Obamacare: Cadillac Tax

Full Measure | Obamacare: Cadillac Tax

It was an investment advisor from Philadelphia who stumbled onto one of the biggest stories about the Affordable Care Act to date. His name is Rich Weinstein and he helped expose a startling set of videos that changed how many Americans view Obamacare. Though publicly available, these remarkable videos have only been rarely seen, getting just a few hundred clicks. On them, a key Obamacare adviser admits they intentionally misled voters, whom he called stupid. Weinstein tells Full Measure how he dug up the videos as a citizen journalist and warns of more trouble ahead.

Rich Weinstein: Back in 2013, I was a victim of ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan’. So late in 2013, we got the email notice from the insurance company saying that our plan was no longer ACA compliant. I had believed at that point that I wouldn’t lose my plan based on what the administration, everybody was saying about the Affordable Care Act. At that point, I kind of decided to get involved and figure out what really was going on.

So Weinstein got on the Internet and started digging. What he found was a group of Obamacare advisers referred to as “architects”.

Weinstein: I started noticing more in the news that these people called ‘architects’ were out there basically trying to influence public opinion. And I figured these architect people were, they were mostly academics, and I thought maybe they would leave a trail of breadcrumbs for me to figure out what was going on.

The breadcrumbs led to revealing videos in the public record, but largely unknown to the average American. One star in these videos was Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 Jonathan Gruber: Look, I wish Mark was right. We could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

In a series of remarkable policy talks at conferences and in academic settings, Gruber seems to brag that Obamacare only passed through its lack of transparency and the stupidity of voters. For example, Gruber says he and other backers of Obamacare hid the fact that it would be costly to healthy Americans.

Gruber: If you had a law which said healthy people are gonna pay in, you made [it] explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, okay. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.

But it’s another Gruber video that Weinstein says made him shiver. A video that foreshadows a little known sea change in U.S. tax structure mandated under Obamacare.

Weinstein: When I realized they were going after that, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Like, why haven’t I heard this before?

Gruber: It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.

Weinstein: When he’s talking about the lack of basic economic understanding of the American people, when he’s talking about the American people being stupid, he’s pretty much talking about the ‘Cadillac tax’.

Weinstein wondered, what is the Cadillac tax? That was explained in another video he discovered, this one featuring Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel in 2014. Emanuel said the Cadillac tax would go after a little known tax break millions of Americans get on their work insurance.

Ezekiel Emanuel: It is the single biggest tax break in the American tax code. It’s worth $250 billion dollars. To compare, for those of you who want to keep track, the mortgage deduction, sacrosanct, $70 billion dollars.

Weinstein: And it took me some time to figure it out, but I realized that they were going after that tax break and people are going to lose their tax break without knowing they were losing their tax break. That’s incredible.

Weinstein learned that since World War II, Americans’ health insurance benefits from work haven’t been taxed as income. The Obamacare Cadillac tax will change that.

It slaps a 40% tax on work-provided insurance policies valued above $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family. For example, say your individual plan costs $15,200. You’ll pay 40% of the amount over $10,200that’s 40% of $5,000, which means an extra $2,000 to the IRS at the end of the year.

In another video Weinstein found, Emanuel describes how he had to convince President Obama and his political team to support the tax.

Emanuel: The other side, inside the White House, that other part of the health team and especially the political team, which David Axelrod headed up, hated this idea.

One reason they hated it, Emanuel explains, is because in 2008, Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, proposed eliminating the tax benefit, in effect imposing a giant new tax and at that time, Obama was against it.

Barack Obama, October, 2008 campaign speech: John McCain calls these plans ‘Cadillac’ plans. And in some cases it may be that a corporate CEO may be getting too good of a deal. But what if you are a line worker, making a good American car like the Cadillac? What if you are one of the steel workers, who are working right here in Newport News? And you have given up wage increases in exchange for better healthcare? Well, Senator McCain believes you should pay higher taxes too. The bottom line, the better your healthcare plan, the harder you fought for your good benefits, the higher the taxes you’ll pay under John McCain’s plan.

But now, under Obamacare, he’d be imposing exactly what he criticized McCain for proposing: a massive tax hike on American workers’ health insurance. Emanuel would later reveal how it took some convincing to get the President to go along.

Emanuel: The President campaigned against John McCain, who wanted to get rid of the tax exclusion entirely with over $100 million dollars’ worth of ads saying, you know,’Republicans are gonna tax your health benefits for the first time ever’. This was an enigma. The President was going to go back on his word.

