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Obama’s Parting Gift: Trillion-Dollar Deficits As Far As The Eye Can See

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Legacy:  Barack Obama came into the White House in 2009 promising a “new era of responsibility.” What he’s left President Trump is a government careening toward fiscal ruin.That’s what the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office shows.

The CBO report looks at what federal spending and revenues will look like over the next decade if the government is left on autopilot. The picture is grim.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Deficits this year are expected to be $559 billion. By 2023, the government will once again be running trillion-dollar annual deficits that will quickly climb in the following years.

Left unchanged, the national debt will worsen by an additional $10 trillion in a decade, equaling almost 90% of the economy.

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And that’s despite the fact that, thanks to Obama’s multiple tax increases, revenues are on track to consume more than 18% of the nation’s economy, which is a full percentage point above the average since 1967.

Spending, however, is completely out of control. It’s set to climb from 20.5% of GDP next year to 23.4% by 2027. The post-1967 average was 20%.

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ObamaCare subsidies alone will, according to the CBO, climb 22% this year and 20% the next — thanks to the massive increase in premiums. This cost explosion is in addition to the vast increase in Medicaid spending ObamaCare already generated. And it’s all on top of fast-growing Social Security and Medicare, both of which are rapidly headed toward insolvency.

Perhaps the biggest driver of future deficits, however, is the incredibly sluggish economy the CBO expects current economic policies to produce. Read the rest of this entry »

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Legitimacy Problems: Obama Effort to Eliminate Red Tape Adds $16 Billion in Costs

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Adds 6.5 million hours of paperwork needed to comply with federal rules. This is not a bug, it’s a feature.

 reports: The Obama administration’s effort to eliminate red tape added $16 billion in regulatory costs, according to a new report by the American Action Forum obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified.”

“President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to ‘eliminate red tape.’ Federal agencies were told to ‘modify, streamline expand, or repeal’ existing regulations,” according to the report released by AAF, a center-right nonprofit led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

“Once again, HHS is the runaway leader by imposing $16 billion in net costs and more than 25 million paperwork burden hours. The agency is, amazingly, responsible for 101 percent of the net cost increase, due to cost-cutting measures from other agencies.”

The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs.

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“The American Action Forum concluded the retrospective review initiative is ‘little more than an attempt to promote additional regulation under the veil of ‘eliminating red tape.’”

“The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.

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

The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011.

However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.

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“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified,” the organization said.

The most recent review listed 409 rules, up from last year, with agencies averaging 20 regulations apiece. The rules increased net costs by over $16.4 billion, with only two agencies reducing costs. One silver lining of the report was the Department of Transportation, which eliminated $847 million in costs and more than 21 million hours of paperwork. 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

 


Landmark Legal Case: Unemployed Gender Studies Major Sues ‘The Patriarchy’

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The suit seeks $2 million in compensation and $139 million in punitive damages, which together equal $1 from every adult man in America.

An unemployed gender studies major from Eugene, Ore. sued “The Patriarchy” today in federal court for refusing to give her a job.

In a 25-page brief, attorneys for Sarah Miller-Jones, 24, argue that gender discrimination from the patriarchy has prevented their client from finding gainful employment since she graduated from university three years ago.

“It is outrageous that the patriarchy refuses to offer our client a decent career. She has applied for over 20 positions in the recording, publishing and television industries and has been rejected every single time.”

The suit seeks $2 million in compensation and $139 million in punitive damages, which together equal $1 from every adult man in America.

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“Despite the fact that Ms. Miller-Jones graduated with a 2.8 GPA from the prestigious University of Oregon, she has been unable to find a job fitting her qualifications,” the document reads.

“We all know that terms like ‘no experience’ and ‘lack of relevant education’ are codewords the patriarchy uses to keep keep women in their place. But Ms. Miller-Jones refuses to be a housewife or a nurse. She deserves a real job.”

“Ms. Miller-Jones has been on unemployment benefits for 18 months. And despite extensive coursework in Zambian feminist hip-hop she has only received six job offers — all of which were for entry-level call center and health care positions.

“It is outrageous that the patriarchy refuses to offer our client a decent career. She has applied for over 20 positions in the recording, publishing and television industries and has been rejected every single time.

“Despite extensive coursework in Zambian feminist hip-hop she has only received six job offers — all of which were for entry-level call center and health care positions.”

“We all know that terms like ‘no experience’ and ‘lack of relevant education’ are codewords the patriarchy uses to keep keep women in their place. But Ms. Miller-Jones refuses to be a housewife or a nurse. She deserves a real job.”

Millions of young Americans who recently graduated from university are finding themselves working in jobs below their educational level. Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: Improper Payments by Federal Agencies Reach World Record Cuckoo Bananas $125 BILLION

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agencies set a new record for improper payments last year, shelling out $125 billion in questionable benefits after years of declines.

The payments included tax credits for families that didn’t qualify, Medicare payments for treatments that might not have been necessary, and unemployment benefits for people who were actually working.O-SMDGE-CONDENSED

“This taxpayer money was not spent securing our borders, it was not spent on national defense, and it was not spent contributing to a safety net for those in need.”

— Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Improper payments increased by $19 billion over the previous year, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. In addition to fraud, the errors included overpayments and underpayments, as well as payments made without proper documentation.

“This is a problem that is going to get worse year after year if we do not get a handle on it now.”

— Sen. Ron Johnson

While the errors were spread among 22 federal agencies, three programs stood out: Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Together, the three programs accounted for more than $93 billion in improper payments.

“This taxpayer money was not spent securing our borders, it was not spent on national defense, and it was not spent contributing to a safety net for those in need,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “This is a problem that is going to get worse year after year if we do not get a handle on it now.”

Johnson’s committee held a hearing Monday on reducing improper payments.

Federal agencies are required to estimate the amount of improper payments each year as part of a government-wide effort to tackle the issue. Read the rest of this entry »


Giving Voters Exactly What They Deserve: Health Insurance Premium to Spike Again

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Stephen Dinan reports: Obamacare exchange customers could see a significant spike in their premiums over the next few years as insurers face pressures from both the government and the marketplace, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday in a new analysis finding Obamacare is both cheaper and less comprehensive than predicted.

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The CBO said the exchanges and other new medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act will cost the government slightly more than half a trillion dollars over the next five years…(read more)

Washington Times


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 »


Scott Gottlieb: ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

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A true legislative alternative to ObamaCare would support physician ownership of independent medical practices, and preserve local competition between doctors and choice for patients.

Scott Gottlieb writes: Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices.

“ObamaCare has accelerated many of the detrimental trends doctors see in their profession, and introduced new ones.”

Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare. The law’s architects believe that doctors, to better bear financial risk, need to be part of larger, and presumably better-capitalized institutions. Indeed, the law has already gone a long way in achieving that outcome.

“Reformers in Washington need to do a better job of explaining how market-based alternatives to ObamaCare are a better outcome for the structure and delivery of health care. And how they intend to preserve the entrepreneurship, autonomy and physician ownership that have long been the hallmark of American medicine.”

A recent Physicians Foundation survey of some 20,000 U.S. doctors found that 35% described themselves as independent, down from 49% in 2012 and 62% in 2008. Once independent doctors become the exception rather than the rule, the continued advance of the ObamaCare agenda will become virtually unstoppable. Read the rest of this entry »