Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: health

HHS Sebelius resigns, to be Replaced by Budget Director Burwell

Official portrait of United States Health and ...

Few noticed but at last week’s Rose Garden announcement by the president that his administration’s signature healthcare initiative had exceeded his 7 million signups goal by the end of March, he failed to mention Kathleen Sebelius’ name even though she was sitting right in front of him. On Thursday Sebelius made it official: she was leaving her post as head of Health and Human Services.

More than a month earlier

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God v. god: the Sad State of a Double-Minded Nation

The iconic image of the Hand of God giving lif...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 24, 2014:

What’s at issue today at the Supreme Court is the battle between the state as god and God Himself. All the rest is details.

Under ObamaCare, the abortifacient mandate – what some are calling the anti-conscience mandate – requires employers to pay for coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in the health insurance offered to their employees. Some are seeing this for what it is:

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Anti-Gun Doctor Likely to be Confirmed as Surgeon General

With a Senate committee voting to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as the new United States Surgeon General 13-9 last week, he should easily win confirmation to the post by the full Senate on Tuesday.

If there were a candidate more perfectly qualified to occupy the bully pulpit as Surgeon General, one would be hard pressed to find him. Born to Indian parents in Huddersfield, England, Murthy and his parents moved to Miami, Florida when he was three. A child prodigy, he

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Moody’s blames Obamacare “uncertainty” for its downgrade of health insurers

In announcing credit rating firm Moody’s downgrade of all health insurers, Senior Vice President Stephen Zaharuk placed the blame firmly and directly on the Obamacare rollout and implementation:

The ongoing and unstable and evolving environment is a key factor for our outlook change. The past few months have seen new regulations and announcements that impose operational changes well after product and pricing decisions were finalized.

Translation: health insurers could lose their shirts if

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Only One-Quarter of ObamaCare enrollees are young and healthy

With the announcement on Monday that less than one-fourth of the 2.2 million people who have signed up for ObamaCare are young and healthy – between ages 18 and 34 – have come questions about the viability of ObamaCare itself. What if those young and healthy don’t sign up but decide to pay the penalty instead? What happens to the health insurance companies’ “model” – the actuarial assumptions made to estimate premiums? What will happen to premiums in the future?

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Christmas Miracles Continue to Confound and Delight

Every Christmas Dr. David Steinberg, an oncologist at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, lifts the spirits of other doctors and nurses with a recitation of the year’s miracles. In 2003 it was Brandon Connor, whose tumor suddenly

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Free Market Alternatives to Obamacare Already Exist

More than a year ago, Dr. Barbara Bellar, a medical doctor with a JD degree, was running for office as an Illinois State Senator, and provided a sound byte that continues to reverberate across the internet, having been viewed as of this writing some 3,675,000 times. The clip lasts less than two minutes, including laughter and applause from her audience, to whom she said:

So let me get this straight. This is a long sentence:

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The Venus Flytrap of Medicaid

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 23rd, 2013:

When Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) asked presidential candidate Barack Obama about his tax plan on October 12th, 2008, Obama created a sound byte that reverberated around the world, and reverberates still: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” What no one could possibly have known at the time, however, was that Obama would be taking from the poor and

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Another Obamacare Surprise: Estate Recovery

Just as Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn were about to sign their application for free coverage under Washington State’s Medicaid program – freshly expanded under Obamacare – Sofia began reading the fine print: if you’re over age 55, the state of Washington will

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Millions More to Lose Coverage under Obamacare

The uproar from the estimated 4 ½ million Americans whose individual health insurance policies are being terminated thanks to Obamacare will pale into insignificance once the additional estimated 50 to 100 million workers covered under health plans at work discover that

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Obama’s Fumble Fix is Unconstitutional, says a Legal Scholar

Within two hours of President Obama’s announced “fix” for the “fumble” he caused in his Obamacare rollout, the insurance commissioner from the state of Washington rejected it, on practical grounds. It took only slightly longer for a legal scholar to reject it on constitutional ones.

