Yes, Some People Will Have to Pay Back Their Obamacare Subsidies

Amy PayneMay 21, 2014 at 6:30 am

Obamacare offers subsidies to help pay for health insurance – if you are buying insurance through the federal exchange and your income qualifies. But now the word is out that at least 1 million people are probably getting the wrong subsidy amounts.
The Washington Post has inside sources providing all sorts of juicy details on this problem – but it didn’t take an investigative reporter to predict this was going to happen.
Heritage expert Alyene Senger warned that Obamacare’s subsidies are tied to income – and if your income changes at any point during the year, your subsidy is supposed to change, too. She explained in January:
if a person’s income fluctuates, which happens more frequently than many realize, the subsidy amount will change from month to month. Thus, when it comes time to file taxes in April, the amount of subsidy received over the past year must be reconciled with the final calculation of the total subsidy for which the individual was eligible—based on actual income for the entire tax year.
So if you qualify for more subsidy help than you receive during the year, you’ll get a tax refund. But if you were given more subsidy than your income qualifies you for, you will be required to repay the excess subsidy.
>>> Watch Heritage’s Alyene Senger on Fox News:

Now, the Post reports that the government is attempting to keep up with this – except that the part of Obamacare’s computer system that is supposed to match proof of income with people’s Obamacare applications is, well, not built yet.
Since taxpayers are funding the subsidies, it’s important to make sure the correct amounts are going to the correct people, right? Well, that does make the Obama administration “sensitive” these days, the Post says:
Beyond their concerns regarding overpayments, members of the Obama administration are sensitive because they promised congressional Republicans during budget negotiations last year that a thorough income-verification system would be in place.
This setup is a disaster. And it will ensnare a lot of people. Senger pointed to one analysis estimating that nearly 38 percent of families eligible for subsidies also experience “large income increases” at some point during the year – meaning they would have to pay back some or all of their subsidies.
“The issue is symptomatic of many problems that will plague the law in coming years,” Senger said.
Is it any wonder that 60 percent of voters in a recent poll said the debate about Obamacare is not over? And 89 percent said Obamacare will affect their voting decisions this fall.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is right – Obamacare is still not the answer for America’s health care needs. It’s time for Congress to look at patient-centered alternatives that would restore choice to American health care – and stop the unending tales of Obamacare disaster.

NSA collecting content of all phone calls in the Bahamas, according to Snowden leak

NSA collecting content of all phone calls in the Bahamas, according to Snowden leak

The United States National Security Agency is reportedly collecting the contents of effectively every phone call dialed or received within the Bahamas, putting the conversations of countless residents and tourists into the hands of the NSA.

Journalists at The Intercept on Monday accused the secretive American spy agency of participating in this massive but previously undisclosed dragnet surveillance system after being supplied with classified documentation provided to them by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government,” Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras wrote for The Intercept. “Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the ‘full-take audio’ of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.”

In one of those documents, The Intercept acknowledged, the NSA boasts of being able to log “over 100 million call events per day.”

Previously, Mr. Snowden’s NSA disclosures have led national security reporters to reveal how the US intelligence community has been collecting in bulk the raw metadata pertaining to millions of phone calls domestically, and similar records abroad are collected and stored by a program codenamed MYSTIC: “a surveillance system capable of recording ’100 percent’ of a foreign country’s telephone calls,” according to a Washington Post report published in March using documents supplied by Snowden. In the Bahamas and another, unnamed country, however, The Intercept reports that the NSA is allegedly recording the actual contents of every conversation, then storing it for analysts to review at a later date using a specialized project known only as SOMALGET.

“Documents show that the NSA has been generating intelligence reports from MYSTIC surveillance in the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines and one other country, which The Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence,” the website reported. “The more expansive full-take recording capability has been deployed in both the Bahamas and the unnamed country.”

“If an entire nation’s cell-phone calls were a menu of TV shows, MYSTIC would be a cable programming guide showing which channels offer which shows, and when,” The Intercept reported this week. “SOMALGET would be the DVR that automatically records every show on every channel and stores them for a month. MYSTIC provides the access; SOMALGET provides the massive amounts of storage needed to archive all those calls so that analysts can listen to them at will after the fact.”

