Canceled Health Plans: Round Two

And this is just the tip pf the iceberg.

Via Kaiser Health News:

Thousands of consumers who were granted a reprieve to keep insurance plans that don’t meet the federal health law’s standards are now learning those plans will be discontinued at year’s end, and they’ll have to choose a new policy, which may cost more.

Cancellations are in the mail to customers from Texas to Alaska in markets where insurers say the policies no longer make business sense. In some states, such as Maryland and Virginia, rules call for the plans’ discontinuations, but in many, federal rules allow the policies to continue into 2017.

Insurers sending the notices to some customers include Anthem, one of the largest insurers in the country, Baltimore-based CareFirst, Health Care Services Corporation in Chicago, Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., Humana in Louisville, Ky., and Golden Rule, an Indianapolis subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.

One reason behind the switch is that insurers determined they can make more money selling plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act, often at higher premiums that may be subsidized by the government.

“They’re getting a lot more revenue, often for the same person,” said consultant Robert Laszewski, a former insurance executive.

Last year, similar cancellation letters sent to more than 2 million customers created a political firestorm for President Barack Obama, who had repeatedly promised that “if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.

Leon Panetta: Obama’s haste to leave Iraq created opportunity for ISIS

Via Sharyl Atkisson:

Former C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta seems to hold nothing back in his new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace. USA Today calls it “an explosive assessment by a respected policymaker of the president he served.” From the article:

In an interview with Capital Download, USA Today’s video newsmaker series, Panetta says Obama erred:

By not pushing the Iraqi government harder to allow a residual U.S. force to remain when troops withdrew in 2011, a deal he says could have been negotiated with more effort. That “created a vacuum in terms of the ability of that country to better protect itself, and it’s out of that vacuum that ISIS began to breed.” Islamic State also is known as ISIS and ISIL.

Read the USA Today article.

Walmart, Target, & Home Depot Drop Health Benefits for Part-Time Workers

Via Daily Finance:

Walmart Stores (WMT) plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for most of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation’s largest private employer.

Starting Jan. 1, Walmart told The Associated Press that it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move, which would affect 30,000 employees, follows similar decisions by Target, Home Depot and others to eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time employees.

“We had to make some tough decisions,” Sally Wellborn, Walmart’s senior vice president of benefits, told The Associated Press.

Walmart now expects the impact of higher health care costs to be about $500 million for the current fiscal year, or about $170 million higher than the original estimate of about $330 million that it gave in February.

But Walmart is among the last of its peers to cut health insurance for some part-time workers. In 2013, 62 percent of large retail chains didn’t offer health care benefits to any of its part-time workers, according to Mercer, a global consulting company. That’s up from 56 percent in 2009.

“Retailers who offer part-time benefits are more of an exception than the rule,” says Beth Umland, director of research for health and benefits at Mercer.

Walmart has been scaling back eligibility for part-time workers over the past few years, though. In 2011, Walmart said it was cutting backing eligibility of its coverage of part-time workers working less than 24 hours a week. And then in 2013, it announced a threshold of 30 hours or under.

Walmart, like most big companies, also is increasing premiums, or out-of-pocket costs that employees pay, to counter rising health care costs. Walmart told The Associated Press that it’s raising premiums for all of its full-time workers: For a basic plan, of which 40 percent of its workers are enrolled, the premiums will go up to $21.90 each pay period, up from $18.40, starting Jan. 1.

Only 19% Say Federal Government Has Consent of the Governed

Rasmussen Poll:

Just 19% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

That’s down two points from January  but still up slightly  from the all-time low of 17% reached in August. This finding is generally in keeping with regular surveying for the past four years.  Sixty-sixty percent (66%) do not believe the federal government has the consent of the governed today, while 16% are unsure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 9-10, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

IG: More evidence of rampant mismanagement under Hillary Clinton

Washington Examiner:

The State Department’s Office of Inspector General has released another “management alert” detailing rampant mismanagement within the agency, much of it during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure.

The inspector general’s latest “management alert” — the third released by the agency’s internal watchdog in a little over a year — warns that the State Department’s management and oversight of grants has become a serious financial liability.

“The management and oversight of grants poses heightened financial risk to the Department of State,” Inspector General Steve A. Linick said in a report dated Sept. 26 but released Sept. 30.

Linick became the agency’s inspector general in September 2013, ending a vacancy that had lasted nearly six years.

After Linick assumed the role, he almost immediately issued two “management alerts.” The latest alert in September marks the third of its kind in the IG’s history. Each alert issued by Linick has related to issues that festered and went unaddressed during Hillary Clinton’s tenure.

