Tag Archives: you can’t make this stuff up

Another Obamacare Supporter Just Got A Hard Dose Of Reality – Chicks on the Right

This time from Covered California – Another Obamacare Supporter Just Got A Hard Dose Of Reality – Chicks on the Right. Poor Melissa Klein of San Francisco discovers the unfortunate reality that the government is decades behind Amazon.

Another liberal learns the hard lesson of big government bureaucracy. Click on the link to get the details. This paragraph sums it up regarding expectations for Obamacare exchange subsidies and health care nirvana…

I find a number of things absolutely fascinating about her story – not the least of which that she expected government healthcare exchanges to work with the same fluidity of ordering a product from Amazon or some other private online retailer. I hesitate to use the tired old analogy of standing in line at the DMV but – the same people who make a trip to the DMV utterly painful are the same people you have running government healthcare! 

It’s sad that it’s taken THIS long for people to get it – but until government regulations actually affect your life, you keep buying into the washed-out academic theories that haven’t been proven, even though those theories have had plenty of time to show their merits. That is, if they had any merit to begin with.

Welcome to Reality Town, Melissa. You won’t enjoy your stay.

Earth to enlightened liberals and progressives, it’s PRIVATE industry that can build websites and fulfillment systems such as Amazon. To expect that of your government, especially once a dose of politics is mixed in, is well, how should I say it…. Un effing realistic.

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‘I am going to stab a bitch’; Liberal journalist discovers the joys of Obamacare

The wonderful auto-renewal system at Connect for Health Colorado failed for liberal journalist Laura Krantz –  ‘I am going to stab a bitch’; Liberal journalist discovers the joys of Obamacare | Twitchy. As you might guess, her solution is single payer but that’s to be expected.

Others apparently have the same problem, which is no surprise. There’s not an easy way to post the tweets except by screen capture so I recommend reading the whole thing.

All you had to do to “break” Connect for Health’s auto-renewal system was log in and look at alternate plans. I put “break” in quotes as this is how the system was designed. That said, it’s not clear that’s what happened in this case and why would her 2014 coverage be cancelled?

 

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Shared Eligibility System: Who IS in charge?

Who’s in charge of the Shared Eligibility System (SES)? Balance of Power: De-glitching Colorado healthcare. Former Connect for Health Colorado Ellen Daehnick, who was terminated as a board member by Governor John Hickenlooper, discusses the enrollment issues, incompetence and general overall accountability issues that exist at Connect for Health Colorado and whomever is in charge of the Shared Eligibility System. Video, and text, at link.

The main topic of discussion is the Shared Eligibility System (SES) and the overall lack of accountability.

In her roughly year-and-a-half on the board of Connect, she says she couldn’t get answers to basic questions like this about the systems like SES, which were implemented to make the exchange work.

“You don’t have a responsible individual or entity, you don’t know who’s at fault, or who has the power to fix the problem,” Daehnick said. “You want to know who has the power to fix this and make it better.”

Apparently no one. It would be really nice if the Democrats would stop protecting the whole Connect for Health, Medicaid, Colorado Peak infrastructure but they continue to live in a fantasyland.

But committee Democrats defended the exchange’s performance as impressive— starting from scratch in a complex regulatory environment, they said.

You can’t make this stuff up. Getting back to the SES and Ms. Daehnick, I agree with every word spoken by her. Governor Hickenlooper better have a damn good reason for “firing” her. SHINE THE LIGHT on the problem Gov.

As a broker I or my clients have encountered numerous problems with Connect for Health (or SES or Medicaid, take your choice). Very few have been directly addressed by a specific person. One way or another we worked it out, but it takes hours of unproductive time and effort. I don’t see how 2016 open enrollment can be any worse.

 

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Treasurey makes $3 billion in Obamacare payments without authorization.

Do first, ask forgiveness later – Treasury won’t explain decision to make $3 billion in Obamacare payments | WashingtonExaminer.com.

What’s tricky is that Congress never authorized any money to make such payments to insurers in its annual appropriations, but the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway.

….

The argument that annual appropriations are required to make payments is also backed up by a report from the Congressional Research Service, which has differentiated between the tax credit subsidies that Obamacare provides to individuals to help them purchase insurance, and the cost-sharing payments to insurers.

Well until Congress gets some gonads (excuse me ladies, or not…) it’s quite obvious that annual appropriations are not required.

Why do we even have a Congress with Obama as President? They are getting more and more irrelevant by the day. The scary thing is there’s “nothing wrong with that” from a Democratic perspective.

