Study: Obamacare To Increase Claims Costs 32 Percent. White House Response Misleading…

By Chuck Norton

This is what happens when you add 21 new taxes to healthcare and insurance, 20,000 pages of new regulations (so far) and hundreds of new mandates on insurance, many of which make no sense.

The IRS estimates that the cheapest Obamacare approved health plan available in 2016 (to avoid the penalty) will cost $20,000.

In bold face below is the administration’s response to this study and what they say is just plain dishonest. Why?

The Obama Administration is trying to confuse people on cost vs price. A small percentage of Americans will have their skyrocketing health insurance premiums partially subsidized by the government, but while that may bring down the price of the premium, the actual cost of the premiums and the rising cost of the claims due to the taxes and regulations still skyrockets.

In this case price does not equal cost. For example: If your son goes to the store to buy a Hot Wheels car that costs $3.00 and your son only has $2.00, if you give him the extra dollar to pay for it, the cost of the toy car is still $3.00.

The idea of the subsidy making insurance affordable is also misleading because those who will be able to qualify to get help paying their premiums, will still not be able to afford their portion of the insurance premium because the cost of the insurance will be so high – subsidized or not.

This very writer’s employer subsidized health insurance premium went from about $30.00 a month to $267.00 and I make too much money to qualify for a subsidy. The poor simply cannot afford to pay it.

The other misleading statement from the Obama Administration is that some people can go on the state insurance exchange and get the state exchange to pay for part of their insurance premium. Setting aside the cost does not equal price fact we explained above, many states are not participating in the exchange. Why? Because after the first three years of Obamacare the states have to pay the subsidized portion of the rising premiums themselves which state after state has made very clear will bankrupt them (assuming that the poor would have the money to sign up and pay for their part of the estimated $20,000 per year premium).

AP/Fox News:

Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans’ individual policies under President Obama’s overhaul, according to a study by the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts.

The report could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. The estimates were recently released by the Society of Actuaries to its members.

While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.

The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. That’s because the primary impact of Obama’s law is on people who don’t have coverage through their jobs.

The administration questions the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick. The study also doesn’t take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live on Oct. 1, administration officials said.

“It’s misleading to look at only some of the provisions of the law because, taken together, the law will reduce costs,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt.

But a prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does “a credible job” of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, “without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction.”

NBER: CRA and other leftist policies lead to mortgage collapse

Those who are regular readers of Political Arena are not surprised by this as this writer has penned over a dozen articles on this very subject.

The piece below is certainly written with a partisan attitude, but in this case the facts justify the arguments within the article. Multiple analysis from the New York Times, Dr. Thomas Sowell, The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily and many others have come to this same conclusion as the evidence is simply overwhelming.

UPDATE – More from IBD:
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Robert Moon:

A new study from the widely respected National Bureau of Economic Research released this week has confirmed beyond question that the left’s race-baiting attacks on the housing market (the Community Reinvestment Act–enacted under Carter, made shockingly more aggressive under Clinton) is directly responsible for imploding the housing market and destroying the economy.

The study painstakingly sorted through failed home loans that caused the housing market collapse and identified an overwhelming connection between them and CRA mortgages.

Again, let’s review:

-President Bush went to Congress repeatedly for years warning them that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were going to destroy the economy (17 times in 2008 alone). Democrats continuously ignored him, shut down his proposals along party lines and continued raiding the institutions for campaign contributions on their way down.

-John McCain also co-sponsored urgently critical reforms that would have prevented the housing market collapse, but Democrats shut that down as well, along party lines, and even openly ridiculed anyone who suggested reforms were necessary…to protect their taxpayer-funded campaign contributions as the economy raced uncontrollably toward the cliff.

-No one was making bad loans to unqualified people until Democrats came along and threatened to drag banks into court and have them fined and branded as racists if they didn’t go along with the left’s Affirmative Action lending policies…all while federally insuring their losses. Even the New York Times warned in the late 1990s that Democrats continuing to force banks into lowering their standards would lead to this exact catastrophe.

