December 3rd, 2013
Obama's struggle with Affordable Care. He's like a prison governor asking the inmates to make lemonade for his garden party. It'll be tangy.
December 3rd, 2013
My personal estimation of the last Pope dropped preciptiously when he compared a trend towards the sexual abuse of children as essentially no worse than running a red light.
So, to hear the current Pope erroneously twist the opposite of poverty, that being capitalism, into the adoration of money, as idolatry, I too, among many others, took extreme issue.
One wonders if the Pope understands where, exactly, all of the accumulated riches of the Catholic Church, easily worth billions, have come from.
Besides, trickle-up economics, also known as poverty has kept the church a good deal busier, at least of late, so maybe it's good at least for Church Business.....~BLS
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
CNN) – Pope Francis: Successor to St. Peter ... the people's pontiff ... Marxist?
That's what conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests, calling the Pope's latest document "pure Marxism."
Limbaugh blasted the pontiff on Wednesday, a day after Francis released "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), a 50,000-word statement that calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.
Limbaugh's segment, now online and entitled "It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)," takes direct aim at the pope's economic views, calling them "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong."
The Vatican issued the English translation of "Evangelii," which is known officially as an apostolic exhortation and unofficially as a pep talk to the worlds 1.5 billion Catholics.
Francis – the first pope ever to hail from Latin America, where he worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina – warned in "Evangelii" that the "idolatry of money" would lead to a "new tyranny."
The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
The Pope's critique of capitalism thrilled many liberal Catholics, who have long called on church leaders to spend more time and energy on protecting the poor from economic inequalities.
But Limbaugh, whose program is estimated to reach 15 million listeners, called the Pope's comments "sad" and "unbelievable."
"It's sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth."
In fact, Argentina was a battlefield between leftist socialists and right-wing security forces during much of Francis' early career in the country, where he was a Jesuit priest and later archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said he admires the faith "profoundly." He admired Pope Francis as well, "up until this," Limbaugh said.
The talk show host also said that he has made numerous visits to the Vatican, which he said "wouldn't exist without tons of money."
"But regardless, what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him," Limbaugh added. "This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope."
Limbaugh took particular issue with the Pope's criticism of the "culture of prosperity," which the pontiff called a "mere spectacle" for the many people who can't afford to participate.
"This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets," Limbaugh said. "He says that the global economy needs government control."
"I'm not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a pope to believe or say just a few years ago," Limbaugh continued.
In fact, Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, could be just as strong a critic of capitalism.
In 2009, Benedict, in an official church document called an encyclical, said there was an urgent need for "a political, juridical and economic order" that would "manage the global economy."
As Limbaugh notes, Benedict's predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, was a noted foe of communism, after living under its oppressions in his native Poland. But even John Paul thought that unregulated capitalism could have negative consequences.
In "Evangelii," Francis called for more of a spiritual and ethical revolution than a regulatory one.
"I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: `Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs,'" said Francis, quoting the fifth-century St. John Chrysostom.
Liberal Catholics defended Pope Francis on Monday, calling on Limbaugh to apologize and retract his remarks.
"To call the Holy Father a proponent 'pure Marxism' is both mean-spirited and naive," said Christopher Hale of the Washington-based Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. "Francis's critique of unrestrained capitalism is in line with the Church's social teaching."
Limbaugh is not the only conservative commentator to take issue with the Pope's views on capitalism.
“I go to church to save my soul," said Fox News' Stuart Varney, who is an Episcopalian. "It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”
It doesn't sound like the criticism is slowing Francis down, however. He's started sending a Vatican contingent, including the Papal Swiss Guards, into Rome to deliver food and charity.
December 3rd, 2013
President Barack Obama's administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama's healthcare program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.
It is part of a long technical to-do list that has so far focused on fixing the errors and lag times in the part of the website used by consumers.
The administration recently overhauled HealthCare.gov after its botched launch two months ago. The fixes are now expected to allow millions of Americans to shop for insurance.
The healthcare program faces a critical test to enroll hundreds of thousands of people by December 23, the deadline for people who need insurance coverage starting on January 1, 2014.
Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for CMS, said the government will make the payments to insurers for premium tax credits and cost sharing on time.
"We are committed to making sure they get paid in January and we will continue to work with them on that process," she told reporters.
The administration is planning a "workaround" for payments, said Daniel Durham, vice president for policy and regulatory affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans.
Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to "true up" payments, he said.