Weinstein: They wanted to get at your tax break and they couldn’t do it overtly, because Senator Obama in 2008 spent $100 million destroying John McCain.

Emanuel goes on to say in the video that he helped convince President Obama to impose the Cadillac tax on American workers with the idea that it would reduce health care costs. But how to convince the public to accept a huge new tax?

Gruber says they decided to use wordplay: the public would be told it was a tax on insurance plans rather than consumers.

 Gruber: Calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we all know it’s really a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.
 Gruber: You say,’Well, that’s pretty much the same thing. Why does it matter?’ You’ll see and they were both in and that passed, because the American voter is too stupid to understand the difference.

Gruber: We just tax the insurance companies. They pass it on in higher prices that offsets the tax break we get. It ends up being the same thing.

Sharyl: They were going to be able to tax the American public, but not call it a tax on the American public?

Weinstein: Well, they were going to tax the American public without the American public knowing it was a tax on the American public, because they were going to put the tax on the insurance plan, which would then be passed through to the American public through premium increases.

After some of Weinstein’s stunning video discoveries were reported on the news in 2014, Gruber apologized and called his remarks “inexcusably arrogant”.

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Dec. 9, 2014 Hearing:

Gruber: In excerpts of these videos, I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless and sometimes downright insulting commentsI know better. I am embarrassed and I am sorry.

Both Gruber and Emanuel declined comment for this report. President Obama has said he does not agree with Gruber’s assessment of the American public’s intellect, and that the former adviser’s views do not reflect the process. The White House wouldn’t offer further comment.

As for Weinstein: he sees the future. Not because he’s clairvoyant, but because the Obamacare architects laid it all out in those videos. He says the looming Cadillac tax will cause employers to drop insurance plans. More Americans will be forced to buy policies on the Obamacare exchange, where premiums and deductibles are quickly rising.

Weinstein: And the high-wage employees will not have the benefit of a subsidy. The lower-wage employees will, which turns a regressive policy into a progressive policy. I kind of jokingly refer to it as the Super Bowl of progressive politics, because you’re gonna go from regressive to progressive and people aren’t even gonna know what hit ’em. Everything I know about this came from people on the left. It came from Jonathan Gruber. It came from Zeke Emanuel. It came from other architects or other academics. It’s their words and that’s kind of the strength of what I’ve been able to find. My words really aren’t important. It’s their words. It’s all there on video.

Gruber: Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.

Why is it called the Cadillac tax? It’s on the most generous, high-end plans. The Cadillac tax was supposed to start in 2018. As word of it sunk in, the tax has become so unpopular among Democrats, Republicans, corporations and unions that Congress voted to postpone it until 2020. The problem is: employers are already anticipating it and adjusting by downgrading or even cancelling policies they offer at work.

About that Obama SCOTUS Nominee

None of the names have the record or reputation of Justice Scalia. Changing the balance of the Supreme Court is in fact in jeopardy. If all the Justices had the resolve and dedication to the historical spirit of the Constitution as did Scalia. If they did….final opinions and decisions would have been quite different and America would not be angry with a branch of government.

Family of Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee Donated Only to Democrats

FreeBeacon: The family of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, has donated only to Democratic campaigns.

Garland, the current Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, does not appear to have ever donated to political parties, candidates, or causes.

However, his wife and daughter have contributed only to Democrats.

Merrick married his wife, Lynn Rosenman, in 1987. In September 1992, Lynn made a $200 donation to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Services Corporation.

One month after the donation, Merrick provided assistance to Bill Clinton for a presidential debate. This information appeared on a questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995, the Washington Free Beaconreported Thursday.

“I provided volunteer assistance on a Presidential Debate for President Clinton in October 1992 and for Michael Dukakis in October 1988,” Garland wrote of his political activity. “I did some volunteer work for Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in 1983-84. As a college student, I worked two summers for the campaign of my then-congressman, Abner Mikva, in 1972 and 1974.”

Merrick’s daughter, Rebecca, has also made at least one donation to a Democratic politician.

Rebecca made a $500 contribution to Elizabeth for Massachusetts, the campaign committee of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), in December 2011.

The New York Timeswrote that if Garland is confirmed, it would result in the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years.

Gun rights proponents have said that Garland should not be confirmed because of his record opposing gun rights as a federal judge, the Free Beaconreported Wednesday.

