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[VIDEO] Pelosi Threatens Grandmas Living in Spare Rooms if ACA is Repealed

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Did Obamacare Really Insure 20 Million?

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Jared Hatch and Alyene Senger report: One of the most frequently heard claims from the Obama administration is that Obamacare is responsible for insuring 20 million adults who were previously uninsured. But Heritage Foundation research shows the administration’s figure is off by a few million.

The Department of Health and Human Services claims that 20 million people have gained health coverage since the enactment of Obamacare in 2010 through early 2016.

Of those people, 2.3 million are said to be young adults (ages 19 to 25) that gained coverage between 2010 and 2013 as a result of the Obamacare provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.

The remaining 17.7 million people gained health insurance from Obamacare’s first open enrollment period between October 2013 and early 2016.

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However, it is important to note that the administration’s coverage estimates are based on survey data rather than calculating the actual change in coverage in different markets. Though surveys can provide useful information, they are not as precise as using enrollment data taken directly from insurance companies.

[Read the full story here, at dailydignal.com]

A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski uses the more accurate method, taking actual enrollment data from Medicaid and private insurance companies to assess the impact Obamacare has had on coverage. Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Clinton Calls Skyrocketing ObamaCare Premiums ‘Glitches’

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[See the VIDEO here]

RADDATZ: What’s broken in Obamacare that needs to be fixed right now, and what would you do to fix it?

CLINTON: Well, I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches that you just referenced. Number one, we do have more people who have access to health care. We have ended the terrible situation that people with pre-existing conditions were faced with where they couldn’t find at any
1208_angry-doctor_400x400-300x300affordable price health care. Women are not charged more than men any longer for our health insurance. And we keep young people on our policies until they turn 26. Those are all really positive developments. But, out-of-pocket costs have gone up too much and prescription drug costs have gone through the roof. And so what I have proposed, number one, is a $5,000 tax credit to help people who have very large out-of-pocket costs be able to afford those. Number two, I want Medicare to be able to negotiate for lower drug prices just like they negotiate with other countries’ health systems. We end up paying the highest prices in the world. And I want us to be absolutely clear about making sure the insurance companies in the private employer policy arena as well as in the affordable care exchanges are properly regulated so that we are not being gamed. And I think that’s an important point to make because I’m going through and analyzing the points you were making, Martha. We don’t have enough competition and we don’t have enough oversight of what the insurance companies are charging everybody right now.PANTSUIT-REPORT

RADDATZ: But you did say those were glitches.

CLINTON: Yes.

RADDATZ: Just glitches?

CLINTON: — Well, they’re glitches because —

RADDATZ: –Twenty-seven percent in the last five years, deductibles up 67 percent?–

CLINTON: It is. Because part of this is the startup challenges that this system is facing. We have fought as Democrats for decades to get a health care plan. I know. I’ve got the scars to show from the effort back in the early ‘90s. We want to build on it and fix it. And I’m confident we can do that. And it will have effects in the private market. And one of the reasons in some states why the percentage cost has gone up so much is because governors there would not extend Medicaid. And so people are still going to get health care, thankfully, in emergency rooms, in hospitals. Those costs are then added to the overall cost, which does increase the insurance premiums.

(read more)

Source: National Review Online

 


Celebrating 50 Years of Medicaid & Medicare

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 writes: This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, the healthcare entitlement programs that together cover 125 million Americans and last year cost nearly a trillion dollars.

When these programs were created back in 1965, no one ever thought they would get this big or cost this much. Congressional budgeters at the time thought Medicare, the healthcare program for the elderly, would cost about $12 billion by 1990. The actual cost that year was $90 billion.

We should have seen it coming. After all, it didn’t take decades for actual Medicare and Medicaid costs to overrun projections. That pretty much happened right away. In 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicaid, the jointly funded federal-state program originally meant to cover the poor, would cost $238 million in its first year. It actually cost more than $1 billion. By 1971, Medicaid spending had reached about $6.5 billion, blowing away all previous estimates….(read more)

TheFederalist.com


What Was Indicted Doctor Hoping to Buy With $100k Donation to Harry Reid’s Super PAC?

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Michael Patrick Leahy reports: In its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida opthalmologist, the Department of Justice cites Melgen’s $600,000 donation to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Senate Majority PAC in 2012. That money, the feds charge, was earmarked for the successful re-election of Menendez, and was part of “hundreds of thousands of dollars and contributions to entities that benefitted MENENDEZ’s 2012 Senate campaign, in exchange for specific requested exercises of MENENDEZ’s official authority.”

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez.” 

