"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sinquefield Lobbyist Travis Brown Meets With Al Sharpton

August 14th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Politics makes strange bedfellows? While in town to meet with the family of slain Ferguson, Mo teenager Michael Brown, civil rights agitator and TV host Al Sharpton met with uber lobbyist and Rex Sinquefield benefactor Travis Brown.

Related:

Tip Line: School Choice Lobbyist Lends Plane to Democrat Lt. Governor Candidate


Tags: Picture/Quote of the Day · St. Louis

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“If You Like Your Obamacare Plan, It’ll Cost You”, “Doctors Weigh Whether To Accept Obamacare Plans”‏

August 7th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

As usual, not a week goes by without another news story highlighting the failures and broken promises of Obamacare.

Yesterday, the AP reported, “The majority of insurance companies are raising the price of health plans in Florida through the Affordable Care Act exchange. State insurance officials said Monday that 14 companies filed plans, including three new insurers. Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent. Florida Blue, the largest insurer, is raising its premiums by an average of 17.6 percent. Humana proposed an average 14.1 percent increase for its HMOs, and Molina proposed an 11.6 percent average rate decrease.”

The Tampa Tribune elaborated, “Floridians who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will see premium increases averaging about 13.2 percent for 2015, according to data provided to the state Office of Insurance Regulation. . . . Steven Hendricks, a spokesman for the Florida Blue in Tampa, said the rate hike reflects the demographics of the insurance pool. He said when healthier consumers kept their existing plans in the Affordable Care Act’s first year, the sickest and most expensive consumers turned to marketplace plans. . . . The state insurance regulators provided examples of how it said the rate hike requests might affect two different consumers. A family of four earning $51,000 a year in Hillsborough County with a monthly federal subsidy and a “silver” plan paid an average premium of $470 this year; that would rise to $533, the insurance regulators said. An individual earning $27,000 in Hillsborough paid $220 this year, with the premium rising to $238 next year.”

And National Journal writes today, “If you like your Obamacare plan, you can keep it—but you might end up paying a whole lot more. People who decide to stick with the coverage they’ve already gotten through Obamacare, rather than switching plans, are at risk for some of the biggest premium spikes anywhere in the system. And some people won’t even know their costs went up until they get a bill from the IRS. . . . Many consumers will need to switch plans in order to keep their costs steady, but health care experts question how many people will do that. Switching plans can entail changing your doctor and adjusting to new out-of-pocket costs, never mind the fresh trek through HealthCare.gov. The White House has already set up an auto-renewal process, making it easier to stick with the status quo. And with so many behind-the-scenes factors at play, most people might not even know that they need to go back through HealthCare.gov just to keep the deal they already have. ‘A lot of people aren’t going to understand this,’ said Susan Pantely, an actuary at the Milliman consulting firm.”

National Journal goes through the factors that could make things ever more expensive for consumers: “First, there are the standard premium increases insurers seek from year to year. The lowest-cost plans in each state’s marketplace were generally the ones that attracted the most customers in 2014. But in many cases, they’re also the plans seeking above-average rate hikes. ‘The prices of the lowest-cost [plans] tend to be going up more,’ said Caroline Pearson, vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health. ‘Most people, if re-enrolled, will be enrolled in a plan that has a premium increase.’ But that’s only part of the reason inertia is so expensive for Obamacare enrollees. The vast majority of enrollees don’t pay the full cost of their premiums—85 percent are getting financial help from the government. And many of those consumers will find that their subsidies don’t go as far next year, even for the same plans. The size of each person’s subsidy is tied to a ‘benchmark’ plan. Poorer consumers only have to spend a certain percentage of their income for that plan; the government pays the rest of the premium. If you choose a more expensive policy, you have to pay the difference on your own. This year, about 3.4 million people picked the benchmark plan or went one option cheaper. But as those plans raise their rates and new options come to the market, they’ll often lose their benchmark status to cheaper competitors—and their customers will find themselves on the hook for a bigger share of their premiums. ‘I would expect that probably the majority of 2014 enrollees are going to be impacted pretty substantially,’ said Milliman analyst Paul Houchens. . . . HealthCare.gov isn’t able to automatically recalculate the subsidies existing consumers are eligible for. So, while the dollar value of your financial assistance drops, you can only find out that’s happening by going back into the system and asking for a redetermination as part of the shopping process.Consumers who auto-renew their policies will get the same dollar value of subsidies they got last year—even though changes in the marketplace all but guarantee that will no longer be the right subsidy amount for millions of people. ‘That’s the totally crazy part,’ Pearson said. ‘They’re basically going to send them what they know to be the wrong subsidy.’ The IRS will eventually figure out how much financial assistance you should have received, and will reconcile the difference on your taxes.”

Meanwhile, via a good look at even more Obamacare problems by Townhall.com’s Guy Benson, NPR reported Sunday on another factor leading to narrower networks on Obamacare plans: doctors are being paid less and can’t afford to take patients on such plans. “On a recent afternoon at his office in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Doug Gerard examines a patient complaining of joint pain. . . . For a typical quick visit like this, Gerard could get reimbursed $100 or more from a private insurer. For the same visit, Medicare pays less — about $80. And now, with the new private plans under the Affordable Care Act, Gerard says he would get something in between, but closer to the lower Medicare rates. That’s not something he’s willing to put up with. ‘I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates. You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on,’ he says. Three insurers offered plans on Connecticut’s ACA marketplace in 2014 and Gerard is only accepting one. He won’t say which, but he will say it pays the highest rate. ‘I don’t think most physicians know what they’re being reimbursed,’ he says. ‘Only when they start seeing some of those rates come through will they realize how low the rates are they agreed to.’ Gerard’s decision to reject two plans is something officials in Connecticut are concerned about. If reimbursement rates to doctors stays low in Obamacare plans, more doctors could reject those plans. And that could mean that people will get access to insurance, but they may not get access to a lot of doctors.”

