Another glaring example of why the ‘if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor’ mantra President Obama and other ACA enthusiasts touted is simply false:
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said.
“It doesn't surprise me that there's a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
Thorp has been a primary care doctor for 38 years in a small town 90 miles north of Sacramento. The CMA represents 38,000 of the roughly 104,000 doctors in California.
“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” he said.
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country -- 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower.
In other states, Medicare pays doctors $76 for return-office visits. But in California, Medicare’s reimbursement is $24, according to Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, a San Diego ear, nose and throat doctor.
In other states, doctors receive between $500 to $700 to perform a tonsillectomy. In California, they get $160, Mazer added.
Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That's driven many doctors to just say no.
Who would have guessed? Physicians, like I’m sure most working adults, would rather not be paid a fraction of what their services are worth, so are choosing not to participate. This in turn means the pool of doctors available to patients will be smaller. And worse yet, they're currently being led to believe that more doctors are participating than actually are.
“Some physicians have been put in the network and they were included basically without their permission,” Lisa Folberg said. She is a CMA’s vice president of medical and regulatory Policy.
“They may be listed as actually participating, but not of their own volition,” said Donald Waters, executive director of the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association.
Waters' group represents 3,100 doctors in the East Bay area that includes Oakland, with an estimated 200,000 uninsured individuals.
“This is a dirty little secret that is not really talked about as they promote Covered California,” Waters said. He called the exchange's doctors list a “shell game” because “the vast majority” of his doctors are not participating.
Why? Because when asking physicians to participate in the exchange, the memorandum of understanding failed to provide reimbursement rates. As expected, few physicians were willing to blindly agree to participate without knowing what the rates would be.
All of the changes and uncertainty in the health care industry are also, not surprisingly, leading many doctors to consider retiring early. “I just turned 55, and a lot of us are kind of going, ‘Maybe there’s something else we can do in the last 10 years,’ because this is just getting too onerous to keep on going,” said Dr. Theodore M. Mazer, the Washington Examiner reported.
Once again, enrollment does not mean access to care. “[T]here aren’t enough doctors to take the low rates of Medicaid,” said Alex Briscoe, health director for Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, the Washington Examiner reported. “There aren’t enough primary care physicians, period.”
"The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization. It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier which is we had these big agencies, some of which are outdated. Some of which are not designed properly.”
Point one: Hey, don't blame me. Point two: So, it turns out that the federal bureaucracy is actually pretty unwieldy and outmoded. The self-serving blame shift bit is classic Obama. Nothing's ever his fault -- hell, he often claims that he rarely even hears about bad news until it's plastered all over the media. But in his rush to stiff-arm the consequences for his own self-created, credibility-sapping mess, he (likely inadvertently) undermines the Left's entire worldview. They believe that big government can do big things well for the little people, and therefore more government is the path to better outcomes. That's the core of their governing philosophy. This acknowledgement by Obama transforms "Yes We Can!" into "well, maybe we can't -- but it's not my fault." Inspiring. I made this observation on Fox earlier today, and was pleasantly surprised that my Democratic counterpart didn't even attempt any predictable lefty spin. Kudos to Julie for shooting straight:
Before you go, be sure to read these two posts about the back-end problems still plaguing Healthcare.gov and the state exchanges. There's more pain to come -- all of which Barack Obama insists will not reflect one bit on Barack Obama's leadership or management skills. Which, ironically, is the defining flaw of his poor leadership and managerial skills.
As Congress gets ready to battle on immigration reform next year, it's important to take a look at who will help enforce and shape any kind of immigration overhaul. Former Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General and radical open borders attorney Tom Perez was safely put into the position of Labor Secretary by President Obama and the Senate earlier this year, knowing the Department of Justice is safely locked down as pro-amnesty. Perez has a long history of advocating not for American workers, but for illegal alien workers and made sure the Department of Justice was stacked with pro-amnesty attorneys before making his way to the Labor Department.
