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Survey Says 87% of Small Businesses Saw Increase in Healthcare Costs Under Obamacare


waving flagBy Bethany Blankley April 6, 2016

Six years of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act (ACA)) has cost millions of Americans in job and healthcare losses, forcing them to lose their existing, affordable plans, to have no insurance at all, or to pay more for a worse health insurance plan. Six years of Obamacare have caused health insurance premiums to skyrocket, while many health insurance companies required to operate within the Obamacare exchanges have lost millions of dollars. And according to a recent poll, it’s only going to get worse– for everyone– but small businesses will suffer the most.

Complete MessageAccording to an online survey produced by LevelFunded Health, (LFH) a national health insurance agency “with a hyper-focus on Affordable Care Act ‘alternative’ employee benefit programs for the small employer market segment,” 87 percent of small businesses that offer “group health care” suffered from a 25 percent increase in health insurance premium costs since 2014. It reports that 12 percent of small businesses experienced increases of 50 percent or more to their premium costs.

Small businesses are at a significant disadvantage because they will unlikely be able to absorb higher health insurance costs, which is why many have canceled their health insurance benefits completely. Larger companies can more easily absorb increased costs. But they are not immune from the tragedy of Obamacare. UnitedHealth Group, for example, the nation’s largest health insurer, recently announced it’s expecting more than $500 million in losses on 2016 Obamacare plans alone.

These increased costs affect more than financial outcomes. They affect being able to employ workers, and more importantly, quality workers. The LFH survey reports that health insurance costs affect the quality and skill-level of employees who are drawn to particular businesses because of the benefits they offer. Small businesses are more likely to lose quality job applicants to large corporations that can offer better benefits.Complete Message

The LFH survey found that 56 percent of the 2,500 small businesses it polled reported that they are losing quality employees and candidates because of how expensive employer-provided health care plans are under Obamacare, compared to significantly lower costs and more options prior to Obamacare.

Included as part of the ACA is the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace, allegedly designed to aid small businesses. Kaiser Health News reported in 2015 that, “Employers with fewer than 50 full-time workers are eligible to buy coverage on SHOP. The federal government even offers businesses an incentive, a tax credit worth up to half of an employer’s share of their workers’ premiums. Among the conditions: The firm must employ fewer than 25 workers and their average salary cannot exceed $50,000.”

But, in 2015, only 85,000 people out of 11,000 small businesses received coverage through SHOP– a number significantly less than the 1 million people Obama and the Congressional Budget Office expected.Complete Message

And increased costs affect more than losing quality workers. The ACA and SHOP’s failure to aid small businesses has forced them to decide more than choosing between letting go their employees and providing health insurance to their employees, to now raising prices for their customers.

The real burden that few discussed regarding Obamacare was the hidden fines, fees, and taxes that the 2,000+ law created, which began to go into effect in 2016 and 2017.

Already, the small businesses that have 50 or more full-time employees and don’t provide health insurance must pay an “Employer Shared Responsibility” fine. Complete Message

According to HealthCare.gov: “Some employers with 50 or more [full-time] employees who don’t offer insurance, or whose offer of coverage is not affordable or doesn’t meet certain minimum standards, are subject to Employer Shared Responsibility provisions. They may owe a payment if at least one of their full-time employees enrolls in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and receives a premium tax credit.”

As a result, to avoid Obamacare penalties and fines associated with the 50-employee rule, small businesses are outsourcing jobs to online freelancers and not hiring more staff.

Six years of Obamacare has resulted in more regulations as well, which means increased audits, and more paperwork and headaches for small business owners. Many experts anticipate that Department of Labor audits will also increase, which piles on even more costs for small businesses.Complete Message

What small business can continue to exist in the nightmare that Obama and every Democrat who voted for it, created? How will they survive more regulations, additional costs associated with fines, fees, and increased taxes, not to mention the likelihood of being audited for failing to comply with these increased number of regulations. But their ability to compete with larger companies for quality employees will be even more difficult than it already is. Finding and keeping quality employees is essential to small business owners. But Obamacare has made this necessity nearly impossible in 2016 and beyond, as more people continue to lose their jobs and their health insurance, both of which they had prior to Obamacare.

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While Kim Davis was Illegally Put in Jail, Obama did This


waving flagPosted by

URL of the original posting site:
http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/09/while-kim-davis-was-illegally-put-in-jail-obama-did-this/#PlhU4bqhzWEILszD.99

Kim Davis

The Obama administration follows the Rahm Emanuel sentiments at every turn in taking advantage of a crisis. The illegal jailing of Kim Davis for following the law and ignoring an unlawful order from Bush appointed pro-sodomite Judge David Bunning was used as cover for the Obama administration to illegally plan regulation, which is imposing law (something the Executive Branch has not been given authority in the Constitution to do), to pay for mutilation surgeries for mentally ill men and women who think they are the opposite gender.

