Health insurance plans owe $1.1 billion in rebates

The Washington Post

Millions of consumers and businesses will receive $1.1 billion in rebates this summer from health insurance plans that failed to meet a requirement of the new health-care law, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

That Affordable Care Act rule requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of subscriber premiums on health-care claims and quality improvement initiatives. The other 20 percent is left for administrative costs and profits.

Health insurance plans that don’t hit that threshold will send a rebate to consumers to cover the difference.

There could, however, be one big hitch. If the Supreme Court overturns the health-care law — a decision that could come as early as Thursday morning — experts say those checks are unlikely to hit Americans’ mailboxes.

“If [the Supreme Court] says the law is unconstitutional, insurers couldn’t be forced to pay rebates based on unconstitutional laws,” said Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University.

In a new report, the Obama administration found that 12.8 million Americans will receive rebates this year, with an average value of $151 per household.

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GOP Hubris

Republicans miffed that groups they abuse won’t be voting for them


Just how utterly dense are the GOP?  They’re so…so…out of touch.

Daily Kos

Don’t look now, but I hear tell that the Republican Party may be made up primarily of cranky old men. Even more surprising, the Obama campaign may be working to court groups other than “cranky old men” for November:

The Obama campaign spent weeks playing up the contraception fight and pushing legislation to guarantee women equal pay for equal work — and then crowing about how women were fleeing the GOP. Obama got pushed into backing gay marriage more quickly than he wanted — but once he did, the campaign milked it for days to try to make Romney look like a throwback. The drumbeat on more affordable student loans has been constant. And now, the president is trying to drive a wedge between Romney and Hispanic voters with a sustained push to soften U.S. deportation policy.To many Republicans, the president’s strategy is very crass — and potentially very effective. The threat of being marginalized as an aging, almost all-white, mostly male party is real and worth fretting about, they say.

Yes, how very crass. Here the Republicans spend the last two years pushing an anti-birth-control, anti-brown-people, anti-gay-people, anti-worker-rights, anti-college-student agenda in every state and legislative body they control, and the Obama campaign may have the audacityto actually point that stuff out to the groups that have been hurt by it. How unfair! How gauche! That’s not how we Republicans do things!

Republicans, meanwhile, are under no illusion they can keep up with Obama among these groups, or win a majority of gays, young people, women or Hispanics. But it’s the latter two groups that have them most unnerved — knowing that they likely hold the key to who wins the White House.Let’s start with Hispanics. The truth about politics is that Republicans — regardless of the nominee — are a mostly white party, and have been for decades. They get roughly 87 percent of their votes from whites — and rarely elect minority candidates at the national level.

So there you go. Republicans go out of their way to marginalize anyone who isn’t a conservative white male, but then express dismay that all the folks they pick on just can’t be convinced to vote GOP, and deem it uncouth for the other party to try to court those Americans themselves.

Not present in this particular story: a description of all the Republican response, which is to enact an unprecedented number of new hoops for Americans to jump through if they want to vote at all—new laws and purge efforts which just happen to target poor and minority voters. So yes, the Republicans do indeed have a plan for how to counter the fact that a majority of Americans who are not white male conservatives don’t like them: keep them away from the polls.