Yesterday, I “helped” my second-oldest open her first credit union checking account. I say that I “helped,” but my only real contribution was telling her it’s okay if she doesn’t buy checks but keeps the 5 temporary checks she got from them as backups. “You won’t need them,” I said. “It’s 2017. Money is easier now than ever before.”

She’s still in high school but I put her one one of my credit cards to get her established. Having her as an authorized user gives her credit history while protecting her from making silly teenager mistakes. Every thing she uses it on must be approved, documented, and accounted for in the end. Now that she has a debit card, I’ll be using it to pay the expenses she accumulates on my card every month. If she’s ever short, I’ll work out a plan to cover it for her temporarily, but I anticipate she’ll never be short. So far she’s just used it for teenage essentials: gas, food, and an occasional pair of shoes when she’s worked extra hours.

As an active high school senior, she holds two jobs. I disagree with this particular choice but I support her right to make it. I wouldn’t say she’s overworked, necessarily, but it does create scheduling problems from time to time. She will learn from now until graduation one of two things: overextending herself brings challenges that she’ll want to avoid in the future or she’s capable of managing her time even when split between school, home, and work. Either way, it’s a great lesson I wish I’d have learned at her age.

Spend only what you can afford. Pay all of your bills on time. Work hard to generate enough revenue. Don’t go into debt unless absolutely necessary. These lessons are easy for a parent to teach a child, but they’ve clearly gone unlearned in Washington DC. More accurately, they’ve been ignored. The Democrats abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility a hundred years ago. The Republicans seem to ebb and flow in their understanding. Unfortunately, the current GOP-controlled Congress seems to have let those ideas completely fall to the wayside.

Obamacare must be fully repealed. Any replacement for it should be designed to systematically remove the federal government from the insurance business altogether. Defenders of the current plan will say that it’s a repeal that’s fixing the problem the only practical way going forward. The reality is that it’s the only way they imagine being able to pretend like they’re doing the right thing while still being economically irresponsible for the sake of votes.

One thing is guaranteed: if a Democrat were president today (God forbid), Congress would pass full repeal and either a conservative replacement or no replacement at all. Why? They’d know it would get vetoed. The fact that whatever they pass will likely be signed has forced them to reveal their real intention of continuing down the path towards big government fiscal failure just to avoid political losses in 2018.

There are plenty of plans to repeal, replace, tweak, fix, improve, dismantle, and otherwise make changes to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. I’m going to keep this short for the sake of simplicity because the answer isn’t hard. Repeal it. What you do after that will work out just fine.

Some will say, “But we need to have a plan in place or the GOP will get slaughtered in 2018 and 2020!” I don’t completely disagree, but there’s an important caveat to note.

There is no plan that doesn’t include installing some variation of socialized medicine that will prevent everyone from losing their coverage. The math simply doesn’t add up. You can’t take something as fiscally obtuse as Obamacare and replace it with something that yields the same results without being essentially the same thing. Yes, people will lose coverage. Yes, the media will play it up. Yes, the Democrats will point to it as a reason to regain power.

The only way to prevent the Great 2018 Slaughter of the Republican Party is to fulfill the promise that they made to repeal it, to invoke the mandate that the last election gave them, and to work like crazy to fight the negative optics associated with it. The sooner they do step one, the better. There are some who are secretly pushing to repeal Obamacare but to not have it take effect until after the election. This is unacceptable. Rip it off like a putrid old band aid and then govern the country amazingly going forward. That’s the only hope.

Here’s the thing. This isn’t new. The GOP has claimed to want to repeal Obamacare for six years. There has been more than enough time to plan it out, prepare for the consequences, and enact a plan to mitigate political damage done. Why are they now acting like this is a brand new development? Why aren’t they embracing perfectly good plans such as the Paul-Sanford bill? Why aren’t they following the lead of people like Ted Cruz who want to fulfill the promise they made?

There. I said it would be short.