When reached for comment by The Intercept, the agency reportedly said in a statement that “the implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.” The office of the Bahamian prime minister and another government official failed to comment ahead of The Intercept’s report, but journalists say that the documentation supplied by Mr. Snowden makes it clear that the NSA implemented this surveillance system unbeknownst to any officials in the Bahamas.

Key to the news, Greenwald tweeted on Monday, “isn’t just [that the] NSA is targeting country unrelated to terrorism, but the sweeping call-storing capability they’ve implemented.”

CITIZENSHIP STATUS VERIFICATION QUESTIONS AROSE FOR 1 MILLION OBAMACARE ENROLLEES

CITIZENSHIP STATUS VERIFICATION QUESTIONS AROSE FOR 1 MILLION OBAMACARE ENROLLEES

An investigative report by the Washington Post reveals that nearly 1 million individuals who enrolled or attempted to enroll in Obamacare “ran into questions about their citizenship status.”
As the Post explains, “Flaws in HealthCare.gov blocked many naturalized citizens or permanent legal residents, requiring them to submit immigration documents that are, like the income information, caught in a backlog.”
The Obama administration has come under fire for failing to have its back-end income and residency document verification systems up and running. The Post reports that as many as one million current Obamacare customers may be receiving improper taxpayer-funded subsidies because the administration has yet to build a way to verify income documents, such as pay stubs and other information.

Russian Foreign Minister Demands Obama Reply to Claim U.S. Mercenaries in Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Demands Obama Reply to Claim U.S. Mercenaries in Ukraine

Academi denies its mercs are helping junta in Kyiv eliminate opposition

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
May 14, 2014

Earlier this week, Academi, the mercenary successor to Blackwater, told the German newspaper Zeit Online it does not have personnel on the ground in Ukraine assisting the junta in its effort to roll back opposition.

Bild am Sonntag, the largest-selling Sunday newspaper in Germany, reported last Sunday the presence of 400 mercenaries from the company were operating in Ukraine. The report followed an announcement in early May that the CIA and FBI are in the country assisting the regime.

Former CNN Intelligence Correspondent and current Vice President at Academi, Suzanne Kelly, told the German news website her company does not have personnel in Ukraine and does not plan to send any. She characterized media reports linking Academi to Blackwater as “incredibly irresponsible.”

Academi is in fact linked to Backwater and its successor, XE Services. In December, 2001 The Washington Post ran a story with the headline “Ex-Blackwater firm gets a name change, again.”

Kelly’s less than forthright remark about the company also casts doubt on the assertion the mercenary firm is not assisting the coup government in Kyiv.

On Wednesday the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Russia has “very strong” suspicions about Academi inside Ukraine. Lavrov and the Russian government are demanding a response from the Obama administration on the issue.

“I sent a message from ambassador to Washington asking him to respond to these assertions from the German media,” he during an interview with Bloomberg News, according to The Hill. “Rumors to this effect were spread even before and [Secretary of State] John Kerry rejected them. Now they popped up again, and we’d like to see whether this is true or not.”

This article was posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

Two hospital workers showing signs of deadly MERS virus in Florida

Two hospital workers showing signs of deadly MERS virus in Florida

More cases of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Virus, or MERS, may be surfacing in the state of Florida, with two health workers now reportedly showing symptoms as of early Tuesday.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that two staffers at an Orlando, Florida hospital who were exposed to a MERS patient earlier this week have started showing symptoms, and that one of the two workers has been hospitalized as a result.

According to Reuters, officials at the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital now say that the workers were exposed to the disease when they were recently in the proximity of a patient who had contracted MERS but had not yet been diagnosed. As RT reported earlier this week, that patient was hospitalized in isolation in the Sunshine State after flying from Saudi Arabia to London, then to Boston, Atlanta and Orlando.

One of the two workers at that Orlando facility has been admitted, Reuters reported, and the second is being isolated at home while observers monitor the development of any possible further symptoms.

On Monday this week, RT reported that the Florida patient eventually diagnosed with MERS was only the second person in the United States to show signs of the disease after a person in Indiana contracted the virus earlier this month. The hospital worker now being treated for MERS would be the third person in the US in under a month to become infected, and a fourth may soon be added to that list as well pending the outcome of the other staffer that’s now in isolation.

Last month, the World health Organization warned that that cases of MERS could increase with warm weather, and that upwards of 75 percent of reported MERS cases are secondary — or acquired from another sick person.

