WI Left Silent on MN ObamaCare Exchange Disaster

Minnesota’s ObamaCare insurance exchange is on the verge of collapse, but don’t expect Wisconsin liberals to be talking about it any time soon. Ever since Gov. Scott Walker (R) rejected federal ObamaCare Medicaid expansion money and refused to have Wisconsin pay for an insurance exchange (leaving the state to use the federal exchange), Wisconsin liberals have repeatedly pointed to Minnesota as a shining example of what Wisconsin could have been if only Walker had embraced the Affordable Care Act.

But Minnesota, once that shining example of all that was good about state-funded, federally-controlled health insurance exchanges and expanded Medicaid roles, is now in big trouble. According to Bloomberg, Minnesota’s individual insurance exchange has come “to the brink of collapse” in recent weeks and only emergency measures to allow insurers to raise rates has staved off further disaster. Rates will rise by at least 50%, and a spokesman for MNSure, the cleverly named state ObamaCare exchange, told Bloomberg the average rate increase will be a stunning 60%.

One of Walker’s biggest critics, and one of the Minnesota exchange’s biggest fans, has been Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a liberal think tank that has spent ample time defending Minnesota’s approach to ObamaCare and criticizing Wisconsin’s approach to the program. In 2013, Citizen Action released a report that blamed Wisconsin’s higher insurance premium costs on Walker’s refusal to embrace ObamaCare.

“Wisconsin’s rejection of a state-based exchange strip policymakers of additional tools for moderating health insurance rates,” the liberal group asserted. Additionally, the state’s unwillingness “to implement rigorous review of health insurance rates,” which means use its regulatory power to practically set the prices of private insurers, contributed to Wisconsin premiums being higher than Minnesota premiums.

What Citizen Action doesn’t mention in all of its praise of the Minnesota approach to ObamaCare is that despite fully embracing the program, insurance premiums still rose after MNSure launched its marketplace. Further, Robert Kraig, the head of Citizen Action, has tried to have it both ways when it comes to his critique of Wisconsin and ObamaCare. Citizen Action has a distant relationship with Common Ground Healthcare, a federally-subsidized health insurance cooperative that launched in Wisconsin around the time the ObamaCare exchange opened.

As part of Citizen Action’s “Got Healthcare?” campaign to promote the Affordable Care Act, Kraig excitedly praised the number of options Wisconsin consumers had for health insurance on the exchange. “It’s what we were hoping for. We were hoping people would have a lot of options,” he told the Associated Press in 2013.

Trying to have it both ways, criticizing Gov. Scott Walker’s rejection of ObamaCare on the one hand while praising Wisconsin’s overall mandatory participation in ObamaCare undermines Kraig’s message. But that hasn’t stopped numerous media outlets from touting or quoting Citizen Actions’ report praising Minnesota’s insurance exchange and price controls.

The Minnesota exchange’s embarrassing near-collapse is proof that Citizen Action’s theory about the state’s success with ObamaCare was based on flawed assumptions. Writing for the MacIver Institute, a free-market think-tank, Nick Novak pointed out in 2013 that Citizen Action used incomplete rate data to make their case.

“The first problem with Citizen Action’s analysis is its misrepresentation of rates in Minnesota. The report relies on information released by the federal government on September 25th that only included health care rates for the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, instead of the whole state.”

Novak when on to point out that there are states not named Minnesota who did exactly what Minnesota did and ended up with insurance rates that were higher than Wisconsin’s rates. By confining their research to just two states, Citizen Action managed to create a small enough data sample that verified their own research bias.

A researcher with Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Health Research Institute also expressed skepticism in 2013 of the theory that state-funded exchanges result in lower premium costs for consumers. “I don’t know that there’s evidence to suggest that state-based exchanges have average lower premiums,” he told a Minnesota newspaper.

But while the recent near collapse of Minnesota’s ObamaCare exchange proves the state and its liberal policies aren’t the utopian success liberals and some media outlets want to make it out to be, the development is further proof that the ultimate losers under ObamaCare are consumers.

A headline in the Star Tribune blared this week: “Choices shrinking in Minnesota’s individual health plan market.” The story went on to quote a local health insurance industry expert who observed, “It’s almost like they’re running out of good choices. Each year, the selection gets higher priced and more limited.”

In Wisconsin, federal premium data reviewed by the MacIver Institute shows Wisconsin consumers will see an average price increase of 10%, with some plans costing up to 45% more. This is on top of premium increases last year.