Read more at the Washington Examiner.

Judiacial Watch: 4 ISIS Terrorists Arrested in Texas in Last 36 Hours

Judicial Watch:

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

JW confirmed this after California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corp Major and member of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed on national television that at least ten Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) fighters have been caught crossing the Mexican border in Texas. The veteran lawmaker got the astounding intel straight from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Homeland Security agency responsible for guarding the 1,933-mile southern border.

“If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border,” Hunter proclaimed on a national cable news show this week. “It’s that simple. ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border – which they already have.” The three-term congressmen went on: “They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.”

In late August JW reported that Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to JW that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Watch Trey Gowdy Destroy Democrats’ Baseless Assertion that Voter ID Laws Suppress the Vote (video)

It is no secret that Democrat strongholds are rife with fraud. The vast majority of the dead who vote manage to vote Democrat. The vast majority of districts who have more votes cast than they have voters also vote Democrat. The DoJ dropped charges against Black Panthers who stood outside of polling places armed. The DoJ also refused to investigate districts where the Black Panthers went into voting places, tossed out the inspectors and made sure that 100% of votes cast were cast for Obama.

ACORN, a group tied very closely to the Obama campaign, was prosecuted in multiple states for vote registration fraud.

Most Campaign Finance ‘Reformers’ are Phonies (video)

While the vast majority of campaign ads are misleading at best, create false boogeymen, present you with a false choice and/or are simply outright lies; often those calling for “reform” are seeking to get control of political speech or at minimum put their thumb on the scales. To them, reform is not improvement, it is control.

This short video from Prager University featuring George Will, explains many of the reasons why this is so true.

How about, “all money donated to a candidate must be from said’ candidate’s home state”. No ‘reformer’ is going to propose such an idea.

Campuses Invent Phony Reasons to Censor Christians

As a general rule, like most blogs, we do not like to republish entire columns, but in this case the message is so important that it must be preserved and read by all.

Our friend David French, as at his best in this column explaining the malice behind censorship on campus.

David French:

The brazen intellectual bankruptcy of campus censorship never fails to impress. Yesterday, the Chronicle of Higher Education was the latest prestige publication to cover the California State University system’s mass-scale de-recognition of so-called “exclusionary” Christian groups.

And how, pray tell, are these groups exclusionary? They’re open to any and all students, but they merely require that the leaders of Christian groups be, well, Christian.

The unspeakable horror. How dare these organizations subject their delicate members to such exclusion and discrimination! The poor, fragile adults at Cal State are obviously completely unequipped to handle contact with private organizations exercising the same religious-liberty rights that are absolutely and unequivocally protected off campus. Doubt me? Try applying to pastor a church of a different faith and then sue when they don’t hire you. See how long your case lasts.

The policy is laughable enough on its own terms, but even more laughable are the university responses. In the New York Times, a Cal State lawyer comically declared, “Our mission is education, not exclusivity.”

Oh really?

Cal State itself discriminates on the basis of class, geography, intelligence, athletic ability, and gender. And that’s just in its admissions and athletic programs. Its fraternities and sororities discriminate on the basis of gender, class, intelligence, appearance, family status, and a host of less-tangible characteristics. Universities are shot-through with discrimination at every level, typically also adding race discrimination to the mix through its diversity programs (California theoretically bans such discrimination, but the ban is easily skirted through other forms of discrimination.)

So, please, spare us your crocodile tears over the “exclusivity” of Christian groups selecting Christian leaders.

In the Chronicle, a Cal State spokesman defends university policies by declaring that its policy of mandatory openness to non-Christian leaders fosters just the right kind of atmosphere of “debate and discussion” within religious groups. Yet since when is it a public university’s job to tell private religious organizations that they must transform themselves into, essentially, debating clubs? While there is considerable debate and discussion within any healthy campus religious group, that is typically not their primary purpose. Debate and discussion are part of a larger and more important process of discipleship and evangelization, purposes which are constitutionally protected and materially undermined by the university policy.

I’ve defended Christian campus groups from exactly these kinds of policies for more than 14 years (representing a number of groups, including some impacted by Cal State’s policies), and in that time I’ve heard just about every excuse imaginable for excluding Christian groups from campus. In reality, however, universities are motivated by malice. They hate the Christian message, often despise its messengers, and have literally been casting about for more than 30 years for the right legal argument to exclude the Christian voice from campus.

So now they’ve focused on discrimination and exclusion to allegedly protect students from discrimination and exclusion.

That’s not argument. It’s pretext, and it deserves no respect.