Archive for the ‘Consumer News’ Category
Senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) filed Senate Bill 4 to exempt North Carolina from establishing a state-based health insurance exchange or a state-federal partnership exchange.
The bill also directs the N.C. Department of Insurance to return unspent taxpayer funds awarded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month to create a state-federal partnership exchange.
“Obamacare was forced on us against our will by the federal government, and they should shoulder the burden of implementing it,” said Sen. Apodaca. “Any claim that North Carolina would ‘control’ this program is nothing more than an illusion.”
Senate Bill 4 also rules out expansion of the North Carolina Medicaid program. In its 2012 decision on Obamacare, the U.S. Supreme Court exempted states from the federal mandate to expand Medicaid eligibility. Based on the court’s ruling, North Carolina has the authority to opt out of expansion.
Costs for North Carolina’s existing Medicaid program have increased significantly in recent years. In 2012, the General Assembly was forced to fill a surprise Medicaid shortfall that totaled more than $500 million. Recent figures from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that an expansion of the program would add hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state costs to North Carolina’s Medicaid budget through 2019.
“Senate Republicans are committed to ensuring every North Carolinian receives the highest quality health care and outcomes,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “Saddling our citizens with the enormous costs of a new federal bureaucracy and entitlements is simply not the way to achieve this goal.”
Under Obamacare, each state must have in place a health exchange where individuals and small businesses, which are now mandated to have insurance, can purchase health care coverage. There are three options: a state-run exchange, a state-federal partnership exchange and a federally-run exchange. Senate leaders have spent months evaluating the implications of each type of exchange.
In November 2012, former Gov. Beverly Perdue prematurely declared her intent to establish a state-federal partnership exchange – three months before the deadline for the state to make this declaration – while at the same time applying for $73.9 million dollars in federal grant funding to set up the new government program.
With the beginning of the new year, more of the provisions of Democrats’ massive, unpopular health care law are going into effect and news reports are, again, popping up illustrating all the negative impacts on health care this ill-conceived law will have.
The New York Times reported last week, “Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own. In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013.”
Politico adds today, “If you work for a small business, your next health insurance premium may give you sticker shock. Many of the small-business and individual insurance policies are working the health reform law’s 2014 fees into their 2013 bills, contributing to double-digit premium increases for some people. All those new consumer benefits packed into the health reform law — birth control without a co-pay, free preventive care and limits on when insurers can turn down a customer — had to be paid for somehow.”
“Insurers say they have no choice but to increase premiums to cover those costs,” Politico writes. “But it’s hitting pocketbooks sooner than some people expected, and that’s causing controversy. Everyone, even many of the law’s supporters, admit premiums are going to go up under the health law — although many people will get subsidies to help pay for coverage. Many of the costs — and the priciest benefits — were pushed beyond the 2012 election to 2014. But if the public revolts when they see 10 percent,15 percent or 20 percent rate hikes, already shaky support for the health law could suffer. . . . Now, insurers are being proactive, arguing the health law is driving the increase in prices. ‘There’s a massive new health insurance tax that starts in 2014,’ said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans. ‘For policies that are sold in 2013 and extend into next year, there’s going to be taxes imposed. … As a result, like all taxes, they will be reflected in premiums charged.’”
Meanwhile, the health care law is already resulting in cutbacks at health providers and is likely to hurt job creation in the years to come. In a story titled, “Delaware Hospice lays off 52 workers amid federal changes,” the Delaware News Journalwrites, “Delaware Hospice’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Lloyd said Wednesday the nonprofit healthcare provider has laid off 52 workers in a restructuring necessitated by shrinking federal reimbursements. The job cuts, which carve significantly into the organizations 400-member staff, impact jobs in all departments in Delaware, and in Delaware and Chester counties in Pennsylvania, Lloyd said. . . . . Lloyd said the cuts were unavoidable and represent a national trend of providers adapting to changes in health care reimbursement. . . . ‘The decision was not made lightly and it is a direct result of a consequential decline in census and the need to position the organization to meet additional changes and challenges that the hospice industry anticipates with health care reform.’”
