Health Insurance Info for Colorado

news & commentary on health insurance and benefits

The Coming Disaster

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OK, there – I said it. It will be an unmitigated disaster. The relationship between The State and The Citizen has now been forever altered. I’m of course speaking of Obamacare, a.k.a. The Affordable Care Act. But, from now on, we’ll just call it Obamacare for short. Has such a great ring – after all, hasn’t The Prez himself now embraced it?

It will not be our place, going forward, to rail against the excesses of the great unwashed masses who really did vote for “stuff”, including “free” health care, such that it is. Rather, it will be our  pleasure to point out all of the unintended (really – unintended? but I jest) consequences of the greatest piece of social engineering that has ever hit a nation, short of the Russian Revolution. Stay tuned, as this is going to get really entertaining – or, perhaps not, depending on your viewpoint (you small business owners, who have just been reclassified as a “large business” – you know what I’m talking about).

Obviously, I’m no fan of this legislation (thankfully, having an opinion isn’t a hangin’ offense – yet). Obamacare is, of course, the opening gambit in the final throes of a complete government takeover of the health care sector – whether five years or twenty years from now. In spite of the near-complete abdication by the media of their responsibility to report what is factual and accurate about Obamacare, some truths have filtered out. So, one of our responsibilities will be to elaborate on these “truths”, in spite of the near-total blackout you’ll get from most in the media, so that you, my dear readers, can begin to understand the enormity of what one-party rule and flagrant “gifting” to minority coalitions can create. Havoc, in other words.

(My sympathies in advance of those who will look back fondly on these pre-Obamacare days of full-time employment – meaning, forty hours a week, that is. Working two part-time jobs is really going to be stimulating!)

Beyond that, there will be numerous changes (hell, I might as well say it – changes in the thousands!) to health insurance, health insurance regulation, health insurance markets, health insurance policies, health insurance coverage, health insurance taxes – you get the idea – over the coming five years, as we rush headlong into the full implementation of Obamacare, which doesn’t fully  land on everyones doorstep until 2018. We will be here, barring some unforeseen event, giving you all of the gruesome details, so that you can watch the unfolding train-wreck with us. Get the popcorn. Lock the door.

By the way, as of this writing, SCOTUS has decided that the Liberty University lawsuit, essentially about religious liberty and the new contraceptive mandates, should be heard, and apparently will be tracked to eventually wind up with the Justices. This may or may not be a side-show: it may give the Court a second bite of the apple when it comes to the constitutionality  of Obamacare. Yawn. I don’t think this is going to change much – I mean, what are we now 0 for 3? – not counting an election. I feel somewhat better about the Courts’ recent decision (9-0) regarding religious liberty, but beyond that, I don’t see this impacting the roll-out of Obamacare except in certain narrow ways – and this Administration will just do what it wants anyway. And besides – who ever said that Obama wants religious groups, such as the Catholic Church, delivering health care anyway? Better to turn it over to non-profit and completely controllable Accountable Care Organizations. They’re easier to unionize, anyway.

Next week I’ll talk about the new federal health plan option for states that have decided to back-hand the feds and refuse to start their own exchanges. Yes, we finally now have a “public option”. Stay tuned…




HHS update on women’s health care

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has just announced that any and all FDA approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity,” will be provided under ObamaCare “without cost” in college/student-based health plans, and for women of college age but not attending school.

Update on mandatory contraceptive benefits controversy

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Quote: ” ..the Obama administration has implemented rules that even it concedes infringe on the traditional rights of religious employers.”

This article, written by James C. Capretta, details the Administrations’ way of speaking out of both sides of its mouth: “Here, it’s worth repeating some of the basic facts… on the same day that the administration announced it wanted to craft the so-called accommodation [to the mandatory contraceptives rule], it finalized the rule that had been previously issued with no change.” The rule, as I recall, was also published in the Federal Register. So much for “accommodation”.

The dominant elite media is doing it’s best to characterize this problem as no problem at all, as evidenced by this story, which inaccurately states that insurance companies, rather than employers, will be required to pay for these services (obviously, they must think that insurers are able to provide this at no cost to anyone, which boggles the mind, since nothing is ever provided “free” – it must be purchased first, and the cost is inevitably passed on to policyholders, as Mr. Capretta accurately states). In the case of the Catholic Church and its various entities, they are self-insured, for the most part, which means they pay, regardless of what President Obama wants you to think.


The Prez stiffs Catholics

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In spite of The White Houses’ best attempts at muddying the waters and shifting the contraceptive controversy to one of “women’s health” from “religious freedom” (and, frankly, some success with this, albeit in cahoots with their progressive brethren in the press, not to mention Democrats in Congress, who excel at press conferences masquerading as committee hearings) in order to get the public on board with his free birth control mandate, Mr. Obama is signaling that, like most anything else he decides he wants, he’ll say whatever he knows the press will echo loudly while doing exactly the opposite – namely, mollifying the religious community with worthless platitudes while giving them absolutely no real reason to think that anything has changed.

Not so fast, say Catholics.

Frankly, to this observer it almost appears as if… is it possible?.. the Prez really wants the Catholic Church and any other religious organization that provides health care of any kind, and objects to unconstitutional mandates that impact their religious freedom, to get out of the business of health care, completely and forever. And, close the door on your way out. To those who scoff at such a notion: the reason given for cutting the guts out of Tricare, the military health care system for active duty and retired military, is to move more people into the (Medicaid-style) Obamacare. So, I think it’s entirely plausible that the Prez isn’t interested in what the Catholic Church or any other religious organization that provides health care thinks: he just wants them out of the way.

As an aside, let me say to the Church: hey, I know exactly how you feel: I’m a health insurance agent.

Let’s recap: The Obama Administration announces the most restrictive definition of religious exemption possible, thereby guaranteeing him a collision course with anyone with a religious objection to mandatory contraceptive coverage. After a day or so of Catholic weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, the President decides that, rather than the Church, insurance companies can pay for it. Problem solved, The One has spoken.

Problem is, Mr. Obama apparently either doesn’t know, doesn’t care, or doesn’t think the press will report on the most important fact of all: the Catholic Church is, for the most part, self-insured. There is no “insurance company” to pay for it, as they provide and pay for their own care for their employees, a fact pointed out by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a letter to his fellow bishops.

The rest of the letter is illuminating, most of all because the good Cardinal accurately points out that, as we have now seen demonstrated over the last week in excruciating detail, Democrats are busy painting the entire issue as one of “women’s health care” and abortion-inducing drugs rather than one of religious freedom, as evidenced by the vote on the Blunt Amendment. And obviously, there is little evidence in the “mainstream” media that the religion issue is even an issue, or even important. Why, the temerity of those Catholics, to attempt to discuss religious freedom when we all know that women need free contraception, if only to keep the nations’ birth rate down and help hold those health care expenses in check.

The fact that this Administration is doubling down on their position, by publishing the decision in the Federal Register, etc., points out that, on matters of ideology (as in, progressive action), there is no room for any accommodation that deviates from long-held and cherished policy goals of the left, no matter who they have to skewer. And Catholic Bishops, who stood by and actively supported Obamacare, have now learned that very important lesson. They have been used, and others should heed this warning. Republicans in the Senate, take note.


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