The Daily Caller reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a planned new regulation Thursday that will require health insurers participating in Obamacare to cover more health procedures sought by the transgendered.

The new rule applies to every health insurer offering plans through Healthcare.gov or any of the state-run Obamacare insurance exchanges. It declares that insurers are prohibited from engaging in discrimination not only on the basis of sex, but also on the basis of gender identity.

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In the past, several health insurance plans have categorically excluded health care related to transitioning between genders, often on the grounds that such procedures are often cosmetic, not medically necessary, and elective in nature. Now, such categorical bans will be disallowed, and insurers will have to cover many of the procedures.

HHS says the new rule won’t require insurers to cover all hormone treatments or sex reassignment surgeries, but it will almost certainly require them to cover a large number of them.What did you say 07.jpg

First, let’s put in place that the Executive Branch is acting unconstitutionally. Article 1, Section 1 of the US Constitution reads:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

How much power for legislation is left for the Executive Branch? How about for the federal courts? None, zero, zip, nada. The Congress has not passed any legislation that requires paying for mutilation surgeries or hormone treatments for mentally ill people under the judgment of God (Romans 1:18ff). Therefore, the Executive Branch has no authority to issue such a rule against health insurers. They are usurping it.

Why don’t the insurance companies band together and tell the feds to go pound sand?

“We are not requiring coverage for gender transition surgery,” said Jocelyn Samuels, director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, who makes me wonder for the appearance if she is not some sort of transgendered person. “We are simply saying that insurers must apply nondiscriminatory treatment … if they all exclude all gender identity treatment that will be a violation of the law.”Lies Lies and More Lies

Well, Samuels can say that all she likes, but the reality is that the federal government, under the Constitution, has no authority to tell anyone who they may or may not discriminate. We discriminate all the time. It’s protected in the First Amendment under the idea of peaceably assembling. We assemble with those of like mind and discriminate from assembling with those we are against ideologically.

How is Samuels attempting to justify her claims?

CNBC reports, “As an example, Samuels said the department would question a decision by an insurer to deny coverage to a person for a hysterectomy—the removal of ones’ uterus—if it were recommended by their doctor as part of a gender dysphoria diagnosis, and if that insurer covered hysterectomies for other diagnosed reasons.”

Wait, so a hysterectomy is equivalent to a man who thinks he is a woman and wants to cut his privates off and have breast augmentation? Seriously? See what a reprobate mind does people? See why those who encourage reprobate minds are also worthy of the same punishment as the reprobates? This is insanity!insane

And at the end of the day, who will pay for all of this? That’s right, you Mr. and Mrs. America, because it will be money that will be added to your premiums and, of course, with the people in the illegal Obamacare program, there is no doubt that taxpayers will be on the hook for some of the costs as well.

So, the criminals continue to run the show while the rightful governors, the people, stand back and allow it. I’m wondering just how long it’s going to take the people to pull out the pitchforks, torches, tar and feathers and, of course, exercise their rights under the Second Amendment to “secure a free state.”

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Individual Health Plan Costs On The Rise Due To Obamacare


waving flagJune 5, 2015 By

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Complete MessageIf you live in a state without its own Obamacare health exchange, you can expect to see individual insurance premiums rise sharply in anticipation of an upcoming Supreme Court’s decision on the legality of federal subsidies to consumers there.

Such is the case in Michigan, in which seventeen of 21 health insurers selling coverage at HealthCare.gov. are requesting rate hikes. Premium increases  from 5% to a whopping 37% are being sought by more than half of the insurers beginning in January under the Affordable Care Act, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services said Monday.  The requests require approval of the state insurance agency.

The nation’s highest court is expected to rule this month on the King v. Burwell case concerning the legality of federal subsidies paid to customers in the 36 states that use the federal Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov; 14 states have their own marketplaces.

88% of consumers on Michigan’s health exchange receive some kind of subsidy according to Rick Murdock, executive director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, which represents most insurers in the state. More than 341,000 Michiganians purchased insurance on the health exchange. The average premium paid by consumers was $130, with a savings of $236 because of the premium tax credit, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Murdock suggested that insurers may be adjusting for a potential loss of business if federal subsidies are eliminated and consumers abandon their policies.

Similarly, North Carolina’s largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, stated that it seeks to raise individual healthcare premiums by 13.5% for Obamacare compliant plans, affecting some 315,000 consumers in that state.

