Gestapo Marches into Maine

by: Steve Mistler, Portland Press Herald

Gov. Paul LePage used his weekly radio address to blast President Obama’s health care law and described the Internal Revenue Service as the “new Gestapo.”

The IRS description was a reference to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires Americans not insured by their employers or Medicaid to buy health insurance or pay an annual penalty when filing their tax returns.

The provision, known more broadly as the individual mandate, was the subject of a multi-state lawsuit, but was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. LePage said the court decision has “made America less free.” “We the people have been told there is no choice,” he said. “You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant, responding to LePage’s remarks, said, “We’ve come to expect a bunch of nonsense from Gov. LePage, but this is a step too far. There appears now to be no limit to the extreme language he will use to misinform, degrade and insult people. Somebody needs to explain to him that he’s the governor of a state, and not a talk radio host. I demand a full apology on behalf of all those who suffered at the hands of the real Gestapo.”

“There is nothing that degrades politics more than purported leaders who so cavalierly invoke the worst in human history when they can’t get their way in legitimate, modern policy disagreements,” Grant said. The Gestapo were Nazi Germany’s official secret police under Adolf Hitler, who imprisoned and murdered thousands of people without cause.

The debate over the mandate has become a political flash point since the health law was enacted. Republicans maintain that the requirement is an unfair tax. Democrats say the mandate was originally a Republican idea born from the conservative Heritage Foundation, which introduced the measure in 1989 as a counterpoint to calls for a single-payer health care system.

LePage also addressed another element of the health-care law that was immediately thrust into the public debate: Medicaid expansion. Originally, Obamacare required states to increase eligibility for low-income residents or pay a penalty. The court decision struck down the penalty; however, the federal government is still offering to pay for the expansion. The federal government will fund 100 percent of the expansion from 2014 to 2016, gradually declining to 90 percent after that.

LePage says he needs more answers before making a decision about the Medicaid expansion, which has been assailed by fellow Republican governors. At least 15 have said they’ll forgo the federal funding. LePage said the state doesn’t know how the federal matches will be paid for and how the newly eligible recipients would be defined. “However, Maine is already a welfare expansion state because of the generous benefits offered,” he said, adding that Maine’s welfare costs are among the highest in the nation because the state had expanded Medicaid prior to the Republican electoral sweep of 2010.

The governor also appeared to preempt potential pressure from hospitals to support Medicaid expansion. Hospitals may end up supporting the expansion because increased Medicaid offerings lower uncompensated, or charity, care levels. Uncompensated care is health-care costs that hospitals absorb because people can’t or won’t pay.

A recent report in the Portland Press Herald showed that uncompensated care by Maine hospitals has doubled over the last five years, from $94 million to $194 million. LePage said that increasing Medicaid may make it more difficult to pay hospitals the $500 million the state already owes in reimbursement.

The governor added that Maine will not move forward the ACA’s insurance exchanges — the marketplaces where individuals can shop for health plans from private companies — until the proposed $800 million tab to pay for them passes Congress. “With these looming uncertainties circling around this issue, Maine cannot move forward right now with Obamacare,” LePage said.

The governor finished his radio address by outlining his ideological opposition to the health-care law, which he said “raises taxes, cuts Medicare for the elderly, gets between patients and their doctors, costs trillions of taxpayer dollars, and kills jobs.” “Even more disheartening is that reviving the American dream just became nearly impossible to do,” he said. “We are now a nation which supports dependency rather than independence. Instead of encouraging self-reliance, we are encouraging people to rely on the government.”

Pants On Fire

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I was watching Fox News over the weekend. The host was interviewing the governors of both Iowa and Florida. Rick Scott is the republican governor of Florida and Iowa’s Terry Branstad, also a republican.

Both are considered to be fairly conservative and pro-growth republicans.

They discussed the employment situation in their states as well as the other states that most recently elected republican governors. I believe 7 in all. 

