Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

ACA Deadline / Senator Casey

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Dec 6, 2017 8:00 PM
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On the Thursday December 7th, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

December 15th marks the last day to enroll for healthcare coverage for 2018 under the Affordable Care Act.  Thursday's Smart Talk discusses in-state trends in enrollment and changes to the program and answer your questions with Pennsylvania's Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman and Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association insurance navigator Lynn Keltz.

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Pennsylvania's Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman / Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association insurance navigator Lynn Keltz


Also, the Republican Congress has been selling their tax overhaul bill as a boon for the middle class and tax cuts for corporations that will translate to higher wages and salaries for workers.  Democrats are skeptical of this claim.

Amgen Inc. chief executive Robert Bradway said in an October earnings call the pharmaceutical company had been "actively returning capital in the form of growing dividend and buyback and I'd expect us to continue that."  Cisco CFO Kelly Kramer told Bloomberg News last month "we'll be able to get much more aggressive on the share buyback" after the passage of the tax bill.

On the day before the bill's senate passage, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) made a radical proposal:  corporations would only get the proposed tax break if they can demonstrate they are sharing the revenues afforded by the tax cut with employees.  Republican senators voted down the amendment.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, we'll discuss the tax overhaul bill with Senator Casey and what its passage into law could mean for working Pennsylvanians.

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Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)


on ACA enrollment:

- Please talk about the consequences of no having health insurance, then having a medical emergency. You will be treated, but it is not free. You could have thousands of dollars on your credit report for many years.  - Tom, Carlisle

- Three items:

  1. With insurance companies filing and seeking 5-20% increases in individual plans, why did the PA Insurance Department approve much higher increases in some cases?
  2. With ACA mandates impacting all costs, insurance companies are no longer paying insurance agents' commissions on new individual products. As an agent, I feel strongly that we know our clients best as well as company products. Any consideration for allowing agents to charge a fee similar to the funding for navigators? I will NOT continue working for free!
  3. What happens next year when the one remaining carrier on the Marketplace here in Lebanon County (Geisinger) decides NOT to offer Marketplace plans? What options would insureds have when no plans are offered on the Marketplace?!?                                                                                - Mike, Schaefferstown

- Thank you for this show - I agree with the caller Ruth - my premium will increase by 40 percent. No wonder those cited by the commissioner are experiencing rates from $1,200 down to $400 and from $1,100 down to $100. People like Ruth and I are paying or that coverage. I am self employed and insure for just me and my rates are astronomical. How can you help. What can I do? I am on the verge of selling my house to meet my health insurance bills.                                                           - Madelyn

- I applied for healthcare on the marketplace and was notified that I may qualify for medicaid in Pennsylvania. I have not yet heard back from the state and when I reached out to them they said it may be a few weeks, putting me past the deadline for enrollment.

If the state determines that I am not eligible for medicaid, have I lost my chance to enroll in another subsidized marketplace option?   - Vincent

on tax overhaul:

Republicans continue to lie about the success of the Kennedy and Reagan Economies.

The success of those economies is not attributed to the tax reductions of those times, but to low interest rates, high government spending, and the existing Wage Based Economy that increased consumption to nearly 75%  of GDP causing the velocity of capital to rocket.

Currently consumption is only 60% of GDP that is slowing economic growth as a result of current Supply Side Economics, and the current Tax Reform will exasperate the economic growth further as wages continue to fall in relation to inflation, executive compensation, and shareholder wealth. 

The current months of higher economic growth are only due to increased credit card debt.  Supply Side Economics only protects wealth, only a Wage Based Economy grows wealth for all.                            - Larry, Lancaster

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