LAWSUIT: OBAMA ROBBED PRIVATE INVESTORS TO FUND OBAMACARE

Private investments seized to save Obamacare

| Infowars.com – FEBRUARY 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two lawsuits proceeding through the federal courts threaten to expose and disrupt a scheme the Obama administration concocted in 2012 to confiscate all the profits from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac – the government’s two mortgage giants – with a plan to divert billions of dollars to pay essential Obamacare insurance subsidies that Congress had refused to fund.

On July 9, 2013, Fairholme Funds, Inc., a mutual fund that held preferred stock issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as “Fannie Mae,” and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as “Freddie Mac,” filed suit against the U.S. government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking “just compensation” under the Fifth Amendment for their property when the Obama administration, in the so-called “Net Worth Sweep” of 2012, confiscated all Fannie and Freddie profits.

In 2008, when the economy went into recession over the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, Congress passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, HERA, to save Fannie and Freddie by a federal bailout that placed the two Government Sponsored Entities, GSEs, into government conservatorship, with the U.S. Treasury recapitalizing Fannie and Freddie by issuing to the GSEs $187.5 billion in senior preferred stock with a 10% dividend designed to repay the U.S. Treasury over time.

But in 2012, when Fannie and Freddie became profitable, as the mortgage market returned with rigorous credit underwriting and a zero-interest rate environment maintained by the Federal Reserve, the Obama administration initiated a “Net Worth Sweep,” designed to confiscate 100% of the profits generated by Fannie and Freddie.

The result was that private shareholders like Fairholme Funds were paid nothing on their Fannie and Freddie stock.

In August 2012, the Obama administration engineered an amendment to the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements creating a variable dividend that allowed the U.S. Treasury to grab all Fannie and Freddie profits, regardless how large Fannie and Freddie’s earnings might be.

In 2016, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, in the case U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, ruled the Department of Health and Human Services could not use taxpayer dollars to pay Obamacare insurance subsidies Congress refused to fund.

To solve this problem, the Obama administration defied the District Court by diverting profits confiscated from Fannie and Freddie to pay the Obamacare insurance subsidies Congress had refused to fund.

To block the progress of the Fairholme lawsuit, the Obama administration asserted executive privilege, seeking to withhold some 77,945 documents from the public view, including some 12,251 documents the government wanted completely withheld (even from the federal court).

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit asserted the government’s purpose in seeking to keep the documents secret was to conceal the government’s motives in seizing from private and institutional shareholders their stock dividends in Fannie and Freddie the government wanted to seize.

“The government has asserted the information could be ‘disruptive to markets.’ However, it is difficult to imagine how discussions by officials as far back as eight years ago and emails on matters as mundane as daily press clips could impact today’s markets, which, by definition operate on the very latest information,” wrote constitutional law scholar John Yoo. “Executive privilege is available for presidents to use in highly sensitive matters, and its use is constrained by specific procedures.”

“In the pending litigation on the Net Worth Sweep, the government has applied this privilege in an overly broad and unjustified manner,” Yoo continued. “Either federal officials are trying to cover up something they know is illegal, or we are witnessing an unprecedented and disturbing obsession with secrecy.”

On Oct. 4, 2016, Judge Margaret M. Sweeney of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., gave her first order demanding the release of some of the documents that the government sought to withhold – documents the New York Times reported reached “the highest levels of the Obama administration.”

The New York Times further reported the government initially had argued that in seizing Fannie and Freddie, it had acted to protect taxpayers from future losses because the companies were in “a death spiral” and taxpayers needed protection from future losses.

But documents Judge Sweeney forced to be released made clear the government moved to seize all earnings of Fannie and Freddie just before the two mortgage giants were about to become profitable.

Fairholme and the other plaintiffs in the case had asked Judge Sweeney to review a sample of 56 documents in the case to determine if the government had a legitimate argument to seal the documents.

After her review, Judge Sweeney ruled that the documents should be released because Fairholme had an “overwhelming” need for the documents and no other source of available evidence “would similarly inform their understanding” of the events surrounding the profit sweep.