They each gave fairly good, straight forward answers as to why, in all seven states that republicans were elected, the unemployment rate actually went down. The answers weren’t as direct as I’d like but they both did a fair job.

Then the topic turned to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as it pertains to the states. States would have the opportunity to greatly expand their Medicaid roles, ostensibly paid for, in part or whole, by the feds.

More than a few states, run by republicans say they will refuse the expansion, knowing full-well that, after a few years and just like virtually every other federal program, the states would be left holding the bag, as it were.

In other words the feds would cease to fund the program and the states would therefore be financially responsible for the increased membership. Neat trick. The feds do it all the time. After all, they’re just looking for the sound bite.

Anywho, the host asked both of them, one at a time, if reports were true that they would refuse the expansion of the Medicaid program.

I watched anxiously, or should I say, with great anxiety, for what seemed like a painfully long time, just hoping for a straight answer. Neither provided one.

They both, Branstad more than Scott, pontificated and bloviated about jobs, Obamacare and who knows what else.

I found myself leaning ever forward, on the edge of my chair, straining to keep my composure. It was a losing battle.

I finally just began to yell at the TV. “Why can’t either of you just answer the question?! It’s a simple question, requiring a simple answer! All of these politicians are the same! They just won’t answer a question!”

We don’t curse in our house, but I’ll tell you, I sure wanted to.

Evidently I was so loud, I woke my sons up, whom I allowed to sleep in that morning. They were not appreciative.

This just demonstrated, once again, why politicians don’t appear to be trustworthy.

Is there some sort of class or school they attend to learn how to just talk out their collective butts until the clock runs out? That is how it always ends, does it not? The host will finally say, “ Ok, we’re out of time, thanks for coming on”.

Thanks for what? We didn’t learn a dang thing! I still have no idea whether either Florida or Iowa will or won’t sign on to the expansion. (Florida evidently will not participate. Why couldn’t he just say so?)

Through experience, I know this is not a good sign. More often than not, when a supposedly conservative politician won’t give a straight answer, it means they will be voting or siding against the folks that put them in office.

I’ve heard it many times when calling a politician to see how they will vote on an issue or bill. When it’s 12 hours before the vote and their aids say they haven’t decided yet, you can bet it ain’t gonna be good.

For this reason, despite their lack of conservative bona fides, people love “The Donald” (Trump) and also Chris Christie of New Jersey. They tell it as it is and pull no punches and are all the more popular for it. Why is it that other politicians can’t see this?

I can’t be the only one that feels this way!

Just stop lying, hedging, dodging and generally irritating your constituency and you’ll be loved for it.

I thought I might feel better after that, but I don’t.

Barack and the Supremes

By: The Common Constitutionalist

I’d like to speak of the Obamacare legacy. Not what Obamacare will do to just healthcare, but the affect it will have on virtually every aspect of American life.

I personally know people; friends, colleagues and coworkers that will be adversely affected if Obamacare is allowed to withstand Supreme Court scrutiny. Adversely affected. That’s an understatement. How about crushed.

We here the liberals decry how unfair the current free-market (had to gag a little there. Our healthcare is far from free-market) system is. The poor are literally left to die in the streets. We all know this to be bunk, but it’s pretty close to the way they describe it.

We will all be adversely affected, but the ones the grand designers claim to care about, those currently on Medicare & Medicaid, will suffer the most.

Medicare is, of course, government controlled medical care for the elderly & Medicaid mainly for the poor.

For those on Medicare, there will be death panels. Oh, they won’t be called that, but rest assured, or should I say, Rest in Peace, there will a panel of government bureaucrats to decide whether you deserve that new hip or pacemaker. Old Granny, at 85, can’t benefit from an MRI like that 30-year-old taxpayer or that 40-year-old would benefit more from a cancer screening than Gramps, at 80.

The poor, currently on Medicaid, will of course get the shaft due to rationing. They will get what’s left over from the productive members of society. This is of course a form of eugenics. If you are unable to prove that you are of value to the collective, you will naturally be last in line for medical care, as are the elderly.

