You should always be prepared to defend yourself, your home and your family. Â Even more so if you live in a cash-strapped county.
This is what happens when local governments – their economies decimated by Big Government policies and regulations – become dependent on federal handouts and then lose those funds.
Josephine County was once able to pay for their own law enforcement without federal assistance, but that was before radical environmentalists and their pet federal regulations got a stranglehold on the local economy, killing their timber and mining industries.
A terrified woman from Josephine County, Oregon, dialed 911 to report that her violent ex-boyfriend is trying to break into her home, but in response she was told that there are no officers on duty to help her.
The cash-strapped sheriffâ€™s department in the county had been forced to lay off 23 of its 29 deputies after losing millions in federal aid. The remaining six officers had their shifts slashed to eight hours Monday through Friday.
Unfortunately for the woman faced with an out-of-control jilted lover, her 911 call came on a Saturday.
Eventually, the crazed man forced his way into the house, choked his former girlfriend and raped her without no one there to stop him.
The suspect, Michael Bellah, was later arrested and pleaded guilty to kidnapping, assault and sex abuse.
The details of her horrific ordeal last August emerged on Tuesday after voters in Josephine and Curry counties with the lowest property taxes in the state turned down tax increases that would have increased the number of officers on the force.
Even if the county residents were to approve the levy, which would have raised taxes from 59 cents to $1.48 per $1,000 of property value for the next three years, it would have been too late for one local woman.
Liberals are of course blaming the voters and those evil Republicans for refusing to raise property taxes to make up the difference for a government-created problem. Â Â But why should financially struggling residents be forced to pay more when the problem could be solved by simply getting government off the back of local industries?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obamaâ€™s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administrationâ€™s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the presidentâ€™s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretaryâ€™s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
[…] Â Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens â€œif you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,â€ according to Justice Department regulations.
This has all the hallmarks of a shakedown.Â DrewM at Ace of Spades snarkilyÂ summarizes:Â “Hi I’m HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. You may recall I have tremendous discretionary power over your company and entire industry. Would you like to donate to my favorite cause? You would? Thank you so much.”Â Â Obamacare vests Sebelius with anÂ enormous amountÂ of regulatory power; she has the ability to make life exceedingly difficult for any company that crosses her (recall her “zero tolerance” quote).Â “Friendly” requests for “voluntary” donations may not seem optional for companies who sense the HHS Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Â […]
Harry Reid recentlyÂ grumbledÂ about Republicans’ refusal to pump more taxpayer money into Obamacare’s implementation phase.Â The GOP has stood firm against committing even one more penny to theÂ extravagantly expensive,Â enduringly unpopularÂ andÂ logistically shambolicÂ program.Â The administration’s apparent solution to this problem of their own making is to coerce private businesses into financing a bailout.
House Republicans are starting a probe into Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius soliciting donations from companies her agency might regulate, to help sign up uninsured Americans for ObamaCare.
[T]he solicitations, through speeches and phone calls, have raised questions about whether a federal official can ask for money from groups he or she oversees.
The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee began a probe by sending a letter Monday to Sebelius and groups that she might have contacted.
The letter to Sebelius asks her to provide several pieces of information by May 27 related to the solicitations, including names of those contacted â€œin this unusual fundraising pitchâ€ as well as phone logs and whether other agency officials were involved.
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday whenÂ Education WeekÂ reported that theÂ Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Foolâ€™s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what Americaâ€™s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal governmentâ€™s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained inÂ AFP Foundationâ€™s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in Americaâ€™s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached â€“ which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[…] Â After decades of failed federal intervention in Americaâ€™s public schools, Common Coreâ€™s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Coreâ€™s official website, for example,Â downplays the protestsÂ by claiming â€œ[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.â€
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today itâ€™s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over Americaâ€™s classrooms. Â […]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal governmentâ€™s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. IfÂ the success of school choiceÂ has taughtÂ us anything, itâ€™s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Plain meaning: if government militias get to carry arms, so do the citizens!