On Jan. 30, 2017  a three-judge panel for of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the federal circuit ruled unanimously that 48 of the 56 documents were not privileged, but should be released to the plaintiffs.

In writing their order, the three-judge panel expressed sympathy for the plaintiffs’ argument that the documents the government sought to seal would reveal (if made public) that Fannie and Freddie were not in a threat of a “death spiral” to insolvency when the Net Worth Sweep was ordered by the government in 2012.

Instead, the three-judge panel suggested the respondents should have access to the 48 documents in their attempt to prove the GSEs were reporting substantial profits at the time that were more than sufficient to cover the Treasury’s original 10% dividend guarantee and potentially to pay dividends to the other shareholders as well.

At issue was the plaintiff’s argument the Treasury appropriated the stock held by private investors to generate what the Treasury knew would be a massive return on the investment to the government.

FannieFreddieSecrets.org, a website created to make easily readable the documents Judge Sweeney through a series of rulings starting in October 2016, has revealed public archives and a deposition from Susan McFarland, Fannie’s former chief financial officer, from July 2015.

In her deposition, McFarland refuted projections made by Grant Thornton, the accounting firm the government had hired to do a financial analysis on Fannie and Freddie, speculating that Fannie Mae was going to lose $13 billion in 2012, the year in which the Obama administration decided to start confiscating Fannie and Freddie earnings.

McFarland revealed in the deposition that she had told high-level officials at the Treasury on Aug. 8, 2012, that the company (Fannie Mae) was “now in a sustainable profitability, that we would be able to deliver sustainable profits over time.”  McFarland added that while Fannie was “not there yet,” she as financial officer “could see positive things occurring.”

A letter from then Secretary of the Treasury Jacob L. Lew, addressed to then House Speaker John Boehner dated May 17, 2013, also rejects the government contention the Fannie and Freddy were in “a death spiral” at the time of government confiscation.

In the letter, written at a time when the Treasury was preparing to engage in “extraordinary measures” because Congress had not yet authorized an increase in the statutory debt limit, Lew explained to then-House Speaker Boehner that Treasury had just learned “last week” that it was anticipating a payment of $60 billion from Fannie Mae to be delivered on June 28, 2013.

In another document unsealed by Judge Sweeney, a Grant Thornton, purportedly showing Freddie Mac’s deteriorating financial condition, contained a marginal note handwritten by an unidentified Grant Thornton employee, saying: “3 yrs. of cum. profits, you start to think about releasing the valuation allow. The valuation allow. When probably 2013, 2014.”

In the second case, originally filed as Perry Capital LLC vs. Lew (now, Perry Capital LLC, for and on behalf of Investment Funds for which it acts as investment manager, Appellant v. Steven T. Mncuhin, in his official capacity as the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, Et Al., Appellees) the investment manager Perry Capital LLC sued the Treasury Department over the decision made in the “Net Worth Sweep” of 2012, and specifically the decision made on August 17, 2012, through which the Obama administration succeeded in engineering an amendment to the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements that resulted in the private and institutional shareholders of Fannie and Freddie being shut off from receiving future dividends on their Fannie and Freddie stock.

On Feb. 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the Obama administration had acted within its authority under HERA.

While this decision was widely viewed as a victory for the government, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals was very narrow, arguing only that the statutory claims of Perry Capital LLC were barred by the Recovery Act’s strict limitation on judicial review.

Instead of dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims, the Circuit Court remanded the case to the lower District Court to litigate contract-based claims regarding their rights as shareholders to have received Fannie and Freddie dividends.

Translated into ordinary English, the Circuit Court punted, sending the case back to the District Court where the Perry’s contractual claims regarding the rights of shareholders to receive dividends could be properly litigated at trial.

In what has become a complicated case, legal analysts still maintain that at the District Court level, Perry LLC stands an excellent chance to force the Treasury “to return the money, which it had no right to receive in the first place.”

When Will Liberals Answer for Obamacare’s Failures?

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Blaming Republicans not going to cut it.