Nationwide, insurance companies want rate hikes of over 10% in 37 states.

According to the CMS, more than 8 in 10 individuals who selected a 2015 plan through HealthCare.gov qualified for an average advanced premium tax credit of $263 per person per month. That is $263 per month- or $3,156 per year- that taxpayers must subsidize per person for over 80% of consumers on Obamacare approved plans.  These are plans that must include unnecessary coverage of myriad specialty drugs and procedures under the federal government’s one size fits all mandates.

The Democrats just had to “pass the bill to find out what was in it,” and we are now witness to the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences of a disastrous bill designed to provide health insurance to the 10% of uninsured Americans, all at the expense of the 90% who were perfectly happy with the plan they had.

While Obama insisted that premiums would decrease by $2500 per person, the reality is much different; rising healthcare premiums for all, along with unsustainable subsidies in the form of tax credits to enlarge the ever increasing entitlement class in a country holding more than $18 trillion in national debt.Liberalism a mental disorder 2
The looming Supreme Court will hopefully rule that the federal government has acted illegally in forcing taxpayers nationwide to subsidize residents of states which have chosen to not be party to the one of the most audacious pieces of legislation ever passed.  What happens afterwards is anybody’s guess, but one thing is certain; increasing premiums and chaos in the US healthcare system are imminent.

Please Sign the Tea Party petition HERE to send a message and demand once again that our Congressmen repeal the (Un)Affordable Care Act NOW.

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Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes


waving flagPosted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

URL of the Original Posting Site: https://www.atr.org/hawaii-s-205-million-obamacare-exchange-implodes

Complete Message

Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down.  Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28.

While the exchange has struggled since its creation, it is not for lack of funding. Since 2011 Hawaii has received a total of $205,342,270 in federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, HHS provided nearly $4.5 billion to Hawaii and other state exchanges, with little federal oversight and virtually no strings attached.Picture2

Complete MessageDespite this generous funding, the exchange has underperformed from day one. In its first year, Hawaii enrolled only 8,592 individuals – meaning it spent almost $23,899 on its website for each individual enrolled. Currently over 37,000 individuals are enrolled in Hawaii’s exchange – well below the estimated 70,000 enrollees that is required to make the website financially viable. Unfortunately, taxpayers will have to hand out an additional $30 million so that Hawaii can migrate to the federal system.Picture3

This is not the first time that a state exchange has failed, and taken millions of dollars in federal funds down with it. Earlier this year, Oregon’s state exchange was officially abolished at an estimated cost of $41 million. Cover Oregon, as it used to be known received $305 million in funds from HHS but failed to produce a workable website months after the 2013 November deadline. The debacle has promoted numerous federal agencies and organizations to investigate allegations of inappropriate political interference from then Governor Kitzhaber’s 2014 reelection campaign.Complete Message

Hawaii now joins Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico, and Nevada as cautionary tales in government central planning. With so many failed state exchanges, questions need to be asked about the haphazard allocation of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds and the complete lack of oversight.Liberalism a mental disorder 2

Photo Credit: Charles Fettinger
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HealthCareDotGov fails to meet Nov. 30 targets


http://www.humanevents.com/2013/12/02/healthcaredotgov-fails-to-meet-nov-30-targets-white-house-declares-victory-anyway/

HealthCareDotGov fails to meet Nov. 30 targetsBy: John Hayward  12/2/2013 09:45 AM

Not surprisingly, after moving the goalposts half a dozen times for the November 30 relaunch of Healthcare.gov, the Obama Administration couldn’t get within 30 yards of the end zone, but they declared a touchdown anyway.  It was positively surreal to watch bureaucrats high-five each other for a job well done when it obviously wasn’t.  They’re nowhere near the full functionality that was promised when the November 30 date was set.  Evidence suggests they haven’t even met the lowered expectations of 80 percent functionality.

This is exactly what critics anticipated.  There’s been some progress on the ObamaCare website, but considering what a complete fiasco it was at launch, that’s not much of a metric.  The Washington Post report on the November 30 festivities is packed full of unintentional comedy, including the Post uncritically relaying crisis manager Jeff Zients’ claims that the website is now “working more than 90 percent of the time” – that’s obviously not true, and Zients himself began walking those claims back almost immediately – plus a howler from Zients in which he compares the current performance of the exchange to its condition on Launch Day.  As you may recall, when the Administration’s stonewall of lies and evasions finally cracked, and they released the Day One figures, it turned out that only six people had enrolled in ObamaCare.  It’s a stunning embarrassment for the Administration to boast about having cleared that exceptionally low bar:

“Bottom line, HealthCare.gov on December 1st is night and day from where it was on October 1st,” when the site was launched, Zients said in a teleconference with reporters Sunday morning.

