Tag: Nightmare

AMERICA’S LONG, NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER!


PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP INAUGURATION
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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
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VICE PRESIDENT: As President of the Senate, the Vice President is responsible for casting a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock, and residing over and certifying the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. He is also a statutory member of the National Security Council, and is first in the presidential line of succession.

MIKE PENCE: Current Governor of Indiana. A conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement, he had previously represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. In July 2016, Mike was named the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election. Born into a Catholic family with political leanings, he became interested in politics at an early age due to the influence of his family. As a young man, he idolized former President John F. Kennedy and was later inspired by Ronald Reagan. He went on to graduate from Hanover College and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law following which he ventured into a legal career. Mike began a career in radio talk in the 1990s even as he tried to enter politics. Mike Pence began his career as an attorney in private practice. Around this time he also tried to enter into politics and ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990. He did not give up though and was able to become the president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1991. In 1994, Mike began a career in talk radio and hosted ‘The Mike Pence Show’, which was based in WRCR-FM in Rushville. Syndicated by Network Indiana, the show was aired on weekdays on 18 stations throughout the state. Starting from 1995, he also hosted a weekend political talk show out of Indianapolis. He ended his broadcast career in the late 1990s and ran for Congress again in 2000, this time getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Over the course of his political career he was re-elected four more times by comfortable margins. Pence served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans, from 2005 to 2007. His increasingly successful career prompted Pence to announce in 2011 that he would seek the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012. In November 2012, Mike won the gubernatorial election, defeating Democratic nominee John R. Gregg and Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham. He was sworn in as the 50th governor of Indiana on January 14, 2013.
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SECRETARY OF STATE: Advises the President on foreign-policy issues, works to carry out the country’s foreign policy, maintains relations between foreign countries and the United States, negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign nations, speaks for the United States in the United Nations and other major international organizations, and supervises embassies, missions, and consulates overseas.

REX TILLERSON: A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Rex Tillerson earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin before joining Exxon Company, U.S.A. in 1975 as a production engineer. In 1989, he became general manager of Exxon Company U.S.A.’s central production division, responsible for oil and gas production operations throughout a large portion of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. In 1992, Mr. Tillerson was named production advisor to Exxon Corporation. Three years later he was named president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc., and in January 1998 became vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) Inc. and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited. In those roles, he was responsible for Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea as well as the Sakhalin I consortium operations offshore Sakhalin Island, Russia. In December 1999, he became executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company. Mr. Tillerson was named senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation in August 2001, and was elected president of the corporation and member of the board of directors on March 1, 2004. He assumed his current position on January 1, 2006. Mr. Tillerson is a member of the executive committee and a former chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. He is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council, a member of the Business Roundtable, a member of the Business Council, an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding, and a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. In 2013, Mr. Tillerson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Mr. Tillerson is the vice-chairman of the Ford’s Theatre Society, immediate past national president of the Boy Scouts of America, and a former director of the United Negro College Fund. He is also a member of the Chancellor’s Council, Development Board and the Engineering Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Austin, where he was named a distinguished alumnus in 2007. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate engineering degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2013, he was awarded the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation.
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SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Reports to Congress and the President on the financial state of the government and the economy, regulates the interstate and foreign sale of alcohol and firearms. Supervises the printing of stamps for the U.S. Postal Service; operates the Secret Service, which protects the president, the vice president, their families, and other officials. Curbs counterfeiting, and operates the Customs Service, which regulates and taxes imports. Regulates tax laws and collects Federal taxes.

STEVEN MNUCHIN: Co-Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Dune Capital Management LP. Mr. Mnuchin is the Finance Chairman of Trump campaign. Mr. Mnuchin co-founded OneWest Bank Group LLC in 2004 and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is a Founder of Dune Real Estate Partners LP. He was an Investment Professional of Soros Fund Management LLC. Prior to joining CIT, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IMB Holdco LLC. Previously, he served as the Chief Executive Officer at SFM Capital Management from 2003 to 2004. While at SFM, he served as an Executive Vice President since February 2001 and Co-Chief Information Officer from February 2001 to December 2001. Mr. Mnuchin served as a Member of the Executive Office at SFM from December 1999 to February 2001. He was responsible for overseeing mortgages, U.S. governments, money markets and municipals in the fixed income, currency and commodities division from December 1998 to November 1999. From November 1994 to December 1998, Mr. Mnuchin served as the Head of the Mortgage Securities Department at SFM. Prior to SFM, he served as the Chief Information Officer at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. since December 2001. He spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs where he was a Partner. He has extensive experience in investing and financing the entertainment business. He has financed major blockbusters such as American Sniper, Gravity, Avatar and Life of Pi. He has been the Non-Executive Co-Chairman of Relativity Media, LLC since October 2014. He served as the Chairman of CIT Bank, National Association. He served as the Chairman of OneWest Bank N.A. He had been Vice Chairman of ESL Investments, Inc. since 2003 and serves as its Director. He serves as Director of CIT Bank, National Association. He serves as a Director on the Yale Development Board. He is a Member of the Board of Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA), New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, Life Trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital and UCLA Health System Board. He served as an Independent Director of Sears Holdings Corporation from 2005 to December 2, 2016. He served as Vice Chairman of CIT Group Inc. from January 2, 2016 to March 31, 2016 and previously served in the same role from August 8, 2015 to December 12, 2015. He served as a Director of CIT Group Inc. from August 2015 to December 2, 2016. He is a Trustee of Sculpture Garden Board. He was a Board Member of Junior Achievement National Board, the Whitney Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, City Harvest and Riverdale Country School. Mr. Mnuchin has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.
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SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Oversees everything related to the nation’s military security. Directs the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several specialized combat commands. Nonmilitary responsibilities include flood control, development of oceanographic resources, and management of oil reserves.

JAMES MATTIS: Ccommanded at multiple levels in his forty-three year career as an infantry Marine. As a lieutenant in the western Pacific, he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander in the Third Marine Division. As a captain in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, he commanded a rifle company and a weapons company in the First Marine Brigade. As a major he was the battalion officer at the Naval Academy Prep School and commanded Marine recruiters in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. As a lieutenant colonel he commanded an assault battalion breaching the Iraqi minefields in Operation Desert Storm. As a colonel he commanded 7th Marine Regiment and, on Pentagon duty, he served as the Department of Defense Executive Secretary. As a brigadier general he was the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Following 9-11 he commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. As a major general, he commanded the First Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq. In his first tour as a lieutenant general, he was in charge of Marine Corps Combat Development at Quantico and subsequently served as Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force/Commander, U.S. Marine Forces in the Middle East. As a general he served concurrently as the Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. Before retiring in 2013 he was the Commander of U.S. Central Command, directing military operations of over 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and allied forces across the Middle East. He is co-editor of the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.
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ATTORNEY GENERAL: Chief law officer and legal counsel of the federal government, who runs the Department of Justice. Supervises U.S. district attorneys and marshals, federal prisons and other penal institutions, and advises the President on petitions for paroles and pardons. Represents the U.S. government in legal matters and gives legal advice to the President and other members of the Cabinet. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which researches violations of federal laws, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which administers immigration laws, are components of his department.

JEFF SESSIONS: Appointed by President Reagan as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in 1981. After holding this position for twelve years, Reagan nominated Sessions as judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District. His nomination was rejected by the Senate, so he ran a successful campaign for Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and served for two years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. He was re-elected by substantial majorities in 2002, 2008, and most recently in 2014. Sessions currently serves on the Senate Budget; Armed Services; Judiciary; and Environment and Public Works Committees. Sessions was recently described by the Washington Times as “a tea partyer before the tea party was cool because of his unflinching and vocal conservative views on most fiscal and social issues.” Sessions is an unwavering social conservative and has been a staunch advocate for the death penalty, Second Amendment rights, the Defense of Marriage Act, and religious liberty. Sessions served as Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2009-2011, during which he led opposition to the nominations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court. Throughout his tenure as a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has led the conservative opposition against any form of amnesty or immigration reform that provides benefits or favor to illegal aliens. He is a longtime advocate of E-Verify, a system used to verify a potential employee’s citizenship, and continues to advocate for its mandatory use nationwide. In January 2011, he was named Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. In this capacity, he led the Republican charge against Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama for not offering a serious budget proposal, given that the Senate had not passed a budget since April 2009. He has fought guerilla warfare, often a lonely battle, against Democrats spending by raising budget point of orders against the breach of budget caps. He has even fought his own party when his office put out devastating research against the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Sessions has also been a strong leader on welfare reform and publishing studies and data on the extent of the welfare state.
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SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: Protects the natural environment and develops the country’s natural resources. Manages more than 300 parks, monuments, rivers, seashores, lakes, outdoor recreation areas, and historic sites. Oversees more than 400 wildlife refuges, research centers, wildfowl production areas, and fish hatcheries. Supervises economic development and environmental protection of millions of acres of public land. Responsible for the following U.S. territories: the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Trust Territory of Palau, and the Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia).

RYAN ZINKE: Serves the people of Montana as their sole Representative in the United States House. He also holds a Masters in Business Finance and a Masters in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. Ryan is a fifth generation Montanan, former state senator, and a 23-year U.S. Navy SEAL veteran. In 2014, Ryan became the first Navy SEAL elected to the House. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Ryan’s distinguished military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training (class 136). He was first assigned to SEAL Team ONE in Coronado, CA, then was later selected to SEAL Team SIX where he was a Team Leader, Ground Force Commander, Task Force Commander and Current Operations Officer in support of National Command Authority missions. In Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Ryan was assigned as Deputy and acting Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula where he led a force of over 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq. In 2006 he was awarded two Bronze Stars. Throughout his career, Ryan also served as the Special Operations Officer in Europe, and served as the SEAL Commander of Joint Task Force TWO in support of Special Operations missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo. Ryan’s final Naval assignment was establishing the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school with a staff of over 250 educators, which provided over 43 college level courses to over 2500 students annually at 15 different locations worldwide. He retired from active duty 2008 after serving 23 years as a US Navy SEAL. In 2008, Ryan was elected to the Montana State Senate, where he chaired the Senate Education Committee and served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. He was a proud recipient of numerous awards from the Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Rural School Association.
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SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Supervises agricultural production to make sure prices are fair for producers and consumers, helps farmers financially with subsidies and development programs, and helps food producers sell their goods overseas. Runs food assistance and nutrition programs.

SONNY PERDUE: Born in Perry, Georgia to a lifelong farmer and a classroom teacher, Sonny earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. While still in school, he volunteered to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1974 with the rank of captain. Following a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian, he started two businesses from the ground up, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation. Sonny was also a respected leader in his church and his community when he decided to enter public service. His political career began in the 1980s when he served on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. He then successfully ran for the state senate, becoming majority leader in just four years, followed by his election as president pro tempore. He spent the next 11 years representing his Middle Georgia district in the General Assembly. Sonny left the State Senate in 2001 to begin his gubarnatorial campaign. In January 2003, he became the first Republican to serve as Georgia’s governor since 1872. During his first term, Georgia created over 200,000 new jobs and posted the highest graduation rate and SAT scores in state history. Sonny won reelection by an overwhelming margin in November 2006. As governor, Sonny focused on improving education, providing better access to health care, creating quality jobs for Georgians, and increasing resources for stronger, safer communities.
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SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Promotes international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. Works to keep the United States competitive in international markets and to prevent unfair foreign trade practices. Gathers statistics for business and government planners.

WILBUR ROSS: Independent Director at Ocwen Financial Corp., Chairman at NBNK Investments Plc, Independent Director at Navigator Holdings Ltd., Independent Director at EXCO Resources, Inc., Independent Director at Sun Bancorp, Inc. (New Jersey), Independent Director at Talmer Bancorp, Inc., Independent Director at BankUnited, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman at International Automotive Components Group SA, Independent Non-Executive Director at ArcelorMittal SA, Non-Executive Chairman at International Textile Group, Inc., Founder, Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer at WL Ross & Co. LLC, a Director at News Communications. Inc. Mr. Ross was previously employed as Independent Director by Air Lease Corp., Chief Executive Officer by SpiceJet Ltd., Chairman by Plascar Participações Industriais SA, Chairman by ISG, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman by ICG, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman by International Coal Group, Inc., Chairman by Burlington Industries, Inc., a Managing Director by Rothschild, Inc., Chairman by Cone Mills Corp., Chairman by Invesco Ltd., Chairman by Palm Beach Firefighters Retirement Fund, and Chairman by Smithsonian Institution. He also served on the board at Greenbrier Cos., Inc., Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., Safety Components International, Inc., Mittal Steel Co. NV, International Steel Group, Inc., Syms Corp., Oxford Automotive Europe ApS, VTG AG, Nikko Electric Industry Co., Ltd., ArcelorMittal NV, TongYang Life Insurance Co., Ltd., British American Business, Inc., Wagon Plc, Briarcliffe, Inc., Clarent Hospital Corp., IAC Acquisition Corp. Ltd., Phoenix International Corp., Turnaround Management Association, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Mr. Ross received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
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SECRETARY OF LABOR: Protects the rights of workers, helps improve working conditions, and promotes good relations between labor and management. Tracks changes in employment, prices, and other national economic statistics.

ANDREW PUZDER: Chief executive of CKE Restaurants. He received his juris doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis where he served as senior editor on the Law Review. From 1978 through 1991, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another St. Louis area trial attorney. Puzder has served as president and CEO of CKE since September 2000 While practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder authored legislation which The United States Supreme Court upheld in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. Following the Webster decision Puzder was a founding member of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. Also while practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder met Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl’s Jr. quick-service restaurant chain. Karcher was embroiled in serious financial difficulties and asked Puzder to move to California as his personal attorney. In 1991, Puzder relocated to Orange County, California. Puzder has been credited with resolving Karcher’s financial dilemma, allowing Karcher to avoid bankruptcy and retain a significant ownership interest in the company he founded, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (CKE). In 1995, Puzder went on to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Fidelity, managing one of the largest corporate legal departments in the country. In 1997, Puzder was also named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE. Also in 1997, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., which owned the Hardee’s quick-service restaurant brand. Hardee’s was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. The company underperformed and its market capitalization dropped to about $200 million. Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year.[5] Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth. Puzder currently owns or franchises over 3,700 restaurants in the United States and 40[11] foreign countries, generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs over 75,000 people in the U.S. In 2011, he was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Board of Washington University School of Law. In 2013, he was elected as a director of the International Franchise Association’s Board of Directors. Puzder is a National Council Co-Chair of the American Enterprise Institute. In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It. Puzder is a frequent author on economic and legal issues in periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, CNBC online, National Review, Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network, a nonpartisan organization opposing government overregulation. Puzder also served as a Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention and as the Chairman of the Platform Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Economy, Job Creation and the Debt.
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SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Administers Social Security, which provides income to retirees and the disabled, and funds Medicare, a health-insurance program for persons over 65 years of age, and Medicaid, which helps states pay for medical care for the poor. Offers social services for poor families, Native Americans, children, the elderly, migrants, refugees, and the handicapped. Oversees institutes dealing with mental health and substance abuse; the Centers for Disease Control, which work to control preventable and infectious diseases; the National Institutes of Health, which conduct research on cancer, AIDS, child health and aging, and other issues; and the Food and Drug Administration, which ensures the safety of the nation’s food supply and tests and approves all drugs.

TOM PRICE: First elected to represent Georgia’s 6th district in November 2004. Prior to going to Washington, Price served four terms in the Georgia State Senate – two as Minority Whip. In 2002, he was a leader in the Republican renaissance in Georgia as the party took control of the State Senate, with Price rising to become the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in the history of Georgia. In Congress, he serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means. In the 114th Congress, Price was named Chair of the House Committee on the Budget. In previous Congresses, he has served as Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Committed to advancing positive solutions under principled leadership, Price has been a fierce opponent of government waste and devoted to limited government and lower spending. For nearly twenty years, Rep. Price worked in private practice as an orthopaedic surgeon. Before coming to Washington he returned to Emory University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor and Medical Director of the Orthopedic Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, teaching resident doctors in training. He received his Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the University of Michigan and completed his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at Emory University.
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SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Promotes community development, administers fair-housing laws, and provides affordable housing and rent subsidies.

BEN CARSON: Born in Detroit, Michigan, when Benjamin Carson was only eight, his parents divorced, and Mrs. Carson was left to raise Benjamin and his older brother Curtis on her own. She worked at two, sometimes three, jobs at a time to provide for her boys. In fifth grade, Carson was at the bottom of his class. His classmates called him “dummy” and he developed a violent, uncontrollable temper. Mrs. Carson was determined to turn her sons’ lives around, so she sharply limited the boys’ television watching and refused to let them outside to play until they had finished their homework each day. She required them to read two library books a week and to give her written reports on their reading even though, with her own poor education, she could barely read what they had written. Within a few weeks, Carson astonished his classmates by identifying rock samples his teacher had brought to class. He recognized them from one of the books he had read. “It was at that moment that I realized I wasn’t stupid,” he recalled later. Carson continued to amaze his classmates with his newfound knowledge and within a year he was at the top of his class. The hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him, and he began to read voraciously on all subjects. He determined to become a physician, and he learned to control the violent temper that still threatened his future. After graduating with honors from his high school, he attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in psychology. From Yale, he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan, where his interest shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. His excellent hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon. After medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at the world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. At age 32, he became the hospital’s Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, a position he would hold for the next 29 years. In 1987, Dr. Carson made medical history with an operation to separate a pair of Siamese twins. The Binder twins were born joined at the back of the head. Operations to separate twins joined in this way had always failed, resulting in the death of one or both of the infants. Carson agreed to undertake the operation. A 70-member surgical team, led by Dr. Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were successfully separated and can now survive independently. Dr. Carson’s other surgical innovations have included the first intra-uterine procedure to relieve pressure on the brain of a hydrocephalic fetal twin, and a hemispherectomy, in which an infant suffering from uncontrollable seizures has half of its brain removed. This stops the seizures, and the remaining half of the brain actually compensates for the missing hemisphere. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Carson has long been in constant demand as a public speaker, and devotes much of his time to meeting with groups of young people. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Dr. Carson’s books include a memoir, Gifted Hands, and a motivational book, Think Big.
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SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Sets the nation’s transportation policy. Jurisdictions include highway planning, development and construction; aviation; urban mass transit; railroads; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines. Supervises the Coast Guard, which is responsible for search and rescue at sea and the enforcement of laws that protect oceans and waterways from oil spills and other pollution.