This is one of the reasons why it is an incredibly dangerous conflict of interest for the government to be shaping the hearts and minds of future voters. Â Clearly, the Left wants the next generation of Americans to believe that they have no unalienable right to self-defense, from the government or anyone else. Â They start by indoctrinating the young.
The Left knows it’s better to apologize after the fact than ask for permission. The seeds of deception have already been planted in these kids’ minds. They’ll let the outrage settle down, and then try again. This is why parents should have the choice to send their children to a school that isn’t out to indoctrinate their kids!
The father of a Connecticut child is furious after discovering that his sonâ€™s school is teaching students that Americans donâ€™t have a Second Amendment right to bear arms.
â€œI am appalled,â€ said Steven Boibeaux, of Bristol. â€œIt sounds to me like they are trying to indoctrinate our kids.â€
Boibeauxâ€™s son is an eighth grader atÂ Northeast Middle School.Â On Monday his social studies teacher gave students a worksheet titled, â€˜The Second Amendment Today.â€™
â€œThe courts have consistently determined that the Second Amendment does not ensure each individual the right to bear arms,â€ the worksheet states. â€œThe courts have never found a law regulating the private ownership of weapons unconstitutional.
The worksheet, published by Instructional Fair, goes on to say that the Second Amendment is not incorporated against the states.
â€œThis means that the rights of this amendment are not extended to the individual citizens of the states,â€ the worksheet reads. â€œSo a person has no right to complain about a Second Amendment violation by state laws.â€
According to the document, the Second Amendment â€œonly provides the right of a state to keep an armed National Guard.â€
Boibeaux said he discovered the worksheet as he was going over his sonâ€™s homework assignments.
â€œIâ€™m more than a little upset about this,â€ he told Fox News. â€œItâ€™s not up to the teacher to determine what the Constitution means.â€
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, called the lesson propaganda â€“ that is â€œabsolutely false.â€
â€œIn fact, the US Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment ensures the individual the right to bear arms,â€ Staver told Fox News. â€œThe progressive interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it doesnâ€™t give you the right to bear arms â€“ that itâ€™s a corporate right of the government â€“ but that has been rejected by the Courts.â€
The foundation for the housing crisis was laid with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, where the government took it upon itself to encourage home ownership by pressuring banks to lend to lower-income buyers, often to meet arbitrary racial quotas. Obviously they haven’t learned a thing from where that got us.
Would it surprise anyone to learn that as a lawyer, Obama sued banks to force them to issue subprime loans? Â He also worked for ACORN, which specialized in using the Community Reinvestment Act to shake down banks and pressure them to loan money to low-income minorities or face “discrimination” charges.
According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is pushing big banks to make more home loans available to Americans with bad credit â€“ the same kind of Â government guidance that helped blow up the housing market:
In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs â€” including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration â€” that insure home loans against default.
Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.
Think about this statement. The administration is asking banks â€“ banks that Washington bails out; banks that Washington crafts regulations for â€” to embrace risky policies that put the institution and its investors (not to mention, all of us) in a Â precarious position. So precarious, in fact, that banks have to ask government if they can be freed of any legal or financial consequences.
These types of government policies initially emerged the mid-1970s, when â€œprogressiveâ€ Democrats in Congress began a campaign to help low-income minorities become homeowners. This led to the passage, in 1977, of theCommunity Reinvestment ActÂ (CRA), a mandate for banks to make special efforts to seek out and lend to borrowers of meager means. Founded on the premise that government intervention is necessary to counteract the fundamentally racist and inequitable nature of American society and the free market, the CRA was eventually transformed from an outreach effort into a strictÂ quota systemÂ by the Clinton administration. Under the new arrangement, if a bank failed to meet its quota for loans to low-income minorities, it ran the risk of getting a low CRAÂ ratingÂ from theÂ FDIC. This, in turn, could derail the bankâ€™sÂ effortsÂ to expand, relocate, merge, etc.Â From a practical standpoint, then, banks had no recourse but to drasticallyÂ lower their standardsÂ on down-payments and underwriting, and to approve many loans even to borrowersÂ with weak credit credentials. As Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell explains, this led to â€œskyrocketing ratesÂ of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,â€ and the rest is history.
