Jason Pye

Recent Posts From Jason Pye

Looks like Obama may have gotten ahead of himself: HHS reports 2.6 million unresolved Obamacare data inconsistencies

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama may have gotten ahead of himself when he announced in April that more than 8 million people had signed up for coverage on the federal and state Obamacare exchanges.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hasn’t resolved some 2.6 million data inconsistencies in Obamacare enrollments, according to a report from the department’s internal watchdog.

“During the period of our review, marketplaces were unable to resolve most inconsistencies, which they reported most commonly as citizenship and income,” the report from the HHS inspector general explains. “Specifically, the Federal marketplace was unable to resolve 2.6 million of 2.9 million inconsistencies because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) eligibility system was not fully operational.”

The report explains that applicants can have multiple inconsistencies and that the 2.6 million remaining inconsistencies that the “do not necessarily indicate that an applicant provided inaccurate information or is enrolled in a qualified health plan or is receiving financial assistance through insurance affordability programs inappropriately.”

Inconsistencies weren’t limited to the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, which covers 36 states. States operating their own exchanges reported their fair share of issues, though seven states were able to resolve the inconsistencies on their own. But, still, the federal exchange is the biggest challenge.

“We also found that data on inconsistencies are limited,” the report continues. “For example, the Federal marketplace could not determine the number of applicants who had at least one inconsistency.”

It’s time to end Ex-Im: This New Deal relic costs too much, doesn’t boost exports, and is rife with cronyism

President Barack Obama and Big Business have teamed up with politicians from both sides of the aisle to push reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, a New Deal-era federal agency that makes billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans to politically-connected businesses.

In a new video from Reason TV, Nick Gillespie gives three reasons why Congress should end the crony Export-Import Bank.

The first reason, Gillespie explains, is expensive. “In 2012 alone, Ex-Im authorized $36 billion in loans, guarantees, and insurance,” he says. “The bank can carry a portfolio of up to $150 billion, meaning that taxpayers could be on the hook that much money.”

Here we go again: King Obama will bypass Congress on immigration

President Barack Obama is going at it alone yet again on immigration, announcing yesterday that he plans to sidestep Congress to send more federal agents to the U.S.-Mexico border after Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told him that immigration reform was dead for the year.

The White House asked congressional leaders for $2 billion and new powers to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children at the United States’ Southwest border, a crisis that Boehner and Republicans say President Obama created.

“I believe Speaker Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he genuinely wants to get something done,” President Obama told reporters on Monday at the White House. “But last week, he informed me that Republicans will continue to block a vote on immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year.

“Some in the House Republican Caucus are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing,” he said. “Now, I want everybody to think about that. Their argument seems to be that because the system is broken, we shouldn’t make an effort to fix it. It makes no sense. It’s not on the level. It’s just politics, plain and simple.”

Today in Liberty: Intel agencies conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications, Halbig case could gut Obamacare

“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” — Bruce Willis

Stop Congress from allowing Obama’s NSA to collect more of your personal data

Yes we scan

At a time when the National Security Agency can collect the phone records and communications of millions of innocent Americans without a warrant or cause, the Senate Intelligence Committee is pushing a measure that would allow the controversial agency to access more of our personal information.

Privacy and public interest organizations have come out strongly against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a measure that will make it easier for businesses to share information with the federal government, including the NSA.

In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and committee members, the organizations explained how CISA poses a risk to Americans’ privacy.

“Over the last year,” the letter states, “the public has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies have significantly stretched the meaning of statutory provisions of law in order to gather sensitive information on hundreds of millions of Americans.”

The organizations behind the letter include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, and the R Street Institute.

The organizations explain that the NSA simply isn’t an honest player when it comes to Americans’ civil liberties. The intelligence agency has searched Americans’ communications without a warrant using laws that authorize the surveillance of only people outside of the United States and has exploited vulnerabilities in tech firms’ software and programs.

Barack Obama is throwing a temper tantrum with serious constitutional implications

Barack Obama

Organizing for Action, the grassroots group formed out of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, is flaunting the complete disregard the White House and administration have for the Constitution.

The organization, which was caught selling access to administration officials in exchange for donations, tweeted this out yesterday from @BarackObama, President Obama’s official Twitter account:

Talk about an Orwellian message.

The link in the tweet sends you to a page that mentions the lawsuit Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) plans to file against the White House and features video of President Obama telling ABC News that he’s “not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing.” OFA calls it a “mic drop” and asks visitors to the page to “make a donation of $5 or more.”