ELAINE CHAO: The 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor who served from 2001-2009, is the first American woman of Asian descent to be appointed to a President’s Cabinet in our nation’s history. She is the longest tenured Secretary of Labor since World War II, and the only member of President Bush’s original cabinet to have served the entire eight years of his Administration. Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security of the nation’s workforce. Secretary Chao’s distinguished career spans the public, private and non-profit sectors. As President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, she restored public trust and confidence in one of our nation’s premier charitable institutions after it had been tarnished by financial mismanagement and abuse. As Director of the Peace Corps, she established the first programs in the newly liberated Baltic nations and the independent states of the former Soviet Union. Her government service also includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator, and White House Fellow. Prior to her government service, she was Vice President of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp in New York. Secretary Chao earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College. She also attended the 12-college Exchange program at Dartmouth College and Columbia University summer school. Recognized with innumerable awards for her public and community service, she is the recipient of 36 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the globe.
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SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Responsible for the research and development of energy technology, energy conservation, the civilian and military use of nuclear energy, regulation of energy production and use, and the pricing and allocation of oil. Sets standards to reduce the harmful effects of energy production.

RICK PERRY: Upon graduating from Liberty University in 1972, Perry was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and flew C-130 tactical aircraft in the United States, Middle East and Europe. He was discharged with the rank of captain and returned to west Texas to help on his family ranch in 1977. After years as a cotton farmer, Perry jumped into politics in 1985 when he entered the state House of Representatives. Despite being a Democrat, Perry voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 but supported Al Gore’s presidential bid in 1988. In 1989, Perry switched parties and became a Republican. The following year he ran and won in the election for agriculture commissioner, a role in which he promoted the sale of Texas farm produce to other states and foreign nations. After serving two terms as agriculture commissioner, Perry ran for lieutenant governor and became the state’s first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction. Upon George W. Bush’s election to the presidency, Perry assumed the Texas governorship in 2000. He has since won three re-elections as governor, even defeating popular Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the primary election in 2010. Perry also served as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association from 2010 to 2011.
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SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Administers more than 150 federal education programs, including student loans, migrant worker training, vocational education, and special programs for the handicapped.

BETSY DEVOS: Chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan with a diversified consumer product and service portfolio. Active in politics for more than 35 years, Betsy was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times, and she has served in numerous leadership roles with campaigns, party organizations, and political action committees. Today, her political efforts are focused on advancing educational choices. Betsy is also active in her community. She currently chairs both the American Federation for Children and The Philanthropy Roundtable board of directors and serves on a number of other national and local boards including ArtPrize, American Enterprise Institute, Foundation for Excellence in Education, and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland. A graduate of Holland Christian High School, Betsy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her current board and leadership positions include Chairman of the The Windquest Group, Chairman of the American Federation for Children, Board Member of the Alliance for School Choice, Board Member of ArtPrize, Board Member of the Philanthropy Roundtable, Board Member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Board Member of the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, Board Member of the Great Lakes Education Project, and Advisory Board Member of The Potter’s House School.
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SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Provides benefits and services to veterans and their dependents. Offers pensions, education, rehabilitation, home loan guarantees, burial, compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service, and a medical care program.

DAVID SHULKIN: Serves as President of Morristown Memorial Hospital and Morristown Medical Center, and Executive Director of Primary Care Partners, LLC. He also serves as Atlantic Vice President of Primary Care Partners, LLC. and has served as Chief Medical Officer and a Senior Member of the hospital’s management team at Temple University Hospital since March 2004. At Temple, David helped develop a comprehensive error reduction program and implemented numerous efficiency and clinical management programs that have had positive impacts on the hospital’s clinical outcomes and long-range financial strategy. He served as Vice President of Atlantic Health System, Inc until July 2015, and is Chief medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. David was Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and was the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DoctorQuality, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer. While at Penn, David led the Health System in building its integrated delivery system through developing and managing disease management, quality systems, managed care operations, and medical management capabilities. He has established himself as one of the country’s leading experts in clinical management practices and administrative medicine, and he is a nationally acclaimed expert in healthcare quality improvement and clinical management. Prior to joining Temple, David served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Quality Officer of Medicine for the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital (MCPH) and as Vice Dean of that hospital’s teaching affiliate, Drexel University School of Medicine and its Chairman of Medicine. He also serves as Director of ControlRad Systems, Inc. and has been Director of Applied Science Products, Inc. since January 2011. David is a Director of Data Driven Delivery Systems, LLC, IntelliRad Control, Inc. and SpectraMD USA, Inc, and serves as a Trustee of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. David also serves on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association and Hospital Physician, as well as the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Safety, the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management and the Journal of Disease Management. He is a Trustee of Continuum Health Partners, Inc. and an Ex-Officio Trustee of Mount Sinai Beth Israel. David has served in numerous national leadership roles, including the Board of the JCAHO’s Academy for Healthcare Quality and Managed Care and Information System companies. He is a board-certified internist and Professor of Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Albert Einstein School of Medicine, a Senior Fellow at the Health Research and Education Trust of the American Hospital Association and a Senior Fellows at the School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University. He is a Senior Fellow (Adjunct) at the Leonard Davis Institute in Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and was named one of the country’s top Health Care Leaders for the next century by Modern Healthcare in 1997. David was also named an Emerging Leader in Health Care by the Healthcare Forum and Korn/Ferry International in 1998. In 2009, he was named one of the One Hundred Most Influential People in American Healthcare by Modern Healthcare and for the second year in a row was recognized among the “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in the Country“ (ranked as #14 in 2009 and #12 in 2008) by Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician. David is a Fellow at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Institute on Aging at Penn, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He received advanced training in quality assessment, outcomes research, and cost-effective analyses as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Medical Degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He completed his internship at Yale University School of Medicine, and his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian Medical Center.
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SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Works to protect the country against terrorism. Includes 22 agencies and 170,000 employees. The Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Coast Guard are just a few of the agencies that come under the department.

JOHN KELLY: Born and raised in Boston, MA. Kelly enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, and was discharged as a sergeant in 1972, after serving in an infantry company with the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. Following graduation from the University of Massachusetts in 1976, he was commissioned and returned to the 2nd Marine Division where he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander, company executive officer, assistant operations officer, and infantry company commander. Sea duty in Mayport, FL, followed, at which time he served aboard aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS Independence. In 1980, then Captain Kelly transferred to the U.S. Army’s Infantry Officer Advanced Course in Fort Benning, GA. After graduation, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC, serving there from 1981 through 1984, as an assignment monitor. Captain Kelly returned to the 2nd Marine Division in 1984, to command a rifle and weapons company. Promoted to the rank of Major in 1987, he served as the battalion’s operations officer. In 1987, Major Kelly transferred to the Basic School, Quantico, VA, serving first as the head of the Offensive Tactics Section, Tactics Group, and later assuming the duties of the Director of the Infantry Officer Course. After three years of instructing young officers, he attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School for Advanced Warfare, both located at Quantico. Completing duty under instruction and selected for Lieutenant Colonel, he was assigned as Commanding Officer, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA. Holding this command position for two years, Lieutenant Colonel Kelly returned to the East Coast in 1994, to attend the National War College inWashington, DC. He graduated in 1995, and was selected to serve as the Commandant’s Liaison Officer to the U.S. House of Representatives, Capitol Hill, where he was promoted to the rank of Colonel. In 1999, Colonel Kelly transferred to joint duty and served as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in Mons, Belgium. He returned to the United States in 2001, and was assigned to a third tour of duty at Camp Lejeune, now as the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3 with the 2nd Marine Division. In 2002, selected to the rank of Brigadier General, Colonel Kelly again served with the 1st Marine Division, this time as the Assistant Division Commander. Much of Brigadier General Kelly’s two-year assignment was spent deployed in Iraq. He then returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant from 2004 to 2007. Promoted to major general, he returned to Camp Pendleton as the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The command deployed to Iraq in early 2008 for a year-long mission, replacing II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) as Multinational Force-West in Al Anbar and western Ninewa provinces. LtGen Kelly commanded Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North from October 2009 to March 2011. General Kelly comes to United States Southern Command from his previous position as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense from March 2011 to October 2012.
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DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Serves as the top intelligence official in the United States government. Oversees what is known as the Intelligence Community, which consists of more than a dozen civilian and military agencies that collect information on threats against the United States. The 16 agencies include Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.

DAN COATS: Born on May 16, 1943, Jackson, Michigan, Dan received his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, then later, he went on to serve in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he received his law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he was associate editor of the Indiana Law Review. Dan went on to work for a life insurance company in Fort Wayne before joining the office of then-Congressman Dan Quayle as a district representative. He served in the United States Congress from 1981 to 1999. Dan was then elected to the Senate. During his time in Congress, Coats supported and publicized policies to reduce spending, decrease taxes and restructure entitlement programs. He was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, working on strengthening national security. Dan left the Senate in 1999 and then he worked for the law firm named Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He went on to serve as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001. His role as Ambassador resulted in the construction of a new United States Embassy in the center of Berlin. After working as Ambassador, he was an attorney at the law firm of King & Spalding. Additionally, Dan has been a member of the board of many volunteer organizations such as the Center for Jewish and Christian Values, where he was a co-chair. He created The Foundation For American Renewal with his wife in order to continue their involvement with faith-based initiatives, and wrote the Project for American Renewal, a comprehensive initiative created to help resolve many of our nation’s social problems. Dan returned to the U.S. Senate in January 2011. On his return, he aimed to give top priority to reducing the national debt, cutting wasteful spending and promoting a pro-growth economic policy to put Hoosiers and Americans back to work. In the 114th Congress, he was a member of three Senate committees which include Select Intelligence, Finance and the Joint Economic Committee (JEC). Dan also served as chairman of the bicameral JEC and Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure.
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DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Collects intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that he shall have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions. Correlates and evaluates intelligence related to the national security and provides appropriate dissemination of such intelligence. Provides overall direction for and coordination of the collection of national intelligence outside the United States through human sources by elements of the Intelligence Community authorized to undertake such collection and, in coordination with other departments, agencies, or elements of the United States Government which are authorized to undertake such collection, ensuring that the most effective use is made of resources and that appropriate account is taken of the risks to the United States and those involved in such collection. Performs such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the Director of National Intelligence may direct.

MIKE POMPEO: Three term congressman from the 4th District of Kansas. As a teenager, Mike enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated first in his classin 1986 and then served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division. After leaving active duty, Mike graduated from Harvard Law School having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He later returned to his mother’s family roots in South Central Kansas and founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade providing components for commercial and military aircraft. He then became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company. Mike serves on two major committees: Energy and Commerce, which oversees energy, health care, manufacturing, and telecommunications, and the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees America’s intelligence-gathering efforts. Earlier in 2014, he was also appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to investigate the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya. In Congress, Mike has focused on freeing private enterprise to succeed as well as defending our individual Constitutional rights.
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ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Provides aid, usually in the form of loans, and counseling to assist and protect the interests of small business concerns. Helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses in the U.S. and its territories.

LINDA MCMAHON: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in French and a certification to teach in 1969, Linda moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Covington & Burling. In 1980 she became active in World Wrestling Federation, Inc. (renamed World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in 1999), eventually becoming the company’s President, and later, Chief Executive Officer. In 2009, she left the WWE and was appointed to the Connecticut Board of Education. She then ran as a Republican for a seat in the United States Senate, but lost to Democratic Party nominee Richard Blumenthal in the general election. Linda was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Connecticut, as well as a member of the RNC Rules Committee. She is also a Member of the Board of Trustees/Executive Committee at Sacred Heart University, Board Member of the Close Up Foundation, Founder of Get R.E.A.L. Educational and Literacy Programs, Chairman of the Institutional Advancement Committee at Sacred Heart University, Board Member of the Vince and Linda McMahon Family Foundation, and Member of the National Advisory Council for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Develops and enforces environmental regulations imposed on state and local governments, as well as by private industry. Conducts environmental assessment, research, and education, and is responsible for maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws.

SCOTT PRUITT: After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown College and graduating from the University of Tulsa’s School of Law, Scott went into private legal practice, specializing in Constitutional Law. He then became co-owner and managing general partner of Oklahoma City’s Triple-A minor league baseball affiliate, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. Scott took over the team’s marketing operations and helped the team become one of the minor league leaders in attendance and merchandise sales. in 1998 he took on the political establishment and won a seat in the State Senate. As a Senator, Scott was tapped by then-Governor Frank Keating to be the point person on workers’ compensation reform. Eventually serving four years as Assistant Republican Floor Leader, he led the successful effort to pass the Religious Freedoms Act and was a key figure on legislation related to lawsuit reform and government accountability. In 2010, he became only the second Republican in Oklahoma history to serve as Attorney General. Recognized for his effective leadership, he served two terms as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association. In addition to leading the fight to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (chronicled in Josh Blackman’s upcoming book Unraveled), Pruitt has led the litigation that halted President Obama’s three major second term executive initiatives. First, Pruitt led a coalition of thirty states who have obtained an injunction barring the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule, which seeks to greatly expand the federal governments regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Second, Pruitt was a leader of the nearly thirty state coalition of states who obtained an injunction barring the President’s DAPA program for illegal immigrants. The constitutional arguments that General Pruitt developed and which are at the core of that challenge are highlighted in John Yoo and Dean Reuter’s recently released book, Liberty’s Nemesis: the Unchecked Expansion of the State, which contains a chapter authored by Pruitt titled “Preemption without Representation,” which explains why Obama’s executive actions violate the Constitution. Lastly, Pruitt has led a nearly thirty state coalition of states who obtained an unprecedented injunction from the Supreme Court barring the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” from going into effect. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board noted that “Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt deserves particular credit for developing the federalist arguments and exposing how the Clean Power Plan commandeers states. ” In addition to his work in the litigation arena, General Pruitt has also started an initiative that he’s dubbed “The State Overreach Project,” an effort designed to ensure that while pushing back against overreach by the federal government, the States also work to reduce regulatory and licensing burdens at the state and local level.
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UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Develops and recommends trade policy to the President of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating policy within the government through the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee and Trade Policy Review Group.

ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: A law partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, L.L.P, Robert is the leader of the firm’s International Trade Department. He divides his time between traditional trade litigation, policy advice and legislative initiatives. His clients include large U.S. corporations and coalitions. He represents heavy manufacturing, agricultural and high-tech companies, as well as financial services institutions. He has been lead counsel in scores of antidumping and countervailing duty cases during the last several years and is currently active in numerous pending cases and administrative reviews. In recent years he has also focused on market-opening trade actions on behalf of U.S. companies seeking access to foreign markets. He is equally at ease devising strategies for and dealing with executive departments and Congressional committees. Robert was a Deputy United States Trade Representative with the rank of Ambassador during the Reagan Administration. The USTR is the cabinet level agency that develops and coordinates trade policy on behalf of the United States Government and negotiates on trade matters for the President. He had responsibility within the USTR for industry, agriculture, investment and trade policy matters. During his tenure, Robert was involved in all the important trade issues. He regularly attended and chaired subcabinet policy meetings and often attended cabinet meetings when the USTR was unavailable. In addition, he negotiated some two dozen bilateral international agreements on subjects ranging from steel to grain. Robert frequently participated in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now the World Trade Organization) and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development meetings. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. OPIC is the U.S. Government agency whose purpose is to promote economic growth in developing countries through U.S. investment. Prior to his appointment as Deputy USTR, Robert was chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. The committee has jurisdiction over international trade, taxation, Social Security and health and welfare programs. During his tenure, Congress passed the basic economic legislation of the Reagan-Bush Administration, as well as the legislation implementing the Tokyo Round multilateral trade negotiations. Robert remains active in national politics, most recently as Treasurer of the 1996 Republican Presidential Campaign. He speaks and writes often in the United States and abroad on trade and tax issues, politics and other developments in Washington. Robert serves on the boards of charitable and political groups. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and B.A. from Georgetown University.
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AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Represents the United States on the U.N. Security Council and during almost all plenary meetings of the General Assembly, except in the rare situation in which a more senior officer of the United States (such as the U.S. Secretary of State or the President of the United States) is present.

