March 24, 2016

All Hail Taranto!

I do not have a Best of the Web problem; I can stop anytime...

taranto160324.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2015

ACA Horror Story of the Day

With ObamaCare's cratering, this category has been too silent.

One can say that it has all been said. But, no, today I learned one more original truly bad thing about the PPACAo2010:

In 2014, premiums spiked, and then in 2015 they exploded again along with deductibles so high that many decided not to be insured at all. Over half of Obamacare's co-ops collapsed this year, most of them this fall, and now the providers who took their clients may end up stuck with the bills.

"Health care providers could get stuck with unpaid bills in a half dozen states where co-op plans have collapsed," reports Politico Pro's Paul Demko. "That's because there's no financial backstop in those states if the failed nonprofit startups backed by Obamacare loans run out of money before paying off all of their medical claims." The failure of the co-op Health Republic Insurance of New York left $165 million in unpaid bills, and a survey showed 64 percent of New York providers waiting for payment. Had a private-sector insurer defaulted in a similar manner, these providers would have been compensated from a guaranty fund set up by the industry.


One hates to direct coarse language at medical professionals, but the line from Animal House seems applicable: "You f***ed up! You trusted us!"

Posted by John Kranz at 3:56 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Free lunches are being served. Don't worry, we won't run out."

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2015 5:29 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Heh, one of the few fights I'm willing to take to the pages of FB is my disdain for the ACA and schadenfreude at its failures. At some point, I'll have to post the pathetic letters I've gotten from the CO Health Co-op about their demise.

For now, PL picked up on a story from the NYT, noting how a guy we've heard of, also known as the junior senator from Florida, is outflanking the beltway - for once - on the right, noting:

we need representatives of conservatism who are not only good on the stump and adept at firing up the base, but who understand the intricacies of legislation and are willing to do the hard and usually thankless work needed to beat our opponents in the trenches.

The Times calls it "quiet legislative sabotage." Hear, hear!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 11, 2015 12:12 AM

November 24, 2015

ACA Horror Story of the Day

President Obama was hammered last week for his failure on ISIS. But there's at least one bright spot for him in that criticism: At least it deflected the spotlight from the unfolding catastrophe that is ObamaCare. -- Shikha Dalmia
And then it gets better.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2015

Different Definition of "Hilarious" Than Mine.

Let's recap hilariously wrong Republican predictions about Obamacare
Haha, Kos, no it's too funny, Stop! Don't read the last one sipping coffee (you were warned!):
Scott Walker, 2/20/2015:
In a 2013 interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker argued that Obamacare was hampering the economic recovery. "They made a promise that nobody could actually deliver on, not just in terms of the website, but on the overall policy of Obamacare, which is an abysmal failure," Walker told Kudlow, adding, "It's not only a failure for Obamacare, it is continuing to be a wet blanket on the recovery of the nation's economy."

"Firm after firm telling the White House, the administration this isn't going to work," Walker went on. "It's either one of those things where there not listening to the facts, or they're not being informed, in either case, it's troubling."

"Troubling," Kudlow chimed in, "No CEO experience whatsoever."


Now we don't trifle with Kos too much around here. But my friend posted this on Facebook a few hours after I had watched the WSJ Editorial Board's video proclaiming essentially that the death spiral was finally beginning. The nation's largest insurer -- and the ACA's biggest cheerleader -- was pulling out of the exchanges.

So I had what I expect will be my last argument with this guy. He accepts this "Baghdad Bob" line on ObamaCare: Kos says it is fine, he sent me a 20-month old blog post from Rick Unger. It seems I am wrong -- ObamaCare is fine!

Oh, wait

On a UnitedHealth call Thursday with Wall Street analysts, Josh Raskin of Barclays asked, "Simply, how long are you willing to lose money in exchanges?" and then followed up, "Are you willing to lose money again in 2017, Steve?" UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley replied: "No, we cannot sustain these losses. We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself," adding that "we saw no indication of anything actually improving."

UnitedHealth reported one problem after another: An expensive risk pool that lacks the younger and healthier consumers who are supposed to buy overpriced plans to cross-subsidize everyone else. Enrollment growth continues to lag. People join the exchanges before they incur large medical expenses--insurers are required under ObamaCare to cover anyone who applies--and then drop out after they receive care. The collapse of the ObamaCare co-ops is recoiling through the market.


Fine.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Unger's column is a strong screed, but balanced on a thin reed, namely; one study from the Urban Institute. This confirms that ACA didn't all by itself caused the boom in part time work, but also notes Part-Time Employed Remains Higher Than the Pre-Recession Levels and is willing to entertain the idea that the ACA isn't helping this 'jobless' recovery become an actual recovery as well as noting

the anticipation of the penalty [$2000, for not providing "compliant" coverage], even though delayed a year, no doubt influenced the decisions of private employers

Wow, but the Kool-Aid scented comments on the Kos article drip with condescension and cluelessness. If I'd the time and the Tums, it would be interesting to delve down into that netherworld; what does it mean, that word; "working" ? The inevitable followup would be: what do you do for a living; teach teachers?

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2015 1:09 AM
But jk thinks:

The Unger column is from March 2014 and one of the bright things the ACA miscreants did was to provide benefits up front: free contraception, no pre-existing conditions, 26-year-old snowflakes on mommy & daddy's policy -- all of these happened at the stroke of a pen. All the bad stuff was deferred: phased in mandates, delayed enforcement and rising penalties.

So Unger's "the place ain't burned down yet" seems to be weak tea. But Kos's is an outright lie -- you can smell smoke in the background.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2015 11:09 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The Kos universe is the perfect example of how Liberals are willfully ignorant of the past (and far too much science).

FB is their bible; I saw a post a little while ago titled "Republicans Wrong on Everything ... for 30 years!" I found this amusing, and said so, that they should have changed the by line to 25 years, or waited a few more years to allow the fall of The Wall in September, 1989 to recede further into the past.

Here
is more proof of the slow unravelling; a textbook case of adverse selection! I like this quote:

It could well become President Obama's Iraq: A costly and conceited intervention that destroyed an imperfect but functioning system just because it didn't fit his utopian designs

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 25, 2015 11:16 AM

July 15, 2015

They Lied?

They said there was a system in place to certify eligibility for subsidies under the PPACAo2010. But Peter Suderman suggests -- and I hope you are stiing down -- that this might actually be a lie.

Here’s how pathetically bad Obamacare's federal insurance exchange is at detecting fraud: 11 completely fake enrollees who were improperly granted subsidies last year in a damning and widely covered undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) were automatically re-enrolled again, according to an AP report. Some of them even got higher subsidies this year.
[...]
It also tells you how much the administration's word is worth when it comes to oversight of Obamacare. A senior administration official certified that a working subsidy eligibility verification system was in place when it obviously wasn't. Months later the administration said it would fix problems that a nonpartisan government investigation had revealed. A full year later, it's still very broken. Whether administration officials are intentionally lying or merely incompetent doesn't much matter; the point is that you can't trust them either way.

I wish you could see my shocked face -- it's a panoply of contortion.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

There's a simple explanation for this. The GAO is racist! And so is this Seter Puderman fellow, whoever he is. The nerve. They should be ashamed for saying bad stuff about "America'sFirstBlackPresident-Care."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2015 7:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Furthermore, without the sarcasm of my previous comment, this business about government officials "intentionally lying" or being "merely incompetent" dovetails into another story in the headlines recently. A perpetrator of bad acts, having tried it once and both getting a reward and failing to be punished in any way, becomes a serial perpetrator. His bad acts increase in frequency and severity because, well, why wouldn't they? This is, it seems to me, the dominant modus operandi of too many government agencies and political office holders in our time. Not only are the three branches of the federal government in cahoots, the Fourth Estate is also in on the game. So all of the bad actors are rewarded and none of them punished. This goes for the majority of public employees just the same as it does for, Bill Cosby.

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2015 7:10 PM

June 30, 2015

It's good to be the Co-op Executive!

Mel Brooks, call your office! It may be good to "be the King," but heading a State Exchange (and we learned this week that they are all state exchanges) ain't so bad...

The six-figure co-op salaries are two to four times higher than the $135,000 median executive healthcare pay reported in an October 2014 nonprofit CEO compensation study published by Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is a nonpartisan group that tracks philanthropic and charitable organizations.

I had to expand the browser to see Colorado's, because the bar went so far to the right:

obamacare_coop_salaries.gif

Well, at least they're doing a swell job! Hat-tip: Mark Tapscott guesting @ Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

C'mon man, you're guilt trippin' these hard-working government employees like they're one-percenters or something! It's not like they're paid more than 10 times the lowest workers make. At $466k, Colorado's Obamacare Exchange CEO receives only about five and a half times what an Apple Intern gets ($85k including housing allowance.)

Besides, they're only paid with taxpayer money. No harm to you unless you're filthy rich, right?

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2015 2:55 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If you're going to invoke Mel Brooks on this topic and in this thread, you need to make the obligatory reference to:

"We've gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen!"

And given the current state of things, this is a perfect moment to invoke Blazing Saddles. But really, is there ever a bad one?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 30, 2015 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Diversity Day at the University of Colorado, Boulder?

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2015 3:06 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Didn't Bernie Sanders vote for this?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 1, 2015 12:03 AM

June 26, 2015

All Hail - Harsanyi

On King v. Burwell:

Let's concede to Roberts that the intentions of every politician is to improve on things. Republicans believe that further nationalizing health-care insurance is a bad idea and makes markets less competitive and more expensive. By overturning the law they want to improve health-care insurance markets, as well. That's why we have legislatures, to debate these points of view and then pass laws. Those laws codify what a majority can agree on. And we have courts to judge the constitutionality of laws, not bore into the souls of politicians to decipher their true intent or find justifications to rubber stamp "democracy" -- as Roberts puts it.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says "Exchange established by the State" it means "Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government." That is of course quite absurd, and the Court's 21 pages of explanation make it no less so. -- Justice Scalia dissenting [pdf] in King v Burwell
The Traitors! mob is grabbing pitchforks on Facebook. I am disappointed but neither surprised nor devastated at this ruling. I heard a pretty good explanation of the Government's argument and it is not unreasonable.

Scalia's own book [Review Corner] suggests constructing ambiguities to preserve legislation. Lost this one, 6-3. Let's move on.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

The court majority found that the law means what it says it means, even if it doesn't say it. Or even if it says something different than what it says.

Works for me!

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I find Scalia's dissent far more compelling, I'll admit. I would have proudly joined the HOSS wing Thomas/Scalia/Alito and interpreted the statute literally.

Maybe I'm still licking wounds from the TPA, but my objection is to "the Republic is over" and "Obama clearly has some naked picked of Roberts with barnyard animals and he uses these to get rulings he likes." &c.

It was statutory and ambiguous. I am not going to put this in the bag with Kelo, Raich, Buck v Bell and Dred Scott. I think grownups should learn to be disappointed in government -- there are ample opportunities to practice.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2015 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Can we at least agree that this is closer to removing Themis' blindfold than to mere "disappointment in government?"

The court ruled in favor of Leviathan. The majority rewrote the law to make it legal, rather than throw it back to the other two branches to clean up their own gorram mess. You know, the way it used to be done before Twitter, the internet, and the 24-hour news cycle made so many of us come to expect everything, right now, for free. (Yes, that includes "must pass" furcacta trade deals.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not going to sit still while you bad mouth Adam Smith...

I am not trying to spread a little sunshine wherever I go, it is bad and I find Scalia's dissent far more compelling than Roberts's opinion.

But if you read Damon Root's Overruled [Review Corner] or any of his superb synopses videos and articles, I think you can accept this as "judicial deference." I am not saying I dig it -- and I wish they saw their job as protecting our liberties from the other branches -- but it is par for the course as it were.

To get beyond this means embracing an outlying, minority-but-growing libertarian jurisprudence. Not name calling.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2015 6:19 PM

June 24, 2015

Quote of the Day

At least 120,000 members were forced to quickly find coverage elsewhere. The Iowa Insurance Division had this helpful advice: "Your coverage with CoOportunity Health will stop, and claims will not be paid after cancellation. If you do not purchase replacement insurance, you may be penalized by the federal government." -- WSJ Ed Page
It appears some of the claims made by ACA proponents are not materializing as promised.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2015

Apologies!

Take 'em where you can get 'em!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

That was delicious to watch Howard Dean's deer-in-the-headlights look as he squirmed his way to a slimy non-denial of the WH's non-truthfullness!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:30 AM

June 9, 2015

I Did Not Have Consulting Relations

... with that man, Dr. Gruber...

Surprise! That guy who was thrown under the bus for overenthusiastic veracity unbecoming an Obama Administration member was -- in fact -- a key architect:

In one telling exchange after Gruber's Obamacare work was first reported in 2010, one HHS analyst told another that having Democrats in charge "across the board" would "stop some scrutiny" into the arrangement. Gruber's work attracted scrutiny because the Obama administration failed to disclose the academic's support for the health-care law without disclosing that he was paid $392,000 to help craft it.

The biggest takeaway from the emails is that they undermine one claim made by the Obama administration that Gruber was merely a bit player in the development of Obamacare.


Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 5:56 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder how many academics have been paid to help craft Global Climate Change? Oh yeah, all of them!

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2015 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

But that's good money -- not like that stinky, oil company or Koch brothers stuff.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2015 7:07 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Of course he was a bit player, $392k isn't even a rounding error in the HHS budget. If he was important they would have been paying him real money.

Posted by: AndyN at June 9, 2015 7:17 PM

May 25, 2015

I Started a Joke...

...that started the whole world flaming!

what_cave.gif

Man, my jokes sometimes fall flat around here. But I went for sarcasm on Facebook. Americans for Prosperity (hey, where's my check?)* posted a link to a NYPost article on the imploding State Obamacare exchanges. We may have mentioned that around here...

I said "If only someone could have predicted this before the law was passed..." Six hours later, there were 40 replies -- and most wanted my head on a platter!

* Umm, that's a joke -- I get no money from the Koch Brothers. I just wanted to be clear.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:23 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Where subtlety is lost in email or wasted in text messages, it is thoroughly punishable on FB.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2015 11:17 AM

April 9, 2015

That's Affirming!

The great health care economist, Johnny Mercer, said "You got to ac-cent-tu-ate the positive!" But, I am not sure whether the board chair of Connect for Health Colorado (Colo-bama-care®) Sharon O'Hara got the message.

O'Hara expressed confidence in Robert Malone's ability to right the troubled exchange's finances -- if it's possible at all.

"If this is doable," O'Hara said, "he can make it happen."

When pressed on her qualifier by Republican state Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, the chairwoman admitted that she's not sure of the exchange's viability.

"I have my doubts on good days," O'Hara said. "Today is not one of my good days."


I feel better, you?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:09 PM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

I just want to know how much money she makes, not to mention the rest of her board, that could otherwise be spent on health care??

Posted by: dagny at April 9, 2015 3:17 PM

March 13, 2015

In Support of "Premium Support"

Title comes from the Ryan-Widen bill, which apparently was DOA, so yesterday, a few years ago!

Anyway, the real purpose of the post is a push back intended for a FB post and I'm going to use this as my sounding board (and electronic white board). I started it by noting massive increases in some bills in my first circle: most notably, a $900 copay for a Urgent Care visit, and this person had an employee-sponsored Kaiser plan (if any plan should be a Caddy....). I got a quick reply from an extended family member saying:

I don't think you can blame the new bill for the increased costs.

That is mainly for TS'ers, and I don't think I'm going to bother with educating someone with Kool Aid all over their lips, bib and shirt. (FYI, folks THIS is just part of what we're up against). Next;

I don't understand why the bill isn't more popular

Here's where I want to start writing, furiously about Backroom Billions for Execrable Exchanges, about how this was clearly an attempt in classic crony capitalism for Blue Kaiser-Anthem to kneecap their competitors, all the while simply being fattened up for the Fed to slice 'n dice them into gov't programs .

But no, I'll take a deep breath and make the most cogent, simple and sans numbers point, in the hope it'll keep some from reaching for the rehydrated powdery Kraft confection.

==========================================

Why isn't the bill more popular, I'll innocently posit?

Because the vast majority of Americans - myself included - would absolutely support system that increased the quality of care. That's a humanitarian goal that would be worth increased cost.

Unfortunately, the ACA as delivered achieved a political goal of heavily controlled insurance plans (and massive bureaucracy) and pretends to this day that health coverage or "insurance" is the same as "healing injury."

Turns out the American public are pretty wise to these things: I just hope it's not too late to turn this genie from Kaiser's CEO's wet dream** into something that helps ordinary folks.

{yesss, I'll post the graphic of GALLUP's December poll showing ACA tanking.... URL's here are for our/my purposes..}

======================================

(these four are optional... I may start losing the tablet-typers to a pop-up any second)
Face it, 1. if it were a good thing, we would willingly participate and not have to be forced to take up these plans.
2. If it were a good thing, Congress would also be on board, but they are spinning madly to stay out.
3. If it were a good thing, it would be more popular.
4. I do love it when people vote with their feet, and note that anybody not looking for an out, is a chump, or being punked.

Whew, now I can read it over and see what is worthy of a FB post that has a true message, dumbed-down just enough to reach those still wondering what's the big deal about Gruber?

D'oh, I was supposed to get through it w/o using That Man's name!

**I just looked this up and am so not surprised...

The top paid, actively employed executive on the list was George Halvorson, the outgoing chairman and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, who received total compensation of $7.9 million in 2011

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:48 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

If it were a good thing, the number of practicing physicians, would be increasing

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 14, 2015 12:51 AM

March 4, 2015

Quote of the Day

It saddens me to say this, but I no longer believe that the government should mandate health care. It's not because I've abandoned the basic principles behind health care reform. Quite the contrary. But a great idea, is just an idea, if you can't execute. And the government has proven time and time again, it can't execute. So I'm over it until someone figures it out. -- Former PPACAo2010 supporter Melissa Klein
Randy T. Simmons, call your office!
Posted by John Kranz at 3:23 PM | Comments (0)

Deeds not words

No links to back up my assertions this time, although I looked. The video excerpt of National Security Advisor Susan Rice's speech to AIPAC most often posted is the one where she "proves" that her boss' bad deal with Iran is a good deal because she repeats the mantra "no deal is better than a bad deal."

In the same speech she said, and I have to paraphrase because I'm going from memory of seeing her say it on FNC yesterday morning - "We must judge Iran by its actions and not its words." By "words" we can consider those of Iran's president when he said, "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism." Setting aside for now the Islamic Republic of Iran's military exercise to sink a 1/100th scale model of a US aircraft carrier at the peak of "negotiations," this advice is quite sound. Many recent examples of deeds not matching words support Ms. Rice's statement. One such example is quite well known - "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Or, as Jim Geraghty said "Great News! Obama's Drawing a New 'Red Line' with Iran! We Can Relax Now!"

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 1:27 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: Rice's speech to AIPAC
[learning to properly cite quotes...]

Has been widely reported as "openly derided." That woman has no shame; she's a natural for a Clinton appointee!

Following right after was the widely-applauded speech
by the NJ Senator with a distinctly non-jewish surname that directly contradicted Rice's most salient points.

It will never threaten Israel or its neighbors, and it will never be in a position to start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not on my watch.
and
Let us do all we can now to get an agreement that dismantles Iran’s illicit program and ensures that it will not have to be a military response

Bolded above was one of the more promiment snide tweets from Dems in response to Bibi's speech. If I tweeted, my reply to them would have been: "he has plans - it's NOBama!.

Nice to see that bi-partisanship is still alive, and sad w/o surprise to note how distant POTUS is from it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 4, 2015 3:35 PM

February 27, 2015

No Template Record for "Ebola"

I linked to Jeffrey Singer's WSJ Editorial on electronic records, highlighting stupidity and Public Choice theory.

Here's an intersting interview with Dr. Singer:

~14:00 Discusses the escape from concierge medicine and the coming two-tiered health care system.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:12 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Makes me want to eat the Bisque at Shucks in Lafayette, LA.

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2015 1:18 PM

Quote of the Day

This is especially true in disputes between the political branches; the judiciary thus provides the ultimate safeguard of the separation of powers. Or, as Justice Robert Jackson put it in the famous Youngstown case of 1952 that rebuked President Truman's unilateral seizure of steel mills: "With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations. Such institutions may be destined to pass away. But it is the duty of the Court to be last, not first, to give them up." -- Ilya Somin
Non-paywall link.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2015

PPACAo2010HSOTD

We may need an All Hail [Sheldon] Richman if this keeps up, He's on Reason.com taking on a sportswriter who blithely intones that "health insurance for all is a noble idea." Richman advises Mike Trupica that "Health insurance does not grow wild and abundant in nature or fall from the sky like manna." And drops a great riff (yer gonna havta click...) from Murray Rothbard on those who would dictate the ends and leave it to other to dictate the means.

And and and (which was the rejected band name in Roddy Doyle's "The Commitments") he hits a favorite trope of mine: whatever happened to the idea of real insurance?

Aside from the fact that whatever the government gives it must first take from someone else, there is also the manner in which the government gives it. Thanks to government policy, the word insurance has been fatally corrupted in the health care industry. Insurance arose as a way for groups of individuals to protect themselves against insolvency by pooling their risk of unlikely but highly costly happenings. Today, private and government health insurance is merely a scheme to have others--the taxpayers or other policyholders--pay one's bills not only for rare but catastrophic events, but also for predictable and likely, that is, uninsurable, events--and even for goods and services used in freely chosen activities.

Great piece.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:31 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Phil Gramm (HOSS! TX) calls it "The Freedom Option" in his excellent guest WSJ Ed. Leave ObamaCare and the State exchanges in place, but just allow people to purchase whatever plan they want.

The freedom option would fulfill the commitment the president made over and over again about ObamaCare: If you like your health insurance you can keep it. If Republicans crafted a simple bill that guarantees the right of individuals and businesses to opt out of ObamaCare, buy the health insurance they choose from any willing seller (with risk pools completely separate from ObamaCare), millions of Americans would rejoice and exercise this freedom. Such a proposal would be easy for Republicans to articulate and defend. And it would be very difficult for Democrats to attack.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2015 11:54 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Has anybody tried MediShare? I'll be researching it this week.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 24, 2015 4:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is the best quote I've seen:

"The manner of Obamacare's passage told the story--a party-line vote, reeking of special-interest side deals, on an unpopular, indigestible, multi-thousand-page love letter to bureaucracy, crudely packaged as a reconciliation bill to avoid filibuster, and falsely sold, in read-my-lips promises that would come back to haunt Obama, as the most conservative possible approach to health-care reform. This was liberalism à outrance--its last desperate surge to win at any cost what it could no longer even imagine winning honestly and on the merits." -- Charles Kesler

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 12:42 AM
But jk thinks:

Amen, brother nb. But the history will not be written by Mr. Kesler.