The Supreme Court just handed a huge victory to Hobby Lobby: Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate violates religious liberty

Hobby Lobby

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that closely-held corporations with religious beliefs are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and do not have to comply with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

In the 5 to 2 decision, the High Court explained that the federal government cannot compel Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, through tax penalties, to provide contraceptive coverage that they believe is morally unacceptable according to their religious beliefs.

“As we have seen, [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] was designed to provide very broad protection for religious liberty. By enacting RFRA, Congress went far beyond what this Court has held is constitutionally required,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Is there any reason to think that the Congress that enacted such sweeping protection put small-business owners to the choice that HHS suggests? An examination of RFRA’s text…reveals that Congress did no such thing.”

Alito explained that the business owners in the case make no objection to most forms of birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but rather the four methods — Plan B, Ella, and two forms of IUDs — that they believe prevent the fertilization of an egg. The business owners consider these to be tantamount to abortion and fundamentally inconsistent with their religious beliefs.

Thanks, Obamacare: Customers may have to switch their health plans to avoid significant premium increases

Changes to health insurance plans many customers have purchased through the Obamacare exchanges will mean that they will have to switch plans to avoid significant premium increases in 2015.

According to an analysis released late last week by Avalere Health, the subsidies provided to consumers who purchase plans on the exchanges are tied to the second-lowest cost silver plan available. Any premium cost over the subsidy for the benchmark plan is the responsibility of the consumer.

“Most enrollees in 2014 chose a plan based on the monthly premium. However, the lowest cost plans in 2014 may no longer be low cost in 2015,” Avalere Health Director Elizabeth Carpenter explained in a release. “Before consumers renew their 2014 plan, they should consider the tradeoff between continuity of care and lower monthly premiums.”

Avalere Health found that the benchmark silver plan will lose that status in 2015 in six of the nine states it analyzed and the lowest-cost plan changed in seven of the nine states.

In Maryland, for example, a customer earning $17,500 received a $156 subsidy and paid $58 out of pocket for the benchmark plan in 2014. But that plan is now the ninth-lowest cost silver plan, meaning that the part of the premium for which they’re responsible will rise to $94 in 2015, a 62 percent increase. The subsidy will increase slightly to $173.

Today in Liberty: Hobby Lobby decision coming this morning, Obama taps ex-Procter & Gamble CEO to lead the VA

“The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.” — George Orwell

— Obamacare contraceptive ruling expected this morning: The Supreme Court will release its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores) at 10 a.m. this morning. At issue in the case is whether Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate infringes upon religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby’s owner, David Green, who founded the business on Christian values. The Obama administration has exempted some religious organizations, including churches and schools, from the mandate. But businesses are still being forced to offer plans that cover birth control, even if it violates the beliefs on which they were founded. Though the Green family is opposed to abortion and considers certain contraceptives to be morally reprehensible, the case and others like it are about religious liberty. If the mandate stands, Hobby Lobby faces penalties totaling $26 million per year. Most observers, however, expect Hobby Lobby to succeed, though how far the Court will be willing to go remains to be seen, given the implications. We’ll have a story about the Hobby Lobby decision later this morning.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Jason Pye’s path to liberty and fight to shake up the status quo


Speaking at the FreedomWorks FreedomWorks’ Spring Break College Summit

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

Looking back at it all, I suppose it makes sense that I would be attracted to the liberty movement. I’ve always been skeptical about the status quo, always questioning what I’ve been told about by politicians from both sides of the aisle.

I was raised in sort of odd circumstances. My father passed away when I was 12 years old, leaving my mother to raise me on her own. The experiences of my childhood instilled in me a very real sense of independence, personal responsibility, and individualism.

We weren’t a very politically active family, though my mother was and remains a conservative Republican. She was more outspoken about politics than my father. Though we lived in Metro Atlanta, an area known for its conservative politics, her coworkers, were mostly Democrats.

She’d pick me up from school and I would spend afternoons talking with them. They called me “Senator Pye” because I was so incredibly opinionated, a trait that has stuck with me.

My mother quipped at me one day that I should listen to Neal Boortz, an even more opinionated, libertarian-leaning talk radio host out of Atlanta who frequently used his platform to knock Democrats and Republicans alike. I became an addict to his show by the time I was a senior in high school.

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