Nearly 4,000 applicants for a state program that provides undocumented immigrants with pregnancy services were instead enrolled in full Oregon Health Plan coverage, contrary to federal law, thanks to problems with the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange. State officials say they discovered the problem several weeks ago and are correcting it. The pregnancy program goof, however, is just one of many little-known problems that Oregon Health Plan members, providers, care groups and state officials have wrestled with as Oregon’s system for enrolling people undergoes chaotic change. It’s the flip side of the Cover Oregon debacle, where much of the attention has focused on the travails of people applying for private or commercial insurance. Two thirds of Cover Oregon’s enrollments -- more than 70,000 -- have gone into the low-income Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid. Combined with other enrollments since Oct. 1, OHP membership has swelled by more than 200,000, or about a third -- a favorite talking point of state officials.
Received my notification from the City and County of Denver that my application for a CCW permit was approved. Next step is to visit the Police Department and pick up my credentials.
The process was an interesting one. Colorado requires you take a class (instructor must be certified), pass a background check, and pay a fee ($152.50!). Really enjoyed the class I took. Instructor was a former Jefferson County Sherriff Deputy, and taught me a lot more than I thought I would learn. I would highly recommend using Joe, if you plan on taking such a course. The process at the Police station was a little challenging, as my fingers don't like being fingerprinted.
My permit is good for 5 years, at which point I pay a lower fee to get reissued.
Nice to know that I have the option of carrying in situations that would make my family feel safer. Ever since the shooting at the Batman movie a few years ago, the fetching Mrs. P has been uncomfortable at movie theaters. She was actually the one who pushed for me to get my permit.
Not sure how often I'll actually carry one of my guns, but I'm glad that I live in a State that still believes in the Constitution, and respects my Second Amendment right. I may carry frequently, I may not.
Can't file your return until the forms (and the calculations) are ready. Turbo Tax doesn't want to expose itself to audits and refilings, so they wait:
Some TurboTax customers are mad at Intuit, maker of the popular tax-prep software, because they've finished their returns but are unable to file. Their anger is misplaced. They should blame the Internal Revenue Service, along with the 111th Congress and President Obama for enacting and signing the tax increase with which TurboTax can't yet comply. (They could also blame George W. Bush if they're in a jocose frame of mind.)
At issue is ObamaCare's new 3.8% "net investment income tax." It took effect Jan. 1, 2013, so that taxpayers are encountering it just now as they prepare their returns for last year. In effect, it applies the Medicare payroll tax to interest, dividends and capital gains.
But it doesn't apply to all such income. If your modified adjusted gross income is under $200,000 (or $250,000 for a married couple), you don't pay the tax at all. Further, if your modified AGI is above the threshold but your noninvestment income is below it, the tax is applied on the difference between your total income and the threshold.
If that's hard to follow, here's an example: Suppose you're an unmarried taxpayer with a modified AGI of $210,000 and investment income of $20,000. Your net investment income is $10,000, the portion of your investment income above the total income threshold of $200,000. Your net investment income tax is 3.8% of this sum, or $380.
If you owe net investment income, you have to complete a single-page Form 8960 to calculate your modified AGI and the tax. But the form's brevity belies the new tax's complexity, as tax expert Tony Nitti wrote in a Forbes.com piece last month:
When we saw that this new, complex area of the law would ultimately be computed on a one-page form, we anticipated that the meat of the computation would be done off-form in worksheets provided by the instructions. And that's exactly what happened. But that shifts the onus back to us as tax advisors to make sure our inputs are correct, which means we must understand the nuances of the final regulations.
Nitti wrote that Jan. 7, the day after the IRS released its instructions for Form 8960. But those instructions are not final; they include a cover sheet that warns: "DRAFT--NOT FOR FILING." Taxpayers, tax advisers and tax-prep software developers are still awaiting the final instructions.