Late Monday, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters during a conference call that the risk of MERS to the general public is believed to be extremely low, according to the Washington Post. Nevertheless, the CDC said they are working to contact more than 500 people who were on the same domestic flights as the man who was admitted to Phillips Hospital after entering the US from the Middle East.

The first patient in the US to contact MERS—the Indiana patient—was released from the hospital last week after he began testing positive and his symptoms disappeared. He had been living and working in Saudi Arabia as well, RT reported on Monday.

According to the CDC, MERS is fatal in around 30 percent of known cases.

US flies aircraft over Nigeria, mulls sending drones in search for abducted girls

US flies aircraft over Nigeria, mulls sending drones in search for abducted girls

The United States is flying manned surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Nigeria as it aids the country in seeking more than 200 school girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram Islamic militant group in April.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said roughly 27 officials – including some from the State Department, the Pentagon, and FBI – are already in Nigeria, ready to assist the government’s search.

“The scope of that assistance has been outlined, and it includes military and law enforcement assistance, advisory assistance, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support,” Carney said.

Additionally, the Washington Post reported that an unnamed senior Pentagon official said the White House is also considering whether or not to deploy drones in the search. If the US chooses to do so, it would reroute some of the drones currently being used to hunt Lord’s Resistance Army warlord Joseph Kony.

Meanwhile, a senior administration official told the Post the US has already “shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians.”

News of the development comes shortly after Boko Haram released a video in which it claimed that more than 100 of the girls had converted to Islam. According to Agence France Press, the girls are dressed in Muslim garb and praying to Allah in an undisclosed location. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau reportedly states that he will hold the girls until Nigeria agrees to release the militants it has held in prison.

This offer has reportedly been rejected by the Nigerian government, though the country’s military and National Orientation Agency later stated they “will continue to explore all options for the release and safe return of our girls to the their homes.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that, ultimately, the decision will be up to Nigeria.

“As you know, Nigeria is in the lead. We are simply supporting their efforts. As you know also the United States’ policy is to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts including ransoms or concessions,” Psaki said.

As RT reported previously, about 53 of the girls managed to escape from their captors and return safely, but more than 200 remain missing. Explaining its decision to kidnap the students, Boko Haram has stated the girls should be married and not in school.

At least three parents were able to spot their daughters in the newly released video, and efforts are underway to identify more.

Despite the arrival of US aid to Nigeria, Carney cautioned that the search won’t be easy. It’s possible Boko Haram will split the girls up into smaller groups to make the search more difficult, or move them into neighboring countries such as Chad or Cameroon.

“When we talk about assisting in the effort to locate the girls, we are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England,” Carney said. “So, this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the government.”

Washington Post to Obama: You Lie!

Washington Post to Obama: You Lie!

The president who once promised that if elected, he would serve as a unifying force in America has become the most divisive president in history. Pitting factions against each other and engaging in the politics of personal destruction, President Obama appears little concerned with the truth, but relies on repeated manipulations and deceits to weave a preferable narrative.

Apparently, even the mainstream media is running short on gullibility as The Washington Post recently took Obama to task for his outlandish accusations against Republicans and afforded the president’s comments its dreaded “Four Pinocchios” rating.

On May 7th, 2014, Obama addressed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Los Angeles and claimed that Senate Republicans, since 2007, had filibustered “500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class.”

Obama explained,

“Here’s what’s more disconcerting. Their [Republicans'] willingness to say no to everything — the fact that since 2007, they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress — has actually led to an increase in cynicism and discouragement among the people who were counting on us to fight for them.”

The Washington Post quickly dismissed this claim, stating, “Regular readers knows that The Fact Checker has objected to the way that Senate Democrats tally these figures, but the president’s claim makes little sense no matter how you do the numbers.”

Since 2007, the Senate has encountered 527 cloture motions, which is a call to end debate. Filibusters are deliberate extensions of debate that are designed to delay a vote on a matter before the Senate.

Cloture motions are for ending debate and filibusters are for extending them. Many of these cloture motions were dropped or never voted on.

In short: President Obama defies all conceivable logic by claiming that Senate Republicans have filibustered 500 times. With facts against him, it seems Obama simply pulled a number out of thin air.

The article declared,

“Indeed, when you go through the numbers, there have just been 133 successful filibusters — meaning a final vote could not take place — since 2007.

