Move over NSA, here comes the Obamacare Big Brother database

Posted on July 22, 2013. Filed under: Government, Health | Tags: , |

From Rare.US comes the following story:

Would you trust thousands of low-level Federal bureaucrats and contractors with one-touch access to your private financial and medical information? Under Obamacare you won’t have any choice.

As the Obamacare train-wreck begins to gather steam, there is increasing concern in Congress over something called the Federal Data Services Hub. The Data Hub is a comprehensive database of personal information being established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The purpose of the Data Hub, according to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, is to provide “electronic, near real-time access to federal data” and “access to state and third party data sources needed to verify consumer-eligibility information.” In these days of secret domestic surveillance by the intelligence community, rogue IRS officials and state tax agencies using private information for political purposes, and police electronically logging every license plate that passes by, the idea of the centralized Data Hub is making lawmakers and citizens nervous.

They certainly should be; the potential for abuse is enormous. The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs.

Not to fear, HHS says, the Data Hub will be completely secure. Really? Secure like all the information that has been made public in the Wikileaks era? These days no government agency can realistically claim that private information will be kept private, especially when it is being made so accessible. Putting everyone’s personal information in once place only simplifies the challenge for those looking to hack into the system.

However, the hacker threat is the least of the Data Hub worries. The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators, which according to the GAO are “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups, to which exchanges award grants to provide fair and impartial public education” and “refer consumers as appropriate for further assistance.” Thousands of such people will have unfettered access to the Data Hub, but there are only sketchy guidelines on how they will be hired, trained and monitored. Given the slap-dash, incoherent way Obamacare is being implemented the prospect for quality control is low. And the Obama administration’s track record of sweetheart deals, no-bid, sole-source contracting and other means of rewarding people with insider access means the Data Hub will be firmly in the hands of trusted White House loyalists.

So if you think the IRS targeting Tea Party groups was bad, just wait for the Obamacare Navigators to be unleashed. “Trust us,” the administration says, no one will abuse the Data Hub. Sure, because that has worked out so well in the past.

James S. Robbins is Deputy Editor of Rare and author of Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism, and the New American Identity. Follow him on Twitter @James_Robbins

– See more at: http://rare.us/story/move-over-nsa-here-comes-the-obamacare-big-brother-database/#sthash.1K7bovmP.dpuf

And here is a related story from National Review Online:

July 22, 2013 4:00 AM

Obamacare’s Branch of the NSA 

Community organizers will use a Federal Data Hub to sign up people for subsidies — and even ballots.

By         John Fund

President Obama has had a poor record of job creation, but at least one small economic sector is doing well: community organizing.

The Department of Health and Human Services is about to hire an army of “patient navigators” to inform Americans about the subsidized insurance promised by Obamacare and assist them in enrolling. These organizers will be guided by the new Federal Data Hub, which will give them access to reams of personal information compiled by federal agencies ranging from the IRS to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. “The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” Paul Howard of the Manhattan Institute and Stephen T. Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor, wrote in USA Today. No wonder that there are concerns about everything from identity theft to the ability of navigators to use the system to register Obamacare participants to vote.

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius wasn’t satisfied with the $54 million in public funds allocated for navigators this year, so she tried to raise money from health-industry executives for Enroll America, the liberal nonprofit group leading the PR push for Obamacare. She had to retreat under withering criticism that she was shaking down companies that were dependent on government, a clear conflict of interest.

Because 34 states have declined to set up their own insurance “exchanges,” the job of guiding exchange enrollees in those states has been left to Washington. The identity of the groups who will get the Sebelius grants isn’t yet known, but Politico reports they are likely to include Planned Parenthood, senior-citizen advocacy organizations, and churches.

So far everything we’ve learned indicates the navigators will be flying blind, or could well be “unsafe at any speed.” In June, the Government Accountability Office reported that HHS is considering allowing navigators to assist with outreach and enrollment tasks even before completing their formal training. The reason? Like so much of Obamacare, the navigators program is behind schedule and drowning in its own complexity.