-Obama himself is even on the record personally helping sue one lender (Citibank) into lowering its lending standards to include people from extremely poor and unstable areas, which even one of the left’s favorite blatantly partisan “fact-checkers,” Snopes, admits (while pretending to ‘set the record straight’).

-Even The New York Times admitted that there is “little evidence” of any connection between the “Republican” deregulation measures Obama blames, like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (signed into law by a Democrat), and the collapse of the housing market.

[Political Arena Editor’s Note: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed almost unanimously]

Mike Adams’ UNC-Wilmington First Amendment Lawsuit Heads to Trial

It is about time!

Via William Creeley at FIRE:

In April 2007, Professor Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington filed a federal lawsuit against his institution, alleging that he had been denied promotion in part due to political viewpoints he had expressed in columns written for non-university publications. Nearly six years and one successful appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit later, a federal district court has ruled that Adams’ First Amendment claim may proceed to trial.

Adams’ April 2007 complaint, filed with the cooperation of the Alliance Defense Fund (now the Alliance Defending Freedom), accused UNC-Wilmington officials of violating his First Amendment rights by denying his promotion on account of his expression as a conservative columnist. Adams also alleged that he had suffered religious discrimination and an equal protection violation.

Three years later, in a March 2010 ruling, a federal district court rejected Adams’ claim of First Amendment retaliation, finding that the columns constituted speech “made pursuant to his official duties” as a professor and were thus not protected by the First Amendment. The court reached its decision by relying on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006). In Garcetti, the Court ruled that public employees do not enjoy First Amendment protections when engaging in speech pursuant to their official duties. Applying Garcetti‘s holding to Adams’ case, the district court determined that the columns could not be cited as grounds for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment.

From a faculty speech standpoint, the district court’s ruling was very problematic, as I explained here on The Torch a few years back:

We here at FIRE found the district court’s ruling against Adams deeply worrying. For one, we felt the facts provided significant support for Adams’ First Amendment claim. But even more ominously, the district court’s reliance on Garcetti made the ruling against Adams just the latest in a quicklygrowing string of Garcetti-based defeats for public university faculty members. The problem with Garcetti is that in lessening First Amendment protections for public employees generally, it particularly impacts faculty members, whose speech in fulfilling teaching and research duties differs greatly from the speech of, say, district attorneys, police officers, or public administrators. Because while the government as employer may reasonably expect a significant amount of control over the public speech of district attorneys, that same amount of control over the scholarly research and teaching of public university faculty members is inappropriate and amounts to an infringement on academic freedom.

To address this exact concern, Justice Anthony Kennedy inserted a crucial caveat into the majority opinion he penned in Garcetti, writing:

There is some argument that expression related to academic scholarship or classroom instruction implicates additional constitutional interests that are not fully accounted for by this Court’s customary employee-speech jurisprudence. We need not, and for that reason do not, decide whether the analysis we conduct today would apply in the same manner to a case involving speech related to scholarship or teaching.

Justice Kennedy thus specifically and explicitly declined to extend Garcetti‘s analysis to bear on cases involving the speech of public university faculty, reserving the question. Unfortunately, in application, Justice Kennedy’s careful carve-out has been largely disregarded by courts, and Garcetti‘s impact on faculty speech has been so significant in recent years that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) mounted a campaign to push back against Garcetti and what it has deemed “judicial hostility or indifference” to academic freedom.

Adams appealed the district court’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In support of Adams’ appeal, FIRE joined an amici curiae brief with the AAUP and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, asking the Fourth Circuit to recognize Garcetti‘s inapplicability to Adams’ situation.