But, even if you accept the way Senate Democrats like to frame the issue, the president is still wrong. He referred to ‘legislation’ — and most of these cloture motions concerned judicial and executive branch nominations. In the 113th Congress, for instance, 83 of the 136 cloture motions so far have concerned nominations, not legislation.”

Finally, after substantive analysis and a thorough explanation of the many ways in which the president’s claim cannot possibly be considered true, regardless of any creative stretching of definitions, The Washington Post offered it’s “Four Pinocchios” and concluded,

“On just about every level, this claim is ridiculous.

We realize that Senate rules are complex and difficult to understand, but the president did serve in the Senate and should be familiar with its terms and procedures. Looking at the numbers, he might have been able to make a case that Republicans have blocked about 50 bills that he had wanted passed, such as an increase in the minimum wage. But instead, he inflated the numbers to such an extent that he even included votes in which he, as senator, supported a filibuster.”

Politicians fudge the truth; it’s sad, but true. Though we could forgive hyperbole to make a point, this president’s answer to any inconvenient facts has continually been to deny reality, make up his own “facts,” and hope the public buys it after they hear it enough times.

It’s ruthless, dishonest (even by political standards) and the mark of a very, very poor leader who cannot lead with legitimate conviction, but must rely on fabricated narratives and lies to support his failing agenda.

Government Requested Data From Phone Companies Every 60 Seconds Last Year

Government Requested Data From Phone Companies Every 60 Seconds Last Year

May 6, 2014 10:17 am

LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER

(Daily Caller) – According to AT&T and Verizon’s 2013 transparency reports detailing the number of government requests for customer information, investigators, including the National Security Agency, asked for user data more than once every 60 seconds.

The Washington Post reported the breakdown after a University of Ottawa law professor calculated last week that Canadian law enforcement agencies request customer data from telecommunications companies every 27 seconds.

AT&T received 301,816 requests and Verizon 321, 545 from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Averaged out across all of 2013, that comes out to 1.2 requests every minute.

Though that number alone already appears staggering, the real number is undoubtedly higher. AT&T and Verizon are only two out of a number of telecommunications providers in the U.S., including smaller services like CenturyLink and Frontier, or wireless carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile. The reports also state that to comply with the classified nature of certain types of government requests, a number of them could not be disclosed.

In terms of mobile requests, AT&T reported 562,000 requests in 2012, Verizon 270,000, T-Mobile 297,350, and Sprint declined to release its number. Though the data sets for wireless and landlines are from different years, combining the two already bumps the average requests-per-minute up to 2.2, meaning the actual current number is higher still.

http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/06/government-requested-data-from-phone-companies-every-60-seconds-last-year/

- See more at: http://www.teaparty.org/government-requested-data-phone-companies-every-60-seconds-last-year-41291/#sthash.0Bc4FJbf.dpuf

Politics: Poll: ACA more despised than ever, while Nevada faces 90,000 cancellations and price hikes

Politics: Poll: ACA more despised than ever, while Nevada faces 90,000 cancellations and price hikes

Harry Reid’s chicken is about to come home…

Democrats have long been promising that, once people get signed up, they’re going to love ObamaCare. Candidates are going to run on its merits, and the law is going to be a big positive for Dems during the 2014 midterms. Those who were still against it were a small, dwindling minority. As soon as the signup date passed, and the target numbers were (allegedly) reached, negative perception was supposed to fade away.

Uh-oh.

According to a new Washington Post piece entitled “ObamaCare hits new low,” that’s simply not happening. In fact, a new Pew poll shows the law is more despised than ever.

A new poll shows the public’s opposition to Obamacare has never been higher.

The Pew Research Center poll shows disapproval of the law hitting a new high of 55 percent. It comes on the heels of several polls last week that showed the law had very little — if any — bump after sign-ups on the health-care exchanges exceeded goals.

The previous high for disapproval of the law was 54 percent in Pew polling. That was at the height of the implementation problems in December.

In other words, at the absolute nadir of the disastrous ACA rollout, people hated the law. However, once Healthcare.gov was “fixed,” they didn’t sign up and realize they were wrong. The more they were forced into the system, the more they decided that their previous instincts were correct. Now, we’re heading into the election season, and the “bump” that Dems promised has failed to materialize. Oh, and things are about to get even worse…

From a Las Vegas Review Journal piece, headlined “Own a small business? Prepare for ObamaCare pain”

The law’s employer coverage mandate doesn’t take effect until 2015, but early plan renewals are starting to roll in. And for some businesses, the premium jumps are positively painful.