I am pretty down this week by the naked attacks on Governor Walker and Wei-Hock Soon. Folks always say "well, Reagan faced a hostile media," but I don't think it was as mendacious. It's an old complaint, but I am particularly struck by the brazenness.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2015 10:50 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

As long as people can still vote with their feet (and pocketbooks), then history will be written by deeds, not DC dweebs.

Yes, the ACA is trying to stop our feet, but it hasn't happened yet (I'm having an UP week) and we can keep it from happening, IMO, by keeping up the pressure and even - gasp - calling our one good Senator and any Congressman who will listen.

I'll quietly state it here that I (have and will) refuse to comply with ACA mandates and have been angling my tax returns away from refunds so I won't pay a fine for non-compliance... and will post more stories of "Concierge Medicine" like the Oklahoma Surgery Center. I hadn't quite thought of the angle mentioned by Richman where he points out not only for rare but catastrophic events, but also for predictable and likely, that is, uninsurable, events are now being brought under "the umbrella" pushed on us by Big Brother + Big (Anthem) Blue.

We can still, and will push back....

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 1:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Oh, and Friends of BotW on FB are hitting back at the Soon-2B-dropped attack....

llegitimati NonCarborandum

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 25, 2015 1:29 PM

February 20, 2015

Did You Know the Website is Still Busted?

Obamacare's broken federal exchange system is yet another reminder of the remarkable, outrageously expensive mismanagement that went into the project.

All together, building the website cost in excess of $2.1 billion, according to a September 2014 Bloomberg News analysis. This is a $2 billion website--and not only does it still not fully work, almost a year and a half after it was supposed to have been complete, its failures are likely still costing us money. -- Peter Suderman

Posted by John Kranz at 4:29 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

They'd have had better luck putting it on Geocities.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 20, 2015 7:52 PM
But jk thinks:

ppaca.myspace.com

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2015 10:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Even AOL has more subscribers.

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2015 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Wait'll the AOL mandates and subsidies kick in...

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2015 7:00 PM

February 17, 2015

FA Hayek, Call your Office!

Here's one column to understand the Knowledge Problem (and a good look at The Fatal Conceit): Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer's guest WSJ Editorial, ObamaCare's Electronic-Records Debacle

Starting this year, physicians like myself who treat Medicare patients must adopt electronic health records, known as EHRs, which are digital versions of a patient's paper charts. If doctors do not comply, our reimbursement rates will be cut by 1%, rising to a maximum of 5% by the end of the decade.

I am an unwilling participant in this program. In my experience, EHRs harm patients more than they help.


I remember discussing health care with blog friend Silence Dogood, well before the PPACAo2010 was drafted or run through Congress. Two engineers, sitting over some good barbecue, found it obvious that some digital standards of medical records was a good idea. I believe one of Colorado's senators was pushing a standard that would bring a little bacon home. "Surely, jk, you can see the benefits of this?"

Buddy, let me provide an unequivocal "I told you so!" I answered that it was obviously a good idea, but who really believed that the US Senate would pick the right one? Or implement it properly? And are you going to eat that last rib? I believe I mentioned Hayek by name.

I am told the best way around the paywall is to Google® the article by title and click through, but holler if I can help somehow. Because it is all in here. They take a standard that worked for Kaiser, set up a five year plan to test whether it would work nationally -- and then mandated it one year in.

Many articles have been written about the craziness that ensued. Your valuable physician time is now devoted to filling out the form and not discussing your health. It wastes time, costs money, and forces independent physicians to sell out and join a hospital to acquire the required infrastructure. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Not surprisingly, a recent study in Perspectives in Health Information Management found that electronic health records encourage errors that can "endanger patient safety or decrease the quality of care." America saw a real-life example during the recent Ebola crisis, when "patient zero" in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, received a delayed diagnosis due in part to problems with EHRs.

Congress has devoted scant attention to this issue, instead focusing on the larger ObamaCare debate. But ending the mandatory electronic-health-record program should be a plank in the Republican Party's health-care agenda. For all the good intentions of the politicians who passed them, electronic health records have harmed my practice and my patients.


Top-down, command-and-control government at its finest.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 5, 2015

Can't Make This Stuff Up

Yes, you could make this stuff up. But probably not fast enough or as good as Congress.

Did Congress Lie About Key Facts to Obtain Obamacare Exemption?

Additionally, Vitter alleges that "House and Senate officials submitted false information including fake names, birthdays, zip codes, and had signed under the electronic signature claiming they had provided 'correct answers to all questions,'" in order that Congress may remain exempt from the president's signature health care law.


It's so good it's mandatory! For other people.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2015

Close Enough for Government Work

As badly as you imagine the procurement process for the ill-fated ObamaCare website went -- Peter Suderman says it was worse.

That's right: The feds didn't look investigate the prior work performance of a contractor hired to do key work on a high-profile initiative with a contract that was (initially) pegged at $58 million.

That failure was compounded by the inexplicable decision to award five of the six "key contracts" for the project on a "cost-reimbursement" basis, which means that the federal government assumed all risk for cost overruns.

I say that it's "inexplicable" because officials at CMS didn’t bother to explain it, even though the agency is required to do so.


You keep using that word. I suspect you know exactly what it means.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2015

They Have Good Taste at Carl's Jr.

Andy Puzder is a real-life Ayn Rand hero in the business community. He appeared on Penn & Teller's BS ("Oh man, it's the CEO! Didn't anybody ell him the name of the show!!??") on fast food. Plus he bravely spoke out against ObamaCare® when most CEOs were afraid.

Today, he has a guest editorial in the WSJ from which we can extract the PPACAo2010 horror story of the day. CKE Restaurants' employees are avoiding it in droves; there's a mad dash to avoid signing up:

Of the 6,900 eligible employees, 1,447 already had ObamaCare-compliant insurance through our pre-existing company plans. That left 5,453 employees eligible to sign up. A grand total of 420 actually enrolled. That's a mere 2% of total employees, or 6% of eligible employees.

ObamaCare will penalize the 5,033 eligible employees who elected not to enroll, unless they have compliant health insurance from another source. For 2015, the penalty is the higher of $325 or 2% of annual household income above about $10,000.


That will help those uninsured restaurant workers -- thanks, Democrats!

UPDATE: Two ACA horror stories in one day? How can this be?

CATO: Obamacare's Exchange Subsidies Are So Essential, People Are Turning Them Down

For [Kansas City resident Grace] Brewer, buying a plan on her own would mean she would not have enough to pay for housing, she says, so she chose not to be insured this year and will have to pay a penalty in her 2016 tax filing that is likely to be 2 percent of her income. She has no dependents, is healthy, does not use prescriptions and says she has been careful about her health choices, not overusing medical care.

"I am frustrated. I am angry. And I say 'no' to the exchanges," she says.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2014

Yes, it is the Onion

But you had to look!

New, Improved Obamacare Program Released On 35 Floppy Disks

ACA_floppies.jpg

WASHINGTON--Responding to widespread criticism regarding its health care website, the federal government today unveiled its new, improved Obamacare program, which allows Americans to purchase health insurance after installing a software bundle contained on 35 floppy disks. "I have heard the complaints about the existing website, and I can assure you that with this revised system, finding the right health care option for you and your family is as easy as loading 35 floppy disks sequentially into your disk drive and following the onscreen prompts," President Obama told reporters this morning, explaining that the nearly three dozen 3.5-inch diskettes contain all the data needed for individuals to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, while noting that the updated Obamacare software is mouse-compatible and requires a 386 Pentium processor with at least 8 MB of system RAM to function properly. "Just fire up MS-DOS, enter ‘A:\>dir *.exe" into the command line, and then follow the instructions to install the Obamacare batch files--it should only take four or five hours at the most. You can press F1 for help if you run into any problems.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. "After installation, upload your completed application to healthcare.gov for processing. (Minimum modem speed of 2400 baud is recommended, but 300 baud will also work. Eventually.)"

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2014 6:12 PM

November 18, 2014

That Guy

Posted by John Kranz at 6:47 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Why can't this be smoking gun proof that PPACA is a hoax and "catnip for conservatives" at the same time?

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2014 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll put a dollar in the jar.

Imagine, for one shining second, if an "architect" of a George Bush legislative achievement -- say, the 2003 tax cuts -- were to be found being similarly candid on YouTube about any efforts to game the system on CBO scoring.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2014 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, if a Republican candidate for President said, "47% of Americans will never vote for us because they collect too much in government cheese."

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2014 2:24 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hopefully, this will finally blow the lid off the idea that CBO estimates are to be believed. Ideally the head of CBO will be subjected to some "Lerner" style hearings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 20, 2014 2:11 PM

November 17, 2014

And it doesn't get enough credit...

That guy the President has never heard of seems to remember the President.

Hat-tip: Guy Benson @ HotAIr

Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

40% of the $5.9M that Gruber has been paid for various consulting contracts related to the government takeover of the health care sector is $2,360,000. Please contact the IRS to make payment arrangements, Mr. Gruber.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2014 4:35 PM

GruberGate HIts Colorado

If I read this correctly, Colorado paid MIT Health Care Wiz Jonathan Gruber an undisclosed amount for his standard sample pack of lies -- but did it after the State decided to do its own exchange.

Over a year after this controversy erupted, the Colorado Health Initiative, a private non-profit dedicated to "serving as an independent and impartial source of reliable and relevant health-related information for sound decision making," issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) COHIEX #0001 for a study to analyze the effects of the exchange on the Colorado insurance market. The RFP was titled, "Independent Consulting Firm to Conduct Background Research to Support the Development of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange." Gruber was awarded the contract, briefed CHI on the basics of his findings in September, and published his final report in January of 2012.

The Legislature had already adopted SB11-200 which created the exchange. Nevertheless, the paper has been cited in a number of different policy discussions, from a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment brief on unintended pregnancy to a February 2012 article in Health Affairs titled, "Colorado's Health Insurance Exchange: How One State Has So Far Forged A Bipartisan Path Through The Partisan Wilderness." The paper was cited in a July 2012 assessment of state exchanges by the Commonwealth Fund (Unfortunately for Commonwealth, its glowing assessments of Maryland's efforts weren't born out when the exchange actually launched.)

While the paper didn't influence the state's decision to launch a state exchange, it was cited in a Colorado Health Foundation paper pushing for full state Medicaid expansion. That paper was released in February of 2013; the bill to expand Medicaid, with the federal government picking up most of the initial tab, was passed in that legislative session (SB13-200).


Thanks, Amy! And Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Weekend

Posted by John Kranz at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2014

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome tweet.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2014 4:14 PM

November 13, 2014

Journalistic Malfeasance

Interesting story on the "why didn't the Gruber tapes surface earlier?" question we've pondered below. It's a good story, ridiculing at one point Bloomberg's choice of a pull quote of the self-deprecating citizen journalist.

I'm going to risk pulling a single quote out of their piece. But why didn't they find it? They were not looking.

The Associated Press deserves a special mention here. AP assigned eleven reporters to review 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's book in 2009, but wire service health reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and others involved in covering the Affordable Care Act during the past several years somehow never found (or if they found it or knew it, never reported it) what Weinstein was able to find. How can that be? (That said, Obamacare's opponents didn't find it either, which makes one wonder how they could also be so ineffective.)

Posted by John Kranz at 2:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The right needs a better grade of internet troll. Or at least, more of them.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2014 2:50 PM

November 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

All Hail Harsanyi! From a very good post about MIT-Pointyhead-ACA-Architect Jonathan Gruber's letting the mask slip.

One imagines that any ruling that inhibits Progressive policy is knee-jerky to the staff writers at The New Republic, but surely somewhere there are still people who believe the Supreme Court should concentrate on the constitutionality of laws rather than worrying about the imaginary genocides cooked up in the minds of guilt-tripping pundits.

Hole thing read should ought to

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I second the HTRSOT recommendation.

Another bite:

But Gruber also implicitly admits the first eternal truth of all liberal experiments: money is no object. It is the moral objective that matters most.

Yes. The "moral objective." The "pure principle." [first comment]

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2014 1:52 PM

November 7, 2014

Obamacare SCOTUS - Part II

JK scooped the latest Kim Strassel piece, but I can still work his side of the street on the SCOTUS beat:

In the wake of the historic reversal of the 2008 election Tuesday the wish lists for the new Congress are already being written. This one is typical:

5 Actions Republicans should take in the new Congress:

- Approve the Keystone Pipeline.
- Block Obama's Executive Amnesty.
- Fully repeal Obamacare.
- Unshackle our energy resources by removing unnecessary energy regulations.
- Secure the southern border.

Like If You Agree

But news of a surprising move by the US Supreme Court today is enough to convince me that no time or political capital should be expended on Obamacare, at least not until the Supremes rule later this session:

One thing we can be sure of is this: If the Court throws out the subsidies on the federal exchange, ObamaCare will have to have a massive fix, and Obama will be in no position to veto what the Republican Congress puts in front of him. Surely it will include a lot more changes than simply the fix to this issue, and Obama won't like that, but ObamaCare with subsidies only for people in 16 states cannot survive.

H/T: Brer jk for finding the "historic reversal" linked article.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:11 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Could not be more excited, this is great news.

Also agree that it's a superb reason for the 114th to kick full repeal down the road.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2014 3:38 PM

October 29, 2014

If You Like Your Healthcare Plan...

...and don't mind a 77% increase -- you can keep your healthcare plan!

Hugh Hewitt (h/t Jim Geraghty) warns of a post-election surprise.

Colorado health-insurance consumers relying on tax credits will see their share of premiums rise an average of 77 percent next year if they keep the same plans, according to the state's preliminary analysis.

The plans are not going up that much, but the bribes tax credits are going down.

One tires of pointing out how the left would behave were a private corporation to use any of these tactics.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

And that is just the monthly premium increases. Don't forget that deductibles have been jacked up, usually to the limit allowed by the O-care law, as have maximum out-of-pocket annual limits.

"Pay more - get less." Who wouldn't vote for that?!

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2014 2:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And another one I was just reminded of: coinsurance. That's the percentage of any medical costs that the insured has to pay AFTER the deductible is met. I recall they used to be around 5% to 10% depending on the plan you selected. Our choices this year are 30% or 40%.

Thanks, government, for making my health insurance "less expensive!"

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2014 3:52 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


The DP article is here:
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26810814/colorado-health-insurance-buyers-may-get-smaller-tax

has some good, concrete examples. Sheesh, but it brings to mind PJ O'Roarke's comment about "if you think it's expensive, wait until they make it free!"

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 1, 2014 12:26 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


And Reuters just ran a story noting that in one case of investigative journalism (it still exists! Let's hope there's more): only about 25% of the doctors listed on 12 metropolitan areas' exchange web sites actually were available to take an appointment.
Reuters here (haven't learned to imbed links in comments):
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/29/us-dermatology-insurance-providers-idUSKBN0II2FQ20141029

Hat tip to Kevin "You get a great deal on an insurance policy that no one accepts" Williamson at NRO. ("Health Care Hell")

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 1, 2014 1:15 AM

September 19, 2014

If You Like Your Healthcare Plan...

Not very nice, Minnesota.

PreferredOne was the least expensive insurer in the Minnesota's state-run Obamacare exchange last year. It was also the most successful at signing up customers, capturing 59 percent of the state's market for private plans, according to CBS Minnesota.

And now it's leaving the exchange, and the 30,000 people who had enrolled in its coverage.


Something about "not sustainable." If only there had been some way to look ahead.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2014

Remember "Fuzzy Math?"

President Bush accused VP Gore of using "fuzzy math" in the 2000 debates, causing great numbers of Floridians to vote for Pat Buchanan. Or something like that.

But the phrase popped into my head reading Megan McArdle's latest PPACAHSoTD. It seems IBD has reported high attrition rates in ObamaCare Exchanges.

But on net, they expect enrollment to shrink from their March numbers by a substantial amount -- as much as 30 percent at Aetna Inc., for example.

McArdle says this might be a big deal.
How much does this matter? As Charles Gaba notes, this was not unexpected: Back in January, industry expert Bob Laszewski predicted an attrition rate of 10 to 20 percent, which seems roughly in line with what IBD is reporting. However, Gaba seems to imply that this makes the IBD report old news, barely worth talking about, and I think that's wrong, for multiple reasons.

I'll leave the main point in McArdle's capable hands. But only in the halls of government is a 30% attrition rate "roughly in line with" an expected 10-20% When I went to school, 30% was three times 10% -- or roughly analogous to Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg's being three times over the legal limit when she was caught for DWI.

So it is somewhere between three times above and half-again. I'm a charitable and big hearted person -- let's just say it is double the expected attrition rate. I'm not charitable or big hearted enough to call that "roughly in line." As if we ever got the actual starting numbers. I suspect we got inflated values for the start and now double the expected attrition.

Nope. Everything's fine.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2014

PPACAo2010 Horror Story of the Day

In video:

Hat-tip: Independent Institute

UPDATE: Okay, I had to embed this video referenced in my comment. Not everybody seems to love "Generation Opportunity:"

This from Sept 2013. I think the eevil Koch Brother Spawn have been proven right.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

It's magical . . . it's mysterious . . . it's mandatory!

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2014 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This was produced by Generation Opportunity, whom I met a couple folks from at the inaugural Colorado Liberty Conference. I checked out their team page and I recall that it was Jonathan Lockwood and Daisy also looks familiar. I had no idea who they were until watching your vid and then looking them up. Good stuff.

Posted by: johngalt at August 5, 2014 6:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Very good stuff. One of the after-suggestions on YouTube was this one of a "Young Turks" video ridiculing them and showing another "creepy ObamaCare video." Spoiler Alert: it's pretty awesome, too! Hahahahaha.

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2014 6:34 PM

August 4, 2014

Denying the Right to Healthcare in the Nutmeg State

This misguided physician considers "keeping the lights on" somehow more important than providing health care.

Three insurers offered plans on Connecticut's ACA marketplace in 2014 and Gerard is only accepting one. He won't say which, but he will say it pays the highest rate.

"I don't think most physicians know what they're being reimbursed," he says. "Only when they start seeing some of those rates come through will they realize how low the rates are they agreed to."

Gerard's decision to reject two plans is something officials in Connecticut are concerned about. If reimbursement rates to doctors stays low in Obamacare plans, more doctors could reject those plans. And that could mean that people will get access to insurance, but they may not get access to a lot of doctors.


If only somebody had looked a little more critically at the PPACA, some of these things may have been predicted. (Hat-tip Jim Geraghty)

UPDATE: The perfect solution from Reason: The Physician Mandate. (So obvious, why didn't we think of it?)

Abiding by the individual mandate therefore constitutes what President Obama, in another context, recently called "economic patriotism." He was castigating companies that use overseas mergers to avoid U.S. taxes. "You know," he said, "some people are calling these companies corporate deserters."

Ominous language. Treating private enterprise as a conscript in service to the State is a philosophy with an ugly lineage. In liberal democracies, government is supposed to be the servant--not the master. In health care, however, the relationship is growing increasingly inverted. As a result individuals are forced to buy insurance, and insurance companies are forced to accept them. Now many people want to force drug companies to cut prices. And so on.

Forcing doctors to accept Medicaid patients would be an obvious, logical extension of these trends. If insurance companies can't turn people away, then why should physicians be allowed to? If drug companies can't charge more than people can afford, then why should doctors? So far, no elected officials have yet proposed reining in the limited liberty that doctors still enjoy. But such proposals could very well come, one of these days. Though probably not from John Foust.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:11 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Greedy money grubbing bastard. What about the teeming hordes, some of whom may be children (up to 26 years of age?)

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2014 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Good point. Some might even be women, a condition so rare and devastating to the patient, that it is usually treated without charge.

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2014 2:31 PM

Right Wing Nutjob Slams President Obama

But frankly, he should never have said as much as he did, that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it, That wasn't true. And you shouldn't lie to people. And they just lied to people.
FOX News? Gov. Sarah Palin? Rep. Barney Frank?
Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

Jonathan Cohn, ObamaCare's cheerleader at the New Republic, quoted Mr. Gruber on Friday as saying his remark "was just a mistake" and he didn't recall why he made it. We can think of a reason: It was the truth. Liberals feared some states wouldn't set up exchanges, so they deliberately wrote incentives into the law so the states would do so. This was the conventional liberal wisdom until this year when it suddenly became legally and politically inconvenient for the Administration to admit it. -- WSJ Ed Page
UPDATE: The WSJ's "Notable & Quotable" today is my "All Hail Harsanyi" from last week. Saved you $240. You're welcome.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

Jonah Goldberg [subscribe] on l'Affaire Jonathan Gruber;

In case you're not up to speed, let's recap. It's really a wonderful, feel-good story for the whole family. In the Halbig decision this week, the court ruled that according to a plain reading of the law, only state exchanges are eligible for premium subsidies under Obamacare. As a political and policy matter, this would be the equivalent of throwing a very large mackerel on a house of cards. It wouldn't necessarily destroy Obamacare, but that would be the way to bet.

UPDATE: The best concise version of the story from Shikha Dalmia

Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2014

Upholding Obamacare

Excellent headline on the WSJ Ed Page today:Upholding ObamaCare--as Written

No, they say, the PPPACAo2010 was not "struck down." Far worse, the Appeals Court said it had to be enforced as written.

Distinguishing between state and federal exchanges was no glitch or drafting error. In 2010 Democrats assumed that the unpopularity of ObamaCare would melt away and all states would run their own exchanges. Conditioning the subsidies was meant to pressure Governors to participate. To evade this language, the Internal Revenue Service simply pumped out a rule in 2012 dispensing the subsidies to all. The taxmen did not elaborate on niceties such as legal justification.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2014

The Good Guys Win Halbig

Judge Griffith, writing for the court, concluded, "the ACA unambiguously restricts the section 36B subsidy to insurance purchased on Exchanges 'established by the State.'" In other words, the court reaffirmed the principle that the law is what Congress enacts -- the text of the statute itself -- and not the unexpressed intentions or hopes of legislators or a bill's proponents. -- Jonathan Adler, Volokh Conspiracy
Posted by John Kranz at 11:01 AM | Comments (6)
But AndyN thinks:

And lest anyone jump to the absurd conclusion that this is a nation of laws, the 4th Circuit turns around and rules the exact opposite...
http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/07/whipsaw-4th-circuit-upholds-obamacare-federal-exchange-subsidy-after-d-c-circuit-rejects/

Posted by: AndyN at July 22, 2014 2:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"We have to pass it to find out what's in it."