Another new feature of the individual insurance market in Wisconsin is the departure of three insurance companies who have announced they are no longer going to offer plans through the federal ACA exchange. In May, Humana announced it was going to stop offering individual plans in Wisconsin through the exchange. In June, health insurance giant UnitedHealthcare announced it wasn’t going to participate in the ObamaCare marketplace in Wisconsin. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the insurer cited a lack of profitability as a key motivator behind its departure. Now in October a hometown insurer, Arise Health Plan, a subsidiary of Madison-based WPS Health Solutions, announced it wasn’t going to offer plans via the ObamaCare exchange. “The marketplace was telling us that these are not profitable products,” a corporate spokesperson candidly said of the news.

Facebook Suppressed News About Conservatives

Facebook’s influential newsfeed feature has suppressed news about conservatives, including Gov. Scott Walker (R), according to a Monday morning story published by Gizmodo, a tech news website. Gizmodo technology editor Michael Nunez spoke with several Facebook “news curators” who decided to blow the whistle on the social media giant’s censoring practices.

According to the story, Facebook employees routinely monitor news being shared or discussed across the social media platform and write punchy snippets about trending stories. The summaries then appear on the sidebar of user’s newsfeed page.

“Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation,” Nunez reports. The ranking of stories, and their very appearance in trending news, is not the result of algorithms that respond to organic user activity, something that was previously thought to be the source of the news rankings.

Among conservatives who were targeted by the bias, the whistleblowers allege, is Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz. The social media platform’s news editors ignored trending stories about the Wisconsin governor, along with stories about former Massachusetts governor and two-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” a source said.

“I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

Another source said: “Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”

The names of the sources were not mentioned in the story because they fear retribution from the social media company. The employees quoted worked at Facebook as late as December of 2015.

The full Gizmodo story may be read here.

Scott Walker’s GOP Ignores Cruz Delegate Slate in Wisconsin

After a big win in Wisconsin earlier this month, it looks like the all-important statewide delegate selection process could leave Team Cruz at a serious disadvantage. I’m told by several people familiar with the situation that the constitution of the Republican Party of Wisconsin gives the presidential campaign that wins the state’s popular vote the prerogative of picking 15 of the 18 statewide delegates and 18 of the state’s 18 alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention.

Though Governor Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz and clearly has a close working relationship with the Wisconsin GOP, the Republican Party of Wisconsin released its final statewide delegate list on Tuesday morning, and sources tell me the list is not what the Cruz campaign wanted.

Only four of the 18 delegates on the GOP list were on the list the Cruz campaign sent the state party, meaning the state party ignored its own rules that require it to honor the wishes of the Cruz campaign in naming 15 of the 18 statewide delegates. Among the 18 alternates, not a single one of them was from the original Cruz campaign list.

Here’s the wording of Article X Section 6 of the Wisconsin GOP constitution:

“At-Large delegates and At-Large alternate delegates shall be selected by the committee of the candidate receiving a plurality of the statewide votes in the Presidential Primary, and a list of said delegates and alternate delegates shall be ratified by the State Executive Committee. It shall be understood that the candidate’s committee shall have final approval of the list of At-Large delegates and alternate delegates.”

That provision seems pretty clear. The “committee of the candidate” will select the delegates and that list “shall be ratified by the State Executive Committee.” That does not appear to be happening here.

It seems that not only did the state GOP ignore the Cruz campaign’s delegate list, but the state GOP wants to put Rubio and Kasich supporters on the delegate slate. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson led the Kasich campaign in Wisconsin and he’s headed to Cleveland as a delegate from Wisconsin. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was the Rubio campaign co-chair in Wisconsin until Rubio dropped out, and has repeatedly expressed his distaste for Cruz, going so far as to “endorse” Cruz before the primary because “our only hope is going to a brokered convention.”

The rest of the list – minus Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Sen. Duey Stroebel and state Rep. Dean Knudson – is a miscellaneous collection of party insiders who stayed on the sidelines, outright opposed, or barely supported Cruz during the primary. The list is evidence of what Katie Glueck wrote about at the Politico just before Wisconsin’s primary: some of the GOP establishment in the state was holding its nose to vote for Cruz, but didn’t like him at all.