BY DAVID HARSANYL

These days, there’s been a lot of discussion about conservative media’s culpability in creating unrealistic expectations and warped priorities among Republican voters. It’s a reasonable critique. My question: When are we going to have this conversation about the other side—you know, the one that enabled the passage of a massive partisan health care reform law that’s failed to deliver on almost all its promises?

No doubt, you’ll remember all those romantic charts and stories from the liberal smart set predicting Obamacare‘s affordability and success. Remember the jeering aimed at conservatives who argued that state-run markets inhibiting genuine competition and increasing regulations would only spur costs to rise? “Lies,” liberals said.

In 2014, the Washington Post‘s E.J. Dionne asked a valuable question: “Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong?” The answer: Of course not. Not for conservative talkers—and definitely not for liberal pundits who keep modifying the meaning of success.

At the time, Dionne argued that the Affordable Care Act was doing exactly what its supporters had predicted, “getting health insurance to millions who didn’t have it before.” In reality, that was only one piece of Obamacare’s promise, and even that accomplishment has been retroactively simplified to create an impression of unqualified success. Far from it.

Of course mandating and subsidizing health insurance will decrease the number of uninsured. Yet punditry on the left seems to be under the impression that coercing people to participate is revolutionary policymaking. Countless times in 2009, the president promised that exchanges would offer those newly insured Americans more quality “choices” and “affordability” and push down rates overall. (He promised the rest of us that health care premiums would fall by $2,500 for a family of four. Instead, they’ve risen by over $4,800.)

New administration data released this week find that Obamacare premiums will spike an average of 25 percent across the country for benchmark plans in 2017. Americans will be forced to forfeit plans they like or lose insurance altogether and accept a tax or fine—or whatever liberals are calling their state-enforced mandate these days.

But don’t worry; consumers on exchanges will also have far fewer choices. The number of health insurance carriers in the exchanges will drop from 298 this year to 228 in 2017. In five states—Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming—there will be only one insurance company providing plans in 2017. It’s one too many for many on the left.

Obamacare is working so well that Democrats are now pressuring Republicans to fix it and Hillary Clinton is arguing that to save it, we need a “public option”—a euphemism for a government-run insurance program. You can’t save contrived marketplaces, because they never work. They don’t work even when you allow cronyistic insurance companies to write policy. They don’t work simply because technocrats massage numbers and cram them into a line chart.

Even as he was boasting about his signature achievement this past week, President Obama conceded that six years after passage, Obamacare is still experiencing “growing pains.” You know, it’s just like a “starter home,” he said. “You hope that over time, you make some improvements.”

Rest assured, those “improvements” never mean opening up markets or loosening restrictions. In other words, health care reform was exactly what many Republicans feared it would be: a way to incrementally socialize the system.

“We think they will ultimately be surprised by the affordability of the premiums, because the tax credits track with the increases in premiums,” Kevin Griffis, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, reassured exchange users after the rate hikes were announced.

There are about 10 million customers who purchase their health care through HealthCare.gov and state-run offshoots. With no effective national reform in sight, that number will most likely grow. Although these consumers will have fewer choices, they will still receive financial assistance to offset the rate hikes. A spike in rates on the benchmark plans means more subsidies. Someone has to pay for what turns out to be little more than a new welfare program.

Unlike the media seers who saw Obamacare paying for itself—magically bending the cost curve in the right direction and creating vibrant pretend marketplaces that offer uninsured Americans an array of affordable choices—I can’t see the future. The trajectory of the law, though, offers us two choices, broadly speaking.

Republicans could let the law die. They could then reform the health care system by allowing it to function more like every other successful market in the country—with minimal interference from politicians. Or we could all accept another giant unfunded liability, higher taxes and further socialization of our health care system. The only question will be how quickly it will happen. One thing’s for sure, though. Despite all evidence, liberal cheerleaders of Obamacare will continue to act as if the law has been an awe-inspiring success.

Dems exposed… Philly Mess: Only 2 Insurers Left, Premiums To Rise 53%!