The CRA was by no means the only mechanism designed by government to impose lending quotas on financial institutions. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developedÂ rulesÂ encouraging lenders to dramatically hike their loan-approval rates for minority applicants and began bringingÂ legal actionsÂ against mortgage bankers who failed to do so, regardless of the reason. This, too, caused lenders to lower their down-payment and income requirements.
Moreover, HUDÂ pressuredÂ the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a steeply rising number of their own loans for low-income borrowers. Many of these were subprime mortgagesâ€”loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms in order to compensate lenders for the high credit risk they were incurring.
Additional pressure toward this end was applied by community organizations like the pro-socialistÂ ACORN. ByÂ accusingÂ banksâ€”however frivolously or unjustlyâ€”of having engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices that violated the mandates of the CRA, these groups commonly sued banks topreventÂ them from expanding or merging as they wished. Barack Obama, ACORNâ€™s staunch ally, was strongly in favor of this practice. Indeed, in a 1994 class-actionÂ lawsuit against Citibank, Obama represented ACORN in demanding more favorableÂ termsÂ for subprime homebuyer mortgages. After four years of being dragged through the mud, a beleaguered Citibankâ€”anxious to put an end to the incessant smears (chargingÂ racism) that Obama and his fellow litigators were hurling in its direction (to say nothing of its mounting legal bills)â€”agreed to settle the case.
ForbesÂ magazine puts itÂ bluntly: â€œObama has been a staunch supporter of the CRA throughout his public life.â€ In other words, he has long advocatedÂ the very policies that already have reducedÂ the real-estate market to rubble. And now he is actively pushing those very same practicesÂ again.
Why do we have such massive deficits? Â Because if the government actually tried to collect the amount it needs to cover its current spending levels and unfunded liabilities, it would trigger a revolt – and that’s not a metaphor.
The truth is that our politicians have been very careful in their labeling of government receipts and payments so as to keep most of the coming bills associated with ‘Take As You Go’ off the books. Consider, for example, Uncle Sam’s promises to pay me my Social Security and Medicare benefits starting in roughly 10 years. The present value (the value in the present) of these promises is $400,000. How does this differ from my holding a Treasury bond valued at $400,000?
Fundamentally, it differs not at all, which means that the government has a lot more debt than it’s reporting.
How much more?
I’m not sure you want to know. I recently calculated the fiscal gap using the CBO’s AFS forecast. The fiscal gap measures the present value difference between all projected future federal expenditures (including servicing official debt) and all projected future taxes. The fiscal gap is thus the true measure of our government’s total indebtedness and the true measure of fiscal sustainability.
How big is the fiscal gap?
Brace yourself. It’s $222 trillion large! In comparison, official debt in the public’s hands is only $11 trillion.
Here’s one way to wrap your head around our $222 trillion fiscal hole: closing it via tax hikes would require an immediate and permanent 64 percent increase in all federal taxes. Alternatively, the government could cut all transfer payments, e.g., Social Security benefits, and discretionary federal expenditures, e.g., defense expenditures, by 40 percent. Waiting to raise taxes or cut spending makes these figures worse.
In short, our government is totally broke. And it’s not broke in 30 years or in 20 years or in 10 years. It’s broke today.
In other words, in four years, the interest on the debt will consume almost half of all revenue that the government collects, and each year after that it will get progressively worse â€” until it consumes all revenues.
As the interest on the debt grows, we wonâ€™t be able to borrow enough to pay our bills, and the government will have to either simply print more money to pay up or default. It will likely at least try printing money, and this is when inflation will zoom atmospherically. Even Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve,Â acknowledged this scenarioÂ last year.
