American Elephants


Remy: God Bless the USA [VA Scandal Edition] by The Elephant's Child

Remy remakes the Lee Greenwood classic for the administrators of today’s Veterans Administration hospitals.

Iraq and the Release of Taliban Leaders from Guantanamo may have pushed the VA Hospital Scandal off the front pages, but nobody has forgotten or forgiven. Americans care about their veterans.



Fully Functioning Website 0, More False Assurances 100. by The Elephant's Child

The promised deadline of December 1 has come and gone, and the “fully functioning” website is still off glimmering in the far distance, with a lot of burnt-out bulbs. Just another addition to President Obama’s long, long list of broken promises, false assurances and hope and change talk for low-information voters. It’s still all campaigning. He talks a good game, but doesn’t notice that no one believes him anymore, and in case they did his words are recorded for later review.

Ezra Klein, the liberal Washington Post reporter, a true believer, notes that “the site still suffers a disastrous outage rate judged by the standards of major retail Web sites — that’s not counting the time it spends down for scheduled maintenance.” The insurance companies who have to deal  with the mess the administration is creating are in a panic as the system transmits data that is full of errors, fails to transmit at all, and warns that even those few who have managed to sign up for coverage may show up at their doctor’s office in January to learn that they didn’t purchase the insurance they think they purchased.  Oh well, details.

We have learned that at least 30% of the website has never yet been written. It doesn’t exist, including the payment mechanism for subsidies. The effort to fix the website is based on the politics of it — the public, embarrassing part, rather than the serious back-end problems. Subsidies are improperly calculated, consumers are misidentified, relationships are misstated — National Review adds that one customer was surprised to learn that he had three wives instead of one wife and two dependents — and in many cases the information is not being transmitted to the insurers at all. If the information sent from the website to the insurance provider is not accurate or complete — there is no insurance and the website is all a lie as well.

The Washington Post quantifies the enrollment problems — it find that “errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since October 1.”

The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill. Under the 2010 law designed to reshape the health-care system, consumers are not considered to have coverage unless they have paid at least the first monthly insurance premium.

The “Tech surge”, “team of experts” according to reports consists of 6 people.

The White House, Barack O’Blameless — blames consumers:

Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.

The primary promise was universal coverage. President O’Blameless emphasized over and over that the country has a “moral imperative” to cover those who could not find coverage on their own. Somewhere around 30 million to 47 million, depending on the numbers of illegals and those who are eligible for public assistance, but do not partake. The recession increased the uninsured by 6 million,  number that continues to grow. The CBO’s latest estimate says there will be 31 million uncovered Americans in 2019. So much for the universal coverage bit.

The second big promise was to reduce the cost of health care, specifically the cost of premiums. Bwa-ha-ha-ha. Health Care expert Avik Roy has found that costs for a family of four would increase by $7,450 by 2022. In some states costs will be far higher. The ObamaCare people say that the law will provide subsidies to offset the higher cost, but , of course being liberals, have no idea who is going to pay for it. The rich and big corporations?

The incentives are all wrong. Once they fulfill the dream of universal coverage, they have to figure out how to pay for it. The overriding incentive for government becomes controlling costs. The more they move toward “Single Payer”, the more the cost becomes an overriding problem. The ObamaCare people may have copied the mandates from Romney’s plan for Massachusetts, but the overall dream was Britain’s NHS, which Obama’s advisers really admired.

Most of the big cost in health care was for old people in their final years. Limiting their care was the driving force behind Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), unelected, unaccountable, which will decide what the Government will pay for and what they will not. Sarah Palin referred to it accurately as a “Death Panel.” And Obama has frequently suggested that perhaps the old folks should just get a pain pill instead of any expensive medical treatment.

The Daily Telegraph reports that 1,158 NHS care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade. Some 318 died from starvation or severe malnutrition, and 2,815 deaths were attributed to bed sores. This does not include those who died in hospital. NHS’s medical director will spell out the failings of 14 hospital trusts in England who have been responsible, between them,  for 13,000 “excess deaths” through poor care, medical errors and failures of management. That’s what you get when the incentives are all about cutting costs, as it is in the liberal dream of Single Payer.

 



“If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It” by The Elephant's Child

Uh huh.



Incompetence, Indifference, or Just Plain Cowardice? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama fired back today at critics who have accused his administration of orchestrating a cover-up over the September 11 attacks in Libya, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in an interview that aired Monday. The president said:

I do take offense with some suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.

If we find out there was a big breakdown, and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable.

Ultimately, as commander-in-chief, I’m responsible, and I don’t shy away from that responsibility. My number one responsibility is to go after the folks who did this, and we’re going to make sure we get them.

Your responsibility, as commander-in-chief, Mr. President, was to protect sovereign American territory, our ambassador, and the other people in that consulate.

The correct response was to send in a rapid response team to rescue the inhabitants of the consulate and the annex, eliminate the attackers, and secure the premises and whatever materials are contained at the two locations that should not fall into other hands. No, you didn’t need the consent of the Libyan government, the U.N. or anybody else. As you keep reminding us, but do not demonstrate, you are responsible and you are the commander-in-chief.

The most notable thing so far in your four years, Mr. President, is that you do shy away from responsibility of any kind. Whatever it is, it’s always someone else’s fault. You’re very big on promising “investigations” which usually linger on until everyone gets bored and new events take over the front pages, and no one is responsible and no one gets fired. (See Fast and Furious)

You take responsibility when what you did is popular. You can’t stop taking responsibility for killing bin-Laden, though that “gutsy call” took nearly a year and constant assurances that it was Osama and he was there. If you take responsibility for that, you have to take responsibility for the doctor who helped to prove that it was indeed bin-Laden and is sentenced to years in prison for his help. And you have to take responsibility for endangering the lives of members of SEAL Team Six and their families— which is real.

As I understand the timeline of events, you watched, in the situation room, events in real time as they evolved for at least seven of the nine-hour battle. You didn’t just do nothing, you actively prevented anyone else from doing anything — purely for political purposes. Instead of following the story, you went off to Las Vegas to raise money.

You turned down constant calls for help, and you actively prevented those in the AC-130 gunships overhead from firing, even when Glen Doherty was painting the mortars that eventually killed both of these brave SEALS..

General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, got the same emails begging for help received by the White House, and put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Jim Robbins at the Washington Times. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.” He was officially replaced by General Rodriguez.

According to various reports, one of Ambassador Stevens main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadaffi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 —portable SAMs—to Islamists and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. Stevens routinely used our Benghazi mission to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Stevens, according to Egyptian security sources played a central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad regime in Syria. There were two warehouses in the compound.

Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty fought for something like seven hours to rescue the consulate staff, and killed 60 of the attackers before they were killed themselves by mortar fire.

This whole incident has me sick with shame, anger and disgust.  This is the worst thing ever done by any president of the United States. Lots of presidents have had to order men into battle, order them on missions from which they might not return, commit them to battle in a war that seemed never to end. But they did it for necessary reasons for the security of the whole nation.

This president kept honorable Americans from going to the aid of other honorable American in dire need — because he was afraid it might make him look bad right before the election. That is craven, cowardly and sick-making.

The president may have initiated one of the biggest cover-ups in history, or demonstrated enormous incompetence, but with a hurricane hitting the East Coast, he wants you to know that he’s right there on top of everything. He’s been to the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington DC, he’s been to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be briefed and talked seriously on his telephone, and urged people to get some extra cash from the ATM, and pick up a solar or hand-crank charger for your cell phone. And get some emergency supplies like water, nonperishable food, batteries.




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