Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the Obamacare contraception mandate as it is written, but must follow through on a promise to rewrite the rule to accommodate religious liberty,
They [the judges] ruled that the Obama administration must rewrite the regulation by August 2013 and provide updates to the court every 60 days. If the government fails to do so, the lawsuits may proceed.
Even then, it may not help.
The nuns employ people of many denominations, which makes them ineligible for the exemption being granted churches. They have 300 sisters who tend to the elderly in 30 U.S. cities.
That’s what you get when, in order to know what’s in it, you have to pass a mandate.
Health insurer Blue Shield of California wants to raise rates as much as 20% for some individual policyholders, prompting calls for the nonprofit to use some of its record-high reserve of $3.9 billion to hold down premiums.
In filings with state regulators, Blue Shield is seeking an average rate increase of 12% for more than 300,000 customers, effective in March, with a maximum increase of 20%.
Some consumer advocates and healthcare economists say Blue Shield shouldn’t be raising rates that high when it has stockpiled so much cash. The company’s surplus is nearly three times as much as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn. requires its member insurers to hold to cover future claims.
The increase in reserves is due to an increase in uncertainty,
The company also expects higher costs from an influx of new customers under the federal healthcare law in 2014.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime change in the healthcare market that will bring a lot of volatility, and we need higher reserves for that,” Wagner said.
Even with these proposed rate increases, Blue Shield said, it expects to lose money in the individual insurance market in 2013.
The insurer said its medical costs for this segment of the business grew 10.6% and what it actually pays is rising 12.5% after adjusting for its portion after customer deductibles.
And Blue Shield is not alone,
The state’s largest for-profit health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, cited a similar jump in medical costs in seeking rate hikes as high as 25% for some individual policyholders, effective in February.
Also in California, Kaiser Permanente is seeking to raise rates an average of 9% for 220,000 individual policyholders next month.
Nowhere near that 3,000% “premium fall” Obama had us expect.
So, let me get this straight. This is a long sentence. We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan that we’re forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single doctor but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes — [laughter] — same sentence! — with funding administered by a Treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government that has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese — [laughter] — and finally, financed by a country that’s broke.
At the end, Dr. Bellar even channeled Allahpundit with this exit question:
The appointment was immediate. Ms. Clinton will begin work on stories that NBC expects to use as part of its “Making a Difference” series, which runs on “NBC Nightly News,” said Steve Capus, president of NBC News.
Since the nightly news need more fluff?
Mr. Capus said Ms. Clinton had said to him, “That’s the kind of thing, if this were to happen, that I would really like to do.” He added, “It’s not about Chelsea Clinton saying, ‘Here I am; I want to be a TV star.’ ”
The timing is highly consequential. It means that Obama almost certainly won’t get a chance to name a new court member before the Supremes decide whether the Commerce Clause is an opening through which Congress can force any kind of regulation and mandate. If they end up supporting ObamaCare, Barack Obama will claim vindication for the next few months of the campaign for his re-election bid. If they strike it down, Obama loses his signature achievement and has to explain that for the next few months leading up to the election — and explaining is not winning.
Update: National Journal reports that the Supreme Court has requested that both sides address three questions in their submissions: the individual mandate, severability, and jurisdiction. This looks promising for opponents on first blush, as it focuses on just how much of the law a negative ruling would invalidate, and under what circumstances. The 11th Circuit ruled that the individual mandate could not be severed from the rest of the law. Jurisdiction refers to standing in a suit against a law that has yet to take effect.
While I’m waiting for my car to have some routine maintenance I came across neighbor TigerHawk’s post, who is agitated on many subjects. (TH is slumming it at the Adirondacks, after slumming it in Florence, but I digress)
In the end, why am I for small and limited government? Because history teaches that among the choices of (1) democracy, (2) heterogeneity, and (3) effective and efficient government, one must pick any two. It is no surprise that our only era of effective government on a large-scale came just after the only period in American history when we effectively banned immigration and before the political emancipation of blacks. Since I like democracy and am all in favor of a free, tolerant, and heterogeneous society, I believe that virtually any government program over which the voters have influence will descend in to a wasteful and counterproductive mess, ultimately captured by some narrow constituency. I believe that liberals instinctively agree, which is why they much prefer actions by federal judges and regulators, both of whom are effectively beyond the reach of voters, to detailed legislation from the United States Congress.
In the same post, TH also posts on a subject he knows a lot about: medical innovation,
one of the objectives of health care reform is to stifle innovation. That is why it includes a tax on the revenues of medical device companies, which will (obviously) substantially raise the return hurdles on investment in new products and thereby entrench old products. The reason for this is that the social engineers in the White House believe that most innovation in medical technology drives up costs — that manufacturers use the opportunity of a next generation product to raise prices. This cramped attitude stands in stark contrast to the chaotic-capitalist view that seems self-evident to me: that most innovation in health care as in all industries does not occur in revolutions but in tiny incremental steps that, over time, add up to a great deal. One cannot point to very many incremental changes in automobile design between the Ford Model-T and, say, a Lexus 450h that accomplished a provable difference in “outcomes,” but the accumulated innovation, each on top of the other, sure made our lives much better. So it is with medical technology, which is why even small innovation is important to our children.
Anyway, it is not only Obama care that is stifling innovation. So is the Obama FDA, which has massively increased the time it takes to get “substantially similar” new products approved.
The average time taken by U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clear a 510(k) application increased 37 percent between 2006 and 2011.
Many of you will live more painful, less comfortable, or even shorter lives because of Obama administration policy. Remember that.
And worse yet, even if the healtcare legislation were to be totally repealed, the FDA hurdles will still continue to impede innovation.
With the new waivers, that means 1,168 businesses, insurers, unions and other organizations have received one-year exemptions from a healthcare reform provision requiring at least $750,000 in annual benefits.
Almost half of the new round of waivers were given to union health benefit programs, a fact that is sure spur new complaints from health law critics in the Congress, who see these waivers as evidence that the Obama health plan is flawed.
Among the unions that were recently approved for waivers:
Teamsters Local 237 in New York, covering over 51,000 workers
Carpenters District Council of Kansas City Welfare Plan, for 20,898 workers
Southeastern Iron Workers, for 5,143 policies
Minneapolis Retail Meat Cutters and Food Handlers for 10,720