4 Broken Obamacare Promises That Town Hall Protesters Should Remember-

4 Broken Obamacare Promises That Town Hall Protesters Should Remember-23ih.,b13.14

While the House and Senate plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, members of Congress are hosting town hall meetings with their constituents and have been greeted by hostile crowds.

These folks seem to have amnesia about Obamacare’s glaring failures.

Here’s a quick refresher on Obamacare’s top four broken promises.

  1. Costs are exploding.

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President Barack Obama promised that his reform proposal would cut typical family costs by $2,500 annually. That, of course, never materialized.

The typical family today pays about 35 percent of their income for health care.

The small group and individual insurance markets were hit hard by big premium increases. An eHealth report concluded that from 2013 to 2017, the average individual market premium increases were 99 percent for individuals and a jaw-dropping 140 percent for families.

Costs have also increased for those with employer-sponsored insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, from 2010 to 2016, average family premiums for employer-sponsored plans nearly increased 32 percent.

Higher premiums are not the only shock. Out-of-pocket costs in the Obamacare exchanges, particularly deductibles, have been stunning. HealthPocket analyzed that for the lowest tier bronze plans in 2017, the average deductible for an individual is $6,092 and $12,383 for a family.

  1. Competition and choice are declining.

Obama told America his proposal would increase competition in the health insurance markets but that hasn’t happened either.

On Tuesday, news broke that Humana will be leaving the Obamacare exchange markets next year. This was just the latest in a growing list of insurers who are jumping ship from this massive public policy failure.

Town hall audiences should take a good look at county-level data. A new Heritage Foundation analysis found that Obamacare’s exchanges, in their fourth year of operation, offer Americans little health insurer choice.

The downward slide in competition means that in 2017, consumers in 70 percent of U.S. counties are left with just one or two insurer options on the exchanges. The 70 percent figure is way up from 36 percent in 2016.

  1. Forget about keeping your plan.

Perhaps the most famous health care promise of all, Obama’s promise: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” In fact, there were 37 instances where Obama or a high-ranking administration official repeated that infamous promise to keep you plan and your doctor.

Rarely has there been such a disconnect between rhetoric and reality. In 2014, the first year that Obamacare was fully implemented, the Associated Press reported that there were at least 4.7 million canceled policies across 30 states. The law’s insurance rules and mandates forced many insurers to cancel plans that people liked and wanted.

Sadly, the disruption only continued from there. For example, hundreds of thousands of people signed up for plans offered by insurers under Obamacare’s co-op program.

But 18 out of 23 of these federally-funded insurers have already collapsed, meaning taxpayers are highly unlikely to be repaid the more than $1.9 billion in loans they received—not to mention the thousands of co-op enrollees that lost their health care plans, some in the middle of the year.

Not exactly a proud moment in public policy.

  1. No, you can’t necessarily keep your doctor.

Obama promised patients that they would be able to keep their doctors. For many patients, that also turned out to be untrue.

Obamacare’s rising costs, and its limited flexibility in federally fixed benefit designs, resulted in plans resorting to narrow provider networks. Narrow networks limit access to doctors and other medical professionals as a way to contain costs.

Enough is enough. For seven years, Obamacare has proved to be one giant bundle of broken promises and policy failures. Congress needs to get serious—quickly—and repeal Obamacare.

This is a crucial first step in moving America toward the patient-centered health care system our country deserves.

source-jean morrow, the daily signal, kaiser foundation, heritage, humana,

 

 

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Paul and Sanford’s does not—and whether to keep Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.–

Paul and Sanford’s does not—and whether to keep Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.–23lh.,b13.14

However, the lawmakers acknowledged that there are still components that Republicans disagree on, like whether a replacement should include a refundable tax credit—Paul and Sanford’s does not—and whether to keep Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Paul and Sanford’s bill focuses heavily on the expansion of health savings accounts (HSAs), which are medical savings accounts. Their legislation allows consumers to contribute an unlimited amount annually to HSAs. Currently, consumers can contribute a maximum of $3,400 per year.

The Obamacare Replacement Act also creates a $5,000 tax credit for those who contribute to a HSA, and prohibits consumers from using the money in their accounts to pay for elective abortions.

Under Paul and Sanford’s bill, consumers who don’t receive insurance through their employers can deduct the cost of premiums from their taxable incomes, which serves to equalize the tax treatment for individuals and employers.

Additionally, the legislation allows individuals and small businesses to band together through membership in an Association Health Plan to buy health insurance. Paul and Sanford said these pooling mechanisms will decrease costs for consumers.

