Is Papa John’s paying the price for “Papa” John’s anti-Obamacare rhetoric?

I’ll admit this brings a smile to my face…

It turns out that being a good corporate citizen is as important to selling pizzas as the thinness of the crust or the quality of the cheese.

If you don’t believe it, just ask Papa John CEO, John Schnatter.

As covered—and criticized—in this column in great detail, Mr. Schnatter decided to mix his politics with his pepperoni when suggesting that he would be cutting the work hours for Papa John employees in order to bring them below the 30 hour per week threshold that would require Schnatter to provide his employees with healthcare benefits.

It turns out, the pizza eating public did not approve.

Indeed, so serious was the reaction that Schnatter was forced to publish an op-ed piece where he sought to convince us that he never really intended to cut back worker hours but had simply been speculating on what he might do in response to the legislation.

According to YouGov BrandIndex, a leading marketing survey that measures brand perception in the marketplace (called “Buzz”), Papa John’s had good reason for concern as the pizza chain’s brand identity has plummeted from a high of 32 on election day, to a remarkably low score of 4 among adults who have eaten at causal dining restaurants during the past month.

Scott Walker’s ObamaCare replacement plan would not protect all Americans with preexisting conditions

So it looks like Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to repeal ObamaCare would likely leave a lot of Americans with preexisting conditions without health care coverage.

Walker’s plan says it would “protect all Americans with pre-existing conditions,” but when you read the fine print, you realize that’s not accurate. It would only bar preexisting conditions for Americans who have continuous coverage — who never have a lapse between their plans. But there aren’t any protections mentioned for people who do drop coverage at some point. This group is big: One study found that between 2004 and 2007, 89 million Americans had at least a one-month gap in coverage.

Senator Ron Johnson Is Trying To Save Obamacare

Remember our Senator Ron Johnson’s lawsuit against Obamacare? Who can forget one of the most inane things he’s done in Washington so far in is term as senator.

Well apparently the GOP wised up to the fact they states led by GOP governors who refused to set up their own state insurance exchanges will be in a major world of hurt if the Supreme Court rules against the current implementation of the Affordable Care Act:

A Supreme Court ruling due in a few weeks could wipe out health insurance for millions of people covered by President Barack Obama’s health care law. But it’s Republicans — not White House officials — who have been talking about damage control.

A likely reason: Twenty-six of the 34 states that would be most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states.

Obama’s law offers subsidized private insurance to people without access to it on the job. In the court case, opponents of the law argue that its literal wording allows the federal government to subsidize coverage only in states that set up their own health insurance markets.

Most states have not done so, because of the intense partisanship over “Obamacare” and in some cases because of technical problems. Instead, they rely on the federal website.

And of course the timing couldn’t be worse…not smart to take affordable health care away from millions of your constituents just before the presidential election cycle….not a good idea at all. So what’s a GOP legislator to do? Well pass a new law to extend the subsidies if the Supreme Courts rule against it. And guess who is out front on that line of thinking? Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson:

If the subsidies are overturned, Republicans will first try blaming Obama and the Democrats for writing flawed legislation and then trying to paper over problems with regulations. Then they’ll move ahead with a patch to appease angry constituents.

A bill introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., would continue the subsidies for existing customers only on the federal exchange until Sept. 2017. That would open a window for states to act, but it would ultimately leave the problem for the next president and Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is a co-sponsor.

Whoa whoa whoa…wait…what?

But of course Sen. Johnson is also taking a swipe at the ACA:

Johnson’s bill would repeal the requirements for individuals to have insurance and for larger employers to offer coverage to workers.

So the president is likely to oppose the legislation on these last grounds and get to take the blame for not extending coverage for those who may lose it. But of course the court could just surprise us and say the intent of the legislation is clear and let it stand.

BTW: why is Yahoo news the first place that I have seen this information @ Sen. Johnson’s new found support for Obamacare?