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BY PAT LOEB

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins next week customers will see some changes, including fewer choices and higher prices.

In Pennsylvania, the number of insurers in the marketplace has gone from 13 to eight. In Philadelphia, just two insurers are left and premiums are expected to rise 53 percent.

Temple Students Attacked, Officer Thrown To Ground, Police Horse Punched In Assaults

Aviva Aron-Dine of Health and Human Services says the size of the hike reflects artificially low rates early on. Pennsylvania had among the lowest rates in the nation.

“Issuers were pricing for a completely new market, one where they could no longer exclude those with the most serious health needs,” she said, “many set prices that turned out to be too low.”

First Snowflakes Of Season May Not Be Too Far Off 

But Aron-Dine maintains the plans are still affordable, since three-quarters of Pennsylvanians qualify for tax credits.

“Not only do tax credits bring down the cost of coverage, they adjust dollar for dollar with the cost of the benchmark plan in your area,” she explained. “So even if the cost of benchmark coverage goes up, most consumers will not have to pay more.

Aron-Dine claims costs could even go down if consumers take the time to shop for a cheaper plan. She says new features on the healthcare.govwebsite will make that easier to do.

Aetna CEO Says Young People Pick Weekend Beer Over Obamacare

BY  ZTracer  

Healthier people will avoid buying Affordable Care Act health insurance plans as premiums climb, threatening the stability of the market, Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said.

“As the rates rise, the healthier people pull out because the out-of-pocket costs aren’t worth it,” Bertolini said at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead Summit in New York.

Premiums for health plans sold to individuals under the ACA, known as Obamacare, are going up by about 25 percent on average for next year. Bertolini said that as costs rise, more individuals will decide not to buy health plans. That’ll push premiums even higher, unless a new president and lawmakers can find fixes for the new markets created by the 2010 health law.

“What happens is the population gets sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker,” Bertolini said. “The rates keep rising to try and catch it. It’s a fruitless chase, and ultimately you end up with a very bad pool of risk.”

The government has emphasized that subsidies are available for many people to help cushion the premium increases. When they are taken into account, about 77 percent of current ACA enrollees will be able to buy health insurance for $100 or less a month, the U.S. said in a report on Monday.

Leaving the Market

Insurer Aetna itself is largely ending sales of ACA plans, because it’s recording hundreds of millions of dollars of losses on the policies. The insurer will offer individual coverage on the ACA’s exchanges in four states for next year, down from 15.

Bertolini said Aetna would consider restarting sales on ACA exchanges if lawmakers make changes to the market that would help plans bear the cost of enrollees who’ve turned out to be sicker than expected. He also said passing laws will take time, given the reluctance of some legislators to improve the ACA.

“We have the ability to get back in to the exchanges if the regulation gets it right,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon enough for us to get back in before 2019, maybe 2020.”

118,395,000 on Government Health Insurance…

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By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 13, 2016 | 10:47 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – There were approximately 118,395,000 people in the United States who had “government health insurance” at some time during 2015 and 28,966,000 who were uninsured for the entire year, according to numbers released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number on government health insurance was up 10,108,000 from 2013, when 108,287,000 people in the United States had government health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.

2013 was the year before the government health-insurance exchanges opened under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). Under Obamacare, individuals are mandated to buy health insurance.

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The approximately 28,966,000 people who did not have health insurance at any time during calendar year 2015 was down 12,829,000 from the approximately 41,795,000 people who did not have health insurance at any time in 2013, according to the Census Bureau.

Despite Obamacare and its individual mandate and expansion of Medicaid, 9.1 percent of the population in the United States remained uninsured last year.

“The uninsured rate decreased between 2014 and 2015 by 1.3 percentage points,” the Census Bureau said in its “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015” report, which it released today.

In 2015,” the report said, “the percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire calendar year was 9.1 percent or 29.0 million, lower than the rate and the number of uninsured in 2014 (10.4 percent or 33.0 million).

“The percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2015 was 90.9 percent, higher than the rate in 2014 (89.6 percent),” said the report.

