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."


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."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bevin, Conway should publicly debate healthcare on Wednesday in Frankfort

Gubernatorial combatants Matt Bevin and Jack Conway already raised eyebrows by holding their first joint appearance of the fall campaign at a private coal meeting in Virginia. They have a great opportunity this week for a public, second encounter at a Frankfort hearing on the all-important healthcare issue.

There are sure to be fireworks at Wednesday's Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee meeting at 10 am in room 131 in the Capitol Annex in the committee's last monthly meeting before the end of the fiscal year. The Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare has been a fiscal disaster fraught with service failures putting providers and patients at greater risk unecessarily. Conway says he supports it. Bevin says he opposes it.

Audrey Tayse Haynes, Cabinet Secretary of Health and Family Services, is sure to play her usual game of pretending not to know the answers to any difficult questions, such as how much we have spent on Medicaid in the current fiscal year ending this month. Senator Ralph Alvarado is loaded for bear and is likely to turn much-deserved heat on Haynes, but citizens will be poorly served by Haynes' continued dissembling.

Kentuckians of all differing opinions should challenge Conway and Bevin to both bring their opposing viewpoints and help shine a light on this key issue.

How many days till Jack Conway discloses his positions on real Kentucky issues?

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's response to all the Democrats fleeing from his campaign and getting to know Matt Bevin has been pretty standard for failing left-wing candidates: he is freaking out about wanting to see Matt Bevin's tax returns.

Normal Kentuckians have much bigger concerns than whether Democratic operatives will be allowed to legally pore over a Republican gubernatorial candidate's tax records. They want to know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to their lives. Will Jack Conway raise their taxes? If not, how will he pay for the ObamaCare disaster he supports? Will Jack Conway turn on the pension crooks robbing our coffers while funding his campaigns? If so, when? What will Jack Conway do to fix our broken prevailing wage system that has soaked Kentucky taxpayers for decades while enriching his union boss contributors? Will Jack Conway follow the law when the General Assembly declines to ratify his executive orders or does he think Kentucky Constitution Section 69 means the law doesn't apply to a Democratic Governor? Does he think the "right to life" applies to unborn babies?

None of these questions have been answered on Jack Conway's campaign web site. Changing that should be his focus before he makes any more silly demands of Matt Bevin.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Panic: Kentucky Health Cooperative requests 30% rate increase for cheapest ObamaCare plan

The Kentucky Health Cooperative, an ObamaCare-created "public option" run rather unsuccessfully by Frankfort Obamacrats has informed federal regulators they need a thirty percent premium increase on their Bronze plans to continue to survive.

"The rate increase will positively impact the plan’s experience with the historical experience reflecting a ratio of earned premium of $173.2 million to total paid and incurred claims of $349.4 million for 2014," the Cooperative said in its Insurer's Rate Increase Justification filed with federal officials but scrubbed from the Kentucky Department of Insurance web site.

The Kentucky Department of Insurance responded that critics were "talking about rate changes in a vacuum" and added that most Kentuckians on ObamaCare are getting federal subsidies and therefore shouldn't be concerned about real costs.

"It's another embarrassing episode in one of the most bizarre displays of nonsense the world has ever seen," said ObamaCare opponent David Adams. "I wouldn't trust these people to run to the gas station for a Slurpee and we are throwing billions of dollars at them. It has to stop."

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Minimum wage hike is a Frankfort tax increase

Frankfort Obamacrats are jumping in with both feet for Gov. Steve Beshear's unilateral move yesterday to raise executive branch state employee minimum wage to $10.10 and hour.

"The wage increases will cost about $1.6 million," the Lexington Herald Leader reported, "and less than $800,000 of that cost will come from the General Fund, Beshear said. Other sources of money, he said, include federal dollars, the state Road Fund and various state agency accounts."

Bottom line is all the cost of the increase will be paid by taxpayers. But this is far from the last word on the matter.

Beshear created the tax increase with another one of his executive orders citing as authority KRS 12, which grants him temporary powers when the legislature is out of session. The Herald Leader mentions this wrinkle but misses the point of it.

"The General Assembly can review Beshear’s order when legislators return to session in early January, but it would be difficult for them to lower state workers’ wages. The next governor also could roll back Beshear’s order, but Beshear said Monday he doubts that will happen."

The point they miss is that only the legislature can make Beshear's executive action permanent and if they do not it legally goes away. The 800 state workers affected by the minimum wage tax increase might be upset by such a wage cut, but by law if the legislature does not confirm the order then the initial hike no longer exists. They can't sue anyone for failing to execute a law which does not exist.