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Obamacare Penalties lead to possible open enrollment

Democrats Beg Obama to Bend Obamacare Rules to Avoid Tax Penalties for Millions – Breitbart.

Reps. Sander Levin (D-MI), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) have strongly requested a special sign-up for the uninsured who will all be hit with a $325 fine or two percent of their income (whichever is higher) for failure to enroll in 2015. In 2016, the Obamacare tax penalty will be an average $1,100, reports the Associated Press. For 2014, the Obamacare tax was $95 or one percent of income.

“Open enrollment period ended before many Americans filed their taxes,” the three lawmakers said in a statement. “Without a special enrollment period, many people (who will be paying fines) will not have another opportunity to get health coverage this year.”

They passed the law to find out what was in it, and they didn’t see this coming?

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Connect for Health Colorado: What’s the problem?

I checked with Connect for Health Colorado today regarding a client that started the disenrollment process on Dec 16. Here is what I learned:

  •  The disenrollment was transmitted to the carrier on Dec 19
  • As of today, it is pending acknowledgement from the carrier

The process was started 52 days ago, or to be gracious 49 days ago if we go with the date that Connect for Health transmitted the disenrollment. What does Connect for Health say?

Oh, it takes 21 days for the date to be transmitted and the carrier to acknowledge and it can take another 7 days for the carrier to process the disenrollment.

What bothers me the most is they make the above statement as if the status quo is OK and to expect more is beyond their comprehension.

YOU CAN NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. This level of mediocrity is unacceptable. The most politically correct statement I can make is that “amateur hour is alive and well over at Connect for Health.”

Vast quantities of data are successfully transmitted and received that are intricately involved in our we live our daily lives WITHOUT INCIDENT. It’s so common place that we don’t even think about it. Ordering a book on Amazon, downloading a book/file/graphic, bank transactions… all of these occur on a daily basis such that we don’t give them a second thought.

But Connect for Health Colorado can’t successfully transmit data, OR of course, the carriers can’t receive the data. STILL, they are in this together so I call dibs on it being Connect for Health Colorado’s problem. This was a big issue in 2014 and for it to remain a big issue for 2015 is totally unacceptable.

Amateur Hour at Connect for Health Colorado. What a disappointment.

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More on the Harvard Faculty Whiners

Harvard Professors Balk As Obamacare Comes To Cambridge – Forbes.

In the case of the Harvard faculty one must ask if they are making a bold stand for egalitarian healthcare coverage or whining because they are being required to share the cost of healthcare. Most employees have had to wrestle with the confusing and often gut-wrenching impact of increasing healthcare costs for many years now. It is time that those in the ivory tower experience some of the challenges most of us face daily.

Spoiled, whiney arrogant brats.

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Received a subsidy? Visit a tax preparation service

Latest Tax Season Headache? Obamacare – Bloomberg View.

There’s been a lot of talk about the “hidden taxes” in the Affordable Care Act, but here’s one I hadn’t thought of before or seen mentioned anywhere: the sudden need for folks with simple tax returns to avail themselves of the services of a paid professional. If you have no income outside a modest salary, and not much in the way of potential deductions such as huge mortgage interest or state tax bills, then there was really no reason to use a tax preparer. Even the mathematically challenged should, with the aid of a calculator, be able to fill out their 1040EZ forms just fine. But Obamacare has introduced a significant level of complexity into the taxes of lower-middle-class wage earners. More of them are going to need an accountant to negotiate the process — or risk owing the government hundreds of dollars because they didn’t fill out the forms correctly.

The money doesn’t go to the government, of course, but in many ways this looks like a tax: Suddenly, people with simple incomes are going to need to pay a significant sum to keep themselves out of trouble with the IRS. This tax will be extremely regressive, because the people most likely to be hit by it are people whose incomes are (or have been) low enough to qualify for subsidies.

That’s not to say that these people are worse off because of Obamacare. For one thing, lower-middle-class workers have always historically used tax preparation services more than they really should, because they really need their refunds and they’re worried about getting it wrong. But it is one more symptom of the law’s Byzantine complexity that new costs keep popping up just where voters least expect them. (all emphasis added)

Goodbye 1040EZ, hello tax complications for those who can least afford it. Rube Goldberg I say.

Oh, the publically traded tax firms are H&R Block and Liberty Tax Services.

 

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Connect for Health CO: Exchange snafus trip up thousands

Exchange snafus trip up thousands as more cost overruns mount | Health News Colorado.

Amateur hour at Connect for Health Colorado:

A multi-million dollar IT system that Colorado officials promised would make signing up for health coverage simple has instead snagged thousands of customers and now will cost several hundred thousand dollars — if not millions — to fix.

