Category Archives: Business & Finance

Labour attacks ’embarrassing’ Brexit talks

Ministers say no part of the UK will be treated differently in the Brexit talks as Labour branded their approach an “embarrassment” No agreement has been reached with the EU after a DUP backlash against proposals for the Irish border. Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs the government was close to concluding the first phase of talks. Negotiations will continue for the rest of the week with the UK hoping for the green light to begin trade talks. Continue reading →

Mulvaney: White House Open to Small Changes on Corporate Tax Rate

Sunday White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said the White House is willing to consider a small increase on the corporate tax rate if it is needed to finalize the bill in the U.S. Congress. Continue reading →

Barclays axes free Kaspersky product as a ‘precaution’

Barclays has stopped offering free Kaspersky anti-virus products to new customers following an official warning about Russian security software. The bank emailed 290,000 online banking customers on Saturday to say the move was a “precautionary decision”.

WSJ: CVS Health Closes in on Deal to Buy Health Insurer Aetna

CVS Health Corp. is moving closer to a more than $66 billion cash and stock deal to buy health insurer Aetna Inc. which could be announced as early as Monday, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. Continue reading →

Trump administration warns of consumer protection panel disruptions in court filing

The Trump administration warned that granting a temporary restraining order to prevent the president from naming an interim director of the U.S. consumer watchdog would be an extraordinary intrusion into the executive branch and harm the agency. Continue reading →

Trump Does Not See Tax Deal With ‘Chuck and Nancy’

Tuesday, President Donald Trump – set to meet the two top Democrats in Congress to discuss the Republican tax bill and how to stop a government shutdown – doesn’t believe a deal can be worked out. Continue reading →

Mulvaney cracks down on CFPB as White House insists he’s in control

Monday White House budget boss Mick Mulvaney moved quickly to rein in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, imposing a 30-day hiring freeze and other new rules as the fight over who’s really in charge of the agency heads to court.Mulvaney, whom President Trump chose to run the CFPB on a temporary basis, has a history of bashing the bureau and has called it a “sad, sick” joke. He didn’t back away from those assertions Monday afternoon, describing the CFPB as “an awful example of a bureaucracy that has gone wrong and is almost entirely unaccountable.”

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Republican Senator Paul says he plans to vote for Senate tax bill

Republican Senator Rand Paul, a fiscal hawk who has sometimes opposed his party’s spending plans, said on Monday he planned to vote for the Senate tax bill and urged his colleagues to do the same. Continue reading →

Mulvaney Says Would Be OK to Drop Mandate Repeal From Tax Plan

All Trump has to do is sign an executive order tossing the mandate. and people, keep track of who votes against tax reform. The White House would support removing from the Senate tax plan a controversial provision to repeal the individual health care mandate of the Affordable Care Act, budget director Mick Mulvaney said — a move that could help win the vote of key Republicans. Continue reading →

Democrats blame Trump for Obamacare rate hikes

As Americans sign up during Open Enrollment for health insurance in 2018, those on the Obamacare exchange are seeing higher premiums. It’s similar to what happened a year ago, President Obama’s last year in office, when premiums went up an average of 25 percent.Hey demonrats, you passed it without reading it, the high premiums are on hyour heads, not Trump.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums in 2018 are rising an average of 18 percent for Gold and Bronze plans and 32 percent for Silver plans. President Trump blames the Affordable Care Act. When the price hikes were announced just prior to Open Enrollment, Trump tweeted, “As usual the Obamacare premiums will be up (the Dems own it) but we will Repeal and Replace and have great Health Care soon after Tax Cut!”

But many Democrats are trying to turn the tables.

In a report from the pro-Obamacare group called Protect Our Care, 20 states blame President Trump for at least part of the increases. Many insurance commissioners in states controlled by Democrats appear to be going even further. California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wrote: “2018 health insurance rates higher thanks to Trump and Republicans.” Washington State’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a press release claiming President Trump “has taken deliberate steps to undermine the health care system and put lives at risk.”

“All of the negative things the Trump Administration has said since he came into office is affecting the market overall,” said Washington’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner Steve Valandra. “It’s made it unstable and created a lot of uncertainty and that’s something that health insurers don’t like.”

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President Trump did discontinue cost-sharing subsidies, which were direct payments to insurance companies to defray some of the cost of providing health care. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimates the move added 12 percent to 15 percent to the cost of Silver plan premiums. Nineteen Democratic state attorneys general are suing Trump over the stoppage.

But the Trump Administration says it was only complying with a federal judge’s order, which declared the CSR’s or Cost Sharing Reductions to be illegal because Congress never appropriated the funding. President Obama ignored that fact and paid the subsidies anyway.

Republicans also point out that premiums have gone up every year under Obamacare.

“It’s Obamacare’s regulations that have more than doubled premiums over the last four, five years,” said Avik Roy from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, “and it’s the sloppy drafting of Obamacare that has led to the illegal cost sharing subsidies that the Obama Administration has been spending without authorization from Congress.”

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Despite the finger pointing, consumers are still looking into and signing up for coverage. Washington State’s Health Benefit Exchange has received a steady stream of inquiries.

“We’re seeing traffic both on our website as well as the number of new applicants, and the call center has been getting a lot of calls, about 30 percent over where we were last year,” said Michael Marchand, Chief Marketing Officer of the Washington state Health Benefit Exchange.

Marchand says with health care being in the media so much recently, it’s driven up interest. He also thinks consumers are less interested in the politics and most just want a solution that works for them and their family.