And USA Today reported recently, “Many businesses plan to bring on more part-time workers next year, trim the hours of full-time employees or curtail hiring because of the new health care law, human resource firms say. Their actions could further dampen job growth, which already is threatened by possible federal budget cutbacks resulting from the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. ‘It will have a negative impact on job creation’ in 2013, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses that employ at least 50 full-time workers — or the equivalent, including part-time workers — must offer health insurance to staffers who work at least 30 hours a week. Employers that don’t provide coverage must pay a $2,000-per-worker penalty, excluding the first 30 employees.”
Republicans warned about all these consequences as Obamacare was being debated, but Democrats and President Obama ignored them and the disapproval of the American people. In December 2009, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s abundantly clear that the more Americans learn about this bill, the more they oppose it. And now we know the same goes for businesses. Businesses that can’t insure workers face stiff fines, resulting in lost wages and jobs, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office. What’s more, studies suggest that this so-called employer mandate would have a disproportionate impact on low-income, entry-level workers. At a time of [high] unemployment, we should be doing everything we can to create jobs. This bill would only lead to more lost jobs.”
And the night Democrats jammed the bill through the Senate, Leader McConnell said “[H]ere’s the reality: the Democrat bill we’re voting on tonight raises health care costs. That’s not me talking — that’s the administration’s own budget scorekeeper. It raises premiums — that’s the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office talking. It raises taxes on tens of millions of middle class Americans. . . . It forces people off the plans they have — including millions of seniors.”
This terrible legislation still needs to be repealed and replaced, but until then it will unfortunately continue to raise premiums, raise health care costs, hurt care, and hurt jobs.
Thursday, KCC received a note from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation regarding the off-the-wall Fiscal Deficit “fix” just passed by Congress. Perhaps many of you received it, too. We all need to jump in together and save America from the bad economic policy. Read on:
There they go again.
Recently Congress passed a bill to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But instead of focusing on the real driver of our fiscal imbalance, runaway government spending, Congress passed a bill that’s all taxes and no serious spending reductions. The bill was filled with terrible economic policy from top to bottom. The one bright spot is that we’re finally starting to establish some permanency in the tax code, an important element of economic stability.
Take action today and remind Congress the American people still want them to cut spending!
Here’s a quick rundown of the bill:
Taxes: the bill fails to protect the economy from all the tax hikes. Everything from capital investment, to labor, to consumption, and even death will be more heavily taxed in 2013. None of that will spur economic growth.
Spending: remember when both President Obama and Speaker Boehner talked about a “balanced approach?” This bill is a classic Washington tax-and-spend bill with no spending cuts to be found. What’s worse, it actually includes billions in new spending.
Even while raising taxes on hardworking Americans, Congress recognized that high taxes hurt economic growth and so they handed out myriad special carve outs so their friends wouldn’t feel the bite. Wind energy, motorsports entertainment complexes and even the hard-up Hollywood tycoons got a special tax break in the bill.
In addition to the damage these policies will do to the economy, raising taxes in a deficit fight just puts a Band-Aid on the problem. Runaway government spending is still the main problem with the federal budget and with the nation’s economy.
Thank you for all you do for economic freedom and we look forward to fighting side-by-side with you in 2013.
Americans for Prosperity
We are now live blogging the closing session of the American for Prosperity Foundation’s Defending the Dream Conference. It’s their largest event of the year, attended by conservatives nationwide. Please excuse spelling errors.
Vice President of AFPF, Alan Cobb is first up to speak. Keep checking for updates. Your blogger sat with his teenage children last night at the Ronald Reagan dinner and they mentioned how much time and financial resources he donates to this cause. He is introducing Brent Bozell, KCC’s hero, founder of the Media Reasearch Center.
His father was also a hero of this blogger, helping to start the original conservative movement right before Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency. The number ! story in this election cycle is unemployment and the economy. Yet ABC, CBS, and NBC didn’t report this terrible news, until they absolutely had to. ABC still has not reported it.
Gas prices went up and only 27 stories came out. Yet during the Bush years, four times as many gas prices stories came out.
The media also has plenty of time plenty of time for Mitt Romney and his “gaffs”. Four years ago when Obama went overseas, the Big Three networks treated him like a GOD. Don’t worry because new media will take them over, and we have!!!