Next time, Nancy, you'll read it.

I hope Justice Roberts pays better attention when this one gets to him.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 22, 2014 5:31 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Sadly, Keith, I really don't think she will. Why should she? What real repercussions has she faced?

Posted by: AndyN at July 22, 2014 6:39 PM
But jk thinks:

She did lose her speakership (and the giant gavel accoutrement -- I bet she misses that!)

I'll agree that it has not wizened her or engendered a lot of contrition...

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2014 1:07 PM
But dagny thinks:

Time has wizened her up plenty. But definitely nothing has wised her up, nor likely ever will. - Your local grammar police on the job. :-)

Posted by: dagny at July 23, 2014 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop, guv! Hahahahahaha!

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2014 1:48 PM

June 27, 2014

The Columbia Record Club of Health Services

It was sooooo good this year, they're gonna sign you up again. Nope, none of that pesky shopping and comparison required! They've got you! CNBC:

That autopilot the government is putting your Obamacare enrollment on? You need to take back the controls.

A plan to automatically re-enroll the vast majority of people who bought health insurance on HealthCare.gov could lead to some nasty surprises from much higher premium costs for people who don't bother shopping around for a different plan next year, experts warned Friday.

"Autopilot will not be the smart move for many people," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading health-care analysis nonprofit firm.
[...]
The autopilot option for enrollment could also, in some cases, result in people who had paid no money at all out of pocket for their insurance premiums in 2014--because of the value of the subsidies they get--abruptly learning in January that they now have to personally pay some money each month.


Posted by John Kranz at 6:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2014

Shh -- or I'll release more terrorists!

If ThreeSources does not discontinue its ACA Horror Story of the Day, feature, I'll have no alternative to releasing Khalid Sheik Mohammad!

insty140604b.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 2:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2014

PPACAo2010 Horror Story of the Day

I don't know whether to believe this, as it comes from that notorious Koch-Brothers-wingnut outfit NPR (hat-tip: Taranto). But if it's true... It seems "The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act." Then, his wife was struck by some unforeseen malady . . . something about a baby in her tummy . . . I don't get all the medical jargon. But she required care and it was not forthcoming.

In January, as soon as the plan began, Nick printed out a list of obstetricians from the plan's website. "I handed it over to Rachel, fully confident, fully feeling like I had accomplished something for her, I had come through for my wife," he says. "This whole Obamacare thing was going to work!"

Rachel recalls two days in January when she sat down and called every doctor on the list of 28. According to her, most of the practices told her, in one way or another, that they didn't take the plan.

"Some would just come right out and say, 'We don't take Obamacare,'" she says.

"Or the best one was, 'The doctor takes it here at the actual practice, but whatever hospital you use . . . does not take that insurance.' " . . .

"It was mind numbing," she says, "because I was just sitting there thinking, 'I'm paying close to $400 a month just for me to have insurance that doesn't even work. So what am I paying for?' "


I'm thinking that it is all a misunderstanding. Clearly, this ObamaCare stuff is crap -- but they should check out the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010.

UPDATE: The story has a happy ending!

"On April 28, Rachel gave birth--at home, in the giant tub, with no pain medication." The Robinsons have stopped paying their premiums and are once again uninsured.

Like a Disney story, really.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2014

Quote of the Day

The good news about health-care expenditures is that they're propping up gross domestic product: Without soaring expenditure on health care, yesterday's lackluster GDP estimates would have been negative, instead of a paltry 0.1 percent.

The bad news about health-care expenditures is that they’re, well, soaring: -- Megan McArdle

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

Might need an "All Hail Geraghty..."

Remember the Obama administration's much-touted statistic that 8.1 million Americans had signed up for Obamacare? Yeah, about that...
As of April 15, 2014, insurers informed the committee that only 2.45 million had paid their first month's premium for coverage obtained through the federally facilitated marketplace.
If you have a statistic that seems artificially inflated for more than four weeks, consult your doctor immediately. -- Jim Geraghty [Subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2014

PPACAHSOTD

Such promise:

And yet:

Oregon's health insurance exchange failed to launch in October as planned and no Oregon residents have been able to sign up for health insurance through the exchange site. As Reason's Peter Suderman explained in January, the exchange received $48 million thanks to one of the federal government's "early innovator grants" as well as $11.8 million in IT support.

And every web coder, and database dude, and the ladies script'n Java for client-side tools, and the back-end XML techs writing strongly typed XSDs in the Oregon Waaaaaay..

'Scuse me, but the complete toileting of $60 Million makes me burst into song.

UPDATE: Make that $303 Million:

An internal audit ordered by [Democratic Governor John] Kitzhaber concludes that Cover Oregon's architects were doomed by multi-agency bureaucratic confusion with no quality control or accountability for results. Investigators at the KATU news station uncovered evidence suggesting that Cover Oregon officials created a fake website to create the illusion of progress for the feds, who made ObamaCare grants that totalled $303 million.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe Oregon can just switch over and use the Connecticut Exchange, like Maryland did.

And what's up with reporters investigating things that make O-care look bad anyway? Get me their SSNs.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:24 AM

April 22, 2014

ObamaCare: Kids Have to all Move Home

I was going to save this for a Review Corner anecdote. But it's too good. And, well, YOLO.

Do we have to carry our 24-year-old daughter on our health insurance policy? She is employed and has two degrees. We informed her that we would be dropping her at the end of the year because it's costing us a fortune, and she told us today that we are required by law to cover her. We do not claim her on our taxes.

You have to Mom! The President says so! And I get a car!

Well, no, the WaPo's Dear-Abby-for-the-ACA points out that the insurer must accept princess, but until the President scribbles it into the margins of the bill, the parents need not provide.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty who says "Kids, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt either of your parents' writing in to an advice columnist over you." I'd add "Legislators, one of your goals in life should be to never prompt the Washington Post to create an advice columnist over your bills' ambiguities..."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Or, as the WaPo should have responded:

Dear Mrs. Fluke...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2014 12:51 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I consider myself generous, possibly to the point of over-indulgence, with my children. I can't imagine ever denying them, even as adults, if they're stuck in a situation where they actually need help, particularly with something as important as health care. That said, I'll consider myself a failure as a parent if, at 24, either of them demands that I continue paying for their health insurance and implicitly threatens me with legal repercussions.

On the other hand, it's refreshing to see a young adult expecting mommy and daddy to pay her bills rather than getting Uncle Sugar to force me to.

Posted by: AndyN at April 23, 2014 8:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Really Andy? By my reading, she expects Uncle Sugar to force mommy and daddy. I sincerely doubt she gives a rip who is forced into involuntary servitude on her behalf, just so's someone is.

But I wholeheartedly agree with your first paragraph: Lefty parents, think twice before raising entitlement-addled children. The pocket they pick as an adult may be your own.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2014 11:39 AM

April 3, 2014

ACA "Good" Story of the Day

Also could be filed under "All Hail Taranto"

According to those so blinkered that as long as the sky hasn't fallen, the latest government program simply must be wonderful: that huge lines at the ACA Enrollment Center in Miami is a good thing. Liberals think "this good!" / Taranto thinks it looks like bread lines in Caracas.

Waiting in line to purchase necessities is a characteristic not of a prosperous free society but of command economies under repressive regimes. Closer to home, one doubts even the Transportation Security Administration would be so tone-deaf as to advertise long airport lines as an indication it's doing a great job.

Awesome, as always. Now back to wrestling with taxes!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:41 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Celebrating Venezuela's toilet paper success!

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2014 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Long lines to buy necessities are generally caused by government distortion of the supply. In the ACA "buy it or else" case, government distorted the demand.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2014 1:08 PM

April 2, 2014

Or Else

Brother jg says "or ELSE;" Jimmy Fallon says

"It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don't do it, and keep extending the deadline for months," cracked the Tonight Show host. "It's like a Cinderella story."

Hat-tip: Heritage

Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | Comments (1)
But AndyN thinks:

Were I Mr. Fallon, I would have added: "...and base your claim of success on an unverifiable number 1/7 the size of the population you claimed to be trying to serve." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue though. I guess that's why I'm not a millionaire comedian.

Posted by: AndyN at April 3, 2014 8:28 AM

March 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

Only weeks after leaving office, Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to come out and fix it. Joe drives to Obama's new house, which is located in a very exclusive gated community where all the residents make more than $250,000 per year. how much it will cost. Joe checks his rate chart and says, "$9,500." "What?! $9,500?" Obama asks, stunned,

Joe says, "Yes, but what I do is charge those who make $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free," explains Joe. "This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It's known as 'Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014.' I’m Surprised you haven't heard of it

A comment by "Ricky" to a Fiscal Times article, "Obamacare is a 'Haves and Have Nots' Health System"

HT: My darling dagny.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

Liberals say they believe in a living Constitution, and apparently they think the Affordable Care Act is a living document too. Amid one more last-minute regulatory delay, number 38 at last count, the mandate forcing nuns to sponsor birth control is more or less the only part of ObamaCare that is still intact. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 4:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2014

Mark Udall: "I'd do it again"

In his pending contest versus Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner for the senate seat he already holds, Mark Udall had finally picked his side. Despite canceling more insurance policies than it created, taking health care decisions away from patients and doctors and giving them to insurance companies directed by government bureaucrats, and throwing an industry representing one-sixth of the national economy into turmoil, Senator Mark Udall believes standing up for "Colorado values" means defending his deciding vote to implement the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

Udall: "We had to fix a broken system. We now have a system that's far from perfect but my focus is on making it work for Coloradans, and that's the Colorado spirit. We can't go back to a time when if you were a woman the insurance companies could drop your coverage. Too many families went into bankruptcy because of health care costs. So in the end we did the right thing, the law is far from perfect, my focus is on making it work for Colorado."

Tubbs: "So you'd do it again?"

Udall: "I would do it again, yes. I would, I think, look, if I were there I would say here are some things we should have done differently. Here are some things that would make more sense. But we're on track. You're going to see some important numbers, new enrollees, you have many more people on Medicaid, and by the way the law allows you to cover your adult children until the age of 26, which is a big deal because a lot of young adults can't afford coverage."

!!

But you were there, senator. Why didn't you point out what made more sense instead of voting for this? It's "the right thing" to have this law that, so far at least, doesn't work for Colorado because, what, it was broken to begin with? Ask the roughly 335,000 Coloradans whose insurance was cancelled by your law if they believe this was "the right thing." Your best defense of the law is "more people are on Medicaid" and "a lot of young adults can't afford coverage?" Yeah, you really made things better didn't you?

Full audio here, courtesy of 850 KOA's interview by Steffan Tubbs. O'care discussion starts around 5 minute mark of the 7 minute interview.

In November jk commented, "The Democrats cannot back too far off -- repeat after me -- "the President's Signature initiative." Yet, they cannot get too close and be elected in any state less blue than Illinois."

"Pass the popcorn" indeed.

UPDATE: Colorado Peak Politics' coverage of this includes a partial enumeration of how the PPACA law doesn't work for Colorado.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:12 PM | Comments (5)
But Terri thinks:

Apparently we have a new journolist working.

Buzzword is to add "women" or "female" into every working model of a paragraph so you show women how to vote.

Since when was this part different for women than for men?

"We can't go back to a time when if you were a woman the insurance companies could drop your coverage."

Posted by: Terri at March 27, 2014 8:34 AM
But jk thinks:

Delicate little flowers that women are, good thing there are Democrats to look after them.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2014 10:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I noticed that too Terri. I think he crossed his talking points. After all, Hobby Lobby was in SCOTUS that day. But you're right, it's women this, women that. Except, of course, in mideast policy.

But the sad part is they wouldn't do it if it didn't work, and it has worked in the past. We can only hope that, as Udall himself said, "voters are smart enough to know who is lying to them" and that it won't work again this time.

A case can be made that it wasn't the so-called women's issues that cost Republicans last year, but a failure to campaign on distinctly different policies.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2014 11:08 AM
But Terri thinks:

It's that passion thing. Just like most people don't know who the Koch's are, yet, when Dem's use their name in a fundraiser they magically raise a lot more money.

Women are fine, but if you throw in a potential insult, boom money and passion flows. I am embarrassed for us.

Posted by: Terri at March 27, 2014 11:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

No need to be embarassed for women, Terri. If anything maybe they're just a little more trusting of what people tell them than are men.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2014 5:02 PM

This Just in...

The President has decreed that ObamaCare now costs a nickel and comes with free ice cream!

Heritage:

"We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period. In fact, we don't actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014." -- Health and Human Services (HHS) official Julie Bataille, March 11

"Once that 2014 open enrollment period has been set, they are set permanently." -- HHS official Michael Hash, March 11

"March 31st is the deadline for enrollment. You've heard us make that clear." -- Press Secretary Jay Carney, March 21

"There is no delay beyond March 31." -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, March 12


UPDATE: Video (and this lovely, flattering photo) at The Daily Caller

sebelius.jpg

I apologize to the sensitive for that graphic prurient content.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I tried to...

...file my taxes before April 15th.
...drive at or below the speed limit.
...eat less bacon.
...elect a better President of the United States.

Posted by: johngalt at March 26, 2014 12:54 PM
But jk thinks:

ALL YOUR HEALTH CARE ARE BELONG TO US!!!

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2014 1:53 PM

March 25, 2014

Lie of the Century

Here's your Koch Brothers folderol for the day. I don't like it either, but I get a $6000 monthly stipend from them as long as I post these and don't believe in catastrophic climate change. Dog food isn't free, y'know...

I got to thinking last night of a good series of commercials: Lie of the Year? Hell. it's the Lie of the Century!

Really, let us certainly remind the electorate that the Democrats all lied to them. But let us also voice an implicit "We Told You So." They say government will take over 1/6th of the economy -- and the good parts will stay just as good, the bad parts will become good -- and you'll probably save $2500! Where do I sign?

The Republicans said "Balderdash. It will become more expensive, less flexible, you'll have fewer choices . . ." I was not prescient enough to realize how bad the web page would suck, but am I surprised?

Lie of the Century! It's a good line, and the Koch's can have it included in my monthly stipend.

UPDATE: LIE! The President's pen cannot give you a raise!

Obama's Overtime-Pay Boomerang
The new rule hurts the very managers climbing the ranks whom it claims to help.

President Obama on March 13 signed an order directing the Labor Department to expand the class of employees entitled to overtime pay. Currently, if a salaried employee makes more than $24,000 a year and is part of management--if he manages the business, directs the work of other employees, and has the authority to hire and fire--that employee is exempt from overtime coverage. The president wants to raise this salary threshold, perhaps as high as $50,000, demoting entry-level managers to glorified crew members by replacing their incentive to get results with an incentive to log more hours.


I could get into this . . .

Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, so, "lie of the year." Which year? 2008? 2013? It was told in the former and revealed in the latter. I can think of worse lies in the last hundred years. I expect worse lies before 2099.

How about, simply, "It's the worst lie since they told you that the people who want to stop their healthcare disaster are waging a 'war on women."

"Or want to "throw granny off a cliff." Or tell people 'who they can love.' Are you beginning to see a pattern? Are none of these things happening because the great defenders of liberty in the Democratic Party are preventing them, or because they're just more lies?"

Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me over and over and over again?

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2014 2:25 PM

March 24, 2014

Only You Can Fix ObamaCare

Dude's in trouble:

obama_ineedyourhelp.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heard on the radio some lefty suggest that they will reach the 7 million signups target "before the midterms." Wonder how that happens if enrollment "ends" on March 31, as the president himself has stated in writing?

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2014 2:11 PM

Baghdad Harry

bb_bh.jpg

Uncle Jerry tells the story well.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

There Must be Fifty Ways to Leave your Health Care...

One from each State:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

But hey, at least birth control pills are still free and gay marriage is still legal, and will be unless you elect those folks who claim that all these racist lies are a bigger issue.

Sweet headline.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2014 11:50 AM
But jk thinks:

There was an enlightening exchange on "The Independents" last week. The Republican Shill on the Party Panel (the lovely and very-libertarian Julie Borowski) talked up some liberty-friendly GOP 2016 hopefuls: Rand Paul, Mike Lee ...

The Democrat Shill on the Party Panel said "Rand Paul is out of the mainstream -- people disagree with him on gay marriage!" [As he favors traditional, apparently...]

Kmele sez "But he's not talking about gay marriage"

Democrat shill says "he'll have to!"

I heard "yeah, but we're going to talk it about all the time. And our friends in media are going to talk about it all the tome. And sympathetic 527s will just fabricate crap, ex nihilo. And..."

I don't know.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2014 1:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did lefties forget the formula in 2010, or did it just not work?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2014 2:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think they had fully developed it. Of course there were facets used, but the firehose we saw against Ken Buck in 2012 was -- I believe -- unprecedented.

I saw it used against Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia and Kim Strassel said: "That's the Democrat ad." As long as it works, why not?

I keep waiting to hear somebody say "Ken Buck."

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2014 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

How quickly they (I) forget.

But it seems the poll numbers are not behind the Democrats.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2014 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

It's grip may loosen, but I fear it to be excessively successful in Colorado.

And mea maxima culpa, of course the Ken Buck race was 2010. I still stand by my point; as there were suddenly Tea Partiers to be painted as extreme, so was that word suddenly enough to discredit them. Ayn Rand's "Radicals for Capitalism" need not apply.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2014 3:30 PM

March 20, 2014

Tweet of the Day

Poor Ezra Klein got so sick of telling us how horrible ObamaCare would be in "The Debate We Had..."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2014

Veto-proof

Politico's Jake Sherman and Burgess Everett caution against "overanalyz[ing] the results of a special election" but I can't contain my enthusiasm over the way the PPACA debacle has boomeranged on the President and his party.

Republicans seem to think they've struck political gold, but Democrats aren't even sure how to interpret the loss. A veteran Democratic fundraiser called the loss a "double whammy," hurting the party with major donors and energizing Republicans.

Democrats naturally put a positive spin on the health care law, the increasingly unpopular President's signature achievement, but the depth and breadth of its stupidity, economic impossibilities, widespread personal dislocations and unmitigated incompetence combine into a self-inflicted wound so great that even Republicans can't screw up their good fortune. And Democrats, privately, seem to be admitting it.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for her part, didn't discuss changing health care messaging at a closed party meeting. One Democratic source at the meeting said members were privately "angry and disgruntled."

So veto-proof might be a bridge too far, as 22 seats would have to switch from D to R in the Senate and I'm pretty sure there aren't that many D terms expiring this year. But the House? Who knows?

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:02 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

And I thought I was excited.

It's a great win and one of my favorite aspects is that it will make Democratic legislators distance themselves from the President to self-preserve. I'm not quite looking for supermajority in either chamber but the GOP has a great chance to get a majority in the Senate.

But, help me, brothers & sisters: is there yet an answer to "War on Women?" Or my favorite: "<Candidate> is TOO EXTREME for <state>." That is all we're going to see against Cory Gardner for the next eight months. Sen. Udall has already started it on his Facebook Page with a petition to get Gardner removed from the ballot (don't remember candidates' being allowed to pick their opponents even if Daddy was a Senator, but I might have missed something...)

It sucks rags but it works. I think it works very well in Colorado. The forces of goodness and light will say "Obamacare,Obamacare,Obamacare" and the others will say "personhood,personhood,personhood." The media will be on Sen Udall's side and he will win.

Disabuse me my lacking confidence after a great victory (I worry about the Avs as well).

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2014 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny's on your side bro. She thinks I'm way too optimistic to which I can only say, better than being a pessimist, Ira.

How about this-

"My opponent thinks government should give you everything you need, no matter what impact his policies have on the American birthright of liberty, but here's my question: Would you rather starve on your feet, or grow obese on your knees? I'm for more iPhone and less Obamaphone; more job choices and less unemployment insurance; more paycheck and less payola; more health care and less Obamacare. Ya feel me?"
Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I wonder if an R would dare say-

Am I anti-abortion? You bet I am. Unborn children should be protected as much as any other child, but the mother has rights too and I will never support forcing mothers to give birth against their will, or deny them the medical care of their choice.
Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2014 5:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, iiiii like it but I'm not the target demographic...

Starve or fatten? Why, Senator Udall is for "good, wholesome, nutritional food for all children -- with no Palm, Oil!" (Sorry for the digression, but the Palm Oil / orangutan contretemps on Facebook has me despairing of Reason's ever being effective in debate.)

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2014 6:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


JK, answer to answer to "War on Women?" is a gentle smile, hinting at a roll of the eyes and to say "do you have a question for me?"

Hugh Hewitt mentioned this a while back: "I'm not a crook" is the worst sort of reply (and Dem's under BHO's clueless tutelage have been saying things like this, too). Barely acknowledge the accuser, just enough to haughtily dismiss the accusation with misdirection.

Same goes for "Too Extreme for CO" is a set of counter-ads showing Udall defending Obamacare, supporting Fracking bans, defining a BLT as an assault weapon, voting to play kiss-kiss with Assad or Morsy, etc....

I'm cautiously optimistic... just recall all the "mean" screams thrown at Reagan. Ken Buck and certainly Tancredo would have shown vulnerability to this tack, Gardner, no way.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 14, 2014 12:07 AM
But jk thinks:

I like it, nb, but you and I are not always there to apply the gentle eye roll. What I have seen -- and the Koch Brothers may rescue us this time -- is that Democrat 527s buy up tons of TV time in the relatively cheap Denver market and blanket coverage. Nothing else gets out.

Agree as well on Gardner's style. There is a personhood amendment in his past. I don't know any details, but that is a tough sell to Colorado moderates.

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2014 10:14 AM

February 26, 2014

Hahahahahaha!

Score one for Facebook:

Hat-tip Kitchen Cabinet

UPDATE: I may live to regret sharing this link.


Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I gotta learn how to make these. I've got a great one in mind that I'd like to unleash on the Facebooknets.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 12:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are my hero.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2014 1:39 PM

February 21, 2014

A Musical PPACAo2010HSOTD!

Thanks, Remy!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2014

Life Imitates ThreeSources

jk: You Think Your Job Sucks!

WSJ:

If you think your job is tough, try hawking the Affordable Care Act on the streets of Florida. The New York Times reports on an effort by Planned Parenthood and other liberal political organizations to find the law;s intended beneficiaries: "The hunt for the uninsured in Broward County got underway one recent afternoon when 41 canvassers, armed with electronic maps on Samsung tablets, set off through working-class neighborhoods to peddle the Affordable Care Act door to door. Four hours later, they had made contact with 2,623 residents and signed up exactly 25 people.

