HERE’S A LIST OF OBAMA ADMIN OFFICIALS WHO USED ALTERNATE E-MAILS TO CONDUCT GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Agencies include EPA, IRS, HHS and more…

Kerry Picket | Daily CallerSEPTEMBER 26, 2016

The Obama administration from the top down managed to operate around the eyes of the public often by using pseudonyms when communicating with one another online.

Although President Barack Obama previously claimed to CBS he only found out about Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server through news reports, Politico reported Friday that an FBI news dump shows he communicated with Clinton on her private server using a fake name.

The idea of using a fake name to communicate through e-mail is not an unusual one to Obama administration appointees. Clinton and even her daughter Chelsea obscured their names when communicating with one another. Chelsea went by the alias “Diane Reynolds” when talking to her mother over e-mail the night of the attack in Benghazi.

According to CBS News, Clinton, instead of using her formal state.gov email address, used the email HRod17@clintonemail.com or would sign off as “Gert” or “Gertie” to her friend Betsy Ebeling in Chicago. Another e-mail address she used was hdr22@clintonemail.com.

A “Richard Windsor” appeared to be an official at the EPA. The individual had an official epa.gov e-mail address, but it was later discovered through FOIA requests and public records that Windsor.Richard@epa.gov not only did not exist, but the e-mail address belonged to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“I don’t know any other agency that does this,” said Anne Weismann, chief counsel of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which called upon the EPA’s inspector general to investigate the matter in 2012.

It did not stop at just the EPA. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, among other appointees, used secret e-mail accounts to conduct business, the Associated Press reported.

In June 2013, the AP asked for HHS’s unpublished secret email accounts from the agency, which the department initially resisted.
“The Health and Human Services Department initially turned over to the AP the email addresses for roughly 240 appointees — except none of the email accounts for Sebelius, even one for her already published on its website. After the AP objected, it turned over three of Sebelius’ email addresses, including a secret one. It asked the AP not to publish the address, which it said she used to conduct day-to-day business at the department,” the AP reported. “Most of the 240 political appointees at HHS appeared to be using only public government accounts.”

Eventually, the AP published Sebelius’s secret email — KGS2(at)hhs.gov — “over the government’s objections because the secretary is a high-ranking civil servant who oversees not only major agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services but also the implementation of Obama’s signature health care law. Her public email address is Kathleen.Sebelius(at)hhs.gov.”

The AP notes that “at least two other senior HHS officials — including Donald Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Gary Cohen, a deputy administrator in charge of implementing health insurance reform — also had secret government email addresses.”

The Internal Revenue Service disclosed last year that Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the agency’s targeting of conservative organizations controversy, also had a private e-mail account she may have used for government business.

Lerner’s second e-mail, discovered by the D.C. watchdog group Judicial Watch, is registered to the name “Toby Miles.”

“It is simply astonishing that years after this scandal erupted we are learning about an account Lois Lerner used that evidently hadn’t been searched,” Tom Fitton said in a statement to The Washington Times.

The use of a non-public pseudonym for e-mail communication within a government agency was done by address for Seth D. Harris when he was the acting labor secretary.

Did anybody at the Justice Department hold administration officials accountable for the use of such alternate emails? Unfortunately, the task would have been difficult for Attorney General Eric Holder who had two secret aliases — Lew Alcindor and Kareem Abdul Jabar, — to communicate through email at DOJ.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/25/heres-a-list-of-obama-admin-officials-who-used-alternate-e-mails-to-conduct-government-business/#ixzz4LP9FIGjz

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/25/heres-a-list-of-obama-admin-officials-who-used-alternate-e-mails-to-conduct-government-business/#ixzz4LP9FIgIP

The Medicaid Ticking Time Bomb – A Budget-Gobbling Fiscal Disaster

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BY DANIEL MITCHELL

The burden of government spending is already excessive. But the numbers will get worse with the passage of time if policy is left on autopilot.

The main culprits are the so-called mandatory programs. Entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and Obamacare that automatically dispense money to various constituencies are consuming an ever-larger chunk of the economy’s output.

And if you want to be even more specific, the fastest-growing entitlement program is Medicaid, which was originally supposed to be a very small program to subsidize health care for poor people but has now metastasized into a budget-gobbling fiscal disaster. Arguably, it’s the entitlement program most in need of reform.

So how big is the problem? Enormous if you look at the numbers from the National Association of State Budget Officers.

“States increased their spending in fiscal year 2015 by the biggest margin in more than 20 years, but most of the increase was thanks to huge leaps in Medicaid spending under the first full year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Spending increased last fiscal year, which ended on June 30 for most states, by 7.8 percent, according to new estimates from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). It’s the biggest boost since 1992 and was thanks to a 15.1 percent increase in Medicaid spending, much of that paid for via federal Medicaid funds. Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Nevada and Oregon saw more than 30 percent increases in federal funding because they expanded Medicaid under the ACA. But 2015 was also a year where states were putting up more of their own money again.”
Here’s the chart showing which outlay categories grew the fastest.

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The article points out that spending is outpacing revenue.

“On average, state revenues aren’t keeping pace with spending; NASBO estimates General Fund revenues will increase by just 3.8 percent.”
Though the real problem is that spending is expanding faster than the private sector, which is the opposite of what is called for by my Golden Rule.

One of the reasons Medicaid grows so fast is that the program is split between Washington and the states, which both picking up a share of the cost. This may sound reasonable, but it creates a very perverse incentive structure since politicians at both levels can vote to expand the spending burden while only having to provide part of the cost.

The National Center for Policy Analysis explains how this system produces bad decisions.

“Medicaid has a horrible financing mechanism: Federal transfers to states are not based on the number of poor people, or any other reasonable calculation. Instead, they depend on the amount of its own taxpayers’ money a state spends. Traditionally, when California spent $1 on Medi-Cal, the federal government kicked in $1. … So, state politicians hike taxes and spending on their own citizens in order to get as much funding as possible from people in other states (via the feds). Hospitals and Medicaid MCOs maximize this by agreeing to a state tax on themselves, which the state uses to ratchet up the federal funding. After multiplication, the money goes right back to these providers. … Stopping this wild spending growth requires fundamental reform to Medicaid’s financing. Congressional Republicans have proposed ‘block grants,’ whereby states would get federal Medicaid transfers based on their population of poor residents, not how much they gouge out of their own people.”

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.”

US budget deficit approaches $600bn, public debt to reach 77% of GDP

Slower revenue growth and large spending will expand the US budget deficit to $590 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
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The deficit is expected to be $152 billion more than last year and $56 billion larger than CBO’s forecast in March and will equal 3.2 percent of the country’s economic output.

Such a budget deficit is more than the GDP of Sweden, Poland or Iran. In July, the US posted a $113 billion budget gap, bigger than the economies of Ukraine or Slovakia.

The largest deficit America has seen is $1.4 trillion in 2009, which dropped to $485 billion in 2014. US public debt will continue to grow and is projected at 77 percent of the country’s GDP by year-end.

On Wednesday, US public debt was more than $19.4 trillion, or almost $60,000 per citizen and $164,432 per taxpayer. Federal spending was approaching $4 trillion with Medicare/Medicaid, social security and the military being the largest budget items.

American revenues have grown by less than one percent in 2016 instead of the expected five percent. The reasons are mandatory spending for Social Security and Medicare, the federal retirement and healthcare programs for the elderly, CBO said.

The economy grew only one percent in the first half of the year, but the last months of the year will see a boost, according to CBO, bringing a two percent growth this year and 2.4 percent in 2017. This will add to hiring, putting pressure on inflation and interest rates.

Obamacare splitting in two…

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This Election Opens Final Act for ‘Obamacare’ Controversy
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Increasingly, there are two ObamaCares.
There’s the one in coastal and northern areas, where the marketplaces include multiple insurers and plans. And there’s the one in southern and rural areas, where there is often little competition, a situation that can lead to higher premiums.
“There’s really two kind of stories that are playing out,” said Cynthia Cox, who studies insurer competition at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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The trend is likely to be accelerated by the departure of Aetna and UnitedHealthcare from ObamaCare marketplaces in 2017. The loss of those insurers won’t affect all parts of the country equally, experts say.

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“The combined effect of these exits is mostly concentrated in southern states and particularly rural counties within those states,” Cox said.

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According to an analysis from the consulting firm Avalere, as of now, there will be just one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage next year in seven states: Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, Alaska, North Carolina and Kansas. It is possible that more insurers could enter these markets before next year.

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In one county in Arizona, there might not be an ObamaCare plan available at all.
Aetna had been the only insurer offering a plan in Pinal County. Unless federal and state officials can find another insurer to fill the void in 2017, the county’s 400,000 residents will not be able to buy coverage on an ObamaCare exchange.

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The dearth of options in rural, sparsely populated areas is a far cry from what Democrats promised when selling the Affordable Care Act.

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Obama talked at the time about how the law would create a “one-stop shop” for insurance, comparing it to websites where people can look for airline tickets.
“Just visit healthcare.gov, and there you can compare insurance plans, side by side, the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon,” Obama said in 2013. “You enter some basic information, you’ll be presented with a list of quality, affordable plans that are available in your area, with clear descriptions of what each plan covers, and what it will cost.  You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices.” 

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In states like Oklahoma, the reality is different, with just one insurer to choose from in the online marketplace.