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

The indictment makes no mention of the additional $100,000 Melgen contributed to the Senate Majority PAC a mere two weeks before Reid arranged an August 2, 2012 meeting among himself, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Menendez.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

At that meeting, Menendez advocated directly to Secretary Sebelius on behalf of Melgen’s appeal of an HHS finding that he owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare in 2007 and 2008. That advocacy, the indictment charges, was the influence Melgen received from Menendez in return for his $600,000 contribution to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.

That charge leads to an obvious question.

If Melgen’s $600,000 contribution to Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Menendez, does it not stand to reason that Melgen’s $100,000 contribution to the same Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Reid in which the influence Melgen received was Reid’s arrangement of and participation in the August 2, 2012 meeting attended by Reid, Sebelius, and Menendez?

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.”

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

Menendez benefited from the $600,000 that was earmarked to his campaign because it helped him sail to a 19-point re-election victory in deep-blue New Jersey. Reid benefited from the $100,000 that was not earmarked because he was able to allocate it as he wished to assist more vulnerable Democrat candidates in 2012. Those efforts were successful, and Reid emerged from the general elections with his position of Senate Majority Leader still intact.

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“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions.”

Two former federal prosecutors tell Breitbart News that the Department of Justice, which indicted Menendez on Wednesday for his role “in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” has chosen “to downplay or omit salient details of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) participation in [that] corruption scheme.”

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation.”

— Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova

“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova tells Breitbart News.

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation,” di Genova adds.

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“The fundraiser referenced in the indictment as ‘Fundraiser 2′ and Dr. Melgen are personal friends, and we were not aware of the full extent of their communication until the indictment came out [Wednesday] night. While we are confident that this was an isolated incident, the fundraiser in question is no longer with Senate Majority PAC.”

— Stephanie Potter, executive director of Senate Majority PAC

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez,” former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy tells Breitbart News.

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute,” McCarthy says.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC attempted to distance the organization from the illegal activity described in the indictment. Read the rest of this entry »


Insurers’ Sweet Screaming Nightmare Scenario: A Health-Law Death Spiral

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Anna Wilde Mathews reports: As the Supreme Court hears arguments on Wednesday in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are struggling to prepare for a decision that could unravel the marketplaces created by the law.

“Without the tax credits, insurance-industry officials say, the individual insurance markets in those states are likely to start collapsing, as many people drop coverage they can no longer afford, leaving only those less-healthy consumers who value insurance because they’re likely to need care…”

The ruling could come in June—but insurers must make regulatory filings before then about their 2016 plans. Utah’s Arches Health Plan, for one, says it may propose an array of insurance product designs this spring. Then, depending on what the court decides, the insurer would be poised to drop some of them before they’re finalized with regulators and offered to consumers. The insurer may also come up with two different sets of rates for next year, one for each potential court outcome.

“…That would drive up premiums, because insurers would raise rates to cover the costs of this smaller, sicker pool. Then even more people would likely refuse the ever-more-expensive coverage.”

“We’re hedging our bets right now,” says Ferris W. Taylor, chief strategy officer.

The Supreme Court case focuses on federal subsidies that help lower-income consumers purchase plans. The plaintiffs argue that these tax credits aren’t authorized by the law in states where the federal government provides the online insurance exchange—which total as many as 37. Avalere Health, a consulting firm, estimated that around 7.45 million people could lose the federal financial help if the court rules against the subsidies.

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“What happens is, you go into a classic death spiral…It doesn’t hang together.”

— Janie Miller, chief executive of nonprofit insurer Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc

Without the tax credits, insurance-industry officials say, the individual insurance markets in those states are likely to start collapsing, as many people drop coverage they can no longer afford, leaving only those less-healthy consumers who value insurance because they’re likely to need care. That would drive up premiums, because insurers would raise rates to cover the costs of this smaller, sicker pool. Then even more people would likely refuse the ever-more-expensive coverage.

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An analysis by researchers at the Urban Institute, a liberal-leaning policy research group, projected that in states where the subsidies disappeared, individual insurance premiums would go up 35% on average in 2016. That increase would affect all consumers purchasing their own plans in those states, including people who didn’t buy through the government marketplace, the researchers suggested. The financial blow would be particularly tough for smaller insurers that can’t dilute the impact with other, unaffected business, like employer and Medicare plans.

 “The impact would be substantial enough that I would expect many carriers to consider pulling from the market. There’s a question, if the subsidies are struck down, if it’s an insurable market.”

— Tom Snook, an actuary with consultants Milliman Inc. who is working with a number of insurers offering exchange plans

“What happens is, you go into a classic death spiral,” says Janie Miller, chief executive of nonprofit insurer Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc. “It doesn’t hang together.” Her nonprofit’s home state wouldn’t feel the direct impact of a ruling, because Kentucky has its own exchange. But the insurer has said that next year it will go into West Virginia, where the subsidies could potentially be affected. Ms. Miller said the co-op would have to re-evaluate its expansion plans if the court struck down tax credits there. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats Run Away from Obamacare Penalty They Imposed

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Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

Byron Yorkyork writes: The Democrats who wrote and passed the Affordable Care Act were sure of two things: The law had to include a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance, and it had to have an enforcement mechanism to make the mandate work. Enforcement has always been at the heart of Obamacare.

