3.5 million insurance policies canceled in just 22 states

Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

The Associated Press (AP) reported recently that 3.5 million health insurance policies had been canceled because of changes in the plans that resulted in the loss of their “grandfathered” status under Obamacare regulations.

But a separate report from the news organization, released last week, indicates that this is just the minimum number as most states aren’t keeping track of the cancelations or the numbers weren’t available. This report, complied by AP staffers, shows that the 3.5 million cancellations have come from just 22 states and the District of Columbia.

The “grandfathered plan” regulations written by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Department of Health and Human are very strict. Most people don’t realize that the vast majority of insurance plans go through some sort of change over time. But virtually any change a pre-Obamacare plan, either by the insurer or consumer, means that the policy can no longer exist and the consumer would have purchase one compliant with law’s mandates.

Even plans with grandfathered status would eventually have to comply with at least some of the mandates. But despite President Obama and his subordinates blaming insurance companies for the cancellations, these rules — written by bureaucrats in his administration — are entirely responsible.

Cancer patient loses insurance because of Obamacare

Edie Littlefield Sundby

If you listen to President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the fact that millions people will lose their health insurance coverage will be forced to buy a plan is not a big deal.

After all, we’re only talking about 5% of the American public, as both Obama and Carney have put it. That’s faceless statistic that has little meaning to administration officials, politicians, and bureaucrats who’ve spent more than four years crafting the law and corresponding mandates and regulations.

But for many Americans, the changes they’re seeing in their health insurance coverage has very real consequences. In the case of Edie Littlefield Sundby, a stage-4 cancer patient, what Obamacare has done to her coverage could come at the expense of her life.

“Everyone now is clamoring about Affordable Care Act winners and losers. I am one of the losers,” wrote Sundby in an op-ed published last weekend at the Wall Street Journal.

“My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky,” she continued. “But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.”

Sundby, who received notice of cancellation of her existing coverage in January, was happy with her insurance company, UnitedHealthcare, writing complimentary of their responsiveness to her condition and the availability of the claims office.

Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to run for president

Arnold Schwarzenegger

It’s not exactly a secret that Arnold Schwarzenegger — the actor turned Governor of California turned actor, once again — has presidential ambitions. But there has always been one small detail standing in his way. Schwarzenegger was born in Austria to foreign parents and is a naturalized citizen.

The Constitution prohibits anyone not born in the United States from holding the office of President (Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 — and yes, President Obama is a natural-born citizen, as is Ted Cruz). Schwarzenegger, however, is lobbying for a change to the law, according to Page Six, which would allow to him to mount a run for the White House:

Action star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been lobbying for support to change the law to allow him to run for president in 2016, Page Six has exclusively learned.

We’re told Ahnold has been openly talking about his political ambitions while in New York to promote his new movie with Sylvester Stallone, “Escape Plan.”

One source said: “Schwarzenegger has been talking openly about working on getting the constitutional rules changed so he can run for president in 2016. He is ready to file legal paperwork to challenge the rules.”

Arnie was born in Austria, and the US Constitution prevents foreign-born citizens from holding the nation’s top job. Any amendment to the Constitution must be approved by two-thirds majority in the House and the Senate.

Obama supporters discover ObamaCare raises their premiums

Opponents of ObamaCare tried to warn Americans, particular those who are covered through an individual health insurance policy, that their premiums would go up because of the law. But many either didn’t listen or dismissed the concerns.

But the San Jose Mercury News recently took note of complaints about the dramatic increase in premiums that two supporters of President Obama will see because of ObamaCare (emphasis added):

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.
“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,” Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

Barbara Boxer wants a $10 minimum wage

It looks like Leftists in Congress are about to make another push to raise the minimum wage, even higher than the increase proposed by President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address earlier this year.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently told MSNBC host Ed Schultz that raising the minimum wage is a matter of “fairness” and claimed that California is a model for the rest of the country on the issue:

“We need to raise the minimum wage. That will make a huge difference. … People are struggling,” the California Democrat told Ed Schultz on “The Ed Show” on Monday. “The difference between the very wealthy and the working poor has grown. We raise that minimum wage and we move forward with the vision of this president that we have, which is everyone pays their fair share” of taxes.

Boxer used her own state as a model, saying that the focus must be on fairness.

“There’s one word we always have to focus on and that’s ‘fairness’. Everyone has to do their part,” she said. “I’ve spoken to people in California who earn a lot who were very anxious to help the country and their state. We’ve proven the point, you know, a rising tide lifts all boats.”

President Obama proposed an increase in the minimum wage to $9 an hour during his State of the Union address, the prospects of which are unlikely. But that wasn’t enough for some on the far-Left in Congress. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) one upped President Obama by introducing a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

Boxer’s comments on the issue are peculiar for a couple of reasons.

Republican Congressman: Obama should grant amnesty to Edward Snowden

Tom McClintock

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) is urging President Barack Obama to grant amnesty to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Shortly after a townhall meeting in his suburban Sacramento district, McClintock told a local news affiliate that the government should grant Snowden amnesty so that he would be free to answer questions about the NSA spying programs without the threat of prosecution.