Thankfully, the Fourth Circuit did just that. Reversing the district court’s dismissal of Adams’ claims, the court wrote that “the district court applied Garcetti without acknowledging, let alone addressing, the clear language in that opinion that casts doubt on whether the Garcetti analysis applies in the academic context of a public university.” Continuing, the Fourth Circuit observed:

Put simply, Adams’ speech was not tied to any more specific or direct employee duty than the general concept that professors will engage in writing, public appearances, and service within their respective fields. For all the reasons discussed above, that thin thread is insufficient to render Adams’ speech “pursuant to [his] official duties” as intended by Garcetti.

[…]

Applying Garcetti to the academic work of a public university faculty member under the facts of this case could place beyond the reach of First Amendment protection many forms of public speech or service a professor engaged in during his employment. That would not appear to be what Garcetti intended, nor is it consistent with our long-standing recognition that no individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment.

The case was remanded back to the district court for further proceedings.

Last Friday, March 22, Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard issued an order denying the UNC-Wilmington defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding that Adams “has brought forth evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that his speech was a substantial or motivating factor in the decision to deny tenure to plaintiff.”

Salt Lake School Willingly Breaks Law To Ban Boy Scouts

Here we go again, school administrators willingly breaking the law to engage in Frankfurt School cultural marxism. This is not unusual, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) see just such law breaking every day as they fight to get radicalized school administrators and faculty to simply obey the law.

The school administrators don’t care if they break the law because when they lose in court it is the taxpayer who pays, not them. This is why FIRE is working to change that so that those in our schools who break the law under “color of law” pay the price personally.

Just as overt communist propaganda managed to get entrenched into the the curriculum of 875 Texas school districts before the state legislature and the elected Texas board of education became aware of it, we have this going on in ultra-conservative Salt Lake City.

At Missouri State the university ordered a Christian student to engage in a homosexual sex act and engage in far left political advocacy…or else:

This is how entrenched the radical left has dug itself into our public schools. Survey: Liberal profs admit they’d discriminate against conservatives in hiring, advancement…

See our Academic Misconduct category.

Todd Starnes at Fox News:

A federal civil rights complaint has been filed against the Salt Lake City School Board after a principal booted a Cub Scout pack from an elementary school.

About 30 eight to 11 year-olds were told they could no longer meet at Mountain View Elementary School because the Boy Scout’s ban on gay members in leaders conflicted with the school district’s anti-bias policy.

The ban drew the ire of Michael Clara, a school board member and lifetime Boy Scout. Clara filed the federal complaint on behalf of two Latino parents.

“I believe it is an assault on the founding principles of our country for school officials to attempt to exclude a voice no less legitimate than its own from public school participation,” Clara told Fox News. “A marketplace of ideas devoid of competitive viewpoints engenders an insidious society of conformity, contrary to the fundamental precepts of our Constitution.”

He claims the school district is violating the Boy Scout Act – a law that requires schools to allow access to the Boy Scouts if they allow access to outside groups.

“It’s unfortunate this principal has the backing of the district to implement their own form of discrimination and racism,” Clara told Fox News. “They are using the resources of the school system to punish students who don’t agree with us.

The scout troop is made up of mostly Latino boys, he said – and the parents who complained are Catholics.

A district spokesperson told local media they had not seen a copy of the complaint.

On March 16 two Latino parents contacted Clara after the principal informed them the Cub Scout pack would no longer be allowed to meet at the school.

Three days later the school board member received a telephone call from the principal confirming that directive.

“(He) confirmed that the Cub Scouts were prohibited from meeting in the building because they will not allow gay scout leaders,” he said.

Clara, who describes himself as a Christian conservative Republican who supports gay rights, said he was very concerned by the ban.

“Why on Earth would we want to remove something positive from the school,” he asked. “Where does this end? It’s a form of discrimination in the name of intolerance.”

If There’s No Inflation, Why Are Prices Up So Much?

If the official inflation rate is next to zero, how come prices are going up so much?

Sarah Palin was blasted by reporters and the Wall Street Journal in 2010 for pointing this out and explaining how food and fuel prices would soon skyrocket.