Now, though, enforcement time has come, and some Democrats are shying away from the coercive measures they themselves wrote into law.

China Currency

“Enforcement Has Always Been at the Heart of Obamacare”

The Internal Revenue Service is the enforcement arm of Obamacare, and with tax forms due April 15, Americans who did not purchase coverage and who have not received one of the many exemptions already offered by the administration are discovering they will have to pay a substantial fine. For a household with, say, no kids and two earners making $35,000 a piece, the fine will be $500, paid at tax time.

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“And there’s very little chance the individual mandate’s approval numbers will improve, now that millions of Americans are getting a taste of what it really means.”

That’s already a fact. What is particularly worrisome to Democrats now is that, as those taxpayers discover the penalty they owe, they will already be racking up a new, higher penalty for 2015. This year, the fine for not obeying Obamacare’s edict is $325 per adult, or two percent of income above the filing threshold, whichever is higher. So that couple making $35,000 a year each will have to pay $1,000.

There’s another problem. The administration’s enrollment period just ended on February 15. So if people haven’t signed up for Obamacare already, they’ll be stuck paying the higher penalty for 2015.

China Currency

“The individual mandate has always been extremely unpopular. In December 2014, just a couple of months ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 64 percent of those surveyed don’t like the mandate. The level of disapproval has been pretty consistent since the law was passed.”

By the way, Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.

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Except that it’s easier to inflict theoretical pain than actual pain. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Gruber Refuses to Tell Congress Amount Government Paid Him for Obamacare

“Would you agree to supplement your Exhibit B, so that we would have . . . your state revenue that you would’ve also received, since ultimately it’s Affordable Care Act-related?”

Fresh from The CornerBrendan Bordelon reports: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber repeatedly refused to answer how much money the government paid him for advice on crafting and explaining the Affordable Care Act — prompting incredulous responses from Republican lawmakers, who reminded the professor he was under oath.

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“I’m sure my counsel would be happy to take that up with you.”

— Jonathan Gruber

GOP Oversight chairman Darrel Issa informed Gruber that due to a misfiled form, the committee did not receive the complete compensation data for his work on Obamacare.

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“Actually I was asking would you agree to provide it.”

— Oversight chairman Darrel Issa

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“Why doesn’t he just tell us? How much money did you get from the state taxpayers and the federal taxpayers? He’s under oath, why doesn’t he tell us how much he got paid by the taxpayers? We don’t have to wait for him to send something to us, he should just be able to tell us.”

— Ohio Republican Jim Jordan

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 “As I said, the committee could take that up with my counsel.”

— Jonathan Gruber

 National Review Online


Gruber Agrees to Testify Before Congress

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Brendan Bordelon writes: Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor and Obamacare architect behind a series of revealing and offensive comments on the health-care law, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month.

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Gruber became notorious earlier this month after a series of videos surfaced showing him explaining how Obamacare was deliberately designed to be deceptive — and belittling the intelligence of American voters in the process. Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: ‘Please Delete HealthCare.gov E-mails with White House’

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: During the first week of HealthCare.gov’s troubled launch, Marilyn Tavenner, the chief of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told an agency spokesperson to delete an e-mail exchange with the White House and the Departmentsmdg-tv2 of Health and Human Services, according to new records released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Right on cue, when the going gets tough, the Obama administration proclaims it can’t find the documents.”

— Committee Chairman Fred Upton

This development comes just a week after CMS’s admission that Tavenner had probably deleted e-mails that may be public record — “in order to stay below the agency’s Microsoft Outlook email size limit,” wrote MSNBC, which broke the story on August 7.

But today’s letter from the House committee to Tavenner says: “One of the e-mails in this production shows that you directed a subordinate to delete an e-mail communication featuring a number of White smidgen-rep-PFaPHouse representatives. This e-mail is an October 5, 2013, communication in which you forwarded a discussion with White House representatives to the Director of Communications for CMS with the message: ‘Please delete this email- but please see if we can work on call script.’”

[Also see – SCRATCH THAT! IRS Tech Said Lerner’s Hard Drive WASN’T Damaged]

The committee concludes: “This contradicts the letter [CMS recently] sent to the National Archives, which explained that your practice was to instruct subordinates to retain copies of e-mails.” Read the rest of this entry »


Daniel F. Craviotto: A Doctor’s Declaration of Independence

It’s time to defy health-care mandates issued by bureaucrats not in the healing profession.

daniel-f-craviotto-jr-md-pro-phDaniel F. Craviotto Jr. writes: In my 23 years as a practicing physician, I’ve learned that the only thing that matters is the doctor-patient relationship. How we interact and treat our patientsis the practice of medicine. I acknowledge that there is a problem with the rising cost of health care, but there is also a problem when the individual physician in the trenches does not have a voice in the debate and is being told what to do and how to do it.