This spring, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lawyers were also told by HHS that, despite the fact that navigators will have access to sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and tax returns, there will be no criminal background checks required for them. Indeed, they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas. Both U.S. Census Bureau and IRS employees must meet those minimum standards, if only because no one wants someone who has been convicted of identity theft getting near Americans’ personal records. But HHS is unconcerned. It points out that navigators will have to take a 20–30 hour online course about how the 1,200-page law works, which, given its demonstrated complexity, is like giving someone a first-aid course and then making him a med-school professor. “I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a congressional hearing last week. In the age of Wikileaks and IRS abuses, somehow that isn’t very comforting.“The standards proposed by your department could result in a convicted felon receiving federal dollars and gaining access to confidential taxpayer information,” a group of nine Republican senators led by Utah’s Orrin Hatch wrote to Secretary Sebelius last month. “The same standards allow any individual who has registered with the exchange and completed two days of training to facilitate enrollment, as if the decision to purchase health insurance is similar to the decision of registering to vote.”

Indeed, voter registration is among the goals of the folks hawking Obamacare. The People’s World newspaper reports: “California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction — online, in-person and by phone — it has with consumers.” It seems as if some Obama supporters have found a new way to fill the void left by the bankruptcy of ACORN, the notorious left-wing voter-registration group that saw dozens of its employees in multiple states convicted of fraud.

At least the pay will be better. ACORN was infamous for stiffing its employees and even once sued the state of California to ask for an exemption from its minimum-wage law. But early reports are that the federal government will be offering navigators between $20 and $48 an hour. In many states, that’s far more than many private-sector workers with corresponding responsibilities earn.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is that the potential failure of the navigators program could further convince voters that Obamacare is simply unworkable. “The Obama administration wants something the federal government has never done: a computer system that connects HHS, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security and perhaps other departments,” John Goodman, a health-care expert with the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May. “For perspective, consider that the Veterans Administration converted to electronic medical records in 1998 and the VA and the Defense Department tried without success to share records until February [2013] when then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the plan would be abandoned.”

But the consensus is that, if Obamacare isn’t repealed, the government can, with enough effort and money, get the Data Hub up and running. That concerns many members of Congress.

“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.”

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO

This article can be found at:  http://www.nationalreview.com/article/354031/obamacares-branch-nsa-john-fund

 

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Comprehensive List of Obama Tax Hikes

Posted on September 8, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economics, Government, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , |

Thought you would find this interesting, it’s from the Americans for Tax Reform:

Which one of these tax hikes will destroy the most jobs?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes:

1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco:  On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack.  The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085
 

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013):  Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2011-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%
 

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed
 

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation            Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).  Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs educationBill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

11. Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.  Phases in gradually until 2018.  Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-obama-tax-hikes-a6433#ixzz1XP3MgyYP

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New and Increased Taxes Because of Obamacare

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economy, Government, Legislation, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

From the web site Americans for Tax Reform comes this information:

Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law.  While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history.  Below is a comprehensive list of the two dozen new or higher taxes that pay for Obamcare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients.

Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS)

Employer Mandate Tax(Jan 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013):  This increase involves the creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2010 15% 15% 35%
2011-2012 (current law) 20% 39.6% 39.6%
2011-2012 (Obama budget) 20% 20% 39.6%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%
 
*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family).  CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

Medicine Cabinet Tax($5 bil/Jan 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike($1.4 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. 

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100. 

Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-tax-hikes-obamacare-a5758##ixzz1B33u6QUa

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Obamacare Is In Serious Jeopardy

Posted on January 11, 2011. Filed under: Legislation, Politics | Tags: , , , |

I received the following message from Newsmax.com and wanted to pass it along to all of you.

Obamacare Is In Serious Jeopardy
Let Your Voice Be Heard and Make a Difference!

Dear Newsmax Reader,

I am writing to you urgently today because there is a small window of opportunity to repeal Obamacare.

The Republicans are planning to stop Obamacare in its tracks, and the vote may come as early as Wednesday.

But they and many wavering Democrats need your support — and the support of your fellow Americans.

Soon, this repeal effort will move to the Senate. Right now, many Republicans and Democrats are rethinking their original support for this horrendous bill.

It recently has been exposed that Obamacare will . . .