As this very writer explained in 2010. under Clinton the Consumer Price Index was changed so that government would never have to face the “misery index” and a proper measure of inflation again. They removed “Food & Fuel” from the index, you know, because nobody ever buys that stuff anyways, and they weighted the formula towards housing….. that’s right folks, housing.

When the economy turns south or hits a bump new housing starts talk and housing prices fall, thus showing negative inflation. So when the economy is in trouble and inflation is going up, the government reads it as zero inflation. If we still measured inflation like we used to it would be about 9.3% every year for three years. Of course, every shopper knows this as they see the prices for themselves.

A year later, investment guru Jim Rodgers weighed in, confirming the wisdom of Sarah Palin and this very writer:

U.S. government inflation data is “a sham” and is causing the Federal Reserve to vastly understate price pressures in the economy, influential U.S. investor Jim Rogers said on Tuesday.

The U.S. central bank uses inflation data that relies too heavily on housing prices, Rogers told the Reuters 2011 Investment Outlook Summit, and he criticized the Fed’s $600 billion bond-buying program.

“Everybody in this room knows prices are going up for everything,” Rogers told the Reuters Summit.

Micheal Sivy:

Price hikes for a particular item here or there don’t qualify as inflation. If one thing gets more expensive but something else gets cheaper, that’s what economists call a relative price change. Inflation is a simultaneous increase in prices across the board. Some measures of inflation, such as the GDP Deflator, track price changes that affect businesses as well as those that affect consumers. But the Consumer Price Index is supposed to focus on inflation at the consumer level. And the CPI has recorded minimal increases over the past four years. Since the recession ended, the 12-month change in consumer prices has averaged 2% and has never been as high as 4%.

There are lots of other ways to gauge inflation, however, that give very different signals. Gold was $930 an ounce when the recession ended, and today it’s $1,583. So if you believe in the gold standard, prices have increased 70% in four years – or an annualized rate of 14.2%. Of course, many economists dismiss the gold price as an archaic indicator. So it may be more meaningful to look at price increases over a broad range of commodities. The Reuters CRB Commodity Index, which tracks the prices of coffee, cocoa, copper, and cotton, as well as energy, is up 38% over four years, or 8.6% at a compound annual rate.

Perhaps the most telling indicator – albeit a slightly facetious one – is the Big Mac index, popularized by the Economist magazine. McDonalds hamburgers are available in many countries and their prices reflect the cost of food, fuel, commercial real estate, and basic labor. The price of a Big Mac, therefore, can be used to compare the economies of different countries – or serve as a bellwether of inflation in a single country. Since the recession ended, the cost of a Big Mac in the U.S. has risen from an average of $3.57 to $4.37, or 5.2% a year.

So why haven’t these more rapid increases shown up in the Consumer Price Index? One reason is that the index itself has been modified in a variety of ways over the past 35 years. Fluctuations in home prices have been smoothed out, for example. And the index has been adjusted periodically to reflect changes in what people buy, particularly if they shift from more expensive items to cheaper ones. Such revisions to the CPI have tended to reduce the official inflation rate, on balance. Various estimates of what the annual rate would have been over the past four years if earlier methods of calculation had been continued come up with numbers in the 5%-to-10% range.

Several conclusions can be drawn from all this. First, there is no absolute and objective gauge of inflation. Any particular measure is simply one way of making the calculation, based on a host of assumptions. Second, a number of the costs that middle-class households face are going up considerably faster than the CPI.

Dana Loesch: The RNC Doesn’t Get It, Focused On All The Wrong Things (video)

Our pal Dana Loesch however does get it. She goes over several of the points we made in our Why Republicans Lost analysis. The message Dana delivers in this video is a total home run.

One thing is certain, this RNC is a disaster that is divorced from the rank and file voters. If there are wins in the party’s future it will be in spite of them.