It is not clear how, and if, the Cruz campaign will challenge this slate of delegates. Walker may be talking about joining Cruz on the campaign trail in Indiana, but his decision to double down on supporting the eventual nominee – including Trump – last week and this move by his state party to ignore their own rules and steamroll the Cruz campaign make it seem like fractures are appearing in a once-promising alliance.

Scott Walker Goes All In For Cruz

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is backing Ted Cruz. In a series of tweets, Walker gave a ringing endorsement for who he called “a principled Constitutional conservative who can win.”

Wisconsin is polling very close between Donald Trump and Cruz, within the margin of error. The latest two polls (Emerson and Free Beacon) have Cruz up by 1 point, with Kasich siphoning 15-20 points (almost all of it from Cruz).

This only highlights the disingenuous nature of Kasich’s justification for staying in the race–he can’t help Cruz stop Trump, only help Trump win or help himself be a spoiler in Cleveland.

Wisconsin is a key state for Cruz, and if he takes all 42 delegates headed into New York, the momentum will certainly help. Walker’s endorsement is very much a player in Wisconsin, like the popular Nikki Haley’s was in South Carolina for Marco Rubio.

Speaking of Rubio, it sure would be nice if he would formally endorse Cruz and do some damage control for the scandals his supporters allowed Trump to hijack.

It Is Not Just Scott Walker

There are lots and lots of analyses about Scott Walker dropping out. Yes, he put the people closest to him in a Super PAC that could not talk to him, then surrounded himself with people who do not know him.

Yes, there were gaffes and flip-flops galore.

There were lots of fundamental problems with Scott Walker. He was the guy who had lots of rich donors and Washington Republicans whispering in his ear telling him that the crown was his for the taking. He never saw Trump coming and did not know how to respond.

While his wife and kids were rushing to assure everyone that they were cool with gay marriage and Scott Walker had been to one, Walker was throwing red meat to the crowd. He flipped on birthright citizenship. His campaign had internal dysfunction. He could not stand up to anyone and then stood up to his donors to prove he was his own man.

But there’s something more to it too.

Walker brought in a lot of outside consultants who are DC oriented and they, and Walker, profoundly misread the mood of the Republican electorate. I actually don’t think that they misread it so much as they rejected it. Both in Walker’s Super PAC and campaign were people who looked on the base of the party with contempt. They wanted to rebuke the anger. They wanted to run a traditional race. And the result is that it dragged Walker down.

Walker had no strategy to combat the anger and, when he played to it, it came across as flip-flopping and slippery. It planted seeds of distrust.

Early on there were warning signs when Walker got bullied by Iowa GOP voices to drop Liz Mair because of past writings about both ethanol and the Iowa primary. Walker could be played by people.

He may have stood up to unions in Wisconsin, but he wasn’t standing up to anyone else. In fact, all he seemed to have was a story of fighting unions that, long term, made people wonder why he was not willing to stand up to anyone else.

Last week, lots of people started circulating rumors about Walker’s team and his donors were demanding a shake up. When he announced a press conference yesterday evening, a lot of people thought he was going to take responsibility for his campaign, lead a shakeup, and reboot. Instead, he dropped out in a short and relatively unmemorable campaign statement that seemed to blame Donald Trump.

In fact, Donald Trump was not to blame for Scott Walker dropping out. Walker had fundamental problems. His strategy was more a set of tactics instead of a comprehensive vision. His campaign team did not seem to care for the base. And he did not have a command of the issues.

It turns out a midwestern governor who beats unions and survives three elections is not necessarily the shoo-in that so many people thought. And that, ultimately, was Walker’s problem. Too many people thought he was a shoo-in and it seems the Walker campaign thought it too. If you aren’t willing to fight for the Presidency, you can be sure you will not win it. There’s no such thing as a shoo-in, as Hillary Clinton is about to find out.

My Conversation with Gov. Scott Walker

Earlier today I had a conversation with Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. He’s out on the campaign trail now. I started the interview with the late breaking news about Chattanooga, but also got him to focus on his one big item and why liberals, even when winning, seem so angry.

All the President’s Boot Lickers Still Pretend Obama is a Christian

They routinely lament on twitter that there surely must be more important things than conservatives focused on Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the Libyan disaster, the Syrian disaster, the growth of ISIS, the resurgence of Al Quaeda, etc., etc., etc. They lament that we are a frivolous society easily distracted from important things. They give awards to deep thinkers who write 20,000 word pieces on subjects no one cares about outside of the Circle of Jerks who make up the political press.