Local insurance brokers are reporting spikes ranging from 35 percent to 120 percent on policies that renew from July to December. The increases are especially acute among employers with workforces made up of younger, healthier men. That’s because Obamacare prohibits offering lower rates to healthier groups. It also narrows the allowed premium gap between older and younger enrollees.

“It’s like if there were no more safe-driver discounts with State Farm,” said local insurance broker Frank Nolimal of Assurance Ltd. “Everybody has the same rate, whether you have three DUIs, or you’re a (nondrinking) churchgoing Mormon.”

The premium hikes could have political implications, as well. Nolimal estimated that as many as 85 percent of small-group plans will renew in November and December. Because new premiums go out 60 days before coverage takes effect, those price hikes will hit mailboxes in September and October — just before November’s elections.

Yep, here we go again. The next batch of cancelled policies is about to start hitting the fan.

The changes put as many as 90,000 policies across Nevada at risk of cancellation or nonrenewal this fall, said Las Vegas insurance broker William Wright, president of Chamber Insurance and Benefits. That’s more than three times the 25,000 enrollees affected in October, when Obamacare-compliant plans first hit the market.

Keep in mind, that’s 90,000 policies, not people. A single policy could cover multiple family members. As a result, the number who could be jettisoned from their current coverage and forced into something more expensive could be well over 90K – and that’s this year alone.

At least it’s only rich people though, right? Their companies can afford the steeper rates, so it’s no big deal.

Some workers are at higher risk than others of losing company-sponsored coverage. Professional, white-collar companies such as law or engineering firms will bite the bullet and renew at higher prices because they need to compete for scarce skilled labor, Nolimal said.

But moderately skilled or low-skilled people making $8 to $14 an hour working for landscaping businesses, fire-prevention firms or fencing companies could lose work-based coverage because the plans cost so much relative to salaries.

Employees who keep their coverage might see leaner take-home pay, which could hurt the economy.

So instead of helping the very people it was designed to benefit, the ACA is about to offer more than 90,000 Nevadans cancellations, more expensive coverage, lower pay, and a damaged economy. To top it all off, the lowest paid workers will be the hardest hit. That’s no surprise to politically aware conservatives, but it’s a safe bet that there are still a lot of low-info voters out there who are headed for some serious sticker shock.

We’re sure Senator Reid doesn’t care, since he’ll just blame it all on Ted Cruz or some loony Koch brothers conspiracy theory, but Democrats who are still clinging to the fantasy of ObamaCare’s imminent popularity had better come up with a “plan B.”

State ‘Model’ for Obamacare Says $180M Website Too Broken to Fix

State 'Model' for Obamacare Says $180M Website Too Broken to Fix

Massachusetts is the latest state to walk away from its online health insurance exchange.

Officials announced today that Massachusetts Health Connector — the agency in charge of the state’s health exchange under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — plans to abandon its website, the Boston Globe reported. The agency will buy a web project already used by other states and also connect to HealthCare.gov, the federal website created by the health law known as Obamacare.

The off-the-shelf web product, developed by hCentive, has been used for Obamacare health exchanges in Colorado and Kentucky.

Sarah Iselin, a special assistant to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, told the Globe in a written statement that the “dual track” effort has benefits and challenges. “It does, however, solve for two realities: we need a reliable website to help people during the next open enrollment period, and we need to be in a position to achieve a fully integrated system in 2015,” the Democratic governor said.

To date, Massachusetts has received $180 million in federal grants to build the exchange but it is not clear whether the state agency will ask for more money and how much the fix will cost, the Boston Herald reported. In March, the state — touted by Obama as a model — fired the website’s main project contractor, CGI. The Canadian company also bungled the development and rollout of HealthCare.gov.

The announcement from Massachusetts comes just weeks after Oregon decided to scrap its online exchange after spending nearly $200 million in taxpayer-funded federal grants. Other states that rushed to implement Obamacare and set up online exchanges have reported problems.

Maryland is under pressure to fix its faulty Obamacare website to be ready for the next enrollment period in the fall, The Washington Post reported. In Nevada, a lawyer suing Nevada Health Link last month revealed documents showing the exchange considered secretly dumping all enrollees from its problematic system and starting fresh, the Las Vegas Review reported.