The Beacon also reported that Garland generally sides with labor regulators at the expense of businesses.

Juanita Duggan, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, said that her group has “great concerns” about Garland’s record of siding with government regulators.

***** Others on Obama’s short list…..donors

4 Out of 5 Obama SCOTUS Nominees Obama Donors

TruthRevolt: President Obama has whittled down his list of potential Supreme Court nominees to five — four of whom have donated to his own political campaigns.

According to the Free Beacon, the five federal judges to be interviewed for the position include:

Sri Srinivasan (who has donated $4,250 to Obama), Jane Kelly ($1,500 to Obama), Paul Watford ($1,000 to Obama), Ketanji Brown Jackson ($450 to Obama), and Merrick Garland, who has not donated to Obama.

None of the judges are major political donors and the contributions made to Obama account for the majority of each judge’s political giving. The donation from Jackson is the only federal political contribution she made that was large enough to be included in election filings.

Jackson’s donation, according to FB, can be explained by the fact that she worked as an attorney for the Obama 2008 campaign:

On her official questionnaire filed with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee she disclosed that she “was an election poll monitor for both the primary and general elections on behalf of Lawyers for Change, Obama for America Presidential Campaign.”

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the judiciary committee, reaffirmed the senate’s vow that none of the president’s nominees will be confirmed:

“Everybody knows any nominee submitted in the middle of this presidential campaign isn’t getting confirmed. Everybody. The White House knows it. Senate Democrats know it. Republicans know it. Even the press knows it,” Grassley said during a committee hearing on Thursday.

Still, one wonders what Obama thinks is to be gained by putting forth candidates who have financially contributed to his past campaigns.

***** Additional items from the National Law Journal:

Garland, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 1997 and chief judge since 2013, didn’t earn any income on top of his judicial salary in 2014, according to the most recent financial disclosure report that he filed last year. He didn’t report any outside income the previous two years.

If he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court, Garland would get a pay bump. As of 2016, federal appeals judge earned $215,400. Associates justices earned $249,300.

Related: Read Garland’s financial reports filed in 20132014 and 2015

His reimbursed travel from 2012 to 2014 was limited to one or two trips annually to Harvard Law School, his alma mater, and Yale Law School. He participated in moot courts and career forums.

Garland reported no gifts, no financial agreements and no financial liabilities. He serves on the board of directors of the Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit, but he holds no other positions with nonprofits, private companies or other organizations.

Garland’s financial holdings include a mix of bank accounts, trusts, brokerage accounts and IRAs. Judges don’t report the precise value of their accounts, stocks and other assets, but instead list a range. They must report their own investments as well as those of a spouse and any dependent children, and the reports don’t specify which holdings are joint or individual.

He is also very PRO-labor: In nearly two decades on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Merrick Garland has rarely ruled against the National Labor Relations Board. But when he has overturned NLRB’s decisions, departing from his typical deference to federal agencies, he has done so to the benefit of labor unions.

The month before Scalia’s death, the high court heard arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could decide whether public-sector employees can be required to pay union fees.

After arguments in January, the U.S. Supreme Court was seen as leaning 5-4 against labor. But Garland’s appointment to the court would likely flip the court. And if Garland has an opportunity to rule on the case, his vote could give a victory to the California Teachers Association and confidence to public-sector unions concerned that the decision could jeopardize future revenue from dues.

Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202752378804/Merrick-Garlands-ProLabor-Rulings-Run-Deep-on-DC-Circuit#ixzz43CILy1uP

Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202752378804/Merrick-Garlands-ProLabor-Rulings-Run-Deep-on-DC-Circuit#ixzz43CI64i90

Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202752451515/Inside-Merrick-Garlands-Financial-Disclosure-Reports#ixzz43CHmuMdz

Rating Congressional Members, Scores on Protecting Taxpayers

Credit where credit is due….

2015 Congressional Ratings

Since 1989, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has examined roll call votes to help identify which members of Congress have defended taxpayer interests and which have backed down on their promises of fiscal responsibility. The Ratings separate the praiseworthy from the profligate by evaluating important tax, spending, transparency, and accountability measures. CCAGW applauds those members of Congress who stood up for taxpayers and ignored the temptations of satisfying local or special interests. However, those who supported a big-government agenda should be prepared to face the consequences for their spendthrift behavior.

