Pennsylvania Insurance Chief Doubts Obama’s Health Care Plan

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Insurance commissioner cast doubt Friday on a plan by President Obama to stop insurers from dumping more than 250,000 Pennsylvanians whose medical coverage did not meet the minimum requirements of the new health care law.

Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine questioned whether Obama had the legal authority to allow insurers to reinstate or extend those policies. He also said the state has limited power to force insurers to comply with a scheme that he said “heightens confusion” surrounding the law’s implementation.

“I think there are very fair questions being raised about the legal authority for the president to say we’re going to ignore what’s in the” Affordable Care Act, Consedine told the Tribune-Review.

The president acted to quell a firestorm over the chaotic rollout of the law known as Obamacare in proposing the administrative fix for consumers whose policies were being canceled. Many accused him of reneging on a pledge that no one would lose medical coverage if they liked it.

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Wegmans To Change Health Benefits For Part-Timers Under Obamacare

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(MCT) — Et tu, Wegmans?

The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit.

Until recently, the company voluntarily offered health insurance to employees who worked 20 hours per week or more.  Companies are required by law to offer health insurance only to full-time employees who work 30 hours or more per week, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

Several Wegmans employees told The Buffalo News that part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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President Proposing Tax Hikes

WASHINGTON — Seeking an elusive middle ground, President Barack Obama is proposing a 2014 budget that embraces tax increases abhorred by Republicans as well as reductions, loathed by liberals, in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs.

The plan, if ever enacted, could touch almost all Americans.  The rich would see tax increases, the poor and the elderly would get smaller annual increases in their benefits, and middle income taxpayers would slip into higher tax brackets despite Obama’s repeated vows not to add to the tax burden of the middle class.  His proposed changes, once phased in, would mean a cut in Social Security benefits of nearly $1,000 a year for an average 85-year-old, smaller cuts for younger retirees.

Obama proposed much the same without success to House Speaker John Boehner in December. The response Friday was dismissive from Republicans and hostile from liberals, labor and advocates for the elderly.

But the proposal aims to tackle worrisome deficits that are adding to the national debt and placing a long-term burden on the nation, prompting praise from independent deficit hawks.  Obama’s budget also proposes new spending for public works projects, pre-school education and for job and benefit assistance for veterans.

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Obamacare Regs Force Medical Business Out Of Downtown Pottstown

Editor’s note:  This sucks!

POTTSTOWN — A medical equipment supply business that has been quietly thriving in downtown Pottstown is set to move the bulk of its operation to Oaks this spring, taking as many as 75 jobs with it.

Royal Medical Supply’s 34 E. High St. location will remain open and return it to its original purpose, a showroom, said Roy Repko, who founded the company in Royersford in 1984 with his father-in-law and brother-in-law.

Even as late as the 1990s, the majority of its business was comprised of referrals from Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, Phoenixville Hospital and the Pottstown Area Visiting Nurse Association.

But now it’s the big providers: Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna and United Health Care.


West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller Won’t Seek Re-Election To U.S. Senate

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. S...

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.

The 75-year-old Democrat’s decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire.

After about three decades in elective office, it was time to “bring more balance to my life after a career that has been so obsessively dominated by politics and public policy and campaigns,” he said.  “I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”

Mr. Rockefeller’s retirement was widely expected and puts the seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy for the party.  Within weeks of November’s elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vowed to run for the Senate seat in 2014, even if it meant going up against Mr. Rockefeller and his storied name.  Other Republicans also have been eyeing the seat in recent weeks.

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Families In Berks County Now Must Learn To Manage A Tax Hike

The U.S. economy survived the plunge off the so-called fiscal cliff only to find itself in hot water.

A last-minute tax hike rescue by a reluctant Congress meant there was no room in the legislative lifeboat for addressing the debt-ceiling fix, spending cuts or the deficit.

An increase in wage taxes was ballast for the end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

The biggest hit to Berks County residents and small-business owners comes in the form of the 2 percent wage-tax hike, which translates to a cost of about $1,000 for the average family.

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U.S. Census Department: 1 In 7 Americans Live In Poverty And Other Glum Economic News