What they do after this economic abomination is repealed will work out as long as it doesn’t include a similar monstrosity. The window of opportunity has been open. If they don’t take decisive action now that they have the chance, then they deserve the routing that they fear will happen by doing what they said they were going to do in the first place.

My first thought when I heard about the unanimous decision not to make a decision by SCOTUS was the fact that with an election coming that the idea of a government fatwa against a bunch of nuns might not play well in certain swing states drove this move. (There is a reason why the MSM doesn’t mention them in the context of this case)

but the more I thought about it something else hit  me.

I could be completely wrong here but I have a feeling that SCOTUS sending the Little sisters of the Poor case back down looking for compromise is all about a great conflict in the minds of some of those justices.

I think that while the religion of liberalism runs strong and produces an overwhelming pull I think that to force these nuns to violate their consciences might just be a bridge too far for some of those justices.

The irony here is that while Justice Scalia was alive this wasn’t an issue, if there was a conservative majority in favor of the nuns then a liberal Catholic could happily vote on the losing side knowing that said vote would not have any effect on the poor nuns.

But now instead of the cover of a meaningless vote, Justice Scalia has put them on a very uncomfortable spot and I strongly suspect that the many prayers being said both for the nuns and directed toward the guardian angels of the Justices in question were not in vain.

Conscience is an odd thing sometimes and we never quite know the workings of God.

I know some of you might think that a load of BS but that’s my gut.

 

 

 

by Steve and Timothy Imholt (mainly Steve, Tim was too angry, as he is an adult with autism and has an autistic son he pays out of pocket to cover.)

Do you remember the debate about why Obamacare was going to be so very good or so very evil (depending on who was hogging the microphone)? Regardless of where you fell on the scale from progressive to arch conservative, one area which had very little argument was over what healthcare should cover regarding children. Yes, there was argument about the role of government, about government over reach, about fiscal consequences, but about kids?

Nope, I don’t remember it.

I bet you don’t either.

I can remember the discussions about orphan drugs. I remember comments from both sides about catastrophic coverage. Even discussions about pre-existing conditions. These were things that most people thought the ACA would/should (depending on party affiliation) cover. Even the insurance companies and the Republicans in a last ditch effort to stop the ACA talked about other legislation, in place of the ACA, that would cover pre-existing and catastrophic situations.

But what they didn’t do was talk about situations that were fixable when the fix was expensive. Talk about donut holes. There is donut hole in coverage the size of the Holland Tunnel if you work for most companies. You see, the way things are today, some kinds of illnesses actually ARE covered by the ACA marketplace and public aid, but NOT through employer plans precisely because they are so expensive, and the employers had good lobbyists to get wording in there for an exemption for employer based plans.

Still others aren’t covered by the ACA market place OR the employer because get this… they are too expensive. It’s like finding a Ho Chi Minh tunnel at the bottom of a Florida sized sinkhole. You take the tunnel because you have to.

Is there a poster child for this hole? Autism.

You see, when you catch autism early it is treatable. But the treatment needs to be aggressive. And even better, its effects can be truly managed and even called cured. But the current costs are somewhere higher than $30,000 and in some cases even $50,000 per year for several years. Most employers would rather not have to deal with that kind of cost. And (please use a Gomer Pyle voice when reading this), Surprise, Surprise, Surpirse, state and federal laws say they don’t have to cover it.

Think about this. The employed person has to pay out of pocket to get his kids treated. That same person has to pay taxes that, in turn, pay for subsidized coverage for other people, some of whom don’t have a job, so that their kids can get this treatment because the ACA says that they can. So one guy gets to fork out the money twice, or if he can’t afford for his kids to get these treatments out of his own pocket has real problems.

That is assuming the guy who has a job can find a way to afford it. How many people have that kind of money leftover from the rest of their budget in their after tax salary? Especially with all the new tax rates, hikes in grocery store prices, and stagnant wages in the middle class.

It is a nutty situation, but that is just one prime example. We are SURE there are others. We will be on the lookout. Just follow bankruptcy filings and some will likely be found.