CCAGW’s 2015 Congressional Ratings, for the first session of the 114th Congress, scored 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 35 votes in the Senate. By comparison, CCAGW rated 85 votes in the House of Representatives and 13 votes in the Senate in the second session of the 113th Congress.

CCAGW rates members on a 0-100% scale. Members are placed in the following categories: 0-19% Hostile; 20-39% Unfriendly; 40-59% Lukewarm; 60-79% Friendly; 80-99% Taxpayer Hero; and 100% Taxpayer Super Hero.


In 2015, 17 lawmakers (15 senators and two representatives) earned the coveted title of Taxpayer Super Hero by achieving the highest possible score of 100 percent: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and David Vitter (R-La.), as well as Reps. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

In 2014, 17 lawmakers (nine senators and eight representatives) received a perfect score.

There are 36 Taxpayer Heroes in the Senate, an increase of 57 percent from the 23 Taxpayer Heroes in 2014. In 2015, there are 152 Taxpayer Heroes in the House of Representatives, two more than the 150 Taxpayer Heroes in 2014.

On the other end of the spectrum, 26 representatives had a score of zero and 25 senators had a score of zero. In 2014, one representative had a score of zero and 30 senators had a score of zero.

The first session of the 114th Congress was the first time since 2007 that the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. As a result, there were many more victories on behalf of taxpayers than in prior years, but numerous amendments to cut wasteful spending even further were defeated.



Repeal of Obamacare. H.R. 596, which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, passed by a vote of 239-186.

Elimination of Duplicative Climate Change Programs. During consideration of H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Ca.) offered an amendment that would eliminate a requirement for the Government Accountability Office to identify certain overlapping climate science-related initiatives. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 187-236.

Repeal of the Medical Device Tax. H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015, which would repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax included in Obamacare, passed by a vote of 280-140.

Congressional Approval of “Major Rules.” H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2015, which would require Congress to approve all regulatory proposals with an economic impact greater than $100 million (“major rules”), passed by a vote of 243-165.


Elimination of the Federal Estate Tax. During consideration of S. Con. Res. 11, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Budget Resolution, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) offered an amendment to eliminate the federal estate tax. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 54-46.

Solar Panel Rebates. During consideration of S. 1, the Keystone XL Pipeline, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered an amendment to establish a rebate program for individuals and businesses for the purchase and installation of solar panels on residential and commercial properties. The amendment failed by a vote of 40-58.

Obamacare for Members of Congress. During consideration of S. Con. Res. 11, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) offered an amendment to compel all members of Congress, the President, Vice President, and all political appointees to obtain their health insurance on the individual healthcare exchanges under Obamacare. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 52-46.



Prohibiting Federal Employment for Delinquent Tax Debt. H.R. 1563, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, would make existing and future federal employees with “delinquent tax debt” ineligible for employment with the federal government. The bill was rejected by a vote of 266-160 (284 votes were needed for passage).

Across-the-Board Cuts to Appropriations Bills. There were seven amendments in the Ratings to make across-the-board spending reductions in appropriations bills, but they all failed. For example, during consideration of H.R. 2028, the FY 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, an amendment offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to cut 1 percent across the board was rejected by a vote of 159-248.

Essential Air Service (EAS). During consideration of H.R. 2577, the FY 2016 Transportation and Housing & Urban Development Appropriations bill, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Ca.) offered an amendment to eliminate funding for the EAS. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 166-255.

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization. The Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act, H.R. 597, passed in the House by a vote of 313-118. This vote, along with several amendments related to the Export-Import Bank, are included in the Ratings, as CCAGW has long opposed this corporate welfare program.


Keystone XL Pipeline Veto Override. After the House and Senate voted to approve the Keystone project, the Senate failed to override the president’s veto by a vote of 62-37, five votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

Repeal the Individual Mandate in Obamacare. During consideration of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) offered an amendment to repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare. The amendment failed by a vote of 54-45 (60 votes were needed for passage).

Repeal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). During consideration of H.R. 1314, Trade Promotion Authority, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment to eliminate the extension of the TAA program. The amendment failed by a vote of 35-63.


CCAGW also analyzed ratings based on party affiliation and House membership in the Republican Study Committee.

The averages were: Senate Republicans – 93 percent, up 8 percentage points from 85 percent in 2014; Senate Democrats, including Independents – 5 percent, unchanged from 2014; House Republicans – 82 percent, down 2 percentage points from 84 percent in 2014; House Democrats – 4 percent, down 5 percentage points from 9 percent in 2014; House Republican Study Committee – 86 percent, down 1 percentage point from 87 percent in 2014.