The chance that the United States will avoid this path in our near future is infinitesimal, but there is a chance. An unexpected business boom could spare us â€” socialistÂ Norway stays solvent via exploiting oilÂ revenues, and the United States has some of the biggest oil reserves in the world â€” or a massive downsizing of government could spark a boom â€” as happenedÂ during the Harding administrationÂ and at theÂ end of WWIIâ€” but thereâ€™s little chance of either happening.
The great majority of U.S. spending is claimed to promote â€œfairness,â€ while critics have argued that it is immoral for Baby Boomers â€” the group mainly responsible for electing political spendthrifts â€” to heap devastating debt on their children and grandchildren. Ironically, the imminent demise of the dollar has accelerated to where the dollar will almost certainly crash during most Boomersâ€™ lifetimes, so they will have to suffer along with their offspring.
CVS employees were outraged recently to learn that they will be forced to turn over their weight information and submit to random health “inspections,” or be forced to pay higher premiums:
A new policy for employees of CVS Pharmacy will have them reporting their weight, body fat and other health metrics â€” or they can pay a fine that could add up to $600 each year. Privacy advocates are not happy about it.
Â According to the Boston Herald,Â Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the advocacy group Patient Privacy Rights, said the increasing cost of health care will only make policies like this more common.
â€œRising health care costs are killing the economy, and businesses are terrified,â€ Peel said. â€œNow, weâ€™re all in this terrible situation where employers are desperate to get rid of workers who have costly health conditions, like obesity and diabetes.â€
According to reports, the new policy requires employees of the pharmacy to have a doctor record theirÂ weight, height, body fat, blood pressure, blood glucose and other measurement by May 1, 2014. If the employee opts out of providing this information, they would be fined an additional $50 each month for insurance, adding up to $600 per year. The Boston Herald reported CVS saying it would pay for these evaluations.
What most Americans don’t realize is this is the beginning for the “new normal” under Obamacare. Â CVS is the first, but they won’t be the last:
Starting in 2014, per the dictates of the federal government, your doctor must recordÂ your body mass indexÂ (BMI), which measures whether you are overweight, each time he or she treats you and turn it over to the government via your electronic health record, which every patient isÂ required to have. Â Your BMI will then be tracked by the Health and Human Services Department, the agency rolling out ObamaCare, and a bevy of other state and federal agencies.
ShockÂ and anger ensued this week as CVSÂ employeesÂ learned that if they didn’t turn over that information to their insurers, they’d be fined. Â But CVS is merely rolling out what may become one of the most controversial aspects of ObamaCare a little ahead of schedule.
One needs only to look to Europe to see how our political elites will use ObamaCare, and the BMI weight measure they are so determined to record for each of us, to intrude into and regulate not just our health care, but our lives.
In the U.K., overweight patients or those who smoke are branded “undeserving” and denied treatments like cataract surgery (without which they could eventually go blind) and knee and hip surgery, leaving some who don’t qualify for the surgery in agonizing pain.Â Some of the U.K.’s “trusts,” which regulate the national health care system for various zones of the country, go farther, denying all operations to those who don’t meet the government’s weight dictates except for lifesaving surgery on their hearts, brains or to remove cancer.
A recent study shows thatÂ a majorityÂ of the U.K.’s doctors think the national health system should go farther still and deny all non-emergency care to patients who don’t meet certain weight and health criteria.Â By law, they still must pay for their health care, of course, even though they are denied the ability to get treatment.
Given all of this, it is chilling that the collection of each patient’s BMI was so important to U.S. Health and Human Services that it was one of the first directives the department issued after ObamaCare passed in 2009. Â There is a reason for that.
It is clear that liberal elites and the Obama administration intend to take Americans down the same path as Europe. Â The apparatus to handle federally mandated “health interventions” into people’s lives is already being put in place.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that all obese adults receive “intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America” and that they have “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions.” Â According to theÂ Los Angeles Times, these apparently will involveÂ 12 to 26 counseling sessionsÂ a year with a physician or community-based program.
In the new health care regime that is coming under ObamaCare, each citizen will be reduced to a single, all-important series of numbers -height, weight, BMI, glucose levels – that tell the government all it needs to know about whether an individual is practicing a healthy lifestyle.