Managers at Colorado’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, plan to ask their board members on Monday to approve an emergency infusion of $322,000 for the next month to try to help customers get coverage by the Feb. 15 deadline. No warranty covers the work that the additional money will fund, the exchange’s chief technology officers said on Friday.

So who EXACTLY IS the exchanges Chief Technology Officer? Inquiring minds want to know.

Other interesting factoids…

About half of the 21,000 people who bought private insurance through the end of December through the exchange have not qualified for tax subsidies. They can skip the problematic sign-in system if they don’t want to try to qualify for subsidies.

This is not exactly correct. I believe what they are trying to say is +/- 10,500 applicants elected to not try and get a monthly subsidy. They may still be eligible for premium assistance on their tax return. Also, here’s a HINT:

IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL NOT QUALIFY FOR PREMIUM ASSISTANCE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, THEN DO NOT APPLY THROUGH CONNECT FOR HEALTH COLORADO. SIGN UP DIRECTLY WITH THE CARRIER OF YOUR CHOICE. A BROKER CAN HELP WITH PLAN SELECTION AND APPLYING OR YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF.

Time out for a self serving advertisement: Oh, by the way…  if you’re in Colorado and need a broker, please contact me at 303.495.3045 (or text me at 303.859.1709)! The cost to you is the same as if you did it yourself. Moving on…

The big issue has been the Shared Eligibility System between Connect for Health and Medicaid.

Colorado officials were supposed to build the shared system in 2013 and failed to do so. Since then, Medicaid head Sue Birch repeatedly has promised she would build a simple, streamlined system that would be as easy to use as Kentucky’s much-hailed sign-up system, Kynect. Colorado officials informally said the system here would be like “Kentucky on steroids.”

Instead, the system is limping along, and Drews this week had to send an apology note to exchange partners that outlined more than two dozen “known and reported issues.” Click here to see Drews’ letter.

“We realized issues have been difficult and frustrating for many since the start of open enrollment, and they have hampered your ability to serve your customers,” Drews wrote. “While we don’t anticipate a perfect system when launching new technology and programs, we certainly had higher expectations than we’ve delivered.”

Exchange board members were furious Thursday, saying they felt cornered into approving additional spending without adequate advance notice.

“We’re being told there’s no time for suggestions. We have to have it done right away,” said Dr. Mike Fallon, a board member.

“These problems didn’t start today,” Fallon said. “It’s every issue: you approve it or the sky is falling.”

Enough with the faux outrange Dr. Fallon, certainly you have your own internal and external sources of information on how Connect for Health is performing? If not, you should resign from the Board of Directors.

A side note on Connect for Health enrollment propaganda statistics..

Exchange spokesmen routinely report “enrollment gains” by lumping renewals and Medicaid sign-ups with the new customers who sign up for private health insurance.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Lavish ‘Cadillac’ health plans dying out

Lavish ‘Cadillac’ health plans dying out as PPACA tax looms | LifeHealthPro.

Large employers are increasingly putting an end to their most generous health-care coverage as a tax on “Cadillac” insurance plans looms closer under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Employees including bankers at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and college professors at Harvard University are seeing a range of moves to shift more costs to workers. Companies are introducing higher deductibles and co-payments, rising premiums and the imposition of wellness programs that carry penalties for people who don’t comply.

Requiring employees to shoulder more of the cost burden may undermine public support for PPACA just as Congress, now firmly under Republican control, considers new ways to gut the law. (emphasis added)

Is that all it takes to undermine the PPACA, slightly reducing benefits of people with Cadillac health plans that live in an alternate reality? Color me skeptical.

 

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ALERT: Harvard Faculty now has a $250 Deductible!!!

What a bunch of arrogant, pompous, spoiled brats – When ObamaCare came to Harvard | New York Post.

Q: How many Harvard professors does it take to figure out that free government benefits aren’t actually free?

A: As many Harvard professors as are forced to pay the indirect costs of those benefits.

In case you missed the headline, what is the deductible that has sent these Professors into such a spoiled brat uproar?

Actually, the changes Harvard is experiencing are quite mild. By any measure, the school’s plan is still incredibly generous. Faculty will, for instance, now have an annual deductible of $250, which is hardly exorbitant.

Perhaps the Harvard faculty foolishly believed that other alum, President Obama, when he said ObamaCare would save the average family $2,500?

Personal note to Harvard Professors, you make me wanna puke. You are no where close to as special as you think you are. Suck in some air of the reality around you, be careful, the pollution of reality is likely to choke you.