NIKKI HALEY: After attending Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Nikki joined Clemson University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She then took up a position in FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company. Eventually she joined her mother’s business, Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm, in 1994. The business soon grew on to become a highly successful multimillion-dollar company. in 2004 Nikki ran for a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. She faced a challenge in the primary from incumbent Republican Larry Koon but went on to win the primary. She ran unopposed in the general election and won it to become the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. In 2005 she was elected chair of the freshman caucus and majority whip in the South Carolina General Assembly. She successfully ran for re-election in 2006 and 2008. Ever ambitious, Nikki successfully ran for the seat of Governor of South Carolina in 2010 and assumed office in 2011. She was re-elected in 2014.
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WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Oversees the Executive Office of the President (EOP) of the United States. Duties vary greatly in each administration, according to the needs and desires of each president. The position typically plays both a managerial and advisory role that encompasses several important functions: Select and supervise key White House staff, control access to the Oval Office and the president, manage communications and information flow, and negotiate with Congress, executive branch agencies, and external political groups to implement the president’s agenda. He also oversees and coordinates the efforts of the following offices within the EOP and White House Office: Council of Economic Advisers, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Residence, National Security Staff, Office of Administration, Office of Management and Budget, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Office of the Vice President, Domestic Policy Council, National Security Advisor, National Economic Council, Office of Cabinet Affairs, Office of the Chief of Staff, Office of Communications, Office of Digital Strategy, Office of the First Lady, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Administration, Oval Office Operations, Office of Presidential Personnel, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Scheduling and Advance, Office of the Staff Secretary, and Office of the White House Counsel.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English in 1994 from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was student body president. After graduation, Reince served as a clerk for the Wisconsin State Assembly Education Committee. He then enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida. While studying for his law degree, he worked as a clerk for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He also interned at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in California. In 1998, Reince graduated with a J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami after serving as president of the Law School Student Body. He then moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar. Subsequently, Reince joined Wisconsin law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he became a partner in 2006, practicing in the firm’s litigation and corporate practice groups. in 2007, he was elected state GOP party chair, the youngest person ever elected to that position. While working at Michael Best & Friedrich in 2008, Reince was named as one of Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine’s “Rising Stars” and was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. In 2009, he became general counsel of the RNC under chairman Michael Steele. Reince continued as Wisconsin party chairman and general counsel to the RNC until late 2010 when he sent a letter to all 168 voting members of the RNC announcing his candidacy for chairman. On January 14, 2011, Reince was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.
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NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Serves as the chief in-house advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. Also participates in National Security Council meetings and usually chairs the Principal Committee meetings with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense (i.e., the meetings not attended by the President).

MICHAEL FLYNN: A retired Army Lieutenant General, Mike began his career as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. A career intelligence officer, he has over a decade of Signals Intelligence and Electronic Warfare assignments as well as numerous other Airborne, Special Operations, Conventional and Interagency intelligence assignments. Mike serves as an Advisor at Conversion Capital LLC. He also serves as Vice Chairman at Drone Aviation Holding Corp. and has been its Director since December 6, 2016. He has been a Member of Public Sector Advisory Council at Palo Alto Networks, Inc. since February 12, 2015, and has served as a Member of Strategic Advisory Board at Drone Aviation Holding Corp. since May 10, 2016. Mike served in the United States Army for more than 33 years. His career includes serving as the Director of U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Chair of the Military Intelligence Board. Earlier, Mike served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence. He has also served in a number of operational roles, with numerous combat arms, conventional and special operations senior intelligence assignments and also served as the senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. He is a published author, speaker and media personality, with numerous articles, OPEDs and interviews appearing in various U.S. and international media outlets. His first book, published by St. Martin’s Press, is titled The Field of Fight – How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies. Mike is the recipient of the US Intelligence Community’s Gold Seal Medallion, the Service to America Award from the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the US Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, the 2015 William Casey Medal of Honor and the first non-Navy recipient of the distinguished RADM Edwin T. Layton Award, as well as numerous other medals and awards for his service to nation. In 2010, Mike co-authored and published the influential report, “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,”. He is frequently called upon to testify to Congress on a variety of national security related matters. He has also lectured at numerous colleges and universities to include Duke, Harvard, Cambridge, Dartmouth and Yale. Mike graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in management science in 1981 and was commissioned a distinguished military graduate through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He holds three masters degrees (an MBA in Telecommunications, a MMAS in the Military Arts and Sciences and a Masters in National Security Studies) as well as two honorary doctorates (Laws from The Institute of World Politics and Human Letters from The University of Rhode Island), along with numerous other military, law enforcement, intelligence and international awards and honors.
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WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Advises the President on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. Also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.

DONALD MCGAHN: Attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland followed by the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and computer applications, then earned his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 1994. Donald also studied briefly at Georgetown University Law Center. He practiced law at the Patton Boggs international law firm in Washington, D.C., serving as chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1999 to 2008. Donald was nominated to the Federal Election Commission in 2008 by then President George W. Bush, an office he held from July 2008 until his resignation in September 2013. During his tenure, Donald oversaw a number of changes in campaign finance laws, and is credited with loosening regulations on campaign spending. He rejoined Patton Boggs as partner in 2013, and then became a partner at Jones Day law firm in 2014. Donald also served as campaign counsel to Donald Trump during his 2016 bid for president of the United States.
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DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: Assists the President in overseeing the preparation of the Federal budget, evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies and procedures, and works to make sure that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President’s Budget and with Administration policies. Oversees and coordinates the Administration’s regulatory, procurement, financial management, information technology, and information management policies.

MICK MULVANEY: Elected to the U.S. Congress in November, 2010 from South Carolina’s 5th District, Mick is a lifelong Carolinas resident. He attended Georgetown University where he graduated with honors in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance. After college, Mick attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his formal education at Harvard Business School’s OPM program in 2006. He is a serial entrepreneur, having started four businesses, and has private sector experience across many fields, including law, real estate, homebuilding, and restaurants. Mick has also been a columnist for his local paper and an occasional college lecturer. He currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee as well as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He previously served on the Committee on Small Business and the Budget Committee. Mick has been active in his home state as a founding member of the Indian Land Rotary, a youth baseball coach, a member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, and founding member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Mission.
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CHIEF STRATEGIST: Responsible for assisting the President of the United States with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives.

STEPHEN BANNON: Received his MBA from Harvard University, and his undergraduate degree from Virginia Polytechnical Institutes College of Architecture. He has a graduate degree in Government from Georgetown University as well as a Masters of Arts from Georgetown University. Stephen serves as the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network, LLC, as well as the Chief Executive Officer of American Vantage Media Corporation and Affinity Media. He is a Partner of Societe Gererale, one of the largest talent management companies in the entertainment business, and was Chief Executive Officer of American Vantage Media Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Vantage Companies, from May 1, 2004 to March 2005, also serving as its President until March 2005. Stephen served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Genius Products, Inc. since February 2005, and from January 2004 to April 2004, he provided executive and management services to American Vantage as a Consultant. From April 2002 to December 2003, Stephen was Head of Strategic Advisory Services for The Firm, a leading talent management company in the entertainment and media industries. He then served as a Managing Director and Head of media and entertainment investment banking at Jefferies & Company Inc., an institutional brokerage and investment bank for middle market growth companies, from July 2000 to April 2002. Stephen served as Chief Executive Officer of Bannon & Co. Inc., an investment banking firm specializing in the entertainment, media and communications industries, from April 1990 to July 1998. Prior to this, he was employed by SG Cowan Securities Corporation from July 1998 to March 2000. He has been the Chairman of Genius Products, Inc. since September 30, 2005 and is its Director since March 2005. Stephen served as Chairman of Points International Ltd. from February 15, 2007 to November 2009. From December 1993 to October 1996, he served as First Look Media Inc.’s Chairman of the Board. Previously, he served as Co-Chairman of Genius Products Inc. until September 2005. Stephen was Vice-Chairman of First Look Media Inc. from October 1996 to June 2000, and has been Director of Points International Ltd. since February 2007. He served as a Director of SinoFresh HealthCare Inc. from September, 2003 to March 12, 2007, and as a Director of American Vantage Companies from May 2002 to March 2005. Stephen was a Trustee of American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and has served as a Director of SARS Corporation since October 2007. He served as a Director of First Look Studios Inc. from December 1993 to February 2004.
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WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Responsible for collecting information about actions and events within the president’s administration, issuing the administration’s reactions to developments around the world, and providing daily briefings for the news media.

SEAN SPICER: Has a diverse and extensive background including senior positions on Capitol Hill and political campaigns, the top ranks of the administration and over a decade of military public affairs service. He has been communications director of the Republican National Committee since 2011, and chief strategist since February 2015. A founder and partner at Endeavour, Sean has earned praise for his dynamic, creative and effective media events that have taken place on every continent, including 24 countries. Prior to joining Endeavour, Sean served as the Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for Media and Public Affairs within the Executive Office of the President of the United States from July 2006 through January 2009. As a member of the senior executive service, Sean was the administration’s point person for creating and implementing the domestic and international media strategy on trade issues. From May 2005 to July of 2006 Sean served as the as the Communications Director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives, the leadership office charged with creating and overseeing communications and messaging. During his time at the Conference he oversaw the training of members of Congress and over 220 press secretaries. Under Sean’s leadership, the Conference held the first ever “bloggers row” where members of Congress were able to disseminate the message of the day to large gatherings of political and issue-oriented bloggers. While serving as the Communications Director of the House Budget Committee from January 2003 to May 2005, Sean ensured the committee’s defined message was disseminated in all public activities and documents. During the 2000 election cycle, Sean served as the Director of Incumbent Retention at the National Republican Congressional Committee where he oversaw the re-election strategies and plans of over 220 members of Congress. He has also served as the top communicator for the House Government Reform Committee; members of Congress from New Jersey and Florida; and several local and congressional political campaigns. Sean is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy (Reserves) and currently is the Director of the Navy Public Affairs Center Atlantic Reserve Unit in Norfolk, Virginia. His insights and activities have earned him recognition and awards from general and flag officers in the US and Sweden. Sean has been a leading source for national and international reporters. He has worked with and been quoted by every major news source including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Jiji News EFE, Reuters, Bloomberg, Associated Press and he has appeared on National Public Radio, BBC Radio, AgriTalk Radio, Marketplace Radio, CNBC, Fox Business Network, Al-Jeezera, Reuters TV and Bloomberg TV. He has been a featured speaker at the Close-Up Foundation for over fifteen years, previously was elected by his peers in the House of Representatives to serve as the president of the Republican Communications Association and has taught media relations and on-camera skills to US and foreign national government and military officials. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Defense Committee. In 2004, he was elected to represent Virginia in the Electoral College. Sean was educated at Portsmouth Abbey School, and is a graduate of Connecticut College. In 2012, he received a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses

U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses – Truth Revolt

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UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.

According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.

What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.

“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.

Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,

Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.

While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: 22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Funded Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014

22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Backed Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014, Audit Finds – Daily Signal

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A new report from a government watchdog examining the success of taxpayer-funded Obamacare co-ops found that the vast majority lost money last year and struggled to enroll consumers, throwing their ability to repay the taxpayer-funded loans into question.

According to the audit from the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, 22 of the 23 co-ops created under the Affordable Care Act experienced net losses through the end of 2014. Additionally, 13 of the 23 nonprofit insurers enrolled significantly less people than projected.

Co-ops, or consumer-oriented and operated plans, are nonprofit insurance companies created under Obamacare. Co-ops exist in a variety of capacities, and lawmakers hoped the entities would foster competition in areas where few insurance options were available.

The co-ops received $2 billion in loans from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist in their launch and solvency. However, the government watchdog warned that repayment may not be possible.

“The low enrollment and net losses might limit the ability of some co-ops to repay startup and solvency loans and to remain viable and sustainable,” the report said.

Andy Slavitt, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, attributed the co-ops’ financial losses to the difficulties of moving into a new market.

“The co-ops enter the health insurance market with a number of challenges, [from] building a provider network to pricing premiums that will sustain the business for the long term,” he said. “As with any new set of business ventures, it is expected that some co-ops will be more successful than others.”

Roughly half of the nonprofit co-ops struggled to enroll consumers, and the vast majority experienced significant losses in 2014.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general report, Arizona’s co-op, Meritus Health Partners, saw the lowest enrollment when compared with its projections. Through the end of 2014, the insurer enrolled just 869 Arizona consumers, compared with its projected enrollment of 23,998.

By contrast, New York far surpassed its enrollment projections. As of Dec. 31, Health Republic Insurance of New York signed up 155,402 people. It expected to enroll 30,864.

Additionally, 22 of the 23 co-ops experienced net losses as of Dec. 31, with the exception of Maine Community Health Options, which was profitable.

Just two insurance companies, including the co-op, offered plans on the federal exchange in Maine. Maine Community Health Options offered the lowest-priced coverage and enrolled 80 percent of marketplace consumers in the state, according to the inspector general.

In South Carolina, Consumers’ Choice Health Insurance Company exceeded profitability projections as of the end of 2014. However, the co-op still incurred net losses of $3.8 million. It expected a net income loss of $8.1 million.

Information regarding income for the co-op serving Iowa and Nebraska, CoOportunity, was not available, as the insurer was liquidated in March. CoOportunity received $145.3 million from the federal government in startup and solvency loans.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog came after Louisiana’s co-op, Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc., announced last week it would be discontinuing operations at the end of the year. The nonprofit insurer projected to enroll 28,106 Louisiana consumers in 2014 but signed up just 9,980 through the federal marketplace.

Additionally, Louisiana Health Cooperative incurred $20.6 million in net losses as of Dec. 31.

Similarly, Tennessee’s co-op, Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company, froze enrollment during Obamacare’s second open enrollment period, which began in October. The co-op cited its financial conditions as a reason for its enrollment freeze.

According to the inspector general’s report, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services placed four co-ops on “enhanced oversight and corrective action plans.” Two were put on notice for low enrollment.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: IRS Might Not Refund $38M In Overpaid ObamaCare Fines

IRS Might Not Refund $38M Overpaid ObamaCare Fines – Sweetness & Light

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Fines? What fines? Those are ‘shared responsibility payments.’

From the Washington Free Beacon:

300,000 Taxpayers Overpaid Obamacare Fine by $38 Million, IRS May Not Return Money

By Morgan Chalfant | July 15, 2015

Approximately 6.6 million U.S. taxpayers paid a penalty for not having health insurance imposed this year under Obamacare, and hundreds of thousands of them overpaid the fine.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the number of taxpayers paying the fine, which was put in place to encourage Americans to enroll in health coverage, exceeded the Obama administration’s initial estimate by 10 percent.

Funny how all of the ‘bad stuff’ about Obama-Care was underestimated. What are the odds?

According to a new report from the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average fine paid by taxpayers was $190. The penalty, however, can reach up to 1 percent of one’s income.

The report also discovered that about 300,000 taxpayers, most of whom should have been deemed exempt because of low income, overpaid the fine by $35 million. The average amount overpaid by each individual was $110.

So Obama-Care even fined the poor. What a surprise.

The IRS has yet to decide whether or not it will return the funds to those who overpaid…

According to the report, approximately 10.7 million U.S. taxpayers filed for exemption from the penalty…

And never mind that most of these people getting exemptions are the very people Obama-Care was supposed to get to pay their ‘shared responsibility.’

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Hawaii Shutting Down $205 Million Obamacare Exchange (Video)

Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Shutting Down – TPNN

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Hawaii’s state legislature rejected legislation giving a $28-million cash infusion to its troubled Obamacare insurance exchange, making it impossible for the website to operate after this year.

The exchange will stop taking new enrollees on Friday.

Hawaii’s Connector Exchange released a statement saying:

“Now that it is clear that the state will not provide sufficient support for the Hawaii Health Connector’s operations through fiscal year 2016 (ending June 30, 2016), the Connector can no longer operate in a manner that would cause it to incur additional debts or other obligations for which it is unable to pay.”

“Staff reductions will commence immediately, with the executive director ( Jeff Kissel) exiting once the bulk of operational activities end.” The statement continued saying: “If the state cannot facilitate an orderly transition, the Connector’s operations will abruptly end, as the Connector does not have the resources to continue operations.”

According to Americanthinker, more states, including: Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Oregon – are having massive problems with their Obamacare websites, and are expected to close also. The cost? Almost a Billion dollars more of our money flushed down the drain.

Can any state exchanges continue to exist? With 36 states refusing to open their own exchanges and the Supreme Court ready to deal the death blow to subsidies, the future of the Obamacare exchanges appears uncertain at best.

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The Bats And The Bees: Obama’s Easter Sunday Nightmare (Video)

White House Replaces Easter Bunny With A Bat – Canada Free Press

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The lily white and seashell-pink eared Easter bunny must be a – big, bad racist.

That’s right, Peter Cottontail, being white as a cloud is racist, doesn’t teach the dangers of global warming to little Easter egg-hunting children, so the White House has already replaced him/her/it (LGBT politically correct) with a big, black live bat for this year’s ‘traditional’ Easter egg roll.

Dry your tears, children, Peter Cottontail will no longer go “hop, hop, hopping along”.

That was just a song, and Obama is singing a different tune.

It may be Easter where you are, but for all the children among the 35,000 Easter egg hunters on the White House lawn today, it’s cultural Marxism, writ big.

From the gleeful Washington Post reportage on the replacement of the Easter Bunny, you’d think that the last nail had finally been pounded into the coffin of capitalism.

“Kamilah, a Malayan Flying Fox, is helping educate kids about bats’ role as pollinators. (Organization for Bat Conservation). (Washington Post, April 6, 2015)

“What has big ears and soft fur and will be greeting children at the White House Easter Egg Roll today?

“A giant bat, of course.”

Peter Cottontail will no longer go hop, hop, hopping along anybody’s bunny trail now that the Marxist bat of sustainable ecosystems has been officially installed.

Parents: Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Cinderella will soon be undergoing sex change operations to better reflect the Gender Battles of Our Times. Anyone caught with Limbaugh’s ‘Rush Revere and the American Revolution’ will be branded as a dissident.

