Health Care

Obamacare sticker shock!

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Liberty, Macroeconomis, People, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes, U.S. Constitution, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obamacare sticker shock!

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Health_Care_gov

A spoof of the Obamacare website HealthCare.gov home page from the Daily Show.

Credit: http://www.taylormarsh.com/blog/

While gasoline prices may be going down, premiums, deductibles and co-payments for health insurance plans are skyrocketing.

Beginning Jan.1 all individual and group employer-provided health insurance must comply with the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

More than 156 million Americans have their health insurance plans provided by their employers and another 25 million purchase their health insurance in the individual market, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

More than 60 million people age 65 and older and those younger with disabilities qualify for Medicare, a social insurance program that pays on average less than 50 percent of their health care costs. The balance of their health care costs must be paid for by the individual or the individual’s supplemental insurance.

More than 60 million Americans who are poor qualify for Medicaid, a government insurance program jointly funded by federal and state governments for individuals of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care. Obamacare expanded Medicaid coverage to those earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line (about $15,000 for an individual and $32,500 for a family of four). Twenty-four states have opted out of the Medicaid expansion, including Texas.

Those who do not qualify for Medicaid because their earned income is higher than the federal poverty line may qualify for subsidies or credits paid for by taxpayers if they purchase a plan from one of the insurance companies offering them on the new health insurance exchanges.

Most individuals and small-group employers and their employees cannot keep their existing health insurance plans because of Obamacare.  They are shocked by the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments of the new plans offered by insurance companies to replace their existing health insurance plans.

Texas_Public_Policy_Foundation

Credit: Texas Public Policy Foundation

One reason the premiums and deductibles for non-grandfathered (not in existence on March 23, 2010)  individual and small-group employer (employers with 50 or fewer employees) health care insurance plans are significantly increasing is Obamacare requires the insurance companies to offer a minimum core package of items and services referred to as Essential Health Benefits (EHB). The only plans not required to have EHB are fully insured large group plans, self-funded administrative services only plans and grandfathered plans.

These essential health benefits fall into 10 categories: ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity and newborn care, mental health services and addiction treatment, rehabilitative services and devices, pediatric services, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease treatment. These EHBs must be included for plans offered both outside and inside the Health Insurance Marketplace such as those plans you find on the website HealthCare.gov.

A second reason the premiums, deductibles and co-payments for non-grandfathered health insurance plans are increasing is that individuals with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage and the plans cannot have a maximum lifetime limit for medical expenses.

Millions of Americans, because of their age, gender, lifestyle, marital status and religion, do not need maternity care and newborn care, mental health services and addiction treatment, pediatric services, abortions and contraceptives. These Americans were satisfied with and could afford their existing health insurance plans and wanted to keep them.

Americans believed Obama when he repeatedly said, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

While in theory they could keep their plans under the Section 1251 “grandfather” provision of the Affordable Care Act, the regulations from the Obama administration interpreted this provision so strictly as to prevent most plans from being grandfathered.

Now the American people are learning from various news reports that the Obama administration officials knew in July 2010, when it was published on page 34,522 of the Federal Register, that “The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small-employer plans and 45 percent of large-employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013.” This represents about 93 million Americans facing cancellation of their existing plans because of Obamacare.

A sure way for a president to lose the trust of the American people is to misinform them about something they must pay for, such as the premiums, deductibles and co-payments for their health insurance plans.

Obama broke his promise to the American people and as a result his presidential job approval poll numbers have plummeted from an all-time high of 68 percent in Jan. 22-24, 2009 to a recent low of 39 percent on Nov. 5, according to Gallup.

Instead of making health insurance more affordable, Obamacare has made it more expensive for more than 181 million Americans who are now in sticker shock.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Business, Congress, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes, U.S. Constitution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

halloween-haunted-house-pumpkin-lights-free-hd

Credit: http://www.wallcg.com

If you think Halloween is scary, you should see the HealthCare.gov website. It is frightening.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he made a firm pledge to the American people.

“If you who make less than a quarter of a million dollars per year which includes 98 percent of small business owners, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime under my plan — not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes, nothing. It is time to give the middle class a break. That is what I will do as president of the United States,” Obama said. This was captured in a YouTube video titled “Not a Dime in Tax Increase for Those Earning Less than $250,000.”