"The intent is to make sure plans get paid on time, which is a good thing," Durham told Reuters.
The fix puts an additional "burden" on insurance companies, already taxed by having to double-check faulty enrollment data from the HealthCare.gov system.
Now, companies need to quickly put together financial management systems to make the payment estimates, so they can be paid beginning in January, he said.
"They have to recognize that plans are already quite stressed and introducing this at the last minute just adds substantial burden for plans to deal with," Durham said.
Paying insurers on time and accurately is critical for the long-term competitiveness of Obamacare marketplaces, said Kevin Lucia, senior research fellow at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.
"I'm pretty deeply concerned about this," Lucia said at a forum organized by the university and law firm Arent Fox.
Some large insurance carriers could "cushion" delayed payments for a short period of time, said Lucia, a former CMS official. But that's not the case for a group of co-ops and smaller insurance providers.
About two-dozen co-ops will start up with their first customers on January 1 and have said they are concerned about how enrollment delays are affecting their finances during the first quarter.
Small insurers also have a lot at stake as these new anticipated members are expected to make up a bigger portion of their total revenue. The individual business is only a small part of revenues at large insurers, which focus on employer-based coverage and private Medicare.
"They cannot survive if they don't get paid. And even the larger carriers, it can only go on for so long," Lucia said. "The last thing we need is for a carrier, especially a large carrier, to walk away from this."
Most Popular at Reuters
December 3rd, 2013
So you think you've succeeded in making it through the ObamaCare website maze, and now you have health insurance? You might want to think again.
Despite the Obama administration's claim that HealthCare.gov is "vastly improved," insurance companies are still grappling with error-riddled files fed to them from the flawed website. The lingering glitch could cause major problems weeks down the road, resulting in people thinking they've signed up when insurance companies have no record of them doing so.
These so-called "back-end" problems were largely glossed over when federal health officials confidently claimed over the weekend they had met their own goals for improving the website by Dec. 1.
Administration officials said early Sunday that they have fixed roughly 400 computer "bugs" and increased capacity so the site can now handle more than 800,000 users daily with an error rate of less than 1 percent. Jeff Zients, the official appointed to fix the ObamaCare site since its disastrous Oct. 1 rollout, said it is "night and day from what it was."
But insurers continue to deal with the same set of problems that have shaken their confidence for weeks in the system they have to rely on to enroll new customers.
"Until the enrollment process is working from end-to-end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage," Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement.
She said "significant 'back-end' issues'" need to be addressed, and particularly the "ongoing problems" processing enrollment files known as "834 files."
These are forms that give insurance companies basic information about would-be customers.
But they've had problems for weeks. AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach told FoxNews.com that companies are receiving duplicative and inaccurate forms, and "in some cases, plans are not getting the enrollment files at all."
Getting that fixed, he said, is "critical."
The New York Times reports that companies are getting flooded with phone calls from people who think they've signed up -- though they're not on record as having done so.
The ongoing problems mean that people who believe they have a health plan could be in for a surprise on Jan. 1.
Though the administration has given people until the end of March to sign up for coverage if they want to avoid a fine, coverage for many is supposed to start on Jan. 1. That leaves just 30 days to fix the remaining glitches.
"This is not a functioning website yet," James Capretta, senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Fox News.
Other problems persist:
-- Bloomberg reports that after the troubled Oct. 1 launch, the Obama administration boosted its enrollment numbers for November -- with roughly 100,000 people signing up through HealthCare.gov.
That figure, however, is far short of the original goal of enrolling 800,000 people in the first two months.
-- Fox News' own attempt to log in at HealthCare.gov on Sunday was spotty at best.
After the site allowed the user to fill in personal information like a Social Security number, a notice came up that said: "Verification system temporarily unavailable."
In addition, the site asked if a navigator or insurance broker was helping with the application. After "none of these people" was selected, a screen came back that said, incorrectly: "You've told us another person is helping you complete the application."
More from Fox News
December 3rd, 2013
Isn't it ironic?
That the Democrats continue to excoriate private insurance companies for kicking some people off of some private health plans, while Obama's answer is to kick pretty much all people off of all private plans?
By Barry Secrest
"Obamacare" has now been officially relanguaged as "The Affordable Care Act," by both Obama and the Democrats, and that should tell you everything else you ever needed to know about how things are going in Obamacareville.
