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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Obama Numbers (As Of January 2014)



The latest numbers show stagnant wages, persistent long-term unemployment and moderate health care spending.

  • The number of long-term unemployed is nearly double what it was when Obama became president. 
More than 10 million people remained unemployed, including 3.9 million who had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. That’s an increase of nearly 1.2 million “long-term unemployed” since the start of the Obama presidency.The average time that an unemployed person in December had been looking for work was 37 weeks, nearly double the average at the time Obama entered the White House. Another troubling jobs statistic is the civilian labor force participation rate, which has now declined by 2.9 percentage points since Obama became president, to the lowest point since 1978.


  • Wages remain stagnant, increasing a scant 0.3 percent after inflation during Obama’s time.
The divide between the affluent and ordinary wage earners — which the president last month called the “defining challenge of our time” — has widened during his time in office.
Wages remain stagnant, barely keeping up with inflation. Average weekly earnings of workers on payrolls, measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, have edged up a scant 0.3 percent between Obama’s first month in office and November 2013, the most recent on record. And there’s no clear upward trend. 

  • The number of low-income persons on food stamps remains just below the record level reached in 2012, with 15 percent of the population still getting benefits.
The increase in food stamp beneficiaries is due partly to economic pressures, but also to liberalizations in both benefits and eligibility under President Obama and is up another 15.4 million.

  • Health care spending has increased 15.8 percent under Obama, which is faster than inflation.
Health care costs have risen only moderately since Obama took office, but not for the reason the White House wants you to think.  Figures show health care spending in the U.S. rose 3.7 percent in 2012, and stood 15.8 percent higher than it did in 2008, the year before Obama took office. The nonpartisan number-crunchers at CMS said in their Health Affairs article that the ACA had only a “minimal” impact on the slowdown in spending. The reasons they cited instead were:
  • The economic slowdown and subsequent sluggish recovery.
  • Drops in some prescription drug costs brought about by the expiration of patents on several costly medications including Lipitor, Plavix and Singulair, which are now available in low-cost generic versions.
  • A one-time reduction in Medicare payment levels to skilled nursing facilities.
Health care spending consumed a record 17.4 percent of the nation’s entire economic output in the recession-plagued year of 2009, which declined slightly, to 17.2 percent, in 2012.

  • U.S. exports have gone up just 34 percent, leaving Obama far short of his announced goal of doubling them by the end of this year.
The president has yet to meet his goal of doubling exports of U.S. goods and services, which he set in his 2010 State of the Union address. Exports have increased only 33.6 percent since Obama took office, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

  • The federal debt owed to the public has almost doubled since Obama took office, increasing by 95 percent.
The president is fond of boasting that annual federal deficits are falling rapidly. But they remain large by historical standards. And the fact is, they are piling up.
Total federal debt now stands at nearly $17.3 trillion, which is 63 percent higher than when Obama took office.

  •  The price of regular gasoline was at a national average of $3.33 per gallon in the week ended Jan. 13. The recent price is 80 percent higher than it was when Obama took office.
Read More Here: http://factcheck.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=17a60fa3d47b33b686b744ff5&id=3f2566d6b6&e=5fad084c02








Saturday, December 28, 2013

ObamaCare: 8 Ways To Opt Out



“For many Americans opting out of Obamacare is the best decision they can make, but it's important that they do it the right way—just refusing to buy health insurance and not having another way to pay for catastrophic medical expenses is a mistake,” Sean Parnell, author of the newly-released The Self-Pay Patient"

Parnell recommends the following eight options for those who have opted out of ObamaCare:

1. Join a health care sharing ministry, which are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that share medical expenses among the membership.
Parnell states that Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry are open to practicing Christians, while Liberty HealthShare is open to those who are committed to religious liberty.
Healthcare sharing ministries “operate entirely outside of ObamaCare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance,” says Parnell. “Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.”
2. Purchase a short-term health insurance policy.
“These policies usually last between one and 11 months and are not regulated under ObamaCare, and, therefore, don’t offer the same high level of benefits that can drive up costs,” writes Parnell.
3. Buy alternative insurance plans such as fixed-benefitcritical illness, or accident insurance.
“These policies pay cash in the event you are diagnosed with cancer, spend a night in the hospital, or need some other medical treatment,” Parnell says. “They cost a fraction of what health insurance costs under ObamaCare, and by giving you cash directly you aren’t locked in to any particular provider network.”
Parnell also recommends maxing out medical and uninsured/underinsured driver coverage amounts under an auto insurance policy, which can help pay for medical bills in the event of injury in an auto accident.
Once major medical insurance is arranged, Parnell suggests shopping around for health care providers and services.
4. Visit cash-only doctors and retail health clinics for primary care. If you usually visit a doctor more than a couple times per year, consider joining a direct primary care practice which will give you access to nearly unlimited primary care for a modest monthly fee.
5. Sign up for a telemedicine service—lower-cost options in which doctors treat relatively simple medical issues via phone calls, email, or a video connection. Telemedicine especially works well, Parnell says, for common injuries, conditions, and illnesses.
6. Use generic prescription drugs whenever possible, and compare prices between pharmacies. Less expensive options are sometimes available at large chain pharmacies such as Walmart and CVS, and online sites such as GoodRx.com and WeRx.org allow patients to view the best deals on medications.
7. For surgery, Parnell recommends going to a facility that offers up-front “package” prices for self-pay patients, such as the Surgery Center of Oklahoma and Regency Healthcare, where prices are typically much less than what is charged at most hospitals. In addition, sites such as MediBid, where doctors bid on providing your surgery or treatment, will often yield substantially less expensive costs coupled with high quality medical care. Yet another option is to become a medical tourist.
8. When a hospital visit becomes necessary, Parnell suggests working with a medical bill negotiation service to get the best price available rather than accept the wildly inflated “chargemaster” prices, usually three to five times more than what insurers pay for the same service or treatment. Patients who wish to negotiate on their own will likely need to put in a significant amount of time and effort, but can use the Healthcare Blue Book or Pricing Healthcare as a starting point to help them find out what insurers are paying for medical services.