Once he was elected, Obama made another promise to the American people.

Obama said, “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will make this promise to the American people; if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what. My view is that healthcare reform should be guided by a simple principle, fix what is broken and build on what works.” This statement was captured in a YouTube video titled “Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy.”

On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Before Obamacare was enacted into law, Obama was interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. He asked the president, “You were against the individual mandate during the campaign. Under this mandate the government is forcing people to spend money and fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”

Obama said, “…For us to say that you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it is saying is that we are not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you.”

Stephanopoulos responded, “I do not think I am making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, tax, a charge usually of money imposed on persons or property for public purposes.”

Obama replied, “George, the fact you looked it up Merriam’s dictionary, that a definition of tax increase,   indicates to me that you are stretching it right now.” The entire exchange was captured in the YouTube video titled “Obamacare : FLASHBACK President Obama said Individual Mandate Is Not a Tax (Sept 20, 2009).”

When Obamacare was enacted, 26 states, along with several individuals and others challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare in the courts. They argued that the law was a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce between the states. The Supreme Court ruled that the law could not be upheld under the Commerce Clause. This was the primary argument of the government in arguing for the constitutionality of the law. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority said, “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”

However, the Supreme Court did accept the government’s tax argument that the individual mandate represented a tax on individuals who choose not the buy health insurance. The Court said, “going without insurance” is “just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”

Americans are not required to buy health insurance under the individual mandate, according to the Supreme Court in its ruling. However, if you elect not to buy one of Obamacare’s individual metal (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) plans through a state or federal health insurance exchange, you may be subject to a tax penalty or fine by the Internal Revenue Service.

For 2014, the fine is the greater of 1 percent of income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 per family. For 2015 the fine is the greater of 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975 per family. For 2016 the fine is the greater of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child up to $2,085.

Millions of Americans are now finding out from their insurance companies that as a direct result of the passage of Obamacare, they can no longer keep their existing individual plans or doctors. Instead, they have the choice of either purchasing one of the Obamacare metal health insurance plans with much higher premiums and deductibles or pay the IRS fine.

Thanks to Obama the American people believed their taxes would not rise and they could keep their existing health insurance plans and doctors. Obamacare is not a treat, but a trick or tax.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Obama’s SAD Deal

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Congress, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama’s SAD Deal

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

sad-face

Presidents like to make deals with the American people that supposedly will fix things.

Theodore Roosevelt had his Square Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt had his New Deal, Harry Truman had his Fair Deal, and President Barack Obama has his SAD (Spending Addiction Disorder) deal.

The most recent developments in Obama’s SAD deal are the federal government will be completely open for business and funded through Jan. 15, 2014 under yet another continuing resolution passed on Wednesday by Congress and signed by the president. The gross national debt ceiling was suspended until Feb. 7, 2014. By then the national debt will be approaching $17.5 trillion and will exceed the entire gross domestic product for 2013 estimated to be about $16 trillion.

In other words the SAD deal means more government spending and taxes, more massive budgetary deficits, more government debt and more money and credit creation by the Federal Reserve System to finance the SAD habit.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement to open the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and extend the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare. The deal that has been cut provides no relief to all the young people coming out of school who can’t find a job because of Obamacare. It provides no relief to all the single parents who have been forced into part-time work, struggling to feed their kids on 29 hours a week.”

Unfortunately, the SAD deal will continue the annual massive budgetary deficits that over the last five years have averaged more than $1.2 trillion per year and will increase the burden of debt on existing and future generations of the American people. Under Obama’s SAD deal the gross national debt has been increased over $6 trillion to fund the fiscal year deficits from 2009 through 2013. The White House has optimistically estimated that the fiscal year deficit for 2014 will be only $750 billion!

The SAD deal has resulted in the worse post-World War II economic recovery with unemployment rates exceeding 7 percent for the 56 months of the Obama’s presidency. Tens of millions of Americans are searching for a permanent full-time job.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at the Republican conference meeting on Oct. 16 said, “We all agree Obamacare is an abomination. We all agree taxes are too high. We all agree spending is too high. We all agree Washington is getting in the way of job growth. We all agree we have a real debt crisis that will cripple future generations. We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles.”

