What’s happening with health insurance enrollment

The open period was supposed to start in October and go to Dec 31. That would allow the ins companies to get set for the 2015 year. The previous March deadline was set because they knew few people would sign up right away.
The rates for this year are going to be very high and a lot of employers will drop out. I am expecting a 25-50% rate hike and many people are going to lose their subsidies as the data gets cross checked with the IRS.
Overall the destruction of the health insurance industry is working quite well and there should soon be no other choice but what is offered by the government as in Medicare. Already the exodus of good doctors has started and health related businesses, like the Scooter Store, are going bankrupt and closing. This is going to be a big downturn of 16% of the economy.
Coventry is essentially already out, Aetna remains in a diminished capacity. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is gone, absorbed by Highmark. The Delaware Health Commission released its plan this week and it disingenuously presumes a constant insurance market which the State can control. The truth is everyone wants a single payer system, everyone also wants to BE that single payer.
And yes, doctors are quickly moving to drop Medicare and Medicaid and some insurance altogether. Many are simply retiring. Some of my close colleagues are retiring by this year’s end and all are younger than me, mostly family practice. Everyone assumes that when control is established  that doctors will just work for less, but to the contrary, they just won’t work. This is the consummate flaw in Ezekiel Emanuel’s thinking. He says that they will have to work as told, but the truth is doctors will not be forced to practice bad medicine and, by and large, they can afford to quit, so they are and will in droves.
On a national and local level, Walmart, Home Depot, Walgreens, and Target have all cut back health insurance for those working less than 30 hours/week. On a local level,  Highmark just had its premium increases cut dramatically by Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, which means that they will not offer some products. They cannot calculate the rates now because the sign up period has been delayed onset until after the election cycle. On good background I believe that Highmark will withdraw risky insurance products in the Delaware market.
On a very anecdotal level, one of my patients who employs 47 people has directed his human resource person to fire 5 people so as to be well beneath the 50 person threshold for ACA. This is just as a precaution, in case they 50 employee mark is hit inadvertently.
The White House Administration has declared a moratorium on data release from CMS and the Federal Exchange Website.  I do not find any reason to be optimistic about the landscape.

Dr. Casscells, Director

Center for Healthcare Policy

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If you were paid to brush your teeth, would you take the money?

CRI predicted years ago charity care would soon become a thing of the past. That’s because the Affordable Care Act, which just about everyone calls Obamacare, is set up to remove charity care from the equation.

Charity care is free healthcare many doctors provide as a service to the community. There is (or was) no financial incentive; a doctor did it because he or she believes in helping their fellow human beings. This was a way for very poor people and/or those who don’t have health insurance to receive healthcare they could not otherwise afford. Well, no more (in Delaware at least):

State to cut ‘charity care’ for near-poor

Delawareans pinching pennies near the federal poverty level – making from $16,100 for an individual to a maximum of $47,700 for a family of four – will lose health coverage through the state’s Community Healthcare Access Program (CHAP) starting Feb. 1, state officials said late Monday afternoon.

CHAP is a state-run program that offers discounted medical services for those not eligible for Delaware’s Medicaid program. The state earmarked $478,000 in tobacco settlement funds for the program this fiscal year.

CHAP recipients are ineligible for Medicaid either because they are undocumented immigrants or make more than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, Delaware’s cutoff for Medicaid assistance. The federal poverty level is $11,670 a year for an individual.

State officials said they will offer an alternative to CHAP on a case-by-case basis, only for those who can prove they are ineligible for other plans or are exempt from the federal insurance mandate.”

Now some of those who were on this program were individuals not legally authorized to be in the country. However, some were and will no longer receive help, and even for those here illegally, most medical professionals will tell you their desire is to help everyone who needs it, no matter what, because it is their calling.

“This is charity care and charity care more or less will be going away based on the mandate that everyone must have health insurance,” said Rita Langraf, secretary of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services, referencing the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone should have health insurance.

The department is taking that mantra seriously. Landgraf said the state will continue to offer coverage for the undocumented population past Feb. 1, but CHAP recipients who make up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level will need to find new coverage.”

This is another problem. DHSS Secretary Landgraf is saying the state will ensure those not authorized to be here will receive benefits not extended to American citizens. Why? Because ACA mandates that all citizens must have health insurance- note the bolded words.

The main reason charity care is disappearing is because the government will begin reimbursing doctors for care previously provided as charity. This means taxpayer dollars will flow into doctor’s pockets for services they were going to perform anyway. If you were going to do something you always did, say brush your teeth, and the government offered to pay you to do that, would you turn that offer down? Most people would not and thus the government is ensuring a larger budget deficit for a service they don’t need to pay for. The other thing this will do remove the “good samaritan” role of medicine, eliminating volunteerism in favor of “rent-seeking” from the government (seeking public money for private bank accounts).