CCAGW congratulates the members who stood by taxpayers and championed fiscal responsibility throughout the first session of the 114th Congress and encourages the constituents of the non-Heroes to demand better results in the 2016 election and beyond.

Obamacare Causes a $1.5 Billion Flop in Chicago

Blue Cross parent lost $1.5 billion on individual health plans last year

ChicagoTribune: Year 2 of the Affordable Care Act was another financial flop for the Chicago-based parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois but hints of a turnaround are emerging.

Health Care Service Corp.’s financial losses in its individual business, which includes ACA plans, worsened in 2015. The company, which owns Blue Cross affiliates in Illinois and four other states, said it lost $1.5 billion in its individual business, up from $767 million in 2014, the first year of the health law’s state exchanges for buying coverage.

In anticipation of ACA-related losses in 2015, HCSC set aside nearly $400 million in 2014 to boost reserves to $680.9 million. The company spent $657.3 million of those reserves to cover the medical expenses associated with ACA plans in 2015.

HCSC is the latest large insurer to report losses on 2015 ACA business, a troubling sign for the state exchanges that are the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The far-reaching legislation has increased access to insurance coverage by expanding Medicaid and providing tax credits to subsidize the cost of insurance. Though the law has brought new customers to many insurers, much of that growth has been unprofitable, reflecting higher-than-expected medical expenses, regulatory challenges and unexpected shortfalls in federal risk-sharing programs.

UnitedHealthcare said it had losses of about $475 million on its 2015 ACA business. Aetna didn’t break out the loss on its individual health plans but said the operating losses on that line of business were 3 to 4 percent of the sales.

As a result of the losses, some insurers have considered withdrawing from the state marketplaces. Any exodus would threaten the stability of exchanges, making the online marketplaces less attractive to consumers.

“2015 was not a good year as far as the ACA went,” said Stephen Zaharuk, senior vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, who covers the health insurance industry. “Insurers had no idea what to expect.”

Still, no one expected the rollout of some of the biggest reforms in health care to be smooth. The exchanges are a new way to sell health plans to a population that largely was uninsured. Moreover, the law forbids insurers from using consumers’ medical history to set prices. Insurers were essentially groping in the dark.

But with two years of experience under their belts, insurers may be on more secure footing. HCSC, for one, didn’t book a reserve for potential 2016 losses on ACA plans, said Carl McDonald, a divisional senior vice president at the company. Zaharuk said that’s a good sign the company’s individual business may break even this year.

But HCSC officials are not so optimistic that the ACA plans will be profitable in 2016. Company spokesman Greg Thompson said in an email, “Our not booking a (reserve for ACA losses) for 2016 does not indicate nor imply an anticipated level of profitability for the year.”

Despite problems with its ACA-related business, HCSC narrowed its overall loss in 2015, according to a financial statement filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The filing is primarily an accounting of its fully insured lines of business.

The company reported a loss of $65.8 million, down from $281.9 million in 2014, reflecting higher earnings from its group health plans and an increase in investment income. Premium revenue rose 12.5 percent to $31.2 billion.

HCSC is among the biggest players in the individual market, with 1.64 million members at the end of last year, an increase of 3.4 percent, according to the filing. Nearly one-third of its enrollment is in Illinois, where Blue Cross sold roughly 80 percent of all 2015 individual policies in the state.

HCSC doesn’t disclose how much of its individual enrollment came from ACA plans sold on and off the exchanges. The individual market also includes policyholders who were allowed to keep the plans they had before the health law was implemented through 2017. Insurers blame that last-minute change by the Obama administration for keeping healthier people out of the exchanges.

When the exchanges launched, HCSC’s Blue Cross plans offered some of the lowest-priced policies and largest provider networks. The strategy was to provide cost-effective health care access, reflecting the company’s status as a not-for-profit, customer-owned insurer, analysts said.

However, medical costs and customers’ use of health care services on ACA-related plans were higher than anticipated. In 2014, HCSC’s key medical-loss ratio, which measures the share of premiums used to pay patient medical costs, rose to 86.5 percent, from 85 percent. Last year, the ratio jumped to 90.4 percent, according to the annual statement.

To manage the risk, HCSC followed in the footsteps of its for-profit competitors and made significant changes last year that were not consumer friendly.