The American people agree that the Washington ruling elite of both the Democrat and Republican parties are simply incapable of controlling their SAD habit.

Cruz is right. The ruling elite are not listening to the American people.

The American people want federal spending and taxes to be cut, a balanced budget, the national debt paid off and Obamacare repealed. The American people can no longer afford to pay for Obama’s SAD deal.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Political junkies overdose

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Congress, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Political junkies overdose

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

us_debt_ceiling_cartoon

The ruling elite in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, are addicts with a bad habit.

The ruling elite share many of the common addictions of the American people to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, gambling, games, pornography, television, sex and surfing the Web.

Yet the ruling elite have a unique habit that the American people can no longer pay for or support. The name of this habit is SAD — Spending Addiction Disorder.

The primary symptoms of SAD are massive annual federal government budget deficits, raising the national debt ceiling and blaming others for their addiction problem.

Like most habits that turn into addictions, the ruling elite can no longer control themselves. They are hooked on spending other people’s money.

How bad is the SAD habit? For the past five fiscal years the federal government forced the American people to support their habit by collecting more than $12 trillion in taxes. However, the ruling elite’s habit is much worse. Besides the $12 trillion in taxes, the federal government spent in excess of $6 trillion by running annual budget deficits averaging more than $1.2 trillion per year.

This required the ruling elite to order the Department of the Treasury to issue more new Treasury debt securities in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds to finance these deficits that exceeded $6 trillion. As a result the total gross national debt now exceeds $17 trillion.

To put these amounts in perspective, the total U.S. real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013 is estimated to be about $16 trillion.

President Barack Obama and Congress fear the American people will finally wake up and demand they kick their SAD habit and live within the means of the American people. This would require real cuts in the fiscal year 2014 federal budget spending with the aim of balancing the budget within three or four years.

The ruling elite SAD junkies are lashing out and demonizing American taxpayers who support their habit by calling them anarchists, arsonists, extremists, hostage-takers, kidnappers, terrorists or worse, Tea Party Republicans.

Obama held a press conference on Oct. 8 and warned that if the national debt ceiling is not raised by Oct. 17, the U.S. could default on its national debt and put the U.S. into another recession. Political junkies with the SAD habit have been known to lie in order to get another fix for their habit. On average the American people are currently paying the ruling elite about $225 billion each month in taxes which would more than cover the $35 billion monthly interest paid on Treasury debt, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) report. The last thing the U.S. government will do is default on the national debt by not paying the interest when due.

Mandatory spending makes up about 66 percent of all government spending and is required to be paid under existing authorization laws. Currently the federal government collects enough taxes to pay for mandatory spending including interest on the national debt, entitlements (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), and income support programs (unemployment compensation, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], Supplemental Income for the blind and disabled, earned income and child tax credits).

Discretionary spending makes up about 33 percent of government spending and includes spending for all federal departments, agencies and programs. Discretionary spending must be authorized each fiscal year and funded through appropriation bills.

The reason the political junkies with the SAD habit are panicking is they need to raise the national debt ceiling imposed by Congress by an additional $1 trillion above the existing national debt of $17 trillion to pay for discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014.  In order to get another debt raising fix, Congress must raise the debt ceiling once again.

Cutting federal government spending to balance the budget over a period of three or four years is never an option for the ruling elite junkies hooked with SAD. More and more government spending and taxes is the default solution for SAD political junkies.

The time has come for the American people to put the political junkies hooked on SAD in a rehab job in the private sector. The American people need to elect representatives, senators and a president that are fiscally responsible stewards of the general welfare and insist that all federal government budgets be balanced.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Government Shutdown, Obamacare Launch, Internet Working!

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Congress, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Government Shutdown, Obamacare Launch, Internet Working!

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Get_Well_Obamacare

Credit: Drudgereport.com

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”1 so began Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”

The best of times in America in 2013: the Internet is up and running.

The worst of times in America in 2013: President Barack Obama ordered a partial shutdown of federal government with about 800,000 nonessential government employees furloughed and sent home and launched Obamacare on Oct 1. A shutdown takes place when Congress fails to authorize funds for government operations.

Since 1976 there have been 18 partial and full shutdowns of the federal government lasting usually a few days to three weeks. The last shutdown occurred 17 years ago under President Bill Clinton when the government was closed for 21 days over the budget deficit.