The ACA act itself provides a partial loophole as well. Turns out the Fed doesn’t always cover it because it’s a congenital condition. Those plans which do cover it are a lot more expensive. Currently, the only real option left for a family with an average income is for the kid to get put on public aid. On public aid, the kid can get covered. Except that like a Ho Chi Minh tunnel, the hole can collapse at any moment.

Now for those readers who don’t have to deal with this every day, getting on public aid is NOT like switching cable companies. You need to get qualified again, and again, and again. It takes a lot of effort by parents to pull it off. And each time they have to requalify, treatment gets impacted either because docs won’t accept it, or they can’t actually deliver until approved (again and again and again).

Remember that comment about catching it early, and being aggressive? Let’s be blunt. Being aggressive is not compatible with government paperwork.

So, as a country, we end up actually causing kids to not get the treatment they need, exactly when it would do the most good. All because companies didn’t want to have this really large cost, and the Feds on ACA didn’t want the premiums to go up even more than they are going up next year.

How did it get this way? From my perspective, it was because from the progressive standpoint, it had to be covered, so sticking it to the states was a good idea. (Actually for some of the progressives, anything that eventually will lead to a single payer system is a good thing, no matter how many kids get trampled in the meantime). But the conservatives aren’t off the hook either. Again, from my standpoint, allowing companies to exclude this kind of thing, is the direct equivalent of being Pontius Pilate, washing their hands. Why? Because for conservatives, anything that shows how bad the ACA is must be good, no matter how many kids are trampled.

From my perspective, political autism has eradicated public oughtism.

The saddest part of all? It’s not those kids knowing that they won’t be treated today. You see, none of them will notice it today because they are too young, and they really do have issues. And it probably won’t be those kids when they are grown, because at the speed they won’t get treatment, they will have challenges, at a much higher rate than they should. And the annual cost of that will be paid by everyone, just as the ineffectual treatment they will get because of a defective public aid system.

Yet keep sending these yahoos back to Washington, again, and again. Perhaps it’s the public who is more autistic than we would ever want to admit.

Yesterday when the Pope made remarks on Climate Change the Networks trumpeted it from the highest heights.

However this was not the only newsworthy thing he did:

Given the Obamacare mandate lawsuit and the President’s statement to the Pope concerning religious freedom, the fact that his government is suing them to force them to violate their faith is ironic, so the Pope’s visit would seem quite newsworthy.

Unless you are NBC

little sisters nbc

Or CBS

little sisters cbs

or MSNBC

little sisters msnbc

or CNN

little sisters cnn

ABC found it much more newsworthy than the others. They decided it was worth two whole sentences!

-NOTED: Yesterday, Pope Francis made an off-the-record visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor to show his support for their fight against the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, ABC’s MEREDITH MCGRAW notes. In late August, the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Little Sisters of the Poor a short-term shelter from the mandate.

That is considerably less coverage that Twitchy managed to give it by 9:51 PM last night.

Given that the idea of the Pope making the republicans uncomfortable has been a constant theme of media coverage you would think that this symbolic move of support for Nuns being sued by the US government might be a tad more newsworthy.

One would almost think the MSM had an agenda when it comes to their coverage of the Pope and this particular Pontifical visit doesn’t fit it.

Update: Somehow Aleteia found time to cover it

The meeting, which was not on the pope’s publicly-released schedule of events, was held just hours after the pontiff met with President Obama at the White House. Father Lombardi did not say where, but he noted that the Little Sisters have a convent near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis celebrated a late afternoon Mass. It is likely that he visited the order just after celebrating the liturgy.

If ONLY the msm had access to the same resources as Aleteia does.
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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what they’re good for.

Nicholas Angel: How could this be for the greater good?
Neighbourhood Watch Alliance: [all together] The Greater Good.
Nicholas Angel: Shut it!