  • Add more than $1 trillion to our federal budget (and that is a low estimate)
  • Cut Medicare benefits for seniors — more than $500 billion
  • Initiate healthcare rationing for the elderly
  • Raise $500 billion in new taxes and fees levied on you!
  • And cause many other irreversible damages to our great country

Newsmax has decided to take the initiative, and we are asking you to join us in a truly powerful petition effort to repeal Obamacare once and for all.

Please sign this petition, which will be sent to our elected officials, demanding that Obamacare be repealed.

Simply Click Here for Details

This is a small window of opportunity, and will likely be our last!

Let Your Voice Be Heard
Click Here

Thank you in advance,

Christopher Ruddy
CEO and Editor in Chief
Newsmax.com

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A New Slant on Obama

Posted on October 28, 2010. Filed under: Life, Politics | Tags: , , , |

I received the following in an e-mail and thought it was worth recounting here.

One 82-year-old lady loves Obama and she may have a very good point.  She says that Obama is amazing, and is rebuilding the American dream!  She gives us an entirely new slant on the “amazing” job Obama is doing,  and she says that she will thank God for the President.  Keep reading for her additional comments and an explanation.

When discussing Obama, she says:

1.  Obama destroyed the Clinton Political Machine, driving a stake through the heart of Hillary’s presidential aspirations – something no Republican was ever able to do.

2.  Obama killed off the Kennedy Dynasty – no more Kennedys trolling  Washington looking for booze and women wanting rides home.

3.  Obama is destroying the Democratic Party before our eyes!  Dennis Moore had never lost a race.  Evan Bayh had never lost a race.  Byron Dorgan had never lost a race.  Harry Reid – soon to be GONE!  These are just a handful of the Democrats whose political careers Obama has destroyed.  By the end of 2010, dozens more will be gone.  Just think, in December of 2008 the Democrats were on the rise.  In the last two election cycles, they had picked up 14 Senate seats and 52 House seats.  The press was touting the death of the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party.  However, in just one year, Obama put a stop to all of this and will probably give the House – if not the Senate – back to the Republicans.

4.  Obama has completely exposed liberals and progressives for what they are.  Sadly, every generation seems to need to re-learn the lesson on why they should never actually put liberals in charge.  Obama is bringing home the lesson very well:

Liberals tax, borrow and spend.

Liberals won’t bring themselves to protect  America .

Liberals want to take over the economy.

Liberals think they know what is best for everyone.

Liberals are not happy until they are running YOUR life.

5.  Obama has brought more Americans back to conservatism than anyone since Reagan.  In one year, he has rejuvenated the Conservative Movement and brought out to the streets millions of freedom loving Americans.  Name one other time when you saw your friends and neighbors this interested in taking back  America !

6.  Obama, with his “amazing leadership,” has sparked the greatest period of sales of firearms and ammunition this country has seen.  Law abiding citizens have rallied and have provided a “stimulus” to the sporting goods field while other industries have failed, faded, or moved off-shore.

7.  In all honesty, one year ago I was more afraid than I have been in my life.  Not afraid of the economy, but afraid of the direction our country was going.  I thought, Americans have forgotten what this country is all about.  My neighbors and friends, even strangers, have proved to me that my lack of confidence in the greatness and wisdom of the American people has been flat wrong.

8.  When the American people wake up, no smooth talking teleprompter reader can fool them!  Barack Obama has served to wake up these great Americans!

Again, I want to say:  “Thank you, Barack Obama!”  After all, this is exactly the kind of hope and change we desperately needed!!  

November 2nd is HUGE!!!!

Please encourage others to Vote………….forward this onward, if you like.

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Freedoms Lost Under ObamaCare

Posted on March 23, 2010. Filed under: Government, Health, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , |

In a March 21st blog post David  Hogberg wrote an interesting piece, which is reproduced below.  Under ObamaCare the Government knows what is best for you, and you will comply.  Reminds me of one of the Star Trek series where the evil Borg would say “resistance is futile”.  Well, buckle up kiddies, the Democrat run Congress is just getting started.