VIDEO: Terrified “Tea Party Patriot” realizes he could lose Obamacare if GOP wins in 2016

There’s huge heaping dose of irony in this story of James Webb, a conservative video blogger who said this week he would likely vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because he was terrified a Republican president would take away the affordable health insurance he now enjoys thanks to ObamaCare.

Watch for yourselves.

It’s my hope that more and more people like James Webb will continue to wake up and realize that they’ve been voting against their self-interests by voting for Republicans.

Solving The Issues With The Veteran’s Administration Medical Care

Since the major combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan started winding down, there have been repeated and unsolved issues with providing adequate and timely healthcare for our veterans. Despite repeated assurances and varied lip service out of Washington, things just don’t seem to be getting better. Even with new rules allowing vets who live beyond a 40 mile radius of a VA hospital being allowed to get local medical help…it still isn’t working.

But there is a solution available. It is staring all of us in the face. The Democrats in Washington are afraid to whisper it and the Republicans don’t even have it in their nervous system.

But here it is: Single Payer Universal Healthcare.

Every veteran would automatically be eligible and we can reduce the VA hospitals and dump the money directly into single pay. We can shut down Obamacare and dump all of that cash into single pay. Same with Medicare and Medicaid.

And now is the best time to introduce it…just when the GOP is writing their budget to defund the Affordable Care Act and cut funds for Medicare and Medicaid…yeah we want to replace Obamacare too! With Single Payer Universal Healthcare!

Single Payer Universal Healthcare!!

One Reason The Affordable Care Act Is Here To Stay

Apparently 205,000+ Wisconsinites signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the recent open enrollment period…about 70,000 more enrollees than last year. The article about the increase in enrollment HERE!

But what leads me to believe the ACA is here to stay? Well, because the insurance companies like it:

Several insurers also were pleased with the growth in the market.

“We hit our enrollment targets — exactly where we wanted to be — so it’s looking good,” said Melissa Duffy, chief strategy officer of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, one of the companies selling health plans on the marketplace in Wisconsin.

Common Ground hoped that 30,000 to 40,000 people would get coverage through its two health plans on the marketplace, and enrollment is in that range, Duffy said.

About 24,000 to 25,000 people were enrolled in its plans last year.

“We retained quite a bit of our membership, so we were quite pleased with that,” Duffy said.

Common Ground — a nonprofit health insurer started with federal loans available through the Affordable Care Act — still is working on improving its back-office operations.

“We have a ways to go before we feel good about it,” Duffy said.

Statewide enrollment was in line with Security Health Plan’s projections, said Marty Anderson, director of consumer marketing for the health insurance company.

About 85% of the people covered by the company’s health plans sold to individuals and families bought their plans through the marketplace, Anderson said. Most of those people qualified for the federal subsidies available to people who are not offered affordable health benefits through an employer and who have household incomes below a certain threshold.

Security Health, an affiliate of Marshfield Clinic, has seen the market for health plans sold to individuals and families increase by about 20% since the launch of the federal marketplaces, Anderson said.

The GOP can rant and rave in the halls of Congress and under the dome in Madison…they can safely vote to repeal it knowing the vote will result in no change. But if it actually looked like they were moving in that direction…I think the big health insurers would threaten to snap their coin purses shut in a hurry…and the resounding echo would bring the GOP to their senses. The insurers aren’t going to willingly give up the millions of new customers that were dropped on their doorstep. And the hospitals and clinics will very likely line up right behind them.

When is government subsidized health insurance okay?