Hot Fuzz 2007

Autism is a disorder, really a neurological condition that is typically diagnosed early in childhood that is characterized by huge difficulties in communication and forming relationships with other people. These challenges are due to the way the people with this condition use language and interpret abstract concepts.

My son is a four year old on the autism spectrum. He sits in the mild side, and has been in treatment for a while to treat his various developmental struggles. He is far from alone in these struggles. The autism spectrum is a wide range of severities of this disorder but it is said that more than 1 in 100 kids (more like 1 in 88) sits on the spectrum and requires some kind of treatment. These treatments can be shockingly costly.

Many of these treatments have been covered by our insurance company as every therapy he has been in was prescribed by a medical professional. He has been to neurologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, all kinds of stuff. The co-pays alone would boggle your mind.

Then we come to today. He goes to one of his two regularly weekly scheduled speech therapy appointments that, until this week has been covered. The health care provider puts in an authorization request for treatment before his appointment (as is their normal procedure), and it is denied. That is strange, why now, why not a week ago?

Something strange is afoot at the Circle K you say?

Wait for it, this gets worse.

It turns out that under the Affordable Care Act they, according to the insurance company, they are required to only cover these types of therapies for “restorative reasons.” What is a restorative reason you ask? They can cover more but it is at their discretion. So, what company would do so if they don’t have to? Well certainly not this one.

Put another way if he had been in an accident and lost the ability to speak they would help, otherwise they won’t. Autistic kids are out of luck I guess, at least to go through a qualified private insurance covered speech therapist.

I was angry for a variety of reasons mostly because this is landing on us with no warning.

So, I asked, what is going on? When did this change?

Oh a letter was sent out 3 days ago? On Friday, and today is Tuesday? Nice, I guess I haven’t gotten or read that yet but ok.

I asked the question, what are these kids supposed to do? Have no shot in life? Medical professionals can prescribe a treatment and unless you can afford the $250-$400/week in cost out of pocket your kid is just out of luck?

No, that isn’t the case, the insurance company representative says. I can appeal (which they told me would in all likelihood be denied but I can do it), or I can go to the local school system department of special education.

So let’s review:

  • Covered last week not covered today
  • Costs of my policy go up year over year
  • Out of pocket just increased by at least $1000/month for a procedure prescribed by a medical professional (and that doesn’t include all the increases in copays elsewhere).
  • Coverage is shifting away from treating those with diagnosed disabilities, sort of.
  • Because of his age he might be covered merely by an already overspent public school system according to the insurance company (the school district disagrees).

Put another way the ACA through some convoluted process just shifted what should be a medical procedure onto the school system?

I guess they wanted the federal deficit numbers to look better for the kids they have to cover through the subsidies? Could that be the case? Surely not…No, they would never forget to tell the whole truth right?

Does that seem like how things are supposed to work?

It appears as though we are playing a shell game of which part of the government goes into debt to do the job it was design to do. Also this brings to mind what qualifications the school system has to do therapeutic treatments that should be done by someone trained specifically for this purpose. Or is the Department of Education just working its way into all aspects of our life so that it never gets cut back and only grows?

Whatever the reason is this monstrously large bill that was supposed to bring down costs is certainly having issues proving its worth beyond some kind of procedure requiring a band aid or the most cursory of treatment.

As an interesting PS to this story. I was on twitter venting about this and got pounded by several people from one of the two major political parties. One statement said, basically, I didn’t get it and that it was all for the “greater good.” Another insane defender of all things done by one party said that, essentially, not that long ago no one got anything.

The “no one got anything” statement is interesting because instead of fixing the problem by making sure everyone gets something we are stripping coverage on an obviously pre-existing condition and blaming corporate greed. I am my wits end with the partisan garbage. We no longer care about solving problems in this country merely about assigning blame. We do this while parents have to figure out how to help the very small children that we are supposed to be doing all of this to help. I will find a way to make sure Emmit gets what he needs, but it sure would be nice to be able to keep the coverage I liked, without that price going up yet again or coverage being reduced even further, but I can I can keep my doctor if I pay for it out of pocket while paying the insurance company to do less with more.