(Begin Hogberg’s post)

Of course, the overhaul is supposed to provide us with security. But it will result in skyrocketing insurance costs and physicians leaving the field in droves, making it harder to afford and find medical care. We may be about to live Benjamin Franklin’s adage, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

The sections described below are taken from HR 3590 as agreed to by the Senate and from the reconciliation bill as displayed by the Rules Committee.

1. You are young and don’t want health insurance? You are starting up a small business and need to minimize expenses, and one way to do that is to forego health insurance? Tough. You have to pay $750 annually for the “privilege.” (Section 1501)

2. You are young and healthy and want to pay for insurance that reflects that status? Tough. You’ll have to pay for premiums that cover not only you, but also the guy who smokes three packs a day, drink a gallon of whiskey and eats chicken fat off the floor. That’s because insurance companies will no longer be able to underwrite on the basis of a person’s health status. (Section 2701).

3. You would like to pay less in premiums by buying insurance with lifetime or annual limits on coverage? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer such policies, even if that is what customers prefer. (Section 2711).

4. Think you’d like a policy that is cheaper because it doesn’t cover preventive care or requires cost-sharing for such care? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer policies that do not cover preventive services or offer them with cost-sharing, even if that’s what the customer wants. (Section 2712).

5. You are an employer and you would like to offer coverage that doesn’t allow your employees’ slacker children to stay on the policy until age 26? Tough. (Section 2714).

6. You must buy a policy that covers ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services; chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

You’re a single guy without children? Tough, your policy must cover pediatric services. You’re a woman who can’t have children? Tough, your policy must cover maternity services. You’re a teetotaler? Tough, your policy must cover substance abuse treatment. (Add your own violation of personal freedom here.) (Section 1302).

7. Do you want a plan with lots of cost-sharing and low premiums? Well, the best you can do is a “Bronze plan,” which has benefits that provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60% of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan. Anything lower than that, tough. (Section 1302 (d) (1) (A))

8. You are an employer in the small-group insurance market and you’d like to offer policies with deductibles higher than $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families? Tough. (Section 1302 (c) (2) (A).

9. If you are a large employer (defined as at least 50 employees) and you do not want to provide health insurance to your employee, then you will pay a $750 fine per employee (It could be $2,000 to $3,000 under the reconciliation changes). Think you know how to better spend that money? Tough. (Section 1513).

10. You are an employer who offers health flexible spending arrangements and your employees want to deduct more than $2,500 from their salaries for it? Sorry, can’t do that. (Section 9005 (i)).

11. If you are a physician and you don’t want the government looking over your shoulder? Tough. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to use your claims data to issue you reports that measure the resources you use, provide information on the quality of care you provide, and compare the resources you use to those used by other physicians. Of course, this will all be just for informational purposes. It’s not like the government will ever use it to intervene in your practice and patients’ care. Of course not. (Section 3003 (i))

12. If you are a physician and you want to own your own hospital, you must be an owner and have a “Medicare provider agreement” by Feb. 1, 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010 in the reconciliation changes.) If you didn’t have those by then, you are out of luck. (Section 6001 (i) (1) (A))

13. If you are a physician owner and you want to expand your hospital? Well, you can’t (Section 6001 (i) (1) (B). Unless, it is located in a country where, over the last five years, population growth has been 150% of what it has been in the state (Section 6601 (i) (3) ( E)). And then you cannot increase your capacity by more than 200% (Section 6001 (i) (3) (C)).

14. You are a health insurer and you want to raise premiums to meet costs? Well, if that increase is deemed “unreasonable” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services it will be subject to review and can be denied. (Section 1003)

15. The government will extract a fee of $2.3 billion annually from the pharmaceutical industry. If you are a pharmaceutical company what you will pay depends on the ratio of the number of brand-name drugs you sell to the total number of brand-name drugs sold in the U.S. So, if you sell 10% of the brand-name drugs in the U.S., what you pay will be 10% multiplied by $2.3 billion, or $230,000,000. (Under reconciliation, it starts at $2.55 billion, jumps to $3 billion in 2012, then to $3.5 billion in 2017 and $4.2 billion in 2018, before settling at $2.8 billion in 2019 (Section 1404)). Think you, as a pharmaceutical executive, know how to better use that money, say for research and development? Tough. (Section 9008 (b)).