Not a very rosy picture, I’ll grant you, but I believe that if we continue down this path, it will be the logical end.

This is just one of the reasons this Supreme Court decision is so paramount.

If the High Court bestows constitutional precedence on Obamacare, there is no end to the government’s meddling in our everyday affairs.

Why couldn’t the government just tell us that we have to buy broccoli or brussel sprouts or some other nasty vegetable and must consume them daily, in the name of improving our health?

A whole new government department could be formed. Think of all the new jobs. It could be called The Major Intergovernmental Council of Health Education for Life Long Excellence or MICHELLE. There would be an army of agents similar to the electric company meter readers. They would travel the countryside making sure we all had our proper intake of good food and, of course, all the while, keeping a trained eye out for contraband like salt or a black market cheeseburger hidden under the mattress.

The president could appoint a new government fast food oversight board. After all, it is said that fast food is making us fat and killing us all. This will surely put a strain on the health care system. Maybe the board recommends to the president that fast food restaurants simply be closed.

Another board could be responsible for alcohol and tobacco coupons. Those who consume these substances will have to present a coupon giving them permission to buy the substance. Of course, the coupons will be rationed. We wouldn’t want anyone to abuse them. That would put a strain on the health care system.

Again, look at all the jobs that are being created, but I digress.

This is what can happen with a simple Supreme Court ruling. If the Supreme Court rules that the government can force us to purchase health insurance why could they not force us to purchase anything?

Once the Supreme Court rules in favor or against anything it sets precedence. Once this precedence has been set the Constitution is all but thrown out the window. Any subsequent case that comes before the Supreme Court will simply cite that precedent as proof of its constitutionality.

Ask yourself  just how far this could go? Why could they not just start demanding more control over us?

Why could we not be told what car we had to buy or what house or where we must go on vacation? Surely having too many children would put a strain on the health care system, not to mention the school system, the food supply, et al.

The government must also concern itself with not only our health but also the health of the planet. They wouldn’t want us burning all those fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes. Naturally we would be required to purchase smart meters and smart thermostats so they could control the heating, cooling and electrical use of each house.

It would be great! We could have rolling blackouts just like Venezuela.

Now just sit back and imagine the utopia. Life will be easy. You’ll never have to make another decision again. Everything will be taken care of and we will be wanting for nothing. Kind of like being in boot camp all over again.

Life in Utopian America:

We will grow up being told what foods to eat, what school to attend and what clothes to wear.

We will be told what college to attend, what our vocation will be and how much money we will be allowed to make.

Prior to starting our new job we will be required to give one or two years of community service in order to help pay for our free college education and for the good of the collective.

We will then be free to marry a woman, a man, or perhaps our pet hamster. We will have no more than 2.4 perfect children. Of course, if they’re not perfect, we can always abort them. Don’t worry about that whole parenting thing, the schools will take care of that.

We will work at our preselected vocation for a number of years until such time as our usefulness to the collective is exhausted.

At that time we will be given our choice of residence at a lovely nearby government rest home.

When another board decides it is too costly to care for us we will simply be given a pain pill and asked to go sit in the corner and die with dignity.

It’s a Wonderful Life! Where do I sign?

A Glimpse into Obamacare

So Obamacare is going to save us money and undoubtably run like a swiss watch. Most government programs do.

Just picture the following on a national scale and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Also, keep in mind that this department was created in 2009, just 3 years ago.

By Snejana Farberov:

In Washington DC, being dead is no reason not to take full advantage of one’s health care benefits.

A new audit by the Office of the Inspector General has revealed that the municipality spent nearly $700,000 on Medicaid coverage for the deceased.

In total, there were 129 cases involving payments for services rendered that were made after a patient had died.

In one case, a payment was made nearly nine years after the patient’s passing.

According to the audit, the city’s Department of Health Care Finance shelled out nearly $4 million in erroneous payments in 2009, most of which went toward claims with an invalid or nonexistent Social Security number.