I guess we hoped, and we got change.

Tim I. PhD

-Author of the bestselling novel Forest of Assassins

Amazon.com Widgets

Update:  DTG:  “The Greater Good” Boy that argument sounds familiar:

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By Steve Eggleston

Unless you’ve been in a cave the last 2 days, you know that the Supreme Court once again rewrote what Justice Antonin Scalia has taken to calling SCOTUSCare to judicially extend tax subsidies for purchasing health insurance to the poor and middle class purchasing insurance on federally-established insurance exchanges. Much has been made over said subsidies, with the Congressional Republicans preemtively saying that had the letter of the law been applied and said subsidies on the federally-established exchanges been struck down, they would rush in to “temporarily” allow those subsidies to happen through 2017.

However, the case itself was never about the subsidies themselves, but rather the penalt…er…taxes that those subsidies allowed to be applied. Indeed, both the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts and the dissent written by Scalia admit that it is all about the tax, and in Roberts’ case, preserving what he transformed from a penalty to a tax.

As Scalia points out, the phrase “Exchange established by the State” appears innumerable times throughout the law. Indeed, it expressly defined the word “State” as “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia”.

The goal of limiting the subsidies to those in states where the state set up the exchange rather than the federal government was to put political pressure on the states to be the proverbial bagmen for the federal government by offloading the cost of the exchanges from the federal government to the states. That the Democrats failed in their attempt to blackmail the states into becoming their bagmen (a wise fiscal decision, as those states that set up, or tried to set up, their own exchanges are finding to their peril) is not something for the IRS, or six Lawgivers-In-Black, to “correct”, especially when the Republicans said that they would do the “correcting” on at least a temporary basis.

The elimination of said subsidies in states with federally-established exchanges would, in a plain-text reading of the law, also eliminate the threat of the individual non-insurance tax for every couple, virtually every multi-member family, and most single people making between 100% and 400% of the poverty level in those states as the cost of the second-cheapest “silver” insurance plan would rise to above 8% of their income. Similarly, the two types of employer non-insurance tax are predicated on at least one “full-time” employee (that is, one who worked at least 130 hours in a given month) getting subsidized coverage, with the elimination of the subsidy eliminating the liability of those employers operating solely in those states.

Roberts, in defending his 2012 declaration that the individual tax is indeed a tax, admits that result would cause great financial harm to the overall SCOTUSCare scheme. Again, the role of a judge, even a Supreme Court Chief Justice, is not to save the other branches of federal government from bad financial bets through judicial rewrites of law, especially since Congressional Republicans vowed to do just that.

I guess we could count ourselves “fortunate” that my darker prediction of Roberts and his fellow Lawgivers-In-Black finding a way to keep the taxes fully-intact while striking down the subsidies didn’t happen. On the other hand, given the Congressional Republicans were going to fully-cave (though supposedly temporarily) on the issue of subsidies, I doubt that allowing them to keep the fig leaf of Kabuki Theatre Opposition will much matter. It will simply take a bit longer for them to do the expansion of SCOTUSCare that they previously did for Social Security (thrice) and Medicare.

I saw this tweet from the University of Colorado English Department this evening:

I didn’t realize today was Orwell’s birthday but the irony of that quote is astounding considering Justice Robert’s Old Yellowstain’s words here:

The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167. As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.

and this other Orwell quote on language:

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

applies here as well

Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act.

  I think these examples confirm the truth of Justice Scalia’s dissent and confirms this tweet of mine in response to the Colorado English Department acknowledgement of Orwell:

I think George Orwell’s birthday deserves recognition but I suspect it would have been better for the country if they just sent flowers.

Update:  An old question answered:

Of course they could both be true depending of how she defined “diabolical”.

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By A.P. Dillon

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina just announced a big rate hike. The reason?

Obamacare.

