Turns out no one knows how Obamacare will work - not even the big-name insurers.
And now, we're starting to see the effects of uncertainty.
Today (Thursday), the Los Angeles Times reported that United Health, Aetna, and Cigna have opted out of the California insurance exchange.
UnitedHealth has adopted a wait-and-see policy: "We are simply taking the time to carefully evaluate and better understand how the exchanges will work to ensure we are best prepared to participate meaningfully in their development," explains a spokesman to the LA Times.
Cigna resolved to participate in exchanges in only half of the 10 states where it sells individual health policies, and California didn't make the cut.
Aetna referred LA Times' questions to Covered California, the state agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.
That means millions of Californians who will have to choose health insurance from exchanges or face a penalty will not be able to pick plans from those three big insurers - signaling limited options ahead thanks to Obamacare.
UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Cigna's response to the California exchange is just the beginning.
These three companies are but the first dominoes to fall to Obamacare's less-than-clear implementation.Read More...
How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.Read More...
Has Sequestration Saved the U.S. Economy?
For all the griping about the sequestration, it may prove to be one of the best economic strategies we have going for the US economy.
A pair of "austerity" economists are in the news again for an oversight in their groundbreaking research but they may be on to something all the same.
Here's what I've uncovered... Read More...
The Sequester Debate and Its 5 Biggest Lies
In a hurricane of contradictions there has been no shortage of whoppers told during the sequester debate.
Since political news is usually strategically written, placed and timed you can chalk it all up to politics as usual. Even seemingly off the cuff, innocent responses seldom are.
With that in mind here are five recent news reports where "the facts" have been spun to a point where they are simply untrue.
To counter, we've given you the "un-spun facts" you're entitled to as a taxpaying citizen.
Just don't expect this nonsense to ever end...it's what they do best.Read More...
Sequester Circus Proves How Much Washington Hates America
Politics as usual has always been hard on the American people, but with the sequester, Washington has crossed the line this time.
All the sequester craziness has proven that our elected officials are not only inept, selfish, money-squandering bozos - they're also willing to actually inflict harm on the American people for political gain.
Virtually all of the problems created by the sequester, from the flight delays resulting from furloughed air traffic controllers to cancer clinics turning away Medicare patients could easily have been avoided.
But American citizens are suffering because Washington's warring factions - the Democrats and the Republicans - refuse to solve the nation's budget problems unless, like petulant toddlers, they can get their way.
A few Congressman - too few -- have called out their colleagues.
"What we're showing is our incompetence, or our downright disdain for the American public," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, said on the Fox Business program Varney & Co.Read More...
Sequestration Cuts Hit Cancer Patients While Billions Wasted
As of April 1, cancer clinics began turning away thousands of Medicare patients because of sequestration spending cuts while the University of Iowa is using almost $900,000 of taxpayer money to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails.
It's taken about a month, but the mandated federal spending cuts of sequestration have finally started to have a real impact.
Not as dire an impact as President Barack Obama warned about in the weeks preceding the sequester, but the consequences are growing more serious every day.
But what's most galling about all this is that despite the real harm the sequestration cuts are causing, wasteful government spending has continued unabated.Read More...
Sequestration Is a Gift – Not an Apocalypse
Everybody sing along...
It's a happy day... Oh happy days. It's a happy day...Oh happy days. When sequestration rules it drives the tears away... Oh happy days!
Those are the words President Obama used to describe what would result from sequestration.
Please, don't make me laugh. The sequester will not only not ruin America, it will in fact start the process of fixing what Congress can't - no, make that won't - fix.
What's the upside?
Our magnificent Founding Fathers were all together in the creation of the United States, but it didn't mean they all loved each other or that they all had the same views about government. They sure didn't. But, those differences were acknowledged and incorporated into the Constitution and sanctified - for the people - in the Bill of Rights.
That's divided government folks. This ain't socialism, though sometimes it feels like it.
And it's that nagging feeling that a slimy, slithering strain of socialism is snaking its way into mainstream politics that keeps me up at night, in case we, the people, are overrun by "them" - the usurpers of republican democracy.
Thank goodness that divided government gave us sequestration.
So, Congress can't get along. That's nothing new. The question is who gets to pander to their constituents. That's nothing new. We have sequestration. So, what? That's nothing new.
We need to cut crap out of the budget - A lot of crap. I'm sorry if that word bothers you... but I'm not allowed to use stronger language. Don't hate me because I'm fed up. You should be, too. Maybe you don't use strong language. Maybe you don't use colloquialisms (you're better then me, I grant you that, for sure) but I'm willing to bet that you're just as mad as I am.