The health insurance exchanges open on Saturday and we were now only hours away from knowing what the 2015 insurance rates will be. If you haven’t yet received a letter notifying you of your insurance status for 2015, you will get it very soon. On Thursday CRI will publish another article on healthcare breaking down the new rates, discussing what you can expect going forward, and discussing how you can Impact Delaware!

photo:myptsolutions.com

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YOU CAN IMPACT DELAWARE: Go Vote today!

Unless you’ve been off the planet or are living in a cave with Crocodile Dundee, you know today is Election Day 2014. Hopefully if you are reading this and you are an American citizen, you either a) voted already or b) are going to vote sometime today.

While we at CRI cannot tell you who to vote for, nor would it be in our interest to do so, we can encourage you to vote. The main reason CRI exists is to get people to make the different at the polling place. All of the white papers, articles, editorials, speaking engagements, radio appearances, newspaper quotes, and e-mail newsletters will make not one iota of difference if you don’t vote.

How will Delaware, or any of the other states, change public policy without your voice being heard? Politicians care more about today than any letter to the editor, blogpost, or tweet you could ever send out. Today is when change in our government becomes official. The only way to end the prevailing wage, repeal the ACA, provide Education Savings Accounts to all parents for their children (and grandchildren), pursue policies which reduce electric rates and make energy prices more affordable, eliminate the gross receipts tax, reduce personal income and corporate income taxes, and reduce the power of state agencies to make your life miserable through excessive regulation, is to vote.

We know it can be frustrating- you feel as though your vote is one of too many and it won’t matter. You feel as though no matter who you vote for things in government won’t really change. Maybe you even think elections are rigged (though we at CRI don’t believe this!) so you won’t bother showing up to the polls or casting an absentee ballot.

But if millions if people like you have that attitude, then only the most partisan voters or those with a lot to gain/lose directly will show up. They will reward politicians who cater specifically to the groups most likely to show up at the polls.

Therefore, if you haven’t yet voted, go out and vote this Election Day, and remember,

YOU CAN IMPACT DELAWARE!

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Dr. Casscells special: The Ebola epidemic

There is a lot of misunderstanding around the recent Ebola outbreak. There is reason to feel safe from the disease based upon its prevalence or density in our population.

There is also good reason to be concerned about the disease and act proactively, due to the extremely high death rate associated with the Ebola virus. It kills approximately 70% of those infected and is nearly impossible to treat large populations of people. In these cases of historically dangerous epidemics, the rate at which the disease can spread is critical, which is directly related to the degree of mobility in the worldwide population, now far greater than at any previous time.
It is about the travel. In ancient times ships returning from far away places were required to lay at anchor for at least a few weeks before being allowed to dock and disembark, quarantine. When polio and tuberculosis were epidemic we isolated those populations in sanatoriums or for immigrants at Ellis Island in New York where if they were found sick they were sent home. These are tried and true methods of slowing disease spread until we can develop better treatments, cures, or vaccines.
People have died from Ebola in every country in Africa, and most in Europe so there is a very high likelihood that we here in the US will encounter the disease soon enough. In a few months we may be able to produce more experimental medication but it would be completely outside of usual deliberate FDA protocols. Training all hospital workers and emergency personnel or others likely to come in contact with the Ebola victims is essential. Gowning and gloving and masking are important, but degowning (taking off the hospital gown properly), unmasking, and degloving are far more important. All of the recent cases have been traced to poor technique degowning. While watching a CDC  official do a television demonstration of this last week, I saw three separate errors degowning. They do it the way medical personnel on an isolation floor do it, not the way we do it the Operating room. Learn the latter technique, not former. Handling the waste and corpse is critical. They must be incinerated.
Any way you look at it 21 days of quarantine is essential to halting the epidemic.
C.D.Casscells,MD
Director of Health Policy Division
Caesar Rodney Institute

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Special Guest Post: Support efforts for breast cancer awareness

This is a guest post from Mary Sandra Marie, Marketing Coordinator with the Regency Shop based in Los Angeles. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness CRI is posting this guest post. CRI is not being paid to post this nor are we affiliated in any way with the Regency Shop. If you are interested in bidding on these items to raise money for breast cancer awareness you may choose to visit the links below.