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“We certainly see this as an issue,” said Mike Rhoads, Oklahoma’s deputy insurance commissioner. “With only a single carrier out there, there is no competition.”
“I think competition drives price sensitivity by these carriers,” Rhoads said.

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Adding to the geographic disparities under ObamaCare, many of the same states where insurance competition is lacking declined the health law’s expansion of Medicaid. Because of that, many lower-income people have no insurance option at all.

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Still, many rural areas had few insurance options before ObamaCare came along. Back then, individual plans were pricey and difficult to find, and insurers could reject people with preexisting conditions.

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Under ObamaCare, insurers cannot deny coverage for health conditions, and lower-income people receive financial assistance to offset the cost of premiums.

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Cox, the Kaiser Family Foundation expert, said the main consequences of insurers leaving ObamaCare next year will be enrollees having to switch plans. The cost to the federal government of providing ObamaCare, meanwhile, could rise if premiums increase.

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In Oklahoma, Rhoads said he has been trying to recruit more insurers to join the ObamaCare marketplace, but found no takers.

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“We see no other carriers willing to come in,” he said. “We certainly have had conversations with some of the national players.”

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Rhoads said he spoke with two insurers that participated in ObamaCare’s first year about returning. They declined, citing the financial losses they suffered before.

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“There’s a little bit of giggling in the background when we ask this question, and we understand that they’ve been there, they’ve done that, they’ve taken their lumps,” Rhoads said.

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“As we discussed with one of the CEOs of a large HMO, who had competitive rates, they had their losses and their board of directors was just incensed that they hadn’t made money, and it caused some turmoil within the organization,” he added.

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Relying on just one insurer to offer coverage runs the risk of having ObamaCare disappear, should that insurer bail from the marketplace.

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In areas with just one insurer, it is almost always a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. While those plans have generally expressed their commitment to continuing to offer ObamaCare coverage, they have also pressed the Obama administration for policy changes like tightening up the rules for extra sign-up periods that sick people can use to game the system.

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Some Blue Cross plans, including one in North Carolina, have expressed reservations about continuing to offer ObamaCare plans, particularly if they do not win their preferred policy changes.

Sabrina Corlette, an expert on the health law at Georgetown University, cited the geographic divergence when asked whether Aetna’s exit made her worried about the future of ObamaCare.

Corlette said her concern is “going to depend on what county somebody might live in.”

CLINTON: JOINING A GANG IS LIKE HAVING A FAMILY

Candidate cynically panders to welfare class voting Democrat

JULY 18, 2016

Hillary Clinton believes gangs are an adequate substitute for the family. She makes the remark in the video below posted by Dinesh D’Souza on July 15.
“Joining a gang is like having a family,” Clinton said during a discussion on gun violence in Connecticut. “It’s feeling like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. So we’re either going to have gangs that murder and rob and do the things that are so destructive to their members and to the community, or we’re going to have positive gangs, we’re going to have positive alternatives for young people.”

Sociologists have conclusively demonstrated the formation of gangs correlates to the breakdown of the family under state-run social welfare and is the largest contributor to crime.
“The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” notes Barbara Dafoe. “This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.”

Clinton ignores the fact the family is the foundation of civilization and the welfare system destroys that foundation.

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In Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, Charles Murray reveals how welfare under Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” destroyed families and resulted in violence and social nihilism. Since 1964, the federal government has spent approximately $16 trillion on welfare, a figure that translates to 15% of the GNP.

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“Broken families are causally related to all sorts of indices of social failure: criminal behavior, gang membership, lower education, less general achievement, unemployment, jail sentences, out-of-wedlock births, etc.,” writes Walter E. Block.
“[Gang activity] is dysfunctional culture. For her to sit up there and embrace this as if it’s something that’s socially acceptable in the black community,” Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said after Clinton praised gangs as a viable alternative to the traditional family.

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“She should have brought that up and said ‘we gotta change these policies so we can help the black community reconstruct their family experience so kids can make better lifestyle choices.”

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Clinton was not attempting to provide a solution to a serious social problem, however. She was courting Democrat voters ahead of the November election.

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A survey by the Maxwell Poll on the political affiliation of Americans receiving government aid shows that 81% of those in public housing, 74% on Medicaid, 67% on food stamps, and 63% receiving welfare or public assistance vote for Democrats.

Obamacare Insurers Looking for Taxpayer Bailout…

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Insurers helped cheerlead the creation of Obamacare, with plenty of encouragement – and pressure – from Democrats and the Obama administration. As long as the Affordable Care Act included an individual mandate that forced Americans to buy its product, insurers offered political cover for the government takeover of the individual-plan marketplaces. With the prospect of tens of millions of new customers forced into the market for comprehensive health-insurance plans, whether they needed that coverage or not, underwriters saw potential for a massive windfall of profits.