First, a recap of the congressional funding fight to keep the government open and funded including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

In round one the Republican-controlled House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 to fund the government at a level of $986 billion and keep it open for 11 weeks until Dec. 15 but would have defunded Obamacare.

In round two the Democrat-controlled Senate on Sept. 27 passed a continuing resolution by a vote of 54-44 along party lines that would have funded and kept open the government through Nov. 15 including Obamacare.

In round three the House early Sept. 29 passed, in a near party-line vote of 231-192, another continuing resolution to fund the federal government for 11 weeks until Dec. 15, but instead of defunding Obamacare, it would delay implementation of some key provisions, including the individual mandate for one year. The resolution would also repeal a new tax on medical devices.

The House also passed a bill to fund the troops and some Defense Department workers and contractors in the event of a government shutdown. The Senate passed the bill without dissent on Sept. 30 and the president signed the bill.

In round four the Senate twice rejected on Sept. 30 the House resolution to delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year and sent back to the House a clean resolution without the one-year delay in Obamacare and with funding for six weeks. The Senate also rejected Oct.1 the House call for a conference meeting to reconcile the House and Senate continuing resolutions (CR).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to designate anyone as negotiators and send them to the meeting. Reid said, “The government is closed because of the irrationality of what’s going on the other side of the Capitol.”

Reid also said, “The bottom line is this: House Republicans should pass the Senate’s clean CR.”

House Speaker John Boehner said in a news conference on Sept. 30, “That’s not going to happen.”

The blame games begin.

Obama blames Congress. In a video message released midnight Monday and broadcast on Armed Forces television, Obama said, “Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility. It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again.”

Republicans blame Democrats for the government shutdown.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said, “None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we’re here to say to the Senate Democrats, come and talk to us.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a leader of the Tea-Party Republicans and who spoke on the Senate floor for over 21 hours in an effort to defund Obamacare, said, “The House has twice now voted to keep the government open. And, if we have a shutdown, it will only be because when the Senate comes back, Harry Reid says, ‘I refuse even to talk.’”

The implementation of Obamacare could easily put the slow-growing U.S. economy into another recession with even higher unemployment rates. Also, if Obamacare does not live up to its expectations and results in higher health insurance premiums with less plan benefits and coverage, the American people may take out their dissatisfaction not only with the Democratic Party, but with the president.

Heads could roll come Election Day, Nov. 4, 2014.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Count down to government shut down

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Law, Liberty, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Count down to government shut down

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Senate_Must_Act

House votes to fund federal government but defund Obamacare                Credit: http://www.ktvu.com

The nonessential parts of the federal government may be shut down on Oct. 1 until Congress passes either a fiscal year 2014 budget appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

Fiscal year 2014 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2014. Since the Democrats want to increase government spending and taxes and the Republicans want to decrease government spending and taxes, neither party will agree to a budget appropriations bill.

Instead of a stalemate, Congress could pass a joint continuing resolution that appropriates funds for government departments, agencies and programs at current, expanded or reduced levels until a formal appropriations bill is signed into law or until the resolution expires. A continuing resolution would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the president.

The House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 that would fund the federal government at current levels for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year 2014 and keep the federal government open. If this continuing resolution is not passed by the Senate, some nonessential parts of the federal government would need to be shut down.

The House resolution had two amendments. The first would strip out funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare and thereby stop its implementation. The second would direct how federal government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury hits the borrowing debt ceiling limit in the near future.

The 230-189 vote was mainly along party lines with 228 Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor and 188 Democrats and one Republican voting against the continuing resolution.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a victory rally after the resolution passed and remarked, “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare. The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor put several Democratic Senators, who are up for re-election in Nov. of 2014, on the spot. Cantor called out Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Cantor said, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sept. 19, “I will do everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” Cruz promised to filibuster any attempt to strip out the language of the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. A filibuster is the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a Senator to prevent the adoption of a measure.

Cruz began his filibuster by saying: “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t working and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. They are not listening to the jobs lost, the people forced into part-time jobs, the people losing their health insurance, the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel that they do not have a voice. So I hope to play some very small part in helping to provide that voice for them. …I  intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am unable to stand.”