As the Holidays begin and Americans collectively pause to take stock of their Blessings, the nation may find its well of available enthusiasm dwindling mightily, especially after five years of a government which has implemented so many so-called safety nets that most Americans now have to weave their way through a landscape practically littered with them, to avoid becoming entangled.
Indeed, the question becomes at what point do those safety nets become capture nets or even sticky webs, especially since the particular safety net which was supposed to be Obamacare has already ensnared millions of unsuspecting victims, formerly identified as American citizens, by the way. The Obama regime, in concert with the Democrats, have installed via a web of undeniable deceit, a virtual entrapment of at least 1/6th of the US economy, and the people along with an increasingly befuddled mainstream media, have finally begun to notice.
To wit, everyone in America is now required, by Obama's grand edict, to actively purchase health insurance, or else. But.... not exactly all right at this moment, if you please. You see, the White House now wants lots of people to buy Federal coverage, since it has cancelled a plethora of private insurance policies forcing folks out of coverage. But not too many, mind you, due to concerns about the strain which it may place upon its frigidly delicate website.
So, despite the former major campaign to sign up as many people as possible, ostensibly as soon as possible, that impetus now needs to be tamped down to something more like a shadow of an impulse or perhaps even a moderate incitement, a tittle of effort rather than a spur. Not too many, not too few, but just right...
Just think of it as the Goldilocks Archetype.
You see the scheme must be rationed out and measured by slow operations over time; it's simply the nature of the beastie.
So fragile remains the website, in fact, that Obama has now pushed even the Small business signups campaign back to 2014, dutifully, sometime after the election, and certainly not before, but not too far back, if you please. Unfortunately, a slew of big biz cancellations will also need to be signed up as they are dropped in latter 2014, by the unintended consequence of odious mandate, creating yet another slew of overwhelming signups, by an irritatingly needful populace, at this point, no doubt.
So, once again, not too many, not too few, but just the right amount.
But, predictably if not unfortunately for the Democrats and Obama, few young people have actually signed up and those that did, have been ratcheted over to the Medicaid site, which means that the Obama machine must now swing into an enfilade-type of hiccup action, signing up as many younglings as possible, but not too many and certainly not too few, but just the right amount.
As a result of all this, the leftist apparatchiks over at BarackObama.com, have dutifully responded with a Thanksgiving scheme designed for parents to actually coerce young family members returning home for the Holidays, to sign up for Obamacare, by slow operation over time, of course:
It's true, ladies and Gentlemen as noted in the above talking points taken directly from Barackobama.com, but it only gets far, far, worse.
The BarackObama.com website has come out with page upon page of helpful parental rejoinders, to get those doltish parents both involved and back in charge of their younglings' health which should preclude a possible Obamacare death spiral. As a result, we decided to publish the initial list from Obama's website below, and with a little creative editing of our own, extrapolated their helpful hints out just a wee bit further, in order to provide as much information as possible, by way of explanation, to the youngsters of America. Remember too, we've just added bits and pieces here and there; however the original words from the "O-Team" largely remain:
Are your family members traveling home for the holidays? Well, if they can get past both the TSA and the no-fly list, there are a few things they’ll need in order to sign up for health coverage.
First, make sure they bring the following items with them before they head home, or we may come and find them.
In order to shop on the new health insurance marketplace, you’ll need to have a few basic pieces of information with you and gobs of disposable time. We recommend starting during the holidays, so that by the time the weekend concludes, you may actually be signed up (but we aren't promising anything, mind you):
- Your Social Security Number- Simply because, despite the fact that we know if you've been sleeping and we know if you're awake, we don't always know who's using a particular computer. Our busy little elves at the NSA simply don't have time to handle all of this stuff for us, well, at least not yet....
- Information about your employer and income— Plus, we might even be able to tell you how long your employer can expect to stay in business based on available bank account info and previous years 940 tax forms. Also, does your employer belong to the Tea Party?
- If you currently have health insurance, you’ll need your health insurance card or paperwork that includes a health policy number, some KY jelly, and a healthy supply of anti-depressants. Because that ship's fixin' to go down, and fast, especially after we get through cancelling all of the existing health plans.
Here are some common things to think about before getting started:
- Your budget: What is your budget? We have no clue about ours because we've never passed one, but you must do as we say, not as we do. How much can you afford to pay each month for health coverage? We will happily adjust your premium upwards to infinity and beyond, if you qualify, so that your budget will barely have anything left, and don't worry, remaining proceeds will be going to the Obama 22nd Amendment repeal PAC!