HAND ‘EM OVER: Todd Shepherd Sues CO Division of Insurance for Obamacare Emails

Yesterday, Complete Colorado‘s Todd Shepherd asked a court to compel the Colorado Division of Insurance to explain why it will not release emails relating to the apparently-illegal move to renew health insurance policies not in compliance with Obamacare.  To be clear, Shepherd is not suggesting that those plans should not be renewed, only that the Division of Insurance did not have the authority to unilaterally renew these plans, particularly as it was solely a political move meant to take the heat off of Sen. Mark Udall in a tough election year.

According to Shepherd’s complaint, the DOI used “deliberative privilege” to withhold the emails he requested.  Deliberative privilege is when a governmental body is in the process of making a decision and does not want the revelation of this information to color the decision-making process.  Of course, the issue here is that the decision had already been made.  That’s why the emails were requested.  So that doesn’t really apply here.

Further a Colorado court already weighed in on this one:

Conversely, postdecisional documents, communications made after the decision and designed to explain it, are not protected by the privilege.   This distinction is supported by two considerations.   First, the quality of a decision will not be affected by forced disclosure of communications occurring after the decision is finally reached.   See Sears, 421 U.S. at 151, 95 S.Ct. 1504.   Second, the public has a strong interest in the disclosure of reasons that do supply the basis for an agency policy actually adopted.   See id. at 152, 95 S.Ct. 1504;  Taxation with Representation Fund, 646 F.2d at 678.  “These reasons, if expressed within the agency, constitute the ‘working law’ of the agency,” and as such should be disclosed to the public.   Sears, 421 U.S. at 152, 95 S.Ct. 1504.8

This seems to be a pretty open and shut case, but the players in this issue have been so slimy, it will be interesting to see how the DOI tries to maneuver out of this one.  And, further, just what is in those emails that’s so bad…?

 

GROWING CANCELLATIONS: Another 2K In Cancellations That Udall Promised Wouldn’t

“Ouch, 340,000 Coloradans aren’t going to be happy with me.”

Despite Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar’s best attempts to prevent more health care cancellation notices from piling up at the feet of Sen. Mark Udall, she wasn’t able to stop a further 2,000 from being added this month.  The 335K figure everyone has been quoting will now be 340K+ figure since these 2,000 are joining another 3,000+ that have been lost since April.  As Valerie Richardson at The Washington Times writes:

The state Division of Insurance said in a letter to the Colorado Senate Republicans that another 2,105 policies were discontinued in August in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total to 341,666.

The growing tally has dogged the Democrat Udall in his bid for re-election. Republicans have blasted him for voting in favor of Obamacare and then repeating President Obama’s claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” which PolitiFact voted the 2013 Lie of the Year.

One would think having been caught telling the lie of the year would lead Udall to run a campaign that tried to overcompensate for such a fact.  Not Udall.  Rather, he made the radical decision to double down by running a campaign chalked full of lies and deceits.  Any hope that he would reassure Coloradans that he wasn’t the liar of the year PolitFact called him in 2013, went out the window even before his first extremist ad.  Udall has followed that first ad with more negative, cynical, and—dare we say—dour political ads with nary an apology to any of the now 340K+ Coloradans who have lost the very health care plans Udall promised they could keep.  This doesn’t even begin to count the number of Coloradans who’ve lost their doctors because the one they have been seeing all these years is no longer covered by their insurance.

In such a tight race between Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner, a few hundred votes on Election Day could be the deciding factor.  Udall can’t be sleeping easy knowing each day hundreds and hundreds of more Coloradans are getting cancellation notices in their mailboxes.  Cancellation notices that he promised would never come.  Adding them to the already 340K+ Coloradans makes a very large bloc of Colorado voters Udall directly lied to.  They would be more than enough to be the death knell of Udall’s political career.

 

PeakFeed: Gardner Keeps Pressure on Udall over Obamacare Support

Rep. Cory Gardner’s latest television ad tells the story of the 335,000 Coloradans who received healthcare cancellation notices because of Sen. Mark Udall’s support for Obamacare. Gardner’s family was among those whose health insurance was cancelled.  They bought their plan off the open market like so many Coloradans and were not on the health insurance offered to members of Congress.

Sadly, Colorado families have not only lost their health insurance plans but also seen their premiums rise and lost access to their doctors.  If Udall wants to talk about social issues, he needs to realize this is the real social issue of the 2014 campaign.  

 

PeakFeed: “Obamacare 3″ Ad Annihilates Vulnerable JeffCo Senators

In case anyone was wondering, the colossal cluster also known as  Obamacare is going to be a major issue this November — and not just for liberal Sen. Mark Udall.  Americans for Prosperity has released a new spot hammering three liberal state legislators who allowed Colorado’s Obamacare to spiral out of control – Sens. Jeanne Nicholson, Andy Kerr, and Cheri Jahn.

The ad raises the question, will Obamacare cost liberals seats in the state legislature, too?  We soon will see, courtesy of the Obamacare 3.

 

ASPEN EXTREME: Sebelius Doubles Down on Obamacare on Hillary’s Behalf

A warning to Democratic politicians – stay away from Aspen.  The super-luxe ski resort has been a haven not only for the rich and famous, but also for awkward moments courtesy of Democratic politicians.  This past weekend, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, doubled down on Obamacare on behalf of clearly running potential presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton.

At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Sebelius said that Clinton would “step on the gas” in terms of implementing Obamacare.  God help us all.  Sebelius noted that the hope was to “lock in” as much as possible before December 2016.  The real question is – how terrified are Democrats that they will lose the 2016 election that they’re putting these safeguards in place?  Just watch the clip:

From the video:

Host: Are you worried that Hillary will reverse it?