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Harvard Prof’s meet Obamacare and they don’t like it

Allow me to translate for you. Harvard Professors are spoiled brats. Talk about “checking your privilege” Harvard Ideas On Health Care Hit Home, Hard – NYTimes.com.

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.” (emphasis added)

Cry me a river.

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A Tale of Special Enrollment Period Issues

How The Affordable Care Act Forced Me To Become Uninsured – Forbes.

The problem described is a Federal Marketplace Issue, I can absolutely assure you it is a Connect for Health Colorado issue as well. My clients and I have encountered numerous issues with Special Enrollment Periods, particularly those that allow the applicant to apply between the 16th and 31st of the month with coverage scheduled to start on the 1st of the next month.

As November 15 – the deadline for enrollment – approached, I had not received a bill from the insurance company. I called The Marketplace, and they said I had to wait until I got a bill from the insurance company. I called the insurance company, and they said they had not received my enrollment information from the Marketplace. I called The Marketplace, and they said that yes, the insurance company could not enroll me or bill me or accept a payment until they received the information, but they had sent it. They would send it again.

I have head this story so many times, most of the time with a strong implication that it is the insurance company that is at fault.

Read the whole thing…. it makes me wanna puke.

To continue, since we are presently in open enrollment this is not a huge issue. I expect this problem to rear it’s ugly head again simply because everyone has to work as a team to fix an issue like this. I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

They are NOT working as a team!

Let me ask a simple questions:

What is transmitting and receiving data so hard?

The whole computer industry operates on accurately transmitting and receiving data. Examples that quickly come to mind:

  • Read and Write to devices such as:
    • Hard drives
    • USB sticks
  • Data transmission
    • RS 232 serial ports (what the heck are those!)
    • USB interfaces (communication with all your USB devices)
    • Wireless internet (think 3G and 4G)
    • Wired internet

And these incompetent idiots can’t transmit enrollment information in an accurate and timely manner!?

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Obamacare taxes & Penalites – The Rube Goldberg edition

New health care law complicates tax filing season for many in NC | National Politics | NewsObserver.com. NOTHING in this article is restricted to North Carolina, the problems and challenges described are NATIONWIDE issues.

The purpose of subsidies is to make Affordable Care Act plans… well “affordable” for lower income households. While a subsidy may at times accomplish this purpose, it creates a wealth of complications for these very same people.

The imminent tax law changes are likely to bewilder the people for whom the Affordable Care Act was designed: low-income people who needed help to figure out how to buy federally subsidized health insurance.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is predicting on its website that more than a third of people who received health insurance subsidies were overpaid and now will owe “pretty hefty repayment liabilities.” Others could end up paying hundreds of dollars in penalties for failing to buy health insurance.

This creates two issues:

  1. People who used to do their tax returns can no longer do them thanks to the complications of Obamacare
  2. The cost of tax preparation services is going to increase

Professional tax preparers plan to charge extra for sorting through the ACA’s knotty requirements. Still, they count on a flood of new customers ready to pay more in hopes of maximizing their subsidies and minimizing penalties, especially the myriads who opted to ignore the law and skip insurance coverage this year.

Isn’t capitalism great? Publicly traded tax companies include H&R Block and Liberty Tax.

Taxes are what you owe if you received too much in subsidy payments (technically advanced tax credits). Penalties are what you owe if you weren’t insured. Speaking of penalties for 2014…

The ACA’s minimum penalty this year is $95 per individual or $285 per family, but the law specifies that violators must pay the higher of two penalties. The higher penalty is calculated as 1 percent of household income above the tax filing threshold, which could come to several hundred dollars per person in many instances.

The maximum annual penalty this year, based on household income, is $2,448 per individual, and $12,240 for a family of five or more.

The penalties are docked from tax refunds, and for people who don’t get a refund this year, the penalty will be rolled over to future years, shadowing the taxpayer from year to year unless the IRS issues an amnesty.

Low-income filers are particularly vulnerable to the ACA penalty because they are dependent on tax refunds, notably the federal earned income tax credit, which can easily come to several thousand dollars per person, said Kala Shivali, franchisee of four Liberty Tax offices in Raleigh.

The sheer complexity of the new tax requirements, compounded by expected technical and administrative glitches, has some predicting that the the IRS will be in a forgiving mood this year.

“Health care systems don’t have to be this complicated,” said law professor Timothy Jost at Washington and Lee University. “I think this year they’ll have to cut people slack on this stuff.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/12/4317123_new-health-care-law-complicates.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

No, they don’t have to be this complicated. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Prediction: Chaos

 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/12/4317123_new-health-care-law-complicates.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/12/4317123_new-health-care-law-complicates.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
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