As a reminder:
Recently the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, followed suit by hiring nearly a dozen pro-amnesty attorneys. DOJ whistleblower and attorney J. Christian Adams has the details:
Despite the sequester, the Department of Homeland Security has just completed a hiring blitz of attorneys to oversee and manage immigration litigation. Almost all of these new civil service attorney hires hail from an activist pro-amnesty and pro-asylum background. Sources within the Department of Homeland Security report that the process for hiring these new career civil service lawyers was unconventional and was conducted by an Obama political appointee within DHS.
The new attorneys have activist backgrounds with a variety of pro-amnesty groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the Advancement Project, and open borders groups funded by the Tides Foundation.
PJ Media previously reported on attorney hires within the Justice Department Civil Rights Division in the Every Single One series. That series demonstrated that every single attorney hire had a leftist or Democrat activist pedigree. The Department of Justice Inspector General criticized those DOJ hiring procedures as producing ideological outcomes. PJ Media only obtained the resumes of DOJ hires after this publication was forced to sue Eric Holder in federal court under the Freedom of Information Act.
Now, sources inside DHS have provided PJ Media with the employment history and pro-amnesty backgrounds of the newly hired lawyers who will be enforcing federal immigration laws.
The ideological histories of these new DHS lawyers undermine confidence that the federal government will vigorously enforce federal laws, notwithstanding any congressional “mandates” to do so.
While amnesty is sure to be the topic that gets the most attention from lawmakers next year, criminal aliens and Mexican drug cartel activity continues to be ignored in Washington D.C. ICE Council President Chris Crane has repeatedly urged Congress to seriously examine these elements.
"We aren't even scratching the surface on the criminal illegal alien problem in the United States," Crane said earlier this year. "That part [cartels] is absent from this discussion as are many parts of this....we know that the drug cartels, that the lieutenants and the troops, the soldiers, they're all within the interior of United States and they're all conducting business as are many other criminal elements and criminal individuals. There are people coming here for this to be a land of opportunity and there are people coming here because the United States for them is a target of opportunity and we believe there is a very disproportionate number of criminals coming into the United States. That conversation is almost completely absent from this entire public conversation about what's happening....It's just another part of this debate that gives us this concern that this is all about politics and not about really fixing the problems that we face within our broken immigration system and providing for what is best for everyone is best for America to include and most importantly, public safety."
House Speaker John Boehner has said if immigration reform legislation is introduced, it will be through smaller proposals, not in a comprehensive, overwhelming fashion.
Last night former Sen. Rick Santorum appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor.” As the appearance followed the news of Nelson Mandela’s death, it was natural that the subject came up. The former GOP presidential candidate said that the former South African President was willing to pay the price for standing up against “great injustice” and then continued to add that Obamacare has become a great injustice in the U.S.
Santorum said, “He was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on now with an ever increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and ObamaCare is front and center in that.”
Now, I am not sure if Santorum is completely aware of what the apartheid regime was like in South Africa, but it doesn’t really equate to what is going on in the U.S. with Obamacare.
Santorum then continued to bury himself by saying, “Nelson Mandela stood up against a great injustice and was willing to pay a huge price for that, and that is the reason he is mourned today, because of that struggle that he performed, but you are right, what he was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer, but he was fighting against some great injustices.”
The Affordable Care Act certainly is not helping this country, but it is not quite as bad as the apartheid system that Nelson Mandela fought so hard against. Perhaps Mr. Santorum needs a reminder about being sensitive to certain issues. We need to fight Obamacare, but 27 years in prison fighting oppression is not quite the same.
Leaders take responsibility — not only for their own actions, but also for the actions of those around them. However, during an interview Thursday President Obama dodged Chris Matthews’ ‘Hardball’ with his usual accountability sidestep.
Matthews basically asked: Why didn’t Secretary Sebelius know who was in charge? Do you have a relationship with your cabinet?