Sebelius: My guess is that she’ll step on the gas, but you know, there are uncertainties still in this world.

Like the chances of Democrats taking a 2016 presidential election after this trainwreck of a President?

 

MIA: It’s Not Just the IRS That Loses Emails, It’s Colorado, Too

It’s so odd that just as the media everywhere is crying BS over the lost IRS chief Lois Lerner’s emails, the State of Colorado also has suddenly been unable to find unwitting Obamacare whistleblower Jo Donlin’s emails.

Complete Colorado‘s Todd Shepherd has been asking for her emails for months.  FIVE MONTHS.  What has he received?  Stonewalling.  From Shepherd’s report:

Do you believe Lois Lerner’s emails suddenly went poof?

Because let me tell you this: Jo Donlin’s emails suddenly went ‘poof’ and the state has been stonewalling, stalling, and obfuscating for 5 months now – anything to keep this investigative reporter from digging deeper into an already big story.

In case you have forgotten, Donlin pushed back against U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s request to put a different spin on the horrible news that Obamacare, a piece of legislation that he pushed, had caused the cancellations of nearly 250,000 insurance plans.  After Shepherd first requested the emails on January 28, he was told on March 20 that the emails had been deleted:

Finally, on March 20, I asked DORA-DOI why there were no emails for Donlin. DORA-DOI basically said the emails were deleted, tough luck. DORA spokeswoman Sue Cobb said, “If any emails existed that were responsive to your request, they were deleted before I sent the response cited to you below [in the email thread], and they cannot be recovered or restored.” Further questions about data rebuilding were not answered.

Hickenlooper has been an advocate of not shining sunshine into the cavernous and fetid workings of the government.  Maybe this is just another case of his unwillingness to be transparent.  But, still we call bullsh!t on his lack of accountability to the people of Colorado.

 

MOUNTING FAILURE: Doctor Shortages In Colorado Mark Latest Fallout From Obamacare

Obamacare has become a well-documented failure, with accelerated doctor shortages in Colorado becoming the latest prophesy to be fulfilled.

The Denver Business Journal reports

Newly insured patients are pouring into Colorado’s safety-net health clinics, but in some cases, sparkling new exam space sits empty because there aren’t enough doctors to care for the influx of patients.

The jump in patients who now have Medicaid coverage or other forms of insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act is accelerating provider shortages around the state.

To President Obama and Sen. Mark Udall, flooding the Medicaid rolls may have sounded like a good idea to ensure future generations of Democrat voters.  However, without a strategy to recruit more doctors to care for these new patients, the effort to get them insured was in vain.

Look, trying to reform the healthcare system to create lower costs and greater access to care is an admirable goal.  It is also a goal that, believe it or not, Republicans and Democrats share.  Where they differ (greatly) is in their methodology.

Unfortunately for Obama and Udall, in the game of real life, you don’t get any points for effort.  All that matters is whether or not you succeed.  Their takeover of our healthcare system is what we would call the opposite of successful, and the evidence to support that keeps mounting.

In the past, Udall has expressed concern about rural doctor shortages.  Now, because of his vote for Obamacare, that shortage has spread to metro-areas as well.

 

PeakFeed: Gardner 1, Udall 0

Cory Gardner’s campaign released what is, in our opinion, his best response to Sen. Mark Udall’s attack ads to date.  In a new video, Cory directly addresses changing his mind about personhood after learning more about it and listening to the people of Colorado.  Cory contends that Udall and Obama could learn a thing or two about listening:

Their takeover of health care is a disaster.

We all know it.

Yet Udall and Obama refuse to listen – while everyone else pays for it.

Chalk this up as a major messaging win for Cory.

 

TOLD YOU SO: New Study Shows Healthcare Costs Increasing for Employers and Employees

File this away in the category of headlines that surprised no one and sh*t we all saw coming: “Employers shifting health-care costs to employees”

The Northern Colorado Business Report highlighted a new study that shows employees’ health insurance costs rose by 6 percent in 2014, while employers’ costs rose by 5.4 percent.  Sadly, the resounding response to this is news is “well, duh.”  Everyone but President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Mark Udall knew that Obamacare was going to cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket.  

Greeley-based insurance broker Scott Rankin told the NCBR “the renewals he has seen so far for 2015 show premium increases as high as 50 percent for an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan….” (Peak emphasis)

FIFTY PERCENT!  That is outrageous.  If you’re a small business owner there is no way you can absorb that kind of increase.  Rankin even admits that “some employers have stopped providing benefits altogether.”  

Someone should probably tell Udall that all the bragging he does on his website about how Obamacare is helping families and small businesses is just as big a lie as when told people if they like their plan, they can keep their plan.

 

CHAMPION: Gardner Leads Fight For Rural Healthcare Programs

Rep. Cory Gardner is pushing back on the narrative that the GOP is the ‘party of no’ by successfully introducing and passing an amendment to fund rural healthcare programs.   From Gardner’s release:

“In eastern and western Colorado, people often find themselves hundreds of miles and hours away from specialized medical services, trauma centers, and oncology centers,” said Gardner. “We are blessed with extraordinary primary care physicians, but they are often need help with the necessary resources to treat specialized cases. My amendment gives physicians in rural areas the tools they need to provide patients access to the best possible healthcare. Additionally, my amendment provides support for distance learning services, so that students will not miss out on educational opportunities simply because of their location. By increasing funding for Telemedicine and Distance Learning Services, we are giving rural communities the tools they need to thrive.”

With Obamacare stuck as the law of the land (for now), it is important for Republicans to do more than just vote to repeal it.  If they ever have any hope of replacing it, they need to implement their own healthcare ideas as well.  Gardner is accomplishing just that, and in the process, he is proving the GOP is also a party that can take action.  

 
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