If we follow Europe’s lead, Americans’ weight will soon become the pretext for the government to intrude into and regulate many aspects of our lives through ObamaCare, regulations, and taxation.
Over one-third of the 9.1 million full-time jobs among America’s diverse business franchises could be cut back or eliminated by Obamacare as small businesses struggle to maintain profitability while coughing up money to pay for Washington-mandated health care coverage, according to the International Franchise Association.
Cause premiums to skyrocket.Â In December,Â state insurance commissioners warnedÂ Obama administration officials that the law’s market regulations would likely cause “rate shocks,” particularly for younger, healthier people forced by ObamaCare to subsidize premiums for those who are older and sicker.
“We are very concerned about what will happen if essentially there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
That same month, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said ObamaCare will likelyÂ cause premiums to doubleÂ for some small businesses and individuals.
And a more recent survey of insurers in five major cities by theÂ American Action ForumÂ found they expect premiums to climb an average 169%.
Cost people their jobs.Â The Federal Reserve’s MarchÂ beige bookÂ on economic activity noted that businesses “cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
Around the same time,Â Gallup reportedÂ a surge in part-time work in advance of ObamaCare’s employer mandate. It found that part-timers accounted for almost 21% of the labor force, up from 19% three years ago.
Meanwhile, human resources consulting firmÂ AdeccoÂ found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.
Tax the middle class.Â IBD reportedÂ in February that much of the $800 billion in tax hikes imposed by ObamaCare will end up hitting the middle class, including $45 billion in mandate penalties, $19 billion raised by limiting medical expense deductions, $24 billion through strict limits on flexible spending accounts, plus another $5 billion because ObamaCare bans using FSAs to buy over-the-counter drugs.
Every year, the federal government spends well over a trillion dollars more than it takes in. As a result, it has racked up seventeen trillion dollars in debt, most of it in the last decade. In seven years at current rates, the U.S. will need almost a fifth of the GDP from the rest of the world just to finance our national debt.
JustÂ twoÂ of our federal entitlements, Medicare and Social Security, have â€œunfunded future liabilitiesâ€ of $46.2 trillion. Total liabilities are $86.8 trillion or more. Entitlements and other mandatory spending will burden more and more of the federal budget in the coming years. At todayâ€™s burn rate, before long no realistic amount of tax revenue will be able to service the debt and fund the governmentâ€™s basic functions.
We need not worry about the federal government defaulting, since, unlike U.S. states or private citizens, it can print the money it needs to pay the bills. It can and will do so if we donâ€™t make a course correction fast. Massive monetary expansion will ultimately devalue every dollar in circulation and trigger the sort of hyperinflation that flattens entire societies in short order. Thatâ€™s bad enough, but when government borrows and spends for our supposed benefit,Â somebody elseÂ will have to foot some or all of the bill. If our faith applies to every aspect of life, then it must have something to say about this moral outrage.
[…] Â In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million people were murdered by their own governments. And that was just in communist countries. History and scripture agree: because of sin, governments with too much power become propagators of evil and destruction.
This speaks directly to government debt, since deficit spending is a symptom of government doing more than it can or should. The federal government now borrows and spends with such reckless abandon that it is careening toward a global economic catastrophe. If Christians canâ€™t muster the courage to speak out against what Rep. Paul Ryan has called â€œthe most predictable debt crisis in history,â€ we wonâ€™t deserve to be taken seriously after the collapse.
Sadly, many Christians don’t know how to disciple our nation to turn the tide because they’ve never studied God’s design for economics or the Biblical role of government. Â Â They can’t teach what they don’t know. Â The Â key to real reformation, says R.C. Sproul, Jr., is for Christians to understand and work to implement Biblical economic principles:
Christian author and teacherÂ R.C. Sproul, Jr.Â told CBN News Anchor Lee Webb that he believes it’s time to return to the basics when it comes to economics.