The bill also allows insurance companies to sell policies across state lines and eliminates Obamacare’s essential health benefits mandate, which is a list of services insurance plans are required to cover without cost-sharing.

A major question that has emerged during the debate over Obamacare replacement plans is whether any new proposal will require insurers to provide coverage to consumers with pre-existing conditions, as the Affordable Care Act did.

Sanford and Paul’s plan would preserve that protection, so long as those with pre-existing conditions maintain continuous coverage.

Conservatives are beginning to grow antsy over the lack of progress on Obamacare’s repeal.

On Monday night, the House Freedom Caucus unanimously voted to support legislation undoing the health care law that passed the House and the Senate in 2015, a move that could force Republican leaders to use that bill as the floor for future repeal bills or risk losing the group’s support.

The 2015 bill repealed the individual and employer mandates, ended the subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and rolled back all of the law’s taxes.

Both Paul and Sanford have said that the 2015 bill should be the starting point for negotiations on which parts of Obamacare to unwind, and the conservatives are urging House leadership to advance repeal of the health care law at a faster rate than they currently are moving.

“This is a big, big day for conservative Republicans,” Paul told reporters Thursday. “We owe this to the conservatives around the country who elected us to repeal, to completely repeal, Obamacare. But I think if you’re going to completely repeal something, you should replace it.”

 

 

Hillary Clinton, The “Insider Threat”

–47jh.,b43

Hillary Clinton, The “Insider Threat”–judical watch–47j.,b43
 You don’t have to take my word for it that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s sloppy email practices were an egregious breech of national security.  An expert in the Department of Defense thought so as well.

This week we released a U.S. Department of the Army OpSec (Operational Security) PowerPoint  presentation that depicts Clinton as an example of “insider threats. ” The presentation, produced as part of a lecture on cybersecurity, also includes General David Petraeus, terrorist Nidal Hassan, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Edward Snowden, and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.

We obtained the documents in response to a January 11, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking the PowerPoint presentation on operational security delivered to soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:17-cv-00060)). We sued after the Department of Defense failed to respond to our August 22, 2016, FOIA request (the lawsuit is now over, since we got what we wanted).

The presentation warns against “Critical Information Compromises” involving material such as the “itineraries of … senior executive service (SES)” and “very important persons (VIPs),” any of which can result in “Attack, Kidnapping, Publicity.” It also cites “unsecure email” as an error that can lead to an enemy being able to “Kill, Counter, Clone.” Judicial Watch’s investigations into Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state repeatedly  produced examples of Clinton aide Huma Abedin sharing the schedule and travel plans of Clinton on an unsecure email system.

The operational security brief was reportedly leaked, and then posted on the Facebook page “U.S. Army W.T.F! moments.” Administrators of the Facebook page said a picture came from a service member stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

Clinton and Petraeus are cited as examples of “Careless or disgruntled employees.” Former Secretary Clinton conducted official government business using a non-state.gov email account, which was hosted on a server in her home in Chappaqua, New York. JW’s extensive FOIA litigation pried loose Clinton email records, which proved she sent and received classified information on an unsecure server while serving as secretary of state.

Gen. Petraeus is a retired four-star general and the former director of the CIA who pled guilty in federal court to a charge of unauthorized removal of classified information. At the time, Petraeus was having an affair with his biographer to whom he provided classified information while serving as Director of the CIA.  (I see he is up for potential appointment to President Trump’s National Security Advisor post.  For obvious reasons, this would seem to be a big mistake.) No wonder it took a lawsuit to extract this damning Pentagon analysis, which recognizes Hillary Clinton as an “insider threat” to national security. The Trump Justice Department should take note and proceed with an appropriate investigation.

 

source- judicial watch,

Another Obama Administration Email Scandal – At Homeland Security-

Another Obama Administration Email Scandal – At Homeland Security–7fh.,b12

Hillary Clinton may be the poster child of skullduggerous email practices, but she wasn’t the only one in the Obama administration to put sensitive matters at risk on unsecured email accounts.

We have obtained 215 pages  of documents containing official, sensitive emails of Jeh Johnson, former head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and three other top department officials sent through private, unsecured, webmail-based email accounts.

The documents include emails discussing high-level meetings Johnson was to have with the Kuwaiti ambassador and Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry officials, as well as a West African $4.5 million online consumer fraud scam.