Even with the improved performance, some people are likely to encounter problems on the site. And there is another worry — reports sent to insurance companies about who has enrolled in health plans include errors that could cause problems when people try to use their new insurance plans next year.

Administration officials, in talking to reporters, were careful not to declare a full-fledged victory. In a report issued Sunday, officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said the next few months would require further work to “improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience.” Officials have also said repeatedly that consumers might still encounter difficulties and urged them to use the call center and seek help from specially trained personnel.

Still, the announcement is a milestone for the administration, which has struggled to improve the Web site since its botched Oct. 1 launch.

Welcome to the Obama New Normal of lowered expectations, where abject failure is celebrated as a “milestone.”  Even by the incredibly loose and subjective goals they set during the panicky days of mid-October, Team Obama failed.  There’s no achievement here.  It’s like a plumber demanding a bonus because your toilet only explodes half the time when you flush it.  ”We’re doing better” is not an acceptable status report, given the promises made to drag ObamaCare through a couple of brutal news cycles.

Also, part of the spin surge designed to make it look as if great strides have taken involves admitting just how bad HealthCare.gov has been, particularly in October.  That’s something the Administration worked hard to keep hidden, until they decided they could milk a few political points by revealing it, secure in the knowledge that few reporters would respond, “Holy cow, you guys were lying through your teeth about just how bad things were in October!”

No private-sector CEO could get away with such a celebration of inadequacy.  Obama used to love comparing the Healthcare.gov rollout to an iPhone launch.  Not even he has the chutzpah to keep making that comparison.  Imagine a boardroom meeting where the head of the iPhone project brags that the product works more than half the time now, and that’s a huge improvement over the $500 million launch two months ago, when only six people were able to use it successfully.

Here’s more of that unintentional comedy from the Post report, where they relay a couple of “success stories” from the relaunched exchange… and neither of them was a success.

Among those who tried to log on was Sandy Kush, 49, an unemployed medical transcriptionist from Illinois who tried six times in October to use HealthCare.gov, with no success.

She tried again Sunday and, with the help of a call-center representative, was able to enroll in Medicaid — a stopgap measure, she said, until she can find a new job that offers insurance. The whole experience took about an hour and a half but “was pretty smooth,” she said.

Others reported problems getting all the way through the process. Liz Gallops, 33, a North Carolina insurance broker who has tried unsuccessfully to get coverage through the site, said that HealthCare.gov seemed to be working better Sunday but that at one point she got a message stating that the system “cannot finish your application now.”

Whoopee!  Another person signed up for Medicaid!  That’s not an ObamaCare enrollment.  The other person cited by the Post tried to enroll in ObamaCare and failed.  Notably, there was no effort to demonstrate the “new and improved” system for the media during the big “Mission Accomplished” press conference, because the Administration flacks know better than to punch up this bug-ridden disaster and ignite a scandal firestorm by having it crash during the demo.  CNN tried to use the relaunched system live on the air… and it crashed on them:

CNN

Later in the Post report, the walkback of all those rosy 90 percent operation claims begins:

The online system is stable — not crashing — more than 90 percent of the time, officials said. And the report said that the site can handle as many as 50,000 shoppers at the same time and up to 800,000 visits a day.

The report said the administration has yet to meet at least one of its key goals: reducing the site’s average response time to half a second. And government officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, cautioned last week that they will not know if they have expanded the site’s carrying capacity to 50,000 users at once until they have that many users online.

This is beyond ludicrous.  They’re admitting that they pulled all these wonderful numbers out of their posteriors, and warning people not to push the system anywhere near the capacity they’ve been boasting about!  And that capacity is really nothing to brag about anyway.  50,000 simultaneous connections for the 36 states using the federal exchange system?  They’ve got 82 business days to enroll 7 million people before the end of March, when the individual mandate comes crashing down.  Only 16 business days remain until the revised cutoff date for securing 2014 insurance that would be effective on January 1, and we know at least five million people have been blown out of their existing plans because of ObamaCare.  There’s no way this fabulously expensive but incredibly weak system can process the 300,00 + enrollments per day that would be needed to repair the damage from Obama’s Big Lie, and frankly, there’s little evidence of a surge in demand to buy those overpriced ObamaCare policies.