 Parnell writes on his blog, selfpaypatient.com.

Read More Here: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/25/Top-8-Ways-To-Opt-Out-Of-ObamaCare







Saturday, December 21, 2013

10 Broken Obamacare Promises



Promise #1: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”[2]

Reality: Millions of Americans have lost and will lose their coverage due to Obamacare.

Obamacare has significantly disrupted the market for those who buy coverage on their own by imposing new coverage and benefit mandates, causing a reported 4.7 million health insurance cancelations of an existing policy in 32 states.[3]

For those with employer-sponsored insurance in the group market, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance by 2018.[4]

Moreover, the Administration itself has admitted that employers would not keep their existing health plans. Federal regulations written in 2010 estimated that 51 percent of small and large employers would lose their “grandfathered status” by 2013—meaning a majority of employers would not keep their existing health plans.[5]

Promise #2: “[T]hat means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”[6]

Reality: Many Americans might not be able to keep their current doctor without paying extra.

Many plans offered on Obamacare’s exchanges have very limited provider networks, decreasing the chances consumers will be able to keep their current doctor without paying more money.[7]

Furthermore, many Americans who purchase coverage on their own have had their existing health plans changed or canceled due to Obamacare, resulting in some people being unable to keep their current doctors without paying additional money to do so.

Due to the significant payment reductions included in Obamacare, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans may be forced to find new doctors. The largest provider of these plans, UnitedHealth, has recently reduced its provider networks in several states.[8]

Promise #3: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”[9]

Reality: Premiums for people purchasing coverage in the individual market have significantly increased in a majority of states.

A Heritage analysis shows that, on average, consumers in 42 states will see their premiums in the exchanges increase, many by over 100 percent.[10]

For people with employer-sponsored coverage, costs also continue to increase. For families, premiums from 2009 to 2013 have increased by an average of $2,976.[11]

Promise #4: “[F]or the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”[12]

Reality: Obamacare imposes certain new benefit mandates on those with employer-sponsored coverage—a majority of Americans.

These mandates increase the cost of coverage. In fact, federal regulations written in 2010 assumed “that the increases in insurance benefits will be directly passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums. These assumptions bias the estimates of premium changes upward.”[13]

But higher premiums not only cost people more money; they have other impacts on coverage as well. For instance, as a response to the direct cost increases associated with Obamacare, UPS dropped coverage for spouses of employees if they are offered coverage through their own employers.[14]

Promise #5: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”[15]

Reality: Obamacare contains 18 separate tax hikes, fees, and penalties, many of which heavily impact the middle class.

Altogether, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will accumulate over $770 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.[16]

Among the taxes that will hit the middle class are the individual mandate tax, the medical device tax, and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.[17]

Promise #6: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”[18]

Reality: Obamacare’s new spending is unsustainable.

Obamacare was passed into law relying on a wide variety of unrealistic budget projections. A more realistic assessment reveals that it will be a multi-trillion-dollar budget buster. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated the cost of Obamacare over the long term if certain cost-containment measures were overridden. Under that alternative scenario, which assumes that “historical trends and policy preferences continue,” the GAO found that Obamacare would increase the primary deficit by 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).[19]

Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL) and the Senate Budget Committee staff, who commissioned the GAO report, translated the 75-year percentage estimate into today’s dollar amount, which would be $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.[20]

Promise #7: “[W]hatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”[21]

Reality: Health spending is still rising and is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2022.[22]

While growth in health spending has been slower recently compared to the past, that is largely due to the sluggish economic recovery. Indeed, Obamacare’s new entitlements will help drive greater health spending in 2014 and beyond.[23]

Promise #8: “I will protect Medicare.”[24]

Reality: Obamacare cuts Medicare spending.

Obamacare makes unprecedented and unrealistic payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans in order to finance the new spending in the law. The cuts amount to over $700 billion from 2013 to 2022.[25]

If Congress allows these draconian reductions to take place, it will significantly impact seniors’ ability to access care.[26]

Promise #9: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American.”[27]

Reality: Millions of Americans will remain uninsured.

Despite spending nearly $1.8 trillion in new spending from 2014 to 2023, the law falls far short of universal coverage. Indeed, Obamacare is projected by the CBO to leave 31 million uninsured after a decade of full implementation.[28]

Promise #10: “So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”[29]

Reality: Obamacare has not increased insurer competition or consumer choice.
In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state’s exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state.[30]

And at the local level, for 35 percent of the nation’s counties, exchange enrollees will have a choice of plans from only two insurers—a duopoly. In 17 percent of counties, consumers will have no choice—a monopoly—as only one carrier is offering coverage in the exchange.[31]

Read More Here:  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/12/10-broken-obamacare-promises
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