We received these documents thanks a May 23, 2016, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit after Homeland Security failed to respond to a December 29, 2015, FOIA request seeking emails “relating to official United States Government business sent to or from” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and three other top Homeland Security officials that used “non-‘.gov’” email addresses (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. United States Department of Homeland Security (No. l:l6-cv-00967)).

This is the first batch of emails sent through private, web-based email accounts of Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell that were also sent to government email accounts. The emails released reveal that:

  • The Kuwaiti ambassador to the US sent an email to Johnson’s unsecure email account attempting to set up a meeting for him with Kuwait’s Interior Ministry and discussing Kuwait’s Interior Minister’s having meetings with the heads of CIA, FBI and DNI.
  • The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia emailed to Johnson’s unsecure email account, discussing Johnson’s upcoming meetings at the Saudi Interior Ministry in Jeddah.
  • DHS Chief of Staff Marrone held sensitive discussions  with an unidentified individual regarding the earnings of Lockheed Martin and a space vehicle launch consortium between Lockheed and Boeing, which the sender said to “use wisely.” Marrone also received procurement documents related to launch vehicles and their “Launch Infrastructure Capability.”
  • Johnson gave a “Progress Report” speech in which he cited the Homeland Security Department’s “strides in cybersecurity.”
  • An unidentified individual spoofed Johnson’s name and email account in a phishing scam, telling recipients that they could get money from “an abandoned fund worth U.S.D. 4.5 million in West Africa” if they would send back their personal details.

Prior to the Obama administration’s leaving office, a federal court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to preserve email records sought by Judicial Watch. In petitioning the court for the preservation order, we argued:

A court order requiring preservation of these emails is particularly necessary now as DHS has suggested that these officials may have been acting without authorization by sending emails from these accounts … As such, there is no assurance that these officials will abide by a “request” by the agency to preserve these emails, particularly after their employment ends.

Judicial Watch previously uncovered  documents revealing that Secretary Jeh Johnson and 28 other agency officials used government computers to access personal web-based email accounts despite an agency-wide ban due to heightened security concerns. The documents also reveal that Homeland Security officials misled Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) when Perry specifically asked whether personal accounts were being used for official government business.

It is ironic and disconcerting that Secretary Johnson and his aides touted Homeland Security’s great “strides in cybersecurity” while using unsecured, private, web-based email accounts that the Department had officially prohibited.

The fact that the documents found in these email accounts were so heavily redacted and that Johnson’s name and email account were spoofed in a phishing scam is indicative of just how lax communications security was inside Homeland Security during the Obama administration.

We will continue to try to obtain these emails and were in federal court today on the issue.  I’m still waiting for the Trump administration to begin enforcing the rule of law on transparency as we see repeated instances of Obama-type legal defenses from the Trump Justice Department of illegal Obama administration secrecy.

source–judicial watch, alejandro mayorkas, stevan bunnell

Gen. Mattis Announces U.S. Military Will Not Collaborate with Russian Forces

Gen. Mattis Announces U.S. Military Will Not Collaborate with Russian Forces-47fh.,b12-3

At a NATO meeting in Brussels this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis made it clear that the U. S. wasn’t ready to collaborate militarily with Russia against the Islamic State or any other threats, adding that the conditions weren’t right.

His comments came just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for increased intelligence cooperation with the West to fight terrorism.

“Russia is going to have to prove itself first,” Mattis said. Western nations will seek “a way forward where Russia, living up to its commitments, will return to a partnership of sorts here with NATO.”

According to The Washington Post, Mattis said the U.S. would continue to engage politically with the Russian government and try to find common ground.

CBS News reported that Mattis’ remarks followed an assessment of Russia’s alleged meddling in elections, adding that there was “very little doubt that they have either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections in the democracies.”

Earlier this week, a Russian spy ship was spotted off the U.S. East Coast — a move that many see as a test of President Donald Trump’s resolve.

Mattis’ remarks follow others that indicate that he’s not messing around.

Earlier this month, he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate aggression. He also warned NATO member nations that should they not pay their fair share toward collective defense, America would moderate its commitment to the alliance.

It’s refreshing to see some strong, determined leadership in Washington. For the past eight years, we’ve had to watch the Obama administration chip away at our military while working tirelessly to undermine our security — domestically and abroad.

Mattis is showing the kind of direction the U.S. needs to go in such dangerous times.

source- conservative tribune, wash post, cbs, gen mattis

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: Obama Laid “Tripwires” in Intel Community to Sabotage Trump

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: Obama Laid “Tripwires” in Intel Community to Sabotage Trump–16.58jh.,b26.58

Any soldier knows what a tripwire is. Nearly immune to detection and almost always deadly, they lie silent until reacting to the presence of the enemy, detonating an explosive.