Said the president on Thursday:

I think it’s legitimate for Americans to expect me to have to win back some credibility. And, you know, that’s on me. I mean, we fumbled the rollout on this…

And then, using what the White House called the president’s “enforcement discretion”, the president said he would

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Obama’s trust and approval ratings drop to the lowest level since his inauguration

Tuesday’s polling results from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute reflect America’s increasing unhappiness with Obamacare: its rollout, the president’s dissembling, the delays at ObamaCare.gov, and so on. And that unhappiness is consistent across all voters of all ages, including

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Complaints about Obamacare Rollout Glitches are Merely a Smokescreen

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 25th, 2013:

 

The complaints, charges, accusations, finger-pointing, and back-pedaling associated with the stumbling start of Obamacare are real and accelerating. They are also irrelevant, and a smokescreen hiding the real underlying problems with Obamacare itself.

Late night comedians are mining this disaster for all it’s worth. They have struck gold, and they are permanently damaging Obamacare’s image, and along with it

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White House “Tweaks” Obamacare; Major Problems Remain

Thursday’s announcement by the White House that it was “tweaking” Obamacare in order to keep some taxpayers from being penalized even after they purchased insurance obscured the vastly greater problems facing the new federally mandated health care program.

The vice president of the tax firm Jackson Hewitt, Brian Haile, first noted that it was possible, even likely, that

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HealthCare.gov Delays Are Way More than Just Glitches

It’s been three weeks since the much ballyhooed start of enrollment for Obamacare and the results are not just disappointing. They are disastrously low. According to Mike Huckabee, fewer than 500,000 of the 7 million uninsured people needed in the next six months to make this program viable have been able to apply for coverage online, and most of them were

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Jesse Jackson, Jr. to be sentenced on Wednesday

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013:

 

At 8:30AM Wednesday morning, a federal judge will sentence former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife Sandra, former Chicago alderman, for using $750,000 of campaign funds for personal purposes and underreporting $600,000 of income to the IRS. He could get up to four years behind bars, while she is facing a maximum of 18 months.

But they do things differently in Chicago. They might just get

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First Detroit, Now Chicago?

The unfunded pension liabilities facing Chicago are only the most recent troubles threatening the Windy City, according to the New York Times. The recent credit downgrade of Chicago’s general obligation bonds by Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch just brought the matter to the surface. Crime, corruption and a shrinking population also are beginning to make Chicago look like an out-sized version of Detroit.

According to the city, the four pension plans for its police, teachers, firefighters and office staff, are all dreadfully underfunded to the tune of some

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Another School District Arms Its Teachers

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013:

 

The very day that David Lieb, writing in the liberal Huffington Post, concluded that legislation allowing school districts across the country to arm teachers was “stalled”, another school district announced that it has adopted just such a policy: Clarksville, Arkansas. Those “stalls”, however, according to Lieb, had little to do with lack of support from legislators but instead from strong resistance from

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Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, likely headed for Ecuador for asylum

As of 10:32AM EDT on Monday Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown, despite an international effort to track him down. His final destination was also in doubt, with reports of Ecuador, Venezuela or even Cuba being his target to escape prosecution for whistleblowing by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Following his leaking of NSA’s surveillance of phone calls and emails of citizens and government officials worldwide, Snowden headed for

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Detroit Creditors’ haircut: 90 percent!

At the conclusion of Friday’s 2-hour meeting of more than 180 of Detroit’s creditors, unions and pension trustees, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to rescue the city from bankruptcy was met with predictable responses: lawsuits and strikes. It was an altar call to accept reality, but denial, anger and threats were the response of many. One unnamed bond holder said, “It’s just too much. It is an unprecedented amount to ask.” Mike Mulholland, secretary of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local # 207, was equally blunt: “When you’re backed into a corner, the only thing you can do is fight and the only way we can fight is to strike.”