“In 2015, private health insurance continued to be more prevalent than public coverage, at 67.2 percent and 37.1 percent, respectively,” said the report. “Of the subtypes of health insurance, employer-based insurance covered 55.7 percent of the population for some or all of the calendar year, followed by Medicaid (19.6 percent), Medicare (16.3 percent), direct-purchase (16.3 percent), and military coverage (4.7 percent).”

Table 1 in the report shows the numbers that the Census Bureau estimated for each type of health insurance coverage based on its Current Population Survey. A footnote to the Table states: “The estimates by type of coverage are not mutually exclusive; people can be covered by more than one type of health insurance during the year.” Another footnote says: “Government health insurance coverage includes Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs), and care provided by the Department o Veterans Affairs and the military.

According to the table, there were 289,903,000 people who had “any health plan” in the United States in 2015; 214,238,000 people who had “any private plan;” and 118,395,000 people who had “any government plan” at some time during the year.

The table says that 62,384,000 had Medicaid at some point during the year; 51,865,000 had Medicare; and 14,849,000 had a military health plan.

The table lists 28,966,000 as “uninsured.” A footnote to this number states: “Individuals are considered to be uninsured if they do not have health insurance coverage for the entire calendar year.

In Table 2 of its report, the Census Bureau said that of 318,868,000 people in the population in 2015, 37.1 percent had “government health insurance.”

PATRIOTS: America’s Got SERIOUS Problems… Are YOU Angry Yet?

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BY SYLVIA ANDREWS

Are you angry yet? If you’re not, you should be. I wonder if many Americans have even bothered to notice the miserable “stuff” that’s been going on in our country? Unfortunately, I feel that too many are more interested in the goings-on in the sports world and Hollywood. They can tell you the latest scores of the various teams, all kinds of information about the private lives of the celebrities in sports and Hollywood, and a variety of other, unimportant trivia. However, ask them anything about the United States history, geography, or government and they draw a blank. They have no idea what’s going on in their own country or the world.

How sad this is, that so many Americans don’t know, and probably don’t care. This is how a once-strong and exceptional republic deteriorates into a third-world country. The citizens let it happen. They elect politicians who they have not vetted, but who they think are so “cool”. The politicians are, in fact in many instances, just greedy and self-serving. They allow absurd and freedom-killing laws to be enacted. They listen to the mainstream media, who have become the propaganda arm of the White House and the Progressive Left. They don’t bother to contact their legislators and voice their opinions. Instead they’re all wrapped up in the lives of Hollywood bimbos when they should be caring about issues that affect the lives of every American.

Here are some items that I care about, and so should you:

We currently have an administration that constantly shreds the Constitution and bypasses Congress.

We have a gutless Congress. Whatever happened to separation of powers?

We have an administration that treats our allies badly and our enemies royally.

We have a President, who apologizes for our great country every chance he gets, lies on a regular basis, and initiates policies that will turn this country into a Socialist state.

Don’t forget the criminal activity in several government agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the IRS, the VA, and the EPA, just to name a few.

We once had the best healthcare in the world, and now we have the Affordable Care Act which is of very poor quality and has caused great pain to many citizens as well as increased costs. Obamacare is now imploding before our very eyes because many of the big healthcare companies are leaving the program due to diminishing returns and increasing costs.

Big Brother is trying to control every aspect of our lives while the government increases their surveillance of American citizens through the NSA.

Political correctness is rampant to the point where free speech is in danger. This is especially true in academia where dissenting opinions should be invited instead of discouraged.

There exists a national education program called Common Core which extols a Socialist agenda instead of teaching about the United States of America. It rewrites American history, promotes Islam, and is sexually explicit. Is this what our kids need?

This administration has poured thousands of so-called Muslim “refugees” into our cities and towns.
These people do not want to abide by our laws and are here for stealth jihad, with the help of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. Their goal is to impose Sharia law instead of our Constitution.

Our economy is on life–support and the lefties do not seem to have a plan to revive it.