Grandfathered plans will see a double-digit hike around 13.5%, but those who have plans transitioned under Obamacare are going to have a coronary. Their rates will jump anywhere from 19.2% to 25.7%.

“Affordable HealthCare Act”. ‘A Family of four will see a reduction of $2500’.  Riiiiight. 

Triad Business Journal Reported:

Customers with so-called “transitional plans” — those plans purchased after the passage of the ACA and allowed to be continued by the Obama administration in 2013 — will see the highest jump, with an average increase of 19.2 percent.

WRAL also reported:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has asked state regulators for a 25.7 percent average rate increase on individual insurance plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act for 2016.

Gee, if only someone had warned the people this would happen. Oh wait.. someone did.

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who beat Obamacare supporting incumbant Kay Hagan in 2014,  issued a statement. In the statement, Tillis called for an ‘off-ramp’ from Obamacare:

“Today’s announcement that North Carolinians covered under the President’s healthcare law will be hit with more crushing premium rate increases is yet another confirmation that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable and is creating hardship for millions of families. Hardworking Americans deserve an off-ramp from ObamaCare to a patient-directed healthcare market that will control costs and give them more freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.”

These hikes are hitting in other states, not just North Carolina.

Tennessee has it worse, Blue Cross is spiking rates up to 36% next year. New Mexico is getting slammed with a 51% hike.  In Michigan, a hike by Blue Cross of over 11% is sought, amongst other insurers that seek up to a 37% increase.

Hawaii, whose Obamacare exchange is imploding, will see a huge hike – 49%.

Wall Street Journal reports hefty increases in multiple states, the average of which is 29% or more.  The Wall Street Journal also notes these hikes must be justified to the Obama administration.

Flashback to 2010: Feds fire warning shot to health insurers
Flashback to 2012: Insurance Industry Warns Of Higher Rates Due to Obamacare

Reminder, this past March, President Obama taunted those who criticized Obamacare. Gee, Mr. President, We Told You So.

 

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

By Steve Eggleston

After the high-profile failures of Oregon’s and Massachusetts’ state-run health-care exchanges, and the near-failures of several other state-run exchanges this time last year, the proponents of ObamaCare were hoping that the blood-letting of the remaining state-run exchanges was at an end. Indeed, there hadn’t been any further failures. According to an editorial in The Orange County Register, that’s about to change, with the biggest domino, Covered California, poised to fail.

Up until this year, Covered California had been using $1.1 billion in federal grant money as its major source of money to finance its operations. There will be no more federal money going into Covered California, or any other state-run exchange, as that spigot was shut off on January 1. Meanwhile, in accordance with ObamaCare dictates that the exchanges be “self-sufficient”, California’s legislature has prohibited the use of general state funds on Covered California.

According to The Register, Covered California currently says it expects to lose $78 million in Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016). It seems people haven’t been signing up as expected. As of the original deadline for 2015 coverage, February 15, Covered California was 300,000 short of its planned goal. Two extensions of that deadline, to April 30, have not, at least so far, appeared to come close to closing that gap. According to a study by Alavare Health, Covered California had the 3rd-worst enrollment growth, at 1%, and the 4th-worst re-enrollment rate, 65%.

After looking over the presentation given to the Covered California board at its March meeting, I’d say that $78 million projected loss looks to be a bit “optimistic”. Under what it termed the “medium” scenario, the expected FY2016 loss is $104 million, which would bring the cash reserves down to $184 million. Supposedly expenditures will drop and revenues increase, but given the combination of the First Rule of Government Expenditures (spending never actually decreases) and the overly-optimistic nature of revenue projections, Covered California isn’t long for this world.

Of course, the Congressional “Republicans” have the “fix” – explicitly allow the federal exchange to offer subsidies if the Supreme Court strikes down the executive-based version. They claim it would be “temporary” and would come with the repeal of the individual and employer mandates regarding health insurance, but given their other hard turns to the left (including approving Loretta Lynch as Attorney General), it will neither be “temporary” nor come with the repeal of any mandates.