“Instead of the petting zoos of years past, Kamilah, a Malayan flying fox, will be hanging out – or, rather, hanging upside-down – off Rob Mies. As Kamilah’s spokesman and the executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, Mies will explain bats’ role in the ecosystem. (Post)

“Bats are important pollinators of bananas and avocados, the cacao plant, which we make chocolate from, and even the agave plant, which we make tequila from,” Mies says.

“Kamilah is just the bat for the job, Mies says: She’s outgoing, charismatic and loves people. However, like most bats, she is nocturnal.

“She can be a little groggy in the morning, and we have to be at the White House at 4:30 a.m. to go through security and be sniffed by police dogs,” Mies says. “I wish I could give her a little cup of coffee or something.

“When people see Kamilah’s 5-foot wingspan and cute, pointy face, they are often “shocked but not scared,” Mies says. Plus, the giant bat is a good role model for Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative, as she mostly eats fruit.”

What’s a little shock when you’re a 3-year-old little gaffer sussing out chocolate eggs?

Why should the small fry of the day be allowed to live in their innocent fairytale world, when Barack and Michelle Obama can read them their own version of global warming fairytales?

Why should the tradition of Easter at the White House that survived through a long bevy of ‘other presidents’, a tradition dating back all the way to 1878 when Congress kicked would-be egg rollers off of their lawn and President Rutherford B. Hayes invited them to the White House instead, when cultural Marxism is running the show?

“President Jimmy Carter introduced a petting zoo in 1977, which included a 1,200-pound steer named Big Red. (Post)

“Kamilah, however, will be the best animal attraction yet, Mies says.

“I think kids will be more intrigued by the bat than an Easter bunny – unless that bunny is hopping around with a basket full of chocolates,” he says.

And for any little toddlers who may be frightened off by Kamilah’s fabled 5-foot wingspan and be disappointed that a bat got to replace the Easter Bunny, so what, as far as the Obamas are concerned, it’s time they learned about the ecosystem from a fruit-eating bat, anyway.

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Panic And Blood Curdling Screams From Children At Obama Event – Daily Caller

Panic ensued and the blood curling screams of small children rang out Monday as Barack Obama read “Where the Wild Things Are” during the Easter Egg Roll event.

Why?

Bees were attacking.

“They sting!”

“They’re scary!”

“Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

Obama tried to calm the children down, claiming “bees are good.”

“They won’t harm nothing. They won’t sting you.”

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The president then began to read Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, hoping to distract the crying children.

“Hold on! Hold on! You guys are wild things! You’re not supposed to be scared of bees when you’re a wild thing!”

The White House has its own beehive on the South Lawn and uses the honey in recipes, but where was Charlie Brandt – the official White House beekeeper – during all this mess?

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Leftist Nightmare Update: The Hidden Failure Of Obama’s Health Care Overhaul

The Hidden Failure Of Obama’s Health Care Overhaul – Roll Call

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At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call.

Those delays – due to technological snags with enrollment websites, bureaucratic tangles at state Medicaid programs and a surge of applicants – betray Barack Obama’s promise to expand access to health care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

As a result, some low-income people are being prevented from accessing benefits they are legally entitled to receive. Those who face delays may instead put off doctors appointments and lose access to their medicines, complicating their medical conditions and increasing the eventual cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Democratic lawmakers who have promoted the law’s historic coverage expansion are wary of acknowledging problems that hand opponents of the Affordable Care Act another rhetorical weapon, said Robert Blendon, a professor at Harvard University School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government.

“Any problem plays against the Democrats,” Blendon said.

Meanwhile, Republicans usually eager to criticize the Obama administration or states for implementation problems risk looking hypocritical by showcasing the Medicaid waits. Many oppose expanding the program to people with incomes as high as 138 percent of the federal poverty line, as the law allows states to do, and are loath to demand more efficient enrollment to achieve that goal.

“It’s a total contradiction in terms to spend your public time castigating Medicaid as something that never should have been expanded for poor people and as a broken, problem-riddled system, and then turn around and complain about the length of time to enroll people,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress.

Medicaid is a joint federal-state health program for the poor seen as a linchpin to expanding health coverage under the 2010 law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).

Eligibility for the program is determined by federal and state guidelines, with the administration of the program left to the states. People enroll for Medicaid through federal or state websites or use other avenues, such as filing paper applications.

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the government tried to help states anticipate the workload from the coverage expansion through steps such as weekly data releases showing how many residents appeared to qualify for Medicaid. He said the agency is busy transferring remaining data to those states equipped to process the information.

“CMS is actively transferring accounts to all states that are ready to receive them,” Albright said in an email. “In the meantime, every state not receiving transfers can be enrolling people through alternative options CMS has made available.”

Variety of Problems

Forty-one states as of May 29 responded to requests from CQ Roll Call about the number of pending Medicaid applications, the number of individuals covered in the applications and processing times. The remainder, including Missouri and New Mexico, didn’t respond to CQ Roll Call’s emails and phone calls for enrollment data.

The problems are most acute in three states – California, Illinois and North Carolina – where almost 1.5 million Medicaid applicants remain in limbo. Though all three are experiencing high volumes of enrollment, problems vary from California’s balky electronic sign-up system to Illinois’ inability to predict a surge of applications.

The waits are linked in part to the troubled rollout of the federal insurance website healthcare.gov last fall. Alaska, Kansas, Maine and Michigan still are unable to receive applications their residents completed through the federal website. Others such as Georgia received applications submitted last fall in May.

“These people were encouraged to seek help, and they didn’t get it,” Blendon said.

Beyond the individuals, the delays have left doctors, hospitals and other health providers unsure whether they will be reimbursed for care they provide to people who appear eligible for Medicaid but haven’t received benefit cards.

“It’s a huge systemic issue right now,” said Rosenbaum.

The delays are caused by a mix of technical problems and a surge of applications, especially in states that cajoled their residents to sign up for newly expanded benefits. More than 900,000 Californians are waiting for their benefit cards or denial letters, say state officials. In Illinois, another 330,000 people are in limbo. In North Carolina, it’s 285,884, plus another 12,956 applications that may include more than one person.

Norman Williams, a spokesman for the California Medicaid system, said the situation is “not something we are satisfied with.”

He said people still waiting for coverage decisions could go to local hospitals that can expedite their enrollments and, in many cases, provide temporary benefit cards.

“It’s not an easy situation for them,” he said. “We certainly understand that. That’s why we have this sense of urgency to get this done and get them into coverage.”

Retroactive Benefits

Supporters of the law note that Medicaid benefits are retroactive. If an eligible person received care while waiting to be enrolled, the program would pay for services dating back 90 days before the person applied, although some states make applicants specifically request retroactive coverage. But people with applications in the queue may not be aware of that requirement and have no guarantee that states will agree they qualify for Medicaid.

States are supposed to process Medicaid applications within 45 days. Several reported that they are largely meeting those guidelines. Some, including Colorado, Iowa and New York, significantly sped up processing this year.

Others expect federal exemptions for “unusual circumstances.” In Virginia, which first got a trickle of applications from healthcare.gov in late February, 45 percent of applications are past the 45-day limit.

Many states that relied on healthcare.gov to handle applications as well as states that built their own websites are wrestling with backlogs.

In the 36 states whose residents signed up through healthcare.gov, at least 1.4 million people faced delays because the website was unable for months to transmit the information to states. Once it did, states complained they weren’t receiving all of the applications and that data was incomplete or riddled with errors.

The logjams were so bad that officials asked applicants to re-apply directly through the states, where workers often sorted the information by hand. That created duplicate applications for as many as half of prospective Medicaid enrollees in Idaho and Louisiana. Other states disagreed with federal eligibility decisions: Indiana approved only 5 percent of the healthcare.gov applications, Texas approved 17 percent and North Carolina approved 19 percent.

States that ran their own websites, including California and Illinois, also experienced troubles. The new California computer system has technical glitches, including difficulty sending information to counties that help process applications. Because California had a massive campaign urging people to enroll, workers were swamped.

“It’s a very big deal because millions of people are waiting for health care, and these people can’t afford health care,” said Rosenbaum.

Cynthia Carmona, the director of government and external affairs at the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said that the group has “been having a hard time getting good answers from the state.” She said that some people who applied in October still haven’t heard whether they are enrolled.

“We’re disappointed,” Carmona said. “We’re trying to give them room to fix the issue but this can’t go on forever. We need resolution.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: HHS Document Reveals Scope Of Obamacare Rollout Disaster

HHS Document Reveals Scope Of Obamacare Rollout Disaster – Big Government

Type “Obamacare rollout disaster” into the Google search engine, and you get approximately 290,000 results, most of them dating back to the days immediately following the catastrophic October 2013 launch of Healthcare.gov.

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Significantly, however, the most recent results focus on the Judicial Watch release on May 19, 2014. That’s the date Judicial Watch released a 106-page document we obtained on May 1 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that reveals the shocking details of the rollout disaster.

Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.

A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process.

The Affordable Health Care Act website immediately encountered massive problems typical of those reported by the Chicago Tribune: “Consumers seeking more information on their new options under the Affordable Care Act were met with long delays, error messages and a largely non-working federal insurance exchange and call center Tuesday morning.” Late-night comedian Jay Leno joked that Americans were getting carpal tunnel syndrome trying to get through to register.

Pressed for an explanation in a conference call with reporters on Obamacare’s opening day, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to disclose the number of people who had purchased insurance through the site saying, “We have just decided not to release that yet.”

The full extent of the failure, however, is reflected in the details provided by the Judicial Watch FOIA document revelations. They include:

On October 1, there were 43,208 accounts created and 1 enrollment.

As of October 31, 2013, there were 1,319,425 accounts created nationwide – but only 30,512 actual enrollments in Obamacare.

On October 1, 2013, at the end of the first day (4:30), the Senior Advisor at Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Brigid M. Russell, sent out an email to her staff with a subject line celebrating “2 enrollments!” The body copy of the email read: “We have our second official FFM enrollment! The first two Form 834s sent out are to: 1) CareSource in Ohio, 2) BCBS of North Carolina.

Official figures contained in the HHS report provide conflicting figures as to the number of enrollments. FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] statistics show 23,259 cumulative to-date applications submitted as of 10/2/13 and 286 completed plan selections. Earlier numbers show 356 enrollments created as of 7pm on 10/2/13 that were completed with Form 834s sent.

An October 2, 2013, email from HHS Special Assistant Marianne Bowen indicated serious problems with congressional enrollments: “The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers. Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete.” [The U.S. Congress has approximately 24,000 professional staffers.]

On October 2, 2013, the Obamacare website had 70 million page views but only 5 million were unique visitors, and 48% of registrations failed. The large number of page views may have been the result of visitors repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button due to long waiting times.

Judicial Watch was able to get information through FOIA that no one else had gotten – in this case, the specifics about the unmitigated failure of Healthcare.gov. The Obama administration tried to cover this up and Congress failed to follow through. Imagine what would have happened to Obamacare if the American people knew that only one person was able to enroll on its first day? And imagine what will happen when the full truth is finally revealed about what other Obamacare failures President Obama is hiding.

Even after it became clear that the Healthcare.gov website had failed to perform, the Obama administration continued putting out bogus figures touting its success. On April 17, Obama boasted that eight million people had signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov. But, that figure appears to have been massively over-inflated. According to testimony in May by the America’s Health Insurance Plans association before the House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, “Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment.”

In addition to our FOIA lawsuit to obtain rollout enrollment figures, on March 27, 2014, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the HHS for records regarding the testing and oversight of the Obama administration’s error-filled “834” reporting forms. Form 834 is an electronic file sent from HealthCare.gov to an insurance company after a consumer picks a health care coverage plan. An inaccurate 834 form may result in consumers either not having coverage, or being turned down for payment claims. It has been estimated that as many as 33 percent of the 834 forms for enrollees in the federal health care website may have been inaccurate, incomplete, or missing altogether.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Sick Vet Told To Cancel His Obamacare Plan – Not Enough Doctors In His Area (Video)

Sick California Vet Told He Has To Cancel His Obamacare Plan Because Not Enough Doctors In His Area – Weasel Zippers

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The chances of this being an isolated incident are between slim and none.

Via Free Beacon:

A California veteran is having trouble finding a doctor because of a faulty Obamacare plan.

Kyle, affected by chronic Lyme disease he contracted while on active duty, is frustrated with the lack of doctor availability on his Anthem BlueCross insurance plan. “I was on the phone with Anthem for two hours while they were trying to find me a doctor within 20 miles. Finally a supervisor came on the phone and said ‘Sir, we have to go, we have other people to help’ and advised me [that] I need to cancel my plan,” he told KPIX.

State law stipulates that insurers must have enough doctors to enable patients to get an appointment within 15 days within 15 miles of their home. Kyle was not able to find a doctor under these requirements and neither was Anthem. Inaccurately listed doctors are considered a violation of the law. The list of doctors given to CoveredCalifornia was incorrect.

Keep reading

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Leftist Nightmare Update: More Obamacare Workers Paid To Do Nothing – Nevada Dumps $72M Exchange (Videos)

Yet Another Obamacare Contractor Office Paid To Do Nothing – Daily Caller

Employees of an Obamacare contractor in a fourth state have now stepped up to admit that they’re doing no work while being paid taxpayer dollars, according to Missouri’s KOLR.

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Now Serco offices in Arkansas are being added to the list of states where Obamacare contractors are being paid to do nothing, including Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Serco is an Obamacare contractor being paid over $1 billion to process any paper Obamacare applications.

Anonymous workers, who wished not to be named to avoid retribution, told Chris Nagus of KMOV in Missouri that they don’t have enough work to fill their time and are required to stay on the clock after work hours.

One worker said that he processed just 40 Obamacare coverage applications over six months, a similar situation to the Missouri office. A Missouri Serco employee named Lavonne quit her job with the company over frustration at the lack of work.

“I think for the entire month of December I processed six applications and that was pretty good,” Lavonne previously told Nagus.

In the Rogers, Arkansas office, workers are required to be on the clock, getting paid, but aren’t allowed to do any work. One worker told Nagus that employees aren’t allowed to make any outbound calls after 9 p.m. – but are required to stay on the clock until midnight.

“So why even be there until midnight,” Nagus asked the anonymous employee.

“I don’t know,” the worker responded. “Good question.”

“So they make the calls stop at 9, so from 9 to midnight are the callers kind of bored?” Nagus asked.

“Yeah, there’s nothing going on,” the worker concluded. But the employees are required to stay for the entire shift.

Even worse, the Rogers, Arkansas office is still hiring.

Watch the video report here.

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Nevada Votes To Dump Its Disastrous State Obamacare Exchange, Move To HealthCare.gov – Weasel Zippers

$72 million in taxpayer funds down the drain.

Via LVRJ:

The board of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange voted this morning to dump the contractor that botched the building of its Nevada Health Link website, and to move partly into the federal system for at least the next year.

The move would let the state exchange keep its autonomy and its member-based funding, and to allow the marketplace to switch to an operational website from another state for its 2016 enrollment period.

The change to a new system could cost as much as $57 million in addition to the $72 million contract the exchange already had with Xerox. But exchange officials said they’ve already applied for federal grants to cover the cost. Plus, the cost of buying another system may drop considerably by the time the exchange is ready to go forward in late 2015, state officials said.

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Yes, Some People Will Have To Pay Back Their Obamacare Subsidies – The Foundry

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Obamacare offers subsidies to help pay for health insurance – if you are buying insurance through the federal exchange and your income qualifies. But now the word is out that at least 1 million people are probably getting the wrong subsidy amounts.

The Washington Post has inside sources providing all sorts of juicy details on this problem – but it didn’t take an investigative reporter to predict this was going to happen.

Heritage expert Alyene Senger warned that Obamacare’s subsidies are tied to income – and if your income changes at any point during the year, your subsidy is supposed to change, too. She explained in January:

if a person’s income fluctuates, which happens more frequently than many realize, the subsidy amount will change from month to month. Thus, when it comes time to file taxes in April, the amount of subsidy received over the past year must be reconciled with the final calculation of the total subsidy for which the individual was eligible—based on actual income for the entire tax year.

So if you qualify for more subsidy help than you receive during the year, you’ll get a tax refund. But if you were given more subsidy than your income qualifies you for, you will be required to repay the excess subsidy.

Now, the Post reports that the government is attempting to keep up with this – except that the part of Obamacare’s computer system that is supposed to match proof of income with people’s Obamacare applications is, well, not built yet.

Since taxpayers are funding the subsidies, it’s important to make sure the correct amounts are going to the correct people, right? Well, that does make the Obama administration “sensitive” these days, the Post says:

Beyond their concerns regarding overpayments, members of the Obama administration are sensitive because they promised congressional Republicans during budget negotiations last year that a thorough income-verification system would be in place.

This setup is a disaster. And it will ensnare a lot of people. Senger pointed to one analysis estimating that nearly 38 percent of families eligible for subsidies also experience “large income increases” at some point during the year – meaning they would have to pay back some or all of their subsidies.

“The issue is symptomatic of many problems that will plague the law in coming years,” Senger said.

Is it any wonder that 60 percent of voters in a recent poll said the debate about Obamacare is not over? And 89 percent said Obamacare will affect their voting decisions this fall.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is right – Obamacare is still not the answer for America’s health care needs. It’s time for Congress to look at patient-centered alternatives that would restore choice to American health care – and stop the unending tales of Obamacare disaster.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Obamacare Contractor Pays Employees To Do Nothing (Video)

Obamacare Contractor Pays Employees To Spend Their Days Doing Nothing – Weekly Standard

An eye-opening report from KMOV about an Obamacare contractor using taxpayer dollars to pay their employees to spend all day doing nothing:

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“A billion dollar government contract involving hundreds of local workers at an Obamacare processing center… But now employees on the inside are stepping forward, asking, Is this why we’re broke? Some of them claim to spend most of their day doing nothing,” reports a local St. Louis reporter.

