American Elephants

The Inevitable Disaster of ObamaCare Begins: by The Elephant's Child

Democrats don’t get incentives.  It’s poorly understood incentives that lead to unintended consequences which are the nasty results that completely screw up a policy that was going to change everything for the better.

The Obama administration has set into play some dreadful dynamics with its 2000+ page health care reform bill.  They meant so well, and were so delighted that they had passed a bill that they were unable to pass for over a hundred years.  Turns out there were some real reasons why it had never passed.

Obama promised that consumers would be able to keep their coverage if they were happy with what they had.  The result is an avalanche of bad news for those consumers.

840,000 Midwesterners will lose their policies. The Principal Group has announced its plan to drop health insurance policies from its range of products.  The Iowa-based company provided coverage to about 840,000 people who receive their insurance from their employer.  Principal is just the latest in a long list of insurers to drop coverage.

30,000 McDonald’s hourly workers are at risk of losing their coverage.  The plans can’t meet the requirements of new regulations that HHS is writing to implement ObamaCare. Because McDonald’s has relatively high employee turnover, it spends more on signing people up and on other administrative costs than the new rules will allow. (85% medical care and 15% administrative costs).

“There is not any issuer of limited benefit coverage that could meet the…standards,” said Neil Trautwein, vice president of the National Retail Federation.  Millions more policies are at risk at such companies as Blockbuster, Disney, CVS, Staples and Home Depot.

22,000 New England seniors are losing the coverage they have.  Harvard Pilgrim announced this week that it is getting out of the market for Medicare Advantage in response to the massive cuts in this popular program.  This dumps seniors back into fee-for-service Medicare, where they may have a hard time finding a physician who will see them.

Individual child only policies are vanishing. Children must be insured on their parents’ policies, but parents who could not afford health insurance often bought child-only policies for their kids. (Parents do that).  Ans such policies under the new rules are no longer available.

Retiree policies are in jeopardy, and many smaller companies may shut down as they conclude, like nHealth in Virginia, that it is not possible to navigate the maze of new regulations and succeed.

Current estimates project a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015, with a continuing worsening of shortages through 2025 as an additional 36 million enter Medicare.

This is the inevitable result of ObamaCare.  And there is far more wreckage to come.  Regulations and rules are made by regulators who have little or no understanding of business and how it works, and regard profit as a dirty word.  If you do not understand that without profit, there is no business, you’re not apt to make sensible regulations.

Who Knew an Economist Could Be Really Funny? by The Elephant's Child
October 4, 2010, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Entertainment, Humor | Tags: , ,

Yoram Bauman PhD, “the world’s first and only stand-up economist”, as he performed at the 2010 American Economic Association humor session.

(h/t: Greg Mankiw)

If It Weren’t so Obnoxious, It Might Be Funny. by The Elephant's Child


—  The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, always good for a laugh, is seriously considering a ban on the Happy Meal and other toy giveaways that are accompanied by food that contains more sugar, sodium and fat than the proponents of the ban consider to be appropriate. The proposed “Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance” would accept a free trinket on half-cup servings of both a fruit or a vegetable.
— New York City schools regulate the kinds of foods that students may sell for fundraising: acceptable are Fiber One bars, Soy Crisps, and Ayala’s Herbal Water.  Not going to raise a lot of funds with those.
The proposals are only the latest attempt by government officials to do something about the “epidemic of childhood obesity.”  Evidence in the scholarly literature suggests physical inactivity, not overeating, is the primary cause of obesity.  Children’s levels of caloric intake haven’t changed much over the past 20 years.
— What has changed are playgrounds. Gone are the teeter-totters, the swings, the slides.  Playgrounds have been sanitized down to the toddler level for fear that someone might get hurt and sue. No violent games, like tag.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not indicate when he will lift the ‘temporary’ moratorium on new deepwater drilling.  “The same people who fought regulation and oversight in the oil and gas industry have protested the suspension from the start  They want us to ignore the new reality and go back to business as usual as if nothing had happened” he said.  “That is not an option and we won’t proceed on that front.”
More and stricter rules, but offshore drilling will remain part of the energy portfolio.
“Can’t go back to business as usual” has become a favorite catch-phrase of this administration which is usually designed to refer to old Republican ways of doing things, as opposed to new, forward-looking progressive overregulation and the loss of thousands of high-paying Gulf oil jobs.

Democrats plan to stuff 20 bills into the post-election lame-duck session.  The pile of stuff they have left over from their desire to escape before they have any more negatives with which to face the electorate is hefty and somewhat daunting.  There are the threat of drastically raised taxes, the unaddressed budget, the defense authorization bill, the DREAM Act— a path to legal residence for children of illegal immigrants, more unemployment benefits, a freeze on scheduled cuts to doctor’s Medicare reimbursements are just a few of their must-pass list.

Small nuclear reactors, large potential impact. A new report by the Energy Policy Institute with the American Council on Global Nuclear Competitiveness investigates how four separate scenarios of small modular reactor construction could affect the economy.  A prototypical 100 megawatt SMR costing $500 million to manufacture and install onsite is estimated to create nearly 7,000 jobs and generate $1.3 billion in sales, $527 million in value-added impacts, $404 million in earnings, and $35 million in indirect business taxes. A major improvement on windmills.

A network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform as Tocqueville warned us so long ago, threatens to overwhelm us. The federal government bans the incandescent lightbulb, it bans street signs that have all capital letters and mandates what font they must be in, now Congress is focusing it august attention on the volume of TV commercials.  Mark Krikorian points out that the problem is not that these things create unnecessary costs or destroy jobs, which they do, or that lawmakers have more important things to do like budgets; the problem is that the have no business doing any of these things.

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