Cruz delivered on his promise by standing and speaking for more than 21 hours on Sept. 23-24.

According to a Sept. 15 NBC/WSJ poll, 44 percent of respondents call Obamacare a bad idea and 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.

In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on Sept. 14-15 by Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent favor a government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. The Rasmussen survey also found that “58 percent favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while 16 percent prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.”

According to Rasmussen, “74 percent of Republican and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut,” while “63 percent of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels.”

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

The Democrats are determined to fund Obamacare, shut down the government on Oct.1 and blame it on Republicans.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

 

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Obamacare’s Employment Consequences

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, People, Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Obamacare’s Employment Consequences

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

obamacare-logo_full

Credit: http://www.bhvcpa.com

One of the unintended consequences of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is employers attempting to avoid the costs and penalties of the law by hiring mostly part-time employees and cutting the number of hours worked per week to less than 30 and to less than 120 per month. Businesses are also attempting to avoid the Obamacare employer-mandated health insurance for full-time employees by not hiring their 50th full-time employee.

Under the employer mandate provisions of Obamacare, businesses with more than 50 employees that do not provide a federal government qualified health insurance plan, must pay a penalty of $2,000 per year for each full-time employee minus 30. In the United States, less than 4 percent of businesses have more than 50 employees with less than 0.2 percent of these businesses not offering health insurance, according to a Forbes online article titled “Is The Affordable Care Act Really Bad For Business?”

Under Obamacare colleges are required starting in 2014 to provide health insurance coverage to employees who work more than 30 hours a week.  Most colleges have strict limits on the number of hours part-time instructors can work in a pay period so the college can avoid paying employee-benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

Colleges across the nation are reducing the number of full-time faculty and hiring mostly part-time instructors, known as adjunct professors or jokingly as “road scholars”. According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), “In 1975, only 30.2 percent of faculty were employed part time; by 2005, according to data compiled by the AAUP from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), part-time faculty represented approximately 48 percent of all faculty members in the United States.”

Obamacare will only accelerate this growing trend toward part-time faculty with strict limits on the number of hours worked, especially at community colleges like Richland.

Starting with this year’s fall semester, “an adjunct faculty member may only teach a workload of nine credit hours or less each week (less than 20 clock hours per week) according to Teachers Retirement System guidelines,” as set forth in the online Part-Time Employment Guidelines of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).

Furthermore, “part-time hourly, adjunct faculty-credit, adjunct faculty-continuing education (CE) and substitute faculty employees may work a maximum of 1,014 hours per fiscal year (hours include the cumulative total of all positions worked at all District locations),” according to Dallas County Community College District’s online document, Extra-Service Guidelines for Instructional Delivery.

The Department of the Treasury announced on its website on July 2 that the employer mandate would be delayed one year from Jan. 1, 2014 as required under Obamacare until Jan.1, 2015. Now that Obama has delayed implementation of the Obamacare employer mandate, 56 percent of American voters favor delaying for a year the individual mandate as well, with only 26 percent opposed according to the July 13 Rasmussen Reports. While American voters oppose the individual mandate by a 2-to-1 margin, most voters favor the employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more employees, 59 percent to 34 percent, according to Rasmussen.

During the first six months of 2013, about 963,000 more people were employed and about 936,000 were part-time jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 2, Household Survey.

“Over the last six months, of the net job creation, 97 percent of that is part-time work,” said Keith Hall, a senior researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and former head of the US Bureau of Labor (BLS) Statistics from 2008 to 2012.

Unlike members of Congress in Washington who receive taxpayer subsidies to pay for their health insurance under Obamacare, ordinary Americans are not exempt from pay and/or employee-benefit cuts resulting from the implementation of Obamacare.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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King Obama Decrees Subsidies to Congress and Staff for Obamacare: The Ruling Class vs. The American People

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Business, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

King Obama Decrees Subsidies to Congress and Staff for Obamacare: The Ruling Class vs. The American People
By Raymond Thomas Pronk

United States Capitol Building

United States Capitol Building, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.       Credit: blog.timesunion.com

Only the ruling class in Washington, both Democrats and some Republicans, not believe in the proverb, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

The The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 and commonly known as Obamacare, requires members of Congress and their staffs (currently about 11,000 people) to purchase their health insurance plans through new states-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) originally proposed this requirement as an amendment to the Obamacare bill, said at the time he wanted “members of Congress and Congressional staff to get their employer-based health insurance through the same exchanges as our constituents.”