Hence the TurboTax users' frustration. "Form 8960 was realeased [sic] by the IRS on 1/24/14 but Turbo Tax keeps delaying it's [sic] release every week, for another week!" a user complained last week on Intuit's TurboTax AnswerXchange online forum. "I'm calling BS on this as they have had access to the draft form for months! When is TT actually going to make this form available and stop extending the dates? And why should we keep waiting for this form when other providers already have it available?"
Actually, Intuit has incorporated the form into its software. But for the moment, it won't allow users to complete a return that includes an 8960. An AnswerXchange moderator answers the query by explaining that in response to complaints from users--some of whom have switched to other tax-prep software to get the job done--"we will enable the filing of Form 8960 late on Feb. 26 (or possibly early the next morning) based on draft instructions."
But the moderator warns: "If you make the decision to file now, you may need to amend your return if the final instructions produce a tax liability different than the liability computed using draft instructions. You assume responsibility for checking for product updates to determine if the final instructions require an amended return and for paying any additional tax and interest."
But WAMK, I'm not one of those Super Rich that have an AGI over $200k. Big deal! If you think the $200k threshold won't be dropping year over year, I've got some lovely land to sell you in Florida.
As unemployment stays high, more people receive benefits, and Obamacare continues to not live up to expectations, more money will have to be thrown at it. That money will come from those that have jobs, and the pool will be made wider to get as much as possible.
“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. ”It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospitals efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”
By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.
VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.
Audio from a November 2008 meeting obtained by TheDC depicts VA Greater Los Angeles officials plotting to cancel backlogged exam requests.
It'll be different with Obamacare. We'll always have plenty of doctors, no backlogs, and it will be super easy to get in to see your doctor. So nothing to worry about. Absolutely okay to have the Government in charge of your health.
In order to treat Gabriel, physicians at Stony Brook University decided to try a completely new kind of operation – one that would cut down on the time the infant spent in the operating room.
Through a collaboration with Medical Modeling Inc. in Golden, Colo., Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Elliot Duboys were able to virtually plan the entire surgery beforehand. Additionally, the company created 3D printed before-and-after models of Gabriel’s skull for the surgeons, so they could accurately predict how the operation’s results would look.
“The first thing we do, after we make a diagnosis, is a CT scan of the baby’s head… and we sent the CT image to [Medical Modeling],” Egnor, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told FoxNews.com. “Using a computer program, they simulated the baby’s skull with the symmetry and dimensions it should have. Then the company manufactured these templates and sent them to us, so we had the exact measurements.”
Knowing exactly how the skull should look after the procedure, 6-month-old Gabriel was brought in for surgery and placed him under anesthesia. In order to get to the deformed bone, the surgeons made an incision across the top of Gabriel’s forehead, exposing the entire front of the skull and eye sockets.
Through the use of a special saw, the surgeons removed four pieces of deformed bone and made special cuts in the skull to help reshape and restructure the baby’s head. In an attempt to make the remodeling more precise, Egnor and Duboys utilized the 3D printed templates provided by Medical Modeling, which helped to highlight where the surgeons needed to make their incisions.
“They sent us cutting templates, which were pieces of 3D modeling that we were able to place on the child’s skull during surgery,” Duboys, associate professor of surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “And then we just traced where the cuts should be on the skull, almost like a stencil… And then we know where to cut.”
The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday declared a "significant milestone" for President Obama's health care law by claiming that 4 million Americans had now signed up for coverage. But a closer examination of the numbers suggests that the pace of sign-ups is slowing.
In a similar blog post on Jan. 24, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, praised the "milestone" of 3 million sign-ups. That represented a gain of 800,000 individuals since the end of December, when HHS had put the number at 2.2 million.
But the Tuesday claim of 4 million sign-ups represents a smaller 700,000 gain from the 3.3 million total the administration reported as of Feb. 1.
Those paying attention also recognize that the definition of an enrollee is somewhat broad, and neglects to point out how many signed up only because they lost their old coverage:
The HHS numbers include only those who have selected a plan through one of the exchanges, rather than the number who have paid -- which is typically how insurers measure enrollment. As a gauge, last week California reported that 20 percent of those who signed up in the state as of Jan. 31 hadn't paid first month's premiums.
