Friday, July 03, 2015

Humana, Aetna merger part of ObamaCare's new 'Forty acres and a mule' empty promise

Just as freed slaves languished post-Civil War expecting forty acres and a mule promised by federal authorities, healthcare consumers wait in vain for better service and lower prices while Obamacrats enrich themselves amid escalating costs and wait times. Today's announced merger between Humana and Aetna provides another high profile milestone in the federal takeover of healthcare in America.

Healthcare consumers are literally being rounded up into smaller pens by giant federally-shielded insurers, given fewer and fewer avenues for redress of grievances and nothing but lip service from state regulators. As if on cue, the ridiculous Kentucky Department of Insurance issued a statement promising "a thorough evaluation of the (merger) proposal" with "particular attention paid to the ... impact on policyholders."

"A henhouse guarded by foxes has better odds than insurance consumers hoping for protection from these government regulators," said ObamaCare opponent David Adams. "Matt Bevin's consumer-friendly proposal to end Kentucky's ruinous certificate of need racket stands even more in stark contrast with the Frankfort status quo perpetuated by these mindless bureaucrats."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New day in Kentucky close enough to taste

Most Kentuckians have yearned for a powerful news source to balance out the far left bias of our state-based news media for many years and the wait is now all but over.

Yes, I know I said the same thing six months ago, but the website for Kentucky Today is currently up. It's in soft launch mode, but a full-blown "progressive" freak out is in order. The site should be fully functioning in less than two weeks.

Kentucky Today's focus may be a little heavy on the social issues for some, but demand for simple, honest general news reporting from journalists has created an enormous opportunity in the marketplace. Editor Roger Alford is well aware of that opportunity and is committed to serving the huge segment of Kentuckians disappointed and left behind by the mainstream media.

I expect the Kentucky Today model to change the way Frankfort operates pretty quickly and it will if we add our voices to it right away and keep it going. The site is set up for comments and the staff is intensely interested in gaining more readers than the other state papers right away. Being part of that process should be exciting. Jump in!

Monday, June 29, 2015

ObamaCare fight continues and we're winning

Lost in all the gloom surrounding another terrible U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare is the narrowing focus on federal health reform to whether or not it is working. And it isn't.

Data on uninsured Americans has always been highly suspect and that has only gotten worse as the left shifted from manufacturing a crisis to attempting to show they have fixed the problem.

Government intervention in healthcare has been the main driver of increasing costs and declining customer service quality in recent decades and this failure was barely camouflaged by an unprecedented technological boom in the industry before ObamaCare made it worse. The bad financial news surrounding ObamaCare will only increase in volume and frequency in the days ahead and that argument is not one Obamacrats can bluster their way out of.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Political case for ObamaCare repeal just got stronger

The U.S. Supreme Court just put a big smile on Barack Obama's face with some crazy mental contortions claiming there is no difference between federal and state governments so ObamaCare can continue even in the three dozen states who don't want it. What to watch for next is an overwhelming and sustained Tea Party response.

The Court's ruling is indeed 'absurd,' as Justice Scalia wrote ine his dissent. We are destroying America by pretending the rule is law is a goalpost on wheels. In Kentucky, the only reason to keep Kynect now is to waste state money the federal government will spend without substantial change to ObamaCare here. The real news going forward is the Court can't repeal economic reality, which continues to hit Kentuckians hard with a deteriorating healthcare system under federal control and the Kentucky Health Cooperative about to go out of business.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Frankfort media fiddles while Kynect burns

The largest newspaper in America just today scooped Kentucky's mainstream media on an aging story about the dire financial condition of the state's top ObamaCare health insurer.

"Until recently, the Kentucky Health Cooperative had been considered one of the more successful co-ops, with 75% of enrollees in the state's health exchange," the Wall Street Journal reported on its Opinion page. "Yet there are disturbing similarities between this cooperative and the one that failed in Iowa. Kentucky Health Cooperative's $147 million in taxpayer loans has been exhausted. To maintain a semblance of solvency, it is applying for a big premium increase ... and banking on so-called risk-protection payments from other insurers."

The abysmal job Kentucky journalists have done so far telling people about the disaster of ObamaCare and the state's ObamaCare exchange "Kynect" is in itself a major news story. The good news is that a new major newspaper will begin operating in Kentucky in a matter of days. Not a moment too soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NPR upset GOP hasn't caved on ObamaCare

The only reason ObamaCare is still standing at all is because President Obama has violated the law dozens of times rather than allow natural consequences to take effect. A particularly galling example of that could be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as Friday.

And if the Court rules the Obama IRS can't ignore the law and dole out subsidies in states without their own ObamaCare "exchange," Democrats and their friends at NPR are aghast at the possibility that the ensuing chaos might happen under the watch of Congressional Republicans.

Of course, that's the same chaos written into the bill by Congressional Democrats which observers have been predicting would end badly for years now. And the best is yet to come for Kentucky after the Court rules and Jack Conway gets to explain over and over why he continues to support Obama's "reform."

Jack Conway: I'll be the Bruce Jenner of corporate welfare if you make me your Governor

A key point in Jack Conway's jobs plan issued today might upset Gov. Steve Beshear by proposing to surgically remove some of Beshear's corporate welfare deals, the incessant creation of which Beshear has used as his primary form of administration activity these last eight years.