16. The government will extract a fee of $2 billion annually from medical device makers. If you are a medical device maker what you will pay depends on your share of medical device sales in the U.S. So, if you sell 10% of the medical devices in the U.S., what you pay will be 10% multiplied by $2 billion, or $200,000,000. Think you, as a medical device maker, know how to better use that money, say for R&D? Tough. (Section 9009 (b)).

The reconciliation package turns that into a 2.9% excise tax for medical device makers. Think you, as a medical device maker, know how to better use that money, say for research and development? Tough. (Section 1405).

17. The government will extract a fee of $6.7 billion annually from insurance companies. If you are an insurer, what you will pay depends on your share of net premiums plus 200% of your administrative costs. So, if your net premiums and administrative costs are equal to 10% of the total, you will pay 10% of $6.7 billion, or $670,000,000. In the reconciliation bill, the fee will start at $8 billion in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, $1.9 billion in 2017, and $14.3 billion in 2018 (Section 1406).Think you, as an insurance executive, know how to better spend that money? Tough.(Section 9010 (b) (1) (A and B).)

18. If an insurance company board or its stockholders think the CEO is worth more than $500,000 in deferred compensation? Tough.(Section 9014).

19. You will have to pay an additional 0.5% payroll tax on any dollar you make over $250,000 if you file a joint return and $200,000 if you file an individual return. What? You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Tough. (Section 9015).

That amount will rise to a 3.8% tax if reconciliation passes. It will also apply to investment income, estates, and trusts. You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Like you need to ask. (Section 1402).

20. If you go for cosmetic surgery, you will pay an additional 5% tax on the cost of the procedure. Think you know how to spend that money you earned better than the government? Tough. (Section 9017).

(End Hogberg’s post)

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Impeach the President?

Posted on March 19, 2010. Filed under: Economy, Government, Health, Legislation, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

In a Washing Times article, author Jeffery Kuhner raises the question:  Should we impeach the President as well as Speaker Pelosi and other Democrat leaders?

The heart of his argument is that the proposed “Slaughter Solution” is unconstitutional and anyone voting for a bill under this tactic has violated the Constitution. 

The article is presented in its entirety, or you can read it at:  http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/19/impeach-the-president/

(Begin article)

The Democrats are assaulting the very pillars of our democracy. As the debate on Obamacare reaches the long, painful end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confronting a political nightmare. She may not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate’s health care bill in the House.

Hence, Mrs. Pelosi and her congressional Democratic allies are seriously considering using a procedural ruse to circumvent the traditional constitutional process. Led by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, New York Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, the new plan – called the “Slaughter Solution” – is not to pass the Senate version on an up-or-down vote. Rather, it is to have the House “deem” that the legislation was passed and then have members vote directly on a series of “sidecar” amendments to fix the things it does not like.

This would enable House Democrats to avoid going on the record voting for provisions in the Senate bill – the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” the tax on high-cost so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans – that are reviled by the public or labor-union bosses. If the reconciliation fixes pass, the House can send the Senate bill to President Obama for his signature without ever having had a formal up-or-down vote on the underlying legislation.

Many Democrats could claim they opposed the Senate bill while allowing it to pass. This would be an unprecedented violation of our democratic norms and procedures, established since the inception of the republic. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution stipulates that for any bill to become a law, it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That is, not be “deemed” to have passed, but actually be voted on with the support of the required majority. The bill must contain the exact same language in both chambers – and in the version signed by the president – to be a legitimate law. This is why the House and Senate have a conference committee to iron out differences of competing versions. This is Civics 101.

The Slaughter Solution is a dagger aimed at the heart of our system of checks and balances. It would enable the Democrats to establish an ominous precedent: The lawmaking process can be rigged to ensure the passage of any legislation without democratic accountability or even a congressional majority. It is the road to a soft tyranny. James Madison must be turning in his grave.