"Many of their targets, people identified on sophisticated computer lists generated in Washington as unlikely to have health insurance, had moved away. Some were not home. Many said they already had insurance through Medicare, their parents or a job. A few were hostile at the mere mention of President Obama's health care law. 'We're going to repeal that' one man said gruffly as he shut the door in the face of a canvasser..."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think these guys understand how an authoritarian administration works. Since when is America's government supposed to ask individual citizens for their permission to do things to them? Just sign 'em up! Compulsorily. From Washington. This Administration isn't corrupt or incompetent, it is corrupt and incompetent.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2014 12:34 PM

February 11, 2014

Anti-gay, Anti-Choice Obama Administration!

ObamaCare! It's obviously some crazed, rightwing, nut-job conspiracy:

1, Sure Looks Like Discrimination

(Reuters) - Hundreds of people with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana trying to obtain coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform are in danger of being thrown out of the insurance plan they selected in a dispute over federal subsidies and the interpretation of federal rules about preventing Obamacare fraud.


2. Family Planning Squeezed in California by Healthcare law.

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.


I might remind some about single issue voting.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:26 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

How many more times can we expect to hear "an unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act?" It's like an encyclopedia of unintended consequences.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 7:22 PM

You Think Your Job Sucks!

Ron Fournier: Why I'm Getting Sick of Defending Obamacare

It's getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naďve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.

For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.

Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.


Poor journalists. Comforting the comfortable is hard work.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Has politicized? You mean passing the bill with tricks and chicanery and not a SINGLE SOLITARY REPUBLICAN VOTE was somehow "non-partisan?" #Chutzpah #Clueless #YouMightBeASocialistIf

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 2:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A related quote from Jonathan Tobin:

"No amount of lawlessness on the part of a president who lacks the constitutional power to enforce only the laws or the parts of laws that he likes can conceal the enormity of the ObamaCare fiasco."

Take that, bitches.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2014 2:37 PM

February 10, 2014

Obama Makes Mid-Sized Company Employees "Job Slaves"

In an article about the adminstration unilaterally revising the PPACA - again - those right-wing hacks at CNN embed a video bashing the President's signature legislation.

"Joe Biden said this is a big fucking deal. This is a big fucking disaster."

Next thing you know they'll be reporting that an American diplomat was murdered by terrorists in the middle east on the anniversary of 9/11.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2014

'Why Government Healthcare Sucks' For Dummies

From ObamaCare Disaster May Deliver Mortal Blow To Liberalism by Scott S. Powell in IBD.

What the Democratic Party's effort to remake one-sixth of the economy in restructuring health care delivery has totally ignored is the vital role of entrepreneurial input, individual choice and the free flow of information, which are at the heart of delivering quality and low cost in every industry.

It turns out that it is the entrepreneurial drive and the pursuit of excellence, rather than government mandates, that compel doctors to deliver quality care to their patients.

And most of the treatment breakthroughs and cost-efficient solutions in health care come not from government but from medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies driven by entrepreneurs.

What motivates medical professionals to deliver better care?

A - More income derived from more satisfied patients
B - Accolades from a grateful public
C - Knowledge that the lives you save may well be those of friends or loved ones
D - Because the HHS Director says to do so, while cutting your compensation in the process

Pencils down.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2014

And Another Cute Animal Video...

Government, government -- they can't even make a cute animal ad.

Prepare for 120 seconds of absolute torture:

The commenters love it, though! (I don't think the Administration would stack the deck in any way would they? There are all real people just giving their opinion, right?)

ocare_animal_ad_comments.gif

Hat-tip: Heritage

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Ooooh! So very very very awesome!! #GetCovered America!

Posted by: jk at February 4, 2014 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good idea. What have I been waiting for? I think I'm going to enroll, in the pet of the month club, after all. I wonder if I can request a new puppy every month? That way, it never has to grow up and will always be a puppy.

Seriously, an awesomely powerful ad. I'm finally convinced in the sweetness and light of government healthcare! Or maybe it was the subliminal flashes of "free contraceptives" that persuaded me. Subliminably.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2014 4:50 PM

And that's a GOOD Thing?

CNBC's John Harwood explains that the latest report from the CBO has "ammunition for both critics and supporters of ObamaCare."

For ObamaCare supporters, CBO says the decline in workers will stem almost entirely from decisions by Americans to work less, not because employers choose to hire less. Those decisions, CBO says, will result from the fact that ObamaCare subsidies phase out as the workers make more money, giving them less incentive to keep working.

Sure wouldn't want dedication and hard work to pay off or anything like that. Take that, bitches!

Oh, by the way. There's also "no compelling evidence that ObamaCare has increased part-time work." They must be so proud. No new jobs, full-time or part-time.

Look ma, we're Europe!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2014

This is not news, how?

Larry Kudlow mentioned this last night and I had not heard about. I expected to read a lot about it today. Here's Tom Howell, Jr. in the Washington Times, excerpted on foxnews.com:

Moody's Investor Service has changed its outlook for the U.S. health care insurance sector from stable to negative, citing Obamacare's rollout and the uncertainty it brings.

The private credit rating agency said potential fallout from the Affordable Care Act's implementation -- including changes to the individual market and the impact of the law's "employer mandate" on commercial group plans in January 2015 -- presents the greatest challenge to health insurers’ credit profile. Lower reimbursement rates among Medicare Advantage plans also are creating financial pressure, it said.

"While all of these issues had been on our radar screen as we approached 2014, a new development and a key factor for the change in outlook is the unstable and evolving regulatory environment under which the sector is operating," Moody's said. "Notably, new regulations and presidential announcements over the last several months with respect to the ACA have imposed operational changes well after product and pricing decisions had been finalized."


A trusted, non-partisan, not political third party has pointed out that the PPACAo2010 will destroy the private health care sector. I still did not see anything, so I thought I'd search. Bing's autocomplete for "Moody's downgrades ..." has a long list. But "health care sector" does not show even when you provide a few letters.

So, I'm the only guy looking for it. Okay, Bing®, whatchya got?

moody_downgrade.gif

All "Conservative" news outlets. It is well known that I am not a big FOX News fan. But this is an actual fact. This is timely, germane and important. And nooooooooooooooobody but FOX, WaTimes, CNS (oh, and Kudlow!) cares at all.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Even if they did care, do you think they want their phone tapped (and likely worse) like James Rosen's was?

News editors are learning that lying, by omission or otherwise, to get a politician elected always requires you to continue the lie, lest your own fecklessness be exposed.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2014 12:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Pretty dour even for ThreeSources.

I'd love to be incredibly argumentative but I am increasingly concerned with the Bananarepublicization of our politics. Watergate was enough of a big deal that it is forever enshrined in suffix history and Woodstein and Bernward are lionized well beyond their actual contributions.

Yet, more egregious things are clearly going down. Rep. Darrel Issa is holding hearings. Crickets. (Are Issa's hearings political? Yup. Were Sam Ervin and Frank Church saints? I. Think. Not.)

I think the bulk of media folk are just generally on-board and not cowed. I don't present that as a defense.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2014 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is the revelation I had in mind when I made the "keep lying or expose your fecklessness" comment about news editors. It doesn't support the "we're afraid of the administration" claim, but that was pure speculation bordering on sarcasm. It also doesn't admit "we lied to get Obama elected" but that is common knowledge, is it not?

Thank you for keeping me precise.

UPDATE: Added missing hyperlink

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2014 3:59 PM

January 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

Last Wednesday, Scott Gottlieb and I debated Jonathan Chait and Douglas Kamerow on this proposition: "Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue." I was feeling a little trepid, for three reasons: First, I've never done any formal debate; second, the resolution gave the "for" side a built-in handicap, as the "against" side just had to prove that Obamacare might not be completely beyond rescue; and third, we were debating on the Upper West Side. Now, I grew up on the Upper West Side and love it dearly. But for this particular resolution, it's about the unfriendliest territory this side of Pyongyang. -- Megan McArdle
Spoiler alert -- Dr. Gottlieb & McArdle won.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2014

Headline of the Day

SOME INSURANCE CONSUMERS NOT DEFRAUDED BY OBAMA

It turns out that for some workers in company-sponsored health insurance plans, you really can keep your plan if you like it. As long as companies include an expensive ObamaCare-compliant plan as an option, they can also offer a less expensive alternative, although consumers may still have to pay a penalty. Meanwhile, another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act suffered a setback, as a federal judge said the federal government can provide subsidies through an exchange not run by states.

UPDATE: All Hail Taranto, though he does work there...

taranto140116.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's not that they're not defrauded; merely that they're being saved for later.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 16, 2014 3:30 PM

January 4, 2014

Problems with ObamaCare?

If a new study, published in the Journal Science, spoke to the certainty of climate change or related accidental gun deaths to liberalized firearm ownership, that would be capital-S Science. I am curious to see how it is greeted when it undermines the "Central Rationale For Obamacare."

Avik Roy used extensive data from the Oregon study to question the health outcomes of Medicare in his "How Medicaid Fails the Poor [Review Corner]. He has an post today in Forbes that shows it also undermines the economic sales pitch. Medicaid increases the use of emergency room services.

The 'free rider' argument was always bunk

Just like the "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise, the promise that Obamacare would make health care less expensive by expanding coverage was always a crock. Nationally, it's estimated that we spend about $50 billion a year on uncompensated care for the uninsured. But Obamacare spends $250 billion a year of taxpayer money on covering the uninsured. Only in Washington is spending $250 billion to address a $50 billion problem considered "savings."


And only in Washington would spending $250B to address a 50B problem make it worse.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2014

Obamacare Tax Liens. Rilly?

There I sat, fat dumb and happy that I could avoid O-care's non-compliance penalty simply by making sure I never have a refund due on my federal income tax deductions. Then KOA Denver's Mike Rosen reads a letter claiming, among other things, "if you go 24 consecutive months with 'Non-Payment' and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home."

Rosen must be nuts to read a crazy internet rumor. Right?

Americans for Tax Reform's Ryan Ellis, September 14, 2012 - Obamacare Will Lead to Federal IRS Liens


Indeed, that's supported by the Obamacare statute. Sec. 1501(g)(2) makes it clear that the IRS cannot impose criminal penalties, levies, or liens. To be clear, the tax liability this refers to is the penalty for not complying with the individual mandate. For most families, the penalty will equal or exceed 2.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. But at least the IRS won't pursue taxpayers, right?

This is neither credible nor comforting for several reasons.

Read the article for the reasons, set up by government, for government, above the people.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:12 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I would never counsel somebody to just run up a huge tax bill because the IRS lacked specific powers for collection. I have heard that but it never really sounded like a winning strategy to me.

Let us thank Saint Chief John Roberts, however [see Review Corner], that the discussion is between liens and fines and overdue taxes. Had the law survived on the Wickard/Raich precedents of the Commerce Clause, we would be looking at imprisonment.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2014 2:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There's a Hobson's choice: "Give us your house or go to jail." Hard to see either as a reason to be "thankful" to the SCOTUS.

Stare decisis notwithstanding, it seems like there was something in the Constitution about both of those individual rights. John Roberts, call your office, again.

Posted by: johngalt at January 2, 2014 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Mr. Hobson could not be reached for comment.

But I'd caution against downplaying the difference. Referencing a different Review Corner, the difference between fines and prison reifies the closer one gets to prison.

The key is that the ObamaCare offender can pay the tax and be legal. Kopel (I think) presents the alternative of drug incarceration. Were that changed to the taxing power, we'd all but empty our prisons. But the Controlled Substances Act is allowed under the Commerce Clause.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2014 6:23 PM

December 30, 2013

PPACAo2010HSOTD

The Times story, particularly the graphic, suggests that the implicit marginal tax rate some people face under the Affordable Care Act subsidies can sometimes exceed 100 percent. It is hard to believe that the law is so badly written as to have this feature, but that seems to be the implication. -- Prof. Mankiw
Wait. Let me put on my shocked face.
Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

It is hard for, who exactly, to believe?

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2013 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm gonna go wit' "The Harvard Faculty Lounge."

Governor George W Bush campaigned in 2000 on "tollbooths to the middle class." I believe Mankiw was an advisor on how all these means-tested subsidies pervert incentives and -- added together -- made indomitable marginal rates.

Yet another tragedy of 9/11 is that we never had that conversation.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2013 7:36 PM

December 24, 2013

Facebook of the Day

Brother Keith, reacting to the news that healthcare.gov did not recognize the President:

Couldn't verify his identity? So healthcare.gov did a better job of vetting this guy and checking his references than the entire mainstream media? http://is.gd/LuWhZD

Does this mean that healthcare.gov is a Birther?


Mondo, Merry Christmas, Heh!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:26 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Never before in my life have I been so struck by the enormous irony of the line: "these jokes just write themselves, don't they?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 24, 2013 2:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does this mean we now have to call it "Who-is-he-care?"

Posted by: johngalt at December 24, 2013 7:10 PM

December 22, 2013

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been...

Reliving -- and relitigating -- the PPACAo2010 could be tedious and disappointing. Spoiler Alert: it passes and Chief Justice Roberts applies "a saving construction" to uphold its constitutionality under the taxing power.

Despite the disappointing ending (you might wait for the Disney movie to rewrite it), the intellectual voyage of the constitutional challenges, seen through the keen minds of Volkh Conspiracy (VC) bloggers is a fascinating read. The conspirators have assembled it into a very good book: A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case by Randy Barnett, Jonathan Adler, Jonathan H.; David Bernstein, Orin Kerr, David Kopel, and Ilya Somin.

It is targeted at a "guy like me." I am very interested in Constitutional law, theory, and philosophy but have no special training or deep knowledge. I suspect most ThreeSourcers, be they guys or not, fall into or near that camp. The book is detailed and substantive, you don't feel you're getting a watered down version. But any bright and interested person can get it (for a couple of weekend afternoons, I could click the Kindle on and pretend to be much smarter than I really am).

In addition to theory, you also come away with some inside information about how these challenges progress, a rough feel for timelines, and insiders' perspectives on what is important and what is not. This goes beyond the civics-book explanation of judicial review as Robert Caro's Master of the Senate goes beyond the stock description of Article I.

Supreme Court advocates know what academics sometimes seem to forget: you simply cannot "mandate" a justice go where he or she does not want to go with a clever argument. All you can do is present your strongest case in the most compelling way. Mike, Greg, and Paul did that during oral argument in which the pressure could not have been more intense. I was supremely grateful it was them and not me who had to bear up under the strain of oral argument. Along with Karen Harned, director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, win or lose, I believe we fielded the "A Team" on behalf of the majority of the American people who objected to the Affordable Care Act and believed it to be unconstitutional.

Perhaps the best part of the book -- from a blog lover's perspective -- is VC's contributions to the debate. As bloggers once busted Dan Rather and reached above the monopoly of three-network journalism, bloggers [asterisk] reached above the Ivy League Professoriate, all of whom thought that only right wing goofballs would see any Constitutional problems with Obamacare.
Twenty years ago, the virtual consensus among law professors at elite schools very well may have been the end of serious debate in the academic world. The venues for law professors getting their ideas out on controversial issues of the day were few and dominated by law professors at the top schools: the mainstream media, either through op-eds or interviews with reporters, both heavily skewed toward famous professors at places like Harvard and Yale; publications at the top law reviews, which are not reviewed blindly and therefore heavily favor the already renowned; and presentations at elite law schools, to which the overwhelming majority of invitees are professors at peer institutions.

[Asterisk] These folks are not bloggers in the "pajamas" sense. These are law professors who have argued before the Supreme Court (Barnett was the attorney for Angel Raich) and file amicus briefs for big league think tanks. But there is a telling section in David Bernstien's summation.
In 2011, a law professor at Yale, defending Obamacare from constitutional challenge, claimed that only one "constitutional scholar that I know at a top 20 law school" thinks that Obamacare is "constitutionally problematic." A year later, just before oral argument in NFIB, the same professor stated that only one law professor at a top ten law school agreed that the Obamacare was unconstitutional.

The professor's math was almost certainly somewhat off, but he was right that the overwhelming majority of constitutional law scholars at elite law schools thought that the constitutional challenge to Obamacare was not just wrong, but obviously so. But there is a reason for this. The faculties at elite law schools have been able to define what was "mainstream" in constitutional law simply by who they hired to join them. And Yale, to take just one example, has not hired a conservative or libertarian professor to teach constitutional law in my lifetime.


So these poor professors, laboring away at top 14-17 law schools, yet believing in Constitutional limits to government power, were able to present, refine, share, and disseminate their ideas at blog speed. And many of these ideas start showing up in SCOTUS oral arguments and opinions.
Perhaps one contribution of our brief, and the case, to constitutional law is renewed attention to the full opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland rather than the expurgated versions in many law school textbooks. In Randy Barnett's Constitutional Law text, students can see John Marshall working his way through doctrine of principals and incidents, as he elucidates that Necessary and Proper Clause is for inferior, less "worthy" powers-- and not for a "great, substantive and independent power." Roberts's application of this long-standing rule took some of the pro-mandate professoriate by surprise, and the professors who were not surprised were dismayed.

The power of ideas and the power of new media take the challenge from then-Speaker Pelosi's "are you serious?" through a sweeping midterm election, to a nail-biting decision that, while it didn't give ThreeSourcers everything they wanted . . .
While our failure to prevent the egregious Affordable Care Act from taking effect remains a bitter pill, this should not be allowed to detract from what we accomplished legally. We prevailed in preserving and even strengthening the enumerated powers scheme of Article I, Section 8 as a protection of individual liberty. From a constitutional perspective, this is what we were fighting so hard to achieve.

But, but, but taxing power!
For those who may still not see the difference between the legal theories we defeated and that which was adopted by Chief Justice John Roberts, imagine that all the federal drug laws were enforced by the nonpunitive tax he allowed rather than as Commerce Clause regulations, which is how the prohibitions of the Controlled Substances Act are now justified. Under Chief Justice Roberts's tax power theory, the government would have to open the jails and release tens of thousands of prisoners. And any of you reading this could legally smoke marijuana under federal law, provided you were willing to pay a small noncoercive federal tax on this activity. Such is the difference between the Commerce Clause power Congress claimed justified the Affordable Care Act, and the new limited tax power the chief justice allowed it to exercise. That is a big difference.

Losing 5-4 on the mandate -- even with the de-fanging -- has also caused us to lose sight of the 7-2 win against coerced Medicaid expansion. These and the fear, uncertainty and doubt placed in thinking citizens' minds make this exercise heroic and successful.

The Colorado Avalanche lost a hockey game in LA yesterday. The Kings were up 2-0 late in the second period. The Kings are a great team; they are tough at home; they are a defensive powerhouse who rarely give up two goals in a game. They were the Harvard professors of hockey yesterday afternoon. The Avs came back, tied (gives them one point in the standings) and took the game through overtime to a shootout. Sadly for me they lost, but the announcers at the end all agreed this was a win. I agree.

Five stars. Duh.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2013

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2013

ACA Consequence - Geriatric Shotgun Weddings

Who remembers the "lifelong hard-working dairy farmer" in Washington State who jk introduced us to last month? She was the first Obama-aid [a more accurate branding than Obamacare] apply-shop-buyer who was signed up for Medicaid without consent.

Today, after reading this article I have some urgent advice - Marry someone, quick!

Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state-based and federally-subsidized welfare program, one that employs means-testing -- which includes ownership of assets as well as income levels. Medicaid programs include conditions that put recipients' assets remaining after death at risk for seizure to reimburse taxpayers who footed the bill for the recipient's health care during his/her lifetime.

Schadenfreude, shadenfreude, every morning you greet me...

The original and still the best here.

Hat tip: dagny

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I also wondered if this revelation might impact blog PPACA Facilitator's recommendation that a friend enroll in Medicaid. Were you trained on that little feature of the new law?

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2013 11:52 AM
But dagny thinks:

It seems based on the article that the, "feature," of collecting assets after a person dies to pay for the medical care they already received varies by state. Anyone know if Colorado law allows said confiscation?

Posted by: dagny at December 20, 2013 12:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The short answer appears to be YES.

Only Alaska, Georgia, Michigan and Texas collected $0 in 2004.

Colorado's collections that year were about $6M, offsetting nearly $424M in Medicaid nursing home expenditures. (1.5% if you do the math.)

The same report states that states are required to recover costs for some expenditures but for others it is optional. Not sure how that squares with the 4 enumerated states.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2013 5:08 PM

December 18, 2013

Set my people free!

Yaay, Colorado!

Reps. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs and Jared Wright of Grand Junction announced that they will introduce a bill to give a tax credit to anyone who gets fined for not buying health insurance -- at an amount equal to the federal penalty under the Affordable Care Act for not purchasing insurance.

The pair of conservatives are calling it the "Healthcare Liberty Act."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2013

The Youngsterz Will Sign Up in Drovz, now!

This is meant to help:

The latest video push comes from Get Covered, a firm backer of Obamacare. Enroll America, a nonprofit group, runs Get Covered. Enroll is staffed with top Democratic operatives, as revealed by Florida Watchdog's Will Patrick earlier this year.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

Newsflash: ObamaCare Spox is Total Dickhead!

Man, you go your whole life never having heard of somebody, and all at once... It seems The Sexiest Man Alive and new ObamaCare spokesman Adam Levine took to Twitter to share 140 characters of his wisdom:

"Dear Fox News, don't play our music on your evil fucking channel ever again. Thank you," he wrote. When reached by Rolling Stone, Levine's representative declined to comment.

A musician buddy posted this on Facebook (with approbation, of course). I could not find the tweet or the bitmap to share. It actually startled me -- not a lefty musician,I had heard that they exist -- but the force of the message.

Guess he don't need Rupert's Residuals.

UPDATE: Jonah apologizes for the confusion. No he's not endorsing the PPACAo2010.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2013

Right to Contract

Submitted for your approval: THE WORST OBAMACARE HORROR STORY OF ALL!

Phillip Klein at the Washington Examiner investigates the HHS "Guidance" to insurance companies. Spoiler alert: the gub'mint that will control every dime your company sees until eternity "requests" that you ignore policy, procedure, and contract and simply give everybody everything they want so they don't go on Fox News and complain about ObamaCare®. But perhaps I misread:

Among the guidance the HHS announced:

-- It is requiring insurers to accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1. It is also "urging" insurers to give individuals more time beyond that to pay for coverage. In other words, if somebody pays for coverage in the middle of January, HHS is asking insurers to retroactively make that person's coverage effective as of Jan. 1. HHS is also asking insurers to cover individuals who offer a "down payment," even if that payment only covers part of the first month's premiums.