The company raised 2016 premiums and redesigned policies to shift more costs to consumers. In Illinois and Texas, its two largest markets, HCSC eliminated its popular PPO plans that were more expensive but had the largest networks of hospitals and doctors. The decision sent Blue Cross customers scrambling to find other plans on the exchanges that included their doctors.

The company even took the hard line of walking away from business. In New Mexico, the company sought a rate increase averaging 51.6 percent, after it said it lost $19.2 million in 2014 on its individual business in the state. New Mexico insurance regulators rejected the request but were willing to approve a lower increase, according to published reports. Instead, HCSC pulled out of the New Mexico exchange.

The company also is cutting expenses. Thompson confirmed that HCSC has laid off employees in its information-technology department but declined to say how many were let go. Last month, the company eliminated commissions to independent brokers in Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma on sales of individual plans that take effect April 1 or later.

After eliminating commissions in Illinois, Blue Cross said it remains committed to “expanding access to quality health care to as many people as possible.” The changes are necessary to continue offering “sustainable” health plan options to members, the company said.

Despite signs of strain, the Obama administration says the exchanges are getting stronger. There were many new customers among the 12.7 million people who chose plans during open enrollment for 2016. In Illinois, enrollment grew nearly 12 percent to about 388,000.

Still, the administration has tweaked some regulations to benefit insurers. It placed a one-year moratorium for 2017 on the annual tax insurers pay, which is generally passed along to customers. The change will save some insurers hundreds of millions of dollars. For 2016, HCSC expects to pay a fee of $538.7 million.

The administration also has tightened some of the eligibility rules for people who sign up for insurance after the enrollment deadlines. Insurers have complained that people are waiting until they are sick to buy plans and then dropping coverage after their health problems are resolved, driving up costs and premiums.


A Time for Choosing

When Barack Obama came on the political scene, very few did their work to learn about him. It was not until he became the Democrat nominee that the fingers started working in open source to find the clues and evidence of Barack Obama and what his soon to be fully hidden history included.

Where are these people now and why do they refuse to understand the ‘Donald’? To know a man is to examine his history. It is out there ladies and gentlemen and yet you are being obstinate and stubborn due to being fashionable, being on the Trump train. Shame on you.

Flexible and softening? Trump was a huge exploiter of H1B visas…..Mar-a Lago come to mind?

Words matter, actions matter, deeds matter, history matters. Is your lack of action laziness, a false appearance of virtue and patriotism or just being star-struck?

The Fox debate hosted on March 3, 2016, Trump said the military will listen and obey me, when asked the question about waterboarding. This was in response to several military leaders and CIA personnel pushing back on some EIT’s. Waterboarding is now illegal. Frankly and personally I am for it, but there are other effective techniques for gaining intelligence with regard to interrogations.

Trump’s response echoes that of a fascist. In case you may think this is hyperbole, this interview is a must listen, you know as part of YOUR research for the sake of the future of our country.

Exactly, how much work are you willing to do for the future of your children and generations to come?

(note the date of the Vanity Fair interview)

Donald Trump’s ex-wife once said Trump kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed

BusinessInsider: According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler’s speeches near his bed.

“Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed … Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist,” Marie Brenner wrote.

Hitler was one of history’s most prolific orators, building a genocidal Nazi regime with speeches that bewitched audiences.

“He learned how to become a charismatic speaker, and people, for whatever reason, became enamored with him,” Professor Bruce Loebs, who has taught a class called the Rhetoric of Hitler and Churchill for the past 46 years at Idaho State University, told Business Insider earlier this year.

“People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to have the right answers in a time of enormous economic upheaval.”

When Brenner asked Trump about how he came to possess Hitler’s speeches, “Trump hesitated” and then said, “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” Brenner reportedly replied.

Trump then recalled, “Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of ‘Mein Kampf,’ and he’s a Jew.”

Brenner added that Davis did acknowledge that he gave Trump a book about Hitler.

“But it was ‘My New Order,’ Hitler’s speeches, not ‘Mein Kampf,'” Davis reportedly said. “I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”

After Trump and Brenner changed topics, Trump returned to the subject and reportedly said, “If, I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

In the Vanity Fair article, Ivana Trump told a friend that her husband’s cousin, John Walter “clicks his heels and says, ‘Heil Hitler,” when visiting Trump’s office.


We have come to know Alinsky tactics and the effectiveness……so can you be honest and list the number of times Trump applied Alinsky tactics in the debates? I lost count.