President Obama’s response is anything but authoritative. According to him, the "health care project" in no way reflects his management style (emphasis added):
“First of all I think it's important to distinguish between this particular project, this health care project, where it is obvious that we needed additional controls in place, because it didn't deliver on time the way we wanted. And how we've managed incredibly complex problems for the last five years.
My theory has been, number one, that yes, I've got a strong Chief of Staff but I'm holding every cabinet member accountable and I want to have strong interactions with them, directly.
Number two, is I have an open door policy where I want people bringing me bad news on time so we can fix things.
The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization. It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier which is we had these big agencies, some of which are outdated. Some of which are not designed properly.”
Large agencies and programs — such as Medicare, the Federal Reserve, Medicaid, social security, Obamacare — are certainly difficult to manage. That is why it is crucial to create a working infrastructure before the launch.
When the President of the United States takes his oath he swears to “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
It is the Commander-in-Chief’s role to lead the executive branch. While he may not have complete control of what happens or does not happen, he is still in charge. No military sergeant, symphony conductor or CEO would point to a failed attack, song or project and lay blame on the people under his authority. The President of the United States of America should not be blaming the system he helped to create for failing.
President Obama has many talents. One of them is injecting himself into places he certainly doesn't belong.
1. The Selma Marches
The president claimed to have been conceived following the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. This is impossible as the marches occurred in 1965 and the president was born in August of 1961.
2. Rosa Parkssource
On the anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a bus, the president tweeted a picture of himself. We all know how hard it must have been for the president to fight segregation during his youth in Alabama...just kidding, he went to an exclusive private school in Hawaii.
3. Presidential Biographiessource
President Obama made some cameo appearances in the biographies of other presidents. For instance, never mind the fact that Coolidge was the first president to use radio--Obama was the first to use Twitter!
4. The JFK Assassination Anniversarysource
On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, the White House tweeted a picture of President Obama looking sadly at Kennedy's portrait.
5. Nelson Mandela's Deathsource
True to form, the official White House Twitter account tweeted a picture of the president hugging his daughter in Mandela's prison cell following his death. Because Obama personally worked really hard to end apartheid, or something.
Someone should let the president know that sometimes, it's okay to let others take the spotlight.
President Obama hit the campaign trail again this week in an effort to reboot support for Obamacare as the failed rollout continues with a broken website and broken promises.
Speaking from the White House Tuesday, Obama declared "Obamacare is working," and that we "aren't going back." But for Obamacare to truly be "working" for the American people as promised when the Affordable Care Act was passed, it must in fact be affordable. We've seen the opposite. Young people will pay double under the ACA, young women will see their health insurance premiums increase on average by 193 percent and five million Americans have lost their coverage only to find plans under Obamacare are more expensive for less care.
As the public relations campaign for a law that is unaffordable rolls on, Byron York has noticed something: the administration is no longer talking about Obamacare in terms of affordability.
One striking thing about the new White House Obamacare promotion campaign is that so far it hasn't had much to say about the central focus of Obamacare, which is helping Americans buy affordable health insurance.
One of the left's key tactics is to change language in order to reach a final political goal. We see this all the time on nearly every single issue. The fact that the White House sees a need to eliminate talk of affordability under Obamacare proves yet again the law was sold to the public on a lie. Obamacare wasn't affordable before it was passed, it isn't affordable now and it will never be affordable. Regardless, a Democratic controlled Congress with support from a Democratic president officially named Obamacare The Affordable Care Act anyway.
Most of the focus has been on the enrollment and technical problems associated with the federal exchanges. But the state exchanges are also experiencing some issues of their own:
Even in states where Obamacare enrollment is booming, insurance companies are running into significant behind-the-scenes technical glitches that could threaten Jan. 1 health coverage.
Many of these 14 states and the District of Columbia have been eager to tout the success of their own exchanges compared with the bungled federal portal, but they nowappear to be worrying about back-end problems similar to those afflicting HealthCare.gov.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, perhaps more worrisome is the fact that some so-called 834 forms being sent to providers via the state exchanges -- containing sensitive and personal information -- are inaccurate.