-- In a press release, HHS said it was also "strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network to ensure continuity of care for acute episodes or if the provider was listed in their plan's provider directory as of the date of an enrollee's enrollment."

-- HHS is also "strongly encouraging insurers to refill prescriptions covered under previous plans during January."

On a conference call, an HHS spokeswoman emphasized: "We are just proposing it as an option and we're encouraging issuers. There is no requirement."


Banana republic much? Hat-tp: Jim Geraghty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

No, this is far more serious than the behavior of a banana republic. This is something more ominous - an Ominous Parallel to an earlier era.

_____ distrusted capitalism for being unreliable due to its egotism, and he preferred a state-directed economy that is subordinated to the interests of the [people.] ______ said in 1927, "We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

Further:

______ believed that private ownership was useful in that it encouraged creative competition and technical innovation, but insisted that it had to conform to national interests...
Posted by: johngalt at December 13, 2013 1:43 PM

December 12, 2013

Like a million satirists cried out at once and were suddenly silenced...

Who needs doctors and web developers? They're bringing out the big guns now!

Pop singer Adam Levine, who was crowned People's "Sexiest Man Alive" this year, will take part in launching a social media campaign to promote Obamacare in California today.

Levine, the lead vocalist for Maroon 5 and judge on "The Voice," came under fire earlier this year for saying, "I hate this country" on an open mic during his show. Now, he brings his star power to help Obamacare overcome its troubled start.


Totes McGoats! He's like a hottie times infinity plus another infinity!!!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

YMBFKM. Him?

I asked dagny this morning, what I thought to be a serious question: "Now that gender identity and preference ambiguity is so mainstream, don't they need to separate 'sexiest -fill in the blank- alive' into separate categories for "same gender" and "opposite gender?"

She said I was ridiculous.

I say, look at the "Sexiest Man Alive." TM

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2013 7:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not know Mr. Levine until I posted this and I am notoriously bad at discerning attractiveness in men. I have to ask the lovely bride "is X good looking?" And I bat a little below .500.

I did get one right. If This Guy starts hawking ObamaCare, we're in for a Democratic wave in 2014...

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2013 10:57 AM

December 11, 2013

Right on top of things!

Wow! Nothing gets past Madame Secretary -- she sees a problem, she fixes it! WSJ:

WASHINGTON--Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, responding to the botched launch of the HealthCare.gov health-insurance website, said Wednesday she has called for a review of contracting practices and a new official to oversee risk.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2013

All Hail Taranto

An underappreciated quality of ObamaCare is just how politically perverse its design is. It is disrupting the lives of, and imposing huge costs on, people who actually cared enough to get insurance before, in order to provide "benefits" to people who didn't care enough. Sure, there are some whose pre-existing conditions made them uninsurable and who may actually both be better off and appreciate it. But in their crazed drive for "comprehensive" "reform," the Democrats don't seem to have thought through the distribution of costs and benefits. -- James Taranto
Posted by John Kranz at 6:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

... and votes.

The Centennial State rates a mention in the Taranto piece. And why not, since "no state has made a more agressive - or more idiotic - effort to recruit young policyholders than Colorado." And yet, as Taranto notes, only 11% of those who've signed up in our misguided state are in the targeted 18-34 age bracket.

Fear not brave O-care warriors. They just haven't seen this hottie singing her catchy (and hypnotically suggestive) tune yet.

Mmmm mmm mmmmm!

Posted by: johngalt at December 10, 2013 7:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, Dr. Emmanuel, the upcoming PR Campaign will surely fix everything!

No secret I am a Taranto fan, but he was especially good today. And I thought, reading the Colorado bits, about my friend who was pushed from private insurance to Medicaid -- she counts as one the success stories!

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2013 8:20 PM

December 9, 2013

Ruh Roh!

OH NOES!

Congress itself is now having so much trouble signing up for the Obamacare exchanges that late Friday the top administrator in the House of Representatives laid out a backup plan in case lawmakers and staff can't get through the process by the time their enrollment ends Monday.

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty

Posted by John Kranz at 9:51 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Is the House of Representatives the only organization in America that forgot to get their waiver from Ehrbermakehr? Ermagerd!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 9, 2013 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, and they also aren't the only organization in America that will just pay the fine instead.

Posted by: johngalt at December 9, 2013 3:44 PM

December 7, 2013

PPACA02010HSOTD

At least the president never promised, "If you like your local volunteer fire department, you can keep your local volunteer fire department."

That's Jim Geraghty's [subscribe] take on this nettlesome tale. I know, you're thinking that the architects of the PPACA of 2010 thought ahead and planned for every exigency. But what of volunteer fire departments? It seems this corner case slipped through:

The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don't.

The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months.

"It could be a huge deal," said U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, who is seeking clarification from the IRS. "In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of fire departments are fully or mostly volunteer firefighters. It's the fourth highest amount in the country."

So far, the IRS hasn't decided what to do.


Schadenfreude, Schadenfreude, every morning you greet me...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | Comments (3)
But AndyN thinks:

As a transplant to PA, one of the local conventions that amused me when I first moved here was the firehouse wedding. For anyone else who's unaware of the concept, volunteer fire companies here frequently have a big conference room type space built onto their firehouse which they rent out as a way to raise funds. People hire a caterers and band or DJ, and rent the fire hall for wedding receptions. Maybe it's a bit rednecky, but having grown up in Texas I have to admit that it's far from the most rednecky thing I've ever seen.

Now I can't help but wonder, if volunteer fire companies are forced to start buying health insurance, are we going to start seeing a marketing war between them and professional banquet halls? If banquet halls, like other food service companies, start cutting staff hours to get out from under their own PPACA requirements, will their decrease in service quality make a firehouse wedding even more attractive?

As for this: "A local congressman wants answers on whether volunteer firefighting companies could be unintentionally swept into the national health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama." I hate to sound paranoid, but if volunteer fire companies begin to fail because of the financial burden, the alternative will be higher taxes and professional fire fighters. Which political party will benefit from more unionized government employees? I'm no longer willing to buy the idea that any adverse effects of legislation are completely unintentional, particularly where they help accrue more power to the government.

Posted by: AndyN at December 7, 2013 5:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll see your paranoia and raise you. I don't think there are any unintended victims of ObamaCare outside of congressional staffers.

Volunteer Fire Departments reek of Tocquevillian associations and Burkean Platoons. I think those could all be replaced by The State.

And just wait until the Universal Wedding Hall Initiative is announced...

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2013 6:38 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Or wait until those of the disparate impact lawsuit mentality discover that it's unlikely a gay couple has ever held a wedding reception in a fire hall.

Posted by: AndyN at December 7, 2013 7:38 PM

December 6, 2013

The Ultimate ACA Horror Story

Millions of Americans are having their insurance and their doctors canceled all across the country, which the administration defends on the basis that all of them can get replacement policies and that the new policies are way more cool than the fuddy duddy policies they outlawed with their fancy health insurance reform law. Their fancy reforms are also making health care much less expensive - just ask them - but even so, most of the documented replacement policies have cost more, as much as 2 to 3 times more, than the policies they replaced. But this replacement policy story takes the cake. The top Democrat in the US Senate, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, saw his monthly premium spike by $4500! (annually, I presume) Outrageous! Someone do something! Sign a petition! Call your congressman!

"And I will also note that there are 150,000 million different families that get their health care through their employees," Reid said. "So should all federal employees, although under Obamacare, my insurance costs me about $4,500 more that it did before. Yes, because it is age-related and it wasn’t like that before."

Oh, is that all it was. Insurance companies never charged old folks more because they were more likely to get sick. I see.

I'm not even gonna try to figure out "150 thousand million" or "get their health care through their employees." My head hurts enough already. (HHEA Party?)

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:07 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Harry Reid. His own petard.

Some assembly required.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 6, 2013 7:23 PM

December 5, 2013

NOOOOOOO!

Not a parody! (I will apologize if it is shown to be, and drink a cup of cold Folgers coffee in recompense.)

The winner of the ObamaCare Video Contest:

UPDATE: Legit: "Erin McDonald was named the Grand Prize winner with her video 'Forget about the Price Tag' in a Google+ Hangout featuring Kal Penn and White House Health Care policy expert Christen Linke Young on December 2. Watch Erin's video below."

Never watching House or Harold & Kumar again, that's fer damn sure...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:20 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Take advantage of this opportunity."
"Can't put a price on life."
"We just wanna make it more fair."

Unfortunately, it's easier to find rhyming words for fair than it is to define the term.

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2013 4:57 PM
But jk thinks:

It's not about the reason-reason-reason,
it's not about thought-thought-thought.
It's about whether you're rhyming-rhyming-rhymin'
Or whether you're not.

Posted by: jk at December 6, 2013 5:34 PM

December 4, 2013

"Substandard" (adj.)

When applied to insurance by government, none of the standard definitions are adequate. A new definition is required:

3. c. indicates coverage of cancer treatments but not maternity or birth control treatments.

"Now with ObamaCare, the man that I've got looked into it, they are not going to pay for pharmaceuticals or medical devices. MRI that I had last month before I got canceled was $3,000. Now, if I have to have another one, it costs me out of my pocket $3,000," Elliott told Kelly on Nov. 7.

"I've thought about this long and hard," Elliott said. "When my insurance comes out, just for me, it will be $1,500 a month with a $13,500 deductible. I'm not going to pay that. If I make it that long, I will pay the $95 fine and let nature take its course."

Elliott told Kelly he actually voted for Obama over Mitt Romney last year specifically because he liked what Obama had promised about being able to keep your doctors and your insurance plans.

The election being over, the Obama administration said his plan was "substandard" and this is a better plan and deal for his family.

The government definition of "better" is left as an exercise for the reader.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:40 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Ingrate! That birth control is absolutely free! No copays, no out of pocket!

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2013 4:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yessir, you got it brother... "free." Remain calm, dagny.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2013 5:42 PM

Tweetarificus!

I thought "maybe I should turn pro," reading that I had left $58 on the table helping a friend navigate.

Blog friend Attila set me straight:

Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

GOP War on Workers

I've been silent because I have agreed with many of their policies, but this is a bridge too damn far: Republicans force staffers to use ObamaCare! It's a War on Women! It's a War on Men! It's a War on The Transgendered!

CNN Buries the lede, and makes it about Leader Reid:

Washington (CNN) --- Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare's architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law's new exchanges.

Reid is the exception among the other top congressional leaders. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs to join the exchange, their aides said.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

I like to call myself "blog optimist" and I'll dub John Tamney "IBD Ed Page Optimist" for this piece.

"Republicans should be thankful for Obama precisely because his comical rollout of ObamaCare has Americans once again skeptical of politicians promising the world."

And a bonus quote that paraphrases my dear dagny:

There are no "free goods" in any society. Someone is always paying, and as ObamaCare promised something for nothing, logic dictated that it would fail even without advance knowledge of a "website malfunction."
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:05 PM | Comments (0)

Compared to all your other failures, this is really bad

Attention, White House staffers: This is not Syria, some far-off land that people will eventually forget about. This isn't Benghazi; the country won't eventually move on and forget about your lies. This is not "Fast and Furious;" most Americans can't just shrug that it doesn't affect them. This is not the IRS abuse scandal, which you can blame on some low-level employees in a Cincinnati office, or GSA employees spending taxpayer dollars on luxury hotels in Las Vegas. This isn't Solyndra. This isn't wiretapping AP telephone lines or preparing a conspiracy charge against Fox News's James Rosen. This isn't even the NSA domestic-surveillance scandal, a revelation that really aggravates people but that fades from the headlines over time.

No, this is the health care of millions of people that you're botching, after years and years of assuring the public that you can handle this and that they'll love the results of your efforts, hammered through Congress on party-line votes. -- Jim Geraghty


Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"...and that will only affect the uninsured because everyone who already has a doctor and insurance that he likes, or at least likes better than what you're offering, can keep things the way they are. Or perhaps could have, until you #ucked it up."

President Obama has managed, more or less, to sidestep responsibility for the economic malaise that grips the country, and has done so for more than five years. Now, he and the Democrats own not just the health insurance problems that O-care the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has created, but everything that anyone doesn't like about doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Way to step in front of a bus, Dems!

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2013 12:15 PM

December 1, 2013

Your Certified PPACA Facilitator

Not sure I could pass the rigorous background check required to go pro, but I did a little navigatin' and facilitatin' yesterday. I helped a slightly nervous friend out. She had a private, individual policy which she liked but she was unable to keep it. It seems I had heard something about that somewhere, but her insurer sent a notice of cancellation and the suggestion to enroll in a more expensive and higher deductible policy or to shop at the exchange.

I thought it likely that this person would qualify for subsidies, so I suggested the exchange. And volunteered my not insignificant browsing, pointing, and clicking skillset.

It was not a third-world experience. I think Colorado is a little ahead of the game, and while I would not describe the web application or workflow as slick, it was serviceable and completed all requested tasks without crashing. Here's how it works:

  • You create an account at ConnectForHealthColorado.

  • You can browse plans without giving information. Zip code. tobacco consumption, and birth month gets you a list of plans. In the East Metro area, there were six or seven. All were at least 33% more than the plan they were replacing, but two were less than the replacement suggested by Kaiser Permanente (even one Kaiser plan).

  • I was wary of the Washington State woman who was enrolled in Medicaid without consent, but the only way to see if you qualify for subsidies is to be turned down by Medicaid; you have to provide a case ID from your rejection to inquire about subsidies.

  • So, you are redirected to Peak.gov where you create another account and apply for Medicaid in a one-stop shopping for several state aid programs. A long but not particularly grueling form gets you a real-time online answer, though verification and enrollment is done by mail.

My client -- like the Evergreen Stater -- did not want to enroll in Medicaid. To Colorado's credit she was not automatically enrolled. And to Colorado's credit, I quickly reached a helpful person on the telephone to clarify. If you are eligible for Medicaid you can decline. But you cannot get any subsidies for a private plan if you qualify for Medicaid.

So that is where this lugubrious tale ends. My client, who has been only able to secure part-time work (no way that is related to ObamaCare in any way shape or form), can now choose between a more expensive plan with higher copays and deductibles, or the public dole. Not my choice but I counseled -- Bastiat aside -- Medicaid. One more moves from the ranks of the self sufficient.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

You recommended Medicaid? Even though people with no insurance at all are better off?

(You were waiting for this one, weren't you.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2013 12:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I was waiting for burning crosses on the golf course outside le condo d'Amour... To be fair, government created quite a bit of this person's difficulty.

I think the outcome failure is statistical. I expect that a responsible person would exercise good judgment about when to see a physician and do okay on Medicaid. Roy is correct to oppose it as a panacea but I am not incorrect in advising an individual's selection.

The decision has yet to made as far as I know. But $400 versus nothing is a compelling choice to a part-time worker.

Typing this, I just had the genius insight to save the entire country (uh-oh): Medicaid + Concierge medicine. Take the gub'mint card, but pay in $80/month directly to a physician. You now have a place for colds, routine exams, &c. If a more serious problem occurs you have to go into the Medicaid network but you retain your physician as advocate and primary counsel.

This is not a philosophical fix for ThreeSourcers; taxpayers are still on the hook for large swaths of the population. But it is a pragmatic fix to ameliorate the physician shortage in Medicaid. The purchaser gets an immediate fix, the others now compete with one fewer patient for the available pool.

Ultimately, we are headed toward the Irish model and I am resigned to it. Government provides bad care to everybody. Responsible people buy private insurance to gain greater access. Because the socialized model is backstopping catastrophic care, the private plans are not that expensive.

Would I prefer freedom, yup. But I don't think that is on the menu whatever happens in '14 or '16. This is a non-legislative fix.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2013 12:49 PM

November 29, 2013

O-Care: What the people want, good and hard

The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" rations medical services more than the mere use of a panel of bureaucrats that decides who gets what treatments. It also rations in the way it was ostensibly created to eliminate - by price.

Ms. Cantwell of the Department of Health Care Services said federal and state rules assured "geographic and timely access" for Medicaid patients, and the state closely monitors managed-care plan networks to make sure they include enough doctors. In California, she said, some 600,000 of the people entering Medicaid in January have already been assigned primary care doctors through an interim health care program for low-income residents that will end next month.

She also said that since the expansion population will be older on average than current adult Medicaid beneficiaries - until now, most adults who qualified were pregnant women or parents of young children - the state had decided to pay doctors a rate "somewhere in between that for our regular adult population and our disabled adult population" for their care.

But when government mandates that doctors see more patients, and pays them less to do so, wait times become downright, well, NHS-like.

Oresta Johnson, 59, who sees Dr. Mazer through the state's interim health care program for low-income residents but will switch to Medicaid in January, said she had faced "excessively long" waits to see specialists who could treat her degenerative joint disease. Dr. Mazer is monitoring her thyroid gland, she said, and she is hoping she will not have a problem getting back in to see him next spring, when she may need a biopsy.

"I understand there's a lot of people who need help," she said. "But am I not going to be able to see who I need to see?"

So tell me again how single-payer helps low income people get the same level of medical attention as middle and high income folks? Oh, right, by taking away the private insurance that 200 million already have and replacing it with a government approved alternative that is no more attractive to doctors than Medicaid. Be patient Ms. Johnson, and soon everyone else will receive the same crappy care that you do. Because it's "not fair" that people with more money should be treated better.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:45 AM | Comments (1)
But Jk thinks:

Don't wait for Review Corner, get Avik Roy's "How Medicare fails the poor" ($5 on Kindle and a quick read). Stunning indictment and expansion of this.

Studies show that Medicaid patients do worse than those with no insurance at all.

Posted by: Jk at November 29, 2013 3:01 PM

November 26, 2013

ACA Quote of the Day -- The Musical!

Sellin' hope's like sellin' soap, son I'll tell you why -- you can't make either one without a little bit of lye. -- Remy
Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

Barack Obama sold ObamaCare with lies and damned lies. Now Krugman purports to back them up with statistics. -- All Hail Taranto!
Posted by John Kranz at 5:33 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Kitman?"

Just sayin'.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2013 7:23 PM

Oprima Numero forget about it...

ObamaCare® rolls out. Poor, Minorities Hardest Hit!

For the site's Spanish-language counterpart, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, [the] situation is far worse. The site does not yet include an online application, and only directs individuals to call a customer service representative. Along with a phone number to call, the site features the message "La solicitud en línea estará disponible pronto," which roughly translates to "The online application will be available soon."

No bueno.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

PPACAo2010HSOTD

This article got a lot of play over the weekend for good cause: "Seething at a President I helped elect."

Seething.

The whole thing is a schadenfreude sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but I loved one segment more devoutly than the rest:

Over the years we've held on to our coverage by letting our co-pay and deductible rise and our covered procedures fall. You may be aware that the three-tiered state exchange policies are labeled Gold, Silver, and Bronze, reflecting their price and level of coverage. If our policy still existed it would fall into the column of Wood.

But Wood we had--and Wood we liked.


What? Thou darest elevate thine own choices over thy Lord's? ObamaCare is just another rung in the progressive ladder. The job you offer doesn't pay the minimum wage? It's illegal. Your hair-braider lacks a State Cosmetology license? You cannot pay her. Your health care plan that you like? You can't keep it.

Instructive -- in case anybody is paying attention.

UPDATE: Larry Elder: Rep Pelosi (Clueless - CA) never "met anybody who liked his or her plan."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:51 AM | Comments (3)
But AndyN thinks:

One thing that I don't think anybody has written about nearly enough lately is that part of the reason that people like Barcott have had to let out of pocket costs rise to keep premiums down over the past few years is because some of the PPACA mandates have already taken effect and have forced insurers to either raise rates or eat losses. If Barcott had been paying attention at all, he would have known that before he voted to reelect the people who foisted this debacle on us.

Posted by: AndyN at November 25, 2013 1:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Raise rates? Eat losses? Insurers are the most obseenly profitable Megacorporations on earth! Let their billionaire executives take a pay cut! How much of a genius does it take to increase shareholder value buy gouging honest, hard working Americans?

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2013 5:20 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Wait, I thought that gun manufacturers were the most obscenely profitable Megacorporations on earth. Or was that oil companies? Or pharmaceuticals? Or Koch Industries? Or do the Koch brothers own a insurancegunoilpharma company?

Too many talking points... can't keep up...

Posted by: AndyN at November 26, 2013 10:30 AM

November 21, 2013

Grab a Kleenex!

Politico:

Veteran House Democratic aides are sick over the insurance prices they'll pay under Obamacare, and they're scrambling to find a cure.

"In a shock to the system, the older staff in my office (folks over 59) have now found out their personal health insurance costs (even with the government contribution) have gone up 3-4 times what they were paying before," Minh Ta, chief of staff to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), wrote to fellow Democratic chiefs of staff in an email message obtained by POLITICO. "Simply unacceptable."


I. Feel. So. Bad.

Hat-tip: @CuffeMeh

Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Take that, bitches"

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 7:26 PM
But AndyN thinks:

It's. The. Law.

Posted by: AndyN at November 21, 2013 10:22 PM

The Cancel Button Will work for most customers in December

A chilling PPACA02010HSOTD in the Wall Street Journal. A lifelong hard working dairy farmer finds her coverage cancelled. She uses the (functioning in the foothills of Redmond) Washington State website to evaluate her choices. There is one: Washington Apple Health, the State's rebranded Medicaid (one suspects Microsoft won the naming contest there as well).

Ho Hum, another ObamaCareTaleOfWoe®, really I have to get to work jk...

The website not only presented her options option, it signed her up:

Instead, almost mockingly, her "Eligibility Results" came back: "Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with." Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.

The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click "Next" and then to sign out.


I jumped into a Facebook argument yesterday (Moi?) in which Blog Brother Bryan had posted a superb guest-ed in IBD by Thomas Sowell.
The last thing the political left needs, or can even afford, are self-reliant individuals. If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate.

Victimhood is where it's at. If there are not enough real victims, then fictitious victims must be created[...]


Dr. Sowell, would you say that enrolling web visitors in Medicaid qualifies? Back to Ms. Hopkins's Mom:
It was a deliberate choice on her part to pay that monthly $276 out of her own pocket. Clearly she had judged that she received a personal benefit from not being on Medicaid.

"I just don't expect anything positive out of getting free health care," she said. "I don't see why other people should have to pay for my care, whether it be through taxes or otherwise." In paying for health insurance herself--she won't accept help from her family, either--she was safeguarding her dignity and independence and her sense of being a fully functioning member of society.