Officials are also investigating allegations that the department might have overpaid its billings by $22.6 million.

Some of the overpayments have been blamed on changes in insurance rates between the time of billing and the time of payment.

While the department, which was created in 2009, has corrected many of the clerical errors that caused these costly gaffes, the findings of the audit are likely to result in calls for increased scrutiny of its operations at an upcoming oversight hearing.

“We will dig into why this happened, what has been done to correct it, and how to prevent similar overpayments from happening in the future”, said at-large DC Councilman David Catania, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Health.

In response to the audit, a spokesperson for the agency told the Washington Examiner that in December 2010, the department put into place a new system capable of discontinuing payments after a patient’s death. What a great idea!

The department’s troubles do not stop there, however. The audit has found that the agency paid $22.6 million extra on Medicaid claims totaling $124 million. In one case, the department nearly made a payment of $5.6 million for a $100 claim.

According to the spokesperson, it was a case of ‘fat fingers’ that nearly caused the multimillion-dollar error when a clerk held down the ‘5’ key long enough to create a $5.6 million entry.

Officials are now going over all 78,361 claims that might include an error.

In its first year of operation, the Department of Health Care Finance paid about $1 billion.

But You Owe Me; Entitlement America

From The Cleveland Current:

In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan, that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Wyatt Emmerich

analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion.

That is, “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.”

And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI). America is now a country which punishes those people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.

Not surprisingly, we only here of the richest and most audacious thieves, but it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip us off each and every day, courtesy
of the world’s most generous entitlement system.

The chart tells the story. You can do as well working at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job:

Stunned? Try it yourself.

Almost all welfare programs have Web sites where you can call up “benefits calculators.” Just plug in your income and family size and, presto, your benefits are automatically calculated.

And if this isn’t enough, here is one that will blow your mind:

If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year.

First of all, working one week a month, saves big-time on child care. But the real big-ticket item is Medicaid, which has minimal deductibles and copays. By working only one week a month at a minimum wage job, a provider is able to get total medical coverage for next to nothing.

Compare this to the family provider making $60,000 a year. For a typical Mississippi family, coverage would cost around $12,000. Adding deductibles and copays adds an additional $4,500 or so to the bill. That’s a huge hit.

There is a reason why
a full time worker may not be too excited to learn there is little to show for doing the “right thing.”

The full-time $60,000-a-year job is going to be much more demanding than woring one week a month at minimu wage. Presumably, the low-income parent will have more energy to attend to the various stresses of managing a household.

It gets even scarier if one assumes a little dishonesty is throwin in the equation.

If the one-week-a-month worker maintains an unreported cash-only job on the side, the deal gets better than a regular $60,000-a-year job. In this scenario, you maintain a reportable, payroll deductible, low-income job for federal tax purposes. This allows you to easily establish your qualification for all these welfare programs. Then your black-market job gives
you additional cash without interfering with your benefits. Some economists estimate there is one trillion in unreported income each year in the United States.

This really got me thinking. Just how much money could I get if I set out to deliberately scam the system? Getting a low-paying minimum wage job would set the stage for far more welfare benefits than you could earn in a real job, if you were willing to cheat. Even if you don’t cheat, you could do almost as well working one week a month at minimum wage than busting a gut at a $60,000-a-year job.

Now where it gets plainly out of control is if one throws in Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI pays $8,088 per year for each “disabled” family member. A person can be deemed “disabled” if they are totally lacking in the cultural and educational skills needed to be employable in the workforce.

If you add $24,262 a year for three disability checks, the lowest paid welfare family would now have far more take-home income than the $60,000-a-year family.

Best of all: being on welfare does not judge you, even if you are stupid enough to take drugs all day.

Most private workplaces require drug testing, but there is no drug testing to get welfare checks.

The welfare system in communist China is far stingier. Those people actually have to work to eat.

Now we finally know that the very bottom of the entitlement food chain makes out like a bandit while us idiot Americans actually work and pay our taxes.