The COO of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who supervised the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, is retiring. Michelle Snyder is the second official to depart the sinking ship CMS following CIO Tony Trenkle's resignation in November. While in charge of day-to-day activities, the allocation of resources, and “standing up new programs and activities required by the Affordable Care Act," the NY Times reminds readers that Kathleen Sebelius said "Michelle Snyder is not responsible for those debacles." We can only wonder at the retirement package this 41-year veteran will receive...
Obamacare's rollout may be in limbo even though the official deadline has come and gone (despite a much touted 2 million visitors to healthcare.gov on Monday which probably means it should IPO immediately), but the real sticker shock of actual fees awaits. And even as most insurers are opting to keep the full impact of the higher cost hidden, instead adding them to the overhead premiums charged, one company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, has itemized the impact of the Unaffordable Care Act by adding a separate line itme for the "Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes." Here is how these add up according to a breakdown conducted by the Post.
Only 5% of hospitals in American saw year-over-year growth in overall admissions in November, according to Citi. This is the weakest inpatient admission rate on record and comes amid both doctor and patient uncertainty over the Obamacare changes. As Citi's Gary Taylor notes "the paralyzing effect of the impotent Obamacare rollout" and Medicare's new "two-midnight" rule will weigh notably on hospital earnings as doctor's employment and compensation modesl remain in flux. 13 days to go...
There are only a few UK and U.S. banks on the list of global safe banks. This should give pause for thought. Notice that many of the safest banks in the world are in Switzerland and Germany.
Given this lack of warning, depositors need to plan in advance for the day when ATMs do not work and they cannot access cash in their bank accounts. Customers could only withdraw a maximum of €300 per day from branches and ATMs, and could only carry a maximum of €3,000 while travelling out of the country
Given this lack of warning, depositors need to plan in advance for the day when ATMs do not work and they cannot access cash in their bank accounts. Customers could only withdraw a maximum of €300 per day from branches and ATMs, and could only carry a maximum of €3,000 while travelling out of the country.
On a day when Sebelius faces more music, but small golf-claps are heard around Democrat offices at the sign-up rates for Obamacare, The Hill reports - rather dishearteningly, Capitol Hill staffers who signed up for ObamaCare through the Washington, D.C. healthcare exchange are being told to confirm their enrollments in person, and not to rely on data provided by the website... "Do not rely on your 'My Account' page or other correspondence from DCHL... do not assume you are covered."
Bipartisan Budget Deal Reached; No Extension Of Unemployment Benefits Means Unemployment Rate Set To... PlungeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2013 19:01 -0400
Moments ago, news hit that democrat negotiators Patty Murray, and republican Paul Ryan reached a bipartisan deal to ease the automatic budget cuts by $60b. The deal calls for auctioning of govt airwaves, increased premiums for pensions backed by PBGC, a congressional aide told Bloomberg’s Heidi Przybyla. A press conference will be held at 6pm to unveil the bipartisan budget agreement, according to e-mailed statement. As a result, a January 15 government shutdown will be avoided. The agreement would require federal workers to contribute more to their pensions, increase premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government and increase security fees paid by airline travelers.
And as a result of the implicit $5 billion a month fiscal boost, a near-term modest taper is now even more likely.
There has been quite a bit of discussion lately over the rapid reduction in the government's budget deficit as it relates to economic growth going forward. There are 3 issues that will likely impede further progress on the deficit reduction in the months ahead; 1) lower rates of tax revenue, 2) weaker economic growth and 3) greater levels of spending. The good news for stock market bulls is that deepening budget deficits increase the amount of bonds that the Treasury will need to issue to cover the shortfall in spending. This will give the Federal Reserve more room to continue their current monetary interventions which have inflated asset prices sharply over the last year. Creating financial instability to gain economic stability has been an elusive dream of the Federal Reserve since the turn of the century; yet someday it is hoped that they may just be able to "catch their own tail."
- U.S. set to adopt Volcker rule to curb bank trading gambles (Reuters) After vote, lawsuits likely next hurdle for Volcker rule (Reuters)
- U.S. Congress budget talks could produce Tuesday deal, aides say (Reuters)
- Wealthy Go Frugal This Holiday Amid Uneven U.S. Recovery (BBG)
- Tearful Thai PM urges protesters to take part in election (Reuters)
- Fed’s Bullard Sees Higher QE Taper Odds as Labor Market Improves (BBG)
- Coeure Says ECB Would Offer More LTROs Only When Banks Can Lend (BBG)
- Inside China's Super-Sterile Chicken Farms (WSJ)
- Mandela Service Rivals JFK’s as Leaders Meet in South Africa (BBG)
- China data defy slowdown forecasts (FT), and of course the word is "data"
- Cold, ice grip U.S. as more snow to blanket East (Reuters)
"If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it." Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy. They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true. And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now. Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers. The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics. All of that "stimulus" should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy. Sadly, all of those "emergency measures" do not appear to have done much at all.
The Obamacare enrollment portal is the gift that keeps on giving endless examples of government incompetence. The latest comes from Bloomberg which informs us that "there’s no way to tell how many people who think they’ve signed up for health insurance through the U.S. exchange actually have, after about 1 in 4 enrollments sent to insurers from the federal website had garbled included incomplete information." Still that particular glitch was not enough to prevent Obama from taking full credit for a "fixed" website after somehow the White House managed to calculate that sign ups soared to 100,000 people, and have taken off since the "fix."
“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” exclaims the president of the California Medical Association, as The Washington Examiner reports, independent insurance brokers estimate 70% of California's 104,000 licensed doctors are boycotting the exchange. “The Covered California board says we have plenty of doctors, and they allege they have 85 percent of doctors participating, but they’ve shown no numbers," and if a large number of doctors either balk at participating in the exchange or retire, the state’s medical system could be overwhelmed. “Enrollment doesn’t mean access, because there aren’t enough doctors to take the low rates of Medicaid,” warns one health director. “There aren’t enough primary care physicians, period.”
Obamacare is a catastrophe that cannot be fixed, because it doesn't fix what's broken in American healthcare. It is a phony reform that extends everything that makes the U.S. healthcare unsustainable sickcare.
Just when you thought it was safe to step back into the water of the "fixed" Obamacare website, another glitch, this time in sending data on Medicaid, has The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services writing a memo to the 36 states using the federal website last week acknowledging the information wasn't being transferred automatically and saying another system was being developed to send it. Potentially affecting tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients, ABC reports, "Essentially, if you're a consumer on healthcare.gov, it will tell you you're eligible for Medicaid and the state agency will take care of it, but there's no real way for the state Medicaid agency to know anything about it." The information, according to AP, is incomplete with regard to verifying eligibility and as South Carolina's HHS Director notes, "it's going to be a gigantic logistical mess."
By standards of previous generations, the middle class has been stripmined of income, assets and purchasing power. So what does it take to be middle class nowadays? A recent paper used Census data to discuss what sort of income it takes to qualify as middle class but income is not the only the metric - indeed, it can be argued that 12 other factors are more telling measures of middle class membership than income.