From the PJ Tattler:
President Barack Obama has now broken the federal requirement to assess the impact of new regulations on small businesses three times. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says he knows why Obama is flouting the law.
Inhofe cites the Regulatory Flexibility Act that requires federal agencies to assess the impact of their regulations on small businesses. He says Obama failed to comply with the law twice over the past year – specifically the April and October deadlines.
“President Obama is refusing to comply with the law that requires him to publish forthcoming regulations because he doesn’t want the American public to know the terrible cost of the regulatory barrage he plans to unleash in a second term,” Inhofe said. “So instead of being honest with the American people about what’s in store if he wins, he’s been trying to hide the fact that he intends to move forward with a slew of rules that will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and dramatically raise the cost of energy on American families.”
The Oklahoma senator sent a letter to the president Sunday asking him to publish the administration’s agenda before Oct. 31.
“Businesses and communities need to understand the future regulatory landscape,” he wrote.
The projected loss of 887,000 jobs annually is from a National Economic Research Associates report last month. The international economic firm in its 129-page report that states the coal industry would be hit hard and the job losses would continue through 2034.
November 3, 2012
Obamacare Insurance Exchanges Are Corporatism Disguised as “Competition”
Earlier this week, I noted how Cook County board president and Obama mentor Toni Preckwinkle secured a $100 million Obamacare waiver to implement Medicaid expansion in the county a year early and cover a gap in the county budget. The conflicts of interest in Obamacare adds yet another layer as insurance exchanges are in the process of being implemented before the 2014 deadline. The Hill Healtwatch reports:
The fast-approaching deadline gives the administration little time to scrutinize private-sector partners for conflicts of interest.
The purchase of one of these contractors, Quality Software Services, Inc. (QSSI), by UnitedHealth Group, a major healthcare conglomerate, has sparked concerns about a potentially uneven playing field.
QSSI, a Maryland-based contractor, in January won a large contract to build a federal data services hub to help run the complex federal health insurance exchange.
It will be working with several other contractors, including CGI Federal, Inc., to create the technological architecture for the exchange.
The quiet nature of the transaction, which was not disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has fueled suspicion among industry insiders that UnitedHealth Group may be gaining an advantage for its subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare.
The article aptly compares these health insurance exchanges to websites like Travelocity or Expedia where consumers can pick and choose the best deals for airline tickets or hotels. With the potential conflict of interest in the health care exchange, it would be akin to Travelocity or Expedia owning American Airlines or Marriot Hotels and thus potentially driving consumers to purchase their product based upon how that company portrays the available options. As the article goes on to note:
If an insurance company had influence over the information technology architecture used to run the exchange, it could interpret federal standards in a way to exclude competitors or make it more difficult for them to win approval, say some insurance experts. Or it could have an inside track on knowing how to design plans that meet the standards.
The contractors working on the exchange will also have responsibility over payment calculation for risk adjustment.
This program is intended to redistribute funding from plans that attract younger and healthier participants, and thus have lower costs, to plans that attract people with more chronic diseases.
The draft statement of work for the contract shows QSSI will also work on technical requirements to deliver financial management services, such as payment calculation for risk adjustment.
The prospect that a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group could have a role in calculating the reallocation of federal funds among rival health plans has unnerved some industry insiders.
In mid October, Senator Orrin Hatch sent a letter to DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for a full accounting of who received federal Obamacare contracts and what government officials signed off on those contracts. Sebelius has not responded. Hatch has also asked if Steve Larsen, a former official at HHS played a role in this contract:
Larsen left the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the office tasked with crafting rules for the national exchange, in July to take a job with Optum. It is not clear how long Optum was in consultation with QSSI prior to purchasing it.
Shields Britt, the spokeswoman for HHS, said Larsen would have to comply with stringent rules.
“Former HHS employees are subject to the strict ethics policies put in place at the start of this administration, which are some of the toughest ethics rules ever imposed on executive branch appointees, and those standards certainly apply here,” she said.
Optum, whom Larsen currently works for, is the subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that bought QSSI, the company who would provide the information infrastructure for the exchanges. How’s that for a revolving door between government and industry?
Read by clicking on blue lettered link below:
November 1, 2012
Black Chicagoans from the south and west sides took their message to what they say is the source of the problem when they converged outside of a fundraiser held by Mayor Emanuel for Barack Obama and then marched to the studios of ABC News.
Their message, “let us work in our own community,” was made all the more poignant as the ABC News crew ignored the news event outside their very studious. Not one camera was sent to cover the news that was, literally, placed at their doorstep.
The protest, which took place Thursday evening, addressed these community members’ growing desperation as their wartorn neighborhoods are redeveloped by political cronies, evicting residents and shutting out local investors, and use union labor from outside the community to do the work. It’s a corrupt cycle of government “work” that takes advantage of the poor, evicting them, and then redeveloping the properties to benefit anyone but the community.