Before ObamaCare, Medicaid was one option. Not the option. Before this, she had never been, in effect, ordered to take a handout. Now she has been forced to join the government-reliant poor, though she would prefer to contribute her two mites. The authorities behind "affordable care" had erased her right to calculate what she was willing to spend to preserve her dignity--to determine what she thinks is affordable.

That little contribution can mean the difference between dignity and despair.


Clearly, I wasn't arguing with Brother Bryan on this. A workmate of ours had piped in that "This is outrageously incorrect, and I'm surprised that someone with [Bryan's] keen understanding of people, positions, and complexities would endorse this perspective by sharing it."

Nope, no predilection toward dependency, we're just making this up.

UPDATE: JK unsurprisingly misspells "Bellevue." Worse, the better joke line was "Redmond" (since corrected -- thanks to Evergreen State emigrant dagny).

Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | Comments (4)
But dagny thinks:

I'm suspicious of any article that misspells the location of the action. "Belleview," Washington is Bellevue. Is that the WSJ error? or a JK typo?

Posted by: dagny at November 21, 2013 1:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well this sure goes a long way toward explaining why state run exchanges have enrolled "most in Medicaid." It's automatic. All you have to do is be a visitor. No need to click "Yes Please." I wonder if there's even a privacy policy or terms of use agreement to consent to?

I suppose I must at least give credit where it is due - the state exchanges really are doing exactly what the Progressives want them to do, i.e. "working well."

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 1:15 PM
But jk thinks:

@dagny: jk typo (since corrected)!

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2013 1:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I nearly posted that Sowell article yesterday. The main subject, the Progressive "war on achievement" is implicated in most of the left's policy positions, not merely the forcing of victimhood and dependency as witnessed in O-care.

The very word "achievement" has been replaced by the word "privilege" in many writings of our times. (...) If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, the reality of achievement despite having obstacles to overcome is a deadly threat.

That is why the achievements of Asians in general — and of people like the young black man with no arms — make those on the left uneasy.

And why the achievements of people who created their own businesses have to be undermined by the president of the United States.

Emphasis mine.

Posted by: johngalt at November 21, 2013 2:04 PM

November 20, 2013

Peak Schandenfreude?

Glenn sez Not yet!:

Posted by John Kranz at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

"I will happily pay you today, for a free lunch I don't eat before tomorrow"

In an apparent attempt to deflect attention away from the federal exchange portion of O-care, just as we are learning that the entire functionality of the system is not even built, much less tested, numerous democrats have cheered that the state-run exchanges are working well.

More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October - most in Medicaid - and around 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange’s success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent.

Colorado enrolled just more than 37,500 in the period. New York state - with a population nearly three times the size of Washington's - had enrolled just over 48,000 in health plans as of Tuesday, state officials announced. Kentucky enrolled more than 32,000 in its first month.

All are among the states that embraced Obamacare and crafted their own insurance exchanges rather than rely on the federal site, which has been riddled with breakdowns.

Wawazat? "most in medicaid?" Yup.

Mansfield and Rodriguez huddled together over a shiny new laptop in the busy trailer, setting up the older woman’s account. Rodriguez led Mansfield through a series of questions, typing in the necessary information about citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup.

Mansfield pulled out a letter from the Social Security Administration to prove how much money she makes each month. Rodriguez tapped a few more keys, then looked up, smiling.

"You qualify for Washington Apple Health," she told the uninsured woman, referring to the state’s expanded Medicaid program. And then she shared the best part: "At no cost."

"That’s it?" Mansfield asked, relieved and incredulous that the process was so fast and easy, and the result so comforting. "Wonderful."

And Colorado's metrics are very similar, with most enrollees being in Medicaid - 47,306 versus 6,001 in "private health insurance" through the first six weeks.

I don't know about you but I sure am relieved that, under O-care, no insurance company can interrogate me about my medical history. Now I only have to answer questions about "citizenship, tax filing status, family makeup" and "prove how much money [I make] each month."

But the LA Times story says nothing about website security on the state exchanges, which is what I was researching when I found that Connect for Health Colorado was so forward thinking on the issue that they sought a third party security review for the 2011 startup's flagship, nay, only ship, website way way back in ... June. The proposals were due in less than 3 weeks after the date of RFP and would be reviewed for a full week before awarding a contract, possibly not to the lowest bidder, or at all, before work could begin on July 22, leaving ten weeks and a day for the third party to "Provide additional inputs to the C4HCO team for risk management activities as the system Go Live date of 1 October 2013 approaches."

What could go wrong? No matter, since the result is so comforting. Wonderful! At least, until you try to see your, or any, doctor.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2013

PPACAo2010HSOTD

Nope, not a horror story! Everything is great! You guys stop hyperventilating!

One of the most important changes in the law is a huge collection of bureaucratic nudges designed to incentivize the health-care system toward delivering higher value rather than churning out higher cost. That experiment, while still extremely early, is going far better at this stage than even the most optimistic advocates hoped. A wave of innovation is in full bloom, manifesting itself in such things as lower rehospitalization rates, rapid growth of accountable care organizations and retail health providers, and employers shopping around for less expensive plans rather than endlessly footing higher bills. -- Jonathan Chait

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty

Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA-

Take, say, the police. Police departments across the country are constantly beating up innocent people and letting criminals run wild. There will never be an end to stories of police corruption and incompetence. But most people simply take stories like that as reasons to try to make the policy work better, not as arguments that having a police department is a conceptual failure.

O-care is good! Sure, some innocent people will get beat up and some corruption and incompetence will run wild, but that doesn't mean that making college students pay high-risk pool insurance rates is a conceptual failure.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2013 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Democratic strategist Steve McMahon was on Kudlow last night (looks like this particular clip did not get posted). He bravely fended off the show's host, a guy from Manhattan Institute, and Holman Jenkins from the WSJ Ed Page.

But he kept repeating "this is how insurance works! It distributes risk!" I was jumping out of my chair for one of the others to correct him: insurance prices risk. Somebody did comment that car insurance prices differently to good drivers.

But I think a full throated defense is required that insurance is not a wealth distribution scheme, but rather a derivative trade on risk. I don't think that was the last time we'll hear McMahon's incorrect generalization.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2013 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said. Now, what is your argument against "distributing" risk? After all, being a good driver is a choice while having poor health "just happens." ;)

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2013 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just looking for transparency, like my socialist, income-redistributing blog brother:

The idea I think TG and I share is this: If we're going to use the power of the state to take stuff from some people and give it to others, let us insist that it be explicitly recognized as such. And do it directly, without the package-deal of government management of this or that program. Just give them cash, i.e. "Uncle Sam's Allowance" and turn them loose in the free market.

I'd say that there exists a fair, actuarially-supported price to insure each American against future health care expense. Charging the nonvoting young more to subsidize a lower price for their more-likely-to-vote elders is wealth redistribution. To compare that to the primary function of insurance is specious.

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2013 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So in a similar vein health insurance really should be priced based upon your age, gender, and medical history and then, if you "can't afford it" you can apply for a state managed subsidy computed based on your income and scheduled to be proportional to how many continuous years you have been insured. So the bigger subsidies go to those with the highest medical costs, lowest incomes and, importantly, those who maintain coverage.

The hardest sell there, as I see it, is what to do when the poor and sick first sign up. "Keep paying now, it'll go down in future years" is not a politicians dream line in stump speeches. Then there are the actuarial realities.

Posted by: johngalt at November 19, 2013 7:41 PM
But jk thinks:

That's the Kudlowite, Reaganite, and Friedmanite position -- who am I to argue with a holy trinity?

Give the poor and uninsurable vouchers to purchase insurance on the private market, but fer cryin' out loud, leave the private market alone.

I find contiguous coverage to be the ultimate solution. But until we remove the tax preferences for employer-funding it is immoral and uneconomic to demand it. When most get their insurance from their employer, you cannot hold them responsible for maintain coverage.

But if you fix the tax preference (like McCain's awesome health care plan that he campaigned on but did not understand well enough to debate), then demanding continued coverage fixes most of the problems ObamaCare was created to fix.

Posted by: jk at November 20, 2013 11:41 AM

November 17, 2013

Obamacare for Thee, But Not for Me

JK Tweeted, "More people bought Yoko Ono's debut album (250,000+) than bought Obamacare policies." I believe the charitable figure for Obamacare "purchases" is around 100,000. I say "charitable" because they count filled shopping carts the same as "pay now" clicks.

But I wondered how those numbers compare to, say, the number of Americans who "support Obamacare" or who are registered members of the President's political party? Actual numbers are surprisingly difficult to find, but Rasmussen has Obamacare and Democrat registration percentages and Wikipedia has census figures.

"Support Obamacare" 145,360,000
"Registered Democrat" 103,332,000
Bought Yoko Ono 250,000
"Bought" Obamacare 100,000

So if we assume that all democrats support Obamacare, about 42 million non-democrats also support it. And yet, despite an apparent belief that the law in general is a good idea, less than 3 in 1000 non-democrat Obamacare supporters and less than 1 in 1000 democrats as a whole, actually believe the program is a good idea for themselves.

"Oh, you meant, 'Do I support Obamacare for my rich neighbor!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:56 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

In humility, I quoted a tweet from Rep. Steve Stockman (R TX36)@SteveWorks4You.

And in fairness to the President, my brother was one of the 250K. I have heard the Yoko Ono album. It is worse than ObamaCare.

Posted by: jk at November 18, 2013 2:09 PM

November 16, 2013

PPACA02010HSOTD

"How could this be going so spectacularly wrong?" goes the hand-wringing lament.

How could it not? Seriously! You think a bunch of people can sit down and... Lux Fiat! ...re-write the rules for how 15% of the economy works in one fell swoop, in what amounts to a giant bong-fueled bull session, and have nothing go wrong? You might as well try to change the spark plugs on your car while the engine's running. -- Tam @ ViewFromThePorch: If schadenfreude had calories, I'd weigh 300 pounds

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

And I would weigh at least 400.

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2013 10:14 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


This comment bears repeating:

"This isn't trying to gradually phase out gas guzzlers over ten years; this is making all cars that don't get >30MPG illegal to drive in January. But don't worry! If your cars don't meet the standard, the government will have a new car ready for you on the 1st. Promise! They've almost got the car factory finished!) "

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 19, 2013 2:13 AM

November 14, 2013

PPACAo2010HSOTD

If you can't take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you're following politics in the first place. Because, frankly, this has been one of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime. I wake up in the morning and rush to find my just-delivered newspaper with a joyful expectation of worsening news so intense, I feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating my trek to the front lawn. Indeed, not since Dan Rather handcuffed himself to a fraudulent typewriter, hurled it into the abyss, and saw his career plummet like Ted Kennedy was behind the wheel have I enjoyed a story more. -- Jonah Goldberg
Honorable mention (same column):
The media feeding frenzy it has triggered from so many journalistic lapdogs has been both so funny and so poignant, it reminds me of nothing more than the climax of the classic film Air Bud, when the lovable basketball-playing golden retriever finally decides to maul the dog-abusing clown.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I have been at a loss for adjectives to describe the O-care rollout fiasco. "Unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president" et. al., while not as lyrical as I'd like, comes pretty close to the ideal.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2013 2:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't you mean "rollout?"

(I put quotation marks around "rollout" because the term implies actual rolling, and this thing has moved as gracefully as a grand piano in a peat bog.) -- Jonah

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2013 5:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm a pretty big fan of Jonah, and even I'm blushing with his prose (it could also be the rib-aching laughter):

"the English language is not well equipped to capture the sensation I’m describing"

"In every tale of hubris, the transgressor is eventually slapped across the face with the semi-frozen flounder of reality"

"the whole law is coming apart like a papier-mâché yacht in rough waters"

"At this point, [registering] could only be more of a Third World experience if Healthcare.gov required enrollees to pay with chickens"

"At that rate, Obamacare would reach its target of 7 million enrollees around the year 5013, or 3022 a.o. (Anno Obamae)"

" It was, in the parlance of liberalism, a “false choice” to assert that Obamacare couldn’t be a floor wax and a dessert topping."

I'm with Jonah; cheering for Nemesis. Time for the The Establishment to leap-frog past "we told you so" straight to: OK, here's how you do reform!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 16, 2013 2:51 AM

November 13, 2013

The shelf-life of "common-sense"

"Common-sense" is one of those adjectives politicians use to describe legislation they're afraid will get them fired either way: if they support it or if they don't. It means, "If you don't agree with this you are senseless" and it has to be employed because if they didn't cover it with that fig leaf, there's little other reason for voters to agree with it.

Vulnerable Senate democrats are running away from Obamacare as fast as they can. That includes Colorado's Mark Udall but since "he’s not viewed as being nearly as vulnerable as [Sen. Landrieu, D-Louisana] or Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas" he isn't running as far. Fox31:

"I share the concern that some health insurance companies are choosing to cancel thousands of Coloradans' plans. That’s why my common-sense bill will allow Coloradans the option to keep their current coverage if they want or to purchase new plans through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace that may better meet their health care needs."

What a swell guy - he wants to "allow" Coloradans options! We shouldn't be surprised. After all, he is well known as a pro-choice politician.

But don't let that power of choice go to your heads, fellow Centennial-staters.

With support building for a plan introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, that would allow people mislead by the president's promise to keep their plans to actually do so indefinitely, Udall has come up with a scaled down version that would allow policyholders to keep their current plans, being cancelled under the new law, for two years.

"We're protecting the stability of the insurance market in the exchange while allowing people to hold on to their current plans a little bit longer," Joe Britton, Udall's deputy chief of staff, told FOX31.

So now we know that "common-sense" has an expiration date: 2 years.

I have a better idea. How about, instead, we "allow" the stability of the insurance market while "protecting" people to hold on to their current plans? But you shouldn't be surprised. After all, I am a well-known "extremist, hostage taking" TEA Partier.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I hate common sense and common knowledge. The latter is an excuse to not provide documentation and the former is an excuse to abdicate reason.

I just referred to Snyder v. Phelps in a comment. Common sense dictates that you cannot let ignorant Midwestern homophobes desecrate the respectful services of our nation's greatest fallen heroes. Common sense says you can't burn the flag. Common sense says the ACLU should not defend the Illinois Nazis (man, I hate Illinois Nazis...) And yet law and reason hold sway. The term drives me mad.

Were more Democrats as thoughtful as Sen. Mark Udall, this would be a better country. But this is full-bore partisanship. The Democrats cannot back too far off -- repeat after me -- "the President's Signature initiative." Yet, they cannot get too close and be elected in any state less blue than Illinois.

Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2013 11:32 AM

106,000 Huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | Comments (0)

Poor Ezra

Obamacare is in much more trouble than it was one week ago
That is not the headline of some Koch Brothers wing-nut site Schadenfreude-fest. That is a WaPo Editor summarizing juicebox Mafioso Ezra Klein's expressing -- with genuine sadness -- eleven Administration problems. I'd recommend all 'leven. But throwing darts to pick one to excerpt, I threw low:
11. The biggest problem for the Obama administration in protecting the law is that they're losing credibility with congressional Democrats -- and, frankly, everyone else. They passed the law based in part on promises they couldn't keep. They botched the implementation terribly. And now it looks like they may not have HealthCare.gov fixed by the deadline they set for themselves. Congressional Democrats feel burned by them -- but even worse than that, they don't feel able to trust them. And Democrats looking toward 2014 are going to be made very nervous by this chart, first posted by our friends at The Fix:

Obama_approval131113.gif

Oops.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The box! Don't forget to look at the box!

-30 seems too many for this cycle. The president's party is already in the minority in the house, while Dubya's party held the 109th Congress' majority in both chambers.

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2013 3:31 PM

November 9, 2013

PPACAo2010HSOTD

He must know that the Democrats who stunk up the Oval Office with their fear-musk will flee him like he's a urologist with hook-hands if the White House doesn't hit the new deadline for Healthcare.gov. If all that Torschlusspanik doesn't have you feeling just a little Schadenfreude, you're kaput inside. Or as I say in my opening sentence in the magazine: "To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the unraveling of Obamacare." -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 7, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

PPACA Edition - (I regret to admit that I misnamed the "Horror Story of the Day" category for Obamacare. I left out the P P.)

This difference in reactions to failure dramatically highlights the primary reason for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with market-based reform. As the Edsel flop demonstrates, businesses in the free market are quite capable of making colossal mistakes. However, when they do so and the customer rejects their products, they make the necessary adjustments. And, despite the widely believed myth that the market fails to work for health care, any private enterprise that had produced an unpopular mess like Obamacare would by now have shut it down. But the President won’t even consider delaying it. Why? Because his customers are required by law to avail themselves of his third-rate services.

From 'Obamacare and the Edsel: A Tale of Two Lemons' in American Spectator

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:19 PM | Comments (0)

"Do you have that Obamacare?"

Though it might have been a big risk several months ago, with the growing dissatisfaction over Obamacare emerging just in time for the CMA Awards, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hit it out of the park with this year’s funny skit.

Back story here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But AndyN thinks:

RACISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!eleventy

Why, if Amarillo by Morning wasn't one of my favorite songs, I don't think I could have sat through that whole offensive display.

Posted by: AndyN at November 7, 2013 6:56 PM

Jay Carney Will Never be a Real Boy!

The lovely bride observed that Glenn Kessler, the WaPo Fact Checker, had awarded Three Pinocchios to Jay Carney for his defense of President Obama's lying about his previous lies.

three_pino.png

At this rate, she quips, he'll never be a real boy! (And he'd look pretty good with donkey ears...)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Hilarious! Love it.

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2013 2:55 PM

November 6, 2013

"Free" Healthcare, but can they afford it?

Obviously this is the insurance companies' fault:

Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia has four plans that are free to some customers, but the company, as well as other insurers, has been careful not to publicize its free coverage out of fear of alienating customers who will need to pay more for coverage more appropriate for their needs, the Times said.

"We're not advertising zero dollars," said Brian Lobley, a senior vice president at Independence Blue Cross, while noting monthly premiums in the $20 to $30 range.

But maybe there's another reason they aren't publicizing the "free" plans: They aren't free.

While varying in design, bronze plans generally cover about 60 percent of a person's medical costs in addition to standard benefits such as prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatment. All plans limit annual out-of-pocket costs to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. But insurers and advocates said out-of-pocket costs can be discouraging to people with low incomes.

I'm discouraged, how 'bout you? Oh, did I mention?

Three independent estimates by Wall Street analysts and a consulting firm told The New York Times up to 7 million people, under provisions of the Affordable Care Act, could qualify for the no-premium plans, the majority in the bronze category, the least expensive available. (...) ACA supporters say the availability of free-premium plans and inexpensive policies that cover more indicate the law is achieving its goal of making health insurance more widely available. (...) "The whole point of the law was not only to cover the uninsured, but so people didn't have to make choices between food or drugs, or going to the doctor or dentist," said Karen Davis, a health policy expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It's what it is designed to do."

An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2013

You Guys Sick of Discussing ObamaCare®?

Hahaha -- kidding!

As huge pieces of the hull go tumbling into the sea, let's not ignore obvious malfeasance in the bar and laundry accounts...

One of the lies -- misspoke my ass! -- used to sell this bill and the reelection of its benefactor was that "it will not add a dime to the deficit." I call that a lie because anybody paying attention knew that the ridiculous machinations used to finance it would be unwound by future Congresses and the phantom revenues replaced with general largess.

Exhibit A: The Medical Device Tax. There is broad and bipartisan support for repealing this government impediment to innovation.

Strong, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have already taken preliminary votes to repeal this tax -- twice in the House, by 270-146 and 231-192 margins, and once, by a 79-20 margin, in the Senate -- and repeal appeared to be on the table during last month's government shutdown.

A study found the excise tax would amount to a whopping 29 percent of R&D spending industry-wide.

"With the current tax environment, the regulatory environment, and the payment cuts already put in place, and the lack of venture capital," it has been a challenging decade for the industry, Wanda Moebius, a spokesperson for the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), an industry trade group, told me.

While the device tax repeal foundered on the shoals of the partisan politics that eventually ended the recent shutdown, its repeal remains a possibility, and proponents of the tax remain on defense.


As a customer and likely future beneficiary of medical device innovation, I applaud its repeal. But that paltry$30 Billion that it was slated to raise. Well, Portia, from where will that pound of flesh be extracted? And when the Unions' Cadillac taxes are inevitably repealed, whither and whence on that $80 Billion? Megan McArdle:
Moreover, the people who end up in those plans won't just be choosing them as the cost of other plans goes up; they’ll be forced into them because the other plans aren't offered at all. They are going to be screaming mad, and Democrats should not delude themselves that they will be soothed by all the marvelous things that may then be happening in the individual market. That's why I still think there is a good chance that this gets rolled back before it goes into effect -- but that is going to create its own, not insubstantial, budget problem: The Cadillac tax is supposed to raise about $80 billion by 2023.

The $500 Billion in Medicare cuts will not hold as the ACA pumps up Medicare and Medicaid enrollment (not that anybody ever truly expected them to stick).

Looks like $610 Billion of offsetting revenue will be forgiven to try and prop up this abject failure.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This is like that old joke about the woman who claims she is not a prostitute, after agreeing to have sex for a million dollars: If they're willing to print $7T, why not just print 8?

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 3:08 PM

Our Margaret

Peggy Noonan's blog post on ObamaCare is a jewel from start to finish. Insty provided a massive except, but I think ThreeSourcers may like this aside toward the end:

In my lifetime the good word liberal was discarded by the Democratic Party. Over the decades they'd run it into the ground and changed it from a plus to a minus. Liberal came to suggest a whole world of bad ideas--soft on crime, eager for gun confiscation, big taxing. So the past 20 years Democrats tried to change their label, and in the Obama era it was finally definitively changed. They were now progressives.

Well, the biggest piece of progressive legislation in our lifetimes--not just costly but intrusive, abusive, and marked by a command-and-control mentality--is ObamaCare.

Remember, "We're gonna need a bigger boat"? They're gonna need another name.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

As far as I remember, they didn't stop calling themselves liberals because they wanted to, they did because for at least half a generation you never heard the word liberal without first hearing the words tax and spend. And because every Democrat was labeled as such.

I agree that at some point Democrats will start running from the word progressive the same way they've run from the words liberal and socialist, but I think there are still a lot of them who don't believe that brand has been tarnished yet. If the US is to recover from her current decline, it's important that people who care about liberty find a way to link the word progressive with all the problems it's caused in the minds of people who don't usually pay much attention. It's an uphill battle, but in the internet age I can't see how it will be harder than it was to make everybody with a D after his name a tax and spend liberal back in the days when the left really did control all the media.