According to Paul Ryan, it is acceptable when it is Medicare..not so much when it is for the rest of the population. While he was Chair (and author of the Path to Poverty Prosperity) of the House Budget Committee, Ryan claimed that his “new” Medicare plan would control costs by having a more competitive market and giving patients more choices–through the use of subsidies and vouchers. As the head of Ways and Means, Chairman Ryan has been tapped to serve on a task force to find an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Expect more of the same old, tired ideas disguised with a bunch of meaningless buzz words, that he’s been touting for the last 5 years. There is no desire to help Americans get affordable healthcare…Jason Easley said it best:

It is easy to predict what kind of ACA replacement plan Rep. Ryan will come up with. The Ryan budget is based on repealing the ACA and replacing it with nothing, but how Ryan treats Medicare/Medicaid speaks volumes about what his ACA alternative will look like. Rep. Ryan will most likely suggest some combination of the tax credits and vouchers that will allow people who are uninsured to buy health insurance. Ryan will probably throw in some language about medical malpractice reform and buying insurance across state lines for good measure.

In short, Ryan’s plan is going to be same tired ideas that Republicans have been trying to sell as health care reform for decades. What the Ryan plan will be is another repackage of more of the same. The bottom line is that Rep. Ryan and his Republican colleagues aren’t going to propose anything that will help people get affordable health insurance. The Republican plan has always been based on taking the affordability out of affordable health care.

Thanks to Paul Ryan’s best friend, Gerry Mander, he will never lose his job despite the fact that his plan will have a devastating affect on his constituency.


House Republicans vote to sue President Obama

Republicans really are a wacky bunch…

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 225 to 201 on Wednesday to authorize Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) to sue President Barack Obama and others in his administration for failure to fully implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Ironically, all of those Republicans voting for a lawsuit to force faster implementation of the healthcare reform law have repeatedly backed its full repeal. Five Republicans joined every Democrat present in opposing the measure.

The resolution gives Boehner the authority to file or intervene federal court cases “to seek any appropriate relief regarding the failure of the President, the head of any department or agency, or any other officer or employee of the executive branch, to act in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States” relating to failure to implement provisions of Obamacare. ” The aim of this, Boehner has stated, is to sue the Obama for “his decision to extend — twice — the deadline to institute the employer mandate in his health care law.”

The administration has delayed the provisions — which requires employers with more than 50 employees to pay a fine if they don’t offer affordable quality coverage — citing complaints from firms that claimed they wouldn’t be ready to meet its requirement by 2014.

The administration claimed justified the delays under the Treasury Department’s “transition relief” authority, which allows the government to grant relief by section 7805(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, and noted President George W. Bush’s administration also cited the authority to delay implementation of laws. “The authority has been used to postpone the application of new legislation on a number of prior occasions across Administrations,” Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur noted in a July 2013 letter to the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Personally, I think it’s hilarious that Republicans are now contemplating suing President Obama for his supposed failure to fully implement ObamaCare, a law that they’ve voted over 50 times to repeal.

Federal judge throws out Ron Johnson’s Obamacare lawsuit

Not surprising news via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Madison — A federal judge in Green Bay on Monday threw out a lawsuit brought by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and one of his aides attempting to force members of Congress and their staffs to stop getting subsidies for their health insurance under Obamacare.

Johnson, an Oshkosh Republican, argued that members of Congress and their staffs were required to get insurance on their own under Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. But U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled Monday that Johnson and his aide, Brooke Ericson, didn’t have legal standing to bring their case.

The two sued in federal court challenging a policy of President Barack Obama’s administration that allows members of Congress and their staffs to receive health coverage as they have for decades or to buy it through a federal insurance marketplace available to small businesses in the Washington, D.C., area.

Hobby Lobby Ruling Should Move Us Toward Single Payer Health Coverage

Any number of GOP pundits have condemned the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) as the start of the slippery slope to single payer health care in the United States. To that I can add, I only hope!

But as part of yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom (I hope the company shows up at services on Sunday), the Court suggested that contraceptive coverage could be provided any number of other ways. Like having the insurance companies pay for it, similar to the arrangements with non-profit religious organizations. Or the government could provide coverage. Or…what a minute!

Or the government could provide coverage! So let’s take that next whoosh down the slip and slide and provide universal single payer contraceptive coverage for everyone…just flat out everyone!

It’s not unconstitutional…it’s a tax…the Supreme Court already has decided that!