The contractor is called Serco and local reporter discovered that, despite there not being any work to be done, the government contractor is still hiring.

“The company is still hiring,” says a local reporter. “A current employee wonders why… After providing proof of employment, this Serco employee agreed to speak through the phone with their voice altered. The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do.”

The reporter asks the employee, “Are there some days where a data entry person may not process one single application?”

“There are weeks when a data entry person would not process an application,” the employee responds.

The reporter explains, “The facility is one of three Serco locations that process paper applications, people seeking to qualify for insurance.”

“It’s no secret, the rollout for the website was a mess. But now that the website is running, this employee says the paper applications are trickling in less and less. Our employee doesn’t appear to be the only one complaining. On April 16, a person claiming to be a former Serco employee posted this online, ‘This place is a JOKE. There’s nothing to do-NO WORK.'”

The reporter adds, “Our employee says every person who works here is happy to have a job, and wants to work hard. But frustration is mounting. Serco’s contract is worth upwards of $1.2 billion.”

The anonymous employee says the contract gets paid by the federal government per employee hired. Which is why it’s in their interest to have a bunch of employees sitting around all day doing nothing.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Obamacare Exchanges Spend Average $922 Per Enrollee

Report: Obamacare Exchanges Spend Average $922 Per Enrollee – The Foundry

Federal and state-run insurance exchanges on average spent $922 per enrollee to sign up people for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report by a Washington class-action law firm.

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The report calculates the health law’s federal and state-run insurance exchanges spent more than $7.39 billion through the March 31 open-enrollment deadline.

The report came from Jay Angoff, a partner with Mehri & Skalet PLLC who previously worked for the Health and Human Services Department, and cited data from HHS and the Congressional Research Service.

States that opted to set up their own exchanges under the health law known as Obamacare paid an average $1,503 per enrollee. The federal exchange operating in 36 states averaged $647 in costs per enrollee, the report said.

Ingrid Babri, an associate at the firm and co-author of the report, said she was surprised such data had not been calculated sooner. “It’s important for policy makers to know how much it costs each state to insure people,” she said.

The five jurisdictions with the highest cost-per-enrollee costs were Hawaii ($23,899), District of Columbia ($12,467), North Dakota ($7,089), Delaware ($6,825) and Wyoming ($6,323), the report said. The District yesterday voted to apply a new tax on all health-related insurance products to help pay for its Obamacare exchange.

Alyene Senger, a health research associate at The Heritage Foundation, said the latest federal data from late April shows the government has sent at least $5 billion to states to help build state health exchanges.

“What’s unclear is if the federal government will recoup any of the millions of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted on botched state exchanges such as those in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts,” she said. “It’s also uncertain how much more it will cost to keep the state exchanges going or to transfer the systems onto the federal exchange.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Obamacare Penalizes Married Couples By Up To $10,000

Obamacare Penalizes Married Couples By Up To $10,000 – Tell Me Now

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Ah, Obamacare deals out yet another blow to the American public. Apparently Obamacare enrollee’s better make sure they want to tie the knot – or better yet if they can afford it, before signing up.

As we all know, the Affordable Care Act, isn’t as affordable as the president would like to have us think. That being said, couples living together, could potentially save $10,000 over the couple who are doing the same thing, but possess the legal document.

That’s right, Obamacare is punishing you for being married.

The way this loophole works is based on income levels. You see, when you are single, it appears that you only make so much, and having less than a married couple, you can afford less. But when you live with someone, and aren’t married you incur half the cost of living expenses. Obamacare does not factor this in.

This in turn makes it look like you are making less than the married folk, but in all reality, the income may be exactly the same between competing couples.

In a mathematical demonstration, Britbart explains:

“In order to receive a government subside, a married couple must earn less than $62,040. Therefore, a married couple with each spouse making $35,000 annually for a combined income of $70,000 dollars would not qualify for a healthcare subside. In contrast, an unmarried couple with each partner making $40,000 for a combined income of $80,000 could qualify for thousands of dollars in subsides.”

The fair thing to do here is to base the insurance on household incomes, but that may just be the point.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow with Heritage Foundation, speculates that the “law was formulated on ideological grounds,” because, “unmarried couples often vote Democrat and married couples lean Republican.”

What do you think – just unfair, or liberal ploy?

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Your Daley Gator Obamacare Nightmare News Roundup

‘The Debate Over Repealing This Law Is Over’: Obama Boasts 7.1 Million Have Signed Up To Obamacare, But Study Shows Just 858,000 Newly Insured Americans Have Paid Up! – Daily Mail

A triumphant President Barack Obama declared Tuesday his signature medical insurance overhaul a success, saying it has made America’s health care system ‘a lot better’ in a Rose Garden press conference.

But buried in the 7.1 million enrollments he announced in a heavily staged appearance is a more unsettling reality.

Numbers from a RAND Corporation study that has been kept under wraps suggest that barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans – nowhere near 7.1 million – have paid for new policies and joined the ranks of the insured by Monday night.

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Others were already insured, including millions who lost coverage when their existing policies were suddenly cancelled because they didn’t meet Obamacare’s strict minimum requirements.

Still, he claimed that ‘millions of people who have health insurance would not have it’ without his insurance law.’

‘The goal we’ve set for ourselves – that no American should go without the health care they need… is achievable,’ Obama declared.

The president took no questions from reporters, but celebrated the end of a rocky six-month open-enrollment period by taking pot shots at Republicans who have opposed the law from the beginning as a government-run seizure of one-seventh of the U.S. economy.

‘The debate over repealing this law is over,’ he insisted. ‘The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.’

The president also chided conservatives ‘who have based their entire political agenda on repealing it,’ and praised congressional Democrats for their partisan passage of the law without a single GOP vote.

‘We could not have done it without them, and they should be proud of what they’ve done,’ Obama boasted, in a clear nod to November’s contentious elections in which Republicans are expected to make large gains on an anti-Obamacare platform because of the law’s general lack of popularity.

‘In the end,’ he warned the GOP, ‘history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security… That’s what the Affordable Care Act represents.’

‘“The bottom line is this,’ said Obama: ‘The share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth in the cost of insurance is down. There’s no good reason to go back.’

Republicans will differ with that assessment as Election Day nears. They need to gain a net total of six Senate seats in order to reclaim the majority and control both houses of Congress, a goal that appears reachable since two-thirds of the seats being contested are held by Democratic incumbents.

No national political analyst has predicted a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives.

White House press secretary Jay Carney stopped short of saying ‘I told you so,’ but chided a sparse press corps in the briefing room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for ever doubting that the Obamacare system would enroll more than 7 million Americans.

‘At midnight last night we surpassed everyone’s expectations,’ he boasted, ‘at least everyone in this room.’

While he took great pains to emphasize that the total would grow – saying ‘we’re still waiting on data from state exchanges’ – he dodged tough questions about other statistics that reporters thought he should have had at the ready.

Those numbers included how many Americans have paid for their insurance policies, and are actually insured. Also, he had no answer to the thorny question of how few signups represented people who had no insurance before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Aside from the issue of the numbers’ likely decrease when non-paying enrollments are taken into account, administration officials have been coy about the RAND Corporation study, which suggests that relatively few Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured.

In addition to his claim of 7.1 million enrollments, Obama also announced that ‘three million young people’ under age 26 have gained coverage as add-ons to their parents’ policies. and ‘millions more… gained access through Medicaid expansion,’ he said.

Those totals – young adults attached to their parents’ insurance and new taxpayer-funded Medicaid subscribers – far exceed the 7.1 million number the White House trumpeted on Tuesday.

The Affordable Care Act carried with it the promise of covering ‘every American,’ and it appears to have fallen tremendously short.

The unpublished RAND study – only the Los Angeles Times has seen it – found that just 23 per cent of new enrollees had no insurance before signing up.

And of those newly insured Americans, just 53 per cent have paid their first month’s premiums.

If those numbers hold, the actual net gain of paid policies among Americans who lacked medical insurance in the pre-Obamacare days would be just 858,298.

Obama’s Rose Garden speech included an acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act ‘has had its share of problems,’ and has at times been ‘contentious and confusing… That’s part of what change looks like in a Democracy.’

But ‘there are still no death panels,’ he joked amid laughter. ‘Armageddon has not arrived.’

A standing ovation greeted him after his speech. A White House aide said the crowd consisted of ‘”organizations and stakeholder groups who helped lead the enrollment and outreach efforts, as well as Hill lawmakers and staff from HHS, CMS and other agencies involved in implementing the ACA.’

Not among them: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathlen Sebelius, the administration official most responsible for the Obamacare program’s implementation. She also did not appear in the White House press briefing room earlier in the afternoon.

But Carney and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough distributed donuts to reporters in the press center on Tuesday morning – presumably without checking with the first lady – and eagerly pitched talking points to journalists writing about the milestone day.

Questions remain about the effectiveness and affordability of Obama’s plan, which he sold to congressional Democrats and the American people as a scheme to cover the uninsured, and about how the law is contributing to the spiraling cost of medical care.

As information about the chasm between Obamacare’s promises and its reality have reached the public, the program has become more and more unpopular – a fact that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met with awkward silence during a Monday television interview in Oklahoma.

‘At last check, 64 percent of Oklahomans aren’t buying into the healthcare plan; they don’t like Obamacare, and they’ve been pretty vocal about it,’ a KWTV-9 reporter told her.

‘Now that’s going to be – still continue to be a tough sell, but we’ll see how that plays out over the coming months.’

Sebelius, a deer trapped in TV’s headlights, offered only a blank stare. Asked if she had lost the audio feed, the icy secretary responded, ‘I can hear you. But I – thanks for having me.’

Hours earlier, she tooted Obama’s horn during a fawning Huffington Post interview, claiming that healthcare.gov saw a surge in traffic when the president appeared on the gonzo show ‘Between Two Ferns’ on the Funny or Die website.

Obamacare ‘definitely saw the Galifianakis bump,’ she said, referring to the show’s host Zach Galifianakis.

‘As a mother of two 30-something sons, I know they’re more likely to get their information on “Funny or Die” than they are on network TV,’ she added.

Americans who missed the online broadcast still knew enough to queue up Monday for panic-induced sign-ups. Crushed with traffic, healthcare.gov crashed twice.

On its way to 7 million, the Obama administration has never answered some key questions about the open enrollment period.

The White House has instead kept to its talking points.

‘What I can tell you is that we expect there to be a good mix of people who were previously uninsured who now have insurance,’ Carney said Monday.

‘Certainly, there’s a significant number who now have qualified for Medicaid in those states that expanded Medicaid who will have insurance who didn’t have it before.’

The midnight deadline for enrollment has become a temporary formality, as the Obama administration has offered extensions to anyone willing to claim they tried in earnest to sign up in time.

Sebelius promised Congress weeks ago that there would be no extension.

The White House has compared it to voters who are permitted to cast ballots if they are in line when the polls close. But conservative opponents note that ballot officials won’t accept voters’ claims the day after an election.

California has also extended its deadline through April 15.

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The Most Un-American Speech Barack Obama Has Ever Delivered – Bryan Preston

Before getting to the speech itself, it’s worth noting a few things.

When the Democrats passed and Barack Obama signed Obamacare, the majority opposed it. About 56%, in fact. A majority have consistently opposed that law ever since.

The Obama administration touted 7 million sign-ups by March 31 as “success.” When that goal appeared to be unreachable, the administration suggested that maybe 5 or 6 million would be enough. Now, as if by magic, they have their number. Somehow.

All along, the administration has touted false numbers of enrollees. All along, the administration has neglected to admit that Obamacare is causing millions of Americans to lose their insurance, as they were forced to admit that they knew it would.

A simple bit of math shows that even if there are 7 million legitimate sign-ups, there are between 5 and 6 million who lost their healthcare because of Obamacare. What’s the net number? How many of these have even paid their premiums? And how many of them are now facing steeper deductibles?

Premiums are not going down. Access has not been expanded. Provider networks are shrinking, reducing choice. These are all consequences of Obamacare. The president mentioned none of it.

The Obama administration is also neglecting to admit that their law is killing jobs. It is strangling hiring. It is killing the work ethic that built this country. The CBO estimates that we will lose the equivalent of more than 2 million jobs’ worth of work hours. Small businesses say that Obamacare is keeping them from expanding their businesses, and keeping them from hiring and growing their workforces. They also say that Obamacare is forcing them to cut hours, which translates into lost wages, for millions of workers. Obama mentioned none of that.

But most importantly, the Obama administration is not admitting that it used naked, brute force to coerce Americans into signing up for Obamacare. Failing to sign up can get the IRS, with its auditors and armed agents, unleashed on you. When faced with that prospect, sure, it’s not all that hard to persuade people to do what you want. It’s a lesson that feudal chiefs, tyrants, pirates and bandits learned a long time ago.

The 7 million that President Obama touted today is a false number, he knows that it is a false number, and he knows that it is based on the threat of force. In fact, his administration couldn’t even give a solid number until today. How convenient.

So today, the day after the same administration that has cooked the books on deportations, and cooked the books on unemployment, the same administration that lied about Fast and Furious, lied about Benghazi, lied about “green jobs,” lied about last week’s meeting with the Pope, and whose IRS abused the president’s critics – the leader of that administration touted “7.1 million sign-ups” for Obamacare. Even going by the administration’s official numbers, the president’s claim is inflated. The administration only claims 7,041,000 – far from 7.1 million.

The president criticized Americans who donated their own money to run ads opposing Obamacare. But Barack Obama used government force to take Americans’ money and use that money to promote his law – whether we backed his law or not. Which is worse?

Obama said that now that his law is the law of the land, it cannot be repealed. Also false. It’s unpopular even before the employer mandate kicks in, which is destined to cost tens of millions of Americans the healthcare that they now have. We have a system by which laws and even amendments to the Constitution can be repealed.

But the most ghastly aspect of the president’s speech was its celebratory tone. This president stood in the Rose Garden in the lawn of the people’s house. He used force to coerce Americans into doing what he wants for the sake of politics and power. An American president should never celebrate taking freedoms away from Americans. This president has, and he is pleased with himself for doing it. He basks in the applause of those who celebrate with him, as if it’s an achievement to use the full force of government to impose yourself on others.

Outside the gates of his little ceremony, Democrats remain on the run because Obamacare is wreaking havoc on people’s lives. This president’s “mission accomplished” moment has come. The Democrats will still lose the Senate this year, in part because Barack Obama remains so out of touch, aloof, and dishonest.

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Mark Levin Blasts Obama For His Castro-Like Campaign Rally, Spewing Obamacare Lies To His Clapping Seal Sycophants – Right Scoop

Mark Levin opened his show tonight livid over Obama’s Castro-like campaign rally on Obamacare today, where he spewed lie after lie to his clapping seal sycophants. And the media just echoes what he says like it’s the truth.

Listen below to his first segment:

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……………………….Click on image above to watch video.

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5 Reasons Obama’s 7.1 Million Number Is Meaningless – Big Government

On Tuesday, President Obama triumphantly announced that, with the power of the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the threat of the IRS, the mission had been accomplished: 7.1 million Americans had selected an Obamacare plan.

Obama’s tone was nothing short of exuberant: “7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these market places. 7.1! Yep!” He then went on to criticize those who had expressed objections to Obamacare for its deprivations of plans, doctors, drugs, and liberty: “Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance?”

Now, it was always foolhardy for Republicans and conservatives to stake their objections to Obamacare on the number of sign-ups; Social Security is going bankrupt despite 100% enrollment. The reality is that Obama was always destined to hit his required numbers because, after all, he has the power of government to compel action. The real problem with Obamacare has little to do with the number of people signing up, and a lot to do with the restrictions on insurance companies and reimbursement rates to doctors.

Nonetheless, the 7.1 million statistic is a meaningless one. It’s meaningless for a variety of reasons:

It Doesn’t Measure How Many People Have Actually Paid. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted yesterday that of the 6 million people who had signed up for Obamacare at the time, “What we know from insurance companies… tell us that, for their initial customers, it’s somewhere between 80, 85, some say as high as 90 percent, have paid so far.” In other words, about five million people were signed up. As Aaron Blake of the Washington Post points out, “If between 80 and 90 percent of the six million have paid premiums, the number who are fully enrolled would be closer to five million than to six million.” With the increased number of sign-ups in the last days, that percentage number has likely dropped. This is not an unimportant distinction; insurance will not cover those who don’t pay.

7.1 Million Enrollees in the Private Exchanges Doesn’t Mean 7.1 Million Who Were Previously Uninsured. Some five million Americans saw their policies cancelled thanks to Obamacare. Those Americans were forced into the Obamacare exchanges by the government. According to a RAND Corporation study, only 858,000 previously uninsured Americans had actually joined Obamacare. That’s a far cry from 7.1 million.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in March 2010 that 37.3% of all uninsured Americans would gain insurance thanks to Obamacare in 2014. That estimate rose to 38.9% in March 2011. In February 2014, the CBO suggested that in 2014, 22.8% would gain insurance through Obamacare. The actual statistic: 12.5%. In other words, the original estimates were off by approximately 66%.

The Chief Beneficiaries of Obamacare Have Been Medicaid Recipients and 26-Year-Old Basement Dwellers. There are approximately 6.1 million people who have gained coverage through Obamacare’s non-private exchange program. 4.5 million were beneficiaries of Medicaid expansion, and another 1.6 million 26-year-old “children” were forced onto their parents’ policies. That far outweighs any supposed gains in the private insurance market. As Chris Conover of Forbes writes, “At the end of the day, we appear to have covered 1 in 8 uninsured, but to get to this point, we have disrupted coverage for millions, increased premiums for tens of millions more and amplified the pain even further with a blizzard of new taxes and fees that will end up cost even the lowest income families nearly $7,000 over a decade.”

