Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How much more are people paying for health insurance under Obamacare?

Here’s a story from the Charlotte Observer that explains how expensive Obamacare really is.

Excerpt:

Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.

One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.

“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.

“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”

And another:

Michael Hood, 46, who lives near Winston-Salem, is another of the Blue Cross customers who is suffering sticker shock after receiving a recent renewal letter.

He and his wife, who is expecting their third child, now pay $324 per month for a plan with a $10,000 family deductible. The comparable plan suggested by Blue Cross for next year would cost $895.27 per month with an $11,000 family deductible. Their annual payment would rise from $14,000 to $24,000.

Self-employed as part owner of a medical device distributorship, Hood said he and his wife “try to live a healthy lifestyle and keep our medical costs down.” They chose the high-deductible plan to keep their premium low.

Hood said his income is about $85,000 a year, which would mean he might be able to qualify for a subsidy. He said he checked the online marketplace, which has been operating only sporadically this week, and didn’t think it looked like his family would be eligible.

One of the pluses of any new plan is that it will cover maternity care, which his current plan doesn’t. But “is that really worth paying $1,000 a month more for?”

“I’m angry that legislation has been passed that is forcing me to purchase something that otherwise I would not have to purchase,” Hood said.

“The President told us Obamacare would make health insurance affordable and reduce costs. It is now impossible for our family to afford private health insurance.”

I keep hearing from my friends in other countries how their media is reporting that Obamacare is enormously popular, and that Republicans are trying to hold up this great policy that Americans all want out of meanness and spite. I doubt that these foreign journalists are actually reporting the facts about this health care policy. The facts show a completely different picture.

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Stephen Moore: Obama’s failing economy has hit his supporters the hardest

From the Wall Street Journal, a must-read.

Excerpt:

Each month the consultants at Sentier analyze the numbers from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and estimate the trend in median annual household income adjusted for inflation. On Aug. 21, Sentier released “Household Income on the Fourth Anniversary of the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2013.” The finding that grabbed headlines was that real median household income “has fallen by 4.4 percent since the ‘economic recovery’ began in June 2009.” In dollar terms, median household income fell to $52,098 from $54,478, a loss of $2,380.

What was largely overlooked, however, is that those who were most likely to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 were members of demographic groups most likely to have suffered the steepest income declines. Mr. Obama was re-elected with 51% of the vote. Five demographic groups were crucial to his victory: young voters, single women, those with only a high-school diploma or less, blacks and Hispanics. He cleaned up with 60% of the youth vote, 67% of single women, 93% of blacks, 71% of Hispanics, and 64% of those without a high-school diploma, according to exit polls.

According to the Sentier research, households headed by single women, with and without children present, saw their incomes fall by roughly 7%. Those under age 25 experienced an income decline of 9.6%. Black heads of households saw their income tumble by 10.9%, while Hispanic heads-of-households’ income fell 4.5%, slightly more than the national average. The incomes of workers with a high-school diploma or less fell by about 8% (-6.9% for those with less than a high-school diploma and -9.3% for those with only a high-school diploma).

To put that into dollar terms, in the four years between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and June of this year, median black household income fell by just over $4,000, Hispanic households lost $2,000 and female-headed households lost $2,300.

The unemployment numbers show pretty much the same pattern. July’s Bureau of Labor Statistics data (the most recent available) show a national unemployment rate of 7.4%. The highest jobless rates by far are for key components of the Obama voter bloc: blacks (12.6%), Hispanics (9.4%), those with less than a high-school diploma (11%) and teens (23.7%).

This is a stunning reversal of the progress for these groups during the expansions of the 1980s and 1990s, and even through the start of the 2008 recession. Census data reveal that from 1981-2008 the biggest income gains were for black women, 81%; followed by white women, 67%; followed by black men, 31%; and white males at 8%.

[...]Mr. Obama has often contemptuously, and wrongly, branded the quarter-century period of prosperity beginning with the presidency of Ronald Reagan as a “trickle down” era. For many in the groups that Mr. Obama set out to help, a return to the prosperity of that era would be a vast improvement.