Tim Phillips, president of AFP, is introducing the state directors. In this blogger’s opinion, he should give Dallas Woodhouse and the North Carolina team special recognition. We were the very first state, originally organized as Citizens for a Sound Economy.
Mark Levin is now speaking and says its Barack Obama’s birthday, to much laughter.
He says we are standing on great shoulders. He reminded us of the one generation freedom is from extinction as Ronald Reagan said. Abraham Lincoln said that our worst enemy comes from within.
He says things like social justice, economic equality, and such things have come into our culture. It’s hard to believe that the President of the United States is one of the malcontents that are being created. It’s seeping into our culture by indoctrination. We now live in a post constitutional world, thanks to these malcontents.
He mentioned Woodrow Wilson. He condemned Federalism and the notion of state sovereignty. He said liberty was a privildge. The will determine the scope of the office. He called this “constitutional adaptation.” I call it bull crap, said Levin.
Is there anything the Federal Government cannot regulate if it chooses to? Levin mentioned the recent the Supreme Court ruling that said the government can regulate our physical and mental health. It’s a post-constitutional goverment in an increasingly authoritarian society.
He mentioned that it’s Obama’s birthday today, but so what, it’s also Saturday.
No President has had more contempt for the country he leads and for the people he represents. Mr. President, if you don’t understand the way American works, how can you fundamentally transform it?
Levin asks “since when does the money you earn belong to the government?”
Obama said if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.
Obama says it’s time for a revolution, but Levin says its time to reinstate the American Revolution!
The Obama administration has driven up our debt in four years more than $41 trillion, more than all other presidents combined. The poor have gotten poorer. The welfare state is growing and collapsing at the same time.
“What the hell are our kids gonna do”, asks Levin.
The challenge today is much more complicated than previous wars because the challenge is from within.
No society is guaranteed perpetual existence. That’s why we must work for this election, next election, and in the elections beyond. We have no choice. This is our country and we want it back!
Standing roudy ovation.
This ends our live blogging session. We’ll have more on this wonderful Defending the Dream Conference soon.
It’s time to work the phones, North Carolina conservatives! This according to the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women.
According an action alert sent to members, legislative chairman Joyce Krawiec wrote:
Our Republican led House and Senate recently passed S820 to allow for Hydraulic Fracturing in NC. This technology would enable NC to harvest natural gas which would be a huge job creator for our state. The Governor had said she would be in favor of this legislation but now, it is expected that she will veto this legislation. We need to contact certain Legislators that we believe may be leaning to vote for overriding the Governor’s veto.
Krawiec urged readers to telephone and e-mail the following Representatives. She added that callers should be extremely polite and keep your message simple:
Don’t let Governor Perdue continue to block jobs and energy security in North Carolina. Please override the veto of Senate Bill 820.
Rep. Pat McElraft 919 733 6275 email@example.com
Rep. Dewey Hill 919 733 5830 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. William Brisson 919 733 5772 email@example.com
Rep. Bryan Holloway 919 733 5609 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Tim Spear 919 715 3029 email@example.com
Rep. Bill Owens 919 733 0010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Marcus Brandon 919 733 5825 email@example.com
Rep. Susi Hamilton 919 733 5754 firstname.lastname@example.org
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the nation’s largest advocate for economic freedom, announced today the roll-out of a significant new effort in response to the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care law.
AFP President Tim Phillips said, “While we are deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling, this is far from over. AFP will continue to work to defeat President (Barack) Obama’s unaffordable, irresponsible, unaccountable law that burdens the American people with a crushing new tax.”
The ad begins airing today in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin.
“Not A Tax” is just one part of a multi-tiered effort that includes online activism and significant grassroots action in over a dozen states. The total budget for this effort is $9 million.
According to North Carolina’s statewide director, Dallas Woodhouse, the North Carolina portion of the ad buy is $1 million. ”This is a vital state in the upcoming national election” he told a group the Craven County taxpayers, meeting in New Bern on Thursday evening.
Ironically, on the final run day of “The Private Sector is Fine“, your blogger noticed that the Obama team had finally gotten on the air to dispute it.