The interesting political part of this is if Jack Conway is elected Governor, he will probably try to play out the same executive order scam Beshear has in cramming ObamaCare down Kentuckians' throats. If Matt Bevin is elected Governor, the executive order will expire with the next General Assembly and he will not attempt to execute a law which does not exist.

Literally no one benefits in the long run if we continue Beshear's nasty habit of ignoring the failure of temporary executive orders. If we perpetuate the practice, we will literally need a separate Governor's Journal for keeping track of statutes the government no longer chooses to follow until we decide to just go ahead and let politicians ignore all laws. Frankfort Dems are trying to make hay with this issue and we should let them. It's a discussion whose time has come.

Friday, June 05, 2015

GOP can do better for Matt Bevin

Jack Conway's Kentucky Democratic Party is literally running circles around the Republican Party of Kentucky on the governor's race, but only because RPK is standing still.

The Dems put out an attack today lobbing five bombs at Matt Bevin. RPK responded with an email mentioning the attack but responding only that you should send money to Matt.

A real response from RPK would mean contradicting Mitch McConnell 2014, but there's no reason to be squeamish about that since Mitch has already publicly changed his tune about Matt with an unequivocal endorsement of the only conservative in the fall gubernatorial election.

It's really not that hard at all. Let's take them in order.

Dems claim: "Matt Bevin didn't tell the truth about attending MIT." This is absurdly false and would only be perpetuated by someone lacking scruples or brains or -- in this case, at least -- both. Matt attended and completed an invitation-only program for successful entrepreneurs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and described it precisely as such on his LinkedIn page. The fact Jack Conway and his Frankfort pals can't recognize an honor like this or distinguish it from undergraduate matriculation, again, doesn't speak well for their cognitive abilities. The fact they are parroting an oft-told McConnell lie is a discredit to McConnell and Conway. They should both be made to separate themselves from their lies immediately. McConnell should go first.

Dems claim: "Matt Bevin mislead (sic) Kentuckians about his support for cockfighting." It was a rookie mistake for Matt to campaign at a rally in support of cockfighting in Corbin last year and he compounded the error by claiming confusion about the purpose of the rally. Bottom line, if he didn't know what the event was, he should have known. To his credit, Matt actually apologized for confusion caused by his attendance. But Matt never made cockfighting part of his campaign or claimed "support" for it, unlike Jack Conway who has made multiple appearances with the likes of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Eric Holder without explanation or apology. Most Kentuckians could stomach sporting fowl more easily than they could endure the stench of those associations.

Dems claim: "Bailout Bevin." This is another debunked charge from McConnell 2014. A lightning strike destroyed equipment in Bevin's bell factory that was literally too old to insure. He was ready to shutter the business when offered state tax credits encouraged him to keep it open. Same goes for an old charge that Matt supported the bank bailouts, which doesn't square with the facts at all. Neither Conway nor McConnell are about to come out in opposition to performance-based tax credits which save jobs and both unequivocally support the TARP bailouts. Again, two apologies are appropriate and McConnell shouldn't wait to go first.

Dems claim: "Bevin failed to pay his taxes." This one has also been debunked. The taxing authorities in both cases absolved Matt of any kind of failure. Again, two apologies are appropriate. Mitch, you're up.

Dems claim: "Even Republicans don't trust him." This one is all on Mitch. Conway and friends quote McConnell and McConnell staffers launching ridiculous attacks against Matt. Do the right thing, Senator McConnell, and clear the air on this old nonsense.

Even if Mitch proves "too busy" to take care of his responsibilities here, RPK can't let lingering fear of McConnell prevent them from doing the bare minimum to defend their nominee from this garbage so we can keep the focus on real 2015 Kentucky issues like getting multiple Frankfort overspending and mismanagement issues under control and better positioning Kentucky for private sector growth rather than shoring up our position as one of the most corrupt and poorly managed state governments in America.

More Frankfort Obamacrat skulduggery

Looks like the Kentucky Department of Insurance has grown tired of answering questions about hiding evidence of ObamaCare failures, hiding it some more, violating federal law to keep it hidden, falsifying data to continue to keep Kentuckians in the dark and then having no answers for when people start to learn the truth.

That's the only possible explanation for the fact they have removed any trace of the true ObamaCare rate increase figures which lasted on the site for about a day. The Kentucky Department of Insurance web site has been scrubbed of its link to rate increase information which can still be found at www.ratereview.healthcare.gov.

