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."
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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!
December 3rd, 2013
Case seeks to designate chimp called Tommy as a 'cognitively complex autonomous legal person'
Ah yes, the Liberals will soon be asking for voting rights, welfare benefits, Snap and then equal pay....oh, and don't forget free health care and birth control...God help us all
A US animal rights group has filed what it said is the first lawsuit seeking to establish the "legal personhood" of chimpanzees.
The non-profit Nonhuman Rights Project asked a New York state court to declare a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy "a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned."
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Tommy's "detention" in a "small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed" in central New York is unlawful and demands his immediate release to a primate sanctuary.
Chimpanzees "possess complex cognitive abilities that are so strictly protected when they're found in human beings," Steven Wise, the president of Nonhuman Rights Project, told Reuters.
"There's no reason why they should not be protected when they're found in chimpanzees," he added.
The lawsuit on Tommy's behalf is among three the group is filing this week on behalf of four chimps across New York. The other chimps are Kiko, a 26-year-old chimp living on a private property in Niagara Falls, and Hercules and Leo, two young male chimps used in research at Stony Brook University on Long Island, the group said.
Tommy's owners, Patrick and Diane Lavery, and Stony university did not immediately return requests for comment. Kiko's owners could not be reached on Monday.
The Nonhuman Rights Project used its own research to find the chimps, and Wise first visited Tommy in October after reading a local newspaper article about exotic animals kept at the Laverys' used trailer lot in Gloversville, New York, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Albany.
"He looked terrible," said Wise, who previously observed healthy, wild chimps in Uganda. "Hey looked like a caged chimpanzee - they don't move, they don't look at you. They look depressed."
The lawsuit states that chimps are entitled to a "fundamental right to bodily liberty," which Wise told Reuters is the basic right to be left alone and not held for entertainment or research.
The lawsuit was filed at "the earliest point at which we have some reasonable chance at winning," said Wise, a well-known animal rights activist and author of books including the 2000 title "Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals."
"These are the first cases in an open-ended, strategic litigation campaign," he said. "We're just going to keep filing suits."
Nonhuman Rights Project in 2007 began a nationwide search for an optimal venue to file the lawsuits, Wise said. New York was ultimately chosen because of its generally flexible view of requests for a writ of habeas corpus, the centuries-old right in English law to challenge unlawful detention, he said.
David Favre, a professor at Michigan State University College of Law and an expert on animal law, said it is the first habeas petition filed on behalf of an animal.
"The focus here is whether a chimpanzee is a 'person' that has access to these laws," said Favre.
The lawsuits come as medical authorities re-examine the employment of chimpanzees in research in light of new technology that renders the use of chimpanzees less necessary.
In a decision applauded by animal rights groups, the US National Institutes of Health in January said it was reducing its use of chimps in biomedical research, retiring most to sanctuaries. At the time, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins called chimps "very special animals" that deserve "special consideration."
Edited by Bonnie Malkin
December 2nd, 2013
By Becket Adams
The Obama administration announced Monday that it would hold a special “youth summit social” on Dec. 4 for the “people who engage” the White House on social media.
The White House also requested that participants “spread the word” by using the Twitter hashtag “#WHYouth,” prompting intense mockery and snickering from certain corners of the Internet.
Apparently, some social media users felt that the White House’s “youth” tag was just a tad – creepy:
The summit aims to educate young voters on the supposed benefits of enrolling in the Affordable Care Act.
“White House Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ followers ages 18-35 are eligible to apply to attend this White House event on December 4,” the White House said in a blog post. “After you sign up, spread the word!
Let your followers know that you applied to attend the #WHYouth social.”
Between people mocking the “#WHYouth” hashtag and the intense criticism the GOP Twitter account received for praising Rosa Parks Sunday for “ending racism,” it looks like social media strategists on both sides of the aisle should take a break.
More from Becket Adams at The Blaze
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Featured image via whitehouse.gov
December 2nd, 2013
Read the Fine Print before Purchasing !
By Pamela Brown, CNN
(CNN) -- A Utah couple is facing a $3,500 fine and a damaged credit score for doing what many people do after a bad purchasing experience: posting an online review.
Their story -- first reported by CNN's affiliate in Salt Lake City KUTV-- started in 2008 when John Palmer bought his wife Christmas gifts off KlearGear.com. The items never arrived and the Palmers said the transaction was automatically canceled.
"After 30 days, PayPal said 'Hey, there's no activity here' and they turned around and gave the money back into my husband's account and effectively canceled the sale," Jen Palmer told CNN.
After repeated calls to KlearGear.com to find out what happened, Jen Palmer posted a review of the company on ripoffreport.com saying in part,"There is absolutely no way to get in touch with a physical human being. No extensions work."
More than three years later, the Palmers received an e-mail appearing to be from KlearGear.com stating that they would be fined $3,500 if the negative review posted on ripoffreport.com wasn't taken down within 72 hours.
"We were shocked that someone would attempt to do this because it's ridiculous that anyone would turn around and try to extort us like this," Jen Palmer said.
Legal experts warn that more and more companies are adding this type of language in the fine print as protection.
"The First Amendment does not protect certain kinds of free speech and you can sign a contract giving away your free speech," according to CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.
The Palmers tried to take down their online review, but couldn't because ripoffreport.com requires the company to enter into arbitration to have a post removed, which would cost $2,000, and KlearGear.com refused.
So KlearGear.com reported the Palmers' $3,500 unpaid fine to a collections company. After that, Jen Palmer said the couple had trouble getting approved for financing because their credit score took a huge hit.
CNN e-mailed KlearGear.com and tried multiple phone numbers listed on its website. No one responded back and all the numbers were disconnected. KlearGear.com did respond via e-mail to KUTV, defending its actions, referring to its "terms of sale," and saying its request that Jen Palmer remove her post was not blackmail but a "diligent effort to help them avoid (the fine)."
The Better Business Bureau is investigating KlearGear.com separately and has put the company on alert.
KlearGear.com isn't the only company with a so-called non-disparagement clause in its customer agreement terms. CNN founda similar clause on a vacation rental company, shoredreams.net, that threatens a charge of up to $10,000 for online reviews containing "unreasonable negative sentiment." When asked about the clause, a representative of shoredreams.net told CNN the company stands by its practice.
Since the Palmers' story first surfaced, a wave of outrage has made its way across the Internet against KlearGear.com and as a result, the company has since protected its Twitter account and shut down its Facebook page, according to Techcrunch.com.
The Palmers say they're taking their fight all the way to court.
"We don't want them to get away with this," Jen Palmer said. "We are apparently not the only ones that they have done this to, but we are the only ones who are fighting back. And we're not giving up."
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