Obamacare Hikes Cost to Patients of Specialty Drugs for Complex Conditions

As the deadline looms to acquire new healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Chicago area residents are finding plans, though with not always ideal results. Various residents in the metropolitan Chicago area have decided either to keep their old plan, have been stuck on to wrong ones – finding it next to impossible to have themselves removed. Or, they have wound up paying more under Obamacare.

Many without coverage as of March 31, 2014 will face a penalty of $95.00, or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.

Read more at Reason.com

CGI Group, Firm That Botched Obamacare Site, Gets $4.87M Extension

On February 21, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services extended a government contract to a company that mishandled the Obamacare website. The extension, through March 31, 2014, means another $4 million to the IT company: CGI Group. March 31st is also the deadline for open enrollment in healthcare plans under the Afordable Healthcare Act (ACA)

Critics see the extension as another paycheck for the company that has already taken a significant amount of taxpayer money, including an initial $93.7 million contract which ran through December, 2013 – despite bungling the roll-out of the Obamacare portal in October.

Even though CGI’s track record with respect to the launch of Healthcare.gov is shoddy, they may still be able to claim a substantial win for Obama, if the victory lap of the ACA’s enrollment target is reached by the March 31 deadline.

Read more at InvestorPlace.com

South Florida Orthodontist Takes On Obamacare

A South Florida Orthodontist is taking President Obama to task for altering segments of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), absent congressional approval. From Capitol Hill, Larry Kawa announced his intention to file a lawsuit on his behalf in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. It currently stands as the only case of its kind directed at against any of the 29 executive orders issued by the current president. “I’m suing for the court to declare that the act of Congress (the Affordable Care Act) was real and not something the president can change at will.” Dr. Kawa may be on to something. Though his case was previously dismissed, a lower court provided a guide on how Kawa could proceed. So far, he has been told he does not have standing.

In March, 2013 Kawa spent $5,000 in legal fees to make sure his business was in compliance with the ACA. Kawa also said he spent over 100 hours learning about the Act, including meetings with insurance agents and his accountant.

Read more at Human Events

Clay Aiken Thinks Obamacare Could be Better

Clay Aiken, a former ‘American Idol’ contestant, whose running for a congressional spot in North Carolina, describes the Affordable Care Act as “rocky and places”, and could have done more to address costs. Aiken who is running against Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican, also said: “I think there are a whole bunch of things that should be fixed and rough edges that should be smoothed out. I think that’s a problem that Democrats in general have.”
Several Democrats, especially Senate Democrats, are treading lightly as they are running in solidly red or right leaning states.

Read more at The Washington Times

Tales of Obamacare: From Elation to Frustration

As the deadline looms to acquire new healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Chicago area residents are finding plans, though with not always ideal results. Various residents in the metropolitan Chicago area have decided either to keep their old plan, have been stuck on to wrong ones – finding it next to impossible to have themselves removed. Or, they have wound up paying more under Obamacare.

Many without coverage as of March 31, 2014 will face a penalty of $95.00, or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.

Read more at Kaiser Health News

Harry Reid Hammered for Labeling Obamacare Horror Tales as Untrue

Senator Harry Reid has something to say to those claiming Obamacare has left them without insurance: such stories aren’t true. He has same message for those who say they can’t afford the federal plan. Conservative groups have a retort of their own. Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity said that Mr. Reid had: “attacked the character and integrity of every American who had the courage to share how they’re being hurt by the president’s healthcare law.”

The Nevada senator back-tracked a bit on his remarks, stating he was referring to actors in anti-Obamacare ads.

Read more at The WashingtonTimes.com

Report: Obama Considered Scrapping Healthcare.gov and Starting Over

During the height of the rollout fiasco last fall, President Obama considered ending Healthcare.gov and starting at the beginning. This according to a report in Time Magazine. The revelation further highlights the total confusion facing the White House and federal health officials during that period. Adding to the debut disarray, no one seemed to know how many users the site could handle during its initial online days. Journalist Steven Brill writes: “[A] fact that would have been clearer had officials created a ‘technical dashboard’ to monitor site operations.”

Brill adds, no one in meetings had any idea whether the technology worked. Obama and his staff didn’t seem to be inclined to get below the surface and find out why.

Read more at The Hill

Maryland Begins to Put a Price on Healthcare Exchange Debacle

Obamacare trouble in Maryland (Part 2). With taxpayer cost estimated at $30.5 million dollars, a contractor hired by the state , and paid $65.4 million, then fired (whose name is Noridian Healthcare Solutions) – has been compounded by the fact as problems continue – so will increased costs because of those issues, and the estimated cost of that is expected to be $65.4 million.

“At this time it’s impossible to know if the funding” (Maryland has allocated for the health exchange) “will be adequate to achieve what needs to be done.”

Read more at The Washington Post 

Report: Md. Health Exchange Glitch May Cost $30.5M

More state level Obamacare trouble, this time in Maryland (Part 1). A severe flaw in the state’s already defective healthcare exchange may cost the state $30.5 million. It seems the exchange can’t translate income information (from current data) to calculations required to check whether Medicaid enrollees are qualified. Yet, Maryland plans to remain with the exchange, at least through  through the open enrollment period that ends March 31. As for the current Medicaid enrollment system, one alternative being proposed is for the state to adopt Connecticut’s system. However, that may take anywhere from nine to twelve months – pushing up against the next open enrollment.

While improvements have been made, computer problems remain entrenched. A 31-page report by Maryland budget analysts says that “there is significant uncertainty about the way forward” with future information technology spending that will be needed. The state cites a state report covering “architectural flaws” in the system.

Read more at the Washington Post

Report: Woman Convicted of Terrorism in Israel Worked as Obamacare Navigator

Earlier this week were reports about cyber-security, or the possible lack of it for Obamacare computer systems. Now comes news of an American-Arab community activist and former Obamacare Navigator charged with immigration fraud because she hid the fact she was convicted of a terrorist bombing in Israel in 1970. Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted in an Israeli court for her role in the 1969 bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem. National Review reports that on November 24, 2013 her certification as an in-person navigator was “quietly revoked”. Odeh has reportedly used as many as nine aliases. Odeh has plead not guilty to the newest sets of charges for omitting her criminal past on her immigration application.

As many as 31 states do not require background checks for Obamacare Navigators.

Read more at The Blaze.com National Review Online