The Huge Majority of Those Signing Up Are Getting Subsidies – and Even Those Who Are Subsidized Aren’t Signing Up. In order for Obamacare’s cost structure to work, millions of Americans must sign up to pay inflated prices; that would help pay for the subsidies to cover insurance company costs on those with pre-existing conditions. In March, the Obama administration reported that 83% of those who had signed up were eligible for subsidies. As Robert Laszewski estimates, in the end, just 27% of those who are eligible for Obamacare subsidies nationwide have signed up.

How Much Will The Numbers Drop? These are all preliminary statistics. We now know that somewhere between 2% and 5% of people who paid their insurance bills in January did not do so in February, to go along with the high percentage of people who signed up and never paid at all (that number in Obamacare success story Washington state, for example, was 39% as of early February).

The 7.1 million statistic is not all that important, in the end. Obama will hit his numbers, by hook or by crook. Likely by crook. But conservative opposition to Obamacare should not be predicated on its ineffectiveness in forcing sign-ups. Instead, it should be based on deprivation of liberty and destruction of medical care.

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Compassion: Anti-Obamacare Cancer Patient Smeared By Reid Now Receiving Death Wishes From Liberals – Hot Air

Welcome to your feel-bad story of the month. Remember Julie Boonstra? She’s the single mother fighting leukemia who appeared in an anti-Obamacare television ad running in Michigan:

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid assailed Ms. Boonstra, and others like her, in a breathtakingly mean-pirited floor speech – going so far as to say that “all” of their negative experiences were “untrue” and “lies.” Reid now claims he doesn’t remember saying any such thing, but there’s video tape:

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In his effort to discredit Boonstra, Reid relied on a Washington Post “fact check,” which effectively ruled her story half true. In fact, every claim Boonstra made in the ad has been confirmed, as explained by the Detroit News’ Dan Calabrese:

Boonstra is on five different medications to help deal with her leukemia. The Blue Cross PR spokesman claimed that they are all covered. But when Boonstra went to fill her prescription for Loratadine – a prescription-level equivalent of Claritin that she uses to control congestion brought on by chemotherapy – she was told that Loratadine is not covered. She has not yet attempted to restock any of her other meds but she is already having to come with strategies to deal with that problem. The $5,100 cap on Boonstra’s out-of-pocket spending is for in-network care only. If she has to go out of network, she could spend an additional $10,200…When Boonstra was first diagnosed, she had to go through a painstaking process to get approval for her chemotherapy drugs to be covered. When she finally found insurance she liked, she had no problem with the chemo drugs. She now says that process is starting all over again. Boonstra has already had to cut back on her bone marrow biopsies, which she was having on a regular schedule she had worked out with her doctor, because she doesn’t have clarification on whether these will be covered. I could go on, but the bottom line is this: Julie Boonstra told the truth, and arrogant media “fact checkers” had a lot of nerve claiming she hadn’t when they never even talked to her.

Nevertheless, Reid’s inaccurate nasty gram touched off a torrent of bile from Obamacare supporters, including this delightful care package Boonstra received in the mail:

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Die, because your experience is inconvenient to my “pissed off” ideology. Incidentally, Ms. Boonstra isn’t the only Obamacare victim who received a cancellation notice, and whose subsequent plan presents out-of-pocket hardships:

Breast cancer survivor Ginny Mason was thrilled to get health coverage under the Affordable Care Act despite her pre-existing condition. But when she realized her arthritis medication fell under a particularly costly tier of her plan, she was forced to switch to another brand. Under the plan, her Celebrex would have cost $648 a month until she met her $1,500 prescription deductible, followed by an $85 monthly co-pay. Mason is one of the many Americans with serious illnesses – including cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis – who are indeed finding relatively low monthly premiums under President Barack Obama’s law. But some have been shocked at how much their prescriptions are costing as insurers are sorting drug prices into a complex tier system and in some cases charging co-insurance rates as high as 50 percent. That can leave patients on the hook for thousands.

Another example from North Carolina:

Amy Newbold, a 57-year-old saleswoman from Randolph County, N.C., lost her employer insurance last year. Through HealthCare.gov, she found a mid-tier “silver” plan with premiums that at first blush are $75 a month lower than her previous policy. But there are no savings, she said, since her old premiums were paid with pretax dollars and Obamacare premiums are paid with aftertax dollars. Newbold said she faces substantially higher drug costs for arthritis and psoriasis and worries that an out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000 could put needed medicines out of reach. “I feel left out in the cold, and I don’t know why it has to be that way,” she said.

Maybe Reid can make these “liars” famous, too. Indeed, unleashing left-wing wrath on ordinary people for the sin of speaking out must be a pretty effective method of stifling dissent – which is precisely what Reid wants.

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Kansas Hospital Lays Off Employees Due To Obamacare – Washington Free Beacon

The sky-high costs of Obamacare have forced a Kansas hospital to lay off more than a dozen employees.

Newman Regional Health hospital in Emporia, KS, a limited in-patient and outpatient services facility, has laid off fifteen employees- ten full time workers and five part time workers.

In a statement issued by Newman Regional, the hospital blames the lay offs on the “negative financial impacts of the Affordable Care Act.”

The staff cut is expected to save the hospital $1 million every year.

Bob Wright, CEO of Newman Regional told KTKA-KS, “It’s looking into the future, knowing that we need to make a profit, having the advantage of critical access, getting us most of the way there, but having really to do our part as good stewards of our resources to make sure that we’re profitable.”

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Harry Reid Dismisses Cancer Patient Tom Coburn’s Obamacare Concern – Washington Examiner

When Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., pointed out that the majority of cancer centers in the country aren’t covered under Obamacare while arguing that the law’s problems go beyond early website issues, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., dismissed the critique as too “in the weeds.”

Coburn, a medical doctor battling cancer, panned the coverage offered to cancer patients.

“Nineteen of the cancer centers in this country, only five are covered under Obamacare,” he told the Washington Examiner Tuesday, a data point he attributed to the low payments the Affordable Care Act provides for those treatments.

“You know, it’s a market, and what they’ve done is they’ve priced it where these cancer centers, a lot of them, aren’t going to participate because they don’t get paid to cover the costs,” he said. Coburn, who is retiring at the end of this year, said his cancer center initially refused to accept the government health insurance, but has since reversed that policy.

Reid suggested that Coburn was taking too narrow a view of the law. “Dr. Coburn is very good at getting into the weeds and trying to find something that he thinks makes sense, but I think we need to look at the overall context of this bill,” he replied when asked about Coburn’s comments during a Senate press briefing. “It really brings a lot of people in from the cold so that they have the ability to get health insurance, which they’ve never had the opportunity [to do] before.”

Reid hailed the White House’s announcement that seven million people had enrolled in insurance through Obamacare, but Coburn said the statistic is a “numbers game.”

“You had six million who lost their insurance, how many net new people got covered? How many who lost their insurance don’t have insurance today?” Coburn asked. “And is it affordable? …The ones that lost their insurance now have [Obamacare], and we don’t know what that number is. I guarantee you three-quarters of them are paying a significantly higher cost, have a higher co-pay and a higher deductible.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Days From Deadline, $200M-Plus Obamacare Website Has Zero Enrollees

Uncovered Oregon: Days From Deadline, $200M+ Website Stuck On Zero Enrollees – Breitbart

By all accounts Cover Oregon has been a spectacular failure. The state was granted $300 million dollars on an ambitious website that, to date, has not enrolled a single person. Thursday night, Portland News station KATU held a televised town hall to discuss what went wrong and where Oregon should go from here.

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The town hall was not structured as a debate but one quickly developed between two Republican state representatives who were extremely critical of the failure and two Democrats who alternated between placing blame on Oracle, the primary contractor, and suggesting moving forward was more important than placing blame.

Rep. Dennis Richardson was one of the Republican critics. In 2012 he became alarmed by what he read in quality assurance reports created by a firm called Maximus. The Maximus reports made clear the project was understaffed, under-budget and falling behind schedule. Rep. Richardson says he sent copies of the reports along with a letter to the state officials in charge of the project demanding to know what was being done. He received no response.

Rep. Jason Conger, the other Republican on the panel, says officials in charge including executive director Rocky King, who left his job in December, should have known better than to try to pull off a project of this scope without hiring an IT contractor to run it. “I think it reflects a certain amount of arrogance that it could be done in the timeframe, that it could be done at all,” Conger said.

But others on the panel tried to emphasize the positive. Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick suggested it was time to move forward saying ,“We’re trying to get things solved and I think trying to find out who is the bad guy is probably over.” He also claimed that he had no access to the QA reports that had alarmed Rep. Richardson in 2012.

Dr. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Democratic State Senator who sits on the Committee on Health admitted part of the problem was “we bit off more than we could chew.” But she directed most of the blame for the failure at Oracle, saying “We were misled. I’d go as far as saying betrayed.” Dr. Steiner Hayward added “We hire IT professionals because we believe they’re going to tell us the truth… unfortunately in this case that didn’t work out so well.”

At this point, about halfway through the 90 minute town hall, a more fundamental debate about the efficiency of government broke out among the panelists. Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who had earlier said the time for casting blame was over, reacted strongly to the suggestion that the government had tried and failed to do the job of private enterprise. “It’s private enterprise that screwed it up,” Greenlick said, adding “I think the problem was we had too much faith in private enterprise in this case.”

That didn’t go over well with Rep. Richardson who recalled a bit of Ronald Reagan in his response “We’re from the government, we’re here to help. We can run a $200 million IT project.” The last line was delivered as sarcasm. Richardson said the problem wasn’t private enterprise it was “a failure in leadership to run this program.”

As for the future of Cover Oregon there was a sharp disagreement about that as well. Rep. Conger was pessimistic. “I think we’re continuing to throw good money after bad… I’m having serious doubts about whether it will ever work,” he said. Conger suggested seeking a waiver from CMS to allow the state to return to earlier programs that were working better.

Rep. Richardson pointed to the fiscal problem going forward “We’re not gong to break even so ultimately we’re either going to shut it down or take money from the general fund.”

Ultimately, the decision as to what happens next may not be up to anyone in Oregon. The GAO is currently investigating how federal grants to the state were spent. And near the end of the show a former Oregon representative, Patrick Sheehan, told the KATU host that he had contacted the FBI and asked them to look into the situation. Asked if an FBI investigation was taking place, Sheehan refused to say, though he did suggest obliquely that a big file was being put together.

Rep. Greenlick responded that there was no evidence of any illegality. Rep. Richardson once again took issue with that assessment saying, “When you have 200 million of federal money that has been expended… there may well be a federal law broken. We need the GAO audit. We need the FBI involved.”

As the town hall neared its end, Dr. Steiner Hayward returned to the issue of government vs. private enterprise. She told the story of a friend who had started a business with the help from experts. She said her friend eventually reached the point where the business started making a profit but that didn’t happen right away. She summed up her story saying “to hold the govt to be able to break even immediately in a way that we don’t hold private companies… I’m not sure that’s really fair.”

Rep. Richardson closed with a call for accountability saying, “We’re talking about $200 million… govt can’t just spend other people’s money and then just say ‘I’m sorry’” when things fall apart.

Rep. Conger got in the last word with a question, “Given the failure so far and given the lack of value… do we continue to spend more money on it?” That’s the question that Gov. Kitzhaber, legislators and Oregon’s citizens now have to wrestle with.

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Your Daley Gator Obamacare Nightmare News Roundup

O-Care Premiums To Skyrocket – The Hill

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Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out… is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

The hikes are expected to vary substantially by region, state and carrier.

Areas of the country with older, sicker or smaller populations are likely to be hit hardest, while others might not see substantial increases at all.

Several major companies have been bullish on the healthcare law as a growth opportunity. With investors, especially, the firms downplay the consequences of more older, sicker enrollees in the risk pool.

Much will depend on how firms are coping with the healthcare law’s raft of new fees and regulatory restrictions, according to another industry official.

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year.

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.
After this story was published, the administration pointed to some independent analyses that have cast doubt on whether the current mix of enrollees will lead to premium hikes.

ObamaCare also includes several programs designed to ease the transition and stave off premium increases. Reinsurance, for example, will send payments to insurers to help shoulder the cost of covering sick patients.

But insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare’s rollout.

They point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.

“We’re exasperated,” said the senior insurance official. “All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.”

“My gut tells me that, for some people, these increases will be significant,” said Bill Hoagland, a former executive at Cigna and current senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Hoagland said Sebelius was seeking to “soften up the American public” to the likelihood that premiums will rise, despite promises to the contrary.

Republicans frequently highlight President Obama’s promise on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

“They’re going to have to backpedal on that,” said Hoagland, who called Sebelius’s comment a “pre-emptive strike.”

“This was her way of getting out in front of it,” he added.

HHS didn’t comment for this article.

Insurers will begin the process this spring by filing their rate proposals with state officials.

Insurance commissioners will then release the rates sometime this summer, usually when they’re approved. Insurers could also leak their rates earlier as a political statement.

In some states, commissioners have the authority to deny certain rate increases, which could help prevent the most drastic hikes.

Either way, there will be a slew of bad headlines for the Obama administration just months before the election.

“It’s pretty bad timing,” said one insurance official.

Other health experts say predictions about premiums are premature.

David Cutler, who has been called an architect of Obama-Care, said, “Health premiums increase every year, so the odds are very good that they will increase next year as well. None of that is news. The question is whether it will be a lot or a little. That depends in part on how big the insurers think the exchanges will be.”

Jon Gruber, who also helped design the Affordable Care Act, said, “The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Premiums were rising 7 to 10 percent a year before the law. So the question is whether we will see a continuation of that sort of single digit increase, as Sebelius said, or whether it will be larger.”

The White House and its allies have launched a full-court press to encourage healthy millennials to purchase coverage on the marketplaces.

HHS announced this week that sign-ups have exceeded 5 million, a marked increase since March 1.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday claimed the administration has picked up the pace considerably, saying months ago reporters would have laughed if he “had said there would be 5 million enrollees by March 18.”

It remains unclear how many of those enrollees lost their insurance last year because of the law’s mandates. Critics have also raised questions about how the administration is counting people who signed up for insurance plans.

Political operatives will be watching premium increases this summer, most notably in states where there are contested Senate races.

In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.

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AP: Best Cancer Hospitals ‘Off-Limits’ To O-Care – Sweetness & Light

From a suddenly ‘concerned’ Associated Press:

Concerns about cancer centers under health law

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | March 18, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) – Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program. Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

With that missing Malaysian airliner getting all of the news media’s attention, the AP must think it is safe to finally get around to reporting on how the better hospitals are refusing to take Obama-Care.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges…

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications…

Tough toe nails. This is social justice. Not real justice, or even fairness.

To keep premiums low, insurers have designed narrow networks of hospitals and doctors. The government-subsidized private plans on the exchanges typically offer less choice than Medicare or employer plans.

Less choice than Medicare? How wonderful. But choice only matters when it comes to getting an abortion, anyway.

By not including a top cancer center an insurer can cut costs. It may also shield itself from risk, delivering an implicit message to cancer survivors or people with a strong family history of the disease that they should look elsewhere…

Still, look on the bright side. Thanks to Obama-Care you can get a ‘free’ sex change operation. And ‘free’ birth control pills.

After all, it’s not like people buy health insurance to get cancer treatment.

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Obama Making Last Ditch Effort To Shame Youth Into Obamacare – Big Government

Obamacare does not have enough young people paying into the system to keep it all from collapsing. So President Obama is making a last ditch effort to shame America’s youth into signing up for Obamacare in these last weeks before the deadline hits.

The President appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show to urge young people to hurry up and get signed on with Obamacare before the March 31 deadline. Fittingly, the very next day after the deadline is April 1, known across the nation as April Fools Day.

On Seacrest’s show, Obama scolded young people for not signing up in sufficient numbers and warned them that if they don’t come out and support him, he’ll have to fine them.

“If you can afford it–you just decide you don’t want to get it because your attitude is ‘nothing’s ever going to happen to me’–then you’ll be charged a penalty,” he told Seacrest.

The President is desperate to get more people under 35 years of age to sign up because it is that age group who will be footing the bills for Obamacare. Millions of young, healthy people who won’t be using the coverage any time soon are need to pay into the system so that the older generation can pull money out without bankrupting the whole thing.

The Obama administration has estimated that it needs some 38 percent of those enrolled and paying premiums to be made up of the important age demographic. Unfortunately for Obama, only about 27 percent of those signed up thus far fit into that age demo.

Experts warn that unless more young people sign up, the current premiums will have to go up for everyone in order to compensate for the lopsided statistics.

Obama is already under fire for his years of claiming that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will actually be affordable. He continually said that premiums would be cheaper than a cell phone bill, but those promises have turned out to be false. And now, if the already high premiums have to go up to compensate for a lack of young enrollees, that lie will only grow in stature.

Speaking of his faltering “cell phone bill” analogy, recently, the President drew criticism when he told a Latino audience at a Spanish language townhall that they should cancel their cell phones and cable bills so that they could pay their expensive new Obamacare premiums.

Finally, Healthcare.gov launched its own scolding campaign with a new ad featuring a stern looking mother figure warning kids that they’d better get covered – or else!

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Consumer Reports Warns: “Stay Away From Healthcare.gov” – Daily Sheeple

One of America’s most well known and trusted organizations has given potential health care seekers yet another concern over the Patient Affordable Care Act.

