Human Services said 30 percent of Obamacare enrollees were 34 and under, and announced last week that 3 million individuals had purchased coverage.

The administration originally estimated 7 million consumers would enroll, with 39 percent ages 18-34, The Hill reported.

In Virginia, WAMU reported, more than 40,000 Virginians signed up for Obamacare; only 27 percent of those were young adults.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Cathy Burke

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