Posted by: AndyN at November 5, 2013 1:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My latest T-shirt/bumper sticker idea:

PROGRESSIVISM AIN'T

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 1:17 PM

But How's ObamaCare® Doing in the Tarheel State?

WSLS (NBC):

Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.7 million customers in [North Carolina], but internal emails obtained by WNCN show that as of last Friday, only one person had enrolled for health insurance through the Exchange and that person hasn't paid.

Without payment, enrollment means nothing because the customer is still not officially in the system.


Hat-tip Jim Geraghty.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Private businesses frequently make a big deal over their "one millionth customer" or even, "one thousandth." I keep waiting for the Oministration to call a presser to honor their, "first paying customer for Obamacare." Seems the NASCAR Retards are a bit to clever to fall for this one.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 4:01 PM

Quote (& ACAHS) of the Day

They lied because people wouldn't have passed it if they told the truth. Now they're lashing out as people point out that they lied. Back during the campaign they lied and said that Mitt Romney cut off a woman with cancer. Now they're lying about the woman with cancer that they cut off. Fraudulent, indeed. But lashing out at critics won't stop the rot -- Glenn Reynolds
Posted by John Kranz at 9:36 AM | Comments (4)
But AndyN thinks:

I've seen the claim a few places that they lied because they wouldn't have been able to pass it if they hadn't. I don't know that that's actually true. They passed it because they had majorities in both houses of congress, and being honest about what they were passing wouldn't have changed the numbers. I think it's more likely the case that they lied because they knew they were going to pass something wildly unpopular, and telling the truth would have made the electoral disaster in 2010 even worse, and may have carried over to the 2012 election.

Posted by: AndyN at November 5, 2013 12:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But wouldn't those electoral disasters have changed the numbers, as you say? They had to twist Bart Stupak's arm nearly out of it's socket to get it through as it was - WITH the lie.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 1:14 PM
But jk thinks:

They certainly had the upper hand. But I don't think they had the impunity to, with apologies to Mencken, "give it to us any gooder and harder" than they did.

Ilya Somin (review corner spoiler alert!) discusses the "Retrospective Voting" theory of democracy:

According to economist Joseph Schumpeter, the most famous modern exponent of the theory, "electorates normally do not control their political leaders in any way except by refusing to reelect them" when dissatisfied with their efforts.

Somin, Ilya (2013-10-02). Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter (Kindle Locations 719-721). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The President made many of these misstatements in his own reelection campaign, before the wonders of the law were made clear.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2013 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I am watching closely the depth, breadth, and haste with which Democrat office holders abandon Obamacare. It is not inconceivable that, in a hail-mary attempt to salvage their re-elections, enough of them may backtrack far enough that they would vote to remove the lame-duck president from office upon impeachment. (Hey, a guy can dream!) But even if that extreme turn of events does not happen, Democrats are royally and irreversibly f---ed, electorally, by Obamacare.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 3:04 PM

November 4, 2013

If only somebody had told them...

They knew:

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 6:44 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

They were warned ... THREE YEARS ago.

Why did Healthcare.gov fail? Because nobody involved in the project knew how to start up a business enterprise under the burdensome federal regulations that loom over the American economy.

...

...

...

BWAAAAAAAA HAAAAAA HAAA HA!

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2013 4:10 PM

ACA Overreach "is Freedom"

It's one thing when a dyed-in-the-wool pure capitalist like me says it, but now the respected centrist Lawrence Kudlow says the "Affordable Care Act" is anti-freedom, unfair, unaffordable, and "well on its way to collapsing of its own weight" before concluding:

But here's the bigger point: All this is the inevitable result of massive central-planning exercises to control the economy. That's not freedom.

No amount of rescue legislation is going to change this. It's the elections of 2014 and 2016 that will allow the American people to reject this Soviet-style planning.

But I'll reference Krauthammer once again:

ObamaCare represents the greatest-ever expansion of the liberal entitlement-state dream. And you know what? That dream is crumbling and dissolving before our very eyes.

And that is freedom.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

If you like your plan, you're a moron.

One peculiar fallout of the ObamaCareDebacle®: the effects are so egregious that sometimes over-the-top commentators appear completely reasonable. I don't link to a Townhall.com post with a Hannity clip very frequently, but I am happy to share this one.

There was a time not too long ago when feminists and liberals within the Democratic Party condemned men for telling women how to handle their healthcare choices. In fact, President Obama got re-elected thanks to the argument, "Don't let Republicans let the government get between you and your doctor."

One hopes some basic themes of liberty will come out of the debate -- here's to the lovers, the dreamers, and me! In the meantime, enjoy this patronizing old white statist male telling a young woman she is too stoopid to choose her own healthcare.

If only he could get on the exchange with that dumb chick and show her how to find a good plan.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If Hannity called his bluff, set the two of them up with a browser and a camera looking over their shoulders, that would be fun to watch.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2013 2:49 PM

November 1, 2013

"M for Mankind"

Promoted to embed from a comment by brother Keith, offered in response to melancholy references to the archaic and the obsolete, that among these are the idea that every man is an end within himself. And yes, it is today's ACA Horror Story.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It has been said, and I would agree, that the best of science fiction grows out of social commentary - a projected future based on the present. Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress," Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles," Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" all being fine examples. Rand's "Anthem" could be included here as well. Serling's work in the Twilight Zone often stood in this stream as well.

Thank you for the kind mention, too -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 1, 2013 4:48 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I love the Twilight Zone. If only TV had something so thought provoking today....

Posted by: T. Greer at November 2, 2013 5:12 AM
But jk thinks:

The blog contrarian is warming up... I want to wait until I watch the clip. I don't remember this episode and it sounds superb.

But please good people, go easy on the TV nostalgia in my presence. I will comment on the Twilight Zone episode and try to find a link to Jonah Goldberg's making my point better that I can.

But the point is that, while Twilight Zone was swell, this has filtered to the top out of the tons of nonsense of the time.

What saddens some TheeeSourcers is the expectation of intellectual capacity that we see in Twilight Zone or the Johnny Carson interview of Ayn Rand. It is certainly pitched to a lower common denominator these days.

But take away Rod Serling and you're left with I Love Lucy, Dick van Dyke, Andy Griffith and Hogan's Heroes. All of whom have their charms (well, maybe not Hogan), but compare poorly to Buffy, Firefly, the Miami Vice episode with Willie Nelson playing the Texas Ranger, Castle, Eureka, Defiance, and my new show Sleepy Hollow.

That, and a three-network lock on information that we're just beginning to crack at the edges. I'm less than nostalgic.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2013 1:58 PM

October 31, 2013

When You've Lost New York Magazine...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:09 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Umm, how many times is too many times to watch?

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 4:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, Duh. You only think you like, think you want, think you're happy with your health care plan. But you're WRONG you stupid NASCAR Retards. How many times does he have to say "if" for you to understand it was a conditional statement?

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2013 1:21 PM

I Don't Know, Might be Worth a Try

Jim Geraghty says "But this... this is just too big. You can't just trot out another shiny object. ("Hey, the Obamas have a new puppy!") You can't ignore it. You can't wait for the media to forget about it. We're talking about perhaps as many as 15 million people losing their health insurance:"

I don't know, a new puppy fixes a lot. Have you all seen Harriet?

day_three.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2013

Where You Live

We don't throw out a lot of dedications in blog posts, but this one is for Brother jg:

But, the ACA law is littered with even worse economic incentives. One of them is mobility.

Obamacare will cause people to freeze in geographic location.

Insurance companies cannot compete across state lines, so your policy is only portable within your state. That’s bad for economic development. A person now has to deal with 50 sets of rules, 50 exchanges. Obamacare didn’t solve the problem.


Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 7:17 PM | Comments (0)

One o' them Red Solo Cup folks

The awesome Coyote Blog reports on a cancellation notice an ObamaCare Transition Opportunity:

These folks -- despite not knowing my income, my net worth, my health situation, my age, my family size, my number and age of kids, my risk adversity, my degree of hypochondria, my preventative care habits, my diet, my lifestyle, my personal preferences and priorities, or any details about my insurance policy that I spend many hours analyzing and cross-comparing -- have decided they know better than I what health insurance I should want.

My plan was not substandard. I graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and was first in my class at Harvard Business School. I spent hours shopping for my coverage and was fully satisfied with my coverage. May of the aspects of my policy that causes Obama to call it "Sub-standards" -- lake of mental health care, lack of pediatric dental care, lack of maternity care, lack of free contraception, a higher than average deductible -- were my preferences. I want these things.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, right, so he assumes that since he graduated from Princeton and Harvard he knows what's best for himself? Idiot. In selecting his policy he didn't even give a moment of consideration to where he lives. [Fourth comment]

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 7:03 PM

Red Solo Cup

Everybody is focusing on "whatever." Yet my favorite testimony so far is Marsha Blackburn (How about those glasses - TN) explaining that "some folks would rather drive a Ford than a Ferrari, and some would rather drink out of a red solo cup."

Video at the link.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Yet others believe that drinking from "a crystal stem" is a right, even if they cannot afford it.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 4:03 PM

The Audacity of Mendacity

"You lie!"

So this isn't a new claim. It also is no longer a partisan one, with the NBC News expose in our rear-view.

So let's review a list of the Affordable Care Act claims that were made, by a dishonest president, who DID care whether or not he could be elected:

"If you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period"

No, If -I- like your health plan, you can keep it. Until I decide otherwise.

"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. No matter what."

No, If -I- like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Unless he's a Republican.

"Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance costs will go down."

No, under the ACA, "rich white people" will pay more, "lower income families and individuals will get the most help" and everyone will get less medical care. Well, everyone except the political class and their friends.

And today,, from HHS Secretary Sebelius, this:

"The website has never crashed. It is functional, but at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function."

Yes, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is not really dead after all. He's merely breathing at a very slow speed and very low reliability and has continued to function.

UPDATE: Holman Jenkins expounds on Lie #1.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Other mendacitudes are coming to mind:

"Mine will be the most transparent Administration in history."

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Time for some idiot to boldly step in and defend the President! 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

"Most transparent..." fails my mendacity test. Serious observers must bifurcate between mendacity and "the soft probity of political bull***t." On some level, Senator Obama likely believed that his would be the most transparent. There was no real mens rea there. It was an over-promise of biblical proportion, mind you, but I am not certain it was a lie.

IYLYHCYCKI, by comparison, is a lie. It was repeated when the President knew for a fact that it was not true. It was a lie that was required both to pass the bill and to reelect the President. Mens-freaking-rea.

If I live long enough to see a candidate I support win an election (I'm eating well and I don't smoke), I have no doubt there will be a few "most xparent" utterances which will fail to materialize.

Not expecting to expunge foolish promises, I think it behooves to keep a hard line between them and lying.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 7:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I really do want to give the president credit where it is due. Really badly. He's not an execrable man. As megalomaniacal Marxist Progressive statists go he's a swell guy. But his administration is not transparent, never has been and, in my opinion, was never intended to be. So yes, calling it a lie IS a matter of opinion. But does a "transparent" organization do this?

Downie writes, "The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration."

Part of that war on leaks is the "Insider Threat" surveillance program intended to tighten internal surveillance and set government workers to observing each other for signs of...well...transparency with information, which is officially labeled "tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States."


Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 9:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Our only real point of disagreement is "was never intended to be." More specifically, I'm ready to elevate megalomania over mendacity.

President Obama believes absolutely in his abilities and those of his high-powered intellectual advisors. I'm not certain that he didn't think his whiz kids would put the budget and his calendar and his legislative agenda on the website [please wait . . . ], or that he would not go line-by-line through federal spending and eliminate waste. When his smart guys got in there and kicked out all those stupid and evil Texans, everything was going to be great.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:30 AM
But jk thinks:

New game: connect President Obama's personality defects to his policy failures! Ages six to adult.

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fun! At least Marxist Progressive statist went unchallenged. :)

I believe that megalomania best applies in its informal sense, manifested most recently in the mandate by his signature legislation that we all "little" people have the kind of health insurance he permits us to have.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2013 3:40 PM

No, but I've got a fudge brownie with cream cheese icing!

But in September, when the state published its 228-page list of locations where navigators could be found, along with the days and times they were supposed to be available to the public, they published the wrong one, according to a DOH spokesman.

"That is not the correct list," said Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Health, when DNAinfo New York asked him about the list last week. "That's something we’re looking into. We can't tell you anything more about this."


Oops. The list included a cupcake store, limo service, and a pharmacy.

Hey, we all make mistakes. Why, the last time I took over one-sixth of the US economy, well, you've all heard that story...

Hat-tip: Insty

UPDATE: All hail Taranto!

Does Michelle Obama know that her husband's program is encouraging people to stuff themselves with sugar and other refined carbohydrates? If they're going to do that, they might as well just give callers the number of a funeral home.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

Progessives want "better" health care for the "citizens"

All of this talk about Affordable Care Act Horror Stories and "lifestage transition navigators" made me want to go back and listen to this old nugget from Progressive Clintonite Robert Reich, recorded before Barack Obama became president - twice.

Not just a prediction any more.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:21 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Points for honesty. And extra points for the scattered golf applause for "you're going to pay more," "you're going to die," and "there will not be innovation to allow you to live longer."

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, honesty here, but the precise opposite of honesty to persuade Americans to "I *heart* Obamacare."

A few Progressive translations may be illuminating:

"better" means - equal
"affordable" means - someone else pays
"happiness" means - you expect less from life than your parents did

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 1:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I have to underscore your second. Gov. Ed Rendell last night -- but almost every Democrat apologist I see -- defends sticker shock by suggesting people haven't applied subsidies. So: a person who goes from paying his/her own way in the private market with a $100 premium but is bumped into a $225 payment with $150 subsidy is "saving" $25 a month.

Such math is nails on the chalkboard of my libertarian understanding, yet I am surprised at how unabashedly it is presented. Is there not a thinking progressive who finds that paternalistic if not uneconomic?

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 2:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The thinking Progressives, as compared to the idealogues, get around any unpleasant feelings through a careful application of terminology. You call it a "subsidy." I doubt Fast Eddie did. More than likely, he referred to it as "a new tax credit."

And like most modern tax policies, we have been conditioned to accept as "fair" that "lower income families and individuals get the most help."

Here's a new one on me though - "The amount of the tax credit depends on your income, your age, the size of your family, and where you live." Your age? Where the f*#& you live??

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Agree 100% with the analysis. But Gov. Rendell, and Keith Boykin, and about everybody I hear do not bother to euphemize or obfuscate. They call them subsidies, while looking straight into the camera with good posture.

After Gov. Romney's 47% "gaffe" there is no allowable delineation between those pullin' the wagon and those ridin'. I almost wish they would do me the courtesy of using weasel words.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2013 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The aforementioned idealogues don't need to use weasel words any longer. Opposing redistribution along lines of income, family size, age, and even where you freaking live has now successfully been equated with "racism."

In addition to our president, American political thought is now a joke.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 3:58 PM

October 29, 2013

Aaaah! I get it now...

Top Democrat says those aren't "cancellation notices," they're "transitions" into Obamacare

UPDATE:


Posted by John Kranz at 6:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

George Orwell, call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 9:16 AM

Oh, So THAT'S What "Period" and "Under Any Circumstances" Means

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, quoted in NRO's Corner:

"It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

Many of us knew it had to be a lie at the time. We just didn't know that "No ifs, ands or buts" doesn't also mean "no assumings."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

From "what 'is' is" to "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

Bonus HS: Jay Carney Berates Insurance Companies For Complying With Obamacare

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2013 3:48 PM

Pity the Fool

ReasonTV:

Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | Comments (0)

ACA ad Hominem

This post is filed under television, et. al, because I'm going to rip on a television column in the L.A. Times, which in turn rips on former television star Suzanne Somers because she Calls Obamacare 'Ponzi Scheme' in Error Ridden Article.

The column never rebuts the characterization. Instead it attacks her accuracy on tangential issues, but not until highlighting her sex life, alternative health practices and past infomercial gigs.

"An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin ('Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state') that has been widely disputed," the Journal wrote in an addendum to the original piece. "And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill ('Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens') that the Journal has been unable to confirm."

That wasn't all. Somers pointed to a Canadian magazine article that criticized that country's nationalized health care system by arguing that animals could get better care than human beings. But in her original post, Somers mistakenly recalled which animal was pictured on the cover: It was a dog, not a horse.

Gasp! Well then, that's that I guess - Obamacare is clearly not a Socialist Ponzi scheme. Here's what she said, according to the (L.A.) Times:

"Boomers are smart," Somers wrote in a Monday opinion piece for the online version of the Wall Street Journal. "They see the train wreck coming… most I speak with think the Affordable Care Act is a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff."

"And don't forget, dear reader, that the Wall Street Journal is owned by the same multimegabillionaire who owns FOX NEWS!!!" But what Somers wrote is that others whom she speaks with have called it that.

And then there was the Nuclear Option for discrediting a Hollywood Starlet, at any stage of her career - the mug shot. Try to figure out which of these headed the WSJ article and which one ran in the Times.

OB-YV315_expert_C_20130909095823.jpg

la-et-st-suzanne-somers-calls-obamacare-ponzi--001.jpg

What? Oh, of course I read about her sex life. But the sex was, yawn, with her husband.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:24 PM | Comments (0)

This Could be a Negative

Last week, we reported that the "honor system" is being used to confirm the identity and certification of Navigators/Assisters. The "Find Local Help" feature on Healthcare.gov refers consumers to potential predators. -- David Steinberg
Hat-tip: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

What [else] could go wrong?

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2013 2:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

There is no honor system among thieves.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 29, 2013 5:24 PM

Quote (and ACAHS) of the Day

There's also the third possibility: The administration has learned that a large meteor will destroy the world on or before November 30, and wants to live out its remaining time on the planet in relative peace, rather than dodging "are we there yet?" questions about the website every day. So basically the possibilities are:

1) They know what they're doing.
2) They have fooled themselves into thinking they know what they're doing, but don't.
3) Meteor.


That's Obamaphile and Juicebox Mafioso Jonathan Chait, quoted in an (excellent) Megan McArdle piece.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2013

ACAHSOTD

Those Right Wing Loonies at NBC News are at it again!

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a "cancellation" letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don't meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience "sticker shock."


Not to put too fine a point on it, they lied.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:17 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Ahhh, I long for those heady days when it actually mattered "what the president knew, and when did he know it?" But if said president has no sense of shame, and the congress is afraid to impeach because the "news" media won't back them up, how can it matter? Who cares?

More and more our only recourse is non-compliance with a government that is a joke. An administration that is a joke. A President of the United State who is a JOKE.

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2013 12:03 PM
But AndyN thinks:

There are a whole lot of things I'll beat up the House GOP leadership for, but not trying to impeach Obama isn't one of them. Whether or not they're avoiding it because they value the opinion of the press is beside the point. If the House voted to impeach, the Senate would never EVER convict as long as it's controlled by Democrats, and I think there's some value to the adage "if you're going to shoot at the king, don't miss." I don't think anything good can come of taking the shot knowing that it won't bring him down.

Posted by: AndyN at October 29, 2013 11:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Absolutely right Andy. I wasn't actually suggesting that this House impeach the president, rather lamenting the fact that, as KA reminds, there is no longer any honor among these thieves. This Senate is prosecution exhibit A.

Posted by: johngalt at October 30, 2013 11:55 AM

October 27, 2013

Live From New York!


Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2013

"Just a Glitch"

That's the meme from the O'care cheerleaders. Even the president claims, "The Affordable Care Act is more than just a web site." Perhaps, but all roads still lead to Rome.

But the truth is those applications - on paper or by phone - have to get entered into the same lousy website that is causing the problems in the first place. And the people processing the paper and calls don't have any cyber secret passage to duck around that. They too have to deal with all the frustrations of HealthCare.gov - full-time.

With apologies to the relatively much better managed National Aeronautics and Space Administration...

RAMclr-102313-glitch-IBD-COLOR-FINAL.gif

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:41 PM | Comments (0)

Cheers for Sens. Bennett and Mark Udall

Both my Democratic Senators have signed a letter to extend the open enrollment:

Ten Senate Democrats have signed on to a letter crafted by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) urging the Obama administration to extend the open enrollment period for the recently launched health-care exchanges.

Shaheen called for the extension this week in light of myriad problems with the HealthCare.gov Web site.

As of now, Americans are required to obtain health insurance by March 31 or will face a penalty under the individual mandate. Some have suggested the penalty could be delayed, given the problems with the Web site might prevent people who otherwise want insurance from obtaining it.


Udall is up in 2014 though I don't think he is in much trouble. Still happy to see my senators among what Glenn Reynolds calls "The Ranks of terrorists, arsonists, and seditionists."

UPDATE: Kim Strassel (is this a walkback of sorts?) piles on:

After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form. With the GOP's antics now over, the only story now is the unrivaled disaster that is the president's health-care law.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, fine, so Obamacare is twice as expensive as the old health insurance and still doesn't cover illegals - but what the hell is this restricted enrollment period horse shit in the first place? Don't extend it, remove the limit! I should be able to buy it anytime of year, even after I get sick. #ObamacareFail

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2013 6:42 PM

October 24, 2013

Obama Administration? Looking out for Number One

Not really looking out for the little guy though.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:00 PM | Comments (0)

Some Problems with the "Shop & Browse" Feature

The right wing wackos at CBS are piling on ObamaCare® again:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Those wanting a "sedan" will be shown the price of a '97 Yugo...

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2013 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Misleading advertising? Quick, alert the CFPB!

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2013 7:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Do NOT get me started on the CFPB. The CFPB is about to become the Obamacare of the real estate industry. Not a fun time that the escrow business is looking forward to.

http://is.gd/QwBOCI

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 24, 2013 8:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Sadly, I did not have time to watch the instructional videos...

But what could be wrong with having Elizabeth Warren (Wahoo - MA) oversee all financial instruments? Sounds good to me.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2013 11:04 AM

Now it's our turn

I must admit, not every ACA horror story is all that horrible.

For some time now I've been trying to explain that democrats in general, and President Obama in particular, have become Health Insurance salesmen instead of politicians. Meaning, that their popularity now depends on voters being happy about the cost benefit ratio of their health insurance plans. For most of my lifetime Republicans have never had a better cudgel with which to bludgeon their opponent. But now my point is being made in the "On the left" column at IBD Ed page by Dana Milbank:

This is perhaps the biggest problem facing ObamaCare and probably will haunt it long after the technical problems at HealthCare.gov are fixed.