The Republicans want to protect the rich and their tax loopholes - including carried interest. I get that, and I vehemently disagree (and believe me, folks, I enjoy carried interest). The Democrats want us all to share the cost of running a social welfare state to pander to their voting constituents. I get that, and I vehemently disagree.
So, they can't agree on tax increases (oh, wait, wait don't tell me... they did agree on $600 billion in tax increases in January, remember?) and they definitely can't agree on spending cuts. Why are spending cuts so hard? Because, silly, spending is the bread and butter that Congress feeds to their voting constituents - and campaign-backing cronies. Duh!
Sorry, I got carried away. Forget all that stuff. I just had to get it off my chest.
This is really about sequestration and how good it will be for the country.
We need to cut wasteful spending, period. What better way to do it that to take spending cuts out of the hands of Congress and put the task squarely in the hands of the departments and programs that are wasting the money in the first place? They should be tasked with making cuts and laying off unproductive people who do unproductive things. This is great!
The Budget Control Act, passed in August 2011, basically said, "Hey, if this Super Committee we put together can't cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years (they were shooting for $1.5 trillion, go figure) then, by this law, sequestration will go into place to the tune of $1.2 trillion between January 2013 and October 2121."
Pretty simple, but no one figured we'd get here. Me, personally? I was praying we would.
Here's a brilliant, simple play-by-play I found from Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC, Attorneys at Law:Read More...
The 9 Biggest Sequestration Lies
Though we've come to expect no better from our leaders in Washington, the sequestration lies rank among the most blatant whoppers ever to come out of the nation's capital.
Sequestration, of course, is the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to go into effect at midnight Friday.
Instead of working together to come up with an alternative to replace the sequester, Republicans and Democrats have spent the past several weeks playing a maddening game of political chicken.
Both parties were counting on the fear of sequestration to force the other to cave before it happened.
Toward that end, leaders of both sides have tried to sway public opinion with exaggerations, obfuscations and outright lies.
Yes, business as usual in Washington, but an affront to U.S. citizens nonetheless.
Here are some of the biggest sequestration lies.Read More...
What Does the Sequestration Mean for Investors?
After months of bitter debate and warnings of impending economic doom, sequestration is expected to arrive Friday. What's it mean for investors?
Martin Hutchinson explains how to protect your portfolio... Read More...
The Sequestration Follies: How Washington Outsmarted Itself
It seems every politician in Washington is up in arms over sequestration, the devastating automatic budget cuts on track to take effect March 1.
For weeks, lawmakers on both sides have been calling sequestration a "bad idea" and criticizing any proposals put forth by the opposing party.
Politicians aren't happy that sequestration not only would cut billions of dollars in federal spending, it would also slash the budget indiscriminately with across-the-board cuts.
Just today (Tuesday), President Barack Obama urged Congress to delay sequestration for the rest of the year or risk damaging the U.S. economy.
"It won't help the economy. It won't create jobs. It will visit hardship on a whole lot of people," President Obama said. "If Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research."
Listening to all the rhetoric, Americans with short memories might believe that those in Washington only have the best interests of the country at heart.
But the rest of us remember how this whole sequestration fiasco really happened. It was their idea - Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Congress. All guilty.
"The idea was that no sane person would allow such cuts to happen," Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News' "Face the Nation," said on that show Sunday. "Well, guess what. Even Washington managed to underestimate its own ineptitude."Read More...
Are Steep U.S. Spending Cuts Inevitable?
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is adamant Republicans will resist any further tax increases - a staunch GOP stance that makes steep spending cuts almost certain.
Ryan, the 2012 vice president nominee, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the $1.2 trillion worth of automatic spending cuts will take effect because "Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others."In the NBC interview, Ryan took aim at President Barack Obama.
"I don't think that the president actually thinks we have a fiscal crisis," Ryan said. "He's been reportedly saying to our leaders that we don't have a spending problem, we have a healthcare problem. That leads me to conclude that he just thinks we ought to have more government-run healthcare and rationing."Read More...
Why We'll Be Talking About Sequestration For a Long Time
Another fiscal crisis lurks just on the horizon - a combination of the mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration and the need to raise the U.S. debt ceiling - and pundits are losing sleep trying to figure out what Washington is going to do about it.
They're wasting their time.
"The odds that Congress and the White House will ink a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal appear as long as they have been in more than two years, even though both parties acknowledge it's the only way to break the cycle of fiscal cliffs," Politico observed yesterday (Tuesday).
In all likelihood, Democratic and Republican leaders will make a last-minute deal that achieves the minimum necessary to keep the government running while putting off the harder decisions until later - three months, six months or even a year.
That's what they always do, although the script may change a little.Read More...