Additionally, HHS does not reveal how many of those signing up for insurance through the exchanges were previously covered. Millions of Americans received insurance cancellation letters last fall, as insurers were forced to discontinue policies that didn't live up to Obamacare's guidelines.
Consider that for a second. Obamacare needs 7 million uninsured people to sign up, to kep the boat afloat. They can't even muster half of that by cancelling people's plans, forcing them to become "members".
Failure at every turn with this crew. If only the American Voter had been warned.
The fourth Georgia hospital in two years is closing its doors due to severe financial difficulties caused by Obamacare’s payment cuts for emergency services.
The Lower Oconee Community Hospital is, for now, a critical access hospital in southeastern Georgia that holds 25 beds. The hospital is suffering from serious cash-flow problems, largely due to the area’s 23 percent uninsured population, and hopes to reopen as “some kind of urgent care center,” CEO Karen O’Neal said.
Many hospitals in the 25 states that rejected the Medicaid expansion are facing similar financial problems. Liberal administration ally Think Progress has already faulted Georgia for not expanding Medicaid as Obamacare envisioned.
I attended a conference this week, and learned that many of the hospitals my Company works with have discovered that it works out favorably for them to pay the premium for an uninsured person's Obamacare, than to simply treat the patient as uninsured.
In the old days, an uninsured person would come in to the ER, get treatment, and leave. The hospital would them hope for cash from the Feds to help offset the loss. Today, they now pay for that uninsured person when they check in, and then bill the insurance carrier for the services provided. We aren't really bending the cost curve that that point, only taking the money from a differnt pocket in the same pants.
On the surface, one might think that a black eye on the UAW for getting beat in Tennessee was the big story. It's not. The big story is what happens next:
No wonder they wanted card check: I remember, toward the end of the last Bush administration, whippersnappers all the confident young Dem policy warriors repeating labor’s talking points about the need to allow the secret ballot in union recognition elections to be replaced by “card check,” a system in which workers sign cards in the presence of union organizers. Without card check, management would “coerce” workers by pointing out the downside of unionization in mandatory propaganda meetings.
Wasn’t it possible that workers who turned down unions simply looked at what Wagner Act unionism had done, say, to Detroit, and decided for themselves that this wasn’t what they wanted to happen to their company? Nah.
Now we know different: At Vokswagen’s Chattanooga factory, the UAW was actually welcomed by the employer. No union-busting propganada sessions. VW, which already has a powerful union back home in Europe, wanted to set up German-style “works councils,” where rank and file employees could have a say in production decisions. But, according to many U.S. labor lawyers, it needed a union partner — otherwise, under the Wagner Act the works councils would be considered an illegal “company union.” The UAW seemed ready to be that partner. UAW organizers were allowed in the plant to make their case. Management didn’t argue back.**
The most interesting part comes next: If Volkswagen now goes ahead and starts its works councils anyway, without the UAW, will organized labor sue to have them declared illegal? That would give the Roberts Court a precious opportunity to interpret the Wagner Act in a way that actually allows non-legalistic, non-adversarial forms of worker participation in management (despite the “company union” prohibition). In effect, the courts could help VW create what those on the left have been (correctly) demanding of the right: a reasonable alternative to traditional unionism, giving workers a voice without subjecting every management decision to a war of bargainers and lawyers and (ultimately) the formalized pitched battle of a strike.
Now that would be a threat to Big Labor. Which is why they might not sue.
**–Though local politicians, like Sen. Bob Corker, did. President Obama sided with the UAW, at least behind closed doors.
***–The cards apparently contained distracting language about wanting to join VW’s works council. If the union did have a majority of cards, of course, it has now provided us with a near-textbook example of the difference between a) a secret ballot and b) signing a piece of paper in the presence of union representatives.
So if VW moves forward, and sets up the Works Councils, the UAW has a choice to make: Do nothing, and appear weak to your members (and other organizations that have UAW members working there), or sue, and quite possibly lose.