“When we’re left arguing about whether or not we should have a marginal tax rate of 45 percent or 48 percent, and the conservative is stuck arguing for the 45 percent we’ve had an insufficient reformation in our thinking,” Sproul said.
Sproul believes that reformation will happen only when we return to scripture to see what God has to say about economics. That’s why he produced a video series called “Economics for Everybody.” It’s a compelling, even entertaining approach to a topic many find boring.
[…] Â Â Sproul provides historical evidence that nations most influenced by biblical Christianity are nations that, by and large, have prospered. They are nations marked by decentralized governments and free markets.
But nations that reject God are marked by centralized power, tyranny, and no free markets. Unfortunately, he said he has observed some of those troubling trends in America now.
“The United States is not a free market. It’s an interventionist economy that’s been moving closer to socialism for over a century now,” he said. “I am not optimistic about our nation’s future economically.”
“We live in a country in which the state forbids me to hire a man unless I promise to pay him X number of dollars,” Sproul explained. “We now live in a country where I can’t hire 50 men unless I promise to buy them all health insurance, including access to abortion.”
“This is not economic liberty. This is not free markets,” he said. “We’re missing the fact that we’re the frog and the water is boiling.”
“It’s my conviction that education is always and everywhere religious,” he said.
“And it’s not a surprise that when 80 percent of evangelical parents have their children in the government’s schools that they’re going to embrace the religion of the government which is the worship of the state,” he said.
Sproul cautioned Christians to avoid despair. One way to do that is by returning to the beginning, to the Creation Mandate and begin to see that our work is part of worship.
Come January, many children currently enrolled in the State Childrenâ€™s HealthÂ Insurance Program (CHIP) will be compulsorily moved out of their current health plans and into state-run Medicaid plans â€“ as a result of Obamacare.
During the 2012 election campaign, Democrats denied that ObamaCare made $716 billion in cuts to Medicare in order to provide funding toward $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years.
In an announcement on Friday, however, the Obama administration revealed that it would be significantly reducing funding for Medicare, a move that one health insurance analystÂ saidÂ â€œwould turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.â€
[…] Â Â Regarding the cuts, Americaâ€™s Health Insurance Plansâ€™ (AHIP) president Karen Ignagni said, â€œWashington cannot tax and cut Medicare Advantage this much and not expect seniors to be harmed.”
Younger, healthier people, many of whom voted forÂ Mr. ObamaÂ in droves, will see their insurance premiums climb sharply as Obamacare demands that insurers provide them with more medical coverage than they want or need.
[…] Â Mark Bertolini, CEO ofÂ Aetna Inc.Â â€” the nationâ€™s third-largest health insurance company â€” warned at the end of 2012 that Americans will face a â€œpremium rate shockâ€ when the presidentâ€™s tidal wave of regulations kick in next year.
Mr. BertoliniÂ predicts unsubsidized insurance premiums will shoot up by 20 percent to 50 percent, on average.
Those numbers may be just for the lucky ones. Some consumers will see their costs double. â€œWeâ€™re going to see some markets go up as much as 100 percent,â€Â Mr. BertoliniÂ toldÂ BloombergÂ News.
In less than a year, Americans will be hit with not only higher insurance premiums, but massive tax increases:
While much of the dialogue on healthcare reform centers on the federal mandate of health coverage for all Americans â€“ which many conservatives call the largest tax increase in U.S history â€“ less attention is being given to the massive sales tax increase on the purchase of health insurance also implicit within the legislation that will dramatically escalate costs for employers and consumers.
[T]he tax increases that remain on the books will cost taxpayers more than $675 billion over the next ten years. Chief among these will be the sales tax on the purchase of health insurance, totaling $101.7 billion, and making it larger than all the other industry-specific taxes combined.
â€œThe health insurance tax will add a financial burden on families and small businesses at a time when they can least afford it, and it should be repealed, â€ says AHIP, a trade association representing health insurance industry providers, in todayâ€™s call for the repeal of the health insurance tax before it can take affect.