Six years later, those dreams have failed to materialize. Now some insurers want taxpayers to provide them the profits to which they feel entitled — not through superior products and services, but through lawsuits.

Related: Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017

Earlier this month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina joined a growing list of insurers suing the Department of Health and Human Services for more subsidies from the risk-corridor program. Congress set up the program to indemnify insurers who took losses in the first three years of Obamacare with funds generated from taxes on “excess profits” from some insurers. The point of the program was to allow insurers to use the first few years to grasp the utilization cycle and to scale premiums accordingly.

As with most of the ACA’s plans, this soon went awry. Utilization rates went off the charts, in large part because younger and healthier consumers balked at buying comprehensive coverage with deductibles so high as to guarantee that they would see no benefit from them. The predicted large windfall from “excess profit” taxes never materialized, but the losses requiring indemnification went far beyond expectations.

In response, HHS started shifting funds appropriated by Congress to the risk-corridor program, which would have resulted in an almost-unlimited bailout of the insurers. Senator Marco Rubio led a fight in Congress to bar use of any appropriated funds for risk-corridor subsidies, which the White House was forced to accept as part of a budget deal. As a result, HHS can only divvy up the revenues from taxes received through the ACA, and that leaves insurers holding the bag.

Related: Obamacare: Costs Go Up, Insurers Drop Out and Consumers Get Screwed

They now are suing HHS to recoup the promised subsidies, but HHS has its hands tied, and courts are highly unlikely to have authority to force Congress to appropriate more funds. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services formally responded by telling insurers that they have no requirement to offer payment until the fall of 2017, at the end of the risk-corridor program.

That response highlights the existential issue for both insurers and Obamacare. The volatility and risk was supposed to have receded by now. After three full years of utilization and risk-pool management, ACA advocates insisted that the markets would stabilize, and premiums would come under control. Instead, premiums look set for another round of big hikes for the fourth year of the program.

Consumers seeking to comply with the individual mandate will see premiums increase on some plans from large insurers by as much as 30 percent in Oregon, 32 percent in New Mexico, 38 percent in Pennsylvania, and 65 percent in Georgia.

Thus far, insurers still claim to have confidence in the ACA model – at least, those who have not pulled out of their markets altogether. However, massive annual premium increases four years into the program demonstrate the instability and unpredictability of the Obamacare model, and a new study from Mercatus explains why.

Related: Obamacare: Costs Go Up, Insurers Drop Out and Consumers Get Screwed

The claims costs for qualified health plans (QHPs) within the Obamacare markets far outstripped those from non-QHP individual plan customers grandfathered on their existing plans – by 93 percent. They also outstripped costs in group QHP plans by 24 percent. In order to break even without reinsurance subsidies (separate from the risk-corridor indemnification funds), premiums would need to have been 31 percent higher on average for individual QHPs.

The main problem was that younger and healthier people opted out of the markets, skewing the risk pools toward consumers with much higher utilization rates – as Obamacare opponents predicted all along. With another round of sky-high premium increases coming, that problem will only get worse, the study predicts.

“[H]igher premiums will further reduce the attractiveness of individual QHPs to younger and healthier enrollees, resulting in a market that will appeal primarily to lower-income individuals who receive large subsidies and to people with expensive health conditions,” it concludes. “To avoid such an outcome, it is increasingly likely that the individual insurance market changes made by the ACA will have to be revised or reversed.”

Related: It’s Time to Blame Obamacare for Losing So Many Full-Time Jobs

Galen Institute senior fellow Doug Badger, one of the study’s co-authors, wonders how long insurers will continue to publicly support Obamacare. In an interview with me this week, Badger noted how critical that political cover is for the White House, but predicted it won’t last – because the system itself is unsustainable, and no one knows this more than the insurers themselves, even if they remain reluctant to voice that conclusion. Until they speak up, however, the Obama administration can keep up their happy talk while insurers quietly exit these markets, an act that should be speaking volumes all on its own.

Even the Kaiser Foundation, which has supported Obamacare, has admitted that the flood of red ink has become a major issue. “I don’t know if we’re at a point where it’s completely worrisome,” spokesperson Cynthia Cox told NPR, “but I think it does raise some red flags in pointing out that insurance companies need to be able to make a profit or at least cover their costs.”

Red flags have flown all over the Obamacare model for six years. Instead of suing the federal government for losses created by a system for which they bear more than a little responsibility, insurers should finally admit out loud that the ACA is anythingbut affordable – not for insurers, and certainly not for consumers or taxpayers. When that finally happens, we can then start working on a viable solution based on reality rather than fealty to a failed central-planning policy.