As a group, the nearly 880,000 licensed physicians in the U.S. are, for the most part, well-intentioned. We strive to do our best even while we sometimes contend with unrealistic expectations. The demands are great, and many of our families pay a huge price for our not being around. We do the things we do because it is right and our patients expect us to.

So when do we say damn the mandates and requirements from bureaucrats who are not in the healing profession? When do we stand up and say we are not going to take it any more?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dictates that we must use an electronic health record (EHR) or be penalized with lower reimbursements in the future. There are “meaningful use” criteria whereby the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells us as physicians what we need to include in the electronic health record or we will not be subsidized the cost of converting to the electronic system and we will be penalized by lower reimbursements. Across the country, doctors waste precious time filling in unnecessary electronic-record fields just to satisfy a regulatory measure. I personally spend two hours a day dictating and documenting electronic health records just so I can be paid and not face a government audit. Is that the best use of time for a highly trained surgical specialist? Read the rest of this entry »


Vatican’s Consultant Firm Warned White House of Obamacare Rollout Flop

 (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Dr. Susan Berry writes:  The private U.S. management consultancy firm hired by the Vatican to advise it on its media operations is the same firm that warned the White House of serious problems with the Obamacare rollout.

As Breitbart News reported Friday, the Vatican has hired McKinsey & Co. to “make the organization of the means of communication of the Holy See more functional, efficient, and modern.” McKinsey is considered to be one of the “Big Three” in management consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, the other two being Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group.

According to Opensecrets.org, individuals at McKinsey & Co. contributed $121,106 to Barack Obama for his re-election campaign; $159,388 to DNC Services Corp.; $71,450 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; $57,500 to the Democrats’ Priorities USA Action and $25,000 to the Democrats’ House Majority PAC; $21,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; and $25,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes.

Individual McKinsey & Co. donations to GOP candidates and causes included $100,053 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; $68,460 to the Republican National Committee; and $38,700 to Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton.

Read the rest of this entry »


It Pays to be Dead: Medicare Paid Millions to Dead People, Illegal Immigrants

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New reports from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General reveal that Medicare wrongly paid out millions of dollars in benefits to dead patients, illegal immigrants and dead doctors.

rockybonesAccording to the reports in 2011 Medicare paid $23 million in services for dead patients, spent $25 million on dead doctors between 2009-2011, and provided $29 million in prescription drugs for illegal immigrants from 2009-2011.

Under federal law, none of these categories of people are eligible for Medicare benefits or payments.

The IG reports that from 2009-2011, more than 4,100 illegal immigrants were able to make drug benefit claims, because while the agency does have controls in place to prevent illegal immigrants from making Medicare claims, it did not have policies for prescription drug coverage. CMS agreed to put controls in place to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving benefits.

CMS also agreed to work to prevent and recover benefits provided to dead beneficiaries.     Read the rest of this entry »


Obamacare: More Political Than You Think

images  writes: As members of Congress continue to argue over the Affordable Care Act, one impact of the law on partisan politics has largely been left out of the conversation: voter registration.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the “Motor Voter” law, requires government agencies to offer individuals the opportunity to vote—and that includes the newly opened Obamacare exchanges.

That gives some Republicans one more reason to oppose the law. If low-income applicants lean Democratic, the argument goes, the exchanges could boost the party’s voter rolls.

“The purpose of Obamacare got nothing to do with your health, and nothing to do with your insurance…It’s about building a permanent, undefeatable, always-funded Democrat majority.”

“The practice raises longstanding suspicions on the right that the ACA exchanges are designed for political as well as regulatory purposes,” said Tim Miller, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

UnknownConservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been characteristically blunt on the subject. “The purpose of Obamacare got nothing to do with your health, and nothing to do with your insurance,” he said. “It’s about building a permanent, undefeatable, always-funded Democrat majority.”

In Washington, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in March, expressing concerns about the linking of ACA insurance applications to voter registration.

“While the health care law requires that government agencies collect vast information about Americans’ personal lives, it does not give your Department an interest in whether individual Americans choose to vote,” he wrote.

Boustany’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Yet voter-rights advocates maintain that voter registration is not a partisan issue. “Those new voters could be up for grabs by all parties,” said Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union‘s Washington legislative office. “I think it’s very unreasonable to assume someone voting for the first time is necessarily going to be voting one way or the other.”

Read the rest of this entry »