OTHER TWT STORIES:
Democrats make final reform push
Health-vote ally Nelson to get a new hospital for Nebraska
Obama backs plan to legalize illegals
Poll finds stubborn suspicion of census

Mr. Obama is imposing a leftist revolution. Since coming to office, he has behaved without any constitutional restraints. The power of the federal government has exploded. He has de facto nationalized key sectors of American life – the big banks, financial institutions, the automakers, large tracts of energy-rich land from Montana to New Mexico. His cap-and-trade proposal, along with a newly empowered Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to impose massive new taxes and regulations upon industry. It is a form of green socialism: Much of the economy would fall under a command-and-control bureaucratic corporatist state. Mr. Obama even wants the government to take over student loans.

Yet his primary goal has always been to gobble up the health care system. The most troubling aspect of the Obamacare debate, however, is not the measure’s sweeping and radical aims – the transformation of one-sixth of the U.S. economy, crippling tax increases, higher premiums, state-sanctioned rationing, longer waiting lines, the erosion of the quality of medical care and the creation of a huge, permanent administrative bureaucracy. Rather, the most alarming aspect is the lengths to which the Democrats are willing to go to achieve their progressive, anti-capitalist agenda.

Obamacare is opposed by nearly two-thirds of the public, more than 60 percent of independents and almost all Republicans and conservatives. It has badly fractured the country, dangerously polarizing it along ideological and racial lines. Even a majority of Democrats in the House are deeply reluctant to support it.

Numerous states – from Idaho to Virginia to Texas – have said they will sue the federal government should Obamacare become law. They will declare themselves exempt from its provisions, tying up the legislation in the courts for years to come.

Mr. Obama is willing to devour his presidency, his party’s congressional majority and – most disturbing – our democratic institutional safeguards to enact it. He is a reckless ideologue who is willing to sacrifice the country’s stability in pursuit of a socialist utopia.

The Slaughter Solution is a poisoned chalice. By drinking from it, the Democrats would not only commit political suicide. They would guarantee that any bill signed by Mr. Obama is illegitimate, illegal and blatantly unconstitutional. It would be worse than a strategic blunder; it would be a crime – a moral crime against the American people and a direct abrogation of the Constitution and our very democracy.

It would open Mr. Obama, as well as key congressional leaders such as Mrs. Pelosi, to impeachment. The Slaughter Solution would replace the rule of law with arbitrary one-party rule. It violates the entire basis of our constitutional government – meeting the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” If it’s enacted, Republicans should campaign for the November elections not only on repealing Obamacare, but on removing Mr. Obama and his gang of leftist thugs from office.

It is time Americans drew a line in the sand. Mr. Obama crosses it at his peril.

(End article)

My thoughts, I doubt if Congress would impeach President Obama; the House would have to bring the charges, and to say that the President violated the Constitution would incriminate the members of the House, so that wouldn’t happen.  Even if it did, there are enough Democrats in the Senate to prevent a conviction.  So really, right now at least the idea of impeachment is a moot point.

That’s my 2 cents.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of “The Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.

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Projected Medicare Changes

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Government, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

My Mother received a mailing the other day that announced anticipated changes to Medicare benefits.  It looks like Obamacare has begun.

The form notice is presented in its entirety.  (I added the bold text)

“Proposed cuts to existing Government programs including a significant reduction in the Federal Medicare program resulting in an increase in premiums and fees that you must pay … and a decrease in some benefits.

This new cutback in the Federal Medicare program means that you will become responsible for an even greater portion of your health care expenses . . . expenses that were previously paid by Medicare.

For more information about these changes and how they will personally affect you and your present health care coverage, simply complete and return this postage paid card today.  There will be no cost or obligation for this information.”

So as I read and re-read this it comes down to:

Premiums go up

Fees go up

Services go down

This is our existing health care system, I hate to think what will happen when the government takes over everything.

UPDATE:  In an ABC news report today (Aug 11), President Obama is quoted as saying  “Well, first of all, another myth that we’ve been hearing about is this notion that somehow we’re going to be cutting your Medicare benefits.  We are not.”

Clearly the President doesn’t know, (or refuses to acknowledge), that Medicare IS  reducing coverage, and they are telling those on Medicare that they will be.  At least Medicare is more honest with the people than our President.  But if he doesn’t know that Medicare is cutting benefits and rasing premiums and fees, then he has a serious communication problem within his Executive Branch.

I just might send him an e-mail … and if  do I will be sure to let you know what (if any) response I get.

That’s my 2 cents.

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