Watch the ad below:
Join the North Carolina Americans for Prosperity as they hit the road headed for Greenville, New Bern, and Wilmington for their “Not Doing Fine” events. (See video, below.) You may have seen President Obama declare that the private sector is “doing fine” while thousands are out of work and companies are struggling with executive branch demands, such as Obamacare.
It’s costing companies so much that they cannot afford to hire more workers that the cycle of recession continues. Yet, our clueless President continues to thumb his (very large) nose at the problem.
What can you do? If you live in Eastern North Carolina, come on out to the following events and let your voice be heard. Local TV and news papers, plus KCC and other bloggers will be on hand to record what YOU think. Don’t miss out!
Wednesday, June 27 ”It’s Not Doing Fine” Events
AFP staffers will collect “It’s Not Doing Fine” petitions and talk with citizens about how they can fight Obama’s disastrous policies. Stop by for free food, beverages and conversation!
Greenville: 7:00-9:00 am Rep Express Catering, 805 Red Banks Road, 27858
Talk of the Town with Henry Hinton will broadcast live on location from Rep Express.
New Bern: 5:00-6:00 pm Captain Rattys’s Seafood and Steakhouse, 202 Middle Street, 28560
Eastern Carolina News and Views will broadcast live on location from Capt Ratty’s.
Thursday, June 28 “It’s Not Doing Fine” Events
AFP Staffers will be on hand to collect “It’s Not Doing Fine Petitions” and discuss with citizens what we can do to fight Obama’s disastrous policies. Stop by for a great food and conversation!
Wilmington: 5:30-10:30 am Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill (banquet room), 4240 Market Street, 28403
Big Talker Radio with Chad Adams will broadcast live on location from Capt’n Bill’s.
New Bern: 5:00-7:00 pm Bridgepoint Hotel, 101 Howell Street, 28562
Viewpoints with Lockwood Phillips will broadcast live on location from the hotel.
Can’t make it to the events? Sign the petition and spread the word!
Saturday, June 30 Hands Off My Health Care Rally
Raleigh: 10:00 am-3:00 pm Crabtree Valley Marriott
Hands Off My Health Care Rally
Saturday, June 30
Crabtree Valley Marriott, 4500 Marriott Drive 27612
Free lunch and carnival food!
10:00 am Fun activities for children and Freedom Phone banking
12:00 noon Hands Off My Health Care Rally
1:00-3:00 pm More Freedom Phone banking
Once again, the Republican members of the Wake County Commission have failed the taxpayers of North Carolina’s capital county. Red Hat, one of the Triangle region’s most successful companies, came hat-in-hand, to the public trough, asking for $650,000 and the GOP lead group, came through. This is a group that the Wake County Republican party worked tirelessly to elect and we feel certain that they won’t be happy.
Republican Commissioners Paul Coble (running for Congress), Tony Gurley (running as “the conservative candidate” for Lt. Governor), Phil Matthews, and Joe Bryan all voted FOR this measure. Liberals Betty Lou Ward and James West also joined in.
According to Board Clerk, Susan Banks, only Erv Portman cast a vote against. All conservatives should drop Commissioner Portman a note of thanks for standing alone to protect the taxpayers of Wake County.
Red Hat wants to leave its longtime home on North Carolina State University’s Centennial campus, and move to downtown Raleigh into the recently vacated Progress Energy building. Progress Energy was recently acquired/merged with Duke Power and those employees have either lost their jobs or have been relocated.
In the name of “jobs”, Red Hat deemed that the “needed” this money to bring more jobs, not only to Wake County, but to lawmakers’ precious downtown, that has already received more than its fair share of public financing.
KCC understands that Red Hat, a successful manufacturer of the Linux computer operating system, would have been fine without the money. We like to call this effort, the Red Hat Poverty Fund.
politicians have become afraid to oppose the practice of luring companies with the promise of tax breaks.
It’s time to get companies off the public dole in the ole’ North State. However, it won’t be happening anytime soon. Both the State of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh are expected to vote to chip in to the Red Hat poverty fund. After all, no self-respecting politician wants to appear to oppose jobs, even in the face of principle!