Now, a retired lieutenant colonel and intelligence expert is arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration has been booby-trapped with “tripwires” by former President Barack Obama.

Tony Shaffer, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a veteran exposer of cronyism, corruption and cover-ups at the highest level, says that Obama left loyalists in place, many of them political appointees who became career intelligence officers who are now exploding well-planned political bombs.

Appearing on Fox News Thursday, Shaffer alleged that Obama senior adviser Ben Rhodes “laid tripwires for things to go off like booby traps.” He also charged that the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was planned by the Obama administration.

Prior to Trump’s inauguration, Obama loyalists both in and outside of the White House plotted a disinformation campaign to discredit Flynn, a known opponent of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, in order to preserve the agreement, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

When Flynn failed to inform the Trump about the possible content of a series of phone calls with Russian officials, it provided all the political explosive needed to oust him.

Shaffer even implicated Obama in the sabotage. Before he even left office, Obama promised to remain very involved in politics, and Shaffer believes that he is not only encouraging anti-Trump protests, but also encouraging efforts to directly undermine Trump’s presidency.

In the most ridiculous example of convoluted logic imaginable, the intelligence community is withholding vital information from the White House because of concerns that the information could be leaked, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shaffer said CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other Trump appointees are providing the White House with all of the intelligence they have, but that people below them were making their own decisions about what to bring forth and what to withhold.

“That’s why you need to look at a house-cleaning,” Shaffer said.

In a scathing commentary on intelligence professionals now in place, Shaffer said “some of those professional were selected [during the Obama years] because of their political reliability, not because of their professional ethics.”

Tony Shaffer is right. Trump has removed the political appointees, but needs to target mid- and senior-level managers who are politically motivated and not working for the good of our country.

It’s time to clean house.

source-conservative tribune, tony shaffer, london center for policy research, fox, wash post, wsj, mike pompeo

 

FBI Clears Trump — Staffers Unaware They Talked to Russian Intel Officers-

FBI Clears Trump — Staffers Unaware They Talked to Russian Intel Officers-5.58jh.,b36.58

Following President Donald Trump’s surprising upset of Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Democrats and their lapdogs in the media embarked on creating a narrative asserting that Trump and his people had knowingly colluded with the Russian government to deny Clinton her due victory.

Though the narrative was and continues to be rather far-fetched, prominent politicians and pundits have doggedly continued to push the idea that there is some sort of unholy alliance between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

However, recent remarks from the FBI and other intelligence officials, reported by the mainstream media, have pulled the rug out from under that particular narrative.

ABC News issued a breathless report about how the Russians were attempting to develop contacts and acquire a mole inside the White House, yet ABC itself noted it was something the Russians have done for decades since the Cold War, not at all an “unprecedented” move — or even anything out of the ordinary.

The network even seemed to contradict its own narrative further by the sixth paragraph when it wrote: “A senior intelligence official told ABC News last night that no evidence gathered by the FBI so far suggests Trump associates knew they were talking to Russian intelligence officers.”

The news of there being absolutely no evidence proving collusion between Trump’s team and the Russians might have been downplayed by ABC, but it was also reported by NBC News reporter Pete Williams, according to The Daily Wire.

Speaking to anchor Craig Melvin about the ongoing FBI investigation of alleged collusion, Williams reported, “They found no indication that there was any collusion. The number of these contacts was not a large number, they were not constant. They were not contacts, as far as the U.S. knows, with Russian intelligence people.”

“One official told me today, ‘You never know with the Russians,’ but there is no confirmed connection between these Trump associates and any Russian intelligence figures,” Williams added.

NBC’s Pete Williams reports (as we have all along) that investigators have found no collusion between Trump campaign and contacts in Russia. When these reports revealing there is no evidence so far to support the allegations of collusion are viewed alongside the provocative actions Russia has made in recent days, such as cruising a spy ship and up and down the East Coast of the U.S., buzzing U.S. naval vessels in international waters with military jets or deploying missiles in violation of bilateral deals, the whole “Trump and Putin are BFF’s” narrative simply crumbles.

The media may want to find some other sort of scandal with which to bring down their sworn enemy, Trump — or perhaps they can simply report the news and allow the American people to formulate their own opinions on the matters at hand.

source-conservative tribune, fbi, abc, daily wire, craig melvin,nbc