We have a First Lady who told graduating seniors to keep tabs on their racist family. When she’s not trying to regulate what we, or our kids, should be allowed to eat, she’s out there race-baiting.

I have a real problem with government agencies purchasing enough lethal ammunition to put five rounds into every American while trying to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. You have to ask why agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Post Office, to name a few, need ammunition at all. It’s no secret that the administration is trying to take citizens’ guns away under the guise of protecting people. That is not to protect people…that is to gain control over people and it’s in direct violation of the Second Amendment.

Our Armed Services have been decimated.

Veterans returning home from Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern venues have frequently been designated as terrorists by our government. Why? These same veterans are treated very badly at the Veterans Administration’s hospitals and clinics throughout the country. They deserve better.

Why is this administration so chummy with CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations)? It is well-known that they are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been called a terrorist group by several Muslim countries. Yet the United States will not declare them a terrorist group.

Groups like Black Lives Matter and many of George Soros’ extreme leftist groups are flourishing under this administration even though their goal is to take down America.

An election is about to happen and the Democrat nominee has a long history of corruption and lies. In addition, she now exhibits dangerous symptoms of some very serious problems.

The mainstream media cover and manipulate the news in favor of the Democrat party and the Liberals.
Currently, the powers that be have a goal to bring our country down, and we cannot allow this to happen.

Pay attention, get involved. Are you angry yet?

Obamacare Insurance Markets on Verge of Collapse

by WARNER TODD HUSTON

Citing the financial unsustainability of Obamacare, both the insured and insurers are fleeing Obamacare in increasing numbers, leaving President Obama’s takeover of the nation’s healthcare system on the verge of collapse.

The administration has claimed Obamacare — officially designated the Affordable Care Act — to be a great success, insisting that 20 million previously uninsured Americans now have insurance. But according to a report at The Guardian, that “success” comes at the expense of all the features that were supposed to make the law sustainable.

President Obama and his cohorts imagined that since Obamacare was to be compulsory, millions of healthy young Americans would immediately sign up, and the massive influx of cash paid into the system as insurance premiums would help pay for the higher costs in care doled out to older, sicker enrollees.

Unfortunately for supporters of Obamacare, millions of young people simply ignored the law, deciding, instead, to pay the tax penalties to the IRS for not having insurance because it was both easier to do and cheaper in the long run. Consequently, the largest number of new enrollees are people whose illnesses are costing the insurance companies more to pay out for their care than they are paying into the system in premiums. The result is more money going out for care than coming in, a situation impossible to sustain for long.

The latter is why so many insurance carriers are dropping out of Obamacare. They are being outspent and cannot sustain the costs and remain profitable at the same time. And this, in turn, is setting the whole Obamacare system toward collapse.

As the outlet reports:

In April, UnitedHealthcare left most of the 34 state marketplaces it participated in. And in August, Aetna scaled back its participation in the markets because of losses, and also because of the [J]ustice [D]epartment’s attempt to block it from merging with another health insurance giant, Humana.

Worse, insurance premiums have risen time and again since the inception of Obamacare only a few short years ago, and those rises are set to continue pricing many policies hundreds of dollars a month past the wooly claims of cheap healthcare plans Obama made when he was pushing the law.

In addition, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study on Obamacare was released that was such bad news for Obamacare it brought the Trump campaign to call it “another extraordinary indictment of Obamacare.”

Echoing The Guardian’s report, the Foundation’s study reported that “the number of counties with a single marketplace insurer is likely to increase, from 225 (7% of counties) in 2016 to 974 (31% of counties) in 2017.”

The report reveals another of the principal failures of a feature that was supposed to have made Obamacare sustainable — that of competition between insurers. We are now finding that this competition is non-existent in large swaths of the country.

“The news that Americans living in more than 6 in 10 counties next year will only have one or at most two healthcare options under Obamacare is another extraordinary indictment of this law and Hillary Clinton’s disastrously poor judgment,” national policy adviser to Donald Trump Stephen Miller said in a statement.

