February 26, 2014
As the Obama administration raced to meet its self-imposed deadline for online health insurance markets, security experts working for the government worried that state computer systems could become a back door for hackers.
Documents provided to The Associated Press show that more than two-thirds of state systems that were supposed to tap into federal computers to verify sensitive personal information for coverage were initially rated as “high risk” for security problems.
Back-door attacks have been in the news, since the hackers who stole millions of customers’ credit and debit card numbers from Target are believed to have gained access through a contractor’s network.
via Health reform law posed cybersecurity challenges | Modern Healthcare.
February 7, 2014
Here’s the bottom line: Obamacare has failed miserably on nearly every major promise made about it (Grade: F). The processes used to enact and implement the law have been tarnished by actions of questionable legality and a pervasive lack of transparency (Grade: D). On actual outcomes, Obamacare has fared better in the short term (Grade: C+), but there are worrisome signs that by most measures, the law’s performance will get significantly worse by the time final grades are handed out.
I’ll admit, I’m a pretty tough grader. In this era of grade inflation, some Americans may be inclined to be more generous. But after doing this for nearly four decades, I think I’m a fairly good judge of health policy work and its likelihood of success when put into practice. We’re only at midterm, but I’d have to say the long-term outlook for Obamacare is very poor indeed.
via An Obamacare Report Card | The Weekly Standard.
February 6, 2014
Any tax credit that phases out will discourage work. The child tax credit, for example, is gradually reduced by $50 for each $1,000 above the cap (currently $110,000 for a couple). In effect, that imposes up to a 5 percent marginal tax hike on income earned above $110,000. But Obamcare’s effective marginal tax hike is 100 percent or more on the first $4,000 to $25,000 a couple makes above the income eligibility threshold, depending on age.
Whether or not it’s a good thing to encourage workers to cut their hours or quit their jobs is a matter of debate among Obamacare’s supporters and opponents. Liberals point out that some people will gladly choose to work less now that they have greater economic security. But for Americans teetering on the edge of Obamacare’s subsidy cliff, the decision to work more in order to earn less isn’t much of a free choice at all.
via Watch Out for Obamacare’s Subsidy Cliff: Earn $1 More in Wages, and You Could Pay $20,000 More for Insurance | The Weekly Standard.
February 6, 2014
steep Medicare home health cuts implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act put this growth at considerable risk. Newly implemented administration policies, which slash home health care funding by 14 percent over the next four years, are already resulting in a downturn in job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now, unfortunately for our patients and our state’s economy, these new cuts will force approximately 40 percent of all home health providers to operate at a net loss – meaning they will face the risk of bankruptcy and closure. The federal Medicare agency’s own estimate means that this regulation will directly affect nearly 5,000 small-business providers that today serve nearly 1.5 million seniors and are responsible for nearly 500,000 jobs from coast to coast.
In North Carolina, estimates indicate that nearly 28 percent of our home health agencies will be forced to operate at a net loss by 2017. These agencies at greatest risk serve 29,224 seniors and employ 11,356 North Carolinians – who will likely find their care and their jobs in peril.
via The ACA’s cuts to Medicare threaten home health care jobs, patients | Other Views | NewsObserver.com.
February 5, 2014
Hampton Roads, VA ABC affiliate WVEC reports local resident Rich Guillory had his personal information stolen after enrolling in ObamaCare…
via Virginia Man’s Personal Information Stolen After Using ObamaCare Website.
February 4, 2014
U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.
The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.
via The Belarusian Connection | Washington Free Beacon.
January 31, 2014
From a Jan. 27 letter to Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi from Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, and D. Taylor, general president of the Unite Here labor union:
Once we realized the [Affordable Care Act] would not let us keep the health care we had, we spent three years presenting the Administration with reasonable fixes to the ACA’s problems. All of them were rejected and the proposed regulations [regarding multi-employer health and welfare trust fund and other self-funded plans] offer virtually no assistance toward any of these solutions.
We were bitterly disappointed upon reading the proposed regulations put forward by the Administration. If the Administration honestly thinks that these proposed rules are responsive to our concerns, they were not listening or they simply did not care. We have examined various health exchanges and should members be forced to purchase insurance on an exchange, their out of pocket costs are likely to be significant, reaching into the thousands of dollars even if they are eligible for a subsidy under the act. It would be a sad irony indeed if the signature legislative accomplishment of an Administration committed to reducing income inequality cut living standards for middle-income and low-wage workers. [Emphasis added]
via Notable & Quotable: Unions Turn on ObamaCare – WSJ.com.
January 1, 2014
My wife and I have been struggling with healthcare.gov for over three months, so I have insight on how this promise for a better future has translated into a nightmare of bureaucratic bungles and misinformation….
We received our notice from Blue Cross on Saturday. Again, I am not listed. Again, we were told it was our problem, not theirs. Again, there is no solution.
I now have no insurance.
Thanks, Blue Cross. Thanks, healthcare.gov.
via Into the healthcare.gov vortex, out with no insurance | Other Views | NewsObserver.com.
December 28, 2013
This new mandate will cost the vending machine industry an estimated $25.8 million initially and an additional $24 million for every subsequent year.
via Obamacare Vending Machine Mandate Expected to Cost Millions – Sarah Jean Seman.
December 19, 2013
Among these unanswered questions, the most disturbing pertains to the demand that millions of so-called millennials under 30 must purchase health insurance — estimated at about $1,700 a year — that they will hardly use. Their premiums supposedly will subsidize older, in-need Americans who cannot pay the full costs of coverage that they will draw on frequently.
We forget that young people are already targeted for a number of government redistribution plans. Of America\’s age cohorts, the under-30 bunch is the least likely to be employed, and the most likely to work at low-wage or part-time jobs.
Millennials already pay high payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare coverage for the elderly. Yet most economists predict that both programs will soon prove insolvent and will not be able to extend the present level of benefits to young contributors when they retire.
via The Lost Generation: Young People Have Been Had – Victor Davis Hanson – Page 1.