Here is How Regency Shop Supporting Breast Cancer Survivors.
October is the official breast cancer awareness month, and whether individual or business, everyone is coming up with creative and innovative ideas to support the social cause. Regency Shop, renowned modern furniture retailer has organized charity auction to financially support breast cancer research and encourage breast cancer survivors.
The furniture retailer has decided to provide beautiful custom designed chair while encouraging people to contribute to an important social cause. Regency Shop has been participating in the movement with three thematic auctions. Participates will get a chance to show their support for breast cancer survivors, and an opportunity to win one-of-a-kind stylish lounge chairs.
According to recent studies, one in every eight American women has chances to develop invasive breast cancer, and the count is expected to increase tremendously. You can generate awareness about the disease and be there for millions of women by taking part in Regency Shop’s exclusive auction during breast cancer awareness month, from 1st Oct to 30 Oct, 2014.
The charity auction organized at Regency Shop is not mere a contest. It’s more like you becoming October’s special hero by supporting a global cause, and support the event. It is indeed the best way to showcase your care for breast cancer survivors and bring a positive change to the world.
Regency Shop is auctioning three magnificent eero aarnio ball chair, hanging bubble chair and barcelona chair. All these three chairs are 100% custom designed and pink as pink is the signature color used in breast cancer awareness campaigns.
For auction listings visit:
Eero Aarnio Ball Chair
http://www.regencyshop.com/p514/Eero-Aarnio-Style-Ball-Chair-Special-Edition/product_info.html

Barcelona Chair
http://www.regencyshop.com/p513/Ibiza-Chair-Special-Edition/product_info.html

Hanging Bubble Chair
http://www.regencyshop.com/p515/Hanging-Bubble-Chair-Special-Edition/product_info.html

Mary Sandra Marie

Marketing Coordinator, Regency Shop

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Is Bloom Energy “Greenwashing” the public? Answer: Yes

 green·wash·ing

noun \ˈgrēn-ˌw-shiŋ, –ˌwä-\

the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization’s environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities; a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization (dictionary.com definition)

For those of you who have followed CRI’s activities for the last two-plus years, you will recall how we have publicly opposed the state’s cronyist deal with Bloom Energy to hand a private “green” company $529 million in guaranteed state taxpayer revenue over a period of 21 years EVEN IF THE COMPANY GOES OUT OF BUSINESS OR RENEGES ON ITS OBLIGATIONS OR IF ITS TECHNOLOGY BECOMES OBSOLETE.

On Monday, October 20, 2014 NBC Bay Area ran a six-minute long investigation into Bloom Energy and whether the company was misleading the public about its technology. The video is below.

<script type=”text/javascript” charset=”UTF-8″ src=”http://www.nbcbayarea.com/portableplayer/?cmsID=279873632&videoID=rX70SdgdBmnB&origin=nbcbayarea.com&sec=investigations&subsec=&width=600&height=360″></script&gt;

From the article:

“The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit analyzed performance data provided to the state of Delaware for Bloom boxes that power 22,000 homes in the state. Delaware is home to the largest installation of Bloom fuel cells in the nation, where the technology has been in operation for more than two years.

According to the most recent data available, Bloom boxes have achieved the 773 emission rate just three months out of a 24 month period. The average emission rate is 823.

The company declined numerous requests to discuss their carbon emission rate in an on-camera interview, but in a conference call Bloom representatives said the 773 figure is achieved when the boxes are brand new, noting that CO2 emissions increase as the boxes age.

“If the thing emits more carbon dioxide than they say it does then this is greenwashing,” Leveen said.”

The bottom line: The only thing “green” about Bloom Energy is the taxpayer money flowing from hardworking Delawareans, and even those who are not working, into the pockets of multibillionare business cronies and their allies.

If you agree please visit us a www.caesarrodney.org and donate today!

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thoughts from an old friend

thoughts from an old friend

October 16, 2014 by crodney

As CRI continues efforts to expand and bring the efforts for economic and personal freedom to all Delawareans we recognize the thoughts from our former Director of the Center for Education Excellence, Jim Hosley.

In question are two articles which appeared in the News Journal this week: One on the news about the ‘priority schools’ announcement from the state and one on Moyer Academy’s closing at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Here are Jim’s observations and thoughts:

  • Agree the six Wilmington schools are not performing.  Where has the Markell Administration been? These schools have had the same level of under-performance since the start of his administration. People on the street in neighborhoods have been saying the system isn’t working and they’ve lost six years with Markell’s deaf ear.
  • What has Markell been doing: launched a major statewide program that has not improved results statewide; created a foreign language program with specific attention to Chinese to make DE a world education leader (in fact he allocated over $2 million dollars to that program – great help for these 6 schools!); secured $119 million for Race to the Top (RTTT) and $49 million for early education but nothing for problem schools; dropped funding for start up funds for more charter schools; and teachers complain there is no consistency and more stress in classroom precipitated by programs imposed from above the school level.
  • Markell is in fact pointing the finger at teachers. No doubt there are problem teachers as in any business and schools need to be able to hire and fire in order to find and retain the right teachers – a system-wide problem. However when there is system-wide failure there is a systemic problem. A problem in a state with a large DOE that has grown under his administration.
  • The Administration continues to look to spending when in fact the question isn’t how much but where education monies are spent. It is time to look at all spending outside the classroom, focus on reducing those that do not prepare students, and re-direct savings to appropriate spending including targeted programs to overcome social issues that contribute to an environment that does not encourage learning and participation.
  • Why should the state establish salary objectives for education leaders? Because they are buying support and they like spending. I have no trouble with paying more but in the context of our current spending then the solution is to understand effectiveness and redirect reductions to contributors. DOE has to be a focus and review because it has been in charge, is bloated and is ineffective. Question: Why do we need a DOE department that employs about 150 more people by population than the average state?
  • It was nice to see the sense of urgency . . . but using as justification that 2000 more students will more likely go to jail than get a job is simply a nice touch given everyone already knows the issue. Urgency should have been from day one of the Markell administration. A tenure that has contributed to the problem with cumulative results of than more than 12,000 students  have already failed to street and drugs — where has the Administration’s urgency been.

What we need.

  • All schools serve the public good so any solution must be local and include using public, private, faith-based, blended school and homeschool opportunities.
  • Parents equipped with ESA’s do not have to wait for another elaborate scheme that will probably results in same failed results of other governments plans; and don’t have to wait for a Vision 2025! They can send their children to schools that deliver today (and they have capacity to accommodate more and given monies available will quickly grow more public and private because the monopoly is not in charge) the math skills, reading skills, functional literacy, and solid work habits to allow their children to grow up and find a good job. We do see this in all charter schools in Wilmington yet the DOE closed one and is closing another that serve the most underserved. How about closing underperforming traditional public schools.
  • Parents able to decide the effectiveness of schools and teachers by directing the funds set aside in savings accounts will make all schools more accountable. In many ways private schools are more responsive, more accountable and more open to direct participation. Choice provides a chance to  improve public schools that will have to focus effectiveness and budgets on what parents value, that will overcome hierarchical organizations that impose rules and regulations, and that increase more in-school and at-home participation that has been limited by the need to comply with elaborate state, federal and union rules and behaviors.

Posted in Christina School District, Delaware, Education, Education Savings Accounts, Jack Markell, Mark Murphy, Moyer Academy, News Journal, Race to the Top, Red Clay School District, School Choice, Wilmington | Leave a Comment

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The Lawsuit against DNREC and Collin O’Mara can proceed

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CRI goes to Denver

CRI goes to Denver

October 1, 2014 by crodney

Last week CRI was fortunate enough to attend the SPN 22nd Annual meeting in Denver. A few photos of the city:

Coors Field at sunset.

Downtown Denver at sunrise.

Downtown Denver at mid-day.

It was great to see almost 1,000 activists for liberty there to network and talk about best practices to advance freedom in the 50 states. Next year in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

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Will we remember 9/11/01 forever?

Thirteen years ago today terrorists hijacked four airplanes, American Airlines flights 11 (crashed into the North Tower) and 77 (crashed into the Pentagon) and United flights 175 (crashed into the South Tower) and 93 (crashed near Shanksville, PA as the result of a courageous battle on board by the flight’s doomed passengers but which was headed for the Capitol in DC).

While time has passed and the memorials have been erected, that changes nothing that our world changed for the worse and has become even more dangerous than it was before. Now we live in a world where civilians are no only targeted, but their deaths are glorified on the internet. This enemy has no national identity, no official flag, and no government structure. They are bound only by their ideology and what they believe they must do to in its name.

The question is: Have we learned much in the last thirteen years? Our nation is in massive debt, more and more people a re unemployed, and the tax and regulatory burden has discouraged entrepreneurship. Checking the top trends on Twitter  as of noon today only three of the top ten trends on Twitter mention the day at all and on Facebook the top ten trends show ZERO mentions of 9/11, but one can find news about Charlie Sheen donating $1,000 to the waiter who says he was stiffed by Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and news that Stevie Wonder has new tour dates.

How will future years of children come to understand 9/11? Or will 9/11/01 be just another moment in time, casually mentioned between mentions of celebrity news and other social media trends?

So on this day, no matter what you do, remember the 3,000 Americans who died, both in the plane crashes, on the ground, and during the rescue process, and remember the millions of lives which changed forever because of the horrific actions of that day.

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