Miller added:

Every policy she touches only produces more calamity. In this case, it means higher prices, fewer choices, and less control over one’s most private medical decisions. Yet Hillary Clinton thinks struggling Americans still have it too good. She wants to give the government more control over the entire healthcare system — taking away even more choices from American moms, dads and children. This is yet another crossroads in this election: America must repeal and replace this disastrous law or live under total government control.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study is only added to reports that Obamacare rates are soaring, and 16 of the 23 state exchanges established by the law have failed.

As Obamacare Rates Soar and Exchanges Fail, Gruber and Media Still Downplay Failures

by MICHAEL PATRICK LEAHY

Obamacare rates are soaring and the majority of the highly touted state exchanges established by the law have failed.

But MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who famously claimed the American people were too stupid to be told the truth about the ill-starred law prior to its passage, wrote in Politico recently “the fear of ‘death spirals’ from rapidly rising premiums is greatly exaggerated when the vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized, meaning they don’t pay those higher premiums.”

Many mainstream media outlets, just as they did in 2009 and 2010 when Gruber touted the supposed benefits of Obamacare, are repeating Gruber’s talking point.

But the current failures of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement extend well beyond the designation given to the president’s promise that with the new law “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” which Politifact declared in 2013 to be the lie of the year.

As Fox News reported, “16 of Obamacare’s 23 approved healthcare cooperatives have closed up shop, or announced their intention to close by year’s end, further reducing competition.” That’s two more failed exchanges since last month, when Breitbart reportedthe fourteenth failure in Connecticut:

Connecticut’s Obamacare health insurance co-op is being placed under state supervision because of its status as financially “unstable,” leaving 40,000 individuals on the hunt for new insurance plans.

HealthyCT – a nonprofit health insurance plan set up under President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform, is one of 23 original Obamacare co-ops and the 14th to fail since they began selling their health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges.

Insurance commissioners in eight states have already approved significant premium rate increases for 2017, as Fox News reported:

Courtesy of ACASignUps.net, here are the average weighted increases for [seven of these] states thus far. . . Kentucky: weighted average increase of 24.5%, Oregon: 23.8%, New York: 16.6%, Mississippi: 15.8%, Arkansas: 9.4%, Vermont: 7%, Rhode Island: 1.3%

Rates in an eighth state, Tennessee, also just went up significantly, where the state’s insurance commissioner just authorized dramatic rate increases for the three remaining insurers in the market: “Blue Cross Blue Shield received a 62 percent increase in rates, Cigna received a 46.3 percent increase, and Humana received a 46.3 percent increase”, as Breitbart News reported:

Tennessee’s insurance commissioner said the Obamacare exchanges in her state are “very near collapse” after she approved rate increases for three insurance carriers on the exchanges in an attempt to give consumers more options for open enrollment in November.

I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse … and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I’m doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero,” Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said to The Tennessean.

It’s the way the law is written that’s causing these problems, Fox News reported:

To begin with, adverse selection is crushing insurers, while at the same time they’re struggling to enroll healthier young adults. Adverse selection describes the process by which sicker individuals were among the first to enroll, leaving insurers with a less-than-desirable mix of new patients who are proving quite costly. Remember, prior to Obamacare insurers were allowed to pick and choose their customers and turn away those with pre-existing conditions. That’s no longer the case with Obamacare.

On the other hand, younger adults are enrolling in greater numbers, but their overall participation is nowhere near what insurers need. The culprit here may very well be the Shared Responsibility Payment, or SRP. The individual mandate, which is the actionable component of the ACA, states that individuals need to buy health insurance or pay a penalty come tax time. The SRP is the official name of that penalty, and in 2016 it’s the greater of $695 or 2.5% of your modified adjusted gross income. The Kaiser Family Foundation predicts 2016’s SRP will average $969. The SRP was intended to encourage young adults to enroll, but when full-year premium costs for even the cheapest plans are typically $2,400 or higher, most are choosing the cheaper route of paying the penalty. In other words, insurers are being hindered by adverse selection and low healthy adult enrollment figures.