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) revised the Grassley amendment when the Obamacare bill was rushed to a vote on Christmas eve December 2009. The resulting 2,500 page bill failed to include legislature language that would continue premium contributions for members of Congress and their staffs that the federal government makes for its employees and requires them to purchase Obamacare mandated plans through the exchanges.

Currently members of Congress and their staffs obtaine their health insurance plans through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) that covers more than eight million people including government employees and their families, provides dozen of competing plans and is the nation’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program. This will soon end as the state insurance exchanges begin operation on Oct.1.

Individuals without qualified health insurance coverage through their employers or covered by Medicare or Medicaid are required by law to purchase health insurance coverage by January 1, 2014 and may qualify for federal subsidies. Low-income individuals and families above 100% and up to 400% of the federal poverty level will receive federal subsidies on a sliding scale if they choose to purchase insurance via an exchange. For 2013 the federal poverty guideline level for an individual is $11,390 and for a family of four is $23, 550 (see Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/24/2013-01422/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines)

Starting in 2014 Members of Congress and their staffs by law must purchase their health insurance through the exchanges and no longer through FEHBP. United States senators and representatives have earned $174,000 per year starting in 2009. The Speaker of the House and the House Majority and Minority Leaders earn $223,500.Senate majority and minority leaders earn $193,000 as do other House leadership. Members of Congress and their highly paid staff would not be eligible for any subsidies under Obamacare.

Reid has made it very clear that “There are not now, have never been, nor will there be any discussions about exempting members of Congress from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care.”

However, those who work for Congressional committees and leadership offices, such as  Senate Majority leader Reid’s office, are apparently exempt from requirement to obtain their health insurance coverage through the exchanges and can continue to obtain their subsided health insurance plans through the FEHBP.

Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Aug. 7 issued regulations that members of Congress and their staffs will continue to receive premium contribution subsidies based on the FEHBP’s defined-contribution formula that covers about 75 percent of the cost of the average health insurance plan or about $5,000 for an individual and $11,000 for a family for fiscal year 2014 that begins Oct.1, 2013.

“These proposed regulations implement the administrative aspects of switching Members of Congress and congressional staff to their new insurance plans – the same plans available to millions of Americans through the new Exchanges,”  said OPM Director of Planning and Policy Jon Foley.

The OPM claims that a legal loophole in the Obamacare law, the phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of law”, is legal justification and authority for continuing Member of Congress and staff keeping their employee subsidies. This proposed regulation simply ignores  the fact the Obamacare law “prohibits an employer from providing a qualified health plan through an Exchange as a benefit under its cafeteria plan.”

Furthermore, most Congressional staff employees will most likely remain under FEHBP and not be forced into the mandated health insurance exchanges because the term “official office” of a Member of Congress does not have an existing statutory definition under Obamacare.

The ruling class in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, will continue to be subsized by the American taxpayer. While more than 30 million individuals and small businesses will be forced to purchase health insurance plans that do not want and many cannot  afford.

Now that Obama has also delayed implementation of the Obamacare employer mandate for those with 50 or more employees until Jan.1. 2015, 56 percent of American voters favor delaying for a year the individual mandate as well with only 26 percent opposed according to the July 13, 2013 Rassmusen Reports. While American voters oppose the individual mandate by a 2 to 1 margin, most voters favor the employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more employees by 59 percent in favor and 34 percent oppose, according to Rassmusen Reports.

The House of Representative controlled by the Republicans has passed legislation to repeal Obamacare in its entirety 40 times. The Democratic controlled Senate has blocked such legislation from becoming law. However, tea-party Senators lead Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Rand Paul (R-Ky), Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and eight other Senators and 60 House Republicans have signed a letter urging the Republican leadership to defund Obama by passing a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government for fiscal year 2014 in its entiretly except for Obamacare.

The only way this tea party initiative can succeed is for the American people to rise up against the ruling class in Washington. Senator Cruz said, “The most important Constitutional check that Congress has on an overreaching President is the Power of the purse. If Republicans stand together, we can actually succeed in defunding it.”

