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.”

Dems Push for Obamacare for Illegal Aliens in California: ‘Health Care Is a Human Right’

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BY PENNY STARR

(CNSNews.com) – Democrats said Wednesday that President Barack Obama should use a provision in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, that gives him authority to issue a “waiver for state innovation” that would allow illegal aliens in the state to buy insurance from the state’s health insurance marketplace.

“It is truly unconscionable that our country, the richest in the world, does not reflect the fact that health care is a human right, and not a privilege,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said at the Capitol Hill press conference.

“Enrolling all Californians – no matter their immigration status – in comprehensive coverage is not only a more humanitarian approach, it’s also more cost effective to ensure people have access to preventive care and wellness programs, and receive treatment before their condition becomes more damaging and more costly,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said in her prepared remarks at the press conference.

“Everyone who works hard to build our country up, as so many immigrant families do, deserves access to quality and affordable health care,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said at the press conference.

The lawmakers said the waiver would exempt illegal aliens from the legal status requirement on Obamacare health exchanges and it would only allow them to buy insurance through the Covered California Health Insurance Exchange and would provide subsidies, according to a press release distributed at the press conference.

“Plans sold under this program will be identical to plans currently sold through the exchange, and will not be subsidized with federal premium assistance or cost-sharing subsidies,” the press release said.

The waiver – allowed under section 1332 of the Obamacare law – is designed “to provide a way for states to pursue their own approaches to expand coverage, including alternatives that would represent a significant departure from the ACA’s standards and requirements,” a fact sheet distributed at the press conference said.

Aside from sending a letter to Obama pushing for the waiver approval, 37 Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in support of the waiver.

 

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.”

Senate Republicans Want to Fund Obama & Have a Lame Duck to Confirm Garland

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By  |  September 9, 2016, 04:00am

It is commendable that House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, want to pass a continuing resolution that gets them into 2017. But Senator Mitch McConnell is yet again carrying water for Barack Obama. McConnell wants to structure a continuing resolution that gives him an excuse to confirm Judge Garland.

I know McConnell says Garland will never, ever get a vote. But the only thing you can trust about Mitch McConnell is that you cannot trust him. Even now he won’t endorse Ted Cruz for re-election and he and John Cornyn are plotting to have that squish McCaul-crist challenge Cruz in 2018. McConnell also wants to pass TPP after voters can no longer hold Republicans accountable at the polls. But he also wants to confirm Judge Garland because McConnell is convinced Clinton is going to win and Garland will be better than her picks.

So McConnell wants a continuing resolution that funds the government until December 9, 2016. That will force a lame duck session of congress. That will allow McConnell to ram through the TPP, Judge Garland’s confirmation, and fund Obama’s agenda. That, in fact, is the little noticed part of all of this. House Republicans do not want a big fight against Obama’s budget priorities, but Senate Republicans want to fund them all. They will fund executive amnesty, they will fund Obamacare, they will fund Planned Parenthood — they will fund the whole leftwing agenda.

There should be no lame duck session. There should be no continuing resolution that forces a lame duck session. And McConnell should stop carry water for Barack Obama. After all, that water carrying led to the voter rebellion enabling Trump.

Leaked Memo: George Soros Foundation Seeking to Expand U.S. Online Voting

by AARON KLEIN

NEW YORK – George Soros’s Open Society Foundations is seeking to expand the use of electronic and online voting systems nationwide, according to a leaked Foundations document reviewed by Breitbart News.

While the directive was issued two years ago, the issue of electronic voting has become a hot button topic in this year’s presidential election amid fears digital voting systems can be compromised.

The online voting plan was contained in a 67-page hacked file detailing the September 29-30, 2014 Open Society U.S. Programs board meeting in New York.

A significant portion of the board meeting was dedicated to methods the Foundation’s U.S. Programs (USP) could use to further the use of President Obama’s executive action authority to bypass Congress during Obama’s final two years in office.

The Open Society, together with partner grantees, assembled a general list of potential presidential executive actions on numerous issues. Significantly, the Soros-backed group zeroed in on the expansion of online voting.