The failure of the risk corridor is another reason why competition has faltered. The risk corridor was designed to collect money from overly profitable insurers on Obamacare that would be redistributed to those insurers that were losing excessive amounts of money. The idea was to create a sort of risk-pool among insurers to both protect them against adverse selection, as well as from pricing their premiums too low. It was also believed that the added financial protection of the risk corridor would encourage new entrants, thus promoting competition that would keep premium inflation in check.

Unfortunately, the risk corridor was a disaster. There weren’t many overly profitable insurers on the ACA, so just 12.6% of the $2.87 billion in requested funds from insurers was paid out.

Even Jonathan Gruber conceded recently in the aptly titled “What We Didn’t See Coming” column he wrote for Politico that the actual results of the law’s implementation “include some surprises, even for those of us who have tracked the law closely and rooted for its success.”:

More people are in Medicaid than anticipated; fewer bought health plans through the exchanges. . .

What did happen? The law has more or less hit its target for covering Americans. Almost 20 million people had coverage in 2015 close to what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had forecast in early 2013. But it didn’t quite happen in the ways the CBO and many of us other analysts expected.

The diehard supporter of the law offers this conclusion though: “Surprises aren’t necessarily failures.”

“[T]he sizeable rise in exchange premiums over the past year, and even a rapid rise in the coming year, does not imply a long run unsustainable pricing pattern for exchanges, despite what critics of the health law may contend,” he asserts.

As for the exchanges, he concedes they “will probably end up smaller than expected – but still plenty large enough to continue. The fact is that exchanges in every state are well above the minimum scale required to function effectively. And the fear of ‘death spirals’ from rapidly rising premiums is greatly exaggerated when the vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized, meaning they don’t pay those higher premiums.”

Gruber concludes “Any objective analysis of the ACA will find that it vastly improved the lives of millions of Americans who could not previously rely on the security of employer or government-provided insurance — while leaving the vast majority of Americans able to still rely on the insurance arrangements that they enjoy. And that should be no surprise.”

On the campaign trail, however, candidates are finding that most voters still do not agree with Gruber, even though the mainstream media seems eager to declare that, despite the failures of Obamacare, political criticism of the law have lost steam.

As Politico reported:

As insurers push large premium increases for 2017 Obamacare plans, some of the steepest hikes have been requested by insurers in crucial swing states that could determine control of the Senate.

In nine of 11 states with competitive Senate races, at least one insurer seeks to hike rates for Obamacare customers by at least 30 percent next year: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pennsylvania wants to jack up average premiums by more than 40 percent. In Wisconsin, three insurers have asked for rate hikes of more than 30 percent. In New Hampshire, two of the five carriers want to sell plans with rate increase above 30 percent.

The potential sticker shock — coupled with the likelihood many consumers will have fewer choices next year after major insurers scale back their exchange participation — creates a potential political opening for Republican candidates, especially since the next Obamacare enrollment season starts one week before Election Day.

“People who are feeling it in their pocketbooks are going to be very unhappy about [rate hikes],” said Brian Walsh, a former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “You would expect to see this will be part of the campaign messaging for House and Senate Republicans. … If it hasn’t started, it will be coming.”

While Donald Trump often cites eye-popping rate hikes as proof the health care law is a “disaster,” rate hikes haven’t yet emerged as a major campaign issue in most Senate races — although several Republicans said they plan to spotlight the issue in the fall.

Not surprisingly, Politico, which ran Jonathan’s Gruber’s July defense of the law, borrows one of his lines from that defense in its reporting on the issue: “The reality is that most Obamacare customers won’t have to pay headline-grabbing rate hikes since the vast majority are eligible for federal subsidies that reduce their monthly insurance costs. And proposed rates, which HHS posted publicly earlier this month, are likely to come down under regulatory scrutiny.”

Politico does acknowledge, “However, millions of people who buy their own coverage and who don’t receive federal help will be exposed to the full rate hikes unless they can switch into a cheaper plan.”

It is those voters who have to pay the full freight of Obamacare who are likely to let Democratic candidates know just how they feel about their continued support for the law at the polling booths in November.