It’s a new twist in the unfolding saga of so-called 834 forms — industry jargon for the application files that insurers receive when someone signs up for coverage through an exchange.
Insurers in Kentucky and New York, for example, say they’ve received flawed 834 enrollment forms from their local exchanges, though the extent of the errors is unclear. Washington state has already had to correct thousands of 834s with faulty information about federal tax credits.
Politico further notes that it’s too early to know with certainty how widespread these problems are. States aren’t disclosing all their technical difficulties, obviously, let alone how many incomplete or inaccurate 834 forms they’re sending out. But it doesn’t seem like they have a plan to fix the problem, that is, if it’s way worse than they’re letting on:
The state exchanges, until now, have dodged the same under-the-hood inspection as HealthCare.gov. Industry insiders suggest that while these exchanges may work well for consumers, they’re still sending flawed applications to health insurers without a clear path to a fix in time for coverage to start Jan. 1.
What could this mean? As many have written, some patients might show up at their doctors’ offices after the New Year only to discover that their paperwork was inaccurate or never sent at all. If that happens, they won’t have health insurance. Thus high enrollments might not necessarily mean higher coverage rates, the White House’s recent end zone dance notwithstanding.
A Gallup poll shows the partisan rift on Obamacare deepening even over the past month. Relative to October's numbers, more Democrats believe the law should be expanded (34%), and more Republicans believe the law should be repealed (68%).
The most significant changes occurred within party demographics as opposed to the general population. Independents nearly reflect the national average, with more favoring repealing the law or scaling it back than expanding it or keeping it as is.
Surprisingly, 11% of Americans still have no opinion on the law despite the fact that it has headlined the news for the past several months.
2% more want to repeal or scale Obamacare back in December than did in October, but this change is remarkably small considering the scathing criticisms of Healthcare.gov's rollout, insurance plan cancellations, and the Obama administration's handling of the crisis. In fact, there has been no change in the percentage who want to repeal the law entirely and only a 5% change in those who want it scaled back since January 2011.
It is hard to imagine that these numbers will shift drastically by the December 23 deadline to enroll for policies that begin January 1 if they have not already.
There was a tale of two Christmases on TV last night. Over at NBC, Carrie Underwood led the cast of “Sound of Music Live!” in a joyous rendition of the Julie Andrews classic. While no one involved in the production is likely to win an Emmy anytime soon, the singing was flawless and it was a squeaky clean program that lived up to its “TV G” rating. Over at Fox it was another story. Glee’s “Previously Unaired Christmas” should have stayed true to its name and remained a lost script, considering it was complete with a bisexual Santa, transgender Virgin Mary and its fair share of drunkenness.
Glee producer Ryan Murphy is used to pushing the moral boundaries on his hit musical show, but last night’s episode may have gone a little too far even for his most loyal viewers – especially Christian ones. In true holiday spirit, the show featured a bisexual “Sexy Santa,” who in one scene makes out with and ties up in bed one of the show’s gay male characters and at another point gets two female characters good and drunk before robbing them blind. While, in another scene, the transgender student Unique portrays the Virgin Mary in their high school’s nativity scene and gives birth to the baby Jesus.
I used to watch Glee. It used to be one of my favorite shows. The characters were likeable, the storylines were (for the most part) primetime appropriate (singing rivalries vs. drunken sexuality) and the musical numbers were fun and fully clothed. But, season one now seems like a distant memory compared with the racy plotlines and immoral behavior it’s promoting today.
Glee is not a late-night program. While it currently airs Thursdays at 9 p.m., starting in February it’s moving to Tuesdays at 8 p.m. – well before many children’s bedtimes. I just hope parents tuned into “The Sound of Music” last night instead of the inappropriate bumping and grinding at Fox.
It’s safe to say “Glee” is no longer one of “My Favorite Things.”
Department of Homeland Security Stacked With Pro-Amnesty Attorneys Ahead of Illegal Immigration Fight | Katie Pavlich