The Census Bureau data on incomes include cash government benefits, such as unemployment insurance, disability payments and the earned-income tax credit (but excludes Medicaid and food stamps). Most of the cash programs have surged in cost during the Obama presidency, yet incomes have still declined for the lowest-income eligible groups. This suggests that wages and salaries from employment have shrunk at an even faster pace than the Census data show. The shrinking paychecks of the past four years are consistent with two unwelcome anomalies of the recovery: a swift decline in labor-force participation to 63.4% from 65.5% during that period and a rise in part-time employment.

What all of this means is that the stimulus-led economic revival that began officially in June 2009—Vice President Joe Biden’s famous “summer of recovery”—has only resulted in lower incomes for at least half of Americans, the very ones who were instrumental in electing Mr. Obama twice.

Guess what? Borrowing trillions from future generations to spend on Democrat-run sham companies like Solyndra doesn’t stimulate the economy. Shocking, I know. And yet that’s what we voted for.

Investors Business Daily explains how the President’s own policies are causing the troubles that his supporters are facing.

Look:

More than 250 employers have cut work hours, jobs or taken other steps to avoid ObamaCare costs, according to a new IBD analysis.

Mind the data have been the refrain from the White House as it downplays anecdotal reports of employers limiting workers to fewer than 30 hours per week.

But the anecdotes are piling high enough that they now constitute a body of data that can help gauge the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

IBD is introducing ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs — a compilation of employers who have opted to restrict work hours to limit new liability for employee health coverage.

As of Sept. 3, this list has reached 258 — including more than 200 public-sector employers.

Almost all of those employers have cut the hours of part-time workers to below 30 per week — the point at which ObamaCare’s insurance mandate kicks in.

A few have cut payrolls to steer clear of ObamaCare’s 50 full-time-equivalent-worker definition of a large employer subject to employer fines. A few others have reduced staff while contracting with employment services firms to limit their ObamaCare exposure.

The Wall Street Journal explains how health care premiums, which Obama promised to LOWER by $2500, are up $3000.

Excerpt:

Central to ObamaCare are requirements that health insurers (1) accept everyone who applies (guaranteed issue), (2) cannot charge more based on serious medical conditions (modified community rating), and (3) include numerous coverage mandates that force insurance to pay for many often uncovered medical conditions.

[...]We compared the average premiums in states that already have ObamaCare-like provisions in their laws and found that consumers in New Jersey, New York and Vermont already pay well over twice what citizens in many other states pay. Consumers in Maine and Massachusetts aren’t far behind. Those states will likely see a small increase.

By contrast, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and Virginia will likely see the largest increases—somewhere between 65% and 100%. Another 18 states, including Texas and Michigan, could see their rates rise between 35% and 65%.

While ObamaCare won’t take full effect until 2014, health-insurance premiums in the individual market are already rising, and not just because of routine increases in medical costs. Insurers are adjusting premiums now in anticipation of the guaranteed-issue and community-rating mandates starting next year. There are newly imposed mandates, such as the coverage for children up to age 26, and what qualifies as coverage is much more comprehensive and expensive. Consolidation in the hospital system has been accelerated by ObamaCare and its push for Accountable Care Organizations. This means insurers must negotiate in a less competitive hospital market.

Although President Obama repeatedly claimed that health-insurance premiums for a family would be $2,500 lower by the end of his first term, they are actually about $3,000 higher—a spread of about $5,500 per family.

So, every cloud has a silver lining, and the silver lining to this Obama-cloud is that at least the people who voted for socialism are facing the consequences of their own economic illiteracy. I hope they learn. But if they don’t learn now, then they’ll learn when the welfare and entitlements run out. I hope that the people who voted for our American Idol president will take a Thomas Sowell book out of the library and learn something about economics for a change.

UPDATE: From Ian B.: 40,000 Longshoremen (union workers) quit the AFL-CIO union. Socialism hurts employers? It’s all so unexpected! How could reality not match honeyed words and good intentions?

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What happened to the economy after Democrats won the House and Senate in 2007?

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Three data points explain what happens when government gets bigger, and job creators get smaller.

First from Investors Business Daily, Obama’s failure to reduce health insurance premiums with his big government takeover of health care.

Excerpt:

The average employer-provided family health insurance premiums have climbed $2,976 since 2009, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey released this week. They’re up $3,671 compared with the year before President Obama took office. That’s despite Obama’s repeated promises that the health care reform law he championed would cut premiums by $2,500 in his first term.

And while annual premium increases have moderated over the past two years, that’s due to trends in the insurance market largely unrelated to ObamaCare, and trends the law could actually reverse.

The Kaiser survey found that the average family premium this year is $16,351, up 4% over last year, and up 22% since 2009. After adjusting for inflation, premiums climbed an average 3.2% a year in Obama’s first term, higher than the 2.7% average during President Bush’s last four years in office.

During his first campaign for president, Obama repeatedly claimed that his health reform plan would, as he said at a Virginia rally in 2008 “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”

Now, let’s take a look the second failure, as reported by the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

President Obama likes to talk about income inequality, but what matters far more is the actual income of the typical American.  And how has the typical American household income fared on Obama’s watch?  Well, the economic “recovery” has now spanned an Olympiad, and during that time the typical American household income has not only dropped—it has dropped more than twice as much as it did during the recession.

New estimates derived from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey by Sentier Research indicate that the real (inflation-adjusted) median annual household income in America has fallen by 4.4 percent during the “recovery,” after having fallen by 1.8 during the recession.  During the recession, the median American household income fell by $1,002 (from $55,480 to $54,478). During the recovery—that is, from the officially defined end of the recession (in June 2009) to the most recent month for which figures are available (June 2013)—the median American household income has fallen by $2,380 (from $54,478 to $52,098).  So the typical American household is making almost $2,400 less per year (in constant 2013 dollars) than it was four years ago, when the Obama “recovery” began.

Importantly, these income tallies include government payouts such as unemployment compensation and cash welfare. So Obama’s method of funneling ever-more money and power to Washington, and then selectively divvying some of it back out, clearly isn’t working for the typical American family.

And finally, the third example, from the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

 In 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the libertarian Cato Institute, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.

“One of the single best ways to climb out of poverty is taking a job, but as long as welfare provides a better standard of living than an entry-level job, recipients will continue to choose it over work,” said Michael Tanner, senior policy analyst and co-author of the study.

The study is an updated version of one Tanner put out in 1995 that estimated the full value of welfare benefits packages across the states. The 1995 study found that such tax-free welfare benefits greatly exceeded the poverty level and “their dollar value was greater than the amount of take-home income a worker would receive from an entry-level job.”

Despite efforts to curb welfare spending, many welfare programs and benefits have continued to outpace the income that many workers can receive for working an entry-level job, which disincentivizes work, according to the study.

“The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work,” reads the study. “Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour.”

According to the study, the federal government funds 126 separate programs designed to support low-income earners. Seventy-two of these programs provide cash or in-kind benefits to recipients. This is on top of additional welfare programs operated by state and local governments.

Welfare recipients in Hawaii get the most benefits, according to Tanner, at $29.13 per hour — or $60,590 pre-tax income annually. However, the state’s minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour, according to the Labor Department. Hawaiians on welfare also earn 167 percent of the median salary in the state, which is only $36,275.

What if a fireman showed up in front of your house on your birthday and claimed that he wanted to put out the candles on your birthday cake because they were a fire hazard? What if he read out a long, passionate, prepared speech about how much he wanted to put out fires? What if he then dumped a bucket of gasoline on your cake? What if your house caught fire and he claimed that you should let him keep throwing gas on the fire to put it out? What if you found out that this person was a lawyer and a community organizer, and knew nothing at all about putting fires out? Obama was not prepared to run the economy, and, as expected, he spent a ton of money without getting the results he said he was going to get. He gave speeches about jobs and poverty and everything he’s done has been to increase unemployment and increase poverty – and now we are $17 trillion dollars in debt. Speeches about achieving objective X during a campaign don’t necessarily translate into achieving objective X. You actually have to know what you are doing in order to achieve objectives, preferably because you’ve done it before in real life.

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Pro-life conservative shouted down by pro-abortion thugs at University of Waterloo

WARNING: Video contains very vulgar pro-abortion language. 

From the National Post. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Full text:

The University of Waterloo is investigating after an anti-abortion Conservative MP was blocked from delivering a lecture Wednesday night by protesters led by a man dressed as a giant vagina.

Ethan Jackson, 21, an art student at nearby Wilfrid Laurier University, said he calls his pink costume Vulveta, and that Stephen Woodworth’s talk about the universality of human rights came from an oppressive western discourse that ignores the rights of indigenous people.

“That kind of speech, that kind of facts, are not acceptable,” he said. “We decided to go by the route of using satire instead of intimidation…. We decided to make Stephen Woodworth feel as uncomfortable as he makes us feel.”

Ellen Rethore, associate vice-president of communications and public affairs, said the disruptive behaviour was “unacceptable,” and that a joint inquiry of the school’s secretariat, police, and student success office was underway.

“Our goal is to ensure an environment of tolerance and uphold the right of individuals to advance their views openly,” she said.

Mr. Woodworth — who gave a third of his talk before a woman in a red dress commandeered the podium to award him a trophy as “Kitchener-Waterloo’s Nastiest Misogynist” — said it is “a mark of extremism to take disrespect of others as a virtue.”

“I couldn’t outshout the shouters. I’m not there to engage in a shouting match,” he said.

After the talk was cancelled and the protesters left, Mr. Woodworth said he was able to stay and have a discussion with a few people.

He was speaking about the section of Canada’s Criminal Code that, in the context of defining homicide, says a child “becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.”

His legislative effort to have Parliament study the definition of “human being” failed in a House of Commons vote last year, despite support from eight cabinet ministers, including Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It cannot be revived in this Parliament.

Listen to the hate and intolerance from those brainwashed leftists in that video. This is why it’s important to have an alias when writing online, because these students are brainwashed by public education to hate those who are different from them, and they are only too happy to use violence and intimidation against anyone who disagrees with them. Many of these students are probably growing up in broken homes where they are never exposed to fathers and the relationship between husband and wife. Fatherlessness is a serious social problem.

Fascism is and always has been a phenomena of the political left. Mussolini was a socialist, Hitler was a socialist, Stalin was a socialist, Mao was a socialist, and so on. To be a socialist is to on the same continuum that leads to totalitarianism and fascism. People on the left do not believe in natural rights like freedom of speech and the right to life. They are nihilists, and anything is permitted on nihilism. If they are willing to kill innocent children in order to escape the consequences of recreational sex, they could do anything. Abortion is the rock-bottom of immorality.

Related posts

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Responses to popular pro-choice arguments

A very good read to make sure that you can handle the obvious ones, from Neil Shenvi, Ph.D.

Here are the objections:

  • “Women have a right to do what they want with their own bodies.”
  • “The government has no right to make laws telling a woman she can’t have an abortion”
  • “The unborn is not a human being, it is just a mass of cells.”
  • “Until the fetus has a heart and brain, it is not a human being.”
  • “It is moral to kill a fetus as long as it feels no pain.”
  • “No one should be forced to carry and raise the child of their rapist.”
  • “Making abortion illegal will not decrease abortion; it will only make drive it underground and make it less safe.”
  • “Laws should not be based on religion”
  • “If you are opposed to abortion, don’t have one.”
  • “We should combat abortion by reducing poverty, not by making it illegal.”
  • “Most people (i.e., men) who are against abortion will never even become pregnant.”

And here’s the detail on one of them:

“Women have a right to do what they want with their own bodies.”

The fundamental problem with this objection is that it assumes that laws against abortion are primarily concerned with what a woman can and cannot do to her own body. But they are not. Why? Ask yourself a simple question: how many brains does a woman have? One. But how many brains does a pregnant woman have? Still one. The woman’s body is not the issue in abortion: the baby’s body is. The developing fetus has a complete set of human DNA different than the mother’s. It has its own circulatory system, its own brain, its own fingers and toes and arms and legs. If it is a male, it even has a different gender than the mother. Therefore, the fetus is clearly not just ‘part of the woman’s body’. Laws against abortion aren’t telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body; they are telling a woman what she can and cannot do with someone else’s body.

Read them all, and pass them along.

You can find more answers to pro-choice questions here, from Dr. Francis Beckwith. These are the early versions to some of the arguments that later ended up in his academic book on pro-life apologetics entitled “Defending Life“, published by Cambridge University Press. The best introductory book on pro-life arguments is Scott Klusendorf’s “The Case for Life“.  I really recommend that one, because he is the top pro-life debater in the world, and he speaks from that experience of dealing with pro-choice arguments in public debates.

Further study

Learn about the pro-life case:

And some posts motivating Christians and conservatives to take abortion seriously:

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