"As Governor," Conway promised, "Iʼll conduct a top-to-bottom review of every tax incentive we have in the Economic Development Cabinet. This will allow us to make certain that we have the right tools in the toolbox to bring good-paying jobs here."

Cutting off Beshear's empty corporate giveaway gestures only to replace them with whatever might be in Conway's "toolbox" sounds like trans-cronyism, crossing the boundary between Beshear's failed economic policy to Conway's. We would be far better served by shutting down the "Economic Development Cabinet" and ending the game of trying to pick winners and losers with special tax deals.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Aetna and UnitedHealthCare want to do WHAT to Kentucky health insurance consumers in 2016?!

Without federal subsidies, ObamaCare has been a disaster for health insurers and their customers. With federal subsidies, ObamaCare has been a disaster so far only for consumers. This explains why insurers Aetna and UnitedHealthCare want to expand their offerings for individual health insurance in Kentucky in 2016.

But if you expect any more details than that, forget it.

It's amazing, really, to look at the actuarial reports they have filed with the Obamacrats. A new feature, brought to you by the most transparent administration in history, provides massively redacted filings which would otherwise shed light on how these companies intend to "serve" consumers in the Commonwealth. (See Aetna and UnitedHealthCare filings.)

These rate filing documents take absurdity in redacting to a new level. One example: in the UnitedHealthCare filing, in addition to the pages of charts with literally everything blacked out, there is the following sentence about premium projections on Page 2: "Annual trend is expected to (REDACTED) in the state of Kentucky."

Precisely.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kentucky ObamaCare health plans rival state pension plans for shockingly bad numbers

Frankfort Obamacrats have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into providing their long-promised transparency and today we got a much clearer understanding of their hesitation. All three of the private health insurers in Kentucky's "exchange" last year had 2014 claims far in excess of the premium dollars they collected.

Anthem actually led the way in terms of attempting to collect enough in premium dollars. Their claims totaled a mere 129.30% of premiums. Humana came in second with claims 158.56% of premiums. The dreadful Kentucky Health Cooperative is on the hook for an astounding 201.73% in claims divided by premiums.

This is why the 2016 rate increase requests keep getting bigger.

"Frankfort Obamacrats have sold themselves on the idea that we can afford to turn healthcare into an all-you-can-eat buffet for sumo wrestlers and we just can't do it," said David Adams, leading critic of ObamaCare in Kentucky. "This and Kentucky's pension mess are the fattest public policy malfeasance stories of the last century. All you have to do is look."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top Frankfort Obamacrat embarrassed in committee

The pressure of being Kentucky's top appointed Obamacrat seems to be getting to Audrey Tayse Haynes.

As Secretary of Health and Family Services, she was invited to testify to the legislature's Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee this morning in Frankfort. It didn't go well.

Haynes bristled under criticism that Gov. Beshear's hand-picked Medicaid management companies (MCOs) are not paying doctors and hospitals properly to treat Kentucky's fast-growing ObamaCare Medicaid population. Fixing the problem, she demanded, means giving her more money.

"If in the new biennium budget you want to increase hospital rates," Haynes practically screamed,"give us some more money!"

By insisting the problem is lack of money available for spending, Haynes clearly did not realize she set herself up for what came next.

"How much money have the MCOs been paid this year?" Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) asked.

"Off the top of my head, I can not tell you...," Haynes mumbled into her microphone. Then without taking a breath, she quickly rediscovered her haughty tone, claiming absurdly that not divulging spending totals was somehow related to limits on MCO profitability.

"... because they are only allowed to make a certain amount of profit," she said.

Another point of contention on which Haynes fared poorly was the issue of MCO nonpayment of medical claims. Haynes showed an overhead projector slide claiming fewer than 1% unpaid claims. When called on this, Haynes pivoted to accuse doctors of attempting to collect illegal cash payments. Several committee members mentioned being inundated with complaints of non-payment from doctors, including those who have brought a class-action lawsuit against the MCOs.

The low point of the hearing for Haynes had to be when pro-ObamaCare legislators Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) and Rep. David Watkins (D-Henderson) joined in the criticism of her attempt to paint an inaccurately positive picture of Medicaid expansion in Kentucky.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Steve Beshear has been hiding for eleven months

Every month since the start of Kentucky's fiscal year, legislators and citizens have asked Frankfort Obamacrats how much we are spending on Medicaid and every time the answer has been the same.

They say they don't know.

The truth is, of course, that they do know but don't want to say. June is the end of the fiscal year and they will have to report something, which should be interesting. Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes will face this question tomorrow at 10 am in Frankfort and she knows it. She also knows Kentucky's media watchdogs will let her get away, again, with pleading ignorance.

Secretary Haynes testifies Wednesday morning in room 131 of the Capitol Annex in Frankfort in front of the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee.

"Steve Beshear is a lame duck and Jack Conway is the new top Obamacrat in Frankfort," said leading ObamaCare opponent David Adams. "Jack is doing everything he can to deflect attention from his party's Medicaid dishonesty, but Kentuckians need to know how bad the damage is. The time for Jack's silly political games is over."