Another Connecticut doctor, Bob Russo, a radiologist and president-elect of the Connecticut State Medical Society, told NPR, “that the low rates and administrative burdens that come along with the ACA could make it a financial loser. ‘You get what you pay for,’ he says. ‘If you can’t convince [doctors] that they’re not losing money doing their job, it’s a problem. And they haven’t been able to convince people of that.’ He . . . worries about creating a tiered health care system. Think about Medicaid, he says. Before a recent rise in rates, it paid doctors even less than Medicare, so many stopped accepting Medicaid patients. ‘There’s no question that Medicaid, under its old rates, wasn’t working,’ he says. ‘So, have we just invented a new Medicaid that kind of slid the scale up a little more to make access a little more?’”

Just in the space of three days are stories putting the lie to Democrats’ promises about Obamacare. Insurance premiums are going up in Florida, as they are all over the country, despite assurances from the president and others that Obamacare would lower premiums. Then, National Journal notes another issue with health care costs, aside from the lowest-cost plans through Obamacare “seeking above-average rate hikes.” Because of the way the law was written and implemented (by Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration), a person getting subsidies is likely to be getting the wrong amount if they automatically re-enroll, which would leave that person on the hook for the higher premiums, if they receive too little. And if they receive too much, the IRS will tax it back in taxes. Finally, NPR talks to doctors in Connecticut who aren’t being paid enough when they see Obamacare patients, forcing them to reject some of those plans, which is hardly, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Related:

Obamacare Still Hurting Americans: “She Has Insurance Under Affordable Care Act, But Can’t Find A Doctor”

More Obamacare Consequences: In Nevada, “Local Cancer Center Drops Obamacare Patients”

Obamacare’s Other Provisions Still Hurting Americans: Premiums Going Up, Networks Narrowing, Physician Shortages Expected, Information Lacking For Patients‏

One Obamacare Program Already Seeing Cost Overruns; Labor Unions Sounding Alarm On Obamacare‏


Tags: Healthcare

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MO GOP Chair Calls for Censure of MS Republican Committeeman

August 7th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Ed Martin explains why meddling in Mississippi politics is not meddling in Mississippi politics. Drop us a line if you can figure out this logic below. editor@mopns.com

I’ve been asked why I’m involved in Mississippi. I’m not. I’m involved in Missouri, where the use of racist political ads is a common Democratic campaign trick. The most relevant was in 2004, when the George Soros-funded 527 organization, America Coming Together, distributed a flyer with an image of a black man being hosed by a white fireman. The text next to the image linked U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (a Missouri Republican) with an effort to keep African American voters from the polls. Read more…

Related:

Wash Times: Martin Accuses Mississippi GOP of Playing “Race Card Dirty Tricks”

STL Today: Ed Martin’s message to GOP draws rebuke from Danforth

Ed Martin Completes the Trifecta


Tags: Uncategorized

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Quote of the Day: “Often Investigated, Never Indicted” Makes A Lousy Campaign Slogan”

August 7th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

The Post Dispatch has a pretty good post mortem on Charlie Dooley’s “epic rout.”

In all, 71 percent of those voting in the two county executive primaries took Democratic ballots. The county has been trending blue for the last two decades, but not 71 percent blue….Amendment 7 did not defeat Mr. Dooley. Mr. Dooley defeated Mr. Dooley. A string of management and cronyism scandals, many of them linked to Mr. Temporiti, dogged him. At one point, Mr. Dooley felt compelled to stress that he personally had never been a target of any of the three FBI investigations into his administration. “Often investigated, never indicted” makes a lousy campaign slogan. Read more…

STL American: The Post and Stenger kill a king


Tags: Picture/Quote of the Day · STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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Picture(s) of the Day: Racist Mailers Backfire – Badly

August 6th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Ninety eighth district Republican candidate Rea Scharnhorst, the racist idiot who thought mailing out blatantly racist mailers would win her an election victory Tuesday, came in third in a three way primary.

Scharnhorst was seeking to replace her term limited husband in the legislature. Instead, she let voters know her and her husband’s true colors. The mailers were roundly criticized and they obviously cost her the election. Congratulations to Mr. Dogan who will be the first African American Republican in the legislature since the late Sherman Parker of St. Charles County. No Democrat filed to run.

Related:

The Gateway Pundit: Awful. Republican Rea Scharnhorst Plays ‘Race Card’ Against Black GOP Opponent


Tags: MO Legislature

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Stenger Hands Dooley Embarrassing Defeat

August 6th, 2014 by Mark Truman ·

Accidental St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had a familiar saying he used during the primary campaign to deflect from his failed, corrupt and incompetent leadership: “Charlie Dooley may get it wrong but he always makes it right.” It was a pithy and clever talking point handed to him probably by his campaign advisers but unfortunately for “triple AAA Charlie,” he didn’t make it right. Instead of firing people or holding accountable people who made his administration look bad, he covered for them and made excuses for himself and them. Because of that admirable loyalty, St. Louis county Democratic voters dispatched him yesterday with a resounding no confidence vote.


Tags: STL County Executive Charlie Dooley

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