“We have some very good laws against sharing secrets and he broke those laws,” McClntock told KCRA, a Sacramento-based news station. “On the other hand, he broke them for a very good reason because those laws were being used in direct contravention of our Fourth Amendment rights as Americans.”

McClintock expounded upon those comments yesterday during an interview with Los Angeles-based radio station KABC.

“What Edward Snowden did was to provide the American people and Congress with evidence that we had been specifically denied when [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper lied under oath to the Congress and denied the existence of this mass gathering of data of Americans,” McClintock told host KABC.

“That is a direct and flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment. Edward Snowden called them on it. Yes, there are some very good laws against leaking classified information; they out to be enforced,” explained McClintock. “On the other hand, if they are enforced in cases of gross violation of our constitutional rights, that becomes a death sentence for the Constitution.

“If they Constitution is being systematically subverted by our own government and we’re not even allowed to be told about it, that is a step too far,” he added.

California conservatives promise bloody primary for Leftist Republican

Doug Ose

Republicans in California will have a shot next year to defeat Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), who is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House. But there is very strong disagreement whether or not a former Republican Congressman should run.

Former Rep. Doug Ose, who served in Congress from 1999 to 2005, sees an opening to return to Washington and is apparently being courted by some in state’s political establishment to run in the CA-07.

Ose, who lost a congressional primary bid in 2008, is telling the media that he isn’t happy with the state of affairs in Washington and around the country. But there are some who believe that Ose wouldn’t do much to help fix Washington based on his past support of big government policies.

A group of California-based Tea Party and conservative activists sent a letter to Ose on Monday, warning him that he can expect active opposition to his candidacy should he decide to run.

“It has come to our attention that you are considering running for Congress in California’s 7th Congressional District. We have also heard that you do not want to see a ‘bloody primary’ for the Republican nomination,” wrote the activists. “We agree. That’s why we are writing today to encourage you not to run in CA-07.”

Supreme Court avoids Proposition 8 ruling

In a ruling issued this morning, the Supreme Court essentially decided to punt on Proposition 8, finding that supporters who had defended the measure had no standing to legal challenge to lower court rulings.

The decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry came with an unususal paring of conservative and liberal members, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for a majority that included Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan.

In 2008, voters in California passed a constitutional amendment, known as Proposition 8,that defined marriage as one man and one woman. The measure was in response to a state Supreme Court ruling earlier that year that legalized same-sex marriage. In January 2010, a challenge to the constitutionality of Proposition 8 went to trial in federal court. In August 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the measure, which legalized same-sex marriage in California. The State of California did not defend the Proposition 8 in any of the challenges.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court did not weigh the merits of same-sex marriage. They did determine, however, those who brought the case forward had no legal standing to do so.

Regulation puts teens’ business in jeopardy

rental cars

Imagine that you’ve come up with a great idea to build a niche in the rental car industry that brilliantly minimizes the typical overhead costs that most rental car companies incur. The business is taking off and all seems to be going great when, of course, regulators start asking questions.

That’s what happened to three incredibly talented teenagers in San Francisco. The trio, all of whom had been offered admission to prestigious schools in the northeast, had started a rental car business, FlightCar, in which they offered incentives to travelling passengers to let them rent their vehicles while they were out of town to other travelers.

Earlier this week, ABC News noted that the teens had got the attention of other rental car companies which in-turn complained to regulators. Their business is now threatened under absurd complaints of “unfair competition”:

CEO Rajul Zaparde, 18, one of FlightCar’s co-founders, tells ABC News the company already has signed up 1,400 owners and has arranged 1,500 rentals.

Until Zaparde hit rental car paydirt, he had been headed to Harvard. Now he and co-founders Shri Graneshram, 19, and Kevin Petrovic, 19, have launched a second operation at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Foes of FlightCar, however, have started to shoot back.

It’s easy to see how traditional rental companies might not be amused to have their prices undercut. But San Francisco International is crying foul, as well.

Doug Yakel, public information officer for SFO, tells ABC News that FlightCar refuses to play by the rules that govern other rental car companies. It doesn’t pay the same fees, he says, and it doesn’t abide by the same regulations.

Obama to Visit California, Single Out Obamacare ‘Success’ Story

Despite the lack of popular support, President Obama will be using his stop in California as a way to bring attention to what he calls an “example of the law’s success”.

Peter Suderman pointed out that the ObamaCare success story in California happens to be an attempt from Covered California to mislead the public by simply comparing next year’s individual market rates with the rates of this year’s small-employer plans.

Do you see what the Obamacare P.R. machine did there?

While explaining why rates were not going up as much as some might have predicted, Covered California failed to present the comparison between this year’s and next year’s individual market rates and proceeded to present a number that sounded much more soothing to the skeptical crowd.

The Los Angeles Times noted that:

The average premium for individual plans sold through EHealthInsurance in California last year was $177 a month. Covered California said the average premium for the three lowest Silver plans statewide was $321 a month, albeit for more comprehensive benefits.

This is not a typo, it is a considerable hike, especially if you consider that rates for the 13 insurance plans Californians are able to choose from are still more costly than the most affordable rates available on the market today.

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