Last month, the CEO of the nationâ€™s largest health insurance company warned that he and his peers may balk at participating in Obamacareâ€™s insurance exchanges â€” online, government-run portals where consumers and small businesses without conventional employer-sponsored coverage may shop for policies starting next year.
[…] Â Thatâ€™s ominous news for Obamacare. If insurers donâ€™t participate in the lawâ€™s exchanges, then consumers who had hoped to secure affordable coverage through the new marketplaces will instead find few choices and high prices. Taxpayers could be hit hard, too, as higher premiums in the exchanges will require more public spending on subsidies.
[A]s ObamaCare’s official launch date approaches, even its backers are beginning to admit that the law could actually create powerful incentives for millions of people and thousands of businesses to drop their coverage, despite the mandate.
[…] Â “We are very concerned,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave JonesÂ told federal health officialsÂ at a December meeting, “if there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all.”
The cause of this rate shock is simple: ObamaCare imposes what is called “community rating” on insurance companies, effectively forcing them to charge the young and healthy more so they can charge older and sicker consumers less.
[…] Â ObamaCare also forbids insurance companies from turning anyone down â€” a reform called “guaranteed issue” â€” which also will provide an incentive for some to drop coverage, knowing they can get it back any time.
“Even with the tax penalty … some healthy people would avoid purchasing coverage until they are sick,” Howard Shapiro, director of public policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans,Â told regulatorsÂ .
The problem is that if the young and healthy drop coverage, the result would be what the industry calls a “death spiral.” Premiums will climb as the pool of insured gets sicker, causing still more to cancel their policies.
Regulations are treated as laws and enforced as such, but they are never voted on by the people’s representatives. Â They are imposed by the “fourth branch” of government: bureaucrats from hundreds of agencies and departments (many of which are unconstitutional or abuse unconstitutional powers).
Now, it’s not that we don’t get to vote on them. Â We don’t even get to KNOW about them. Â Does that sound like the system of representative government our founders intended:
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 35 percent of major federal regulations â€“ those with at least $100 billion in annual economic impact â€“ were issued without a public notice from 2003 to 2010.
The GAO also said that 44 percent of non-major regulations were issued without a public notice, which is referred to as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
â€œDuring calendar years 2003 through 2010, agencies published 568 major rules and about 30,000 nonmajor rules,â€ theÂ GAO saidÂ in a December report to Congress. â€œ[Federal] agencies published about 35 percent of major rules and about 44 percent of nonmajor rules without an NPRM during those years.â€
The GAO found a large spike in this practice under President Barack Obama, with the percentage of major rules issued without public notice jumping from 26 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2009. The number of major rules issued this way also hit a high point in both 2009 and 2010. (Obamaâ€™s first year in office as president began in January 2009.)
â€œIn particular, from 2008 to 2009, the percentage of major rules without an NPRM increased from 26 percent to 40 percent,â€Â reported the GAO.
According to a new Pew Research CenterÂ poll, the majority of Americans say the federal government threatens their personal rights.
The poll, conducted from Jan. 9th-13thÂ among 1,500 adults, found that 53% of those surveyed think the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms, the highest level found since Pew began polling on this subject in 1995. This outcome also represents the first time since Pew began polling that a majority of Americans saw the government as a threat. In March of 2010, 47% of those polled said that they viewed government as a threat to freedom.
The latest Pew survey also included questions about gun laws. Not surprisingly, given the current national controversy about gun control and Second Amendment rights, 62% of gun owners believe that the federal government poses a fundamental threat to their constitutional rights and freedom.
In addition, the surveyÂ foundÂ that, over the past two years, the percentage of conservative Republicans who view the government as a threat to freedom has jumped from 62% to 76%. 54% of conservatives consider government to be a â€œmajor threatâ€ to their constitutional rights.
“We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” ~ Nancy Pelosi
That “free” healthcare they shoved down our throats is going to come as a real punch to the gut for families like mine! Our budget is strapped enough as it is, and now we’ll be slammed with thousands of dollars in fines because we’ve chosen to cash pay our providers.