States the document:

“USP will continue to fight against efforts to restrict voting rights, while supporting steps to improve voter participation and modernize voting procedures, such as on-line and same-day registration and expanded early voting. The Brennan Center, Demos and other grantees have engaged in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”

The document listed a number of executive action steps that the Obama administration could take to “ensure greater participation by eligible voters,” including online voting:

• Direct Health and Human Services to ensure that the federally facilitated health-care exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) incorporate voter registration opportunities as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or “Motor Voter Act”), and direct federal agencies to find ways to increase voter participation nationwide.

• Issue guidance interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to accessibility of polling places, privacy when voting, and competence requirements.

• Assist states with voter registration modernization efforts, including statewide database improvements, vote by mail, online registration and voting, and same-day registration.

• Direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop new data collection points that provide greater insight into county-based Election Administration and the ways in which voters interact with electoral systems (i.e., number of votes cast, type of voting machines used, provisional ballot statistics, etc.)

In January 2014, Obama’s 10-person Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its recommendations for reforming the U.S. election process, including transitioning to voting via tablet computers and other technologies.

The commission recommended:

Software-only products can be integrated with off-the-shelf commercial hardware components such as computers, laptops, tablets, scanners, printers, and even machine-readable code scanners and signature pad products.

Tablet computers such as iPads are common components of these new technologies. They can be integrated into the check-in, voting, and verification processes in the polling place.

The commission highlighted new technologies in which the voter can “pre-fill” sample ballots at home to be scanned later at the polling place.

Obama’s presidential panel dismissed concerns about hacking. The commission stated: “The fact that a tablet or off-the-shelf computer can be hacked or can break down does not mean such technology is inherently less secure than existing ballot marking methods if proper precautions are taken.”

Those concerns may have been dismissed too soon. Two weeks ago, NBC News citedintelligence officials revealing hackers purportedly based in Russia recently attempted to breach state voter registration databases twice. One of the hacking attempts resulted in the lifting of up to 200,000 voter records in Illinois, according to the officials.

The breach prompted the FBI to issue an unusual nationwide “flash” alert warning statesto take immediate measures to beef up the security of their online voting-related systems.

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state election officials related to the matter.

Also last month, Johnson was quoted as saying during a media conference call hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that DHS should consider whether to designate the U.S. election system as a “critical infrastructure.”

“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Johnson said.

“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he added.

On Thursday, however, Johnson downplayed concerns that hackers could alter the ballot count during the presidential election.

“It would be very difficult through any sort of cyber intrusion to alter the ballot count, simply because it is so decentralized and so vast,” Johnson said. “It would be very difficult to alter the count.”

The Hill poured cold water on Johnson’s optimistic assessment.

The publication contended:

Despite Johnson’s claims, however, hackers would not necessarily need to alter a particular vote count in order to inject chaos into the U.S. electoral system.

Merely tainting the integrity of the voting system might be enough to sow discord in the U.S on Election Day. In other words, even if hackers do nothing, simply claiming to have altered the results could cause the public to doubt the results.

And hackers might be able to alter ballot counts in swing districts where the outcome might have oversized importance.

Meanwhile, this is not Soros’s only attempt to meddle in U.S. election affairs.

A May 2014 USP board meeting document discussed the goal of expanding the U.S electorate by “at least 10 million voters.” The document, first publicized by the Washington Free Beacon, stated the voter expansion goal would be accomplished “by lowering barriers to voter registration through the various forms of modernization and increased ballot access while sustaining and expanding the franchise by establishing strong protections against vote suppression, denial and dilution.”

Ten million new voters are low ball numbers. The Soros-funded Brennan Center was mentioned in the September 2015 board meeting document reviewed by Breitbart News as engaging with other Soros grantees “in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”

Brennon’s website has an entire section dedicated to “Voter Registration Modernization,” explaining its goal is to use voter modernization to add 50 million more voters to the rosters.

The website states:

The Brennan Center’s signature proposal to modernize voting would harness proven technology to ensure that every eligible voter is permanently registered. The move would add 50 million to the rolls, cost less, and curb the potential for fraud. Already, 48 states and the District of Columbia — without fanfare or partisan wrangling — have implemented important elements of the plan.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

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?