Then Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and failed Presidential candidate who will never serve in public office again, suggests President Obama does not love America (he doesn’t, by the way). The very same Circle of Jerks who lament a lack of seriousness in American discourse, immediately swing into action to protect their precious.

These are Barack Obama’s boot lickers.

From the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Atlantic to the Politico to National Journal to the various news networks to NPR, these people want to have President Obama’s baby, protect his policy, and advance his cause.

They could be focusing on all the important stories they lament are being ignored, but instead they have to ask Republicans whether they believe in evolution and whether they believe President Obama is a Christian. He’s not, by the way.

This is not just why Americans increasingly hate the media, it is also why Republican Presidential candidates should kick them, rhetorically, in the nuts at every opportunity. When some Presidential boot licker asks a Presidential candidate if he believes Barack Obama is a Christian, he should ask the boot licker why it is relevant to anything. After all, the constitution says there can be no religious test for office.

The most amazing thing about the bootlickers is that they think this stuff matters. They are mostly atheist and in some part agnostic, but are highly offended that anyone would point out Barack Obama is not a Christian, or at least has no evidence of being one. They misquote Matthew 7 claiming statements of fact are judging then slide into bed next to their significant other who, increasingly, is a member of the Obama Administration.

They really think the 2016 campaign will be waged on evolution and whether President Obama, who will not even be on the ballot, is a Christian. These are people who got into journalism to defend the precious and that is what they will do.

But there are two important conclusions that must be drawn.

First, the outrage from people who are, at bet, nominal Christians over other people pointing out Barack Obama is not one shows just how important it is for even the faithless to pretend to be faithful in a society they tell us is increasingly secular.

Second, the outrage flows in large part as a recognition that though liberal secularists have been fairly successful at posing as all sorts of things in modern American life, they continue to fail at posing as actual Christians and must, as a result, scream loudly at those who point it out hoping to shut them up.

As the President’s Boot Lickers continue to focus on the obscure, ridiculous, and essentially impose a religion test on Republican candidates for office, conservatives need a guerilla movement like that of Jason Mattera.

  • We should be asking Democrats if they believe taxpayers should pay for the sex change treatments of Bradley Manning.
  • We should be asking Democrats if they believe God created the Heavens and Earth.
  • We should be asking Democrats if they believe Muhammad is a legitimate prophet and, if yes, why aren’t they following him.
  • We should be asking Democrats if they believe gender is something you are born with or something you choose.
  • We should be asking Democrats if we need to raise taxes to pay for global warming cures.
  • We should be asking Democrats if they believe Jesus is a real person and, if yes, why aren’t they following him.

We’ve got lots of questions to ask Democrats and should start shoving cameras in their faces while President Obama’s bootlickers are distracted by his boots.

Media Gets Serious Case of Butt Hurt Over Rudy Giuliani Speaking Truth

The media butt hurt over Rudy Giuliani reached epic proportions last night. On twitter, it became a “hair on fire” moment as the circle of jerks went blind with rage. The amount of invective hurled at Giuliani for daring to attack their precious could have filled the Grand Canyon. All Rudy Giuliani did was speak the truth. Barack Obama does not love America. Hell, one does not seek to “fundamentally transform” someone one loves. The fact is, Barack Obama’s overarching policy goals make no sense unless you accept that his policies are maliciously designed to take American down a peg or two.

It is all part of the plan, in fact. Barack Obama believes this nation is too proud and needs to be humbled. In his own words, Obama has rejected the idea that the United States is somehow set apart. He says every nation thinks that. But Barack Obama believes that for the world to be safer, the United States must be less safe. For the world to be more stable, the United States must be less safe.

Barack Obama, an ivory tower academic raised by a left-leaning mother and mentored by a communist, has surrounded himself with left-wing political figures whose values are anathema to middle class America. He raised money with the help of a terrorist. He spoke out in favor of infanticide. And even now he cannot bring himself to confront the true extent of the evil that is ISIS.

Barack Obama considers himself above it all, including this country. His policies are intentionally malicious to the strength and security of this nation. Rudy Giuliani is absolutely right. And it speaks volumes about the collective butt hurt of the press that they are outraged by the statements.

Considering how many of their spouses work for Obama and how many of them have floated in and out of the Obama Administration, we should not be surprised at all by their outrage. Their outrage, however, does not make Rudy Giuliani wrong.

The Great Nick Searcy gets the last word.

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