We haven’t been able to afford health insurance for the past three years. Â I’d like to just buy catastrophic coverage like you can for other insurance (car, home), but nooooo, you HAVE to buy comprehensive for stuff you don’t want (drug detox, psychotherapy, etc.) which is more than a mortgage payment, and you’re not allowed to shop across state lines for a better deal. They take away your choices and box you in until you have NO CHOICE but to go on a government plan. And that’s EXACTLY the agenda here – they want to bankrupt the insurance industry by taking away their customers and forcing everyone onto single-payer.
This HURTS poor and middle class families, and they don’t give a damn, because they want to force us all into government healthcare.Â Â It’s infuriating!
In new, final regulations issued Wednesday, theÂ Internal Revenue Service (IRS)Â said that parents must pay a federal fine under Obamacare if their children or dependent spouses are uninsured for any part of the year.
[I]f a child goes without government-defined health insurance coverage for any month of the year, their parent must pay a fine to the government, regardless of whether they claim the child as a dependent or not.
The only thing that matters to the IRS is whether the parent could claim the uninsured child as a dependent.
The same rule applies for an uninsured spouse if the couple files a single tax return. If they file a joint return, both parents are liable for the fine.
[…] Â Uninsured adult family members use the full per-person cost of $695 per person when calculating their penalty, while uninsured children are penalized half of the adult cost â€“ $347.50 per child. The amount of penalty parents may face will change every year after 2016, the IRS said, and parents will face a phased-in penalty between 2014 and 2016.
For 2014, parents could face a penalty of either $47.50 per child â€“ under 18 â€“ up to $285 total.
For 2015, the per-child penalty is $162.50 per child up to $975 total.
For 2016, the per-child penalty is $347.50 per child up to $2,085 total.
The per-person penalty is capped at $2,085 for 2016, but that cap will rise with inflation every year thereafter.
While the per-person penalty is capped each year, families can still owe more if their income is high enough because the law states that families must pay the greater of either the per-person penalty of 2.5 percent of their taxable income.
What can you do to avoid the fines? Â Just put that $20,000 in extra cash you have laying around to good use:
In aÂ final regulationÂ issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
For middle-class families that are barely making it right now, this is going to drive millions of them into poverty and forced dependence on the welfare state. It infuriates me how many Christians supported this travesty because they bought the lie that this is “compassion!”
The White House issued new rules on Wednesday regarding the individual mandate requirements of Obamacare, stressing those that allow for exemptions from the requirement to buy insurance.
The new rules sought to play down the scope of Obamacareâ€™s unpopular individual mandate requirement,Â The Hill reports.
The exceptions, detailed by the Internal Revenue Service and the Health and Human Services Department, were included in regulations that also outlined the process by which the IRS will calculate penalties for not having insurance, The Hill reports.
The individual mandate requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay an IRS fine. It remains one of Obamacareâ€™s most politically unpopular provisions â€” and it formed the basis of the case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
HHS called the individual mandate provision a system of â€œshared responsibilityâ€ payments.
But the penalty for not having insurance â€œapplies only to the limited group of taxpayers who choose to spend a substantial period of time without coverage despite having ready access to affordable coverage,â€ the agency said in a fact sheet provided to The Hill.
Who decides what is “ready access to affordable coverage?” Â Bureaucrats, of course! Â Busybodies who decide whether or not health insurance is “affordable” for your budget, no matter what other demands you may have on it.
What if that “affordable coverage” includes something that violates your faith, like abortion? Â Tough luck, honey! Â You’ll be forced to buy it against your conscience, because Washington has decided that your “right” to “free” healthcareÂ supersedesÂ your unalienable 1st Amendment rights.
Of course, the central planners aren’t as perfect and omniscient as they think they are, and already a huge “glitch” has appeared:
Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.
As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.
The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.
“This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”
But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.
The affordability glitch is one of a series of problems coming into sharper focus as the law moves to full implementation.