During the August Congressional recess the tea party Senators and Representatives will be mobilizing the support of the American people to defund Obamacare.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

 

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Planned Parenthood’s Inconvenient Truth

Posted on March 21, 2012. Filed under: Business, Columns, Economics, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , |

Credit: http://newsone.com/nation/newsonestaff4/wisconsin-cuts-planned-parenthood/

 

Planned Parenthood has a deep dark secret—an inconvenient truth.

The American Birth Control League (ABCL) was founded in 1921 by Margret Sanger (1879-1966). ABCL together with other groups became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Sanger was a progressive proponent of population control and eugenics. Eugenics is a racist ideology and pseudoscience that believes the human race can be improved by encouraging the reproduction of the “fit” (positive eugenics) and discouraging the reproduction of the “unfit” with genetic defects or undesirable traits (negative eugenics).

The essence of the eugenics movement was control by an enlightened elite over the masses in determining who was fit and who was unfit.  Sanger was insistent that contraception not be called family planning but birth control. Sanger said, “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective.” A popular slogan of the eugenics movement was “Quality not quantity.”

A master race could be created by controlling who had children and who did not. This could be achieved by birth control through the use of condoms, contraceptives, sterilization and segregation. When birth control fails, abortion could be used to stop the birth of “unfit” babies.

In 1939 Sanger initiated the Negro Project with the goal of slowing and reversing the growth of the black population in America. Planned Parenthood cannot deny the inconvenient truth that its founder was a eugenicist.

“Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility” by Angela Franks provides a detailed history and analysis of Sanger’s eugenic ideology. Edwin Black’s “The War against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race” chronicles the history of the eugenics movement and its funding by the Carnegie, Harriman and Rockefeller fortunes.

Three excellent documentaries that can be viewed on YouTube are “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America,” “How Planned Parenthood Works” and “Racism: A History.”

Planned Parenthood has been successful in achieving Sanger’s Negro Project goals. More than 54 million babies have been aborted since the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States according to numberofabortions.com website. The two leading sources of information about abortions are the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, once part of Planned Parenthood.

Since 1973 more than 15 million black, 10 million Hispanic and 20 million white babies have been aborted.  Across America Planned Parenthood clinics have aborted more than 6 million babies since 1973. Planned Parenthood’s primary target market has always been the poor, especially blacks and Hispanics. Minority babies are disproportionately targets for abortion.

 

 

Credit: http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_and_race/

 

Killing babies for profit is big business and Planned Parenthood is the industry leader. Planned Parenthood markets its abortion services to both federal and state governments. Like any big business, its executives lobby and make campaign contributions to progressive politicians of both political parties who support their eugenics population control agenda.

Every abortion or baby killed saves the federal government and state governments thousands of dollars annually in education, health care and welfare expenditures for poor black, Hispanic and white babies who did not make it out of their mother’s womb alive.

Today abortion is no longer rare but commonplace. Abortion is a public private partnership. Abortion is not an equal opportunity killer. Abortion is death by government—genocide.

[Raymond Thomas Pronk is host of the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 3-5 p.m. Wednesdays and author of the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com]

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Obama’s war on Texas woman, children and religious freedom

Posted on March 21, 2012. Filed under: Columns, Economics, Government Spending, Health Care, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Barack Obama addressing Planned Parenthood.

Credit: http://www.mahalo.com/planned-parenthood/

President Barack Obama’s popularity with women is falling in the polls as gas prices rise and unemployment remains high. Unless this is reversed quickly, Obama is going to lose in November.

For weeks now, Obama, the Democratic Party and their supporters in the media peddled the propaganda of a Republican Party war on women. This distraction is simply not working.

Why? Propaganda works when people trust or believe you. Many Americans simply do not trust or believe Obama, anymore. Case in point is the Texas Woman Health Program (WHP).

The Obama administration announced on March 15 that it will be terminating federal Medicaid funding of WHP. An estimated 130,000 of the state’s poorest low-income women who are between 18 and 44 and who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid are covered by the program. Established in 2006, this research and demonstration program provides family planning services, physical exams, gynecological exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, diabetes testing, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screenings and contraceptive services. Texas is the first state to have the federal funding cancelled for this type of demonstration program.

Many Texans think if there is a war on women, Obama started the war.