It’s extremely telling that the Administration continues to prattle on about “visits per day” and “response times” for the web pages to load.  That sounds like happy horse patties designed to reach Low Information Voters who gave up on trying to use the system because they heard it was “slow.”  Clearing up the slow-motion responses and “page not found errors” people were experiencing when they merely tried to log into the system is less than half the battle for improving the front end, and insurance providers are issuing dark reminders about critical back-end systems that are delivering useless garbage data, or not working at all:

The report did not address the “back-end” parts of the systems that consumers do not see, including the error-filled enrollment reports. Insurers have warned that if the problem is not fixed soon, some people may show up for doctor’s appointments in January only to find that the insurance company has no record of their enrollment.

“Insurers are still receiving enrollment files that are duplicative or include missing or inaccurate information,” Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main lobbying group, said Sunday. “In some cases they aren’t receiving those enrollment files at all.”

The New York Times has more details about the chaos at insurance companies, as they struggle to cope with the flow of data sewage pouring from the outflow pipes of the worst online system launch in history:

“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.

The issues are vexing and complex. Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that would not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.

In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder.

[…] Insurers said they had received calls from consumers requesting insurance cards because they thought they had enrolled in a health plan through the federal website, but the insurers said they had not been notified.

“Somehow people are getting lost in the process,” the insurance executive said. “If they go to a doctor or a hospital and we have no record of them, that will be very upsetting to consumers.”

Imagine how much worse that confusion will become if the almost completely non-functional front end of Healthcare.gov really does start working better, and dumps five or ten times as much junk data in the insurance industry’s lap!

This is, again, beyond ridiculous.  The Administration adamantly refuses to disclose the one and only metric of success that really matters: the number of people who have successfully processed their first payment for an ObamaCare insurance policy.  By law, that’s the condition that must be met to secure valid coverage.  And Team Obama still spews absurd lies about not having the data, every time someone asks for the number of valid policies that have been purchased through the exchange, preferring to babble about how many people have merely visited the website, or how the process of setting up an online account has gotten so much smoother, or how an awful lot of people have briefly fluttered around Healthcare.gov before getting shuffled off to Medicaid.

I have yet to hear a single official number from this Administration that excludes Medicaid applicants and focuses solely on ObamaCare enrollment.  It is entirely possible that the number of valid insurance policies sold through the federal exchange is very nearly zero.  The New York Times report says insurance providers will consider policies valid if the government hasn’t ponied up the taxpayer’s share of the premiums yet – good thing, because the part of Healthcare.gov that handles such payments doesn’t exist yet – but they won’t be able to handle the financial burden of paying claims without receiving subsidies for long.  There were supposed to be over 700,000 fully completed ObamaCare enrollments by now; the heavily cooked number pushed by the Administration is only 100,000, and that includes Medicaid referrals, plus fragmentary online shopping cart data.

The Wall Street Journal isn’t buying any nebulous claims of relative success for an Administration with a proven track record of deception and obfuscation:

If this miracle fix is real, the White House will open the ObamaCare black box to an independent audit, or maybe start by answering questions honestly. But on a conference call with reporters Sunday, HHS refused to say how much progress the team had made on technical problems that are seeding insurance companies with bad information about who is signing up and for what products. It knows the insurers will keep quiet lest they make themselves political targets.

The mission accomplished pose is another attempt to power through a political deadline. Americans who have now discovered the Administration’s other false claims—you can keep your old plan and your doctor, and the new plans are better—can be forgiven for waiting to see the actual results.

No serious journalist would accept the Obama Administration’s report card for its own performance.  Their claims are meaningless.  Absolute transparency and the disclosure of all hard data for independent review should be the non-negotiable demand from the American people.   Reporters should stand as one and walk out of any press conference that doesn’t begin with someone from HHS or CMS demonstrating a completely successful purchase of insurance through Healthcare.gov – because frankly, at this point, there is no hard evidence that anyone has been able to do that yet.

Team Obama is still treating this as a political spin game, while the lives of American citizens are turned upside-down by the foolish Affordable Care Act.  Hard deadlines are fast approaching.  The people and their representatives should have pure, unspun data so they can make solid decisions about how to proceed.  Here’s the bottom line about the big November 30 relaunch: if the system had been launched in the state that exists today, it would still have been a national scandal.

Update: More low comedy from the Administration, as HHS Secretary Kathleeen Sebelius “urges Americans to visit the site during off-peak hours – generally in the morning or at night.”  Enjoy the New Normal of failure, in which incompetent bureaucrats in charge of trillion-dollar agencies bring you a $500 million website that you should only try using at three o’clock in the morning.

Update: Pete Doocy of Fox News tried to use the “new and improved” Healthcare.gov this morning, and this is what he got.  Serves him right for trying to access the Peoples’ Glorious Health Care System during peak hours!

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