According to Consumer Reports the government’s healthcare.gov web site, which is the primary entry point for millions of people needing to sign up for health care plans, is a “mess.”

Citing numerous issues including login problems, non functioning activation emails and a near 97% failure rate for account creation, the consumer watchdog has warned that people should stay away from the site for at least another month.

Frustrated by trying to register on HealthCare.gov? You’re hardly alone. Of the 9.47 million people who tried to register in the first week, only 271,00 were able to create an account, according to one analysis. That’s about 1 in 35. Many people couldn’t even create user names and passwords.

If all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can. Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they’ve made. The coverage available through the marketplaces won’t begin until Jan. 1, 2014, at the earliest, and you have until Dec. 15 to enroll if you need insurance that starts promptly.

Historically, when Consumer Reports issues product warnings manufacturers, distributors and retailers may initiate a product recall, advising consumers of the dangers involved. In a free market involving the free exchange of goods and service Consumer Reports’ warnings are often heeded in an effort to prevent a public relations nightmare and the potential for class-action lawsuits.

In this case, however, the warning involves government mandated services, so the normal rules don’t apply because, frankly, government officials could care less.

In a perfect world we could just issue a recall, take the product of the shelves, and send the promoters to prison for false advertising and consumer endangerment.

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McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees – Forbes

The Obama administration has, for months now, been peddling nice-sounding numbers as to how many people are gaining health coverage due to Obamacare. But their numbers have been inflated on two fronts. First, not everyone who has “selected a marketplace plan” under Obamacare has actually paid the required premiums, payment being required to actually gain coverage. Second, only a fraction of people on the exchanges were previously uninsured. A new survey from McKinsey gives us a better view into the real numbers. Of the 3.3 million people that the White House has touted as Obamacare exchange “sign-ups,” less than 500,000 are actual uninsured people who have actually gained health coverage.

Many Obamacare ‘enrollees’ aren’t actually enrolled

McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm, has been conducting monthly surveys of the exchange-eligible population under the auspices of its Center for U.S. Health System Reform. McKinsey’s most recent survey, conducted in February with 2,096 eligible respondents, found that only 48 percent had thus far signed up for a 2014 health plan. Within that 48 percent, three-fifths were previously insured people who liked their old plans and were able to keep them. The remaining two-fifths were the ones who signed up for coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.

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Of the Obamacare sign-ups, only 27 percent had been previously uninsured in 2013. And of the 27 percent, nearly half had yet to pay a premium. (By contrast, among the 73 percent who had been previously insured, 86 percent had paid.)

Put all those percentages together, and you get two key stats. Only 19 percent of those who have paid a premium were previously uninsured. Among those that the administration is touting as sign-ups, only 14 percent are previously uninsured enrollees: approximately 472,000 people as of February 1.

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Those not signing up cited affordability of plans as biggest issue

Here’s an important finding from McKinsey. The authors of the study – Amit Bhardwaj, Erica Coe, Jenny Cordina, and Mahi Rayasam – asked those who decided not to enroll in a plan what their reasons were for doing so. The most frequent reason – cited by 50 percent of respondents – was that “I could not afford to pay the premium.” Only 27 percent cited technical challenges; 14 percent said they couldn’t find a plan that met their needs. 21 percent said they were still deciding.

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This is the biggest problem with the way the “Affordable Care Act” approached coverage expansion. The reason why so many Americans are uninsured is because health insurance in this country is too expensive. Obamacare increases the underlying cost of health insurance, and then uses taxpayer-funded subsidies to offset those costs for some.

AP: 4.7 million Americans have had their plans canceled

Keep in mind another fact: According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million Americans who shop for coverage on their own have had their plans canceled because they don’t conform to Obamacare’s regulations. So Obamacare has disrupted the coverage of millions of Americans, requiring many to purchase costlier policies with higher deductibles and narrower doctor networks, for a fairly modest expansion of coverage.

According to the administration, total sign-ups now exceed 4 million. But on a recent HHS conference call, Obamacare implementation point man Gary Cohen was asked the key question: how many of the people who have signed up for Obamacare were previously insured? His response: “That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.”

So. The whole point of Obamacare was to expand coverage to the uninsured. But for the tens of thousands of regulations that the law has imposed on the country, its authors never bothered to try to measure the one thing that they were actually trying to achieve. That about sums it all up.

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Obama To Hispanics: We Won’t Deport Relatives Because You Enroll In ObamaCare – The Hill

President Obama on Tuesday sought to assure legal immigrants that they can sign up for ObamaCare without worrying that “the immigration people” will come for family members who are in the country illegally.

In an interview with Univision Deportes, a Spanish-language sports radio show, Obama said immigration officials won’t have access to the personal information that consumers provide when signing up for healthcare on the new exchanges.

“Well, the main thing for people to know is that any information you get, you know, asked with respect to buying insurance, does not have anything to do with… the rules governing immigration,” Obama said. “And you know, you can qualify if you’re a legal resident, if you are… legally present in the United States.

“You know, if you have a family where some people are citizens or legally here, and others are not documented, the immigration people will never get that information.”

Adolf Falcon, the senior vice president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, told The Hill that Hispanic families are wary of Obama’s assurances because of his record on deportations.

“It is a big concern of mixed status families – they hear [the president’s] assurance, but because of the level of deportations that have happened, there’s a lot of families that don’t know whether they can trust that assurance,” he said. “It creates an atmosphere of concern.”

In Obama’s first four years in office, his administration deported people at a faster rate than any of the four previous administrations.

Falcon said his group fields about 4,000 calls a week from potential Hispanic consumers seeking information about the exchanges. He said that a good deal of the callers are asking about mixed-status families, seeking to make sure their applications can’t be used against family members.

For example, a family with a parent who is in the country illegally, and thus not eligible for ObamaCare, will still have to enroll his or her child who is eligible. This provokes fears in the parent that they are leaving themselves exposed.

Obama on Tuesday sought to allay those fears.

“You know, you will qualify, you know, regardless of what your family’s status is,” Obama said. “So, you know, people should not hold back just because they’re in a mixed-family status.”

The White House has said there are 10.2 million uninsured Hispanics eligible for ObamaCare in the country, and about 8.1 million are likely eligible for tax credits. Hispanics have the highest rate of uninsured of any ethnic group in the country.

The federal government doesn’t require consumers to identify their ethnicity when applying for healthcare coverage, but data from some state health exchanges suggest Hispanics are lagging.

The administration has focused intensely on Hispanics in its final enrollment push through initiatives like the Latino Enrollment Week of Action, and in partnership with a broad array of Spanish-language media outlets.

There are a host of other reasons that Hispanics have been slow to enroll – many are gaining coverage for the first time and worry the costs are prohibitive.

Falcon said the enrollment push depended too much on the technology, rather than in-person assistance. The administration has been criticized for the long delay in releasing the Spanish-language ObamaCare website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, and some have said the final product was sloppy.

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Your Daley Gator Obamacare Nightmare News Roundup

March Madness? Fake ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers – Commentary

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The administration is claiming a limited victory by saying the number of those enrolled in ObamaCare has now hit 5 million with two weeks to go until the March 31 deadline. If accurate, the number does represent a steep increase over the 4.2 million that were said to have signed up at the beginning of the month. At this rate, administration cheerleaders reason, the goal of 7 million enrolled in the Affordable Care Act may yet be reached at some point in the near future, if not quite on time. This burst of enrollments is seen as a vindication of President Obama’s all-out push to promote the law including such questionable activities as appearing on the “Between Two Ferns” web show where he traded barbs with comedian Zach Galifianakis.

But before the president and his team start popping the champagne corks to celebrate their achievement and their faux hipness, it’s time once again to point out that the administration’s Potemkin enrollment figures should be read with a truckload of salt. As the New York Times reported last month, as much as 20 percent of all those enrolled had not actually paid their premiums, meaning they were not covered by the program. While Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told Congress she had no idea what the numbers of unpaid enrollees were, more states are reporting these figures and, as CNBC reported last week, the results are literally all over the map. While some states report high pay rates, others like Maryland say only 54 percent have paid.

All this calls in to question not only the effectiveness of the sales job done by the president and celebrity supporters such as Lebron James. It also means that the odds that this system can sustain itself without mandating vast increases in rates for those who do pay are getting slimmer every day.

For months we’ve been told by the administration that the only problem with ObamaCare was a “glitchy” website that had since been fixed. But what has since become clear is that the effort to convince young and healthy Americans to sign up for insurance that is both expensive and not something they may need is a failure. Though many of those who clearly benefit from the new health law, such as the poor and those with pre-existing conditions, have signed up, the scheme requires large numbers of those who won’t need the coverage as often in order to be economically viable. That problem will be exacerbated by the failure of much larger percentages of customers to pay for their insurance.

As we’ve noted previously, the non-payment of the premium is not a technicality. Many of those purchasing the insurance may be first-time buyers and not understand that they must pay their bill before coverage starts rather than long after the fact, as they can with a credit card transaction. Or it may be that some enrolled with no intention of paying or thinking that the hype about the glories of ObamaCare they’ve heard in the mainstream media and from the president absolved them of the obligation to pay for it. But either way, the large number of non-payments renders the enrollment figures meaningless and ensures that the rates for those who do pay are going up next year by percentages that will shock them.

The president claimed that the number of enrollees has already reached the point where the law will work rather than collapse from lack of participation. But even if we accept his premise that falling millions of customers short of the announced goal of seven million is no big deal, the fact that hundreds of thousands of those being counted in the pool of those he’s counting are not covered because of non-payment of premiums makes his assertion a colossal fraud.

The president may think that a March madness ad blitz during the NCAA basketball tournament may save ObamaCare. But if the past pattern holds, any further surge in enrollment will provide the scheme with a false sense of security. Until we get a full accounting not only of those who signed up on a website but completed the process by paying for the plan they chose, we’ll have no idea how many people truly are enrolled. Seen in that light, the president’s enrollment promises may well turn out to be no different from other pledges he has made about the ACA in the last few years: completely untrue.

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Obamacare Leaves Las Vegas Man Owing $407,000 In Doctor Bills – Las Vegas Review-Journal

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure. But Basich’s case is extreme.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Basich said he began trying to enroll on Oct. 1, the day the exchange website went live. Like many consumers, he fought technical flaws during multiple sign-up attempts. In mid-November he finally got through and chose his plan: UnitedHealthcare’s MyHPNSilver1.

“It was like reaching the third level of Doom,” Basich said of the torturous sign-up process.

Basich paid his first premium on Nov. 21, and within days the exchange withdrew the $160.77 payment from his money-market savings account. Because Basich paid a month before the Dec. 23 deadline, his coverage was to begin Jan. 1.

Weeks ticked by, but Basich received nothing to confirm he had insurance. Nevada Health Link kept telling him he was enrolled, but UnitedHealthcare said he wasn’t in their system.

Basich’s predicament went critical on Dec. 31, when he had a heart attack. His treatment, which included a triple bypass on Jan. 3, resulted in $407,000 in medical bills in January and February that no insurer is covering.

Basich and his insurance broker, Tamar Burch of Branch Benefits Consultants, said the issue appears to be confusion at the state exchange. Xerox’s system says Basich chose a plan from another insurer, Nevada Health CO-OP, even though Basich has paperwork that shows he selected MyHPNSilver1. In short, Xerox can’t seem to decide where Basich belongs, Burch said.

So the exchange is trying to compromise, putting Basich with Nevada Health CO-OP for January and February, when he incurred his bills, and with UnitedHealthcare from this month on. But CO-OP officials say Basich is not their member.

Nevada Health CO-OP CEO Tom Zumtobel told the exchange board on Feb. 27 that the nonprofit carrier spent seven days with Xerox determining Basich’s eligibility, only to find that Basich hadn’t chosen the group’s coverage.

“If he had picked our health plan, we would be advocating for a solution. But he didn’t pick us,” Zumtobel said. “We need someone on the board to advocate for him.”

Why have four months passed without a resolution?

“Xerox is truly out of their league. They need to understand they are an administrator, they are not an insurance company,” Burch said. “They need to understand their boundaries. They don’t understand this world. Everybody is at the mercy of Xerox, and they are not doing this right.”

Xerox representatives responded that they’re working hard to make it right.

“Mr. Basich’s issue is complex, and we’re working on it every day. We are in touch with Mr. Basich, his broker, the carriers, (Silver State Health Insurance Exchange) leadership, and the Division of Insurance to sort it out,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer.

The help didn’t come fast enough, said Basich, who blames his back-and-forth with the exchange in December at least in part for stress that caused his heart attack. That stress has turned up a few notches now that Basich is getting the bills. He fretted in the exchange board’s Thursday meeting about what will happen to his credit rating – and his ability to qualify for a mortgage – if the bills are not covered.

“All I wanted to do when I moved here was buy a house, get a dog and go to some spring training games for the Dodgers,” said Basich, who moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2012.

Meanwhile, the exchange sent Basich premium invoices for January and February. He paid them both.

WHO CAN HELP?

Basich has sought help at virtually every level of the system, from the Xerox customer-service reps who answer the phones at the exchange’s Henderson call center all the way to Gov. Brian Sandoval and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Both Sandoval’s and Reid’s offices have told him they want to help, Basich said, but there’s been no resolution so far.

Even Reid, who took flak for his Feb. 26 statement that “all” Obamacare “horror stories” are “untrue,” is trying to help. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said one of the senator’s health-care legislative aides has been on the phone with Basich almost daily, “but at this point it’s in the hands of Xerox to see what can be done.”

Sandoval spokesman Mac Bybee said the office “regularly engages” the exchange and Xerox on behalf of any consumer who reaches out with concerns about Nevada Health Link.

Officials with the Nevada Division of Insurance said they’re also watching the situation.

“Mr. Basich’s concerns are certainly on our radar. We have discussed them with our partners at the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, and we feel confident that his concerns will soon be resolved appropriately,” division spokesman Jake Sunderland said.

But there hasn’t been much action. What’s more, when Burch discussed Basich’s case with Xerox executives on March 11, they said they couldn’t tell her much because the company had hired legal counsel. That’s even though Basich has no interest in suing and has not retained a lawyer. He said he merely wants the exchange to keep the promise it made when it withdrew three premium payments from his savings account.

Xerox seems to be spending inordinate time documenting Basich’s phone calls, website access and emails, Burch said. She said a Xerox executive tried to throw blame on Basich for writing four different applications with four separate sets of information.

“I said, ‘Larry’s not the only one who did that. Lots of people have created multiple applications. Nothing is concrete until people pay. If you have a problem with multiple applications, then you’ll have to come to our office and take back hundreds of cases,’” Burch said.

“I believe Xerox is covering themselves because of a huge system error. They don’t want the accountability of saying, ‘Yes, we did mess this up, and here’s the plan you selected.’ It’s like, ‘What did he pay for?’ That’s it. They are making this more complicated than it has to be,” she added.

Wasmer said there was nothing unusual about bringing in Xerox’s attorneys.

“Our internal counsel is part of the extended Xerox team looking into the situation,” she said. “It’s regular practice for a corporation to tap experts across its organization to best understand complicated issues like this one. We’ll continue to keep the goal of resolving Mr. Basich’s issue front and center as we work through its complexities.”

Though Basich’s problem is exceptional for its dollar value, his situation is not unusual, Burch said. She estimates that of nearly 200 Branch Benefits Consultants client sign ups via Nevada Health Link, only 5 percent have gone through problem-free. More than 20 customers have the same plan-selection issue as Basich. One gave up trying to fix it and is sticking with the plan the exchange put her in.

With the March 31 enrollment deadline looming, Burch said she still sees other widespread enrollment problems, including frequent website error messages; inaccurate federal subsidy calculations; payments missing in the system despite clients’ canceled checks; and wrong effective coverage dates. One client chose an effective coverage date of March 1. Her insurance card showed an effective date of Jan. 1. Burch said that when she called to fix the issue, a customer-service rep told her the system showed a start date of April 1.

Burch said her brokerage supports the Affordable Care Act and launched a department to sell exchange plans. But she said the experience is not what she or her clients hoped for.

“We think it’s a great concept for those who need insurance. It’s just unfortunate, with all of the roadblocks we’re dealing with right now,” Burch said. “The bottom line is, we’re talking about people. It’s not a system, it’s people. I think, somehow, Xerox forgot that.”

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State Touted As Obama’s Healthcare Reform Model Fires Its Obamacare Website Contractor – Daily Caller

The state of Massachusetts – touted by President Obama as the model for national health-care reform – is firing the company that designed both its failed state Obamacare enrollment website and also the Obama administration’s federal enrollment site.

Massachusetts is firing Canadian company CGI, which holds a $69 million contract to run the state’s Obamacare site. The state has already paid the company approximately $15.9 million. CGI was previously fired by the federal government in January.

“We have made the decision that we are going to be parting ways with CGI,” said Sarah Iselin, who serves as Governor Deval Patrick’s special assistant on the state’s Obamacare website fix, at a Monday board of directors meeting for the Massachusetts Obamacare exchange.

CGI’s incompetence is costing the state $10 million per month in unforeseen enrollment costs and preventing Massachusetts from having a fully working enrollment website until October 2014, according to an estimate.

But while CGI’s relationship with the Bay State is over, the company is still on good terms with the federal government.

The Daily Caller reported that CGI received six additional contracts from the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the disastrous launch of the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment site. The six contracts were awarded between October 1 – when the over $600 million Obamacare website launched – through January 2014.

CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of the Canadian company CGI Group, and was formed in 2009 to bring CGI into the federal contracting business. The company employs Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate, and 2010 White House Christmas guest, Toni Townes-Whitley as a top executive.

CGI, which received the Obamacare website contract in Obama’s first term, was fired from its role as prime contractor on the federal government website in January. But the company still holds numerous government contracts, including a $6 billion contract with the Department of Homeland Security awarded less than a month before the failed Obamacare site went live and a prime contract on the Army’s much-maligned Human Terrain System, a failed program that sends academics into war zones to help soldiers understand local populations.

Massachusetts’ capital city of Boston now has the longest wait times to see a doctor of any of the 15 major U.S. cities. Bostonians wait an average of 45.5 days for an appointment with a family physician, dermatologist, orthopedic surgeon, or cardiologist.

“And it’s because you guys had a proven model that we built the Affordable Care Act on… Your law was the model for the nation’s law,” Obama said in an October 30 speech at Boston’s Fanueil Hall.

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Health Insurance Premiums Up 39% To 56% Under Obamacare, Reach $2,604 A Month In California – Washington Examiner

Americans buying health insurance outside the new Obamacare exchanges are being forced to swallow premiums up to 56 percent higher than before the health law took effect because insurers have jumped the cost to cover all the added features of the new Affordable Care Act.

According to a cost report from eHealthInsurance, a nationwide online private insurance exchange, families are paying an average of $663 a month and singles $274 a month, far more than before Obamacare kicked in. What’s more, to save money, most buyers are choosing the lowest level of coverage, the so-called “bronze” plans.

The firm provided the costs to Secrets through their new online price index, which gives the averages of what people are paying for insurance sold through their system. In California, for example, some families are paying a high of $2,604 a month and in New York, $1,845.

The shocking surge in prices show what Americans not in Obamacare or covered by their employer are paying as they seek lower premiums. Typically, they are not eligible for the subsidies Obamacare offers those with low incomes.

“Premiums are increasing primarily because of the new required provisions for 2014 Affordable Care Act compliant plans, including guaranteed issue, essential health benefits, modified community rating and minimum actuarial values,” said Brian Mast, spokesman for eHealthInsurance. “It is also likely that health insurance companies expected additional risk in the risk pool, because people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage, and may have priced their plans higher to accommodate for this risk,” said Mast.

His firm’s price index also gives an average age for singles buying plans, and the results are worrying for insurers and the Obama administration. That’s because the average age is 36, older than the administration had hoped for.

Explaining the higher costs, Mast said, “There are likely other factors, but what is important is that moving forward, there needs to be a collective effort to enroll as many people as possible and create a broad and diverse risk pool to keep premiums in check. eHealth can help in that effort by enrolling consumers off-exchange and is pushing to be able to enroll people in subsidy-eligible plans as well.”

There is a hint of good news, though, in firm’s the price index. While the current costs for insurance are higher than before Obamacare, they have come down over the past several months.

Below is a cost summary provided by eHealthInsurance:

– Premiums have increased by 39 percent to 56 percent, compared to pre-Obamacare coverage. As of Feb. 24, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month, a 39 percent increase over the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.

– The most recent average premium for plans without a subsidy chosen by families was $663 per month, a 56 percent increase over the average family premium in Feb. 2013, which was $426 per month.

– For both individual and family applicants, bronze plans have been the most popular plan type chosen since the beginning of open enrollment.

– Shoppers chose less expensive plans as open enrollment progressed

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Pastor Diagnosed With Cancer: ‘No Compassion In The Affordable Care Act’ – Weekly Standard

A pastor recently diagnosed with cancer, and who is covered under Obamacare, tells a local Iowa reporter that there’s “no compassion in the Affordable Care Act.”

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“Back in January, Pastor Angran was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the esophagus. He had insurance, but because of a previous heart condition, it did not cover the treatments he needed for his cancer. He found that out just minutes before receiving life-saving chemo,” says the local reporter.

The pastor says, “One of the workers came and said let me talk to you. And so I went to talk to her. She says that we found out that your insurance does not include chemo.”

“Over the past two months, the Angrans have emptied their savings account and racked up $50,000 in debt. They signed up for the Affordable Care Act,” says the local reporter, “but found it to be anything but affordable. It will cost the couple more than $800 per month, money they just don’t have.”

The reporter adds, “As a pastor, Angran has devoted his life to helping others, to being compassionate. He says, ‘There’s no compassion in the Affordable Care Act.'”

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White House Now Touting Obamacare With Twerking, Cat Gifs – Daily Caller

The newest Obamacare promotion has the official White House website imitating a March Madness-style bracket featuring gifs of twerking girls, cats and “YOLO” to convince coveted young millennials to sign up.

While President Obama’s campaigns were noted for their successful youth outreach, he has been unable to attract young people to sign up for insurance under Obamacare so far. Last week, Obama tried to up youth exchange enrollment with an appearance on “Between Two Ferns” with the often foul-mouthed star Zack Galifianakis.

Now the White House has moved onto gifs with “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered.”

White House advertising experts spent taxpayer dollars putting together a bracket of new Obamacare benefits, intended to attract young viewers. People are encouraged to vote for their favorite benefit, with an accompanying gif that paints a picture of what Obamacare supposedly does for you.

One features young girl attempting to twerk on a countertop in a public bathroom and failing catastrophically – “because accidents happen.”

Twerk girl’s moves are set against Michelle Obama dunking a mini-basketball – because “women can’t be charged more than men,” despite women’s higher usage of health care services.

White House Deputy Director of Online Engagement Erin Lindsay already weighed in on the most pressing question facing the Obama administration – whether the girl in the gif is successfully twerking. Though she’s not a “twerk expert,” Lindsay admitted in a tweet Monday afternoon, “I certainly think she’s trying.”

“Birth control is free,’ one bracket proclaims, alongside a gif of several ducks that reads “I’m so excited.” Regulations directly hitting insurance companies are illustrated by cats – one decked out in a blazer with cash splashed about in front of it.

The benefits are illustrated with dogs, cats, pandas, even an over-excited Elmo. But the best might be a waving proclamation that “You only YOLO once,” “So don’t gamble with your health.”

Though the Obama administration predicted it would need at least 39 percent of exchange customers to fall between the ages of 18 and 35 in order for the marketplaces to remain afloat, they’ve currently topped out at 25 percent with just a few weeks left.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Secret Report Details Utter Failure Of MA ObamaCare Exchange

Secret Report Details Utter Failure Of Massachusetts ObamaCare Exchange – Breitbart

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Everything about ObamaCare is wrapped in lies, evasions, and obfuscation. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully never had to go through this many layers of cover-up to get at the truth.

That’s true of the state exchanges as well as the federal operation. For example, the Boston Herald had to use a crowbar to pry a secret “not for public release” report out of the Massachusetts Health Connector… a report so carefully buried that even exchange board members were unaware of its existence. The Herald gives us a good idea of why this report had to be kept from the public, while a shorter, somewhat less damning – but still “blistering” – was released:

There was never any actual performance testing of the website before it went live Oct. 1 – a failure that “should have been enough to delay its launch,” said Joshua Archambault of the Pioneer Institute. “Yet the state moved forward anyway, and we have witnessed the anxiety and pain these problems have caused”;

There was no accountability for staffers for failing to perform;

The project wasn’t properly coordinated. “People that were supposed to be talking to each other weren’t,” said Bill Curtis, the chief scientist at CAST Software; and

Even early on in the project, MITRE analysts found, the site was displaying the same glitches that would later plague applicants when they tried navigating.

“To sum it all up in one word – amateurish,” Curtis said. “There’s a lot more
information, and some of it is fairly alarming. It really looks like the first report is an
executive summary. The second report really provides all the details… some of which makes you suspect they found even more things.”

So ObamaCare managed to be an epic disaster even in a state that already had RomneyCare up and running. Nobody involved with this clusterfark gave a second thought to the inconvenience, anguish, and waste of time they dumped on the public by pulling the trigger on a system that was nowhere near ready for launch – either in states like Massachusetts, or Washington D.C.

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Obamacare News Roundup… The Leftist Nightmare Continues

February Numbers: 6.2 Million Lost Insurance Thanks To Obamacare; 4.2 Million Sign Up For New Obamacare Plans – Gateway Pundit

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In February 2014, Karl Rove reported in the Wall Street Journal that 6.2 million Americans have lost their health care plans:

Mr. Obama saw the firestorm that erupted last fall when Americans lost their health policies because their policies didn’t conform to ObamaCare’s requirement for “essential benefits” and other mandates. Based on a flurry of reports and estimates that have come out since October, Jim Angle of Fox News says that 6.2 million have lost their health coverage so far.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that 4.2 million Americans have enrolled in health care plans.

Some 4.2 million people enrolled in health-care plans using government portals as of last month, the Obama administration said Tuesday, leaving millions more sign-ups needed this month to meet the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment targets.

Around 943,000 people picked plans in February, down slightly from 1.14 million who chose plans in January, a decrease that federal officials attributed to February’s shorter length.

That means two million more Americans are without insurance today than when Obamacare started.

Nice job, Democrats.

More… And, 900,000 enrolleesv still haven’t paid for their coverage.

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Obama Secretly Waives The Individual Mandate For Millions, Tries To Hide It From Public View – Right Scoop

Wow. The administration is more politically desperate than thought. Now they are waiving the individual mandate in secret and intentionally trying to conceal it:

WSJ – ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

In 2013, HHS decided that ObamaCare’s wave of policy terminations qualified as a “hardship” that entitled people to a special type of coverage designed for people under age 30 or a mandate exemption. HHS originally defined and reserved hardship exemptions for the truly down and out such as battered women, the evicted and bankrupts.

But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”

This lax standard – no formula or hard test beyond a person’s belief – at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that “you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance,” which only requires “documentation if possible.” And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.

Keep in mind that the White House argued at the Supreme Court that the individual mandate to buy insurance was indispensable to the law’s success, and President Obama continues to say he’d veto the bipartisan bills that would delay or repeal it. So why are ObamaCare liberals silently gutting their own creation now?

The answers are the implementation fiasco and politics. HHS revealed Tuesday that only 940,000 people signed up for an ObamaCare plan in February, bringing the total to about 4.2 million, well below the original 5.7 million projection. The predicted “surge” of young beneficiaries isn’t materializing even as the end-of-March deadline approaches, and enrollment decelerated in February.

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Obama To People Who Can’t Afford Obamacare: Give Up Your Phone Or Cable To Pay For It – Weasel Zippers

Shared sacrifice?

(Washington, D.C.) – The President recently participated in a health care town hall with Spanish-language media. He responded to a question received via email, from a consumer who makes $36,000 per year and cannot find insurance for a family of three for less than $315 per month. The President responded that “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill… it may turn out that, it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”

According to the National Center for Public Policy Research, the health care law is reducing choice and increasing premiums for millions of Americans. Ehealthinsurance reports that consumers are paying an average of 39% more than they did before the law was implemented. The high cost of policies is contributing to the continued weak enrollment numbers under the law, which are now showing signs of decreasing with less than 3 weeks left to enroll. When he sought the Presidency, Mr. Obama said his plan would deliver affordable care that people would be “desperate” to purchase. – See more at: http://www.thelibreinitiative.com/press/president-choose-between-cable-phone-or-health-care#sthash.Sccqkr8C.dpuf

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Georgia’s House Just Voted To Nullify Obamacare – Conservative Tribune

All across the country, the movement to stop Obamacare is spreading like wildfire. Doctors and hospitals, along with private businesses, are in open rebellion over this destructive monstrosity.

At the state level, governments are doing everything they can to undermine the law through the courts and through legislation. We’ve already seen attempts by Missouri and South Carolina to “nullify,” which, in a broad sense, means to undermine federal law.

Now, the state of Georgia is attempting to use the same legislative strategy that these other states are employing to keep Obamacare from being enforced in the state.

The legal basis for these attempts is what’s known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, which is a constitutional doctrine articulated by the Supreme Court in Printz and Mack vs. United States that simply states that Congress cannot commandeer states’ resources, agencies, and other state actors in the enforcement of federal law.

These laws make this explicit by prohibiting state officials from carrying out Obamacare in any way, shape or form. This would effectively gut the law by making its implementation in the state impossible.

Via Freedomworks:

The bill, H.B. 707 passed with an overwhelming 115-59 majority and travels now to the State Senate, where a solid Republican majority should be able to pass the bill.

The legislation effectively nullifies ObamaCare by stopping state and local officials from assisting in the law’s implementation in any way. This would stop Medicaid expansion in the state, stop the health insurance exchange, and would make it very difficult for the Obama Administration to force Georgians into the one-size-fits-all federal program.

Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe had this to say about the bill’s passage:

“The passage of this ObamaCare nullification bill would not have been successful without the relentless efforts of grassroots activists across Georgia. They’re the ones that insisted their legislators listen and pass this bill. If and when the bill passes the State Senate, Georgia will be a model for other states who want to effectively push back against the federal health care takeover.”

This is great news. States are using all available legal resources, including important legal doctrines like the anti-commandeering doctrine that spring from principles of federalism, to fight back against federal overreach. We need other states to follow the example of South Carolina, Missouri, and now Georgia to stop Obamacare dead in its tracks before it ushers in more developed forms of socialism.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: 33% Of American Voters Say They’ve Been Personally Hurt By Obamacare

Already… 33% Of American Voters Say They’ve Been Personally Hurt By Obamacare – Gateway Pundit

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Already, one in three American voters say they’ve been personally hurt by Obamacare.

Rasmussen reported:

One-in-three U.S. voters now says his or her health insurance coverage has changed as a result of Obamacare, and the same number say the new national health care law had a negative personal impact on them.

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 56% regard it unfavorably, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This includes 16% who view the law Very Favorably and 41% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Favorable opinions of the law are down from 45% two weeks ago and are the lowest measured since late December. Unfavorables hit an all-time high of 58% in mid-November. Favorables fell to a record low of 36% in that same survey.

Thirty-three percent (33%) now say their insurance coverage has changed because of the new law, up a point from January and the highest finding since last July.

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Obamacare Cuts Home Healthcare For Millions Of Seniors – Washington Times

President Obama’s mendacious political promise, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” continues to cast a long and disturbing shadow of doubt and confusion over millions of Americans who have lost coverage as a result of Obamacare. As 2014 unfolds, the most vulnerable senior citizens – those who receive home health care services – are about to learn they are out of luck. Obamacare opens a trap door under them, leaving this elderly population in freefall – with many citizens losing access to home health care.

Add another compelling reason to reverse Obamacare. Whether by accident or intention, the “Affordable Care Act” empirically strips America’s oldest and poorest cohort, all part of the World War II generation, of this basic coverage. Here is how.

On Jan. 1, Medicare’s home health care services, formerly serving 3.5 million elderly beneficiaries across the country, were cut under Obamacare. The cut deleted exactly 14 percent, or an estimated $22 billion, from these lowest-income Americans over four years. News of the forthcoming cut only trickled out the Friday before Thanksgiving, yet another stunning attempt by the Obama White House to reduce Medicare benefits without attracting notice.

Guess what? We noticed. This cut does irreparable damage to recipients of Medicare’s home health care services, those who are aged, homebound and sicker than the average Medicare population. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Medicare home health care users live at or below the federal poverty level, meaning they are the most economically compromised of America’s precious senior citizens.

This cut is an indictment of White House policies. Home health care agencies have always provided services to homebound Medicare beneficiaries. No hoopla, but when these Americans needed skilled care, they got it. In contrast to expensive hospital care, critical health care services got into millions of American homes via clinicians. Home health care was – and still is – vital. It is also now effectively gone for these Americans.

How did home health care save money for taxpayers? Using 2009 as a reference year, Medicare’s average Part A and Part B payment for a home health care visit was $145, compared to $373 per day in a skilled nursing facility or a whopping $1,805 per day in a hospital. In addition, according to one leading expert, skilled home health care services saved the Medicare program $2.8 billion during the most recent three-year period. Approximately $670 million of that savings is attributable to 20,000 fewer hospital readmissions.

Given these facts, one would conclude that the value of home health care in driving down Medicare costs should be obvious, if this – and not a single-payer system – were the real goal of Obamacare. How did we lose sight of common sense? Just keep patients in a familiar surrounding – their homes, not in an expensive hospital – keep sound disease management programs that deliver better and more cost-effective outcomes, and continue to coordinate care for patients. That was working. Now we have the reverse – markedly higher medical and insurance costs, with absolutely no institutional connection, support or continuing benefits for these especially needy Americans, the ones who depended – with their families – on critical home health care benefits. The president and his Democratic surrogates in the House and Senate have done it again: They have wiped out another critical, working system with this Obamacare monstrosity.

What else will this home health care cut achieve? It will hit the small businesses that provide home health care nationwide, and is already doing so. More than 90 percent of those providing home health care are small businesses. According to the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 40 percent of these companies will be operating “at a loss” – that is, they will likely fold or end up in bankruptcy – by 2017 as a result of the cut. What does that mean? It means nearly 5,000 more Medicare home health care providers may go out of business, and nearly 500,000 more jobs within this flogged industry may be wiped out to fund Obamacare. Those who care about such things should put that into their future unemployment calculations – and then thank Mr. Obama and his congressional friends, who all got a waiver and probably do not worry about home health care anyway.

Attacking our weakest senior citizens is no way to run a country. It is, in a word, reprehensible. This abomination devastates another existing and essential Medicare promise, while throwing one more gut-wrenching punch at this job sector. Does the truth no longer matter? Do these lives no longer matter? Do these businesses and jobs no longer matter? When will Mr. Obama and his allies in Congress let up and allow Americans to look after themselves again, as we used to quite well?

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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