Texas law prohibits public funding of health care provider clinics with affiliates that offer abortions. According to the Texas Health and Human Service Commission (THHSC) website:

“Section 32.0248, Human Resources Code, prohibits payment of WHP funds to a provider that performs elective abortions. A provider that performs elective abortions (through either surgical or medical methods) for any patient is ineligible to serve WHP clients and cannot be reimbursed for those services. This prohibition has been in effect since Sept. 1, 2005. The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) may recoup WHP funds that it determines were paid to providers that have performed elective abortions.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued Opinion No. GA-0844 letter dated Feb. 17, 2011 on the Constitutionality of subsection 32.0248(h), Human Resources Code, which prohibits the THHSC from contracting under the WHP with entities that perform or promote elective abortions or with affiliates of such entities. The opinion summary stated:

“Human Resources Code section 32.0248(h), which applies to women’s health care demonstration project services, provides that the Health and Human Services Commission may not contract with entities that are affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions. This provision is not preempted by federal law.”

The opinion letter points out that Medicaid was established under Title XIX of the Social Security Act and under Title 42, section 1396a(p) of the United States Code:

“(1) In addition to any other authority, a State may exclude any individual or entity for purposes of participating under the State plan under this subchapter for any reason for which the Secretary could exclude the individual or entity from participation in a program under subchapter XVIII of this chapter under section 1320a-7, 1320a-7a, or 1395cc (b) (2) of this title.”

Without these restrictions on abortions, the WHP would not exist because the Texas Legislature would have not have created and funded the program.

There are more than 2,500 qualified providers that offer health care but do not promote or provide elective abortions, according to the THHSC. Planned Parenthood is a qualified provider with 44 clinics in Texas, making it the largest abortion chain in Texas. Federal regulation mandates that patients can pick any qualified provider participating in Medicaid. Texas requested a waiver from the regulation for the first time in 2011.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to decline Texas’ waiver request solely because Texas law prohibits taxpayer dollars from being allocated to entities that perform or promote elective abortions. On March 16, the Texas attorney general, Gregg Abbot, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, challenging Sebelius’ decision. The lawsuit alleges that:

“The Secretary’s action violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and “not in accordance with law.” See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). It also violates the Constitution of the United States by seeking to commandeer and coerce the States’ lawmaking processes into awarding taxpayer subsidies to elective abortion providers.”

The program is funded 10 percent by the state and 90 percent by the federal government. Administrative costs are split 50 percent by the state and 50 percent by the federal government. For 2012 Texas provided $3.3 million and the federal government $29.8 million for the WHP.

This funding will be phased out over the next three months, according to Cindy Mann, Director for Medicaid and State Operations, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This federal division is responsible for overseeing and administering the Medicaid law for HHS. She said, “We don’t have a choice. Medicaid law is clear: Patients, not the state, are able to choose the doctors and health care providers that can best serve them.”  Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed that Texas will find state funding to replace the $30 million from the federal government.

Planned Parenthood has endorsed and supports Obama for president. In an election year, the funding of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics apparently takes priority over the health care needs of Texas woman. For additional background information about Planned Parenthood see the sidebar story.

On Jan. 20 HHS mandated that nonprofit religious employers that provide a health care plan for their employees must provide free contraceptives, sterilization procedures and abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs) without the insured paying a co-pay, co-insurance or deductible.

 

Most group insurance employer-based plans do cover so-called “reproductive services,” namely contraceptives, sterilization procedures, abortifacients and abortions. However, employers in the past were allowed to select a health insurance plan that excluded these reproductive services.

The Obama administration is now forcing all employers including nonprofit religious employers to provide these services even if it is against the religious beliefs and convictions of employers and their employees. This includes both group insurance employer-based plans as well as employer self-funded plans where the employer funds or pays for all claims and a third party such as an insurance company is administering the plan.

The issue is not whether “reproductive services” are included in health insurance plans, but religious freedom. Obama’s war on women, children and religious freedom is a direct assault on the American people, their religious beliefs and the U.S. Constitution.

The American dream cannot long survive if we abandon our poor, murder our children and lose our faith. Obama and his progressive supporters need to be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.”

[Raymond Thomas Pronk is host of the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 3-5 p.m. Wednesdays and author of the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com]

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