Orr was ready for them. In his 134-page proposal, he blamed “financial mismanagement, a shrinking population, [and] a dwindling tax base … over the past 45 years [which] have brought Detroit to the brink of financial and operational ruin.” Indeed, his proposal spelled out the denial of reality that Mayor Dave Bing and his city council had been enjoying for years when it showed that Bing’s people thought that the annual deficit for the city for Fiscal Year 2013 was $47 million when the actual deficit is more than twice that, and for FY 2014 is estimated to approach $200 million. It’s no wonder that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency, and appointed bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr to take over from the city council in March.

The task facing Orr is horrifying. Faced with more than $18 billion in debts and just $68 million in the bank, Orr started off the meeting by announcing that the city would not make a $40 million payment due that day on a $2.5 billion certificate of participation (COP). He announced further that the city wouldn’t be making $104 million in pension contributions that are currently due either. In addition, retirees hoping that the city would be providing them with health care and full payouts of their pension benefits also received the bad news: they too would be forced to rely on the state’s insurance exchanges to obtain health coverage under Obamacare or Medicare, and could expect significant reductions in their retirement checks as well, approaching $800 a month in many cases.

Orr’s report was equally blunt for those hoping for a miracle: “The City is Insolvent” (Page 7): “the city is not paying its bills,” the city’s infrastructure is deteriorating, “costs associated with unoccupied property” continues to mount, the city’s credit ratings were borderline “bankrupt” by all three agencies, and “Priority One” police response times had increased in just one year from 30 minutes in 2012 to 58 minutes in 2013. In 2012 Detroit “had the highest rate of violent crime of any U.S. city having a population over 200,000 [Detroit’s population is just over 700,000, 40 percent of what it was 1950], five times the national average.”

There are “approximately 78,000 abandoned and blighted structures in the City, nearly half of which are considered ‘dangerous’ [while there are] 66,000 blighted and vacant lots within the City limits.” There are between 11,000 and 12,000 fires in Detroit every year, most of them occurring in those blighted and abandoned buildings.

Orr’s plan, on the surface, is elegant simplicity: if the creditors – pension trustees, unions, bond holders and retirees – will sit still for these massive haircuts, then the city can, under a newly created facility, borrow $2 billion to pay off the $11 billion in unsecured creditors. Orr said that translates, after other demands on that new money, to about 10 cents on every dollar owed. Secured creditors will be better off but they will be asked to take a haircut as well. If the proposal is accepted, lawsuits and strikes notwithstanding, then Orr can take this to court as a pre-packaged bankruptcy, giving him the power to enforce the agreement.

On the other hand, if his proposal can’t get sufficient agreement in the next 30 days from all interested (and now properly chastened) creditors, then he’ll ask the court to grant Detroit bankruptcy protection with himself as trustee. In essence, Orr is dealing from strength: go along with me now and get the best deal possible, or push me and you’ll get less, it’ll cost more and it’ll take longer.  Said Orr: “I have a very powerful statute. I have an even more powerful Chapter 9. I don’t want to use it, but I am going to accomplish this job. That will happen.”

There’s a constitutional issue here as well. Under the Tenth Amendment, “powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution … are reserved to the states,” which means that guarantees in Michigan’s state constitution that protect pension and retirement benefits from federal bankruptcy rulings could be put at risk in a court battle. If a high court rules that federal bankruptcy laws override state protections, then every pension plan in the country thinking it has state protection will be affected negatively, with national and perhaps even international ramifications. The municipal bond market is nearly $4 trillion in size, and such a ruling could, at the very last, unnerve that market, raising the cost of borrowing significantly, forcing other cities bordering on bankruptcy over the edge.

Michael Sweet, an attorney at Fox Rothschild who helped the city of Redmond, California restructure its finances in order to avoid bankruptcy, noted: “The last thing [union pension funds] may want is for a judge to rule on that … because if the judge ruled on that against them, it would open the floodgates” for similar cases.

 

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann