Friday, July 25, 2014

More good news.

The GAO was able to register 11 fake accounts in 12 attempts.

Health and Human Services is still paying the bills for the fake accounts. NBC News reports the subsidy cost for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 a month or about $30,000 a year.  “For each of our 11 approved applications,” the report reveals, “we paid the required premiums to put policies into force, and are continuing to pay the premiums. 
In half of their attempts, the GAO withheld needed information on the exchange and got stopped. They followed up with calls to the CMS contractor to get assistance, which should have required the investigators to submit identity documents. Instead, they got approved coverage over the phone, complete with taxpayer-supplied subsidies paid to the insurance companies. 
Not that their efforts were entirely trouble free. Four of their fake applications got lost and had to be resubmitted, for a failure rate of one-third. That will sound familiar to those forced into the Obamacare exchanges. “According to CMS call-center and document-processing contractors,” the GAO reports, “multiple electronic applications have been common.”
And, "Obamacare will suck the life out of the economy." 

Get ready for more dampening effects on the economy from Obamacare, too. The Washington Post reminded readers this week that the employer mandates will soon come into force for most businesses, which now have to make decisions on staffing, hours, and benefits for their 2015 budgets. The Post focuses first on a restaurant chain in Idaho to see how the employer mandate has impacted staffing and benefit decisions. 
The owner of Bardenay in Idaho, Kevin Settles, had to put expansion on hold – and the new revenues and jobs it would create – while tracking employee hours and setting up health-insurance options for those who worked enough hours to qualify. He even offered to get more of them insured if they worked at least 39 hours a week – and was shocked when only a handful accepted. Others quit to work at higher-paying part-time jobs. “To my surprise, having had this program in place for nearly a year,” Settles told The Post, “I don’t think the staff cares that much” about health-insurance coverage. 
Businesses care about it, though, especially the cost. Investors’ Business Daily has documented over 400 mid- to large-sized employers that will or have already cut worker hours to avoid the full-time classification that will force them to provide health insurance or pay fines for non-compliance. Not all of these are private-sector employers, either. 
The list recently added seven public school districts that intend to cut hours for non-teaching personnel, moves that will save them millions of dollars in benefit costs. The Post also reports a move by French food-service company Sodexo to reclassify 3,000 workers as part time in order to drop their health benefits. 

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