Editor’s Note: According to the News and Observer, Commissioner Paul Coble said it’s written into the policy of the county commission. With a Republican Leadership, this policy MUST be changed!
DENVER – Looks like the “Occupiers” are ready to act, again and this time, conservatives are ready. We here in Denver at the Blogcon Conference, sponsored by FreedomWorks, expect them to hit us at about 5 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EST).
So far, it’s been an exciting day, with all levels of bloggers in the packed house, including the regular “Legion of Doom” gang, of which your blogger is a member. The “Legion” is a tight-knit group of about 40 bloggers who see each other regularly at these events.
FreedomWorks, a supporter of economic freedom, is as unpopular with liberal groups as is the Americans for Prosperity. Inspired by their counterparts in Washington, DC last weekend, they are have tweeted and blogged that they will be visiting the Blogcon hotel this afternoon. As mentioned, at 5 p.m. MST (7 p.m. EST) we expect them to arrive.
Last weekend, this blogger was hit in the back by a 2×4 as she attempted to leave the Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington. KCC was leaving the Washington Convention Center to meet a Supershuttle van.
Her rolling computer case was stuck in the door, and as she was trying to free it, she was hit in the back by an unknown person wearing dreadlocks and a striped knitted cap. Police, who saw the entire thing, would not assist, nor would they take a report. Sadly, no fellow attendees were around to help as KCC fell to the ground. There was a lot of pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk, so the man quickly slipped away.
Police in Denver have been notified of the possible events today.
If the Occupiers do indeed visit as planned, KCC will have photos and videos for you. Watch for them later!
Editor’s Note: KCC is recovering from the attack last weekend and is thankful that board missed the back of her head. Thanks be to God!
From a Washington Report, courtesy of Smart Girl Politics:
(WASHINGTON) – President Barack Obama recently halted the implementation of a controversial job-killing regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying he recognized the “importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” in the economy.
While the President has spoken about, and even launched an effort to evaluate regulations that create unnecessary burdens, agencies in the Obama Administration have regulated in the opposite direction.
Spotlighting these regulatory failures and impacts on job creation is the focus of a newly released report and hearing held Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“The federal regulatory process is broken, being manipulated and exploited in ways that benefit allies of the Obama Administration such as environmental groups, trial lawyers, and unions.
Regulators have, in too many instances, been willing accomplices in the strategy advanced by outside interest groups to circumvent the oversight and accountability checks in the regulatory process,” Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said.
The report released by Chairman Issa and the Oversight Committee documents a flawed and broken system that punishes job creators and stifles economic growth. Key findings include:
· The number of full time regulatory employees is expected to reach an all-time high of 291,676 in 2012;
· The Obama Administration has already imposed 75 new major regulations that will cost more than $380 billion over ten years;
· The Administration has 219 economically significant regulations in the pipeline right now—that, if finalized will impose costs of at least $219 billion on the economy over ten years.
In addition, the report outlines numerous examples in the rule making process where federal agencies and regulators ignored, circumvented or openly flouted direction given by the President.
It spotlighted EPA’s sue-and-settle approach to bypass the process and avoid transparency on a recent lead paint rule with dire consequences for job creators; abuse of the emergency rule making process and use of ‘interim final rules’ regarding Obamacare, causing health plans to lose grandfathered status; and, an ‘enhanced review process’ initiated by EPA of a Clean Water Act provision in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, among others.
“The businesses owners and workers who bear the brunt of these regulations are not Fortune 500 executives, they are main street business owners and workers from around the country,” Issa said. “These firms, their families, suppliers, customers and employees all bear the cost of these new and proposed regulations. For them and businesses around the country, the price is greater than just compliance—it is a hidden tax of uncertainty on our economy,” he added.
Beyond the costs and implications for job creators from regulations, the Oversight Committee eport also pointed out that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the federal agency charged with serving as a watchdog over federal rule making, has failed to take meaningful action to address the breakdown in the process. (Editor’s Note: Your blogger didn’t even know there was such an office. She hopes our next president puts this agency on the chopping block, along with the Federal Department of Education.)
“Thus far, the rhetoric we have seen from the Obama Administration on the issue of regulatory reform has not been matched in deed,” Issa said.