"Their health reform policy does not work, has not worked and cannot work, but Frankfort Obamacrats have frankly done a great job of spinning the ObamaCare disaster around in circles so many times the media doesn't even try to call them on garbage like this," said leading ObamaCare critic David Adams. "Kentuckians should look forward to getting a Republican governor in November if for no other reason than to see our press corps to start showing a little fortitude again."

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Frankfort Obamacrats understate ObamaCare premium increases for 2016

The Kentucky Department of Insurance released a partial list of "average rate increases" for 2016 ObamaCare health plans in the state yesterday which conflict with the rates they sent to the Obama Administration.

The DOI's release yesterday claimed Anthem had requested an average increase of 14.6%, but reported to Obama four different rate increases for four different Anthem plans: 13.18%, 14.31%, 17.00% and 21.46%. The average of those numbers is 16.49%. The DOI's release yesterday claimed Humana had requested an average increase of 5.2%, but reported to Obama six different rate increases for six different Humana plans: 13.74%, 11.63%, 25.88%, 11.28%, 11.78%, and 10.98%. The average of those numbers is 14.22%.

This is exactly the kind of dishonesty and confusion we have come to expect from these people.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Kentucky Death Spiral: Biggest ObamaCare insurer seeks 25% rate hike

The Kentucky Health Cooperative was created with tax dollars under ObamaCare and kept afloat with subsequent grants of millions more. Now they want a twenty five percent average premium increase for 2016, according to Ronda Sloan of the Kentucky Department of Insurance.

This information came after repeated requests made to the Department of Insurance to divulge premium information the Obama Administration appears to be sitting on.

"I'm still waiting to see their official filing because this 'average' rate increase language looks a little fishy," said David Adams, leading opponent of ObamaCare in Kentucky. "Obamacrats have been consistently untrustworthy and slow to tell the whole truth since the beginning of their health reform debacle, so I won't be surprised at all if it is even worse than we are being told."

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Six states ducking required ObamaCare transparency; one blames Obama

When yesterday's deadline for states to post 2016 ObamaCare health premiums passed, all but California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island had complied. But only Kentucky was blaming President Obama for the failure.

Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan insists the Obama Administration has Kentucky's rates and is choosing not to make them available to the public.

"We are waiting to hear when Kentucky's submitted information will be posted to the federal site," Sloan said, while refusing repeated requests to make the rates available herself.

So far only the Louisville Courier Journal has expressed even minimal interest in the controversy among the mainstream media types and Sloan has stopped responding to emails. Those hidden rates can't stay hidden forever.

Kentucky misses June 1 ObamaCare transparency deadline; blames Obama

Kentucky Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan said state officials sent 2016 ObamaCare health insurance premium information to federal authorities for posting on the healthcare.gov web site, but the rates were not published yesterday.

"We are waiting to hear when Kentucky's submitted information will be posted to the federal site," she said.

While appearing to throw the President of the United States under the bus for missing the required transparency deadline, Sloan also refused repeated attempts to merely divulge the information so it could be published here.

"The complete filings are available through open records," she said.

The apparent disdain for the public's right to know and even federal law drew a swift rebuke from Kentucky's most vocal critic of state and federal health reform shenanigans.

"Obama and Beshear have treated the law like toilet paper so many times in turning our doctor's offices into police state outposts we have become numb to the shock," said David Adams, plaintiff in a legal effort to curtail Kentucky's participation in ObamaCare. "But there is only one reason they would not want us to see the upcoming health insurance premiums in a timely fashion. If we are paying attention at all, the politician who should get hit hard on this right away is Jack Conway."

Monday, June 01, 2015

Trouble in ObamaCare's Bluegrass paradise?

Barack Obama and Steve Beshear aren't ready for you to see how much ObamaCare is going up in Kentucky.

Recent data on Kentucky's skyrocketing ObamaCare health premiums has been scrubbed from the state's Department of Insurance web site for weeks, but full disclosure of proposed rate increases was supposed to be posted today, according to Ronda Sloan of the Kentucky Department of Insurance.

"We are waiting to hear when Kentucky’s submitted information will be posted on the federal site. We were told earlier that the states’ information would be going online gradually throughout the day. If I hear anything later this evening, I will send you an email," Sloan said.

It is common sense that if the rate increase information were good, Beshear and Jack Conway would have been choking back tears at a press conference earlier today.