American Elephants

Expert Failure: Takes Monumental Hubris to Fail This Badly. by The Elephant's Child

Every time you think the news cannot get weirder — it does. It has snowed in Cairo for the first time in 100 years, and in Israel, where the snow caused major power outages. Greenpeace has informed kids that there will be no Santa Claus because of a shortage of snow and ice at the North Pole. And a couple of scientists have announced that, by golly, there really was a Medieval Warm Period and one in Roman times as well. The media also announced breathlessly that there is a giant caldera under Yellowstone Park, and if it blew it could destroy the whole country. And a Merry Christmas to you too.

There are well known facts behind this reportage. The earth is always warming and cooling in long cycles. It warmed a little in the twentieth century and it has been cooling for the past 17 years, which means there’s apt to be more snow and ice, and the arctic ice is growing, not retreating (which it does in the summer). The Roman and Medieval Warm periods have been long known to science and history, the people living then told us about where grapes were growing and food was more plentiful. And perhaps much of this is reported simply to get ObamaCare Failure off the front pages.

According to a Duke University/CFO Magazine Business Outlook survey, a quarterly poll of corporate finance chiefs, nearly half of U.S. companies say they are reluctant to hire because of the impact of the Affordable Care Act. One in five respondents said they are likely to hire fewer employees because of the law. Another one in 10 said they may lay off current employees, and 44 percent of companies said the will consider reducing health benefits to current employees in response to the health care law.

“The impact on the real economy is massive. Nearly one-third of firms may either terminate employees or hire fewer people in the future as a direct result of ACA,” said  Campbell R. Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

In California, Doctors are boycotting California’s ObamaCare Exchange, and won’t participate. An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s ObamaCare health insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid says that at least 15,000 ObamaCare enrollments did not get to the insurers. The data transmission failed as much as 15 percent of the time in the middle of October, but it is better now, maybe.

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

All those “experts” who thought they were so smart — it’s just ordinary hubris all the way down. Nothing works, nothing will work, and some people who are cancelled in the middle of treatment are going to die because of expert stupidity.

Let’s call the whole thing off.


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In my immediate area, there are two large hospital groups – Wellmont Health Systems and Mountain States Health Alliance. Reading the newspaper about those two groups is sometimes kind of like reading about the Hatfields and the McCoys, but they do agree the looming shortage of medical personnel is a problem; Wellmont just shut down a hospital in Virginia because of staffing issues (Obamacare was cited specifically in the press release), leaving people in the Pennington Gap area a 30 minute drive to Harlan, KY, a 45 minute drive to the small hospital in Norton, VA, or an hour to Kingsport, TN for hospital care, and MSHA has postponed the construction of a new hospital because they aren’t sure they can get it staffed. Both systems have complained about the uncertainty in the insurance markets and the possibility that they may not be getting paid for services – they are holding cash reserves on hand for dealing with it on a temporary basis, but that can’t last very long. Medical professionals throughout the area, from doctors to nurses to the person drawing blood to the person just telling you where to go (Holston Valley Medical Center is HUGE!) are all in agreement… none of them like the effect that Obamacare is having on their profession and (regardless of personal support for Obama himself – a rapidly dwindling group) would like to have it repealed. Several doctors (including the highly regarded heart specialist my dad sees) believe that repeal is inevitable, simply to allow the system to function.

Just my $.02


Comment by Lon Mead

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