Because of all the noise and disinformation, President Obama and the Democrats don't just own ObamaCare as a political issue. They own health care. Anytime something bad happens -- premiums rise, or employers change plans or pare coverage -- ObamaCare will be blamed, even if the new law had nothing to do with the change.

"It's one of the most frustrating things," says Brad Woodhouse, the former Democratic National Committee official who runs Americans United for Change. "If anybody has a problem with health care, Republicans say it has to be a problem with ObamaCare."

Does Woodhouse believe Democrats now own health care? "In some ways we probably do, which is unfair," he said. "Nobody said ObamaCare was a panacea for everything."

Rilly? That's sure what it sounded like when he was campaigning for President. Other than that though, I agree! (Who says we can't compromise.) It's Obamacare's fault!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The needle to be threaded is dissatisfaction with the status quo ante which will be revised down. "Yeah, he broke it, but it was so terrible -- and those damnëd Republicans wouldn't let us have single payer!"

I am tempted to defend it -- there were enough free market parts that people came from all over the world to have what we had until last week. And, it saved my life and my wife's without financial ruin.

But the nonsense of employer tax breaks leaves many with a bad memories. And I think the left's current play is to foment and magnify those.

On whose side will the media cheerleaders be?

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2013 7:17 PM

ACAHSOTD

Honest to God, you want to know the good news about the exchange sites? Right now, there just isn't that much personal private information on it for identity thieves to steal. -- Jim Geraghty
UPDATE: There seems to be little else to frustrate them.
As you can see, you can enumerate valid and invalid user accounts in the database. Even worse is there are no form or appearance of automation deterrents such as CAPTCHA or image verifications that a human is attempting this. We can easily feed this through Burp Intruder for the content length from the response to see which usernames were actually valid. Essentially you could enumerate the entire database of user accounts in the new healthcare.gov website through brute forcing the response codes and finding valid usernames.

Additionally, developer comment code is plastered everywhere which gives an attacker a significant amount of understanding about the application -- these are literally everywhere on almost every page that's opened and all third party files


[This is me, putting on my shocked face...]

Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2013

Vote for Me, I canceled your health insurance!

I don't think there would be any debate that this constitutes an "Affordable Care Act" horror story - Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of Obamacare. Sixteen million, for starters.


Kaiser Health News called up a few insurers around the country and found that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already received cancellation notices.

"[T]he cancellation notices, which began arriving in August, have shocked many consumers in light of President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them," according to Kaiser Health News reporters Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby.

And that doesn't include small groups or, after their 1 year delay, large group plans.

You'll love it! Trust us!

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:00 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Got to break some eggs to make an omelet!

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2013 5:48 PM
But AndyN thinks:

A lot of detractors have been focusing on the mandate and people getting fined, um, taxed come April if they don't have insurance, but I think this is the part that's really going to bite the Democrats in the butt. It's one thing to tell people that you'll probably have the web site glitches ironed out well before the end of the 6 month open enrollment, and if you don't you'll put off the mandate. It's another thing entirely to tell people who are insured right now that come January they'll either have to go without insurance or buy at increased rates without the potential government subsidies they were promised to ease the pain.

Posted by: AndyN at October 23, 2013 9:35 PM
But Jk thinks:

A Kudlow guest discusses a popular loophole where insurers offer to change the renewal date to December to avoid Obamacare mandates. Those offered are choosing this 15:1.

Like the President said: if you like your plan, you can keep it for another 11 months.

Posted by: Jk at October 23, 2013 10:29 PM

"Nobody is more frustrated than me

The transcript of President Obama's Rose Garden speech on Obamacare glitches is available, curiously, in the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day Archives: "I order you to solve it!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:19 AM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

like

Posted by: dagny at October 23, 2013 12:17 PM

Never Mind

Remember how one of the arguments in support of Obamacare was that insuring everyone would be cheaper and more efficient than paying for uninsured people to use emergency room care? Uh oh.

The bottom line, though, is that even if the Affordable Care Act delivers everything its backers hope to see, more than 2 million Californians will still be without insurance and a dependable source of health care. And nearly half of those people will be undocumented immigrants.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:11 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith predicted a surfeit of ACAHSOTDs, but jg's posting at 12:11 AM Mountain Time strikes me as over competitive...

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2013 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If only Obamacare web techies were so dedicated!

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 3:04 PM

New York Health Insurance Rates "Fall" Under Obamacare

As linked in a comment yesterday, New York State has at least one Obamacare subscriber as of Monday. Fox News left-wing contributor Sally Kohn wrote,

"Honestly, I couldn't wait to sign up for ObamaCare -- not because I talk about it on television, but because I'm tired of being ripped off by my insurance company.

I live in New York State -- which for several decades has had the highest individual insurance premiums in the nation."

Not surprising since we're accustomed to everything costing more in New York, at least in NYC. But Ms. Kohn herself gives the clue to why this is so in her earlier piece, Five Reasons Americans Already Love Obamacare

Personally, as someone who pays through the nose for individual insurance in New York State -- a state where, historically, few individual insurance options have even been available == I can't wait to enroll in ObamaCare and see my premiums plummet, as they are expected to by at least 50% [hyperlink in original]

From the link:

Economists expected the law to significantly decrease premiums in the Empire State, which in 1993 prohibited insurers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, required carriers to charge "all consumers the exact same rate," but did not compel young and healthy people to enroll in coverage. As a result, insurers dramatically increased prices and enrollment in the individual market "steadily diminished."

Essentially, New York imposed some Obamacare rules on its own, resulting in massive rate hikes and subscriber flight. Now that Obamacare is here to "spread the pain around" New York's rates are expected to be relatively lower. Relative, that is, to what they had already soared up to. Why? Because of the individual mandate. No wonder delaying it was "non-negotiable."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:39 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2013

Can't Spin This Turd

Even when I agree with Stewart, I find him difficult to watch. But there are some gems in here if you can take 9:51 of smarm:

Aren't those supposed to be ones and zeros? They've used fours and fives! (~8:30)

Hat-tip: Libertarian Republic

Posted by John Kranz at 2:35 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"A TRON-like bureaucratic nightmare with no escape." Sounds like wacko-bird talk to me!

'Epic fail' only begins to describe what we are all witnessing from our omnipotent federal government right now.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2013 11:33 AM

Quote of the Day

The White House pitched President Obama's Rose Garden event on Monday as a new transparency, but the event amounted to an infomercial, complete with a 1-800 number. Operators are standing by and "the product is good," the President said. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

While the Giants Improve to 1 - 6

The Empire State's Obamacare® franchise is still Oh-for:

In New York, one of only 16 states that has its own exchange, not one person had succeeded in using the site to enroll in a plan as of Friday.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

So, Obamacare is basically the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 22, 2013 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd never insult an actual NFL team thusly.

Good excuse for a pre-review-corner peek at a good line:

Lawmaking has been compared to making sausages. Modern constitutional doctrine calls for judges to act as if most of those sausages were being made in a sparkling clean laboratory by skilled technicians wearing latex gloves and hairnets. Public choice theory suggests otherwise. Indeed, the owner of a sausage factory near Washington D.C. remarked that he feels “insulted” when people compare his business to lawmaking.

Neily III, Clark M. (2013-10-08). Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution's Promise of Limited Government (Kindle Locations 1630-1633). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As of Monday, however, there has been one sale of Obamacare. Fox News contributor Sally Kohn saved 24 percent on premiums! (More later on why that savings is specious.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 7:24 PM

October 21, 2013

ACA Non-Horror Stories

Fair and Gorram Balanced -- that's ThreeSources! Let's take a few minutes to dwell on ObamaCare®'s success stories. Thankfully, the Administration gathered many of them together for us today to highlight his speech. No doubt, these were representative samples of Billions and Billions of satisfied customers, but you can fit only so many on a stage.

Even better, Byron York has gone over the details and distilled them into an article in the Washington Examiner (your other home for feel-good ACA news!)

For example, a Pennsylvania man named Malik Hassan was in the group, and this is the White House description of his situation, in full: "Malik Hassan works at a restaurant in Philadelphia. Hassan, who does not receive coverage through his employer, is looking forward to enrolling for health coverage this fall. He recently used Healthcare.gov. to process his application and is waiting for the options for potential plans in Philadelphia."

So, Hassan is employed, not covered, and has not yet succeeded in finding coverage through Obamacare. That is, in the White House's estimation, an Obamacare success story.


Well, Byron, that's just one of success stories. He's got more where that came from -- just click on through!

UPDATE: Three of the 13 had actually signed up!

Of the 13 people who flanked President Obama during his speech defending Obamacare in the Rose Garden Monday, just three had successfully registered for the new Obamacare exchanges.

UPDATE II: We were told there would be no math. Taranto counts one fewer:
Of the 13 White House success stories, only 2 actually seem to have bought policies through the exchanges. A few others have benefited from those other ObamaCare provisions that, according to the president, "you may not have noticed." But you'd think the White House would be able to come up with a baker's dozen people who've actually benefited in some way. And again, none of the success stories involve people who've willingly signed up to pay higher premiums--those without whom ObamaCare's economics cannot work.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

I think there's no better illustration of "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" than having a pregnant diabetic woman stand behind you as a photo op prop while you extoll the virtues of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for long enough that she almost passes out.

Posted by: AndyN at October 21, 2013 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. The TeeVee news showed the woozy prop and her subsequent tweet that she was "okay." They did not apply the harsh judgment of ThreeSources, cutely adding that she knew she would not be able to go to the bathroom, so [the aforementioned pregnant diabetic] did not drink any water. Then the anchor staff giggled perkily.

I'm sure they'd have been as accommodative had President Georg -- dang, dollar in the jar!

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 11:03 AM

Otequay of the Ayday

Now, that the shutdown is over, the public can focus on this unfolding disaster. And thanks to the fact that conservative GOP lawmakers fought a valiant fight to stop ObamaCare, they'll know exactly who to blame. -Investor's Ed Page: Meltdown Now in Plain Sight

Today's Ramirez cartoon is also a must-see.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, I'm in. Larry Kudlow and Kim Strassel are still 100% certain that this exercise was a complete failure for the GOP.

ThreeSourcers will recall that I advocated caution. But -- for a couple of weeks -- I heard articulate and energetic Republicans discussing liberty; that is an omelet worth breaking a few eggs over.

My new concern is that the RINO backlash is going to cause too much consternation in the upcoming midterms. We need some amazing electoral results in '14; disunity doesn't seem to be the key.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2013 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny received a CNN news flash email this am that she characterized as saying, "Evidence that the Republicans are going to lose their house majority." Can you believe it? From CNN even!

Posted by: johngalt at October 21, 2013 4:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yahoo's on it as well.

Democrats could win "a significant majority" in the House if the voter anger aimed at Republicans over the government shutdown carries into 2014, new surveys commissioned by a progressive group show.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2013 5:11 PM
But AndyN thinks:

My new concern is that the RINO backlash is going to cause too much consternation in the upcoming midterms.

I think this may be a real concern. I have a friend from high school who's fairly active in local politics in his corner of Texas, and he's been raging on facebook about what a plague the Tea Party is on the nation as a whole and on the GOP in particular. It could just be wishful thinking on his part, but he's convinced that the Tea Party is done as a force within the GOP, that Cruz is history, and that Tea Party favorites in the House are going to lose primary challenges to "reasonable" Republicans. Of course, most of the people I see agreeing with him are sympathetic Democrats who hope that the GOP can once again become a cooperative partner in government.

Posted by: AndyN at October 21, 2013 5:34 PM

What would we do without "experts?"

From the same Matthew Segal article:

Nevertheless, I recently read an article in Forbes from an opt-out proponent who said "using insurance to pay for routine health care services distorts price signals and increases costs through layers of administration." This argument is specious on a few fronts.

First, 18% of our GDP (overall spending) goes toward health care costs. Experts estimate that much of this can be reduced through preventative care -- which is encouraged through Obamacare coverage.

Golly, encourage people to seek out and use preventive care. Why did nobody think of that before Obamacare?

This situation is a direct parallel for one that John Stossel has been highlighting recently - the Johnson' Administration's 'War on Poverty.' By instituting sweeping government programs (like Obamacare) the progress toward a particular goal that was already underway, ceased. If we assume that poverty levels would have continued falling, the "War on Poverty" actually caused more poverty, since the poverty rate flattened immediately. In essence, "government created poverty." Remember this next time some Tea Bagger says government never produces anything!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (0)

Tough Sell

From a Fortune Magazine article by Matthew Segal, President and co-founder of 'OurTime-dot-org' entitled: Why Millennials Need Obamacare

Lastly, there is an argument that Obamacare disproportionately helps older people because healthy young people who pay slightly higher premiums subsidize them. Irrespective of the fact that this is how health insurance has always worked, boycotting a system because a segment of the population other than yourself will also be better off under a policy is in no way a credible reason to invalidate it. But even more importantly, you won't be young and healthy forever. Health circumstances can change at a moment's notice, and your age circumstance definitely will. You may or may not get sicker. But you will definitely get older. Do not be so myopic to think otherwise.

Mr. Obamacare apologist, did you just say that health insurance "worked" before Obamacare? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2013

It's Friday. More ACA Horror Stories

First, another data point:

"I believe everybody should be able to have health insurance, but at the same time, I'm being penalized. And for what?" said Weldzius, who is not offered insurance through his employer. "For someone who's always had insurance, who's always taken care of myself, now I have to change my plan?"

Impacting more than just "the 15 percent of Americans who don't currently have health care."

"It's been major sticker shock for most of my clients and prospects," said Rich Fahn, president of the Northbrook-based insurance broker Excell Benefit Group. "I'm telling (clients) that everything they know historically about health plans has changed. They either have to pay more out-of-pocket or more premiums or both. It's an overwhelming concern."

Where's that free lunch we were promised?

Insurers say the price and cost hikes result from new benefit mandates, additional taxes levied as part of the law and a requirement that they can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

But all of this is worth it, because more Americans now have access to quality care.

Brokers say they worry most about people who qualify for lower subsidies or none at all. Those with more modest incomes might not have enough in savings to pay for medical expenses.

They "could get slammed if they get sick," said Pollitz, of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "They just won't have the money. They just won't."

A potential consequence could be that some individuals may not seek medical care beyond routine office visits when they should, dissuaded by the specter of having to pay for it out of pocket.

"They'll just live without," Pollitz said, "kind of like they do now."


Posted by JohnGalt at 5:42 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The horror stories are unavoidable - they're not accidents, they're math.

I've spent a lifetime in the insurance industry (well, okay, thirty-one years; it just SEEMS like a lifetime), but you don't need that experience to make plain what's wrong with Obamacare: insurance is not magic. An insurance company has to take in (through premium dollars and investment income) at least as much as it pays out (in benefits, salaries, and overhead). It's a business, not a charity with an endless cash supply. To survive, the insurance company needs to set premium based on the risk they're taking on. That's called "underwriting."

Obamacare supporters are among the stupidest people I talk to, and that's saying something. The typical Obamacare supporter wants omnibus coverage; they don't want to have to pay a higher premium for pre-existing factors or risk conditions, and by the way, they want to pay $85 a month in premiums to get that coverage (and have their employer or the government subsidize as much of that as possible). What fails to register is that if everybody's paying $1,000 a year in premium, and using $3,000 average per year in services, the system breaks down.

Let's talk about pre-existing conditions. If your average policyholder has a 1-in-1000 chance of getting seriously sick (and let's say we define "seriously sick" as anticipating $100,000 in medical costs), the oddmakers can forecast how much premium they have to charge to cover that bet. What happens when the odds are 1-in-1 (after all, that's what pre-existing conditions are - a 1-in-1 chance of sickness)? You have to take in a lot more to cover that, doncha?

My sweet mom-in-law, at 78, is a career diabetic, along with a host of other ailments. I counted her pill bottles a few weeks ago. No lie, she takes 28 different meds, not counting her insulin. I know what she costs her medical insurer.

Let's talk about keeping kids on daddy's coverage until they're 26. What demographic are these people? They're people who are young and generally healthy. They're exactly the people who need to go out and buy coverage to offset all the expensive patients, aren't they?

People complain that the cost of medical care is rising so fast. Well, okay, some of that is innovation. If you want MRI scans and CAT scans, they're going to cost more than a chest X-ray. Robotic surgery and things like that cost to invent, and cost to use. But a big case can be made that insurance itself is a big cause of rising costs. When the end user is not writing the check for the treatment rendered, there's a disincentive to self-regulate. Prices do signal information, after all. Any non-Keynesian economist knows that. Hell, I know that, and I'm relatively illiterate.

But if Hugeco is paying $92.50 for an exam that a patient with cash in hand would pay $60 for, what happens to prices overall? They rise to match what Hugeco is paying - especially when the government is imposing a fee schedule on third-party payers like insurance companies.

So, with no natural restraint on demand and bureaucrats setting fee schedules based on what campaign donors like the AMA "suggest," is it an wonder that costs go up?

Ideally, if you did away with insurance and public benefits, and had people pay directly for their own treatment, what would happen to the price of treatment, do you think?

More pragmatically, here's a manifesto for you:

(1) End Obamacare.
(2) End the requirement that employers provide subsidized coverage for employees. Offer it voluntarily to attract better employees? Hell yes. But that should be a voluntary agreement between a willing employer and a willing employee. Of course, so should wages and working conditions, but that's another post.
(3) Allow shopping for coverage across state lines.
(4) Separate routine health-care plans from catastrophic illness coverage. That way, if I don't want coverage for what I evaluate as expensive but rare medical needs, I don't have to buy it.
(5) Allow cafeteria-style coverage. I'm a male; I don't personally need pregnancy coverage, and my policy will cost less without it. I don't anticipate ever needing substance abuse treatment (though in the face of the daily news...), so why should I pay for it? I don't want psychological treatment coverage, and I'm persuaded that chiropractors are quacks. What am I not allowed to shop for an inexpensive plan that doesn't cover these things?

Why does my government think I'm not competent to make my own intelligent choices? And more ominously, what makes them think they are?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 18, 2013 9:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm calling BS on "I'm relatively illiterate." Relative to what? The inhabitants of Vulcan?

Now, while I usually strive to avoid novel-length comments, today is Saturday and the subject of this post virtually demands it, ergo...

You have ably described the fiduciary nature of "insurance" i.e. financial risk mitigation. But there is a natural component of this that Obamacare's stupid supporters have latched onto and sought to expand even further, i.e. risk sharing.

When someone believes it is perfectly moral to take from some people and give to others because they "need it" there is no leap required to convince them that healthy people should pay to care for sick people.

When medical insurance first came on the scene the definition of "sick" was far simpler than it is today. Now it also includes "anxious" and "addicted to monthly spinal 'adjustments." Since these maladies are, or were, in relatively small demand compared to the large number of providers of such services, said providers petitioned government to make coverage of their services mandatory. The floodgates were opened.

I'm not prepared to demonize requirements like covering dependent children until they complete college or even maternity care premiums charged to males (after all, every maternity event involved a male at the front end so males should share in the costs at the back end, whether present or not) but these are not the provisions that destroy the insurance system.

In addition to mandating boutique coverages for all and writing policies for pre-existing conditions, i.e. those with 100% likelihood of costs that exceed premiums, Obamacare goes a giant step further with income-based premiums. This is disguised somewhat by its implementation - individuals up to 4X impoverishment are given public "subsidies" to pay for this thing that has now been made twice (or more) as costly. The result is that everyone who earns more than this arbitrary income is paying for those earning less, and doubly so since they pay confiscatory taxes in addition to their multiplicative new health insurance premiums courtesy of Obamacare.

Item 2 of your manifesto requires correction - There is no "requirement" that employers provide subsidized coverage for employees, even under Obamacare. That most employers do so is a result of the tax treatment of medical insurance premiums. This is merely one of the market-distorting effects of government's involvement in the insurance industry. As with every other industry, it would be better off if government did nothing.

In conclusion, the advent of Obamacare is not the death knell of the insurance industry. Regulatory distortion has been killing the industry for decades now, but it was a slow death. What Obamacare has done is to accelerate the effects of the immoral and unsustainable principles of "social justice" in this large segment of the American economy. As blog pragmatist I suggest that it will ultimately do more to precipitate the unraveling of health insurance, health care, and progressive taxation than its stupid supporters could have foreseen.

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2013 9:45 AM

October 17, 2013

ACAHSOTD

Christian Science Monitor-

Michael Yount of Charlotte, N.C., is one such unhappy customer. He and his wife, retired and in their late 50s, have been buying their own health insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) in North Carolina, paying about $380 a month with an $11,000 deductible. BCBS is offering them a new plan for three times the cost, $1,124.50 a month, still with an $11,000 deductible.

"We are an insurance company's dream," Mr. Yount tells the Monitor. "We pay our bills, we hardly ever get sick, no prescription drugs. And now this."

Reluctantly, he says, they plan to drop out of formal health insurance, pay the penalty, and "self-insure."

"No question, there's risk there," Yount says. "The question is, how much are you willing to pay someone else to mitigate that risk?"

He also understands that the law is meant to help those who have not been able to buy insurance because of preexisting conditions. But he objects to how it's being done.

"If the only way to get it to them is forcibly taking it from everybody else, how is that any better?" Yount says. "I'm struggling with what is the greater evil and injustice. I don't think it's any more right to take it from one person forcibly. It's coercion."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Uncle!

ACAHSOTD?

Posted by: jk at October 17, 2013 5:59 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

To tell you the truth, JK, I don't know how we're going to limit it to just once a day. This is a target-rich environment. If it paid well, you could consider full-time publishing and produce a new story on the hour.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 17, 2013 6:10 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Let's see, there's this guy, and there was that guy writing at Kos the other day with pretty much the same story. Ordinarily I wouldn't put too much stock in just a few isolated cases, but according to famed Enron financial consultant Paul Krugman "the plural of anecdote is data." And who am I to argue with a Nobel laureate?

Posted by: AndyN at October 17, 2013 8:53 PM

October 16, 2013

Open for Redistribution!

After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.

I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:

1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.

2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.

3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.

Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."

One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.

Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!

UPDATE: ACAHSOTD

"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?"

ht: Terri

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter version: "Let it burn."

The only downside to all this is that when Obamacare - and one fine day not long after that, Leviathan himself - crashes, there are going to be people on the other side saying that it was doomed because we didn't cede enough authority or enough resources to it. That we tried it only halfway, and didn't go big, and it was the fault of the conservatives. Some - true believers of the left and a large posse of voters with room-temperature IQs - will buy that.

All that being said, we are going to see in our lifetimes Carthage salt itself. That's going to be both historic and spectacular.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 16, 2013 6:38 PM